News Roundup for January 31, 2020

January 31, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Senior Defense Officials Warn Annexation Would Endanger Israel’s Peace With Jordan, Haaretz
The helm of the Israeli security establishment has expressed worry recently about the future of the relationship between Israel and Jordan. With the presentation of the U.S. administration’s peace plan, and especially given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intent to announce the annexation of the Jordan Valley, the top brass has been warning against unilateral steps that could influence the future of ties with Amman.

Israel claims disagreement with US over West Bank annexation merely ‘technical’, Times of Israel
There is no substantive disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem over Israel’s right to annex the Jordan Valley and other West Bank territories, a senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s delegation to the US and Russia said Thursday.


Israel strikes Hamas in Gaza after rocket attack, as region heats up, Times of Israel
Israeli aircraft carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after three rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave at Israel.

Gantz’s Push for Annexation ‘Complicates’ Possibility of Support From Arab-majority Alliance, Haaretz
Benny Gantz’s support for Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank, as well as his party’s vote to disqualify a member of the Joint List, an Arab-majority political alliance, from running in the country’s March 2 election, have “complicated” the slate’s possibility of supporting his bid for prime minister, a senior figure in the faction told Haaretz.

Annexation, stalled: How Trump, Netanyahu fell out of step on core part of deal, Times of Israel
Many supporters of the settlement movement rushed to cheer Tuesday’s unveiling of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” as the most pro-Israel peace proposal in history.

Democratic Candidates Slam Trump’s Plan, as pro-Israel Democrats Slam Sanders, Haaretz
With the first U.S. presidential primaries around the corner, the leading Democratic presidential candidates, using similar language, have all slammed the Trump peace plan unveiled Tuesday as a cynical charade that would make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict worse, not better.

Netanyahu tells Putin that Trump peace deal is a ‘new opportunity’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday hailed US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan as a new opportunity, after flying to Moscow to discuss it with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘A joke’: Palestinians slam Trump’s proposal for new capital, Al Jazeera
Just outside of Jerusalem lies Abu Dis, a small village which US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan has earmarked as the new capital of a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian refugees insulted by Trump’s ‘shameful’ deal; some threaten violence, Times of Israel
“Insulting.” “Shameful.” “A disgrace.” Those were some of the words used by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon on Wednesday to describe a White House plan for ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump Isn’t the Best U.S. President Israel Has Ever Had, but He Might Be the Worst, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The president’s deal of the century perpetuates the occupation, humiliates the Palestinians, rewards Israelis from the get go and shows them the virtues of money for nothing.”

Trump’s deal gives Israel a superpower endorsement of apartheid, +972 Mag
Omar H. Rahman writes, “For years Israel has backed itself into a morally and politically unjustifiable position regarding its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Now, Israel is turning to the U.S. to help defend it. The country’s relentless pursuit to settle its Jewish citizens across the West Bank has precluded any chance of partitioning the land into two independent polities, leaving millions of Palestinians stateless and living under an interminable military regime, with no civil or political rights.”

This ‘deal of the century’ for the Middle East will be just another bleak milestone, The Guardian
Ian Black writes, “By backing Israeli annexation and denying Palestinians their rights, Donald Trump is only perpetuating the conflict.”

Indictment, a plan and a pardon: Israeli PM has a wild week, AP
Aron Heller writes, “It’s been quite a trip for Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, who has portrayed himself as a master statesman as he fights for his political survival ahead of March 2 elections.”