News Roundup for February 5, 2020

February 5, 2020

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J Street in the News

Meretz leader praises US Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, The Jerusalem Post
“I am very fond of Pete Buttigieg,’ Horowitz said. ‘I think he’s a great guy. I really like him. I don’t have a relationship with him, but I met him and spoke to him casually when we both spoke at the last J Street Conference. He’s an impressive guy and one of the best voices of the Democratic Party. I’ve followed him from a distance and I like what I hear and what I see.’”

Top News and Analysis

Trump’s Middle East plan: What does America stand for?, Brookings
Shibley Telhami writes, “Mistrust of the Trump team has been high to begin with, especially among the Arab public, but this episode is likely to lead to resentment even among allied rulers. The plan itself — the fact that the offered ‘state’ is not a state at all, but a fragmented entity that includes about 60% of the West Bank, with no control over territorial water, air, borders, security, or alliances — furthers the resentment.”

Netanyahu suggests he’ll move annexation forward only after elections, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday suggested that he would advance applying Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank only after the March elections.

Jared Kushner put a knife ‘in Netanyahu’s back’ over annexation delay, says Israeli settler leader, Washington Post
Israeli media has extensively reported grumblings among key Netanyahu backers, with David Elhayani, chairman of the powerful Yesha Council, which oversees more than 150 settlements, accusing Kushner of betraying Netanyahu and not being honest with him.


6 countries block EU resolution that would have condemned Trump plan, annexation, AFP / Times of Israel
The European Union foreign policy chief’s unusually strident warning Tuesday that an Israeli annexation in the West Bank won’t pass “unchallenged” reportedly came after he failed to convince Europe’s foreign ministers to issue a similar criticism as a unified bloc.

Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City fell in January, The Jerusalem Post
The total number of hate crimes also dropped citywide in January, falling to 29 from 38. Crime overall rose nearly 17%.

Netanyahu Suggested to U.S. Moving Israeli Arabs to Future Palestinian State, Sources Say, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu encouraged the Trump administration to add to its Mideast plan a provision raising the possibility that Israel’s Arab citizens living in an area of Israel known as “The Triangle” would be stripped of their Israeli citizenship and forced to live under Palestinian rule, sources involved in the talks between Israel and the U.S. have said.

In Abu Dis, the notion of becoming capital of Palestine is deemed ‘preposterous’, Times of Israel
In its newly unveiled plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Trump administration designated Abu Dis as one of a few neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem — all several kilometers from the Old City — making up the capital of a future Palestine.

Israeli activist persecuted by far-right group marks one month in custody, +972 Mag
Israel has been holding Jonathan Pollak in custody since the beginning of January, after an extreme-right group filed a suit against him for protesting in the West Bank.

EU’s top diplomat in Iran to discuss fragile nuclear deal, Al-Monitor
In his first visit to Tehran as the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell met with top Iranian officials to discuss the trajectory of the tenuous Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Knesset Panel Approves Immunity Bid by Senior Likud Lawmaker Accused of Fraud, Haaretz
The Likud MK is accused of fraud and breach of trust for promoting a 2010 bill that would have benefitted him, and because he allegedly misled both the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, which he chaired at the time, as well as the Ethics Committee about his possible conflict of interest.

Protester removed from Trump campaign event for yelling that Trump supporters are ‘killing Jews’, JTA
“I’m an American Jew and ever since your father was elected president, more and more Jews are being gunned down every year,” Elon Glickman, an organizer for the Jewish-American group IfNotNow, shouted during the event Monday night while the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was addressing the crowd.

Gaza Escalation: Three Rockets Hit Israel, Army Strikes Hamas, Haaretz
Three projectiles were fired Wednesday overnight from Gaza into Israeli territory, the Israeli army said. The Israeli air force struck Hamas positions near Khan Younis in the south of the Strip, Hamas-affiliated media channels in Gaza reported around an hour later.

Israel is only country where the majority approves of Trump’s major foreign policies, survey finds, JTA
Israel is the only one of 33 non-U.S. countries where a majority expresses net approval of President Donald Trump’s major foreign policies, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Opinion and Analysis

The Palestinian Authority Is a Sinking Ship, New York Times
Zena Agha writes, “Mr. Trump’s plan again exposes the power asymmetry between the Palestinians and the Israelis — an imbalance evidenced by the systematic denial of Palestinian rights and the enabling of Israeli expansionism. But it may nonetheless be a turning point: It will mark the end of the charade of Palestinian leadership and autonomy by proving that even when Palestinians capitulate to and collaborate with their occupiers for decades, they remain shut out.”

Trump’s Deal Is an ‘Opportunity’ Worth Missing, Haaretz
Odeh Bisharat writes, “Only someone politically blind can fail to see how ridiculous the ‘deal of the century’ is. Now all we need is the genius who’ll tell the Palestinians, ‘Don’t miss the opportunity to agree to the destruction of your homes,’ or perhaps, ‘Just agree to bang the last nail in the coffin of the Palestinian state.’”

Why is the Palestinian Authority unable to mobilise its people?, Al Jazeera
Mariam Barghouti writes, “For more than 20 years now the PA has actively participated in the repression of the Palestinian people, while maintaining a close relationship with Israeli security forces. Its attitude, rhetoric, and policies in the past and in the present have always been directed not at protecting the rights and wellbeing of the Palestinian people, but at maintaining power at any cost. The ‘deal of the century’ has unmasked the PA’s duplicity and the toll it has taken on Palestinian mass mobilisation.”

Israeli Arabs alarmed over Benny Gantz supporting Trump’s plan, Al-Monitor
Shlomi Eldar writes, “Before the two election campaigns (April and September 2019), Gantz’s party viewed cooperation of Blue and White and the Arab Joint List as a historic opportunity for Jewish-Arab cooperation. But recent developments have turned this opportunity into a catastrophic crisis — one that might not be repaired after the elections of March 2.”

Trump peace plan offers land without people to people who don’t want the land, Times of Israel
Jacob Magid writes, “With no warning, Israeli farmers on Egypt border find themselves set to be surrounded by Palestinian enclaves. Asks one: Does this look like a map put together by serious people?”