News Roundup for July 21, 2020

July 21, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Biden and Sanders Teams Stand Off Over Israeli ‘Occupation’, The Daily Beast
To some Democrats, a lack of explicit acknowledgement of Israeli occupation—a term that former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both used in various contexts—casts a retrograde pall over a platform that is otherwise moving in a progressive direction. That feeling is broadly shared among progressives involved with the platform process, who believe the addition would state the obvious. “The reality is that this isn’t about policy, but about politics. There’s no real substantive disagreement that the Palestinians live under Israeli occupation,” said Matt Duss, a top foreign policy adviser to Sanders, who told The Daily Beast it was probable that progressives would offer an occupation amendment to the platform. “At a moment when Americans are mobilizing against racism and inequality here, we think it’s important for the Democratic Party to acknowledge the reality there… There’s no good reason why Democrats shouldn’t be able to say in 2020 what Barack Obama said in 2009.”

Jewish Republicans come to praise Trump, but also how to sell him to other Jews, The Jerusalem Post
Ron Kampeas writes, “When Jewish Republicans met online this weekend to talk about the best way to defeat Joe Biden, the conversation kept sliding back to a question that has beset them since 2016: How do you explain Donald Trump? […] The subtext — sometimes the overt-text — was how do you pitch Trump to a community that overwhelmingly dislikes him? Jewish voters have consistently disapproved of Trump in greater proportion than the general population, where his approval ratings are tanking, and people who participated in the conversation said that has made it hard for them to drum up support for Republicans.”

Jordan could ‘look positively’ on one-state solution if Palestinian-Israeli rights equal, The Guardian
Jordan’s prime minister has said his country could view positively a “one-state democratic solution” to the Israel-Palestine dispute, as he warned that Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank could unleash a new wave of extremism in the Middle East.


Lapid calls on Netanyahu to resign after having ‘lost control’ of COVID crisis, Times of Israel
“Benjamin Netanyahu needs to resign. He’s failed. He’s lost control. The coronavirus crisis isn’t being managed, not the economic aspect and not the health aspect. He isn’t a manager, he’s a PR man,” Lapid said while addressing his Yesh Atid party’s weekly faction meeting in the Knesset.

Israel’s nurses strike to protest extra load due to the coronavirus, JTA
Nurses in Israel launched a general strike on Monday to protest the difficult loads placed on them due to staff shortages in part because of the coronavirus crisis.

Bolton: Israel should act now in own security interests ahead of US election, Times of Israel
“[Trump] is motivated much more by domestic American politics which is why if it turns out he is reelected in November, we don’t know what he is going to do once he is freed from electoral constraints,” Bolton said. “Which is why anyone who is concerned about what happens the Middle East should worry about what happens in a second term.”

Report: Israeli strikes in Syria killed 5 foreign fighters, AP
A Syrian war monitoring group said Tuesday that Israeli airstrikes the previous day on military posts south of the capital, Damascus, killed five foreign fighters and wounded several others.

Fatah and Hamas to hold ‘historic’ joint rally in Gaza against annexation, Times of Israel
Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub announced on Monday that rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas will hold a joint rally in the Gaza Strip against Israeli annexation “in the coming days,” according to a statement published by the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA news agency.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu Has (Almost) Nothing to Fear From a President Biden, Haaretz
Aaron David Miller writes, “Biden’s overwhelming priority as president will be putting America back together again, not fighting with Israel about the Palestinians. Unless Netanyahu does something really reckless.”

When China Met Iran, New York Times
Michael Singh writes, “A growing partnership between America’s main Middle East adversary and Asia’s rising superpower bears careful watching in Washington.”

Young Israelis Are Finally Taking to the Streets. Here’s What’s Driving Them, Haaretz
Over the past week, thousands of young Israelis have taken to the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to protest the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and to demand that Netanyahu step down. The protests have been loud and lively, spilled out from city squares into the streets, and in some instances culminated in clashes with police and arrests.

6 steps Israel must take to avert COVID chaos — government’s former top adviser, Times of Israel
Prof Eli Waxman says advising Israel’s leaders on virus felt like ‘bashing my head against a brick wall,’ outlines what needs to be done urgently to prevent health service meltdown.

“We Said That Ruling Over Another People Will Come at a Price. But There’s No Price”, Haaretz
Zehava Galon has been working to end the occupation since 1984. She was a founder of rights group B’Tselem, and she got into politics after becoming a legislative aide to David “Dedi” Zucker, a leader of the Ratz party, which in 1992 merged with Mapam and Shinui to form Meretz. When asked if she can recall any significant crossroads or critical errors in the battle against the occupation, she immediately mentions the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995.