News Roundup for September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel and Hamas Agree to Cool Hostilities, for Now, New York Times
With the coronavirus spreading fast through the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed Monday night to cool its latest round of hostilities with Israel in exchange for a cash infusion from Qatar and for Israel’s agreement to let fuel flow back to Gaza’s power station, officials said. For several weeks, Gaza, ruled by Hamas, has launched hundreds of balloons laden with incendiary devices and explosives — and more than a few rockets — into southern Israel, torching large tracts of farmland and keeping thousands of Israeli civilians on edge. Israel has responded with frequent airstrikes and tank fire on what it said was Hamas military infrastructure in Gaza. Far from resolving anything, though, Monday’s agreement — which effectively bought the promise of a month’s calm — was just another familiar step in the miserable minuet that has entangled Israel and Hamas for years.

Trump campaign has accepted at least $2,000 from leader of neo-Nazi group ‘Aryan Nations’, The Forward
Morris Gulett, leader of a Louisiana chapter of the neo-Nazi group the Aryan Nations, has donated at least $2,000 to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign — and the campaign has not returned any of the money.

Joe Biden must elaborate his Iran policy, Responsible Statecraft
Shireen Hunter writes, “It seems that Biden advisers believe that diplomacy can resolve issues virtually on its own. But this is not so. Diplomacy succeeds If there is a willingness to compromise and give and take on the part of both parties. But if it is used just to deliver ultimatums, even if politely and softly, then it generally fails. President Obama succeeded in reaching an agreement with Iran because he was willing to compromise and give incentives to Iran as well as demand concessions . But reading Blinken, one does not see much readiness for compromise or willingness to offer incentives.”


Israeli, U.S. Delegations Land in UAE After Historic Flight, Haaretz
An Israeli delegation landed on Monday afternoon in Abu Dhabi to formalize the U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates.

Bennett intensifies attacks, says Netanyahu only concerned with his trial, Times of Israel
Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Yamina party, launched a scathing attack against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for the second time in three days, further signaling his possible intention to challenge the longtime premier in future elections.

Facing a coronavirus crisis, Israel calls in the army, AP
As head of the Israeli army’s Home Front Command, Gordin is now overseeing the military’s coronavirus “task force,” formed last month to bring one of the developed world’s worst outbreaks under control. Its main responsibility is taking the lead in contact tracing and breaking chains of infection. “This is a operation on a different scale,” Gordin told The Associated Press, speaking in his first interview since taking over the Home Front Command in May.

Report: Netanyahu made secret 2018 visit to UAE for meeting with crown prince, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to the United Arab Emirates in 2018 for a secret meeting with the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Tuesday.

Israeli School Year Begins for Over 2 Million Students as Coronavirus Rages, Haaretz
The new school year opened on Tuesday, September 1 as planned – after the Israel Teachers Union, which represents preschool and elementary school teachers, announced that its members would not go on strike on the first day of school.

At least 3 reported killed during suspected Israeli strikes in southern Syria, Times of Israel
The Israeli military launched a number of missiles at targets in southern Syria late Monday night, killing at least three people, according to Syrian state media with reports.

Sheldon Adelson Said to Be Favored to Buy U.S. Ambassador’s Home in Israel, Haaretz
Sheldon Adelson is apparently the leading contender to buy the U.S. ambassador’s home in Herzliya.

Opinion and Analysis

Peace for Warplanes?, Foreign Policy
Neri Zilber writes, “Publicly, Netanyahu has said he opposes the deal, insisting that Israel’s position on Middle Eastern states acquiring such high-end weapons had not changed. But the Trump administration and Emirati officials have suggested that the F-35 sale was one of the understandings that led the UAE to normalize relations with Israel this month—in a watershed agreement brokered by Washington.”

COVID-19 has been buffeting American Jewry for months. What lies ahead?, Times of Israel
Uriel Heilman writes, “Pandemic sees hundreds of synagogues shut, Jewish organizations slash budgets and staff, community centers emptied, day schools go online and summer camps cancelled.”

We’re in an epidemic of Schadenfreude, The Forward
Joel Cohen writes, “The President’s role in hoping for the worst is undeniable, and indefensible. And yet, the unfortunate truth is that when it comes to moral vindictiveness, no one is pure anymore.”

Gulf States Have Sacrificed Uighur Muslims for Access to China’s Cash, Haaretz
Sebastian Castelier writes, “Reports about the Uighurs rarely make the headlines of Gulf’s state-owned local media. Indeed, a Saudi living in his country’s  Eastern Province told me, on condition of anonymity, that my inquiry was ‘the first time’ he’d heard about Uighurs or their plight. ‘There is no focus on them here. Are they Muslims?’ he queried.”