Washington Watch: Passing the Torch, Jerusalem Post
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning peace lobby J Street, said, ‘we celebrate’ a new generation of candidates who oppose ‘the policies of Netanyahu’s far right coalition.”
Oliver Holmes reports, “It is not clear if international pressure has worked. Late on Thursday, Israel’s high court granted a temporary injunction on the demolition [of Khan al-Ahmar] until Wednesday. The reprieve followed a petition by the village’s residents, the latest of hundreds of attempts over the years to help the community. In 2009, a school was built with EU funding out of rubber tyres and mud as a way to circumvent Israeli rules preventing building with cement. But the authorities still ordered it be shut down.”
Shlomi Eldar writes, “Outside help is probably the only recourse left to those seeking to affect change. Since 2009, residents of the village have conducted public and legal campaigns, but the threat of demolition and expulsion remained. On the day five European countries threatened Israel with international condemnation and sanctions, everything ground to a halt. Even the Supreme Court overturned its own decision.”
The Haaretz editorial board writes, “In stepping up its efforts to enforce a law barring supporters of boycotts of Israel or the settlements from entering Israel, the Netanyahu government effectively announced that it is shrinking the enterprise of a national home for the Jewish people. Now, only those Jews whose political opinions are identical to those of the thought-control ministers, Gilad Erdan and Arye Dery, are allowed to visit the country.”
A poll released Thursday and conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza said they were highly concerned about a collapse of internal politics should Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas be unable to perform his duties. Abbas’ health has been a major source of speculation after he was hospitalized several times in the last year.
The Israeli air force struck a position on Friday on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights frontier, sources on both sides said. An Israeli air strike targeted a hill in Khan Arnabeh village in Quneitra province without causing casualties, a commander in the pro-Damascus regional alliance told Reuters.
Palestinian leader vows to keep paying attackers’ families, Associated Press
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he will continue paying stipends to Palestinian attackers and their families despite the Israeli parliament’s decision last week to withhold hundreds of millions in funds from taxes collected on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he is not interested in holding early elections now and wants to continue with the present government coalition until the end of the full Knesset term. Netanyahu made the comments concerning the political battle over the passage of the new draft law at the weekly meeting of the heads of the government coalition parties.
A new book by a former top North Korean diplomat claims Pyongyang made an offer to Israel in 1999: It would stop supplying Iran with missile technology in exchange for $1 billion in cash.
Noa Landau writes, “Observers in Brussels point to a chilling effect created by the alliance between Israel and the V-4 [Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia] on the ability to issue joint statements in the name of all 28 EU members. ‘Netanyahu succeeded in using this group in order to undermine European unity,’ they say. This effect is not limited to just these four countries. There are similar ties with Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Cyprus and even Greece. ‘When the Union wants to issue something in the name of all its members, as happens in foreign affairs, there are specific cases in which Hungary objects or demands a softening of the criticism of Israel, to the extent that other countries cannot agree, so that the declaration is void,’ say these observers.”
F. Brinley Bruton and Wajjeh Abu Zarifa report, “Even though he wasn’t a protester, Amr was the first Palestinian killed during the months-long Great March of Return demonstrations shaking the Gaza Strip and Israel. Demonstrations turned violent, and at least 142 protesters have been killed by Israeli troops, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Israel has been widely criticized for using lethal force against largely unarmed protesters.”
Ilan Ben Zion reports, “Jerusalem Light Rail launched an initiative this week to promote Arabic language learning among Israelis in the city. It’s the first such campaign in the tram system’s seven years of operation. Although around 20% of Israel’s population is Arab, Arabic comprehension among Israeli Jews is very low. A survey published July 4 by Israeli-Arab coexistence group Sikkuy found that a mere 8.6% of Israeli Jewish adults have a working knowledge of Arabic compared to more than 60% with the same competence in English.”