News Roundup for July 7, 2020

July 7, 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

AIPAC opposes act prohibiting Israel from using US funds for annexation, The Jerusalem Post
“The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced on Monday that it opposes the Chris Van Hollen amendment, which it says politicizes US support for Israel’s security […] J Street, the progressive Jewish group, rejected AIPAC’s statement. ‘The Van Hollen amendment says US aid should be used for Israel’s defense, not Netanyahu’s annexation of the West Bank,’ the organization said in a tweet. ‘To be clear, AIPAC is arguing that your tax dollars should help pay for annexation,’ J Street added.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Discusses Annexation With Boris Johnson as Allies Warn Move Could Impact Relations, Haaretz
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday over the phone that he vehemently opposes any Israeli step to annex parts of the West Bank.

Annexation, Apartheid, and Me, The Atlantic
Hirsh Goodman writes, “Israel gave me an identity I did not have growing up as a Jew in apartheid South Africa. There I was tolerated because I was white and hated because Afrikaners were taught in Sunday school to believe that the Jews killed Christ. Nevertheless, it was apartheid, not anti-Semitism, that drove me to leave South Africa as soon as I could. I could not abide living in a country with endemic discrimination against a large majority of the population based on race.”

Despite coronavirus outbreak: Israel ramps up demolition of West Bank Palestinian homes in June, B’Tselem
Last month saw a spike in Israeli demolitions, which left 151 Palestinians, including 84 minors, homeless – despite the danger of remaining without shelter during a pandemic.


Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany warn annexation may hurt ties with Israel, Times of Israel
“We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict,” Sameh Shoukry, Ayman al-Safadi, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas said in a statement issued after they discussed the matter via videoconference.

Why is Trump’s Israel envoy pushing for West Bank annexation?, AFP
“He is pursuing a very obsessive agenda of annexation, which according to my knowledge and understanding, is not shared by most of his colleagues in Washington,” Nitzan Horowitz, an Israeli opposition politician and head of the left-wing Meretz party, said.

As coronavirus outbreak balloons, Netanyahu’s approval rating slides, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval has slipped so low that more people now say they are dissatisfied with his handling of the coronavirus outbreak than those who give him their approval, according to a Channel 12 news survey published Monday.

Survey finds Israelis split on annexing West Bank territory, JTA
The Israeli Voice Index for June 2020, a monthly survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, found that 24.5 percent of Israelis support applying sovereignty to all of the West Bank; 14 percent support applying sovereignty to the West Bank settlement blocs; 8 percent support applying sovereignty to just the Jordan Valley; and 25 percent oppose applying sovereignty to any part of the West Bank. Some 28.5 percent responded that they don’t know.

Hamas and Fatah double down on reconciliation, brush off ‘enormous skepticism’, Times of Israel
Two senior officials from Hamas and Fatah on Monday night conducted the second joint press appearance by the two rival Palestinian factions in a week to discuss “methods of common action” against an Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

House advances legislation pushing for Israeli-Palestinian partnerships, Jewish Insider
A House panel chaired by retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) advanced bipartisan legislation on Monday that would establish an international fund to facilitate joint economic ventures and promote people-to-people dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mossad said to foil Iranian attacks on Israeli embassies in Europe, elsewhere, Times of Israel
The Mossad spy agency recently foiled planned or attempted Iranian attacks on Israeli diplomatic missions in Europe and elsewhere, according to a report Monday.

Opinion and Analysis

Annexation Will Probably Go Smoothly. The Problems Will Come Later, Foreign Policy
Robert Malley and Philip H. Gordon write, “Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory won’t trigger a disaster, but the aftermath will be toxic for the Jewish state.”

Jerusalem offers a grim model for a post-annexation future, AP
Joseph Krauss writes, “It’s hard to say what exactly will change in the West Bank if Israel follows through on its plans to annex parts of the occupied territory, but east Jerusalem, which was annexed more than a half-century ago, may provide some answers.”

Former top Israeli general Yair Golan rejects annexation, says “we need deal with Palestinians, not US” [Podcast], Al-Monitor
Golan argues that Israelis don’t need a deal with the US administration, rather they need a deal with the Palestinians.

‘That’s the point of the checkpoint, to remind you they’re always there’, +972 Mag
Mya Guarnieri Jaradat writes, “The scariest thing about ‘The Container,’ which divides Palestinian areas from each other, is not knowing when — or if — you will make it to the other side.”

The Message: West Bank Annexation = Apartheid, Haaretz
Dmitry Shumsky writes, “Using plain language, ‘The Laundry Report: It’s Not ‘Annexation’ – It’s Apartheid,’ the report by Zulat explains how the application of Israeli law to the occupied territories, or parts of them, will create a single political regime that will form the basis of two separate systems of law: one for Israeli citizens and another for the Palestinian population.”

As annexation deadline passes, Jordan feels relieved but remains vigilant, Al-Monitor
Osama Al Sharif writes, “Even though the controversial Israeli annexation plan appears to be on hold for now, Jordan is careful not to let down its guard.”

‘This Is Discrimination – I Feel Like a Second-class Citizen Because I Didn’t Marry a Jew’, Haaretz
David Stavrou writes, “Israel’s borders slammed shut to foreigners in mid-March due to the coronavirus, creating a nightmarish situation for hundreds of Israelis living overseas with non-national partners. Many accuse the state of discrimination, especially as some Diaspora Jews are now being allowed in.”