News Roundup for June 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

As Israeli bulldozers circle, a tiny village takes center stage in Palestinian struggle, Washington Post

Loveday Morris and Sufian Taha report, “Khan al-Ahmar has been fighting demolition for decades, but Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in May that its destruction is legal, and in recent weeks, Israel has begun preparing to demolish the village with bulldozers. While European nations including Ireland, France and Britain have spoken out against the plans, and human rights group decry the forcible transfer of Khan al-Ahmar’s residents as a war crime, the United States has remained silent. Palestinian officials say the U.S. silence amounts to a green light. The Trump administration, they say, is allowing Israel to erode their rights without even limited censure.”

US administration silent on Israel’s occupation policy, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “Like his White House predecessors, Trump is committed to what is known as the “special relationship” with Israel. However, unlike Trump, past presidents managed to retain their status and image as honest brokers, even if their efforts did not always yield juicy fruit. The erosion of the balance between its bilateral ties with Israel and its standing as the only mediator in the conflict means the American carrots and sticks are no longer relevant in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict arena.”


UN criticizes Israeli closure of Gaza border crossing, Associated Press

The United Nations on Tuesday criticized Israel’s closure of its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip, warning that the measure could have negative consequences.

In a statement, U.N. Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov urged Israel to reverse its decision.

Israel seizes boat from Gaza seeking to break blockade, AFP

Israel’s navy seized a boat on Tuesday that had left from a Gaza port with wounded Palestinians aboard in a bid to challenge the blockade of the Hamas-run enclave.

Media tycoon said to admit altering Netanyahu coverage at PM’s wife’s request, Times of Israel

An Israeli business mogul suspected of an illicit quid-pro-quo deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly admitted in his police interrogation that he personally intervened to alter content on the Walla news site, which he owns, at the request of the Netanyahu family, while denying he expected any favors in return.

Israeli police again question Netanyahu over alleged corruption, Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces three investigations over alleged corruption, was questioned again by police over a case involving Israel’s largest telecoms firm on Tuesday.

U.S. Said to Meet Saudi Leaders to Discuss Iran Oil Sanctions, Bloomberg

U.S. government teams spent three days in Saudi Arabia discussing ways to cut off money flows to Iran without disrupting energy markets as Washington presses nations to stop buying Iranian oil by Nov. 4, a senior State Department official said.

Israel ‘not ruling out’ eventual ties with Syria’s Assad, Reuters

Israel held out the prospect on Tuesday of eventual contacts with Syria under President Bashar al-Assad, in a nod to his regime-consolidating advances in a seven-year-old civil war that Israeli officials had initially predicted would topple him.

Opinion and Analysis

Gaza Goes From ‘World’s Biggest Prison’ to ‘World’s Biggest Solitary Confinement Cell’, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “The two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip will be transferred from ‘the world’s biggest prison,’ as the Strip is sometimes called, to the world’s biggest solitary confinement cell. The prime minister and the defense minister, with the consent of the army’s chief of staff, have made a final decision to close the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only conduit through which Gazans can obtain goods and export a few of their own. Only food and medicine will be allowed through.”

Netanyahu Cares More About His Power Than About Jews, Forward

J Street’s Alan Elsner writes, “Netanyahu clearly is only interested in one thing: Do people support him unquestionably, or not? If, like the majority of American Jews, they love Israel but do not necessarily equate support of Israel with support of Netanyahu, he is not interested in them and regards them as hostile. However, if, like the leaders of Poland, Hungary and arguably the United States, they are willing to dabble in (or even embrace) anti-Semitic themes, tropes and historical libels — even to the extent of rewriting the history of the Holocaust — he’s happy to have their support.”