News Roundup for May 26, 2020

May 26, 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.

J Street in the News

Netanyahu Can’t Sell the Idiocy of Annexation to U.S. Jews, So He Went to the Evangelicals, Haaretz
“What do J Street and Daniel Pipes have in common? Generally speaking, nothing whatever. J Street is, in its own words, the major ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’. lobbying group in Washington, known for its long-time advocacy of a two-state solution as the only acceptable answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And Daniel Pipes is a commentator and activist on the Middle East, known for his ferociously right-wing and anti-Muslim positions on all aspects of Israel’s relations with the Arab world. And yet Pipes and J Street have found common ground. They both agree that Bibi Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank would hurt Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Netanyahu says he won’t miss West Bank annexation opportunity, Reuters
Israel will not miss a “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, calling the move one of his new government’s top tasks.

Netanyahu Corruption Trial Begins, Taking Israel Into Uncharted Territory, New York Times
On Sunday afternoon, hours after presiding over a meeting of his expanded new cabinet, Mr. Netanyahu left the seat of power in Jerusalem, rode a short distance to an East Jerusalem courthouse and settled into a very different government chair: the hard wooden bench reserved for a criminal defendant. The long-awaited opening of proceedings in the matter of the State of Israel v. Benjamin Netanyahu took the prime minister and the country into uncharted and dangerous territory. Few sitting national leaders since Charles I of England have stood trial on criminal charges brought over their official acts. Mr. Netanyahu, who broke with tradition by not resigning to defend himself, is Israel’s first.

Israel’s Netanyahu attacks justice system as trial begins, AP
To the sounds of his impassioned supporters chanting outside, a defiant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strode into a Jerusalem courtroom Sunday to face corruption charges in a long-awaited trial that has overshadowed three inconclusive elections and deeply divided the country.


Army liaison to Palestinians said to warn of ‘terror wave’ if West Bank annexed, Times of Israel
Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians warned the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff and the defense minister of a potential wave of violence if the government goes through with its plans to unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank, Army Radio reported Tuesday.

Hundreds protest outside of court as Netanyahu corruption trial opens, JTA
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Jerusalem building where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial began Sunday.

Liberman: Netanyahu inciting ‘civil war’ to save himself, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to start a “civil war” in order to save himself from corruption charges, warning that the premier has “no limits” in his attempts to escape conviction.

Netanyahu alleges ‘coup attempt’ as corruption trial opens, DW
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a tirade on his nation’s justice system as his corruption trial began Sunday. Netanyahu accused police and prosecutors of working together to try to “depose” him from his role.

Lapid: Netanyahu attempting to spark a civil war, Times of Israel
Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to start a civil war and carry out a coup, while railing against the prime minister’s bashing of the judicial system as his corruption trial opened Sunday.

PA easing coronavirus restrictions in occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the occupied West Bank following a steady drop in the number of new infections.

After opening day of trial, Netanyahu unlikely to be in court again this year, Times of Israel
After the tumultuous first day of his trial, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a small reprieve that makes it unlikely he will have to show up in person again for several more months, and possibly not even until next year.

Israeli forces fend off 2 attempted stabbing attacks, JTA
An assailant wielding a box-cutter tried to stab Border Police officers in eastern Jerusalem.

Police: Netanyahu’s attacks are unfounded; fourth probe possible, Times of Israel
A senior police official on Monday defended the force against accusations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that cops had conspired with others to fabricate the corruption cases that led to him being put on trial, saying the remarks are unfounded.

Opinion and Analysis

This Will Be the Heavy Price of Annexation for the Israelis, Haaretz
Shaul Arieli writes, “The burden on the IDF will grow substantially and unjustifiably. The army will have to add substantial forces to secure borders and crossings between the valley and the rest of the West Bank, and around the Jericho enclave. It will have to accompany Palestinians entering Israel, operate gates to agricultural land and secure the border with Jordan due to a destabilization in relations with the kingdom.”

Netanyahu conducting his trial outside courthouse, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to play for time and drag the trial against him for many months and perhaps even years.”

Victim of a left-wing coup? Why Netanyahu’s conspiracy theory is foul and absurd, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “Honed over more than two years of attacks on the pillars of Israel’s democracy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incendiary assault on his accusers shortly before the start of his corruption trial Sunday was a brilliantly calculated assertion of innocence and victimhood. Its core thesis, that a strong, pro-annexation, right-wing prime minister is facing an illicit attempt — perpetrated by a vast, leftist alliance of politicians, media, cops and state prosecutors — to oust him because of his ideology and policies, is also demonstrably ridiculous.”

As Annexation Looms, What Kind of Zionism Will Survive?, Haaretz
Ben Reiff writes, “Israel’s ‘emergency government’ intends to begin unilaterally annexing chunks of the West Bank. It may seal the historic victory of a menacing Zionism of Jewish power.”

Palestine cuts off all ties with Israel and US: is it a bluff?, The Guardian
Oliver Holmes writes, “Mahmoud Abbas says all agreements with US and Israel are void, but others call move a cry for help.”