News Roundup for May 27, 2020

May 27, 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

European leaders said to implore Netanyahu not to advance annexation, Times of Israel
“I ask you, in a spirit of friendship, that your new government not take unilateral action [in the West Bank]. Such a move would destabilize the Middle East,” French President Emmanuel Macron told Netanyahu, according to a report aired Tuesday on Channel 13. “Only dialogue with the Palestinians and a just and balanced solution will provide Israel with peace, security and stability.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and their Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte reportedly sent Netanyahu letters expressing similar sentiments.

Army Chief Is Preparing IDF for Violence in West Bank Over July Annexation, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Defense sources in Israel say that in contrast to previous periods of tension, the break between PA security apparatus and its Israeli counterparts is more significant this time”

Benjamin Netanyahu sees a chance to advance annexation plans, Financial Times
David Gardner writes, “Mr Netanyahu denies charges he says are a witch hunt against him and the political right. But now that he faces the dock, a Wag the Dog manoeuvre — named after a 1997 film about a staged diversion of public opinion, usually by a war — could prove useful for him, if not for Israel […] Mr Trump’s interest is not the good of Israelis but galvanising millions of US evangelical voters for whom Israel is a theological touchstone. “


Palestinian envoy: Biden isn’t taking strong enough stance against annexation, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority official Husam Zomlot decried Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday for not taking a strong enough stance against Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won’t change, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

PA premier vows to prevent chaos in West Bank despite cutting security ties, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday said the PA would prevent widespread chaos and public disorder in the West Bank despite Ramallah’s decision to end security coordination with Israel last week over the new Israeli government’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

U.S. Synagogues Unimpressed by Trump’s Pressure to Reopen, Haaretz
U.S. President Donald Trump used Memorial Day weekend to attack state governors who have taken measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, by proclaiming that he was ordering them to allow churches and synagogues to reopen and resume normal activities.

After 5-day lull, IDF carries out West Bank raids despite tensions with PA, Times of Israel
Israeli security forces arrested seven Palestinian suspects in the West Bank in predawn raids on Wednesday morning, the first such operations since the Palestinian Authority said it had frozen a vital security coordination mechanism.

ICC Requests Palestinians Clarify Whether Oslo Accords Still Stand, Haaretz
The International Criminal Court at The Hague requested the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday to provide clarification regarding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent declaration that he is ending all agreements with Israel and the U.S., which may have ramifications for questions of international jurisdiction in the Palestinian territory.

Opinion and Analysis

Years of dereliction has left the PLO facing annexation without a plan, Brookings
Omar Rahman writes, “No doubt the decision to exit the Oslo Accords is a long time coming. Israel has regularly violated every aspect of the agreements for years. And for years, Abbas and others have threatened to leave them — a threat that has never been acted upon. Within the PLO and among the public, ending cooperation with Israel, especially on security, is very popular. Palestinians resent their government’s tight security cooperation with Israel, in particular, while it continues its military occupation and human rights abuses.”

Israel’s New Government Is a Many-Headed Hydra, Foreign Affairs
Martin Indyk writes, “Already, the threat of annexation has brought strong protests from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the Arab League, the United Nations, and leading members of the European Union. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced an end to all agreements with Israel, including security coordination. The highly respected former heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet security services have both warned about the threat that annexation poses to relations with Jordan and calm in the West Bank.”

Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial: The Key Players Who Will Decide the PM’s Fate, Haaretz
A glance at some of the main players who could tip the balance in Netanyahu’s trial in three cases on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust.