News Roundup for August 14, 2019

August 14, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Abbas Expresses Hope Netanyahu Will Be Defeated in Election, The Jerusalem Post
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Tuesday that Palestinians want to maintain relations with the US and are eager to achieve peace with Israel. “We want relations between the US and Palestine to be independent from Israel,” he said. Calling for mutual confidence-building measures between the Palestinians and Israel, Shtayyeh told Republican US Congressmen visiting Ramallah that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is a staunch believer in the peace process. “We are not escaping from peace,” he added. Meanwhile, Abbas expressed hope that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be defeated in the September 17 election and replaced by a leader willing to speak to him, in a meeting with Democratic Union candidates Essawi Frej and Noa Rothman in Ramallah.

In Netanyahu’s Israel, Democracy Is Dying in Broad Daylight, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The politicization, degradation and ultimate castration of the once-sacrosanct State Comptroller’s Office is not an isolated occurrence. It is part of a widespread catch-as-catch-can purge of the Israeli civil service in general and the neutralization of its legal institutions in particular.”

Here’s what Israeli Jewish voters find important and less important in the next election, JTA
Among the 760 respondents to the poll, economic-social issues and foreign affairs-security were the determining factors for 36.7 percent and 36.2 percent. Among the secular, 45.5 percent said that they saw economic and social issues as the “key consideration when deciding which party to vote for.”


Democratic Camp candidates, including Rabin’s granddaughter, meet Abbas, Times of Israel
Two members of the left-wing Democratic Camp electoral alliance, including a granddaughter of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in Ramallah. MK Issawi Freij and Noa Rothman said they met with Abbas to draw attention to the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate ahead of general elections in September, amid growing calls for annexation of West Bank settlements by right-wing figures.

UN Asks Palestinians to Explain Hate Speech, Antisemitism, The Jerusalem Post
“Several NGO reports pointed out antisemitic and anti-Israel prejudice and incitement to hatred, especially in the [Palestinian] media and speeches of state officials. Can the state party [the PA] provide any explanation in this regard?” asked committee member Chinsung Chung of South Korea. She is the special rapporteur for the Palestinian Authority’s review by the committee.

Extremist right parties nearing threshold to enter Knesset – poll, Times of Israel
Channel 12 survey gives the nationalist-libertarian Zehut 2.9% of the vote, just short of 3.25% threshold; racist Otzma Yehudit comes in at 2.7%

Rogue militants defy Hamas’ restrain policy vis-a-vis Israel, Al-Monitor
Hamas has denied responsibility for the five Palestinian terrorists who tried to infiltrate Israel last week on two separate occasions, describing them in media briefings as “rogue” figures.

Likud rejects AG’s opinion that hidden cameras at polls could be illegal, Times of Israel
The Likud party on Tuesday lambasted a legal opinion from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit stating that the party’s camera surveillance operation targeting polling stations in Arab towns could constitute a criminal offense.

Israeli Army Forced to Admit Blindfolding Detained Palestinians Is Against Protocol, Haaretz
A petition to the High Court of Justice by 33 left-wing activists has forced the military to reiterate and clarify regulations that forbid blindfolding detained Palestinians and to admit that soldiers had exceeded their authority by doing so.

Likud’s election cameras motivated by desire to suppress Arab vote, expert says, Times of Israel
In equipping its polling officials stationed in Arab towns with cameras during last April’s election, a democracy expert maintains, the Likud party was motivated not by its proclaimed desire to prevent voter fraud, but rather by a desire to suppress turnout in those targeted communities.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu Is Running Out of Natural Partners, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Bibi’s historic alliance with the religious right has begun to show cracks, which may be significant enough to deny him a ruling coalition in September.”

Is the reunited Joint List enough to bring back Palestinian election boycotters?, +972 Mag
Samah Salaime writes, “Palestinian voters in Israel who previously called for an election boycott say they are willing to give the joint slate of Arab parties another chance. ‘Local Palestinian leadership is all we have now.’”

No, Liberal Zionism Isn’t Dead Yet. So Fight for It, Haaretz
Abe Silberstein writes, “If a Jewish state really becomes dependent on the subjugation and annexation of Palestinians – apartheid – then its continuation would be immoral. But we haven’t reached that point of no return yet.”

Our Boys’ Explores the Anatomy of Hate Crimes, New York Times
Bruce Fretts writes, “Although the series is about real-life events within a specific time and place, its exploration of how hate crimes shatter and reverberate throughout a society is depressingly universal.”