News Roundup for April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu, Gantz Granted Two Extra Days for Unity Talks After Late-night Meeting, Haaretz
Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were granted Monday overnight a brief extension in unity talks, following a joint request to President Reuven Rivlin to extend the Kahol Lavan leader’s mandate to form a coalition. Rivlin gave Gantz until Wednesday at midnight to reach an agreement on a unity government that could tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Gantz challenges Netanyahu: It’s ‘moment of truth’ to form emergency unity government, JTA
Three hours before his mandate to form a coalition government was set to expire, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz had a message Monday for political rival Benjamin Netanyahu: Act like a leader and agree to an emergency unity government. Gantz, making the challenge to the prime minister in a nationally televised address, said he took political risks to form the government for the good of the country while it was engulfed in the coronavirus crisis. “The emergency situation forced me to accept upon myself to give up on my declaration that I would not sit in a government with Netanyahu,” Gantz said. His Blue and White coalition fell apart over the decision.

Bernie Sanders Endorses Joe Biden for President, New York Times
At a moment when Mr. Biden still faces deep skepticism from many younger progressive voters, Mr. Sanders’s support is a major step toward Democratic unity against President Trump.


Israeli PM and rival look to finalize emergency unity deal, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival met Tuesday in a final effort to finalize an agreement on an emergency government that would tackle the coronavirus threat and prevent yet another costly and divisive election amid the crisis.

Coronavirus death toll rises to 118, with 11,868 infected, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Tuesday morning raised the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic to 118, recording two more deaths and reporting a jump in the number of daily tests to nearly 10,000.

Hamas Jails Gaza Activists for Video Chat with Israelis, Human Rights Watch
On April 6, 38-year-old Rami Aman and other Palestinian activists participated in a “Zoom” video chat during which they answered questions from Israelis about life in Gaza amid the pandemic. On April 9, Hamas authorities arrested Aman. Two days later, they detained six others who participated in the chat, a friend of Aman told Human Rights Watch.

Amid unity talks, poll predicts 40 seats for Likud and a majority rightist bloc, Times of Israel
A television opinion poll aired Monday gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party 40 Knesset seats if elections were held today and placed him at the head of a right-wing bloc that has a clear majority in parliament.

Hamas Gave Israel Names of Prisoners It Wants Released in Deal, Report Says, Haaretz
Hamas delivered Israel a list of 250 Palestinian prisoners it seeks to release from Israeli jails, as indirect negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal continue, Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.

Settler radicals suspected of torching Palestinian cars near quarantine outpost, Times of Israel
Officers were dispatched to a crime scene in the southern West Bank overnight Monday after receiving a report that a group of masked Israeli settlers pepper-sprayed and hurled stones at three Palestinians and firebombed their two vehicles before fleeing the scene, police said in a statement.

Egypt opens Gaza border, allows Palestinians to return, Middle East Monitor
Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip allowing hundreds Palestinians stranded as a result of the coronavirus outbreak to return to the besieged enclave, Anadolu Agency reported.

Gaza resumes coronavirus testing, but equipment remains in short supply, Al-Monitor
The Gaza Strip has resumed testing for the coronavirus, a Health Ministry spokesperson said Monday after Israel allowed the delivery of five World Health Organization-purchased testing kits into the impoverished enclave.