News Roundup for June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

Israel’s High Court prepares for battle, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem reports, “Chief Justice Esther Hayut has retained the services of a communications adviser to help in her clashes with politicians and to mobilize public opinion. This is a first in the history of Israel’s Supreme Court. Since taking office as chief justice in October 2017, Hayut has had to counter attacks from right-wing politicians seeking to curtail the powers of the country’s top court, which, they argue, erodes the authority of the Knesset. This friction between the judicial and legislative branches of government is hardly new. However, Hayut and the court she heads have found themselves under an onslaught spearheaded by a combative and popular politician, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, in a bid to institute judicial reforms.”

How Russia Angered Iran in Syria and Had to Pull Its Troops From the Lebanese Border, Haaretz

“A Russian troop deployment in Syria near the Lebanese border this week caused friction with Iran-backed forces including Hezbollah which objected to the uncoordinated move, two non-Syrian officials in the regional alliance backing Damascus said….It appeared to be a rare case of Russia acting out of sync with President Bashar al-Assad’s Iran-backed allies in the war. Iranian and Russian support has been critical to Assad’s war effort.”


Senior Delegation of Russian Defense and Intel Officials in Israel to Address Syrian Conflict, Haaretz

A delegation of senior Russians defense and intelligence officials visited Israel on Wednesday and met with senior officials from Israel’s defense ministry and army. The two sides discussed the situation in Russia and terror in the Middle East.

Iran stands ground on nuclear inspections as France warns of red line, Reuters

Iran will not cooperate more fully with atomic inspectors until a standoff over its nuclear deal is resolved, its U.N. envoy said, as one signatory warned Tehran against moving ahead with preparations to boost its uranium enrichment capacity.

Netanyahu on Gaza Protesters: Israel Tried Non-lethal Methods, but Hamas Wants Them to Die, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border are not peaceful demonstrators, but members of Hamas. Netanyahu defended Israel’s use of live fire to stop the protesters, saying “Hamas wants them to die.”

May raises concerns with Israel over Gaza Violence, BBC

Theresa May has told the Israeli prime minister that the UK is “concerned about the loss of Palestinian lives” during recent protests in Gaza.

Citing ‘pro-Palestinian Provocations,’ Israeli Minister Pushes to Nix Funding for Jerusalem Gallery, Haaretz

Culture Minister Miri Regev has sent an urgent letter to Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit asking him to immediately advance legislation to permit cancellation of funding for Barbour Gallery in Jerusalem.

Ramadan public wakers face arrest, fines in Jerusalem, Associated Press

The Palestinian men who chant and beat drums to wake up the faithful during Ramadan in Jerusalem’s Old City say they are being unfairly targeted by Israeli police over their early-morning tradition.

Europe seeks U.S. sanction exemptions for its firms in Iran, Reuters

Ministers from Germany, France and Britain have written to senior U.S. officials urging them to protect European companies working in Iran from getting caught up in Washington’s new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Has to Talk to Hamas. Otherwise, It’s War, Haaretz

Peter Lerner writes, “The sooner Israel embraces ideas like an offshore artificial island, or a Cypriot port to Gaza, and a comprehensive regional and international road map to alleviate the energy, water and unemployment challenges Gaza under Hamas face the better. Addressing these issues could generate a new type of dialogue to managing the conflict with Hamas.”

Israel’s Culture Minister Ruined the Party, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “The farce of the game’s cancellation will force the government to dial back the arrogance in its approach to the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel next year. One can only hope that those responsible will realize that they have been handed a yellow card and will be wise enough to leave the attempts to normalize the occupation outside the preparations. There is no requirement to hold the Eurovision contest in Jerusalem, certainly not as an act of defiance. Maybe what the opposition in Israel has refused to do, Messi has actually succeeded in doing.”