How nominee for US ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s confirmation hearing could unfold

What We’re Reading

US-Israel relations

Opinion: Trump's Senate Battle for Israel Ambassador Could Come Down to One Wildcard Vote,

“Ties to and donations from pro-Israel groups may affect senators’ decisions. This is how David Friedman’s confirmation hearing will play out,” writes Amir Tibon.

J Street And Liberals Line Up For Battle Against David Friedman,

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on Friedman Thursday and even though he is likely to win the confirmation, liberal groups are launching a full court press to try and block the pro-settlement, anti-two-state solution bankruptcy lawyer from becoming Trump’s top diplomat in Israel.

More Americans support – and oppose – Netanyahu than ever, poll finds,

Americans back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more than ever, a poll found Monday on the eve of his first visit there since the election of US President Donald Trump, though more than ever also oppose him.

Peace process

Palestinians in East Jerusalem battle for their homes,

Dozens of Palestinian families live with the constant threat of eviction by Israeli settler groups in the occupied city.

German-Israeli government meeting canceled amid settlements row,

German officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested the real reason for the cancellation was the feeling that the two governments were too far apart on the issue of Middle East peace to make such a meeting worthwhile.

Breaking the Silence director announces her resignation,

Yuli Novak, who has headed Breaking the Silence for the past five years, wrote in a Facebook post that she felt it was “the right time” for her departure. She explained her decision to step down as director of the group as part of a need for “organizations involved in such an intense political struggle” to “refresh themselves.”

Palestinian politics

PA fumes at Qatar accusation it doesn’t care about Gaza energy crisis,

The Palestinian Authority angrily denied an accusation from Qatar’s special envoy to the Gaza Strip that it is not doing its best to solve an electricity crisis in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Senior PA official asks EU to boycott settlement products,

Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says total ban on West Bank-made goods is needed to thwart Israel’s ‘colonization plans.’

How Hamas prisoners elect leaders behind bars,

Even locked in Israeli prisons, Hamas members contribute to the movement’s decision-making process by holding leadership elections every two years.

Israeli politics

Netanyahu reportedly to give up Communications Ministry,

Hebrew daily says prime minister’s move brought about by High Court petition that alleges conflict of interest.

Israeli Minister sees fresh Gaza conflict after Hamas anoints ‘unpredictable’ leader,

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday that a fresh conflict with Gaza is simply a matter of time, after Hamas picked a hardliner to lead the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli Minister claims Netanyahu, Trump will push for Palestinian state in Sinai,

Predicting a sharp and somewhat bewildering shift in policy, Minister Ayoub Kara said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump will discuss a plan to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula and not in the West Bank, reviving an idea long rejected by the international community.

Israelis post anti-Arab racism online every 46 seconds, study finds,

A new study shows that Israeli Jews publushed 675,000 racist posts on social media in 2016 — a dangerous increase from 2015, when only 280,000 such posts were published.


Love in the time of closure,

This Valentine’s Day Gisha offers three stories of love as experienced under closure in Gaza.