News Roundup for February 20, 2020

February 20, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Jerusalem Mayor Freezes House Demolitions in Restive Palestinian Neighborhood, Haaretz
“Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon made the decision after holding a series of meetings with local leaders in the Palestinian neighborhood of Isawiyah over the past few weeks. Eight structures were demolished in Isawiyah in recent months, and demolition orders were issued against dozens more. In addition, the owners of hundreds of buildings constructed without permits are paying heavy fines to postpone demolition.”

This isn’t up for debate: 8 things to know for February 19, Times of Israel
“Political junkies are abuzz after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu challenged Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz to a debate with less than two weeks left until the election and polls continuously predicting the challenger’s party edging the incumbent in a still-deadlocked result.”


9,000 new Israeli homes planned for east Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post
“‘[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is asking to land another fatal blow to the chances of a two-state solution for two people,’ said Peace Now.”

Teen Killed in Clashes Between Palestinian Forces, Gunmen, Associated Press
“Salah Zakarna, 17, was shot in the chest and later died when Palestinian security forces clashed with armed residents in the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. It was unclear who shot him.”

Israeli device could help treat coronavirus patients in China, Times of Israel
“Dr. Eliezer Be’eri, director of the Department of Respiratory Rehabilitation at the ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem, said in a video last week that the CoughSync machine developed previously by his team — and currently manufactured in China — could save medical teams valuable time by offering a non-invasive way of shortening patients’ time on a respirator.”

Gantz Refuses Netanyahu’s Call for Televised Debate: ‘It’s One Big Spin’, Haaretz
“After Gantz’s refusal Wednesday, Netanyahu tweeted that his rival ‘is afraid of a debate, and he knows why.’ Netanyahu asked: ‘If Gantz is scared to debate the prime minister, how is he going to handle the great challenges facing Israel?’”

PA to protest to Amazon over its shipping policies to settlements, Times of Israel, Times of Israel
“The statement came after the Financial Times reported on Friday that Amazon was offering free shipping to settlements in the West Bank for purchases above $49.”

Opinion and Analysis

Why Netanyahu’s Post-election Court Date Might Mean a Quicker Ouster, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The March 17 date means that, this time around, Kahol Lavan can’t even begin to entertain the prospect of a national unity government in which Netanyahu serves first as prime minister — not even for a short period of a few months, as Rivlin proposed last September. That’s simply not an option for Gantz’s party anymore. The only national unity government it can enter now is one where Netanyahu steps down and at the most is promised the second half of the term, only if he has by then been exonerated. Netanyahu isn’t going to do that willingly.”

A failing campaign for the Jewish vote can’t hide GOP’s anti-Semitism, +972 Magazine
Dove Kent writes, “For too long, we’ve seen Trump and the GOP put Jewish people’s lives in danger by championing white nationalism, and spreading ugly rhetoric and conspiracy theories that lead directly to bloodshed in our communities. But resistance and survival are our birthright — and we were made for this moment.”