News Roundup for May 29, 2019

May 29, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

New Israeli government or election: Netanyahu faces deadline, AP
Israel’s raucous political world was on edge Wednesday, counting down the hours to a midnight deadline to see whether a new government will be formed or whether, alternatively, there will be an unprecedented second national election this year.

Live Updates: Netanyahu Races to Dissolve Knesset, Send Israel to New Election, Haaretz
With less than 12 hours to deadline, Israeli lawmakers have begun debating a bill to dissolve Knesset, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu races to ensure it passes, effectively sending the country to a new election one month after Israelis went to the ballot.

Trump team faces tough audiences as it sells Mideast plan, AP
The Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, along with host Bahrain, have accepted invitations to attend. This has fueled Palestinian jitters that they will come under heavy pressure to accept large sums of money in exchange for freezing or abandoning aspirations for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.


Ahead of deadline, Liberman says he won’t cave to shocking, ‘powerful’ pressure, Times of Israel
With a deadline for forming a new government fast approaching, Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman vowed Tuesday not to capitulate unless his demands are met, saying he would stand firm despite being subjected to unprecedented and “powerful” pressure.

Labor MKs Demand Snap Leadership Race, The Jerusalem Post
The Labor Party must hold an immediate leadership primary to prepare for a possible election, Labor MKs and the party’s secretary-general wrote current Labor head Avi Gabbay in a letter on Tuesday.

Netanyahu advisers said to warn elections won’t give him time to secure immunity, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates have reportedly told the premier that snap elections would likely deny him the time needed to pass legislation shielding him from prosecution in three corruption cases.

Likud’s Governing Secretariat Approves Likud-Kulanu Deal for Joint Ticket, The Jerusalem Post
Likud’s governing secretariat approved an agreement with the Kulanu party of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Tuesday, to run on a joint list if the September 17 election is initiated on Wednesday.

Rivlin clarifies, won’t intervene in coalition crisis before deadline passes, Times of Israel
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday rejected calls that another lawmaker be given an opportunity to form a coalition, saying he will allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to use every minute of the remaining hours granted him to establish a government.

Israeli settler suspended from IDF after caught on camera setting Palestinian field alight, JTA
An Israeli settler caught on camera by an Israeli human rights organization setting fire to a Palestinian-owned field in the northern West Bank was suspended from his combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces.

Declassified: Israel Made Sure Arabs Couldn’t Return to Their Villages, Haaretz
The newly revealed documents describe the ways Israel prevented Arabs from returning to villages they had left in 1948, even after the restrictions on them had been lifted.

Opinion and Analysis

Suddenly if Only Briefly, One Can Fantasize About a post-Netanyahu Israel, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Netanyahu’s opponents on the center-left, along with all those concerned about the fate of Israeli democracy, are praying that the unexpected godsend won’t turn out to be a fata morgana, a fleeting mirage. The odds are still in Netanyahu’s favor: Lieberman might relent before the Wednesday night deadline for Netanyahu to set up a new coalition expires, and if not, Netanyahu is still the odds-on favorite to win the new election he proposes instead.”

A century later, Trump’s deal for Palestine is no better than Britain’s, +972 Mag
Jonathan Adler writes, “Before the “economic workshop” next month, it is worth reminding ourselves of a similar deal completed 100 years ago that would have far-reaching implications for the conflict – and which will foreshadow the failure of Kushner’s plan to secure a lasting peace.”

Trump’s incoherence on Iran is off the charts, Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin writes, “To recap, Trump has divided the West, weakened our hand with Iran and reminded Iran that Trump is all bark and no bite. Meanwhile, while we could have remained in the JCPOA and obtained allies’ assistance in going after Iran’s non-nuclear conduct, the E.U. is in no mood to cooperate, facing the wrath of Trump sanctions if it continues to abide by the Iran deal.”

The Real Obstacle to Forming a Government Is Netanyahu Himself, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “The combination of Netanyahu’s personality and the indictments awaiting him has turned him from the big victor of the 2019 election to the trampled doormat of the subsequent coalition negotiations.”

For Israelis the Nakba is a footnote. For Palestinians it’s the heart of the conflict, +972 Mag
Sam Freed writes, “Israelis tend to view the expulsions of the 1948 war as a small, local affair that was quite restrained compared to the Nazi genocide. For Palestinians, it is an ongoing dispossession.”

Despite Israel’s Political Crisis, Kushner Shows ‘Business as Usual’ for Mideast Peace Plan, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “Jared Kushner’s trip to the Middle East was planned long before Israel entered its current political crisis, which could lead on Wednesday to new elections. It has been in the works since shortly after the White House unveiled, two weeks ago, its economic conference scheduled to take place next month in Bahrain. In fact, journalist Gili Cohen of Kan News reported already last week that Kushner would likely visit Israel in the near future.”