News Roundup for May 29, 2018

May 29, 2018

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J Street in the News

How Israel emerged as an issue in N.J.’s hottest congressional races,

“The entire mission of J Street is there is more than one way to be pro-Israel,” spokesman Logan Bayroff said. We’re overrun by candidates seeking our endorsement. Far from seeing it as some sort of negative, they’re very happy to have the support of a group that speaks for so many in the American Jewish community.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli jets hit militant bases in Gaza after shells fired from strip, Guardian

“Israeli jets have bombed several bases run by militant groups in Gaza after a barrage of 27 mortar shells from the strip hit the country’s south, the largest number fired in a single incident since the 2014 war with Hamas. At least one base belonging to Hamas and four to Islamic Jihad, another armed faction, were struck by the Israeli response, security sources said. An Israel Defence Forces spokesperson said the army was operating in Gaza and “the explosions heard are related to this activity.”

Iran-Israel restraint may hinge on nuclear deal, Al-Monitor

Saeid Jafari writes, “With the escalating war of words between Israel and Iran, even a small spark could ignite an inferno in the Middle East, the ripple effects of which will surely reach Europe. Only Europe can prevent such a crisis first and foremost by endeavoring to keep the JCPOA alive. If it fails to do so, the prospect of full-scale war in the region will no doubt significantly increase.”


Palestinian Flotilla Sets Sail From Gaza for Cyprus; Israel Reportedly Blocks Boats, Haaretz

Palestinian activists set sail from Gaza Tuesday to protest years of a naval blockade by Israel and Egypt on the Strip. According to reports, the Israeli navy has prevented the flotilla from crossing the blockade line – six nautical miles off the coast – and fired warning shots. The flotilla consists of several vessels carrying 22 Palestinians activists, students and patients in need of medical treatment outside the Strip.

Abbas doctor says Palestinian leader to stay in hospital, New Jersey Herald

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ doctor said Sunday that the 83-year-old will be staying another day in the hospital, abruptly reversing a previous announcement that he would be discharged and adding to the uncertainty surrounding the Palestinian leader’s health.

Israeli court approves razing West Bank Bedouin village, Guardian

Israel’s supreme court has ruled in favour of demolishing a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, despite a campaign by European governments to save it. Campaigners said the hearing had been the final appeal open to the village of Khan al-Ahmar, located close to several Israeli settlements east of Jerusalem.

Israeli High Court Rejects Bid to Restrict Rules of Engagement on Gaza Border, Haaretz

The High Court of Justice late Thursday unanimously rejected a petition against the army’s rules of engagement on the Gaza border, answering a petition by human rights groups after the army killed dozens of Palestinians during the violent demonstrations at the border since March 30.

EU foreign ministers seek to keep Iran nuclear deal alive, ABC News

The European Union is seeking to shield the bloc’s strategic and economic interests in Iran in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the international nuclear deal, as the EU foreign policy chief insisted Monday that the unity of the member states was unquestioned.

Opinion and Analysis

Syria Signals Willingness to Pull Hezbollah Back From Border With Israel, Report Says, Haaretz

Zvi Bar’el writes, “Syria is ready to guarantee the retreat of Hezbollah and Iranian militia forces to 25 kilometers away from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported this week. The report added that Syria is interested in discussing the potential revival of the 1974 disengagement agreement it signed with Israel. According to Al-Sharq, which quoted diplomatic sources, Syria conveyed these messages to “neighboring countries” through mediators.”

Will Israel, Hamas miss out on chance for deal?, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir reports, “A senior PLO official with close ties to the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip told Al-Monitor that Ramallah is satisfied over Hamas’ failure to ignite violence against Israel from the West Bank….In his view, there is currently an opportunity for Israel to negotiate, via Cairo and Ramallah, a deal with Hamas that would stabilize the situation. More so, such an initiative had already been discussed by Ramallah leadership and Egypt, as well as the European Union.”