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Blue and White splitting after Benny Gantz elected Knesset SpeakerGil Hoffman - Jerusalem Post - Labor MK Merav Michaeli asked Gantz and Ashkenazi why they "put the entire country through this entire mess when they could have been ministers for Netanyahu all along. (...) You wanted to be Yitzhak Rabin but you ended up like another former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, a nice man but a caricature of a politician who gave into Netanyahu and whose career ended shortly afterward," she said. [bz] 26/3/2020
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Edelstein must heed court ruling. The alternative is the end of the rule of lawDavid Horovitz - Times of Israel - Since one of Blue and White’s primary legislative goals is to pass a law that would disqualify an MK under indictment from forming a government, since Netanyahu is an MK under indictment, and since the Knesset speaker gets to determine the parliamentary processing of legislation, Netanyahu and Edelstein have a profound shared interest in the latter retaining retaining his job. But the five-justice panel headed by Supreme Court President Esther Hayut made a unanimous ruling — not a recommendation or a directive now, but a binding court order — that Edelstein must hold the vote on electing his replacement by Wednesday. The question now is what Edelstein, or more relevantly, the hitherto silent prime minister is going to do about it.For if Edelstein ignores the court, Israel would find itself in a constitutional crisis — despite thect, or in part because of the fact, that it doesn’t actually have a constitution. [ak] 24/3/2020
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Coronavirus pandemic driving increased racism against Indian Jews in Israel Saudamini Jain - +972 - A 28-year-old Indian Jew in Israel is in hospital after being assaulted by Israelis who called him `corona` [ry] 23/3/2020
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Israeli Supreme Court to rule on demand to reopen parliamentAron Heller - AP - "Gantz and his allies have accused Netanyahu of using the coronavirus crisis as cover to undermine the country’s democratic institutions. With the country in near-shutdown mode, Netanyahu has already managed to postpone his own pending criminal trial and authorize unprecedented electronic surveillance of Israeli citizens" [ry] 23/3/2020
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Two sides of the virusSafeya Mounir - Al Ahram Weekly "The majority of the medical and healthcare products that have been in high demand of late are imported, and “therefore it is not a case where a certain industrial sector [pharmaceuticals] will grow to compensate for losses in other sectors,” she explained.However, the sharp decline in oil prices, due to a lack of agreement between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members on cutting production, “is positive for the Egyptian economy,” Mikhail said.Oil prices have dropped to $35 per barrel on average. Being an oil-importing country, the decrease in oil prices will reflect positively on the budget since Egypt still partially subsidies fuel products." ca23/3/2020
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Virus sinks Lebanon demos hotspot deeper into doldrumsJordan Times - AFP "As Lebanon faces its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, prices have skyrocketed, the Lebanese pound has plunged in value and unemployment is rampant." ca23/3/2020
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Virtual protest - It`s not the virus which is murdering women! 22/3/2020
`Netanyahu cannot be trusted as Israel`s coronavirus spokesman`MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN - Jerusalem Post - “We could have imagined a health professional being appointed to speak to the Israeli public [about the crisis], but Netanyahu took it upon himself,” said Plesner, “and to some extent, as the caretaker prime minister, this is legitimate.” However, the Netanyahu who stands up almost nightly for briefings aired across the country on all channels at prime time is not just the caretaker prime minister. He is a politician with an upcoming criminal court case against him. And he is not the leader who received the mandate to form a government. [bz]19/3/2020
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Israeli MP presents bills to annex Jordan Valley, impose death penalty on PalestiniansMiddle East Eye - Miki Zohar, the head of the Likud faction in the Knesset, who submitted the two bills, said that the two bills would “embarrass” former army general Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party and Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu. [bz]19/3/2020
