News Roundup for June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Exclusive: Mayor Pete won’t reverse Trump’s Jerusalem move, Axios
“[I]f you’re going to make a concession like that, if you’re going to give somebody something that they’ve wanted for a long time in the context of a push-pull, even with a strong ally like Israel, right? We have a push-pull relationship. And you don’t do that without getting some kind of concession. Instead, we’ve seen the Israeli government continue to act in ways that are detrimental to peace. And I believe, therefore, also detrimental to U.S. interests.”

US Envoy Greenblatt backs Friedman on Israel’s right to retain part of West Bank, Times of Israel
US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Sunday backed comments by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, in support of Israel retaining some parts of the West Bank. “I will let David’s comments stand for themselves,” said Greenblatt. “I think he said them elegantly and I support his comments.”

US Mideast Envoy Greenblatt: We May Postpone Publication of Peace Plan to November, Haaretz
US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt said on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s administration may delay the publication of the long-awaited peace plan to November 2019.


Yair Lapid Says Coalition With Netanyahu, Lieberman Is the Right Thing for Israel, Haaretz
Lapid said he would agree to form a coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to comments made by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday. Lieberman stated that he is will aim for a unity government with Netanyahu and ex-general Benny Gantz in order to exclude the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Israel will attend Bahrain economic peace summit, Foreign Minister confirms, JTA
Recently appointed Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, who also serves as Transportation Minister, told reporters Sunday in New York at the Jerusalem Post conference that Israel will participate in next week’s “economic workshop,” the first effort for the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, despite no other official confirmation.

Gantz and Lapid Are Keeping a Low Profile This Time Around, but a Strategy Change Is in the Works, Haaretz
In recent weeks, the three decorated warriors seem to have completely abandoned the field of battle, leaving it to the other parties in order to keep a low profile until decisions are made regarding their campaign for September 17 election. “It was Benny’s decision,” said a source in the party. “He’s the one who sets strategy and decides how things go. No doubt, our public image should be different, but nobody will remember these times when we launch a clear campaign with uniform messages.”

After fresh Gaza violence, army said pushing for ‘serious military campaign’, Times of Israel
Top generals in the IDF are expected to push for a much stronger response to rocket fire and arson balloons from the Gaza Strip after fresh attacks in recent days, Channel 12 reported Friday.

Netanyahu Blasts Court for Convicting His Wife: She Is the Victim of a Witch Hunt, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his wife was convicted of a criminal offense only because she is married to him, and therefore suffers from political persecution. “If she weren’t my wife, there would be no investigation and no one would have dreamed of prosecuting her,” he said.

Iran says it will break uranium stockpile limit in 10 days, AP News
Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, the spokesman for the country’s atomic agency said Monday while also warning that Iran could enrich uranium up to 20% — just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

A Fire Racks a Palestinian Village. Israeli Firefighters Act Only When It Nears a Settlement, Haaretz
The Palestinian family that suffered the most suspects that the fire is linked to the masked people, possibly settlers, who broke into the nearby schoolyard.

Opinion and Analysis

Jared Kushner’s ‘Paradigm-busting’ Mideast Peace Deal Just Won’t Work, Haaretz
Jane Kinninmont writes, “The Palestinians have high quality human capital, an educated and loyal diaspora, a tech-savvy young population, a climate conducive to tourism and agriculture and, in Gaza, even a position on the Mediterranean and rights to offshore natural gas. The barriers to Palestinian economic development come not from a shortage of capital, but from the political situation.”

Standoff with Iran exposes Trump’s credibility issue as some allies seek more proof of tanker attack, Washington Post
Carol Morello, Kareem Fahim and Simon Denyer write, “Last week’s tanker attacks have laid bare a credibility problem burdening the Trump administration as it faces skepticism, especially from wary U.S. allies urging ‘maximum restraint’ to avoid a spiraling confrontation between the United States and Iran.”

For Israel, annexation of the West Bank is a long-established goal, The National
Jonathan Cook writes, “Amos Harel, a veteran military analyst with Haaretz newspaper, observed last week that Mr Netanyahu may decide words are no longer enough to win. Action is needed, possibly in the form of an announcement on the eve of September’s ballot that as much as two-thirds of the West Bank is to be annexed.”

With Sara’s Conviction, Netanyahus Deceitfully Portray Themselves as Ultimate Victims, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Instead of thanking the merciful prosecution for the VIP criminal procedure it granted his wife, Netanyahu chose slandering law enforcement and baseless, ridiculous self-pity.”

After 3 years, accusations against Gaza World Vision head remain unproven, +972 Mag
Antony Loewenstein writes, “Mohammed Halabi, arrested in 2016 by Israel on accusations of diverting charity funds to Hamas, is still behind bars. Dozens of court hearings later, the state has yet to present evidence against him.”

Minefields and ruins: Israeli settlement called Trump built on conquered land, The Guardian
Oliver Holmes writes, “Local rights groups estimate up to 130,000 Syrians fled or were forced from their homes in the 1967 war and have not been allowed to return. Many of their farms and villages have since been demolished, and the ruins of stone houses can still be seen across the fields. Parts of the Golan remain mined.”