News Roundup for June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

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J Street in the News

Progressive Jewish Organizations Support Partnership Fund for Peace as Step Toward Two-State Solution, J Street
“Americans for Peace Now, J Street, T’ruah, and Ameinu welcome the reintroduction of legislation to establish a Partnership Fund for Peace. The Fund will support people-to-people peacebuilding programs, which play an important role in building connections, understanding, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. It will also finance joint ventures between Palestinian companies and businesses in the United States and Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

US Lawmakers Push Bipartisan Bill for $50 Million in Palestinian Aid, Coexistence Programs, Haaretz
As Trump administration’s Mideast plan hits roadblock, Congress seeks to allocate $50 million over five yearts to create new fund for economic development and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

Israel works to stop Senate resolution on two-state solution, Axios
Israel is trying to prevent the Senate from passing a bipartisan resolution endorsing a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli officials and congressional staffers tell me. Why it matters: The resolution could put pressure on the White House as it prepares to release its long-awaited peace plan. The backdrop: Since President Trump entered the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has backtracked on his public support for a two-state solution.


Greenblatt Rejects Shtayyeh’s Warning of a Collapsing Palestinian Authority, The Jerusalem Post
“Shtayyeh is wrong,” Greenblatt tweeted. “The Palestinian Authority isn’t ‘in a collapsing situation,’ the PA caused the situation. Time for the PA to step-up and take responsibility for their people and the economy. The PA can’t continue to blame the United States and everyone else for a situation they caused.”

Fearing Election Wipeout, Israeli Parties on Left and Right Talk Mergers, Haaretz
Left-wing party Meretz is in talks with Arab-majority parties over the possibility of running on a joint slate in Israel’s September 17 election. Hadash chairman Ayman Odeh did not rule out Meretz lawmaker Esawi Freige’s proposal to Hadash and Ta’al, but made it clear that before considering a linkup, Hadash has committed to its supporters to try to reestablish the Joint List, which ran in the 2015 Knesset election.

New evidence backs Arab MK’s claims that police shot him, +972 Mag
An investigation by a London-based research center shows MK Ayman Odeh was shot with a sponge-tipped bullet during clashes in Umm al-Hiran in 2017. Police repeatedly claimed he was hit by a stone thrown by one of the protesters.

No reason to further postpone Netanyahu pre-indictment hearing, attorney general says, JTA
Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has rejected a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to further postpone his pre-indictment hearing in at least three cases against him.

Netanyahu appoints Amir Ohana justice minister, first openly gay cabinet member, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday confirmed loyalist Amir Ohana as justice minister in the run-up to elections on the September 17.

Israel expects US-mediated Lebanese sea border talks within weeks, The National
After years of tense indirect efforts to start negotiations over a contested maritime border, Israel appears to be shifting its stance towards talks with Lebanon and they are finally setting up a framework to hash out a deal that will pave the way for unconstrained oil and gas exploration.

Blue and White seeks ban on ambassador appointments before elections, Times of Israel
The opposition Blue and White party asked the attorney general on Wednesday to bar Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from appointing new permanent ambassadors to the United Nations and Egypt while the government is in transition.

Opinion and Analysis

What Will Trump and Netanyahu Pay Putin to Join Their anti-Iran Camp?, Haaretz
Daniel B. Shapiro writes, “The first ever trilateral meeting between U.S., Russian and Israeli national security advisers could be a gamechanger on pushing Iran’s military out of Syria. But at what cost – and who will pay?”

Does Israel’s Blue and White party need to change leaders?, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “None of the party’s top brass really believe that a continuation of the rotation [between Gantz and Lapid] will improve the party’s electoral outcome — except for Lapid, of course. The decision to continue the rotation — which is probably not final — nonetheless illustrates Lapid’s political power. He is the only senior member of the party who is backed up by an experienced political body with logistical systems and an army of devoted volunteers and activists throughout the country.”

At Odds With Military, Netanyahu Uses Gaza Fishing Zone for Collective Punishment, Haaretz
Yaniv Kubovich writes, “Over the course of the month of May, Netanyahu issued a range of orders that in turn expanded and limited the fishing zone a large number of times. In practice, the prime minister linked access to this important source of food in Gaza to quiet along the Gaza border despite the fact that the fishermen themselves have no control over what happens along the border.”

A second Israeli election won’t help Palestinian ambitions for statehood, The National
Jonathan Cook writes, “If Netanyahu is felled, a successor from his Likud party is unlikely to prove either more moderate or more amenable to Palestinian ambitions for statehood. Likud has lurched significantly to the far-right over the past decade.”

Because of Netanyahu, the New Election Could Result in the Same Nightmare, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Up to his neck in crimes, Netanyahu may win September’s election, but there will be an indictment, and he will be on his way to becoming history.”