News Roundup for September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018

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J Street in the News

With New Bill, Congress Can Stop Trump’s March to War With Iran, J Street

“A vital new bill introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) would prevent President Trump from launching a war against Iran without first obtaining Congressional authorization. J Street urges Senators to support this legislation — and fulfill their constitutional obligation to act as a check on the president’s ability to take our nation into another disastrous war of choice.”

In UNGA Speech, Netanyahu Promoted Right-Wing Agenda Over Israel’s Interests, J Street

“In his speech today before the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Netanyahu once again made clear that he is committed to advancing his own right-wing ideological agenda over Israel’s national security and long-term interests. The prime minister’s ongoing attacks on the JCPOA nuclear agreement ignore the recommendations of the majority of Israel’s own security establishment, who support the agreement and its success in blocking all Iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon. The best way to monitor Iranian activity and ensure that Iran can never obtain a nuclear weapon is to maintain and enforce the deal– yet Netanyahu is determined to destroy it, without putting forward any viable alternative.”

Top News and Analysis

Back to the Only Solution, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, [Recent] remarks by Netanyahu and Trump confirm what every fair-minded Israeli knows: There is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict other than that of two states for two peoples. It’s not just the Israelis who know this. Similar remarks were made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who said the parameters of a resolution to the Palestinian issue are well-known and that there is no time to waste on debates. ‘What is required is political will to resume negotiations and achieve a settlement in accordance with these parameters,’ he said.”

Is the two-state option headed back to center stage?, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem writes, “In recent days, leaders of Israel’s political center-left have managed to generate a measure of public interest in an alternative to the moribund negotiations with the Palestinians. It began with the highly publicized meeting in Paris between former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sept. 21. After the meeting, Olmert said that only Abbas is able to implement the two-state solution. Several days later, on Sept. 25, an opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, also met with Abbas, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, at a New York City hotel. This event, too, generated major headlines in Israel, largely due to Livni’s aides, who shared information about the meeting with the press….The Likud, especially Netanyahu, can be trusted to take advantage of this moment in time to turn everything upside down, to explain that Olmert and Livni are out of touch with the people and dangerous and irrelevant, whereas he himself knows what is right for Israel. In any case, these days the headlines emerging from Netanyahu’s visit to New York, on the occasion of the UN General Assembly meeting, are more moderate, with Netanyahu saying he does not oppose a Palestinian state within borders that would serve Israel’s national interests.”


Abbas says Trump is gutting peace process: “What is left to negotiate?”, Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas renewed criticism of the Trump administration at the United Nations on Thursday, questioning in a speech what is left to discuss after the American president sought to remove core issues from the negotiating table.

Israeli PM claims Iran has a “secret” nuclear facility and warehouse, CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Thursday that Iran has a “secret” nuclear facility and warehouse in Tehran, but offered no proof of the claim or details. Netanyahu, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly said that he had shared this information with the International Atomic Energy Agency and intelligence agencies.

US official calls Netanyahu’s Iran nuclear warehouse claim ‘somewhat misleading’, Times of Israel

A US intelligence official said claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a secret warehouse in Tehran contained nuclear “equipment and material” were “somewhat misleading,” Reuters reported Friday.

‘Disturbed’ and ‘disappointed’ Pompeo slams EU plan to bypass Iran sanctions, CNBC

America’s top diplomat had harsh words for Europe and its fellow remaining members of the Iranian nuclear deal after it was announced they would develop a financial mechanism to bypass U.S. sanctions and continue doing business with Iran.

Greenblatt says Palestinians squandered US aid, defends funding cuts, i24NEWS
US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt on Thursday reaffirmed commitment to the recent slew of American funding cuts to the Palestinians, arguing that the billions of dollars provided over the years had failed to advance the cause for peace with Israel.

EU offers an extra $46 million to Palestinian refugee agency, Associated Press

The European Union says it’s offering an extra 40 million euros ($46 million) to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency to help educate children and provide health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump is risking more than a war of words with Iran, Guardian

Simon Tisdall writes, “Despite the giggles that greeted Donald Trump at the UN this week, the threats and insults he hurled at Iran are no laughing matter. The US president is pursuing a deliberate, premeditated and high-risk campaign to provoke, intimidate and ultimately overthrow the Tehran regime. His verbal assaults are matched by damaging US sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians and will culminate in November with a global embargo on Iran’s crucial oil exports. At that point, Iran’s hardliners, more or less restrained until now by President Hassan Rouhani, may take matters into their own hands. The dire prospect of direct armed confrontation in the Gulf is increasing by the day.”

Netanyahu Backs Future Palestinian State, Reigniting the Leftist’s Dilemma, Haaretz

Aluf Benn writes, “Every time a leader of the Israeli right seems to move toward peace by words or deeds, the ‘leftist’s dilemma’ arises again: Do we believe him and support his policy, despite the damage he has caused domestically and, in the cases of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, despite the alleged corruption and investigations? Underlying the dilemma is the recognition that it is easier for a right-wing prime minister to evacuate territories and settlements because the only resistance he must face is from the settler movement. Left-wing prime ministers face a much broader opposition, which includes Likud and its satellites as well as the ultra-Orthodox parties.”

Why Donald Trump is dangerous for Israel, Times of Israel

Marc Schulman writes, “[In] weakening the United States on the world stage, Donald Trump is abandoning America’s role as enlightened hegemon. He is saying that the very world institutions that magnified American power are no longer important for the United States. Trump is eliminating America’s secret weapon, its soft power. When the time comes and Israel needs America’s assistance on the world stage it will be unable to help. Its influence will have diminished, the world will no longer be dependent on it. The US alliance has always been Israel’s strongest strategic asset other than the IDF. A weaker US, is a weaker Israel, and make no mistake, Donald Trump is weakening America.”