Netanyahu vows not to evacuate settlements; What’s behind Palestinian prisoner payments

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Human rights

Netanyahu says Israel won't retreat on Jewish settlements: 'We are here to stay forever',

Days after meeting a White House delegation to discuss restarting peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully spoke out against a principal tenet of any likely agreement: the scaling back of Jewish settlements.

White House declines to criticize Netanyahu for comments on settlements,

A senior Trump administration official refrained from criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for promising on Monday that he would not uproot West Bank settlements. “It is no secret what each side’s position is on this issue,” a senior White House official told Jewish Insider“Our focus is on continuing our conversations with both parties and regional leaders to work towards facilitating a deal that factors in all substantive issues.”

Palestinians, NGOs file objection that could delay new settlement,

A group of Palestinians landowners, village heads, and Israeli rights NGOs filed an objection Sunday seeking to halt construction of a new settlement being built to house evacuees of the illegal Amona outpost.

Jewish lawmakers ascend Temple Mount in trial visit,

Two Jewish Knesset members visited the Temple Mount, the first time they have been allowed to since October 2015.

Meet the Palestinian Israel put on trial for her poetry,

Dareen Tatour has spent over a year and a half under house arrest for publishing a poem on her Facebook page. Since then, she has lost the ability to support herself, and cannot leave the house without a ‘chaperone.’ Orly Noy spoke to Tatour about the difficulty of living under constant surveillance, her love for Hebrew and Arabic poetry, and the need for Jews and Arabs to learn each other’s language.

Opinion: How Israel won the war and defeated the Palestinian dream,

“Though in the very long term, Israel’s status as a Jewish and democratic state is still imperiled, five decades after the occupation began, the Palestinian national movement has been largely defeated,” writes Gregg Carlstrom.

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

Why Palestinian Payments to Convicted Militants Are Likely to Continue, No Matter What Congress Does,

“It’s tough to peer deep into every individual attacker’s psyche, and in some cases the payments may help Palestinian militants rationalize their actions. However, lost in that argument is that the main reason Palestinians cite to justify violence is Israel’s punitive occupation,” writes Alex Kane.

New Senior Adviser to US Ambassador to Israel: Ideology Trumps Experience,

Aryeh Lightstone, an orthodox rabbi with no diplomatic experience, is now the senior adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. In 2014-15, Lightstone served as CEO of Shining City, an American organization that has provided substantial funding for the ultra-nationalist, right-wing Israeli watchdog Im Tirtzu.

Israeli politics

Israel's defense minister in crosshairs over stalled Hamas prisoner deal,

The highly publicized clash between Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the families of two soldiers — Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul — whose bodies are being held by Hamas has underscored an Israeli decision to limit the price it will pay for the remains.


Hamas official denies his group has upped demands in prisoner-swap talks,

A senior Hamas official has denied a report that the terror group is demanding the release of thousands of prisoners held by Israel as a prerequisite for talks on a wider swap that would secure the return of three Israeli civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers believed held in the Gaza Strip.

Relations with Iran are 'excellent', Hamas leader says,

Hamas and Iran have patched up relations, the Palestinian group’s new leader in Gaza said on Monday, and Tehran is again Hamas’ biggest backer after years of tension over the civil war in Syria.