J Street U Vice President Eva Borgwardt writes, “Increasing demolitions would pave the way for further settlement expansion that could erode the chances of ever creating an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel—and displace untold numbers of Palestinians in the process….Under Trump and Netanyahu, annexation is on the agenda and Israel’s future and fundamental character is in more danger than ever. Americans have ways to push back and fight for an alternative path – but we have to act fast.”
The Israeli government has asked the High Court of Justice for a two-week postponement in presenting its position concerning the evacuation of the Palestinian village of Sussia in the West Bank. The government has delayed its response on the matter for several months. Haaretz has learned that the present request for a postponement was filed after European diplomats, including the British, applied pressure on the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to demolish the village. Ahead of Netanyahu’s trip to London, Haaretz learned that British diplomats contacted Israeli officials and made it clear that Britain had reservations about the planned evacuation., said a source involved in the matter. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit also supports postponing the evacuation so as to conduct further legal examinations, and has made his position clear to Lieberman, said the source.
“Anti-Semitic incidents in the first nine months of 2017 have risen 67 percent over the same period last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Thursday’s report by the ADL, which fights anti-Semitism and bigotry, said that in addition to the waves of bomb threats against Jewish institutions at the beginning of the year, the main driver of anti-Semitic incidents was the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. ‘We are astonished and horrified by the rise in anti-Semitic harassment, incidents and violence targeting our communities,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO and national director.’”
What happened to Trump’s “ultimate deal” for Israeli-Palestinian peace?, Salon
Ian Black observes, “If there is a lesson from all this controversial history it is this: Left to themselves, Israelis and Palestinians will not make peace; the weight of the past and the imbalance between them are just too great, their national aspirations too irreconcilable. The incentives to change are not strong enough. No Trumpian ‘ultimate deal’ is in sight, but this ever-volatile conflict still needs to be managed, which means that outside engagement and pressure are vital. And it is still hard to see who other than the United States can play that role, in 2017 and beyond.”
Amos Harel writes, “The series of strikes in Syria – each one presumably tactically justified – is testing the limits of the Assad regime’s patience. The Syrian ruler, whose bloody success in his country’s civil war has restored his self-confidence, has already implemented a change in policy. Recent Israeli sorties over Lebanese airspace have been met with anti-aircraft fire. And while the Israel Air Force is probably skilled enough to evade the missiles, Israel seems to stretching this rope about as far as it can go….Nor is the latest escalation vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip fully behind us.”
Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy handling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, welcomed the deployment of Palestinian Authority personnel to control crossings into the Gaza Strip and said it was “essential” that the Palestinian Authority control Gaza. Hamas control of Gaza has been a major impediment to restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; renewing the talks is a key foreign policy goal for Trump.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his visit to London on Thursday with a meeting at Downing Street with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. As Netanyahu arrived at the meeting, May emphasized the need to return to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu called upon the Palestinians, “a hundred years after Balfour,” to “finally accept the Jewish national home and finally accept the Jewish state. And when they do, the road to peace will be infinitely closer.”
Women of the Wall condemned a haredi Orthodox lawmaker in Israel who the group said compared non-Orthodox Jews to dogs at a Knesset committee meeting discussing the Western Wall plan. Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States, as well as other guests representing American and non-Orthodox groups, were on hand Wednesday for the meeting of the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee.
Jordan will not allow the Israeli embassy in Amman to reopen until the embassy guard who shot dead two Jordanian nationals after being stabbed is brought to trial. Speaking on national television Thursday, Jordan’s Media Affairs Minister Mohammad Momani said, “We are committed to international law, and we expect Israel to abide by international law and bring the murderer to trial. This is what we demanded — the ambassador will not be allowed to return and the embassy will not be opened until this is done.”
In Rare Move, Israel Says Ready to Prevent Occupation of Syrian Druze Town Under Lethal Attack by Islamic Militants, Haaretz
The Israeli army issued a statement on Friday morning declaring that it will intervene militarily to prevent the occupation of a Druze town in the Syrian Golan heights which has come under attack by the Islamic militant group Nusra Front. The statement follows heavy fighting in the town Khader, approximately 3 kilometers from the Israeli border, including a car bomb that killed at least nine people and injured 23 others. According to the IDF statement, the intervention is being made out of a commitment to the Druze population of the town.
A bipartisan resolution to be introduced in the U.S. Senate will recognize the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., were to propose the resolution on Thursday. A concurrent resolution was to be proposed in the House of Representatives.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement on Thursday, the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, calling on the British government to “apologize to the Palestinian people for the suffering caused as a result of the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago.”
From Balfour to Two States, Haaretz
The Haaretz editorial board observes, “The leaders’ supreme responsibility is to see to the future, not to keep obsessing futilely over the past. Instead of arguing about a 100-year-old document and using it as an excuse to dismiss each other’s demands, Netanyahu and Abbas should work on implementing the two-state vision – Israel and Palestine – in which both sides’ national aspirations would be realized.”
Shira Rubin reports, “Thousands of African asylum seekers…face grim choices: Stay in Israel, where they are safe but with limited freedom, or agree to Israel’s relocation program that sends refugees to Rwanda or Uganda to face more persecution and danger….Israel’s treatment of African refugees has come under attack from local human rights groups, who say a country founded by Jewish refugees persecuted during World War II should be more understanding of the asylum seekers’ plight.”
Why Economics Cannot Be Divorced From Politics, Matzav Blog
Michael Koplow argues, “There is no question that improving the Palestinian economy and particularly focusing on quality of life issues are unalloyed goods. But there is an acute danger to isolating economic initiatives from political ones, which is a path that has been embraced by more hawkish Israelis. The end result may be the one thing that Israelis of all stripes want to desperately avoid – an end to Palestinian nationalism and a demand for full Israeli citizenship for all Palestinians living between the river and the sea….While Israel absolutely must do more on this front, both out of fairness to the Palestinians and for its own self-interest, there must be commensurate political movement as well, and if the Trump team ignores this component, it will not redound to Israel’s benefit in the long run.”
Shlomi Eldar writes, “Even now, 10 years after the military coup in the Gaza Strip, it is clear to the Palestinians that Hamas chose the reconciliation and compromise route only because it had no choice. Now Hamas is willing to do everything to ensure the success of the move.”
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