News Roundup for October 26, 2016

October 26, 2016

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J Street in the News

Democrats Will Have Trump to Thank for Getting a Political Pass on the Iran Nuclear Deal, Foreign Policy

“The agreement offers ‘a way to defang Iran’s weapons program without firing a shot,’ said Jessica Rosenblum of J Street, a progressive pro-Israel group that supports the agreement.  ‘It’s good policy and it’s good politics.’”

Recent Attacks on B’Tselem are Unacceptable and Undemocratic, J Street Blog

“Those who care about Israeli democracy can’t stay silent about the new spate of dangerous rhetorical attacks by Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of his government on B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad….Language that suggests that B’Tselem is guilty of treasonous behavior for presenting their view of the occupation to the UNSC is outrageous and irresponsible. It has the potential to incite real violence, and reinforces the activities of extreme right-wing NGOs like Im Tirzu, which last December released a video portraying B’Tselem activists as foreign agents stabbing Israel in the back. Looking back on Israel’s history shows us where such accusations can lead.”

Word on the Street: We Need to Hear Each Other, J Street Blog

Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “If Jews and Palestinians can’t talk openly with each other about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we’ll never be able to solve it. That’s why J Street believes in open conversations that face facts and acknowledge disagreements. It’s why I traveled to the West Coast last week for a series of public events with Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, the Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United States.”

Top News and Analysis

UNESCO Adopts Another Contentious Resolution on Jerusalem, Haaretz

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee adopted on Wednesday another resolution on Jerusalem which ignores Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount. Ten member states supported the motion, two opposed it, eight abstained and a representative of one member state was absent… In contrast to a similar resolution passed two weeks ago, the current one is softer in wording. For instance, the resolution refers to the Western Wall by its Jewish name, which is not in quotation marks, as it has been in previous motions… The resolution however still only refers to the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Settlers Build New Illegal Outpost on Private Palestinian Land – With Israeli Authorities’ Knowledge, Haaretz

A new, unauthorized outpost is being constructed in the northern Jordan Valley on privately owned Palestinian land. The outpost has been established in close proximity to another illegal outpost, Givat Salit, which was created in 2001….The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said a stop-work order has been issued at the outpost. It added that a patrol conducted on Thursday revealed construction at the site had ceased, and that further enforcement activity will be carried out as necessary. However, a visit by Haaretz the same day revealed that construction was continuing.

We Are All B’Tselem Head Hagai El-Ad, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “The speech by B’Tselem chairman Hagai El-Ad at the United Nations Security Council should be the updated platform of the opposition, in response to Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of occupation and annexation. El-Ad touched the heart of the matter: The occupation must end. Forty-nine years of Palestinian misery and repression, and the insatiable expansion of Israeli settlements, must end. There is no more important national matter, and there is no other matter worthy of the opposition’s attention. Everyone should repeat just one thing: It’s time to end the occupation.”

How thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women are waging peace, +972

Riman Barakat writes, “We need to allow ourselves to bring down the barriers within and without, to dare to look each other in the eye and see the humanity. A long time has passed with us here and them there. The first step is to breach that psychological barrier and allow ourselves to be welcomed by those we call the “other.” I can’t recall the last time so many Israelis and Palestinians met and walked together. I believe I was much younger then, during the Oslo Accords. Yet after more than 20 years of separation, thousands of women are once again uniting for a common cause. It is a historic moment, and even those who try to ignore it will find it harder and harder to do so as it continues to grow.”


Israeli Soldier Wounded by Gunfire on Lebanon Border, Haaretz

A passing car on the Lebanese side of the border fires rounds at soldiers, who returned fire, the army reports.

13 wedding revelers indicted for celebrating killing of Palestinian baby, Times of Israel

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed indictments against 13 people who allegedly led dances at a wedding where revelers sang songs calling for attacks on Palestinians, and stabbed photos showing a Palestinian baby killed in an alleged Jewish terror attack.

Netanyahu’s Coalition Whip to Push Bill Barring Calls for Sanctions Against Israel in Int’l Forums, Haaretz

Coalition whip MK David Bitan (Likud) announced Saturday his intention to promote legislation barring Israelis from calling for sanctions against the state in international forums authorized to impose such measures. The move is designed to ban comments such as those of B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad, who during a special session of the UN Security Council on Israeli settlements last week called on the member states to act to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Bitan’s remarks came a day after he said he will be seeking to strip El-Ad of his Israeli citizenship.

Israeli Civilian Shot While Working on Egypt Border Fence, Forward

An Israeli civilian doing maintenance work on the border fence between Israel and Egypt was shot and injured. The bullet fired at noon on Tuesday came from Egypt, but it is not known who fired it, the IDF said.

Report: IDF finds troops’ lives were not at risk in killing of Palestinian teen, Times of Israel

An internal army memo found that four incidents of shootings of Palestinians in the past two weeks were preventable, had correct procedure been followed, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. The document, which was obtained by the radio station, claimed that two deaths and two cases of serious injury in the West Bank could have been avoided if IDF soldiers and Border Police officers had followed military guidelines.

