News Roundup for June 9, 2020

June 9, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

Top News and Analysis

The Palestinian Plan to Stop Annexation: Remind Israel What Occupation Means, New York Times
The Palestinian Authority says it will cut the salaries of tens of thousands of its own clerks and police officers. It will slash vital funding to the impoverished Gaza Strip. And it will try any Israeli citizens or Arab residents of Jerusalem arrested on the West Bank in Palestinian courts instead of handing them over to Israel. Desperate to deter Israel from annexing occupied territory, the Palestinians are taking a number of provocative steps to break off cooperation with Israel and force it to shoulder full responsibility, as a military occupier, for the lives of more than two million Palestinians on the West Bank. “We are not nihilists, or fools, and we don’t want chaos,” said Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian official in charge of relations with Israel and one of the two closest advisers to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. “We are pragmatic,” he added. “We don’t want things to reach a point of no return. Annexation means no return in the relationship with Israel.”

US wants Gantz and Ashkenazi on board with any unilateral annexation move, Times of Israel
The Trump administration is disinclined to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared intention to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank next month, unless the move is supported by Netanyahu’s Blue and White coalition partners Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a TV report claimed Monday night.

Palestinian PM: We will declare state on 1967 lines if Israel annexes W. Bank, The Jerusalem Post
If Israel takes moves to annex any part of the West Bank or Jordan Valley on July 1, the Palestinian Authority will declare a Palestinian state based on the armistice lines from before the 1967 Six Day War and call on the international community for recognition, said Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Tuesday.


Minister: Gantz backs Jordan Valley annexation if supported by US, Arab states, Times of Israel
A Blue and White minister on Tuesday said the centrist party has reached an agreement with Likud on annexing the Jordan Valley, but that party chair Defense Minister Benny Gantz would only support the plan if it was backed by the United States and some Arab countries.

Iran announces death sentence for man accused of spying on assassinated commander, Washington Post
An Iranian court has sentenced a man to death for allegedly spying for U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies on a top military commander who was recently assassinated, a spokesman for Iran’s judiciary said Tuesday.

Netanyahu soars in new poll, could form coalition without Gantz if new vote held, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would grow to 40 seats if fresh elections were held today, and together with his right-wing religious allies could easily form a government without Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, according to a television poll aired Monday which also predicted the storied Labor party being wiped out in such a vote.

Israel Prevented German Foreign Minister’s West Bank Visit, Citing Coronavirus Regulations, Haaretz
Israel has cited its coronavirus quarantine orders to prevent German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas from visiting the West Bank during his Middle East tour next week, three sources confirmed to Haaretz. Instead, he will meet Palestinian officials over video conference.

Annexation could cost Israel NIS 67 billion per year, The Jerusalem Post
Full annexation of the West Bank could cost the Israeli government NIS 67 billion a year, David Brodt, former director-general of the Finance Ministry, and currently a partner in an economic report commissioned by the Commanders for Israel Security, warned on Tuesday.

After dramatic rise in COVID-19 infections, Israel halts reopening plans, JTA
Israel is hitting an “emergency brake” on its ongoing reopening of the economy due to a sharp rise in the rate of coronavirus infections in recent days.

Black leaders urge white Jews to take action, The Forward
For almost two hours, black leaders shared how racism had impacted their lives — and urged a largely Jewish audience to take concrete action against it.

Israeli parliament women’s committee will be led by a man, JTA
Israeli feminist groups responded with outrage on Monday after it was announced that a male lawmaker had been chosen to lead a parliamentary panel tasked with advancing gender equality in the country.

Opinion and Analysis

Annexing West Bank territory was once a taboo for Israel. No longer., Washington Post
David Makovsky writes, “Having a partner in the White House who approves of annexation makes the move almost irresistible. The possibility that Trump could lose in the next election has only added urgency to Netanyahu’s agenda. Even so, there is still widespread opposition to the annexation, and this could shrink its scope or even lead to postponement.”

What would Israel annexing the West Bank mean?, The Guardian
Oliver Holmes writes, “In short, annexation is when a country declares that a piece of land outside its borders is part of the state. Often this is done after military occupation and whether the people living there want it or not. International law is fairly clear about annexation – it is illegal.”

Annexation or not, Europe must hold Israel accountable for the occupation, +972 Mag
Susie Becher writes, “Condemnations without actions are music to the Israeli government’s ears. To end the occupation, the international community has to change its playbook.”

Can Jews and African Americans rebuild their 1960s alliance?, The Forward
Jonathan Kaufman writes, “The collapse of black-Jewish cooperation after 1965 is important because it shows how powerful coalitions can be — and how fragile. As the country stands poised for a new reckoning with racism and police brutality, the challenge now is whether this moment of unity flooding the streets can be turned into a common and lasting political agenda.”