News Roundup for April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020

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J Street in the News

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony Gets Unprecedented Boost From U.S. Jewish Groups, Haaretz
“This year, the ceremony is being co-sponsored by a long list of Jewish and pro-peace groups in both Israel and the United States including the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish organization in the United States. Other sponsors and partners include J Street, the New Israel Fund, Peace Now, IfNotNow, Churches for Middle East Peace, as well as individual churches, synagogues and interfaith dialogue groups.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump now has the power to forever alter Israel’s character, Washington Post
Jackson Diehl writes, “It went almost unnoticed in Washington, but last week Israel’s political leaders decided to hand President Trump the power to destroy the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all […] In practice, if Israeli annexation goes forward without Palestinian or Arab agreement, it will not only kill Trump’s plan; it will make a two-state settlement impossible. If there is no Palestine, Israel will be doomed to become a binational state rather than a Jewish one, or else adopt an apartheid system in which millions of Palestinians are ruled by Israel but lack full political rights. This is not the view of the hard-line activists who campaign for BDS — the boycott, divestment and sanction movement. It is the judgment of some of the most pro-Israel members of Congress and policy experts in Washington.”

Netanyahu ‘Confident’ Trump’s Settlement Annexation Pledge Will Be Fulfilled Within Months, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he is “confident” that U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to recognize annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordan valley will be fulfilled within several months. “President Trump pledged to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Jewish communities there [in the West Bank] and in the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu told an evangelical crowd at a special broadcast […] “A couple of months from now I’m confident that that pledge will be honored, that we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu said during the broadcast by christian television networks CBN and Revelation TV.

Dramatic, socially distanced protests against Israel’s government deal continue in Tel Aviv, JTA
At least 2,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv for a socially distanced demonstration Saturday night to protest last week’s coalition deal to form an emergency unity government. The so-called “black flag” demonstration on Saturday night in Rabin Square adhered to social distancing regulations, with the demonstrators standing in orderly lines some 6 feet apart. Aerial photos from a similar demonstration last week generated international coverage.


Just 68 new virus cases confirmed in last day, showing sharp slowdown, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Monday morning reported just 23 new coronavirus cases overnight and 68 infections over the previous 24 hours, continuing a significant downward trend in the spread of the outbreak in Israel.

With scant supplies, Gaza turns to homemade equipment to battle coronavirus, The Independent
Palestinians in the blockaded enclave have found creative ways to fight Covid-19 from building makeshift ventilators to 3D-printing face shields.

Bedouin in Remote Negev Villages Fend for Themselves During COVID-19 Pandemic, Haaretz
The Israeli government has agreed to freeze home demolitions, but has provided minimal aid to a population with limited access to health care and information.

Under fire for coronavirus response, Israel’s health minister to resign — and seek top housing job, JTA
After recovering from COVID-19 himself, Israel’s controversial health minister, Yaakov Litzman, has informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he intends to resign after a decade in that position.

Palestinians: Saudi Arabia behind anti-Palestinian smear campaign, The Jerusalem Post
“There’s no doubt that several people from Saudi Arabia are behind this campaign,” said a Palestinian political analyst in Ramallah. “It’s also obvious they are receiving help from Israeli activists.”

Labor leader Peretz wins his party’s backing to join Netanyahu-led government, Times of Israel
The Labor party’s central committee on Sunday voted in favor of joining the unity government on the basis agreed last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz, upending repeated campaign promises to never serve under a prime minister facing criminal indictments.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel courts needless disaster with annexation, Times of Israel
Dan Perry writes, “To assume the current calm exists simply as a result of the security barrier and Shin Bet’s brilliance, and that it will continue forever despite provocations, is foolish. It suggests one has forgotten the nightmare of 2000-2005, with cafes and buses and supermarkets blowing up.”

One year later, Chabad of Poway shooting’s legacy of pain and hope, The Forward
Sharon Rosen Leib writes, “Chabad of Poway’s tragic intersection of violent anti-Semitism, failed gun-control legislation, alleged security lapses and justice deferred due to California’s ongoing death penalty debate has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis limited the congregation to marking the anniversary of Gilbert-Kaye’s death with a tightly choreographed 45-minute, pre-recorded tribute to her streamed Sunday, April 26, on Chabad’s website. Rabbi Mendel Goldstein opened the ceremony standing before Chabad of Poway’s ark in an empty sanctuary.”

No, Gantz, Democracy and Annexation Don’t Go Together, Haaretz
Hagai El-Ad writes, “What Israel is doing beyond the Green Line is undemocratic by its very nature. The Palestinians have no political rights, they do not take part in any democratic process, and their entire lives are controlled by Israeli systems in which they have no representation. No Palestinian subject ever took part in the election, appointment or promotion of High Court justices, Members of Knesset, army officers or government ministers – all those Israelis who make decisions daily about what occurs in the territories.”

Israelis and Palestinians mourn our losses together on Yom Hazikaron, The Forward
Shiri Ourian writes, “When Palestinians and Israelis challenge the status quo and come together to acknowledge each other’s loss, we can build a new reality based on mutual respect, dignity, equality, freedom and peace.”

Israel Loosens Coronavirus Lockdown as Doubts About Netanyahu’s Policy Widen, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The steady improvement in the coronavirus casualty numbers is stoking the debate on the economic cost of the aggressive lockdown and how it served the prime minister.”

Coronavirus gives Israel the perfect cover to tighten its grip over Palestinians, +972 Mag
Robert Swift writes, “Israel is taking advantage of the world’s distraction during the pandemic to push for annexation, deeper surveillance, and more control over Palestinians.”

Israel’s Government Only Engages With Diaspora Jews Who Marvel at the Jewish State’s Utter Perfection, Haaretz
Anat Hoffman writes, “Pretending that everything is perfect might be momentarily gratifying, but I personally can think of nothing more important, meaningful, and ultimately beautiful than to be engaged in a dialogue about Jewish values and the Jewish State, and doing real work to help achieve those values.”