News Roundup for June 5, 2018

June 5, 2018
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Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Land-grab Law Is a Brazen, Decisive Step Toward Annexation, Haaretz

Mordechai Kremnitzer reports, “A government representative said on Sunday at a discussion in the High Court of Justice on the Regularization of Settlement in Judea and Samaria Law, that debate over the legislation cannot be based on international law – only on Israeli law. (The legislation in question, the so-called land-grab law, would legalize the status of settlements partially built on privately owned Palestinian land.) If this opinion is accepted, that would mean that the territories in the West Bank have become Israel’s territories. The government is adopting this policy despite its heavy diplomatic price, and doing so in the knowledge that the act contradicts international law, as interpreted by the High Court.”

Is Trump really so popular in Israel? Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes, “A former top security official, active within the opposition, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that since Jerusalem is the most passion-loaded issue for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, the relocation has rekindled strong sentiments against the Trump-Netanyahu axis….The former official added with guarded anger, ‘Trump and his right-wing administration do not comprehend that a two-state solution is an almost existential interest for Israel if it wants to remain a Jewish democracy, rather than deteriorating into a binational apartheid state.”


US envoy to reporters: ‘Keep your mouths shut’ on criticizing Israel over Gaza, Times of Israel

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attacked the media on Monday over what he said was a failure to fairly cover deadly protests on the Gaza border over the past months, advising reporters to “keep your mouths shut” unless they know better than Israel how to deal with the demonstrations.

As Fires Rage, Top Minister Says Israel Should Assassinate Palestinians Launching Burning Kites, Haaretz

Hamas commanders and Palestinians who launch incendiary kites against Israel from the Gaza Strip should be dealt with using targeted killings, said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday, as fires continued to spread in the south as a result of the burning projectiles.

Jordan’s king replaces PM to defuse protests, Reuters

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Monday asked Omar al-Razzaz, a former World Bank economist, to form a new government after Hani Mulki resigned as prime minister following the country’s biggest protests in years, a ministerial source said.

Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Praises Hungary for ‘Zero Tolerance to anti-Semitism’, Haaretz

Israel’s embassy in the United States hosted an event in honor of Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who represents a country that has been criticized by Jewish organizations for its approach to anti-Semitism. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer spoke at the event and praised Hungary for being a great friend to Israel under the leadership of current Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

A Palestinian medic was shot dead in Gaza. Now Israel says it will investigate., Washington Post

Thousands of people gathered in Gaza on Saturday for the funeral of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old Palestinian medic who witnesses say Israeli soldiers shot dead near the border fence on Friday….The Israeli military said on Saturday that it would investigate her death but that its troops worked “in accordance with standard operating procedures.”

Dozens of Top Doctors Urge Israel to Let Cancer Patients Leave Gaza for Treatment, Haaretz

Thirty one leading oncologists from hospitals around Israel called on the Health Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to authorize female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip to enter Israel and the West Bank for urgent, life-saving treatment.

Israel’s Netanyahu tours Europe to lobby leaders against Iran, Guardian

Benjamin Netanyahu has embarked on a three-day trip to Europe to push leaders in Germany, France and Britain away from the Iran nuclear deal and convince them of the need to dislodge Tehran’s military from neighbouring Syria.

Netanyahu to Merkel: Iran’s Goal Is to Wage Religious War in the Middle East – It Must Leave Syria, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that Iran’s goal is to wage a religious war in Syria and said the Islamic Republic is trying to establish itself at Israel’s “back door” in order to attack it.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump can build trust and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians — if he wants, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Ken Bob and Brad Rothschild argue, “Deescalating violence in the current climate will require a level of leadership that neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem to have at the moment. To bridge this leadership gap the parties will need a U.S. administration that resumes its traditional role as an honest broker. It is time for behind-the-scenes deal making to create concrete efforts at public reconciliation. It has yet to be seen if the Trump administration is up to the task.”

How Israel’s ongoing violation of Oslo Accord threatens security, Al-Monitor

Yossi Beilin writes, “The security cooperation between Israel and Palestinian security forces has greatly increased. The level of security in the West Bank has improved beyond recognition. Every so often there’s tension and a spate of violence, but usually the situation is under the Palestinians’ control. Nevertheless, Israel violates the second Oslo Accord by sending its security forces into the Palestinian territories.”