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8 arrested at protest against suspension of Knesset activities Gilad Cohen , Moran Azulay, Yuval Yanko, Yael Freidson -Ynet - Convoy of cars drives on main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem artery, earning some participants fines for breaking directives against mass gatherings. Those who joined the protest "against attempts to destroy Israeli democracy," said in response that driving in separate cars did not breach the directives. Edelstein, who came under intense criticism for his decision to suspend a vote on filling Knesset committees key to fighting the coronavirus, said Thursday that that the vote would go ahead on Monday. Not clear whether he will also place the replacement of his speaker`s chair on the agenda. The speaker was also rapped by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, who called for the vote to take place as soon as possible. [bz]19/3/2020
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How the supposedly inept Benny Gantz found a strategic path (almost) to the topHaviv Rettig Gur - Times of Israel - After Netanyahu called for a unity government to stem the coronavirus outbreak, Benny Gantz responded that his Blue and White party was ready to join such a government - but on condition that it be a “broad national government including representatives of all parts of the house [the Knesset]” — that is, including the Arab-majority Joint List party. That was a very sharp departure from Ganz`s earlier stance. However, Ganz appears to have calculated that for the first time in their history, Israel’s Arab political factions, fresh from an unprecedented 15-seat win at the ballot box, had finally come to play ball in the hard-nosed game of Israeli coalition politics. No more mere complaints from the sidelines, posturing over symbols, or campaigns consumed by shows of defiance of the Jewish majority. Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh yearns to make himself and his community a force to be reckoned with in the halls of the Knesset — and the deadlock among the Jews has given him the opportunity to do just that. [ak]17/3/2020
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Coronavirus causes riots in the Gaza Strip Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza - Authorities in the Gaza Strip ordered all returnees from abroad via Rafah Border Crossing to be placed in a mandatory quarantine at al-Nasser village, northeast of Rafah City - as a precautionary measure to prevent the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The villages`s schools of Ghassan Kanafani and Marmarah were taken over to serve as quarantine centers. On Sunday March 15, hundreds of al-Nasser villagers held a peaceful protest against this measure and were forcibly disperesd by Gazan security forces. Some ten citizens, including a child and a woman, sustained fractures and bruises all over their bodies and about 50 citizens, including 15 children, were arrested - some at the protest itself and some taken later from their homes. PCHR affirms the security forces’ right to enforce their decision, particularly in this stage and in light of the state of emergency declared by the Palestinian President to avoid the outbreak of Coronavirus; however, it stresses that the authorities should adhere to the proportionality standards for use of force and the regulations on the use of firearms in all circumstances. [ak]17/3/2020
475 lawyers protest Israel Bar Association intervention in International Court deliberations Adalah - A month ago Adv. Avi Himi, head of the Israel Bar Association submitted on behalf of the IBA an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) opinion to the International Criminal Court, arguing that the court has no jurisdiction in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and cannot rule on Israel`s acts there. 475 lawyers in Israel - all of them members of the IBA - signed a letter of protest, demanding that the IBA rescind that act. Among other things, the 475 attorneys argue that contend that the IBA decision is strictly political in motive and intended to support the Israeli government’s positions entrenching occupation, , that it falls far beyond both the IBA’s authority and area of legal expertise, and that the move was pushed through in a hasty and underhanded manner. "The IBA has never before sought to involve itself in any Israeli Supreme Court proceedings concerning issues relating to the law of occupation and the applicability of international humanitarian law to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, nor has it ever expressed a legal position on these issues. The letter emphasized that the IBA, therefore, “cannot pretend to have any special professional expertise at the international level. There is no doubt that it seeks to intervene only in order to support the political position of the Israeli government.” [ak] 17/3/2020
