News Roundup for July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

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J Street in the News

Yad Vashem, Ramallah and Swimming in a Settlement: J Street Launches Its ‘Birthright’ Alternative, Haaretz
“A first-of-its-kind ‘alternative Birthright’ tour aimed at progressive-minded young American Jews kicks off in Israel on Tuesday. Forty participants are set to take part in the 10-day inaugural trip, titled ‘Let Our People Know,’ which is sponsored and financed by J Street. The tour includes visits to the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah, as well as meetings with Jewish settlers from the Binyamin Regional Council […] By omitting Palestinian perspectives, J Street charges, Birthright trips create ‘a political environment that allows home demolitions, settlement expansion, and other destructive policies of occupation to continue unchallenged.’”

Top News and Analysis

Senate fails to limit Trump war powers amid Iran tensions, AP
The Senate fell short Friday, in a 50-40 vote, on an amendment to a sweeping Defense bill that would require congressional support before Trump acts. It didn’t reach the 60-vote threshold needed for passage. But lawmakers said the majority showing sent a strong message that Trump cannot continue relying on the nearly two-decade-old war authorizations Congress approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The House is expected to take up the issue next month.

U.S. Envoys Joins Inauguration of Settler Project in East Jerusalem, Haaretz
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt took part in a ceremony inaugurating the “Path of the Pilgrims” in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, organized by the settler organization Elad.

U.S. Envoy Swings Sledgehammer in East Jerusalem, and a Metaphor Is Born, New York Times
American ambassadors to Israel, to avoid being seen as taking Israel’s side in the conflict with the Palestinians, have long avoided public appearances in East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and then annexed it. Most of the world considers it illegally occupied, and the Palestinians want it as the capital of a future state. But Mr. Friedman has pulverized diplomatic barriers before. In October, he attended a business conference in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, reportedly the first official visit to a Jewish settlement by an American ambassador.


US duty free magnates fund network for Israeli settlements, AP
When travelers shop at dozens of duty free shops at airports worldwide, they may be paying for more than a bottle of vodka or box of chocolates. The Falic family of Florida, owners of the ubiquitous chain of Duty Free Americas shops, funds a generous and sometimes controversial philanthropic empire in Israel that runs through the corridors of power and stretches deep into the occupied West Bank.

Iran breaches 2015 nuclear deal’s stockpile limit, Reuters
Iran has breached the limit of its enriched uranium stockpile set in a 2015 deal with major powers, two sources told Reuters on Monday, defying a warning by European co-signatories to stick to the deal despite U.S. sanctions.

Iran sees some progress on nuclear deal, but not enough, AP
A meeting of the remaining partners in the Iranian nuclear deal produced some progress but not enough to satisfy Tehran’s demands, a senior Iranian official said Friday, offering little prospect for now of the country backing away from a move to surpass a uranium stockpile threshold that could doom the agreement.

As Iran passes nuclear deal limit, Gantz says Israel ‘united’ against the threat, Times of Israel
“In this election season, it’s important to emphasize that the Iranian threat is above all politics. We will give our backing and help to any decision the government takes to strengthen Israel’s security.”

Palestinian Authority arrests, releases Hebron businessman who attended Bahrain summit, JTA
he Palestinian Authority arrested and released the next day a Palestinian businessman from the West Bank city of Hebron who attended the United States-sponsored economic summit in Bahrain. Saleh Abu Mayala was arrested on Friday night upon his return home from Bahrain by Palestinian intelligence forces and released by Saturday night, according to reports.

Israeli Court Ruling Could End Up Legalizing 2,000 Settlement Homes, Times of Israel
A Jerusalem district court judge has accepted a legal theory put forward by the government, which may set a precedent allowing for the legalization of settlement homes built on privately owned Palestinian land.

Palestinians: Israeli forces hit rally against police abuse, AP
Palestinians claim Israeli forces attacked them after a peaceful rally against police brutality in east Jerusalem.

Opinion and Analysis

Settlers From the White House, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “This recognition doesn’t just put the American administration on the extreme right of the Israeli political map – thus undercutting the claim that American can be an unbiased broker between Israel and the Palestinians – but it also ignores the complicated reality in Silwan, East Jerusalem and the entire region. The tunnel, which was excavated using controversial methods from a scientific standpoint, harnesses archaeology to politics while ignoring the nuances of Jerusalem’s ancient past.”

Iran’s attrition strategy pays off in Europe, The National
Khaled Yacoub Oweis writes, “Iran’s strategy of waiting for the other side to blink claimed a familiar target when the EU delivered last week on technical help for Tehran to overcome US sanctions, despite public misgivings about Iran’s declared readiness to breach limits of the 2015 nuclear deal. Capitalising on divisions between Washington and its allies, Iran renewed its push for further concessions from Europe at a major meeting in Vienna on Friday, demanding EU loopholes to make large oil sales.”

Son of an Ohio Steelworker, Now Palestinian Envoy to the U.N., New York Times
Rick Gladstone writes, “The life of Riyad H. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, has been shaped by the conflict with Israel. But he is also a child of the American antiwar movement. His father, a Palestinian refugee, came to the United States in the 1950s, found employment as an Ohio steelworker and later brought over Mr. Mansour and the family’s six other children from Ramallah, in the West Bank.”

Should Palestinian children be able to call parents from prison? Israeli court will decide, +972 Mag
Edo Konrad writes, “Palestinian children in Israeli jails classified as ‘security prisoners’ are denied the right to speak to or see their families, sometimes for months on end.”