Arab News Sources
The New Arab: 'The Palestinians are given so much,' claims Trump
US President-elect Donald Trump has said that the recent UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements has made it difficult for him to negotiate Middle East peace: "The problem I have is that it makes it a tougher deal for me to negotiate because the Palestinians are given so much – even though it's not legally binding it’s psychologically binding and it makes it much tougher for me to negotiate. You understand that? Because people are giving away chips, they’re giving away all these chips". The president-elect went on to criticise outgoing President Barack Obama's stance on the resolution, which condemned Israel for violating international law. "I think it was terrible," Trump answered, referring to Obama's approach, to the vote, which also drew fierce criticism from Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu. "It should have been a veto. I think it was terrible".
Middle East Eye: Palestinian justice student organisation denied by Fordham University
Rights groups on Monday slammed Fordham University, a school in New York, for not granting Students for Justice in Palestine (SPJ) official status as a student club. Palestine Legal, a non-profit organisation that gives legal advice for groups expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said the decision made by the university violates free speech and academic freedom. “Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, or national origin by institutions that receive federal funding. A university may lose its federal funding if it treats a student differently because of his/her national origin, resulting in a denial of a student’s educational activities,” the group said in a statement. A group of students that wanted to create a SPJ club was denied by Fordham University after the school had deliberated the group’s application for more than a year, subjugating the group’s application to intense scrutiny, including multiple reviews and hearings.
English Palestinian News Network: Palestinians take Trump embassy pledge to the streets
Hundreds of Palestinians on Thursday held protests in different areas of the West Bank in protest of Trump’s statements on moving US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Protesters from the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron put up slogans telling Trump to “Take [his] racism away from the Holy City” and “Our dignity is non-negotiable…Do not touch Jerusalem.” Other Arabic slogans said that “the whole world is moving forward but the Trump administration is moving backwards.” The protests come two days after US President-elect, Donald Trump told the Israeli daily, Israel Hayom, that he intends to go through with his pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The protests also condemned the Israeli crimes in Umm Al-Hiran on Wednesday, where two Palestinians were killed and the homes in the community were demolished.
Al-Jazeera: Palestinians in Israel strike after deadly Negev raid
Palestinians in Israel have launched a general strike a day after an Israeli raid on a Bedouin village in the Negev region turned fatal. The strike on Thursday was held in cities, towns and villages across Israel, with hundreds of Palestinians protesting in Um al Hiran, the village where police shot dead 47-year-old Yacoub Moussa Abu al-Qiyan in what they claim was a vehicular attack. The incident resulted in the death of police officer Erez Levi, who was hit by Qiyan's car. Residents of the Um al Hiran claim he lost control of his vehicle when police opened fire on it while locals confronted security forces as they attempted to carry out home demolitions in the village. Israeli police claimed that Qiyan, a teacher, was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. The allegation has been roundly rejected by Um al Hiran residents and Palestinian politicians in Israel. Other demonstrations took place in Haifa, Acre, Nazareth and Jerusalem on Thursday. Um Al Hiran is just one of about 40 "unrecognised" Bedouin villages in Negev scheduled for demolition despite being home to tens of thousands of residents. Israel plans to demolish the whole of Um Al Hiran and replace it with a Jewish village by the name of Hiran.
Herbrew News Sources
The Times of Israel: Rebuking UN, Israeli envoy links anti-settlement resolution to terror
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Tuesday rebuked the Security Council over Resolution 2334 it approved last month. The ambassador said the resolution emboldens Palestinian obstinacy and distances peace, and hinted that it also provided a tailwind for terror. The UN SC convened to discuss “the Palestinian question” in the wake of a mounting campaign in world bodies to restart stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the first since Resolution 2334, December 23 2016. During his address, Danon brandished the photographs of four Israeli soldiers killed last week in a truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, quoting Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and linking it to the Security Council resolution. “The day after the SC vote, Fatah, the movement of [Palestinian leader] Mahmoud Abbas, posted a cartoon on their official Facebook page. It showed a dagger in the shape of a map of Israel coloured with Palestinian flag. Not Judea and Samaria; all of Israel. Under the dagger was a pool of blood and next to it said, ‘Thank you’ and listed each Council member who voted for the shameful resolution.” He went on to say it [Resolution 2334] was a reward for the Palestinians that encouraged them “to continue down a dangerous path they have chosen” of avoiding direct negotiations with Israel. “This council may have thought it would send a message to Israel but you instead sent a message to the Palestinians that they should continue to spread their lies,” he said
Israel Hayom: Trump: I haven't forgotten my promise about Jerusalem
President-elect Donald Trump landed in Washington, D.C. this week for the events leading up to his inauguration on Friday as the 45th president of the United States. On Tuesday Thomas J. Barrack Jr. put on an event to present Trump's ideas to the 147 foreign ambassadors, consuls, and diplomats currently serving in Washington. This writer, a former Israeli ambassador to an Islamist country, enjoyed the chance to speak with Trump again and remind him of what he had said in a previous interview to Israel Hayom about moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the latter as the capital of Israel. When asked if he remembered his promise, Trump replied: "Of course I remember what I told you about Jerusalem. Of course I didn't forget. And you know I'm not a person who breaks promises," he said. When asked about current events in Israel, Trump replied: "I can't wait to start working with Israel. This weekend, relations between us officially begin." The issue of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is one that is keeping his transition team busy. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, one of the chief architects of Trump's electoral victory, spoke with Israel Hayom and said, "Of course we support it [the embassy move]. I think we need to do it tomorrow."
