News Roundup for July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

Only Freedom of Movement Can Save the Gaza Strip From Imminent Collapse, Haaretz

Amira Hass writes, “The only thing that could really save Gaza is rapid and immediate growth in jobs and revenue sources. No technical solution can rescue Gaza from the distress it is in after 27 years of Israeli closure, whose direct results are unemployment among almost half the labor force and even more among the young, the impoverishment of formerly prosperous industries such as commerce, manufacturing and construction, a decline in the quality of education and health and a brain drain. Neither can mobilizing donations from the Gulf States – another therapeutic magic trick.”

Time Running Out to Save Iran Deal as Rouhani Heads to Alps, Bloomberg

Jonathan Tirone reports, “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani goes to Switzerland and Austria this week with the landmark nuclear accord negotiated in the two Alpine countries hanging in the balance. The state visits to Bern on Tuesday and Vienna on Wednesday are likely to be Rouhani’s last before President Donald Trump begins re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic Aug. 6. Iran has pledged to resume its nuclear activities, and follow the U.S. out of the deal, unless France, Germany and the U.K. come up with guarantees to ensure investment and trade continue. Austria has just assumed the rotating European Union presidency.”



Iran, world powers in nuclear accord to meet in Vienna on Friday – IRNA, Reuters

Foreign ministers of Iran and the five world powers still party to its nuclear accord will meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss ways of maintaining the deal after the withdrawal of the United States, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Ex-UN envoys urge US to restore Palestinian refugee funds, Associated Press

Seven former American ambassadors to the United Nations called on the Trump administration Monday to restore funding to the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the ex-envoys from both Republican and Democratic administrations said withholding funds from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency will have national security implications for U.S. partners in the region, including Israel and Jordan.

Israel enacts law to freeze Palestinian funds equal to prisoners’ stipends, Reuters

Israel enacted a law on Monday to financially penalize the Palestinian Authority for paying stipends to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces.

Police to grill Netanyahu next week over new evidence of graft – report, Times of Israel

Police investigators are expected to question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the tenth time on Tuesday next week, confronting him for the first time with evidence from two former close associates who have turned state’s witness, Hadashot News reported Monday.

EU: We’re Reviewing Our Engagement in Support of a Two-state Solution, Haaretz

The European Union announced Monday that it would consult with Israel and the Palestinian Authority on its engagement in support of the two-state solution in the region. A first report on the issue will be submitted to the forum of EU foreign ministers toward the end of August.

Israel warns Syrian army away from Golan, boosts frontier forces, Reuters

Israel beefed up its tank and artillery deployment on the Golan Heights frontier with Syria on Sunday, cautioning Damascus’ forces to keep a distance as they sweep rebel-held areas over the border.

For the first time, Israeli expert chosen to chair UN Human Rights Committee, Times of Israel

An Israeli law professor has been chosen to chair the United Nations Human Rights Committee, a panel of experts who review the adherence of member states to a rights charter.


Opinion and Analysis

Trump, Putin both want piece of Middle East peace talks, Al-Monitor

Dmitry Maryasis writes, “As US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner recently toured the Middle East discussing Trump’s proposed peace plan, Russia was busy with its own efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Given that the Trump administration hasn’t revealed many details about the plan, Moscow presumes Kushner was promoting US brokerage of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and discussing recent developments in the Gaza Strip. Russia believes Trump’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem virtually ensures that the Palestinians will refuse to accept the United States as primary mediators in the peace process.”

Trump’s Perverse Appeasement of Putin Will Rebound on Israel, Haaretz

Former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro writes, “Securing Russia’s commitment to expel Iran from Syria is a worthy goal. Sacrificing decades-old U.S. interests is not the way to get it. Israelis focused on the Iranian threat can be forgiven for placing hope in the path Trump is beating to Helsinki. But the course he is on will produce only one winner: Russia.”