Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write, “The administration foolishly withdrew unilaterally from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, the president favors the use of maximum pressure, either to force the regime to cave in a renegotiation of the agreement or to hasten the collapse of the regime. Both are non-starters. Right now, the best we can hope for is that the administration manages to muddle through and avoid a dangerous and unnecessary war.”
“At least three people were wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Geva Binyamin, also known as Adam, on Thursday evening. Yotam Ovadia, 31, died after succumbing to stab wounds. A 50-year-old man with stab wounds to the upper body is in critical condition and was transferred to a hospital, emergency responders said. A third victim with light wounds was treated at the scene. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had instructed the Civil Administration to act towards the authorization of 400 housing units in Geva Binyamin/Adam, the West Bank settlement where the stabbing attack took place.”
The Trump administration’s plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be “the most detailed ever” and will include a “robust” economic component, according to senior White House officials who briefed a number of American media outlets this week. The officials added that they hope Palestinian leadership will read the peace plan and provide “realistic feedback” on how to improve it and promote the peace process, despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ boycott of the administration and his refusal to engage in discussions about the plan.
An internal Israeli army investigation into the deaths of 153 Palestinians during protests along the Gaza-Israel border is expected to find that none of the incidents involved violations of open-fire orders and therefore there are no grounds for referring any of the cases to the Military Police for further investigation. Demonstrators killed by army fire were not intentionally targeted, but died as a result of “operational mishaps,” according to the team of investigators, headed by Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Moti Baruch.
Netanyahu turns down Russian offer of summit with Abbas – report, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a Russian proposal to set up an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Moscow, explaining that he first wants to make the most of the US administration’s long-awaited peace plan, according to an Israeli report Thursday.
Liberman says selection of next IDF chief to begin next week, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Thursday that he will begin next week the process of selecting a new IDF chief of staff to succeed Gadi Eisenkot, who ends his term as commander of the military on December 31.
Israel Police reported Friday that clashes erupted in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount after Friday prayers. “In an unclear and inexplicable step, stones and fireworks were thrown at the police forces,” police reported. Police forces entered the area and began evacuating it, using riot control measures, including stun grenades, to disperse the worshipers.
Israel’s New Law: Help or Hindrance?, The New York Times
In a letter-to-the-editor, Seymour Reich writes, “In my 30 years as a leader in the American Jewish community, I have never seen the degree of alienation felt by American Jews toward the Jewish state. Because the new law, as you report, ‘omits any mention of democracy or the principle of equality’ (between Israel’s Jewish and minority Arab populations), it diminishes the importance of these attributes in today’s Israel. Yet the overwhelming majority of American Jews have cherished Israel so deeply as the embodiment of these qualities.
This law is unnecessary: Who seriously questions Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people?”
Chemi Shalev writes, “The beautiful friendship between Trump and Netanyahu has already harmed Israel’s standing among Democrats and many American Jews, although Netanyahu can still claim that his actions and policies are aimed at fortifying Israel militarily and on the world stage. But against the backdrop of the fierce polarization in U.S. politics, if and when Netanyahu turns up as Trump’s front man and Putin’s champion, he will be seen as an active collaborator of a much-reviled president.”
Barak Ravid reports, “The U.S. is pressing Israel to implement a deal is has signed several years ago with Jordan for building the Red-Dead joint project.”