News Roundup for June 8, 2020

June 8, 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

‘It’s a war crime’: Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv Against Netanyahu Annexation Bid, Times of Israel / Atlanta Jewish Times
The demonstration was organized by the left-wing Meretz party and the communist Hadash faction of the majority-Arab Joint List, along with several other left-wing rights groups. MK Nitzan Horowitz, the head of Meretz, told the crowd that annexation would be a “war crime” and would cost Israel millions as the economy is already reeling due to the pandemic. “We cannot replace an occupation of dozens of years with an apartheid that will last forever,” shouted a hoarse Horowitz. “Yes to two states for two peoples, no to violence and bloodshed,” he continued. “No to annexation, yes to peace.”

More Israelis oppose West Bank annexation than support it — survey, Times of Israel
More Israelis oppose annexation of West Bank land than support it, and only 3.5% list it among their top priorities, according to a survey commissioned and published by the left-wing Geneva Initiative group.

German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation, Axios
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.


Bernie Sanders addresses thousands protesting the annexation of the West Bank, JTA
Speaking to the protesters on video, Sanders said: “The plans to illegally annex any part of the West Bank must be stopped. The occupation must be ended and we must work together toward a future of equality and dignity for all people in Israel and Palestine.”

Netanyahu appoints controversial adviser who trashed Obama and Biden, The Jerusalem Post
Aaron Klein, a former journalist for Breitbart, was hired by Netanyahu as a strategic and communications consultant for the Likud Party.

Witness said to confirm police fatally shot autistic man as he lay on floor, Times of Israel
An eyewitness has reportedly confirmed the testimony of the caregiver of an autistic Palestinian man killed by police last month, saying Iyad Halak was shot while he lay on the floor, and that officers were told at the time that he was disabled.

Cars Vandalized, Walls Defaced in Suspected Hate Crime in West Bank Village, Haaretz
Twelve cars were vandalized and pro-Israel graffiti spray-painted on the walls of homes in the Palestinian village of As-Sawiya in the northern West Bank, near the settlement of Ariel.

“It should call out to every Jew:” Crown Heights rallies for Black Lives Matter, The Forward
On Sunday more than 100 people marched through the heart of Jewish life in Crown Heights, past 770 (the worldwide headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement) and along a major street to show their support for Black Lives Matters.

Netanyahu calls shooting of autistic Palestinian man a ‘tragedy’, JTA
Netanyahu made the statement on Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, eight days after Iyad Halak was shot in the Old City of Jerusalem by officers who believed he was armed. It was the prime minister’s first comment on the incident.

Israel looks to move forward with West Bank annexation “within weeks”, Axios
Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Yariv Levin said in a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and settler leaders on Sunday that Israel will move forward with annexation of parts of the West Bank “within weeks,” sources who attended the meeting told me.

Netanyahu Tells Settlement Leaders Israel May Annex Less of West Bank Than Planned, Haaretz
According to a source present at the meeting, Netanyahu said Israel had yet to receive a green light to annex, and that it was possible that less territory would be annexed than originally planned, as the map for the plan has yet to have been drawn.

Opinion and Analysis

Stop Calling Israel a Jewish Democracy, Foreign Policy
Shibley Telhami writes, “The looming annexation of the West Bank will create a one-state reality, forcing American elites to choose between a commitment to the country’s Jewishness or democratic values.”

Why is Netanyahu pressing with annexation despite all the risk?, The Jerusalem Post
Jeff Barak writes, “Netanyahu has recklessly placed all of Israel’s eggs in the basket of the most volatile and divisive president in modern US history.”

Netanyahu sees a historic moment in annexation. But he might not be seeing the risks, Washington Post
Dennis Ross writes, “Netanyahu now sees his unique Ben-Gurion moment. He believes that the Trump administration permits him to set Israel’s borders to the east, keeping areas he regards as critical to Israeli security, and to create a new baseline for any negotiations that might take place in the future with the Palestinians. The baseline would no longer be the June 4, 1967, lines but the Trump plan: up to 70 percent of the West Bank rather than 100 percent.”

‘He’s Disabled,’ the Caregiver Screamed. ‘I’m With Her,’ Eyad Cried. The Cop Opened Fire Anyway, Haaretz
The 32-year-old autistic Palestinian lay wounded and terrified on the ground while his caregiver, standing nearby, tried to explain to Israeli policemen that he had a disability and pleaded for his life. To no avail: He was shot dead within minutes

Netanyahu’s annexation folly, Ynet
Nahum Barnea writes, “Claiming sovereignty over parts of the West Bank is not in Israel’s best interests; the prime minister wants the land but not the people – but there’s a word for that and we all know how it ended in South Africa.”

How Bernie Sanders Came to Address an Anti-annexation Rally in Tel Aviv, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “For many of the demonstrators at Rabin Square Saturday night, the American senator’s appearance ‒ in the midst of a national crisis in the U.S. ‒ was a pleasant surprise.”