News Roundup for December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

After two elections this year, Israeli leaders have less than 48 hours to stop a third, Washington Post
With less than 48 hours to go until Israel is propelled into an unprecedented third election in under a year, political leaders Tuesday were slinging accusations over who was responsible for the political deadlock. There had been a flurry of attempts to find a solution or form a new government over the past week, but as the clock ticked toward the final deadline, the only thing the sides appeared to agree upon was a date for the next election: March 2, 2020.

Four Ways Netanyahu Protected Himself and Survived for Three More Months, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “With midnight on Wednesday the final deadline for forming a government, it is all but clear at this point that no one is even making much of an attempt to prevent the third election within a year. Instead, the parties are preparing their narratives for the blame game that will ensue after the deadline passes. Regardless of whose version is more believable to the Israeli public, and of whether the balance of blame will also shift voters between the two main voting blocs, one thing is certain: Benjamin Netanyahu has won this round.”

West Bank Annexation Would Endanger Israel’s Security, The Hill
Ami Ayalon, Gadi Shamni and Danny Yatom write, “We recently signed onto a letter from 25 Israeli former high-ranking security officials calling for U.S. congressional action to oppose unilateral West Bank annexation — whether full or partial — and expressing our gratitude to Congress for the overwhelming bipartisan support for two states encapsulated in H.Res. 246. “


Netanyahu agrees to Likud leadership contest if election called, Times of Israel
With coalition talks faltering and elections all but certain, the announcement means Netanyahu will almost certainly face upstart MK Gideon Sa’ar for the leadership of the party, his most serious challenge to the party’s helm in years.

West Bank Annexation Indefensible at International Criminal Court, Top Legal Adviser Warns Netanyahu, Haaretz
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by the attorney general’s office that annexing the Jordan Valley could spur an International Criminal Court investigation of senior army officers, civil service officials and heads of regional councils of West Bank settlements.

Liberman: We’ve been offered every cabinet role to join narrow coalition, Times of Israel
Liberman attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, saying any failure to form a government was due to their “egos.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Trump’s Comments to Israeli-American Council as ‘Outright and Atrocious Antisemitism’, Newsweek
New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined several Jewish-American groups and Democrats in labeling President Donald Trump’s comments to the Israeli-American Council Saturday “atrocious antisemitism.”

Lapid gives up rotation deal with Gantz in bid to boost Blue and White, Times of Israel
Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid announced Monday that he will give up on a rotation agreement for the premiership with party leader Benny Gantz, as he sought to bolster his party’s chances in the increasingly likely upcoming election.

Iran braces for harsh times under new budget, Al-Monitor
The administration appropriately named the budget for the following calendar year “Standing and persevering in the face of sanctions.” Rouhani said that this time last year, when the previous budget was presented, Iran was “under the most challenging conditions of sanctions.”

AG’s office said to warn PM Jordan Valley annexation could lead to ICC probe, Times of Israel
Officials in the attorney general’s office have recently warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that making good on his pledge to annex the Jordan Valley could lead to the opening of International Criminal Court investigations against IDF officers and Israeli mayors in the West Bank, according to a report Monday.

‘Arabs = Enemies’: 160 Cars Vandalized in East Jerusalem Neighborhood, Haaretz
The tires of over 160 vehicles were slashed and threatening graffiti was sprayed in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem overnight Monday, Israel Police said.

Ex-IDF chief and former Pentagon head say US-Israel defense pact not needed, Times of Israel
A former US secretary of defense and an ex-IDF chief of staff on Monday rejected a proposed America-Israeli mutual defense pact, saying such a measure was unnecessary.

Opinion and Analysis

Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews, New York Times
Paul Krugman writes, “It takes, well, chutzpah, a truly striking level of contempt for your audience, to foment hatred-laced identity politics, then turn to members of minority groups and say, in effect, ‘Ignore the bigotry and look at the taxes you’re saving!’”

Trump’s anti-Semitic attacks on American Jews keep coming, Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin writes, “Trump is still using American Jews, as he uses all critics, as whipping boys for insufficient loyalty to him and his policies. To love Israel is to love what Trump does for or to Israel in his mind […] American Jews and other persecuted minorities in the United States know how this movie turns out. It’s one of many reasons preservation of our multiethnic, multiracial democracy depends on a devastating defeat of Republicans at the polls next November.”

Collective Insanity Gives Netanyahu’s Right Wing a Crushing Advantage Over Center-left Rivals, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The collective psychosis that has gripped Likud in particular and the Israeli right in general is the outcome of myriad factors, some unique to Israel: Netanyahu’s undeniable charisma and political wiliness, his ongoing elimination of formidable rivals, the age-old right wing yearning for a “strong leader” and the transparent efforts of Jewish settlers and their lobby to piggyback on Netanyahu’s attempted prison break in order to demolish the liberal underpinnings of Israel’s democracy that they have long despised.”

Likud’s, Blue and White’s blame game begins before the March 2 elections, The Jerusalem Post
Gil Hoffman writes, “The mutual recriminations between Netanyahu and Gantz began when the Blue and White leader called upon the prime minister to promise not to seek immunity from prosecution, saying it could lead to negotiations that could still prevent the election.”

Exploited and underpaid, Palestinian women are fighting back in the workplace, +972 Mag
Judith Sudilovsky writes, “Subject to below minimum wage jobs, no pay slips, and arbitrary layoffs in Israeli settlements, Palestinian women under occupation are learning more about their rights and are beginning to unionize.”