News Roundup for September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016

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Top News and Analysis

Abbas at UN: Palestinians Will Present Security Council Resolution Against Israeli Settlements, Haaretz

President Abbas said on Thursday he plans to soon present the UN Security Council with a resolution against the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. At the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas said he hoped no country would veto the resolution. The Palestinians will “continue to exert all efforts” for a UN Security Council resolution against Israel, adding that he was “in intensive consultations with Arab countries” regarding the resolution and he hoped that it would not be vetoed. He stressed that the Palestinians’ 1993 recognition of Israel “remains in force,” but added that Israel “must reciprocate with similar recognition of Palestine and put an end to the occupation.” “Both nations must live side by side as good neighbors in secure borders,” he said.

Benjamin Netanyahu Invites Mahmoud Abbas To Address Israel’s Knesset, Forward

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed “the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative” and invited President Abbas to the Knesset in his General Assembly speech on Thursday. “The UN began as moral force, and has become a moral farce,” Netanyahu said. He said that while the United Nations denounces Israel, the United States supports Israel. More and more nations around the world see Israel as a partner, the prime minister said. ”Everything will change and a lot sooner than you think,” he said.

World Crises Push Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Off U.N. Center Stage, The New York Times

Peter Baker writes, “Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu have been at this for so long that between them they have addressed the world body 19 times, every year cajoling, lecturing, warning and guilt-tripping the international community into seeing their side of the bloody struggle between their two peoples. Their speeches are filled with grievance and bristling with resentment, as they summon the ghosts of history from hundreds and even thousands of years ago to make their case. While each year finds some new twist, often nuanced, sometimes incendiary, the argument has been running long enough that the world has begun to move on. Where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once dominated the annual meeting of the United Nations, this year it has become a side show as Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas compete for attention against seemingly more urgent crises like the civil war in Syria and the threat from the Islamic State.”

Jewish National Fund Finally Releases List of Grantees in Israeli West Bank Settlements, Haaretz

Judy Maltz reports, “Bowing to pressure from a Jewish human rights organization, the Jewish National Fund office in the United States has for the first time included in its annual financial report a detailed breakdown of its investments in projects overseas. This breakdown was requested in order to determine whether the non-profit, which enjoys U.S.-tax-exempt status, contributes to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as has long been suspected – and if so, to what degree. The organization’s latest tax report for fiscal year 2014, submitted earlier this month, contains an itemized list of the $27.7 million in grants it awarded projects and organizations outside the United States. The sum included $532,500 to the Gush Etzion Visitors Center, which is located over the Green Line. In addition, the total included grants to several other projects and organizations thought to be linked to the settlement movement or engaged in activities in the occupied territories.”


Gaza power station to shut down due to lack of fuel supplies, Ma’an

The energy authority in the Gaza Strip has announced that the besieged coastal enclave’s sole power plant will stop running until next Tuesday due to fuel shortages, as Israel’s Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing remained closed to fuel imports for the second consecutive day.

Abbas official: Netanyahu’s invitation to address Knesset ‘bluff’, Times of Israel

A Palestinian Authority official late Thursday dismissed an invitation extended by Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Abbas to speak at the Knesset as a “bluff.”

Watchdog Slams Israel’s School Anti-racism Activity, Haaretz

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira has presented President Reuven Rivlin with his report on the school system’s campaign for educating toward communal life and against racism. The report’s main points were published last week by Haaretz, pointing to a string of failures in the way the Education Ministry has handled the issue, defined as a central value in Israeli society.

‘Suicide by soldier’ Palestinian girl freed by military court, Times of Israel

A new teenage girl who was shot by Israeli security guards at a West Bank checkpoint, in an apparent suicide attempt, was released from custody on Thursday. Thirteen-year-old Bara’a Ramadan Owaisi from Qalqilya was freed by an Israeli military court, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The court found there was no evidence that she had attempted any attack; nor had she been in possession of a weapon.

Palestinian Teen Shot During Attempted Stabbing Near Hebron, Haaretz

An alleged stabbing attack was thwarted Friday in the West Bank, the Israeli army said. According to initial reports, a 14-year-old Palestinian was shot while attempting a stabbing attack near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, outside of Hebron.

At UN, Netanyahu meets 15 African leaders to talk tech, rapprochement, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with at least 15 leaders and representatives of African countries on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York. According to a statement by Netanyahu’s office, the meeting was part of Israel’s continuing bid to renew and rejuvenate ties with African states.

Opinion and Analysis

Liberman’s punishment strategy brings an end to West Bank calm, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar reports, “According to the Palestinian security source who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, the decision to replace the IDF’s policy of restraint with Liberman’s carrot-and-stick policy has fueled tremendous rage in the refugee camps. One need only see the many bandaged young Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli troops to understand where this is going, he said…..Now that the wave of terror has re-emerged, no one will remember what came first: IDF activity that fueled the motivation to carry out terror attacks or terror attacks that resulted in IDF retaliation, including friction with civilians. Either way, the result is clear: Liberman’s carrot-and-stick policy has ignited a blaze. One can only hope that the new defense minister has another contingency plan for dousing the flames.”

At UN, Netanyahu’s Gimmicks Have Run Out, His Passion Gone and Even Iran Isn’t What It Used to Be, Haaretz

Barak Ravid writes, “Those present at the UN and who heard the speeches by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and then by Netanyahu could do little to stop feeling overcome by a sense of deep desperation and hopelessness regarding the prospects of bringing about any real change or advancing a peaceful resolution to the conflict plaguing both peoples. With every passing year, Netanyahu and Abbas sound more and more like broken records of world leaders from the 1970s. It was almost as if it was Golda Meir and Yasser Arafat on the stage. While Abbas is still stuck making empty statements on the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Netanyahu is arguing about the 1947 Partition Plan. Those present saw only two leaders obsessed with the status quo and historical score settling — not with restarting a reconciliation process, advancing toward a better future and reaching a historical peace accord.”

The strange case of the Israeli defense minister, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit observes, “Liberman and Eizenkot….so appreciate each other that differences of opinion are resolved between them in private. This description of circumstances is still accurate. Nevertheless, the chief of staff’s stomach is starting to hurt, and there is a rift widening between the two men. While it has yet to become impassible, the ground hasn’t been solid for a long time.”

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