News Roundup for October 23, 2018

October 23, 2018

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J Street in the News

Your Turn: October 23, San Antonio Express-News

“‘In the second debate between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Cruz erroneously called J Street, which has endorsed O’Rourke, ‘rabidly anti-Israel.’ Actually, J Street is a pro-Israel and pro-peace organization. It maintains that a two-state solution is the only way to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Its goal is to assure that Israel will remain both Jewish and democratic. In addition, J Street strongly opposes BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), which anti-Israel organizations advocate.’”

Postponement of Khan al-Ahmar Demolition Shows International Opposition is Making an Impact, J Street

“The Israeli government’s decision to indefinitely delay the demolition of the West Bank Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar shows that organized international opposition can make a powerful impact on Israeli policies in the West Bank. European leaders, members of Congress and activists in the US and around the world have made clear that the demolition of this community would harm innocent families and seriously undermine the prospects for a two-state solution.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel has Chosen Settlements over Peace, Forward

Ami Ayalon and Liat Schlesinger write, “The only long-lasting solution for the Gaza problem requires preserving the two-state solution, making the Palestinian Authority a partner and eventually reuniting the West Bank and Gaza under one leadership — Fatah — as part of a process whose end goal is a Palestinian state, living alongside Israel….The Israeli government chooses not to try to resolve the conflict, and not because this conflict is irresolvable. On the contrary, the conflict is indeed resolvable, but its solution will require dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In other words, the Israeli government is choosing settlements and occupation over security for its citizens. Even worse, the Israeli government is engaged in limited cease-fire talks with Hamas, a fundamentalist organization which sees a two-state reality as nothing more than a resting place on the road to a ‘Greater Palestine’ under Islamic rule, while Netanyahu refuses to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, choosing instead to isolate Abbas.”

Is Israel’s Position in Region as Secure as it Looks?, Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes, “On Sunday, King Abdullah II of Jordan announced the intention to terminate two annexes to the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. Although the lands, one in the north near Beit She’an and one in the south closer to Eilat, are not significant, the symbolism is. Jordan is asserting its ‘national interests’ while across the region Israel faces a variety of other problems. This illustrates that while politicians and experts in Jerusalem have stressed Israel’s security and regional role in recent years, there remains a precarious balance that could be upset. Israel’s peace treaties with its two neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, were a result of years when there was hope that Israel and the Palestinians would also come to a peaceful arrangement. The relationship with both Egypt and Jordan never trickled down to positive relationships between peoples. It is maintained today primarily on the security front because the countries have common interests. After the instability unleashed by the Arab Spring, as passions for democracy melted amid reactionary authoritarianism and Islamist threats, Israel’s ‘security first’ approach seemed sound.”


Israel releases two Palestinian Authority officials from custody, Reuters

Israel on Monday released two Palestinian Authority officials who were detained at the weekend, police said, but gave no further details on the case.

UN rebuffs Israel’s claim Hezbollah violating resolution with observation posts, Times of Israel

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon on Monday rejected claims made by the Israeli military that the Hezbollah terrorist group was violating a UN Security Council resolution by surreptitiously setting up observation posts along the border with Israel.

Livni: Israel’s handling of Lara Alqasem was ‘stupid’ and ‘damages Israel’, i24NEWS

Israel’s handling of the case of 22-year-old Palestinian-American was “stupid” and “damages Israel”, opposition leader Tzipi Livni told i24NEWS.

Trump said to question Netanyahu commitment to peace, threaten to get ‘tough’, Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump has said he is willing to “be tough” on Israel in peace negotiations, mirroring the administration’s combative stance toward the Palestinian Authority,  according to an Israeli report Monday.

HRW details ‘systematic arrest and torture’ of critics by PA, Hamas, i24NEWS

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report published Tuesday accused the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip of arbitrarily arresting and torturing critics, targeting the others’ supporters as a rift between the rival factions deepens, in what could amount to crimes against humanity.

Gazans scale back protest along Israeli frontier, Associated Press

Hamas appears to be scaling back mass protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier as Egypt renews its efforts to broker a ceasefire.

Jewish Home pushes narrow Supreme Court override bill to deport migrants, Times of Israel

The Jewish Home party introduced legislation Monday to prevent the High Court of Justice from striking down plans to deport thousands of African asylum seekers.

Fed Up With Critics, Netanyahu Opens Back Channel to Undermine U.S. Reform, Conservative Leaders, Haaretz

In an effort to resolve the crisis with Reform and Conservative Jews in the United States, the Israeli government is bypassing the movements’ leaders and reaching out directly to congregational rabbis viewed as less critical of its policies.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Current Politics Reopen 23-year-old Wound of Rabin’s Assassination, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev writes, “Anniversaries of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassinations traditionally create tension between left and right, but this year’s commemoration was different. The ceremonies and speeches that mark the day an Israeli prime minister was murdered for political reasons showed that, despite the 23 years that have passed, the feelings of bitterness and resentment in both camps are, if anything, stronger than ever. Rather than healing with time, the wound is as gaping, festering and venomous today as it was in the days following November 4, 1995.”

We have been fined for asking Lorde to boycott Israel – but we won’t be silenced, Guardian

Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs write, “An Israeli court this month ordered us to pay NZ$18,000 (£9,000) in damages for harming the ‘artistic welfare’ of three Israeli teenagers. This ruling came after New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde heeded the call of activists, including a letter from the two of us, and cancelled her show in Tel Aviv. The teenagers claimed they suffered ‘damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews’; their legal action was possible because of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits against anyone who encourages a boycott of the country. This is no farce. It may sound laughable, but the political implications are deadly serious. The lawsuit is a vivid example and extension of Israel’s suppression of dissenting voices.”