News Roundup for July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018

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J Street in the News

Urgent Congressional Statement Tells Netanyahu: Don’t Demolish Khan al-Ahmar, J Street

“With time running out, lawmakers and Jewish communal leaders who support a two-state solution must add their voices to those who are already speaking out against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. Pro-Israel Americans must make clear that the actions of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the settlement movement are endangering Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel launches ‘its most painful strike’ on Hamas since 2014, Guardian

Oliver Holmes reports, “Israel’s military carried out its largest airstrike campaign in Gaza since the 2014 war on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as Hamas militants launched more than 200 rockets and mortars before announcing a ceasefire. Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in an strike in Gaza City, while three Israelis were wounded from a rocket that landed on a residential home.”

A day after clashes, Israel contemplates its next move, Los Angeles Times

Noga Tarnopolsky and Hana Salah report, “The worst of the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has subsided a day after the violence threatened to escalate into war. But Israeli Cabinet officials and top military officials appeared deeply divided over how to respond to continuing low-tech attacks from across the border.”

Bulldozers in the West Bank: How Recent Israeli Settlement Expansion Jeopardizes The Peace Process, Forbes

Brennan Cusack writes, “Since 2009, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased by 100 thousand and the population growth rate for settlers is at twice the rate inside Israel. [Peace Now Director of Development Brian Reeves] says, ‘If there are a million settlers instead of 400,000 in the West Bank you would need to pay off a lot of them to leave: the thing is too costly.’ The maps don’t predict when this point of no return will happen. They only show what has already happened from a birds-eye view. From this height, a small town disappeared may look inconsequential. But, as the Israeli Supreme Court contemplates the fate of Khan al-Ahmar, it’s evident the peace process has hit a turning point.”


School starts early in West Bank village set for demolition, Associated Press

The Palestinian ministry of education has decided to start the school year early in a Bedouin village in the West Bank that is slated for demolition. The ministry says it’s trying to pre-empt any Israeli move by starting school early for 170 elementary students in Khan al-Ahmar and four nearby Bedouin communities.

Gaza ceasefire largely holding after day-long flareup, Reuters

A ceasefire largely held on Sunday along a tense Gaza-Israel border on Sunday following a day of fierce fighting, but Israel remained on high alert and boosted its air defenses in case hostilities resume.

Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan, Associated Press

Syrian government forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents.

US rejects Europe’s hopes of relief from Iran sanctions, Financial Times

International companies active in Iran face the threat of US sanctions within weeks after Washington rebuffed a high-level European plea to exempt crucial industries that would help keep a nuclear deal with Tehran alive.

New Details Emerge on Unprecedented ‘Israeli Strike’ on Syria-Iraq Border, Haaretz

Israel is ramping up its strikes in Syria in an attempt to disrupt the Iranian land corridor used to transfer weapons through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, security analysts told the Wall Street Journal Sunday. Israel was allegedly behind an unprecedented strike last June on a town in the Syria-Iraq border.

Netanyahu Says Putin Agreed to Restrain Iran in Syria, The New York Times

It was not the deal he was hoping for, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel left Moscow on Thursday saying he had won an important commitment from President Vladimir V. Putin. Israel, he said, did not object to President Bashar al-Assad’s regaining control over all of Syria, a vital Russian objective, and Russia had pushed Iranian and allied Shiite forces “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border.

EU tells Israel to reverse Gaza crossing closure, i24NEWS

The European Union admonished Israel on Friday for “aggravating” the economic situation in Gaza by closing the only humanitarian crossing into the enclave, just hours after the Israel premier had lashed out at the bloc.

Opinion and Analysis

Don’t Soften It, Bury It, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “The nation-state bill is a shameful initiative in any version, with Clause 7B or without it. Israel doesn’t need a law that defines it as the nation-state of the Jewish people, casts a heavy pall over its democratic character and harms its minorities and those who aren’t considered Jewish under Jewish law. This law must be immediately and irrevocably buried.”

This Think Tank is Pushing Regime Change in Iran—and the White House is Listening, Nation

James Carden writes, “In early June, Sigal Mandelker, a previously obscure Justice Department and Homeland Security official now serving as acting deputy secretary of the Treasury Department, spoke before an audience at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington think tank, and fired a shot across the proverbial bow of European governments and businesses…Described by the journalist Mark Perry as ‘perhaps the most powerful outside influencer of the Trump White House today,’ FDD is credited, even by its opponents, as being among Washington’s most effective proponents of neoconservative ideas.”