News Roundup for June 14, 2018

June 14, 2018

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J Street in the News

Trump Administration’s Horrifying Persecution and Mistreatment of Migrants and their Children must be Stopped, J Street

“We are outraged and appalled by reports that the Trump administration is considering the construction of tent camps to house thousands of migrant children, some of whom the government forcibly separated from their parents. The administration’s policies towards immigrants and refugees, driven by blatant xenophobia and fear, are becoming more draconian and cruel by the day — and must be opposed by all people of conscience.”

Top News and Analysis

Top U.S. Officials to Haaretz: Peace Plan Will Be Basis for Talks, Not ‘Take It or Leave It’ Document, Haaretz

“The Trump administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East won’t be a ‘take it or leave it’ proposal, but rather a basis for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, administration officials told Haaretz this week. They said the plan will be revealed soon, and that the White House hopes to share it not only with the leaders in the region, but also with the general public.”

How Israel Killed Liberal Zionism, Forward

Harry Reis and Yoav Schaefer write, “There is no more urgent task for liberal Zionists than thwarting Israel’s march toward the formalization of an apartheid-style rule over the West Bank. Rather than lamenting our isolation, liberal Zionists must throw our weight behind those Israelis fighting on the ground for democratic values and ideals in Israel. It is time to bring our collective moral, material, and political resources to bear on reversing this dangerous course, working with Israelis on the ground to secure Israeli democracy and bring about a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only by facing up to the stark reality as it is without illusions or wishful thinking can we have any hope of pulling Israel back from the brink.”

Palestinians to U.S.: No ‘Deal of the Century’ if Jerusalem Not Addressed, Haaretz

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with U.S. President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, expected in Israel next week, officials from the Palestinian Authority said Wednesday, continuing a freeze in diplomatic ties between Ramallah and Washington following the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem.  Ahead of Kushner’s visit, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that any talks about the “the deal of the century” would not lead to any if the proposal skip over the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees.”


U.N. General Assembly Vote Castigates Israel Over Gaza Deaths, The New York Times

Criticism of Israel’s lethal force against Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border shifted on Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly, which overwhelmingly passed a resolution that basically blamed the Israelis for the casualties in 10 weeks of clashes.

Iran says will begin uranium enrichment at Fordow if nuclear deal unravels, Reuters

Iran will begin uranium enrichment at its Fordow plant and will install new nuclear equipment at its Natanz facility if it withdraws from a nuclear deal with major powers, said the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI).

Rights group: Israeli lethal force in Gaza may be war crime, Washington Post

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks may constitute war crimes.

West Bank Palestinians urge Abbas to ease sanctions on Gaza Strip, Reuters

Palestinian security forces on Wednesday used tear gas and batons against protesters calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to end financial sanctions on their fellow Palestinians in Gaza.

U.N. Envoy: Another Gaza war could spark a regional conflict, Jerusalem Post

Another Gaza war could spark a regional conflict, UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told Army Radio in an interview published on Wednesday. “What unites everyone both here in the region and internationally is that no one wants to see another war in Gaza,” Mladenov said during the interview, which took place this week.

German parliament committee backs Israeli drones leasing plan, Reuters

Germany’s parliamentary budget committee on Wednesday backed plans by the military to lease Israeli-built Heron-TP surveillance drones in a deal valued at around 1 billion euros ($1.18 billion), committee sources said.

Liberman blocks army officials from attending Knesset defense meetings, Times of Israel

Two Knesset subcommittees that deal with highly sensitive security matters have been unable to get information from the army on a specific issue of concern because Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman has ordered officials to boycott the meetings. Hadashot TV news reported Wednesday that the closed-door subcommittees of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee have for months been seeking information relating to the army’s readiness on the northern borders.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel is about to destroy this Palestinian village. Will Britain step in?, Guardian

David Zonsheine writes, “On 5 June, we marked 51 years since Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in the 1967 war. What the international community and the United Kingdom interpret as a temporary situation that should end in two states, Israel views as an interim stage that will end with formal annexation of most of the Palestinian land. Britain has all the necessary means to prevent the outrage of forcible transfer: it is an important global actor, a permanent member of the UN security council and a member of Nato. It has robust cultural, diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel, with more than $7bn in annual bilateral trade. These assets give the British government enough leverage to save the people of Khan al-Ahmar. Does it possess the political will to use them?”

The Fracturing of the Jewish People, Wall Street Journal

William A. Galston writes, “Today, for the first time since the Talmudic era, there are two strong, self-confident centers of Jewish life. One of them embodies the Zionist proposition; the other rejects it outright. American Jews, the largest diaspora population, don’t believe they are living in exile, or even in danger. America is different, they insist. To the extent that America rests on civic principles rather than ethnic or religious identity, its liberal democratic institutions can accept Jews as equal citizens, as George Washington promised in his famous letter to the Touro Synagogue. For most American Jews, the U.S. isn’t a temporary resting place interrupting ceaseless wandering; it is their permanent home.”

The Hypocrisy of Regavim — the Settler Movement’s Cheerleader for Demolitions, J Street Blog

J Street’s Yann Schinazi writes, “The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has just released a report that exposes the hypocrisy of the extremist pro-settler group Regavim. Founded in 2006, Regavim presses for the displacement of Palestinian communities living in the West Bank. Because the IDF Civil Administration refuses to issue virtually any building permits to Palestinians in occupied territory, these communities are often forced to build housing illegally….The report published by Yedioth Ahronoth shows that multiple current and former Regavim staff members — including their current and past executive directors — have lived or are currently living in homes considered by the Israeli government to be illegal.”