News Roundup for April 28, 2020

April 28, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

Top News and Analysis

US says ‘prepared to recognize’ Israeli annexation of parts of West Bank, Times of Israel
The United States said Monday it was ready to recognize Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank but asked Israel’s government to also negotiate with the Palestinians. “As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel,” a US State Department spokesperson said when asked if the US would allow Israel’s new government to move forward with the process. The step would be “in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s Vision,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel. “The annexation would be in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions and generous economic support.  This is an unprecedented and highly beneficial opportunity for the Palestinians,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Israelis and Palestinians Remember the Slain, Home Alone or Online En Masse, New York Times
Civil-defense sirens sounded at 8 p.m. to mark the start of Israel’s solemn Memorial Day observance, but unlike in ordinary years, when the moment is marked by a sudden halt to traffic and an abrupt quieting of nightlife, Monday night’s remembrance of fallen soldiers or victims of terrorism came with most of the country already on lockdown. At the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, spoke before a small coterie of socially distanced troops and officials and sought to console those Israelis who were mourning alone, at home, rather than being “wrapped in the embrace of those who love them.”

Bereaved families plead for reconciliation at joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial, Times of Israel
Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families made an impassioned call for reconciliation on Monday evening during a joint Memorial Day ceremony that organizers said was viewed by nearly 200,000 people. The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremony was held without an in-person audience for the first time since its inception in 2006 due to the coronavirus, and instead was live-streamed from studios in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. An Israeli emcee broadcasted from the event’s usual location in Tel Aviv in Hebrew and a Palestinian emcee hosted from Ramallah in Arabic.


To Pressure Iran, Pompeo Turns to the Deal Trump Renounced, New York Times
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country.

Virus death toll rises to 208 but new infections appear to slow, Times of Israel
Four people succumbed to the coronavirus late Monday and early Tuesday, bringing the national death toll to 208, the Health Ministry said, as the country prepared to reopen schools and more businesses in the next few days.

Yair Lapid once allied with Benny Gantz. Now he wants to keep him from becoming prime minister., JTA
Lapid told a meeting of a special Knesset committee formed to write legislation needed for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz to form an emergency unity government that he would vote to cancel the rotation agreement whenever Netanyahu is ready.

42 fallen soldiers since last Remembrance Day, ceremonies held online, The Jerusalem Post
A total of 42 deaths were added to Israel’s list of fallen soldiers between the previous Remembrance Day until now, the Defense Ministry announced on Friday morning, with another 33 disabled persons dying as a result of injury in defense services. Since coronavirus regulations limit bereaved families from visiting their lost ones’ graves, the names of all fallen soldiers will be read in succession prior to the Remembrance Day ceremony on Tuesday morning.

Israeli court: Palestinians to pay damages to attack victims, AP
An Israeli court has ordered the Palestinian Authority to pay nearly $150 million in damages to the families of people killed in militant attacks.

Israel’s tracking of coronavirus carriers is out unless Knesset makes it a law, Supreme Court rules, JTA
Cellphone tracking of confirmed carriers of coronavirus in Israel can only continue if the Knesset initiates legislation to allow it, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled.

Hamas quietly allows Gaza doctors to get COVID-19 training in Israel, Al-Monitor
Palestinian medical personnel from Gaza reportedly received training in Israel to deal with the novel coronavirus, raising questions among Palestinians about whether the training came through coordination between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah or perhaps a humanitarian group.

Arab Israelis fear that Ramadan could bring a coronavirus surge, JTA
The ban on mass communal prayer in Israel and the Palestinian territories is among the sobering restrictions accompanying Islam’s holiest month, during which Muslims fast during daylight hours and typically pray, feast and socialize with extended families at night. Israel’s emergency coronavirus measures have closed mosques, shuttered shops and implemented nighttime curfews in many Muslim-majority cities. But many of Israel’s 1.5 million Arab citizens say it’s nowhere near enough.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu-Gantz Rotation Agreement May Be Toothless, Haaretz
Jonathan Lis writes, “Legislation meant to ensure that the prime minister’s job goes to Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz after 18 months may prove toothless, Knesset sources said on Monday. For one thing, Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid-Telem ticket, announced on Monday that should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want to cancel his deal with Gantz at any point, Lapid’s party will vote with him. That would give Netanyahu’s bloc enough votes to repeal the legislation, which has a provision saying it can only be repealed if 75 of the Knesset’s 120 members vote to do so.”

Jewish terrorists killed his wife. Now he has a message for the world, +972 Mag
Orly Noy writes, “Rabi is one of four Palestinians and Israelis who will tell their story on Monday night during the 15th annual alternative Israel-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony, which commemorates the deaths of both Israelis as well as Palestinians who have been killed over the years. Israeli leaders and right-wing figures routinely criticize the ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle-Families Forum, and often try to prevent it from taking place for what they say is the commemoration of Palestinian terrorists.”