News Roundup for January 30, 2020

January 30, 2020

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J Street in the News

Pro-Israel Democratic super PAC takes aim at Bernie Sanders in Iowa, CNN
“DMFI’s right-leaning positions on Israel and US foreign policy are completely out of touch with the vast majority of Democrats and the vast majority of American Jews, who are both supportive of Israel and strongly critical of the far-right policies of the Netanyahu government,’ J Street spokesman Logan Bayroff said.”

Sanders defines a Jewish identity his way on the 2020 trail, AP
“The 78-year-old democratic socialist connected his Jewishness to his liberal policies during remarks last fall to J Street, a progressive Jewish American group whose conference drew five Democratic presidential candidates. ‘If there’s any group on earth that should be trying to bring people together around a common and progressive agenda, it is the Jewish people,’ Sanders said, adding that he believes in Israel’s ‘right to exist in peace and security’ and would extend the same right to Palestinians.”

President Trump releases ‘deal of the century’, BBC
J Street’s Logan Bayroff speaks with the BBC World Service (at 45:25).

Top News and Analysis

Kushner Says U.S. Won’t Support Annexation Before Israel’s Election, Times of Israel
Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in an interview released on Wednesday that he hopes Israel will not annex settlements before the upcoming election. Kushner said the United States is preparing to discuss the technical details of annexation with Israel, but that this discussion “will take time.”

Democratic Senators Slam Trump: Peace Plan Raises ‘Disturbing Questions’ About Interference in Israeli Election, Haaretz
The senators, including presidential contenders Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, wrote in a public letter to U.S. President Donald Trump that his plan “undermines the vision of a democratic Jewish state,” and could also harm Israel’s relationship with Jordan.

Israeli Cabinet vote on West Bank annexation won’t happen Sunday, but next week appears possible, JTA
The timeline is growing hazy for an Israeli Cabinet vote on annexing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump revealed a peace plan endorsing the move.


Kushner slams Palestinian leadership, urges giving up ‘fairy tales’ for peace, Times of Israel
US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner on Tuesday launched scathing attacks against the Palestinian leadership, which he said has lied to the Palestinian public for years by promising them “fairy tales” that cannot be achieved.

Gantz: I Will Bring Trump’s Plan for Approval in Knesset Next Week, Haaretz
Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief political rival, said Wednesday that he will bring U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan for the Knesset’s approval next week.

Likud inches closer to Blue and White in first TV polls since Trump peace plan, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party edged closer to the rival Blue and White in a series of television polls published Wednesday, the first following the release of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan a day earlier.

Angry Palestinians face dilemma in responding to Trump plan, AP
But they have few realistic options to prevent its implementation as Israel plows ahead with plans to unilaterally annex territory.

Gaza mortar shell strikes south amid fears of violent responses to US peace plan, Times of Israel
Palestinian terrorists fired at least one mortar shell at southern Israel on Wednesday night, striking an open field and causing no injuries or damage, the military said.

Anger in Palestine over Trump plan, but protests see low turnout, Al Jazeera
A day after US President Donald Trump announced his Middle East plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calls for mobilisation by various Palestinian factions have gone mostly unheeded.

Defense minister announces formation of ‘special team’ to assess annexation, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced that he had established a special team to lead the effort to annex West Bank Jewish settlements, the Jordan Valley and the area around the Dead Sea, following the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Opinion and Analysis

Jared Kushner: Palestinians Have Never Done Anything Right in Their Sad, Pathetic Lives, Vanity Fair
Bess Levin writes, “The first son-in-law has warned Palestinians not to ‘screw up this opportunity’ at peace that he’s so graciously given to them.”

What Trump and Netanyahu just unveiled was a PR campaign, not a peace plan, Washington Post
Max Boot writes, “But while the president can undoubtedly order the killing of enemy leaders, he cannot snap his fingers and end a long-running conflict. Indeed, he is not seriously trying to do so. What was unveiled on Tuesday was a PR campaign, not a peace plan.”

Trump’s Plan Calls for ‘Sensitivity’ in Jerusalem. Then Takes a Hammer to It, Haaretz
Nir Hasson writes, “A bulldozer in a china shop. That’s how the section of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan on Jerusalem feels. The authors of the plan talk about the need to treat the issue of Jerusalem’s holy sites with “utmost sensitivity,” but they are brutally trampling over the sensitive, complex and dangerous problems. It shows a minimal understanding of the city, does not delve into details and is rife with major contradictions.”

The “Deal of the Century” is a Cruel Sham Deal, Times of Israel
Rabbi John Rosove writes, “This deal isn’t a peace plan. It’s a cruel sham of a deal because only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the most extreme right-wing position in Israel, is represented and there was no attempt to engage with Palestinian national aspirations.”

What will Palestinians do now?, Vox
Alex Ward writes, “It’s still unclear just what Palestinian leaders plan to do going forward, especially if they continue to refuse to negotiate with the Trump administration.”

I moved to Israel with hopes of peace. Trump’s plan is the nail in that coffin., The Forward
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “Trump’s plan was born in sin. Members of the Trump Middle East team, made up of his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his lawyers David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, who has since stepped down, may truly believe that they have committed themselves to peace. But for the last three years, both Israel and America were undermining the only potential Palestinian partner.”

Why Trump’s Apartheid Peace Plan Is So Dangerous – and Not Only for Palestine, Haaretz
Husam Zomlot writes, “The Trump Plan was never about freedom and equality for Palestinians. Instead, it was always about consolidating Israel’s control over Palestinian lives, prolonging the status quo, and legitimizing Israel’s crimes under international law including colonization and annexation.”

For Trump, Palestine is just another ‘shithole country’, +972 Mag
Eitay Mack writes, “According to the president, the Palestinians are a people plagued by ‘a cycle of terrorism, poverty, and violence.’ By describing them as such, Trump essentially lumped the Palestinians with millions of Africans that he described as living in ‘shithole countries,’ as well as Hispanics whom he labeled ‘criminals and rapists.’”

Trump’s Israel-Palestine peace plan, explained, Vox
“The real threat to peace is if the plan succeeds,” an expert told Vox.