News Roundup for January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

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J Street in the News

Trump: Mideast peace plan likely rolled out in days, AP
“President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’ll likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan before his meeting early next week at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz […] In Washington, Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal advocacy group J Street, said Trump’s plan to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won’t be a peace plan, ‘but rather a plan to enshrine the Israeli settler movement’s agenda’ as U.S. foreign policy. ‘It’s clear that a U.S. proposal which endorses settlement expansion or annexation does not reflect the true interests of the United States and will not hold as U.S. policy under future administrations,’ said Ben-Ami, whose organization supports a two-state solution to the conflict.”

Top News and Analysis

Gantz Debating Whether to Accept Trump’s Invite to Discuss Peace Plan, Haaretz
A source from Kahol Lavan said Thursday that the Trump administration is aiding Netanyahu by allowing him to postpone the Knesset’s deliberation on his request for immunity from prosecution, slated for next Tuesday.

Trump plan said to give Israel sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, all settlements, Times of Israel
The Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan provides for full Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, for Israel to annex all West Bank settlements, and for no significant “return” to Israel or Palestinian refugees, Israeli TV reported Thursday night.

Trump’s Peace Deal Could Be a Green Light for Israel’s Annexation Plan, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Netanyahu won’t bring up, as some Likud MKs believe, the annexation bill for a first vote in the Knesset next week. But the moment the president publishes his plan, things could change. “


Details of the peace plan revealed, YNet News
Israeli sources who have seen the plan say Israel will be annexing 30% to 40% of Area C today under Israeli civil and security control, in parts of the area Israeli sovereignty will be extended to the settlements only, including those outside the settlement blocs and in other areas Israeli rule will include the entire territory.

Trump Invites Netanyahu to White House to Discuss Middle East Peace Plan, New York Times
The invitation could provide a welcome distraction for President Trump, facing an impeachment trial, and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges.

Abbas spokesman warns US and Israel not to cross ‘red lines’ with peace plan, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman warned Israel and the United States on Thursday not to cross any “red lines,” following a flurry of reports in Hebrew media about the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Holocaust Gathering Lets Some Leaders Score Present-Day Political Points, New York Times
As dignitaries from scores of western nations met in Jerusalem to remember the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years ago and express their resolve to combat anti-Semitism, the invocations of the past were as often aimed at scoring present-day geopolitical points as at sounding the alarm about a resurgence of bigotry and anti-Jewish violence.

‘Like A Prisoner Being Let Free’: Israel-Hamas Truce Lends Hope To Gaza’s Jobless, NPR
Israel is easing some of its tough restrictions on trade and travel out of Gaza. That’s on the condition that Hamas — an Islamist militant organization that Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist group — halts rocket fire into Israel and violent confrontations at the Israeli border.

Hamas to end IED balloon attacks on Israel, The Jerusalem Post
Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, has, according to sources, accepted an Egyptian request to prevent the firing of balloons and kites carrying improvised explosive devices into Israel.

Putin skews Holocaust history at global Auschwitz commemoration event in Jerusalem, JTA
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prime speaking slot at a Holocaust commemoration event here this week was generating controversy even before the longtime leader took the podium. His remarks Thursday at the event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army has done little to quell it.

Amnesty International is suing the Israeli firm that experts say might have helped Saudi Arabia hack Bezos’s phone, Washington Post
The United Nations called for an investigation Wednesday into allegations that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia sent a text message encrypted with spyware to the cellphone of Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. According to news reports and U.N. investigators, forensic analysis found evidence that the Pegasus-3 malware, developed by the Israeli NSO Group, was used in the 2018 hack.

Liberman on peace plan timing: ‘Next Tuesday we must focus only on immunity’, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman on Friday slammed the timing of the likely release of the US Middle East peace plan after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz were invited to a meeting at the White House on the day of a Knesset vote on the prime minister’s immunity.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s reckless politics of annexation, The Jerusalem Post
Yaakov Katz writes, “Not only will the annexation of the Jordan Valley potentially lead to cutting off security coordination with the Palestinians, but it could also lead to a total collapse in relations with Jordan.”

The Real ‘Deal of the Century’ Is Peace Between Netanyahu and Gantz, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “The spectacle in Washington will be bizarre: Two claimants to the Israeli throne will discuss the peace plan at the White House with no Palestinian partner. Maybe we’ll at least get a government out of it.”

Pete Buttigieg: My administration will devote $1 billion to combat anti-Semitism and other violent extremism, JTA
This is the second op-ed in a series of pieces about anti-Semitism and Jewish issues written by 2020 presidential candidates. This one is by Pete Buttigieg, 38, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Why Trump and Giuliani Truly Believe They’re ‘More Jewish’ Than Soros or Sanders, Haaretz
April Rosenblum writes, “Ever since the 1930s, American conservatives have tried to police Jewish identity, by attacking the credentials of anti-fascist, ‘subversive’ and ‘disloyal’ Jews – all the while declaring they ‘love Jews’.”