News Roundup for January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

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J Street in the News

Netanyahu to join Trump next week to announce “deal of the century” peace deal for the Middle East, Salon
“The American peace advocacy group J-Street said the deal is all about giving Israel the green light to take more territory. ‘The plan is expected to be the culmination of a series of steps taken by Trump and his team to advance the annexationist agenda of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the far-right settlement movement in Israel,’ the group wrote. ‘The known contours of the plan appear designed to formalize, entrench, and legitimize permanent Israeli control of the occupied West Bank and to undercut any prospect of Palestinian statehood via a two-state solution.’”

Bernie Sanders Emphasizes Jewish Roots in New Campaign Video, Haaretz
“The four-minute video posted Thursday night on Sanders’ Twitter feed, interpolates excerpts from Sanders’ speech last year to J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, with commentary by Joel Rubin, the campaign’s Jewish outreach director. It starts with Sanders’ declaration of pride in being Jewish. ‘I’m very proud to be Jewish and look forward to becoming the first Jewish president in the history of this country,’ Sanders says.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu First, Then Gantz: Trump to Host Leaders to Discuss Peace Plan, Haaretz
President Donald Trump will meet on Monday with the leaders of Israel’s two largest parties at the White House, as he prepares to present the administration’s Mideast peace plan.

Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Seen Mainly as an Election Lift for Netanyahu, New York Times
Mark Landler writes, “But far from a bold effort to bring old enemies together — one that demands painful concessions from both sides — Middle East experts now expect the plan to be mainly a booster shot for Mr. Netanyahu’s desperate campaign to stay in power.”

Israel, Beware the True Cost of Trump’s ‘Peace’ Plan, Haaretz
Daniel Shapiro writes, “If Netanyahu adopts a plan that greenlights unilateral annexation, he should acknowledge what’s at stake. Setting Israel up for an immediate clash with a Democratic president is only the beginning.”


Netanyahu: White House peace plan an ‘opportunity that cannot be missed’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that the Trump administration’s much-awaited peace plan was a “historic moment” and an opportunity that should not be missed.

Netanyahu, Gantz land in DC ahead of meeting with Trump on peace plan, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz landed in Washington, DC on Sunday, ahead of a meeting with US President Donald Trump to discuss the release of the administration’s peace plan, knows as “Deal of the Century.”

Abbas said to refuse to take phone call from Trump, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly refused to take a phone call from US President Donald Trump ahead of the White House’s expected release of a Mideast peace plan rejected by Ramallah as one-sided in favor of Israel.

Palestinians threaten to dismantle PA, warn of violence over Trump plan, JTA
The Palestinian official also told Ynet that “there is no doubt the plan will have an effect on the Palestinian streets. It could cause tension and lead to an escalation, there is a limit to the existing patience for one-sided moves.”

Trump plan would see Palestinian state on up to 70% of West Bank, reports say, Times of Israel
The Trump administration’s peace plan would curb Israeli settlement growth, initially hand Israelis and Palestinians about one-third of the West Bank each, recognize a Palestinian state in the Palestinian-held areas, and set in place a four-year “preparation period” during which Palestinians would — so Washington hopes — come around to the plan and possibly negotiate control of the remainder of the territory.

Netanyahu tries to rally global opposition to ICC case, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on the world to take “concrete actions” against the International Criminal Court ahead of a possible war-crimes case against Israel.

PM invites settler leaders to join him in DC for rollout of Trump peace plan, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invited a group of senior settler leaders to join him this week in Washington, where he will meet with US President Donald Trump with the White House slated to roll out its peace plan.

Trump to Netanyahu, Gantz: You have six weeks to implement peace plan, The Jerusalem Post
The White House hope was that if Trump could get the support of both Netanyahu and Gantz for the plan, it would help provide some momentum. A US official said Trump wants to know both Netanyahu and Gantz are on board with the plan before announcing it.

Bloomberg vows steadfast commitment to US aid for Israel, AP
Michael Bloomberg on Sunday made his case for the presidency to fellow Jewish Americans, vowing not to revisit U.S. aid to Israel — an approach that contrasts Bloomberg with several of his Democratic rivals, including his only fellow Jewish candidate in the race, Bernie Sanders.

Bennett conditions support for Trump peace plan on immediate annexation, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-annexation Yamina party, said his party would support the US peace plan set to be announced this week in Washington — if it allows Israel to annex large swaths of the West Bank “immediately.”

Opinion and Analysis

The week Israel says yes to annexing the West Bank, consequences be damned, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren writes, “The Deal of the Century will give Israel a green light to annex parts of the West Bank, and no Israeli leader can allow himself to be seen as less pro-Israel than the White House.”

What we know about Trump’s Middle East peace plan, Al Jazeera
Jihan Abdalla writes, “The Palestinians have already dismissed ‘the deal of the century,’ as the peace plan is widely dubbed, saying it will likely be heavily tilted in Israel’s favour – like several other steps taken by Trump since taking office in January 2017.”

Behind the Scenes: Who Pulled the Strings in Last-minute Decision to Invite Gantz to White House, Haaretz
Sources close to Netanyahu’s rival Gantz say Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had a key role in the original invitation that could have ended in humiliation.

Gantz’s uphill battle in Washington- Analysis, The Jerusalem Post
Gil Hoffman writes, “First of all, while Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump will be a major political event that will be played up for the press around the world, the White House press corps has not even been invited to cover the Trump-Gantz meeting.”

Mike Bloomberg pitches himself to Jewish Americans, in a presidential race with two very different Jewish candidates, Washington Post
Julie Zauzmer writes, “Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg are both talking about their Jewish identity — and their sharp differences on Israel and other issues.”