News Roundup for November 18, 2019

November 18, 2019

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J Street in the News

Will Bloomberg vs. Bernie End Up Defining the Democrat’s Approach to Israel After 2020, Haaretz
“Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been leading the charge in separating criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and criticism of Israel, telling the J Street conference in October: ‘It is not anti-Semitism to say that the Netanyahu government has been racist.’”

Daily Kickoff, Jewish Insider
“The ADL and J Street spoke out yesterday after a lawyer on Fox’s Lou Dobbs Tonight claimed that George Soros controls ‘very large parts’ of the State Department.”

Top News and Analysis

In Strike That Killed 5 Children, Israel Said It Took Out Gaza Militant. Now It Isn’t Sure., New York Times
Ismail al-Swarka was shaken from slumber after midnight on Thursday by what sounded like four missile blasts. Then he heard his neighbors screaming. What he found outside was horrifying: Eight of his relatives, including five children, had been killed in an airstrike, with several more badly wounded.

Israel targets Hamas in fresh strikes on Gaza, The Guardian
Israel has carried out new strikes on Gaza after rockets were fired overnight from the Palestinian enclave, breaking a shaky truce agreed this week. “Two rockets were fired from the Gaza strip towards Israeli territory,” the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said in statement. Both were intercepted by it air defence system. Unlike earlier operations, the IDF’s retaliation did not target the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, but Hamas, a military and political faction that rules Gaza.

Netanyahu and Gantz Moved on From the Blame Game. Now They’re Playing Chicken, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “From the blame game, Israel’s burned-out political system has moved on to playing a new game: ‘chicken,’ as the Americans call it. Two cars barrel toward each other on a narrow road. Somebody has to be the first to blink, lose his nerve and swerve at the last second – or they’ll crash. The way things looked on Sunday night, drivers Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu don’t mean to swerve. A collision in this case means that a third election is a likely option.”


With Three Days Left to Deadline, Netanyahu Rival Gantz Scrambles to Form Gov’t, Haaretz
With three days left until his mandate to form a government expires, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz scrambles between meetings with party heads on Sunday in an attempt to secure the necessary seats for a coalition, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party braces for the possible indictment of its chairman.

Blue and White officials said to see slim chance for forming government, Times of Israel
Blue and White party leaders are pessimistic that leader Benny Gantz will be able to put together a coalition before his deadline expires Wednesday and believe Israel is heading to a third election in less than a year.

Netanyahu at ‘Emergency’ Rally of Likud Party Faithful: Arab Joint List Wants to Destroy the Country, Haaretz
Establishing a minority government with the support of the predominantly Arab Joint List would be “a breaking point in the country’s history,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at a Likud gathering in Tel Aviv described as “an emergency conference.”

Liberman says any minority government would be a ‘disaster’, Times of Israel
Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman warned that a minority government would be a “disaster” for Israel, and asserted that a broad unity government was the only path forward for forestalling a third election in less than a year.

Netanyahu Warns of ‘Unprecedented Emergency’ if Gantz Forms Government Backed by Arab Party, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Saturday against the possibility that Benny Gantz will establish a minority government, which Netanyahu says will be backed by Arab lawmakers. “We are facing an emergency that is unprecedented in the history of the State of Israel,” he said.

IDF official admits post alleging strike targeted terrorist may be ‘imprecise’, Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesman said on Monday that posts he made last week alleging that an Israeli airstrike on a home in the Gaza Strip, which killed a Palestinian family of eight, had targeted a terrorist may have been “imprecise.”

Outdated Intelligence, Social Media Rumors: Behind Israel’s Killing of Gaza Family, Haaretz
The building where the family lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack.

Palestinian journalist may lose eye after shot by Israel, AP
Relatives of a Palestinian freelance photographer said Sunday that he has lost vision in one eye after apparently being struck by Israeli fire while covering a demonstration last week in the occupied West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

Hamas Rockets Send a Message to Israel: Don’t Celebrate, We Aren’t on Your Side, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The celebrations were a bit premature, as were the cries of victory. The warm public embrace that Israel gave Hamas after it avoided firing at Israel over the two days of escalation in the Gaza Strip last week, and in spite of the deaths of 34 Palestinians from aerial attacks, boomeranged. Hamas, which in Gaza had been openly accused of collaborating with Israel, responded early Saturday morning by launching two rockets at Be’er Sheva.”

Three days left to end our national insanity, Times of Israel
Esor Ben-Sorek writes, “In his attack against the idea of a government with Arabs whom he accuses of being traitors and supporters of terrorism he declared that ‘a government with Arab parties is an existential threat to Israel,’ despite that the Arab Joint List is an accepted member of the Knesset.”

Is Gantz Really About to Become Prime Minister? Panicking Bibi Thinks He Might, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Kahol Lavan leader has three days left to form a coalition. Benjamin Netanyahu is worried, and there could be a delicious irony if he is ultimately dethroned by Israeli-Arab lawmakers.”

Against odds, Netanyahu revives his fortunes, Al-Monitor
AM Staff write, “Israel’s beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored a hat trick this week, reviving his political fortunes with a series of deft policy moves.”

Israeli Intelligence Is Doomed to Err – Because It Doesn’t See Humans, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “One of the victims of Israeli domination over Palestinians and those who resist its military and civilian aspects is the attitude of the Israelis toward facts, sociological truths and assessments voiced by the Palestinians. The general tendency is to see them as propaganda, not reporting on reality, even when the speakers are common people, researchers and activists and not boasting, masked spokesmen.”

With Gaza behind him, Netanyahu puts Israel’s Palestinians in the crosshairs, +972 Mag
Edo Konrad writes, “With corruption indictments closing in, Netanyahu hopes his scorched earth campaign against Palestinians, whether in Gaza or in Israel, will give Israelis the sense that they live in a state of emergency and cannot afford change.”

No One in Israel Knew They Were Committing a Massacre, and They Didn’t Care, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “The bomber pilot didn’t know. His commanders who gave him the orders also didn’t know. The defense minister and the commander in chief didn’t know. Nor did the commander of the air force. The intelligence officers who aimed at the target didn’t know. The army spokesman who lied without a qualm also didn’t know.”