UNESCO Head Distances Herself From Jerusalem Resolution as New Measure Looms, Forward

The head of the United Nations cultural agency continued to distance herself from resolutions that deny Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites, as another agency committee prepares to vote on a similar measure. Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, wrote in a letter to Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett that she would work to counter such historical inaccuracies.

At pro-Trump Bash in Jerusalem, Pundits, Firebrands and the Donald – on Video, Haaretz

Donald Trump and Mike Pence will lay out their policies on Israel and the Middle East in taped video messages to be screened at an event organized by their Israeli supporters held outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday. Trump and Pence’s speeches to their Israeli supporters will include declarations of opposition to recent UNESCO resolutions regarding Jerusalem’s holy places.

Rate of Female Israeli Soldiers Serving in Combat Roles Doubled in Four Years, Haaretz

A quiet revolution has taken place on Israel’s longest borders over the past year, with much of the perimeters with Egypt and Jordan being guarded by male and female soldiers from light infantry battalions. Over half of the battalions feature both men and women, and a new plan will see four mixed-gender battalions stationed along the borders within 12 months.

4 Palestinians Detained By Their Own Police After Visiting Sukkah, Forward

Four Palestinians who attended a Sukkot celebration alongside Israelis in the home of a West Bank mayor were arrested by Palestinian security forces. The celebration took place without incident Wednesday at the home of Oded Revivi, mayor of the Efrat settlement. Revivi had invited several dozen Palestinians living near Efrat to join 30 Israelis in celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday.

Israeli bulldozers level lands, destroy Palestinian structures east of Nablus, Ma’an

Israeli bulldozers leveled Palestinian lands east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday morning, allegedly in preparation for the construction of new illegal settlement units, while structures belonging to Palestinians in the village were also dismantled.

Report: Jerusalem pro-Trump rally downsized, JTA

A Republican Party event scheduled for Jerusalem, which would feature addresses by presidential candidate Donald Trump and his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence has been downsized. The event scheduled for Wednesday was originally set to be a rally featuring thousands of Israelis showing their support for Trump, but now the event will be closed to the public, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

Opinion and Analysis

My UN Speech Reflected Love for Israel, Truth About Settlements, Haaretz

Lara Friedman writes, “We know that speaking the truth this way, and indeed, calling for action on settlements – like calling for settlement boycotts or a Security Council resolution – makes some people, including some supporters of the two-state solution, deeply uncomfortable. We also know that for nearly five decades, more ‘comfortable’ forms of protest have failed to change Israeli settlement policies….APN makes no apologies. We know that our actions – last week at the United Nations and every day working to promote peace and security for Israel, and working to support our brave colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement – serve the real interests of Israel. We are proud to have spoken at the Security Council, and we will continue to speak out, wherever and whenever we believe it can make a difference, until Israeli policies cease to prioritize settlements over peace, security, democracy and Israel’s place in the community of nations.”

Opposing the occupation means being anti-Israel, to Netanyahu, +972

Mairav Zonszein observes, “The message being propagated by Netanyahu and his government, and unchallenged by the majority of Israelis, is clear: fighting to end occupation and fighting for Palestinian human rights is not only slandering the country, it’s tantamount to treason — as far as they are concerned speaking out against occupation is the same as speaking out against Israel….[T]he more Netanyahu and his ideological kin push that line, the more speaking out against occupation will in fact become synonymous with speaking out against Israel. I would argue it is already impossible to separate the two. That is exactly what Netanyahu is after. He and the Israeli right have worked very hard over the years to make sure there is no daylight between Israel and the occupation — to erase any difference between Ariel and Acre, Hebron and Haifa. Ironically, this is the same thing Netanyahu accuses Palestinians of trying to accomplish.”

20 minutes from modern Jerusalem, a Palestinian village is stranded in the past, Washington Post

Anne-Marie O’Connor reports, “Let there be light. That is a plea of residents of this Palestinian village who have waited nearly three decades for electricity while well-lit Israeli settlements sprang up around them. Now they are pinning their hopes on a new local women’s committee that is determined to get them on the grid.

As an Israeli, B’Tselem and Peace Now Protect Me. Who Will Protect Them?, Haaretz

Bradley Burston writes, “I’ve lived here a long time. I’ve yet to meet a single Israeli – not one – who believes that Benjamin Netanyahu will do anything to the occupation except deepen it.

I’ve learned this much: The truly existential threat to Netanyahu’s rule is hope. That’s why the worst thing he could think of saying about B’Tselem and Peace Now were that they were transient phenomena. Unlike his settlements, which are eternal. Unlike his occupation, which is permanent. Unlike his rule, which is until the end of time.”

Will these Palestinian and Israeli leaders achieve peace?, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes, “Israeli officials are intrigued by Dahlan and his political prospects. There is a similar interest within the Palestinian Authority about the possible re-entry of retired Gen. Ehud Barak into Israeli politics. Both men are seen by the opposite side as a possible hope for more pragmatic policies.”

Israel’s effort to get a gadget-obsessed generation to look at old stuff, Washington Post

Ruth Eglash describes how “The Israel Antiquities Authority….is constructing a multimedia, multi-floored underground complex designed to show off some of the best finds from the past 1.5 million years.”

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