News Roundup for September 8, 2016

September 8, 2016

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Top News and Analysis

Getting Bill Out of the House, The Atlantic

Jeffrey Goldberg writes, “No one has come closer to achieving peace than Clinton, and it is at least somewhat plausible that, had Rabin lived, and had the Palestinians been led by someone other than Arafat, Clinton would today be known as the man who brought an end to the Middle East’s 100‑year war. Bill Clinton….is the sui generis president who left office widely popular on both sides of the divide. Assigning Bill the role of super-negotiator (deputies would have to lay the groundwork for a revived process, and manage its numberless intricacies) could provide Hillary with her best chance of success….The future of Israel has been a key bipartisan concern for generations of Americans, and it is almost axiomatic that if the Palestinians have no viable future, neither does Israel. Only the United States has the power to cajole, manipulate, pressure, and persuade these two peoples to come to an agreement, and in the United States today, the best person to lead such an effort is the person who has already led such an effort.”

Palestinians freeze first local elections in years due to Hamas, Fatah spat, Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday to freeze the local elections in the West Bank and Gaza this October due to what it described as serious irregularities – chiefly a court ruling in Gaza to remove candidate slates identified with Fatah in Gaza, and the exclusion of East Jerusalem from the election process. Palestinian sources told Haaretz that the election process was seriously harmed when the Gaza courts, which are essentially Hamas-run, decided to annul the lists of candidates associated with Fatah in Gaza.

5 Things To Watch as Donald Trump Woos Megadonor Sheldon Adelson, Forward

Nathan Guttman observes, “So far, Sheldon Adelson is showing Donald Trump his face — but not his money.”

Trump Supporters Hope to Win Israel by Getting Out the West Bank Vote, Haaretz

Asher Schechter writes, “Opening a campaign office for a U.S. presidential candidate in a West Bank settlement is unprecedented, and the people campaigning for Trump in Israel did not intend for this clear nod to go unnoticed.”


Clinton defends Iran nuke deal, says US ‘not being played’ by Tehran, Times of Israel

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Iran was “on a fast track” to acquiring the material necessary to make a nuclear weapon before the deal was signed last year. The Iran deal, Clinton said, “put a lid on their nuclear program,” insisting that the US is not “being played” by Iran. Clinton said the deal allows enough insight into Iran’s actions to ensure they’re following the rules.

Russia Says No Date Set for Netanyahu, Abbas Meeting in Moscow, Haaretz

Russian President Vladimir Putin is still trying to arrange a meeting in Moscow between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Moscow said that Netanyahu and Abbas have “agreed in principle” to hold such a meeting, but the sides have yet agreed on a date.

Israeli forces level private Palestinian land near Hebron, deliver demolition notices, Ma’an

Israeli forces reportedly leveled 40 dunums of Palestinian land, uprooted more than 800 trees, and “soiled” two wells in the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Ula, northwest of Hebron on Wednesday. Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, Israeli forces also reportedly delivered demolition notices to three homes in the Hebron area village of Tarqumiya, claiming they were built in ‘Area C- — the area of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control — without proper permission.

Israel Used Military Censor to Conceal First Settlements From Public, Document Reveals, Haaretz

A previously classified document from 1969 shows that Israel’s leaders used the military censor to cover up the establishment of the first West Bank settlements.

Israelis more pro-Clinton than Americans — poll, Times of Israel

Despite many efforts by Donald Trump’s election campaign to show off his pro-Israel credentials, a recent survey released Wednesday shows that Israelis prefer Hillary Clinton by a wider margin than do Americans.

In First, Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland Boycotts New Israel Fund’s Event, Haaretz

The Israeli ambassador to Switzerland, Jacob Keidar, has decided to boycott a conference in Zurich held by the New Israel Fund, after having previously confirmed his attendance. The conference is scheduled to deal with issues such as democracy in Israel. A few weeks ago, Keidar was invited to speak at the opening of one of the panels and confirmed his attendance. The panel is entitled: “Is Israeli democracy in danger?” The president of the NIF, Talia Sasson, is scheduled to participate in the panel, along with the former head of the Shin Bet security service Carmi Gillon and Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken.

Israel begins work on NIS 2 billion underground Gaza barrier, Times of Israel

Israel recently broke ground on a new subterranean barrier along the length of its border with the Gaza Strip, aimed at stopping Palestinian terror groups from tunneling into the country and carrying out attacks.

Opinion and Analysis

Has Israel’s secular majority been abandoned by politicians?, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem observes, “In the transportation chaos that disrupted the country, with train service halted until maintenance work is finished, the voice of Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid was resoundingly silent. Until recently, Lapid had been the representative of the secular community, but this time left the secular public without an effective leader to fight for them. True, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who capitulated to ultra-Orthodox demands and gave the order to postpone the maintenance work from the Sabbath itself to Saturday night. But Lapid also folded, turning his ideological banner into a white flag of surrender. On Sept. 6, Lapid’s gamble paid off: A Channel 2 survey indicated that Yesh Atid, headed by Lapid, currently has the most support.”

Q&A with Sam Bahour, FMEP Blog

An interview with Palestinian-American businessman Sam Bahour. “ My understanding of the role of business and economic development, where possible under continued and prolonged Israeli military occupation, is one of non-violent resistance. The ultimate aim is creating employment for Palestinians under occupation so Palestinians who are here stay here.”

Netanyahu Adviser Was Paid for by U.S. Nonprofit – but AG Halted Probe, Haaretz

Gidi Weitz reports, “The alleged incident occurred before Netanyahu was reelected prime minister in 2009, and involved funding Netanyahu received from an American nonprofit called American Friends of Likud, whose donors get a tax deduction and whose primary aim is education and facilitating meetings between American officials and Likud ministers, MKs and other opinion makers. Ari Harow, who later served as chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, headed the organization during the relevant period. During these years the nonprofit allegedly financed trips that Sara Netanyahu took abroad, and while Netanyahu was head of the opposition it allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars to an adviser of his under the guise of providing services to the organization.”

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