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Due to Coronavirus, Israel to let Palestinian workers stay in workplacesIMEMC - Israeli Minister of Defense Bennett decided to let tens of thousands of Palestinian workers stay the night in Israel during the coming month at least. "Palestinians involved in vital sectors, such as health, agriculture and building construction, can reside in Israel, provided that their contractors provide a statement of guarantee to the concerned Israeli authorities” Bennet was quoted as saying. Bennet`s decision constitutes a departure from a fifty year- old policy, which has been set by then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan in the direct aftermath of the 1967 war; until now, Palestinians who got a permit to work in Israel were not allowed to stay the night but had to go every evening back to their homes and come back to Israel the next morning. However, the radical nationalist Bennet was forced to modify this long-established policy by the consideration that in such daily peregrinations Palestinian workers are far more likely to catch and spread the Coronavirus then if they stay in one place. [ak] 17/3/2020
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Visitors from Europe are quarantined, but not their diplomatic challengesLahav Harkov - Jerusalem Post - With Israel in lockdown, schools and many businesses closing down and people encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. Still, the government cannot ignore the deadline set by the International Criminal Court set for Israel and the Palestinians to respond to war-crimes allegations. Israel`s position is that the Court has no jurisdiction on the West Bank, in which is gained the support of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Uganda and Australia. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s rebuttal will come by March 30. And on March 23, the EU foreign ministers will go ahead - despite the spread of COVID-19 - with a meeting on the Middle East, responding to the Trump Plan and its projected widespread Israeli annexations on the West Bank - following upon the pledge of Josep Borrell, EU high representative for foreign affairs, that "any Israeli move toward settlement annexation would not go unchallenged.” But meanwhile, for the time being both Netanyahu and Trump are too busy with the Coronavirus to bother about annexations. Symbolically, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who heads the Israeli-American annexation map-making committee, was ordered to a Coronavirus period of self-isolation... [ak]17/3/2020
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UK Lawyers for Israel libeled charityAsa Winstanley - EI - "An Israel lobby group has made an out-of-court settlement in the UK after libeling a Palestinian charity in blog posts and letters to donors" [ry] 16/3/2020
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Gantz Chosen To Form Government, Netanyahu Argues To Stay PM Over Coronavirus EffectsDaniel Estrin - NPR - "`While Prime Minister Netanyahu is handling an unprecedented global and national crisis in the most responsible and measured way,` Netanyahu`s Likud party said in a statement, `Gantz is rushing to a minority government dependent on ... terror supporters instead of joining a national emergency government that will save lives`" [ry] 16/3/2020
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Saudis sell oil at $25 in market share grab from Russia: ReutersAJ Impact/OPEC - Aljazeera "The price war between the top two producers of crude is heating up as oil has worst week since 2008 financial crisis...Oil prices have halved since the start of the year. Last Friday, tensions between the world`s top oil producers, Saudi Arabia and Russia, flared into an all-out price war after Russia and OPEC failed to reach a new deal on supply cuts. Riyadh retaliated by opening its taps and pledging to pump record volumes of oil into the market." ca14/3/2020
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Iran asks IMF for $5bn emergency funding to fight coronavirusAJ Impact/Iran - Aljazeera "The escalating outbreak in Iran - the worst-affected country in the Middle East - has killed 429 people and infected 10,075. It has damaged Iranian businesses and is bound to hit its non-oil exports after many neighbouring countries and trade partners shut their borders." ca14/3/2020
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Bethlehem responds to coronavirus ‘the Palestinian way’ - with sweets and song Akram Al-Waara - Middle East Eye - The city has been placed on lockdown by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Of the 20 cases, 16 were being quarantined in the Angel Hotel, along with 15 American tourists who are believed to have come into contact with those carrying the virus according to the PA. Since the hotel was closed off on Thursday, local Palestinian restaurants and residents have been flooding it with medical supplies, personal hygiene products, and most importantly, food. “Amazing community! These 13 Americans love all of you!” Creel said in one of many posts on Facebook praising the local community for their hospitality towards those quarantined at the hotel. “Thank you to all of the Palestinian community of Beit Jala for the love and kindness that you have shown the 13 Americans during our stay at the Angel Hotel!” Creel wrote alongside a photo of a boxed fried chicken meal from a popular Beit Jala restaurant. [bz] 10/3/2020
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Israeli Security Officials Dread Having to Handle a Gaza Coronavirus Outbreak Amos Harel - Haaretz -  In any assessment by the security establishment in recent years, the eruption of infectious diseases in Gaza has been a prominent scenario, given the extreme overcrowding there, the collapsed infrastructures and the poor sanitary conditions. But in this case, the focal point of the coronavirus is outside the Strip, and paradoxically the relative separation of Gaza from the rest of the world is protecting it for now. By contrast, there is no way to hermetically seal the West Bank off from Israel. [bz]10/3/2020
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PCHR: On International Women’s Day – Renewed Calls for Justice, Protection and Equality for Palestinian WomenPCHR - IMEMCnews - "This year IWD comes while Palestinian women still suffer unbearable conditions in light of the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) on the one hand and the ongoing Palestinian division on the other hand along with the remarkably increased violence against women by the society" [ry] 9/3/2020
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Security upped for Israel election challenger Gantz after threatsAl Jazeera - Threats against Blue and White alliance`s Benny Gantz came in the wake of last week`s inconclusive general elections [ry] 9/3/2020
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Smotrich appears to post support for expulsion of Arab IsraelisThe Times of Israel - Transport minister tweets biblical verse: ‘If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides’ [ry] 9/3/2020
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Netanyahu submits request to delay opening of criminal trialYael Friedson - Ynet - Citing a technical delay because of material still not made available to the defense team, Netanyahu lawyer Amit Hadad submitts request to postpone the trial PM calls an attempted coup by judiciary [ry]9/3/2020
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The Brooklyn Yeshiva Anthem Protest and Why It Is Not AntisemiticIra Glunts - AntiWar - "`An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. Now it is a person who Jews dislike.` – Hajo Meyer, Jewish German-born Dutch physicist and Auschwitz survivor" [ry] 9/3/2020
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Coronavirus in Palestine: Chaos as seven cases confirmed in BethlehemYumna Patel - Mondoweiss "Palestinians, for lack of a better word, are freaking out. And much like the rest of the world, they’re worried about the current outbreak of coronavirus disease. While the global hysteria surrounding the coronavirus gained traction in Palestine in recent weeks as Palestinians looked to a growing number of confirmed cases in Israel, it reached new heights on Thursday, as multiple suspected cases were reported in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem." ca6/3/2020
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Increasing Arab representation in Israel election is an impressive accomplishment, but Netanyahu`s right-wing bloc growing stronger signals hard times are aheadAdam Rasgron - Times of Israel - Despite predicting record gains for the Joint List alliance of Arab-parties, the mood at the party`s headquarters in the northern Israeli city of Shufaram was far from festive as exit polls were released Monday evening. As of early noon Tuesday and with 90 percent of the vote counted, the Joint List is set maintain its position as the third largest party, with 15 seats, two more than in the outgoing Knesset. But the excitement over the party strengthening was overshadowed by the possibility that Prime Minister Netanyahu may finally succeed in forming a government. Joint List faction chairman Ahmad Tibi said that exit polls sparked mixed responses among the party`s lawmakers. The increasing Arab representation is an impressive accomplishment; however, the right- wing bloc also grew stronger, signalling hard times are ahead. Tibi stressed that the failure to beat Netanyahu is not the Joint List’s or that of Arab voters, but that of Kahol Lavan, the Labor-Gesher- Meretz slate and the Zionist left. [ak] 3/3/2020
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After 97% of votes counted, Netanyahu still short of parliamentary majority Time of Israel - The small number of votes remaining to count can still make a substantial difference, when every single seat can influence Netanyahu`s ability to form a government. As things stand, though Netanyahu proclaimed victory to cheering supporters, he is two seats short of the 61 needed for a Knesset majority. In April last year, when he had 60 but no way to gain even one more, he went to repeat elections. Blue and White leader Benny Gantz admitted to supporters early Tuesday that the party’s showing was disappointing, but refused to concede, saying he would wait for the final results. Netanyahu, who has served as prime minister for over a decade, also faces a likely legal hurdle should President Reuven Rivlin task him with forming a coalition. An advocacy group, seeking to oust Netanyahu, earlier this year asked the court to rule on whether an indicted parliament member can be designated prime minister and asked to form a new government. The Supreme Court in January declined to rule on the request, saying it was premature, but the issue is likely to come up again. [ak] 3/3/2020