Jerusalem Post: UN official: Israeli-Palestinian water talks important for two-state solution
A UN official on Monday lauded the renewed cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians on water issues in the West Bank, after a 6 year freeze, as an important move to the creation of a two-state solution. “I welcome the signature of an agreement to renew the activity of the Israeli – Palestinian Joint Water Committee to improve the water infrastructure and supply in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. This, along with previous joint agreements on electricity, water, mail and 3G cellular coverage, is in line with the Middle East Quartet’s recommendations," UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov said. "If fully implemented, this agreement would be an important step toward preserving the two-state solution. I encourage further cooperation between the two sides which is critical to the viability of a future Palestinian state," Mladenov said. “Signing the water agreement proves that you can reach agreements and understandings when you discuss matters in a substantive, bilateral manner that is clean of foreign considerations when it concerns matters of natural resources and other infrastructural issues that affect the entire population,” said Major General Yoav Mordechai. The West Bank suffers from acute water shortages in the summer months.
Israel Today: UK Blocks Adoption of 'Unhelpful' Paris Conference Declaration
After helping the UN Security Council pass a harsh anti-Israel resolution last month, Britain this week turned the tables and blocked the European Union from officially adopting the final declaration from Sunday’s Middle East peace conference in Paris. London spurned the conference by sending three low-level diplomats, while the other 70 or so nations attending all sent heads of state or foreign ministers. British officials noted the ridiculous timing of the conference, just days ahead of the inauguration of a new US administration that has very different views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict than its predecessor. They also pointed out that Israel and the Palestinians weren’t even at the conference, and yet everyone there agreed that peace can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations. Both the UK and Australia refused to sign the final declaration, which, as usual, placed the lion’s share of the blame for the lack of peace on Jewish settlement activity. At the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, the UK again refused to endorse the document, and convinced several eastern European nations to do the same. The council can only officially adopt such resolutions with a unanimous vote.
International News Sources
Reuters: Trump's U.N. nominee to blast world body over Israel: testimony
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will blast the world body over its treatment of Israel at her Senate confirmation hearing, according to prepared testimony seen by Reuters on Tuesday. "Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel," Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said in the opening remarks for her appearance on Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers," the speech says. Noting that the United States contributes 22 percent of the UN budget, far more than any other country, Haley asked, "Are we getting what we pay for?" She promised to work with U.S. lawmakers to pursue what she described as "seriously needed change" at the United Nations. Some Republican lawmakers, led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have threatened to cut U.S. funding for the United Nations after the Security Council adopted a Dec. 23 resolution demanding an end to settlement building by Israel.
New York Post: Obama warns “moment may be passing” for two-state solution
President Obama on Wednesday warned that the “moment may be passing” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama said in his final White House news conference that he continues to be worried that the “status quo is unsustainable” in Israel. He said his administration has tried to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution because he does not “see an alternative to it.” The US decision to allow the United Nations’ most powerful body to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has been condemned by President-elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama says Trump “will have his own policy” and that is his administration’s prerogative, calling the situation in Israel “a volatile environment.”
Reuters: Israel deploys 'Star Wars' missile killer system
Israel's upgraded ballistic missile shield became operational on Wednesday, in a "Star Wars"-like extension of its capabilities to outer space where incoming missiles can be safely destroyed. The Defence Ministry said the U.S.-funded Arrow 3 system, jointly developed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and U.S. firm Boeing Co. (BA.N), was handed over the Israeli Air Force. The Arrow 3, together with the Arrow 2, which has been operational since 2000, would "significantly reduce the possibilities of ballistic missiles" hitting Israel, the ministry said in a statement. Arrow 3 missiles will fly into space, where their warheads detach to become "kamikaze" satellites that track and slam into their targets. Such high-altitude shoot-downs are meant to safely destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles. Israel has frequently voiced concern about a ballistic missile threat posed by its arch-foe, Iran.
BBC: Israeli policeman and Bedouin killed during clashes over demolitions
Police said an officer was killed in a car-ramming attack in Umm al-Hiran, in the Negev desert, and that the Israeli Arab driver of the car was shot dead. They alleged he was active in an Islamist group and might have been influenced by so-called Islamic State. But locals said he just lost control of his car after being shot by police. There have been many house demolitions in Umm al-Hiran as a new, mainly Jewish town is built on the site. The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected an argument that members of a local Bedouin tribe have rights to the land. The army moved them to Umm al-Hiran from their original village in the 1950s, a few years after the State of Israel was created. They have now been told to move to new housing elsewhere. Police spokesman Supt Micky Rosenfeld said a local man had driven at speed towards officers deployed during an operation to demolish 15 structures deemed to have been built without a permit on state land. "A vehicle driven by a terrorist from the Islamic Movement intended to strike a number of officers and carry out an attack," said Police spokesman Supt Micky Rosenfeld. "The officers responded and the terrorist was neutralised." Human rights activist Michal Haramati said the driver had not been driving towards police when he was shot. "Suddenly the car started to go down the hill, without control, absolutely," she told Reuters news agency. "The driver was obviously dead by the time that he lost control this way. That's when he hit the cops."
