News Roundup for May 6, 2019

May 6, 2019

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J Street in the News

Statement on rocket attacks against Israel and escalation in Gaza, J Street
“J Street strongly condemns the barrage of hundreds of rockets that have been launched from Gaza at Israel over the past 48 hours by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We are deeply concerned by this intensive escalation in violence, in which three Israelis and several Palestinian civilians — including an infant and a pregnant woman — have been killed so far, with many more wounded.”

Jewish organizations around the world denounce Gazan rocket fire, The Jerusalem Post
“The dovish J Street lobbying group said that there was ‘no justification for these acts of terror,’ while the head of the Reform movement in the US, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, noted that Israeli children had enjoyed little rest on Shabbat after running frightened to bomb shelters, and described  the status quo as ‘intolerable.’”

Top News and Analysis

Fragile Cease-Fire Takes Hold Between Israel and Gaza After Weekend Attacks, New York Times
A tentative cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza appeared to have taken hold Monday morning, bringing a short but deadly bout of cross-border fighting to an end as abruptly as it had started. At least 22 Palestinians, including militants and children, were killed in Gaza over the weekend, and four Israeli civilians died in the fighting.

Israel and Gaza militants agree to cease-fire after weekend of violence, Washington Post
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two largest militant groups in Gaza, confirmed that a cease-fire was in place as of 4:30 a.m. local time. A spokesman for the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the reports but the Israeli military said that protective restrictions for civilians in southern Israel were being lifted as rocket fire had ceased. 

Israel, Gaza Cease Hostilities; Netanyahu: Campaign Not Over, Haaretz
Netanyahu said on Monday that the battle with Gaza is not over, and called for forebearance.  “Over the past two days we have forcefully hit Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We struck more than 350 targets, we targeted terrorists and terrorist leaders and we destroyed terror structures.” According to Netanyahu, “the battle is not over and requires patience and level-headedness. We are prepared to carry on.” He offered his condolences to the families of the victims and said that the goal remains “to guarantee quiet and security for the residents of the south.”

News

As Gaza Fighting Intensifies, Israelis and Palestinians Bury Their Dead, New York Times
Howling air-raid sirens and buzzing smartphone alerts kept tens of thousands of Israeli civilians hunkered down in shelters. The country’s Iron Dome antimissile batteries shot many — but not nearly all — of the incoming projectiles out of the sky as the Israeli military rumbled into action with jets, drones, tanks, artillery and attack helicopters. Gaza officials said the two-day death toll for Palestinians had reached 22. At least nine militants and as many civilians were killed on Sunday alone. The civilians included a pregnant woman, a 12-year-old boy and 4-month-old girl, health officials said.

Death toll rises as Gaza militants fire hundreds of rockets into Israel, which responds with airstrikes, Washington Post
It was the deadliest round of fighting since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, and the Israeli civilian casualties were the first from rocket fire since then. The exchange came amid negotiations between Israel and Hamas over a deal in which Israel would ease restrictions on Gaza in return for calm. 

Gaza ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after three days of violence, The National
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem confirmed the truce but said Hamas could still use “different pressuring tools” to pressure Israel into easing a crippling blockade of Gaza it has enforced along with Egypt.

The Psychological Price of Israeli Kids Growing Up Near Gaza, Haaretz
“Ron looks like a regular kid; he doesn’t have horns or a tail,” says Sharon. “When I tell people about his situation, they say, ‘But he looks fine.’ Obviously he looks fine, and there are days when he’s very happy and active. But there are days that he isn’t, and on those days his environment doesn’t see him. There are days when he gets up in the morning and says to me, ‘Ma, I can’t get up.’ And he really can’t. He’s hurting, a hurt that comes from fear and not from a health problem. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this can’t understand.”

US dispatched aircraft carrier to send message to Iran, AP
White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” he said.

Eurovision on track in Tel Aviv despite threat of rockets, JTA
Performers scheduled to take the stage next week at the Eurovision Song Contest have begun rehearsing the contest’s venue in Tel Aviv despite the threat of rockets. Among the countries whose performers have held rehearsals onstage at the Tel Aviv Expo on Saturday and Sunday are San Marino, Portugal, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Serbia, Belorussia, Hungary, Belgium, Australia, Poland, and Montenegro, according to the Eurovision website.