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EU Official: European Union and All Member States Must Recognize the State of PalestineIMEMC & Agencies - "Condemning the lack of international action to cease the Israeli colonial settlement construction, [The Chair of the EU’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine, Manue] Pineda said that the international community should place pressure on Israel to do so, and not only issue statements of condemnation" [ry] 2/3/2020
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Israel in limbo as weary voters go to polls for third time in yearOliver Holmes - The Guardian - Neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor opponent Benny Gantz are likely to break political deadlock [ry] 2/3/2020
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Will annexation be the key to a Netanyahu victory? – analysisTovah Lazaroff - The Jerusalem Post - This time around, Netanyahu has hyper focused on the extreme, centrist and soft right-wing voters, by going into overdrive on sovereignty and settlement building [ry] 2/3/2020
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Netanyahu: Annexation has started, PA and Jordan threats don’t matterMEMO - “`We are talking about fateful decisions, which we carried out regardless of all the threats,` Netanyahu confirmed. `We have also approved housing plans in the Sha’ar HaShomron settlement. This proves that big changes are happening here`” [ry] 2/3/2020
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Israel`s left and right `stuck in segregationist, racist trap`Mersiha Gadzo - Al Jazeera - Many Jewish Israelis of Zionist left expected to vote for Arab Joint List, to stand against `racist nationalism` [ry] 2/3/2020
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Endless elections leave Israel unable to make crucial decisionsAmir Alon,Sivan Hilaie,Adir Yanko - Ynet - The political stalemate and a caretaker government have brought a struggling health system to the brink, low-income pensioners to see their meager income shrink and children with special needs to experience discrimination [ry] 2/3/2020
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Qatar on the Brotherhood trailAhmed Mostafa - Al Ahram "Turkey’s military intervention in Syria and Libya would not have been possible without Qatari support, especially as Turkey is in serious economic difficulties. A few days before starting his tour, Al-Thani telephoned Erdogan to “discuss matters of mutual interest.” “It doesn’t need artificial intelligence to guess what those ‘matters of mutual interest’ are,” said one Gulf analyst in Dubai. “Erdogan is spearheading the effort to resurrect terrorism in Libya and bolster the so-called political umbrella of terror groups in the Ikhwan [the Muslim Brotherhood], and Qatar is still on its same old track of supporting and financing this,” he said." ca28/2/2020
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Airstrike Hits Turkish Forces in Syria, Raising Fears of EscalationCarlotta Gall - New York Times "The Turkish Army suffered mass casualties in an airstrike in northwest Syria late Thursday, an attack that could dramatically change the course of the Syrian war as fears grow of a direct conflict between Russia and Turkey, a NATO member." ca 28/2/2020
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Turkish losses rise in dangerous escalation over Syria`s Idlib Amberin Zaman - Al-Monitor "Speaking after an emergency national security meeting convened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun pledged that Turkey`s soldiers would be avenged. "Our operations in the Syrian theater will continue until the blood soaked hands taking aim at our flag are broken. The decision to retaliate with far greater force against the illegitimate [Syrian] regime that pointed its guns at our soldiers has been made." ca 28/2/2020
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UN Security Council unanimously re-affirms two-state solutionIdan Zonshine - Jerusalem Post - “Council Members reiterated their support for a negotiated two-state solution… where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders” was the text of the statement adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council, drafted by Belgium which holds the Belgium, which holds the council`s rotating presidency. “All parties should refrain from undermining the viability of the two-state solution in order to maintain the prospects for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace,” the statement added, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recently annention to build thousands more homes in East Jerusalem, in an area with an overwhelmingly Palestinian majority. There was no reference to US President Donald Trump`s proposed peace plan in the decision - neither to condemn it, as the Palestinians would have liked, not to endorse it as Trump and Netanyahu would have wanted. Though not explicitly referred to, the resolution clearly opposes extensive unilateral Israeli annexations, such as Netanayahu and ministers in his cabinet had promoted since Trump published his plan. [ak]25/2/2020
