News Roundup for February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Announces New Homes in East Jerusalem, Days Before Election, New York Times
The announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of 6,200 homes in a contested area was seen as an effort to solidify right-wing support.

Hamas Uses Israeli Election Mayhem to Extract Concessions for Gaza, Haaretz
The list of measures – which Israel did not rush to publicize, in contrast to its usual trumpeting of sanctions when those are imposed – is the most far-reaching since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip by force in June 2007.

PM says he’s lifted freeze to build Givat Hamatos neighborhood in East Jerusalem, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that he had lifted restrictions against the construction of the controversial Givat Hamatos neighborhood in East Jerusalem, saying that 3,000 homes would be built for Jewish residents there, in addition to another 2,200 housing units for Jews in the nearby Har Homa neighborhood.


Israel, Palestinian Authority agree to end trade dispute: officials, Reuters
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves.

Israelis on their way home after over 2 weeks quarantined on virus-hit ship, Times of Israel
Passengers greeted on dock by delegation from embassy in Tokyo, will be whisked straight to plane; 11 Israelis to be isolated for 2 weeks under auspices of Sheba Medical Center.

Israeli Army Deliberately Skewed Haredi Draft Figures, Committee Finds, Haaretz
According to special committee appointed by chief of staff, for the period in question, more than half the soldiers drafted as Haredim did not meet the legal requirements of the definition or maintained an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle.

Gantz: ‘Political pressure’ may be behind reported plan to probe former company, Times of Israel
Amid news Fifth Dimension may be investigated for deal with police, Blue and White leader says he’s ‘totally at ease’; reports say he is not suspected of wrongdoing.

Attorney general orders prominent anti-occupation activist released from custody, +972 Magazine
Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak has been behind bars for nearly two months, after an extreme-right group filed a suit against him for protesting in the West.

Netanyahu Stumps for Arab Votes With Promises of Flights to Mecca and to Nix Trump Land Swap, Haaretz
Head of Joint List slams PM for new campaign strategy: ‘Only a racist like Netanyahu can think the Arab citizens are stupid enough to forget’ previous anti-Arab statements.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Feels like prison’: Palestinian family cut off from West Bank village by Israeli barrier, Reuters
Mustafa Abu Ganayeh writes, “Omar Hajajla may have a private gateway to his home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but it is hardly a sign of luxury: it runs beneath an Israeli barrier that cuts him and his family off from the rest of their nearby Palestinian village.”

Palestinians Slam Israel’s West Bank Power Project: ‘Meant to Support Settlements’, Haaretz
Hagar Shezaf writes, “The Palestinian Authority’s Energy Authority has condemned an Israeli master plan for the development of an electricity grid in the West Bank, saying that it is designed “to establish Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank and to support the brutal presence of the settlements on our land.””