News Roundup for September 27, 2021

September 27, 2021

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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

Bennett tells settlers he said no 3 times to Biden, on Iran, consulate, building, Times of Israel
“I told Biden ‘no’ three times,” Bennett said during the September 9 meeting with leaders of the Yesha Council settlements umbrella group, sources present told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site. “Once on the Iranian issue, but I can’t tell you exactly about what — they requested something and I said ‘no.’ The second time was about the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem — it won’t happen. And the third time was about settlements.”

Progressive foreign policy’s big week, Politico
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party took its biggest collective stand on key U.S. foreign policy issues this week, proving themselves as a force that will challenge national security orthodoxy and their own leadership for months to come. […] They may not yet be an effective force in guiding U.S. foreign policy, but they are becoming a more effective force — causing more headaches for party leadership and the president.

Bennett Celebrated Congress’ Iron Dome Vote. Now He Should Listen to Those Behind It, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “If Bennett won’t offer his allies in the U.S. bold steps to improve things with the Palestinians, his government will soon discover that the whopping 420-9 margin in Congress for the Iron Dome was a one-off event”


In Reversal, Israel’s New Government Engages With Palestinian Authority, New York Times
The August meeting is the most prominent piece of evidence of a new, more cooperative approach to dealing with the Palestinian Authority, which senior members of Israel’s new government see as a bulwark against the Islamist militant group Hamas. Since the government took office in June, other ministers have met with their Palestinian counterparts and Israeli officials said they were taking an array of concrete steps to benefit Palestinians economically, to increase security cooperation and to change some policies that had been denounced as discriminatory.

Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinians in West Bank gunbattles, AP
Israeli troops conducted a series of arrest raids against suspected Hamas militants across the occupied West Bank early Sunday, sparking a pair of gun battles in which five Palestinians were killed and two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded. It was the deadliest violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in the West Bank in several weeks.

A High-Profile Trial Spells Tribulation for the Palestinian Authority, Foreign Policy
After Palestinian security forces killed the activist and dissident Nizar Banat in June, anti-government protests rocked the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has remained mostly silent about the circumstances of Banat’s death, and, three months later, hearings in the trial of his alleged killers are finally underway. But the proceedings are unlikely to put a damper on public outrage against the PA’s increasingly autocratic rule, and they have only emboldened a Palestinian population largely at odds with their leadership.

Frustrated Abbas gives Israel ultimatum in harsh UN address, AP
In an unusually harsh speech, President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday gave Israel one year to end its occupation of territories the Palestinians want for a future state. He threatened to withdraw recognition of Israel — a cornerstone of three decades of failed peace efforts — if it failed to do so.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez apologizes after tearful ‘present’ vote on Israel Iron Dome funding bill, Washington Post
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) penned a lengthy and emotional open letter apologizing to her constituents on Friday for effectively abstaining in a vote over funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which overwhelmingly passed in the House a day earlier. […] Describing her actions in her letter, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “Yes, I wept. I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choosing a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience.”

Opinion and Analysis

Why the Gaza Strip May Be the City of the Future, Bloomberg
Zach Mortice writes, “Gaza is a landscape of extreme economic deprivation born of the region’s complicated political dynamics — but one whose contours may soon become more common. That’s the premise behind the recently released book Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope […] which presents a vision of Gaza as a glimpse of an imminent future, where violence, surveillance, resource scarcity and provisional use of an extremely compromised built environment are visited on all.”

Washington’s three gifts to Naftali Bennett, +972 Magazine
Edo Konrad writes, “The UN speech, Nides’ confirmation hearing, and the Democrats’ Iron Dome debacle is fantastic news for the Israeli prime minister. Bennett — a former head of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization that represents the interests of the settlement movement — has spent his entire career opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state, and has recently declared that he intends on maintaining the occupation by pursuing a strategy of ‘shrinking the conflict.’ In other words, Bennett’s plan is to deepen the so-called status quo.”

Iron Dome’s funding was never in jeopardy. But to us Palestinians, that was never the point, Forward
Muhammad Sheheda writes, “The Iron Dome saves lives. And saving any life is an infinitely noble goal. But this conflict has two peoples trapped in it, and there are simply no similar efforts to save Palestinian lives and deter fatalities against us. That is what the Iron Dome symbolizes to Palestinians.”

The brutality of denying water to Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, +972 Magazine
Daphne Banai writes, “The lack of local water infrastructure for Palestinians means average daily water consumption per capita among Palestinian West Bank residents stands at 28 liters per capita per day, whereas consumption in the Israeli settlements in the South Hebron Hills is 211 liters per capita per day. […] Denying water to the Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills is one of many brutal methods for expelling the local population in order to take its land and hand it over to Jewish settlers.”