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Let’s do launch: Virus takes a backseat to violence, with rockets and airstrikes on the Gaza border flying almost as fast as the threatsJoshua Davidovich - Times of Israel/Israeli media overview - `Though the night passed “mostly quietly,” in the words of more than one Israeli report that ignore the noise made by Israeli missiles...` [bz]25/2/2020
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Sanders says AIPAC gives platform to ‘express bigotry,’ won’t go to conferenceEric Cortellessa - Times of Israel - “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people,” Sanders tweeted. “I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference. As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region.” [ak]25/2/2020
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US bars entry to researcher who exposes Israeli rights abusesMaureen Clare Murphy - EI - "The US has effectively denied entry to Eyal Weizman, founder of the research group Forensic Architecture. Forensic Architecture, based in the UK, uses groundbreaking methodologies such as digital forensics and spatial analysis to expose human rights abuses. The group has published several investigations concerning Israeli violations against Palestinians" [ry] 24/2/2020
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Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump`s Mideast peace planPhilip Pullella - Reuters - “`Nor can we overlook the still unresolved conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with the danger of inequitable solutions and, hence, a prelude to new crises` [Pope Francis] said" [ry] 24/2/2020
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Facing a Palestinian state, Arab Israelis find Trump`s Mideast plan unworkableLawahez Jabari and Saphora Smith and Freddie Tunnard - NBC News - "And now even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who in Washington last month heralded the peace proposal as a `historic breakthrough` — appears to have distanced himself from that section of the plan" [ry] 24/2/2020
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The blacklist: All 112 companies UN says are operating in settlementsTimes of Israel - The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday published a database of 112 companies it says are conducting business in West Bank settlements. In the report the council said the companies’ activities “raised particular human rights concerns.” The list is predominantly of Israeli companies, including banks and construction firms. But it also lists a number of international firms, including travel companies Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor, tech giant Motorola and construction and infrastructure companies including France’s Egis Rail and British company JC Bamford Excavators. Six of the companies listed are based in the US, four in the Netherlands, three in the UK, three in France, and one each in Luxembourg and Thailand. Israeli authorities reacted with fury to the report, which they described as a “blacklist,” while the Palestinians lauded the list as “a victory for international law.” The list includes companies that are directly engaged in the West Bank, parent companies that own a majority share in firms operating in the West Bank, and companies granting franchises or licenses to West Bank businesses. [The Times of Israel provides all the 112 companies listed in the report, and their home countries-ak]18/2/2020
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In Wake of Trump Peace Plan, EU Countries Pushing for Recognition of State of PalestineNoa Landau - Haaretz - Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has already discussed the initiative with the foreign ministers of Ireland, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Malta and Slovenia. In the wake of the initiative, Israel has conveyed messages to the countries sponsoring it that “this is not the time for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” because it would prevent “a possibility of direct negotiations (...)." [bz]18/2/2020
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American Jewish students in Israel forbidden to go to Palestinian territories Allison Kaplan Sommer - Haaretz - Max Antman, 27, arrived in Israel last fall to begin his rabbinical studies in a year-long program at Hebrew Union College’s Jerusalem campus, determined to take advantage of living in the city “to experience everything going on both in Israel and in Palestine.” But the organizers had other ideas. The Mesa Israel Journey, which gave him a $3,500 grant for his studies in Jerusalem, informed him that “entering the [Palestinian] territories A and B independently, not as part of a trip organized as part of the program, is expressly prohibited for all Masa participants" and that "any independent movement of participants in the [Israeli ruled] West Bank Area C requires the participant/s to inform the organizers in advance and receive the organizers` authorization and relevant instructions.” [ak] 18/2/2020
