News Roundup for June 24, 2020

April 1, 2019

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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

More than 1000 European politicians sign letter against Israel annexation plans, The Jewish Chronicle
“More than 1,000 parliamentarians from across Europe have signed a letter opposing Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank […] It was organised by the Jewish Global Coalition, which comprises groups such as Yachad, the New Israel Fund and J-Street.”

Top News and Analysis

UN chief urges Israel to back away from West Bank annexation, The Guardian
The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, has expressed hope that Israel will hear global calls and will not go ahead with annexation of parts of the West Bank, which would undermine a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UN has been consistently conveying the message “that annexation would be not only against international law but it would be a major factor to destabilise the region”, he told Associated Press in an interview. He spoke ahead of a high-level UN security council meeting on Wednesday on the Mideast where Israel’s plans to annex around 30% of the West Bank in line with US president Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan is certain to be a major topic.

European lawmakers protest Israel annexation plans, AP
More than a thousand European lawmakers have signed a joint letter protesting Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, saying such a move would “be fatal” to hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter was addressed to European governments and published online Tuesday. It is part of a growing international outcry against the Trump administration’s Mideast plan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to begin annexing parts of the West Bank that have Israeli settlements, perhaps as early as July 1.

Iran says it’s ready for talks if US apologizes over nuclear pact, Reuters
Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologises for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, cautioning that U.S. calls for discussions were insincere.


Gantz on Annexation: Palestinians ‘In Deep Shit,’ Israel ‘Won’t Keep Waiting for Them’, Haaretz
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday that Israel “won’t keep waiting for the Palestinians” if they refuse to hold talks on the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank, as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan. “We won’t get into the Palestinians’ deep shit,” Gantz told a press briefing at the military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. “The Palestinians continue to reject dialogue and to remain in their ‘deep shit.’”

Israeli Annexation Plan Draws Apartheid Comparisons, AP
Benjamin Pogrund spent decades battling apartheid as a journalist in South Africa. Since moving to Israel two decades ago, he has passionately defended the country against charges that it too is an apartheid state. But at the age of 87, Pogrund is having second thoughts. He says that if Israel moves ahead with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, he will have no choice but to declare that his adopted homeland has become a modern-day version of apartheid-era South Africa.

Palestinians pessimistic on annexation, say will harm two-state solution, The Jerusalem Post
More than twice as many Palestinians think that annexation would not leave any chance for a two-state solution as think that a two-state solution would still be achievable should annexation go ahead, a new poll has found.

More than half of war crimes court’s members back tribunal against Trump, AP
More than half of the member states of the International Criminal Court voiced their support for the institution in a strongly worded statement issued Tuesday in response to the Trump administration’s decision to authorize sanctions against court staff. The 67 nations, including such U.S. allies as Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, said in the joint statement that they were reconfirming “our unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution.”

Hamas hints terror attacks would stop annexation, The Jerusalem Post
One day after the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction held a rally in Jericho to protest Israel’s intention to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Hamas on Monday called on Palestinians to “activate all the tools of the resistance” to thwart the annexation plan.

Pro-Israel think tank with influence on Trump administration supports Jordan Valley annexation, JTA
A conservative pro-Israel think tank known to be influential with the Trump administration is set to publish a study that supports Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley.

As virus cases pile up, with 420 in 24 hours, ministers weigh phone tracking, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Wednesday morning announced that 420 cases of the coronavirus had been diagnosed in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total confirmed cases to 21,666 and continuing the surge seen in recent days.

Qatar to suspend Gaza payments to pressure Israel over annexation, Axios
Qatar has informed Israel that it will suspend money transfers to Gaza next month because of Israel’s pending plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Western diplomats briefed on the matter tell me.

Palestinian driver who attempted car-ramming attack near Jerusalem shot and killed by police, JTA
The Palestinian driver attempted to run over the female officer at a high speed on Tuesday afternoon near the city of Maale Adumim, some four miles east of Jerusalem. He was shot by other officers and died of his injuries, according to the Israel Police. The officer was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Troops open fire on Palestinians throwing fire bombs near settlement, 1 hurt, Times of Israel
Israel Defense Force soldiers opened fire on a group of Palestinians who were throwing fire bombs near the West Bank settlement of Beit El late Tuesday, wounding one of them, the army said.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel will lose my entire generation if it goes ahead with annexation, The Forward
Sarah Farb writes, “Will we hold our noses and write the same Jewish National Fund checks, in spite of it all? Will we send our own children to school with a few extra dollars on Fridays for the blue tzedakah box at the front of the classroom, its contents bound for building projects in the Jewish State?”

Gantz Is Begging the Palestinians to Pull Him Out of ‘Deep Shit’ of Annexation, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “When the Israeli defense minister says Palestinians won’t negotiate and are stuck in their own ‘deep shit,’ he’s actually angry that they won’t extricate him from the mess.”

Gay conversion therapy to fix ‘reverse inclinations’ is alive and well in Israel, Times of Israel
Avner Hofstein and Omer Sharvit write, “The issue of conversion therapy in Israel was brought to the fore following a series of homophobic statements by public figures, most notably former education minister Rafi Peretz, whose comments included a claim to have performed conversion therapies in the past, and that in his experience they are ‘possible.’”

Gantz’s Comments on Palestinians Shatter Left-wing Hopes He Will Halt Annexation, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “With a week to go before deadline to begin the process in earnest, the alternate prime minister is having trouble shaking his subservience to the prime minister.”