News Roundup for September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

Spain to Push for European Recognition of Palestine: We May Go It Alone if That Fails, Haaretz

Noa Landau reports, “The Spanish government will promote a European move to recognize Palestine as an independent state, Spain’s foreign minister said Thursday, adding that if the move fails the government will consider a Spain-only recognition. If ‘the EU is not able to reach unanimous decision – each to their own,’ Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said at a conference of European Union leaders in Austria Tuesday. He added the last option of individual recognition of Palestine is ‘on the table.’ Borrell also said that he will launch an ‘intensive’ consultation process with his counterparts to set a timetable for achieving a common position on the subject.”

How Jared Kushner flubbed ‘ultimate deal’—and hurt Israel, Forward

Peter Beinart writes, “Trump officials talk about their efforts to ‘improve the lives of the Palestinians.’ But, as far as I’m aware, neither Trump nor Kushner has ever said Palestinians have rights.Instead, they have relentlessly analogized the conflict to their own experience in real estate. ‘In every negotiation I’ve ever been in,’ Kushner told The New York Times, ‘before somebody gets to ‘yes,’ their answer is ‘no.’ Lacking even the minimal moral scaffolding of previous administrations, Trump and Kushner have taken what seems like the shortest path to a deal: They have demanded that the weaker party cave on virtually everything.”

How Israel Undermined Washington and Stalled the Dream of Palestinian Statehood, The New York Times

Seth Anziska writes, “Without an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, Palestinians are confronting renewed efforts by Israeli leaders to undermine the possibility of meaningful sovereignty. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed a ‘state minus.’ Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister and an influential politician, has called for ‘autonomy on steroids’ to be administered in the West Bank, specifying ‘self-rule’ with a focus on limited control over ‘water, sewage, electricity, infrastructure and so on.’ The echo of Menachem Begin is clear, this time with active support from the American government. While commemorating the key breakthrough leading to a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, we might therefore consider Camp David’s more troubling legacy: a crucial step in the perpetuation of Palestinian statelessness.”


8 EU countries urge Israel to reconsider village demolition, Associated Press

Eight European Union nations are underlining their opposition to Israel’s planned demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar and are urging its government to reconsider the decision.

Israeli Army Preps for Violent Protests on Gaza Border, Possible Rocket Fire, Haaretz

The Israeli military is preparing for violent demonstrations at the Gaza border fence on Friday, expecting an increase in the number of protesters compared to the past several weeks.

IDF chief said to warn West Bank ripe for major violent outbreak, Times of Israel

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot reportedly warned ministers this week that a major outbreak of violence was likely among Palestinians in the West Bank, due to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ waning political influence and declining health.

UN envoy raps Palestinians for ‘glorifying’ attacks against Israelis, i24NEWS

The United Nations envoy for the Middle East peace process lashed Palestinian factions on Thursday for glorifying those who carried out terror attacks against Israelis.

Yuval Noah Harari: Netanyahu’s Government Threatens Foundations of Israel’s Liberal Democracy, Haaretz

Best-selling Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari sharply criticized the Israeli government, saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government threatens the foundations of Israel’s liberal democracy.

Ex-aide to Jimmy Carter named head of UN probe into Gaza clashes, Times of Israel

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday announced that Santiago Canton of Argentina will head the agency’s probe into the clashes at the Gaza border this summer.

Opinion and Analysis

Why the ‘Jordanian Option’ Won’t Die, The New York Times

Shmuel Rosner writes, “Is a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation currently viable? To be honest, it is not. Jordan vehemently rejects this idea, not wanting to be destabilized by a large new population of Palestinians. The Palestinians, for their part, still hold on to their dream of a state of their own. And among the international community, where the two-state solution is still orthodoxy, the idea is dismissed as a ploy of right-wing rejectionists. And yet, look at the situation in the Middle East right now. We are marking the 25th anniversary to the Oslo accords, the much-celebrated deal that never produced the much-anticipated peace. Meanwhile, we are preparing to hear more details about the Trump administration’s plans, plans that are being devised by people who say they are ready to strip away the ‘false realities’ around efforts to bring peace in the Middle East. Given all of this, the idea of Palestinian-Jordanian confederacy does not seem less viable than the other unviable ideas. And it’s certainly no less durable.”

Why Israel needs a strong Foreign Affairs Ministry, Jerusalem Post

Ehud Eiran writes, “The Foreign Affairs Ministry was once one of Israel’s crown Jewels. Managing Israel’s foreign relations and the exposure that the office of the foreign minister offered, attracted ambitious politicians. Moshe Sharett, Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon all served as foreign ministers before they became prime ministers. Benjamin Netanyahu paved his way to the Prime Minister’s Office through a number of prestigious diplomatic positions. He then served (briefly) as foreign minister between his two tenures as prime minister. Thousands of ambitious Israelis competed every year for the few places offered by the ministry in its prestigious cadet course. However, it seems that the glorious days of the ministry, if they ever truly existed, have long passed. Ever since the current government was formed in 2015, there has been no full-time foreign minister. The ministry, which despite its prestige has always struggled for a leading role in the decision-making process, is generally excluded from significant aspects of Israel’s foreign and defense policy.”