News Roundup for May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

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J Street in the News

Why some Palestinians expect Trump’s peace push to fail — but don’t mind, POLITICO
“Close observers of the conflict say a one state, equal rights approach may prove an even more impractical goal. ‘It’s not a real-world solution,’ insisted Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, the left-leaning Jewish advocacy group that supports the two-state model. ‘It may sound nice in an academic hall. In a real world, this is not going to become one democratic state with equal rights.’ ”

Trump and Netanyahu do not speak for all Jews on Middle East issues, St Louis Post-Dispatch
“Now more than ever, it’s important that there’s a political home for American Jews who care about liberal democratic values, pragmatic foreign policy and the determined pursuit of peace — for those of us who are dismayed by the direction both Trump and Netanyahu are heading and feel compelled to push back. That’s why those of us in the pro-Israel, pro-peace community in Missouri are launching a local chapter of J Street here in St. Louis, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Midwest.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinian leaders say U.S. ‘Peace to Prosperity’ summit slights them, Washington Post
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Palestinian political leadership had not been approached and that economic issues could not be separated from political ones. “Nobody consulted us. Nobody talked to us. Nobody invited us,” he said.

The Deadly Consequences of a Dead-on-arrival Trump Mideast Peace Plan, Haaretz
Evan Gottesman writes, “When the US ambassador states ‘Israel is on the side of God,’ he’s voicing in off-base terms the Trump administration’s one-sided support for Israel. But an excessively pro-Israel ‘ultimate deal’ could tip Israeli-Palestinian relations into apocalyptic territory.”

It’s Time to End America’s Blank Check Military Aid to Israel, The Forward
Peter Beinart writes, “It is impossible to understand the looming death of the two-state solution without understanding that, for more than a twenty-five years, no American president has made Israel pay a price for undermining it. During that time, the notion that an American president might refuse to subsidize policies that brutalize Palestinians, harm America’s image, and threaten Israeli democracy, has become almost inconceivable. It’s time for a new generation of American progressives — especially progressive Jews — to make it conceivable again.”


Palestinian Business Leaders Reject Trump’s Economic Overture, New York Times
Palestinian businessmen have a message for the White House: Keep your money. Leading Palestinian businessmen, including some who said they already received invitations to Bahrain and others considered likely to be asked, dismissed the event as insulting and counterproductive.

‘This is not a peace plan’: Palestinians shun Bahrain conference, Al Jazeera
Palestinian officials said the June 25-26 meeting would not address the core political issues of the conflict: final borders, the status of Jerusalem, or the fate of Palestinian refugees. “The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing,” Shtayyeh said on Monday. “Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation,” he added.

Rouhani: Resistance is our only choice, Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he favors talks and diplomacy but not under current conditions, state news agency IRNA said late on Monday. “Today’s situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only” IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying.

Hitting back at Trump, Zarif says ‘genocidal taunts won’t end Iran’, Times of Israel
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday the “genocidal taunts” of US President Donald Trump will not “end Iran” amid a spike in tensions between the two countries. “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran,’” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Rocket attack hits near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone, AP
The apparent attack, which Iraq’s state-run news agency said did not cause any casualties, came amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf, after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The US also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.

Israel, Hamas said to agree to six-month ceasefire in Gaza, Times of Israel
Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement for a six-month ceasefire along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Channel 12 news reported Monday.

Iran quadruples low-enriched uranium production, Times of Israel
Semi-official news agencies in Iran reported on Monday that the country has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium amid tensions with the US over an unraveling atomic accord.

Opinion and Analysis

How Trump’s approach to the Middle East ignores the past, the future, and the human condition, Brookings
Shibley Telhami writes, “While ignoring prior peace agreements, UN resolutions, and international law, Trump’s approach is anchored on three flawed principles: ‘realities’ on the ground as they are, appeal to ethnic/religious justifications of Israeli control of occupied territories, and economic incentives to appease Palestinian political aspirations. The first ignores the history of the US role in creating these realities; the second ignores the future consequences of framing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an ethnic/religious conflict, instead of a nationalist conflict; the third misses not only the nature of the Palestinian struggle, but of the human condition.”

Is Trump’s “Deal of the Century” really a peace plan?, Middle East Institute
Lior Lehrs writes, “According to Jake Walles, a former US diplomat, the Trump administration’s peace plan is not actually aimed at advancing negotiations, but rather at altering the basic parameters of the international consensus on the two-state model as the desired solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Israel won’t overcome its addiction to Palestine’s economy alone, +972 Mag
Sam Bahour writes, “Jared Kushner believes the first stage to peace is investing capital in Gaza and the West Bank. But just how far can that investment go when Israel is determined to maintain full control of and exploit every aspect of the Palestinian economy?”

The Most Important Detail in Kushner’s Plan for the Palestinian Economy, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “By agreeing to host next month’s economic forum, Bahrain gave a boost to Jared Kushner’s peace efforts. Now the main question is: Will the Gulf states actually pull out their checkbooks?”

Can doing nothing bring down Netanyahu?, Al-Monitor
Yossi Beilin writes, “Netanyahu exhausted the 28 days the law grants him for the task and is now in the midst of the two additional weeks he was granted. If at the end of the 42 days in total Netanyahu has not managed to form a governing coalition, he will be prevented by law from forming the government. Even if he finds a majority on the 43rd day, the president would have to give the task to someone else.”