News Roundup for September 13, 2018

September 13, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

Trump Admin’s Closure of PLO’s DC Office is Another Malicious Salvo Against Peace, J Street

“The Trump administration just granted another gift to enemies of a two-state solution by forcing the PLO to shut down its Washington office. This latest salvo against peace came as American Jews, who overwhelmingly support a two-state solution, were observing Rosh Hashanah in their homes and communities.This is the latest in a series of moves explicitly intended to pressure and undermine the only government among the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians that currently endorses a two-state solution. It follows the previously unimaginable spectacle of an American government expressly attempting to take final status issues like Jerusalem and refugees ‘off the table’; maliciously choking off bilateral and multilateral assistance benefiting Palestinians in dire need of clean water, medicine and education; and making clear the U.S. will no longer speak out against unrelenting Israeli illegal settlement activity.”

Spurious Reversal on Dept. of Education Investigation is About Suppressing Free Speech on Campus — Not Combating anti-Semitism, J Street

“The decision by the Department of Education (DOE)’s Kenneth Marcus to reopen a previously closed investigation into a 7-year-old incident of alleged anti-Semitism at Rutgers University shows that the Trump administration is inclined to suppress criticism of Israel on college campuses — even if that means trampling on constitutionally-protected free speech.”


Top News and Analysis

The Trump administration’s new idea for Israeli-Palestinian peace is actually an old, failed idea, Washington Post

Curtis Ryan reports, “Recent reports suggest that the Trump administration is considering proposing a confederation between Jordan and the West Bank as part of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The idea would create some form of a Palestinian statelet, in parts of the West Bank and perhaps the Gaza Strip, in confederation with Jordan. Jordanian officials politely but firmly made clear that the idea is a nonstarter. There is a history to Jordanian-Palestinian confederation proposals, and critically important political issues have always stood in the way. What adviser Jared Kushner and the Trump White House are pitching as a new and innovative solution is actually a decades-old idea that gets periodically revived and continually shot down. Palestinians have consistently insisted instead on an independent state. Jordanians, for their part, view confederation not as an opportunity but as a potentially existential threat to the identity and vital interests of Jordan.”

Sick and Stuck in the Strip: How Leaving Gaza Became Mission Impossible, Haaretz

Amira Hass reports, “Gazans with life-threatening illnesses are currently fighting Israel to allow them to leave the coastal enclave. An Israeli directive that prevents those with alleged ties to Hamas from leaving the Strip for treatment was blocked by the High Court of Justice. But it is only the latest incident in the long history of movement restrictions imposed on Gaza.”

The Oslo Accords Are Dead, but There Is Still a Path to Peace, Foreign Policy

Daniel Levy writes, “Only when Palestinians regain some leverage as they did during the First Intifada will Israel begin to rediscover the need to seek common ground

Only when Palestinians regain some leverage as they did during the First Intifada will Israel begin to rediscover the need to seek common ground and what it means to think in terms of win-win scenarios rather than zero-sum equations. Then, and only then, will the space exist for the secret channels, clandestine meetings, and deniable documents that made the Oslo process possible. On this Oslo anniversary, those who care about Israeli-Palestinian peace should set aside nostalgia for a missed opportunity and think instead about the conditions that once made that tantalizing prospect possible—and which could still be within our reach.”



European Parliament Warns: Eviction, Demolition of Khan al-Ahmar Would Be War Crime, Haaretz

The European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday calling Israel’s decision to demolish and transfer the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar a breach of international humanitarian law. The resolution also demands compensation from Israel for the destruction of European Union-funded infrastructure found in the village.

Israeli forces take down protest huts at West Bank Bedouin village, Reuters

Israel security forces on Thursday dismantled several shacks built by Palestinian protesters near Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank that Israel has slated for demolition.

Israel detonates explosive planted on Gaza border as people crossing re-opens, i24NEWS

Israel re-opened the sole pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, just over a week after is was closed following a destructive Palestinian protest.

Israel Denied Entry to U.S. Jewish Activist With Temporary Residency Status – Because She Visited West Bank, Haaretz

An American Jew was initially denied entry into Israel on Wednesday even though she has applied to immigrate here and holds both a temporary resident’s visa and a potential immigrant’s visa. The denial of entry came after she told investigators that she had visited Khan al-Ahmar, the West Bank Bedouin town slated for demolition.

Palestinians have done nothing but beg, ‘badmouth’ US, Haley says, Times of Israel

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday justified the US State Department’s closure of the Washington mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, saying all the Palestinians have ever done is ask for money and badmouth the US.

UN says Gaza situation ‘catastrophic’ amid deepening aid cuts, Times of Israel

The UN said Wednesday that the situation in Gaza was “catastrophic” after 11 years of “economic siege” and warned that Washington’s decision to halt assistance to Palestinian refugees and their descendants would create “more misery.”

Trump Doubles Down on War in Yemen, Foreign Policy

The Trump administration certified to Congress on Wednesday that the Saudi-backed coalition fighting in Yemen’s civil war was doing everything it could to prevent civilian casualties—a move that allows the U.S. military to continue supporting the coalition.

Church groups outraged as US denies critical support to Jerusalem hospitals, Al-Monitor

Church groups in the United States and Europe have begun a worldwide campaign in opposition to the latest last-minute decision by the Donald Trump administration to deny support to six Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem.

Opinion and Analysis

A Middle East mirage, Washington Post

Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash write, “The signing of the initial Oslo accord on Sept. 13, 1993, was seen as a triumph for peace after decades of conflict. The Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization formally recognized each other for the first time, agreeing to strive for coexistence and a lasting peace deal….Those who were born in the shadow of Oslo, who are now 25 years old, shared their reflections about the legacy they inherited, and agreed perhaps only on this: The wave of optimism into which they were born has long ago crested.”

Donald Trump’s peace proposal is not realistic, Economist

The Economist writes, “This is Mr Netanyahu’s dream: to deal with fellow world leaders without the nuisance of talking about the occupation. But it comes at a cost. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is in effect a security subcontractor keeping the West Bank quiet. Foreign donors spend billions a year to keep it afloat, since it is meant to provide the nucleus of a future Palestinian state. “If there’s no two-state solution, there’s no justification for us to pump money into the PA,” says a European diplomat. Mr Netanyahu may at last manage to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state. But then he will have to deal with the consequences of a permanent occupation of the territory captured in 1967.”

Why Trump’s Closure of the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission in Washington Could Backfire, Time

Ghaith al-Omari writes, “With the closure of the PLO office, the U.S. may well have exhausted the diplomatic and financial pressure tools at its disposal. And while the Palestinians may have so far withstood American pressure, they are back in a situation similar to the pre-Oslo days: despite enjoying the support of many in the international community, they are unable to advance their cause because of the lack of U.S. support. This new reality could end the already eroding Palestinian support for a diplomatic solution to the conflict. And to the detriment of Palestinians and Israelis alike, it could also usher the rise of extremist elements like Hamas.”