News Roundup for September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

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J Street in the News

Losing Sight of America’s Own Needs, GOP Senators Look to Add Over a Billion to Aid Package Israel Has Accepted, J Street

“With the announcement that they will seek to add over $1.5 billion to the levels agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently reached between the United States and Israel, a group of Republican senators has again made clear that there is no limit to the extremes to which they will go in using the US-Israel relationship to score partisan points…..The MOU provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid per year for ten years – a total sum of $38 billion. That is the largest pledge of military assistance ever made to any country in our nation’s history. It is a monumental testament to the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security, successfully negotiated between the administrations of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. And yet it simply isn’t enough for Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham, Mark Kirk, John McCain and Marco Rubio. These senators have decided that no action taken by the President can ever be good enough, and that no amount of aid, or demonstrations of support and solidarity, can ever be sufficient. When Senator Graham referred to the largest military aid pledge in our history as ‘nickel and dim[ing] Israel,’ and accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of ‘pull[ing] the rug from under’ Congress, he made it clear that he and his colleagues have lost all sense of proportion and reality.”

J Street Opposes Bill Undermining JCPOA & Sanctions Enforcement (H.R.5461), J Street

Immediately following the conclusion of Congress’ review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program (the JCPOA), J Street urged Congress and the administration to work vigilantly to simultaneously ensure Iranian compliance with the agreement and to counter Iran’s dangerous non-nuclear behavior. We are deeply concerned that the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act” (H.R.5461) would harm the US Government’s ability to perform both of these essential functions.

Top News and Analysis

Obama to Netanyahu: Settlement Construction Is Threatening the Two-state Solution, Haaretz

US President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday that continued construction at the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is threatening the future of the two-state solution. According to a senior American official, in their half-hour long meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Obama raised “profound US concerns about the corrosive effect that that settlement activity, that is continuing when the occupation enters its 50th year, is having on the prospects of two states solution.”

An Open Letter to the U.S. Jewish Leaders Who’ve Stayed Silent on Trump, Haaretz

Peter Beinart writes to the leaders of the Conference of Presidents, “You serve as Chairman and Executive Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which calls itself the “voice of organized American Jewry.” According to your website, you’ve issued 26 press releases since Donald Trump became the de facto Republican presidential nominee in early May. Not a single one mentions him….The American Muslims watching their faith being endlessly vilified in the press, that was once us. Donald Trump is not a distraction. He is the thing our tradition teaches us to resist. In this season of national decision and Jewish self-reflection, please reflect on your silence. It’s not only the dignity of American Muslims that is at stake, but our own.”

The GOP’s Jewish Donors Are Abandoning Trump, FiveThirtyEight

“Republican Jews — or Jewish donors to the Republican party, at least — are abandoning their party’s nominee at a stunningly high rate….So far in 2016, of all the money given to major-party candidates by donors who appear to be Jewish, 95 percent has gone to Hillary Clinton and just 5 percent has gone to Donald Trump.”

News

Before Netanyahu-Obama Meeting, J’lem Cancels Panel on Construction Over Green Line, Haaretz

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee cancelled a meeting on three building plans in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. The meeting was scheduled to take place Wednesday, shortly before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama were scheduled to meet in New York. The three building plans were for 68 housing units in three buildings in the outskirts of Gilo, a Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Green Line. The area is supposed to be the site of a new large neighborhood, which had already raised the ire of the American government in the past. Sources in City Hall confirmed that outside pressures led to the cancelling of the discussions.

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian girl, 13 after refusing orders to stop at checkpoint, Ma’an

Israeli forces shot and injured a 13-year-old Palestinian girl at the Eliyahu checkpoint in eastern Qalqiliya near the Israeli settlement of Alfei Manashe in the northern occupied West Bank, after she was ordered to stop by border guards and continued walking. The girl was reportedly shot in her legs, leaving her lightly to moderately injured, and was subsequently detained by Israeli forces.

Over 20 Arrested as Hundreds of Israeli Officers Raid East Jerusalem, Haaretz

Over 23 people were arrested early on Thursday as hundreds of Israeli officers raided East Jerusalem as part of what the police described as its ongoing battle against violent crimes and terrorism. Officers raided the neighborhoods of Shoafat and Isawiyah in search of arms and suspected violent offenders of both criminal and nationalistic nature, a police statement said.

