News Roundup for June 25, 2020

June 25, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!


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

Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship, The Hill
“J Street, a pro-Israel organization considered more in line with the progressive left, has put its support behind the Democrats’ letter, and criticized Trump as handicapping Republicans who might otherwise speak out against annexation. ‘We generally do have regular conversations with some Republican offices,’ said Logan Bayroff, director of communications for J Street. ‘While there are those offices that I think are sympathetic to our arguments … there’s generally reluctance to speak out in any way that would be seen as critical of the approach taken by the Trump administration.’”

Top News and Analysis

Susan Rice, a possible Biden running mate, among key Democrats to warn Israel against annexation, JTA
Susan Rice, who reportedly is on the shortlist to be Joe Biden’s running mate, was among an array of senior Democrats who warned Israel that annexing parts of the West Bank would harm ties with the United States. “It would make this traditionally bipartisan strong support for Israel that much harder to sustain,” Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, told an online forum convened Tuesday by the Israel Policy Forum, which is dedicated to the two-state outcome.

From Schumer to Susan Rice, Democrats Unite Against Israeli Annexation, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “The fact that both Rice and Schumer participated in the virtual event raising the alarm over annexation, shows the degree to which the Democratic Party is united in its opposition to potential annexation moves. This includes politicians from the more left-wing, progressive section of the party, most notably Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – both of whom signed a public letter against annexation earlier this month.”

Trump faces critical decision on Israel’s bid for annexation, AP
Matthew Lee writes, “Trump could side entirely with Netanyahu, who has cited July 1 as a hope-for date for a decision, or endorse a less comprehensive takeover or oppose it outright, which is the most unlikely scenario. Even if that date isn’t set in stone, Netanyahu is expected to act before the fall, given uncertainty over Trump’s prospects for a second term and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s opposition to annexation. At stake for the United States is its credibility with Arab partners cultivated by Trump and with European nations that he has antagonized on numerous fronts, from climate change to trade to the Iran nuclear deal. Potentially more persuasive politically for Trump and his team is that his decision will affect his standing with evangelical Christians whose support he needs to win reelection. Virtually the entire international community opposes annexation, but Trump’s domestic supporters enthusiastically back it.”


Kellyanne Conway says Trump to make ‘big announcement’ on West Bank annexation, Times of Israel
“There are conversations being had. Obviously the president will have an announcement. He’s talked about this in the past and I’ll leave it to him to give you a big announcement. Very happy those talks continue,” Conway told reporters at the White House.

Trump aide: Concerns over occupied West Bank annexation overblown, Al Jazeera
“The same thing was predicted. That there would be mayhem and murder and death and destruction … When he pulled out of the Paris Accord, we’re all going to die the next day, we’re going to melt to death,” she said. “He moves the embassy to Jerusalem, the Arab world was going to disappear. Thank God that wasn’t true.”

Pompeo echoes Gantz by bashing Palestinians for refusal to negotiate on annexation, Al-Monitor
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Palestinians today for their refusal to negotiate over a looming Israeli annexation of the West Bank — one day after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz made similar comments, seemingly bringing him closer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position. Pompeo touted President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which greenlights the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well as the entire Jordan Valley.

Health experts said to warn virus will soar, with 1,000 daily cases by next week, Times of Israel
Health Ministry officials predict that Israel will see 1,000 new coronavirus diagnoses per day within five days, with experts warning ministers the country is on the cusp of “losing control” over the renewed outbreak, according to a television report on Wednesday night.

U.S. Weighs Israel Annexation Plan as Criticism Grows in Congress, U.N., Wall Street Journal
Senior Trump administration officials are meeting to discuss a plan for Israel to annex territory in the occupied West Bank, an effort that drew debate Wednesday among U.S. lawmakers and criticism at the United Nations.

At UN, Arab League head warns of ‘religious war’ if Israel annexes in West Bank, AFP/TOI
The United Nations, European Union countries, and the Arab League joined Wednesday in calling for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, as the Jewish state’s envoy to the international body insisted the step would not stand in the way of peace with the Palestinians.

Abbas: If Israel annexes, it will bear responsibility as an occupying power, Times of Israel
If Israel annexes “even one centimeter” of the West Bank, it will be obligated to bear the responsibilities of an occupier in the area, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab Parliament on Wednesday.

Footage of Suspected Attack Shows Palestinian’s Car Veering Towards Israeli Soldiers Before Fatal Shooting, Haaretz
Israel Police released Wednesday security camera footage from what they suspect was a car-ramming attack in East Jerusalem a day earlier, after which officers shot the driver dead, but the man’s family denies the official Israeli account of the incident.

PA’s bid to halt annexation leaves Gaza patients in limbo, AP
The refusal to process requests for medical permits is part of a larger decision by the Palestinian Authority to sever ties with Israel. Aimed at protesting Israel’s plans to begin annexing parts of the West Bank, the move has instead hurt many Palestinians.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Netanyahu seeks to have his cake and eat it too, Financial Times
David Gardner writes, “Even partial annexation will further erode Israel’s legitimacy, especially in Europe, by mixing up its recognised right to a state within the 1967 borders with the right it asserts to settle occupied Palestinian territory. That opens the door to an apartheid-style campaign by Palestinians for equal rights inside an expanded Israel and the spread of a boycott movement outside.”

Engel’s Defeat in N.Y. Should Spur Netanyahu to Rethink Annexation – but It Won’t, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Engel is liberal on most domestic issues but fiercely hawkish on foreign affairs, particularly on policies that advance Israel’s national security interests. He is considered a classic AIPAC-type congressman, one of a dwindling group of old guard Democrats who have helped maintain a semblance of bipartisan support for Israel in an era of political polarization and Democratic radicalization.”

A top pro-Israel congressman lost his primary. Was it a fluke or a harbinger?, The Forward
Aiden Pink writes, “In response to an open letter from Rabbi Avi Weiss, an influential Bronx Orthodox leader, Bowman wrote in an op-ed for the Riverdale Press that he was supported Israel’s right to exist and was opposed to the boycott-Israel movement known as BDS, but also supported activists’ First Amendment right to boycott. He also connected the nationwide protests against police brutality to the Palestinian experience.”

Israel’s High Court Is Willfully Blind to Theft of Palestinian Land, Haaretz
Yael Stein writes, “The justices sanctioned not only the land theft, but also separate planning systems: one for the settlers, which permits the settlements to thrive and to expand again and again on West Bank land, and another for the Palestinians, whose purpose is the exact opposite – to prevent them from building anywhere it’s possible to do so.”

‘If you take the land, you must give people citizenship’, +972 Mag
Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem should be a lesson to Palestinians in the West Bank, says activist Aziz Abu Sarah. ‘The central lesson I learned as a Jerusalemite is: You are on your own.’

Nazi Eagles and Confederate Flags: Why Orthodox Jews and Black Lives Matter Are Natural Allies, Haaretz
Avi Shafran writes, “The Jewish and black communities face a common enemy in white supremacy. But being targets of the same hate is not the only reason for Orthodox Jews to show up.”