As Israeli group expands, Palestinian houses face demolition, AP
Some 60 houses in the grassy quarter, known to its 500 residents as Wad Yasul, are facing demolition by Israeli authorities. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to hear the residents’ appeal against demolition orders, saying the structures were built without required permits in a municipally designated green space.

12 Vehicles Vandalized, a Grave Desecrated in Suspected West Bank Hate Crime, Haaretz
Eight vehicles and four trucks were vandalized in a suspected hate crime near the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian residents said on Friday. In addition, vandals also spray-painted a Star of David on buildings in the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank, alongside slogans in Hebrew that read: “Poor government when will you fight against the enemy.” Several car tires were also slashed.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Netanyahu Keeps Mum, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “In contrast to the previous rounds of violence, when all the fatalities were suffered by Hamas, this time four Israelis have been killed. The Palestinians have reported 23 deaths, and Israel’s inner cabinet has instructed the Israel Defense Forces to continue its attacks. Despite all this, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not seen fit to address the public. What would he say? In the absence of strategic goals and purposeful policy, numbers become policy, and the yardstick by which the military and the government will be measured.”

Iran’s Gaza proxy and Israel trade fire, but the strip’s problems run much deeper, The National
Miriam Berger writes, “Tareq Baconi, a Palestine-Israel analyst with the International Crisis Group, disputed it as ‘self-serving’ for Israel to portray divisions within Gaza’s factions ‘when in reality all factions are united in their demands – They are looking to pressure Israel into implementing their side of the agreement,’ Mr Baconi said. ‘I think this escalation has exactly the same elements as the previous one [in March] to push for the sides to get back to the negotiating table.’”

Israel Has a Target Bank but No Policy, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Both Israel and Hamas are clenched in a system of mutual deterrence and dependence, which will only grow as long as there is no feasible diplomatic plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The False Promise of Protest, Foreign Policy
Tareq Baconi writes, “I often encounter moral certitude among Palestinians, both in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the diaspora. Conviction in the righteousness of their struggle is a powerful antidote to ever present and often crippling feelings of despair. No matter how painful our struggle, many Palestinians will declare, history is on our side. The long arc of justice will bend toward us eventually. We have won the moral argument.”

I Would Ask Hamas’ Military Chief This One Question, Haaretz
Aluf Benn writes, “If I were to interview Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, I would ask him: Why not recognize Israel? Try, what do you have to lose? You tried to establish a Palestinian Sparta on the Mediterranean coast, a state whose fuel is historic hurt and a desire for revenge against the Jews who expelled your forefathers from their villages in Mandatory Palestine and imprisoned you in an oppressive and suffocating siege. You built an army of rockets and snipers and even a naval commando. Wow. What have you achieved? Only more funerals, pain and suffering that will not and cannot be alleviated by any long-range rocket or armed drone.”

No, escalations do not begin with rockets on Israel, +972 Mag
Orly Noy writes, “Open up any Palestinian news site during these so-called periods of ‘quiet’ and you’ll find that the war never truly ends. Palestinian children continue to face arrests, Palestinian homes continue be demolished, and Palestinians continue facing expulsion from their land.”

If We Thought Anti-Semitism Would Fade Away, We Were Wrong, The American Prospect
Gershom Gorenberg writes, “The habit of accusing Jews of whatever people disliked or feared or didn’t understand—this habit precedes all modern ideologies. The American and French revolutions did not provide a cure, nor—as we now see—did a few brief decades of Holocaust regret. Blaming Jews is a reflex available to angry, lazy minds in any political camp.”

Israel Required a Palestinian to Hire Armed Guards to Visit His Dying Brother. He Didn’t Raise the Money in Time, Haaretz
Gideon Levy and Alex Levac write, “A Palestinian whose teenage brother was shot at a checkpoint, after allegedly trying to stab a policeman, was asked to pay $1,360 in order to see him at an Israeli hospital.”

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