“Engel….delivered a mixed message. He stood by the resolution he coauthored with Royce while simultaneously agreeing to back an amendment introduced by Rep. David Price, D-N.C., and backed by J Street, AIPAC’s left-wing rival. Price’s amendment would have removed language blaming the Obama administration and placed more emphasis on the two-state solution…..J Street said the robust Democratic turnout for the Price’s amendment, which the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group backed, underscored the inroads it had made. ‘A very significant portion of the Democratic Party is saying that there is no longer going to be a go-along-to-get-along approach for every single policy and worldview for the sitting government of Israel,’ Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president, said in an interview just before the vote. He correctly predicted that 70 or so Democrats would oppose Royce-Engel….Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., once an AIPAC stalwart and now a headliner at J Street conferences, offered a contrasting vision of pro-Israel. In her remarks during the debate, she called the U.S.-Israel bond ‘unbreakable’ and the two-state solution ‘the only way Israel can continue as both a Democratic and a Jewish state,’ while declaring that the United States must be willing to tell its friends in Israel that ‘the building of settlements is an obstacle to achieving that goal.’”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to bury the proposed law to legalize the construction of settlements on private Palestinian land in the West Bank. The bill has already passed its first reading the Knesset, but Netanyahu has no intention of allowing it to advance any further. For now, the bill will be frozen and Netanyahu does not intend to set a date for a vote, sources close to the prime minister told Haaretz….After passing its first reading, the bill is now stuck in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which would have to approve the bill before it could return to the Knesset plenum for its second and third readings. So far, all the votes in the committee on the proposed law have been put off. Originally it was agreed with Bennett that the bill would advance only after Donald Trump is sworn in as the new president of the United States. But after the passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution on the settlements, which was partially attributed by Security Council members to the so-called ‘regularization bill,’ Netanyahu had second thoughts about the bill.”
Israel Buries 4 Soldiers, but the Mourning Is Marred by Discord, The New York Times
“Israel buried its latest terrorism victims on Monday, the day after they were run down by a Palestinian man in a truck, enveloping them in the country’s familiar outpouring of love for its service members. But this time, the usually unifying ritual was marred by discord. Israelis called it the “Azaria effect,” referring to Sgt. Elor Azaria, the soldier who was convicted last week of manslaughter for shooting a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian assailant in the head….The Azaria case, regarding a shooting in the West Bank city of Hebron last March that was caught on video, unleashed its own kind of friendly fire and fury. As a military judge read the verdict last week in a Tel Aviv military compound, hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside. Bolstered by some of the most extreme right-wing elements of Israeli society, like La Familia fan club of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team and the anti-Arab Lahava organization, the crowd scuffled with the police. Among their chants were threats against Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the military chief of staff, a post normally among the most revered and popular among Israeli Jews.”
House GOP Pushes Trump To Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Foreign Policy
Scores of House Republicans are ramping up pressure on President-elect Donald Trump to fulfil his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem despite a stern warning from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the move would have a “disastrous impact on the peace process.”
“Senior Palestinian officials have warned that the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s recognition of Israel – one of the key pillars of the moribund Oslo peace agreements – is in danger of being revoked if Donald Trump moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Palestinian leadership is also calling for protests in mosques and churches on Friday and Sunday to object to the move, calling for opposition to the plan ‘from Pakistan to Tehran, from Lebanon to Oman’.”
A possible compromise over moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem could see Donald Trump’s ambassador working from an existing US consulate in the capital while the embassy itself remains in Tel Aviv, Israeli television reported on Tuesday. A possible compromise over moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem could see Donald Trump’s ambassador working from an existing US consulate in the capital while the embassy itself remains in Tel Aviv, Israeli television reported on Tuesday. Quoting unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, Channel 2 news said intended ambassador David Friedman, who has said he looks forward to working from the US embassy in Jerusalem, might instead merely work from the city with a small staff, while the Tel Aviv embassy remains intact and most of its operations and staff stay there.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday confirmed during a session of Parliament in London that the U.K. was closely involved in the formulation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 concerning settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “Kerry was completely right to draw attention to the illegal settlements and he was completely right to draw attention to the substance of Resolution 2334,” Johnson said, referring to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who allegedly tried to stab them in a refugee camp east of the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday. According to the army, the man ran with a drawn knife toward the soldiers during a raid in Far’a, a refugee camp. “Forces called to the attacker to halt and upon his continued advance they fired toward him resulting in his death,” and IDF statement said.”
Foreign Ministry director general Yuval Rotem is due to visit Ankara in two weeks to ramp up the dialogue between the two countries, the latest step of improved relations that were stung when Israeli commandos raided a Turkish flotilla to Gaza in 2010. This is the first time such a dialogue will take place between the Israeli and Turkish foreign ministries since the May 2010 raid in which eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will be assisting local Jewish community centers in bolstering security after 16 JCCs received bomb threats on the same day. On Wednesday, officials from the FBI and Homeland Security will conduct a conference call with U.S. Jewish communal leaders to discuss Monday’s incidents, what they stem from and how to craft protocols to handle such incidents in the future. Some communities already receive federal grants to provide for security.
Israeli authorities demolished 10 homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city of Qalansawe in central Israel on Tuesday morning, prompting a defeated mayor to resign after Israeli authorities refused for decades to approve the city’s master plan. Local sources told Ma’an the devastating demolition campaign sparked clashes between Israeli police and residents.
The state announced that the Kiryat Arba local council has no authority to demand municipal tax (arnona) from two Palestinian brothers, even though land and a home belonging to one of them lies in the council’s jurisdiction.
“New details have come to light on the alleged bribery deal discussed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet publisher Arnon Mozes. The proposed deal included a sharp change in the coverage of the prime minister by the Yedioth Ahronoth group in exchange for Netanyahu’s promise to promote legislation that would severely damage the free daily, Moses’ competitor, Israel Hayom. According to sources in the Justice Ministry, top officials in the police and the prosecution are unanimous that the deal offered by Mozes to Netanyahu is clearly bribery.”
How Netanyahu failed IDF battle of ethics, Al-Monitor
Mazal Mualem reports, “The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee had a heated meeting last July with Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. It was an unusual session, requested by Eizenkot, who wanted to shock the political class by warning that the greatest threat facing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is not the foreign armies beyond Israel’s borders….There have been several other expressions of solidarity with the chief of staff, including other demonstrations in support of him….This desire to support and defend the chief of staff brought five former chiefs of staff together in a show of support for Eizenkot, initiated by Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. Together, Gantz, Shaul Mofaz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya’alon wanted to relay the message: ‘Keep your hands off the IDF and the chief of staff.’”
“Jewish and human rights organizations in the United States are concerned about attempts to revive the Jewish Defense League, founded by late extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, as first reported by Haaretz on Friday. The JDL has mostly fizzled out in the United States since the deaths of several leaders, among them Kahane, gunned down at a New York City hotel in 1990, and his son Benjamin Kahane, killed in a West Bank road ambush some years later. While the JDL has recently been active in France and Canada, its followers, inspired by Donald Trump’s election, hosted a memorial event last week for Benjamin Kahane in Brooklyn and celebrated Trump’s victory. The JDL is also planning other events in the U.S., including a watch party for Trump’s inauguration and a demonstration in support of AIPAC in Washington D.C.”
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