News Roundup for September 9, 2021

September 9, 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

A Year That Made It Clear: U.S. Ironclad Support for Israel No Longer Assured, Haaretz
Ben Samuels observes, “As we enter 5782, Israel must recognize that it’s not business as usual in Washington. The status quo can’t hold forever, and the parties are trending toward polar opposites on the U.S.-Israel relationship. There is growing awareness that Israel’s policy on the Palestinians is directly empowered by the U.S.-Israel relationship. As long as there is no improvement on the ground, the debate’s focus in the United States will continue to shift.”

Iran warns West of IAEA move as U.S says time running out to save nuclear deal, Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that time was running out for Iran to return to the nuclear accord, following a report from the UN nuclear watchdog accusing Tehran of hindering an inquiry into its past nuclear activities. “I’m not going to put a date on it, but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits that that agreement achieved,” Blinken said.

Manhunt Underway After 6 Palestinians Escape Israeli Prison, The New York Times
“Six Palestinian prisoners escaped a prison in northern Israel early Monday morning, in the first such jailbreak in more than two decades, the prison service said Monday. The six men broke free at approximately 1 a.m. after removing a layer of flooring underneath a cell in the Gilboa prison, southwest of the sea of Galilee, according to the prison service commissioner, Katy Perry. That allowed them to access a cavity underneath the prison, through which they were able to escape. The prison service said five of the men were members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a militant Islamist group, while the sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, was a former commander of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group loosely associated with Fatah, the secular party that dominates the Palestinian Authority.”


Ben & Jerry’s’ Israel flap leads Arizona treasurer’s office to divest assets, Arizona Daily Star
Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee announced Tuesday she is selling off all of the state’s notes it holds in loans to Unilever. That follows the announcement that the company will no longer sell its Ben & Jerry’s brand ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, including the West Bank and contested east Jerusalem. The move comes despite a Unilever official contacting Yee with an argument that the company is not violating the law because it is not boycotting Israel.

Shots Fired at Israeli Forces During West Bank Protest in Support of Escaped Prisoners, Haaretz
Palestinian protesters opened fire at Israeli soldiers on Wednesday evening, during protests near Ramallah in support of the six Palestinian militants who escaped from an Israeli high-security prison. No casualties were reported, and the bullets hit the ground. Around 500 Palestinians gathered at nightfall in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and other West Bank locations, some chanting “freedom” and waving Palestinian flags.

Blinken invites Lapid for Washington visit next month, Times of Israel
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has invited Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to visit Washington, the State Department said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, spokesman Ned Price said the invitation was issued during a phone call between the two on Monday “to continue conversations following Prime Minister (Naftali) Bennett’s recent visit and to exchange Rosh Hashanah greetings.”

Naftali Bennett says the US and Israel have set up joint team on containing Iran, JTA
In a significant move, Israel and the United States have set up a joint team at the national security adviser level to contain Iran, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told U.S. Jewish leaders in a Rosh Hashanah call.

IDF boosts forces aiding prisoner manhunt, as searches focus on northern towns, Times of Israel
Authorities were operating in Arab towns in northern Israel on Wednesday, on the third day of searches for six fugitive Palestinian security prisoners who remained on the lam after escaping prison. Israel has launched a massive manhunt to capture the six prisoners, who are considered highly dangerous after they broke out of the high-security Gilboa Prison early Monday in what is considered to be one of the most serious jailbreaks in the country’s history.

Sissi calls Herzog for New Year, as Cairo said pushing for new Palestinian talks, Times of Israel
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called President Isaac Herzog on Sunday to send his best wishes, ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the same day that a London-based newspaper reported that Sissi is leading a push to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. According to the President’s Office, Sissi spoke with Herzog on Sunday evening and congratulated him on his new role, as well as sending his blessings to the Israeli nation ahead of the Jewish high holidays.

U.S. to discuss way forward on Iran in Moscow, Paris talks, Reiters
U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley will visit Moscow and Paris this week for talks with Russian and European officials on Iran’s nuclear program, the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Opinion and Analysis

These Are the Five Most Influential Women in Israel in 2021, Haaretz
Profiles of 5 women making a major impact on Israeli civil and political life.

Those of us who survived in Gaza are buried in the fear of loss, 972 Magazine
Fidaa Shurrab interviews three Palestinian business owners in Gaza about their struggles to recover after yet another devastating war last May.

Straight talk from Israel’s Lapid includes criticism of US, Al-Monitor
Mazal Mualem observes, “Lapid holds the title of alternate prime minister, and he will be replacing Bennett in less than two years, i.e., any comments he makes have high visibility. This raises the question: What political value could such a critical assessment of Israel’s closest friend and ally have, especially when that friend is facing a crisis?”