Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View, New York Times
“For the past week, 28 college students from the United States had been taking part in a traveling experiment billed as an alternative to Birthright Israel, whose free trips to the country have become a rite of passage for hundreds of thousands of young American Jews. [J Street] organizers said they embraced Birthright’s goal of helping young American Jews connect with Israel and with their Jewishness, but that they also needed to be exposed to the realities of the occupation. On Sunday, after several upbeat days hiking in the Galilee, learning about the kibbutz movement and bonding over buffets and Israeli pop songs, the J Street cohort took a sharp left turn into territory where Birthright does not go.”
Who Is a Bigger Threat to His Democracy: Bibi or Trump?, New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman writes, “From afar, it looks like just a rerun of the election on April 9, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly won — but was unable to put together a ruling coalition afterward. Do not be fooled. This is not a rerun. This will be one of the most important elections in Israel’s history. If you care about Israel, pay attention, because the country you admire is on the line. If you’re a Jew, really pay attention, because the outcome of this election could tear apart your synagogue and your community.”
Allies in the Persian Gulf pushed the U.S. to confront Iran. Now they’re not sure what they want, Washington Post
Erin Cunningham writes, “For years, U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf have pushed Washington to get tough on Iran. But now, with the prospect of war on the rise, they’re not so clear about what they want. Many Arab officials and analysts in the gulf are looking to the United States to be even more forceful in deterring Iran — while also more careful about provoking it. Given mixed signals from the Trump administration, some in the region are a little nervous and are sending conflicting signals of their own.”
Wedge Politics Won’t Bring Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Foreign Policy
Ronald R. Krebs writes, “The wedge approach gets one thing right: for decades, Palestinians have been saddled with leaders who have not served them well and whose failures have helped extinguish the faint embers of the peace process. But it gets much else wrong. And it would be doomed even if the Trump administration had recognized that Israel suffers from a parallel poverty of leadership and if the plan had therefore sought to drive wedges on both sides.”
Iran says will not reverse decision to boost uranium enrichment as French envoy visits Tehran, Washington Post
Iran said Wednesday that it would not reverse its decision to enrich uranium beyond levels set by its nuclear deal with world powers as the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog held an emergency meeting to discuss the latest Iranian actions.
Intermarriage Among Diaspora Jews Is ‘Like a Second Holocaust,’ Israel’s Education Minister Says, Haaretz
Israel’s education minister has likened intermarriage among diaspora Jews, and particularly North American Jews, to the Holocaust in a recent cabinet meeting. A spokesman for Education Minister Rafi Peretz confirmed Tuesday that Peretz said that “assimilation is like a second Holocaust.”
French president’s top adviser in Tehran in bid to save nuclear deal, Times of Israel
French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser is spending two days in Tehran as part of an urgent bid to deescalate rising tensions with Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers, an official said Tuesday.
European Foreign Ministers Call for ‘Urgent’ Meeting Over Iran Nuke Deal Breach, Haaretz
The Nuclear deal signatories have called on Tehran to “reverse its nuclear activities”, while Netanyahu doubles down on threats, saying Israeli air force “can reach anywhere in the Middle East.”
Amnesty: TripAdvisor Profiting from War Crimes with Settlement Listings, The Jerusalem Post
TripAdvisor is profiting from war crimes by not delisting business and rentals in West Bank settlements, the NGO Amnesty International charged on Tuesday as it renewed its campaign against one of the leading web based vacation and tourist listing sites. “Israel’s policy of settling Israeli citizens on stolen Palestinian land in occupied territory is a war crime,” said Mark Dummett, head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
Hamas conducts massive surprise drill simulating IDF incursion into Gaza, Times of Israel
Amid heightened tensions between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza-based terror group launched a highly unusual training exercise Tuesday night that simulated the capture of IDF special forces operating in the territory. Gazans reported a spike in the movement of armed personnel in the streets, including along the border with Israel, before the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in the territory announced it was a military drill.
Police Evict Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home, Handing It to Settlers, Haaretz
The police evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday, after the Jerusalem District Court had dismissed their appeal and ruled in favor of the right-wing Elad Association, a settler organization that owns the majority of the building.
Vandals graffiti Palestinian town demanding death for freed rape suspect, Times of Israel
An inscription saying “The death penalty is necessary for Mahmoud Qadusa” was sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Dir Kadis, referring to the formerly accused man. The attackers also damaged several cars in the village.
Ethiopians have an opportunity at solidarity with Palestinians. Will they take it?, +972
Ashraf Ghandour writes, “Solomon Tekah was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer because he was black. As a Palestinian I know exactly what that feels like.”
Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling, Al Jazeera
Linah Alsaafin writes, “The wall, which Israel began constructing in 2002 at the height of the second intifada, has been described by Israeli officials as a necessary security precaution against terrorism. Palestinians however, have decried the wall as an Israeli mechanism to annex Palestinian territory, as it is built deep within the West Bank and not along the 1967 Green Line. Tuesday marks the 15th anniversary since the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN judiciary organ, issued an advisory opinion that deemed Israel’s separation wall illegal.”
In the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder, Saudi influence machine whirs on in Washington, Washington Post
Beth Reinhard, Jonathan O’Connell and Tom Hamburger write, “After the killing in October of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a handful of lobbying firms and think tanks made a move rare in Washington: They publicly severed ties with Saudi Arabia, swearing off the kingdom’s money. But nine months later, Saudi Arabia’s efforts to influence U.S. policy continue unabated — bolstered by President Trump’s embrace of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite a recent United Nations report that the prince was complicit in the grisly killing and dismemberment of the Washington Post contributing columnist and political dissident.”