News Roundup for December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019

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J Street in the News

House goes on record against annexation and in favor of continued aid to Israel, Jewish Insider
“If passed, the resolution will mark the first time the House has voted to oppose unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. ‘Coming at the end of a week in which President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly discussed potential Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, it will send a clear message that Congress strongly opposes such efforts to undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,’ Logan Bayroff, J Street’s director of communications, told JI.”

Amb. Wendy Sherman to speak as J Street honors Gellman, Arizona Jewish Post
“J Street will honor Larry Gellman at a Tucson reception on Monday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m., with guest speakers Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman and J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team that reached the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015.”

Top News and Analysis

House moves ahead on long-stalled resolution supporting two states for Israelis and Palestinians, The Hill
The House on Thursday overcame a final hurdle to bringing a controversial resolution supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict to the floor for a vote. Lawmakers adopted two amendments meant to satisfy Republican and Democratic demands to achieve bipartisan consensus. Yet only about a dozen Republicans are likely to cross the aisle in a final vote, with the GOP criticizing the measure as redundant and partisan. House Resolution 326 would put Congress on record supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and is seen as countering the Trump administration’s efforts to propose a peace plan that does not include the achievement of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with a secure Jewish State of Israel.

Charges Planned Against Netanyahu Aides in Submarine Graft Scandal, New York Times
Two former close aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are among those facing likely criminal charges in one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals yet, arising from the multibillion-dollar purchase of submarines and missile boats from Germany. A former chief of staff to Mr. Netanyahu, David Sharan, is accused of accepting bribes from an Israeli agent for the shipbuilder, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. David Shimron, who has served as a personal lawyer and close confidant to Mr. Netanyahu and is also his second cousin, is accused of laundering money to help the shipbuilder’s agent, Michael Ganor, conceal his role in a separate financial transaction. The case is not related to last month’s indictment of Mr. Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, but adds to the cloud lingering over him and his political future.


ICC Prosecutor ‘Concerned’ About Israeli Proposals to Annex Jordan Valley, Haaretz
The prosecutor has followed “with concern proposals advanced during the recent electoral process, to be tabled to the Knesset, for Israel to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank,” the ICC office said in its 2019 report.

Palestinians outraged over ICC report into war crimes, AP
Palestinian officials expressed “great concern” Thursday over a report by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor that includes a warning that Palestinian stipends to attackers and their families could constitute a war crime. Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki said the prosecutor’s office’s report was “based on misleading narratives of a political nature … rather than an objective and accurate description of the relevant facts.”

Netanyahu Says ‘Our Full Right’ to Annex Jordan Valley, Despite ICC Prosecutor Report, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Haaretz Thursday that it’s Israel’s full right to annex the Jordan Valley if it chooses to do so.

Supreme Court chief slams attack on justice system; AG: ‘No one’s above the law’, Times of Israel
“Recently, voices are growing among us seeking to present the principle of the rule of law as ‘the rule of the legal scholars’ and as a stumbling block that stands in the way of what is called by those people ‘governance.’ There is no greater error than this,” Hayut told a conference of The Israeli Association of Public Law in Haifa.

Trump Administration Considers 14,000 More Troops for Mideast, WSJ
Trump, facing an election next year, has long sought to exit foreign entanglements and avoid new conflicts. But on Iran — and partly at the behest of Israel — he is convinced of the need to counter the threat his aides say Tehran poses, the officials said. He also could approve a smaller U.S. deployment, the officials said.

Sara Netanyahu at Lisbon memorial: My family is suffering an inquisition too, Times of Israel
Visiting a memorial to Jews killed during a 1506 massacre in Lisbon, near the site of the city’s inquisition, this reporter jokingly asked Sara Netanyahu which inquisition is worse, the medieval one or the one her family is being subjected to via her husband’s legal woes. “Ah, there’s something there,” she said. “I don’t discount the question. I’m happy you understand that this is an inquisition for us.”

US Congress to vote on two-state solution, Middle East Monitor
Backed by the Democrats, the US House of Representatives is planning to vote on a resolution reaffirming the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tomorrow. The resolution was introduced by Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.).

Hamas official says no move for long-term ceasefire with Israel, Times of Israel
“The talk about a calming for ten years or a halt of the resistance’s actions against the enemy is completely untrue,” Hayya told the pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

Opinion and Analysis

Damage to Israel’s Security Inflicted by Submarine Affair Will Linger for Decades, Haaretz
Hagai Amit writes, “Even if Israel’s legal system deals with the crimes allegedly committed in two huge defense deals – the purchase of missile ships and submarines from the German company ThyssenKrupp – it won’t be able to fix the economic and security harm that this affair has caused the state. The defense establishment now realizes that this affair, in which the prosecution announced plans to file indictments on Thursday, will be with it for many years to come.”

Netanyahu leaves troubles at home for worry-free, achievement-less Lisbon visit, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren writes, “Why he chose to fly five-and-half hours to the far end of Europe for only two meetings — one Wednesday evening with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Thursday — remains unclear.”

‘Operation failed’: Details emerge on Israeli covert op gone awry, Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera reports, “New details have emerged about a botched Israeli intelligence operation in the Gaza Strip in November 2018 that sparked deadly Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire. Eight undercover Israeli agents – who were disguised as Palestinians and had taken the aliases of a real family in Gaza – entered the coastal enclave on November 11 last year with the objective of planting listening devices on Hamas’s private communications system, an investigation by Al Jazeera Arabic’s Ma Khafia Aazam (Tip of the Iceberg) programme revealed.”