News Roundup for September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016

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Top News and Analysis

President Obama Urges Israel To End Occupation in Final United Nations Speech, Forward

Both sides would benefit if Israel recognized it cannot permanently occupy Palestinian land and if Palestinians rejected incitement and recognized Israel’s legitimacy, President Obama told the United Nations on Tuesday. “Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel …(and if) Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” Obama said.

For Israel, Obama’s Most Important Speech Is the One He Has Yet to Give, Haaretz

Barak Ravid observes, “The important speech is the one Obama hasn’t yet given – the one that might be given in another two months, after the U.S. presidential election. It is the speech in which Obama will try to leave a lasting legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue by laying down principles for resolving all the core issues: borders, refugees, security and, above all, Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s fear is that once such a speech is given, the road to turning it into a UN Security Council resolution will be short. That is why the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC has worked hard over the past few weeks, apparently at the urging of Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, to recruit senators from both parties to sign a letter to Obama on this issue….The senators urged Obama to veto any “one-sided” resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue submitted to the UN Security Council by another country prior to January 20, the day he leaves office. The letter doesn’t demand that he refrain from promoting an American initiative, which everyone knows wouldn’t be “one-sided,” but would also demand concessions of the Palestinians. One example of this is America’s support for Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize it as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

Arab lawmaker Aymen Odeh wants to save the Israeli left, but not join it, JTA

Andrew Tobin interviews Joint List leader MK Aymen Odeh. “Our situation is very complex. It’s not only equality that we seek. I want the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. I want equality for the Arab citizens of Israel. I want social justice for all people. I want full equality between men and women and sexual orientations. I want to protect the environment. I am a citizen, but I’m also a Palestinian, and first and foremost I’m a human being. In the government, and in the right wing in general, they don’t recognize me as either.”


UN chief: One-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian conflict would ‘spell doom’, Times of Israel

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a two-state solution, and that the one-state option would “spell doom” for both sides…..On stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Ban said that prospects for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel ‘are being lowered by the day.’ ‘It pains me that this past decade has been lost to peace. Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness,’ he said, adding that West Bank settlements were ‘obstacles to progress.’ ‘This is madness. Replacing a two-state solution with a one-state construct would spell doom: denying Palestinians their freedom and rightful future, and pushing Israel further from its vision of a Jewish democracy towards greater global isolation,’ said Ban.”

Local Security Shoots, Wounds Knife-wielding Attacker at Israeli Embassy in Turkey, Haaretz

A would-be assailant was shot and wounded near the Israeli embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman and Turkish police said. “A single person tried to stab a Turkish police officer. One of the Turkish police officers situated in front of the embassy responded immediately and shot the attacker in the foot in order to neutralize him,” the Israeli Embassy in Ankara said in a press release.

Netanyahu: Israel Expects World to Support Its Fight on Terror, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would call in his UN General Assembly speech for a uniform international standard for the war against terror. “The entire international community says that it needs to fight terror with determination, and they must also support Israel’s uncompromisingly determined fight against terror,” said Netanyahu told reporters before departing to New York.

U.S. diplomatic missions in Israel warn against visits to Jerusalem, JTA

American citizens should avoid certain parts of Jerusalem because of an increase in stabbing attacks in and around the Old City, the U.S. diplomatic missions in Israel said in a security warning. The message issued late Monday by the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv said the “recent uptick in stabbing attacks in and around the Old City of Jerusalem has led the U.S. Consulate General to recommend that all U.S. government employees and their family members avoid the Damascus, Herod’s, and Lions gates and the surrounding vicinity.”

Lawmakers Warn anti-NGO Law Could Harm Israeli Arab, Women’s Lobby, Haaretz

Knesset members from both the opposition and the coalition warned Monday that passage of the so-called V15 bill limiting the political involvement of nongovernmental organizations in election campaigns would outlaw the transport of Arab voters to the polls and prevent the women’s lobby from encouraging voters to support parties headed by women.

Israeli forces detain 41 Palestinians, injure 2 in massive raids across occupied territory, Ma’an

Israeli forces detained at least 41 Palestinians during detention raids from Monday evening to Tuesday before dawn across the occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli and Palestinian sources said, while two Palestinians were also shot and injured by Israeli fire during a detention raid into a Bethlehem refugee camp that also reportedly left two Israeli soldiers wounded.

Jews Worldwide to Lobby Israeli Leaders Over Western Wall Deal, Haaretz

Reform and Conservative Jews from around the world will be bombarding Israeli leaders with emails come this Saturday night. Their message: Give us back the Western Wall that you promised. This lobbying campaign, jointly organized by the major non-Orthodox Jewish movements, is meant to apply further pressure on the Israeli government to follow through with its decision to create a special egalitarian space at the Jewish holy site where men and women can pray together. Last week, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor lambasted the government for dragging its feet on the matter.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu-Obama meeting a show for home audiences, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “The meeting set for Sept. 21 in New York between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be a face-to-face one. Each man will be turned outward to his own domestic audience…..Any inconsistency that emerges from the meeting with the prime minister will be used by Republican candidate Donald Trump to raise a cacophony of slander against ‘enemies of Israel’ in the White House that includes the president’s colleague and candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton…..Netanyahu’s face will also be turned toward home, to the Likud Party, most of whose members signed a letter in support of a bill that would prevent homes from being demolished in the controversial West Bank outpost of Amona. His gaze is also turned toward HaBayit HaYehudi, whose leaders, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, are threatening to advance a law (nicknamed the “law of resolution”) that would prevent the evacuation.”

How Israel is turning one Arab party into a security threat, +972

Orly Noy argues, “Israel simply does not have the tools to deal with a non-violent national-civil struggle by Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Therefore it prefers to mark them as struggles that threaten state security and escalate them. When the state deems nonviolent actions, such as the Gaza flotillas or the BDS movement, as terrorism that subvert the state’s existence, it moves them from the civil sphere into one in where it writes all the rules: the security sphere. Defining Balad as a security threat exempts Israel from the need to deal with the party’s legitimate national and civil demands. In this way, Sunday’s arrests achieved their goals, even if they are only making a mountain out of a molehill.”

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