News Roundup for July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

Top News and Analysis

‘Very frightening’: Opposition grows to US agents in cities, AP
The Trump administration is facing growing pushback — in the courts and on the streets — to sending federal agents to Portland, Oregon, where protests have spiraled into violence, and vowing to do the same in other Democratic-led cities. Far from tamping down the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, the presence of federal agents on the streets of progressive Portland — and particularly allegations they have whisked people away in unmarked cars without probable cause — has energized two months of nightly protests that had begun to devolve into smaller, chaotic crowds.

As Trump Pushes Into Portland, His Campaign Ads Turn Darker, New York Times
As President Trump deploys federal agents to Portland, Ore., and threatens to dispatch more to other cities, his re-election campaign is spending millions of dollars on several ominous television ads that promote fear and dovetail with his political message of “law and order.” The influx of agents in Portland has led to scenes of confrontations and chaos that Mr. Trump and his White House aides have pointed to as they try to burnish a false narrative about Democratic elected officials allowing dangerous protesters to create widespread bedlam.

Who decided Trump was good for Israel?, YNet News
Nadav Tamir writes, “From annexation to Iran, the president’s Mideast policies have been severely detrimental to Israel, while diminishing the standing of our most important strategic ally both on the international stage and in the region – not the actions of a true friend.”


Israelis block entrance to parliament amid intense protests, AP
After a night of intense protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, dozens of Israeli demonstrators chained themselves together and briefly blocked the entrance to parliament on Wednesday morning. Police arrested four and broke up the gathering, which was called to protest an upcoming vote to grant the government sweeping authority to bypass parliament in enacting measures to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus. But it came amid a fresh outpouring of discontent with Netanyahu.

41 former Israeli security officials thank Dems for opposing annexation, Times of Israel
“We commend you on building such a broad coalition of Members of Congress to join you in signing this letter,” the ex-officials said. “We consider it a further manifestation of the broad-based support for the kind of Israel we have fought for on the battlefield and continue to strive for, one that is strong and safe, maintains a solid Jewish majority for generations to come, all while upholding the values of democracy and equality as enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.”

Israeli Parliament Bans LGBTQ ‘Conversion Therapy’ in Preliminary Vote, Risking Coalition Crisis, Haaretz
Israeli lawmakers gave on Wednesday their preliminary approval to ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ people, but is widely discredited by experts as ineffectual and harmful.

‘Cause for optimism,’ says COVID-19 stats team, a week after its bleak warning, Times of Israel
Coronavirus restrictions are working, there is “cause for optimism,” and hospitals could be over the worst within two weeks, a Hebrew University statistical team has concluded.

New Outpost Set Up on West Bank Land Meant to Go to the Palestinians Under Trump Plan, Haaretz
A new settlement outpost has been set up meters from an army base in the West Bank, on territory that, according to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, is supposed to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

LGBTQ Palestinians in Israel: Tahini firm stirs up ‘pinkwashing’ storm over hotline donation, Middle East Eye
“The moment we represent ourselves as gay Palestinians and speak about politics, it’s the end of the story,” added Ghadir al-Shafie, the director of Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms. “They want us to be the victims of our own society, and they want to be the saviours.”

Opinion and Analysis

With Economic, Political Woes, West Bank’s Second Coronavirus Wave Might Spin Out of Control, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Top Israeli officials fear the ramifications of a halt in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the fallout from Israel’s annexation plans and a growing mistrust in Palestinian leadership.”

Netanyahu stands alone, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Surrounded by yes-men ministers and lacking any real professionals by his side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found himself alone at the top.”

End of Palestinian Authority coordination with Israel in response to annexation threat: decision already impacting medical referrals, OCHA
The suspension of coordination has already affected humanitarian operations across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of June, the import of essential supplies by humanitarian agencies has been disrupted, affecting some of the major operational organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in addition to some NGOs.

Total poverty’: Bedouins in Israel struggle to get by under pandemic, +972 Mag
Suha Arraf writes, “The coronavirus crisis has worsened years of government neglect of Bedouins in the Naqab, forcing a once self-sufficient society into deeper destitution”

In Gaza, Suicides Are a Political Message, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Violent, unnatural, premature death is unrelenting in the densely populated Strip. There are more than enough reasons.”