News Roundup for May 12, 2020

May 12, 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

Abba Eban Was the Last to Hold These Two Israeli Posts at Once. Next: Gilad Erdan, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Gilad Erdan, an ambitious younger leader of his conservative Likud party, would lead Israel’s mission to the United Nations and, in November, also become its ambassador in Washington […] Israel’s emissaries are likely to have their hands full in the coming months if Mr. Netanyahu pushes ahead, as he has vowed, with the annexation of territory in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinians have counted on for a future state. Israel also continues to seek international support for its struggle with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and efforts to threaten Israeli territory from within Syria and Lebanon.”

Britain would not support Israeli West Bank annexation: minister, Reuters
Britain would not support an Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank as it would make a two-state solution with the Palestinians more difficult to achieve, junior Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said on Monday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is up to Israel whether to annex parts of the West Bank. But Cleverly told parliament: “Our long-standing position is that we do not support the annexation of parts of the West Bank, and … doing so could make a sustainable two-state solution harder.”

Ahead of his visit, Pompeo won’t confirm Israel has US green light on annexation, Times of Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he would “share” US views with Israeli leaders on how best to implement the Trump peace plan, including the annexation of West Bank territory, during his lightning visit to Israel Wednesday.


EU Countries Mull Slapping Sanctions on Israel to Deter West Bank Annexation, Haaretz
Foreign ministers of countries in the European Union on Friday will debate possible responses to moves by Israel to annex land in the West Bank, should this clause in the Likud-Kahol Lavan coalition agreement be implemented.

Palestinian attempts to stab cops at checkpoint north of Jerusalem, is shot, Times of Israel
A Palestinian assailant attempted to stab security officers at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, police said Tuesday.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.S. Hit Record High in 2019, ADL Report Says, AP
The Jewish civil rights group counted 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents in 2019, finding 61 physical assault cases, 1,127 instances of harassment and 919 acts of vandalism. That’s the highest annual tally since the New York City-based group began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979. It also marked a 12% increase over the 1,879 incidents it counted in 2018.

IDF soldier killed by rock thrown at his head during West Bank arrest raid, Times of Israel
An Israeli soldier was killed in the northern West Bank in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, after being struck in the head by a large rock during an arrest raid, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Opinion and Analysis

Analysis Trump Won’t Just ‘Allow’ Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation – He’ll Force It, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “With coronavirus hurting his chances in November’s election, U.S. president will be desperate to appease his most loyal ace of base: Christian evangelicals”

Seven reasons for not annexing West Bank territories, The Jerusalem Post
Elie Podeh writes, “Such a move would also quash the belief, which many Israelis and Jews still hold, that Israel is a peace-loving state, seeking accommodation with the Palestinians. In fact, annexation would rip off the mask that Israeli leaders have worn for decades as leaders striving in good faith for a peaceful solution.”

What Pompeo’s High-speed Mid-pandemic Trip to Israel Is Really About, Haaretz
Daniel B. Shapiro writes, “The State Department announcement of Pompeo’s travel lists two issues for the agenda: U.S. and Israeli efforts to combat COVID-19 and responding to Iran’s malign activities in the region. But a third issue lurks heavily in the background: the upcoming decision on Israeli unilateral annexation in the West Bank.”

How a U.S. Jewish group’s leadership race became mired in Islamophobia, +972 Mag
Mik Moore writes, “An umbrella organization’s heated election shows how right-wing, bigoted assessments of ‘Jewishness’ are becoming normalized in our community.”

Appointing 1 man for 2 key ambassadorships, Netanyahu raises a host of questions, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren writes, “The double posting raises a number of questions, from why Netanyahu has decided to leave two of Israel’s most critical diplomatic jobs in the hands of one person, to how Erdan, with no formal experience in the field, will handle the challenge.”