U.S. Holocaust museum urges world leaders to press Iran on Holocaust denial, JTA

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum urged world leaders to press Iran’s leadership on its Holocaust denial during the U.N. General Assembly.

Palestinian inmates end hunger strikes after release dates set, Times of Israel

Three Palestinian prisoners ended months-long hunger strikes Wednesday after Israel set release dates for them. Brothers Muhammad Balboul, 26, and Mahmoud Balboul, 23, have refused food since July 7 and July 4, respectively, while 25-year-old Malik al-Qadi began his hunger strike July 16, protesting their detentions without trial, a policy known as administrative detention.

Jordan’s King Abdullah: No injustice as bitter as denial of Palestinian state, i24News

King Abdullah II of Jordan on Tuesday told the United Nations that there is no injustice more bitter than the “denial of a Palestinian state.” In his address at the annual UN General Assembly in New York, King Abdullah said that “No injustice has spread more bitter fruit than the denial of a Palestinian state. I say: Peace is a conscious decision. Israel has to embrace peace or eventually be engulfed in a sea of hatred in a region of turmoil.”

Sisi urges Israel to end regional instability by making peace with the Palestinians, Jerusalem Post

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spontaneously issued a direct appeal to Israelis to make peace with the Palestinians during his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Opinion and Analysis

Stopping the Right-Wing Plot to Destroy the Two-State Solution, J Street Blog

MK Michal Rozin writes, “As a Member of Knesset, my job is to speak out on behalf of the best interests of my fellow citizens and my country. These days, I am truly alarmed by how much those interests are being undermined by the right-wing leaders of Israel’s settler movement. These leaders prioritize Jewish control of Palestinian land over Israel’s security, democracy and Jewish values. If Israel is going to remain a secure democracy and a Jewish state, we need to reach a two-state agreement with the Palestinians. Most Israelis understand that — which is why they would oppose the annexation of the territory that needs to form the basis of a future Palestinian state. Yet unbeknownst to the average Israeli, the settler movement and its powerful allies in the Netanyahu government have been quietly laying the groundwork for annexation in the West Bank’s Area C.”

Former Israeli Political Rivals Meet at Clinton Event Amid Talk of Netanyahu Ouster, Haaretz

Yossi Verter reports, “The Clinton Global Initiative….invited Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, among others. The two even found time for a private meeting in New York’s Sheraton Hotel on the sidelines of the gathering to discuss what was described as ‘political scenarios.’ Livni is leading an initiative to unite all of Israel’s center and left parties under a joint ticket and that she even wants to hold an open primary for its leadership. Any candidate who feels themselves worthy should put their name forward, Livni says….Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, that according to current polling will be the largest party in the center-left bloc, has announced that he’s not game. Although the initiative will struggle to take off without him, Livni’s resolve to advance the initiative is undeterred.”

Boundaries of Slowly Thawing Arab-Israeli Relations On Display at Iran Risk Summit in NYC, Tablet

Armin Rosen writes, “One reason for the covert on incomplete status of the upgrade in the Israel-Gulf relationship is the lack of any apparent progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Tzipi Livni, one of the heads of the Knesset’s opposition Zionist Union party and Israel’s former Foreign Minister and Justice Minister, said as much during the day’s most noteworthy event….Livni spoke of having “completely different strategic relations with the moderate Sunni states,” but said she realized ‘that in order to do so we need to take steps with the Palestinians.’ She remarked on the possibility that the ‘window of opportunity to work with the region’ would close because of stasis in the peace process.”

A ‘wave of violence’ that never actually ends, +972

Haggai Matar writes, “The Palestinians killed over the past few months are only a small part of the picture that does not even get into the daily life of the military regime in the occupied territories, in which there are two separate, discriminatory legal systems — one for Jews and another Arabs….All these make up just a part of the wave of violence and nearly 50 years of military occupation. When we only talk about violence against Israelis, we play into the hands of those who believe the Palestinian lives do not matter. This is a dangerous place to be, especially if we want to understand where we are living, what is happening, why there is no military solution, and how we can one day end the occupation and the violence and live in peace.”

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