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The Israelis who equate "peace" with total defeat of the Palestinians Orly Noy - +972 Magazine - Over the last week, pedestrians and drivers in Tel Aviv caught a glimpse of an especially disturbing billboard that had been posted across the city. The billboard, erected by the far-right group, Israeli Victory Project, showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blindfolded and on their knees on a backdrop of destruction. The caption read: “Peace is only made with defeated enemies.” By Sunday morning, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had ordered the billboards taken down, saying the images “incited the kind of violence reminiscent of ISIS and the Nazis.” But what was actually disturbing about the billboard was not the incitement. Israel does not need cheerleaders when it comes to the violence it metes out against the Palestinian people. What is particularly nauseating is the way in which the billboard lays out for all to see the darkest, sickest aspects of Israel’s collective gaze vis-à-vis our neighbors. [ak]18/2/2020
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Israel fears EU member states set to recognize PalestineItamar Eichner - Ynet - Jerusalem concerned that some European countries will trigger move in response to Trump plan, call for greater involvement in efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict; EU foreign ministers set to meet Monday, could issue joint statement condemning U.S. blueprint for Mideast [ry] 17/2/2020
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Israeli racists unite against racismAli Abunimah - EI - "The group’s founder, Israel Ziv, is a general who is under US sanctions because the Treasury Department in Washington says he has been selling weapons to both sides of the bloody civil war in South Sudan" [ry] 17/2/2020
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Six countries to ICC: We are against Israel war-crime lawsuitsTovah Lazaroff - The Jerusalem Post - European support comes as union prepares to discuss Trump peace plan [ry] 17/2/2020
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US ambassador to Israel to lead committee on annexing the West BankMEE and agencies - US President Donald Trump announced the committee last month to implement his `deal of the century` vision [ry] 17/2/2020
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Christian Zionist archaeology: A tool of Palestinian subjugationMimi Kirk - Al Jazeera - Archaeological projects in Palestine led by US evangelical Christians contribute to Palestinian dispossession [ry] 17/2/2020
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Trump plan ‘legitimizes what is illegal,’ rewards occupation, Abbas tells UNTimes of Israel - liveblogging - PA president tells Security Council that US deal is ‘not just,’ seeks to impose terms, breaches international law, and is opposed around the world, but peace is still possible. [bz]11/2/2020
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Trump cuts off funding for Palestinian Security Forces from 2021 Amir Tibon - Haaretz - The Trump administration excluded funding for the Palestinian Security Services in its budget request for the 2021 fiscal year, after 27 years of bipartisan support and Israeli backing. Hitherto, all US Administrations have supported the PA`s security services, cooperation with which is considered by Israel as "a security asset, helping to thwart terror attacks in the West Bank". Moreover, in the early 2000s the Palestinian Security Forces were re-organized and trained under the direct supervision of an American general. However, since the Palestinians broke with Trump over his moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump already exhausted all other available means of punishing them, such as cutting all civilian aid to the Palestinians, including to hospitals and economic projects in East Jerusalem. US funding the the Palestinian Security Forces is all that was left, and Trump decided to ax that, too. [ak]11/2/2020
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Odeh warns: Arab parliamentarians are not in Ganz`s pocketGil Hoffman _ Jerusalem Post - Joint List leader Ayman Odeh warned Blue and White leader Benny Gantz that Arab Knesset Members "are not in his pocket" and might not support his forming a government after the March elections. The Joint List did support Ganz after the September elections, but since then Ganz`s declared support of the Trump deal has created new difficulties. In order to keep the option of forming a minority government which would be supported from the outside by the Joint List, Ganz would have to rule out the two most offensive aspects of the Trump Plan: unilateral annexations on the West Bank, and the transferring of the "Arab Triangle" area to a supposed Palestinian sovereignty while depriving its inhabitants of their Israeli citizenship.[ak]11/2/2020
