News Roundup for June 3, 2019

June 3, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Pompeo delivers unfiltered view of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in off-the-record meeting, Washington Post
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sobering assessment of the prospects of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan in a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and it might not “gain traction.” He expressed his hope that the deal isn’t simply dismissed out of hand.

Trump to Israel: Get Your Act Together Over ‘Messed Up’ Elections, Haaretz
“Israel is all messed up with their election – I mean that came out of the blue three days ago. So that’s all messed up. They ought to get their act together,” Trump said, visibly irritated. “I mean, Bibi [Netanyahu] got elected, now all of a sudden they’re going to have to go through the process again until September. That’s ridiculous. So we’re not happy about that.”

New Israeli Elections Could Force Netanyahu To Annex The West Bank. Americans Must Protest., The Forward
Dov Waxman writes, “If Netanyahu’s Likud Party wins the next election, due to take place in September, he may be compelled to carry out his promise, whether he really wants to or not. If he reneges, he risks losing the support of his preferred coalition partners, Likud Knesset members and party activists, and many rightwing Israelis (most of whom now favor annexation of some kind).”

News

Exclusive: Kushner uncertain Palestinians are capable of governing themselves, Axios
Asked in an interview on “Axios on HBO” whether he believes the Palestinians are capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference — a fundamental demand for Palestinians — Kushner said, “That’s a very good question. … The hope is, is that over time, they can become capable of governing.”

Will Israel’s Left Wing Form an Alliance Ahead of the New Election? First, Heads Need to Roll, Haaretz
“The present need calls for a big and significant left-wing bloc alongside the center,” said Meretz’s Zandberg, repeating a similar call she made before the last election, which Labor’s Gabbay rejected after polls held by both parties at the time showed a merger wouldn’t increase their total number of seats. Other Labor member do not support a union with Meretz. “In the Labor Party’s current condition, we need to join Kahol Lavan and run on a joint slate,” said one of the party’s lawmakers.

Relaunching campaign, Gantz says Netanyahu leading Israel into ‘total chaos’, Times of Israel
Opposition leader Benny Gantz kicks off his election campaign, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of leading the country into “total chaos” and slamming his decision to call a national election for the second time in under 6 months as a “farce” and a “national joke.”

Israeli Soldiers Cuffed, Blindfolded and Detained Left-wing Activists Without Cause, Authority, Haaretz
Israeli soldiers detained three left-wing activists last Monday in the Jordan Valley without cause and without authority to do so.

PLO, Hamas condemn Israeli ‘attacks’ at Temple Mount, Times of Israel
Erekat’s comments come after clashes at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City between police and Muslim worshipers, following the entry of Jewish visitors to the site for Jerusalem Day. The holiday this year coincides with the final days of Ramadan, when non-Muslims are traditionally barred from entering the Temple Mount.

Israel Strikes Iranian Base in Syria and Kills Two, State Media Reports, Haaretz
Israeli missiles were fired toward a Syrian military base in Homs, state media reported late Sunday overnight, a day after Israel struck Syrian targets on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire toward the Golan Heights.

Iran flexes proxy muscle in escalation involving Israel, The National
Tehran further flexed its regional reach in response to the confrontation with the United States by apparently picking at Israeli targets on Sunday, demonstrating the efficacy of relying on proxies to shield Iran from retaliation, as Washington renewed its offer to talk.

Netanyahu fires acting goverment ministers Bennett and Shaked ahead of election campaign, JTA
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked from his interim government.

Israel to auction prefab classrooms donated by EU to Palestinians, The Guardian
The Civil Administration, the body tasked with running the occupation, tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October. They had been intended for 49 students, in grades one to six, in Ibziq, in the northern occupied West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump Has Misdiagnosed the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Foreign Policy
Khaled Elgindy writes, “There are many reasons to be skeptical about the Trump administration’s proposed economic workshop in Bahrain. For one, laying out an economic plan ahead of a political vision is simply the wrong way around. As many analysts have pointed out, prospective donors and investors are unlikely to be forthcoming when they do not know what the endgame is or what it is they are being asked to invest in.”

Is This the End for Netanyahu?, New York Times
Ronen Bergman writes, “Benjamin Netanyahu has rebounded from so many political defeats that he is called a magician. This time, the Israeli prime minister may not have another rabbit in his hat.”

Alter Egos Trump and Netanyahu, Partners in Slime, Set to Help Each Other, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “The Tweedledee and Tweedledum of nationalist populism, the Bonnie and Clyde of the rule of law and the Spiro Agnew and Huey Long of accountability in government will soon campaign in tandem.”

Trumpenyahu — The Day the Music Died, Times of Israel
Larry Gellman writes, “More that two years ago, I coined the term ‘Trumpenyahu’ to emphasize the almost spooky way that the elected leaders of the two countries I love most in the world bring a combination of shared toxic characteristics to the most important jobs in the world of many American Jews.”

What a Palestinian Woman Has to Do to Visit Her Native West Bank Village, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Living in legal limbo for more than 40 years, Maryam Ibrahim has not been allowed to live in her native West Bank village of Beit Furik with her husband and in recent years, Israel hasn’t allowed her to visit.”

The right wing in Israel is in a deep crisis, +972 Mag
Meron Rapoport writes, “Snap elections just weeks after Israelis went the polls are the result of a rivalry between Liberman and Netanyahu, but that’s just part of the story. The right is immersed in a crisis of identity, leadership, and politics.”

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