News Roundup for July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019

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J Street in the News

Wadi Hummus: J Street Head Says Israel ‘Weaponizing’ Building Permits, The Jerusalem Post
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the progressive J Street, issued a statement saying that ‘the Netanyahu government’s forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes undercuts the prospects for a two-state solution and is not compatible with Israel’s obligations under international law.’ Ben-Ami made his statements Monday, hours after Israeli security forces entered Wadi Hummus in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Bahir to demolish 12 homes.”

Trump Cannot Declare War—Especially on Iran—Without Congress, The Nation
“The coalition that has supported a reassertion of congressional authority over questions of war and peace with Iran is broad. It is bipartisan. It extends from right to left. It includes conservative groups such Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works, along with progressive groups such as Demand Progress. It includes groups that promote diplomatic resolutions to conflicts in the region, including J Street and NIAC Action.”

J Street Condemns Netanyahu’s Forced Evictions and Demolitions in East Jerusalem, J Street
“These demolitions are yet another example of how the far-right has weaponized building permits in East Jerusalem and is seeking to advance an agenda of ‘creeping annexation’ in the West Bank which aims to restrict and demolish Palestinian communities and undermine the terms of any future peace agreement. This is an agenda which weakens Israel’s important security relationship with the Palestinian Authority and, by laying the groundwork for annexation of the West Bank, jeopardizes Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”

Top News and Analysis

International agencies call Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes illegal, Washington Post
A statement from the EU called Israel’s actions illegal under international law and said such policies “undermined the viability of a two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.” The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that the families, a total of 17 people, including nine children, would receive support but that “no amount of humanitarian assistance can replace a home or cover the massive financial losses sustained today by the ­owners.” — “Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” said U.N. agency said. 

PA Threatens to Cut Ties with Israel over Wadi Hummus Demolitions, The Jerusalem Post
The Palestinian Authority threatened to cut ties with Israel over this action, dubbing it a “war crime” and “ethnic cleansing.” The PA said it will request a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the demolitions and lodge a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court.

‘Our whole lives are here. Where can we go?’, +972
A. Daniel Roth writes, “I am in a room with 20 or 30 other activists. We have been sleeping for a few short hours in an office in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher, which straddles the Green Line between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. We are here because the local community is facing a number of home demolitions.”


Israel Demolishes 70 Homes in Palestinian-controlled East Jerusalem Neighborhood, Haaretz
Israeli forces began Monday demolishing buildings in an East Jerusalem neighborhood under the control of the Palestinian Authority, following a legal challenge to the Defense Ministry-issued order to evacuate apartments deemed too close to the West Bank separation barrier, which runs through the city.

Trump says chance of making a deal with Iran is dwindling, AFP
“Frankly it’s getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran, because they behave very badly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, as visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan sat at his side. “I’ll tell you it could go either way, very easily,” Trump added. “And I’m OK either way it goes.”

At Least 16 Israeli Unauthorized West Bank Outposts Established Since 2017, Haaretz
Israeli authorities turn a blind eye the outposts, which were founded on state lands, and at times even help to retroactively legalize them. Most are used for agriculture, and receive the help of local councils.

Netanyahu: Iran is ‘just waiting’ for my opponents to come to power, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Iran was “just waiting” for his political opponents in the Blue and White party to come to power, claiming they would be far softer on Tehran than he has been.

Ayelet Shaked Takes Netanyahu to Task for Opposing Her Efforts to Lead Right-wing Slate, Haaretz
The new leader of the right-wing Hayamin Hehadash party, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for intervening in her efforts to head a unified right-wing slate in September’s Knesset election that would include Hayamin Hehadash and the Union of Right-Wing Parties.

‘Slaughter the Jews’ painted on section of Western Wall in Muslim Quarter, Times of Israel
The phrase “Slaughter the Jews” was spray painted on the “Little Western Wall,” a section of the Western Wall located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The vandalism took place on Saturday. At least one Arab girl was arrested on Saturday night in connection with the incident.

UN, France Condemn Israel’s Demolition of Homes in Palestinian-controlled East Jerusalem Area, Haaretz
The United Nations and France condemned on Monday Israel’s demolition of 70 homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Barak Apologizes Over Death of 12 Israeli Arabs in October 2000 Protests, Haaretz
“I take responsibility for what happened during my tenure as prime minister, including the October events,” he said on Israel Public Radio. “There is no place for protesters to be killed by their country’s security forces. I am expressing my regret and apology before the families and before Israeli society.”

Opinion and Analysis

Ilhan Omar’s Pro-BDS Bill Is Gaining Momentum – Thanks To A Surprising Supporter, The Forward
Ariel Gold writes, “The real story here is not Tlaib and Omar but the third person who joined the push for this resolution: Representative John Lewis […] That Lewis, whose pro-Israel bonafides are deeply credible, would support this resolution — which crucially doesn’t mention Israel at all — is proof of what the bill is about, which is protecting the freedoms of Americans.”

To Defeat Netanyahu, Last-minute Unity Must Be Foisted on Surly Center-left Leaders, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Only outside intervention can still compel them to discard petty arrogance for the sake of the Israel that they vowed to protect, as in the proposed list below…”

Jerusalem: Better shared, Times of Israel
Naomi Chazan writes, “Since the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just over a year ago, the current government has made every conceivable effort to tighten Israeli control over the city and its inhabitants. New Jewish housing construction and grandiose tourist attractions around the holy sites are everywhere apparent — condoned by an American government oblivious to the consequences of its inaction. And ongoing indignities, large and small, are the lot of the city’s Palestinian residents, devoid of any citizenship and its associated rights.”

Between ‘Ending Iran’ and ‘No More Endless Wars’: The Unraveling of Trump’s Incoherent Iran Strategy, Haaretz
Alexander Griffing writes, “On Iran, Trump is boxed in between ‘Bomber’ Bolton and his own anti-war base. He has the power to wage war – but it may be political suicide to use it.”

When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy, +972
Meron Rapoport writes, “In his recent book, Dr. Dmitry Shumsky shows that, contrary to popular belief, the forefathers of Zionism did not envision a state based on Jewish supremacy. And yet Zionism, he says, inevitably involves the oppression of Palestinians.”