News Roundup for May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017

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Top News and Analysis

Abbas Told Trump: Peace Talks Should Resume From Where 2008 Negotiations With Israel Left Off, Haaretz

“Palestinian President Abbas has urged President Trump to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from the offer made by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas and his staff showed Trump documents and maps from Israel’s talks with the Palestinians near the end of Olmert’s term, explaining the proposal to him. The differences between the sides on borders narrowed a great deal in the 2008 negotiations, an official from Abbas’ bureau told Haaretz….Prime Minister Netanyahu talks about retaining control of the Jordan Valley and all of East Jerusalem and continuing to build in the settlements but no agreement can be achieved on these positions, the official continued. Instead, borders are a good place to start, he said.”


Netanyahu: New Jewish Nation-state Bill Does Not Contradict Equality, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Monday Israel’s new nation-state bill, which passed a key legislative hurdle this week, saying “there is no contradiction between the law and equal rights for all of Israel’s citizens.” The controversial bill enshrines Israel’s status as “the national home of the Jewish people,” and that “the right to realize self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” It also revokes Arabic’s “official language” status in Israel.

A. B. Yehoshua at Haaretz Conference: Recognize a Palestinian State at the UN, Haaretz

Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua called on Israel Monday to stop preventing the recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford Arrives In Israel, Forward

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Israel for an official visit. It is Dunford’s third visit to Israel. Dunford landed in Israel on Monday, where he will be the guest of his Israeli counterpart, the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen Gadi Eizenkot.

Erdogan calls on Muslims to go to Temple Mount to oppose Israel, Times of Israel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges more Muslims to visit the Temple Mount in a show of solidarity with Palestinians, according to Turkish media reports. “We, as Muslims, should be visiting Al-Quds [Jerusalem] more often,” he says at the opening ceremony of the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf in Istanbul according to local news reports.

Israeli video appears to show Palestinian hunger striker eating in prison, Guardian

Israel has released a video that appears to show the high-profile leader of a Palestinian hunger strike eating in prison. The prison service released the video of what it said was Marwan Barghouti eating cookies and confectionery on two occasions in late April and early May. Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, claimed the video was “fabricated” and “intended to break the morale of prisoners”, after more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails joined Barghouti in refusing food from 17 April. On Israel’s part, a minister appeared to suggest prison officials had been involved in introducing the food into the cell where Barghouti was being held in solitary confinement with the aim of tempting him to eat.

Palestinian Boy Who Lost Family To Arson Attack Sues Israel For $2.8M, Forward

The family of a 6-year-old Palestinian boy whose parents and brother were killed in an arson attack on their West Bank home has filed a lawsuit against the state of Israel demanding $2.78 million in compensation. Right-wing Jewish extremists were indicted in the July 2015 firebombing in the Palestinian village of Duma in the northern West Bank. Ahmed Dawabshe, then 4, was the only survivor of the attack that killed his brother, Ali, 18 months old; father, Saad; and mother, Riham.

Pressure mounts on Israel, PA, and ICRC over mass prison hunger strike, Ma’an

The National Committee to Support Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike has called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to suspend municipal elections scheduled to be held Saturday and to halt its contested security coordination with Israel as some 1,600 Palestinians entered their 22nd day on hunger strike in Israeli prisons on Monday.

Iran’s Rouhani says election rivals are ‘violent extremists’, Times of Israel

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani launched a scathing attack on his conservative election rivals on Monday, saying their era of “violence and extremism” was over. “The people of Iran shall once again announce that they don’t approve of those who only called for executions and jail throughout the last 38 years,” he told a packed stadium in the western city of Hamedan, referring to the Islamic revolution of 1979. “We’ve entered this election to tell those practicing violence and extremism that your era is over.”

Vandals Slash Tires, Spray anti-Arab Graffiti in East Jerusalem and Northern Israel, Haaretz

About 20 vehicles were vandalized in East Jerusalem early Tuesday morning in what police are calling a suspected anti-Arab hate crime. Some of the cars in the Shoafat neighborhood had their tires slashed and others were spray-painted with the words “administrative price tag.”

Opinions and Analysis

Should Trump Visit Palestinian Model City Of Rawabi?, Forward

“Former Israel ambassador Dan Shapiro is urging President Trump to make a stop at Rawabi, the new gleaming middle class Palestinian city outside Ramallah, when he visits the Holy Land later this month. Rawabi, a favorite stop for international proponents of the two-state solution, is often held up as an example of Palestinian entrepreneurship amid the confines of the Israeli occupation. But Palestinian critics of the project say founder Bashar Masri’s involvement with Israelis on the project — he asked the help of famed Israeli architect Moshe Safdi — amounts to “normalization” and does nothing to advance Palestinian independence. Trump would “connect” well with Masri, a real estate magnate and one of the wealthiest Palestinian men in the West Bank, predicted Shapiro.”

I’m A Zionist And A Feminist. I Stand With Linda Sarsour, Forward

NY City Council Member Brad Lander writes about Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour. “Linda opposes anti-Semitism as part of her broader work for justice. Through the years that I have served in the City Council, I have had the honor of working closely with her in many campaigns….Most recently, I disagreed with the headline of an interview with her in The Nation magazine, “Can You Be a Zionist Feminist? Linda Sarsour Says No”. I consider myself both a Zionist and a feminist. So what do you think I did? I reached out to let her know, and we had a conversation. In her experience, a Zionist is often someone who opposes the self-determination of her people, and justifies their living for 50 years without equal rights as citizens. To me, a Zionist is someone who believes in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish, democratic state, at peace with her neighbors. I pray fervently that, someday soon, our self-determination can be mutual.”

Iran nuclear deal is working, Boston Globe

In a letter to the editor, Stan Fleischman writes, “In Jeff Jacoby’s column ‘Obama’s third term,’ he denigrates the Iran nuclear deal as ‘misbegotten’ and castigates President Trump for not dismantling the deal, as he had promised to do as a candidate. But Jacoby immediately points out that Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has confirmed that the agreement is working. Indeed, the agreement, through permanent monitoring and tracking and based on the principle of verification and not on trust, blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, without firing a single shot. It neutralizes Iran’s nuclear infrastructure by effectively eliminating uranium stockpiles, cutting centrifuges by two-thirds, and preventing the acquisition of plutonium.”

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