News Roundup for April 24, 2020

April 1, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan Is a Threat to Israel’s National Security, Foreign Policy
Former Israeli security leaders Gadi Shamni, Tamir Pardo and Ami Ayalon write, “Just as the coronavirus pandemic and collapsing oil prices have contributed to concerns about internal stability in the Gulf monarchies, these regimes will also be forced to preempt public anger by reacting publicly to Israeli annexation lest their adversaries—primarily Iran and Turkey—use their inaction to undermine those regimes’ popular legitimacy. Risking all that for the annexation of territory over which Israel already has full security control makes no sense. Both Israel and the United States need to reconsider before the damage is done. This reckless move won’t just have adverse consequences for Israel’s security; it also has implications for Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy. The U.S. Jewish leaders and the members of Congress emphasized the danger to the bipartisan U.S. support it has long enjoyed—another important pillar in Israel’s national security equation.”

Bill to anchor Netanyahu-Gantz premiership rotation gets initial okay, Times of Israel
The Knesset on Thursday gave its initial approval to legislation meant to anchor in law a deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz to rotate the premiership as part of the unity government announced this week.

Biden Must Speak Out Against Israeli Annexation Plans Before It’s Too Late, Foreign Policy
Former Obama officials Robert Malley and Philip H. Gordon write, “He won’t be president on July 1, but what he says could have an impact on what Netanyahu does, the position Gantz takes, and the reactions of the Arab states. Biden has already expressed his opposition to annexation, but by spelling out now where he stands and what he would do if he were president, Biden might be uniquely placed to persuade Israel to think twice before moving forward with such a fateful step—or at least limit its scope.”


Virus cases in Israel reach 14,882, with 193 fatalities and 107 on ventilators, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Friday said there were 14,882 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, an increase of 79 from the previous evening.

Trump’s New Health Spokesman Tweets About Soros and Rothschild Family ‘Control’, Haaretz
The man U.S. President Donald Trump just named to speak for the Health Department accused George Soros and the Rothschild family of seeking to exploit the pandemic for control and to advance their agendas.

UN envoy: Israeli annexation can destroy Mideast peace hopes, AP
The U.N. Mideast envoy warned Thursday that Israeli moves to annex parts of the West Bank and accelerate settlement expansion, combined with the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact, could ignite Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “destroy any hope of peace.”

Shin Bet arrests Hamas operatives planning terror attacks in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post
The Shin Bet, in cooperation with the IDF and Israel Police, arrested three Hamas operatives who were planning to commit several terror attacks against security forces and civilians in the Jerusalem and Ramallah area.

EU warns incoming Israeli gov’t against West Bank annexation, AP
The European Union on Thursday issued a warning against the incoming Israeli government’s intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, saying that such a move “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

Government approves NIS 8 billion plan to help small businesses, self-employed, Times of Israel
The government on Friday approved an NIS 8 billion ($2.27 billion) plan to increase support for self-employed Israelis and small business owners who have been hit hard by the coronavirus, following accusations that Israel wasn’t helping businesses forced to shut down.

‘Narcissistic, Hesitant, Alarmist: Netanyahu Is Just Like He Was in 1999’, Haaretz
Two decades ago, Prof. Shaul Kimhi, an expert in analyzing leaders’ personalities, sketched a psychological profile of the prime minister. Now he explains how Netanyahu is displaying these same traits during the coronavirus crisis.

Palestinian in Israeli jail diagnosed with virus; detainee and staff quarantined, Times of Israel
A 21-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank who was arrested by Israel and brought to a Jerusalem jail on Wednesday was on Friday confirmed to have the coronavirus.

Opinion and Analysis

Benny Gantz, You Owe the Israeli Public an Explanation, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “If the citizens matter to Gantz, he must explain to them the coalition agreement he signed with Netanyahu. The agreement’s clauses, which on Thursday were incorporated into a proposed amendment to the Basic Law on the Knesset, don’t offer any answers on how to cope with the coronavirus and mitigate the economic crisis. They do, however, generate constitutional changes intended to infringe on democracy and bolster the leaders at the citizens’ expense – exactly the opposite of what Gantz had promised in the election campaign and the coalition negotiations.”