Ynet News: Israel and US Jewry moving further apart
The large gap between the feelings of the Jewish majority in Israel and the feeling of most US Jews following Donald Trump’s election should serve as a warning sign to all of us. It reflects processes that both the Jewish-Israeli and the Jewish-American societies are going through. The new tone of the incoming administration officials towards Israel, the feeling that Trump and his government will be more attentive to the stances of Israeli majority, and the symbolic gesture—perhaps only an intention—of moving the embassy to Jerusalem make the whole difference as far as many Israelis are concerned. At the exact same time, millions of American Jews will experience an exact opposite feeling. There too, this feeling will not be shared by all Jews. There are likely many American Jews, mainly Orthodox and Haredi, who will share the joy of Israel’s citizens, but the large majority of the US Jewry will experience a difficult rift. The US Jewry, which has worked over the years to guarantee that the US would stand by Israel at any situation, is no longer convinced that it is the right thing to do. The State of Israel, on its part, is finding new allies in America, including the large evangelical communities, for example, but not just them. Nevertheless, the growing gap between the State of Israel and the US Jewry should concern us when we consider the day after the Trump era. A future Democratic administration, even if it is filled with Jews, and especially if it is filled with Jews, may be so oppositional to Israel that it will make us miss Obama.
TIME Magazine: In the Trump Era, Israelis and Palestinians Must Find Their Own Path to Peace
The election of Donald Trump, and the breakdown in international consensus on Israel/Palestine that is likely to emerge from this event signals one of the most important events in decades with regards to the stagnant peace process. OneVoice Europe’s John Lyndon argues that this will result in the weakening of international institutional structures that have kept events relatively calm in the region—such as the Quartet and the European Union—whilst in also preventing a coordinated policy from emerging from the international community. Amid international disorder and rancour, suddenly the Israelis and Palestinians take centre stage. The world has failed these people, but was never going to save them from themselves anyway. “A conflict ends when the people at its centre look over the precipice, and recognise that compromise is a life-or-death imperative.”
“We are hurtling toward that precipice now, and all eyes must turn toward the 14 million Arabs and Jews, intertwined and roughly equal in number, who live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Real change will require ordinary citizens stepping up, getting organised, and demanding a genuine break from history. Their fate is in their own hands. Despite all their internal dysfunction, looking at the state of the world in 2017, that could be very good news indeed.
The Guardian: Believe it or not, Barack Obama had Israel's best interest at heart
America has not one but two special relationships: one with Britain and one with Israel. When the two clash, the alliance with Israel usually trumps the one with Britain, as Tony Blair discovered to his cost in 2003. Blair was no match to the power of the Israel lobby in the US. American politicians of both parties often use the mantra that the bond with Israel is unbreakable. But Israel’s continuing drift to the right has imposed serious strains on the relations with its principal ally and chief benefactor. In America, Israel is essentially an issue in domestic politics rather than foreign policy. The Obama administration allowed resolution 2334 to be adopted because by their lights it was not anti-Israeli but, on the contrary, essential for preserving Israel as a Jewish and democratic country. Obama’s actual record over his eight years in office makes him one of the most pro-Israeli American presidents since Harry S Truman. Obama has given Israel considerably more money and arms than any of his predecessors. He has fully lived up to America’s formal commitment to preserve Israel’s “qualitative military edge” by supplying his ally with ever more sophisticated weapons systems. As is the case with Britain, at the core of the US-Israel special relationship are common values like freedom, democracy, the rule of law, justice, and equality. If anyone has betrayed these values, it is not the Obama administration but Israel’s hawk-infested cabinet.
Middle East Eye: The Paris peace conference without the peace
The celebratory speeches of the Paris Conference, in anticipation of positive change, were a total mockery of justice. Weariness about these conferences continues as they replay the efforts of the 2000 Clinton Parameters and the 2003 Roadmap for Peace document - except in a contorted and retrogressive manner, especially in the case of refugees, Jerusalem and borders. The impetus for the conference in Paris, like similar international efforts before it, was not to address the Palestinian reality and the roots of the issue, but rather to contain yet another Middle Eastern nuisance. The fact that the Paris conference wilfully chose to disregard the actual voices of those dealing with the consequences of the oppression, is a testament to the continued refusal of the international community to be in touch with the reality on the ground. It is a patronising attitude that Palestinian officials see as a step forward, when it merely conspires to further strip agency from the Palestinian public in a push for a virtually dead two-state solution. The perils of the Paris Conference, like western initiatives before it, is that it does not delve into the echelons of this settler-colonial milieu.