News Roundup for October 9, 2018

October 9, 2018

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J Street in the News

US Jewish Leaders to Netanyahu: Khan al-Ahmar Must Not be Demolished, Jerusalem Post

“Jewish community and religious leaders in the US submitted a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week to stop the demolition of the Beduin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank….The signers of the letter, including the President of the nonprofit liberal advocacy group J Street Jeremy Ben-Ami, interim President of Hebrew Union College Rabbi David Ellenson, and President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs, among others, claimed that the ‘Israeli High Court of Justice ruling ignored Israel’s history of disregarding the Beduin’s traditional rights in general and, in particular, those of the Jahalin.’”

In Rare Move, Hebrew University Asks to Join Appeal of U.S. Student Detained by Israel, Haaretz

“The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s senate called on Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Arye Dery to allow an American student, 22-year-old Lara Alqasem, into Israel….Meanwhile, more than 100 American academics and Jewish professionals signed a petition demanding Alqasem’s release, including J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.”

Erdan Says US Student Must Repudiate BDS to Gain Entry to Israel, Jerusalem Post

“Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday that US student Lara Alqasem should recant her opinions and actions supporting the boycott of Israel if she wants to be let into the country….The Jewish professionals who signed a statement in support of Alqasem’s entry include the CEO of the New Israel Fund, the president of J Street, the director of the rabbinical program at Hebrew Union College, the project manager for the Israeli youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, and dozens of Rabbis. ‘As Jewish professionals, we stand against racial profiling, and we stand for pluralism, and academic freedom,’ they stated.”

The Daily Kickoff, Times of Israel

“[Congressional candidate Harley Rouda], backed by the mainstream Jewish Democratic Council of America as well as J Street, says he does not support the federal Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Rouda further stated he’s not concerned about declining Democratic support for Israel. ‘I don’t see a shift, personally,’ he said, ‘In fact, I’m a little more worried about the white nationalists that are part of the Republican Party moving more in a direction that is anti-Israel than anything I’ve seen in the Democratic Party.’”

Top News and Analysis

Abbas Seeks ‘New Strategy’ Towards Israel, US and Hamas, Jerusalem Post

Khaled Abu Toameh reports, “At the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, PLO and Fatah officials are scheduled to meet later this month to devise a new policy towards Israel and the US, and decide on the future of relations with Hamas, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said on Monday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas will ask the representatives of the two bodies – the PLO and Fatah – to endorse a series of measures that will determine the future of the PA’s relations with Israel, the US and Hamas. ‘The time has come for decisive decisions,’ one official told the Post. ‘President Abbas feels that he is facing a conspiracy to undermine the Palestinian Authority and eliminate Palestinian rights.’ Another PA official said that Abbas has reached the conclusion that the US administration and the Israeli government are ‘determined to destroy the two-state solution in order to pave the way for the implementation’ of US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the ‘Deal of the Century.’”

Will Trump’s Palestinian policy work?, BBC

Paul Adams writes, “The Trump administration’s move against UNRWA follows a series of steps this year that have inflamed Palestinian opinion and generally pleased Israel….‘It’s so clear that the Americans just want to put pressure on the Arab countries and Palestinians to make concessions,’ says Sari Hanafi, a Palestinian sociologist at the American University of Beirut. He says he thinks the tactic will backfire. ‘The Trump administration put the Palestinian issue into crisis, and this will translate into much more resistance and a more vivid Palestinian identity,’ he says. In Lebanon, which offers the refugees no alternative, that identity still burns with fierce intensity.”


Israeli fire wounds 11 Palestinians at Gaza protest, Associated Press

Gaza’s Health Ministry says 11 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli gunfire in a protest along the territory’s land and sea boundary with Israel.

Netanyahu: Putin understands Israel’s need to act in north for security, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed during a visit to the Golan Heights to hold on to the disputed territory and insisted that Russia understands Israel’s need to act beyond the northern border to maintain its security.

UN official: Qatar to buy fuel for Gaza’s only power plant, Associated Press

Qatar has agreed to buy fuel to restart the only power plant in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, a top United Nations official said Tuesday, triggering accusations by the Palestinian Authority running the rival government in the West Bank that this will perpetuate the militants’ control of the isolated enclave.

Netanyahu: world must recognize ‘Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights’, i24NEWS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called on the international community to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and that he would bring this up with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in their upcoming meeting.

EU’s Mogherini: Two-state Solution Being ‘Dismantled Piece by Piece’, Haaretz

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, voiced concern that recent developments in the region would hinder the possibility of a two-state solution.

Opinion and Analysis

Proposal would split Israel from Palestinians – but don’t call it a peace plan, Times of Israel

Judah Ari Gross reports, “Following two years of research and consultation with figures throughout the Middle East, a leading Israeli think tank on Monday presented a comprehensive plan of action to separate Israel from the Palestinians. The plan could ensure that Israel remains a ‘Jewish, democratic, secure and ethical state’ — if it acts fast enough — one of the plan’s main authors, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said. The primary assumption in the 121-page proposal is that Israel, through inertia and a lack of political will, is on track to becoming a binational state without a clear Jewish majority, which could mean the end of Israel either as a Jewish state or a democratic one….’There’s a window of opportunity that never existed before,’ Yadlin, who leads the Institute for National Security Studies, which produced the plan, said.”

The Road to Tehran Runs Through Oslo, Foreign Policy

Reza Ansari writes, “If Washington wishes to defuse the current standoff [with Iran], the United States could request that Oman and Norway play the role of independent third and fourth parties in a negotiated agreement with Iran.  Iran would be invited to negotiate the replacement of U.S. oil sanctions with equivalent constraints on the allocation of income from oil exports—both crude oil and natural gas—for domestic expenditure.”