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Netanyahu: Israel drawing up map for West Bank annexationsReuters - Ynet - With elections just three weeks away, caretaker prime minister tells campaign rally in Ma`ale Adumim: `We are already at the height of the process of mapping the area that, according to the Trump plan, will become part of the State of Israel. It won`t take too long` [ry]10/2/2020
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AIPAC apologizes for ad slamming ‘radicals in the Democratic Party’Omri Nahmias - The Jerusalem Post - According to Facebook, between 25 and 30 thousand people saw it and The American Israel Public Affairs Committee paid between $1,000 to $1,500 to promote it on the social media platform [ry]10/2/2020
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Former Air Force Secretary Pitches $100k ‘Shark Tank’ Swipes to Israeli Military ContractorsGrant Smith - AntiWarn - Virginia Israel Advisory Board confab entwines Israeli military contractors and DoD [ry]10/2/2020
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Tel Aviv rally condemns Trump plan as ‘Apartheid’ and ‘Population Transfer’Jerusalem Post - Peace Now organized the event, which included a march and a rally. The Israeli Left opposes US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, in part because it calls for redrawing the map of sovereign Israel in such a way that the Arab-Israeli communities in the Triangle area would be excluded from the State of Israel and included in a Palestinian state. They are also against the plan because it allows for unilateral annexation and puts forward what they believe is a nonviable vision of a Palestinian state. “This isn’t a peace plan – it’s not even a plan,” Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg told the activists who attended the rally. Rather, she considered it "a recipe for annexation, population transfer, violence and apartheid". [ak]4/2/2020
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Kremlin: Trump plan has doubtful viability, is not in compliance with Security Council resolutions Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov - TASS Press Agency - There is a whole number of respective resolutions of the UN Security Council. It’s obvious that certain points of this [Trump`s] plan are not in full compliance with the UNSC resolutions. We see the Palestinians’ reaction, we see the reaction of the whole number of Arab states, which show solidarity with the Palestinians in opposing this plan. This certainly raises doubts over its viability. [ak] 4/2/2020
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The EU: Steps towards annexation could not pass unchallenged.Josep Borrell, EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs - European Union website - The EU recalls its commitment to a negotiated two- State solution, based on 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps, as may be agreed between the parties, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition. The US initiative, as presented on 28 January, departs from these internationally agreed parameters. We are especially concerned by statements on the prospect of annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank. In line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the EU does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967. Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged. [ak]4/2/2020
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As Israelis dedicated to a peaceful future, we oppose this Bantustan plan and call on the EU to strongly oppose it The Guardian - The Trump plan will not solve but deepen the conflict, engendering a degree of inequality not seen since South African apartheid. This is a Bantustan plan, caging the Palestinians into pockets of land controlled by Israel. Trump and Netanyahu are acting as two wolves negotiating how to eat a sheep. We are deeply alarmed by the EU’s weak response so far, framing the Trump plan as “an occasion” to relaunch peace negotiations. The plan is no such occasion, but a roadmap to apartheid 2.0. We call on Europe to reject Trump’s plan, and start taking serious measures against Israel’s annexation of Palestine – before it is too late.[Note: petition published before today`s EU statement. ak]4/2/2020
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Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz Likely to Vote Against Trump PlanDov Benovadia - Hamodia - PM Netanyahu had planned to bring the entire Trump plan to a Cabinet vote this week – but is unlikely to do so, at least for now, because Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has made it clear that he will vote against it. According to the well- informed commentator Shalom Yerushalmi, Katz is planning to compete for the Likud leadership in the event of Netanyahu having to strp down, and in primaries held among the Likud party membership Katz would face a severe handicap if having run "with the stain of haing supported a Palestinian state" - despite the fact that the Palestinian state envisaged in the Trump Plan is a joke.[ak]4/2/2020
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