News Roundup for September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

J Street calls on Congress to respond to Netanyahu annexation promise, Times of Israel
“The left-wing Washington advocacy group J Street, which backs a two-state solution and opposes Israeli annexation in the West Bank, calls on members of the US Congress to respond to Netanyahu’s annexation promise. ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu made absolutely clear today that, if re-elected next week, he plans to annex large portions of the West Bank, make the occupation permanent and condemn millions of Palestinians to a future of living under unending Israeli rule, without basic civil rights or self-determination. These actions would destroy Israeli democracy and constitute a flagrant violation of international law,’ the group’s head Jeremy Ben-Ami says in a statement.”

Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, The Guardian
“J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobby in the US, said Netanyahu’s annexation plan ‘would destroy Israeli democracy and constitute a flagrant violation of international law’. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the group’s president, said it would ‘make the occupation permanent and condemn millions of Palestinians to a future of living under unending Israeli rule, without basic civil rights or self-determination.’”

Ahead of Israeli Election, Netanyahu Vows to Annex Large Swathes of West Bank ‘In Maximum Coordination With Trump’, Common Dreams
“Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal-leaning American Jewish advocacy group, warned in a statement that Netanyahu’s plan would ‘make the occupation permanent and condemn millions of Palestinians to a future of living under unending Israeli rule, without basic civil rights or self-determination.’”

Congress, Presidential Candidates Must Make Clear: Netanyahu’s Unacceptable Annexations Would Bring Major Consequences for US-Israel Relationship, J Street
“To respond to this unprecedented threat, House leadership must immediately bring to the floor a vote on House Resolution 326, which clearly opposes annexation and affirms US support for the two-state solution — and already has the support of over 180 Members of Congress. Responsible lawmakers and presidential candidates must also make clear that they will not give the Israeli government a blank check to violate US interests and democratic values. They must make clear that annexation of any portion of the West Bank will lead to major consequences for the future of the US-Israel relationship.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu, Facing Tough Israel Election, Pledges to Annex Much of West Bank, New York Times
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Tuesday that he would move swiftly to annex nearly a third of the occupied West Bank if voters returned him to power in the election next week, a change that would dramatically reshape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His plan to annex territory along the Jordan River would give the nation “secure, permanent borders” to the east for the first time in its history, he said. But it would also reduce any future Palestinian state to an enclave encircled by Israel.

Why Netanyahu’s election threats could become reality this time, The Guardian
Peter Beaumont writes, “What once was talk now seems very possible with Trump’s backing. Netanyahu believes the possibility of such a move may be shrinking – ‘a historic opportunity that we may not have again’ – if Trump does not win re-election.”

After Trump, the United States Should Return to Obama’s Iran Deal, Foreign Policy
Edoardo Saravalle writes, “Speed will be a key factor. The new administration should not slow down to pursue confidence-building measures, as Ilan Goldenberg and Eric Brewer have argued it should in Foreign Policy. Each passing day will make it harder to reenter the deal, as political capital dwindles and opposition hardens. The 2021 Iranian presidential elections could further complicate matters. U.S. wavering in January will suggest that the new administration does not actually want to rejoin, boosting Iranian politicians skeptical of diplomacy. And with time, the benefits of the deal will fade. For example, constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which are scheduled to end in 2023, become less desirable as their expiration nears.”


Bolton out as national security adviser after clashing with Trump, Washington Post
President Trump announced Tuesday that John Bolton was no longer his national security adviser, saying in tweets that he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions” and that Bolton was no longer needed. The two men offered differing accounts about whether Trump had forced Bolton out of the position or whether Bolton left voluntarily after repeated clashes with Trump.

Settler leaders lionize Netanyahu for ‘historic’ Jordan Valley annexation pledge, Times of Israel
Settler leaders lined up on Tuesday to thank and congratulate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he vowed to annex the Jordan Valley if reelected next week, but some on the right urged the prime minister to go further or dismissed the promise as electoral spin.

Netanyahu Taken Off Stage in Campaign Rally Following Gaza Rocket Attack, Haaretz
Two rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli military said on Tuesday night, after sirens interrupted a campaign rally attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

PM draws fire after being forced to take shelter from rockets, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election rivals on Tuesday evening tore into his security record Tuesday, after Gaza rockets were fired near a campaign event in Ashdod, which forced the premier to briefly take cover.

Israel Believes Hamas Is Losing Control Over Gaza Youth, Haaretz
After twin suicide attacks hit Gaza City on August 27, killing three Palestinian security officials, Hamas understood that it was starting to lose control over the weekly March of Return demonstrations at the Israeli border – or more accurately, over the main activists behind the protests, senior Israeli security officials believe.

Opinion and Analysis

A Look at the West Bank Area Netanyahu Vowed to Annex, New York Times
Karen Zraick writes, “The Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea are considered strategically vital zones by Israel for security. If Israel annexed them, it would encircle any future Palestinian state in the West Bank.”

Unprecedented Alliances Are Moving Against Netanyahu Ahead of the Israeli Election, The New Yorker
Bernard Avishai writes, “Over the summer, unprecedented alliances across the political spectrum have made Netanyahu seem more vulnerable than he has since the first time he lost office, in 1999.”

Why Bibi Fears Arab Voters, The New York Review of Books
Yardena Schwartz writes, “Arab voters suddenly find themselves under a spotlight from every direction. On the right, they are being weaponized to scare Israelis into going to the polls and keeping ‘Bibi,’ as Netanyahu is popularly known, in power. On the left, Arab voters are being actively courted by Israeli politicians who finally understand that they need their support to unseat Netanyahu.”

The Repercussions of Partial or Full West Bank Annexation by Israel, Baker Institute
Gilead Sher writes, “No matter the geographic extent, annexation will initiate a perilous and nearly irreversible process, endangering Israel on numerous fronts. It will face international reprisals, a cooling of diplomatic relations with global and regional allies, and a diminished economic outlook. The inroads of Oslo will be all but undone, undermining the territorial viability of a future Palestinian state and jeopardizing the security and civil coordination with the Palestinian Authority. Rather than approaching the two-state-for-two-people vision, West Bank annexation will bring the Jewish-democratic state of Israel to a dangerous crossroads, and perhaps to the point of no return”

Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex a massive part of the West Bank, explained, Vox
Zack Beauchamp writes, “The annexation is billed as a security measure, an essential move for Israeli to protect its heartland. In practice, though, it would mean seizing land that’s vital to any future Palestinian state’s success — effectively dismantling the peace process. It’s a truly radical pronouncement, a blaring statement that this Israeli government has no interest in a serious negotiated peace with the Palestinians.”