News Roundup for July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

Watch J Street president, GOP Jewish Coalition head debate Israel’s annexation bid, I24
“In a debate hosted by i24NEWS amid the Jewish state’s slated sovereignty initiative, Ben-Ami and Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition Matthew Brooks discussed at-length the consequences the move could have on Israel’s relations with its close allies, including the United States. ‘I do think that it will rupture the kind of relationship that the State of Israel is looking for with its global partners,’ Ben-Ami said, citing as well a letter signed by 191 US Democratic members expressing their opposition to the plan.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Annexation Day Arrives, but All That Emerges Is Delay, New York Times
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push to annex territory in the occupied West Bank entered a critical window on Wednesday, but with his government divided, the White House indecisive and domestic opposition mounting, his allies said that a formal announcement could be weeks or even months away. International opposition is gaining steam, too: The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, added his name to the list of foreign leaders denouncing annexation, warning in a front-page op-ed in the newspaper Yediot Ahronot that it would be “contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests” and that his country would not recognize any such unilateral move.

Annexation Target Date Is Here, but Israel Made Hardly Any Preparations, Officials Admit, Haaretz
On July 1, the day the government chose as the target date for launching annexation steps in the West Bank, it turned out that the diplomatic-security cabinet has yet to discuss the issue in any depth. Israeli missions abroad still don’t have a policy to explain it, and the Justice Ministry has not made any arrangements for the legal consequences and is not involved in the National Security Council’s preparations.

It Won’t Be So Easy to Revive the Iran Deal, The American Prospect
Blaise Malley writes, “The Iranian presidential election is scheduled to take place in May or June of 2021, giving a potential Biden administration only a few months with Rouhani as his counterpart in Tehran—a time during which Rouhani could in theory prove that engagement with the U.S. works. If the incoming Democratic administration does not prioritize rejoining the JCPOA within that short time frame, warned journalist Negar Mortazavi at a Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft event earlier this month, ‘Biden is going to lose that chance for the rest of his presidency.’”


Jimmy Carter condemns Israel’s planned annexation of parts of West Bank, Axios
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement on Wednesday calling Israel’s planned annexation of up to 30% of the West Bank a “massive, illegal expropriation of Palestinian territory” that would jeopardize peace treaties and mark the end of any possible two-state solution.

Germany rejects Israel’s West Bank annexation plans as illegal, Deutsche Welle
The German parliament has called on Israel to halt its plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank. However, it has ruled out the use of sanctions against Israel.

As Israel records 905 cases in past day, ministers to mull new restrictions, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Thursday recorded 905 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours and two more deaths since Wednesday evening, bringing the national toll from the pandemic to 324.

U.S. willing to take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program, envoy says, Axios
The Trump administration will use military force if that’s what it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, President Trump’s envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, told me in an interview today in Jerusalem.

Trump: Black Lives Matter is a ‘symbol of hate’, Politico
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called New York City’s decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue a “symbol of hate,” rebuking his hometown’s embrace of a rallying cry that has stirred nationwide protests against racism.

‘A New Phase’: Palestinian Factions Present United Front Against Israel’s Annexation Plan, Haaretz
In a rare show of unity between rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas are holding a joint press conference on Thursday, where they will present a joint plan of action to counter Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Gaza is a one-way ticket’: How Israel’s relocation policy is separating Palestinian communities, +972 Mag
Henriette Chacar writes, “Israel is systemically routing Palestinian movement in one direction — from the West Bank to Gaza. Families and advocates say the silent transfer is splintering Palestinian society.”

‘Annexation will suffocate us’: Jericho’s Palestinians fear being cut off, The Guardian
Rosie Scammell and Sufian Taha write, “The future of Palestinians in the city of Jericho is suspended in uncertainty and fear as they wait for Israel to decide when and how it will annex vast swathes of the land that surrounding them, a step outlined in a US peace initiative which could leave residents isolated from other parts of the West Bank.”

The pandemic stranded Palestinians abroad. Politics kept them there., Washington Post
Miriam Berger writes, “The semiautonomous Palestinian government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank does not control any airport or border. It must coordinate travel with Israel, usually via neighboring Egypt or Jordan, which closed crossings and restricted borders in March and prioritized seats on flights for their own citizens.”

Israel Is Paying the Price for Netanyahu Refusing to Appoint a ‘Corona Czar’, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Sharing information and sharing power could have helped to stem the renewed coronavirus outbreak, which will likely have even longer-lasting consequences.”