Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: December 7, 2017

What We’re Reading

FMEP in the news

Making America’s Mideast Policy Great Again?,

“Trump believes, or is being led by people close to him to believe, that he can ‘Make America’s Middle East Peace Efforts Great Again’ through his favored strategy: elevating far right-wing ideologues and sycophants over competent professionals; blowing up all the policies that came before him; and adopting new policies that all rational experts and historians warn won’t work and will likely backfire,” writes FMEP’s Lara Friedman.

Reflections on the Death of the Peace Process,

“Effectively downgrading the status of the Palestinians in Washington, changing U.S. policy on Jerusalem, and moving forward with legislation that will implicitly define the Palestinian Authority as a body that supports terror – each of these new policies, on its own, would be sufficient to cast profound doubt on the commitment of the United States to a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” writes FMEP’s Lara Friedman.

Jared Kushner By Day: Mideast Peace. Kushner Companies By Night: Donating to a West Bank Settlement.,

“Under normal circumstances you would expect someone who has a background of activism related to Israel to be working very hard to take a step back from that to show that he can be a credible mediator. Not only is that not the case, it’s the opposite,” Lara Friedman tells ProPublica.

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

Opinion: Trump Is Making a Huge Mistake on Jerusalem,

“With his announcement on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has legitimized Israel’s illegal actions and sent the message that the United States no longer has any regard for international conventions or norms, and that might and power prevail over justice and the law,” writes Hanan Ashrawi.

Trump’s Jerusalem declaration: A ‘death certificate’ of U.S. stewardship in peace process,

Jerusalem expert, activist, and attorney Daniel Seidemann talks to +972 about the short- and long-term ramifications of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, from the prospects of violence to the void left behind as Washington disqualifies itself as broker in the Israel-Palestine political process.

Trump had for months been determined to move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,

“It’s insane. We’re all resistant,” said one Trump confidant who recently spoke to the president about it. “He doesn’t realize what all he could trigger by doing this.”

State, Defense and CIA chiefs all opposed Jerusalem declaration,

Tillerson, Mattis and Pompeo said to have privately urged Trump to reconsider recognition of capital, while Kushner and Greenblatt asked to delay the embassy move.

Abbas says Trump’s Jerusalem decision ends historic US role as peace broker,

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said US President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has ended Washington’s historic role as the key sponsor for Israel-Palestinian peace talks, and called for an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership.

After recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump delays moving embassy,

Hours after ordering preparations for a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, President Donald Trump delayed moving the diplomatic mission to the city by another six months.

Jordan rejects Trump's move on Jerusalem as legally 'null',

Jordan on Wednesday rejected the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling it legally “null” because it consolidated Israel’s occupation of the eastern sector of the contested city.

Occupation/Human rights

The Conflict in Jerusalem Is Distinctly Modern. Here’s the History.,

Conflicts over Jerusalem go back thousands of years — including biblical times, the Roman Empire and the Crusades — but the current one is a distinctly 20th-century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Outside-In Won’t Resolve The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,

“The history of Palestinian activism does not support the central concept of outside-in, which is that powerful Arab regimes can impose their will on the Palestinians,” writes Paul Pillar.

Palestinians Clash With Israeli Soldiers Over Trump's Jerusalem Decision,

At least 16 Palestinians were wounded on Thursday in the West Bank, East Jerualem and Gaza during clashes with Israeli soldiers following U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to the Red Crescent.

Palestinian politics

Senior Palestinian figure urges exit from peace talks over Trump's move,

Influential exiled Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan said on Wednesday Palestinians should reject any future peace talks and halt security coordination with Israel over US plans to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Hamas warns West Bank arrests could derail reconciliation,

Hamas is accusing the Palestinian security services in the West Bank of continued political arrests against its members despite the reconciliation agreement with Fatah.

Israeli politics

Bill that would hinder negotiating Jerusalem's borders goes to final vote,

The legislation, an amendment to Basic Law: Jerusalem, would raise the number of MKs needed to give up Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem to 80 MKs, two-thirds of the Knesset.