Ron Kampeas observes, “The agreement signed Wednesday in the State Department’s Treaty Room here increases assistance for Israel over the prior Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007 under the George W. Bush administration and guaranteeing Israel $31 billion over 10 years. But it also substantially shrinks the role Congress plays in a critical forum shaping U.S.-Israel relations, defense assistance, and in so doing diminishes the influence of the mainstream pro-Israel community, a sector that at times has been an irritant to Obama.”
A Jordanian man was shot after trying to stab Israeli Border Police officers in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, the police said. He died in the incident. Shortly after, two Palestinians, a man and a woman, were shot after what the Israel Defense Forces described as an attempted car-ramming attack near the Elias Junction in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. The man died and the woman was seriously wounded. No Israelis were immediately reported wounded in either incident.
Ori Nir writes, “Americans and others who care have a broad choice of organizations and initiatives to support, whether financially or morally. Regardless of your preferred scenario for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whether you support the current Israeli government’s policies, it’s hard to argue that real tolerance and open-mindedness are not an Israeli national security interest. American Jewish organizations — federations, human and civil rights groups, religious movements and individual synagogues — could get involved to advance such values by partnering with Israeli organizations who espouse a tolerant, peace-seeking agenda.”
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres remains sedated and on a respirator two days after suffering a massive stroke, his office said. Peres’ status “remains unchanged,” a statement issued Thursday by his spokesperson said.
UN Chief Ban Ki-moon severely criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday over a video posted by the PM on Facebook last week in which he equated the eviction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank to ethnic cleansing. Netanyahu’s remark was “unacceptable and outrageous,” Ban said during a meeting of the Security Council discussing the Middle East, adding that the settlements are in violation of international law and that their expansion must stop. The settlements are an obstacle to peace, the UN chief added.
Israeli forces Thursday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the neighborhood of Saadiya in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem in order to make room for Jewish-only housing managed by right-wing settler group Ateret Cohanim.
Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak launched an all-out assault Thursday on Prime Minister Netanyahu over the military aid agreement signed with the Unites States. After publishing a scathing article in the Washington Post, in the evening Barak gave no less than seven interviews in three hours to the media in Israel, in which he argued that Netanyahu had signed a bad agreement that had done damage to Israel’s security.
“The State Comptroller’s upcoming report on coexistence education takes a dim view of the Education Ministry’s efforts in that area. Covering a 20-year period but focusing mainly on the terms of the previous minister, Shay Piron, and the current minister, Naftali Bennett, the report describes more than ongoing failure; it states that the Education Ministry has consciously chosen to bury the issue of education toward coexistence and prevention of racism. The ministry has not formulated tools to methodically assess the extent of racism in the education system, nor to follow up on anti-racism action, if any, in the school system, the report states.”
Donald Trump poses a real danger to Israel, Florida Sun-Sentinel
Ilan Goldenberg writes, “Donald Trump’s willingness to discard allies, his temperament and ignorance of foreign affairs pose a threat to America’s — and Israel’s — security. I was the Iran team chief in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and chief of staff to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, and I am certain Trump would be a disaster for Israel and for the region….In the end, we cannot simply assume that since Trump professes support for Israel this will translate itself into policies that are actually good for Israel’s security. His approach to the world, unsteady temperament and lack of basic knowledge and preparation pose a threat not just to the United States but also to its closest allies — including Israel.”
A recording of J Street’s briefing call with Meretz MK Michal Rozin, moderated by Jeremy Ben-Ami.
Five Takeaways from the US-Israel MOU, FMEP Blog
Mitchell Plitnick observes, “President Obama drew an explicit connection between US military aid to Israel and the Palestinian issue. Netanyahu and his supporters have worked very hard over the years to keep the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship separate from Israel’s nearly 50-year old occupation. Obama directly contradicted that notion in his statement on the MOU.”
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