News Roundup for June 30, 2020

June 30, 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

As annexation looms, several leading Republican lawmakers remain silent, Times of Israel
“The liberal Zionist group J Street has been leading a campaign to galvanize opposition to the move in Washington. Dylan Williams, J Street’s senior vice president of government affairs, argued that Democratic resistance to annexation reflected the party’s commitment to the conventional American outlook that any kind of unilateral action from either side does not advance peace. ‘There is essential unanimity among Democratic lawmakers against unilateral annexation,’ he told The Times of Israel. ‘The overwhelming majority have now spoken out against it. Among Republicans you see either silence or egging on of a move that runs directly counter to US interests and decades of bipartisan policy.’ He added, ‘It couldn’t be clearer that Trump and Republican lawmakers have abandoned the longstanding consensus on US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.’”

Top News and Analysis

What Americans think about the looming Israeli annexation and Trump’s Middle East plan, Brookings
Shibley Telhami writes, “As in previous polls, nearly two thirds (63%) said: ‘I favor Israel’s democracy more than its Jewishness. I support a single democratic state in which Arabs and Jews are equal even if that means Israel would no longer be a politically Jewish state.’ This includes 81% of Democrats and 70% of independents. Republicans were split, with a plurality (49%) saying: ‘I favor the Jewishness of Israel more than its democracy. I support the continuation of Israel’s Jewish majority in the government even if it means that Palestinians will not have citizenship and full rights.’ It is notable, however, that non-evangelical Republicans favor democracy over Jewishness by 10 percentage points (51% compared to 41%).”

Annexation will undermine Israel-EU ties: EU foreign chief, The Jerusalem Post
European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell writes, “For us in Europe, it is painful to see the prospect of the two-state solution, the only realistic and sustainable way to end this conflict, at risk.”

Israel undeterred by international opposition to annexation, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears determined to carry out his pledge to begin annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, possibly as soon as Wednesday. His vision of redrawing the map of the Holy Land, in line with President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan, has been welcomed by Israel’s religious and nationalist right wing and condemned by the Palestinians and the international community. But with opponents offering little more than condemnations, there seems little to prevent Netanyahu from embarking on a plan that could permanently alter the Mideast landscape.


Israeli leaders at odds over West Bank annexation plan, AP
Netanyahu has said he wants to begin annexing occupied land as soon as this week in line with President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan. Trump’s envoy, Avi Berkowitz, is in Jerusalem this week working with Israeli officials on the contours of which land Israel can annex. But in a meeting with his Blue and White party, Gantz said his top priority is helping the country cope with the health and economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus. “Anything unrelated to the battle against the coronavirus will wait,” he said.

Netanyahu said to hint annexation won’t begin July 1, as he’d previously pledged, Times of Israel
“I have a positive and topical line of communication with the Americans and when I have something to report, I’ll report [it],” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the public broadcaster. “This is a complicated process with lots of diplomatic and security considerations that I can’t get into. We said that [annexation] would be after July 1.”

Iranian Missile Facility Blows Up, and Conspiracy Theories Abound in Tehran, New York Times
When a major explosion lit the skies on the edge of Tehran last week, the Iranian government was quick to dismiss the episode as a gas explosion at the Parchin military base, which was once the focus of international nuclear inspectors. It turned out that was false: Satellite photographs show the explosion happened at a missile production facility not far from Parchin, a base laced with underground tunnels and long suspected to be a major site for Iran’s growing arsenal.

Lack of Security Camera Footage Mars Israel’s Probe Into Its Killing of Autistic Palestinian, Haaretz
A month after the shooting death of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man by a border policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City, a key issue remains: the existence of any footage of the incident from the many security cameras nearby.

714 new virus cases recorded in day as ministers rein in weddings, public events, Times of Israel
Cabinet ministers imposed new restrictions on public gatherings in a bid to stem the rising infection rate of the coronavirus, as the Health Ministry on Tuesday recorded 714 new infections in a 24-hour period.

Dozens of Pro-democracy Protesters Rally Against Netanyahu Government in Tel Aviv, Haaretz
Several dozen pro-democracy demonstrators gathered Monday night in a protest area set up by activists from the “black flag” movement on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

In counter to US peace plan, Palestinians say ready for direct talks with Israel, AFP/TOI
The Palestinians are prepared to renew long-stalled peace talks with Israel and to agree to “minor” territorial concessions, according to a counter-proposal to a contentious US plan.

UN’s Michelle Bachelet says Israel’s annexation plans ‘illegal, Al Jazeera
Israel’s aim to annex parts of the occupied West Bank is clearly “illegal”, the United Nations’ human rights chief said on Monday, warning that the consequences could be “disastrous”.

We used to employ 70 people’: the story of the Sharaf Factory, Gaza, B’Tselem
The Sharaf Factory is one of many Palestinian businesses to have collapsed due to Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Opinion and Analysis

Like Trump, Netanyahu Suddenly Seems Out of Touch and Off the Rails, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Tax greed and overreaction to protests together with coronavirus laxity and annexation frenzy seem taken from the U.S. president’s self-destructive playbook.”

The mainstreaming of Christian Zionism could warp foreign policy, Washington Post
Jeffrey Rosario writes, “Most modern evangelicals who believe that the United States has a divinely sanctioned mission to secure the state of Israel can trace their worldview to William E. Blackstone, a Chicago businessman turned preacher. Between the 1870s and 1890s, Blackstone became a key proponent of dispensationalism, the theological view that Israel will play a central role in the final events of Earth’s history.”

Israel’s Failed Pandemic Government, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “The coronavirus crisis is looking more and more like coronavirus chaos. The number of infections is rising steadily and Israel seems to be gradually losing control over the pandemic.”

Netanyahu’s annexation plan in disarray as Gantz calls for delay, The Guardian
Peter Beaumont and Rosie Scammell write, “Plans by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to begin annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territories from as early as Wednesday appeared in disarray as the country’s alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz, suggested annexation would have to wait while the country dealt with its coronavirus crisis.”

U.S. Teens Could Save the Country’s Future. Israeli Teens Might Do the Opposite, Haaretz
Shira Makin writes, “In Israel, polls indicate that young people are breaking right and becoming closer to religion. According to a survey conducted by Dahlia Scheindlin for the Zulat think tank in May, the younger the respondents, the more right-wing they are. In the 18-24 age group, 62 percent identified as right-wing.”