Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press
Today’s issues: Ties with Trump, construction – not destruction, Trump doesn’t really care about Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Hamas’ wordplay.
The Jerusalem Post contests Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s assumption that US President Donald Trump came into the White House with no position of his own on the issue of settlements and would therefore would have been willing to follow Israel’s lead and accept any policy advocated by Jerusalem, and asserts: “Though Trump is undoubtedly a strong advocate of Israel, he, like his predecessor, has his own set of interests and goals that do not necessarily overlap with those of the Bayit Yehudi Party. They do, however, seem to dovetail with the interests of a majority of Israelis who would like to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict that protects Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.”
Haaretz focuses on the discussion in the Knesset of a bill that would boost enforcement and penalties for building without a permit, and notes that while the bill doesn’t explicitly target the Arab public in Israel, it is nevertheless “clear to all that its consequences will primarily affect Arab communities.” The editor points out that “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades,” and argues: “This bill does not seek to solve the problem, but merely to make life more difficult for an already distressed population.”
Yediot Aharonot states: “The US president’s ‘strong desire’ to promote a peace agreement in the Middle East is intentional deception aimed at presenting him as a statesman with global aspirations,” but declares: “Trump won’t get his hands dirty solving our conflict—that’s our job.”
Israel Hayom discusses Hamas’ revised charter, and notes that whatever its position, the organization “is in desperate need of a dramatic move.” The author states that the new presents a challenge for Israel, and opines that Israel must explain that as far as it is concerned, so long as Hamas does not relinquish the option of force, and continues to claim that violence is a legitimate means of obtaining independence, “no word games will change its status among those who understand how dangerous the group is and refuse to see it as a legitimate partner in any moves toward peace.”
[Sever Plocker and Yossi Beilin wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.