News Roundup for August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu, Gantz Advance Budget Delay Bill, but Threat of Election Still Looms, Haaretz
A bill delaying the deadline to pass the state budget passed a preliminary vote in the Knesset Wednesday with the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan.

Your father knew better: PM, Lapid trade insults as bill to bar Netanyahu fails, Times of Israel
The Knesset voted Wednesday to reject a bill that would prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a new government, as the premier and opposition chief Yair Lapid sparred in a debate that at times became highly personal.

‘Like a Gang of Criminals’: Five Israeli Policemen Charged With Beating, Robbing Palestinians, Haaretz
The Justice Ministry unit in charge of probing police misconduct submitted indictments on Thursday against five Border Police officers for 14 instances of robbery and assault against Palestinian men entering Israel. The officers are accused of taking thousands of shekels from these men and beating them, in some instances drawing blood.


Israel barring Palestinians again after turning blind eye for beach weekend, Times of Israel
Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel on Tuesday were turned away by tear gas and smoke grenades, Palestinian media said, putting an end to a brief relaxing of the rules that saw thousands of Palestinians enter without permits for beach outings, with tacit approval from the Israeli authorities.

Dozens of Masked Israeli Settlers Hurl Stones at Police in West Bank, One Officer Wounded, Haaretz
Dozens of masked Israeli settlers attacked Border Police forces Wednesday morning during an operation to demolish illegal structures at an outpost near the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. One officer suffered light wounds.

Women’s rights groups, activists criticize Sara Netanyahu for claim she is ‘battered’, Times of Israel
Women’s rights groups and activists on Wednesday rapped Sara Netanyahu for claiming she experienced “sexual violence” from demonstrators rallying against the premier and for branding herself and her children as “battered.”

Israel Detains Palestinian Teen With Coronavirus for Three Weeks Without Questioning, Haaretz
A 15-year-old Palestinian boy with the coronavirus has been held in detention in Israel for three weeks without being questioned even once. The boy, who is suspected of security offenses, was arrested before dawn on July 23 at his home in the West Bank’s Jalazun refugee camp. After his arrest, he was tested for the coronavirus and found to be infected.

Israel says it fended off North Korean hack attempt against defense industry, Times of Israel
The Defense Ministry on Wednesday said hackers from a group linked to the North Korean government targeted Israeli defense officials, luring them with fake job offers in a failed attempt to gain access to the databases of the country’s top defense industries.

Opinion and Analysis

The two state solution is fading. It would take a miracle to revive it, The Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin writes, “In 2012 and 2013, I met with Abbas privately for hours and he allowed me to propose to Netanyahu the renewal of direct secret back channel negotiations on the basis of the Olmert proposal. Netanyahu refused all three times I passed on these proposals […] If Netanyahu and Abbas were to resume the negotiations on this basis, it is very possible that agreement could be reached and a majority of Israelis and Palestinians would accept the deal. This would be, perhaps, the only way to save the two-state solution and peace might even develop if the sides actually implemented to what they agreed.”

Why Israel’s Political Odd Couple Could Be Headed for an Early Divorce, Foreign Policy
Joshua Mitnick writes, “Netanyahu might be seeing an opportunity to evade his corruption trial by dissolving his coalition and calling yet another election.”

Dr Bibi and Mr Netanyahu, YNetNews
Gilead Sher writes, “Benjamin Netanyahu has shown during his tenure as prime minister, and increasingly so in recent months, that there is no trick in the book, no scare tactic, deception or deceit that he will not use in order to save his own skin and hold on to power, regardless of the cost to Israelis and the country.”

Superheroes, Pot-Banging and Horn-Blowing Won’t Stop Benjamin Netanyahu, New York Times
Matti Friedman writes, “Despite the heady eruption of liberal energy on the street, in Parliament, where it counts, the center-left is toothless. The Labor Party never recovered from the waves of Arab violence that shattered the peace dreams sold to the Israeli public in the 1990s. Centrist alternatives have come and gone. The centrist party Blue and White, led by the ex-general Benny Gantz, split apart this spring at the peak of the coronavirus panic when Mr. Gantz took half of the party and joined Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, which he’d promised not to do.”

The Squad Ends Primary Season With a 4-0 Record Against pro-Israel Groups, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “The jubilant celebrations regarding the top of the ticket obscured a far less pleasant reality for groups like AIPAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel and their allies – the reality of the congressional primaries, where these pro-Israeli groups suffered a string of painful losses. On the same day as the Harris announcement, the decisive victory by Rep. Ilhan Omar in her Minnesota primary sealed a 0-4 string of losses for pro-Israeli groups in their efforts to beat back the growing strength and popularity of the group known as the ‘Squad’ – young, largely female progressive candidates of color.”

If the enemy of my enemy gets the bomb: Saudi nuclear plan gives Israel headache, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren writes, “It’s obvious why Jerusalem has vowed to do everything in its power to prevent Iran, which continues to threaten the Jewish state with annihilation, from obtaining nuclear weapons. But what if Saudi Arabia — the archenemy of Israel’s archenemy — were also interested in developing a nuclear weapons program?”

If the ‘Terrorist’ Were Jewish, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “After a whole year in which no soldier had been killed, but no fewer than 150 Palestinians had been, Israel immediately adopted its usual position of wallowing, posing as a victim, seeking vengeance while demonizing its targets. Abu Bakr was depicted as a terrorist and a despicable murderer, his action a terror attack, his village labeled a hostile one, with any penalty imposed on him other than capital punishment deemed wimpish.”

Lebanon’s government has resigned, now what?, Responsible Statecraft
Emile Nakhleh writes, “If Lebanon is to be saved, the United Nations should establish a Trusteeship Council for Lebanon that would govern the country for five years, which most Lebanese would welcome. President Aoun, Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria, however, will vigorously oppose it.”