News Roundup for April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

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J Street in the News

What does J Street endorsement mean for Joe Biden?, The Jerusalem Post
“‘We’ve seen Biden already speak out firmly against any sort of annexation, and he understands that that would be counter to the interests of Israel and run counter also the values that underpin the US Israel relationship,’ J Street’s Ben Shnider said. ‘I’d expect him to continue to speak out strongly as he already has against that move, and we’re looking forward to help get them elected so that there’ll be an American leader who will be honest about what the implications of such a move would be for the for the US Israel relationship going forward.’”

Top News and Analysis

Praising government-to-be, Pompeo says West Bank annexation is up to Israel, Times of Israel
Lauding Israel’s newly announced deal for a unity government, which is slated to begin advancing measures to annex large parts of the West Bank in July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the matter is not something for Washington to interfere with. “The Israelis will ultimately make those decisions. That’s an Israeli decision, but we’ll work closely with them to share our views of this in a private setting,” he said during a press conference.

Iran-US tensions rise on Trump threat, Iran satellite launch, AP
Tensions between Washington and Tehran flared anew Wednesday as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard conducted a space launch that could advance the country’s long-range missile program and President Donald Trump threatened to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboats that harass Navy ships.

Annexation would mark the end of the Zionist dream, The Jerusalem Post
Nadav Tamir writes, “The danger of annexation is irreversible – it will wipe out the Palestinian Authority and its life-saving security coordination with Israel, boost radical Palestinian forces and pose a real threat to one of Israel’s major strategic assets, the Hashemite Kingdom. Annexation will finalize the divorce between Israel and the US Democratic Party and deepen the alienation of the liberal progressive majority in the most important country in the world and Israel’s greatest ally.”


As top court watches, MKs launch legislative blitz to cement coalition deal, Times of Israel
In a marathon legislative Knesset session beginning Thursday, the Likud and Blue and White parties will begin introducing changes to Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws to anchor its unity government agreement in law and ensure various arrangements in the coalition pact can pass legal muster. The votes come as the High Court of Justice begins to scrutinize whether the proposed coalition deal is legal.

Israel will be under lockdown for Memorial and Independence days, JTA
Israel will go into emergency lockdown on the country’s Memorial and Independence days in an effort to tamp down the coronavirus crisis, raising an outcry from bereaved families.

Courts to expand activity, greenlighting start of Netanyahu corruption trial, Times of Israel
The courts administration announced Wednesday that in the wake of an easing of coronavirus restrictions it would be expanding its activities from May 3, meaning there was no impediment to starting the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Orthodox Jews are donating plasma by the thousands to fight Covid-19, The Forward
What began as a one-man volunteer effort to connect post-Covid Jews with New York-area hospitals has now become a broad coalition, including major hospitals, Orthodox groups and a range of Orthodox Jews from visibly religious Hasidic communities to the so-called Modern Orthodox who participate more fully in secular life. It’s made Orthodox Jews a major force in donating plasma, which doctors hope to have a major benefit in the fight against the coronavirus.

Holocaust memorial event ‘Zoom bombed’ with Hitler images, The Hill
An online Holocaust memorial event held by the Israeli Embassy in Germany was temporarily suspended Monday after it was “Zoom bombed” with anti-Semitic slogans and photos of Adolf Hitler.

Abbas threatens to rip up accords with Israel and US if annexation plans proceed, Times of Israel
The warning made during a pre-Ramadan video address marked Abbas’s first public response to the unity government inked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz on Monday, which will allow Netanyahu to begin advancing annexation measures starting on July 1, 2020.

Opinion and Analysis

Whoever Thinks West Bank Annexation Will Pass Quietly, Better Think Again, Haaretz
Zehava Galon writes, “We’ve told ourselves that there’s no choice, that the occupation is a temporary solution until the Palestinians become a partner (and there seems to be no doubt that life under tyranny will promote this evolution). But this story is a lie. No one builds settlements on areas he plans to give up. Israel has invested money and blood in the settlements and their defense because it wants to hold the territory. The occupation is not a temporary solution. It’s a dictatorship we’ve created to steal Palestinian land.”

Trump May Determine Israel’s Annexation Schedule, Bloomberg
Hussein Ibish writes, “Israel’s new coalition government seems to be contemplating massive annexations of occupied Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. The person dictating the timetable may not be an Israeli at all, but President Donald Trump.”

East Jerusalem scrambles to prevent COVID-19 outbreak before Ramadan, +972 Mag
Judith Sudilovsky writes, “Israel had weeks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in East Jerusalem. Instead, it dragged its feet in helping Palestinian hospitals, closed down testing sites, and blocked the PA from stepping in.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard capitalizes on pandemic to strengthen grip on the country, Washington Post
Joby Warrick, Erin Cunningham and Souad Mekhennet write, “The country’s elite security force is aggressively promoting itself as Iran’s true guardian during the pandemic, a provider of medical treatment, clinics, relief aid and — occasionally — even dubious ‘cures’ and fixes.”