News Roundup for May 13, 2019

May 13, 2019

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J Street in the News

Leftist columnist continues to support two-state solution, STL Jewish Light
“‘I want an Israel that is secure, democratic and respected by other nations,’ Sally Altman, an organizer of the local J Street chapter, wrote in a letter announcing the event. ‘I am proud of the gifts Israel gives the world: technology, medicine, food, fashion and prose. It is because of my love for Israel that I can’t keep silent about the injustice and erosion of civil liberties taking place in this Jewish State.’”

Top News and Analysis

Israel TV: US won’t oppose extension of Israeli law to all West Bank settlements, Times of Israel
The Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal will provide for all Israeli settlements to remain under Israeli rule in any permanent peace accord, and the administration will not oppose the extension of Israeli law to all West Bank settlements, an Israeli TV report claimed Sunday.

Former IDF chief of staff warned Trump advisers of West Bank escalation, Axios
The former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, warned White House officials last week that there could soon be a violent escalation in the West Bank, and he recommended that the Trump administration take this into account as part of its calculations for the upcoming release of its peace plan.

Iran and US mobilizations could lead to conflict, if there’s a miscalculation, Washington Post
David Ignatius writes, “This sense of an imminent Iranian threat marks a break from what U.S. officials had predicted just two weeks ago. At that time, officials expected that Tehran would try to ride out President Trump’s campaign of sanctions over the next 20 months, in the hope they would be removed by his successor. But last week, based on new information, the United States concluded that the Iranians had decided to reset their strategy now and were moving military equipment to prepare for action.”


Netanyahu Pushes Law to Neutralize High Court Oversight and Uphold His Immunity, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to advance a far-reaching bill that would allow the Knesset and government ministers to ignore rulings of the High Court of Justice in administrative matters, not just in cases where it strikes down legislation. The proposed law would permit the annulment of a High Court decision to rescind Netanyahu’s immunity, if such a decision is made.

Opposition decries PM’s reported legal reforms as ‘undermining democracy’, Times of Israel
Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White party likely to be the main opposition faction in the upcoming Knesset, says “such cheapening of the rule of law crosses a red line and we will not let this pass. It is unacceptable for deals to be created that aim to harm the rule of law and undermine the pillars of democracy for the benefit of a prime minister who has three pending indictments against him.”

Britain warns US-Iran conflict could break out ‘by accident’, AP
“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels.

Settlers hail ‘historic opportunity’ after report Trump won’t oppose annexation, Times of Israel
Settler leaders on Sunday hailed a TV report that said the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal will provide for all settlements to remain under Israeli rule in any permanent peace accord, and that the administration will not oppose the extension of Israeli law to all settlements.

Israel Okays Major West Bank Settlement Roads, Seizing Large Tracts of Palestinian Land, Haaretz
The Civil Administration has approved two roads leading to isolated settlements, in a move activists say is ‘part of the government’s ongoing surrendering to settlers’ demands.’

House Republicans criticize Rep. Tlaib over remarks on Holocaust, Israel, Washington Post
House Republican leaders took aim at Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Sunday for a podcast interview in which she discussed her support for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Golan site selected for new Jewish community named for Donald Trump, JTA
The Israeli government has selected a location for the establishment of a new Jewish community in the Golan Heights to be named after President Donald Trump. The Makor Rishon Hebrew-language daily newspaper reported on Wednesday that the mixed religious-secular community of 120 young families to start with will be located in the northern Golan Heights on the site of a community that was approved but never built in 1992.

Netanyahu to request more time to form government, Financial Times
Benjamin Netanyahu will ask for more time to form a ruling coalition in Israel’s parliament, as horse-trading between his allies for top cabinet seats drags on almost five weeks after the country’s election. Jostling over the high-profile finance, justice and defence ministries has hampered Mr Netanyahu’s efforts as he tries to wrangle rightwing rivals into a limited number of cabinet positions.

Politics takes center stage as Israel hosts Eurovision, Washington Post
As host of this year’s Eurovision, Israel has tried to use the hugely popular song contest to present itself as a tolerant and cosmopolitan country that is winning increased acceptance on the world stage. But despite Israel’s best branding efforts, the kitschy festival is clouded in political conflict and controversy.

Opinion and Analysis

U.S. Sanctions Cut Deep, but Iran Seems Unlikely to Budge, New York Times
Vivian Yee writes, “When Iran’s president on Saturday compared the country’s economic distress under hardening American sanctions to the miseries Iran endured during its worst war, it was a signal that Iranians are suffering deeply under the Trump administration’s tightening financial chokehold. But in his address to political activists, President Hassan Rouhani also seemed to send a second signal: Iran has no intention of capitulating.”

Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Won’t Make Iran Yield, The Atlantic
Ali Vaez writes, “The one thing Tehran would find more intolerable than the crushing impact of sanctions is raising the white flag because of them.”

Trump Said He Would Tame Rogue Nations. Now They Are Challenging Him, New York Times
David E. Sanger and Edward Wong write, “Three nations that have long defined themselves as bitter adversaries of the United States — North Korea, Iran and Venezuela — decided this week they could take on President Trump. Each one is betting that Mr. Trump is neither as savvy a negotiator nor as ready to use military force as he claims. Each also poses a drastically different challenge to a president who has little experience in handling international crises, has struggled to find the right balance of diplomacy and coercion and has not always been consistent in defining his foreign policy.”

Netanyahu’s on a Quest for Survival, and the Hell With Israeli Democracy, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Netanyahu did nothing for ten years, but things have changed. Now it’s his own neck on the line, and suddenly Israel is ripe for a judicial revolution to override the High Court.”