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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

The Real Reason for ‘Mainstream’ Jewish America’s Appalling Silence on AnnexationHadar Susskind - Ha`aretz/Americans for Peace Now - But whether or not you support two-states is the 1990’s question. Today it comes down to this: what are you going to do about it? When actions are taken that threaten the viability of two states living side by side in peace and security, what do you say? What do you do? Unfortunately, for too many organizations the answer is one long awkward silence. Right now, the Israeli government is making plans that, if implemented, will be incredibly damaging. Annexation threatens the futures of Palestine and Israel. It threatens Israel’s relationships with the Arab world, including its neighbors Jordan and Egypt. And, never forget, it threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship and, in perhaps the saddest manifestation, the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community. Yet AIPAC continues to refer to Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East” even as annexation threatens to further erode that reality, and they tell us that "bipartisan support for the fundamentals of the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship must supersede any policy dispute," including a possible dispute over West Bank annexation. [ak]2/6/2020
Slapping Israeli Apartheid — the sentencing of Yifat DoronJONATHAN OFIR - Mondoweiss - More than two years ago, the young Palestinian resistance icon Ahed Tamimi shook the world with a slap to an Israeli occupation soldier in Nabi Saleh. During Ahed’s sentencing hearing, Israeli peace activist Yifat Doron slapped the chief military prosecutor. It came out of her as a spontaneous reaction to oppression: “The way I see it, this was in reaction to seeing my friend in distress,” Doron said in an interview with +972. On Wednesday, Doron was sentenced to eight months prison, plus a fine of 3,000 Shekels and probation entailing a potential 4 months to 3 years prison if she would be convicted of additional ‘violent offenses’. The case was of course held at a civilian court – the Jerusalem Magistrates Court – not the military court in which Palestinians are tried.(rh)2/6/2020
Less than BantustansGush Shalom - "I am going to annex the Jordan Valley, but the Palestinians there will not get Israeli citizenship. We will just keep them in enclaves." [bz]2/6/2020
Netanyahu urges doubtful settler chiefs to get behind ‘historic’ West Bank planJACOB MAGID - Times of Israel - Settler leaders have lamented being left out of the loop of the committee’s meetings, asserting that the conceptual map presented by the Trump administration at the plan’s January unveiling results in 15 Israeli settlements becoming isolated enclaves encircled by a future Palestinian state — an entity whose establishment they fundamentally oppose.(rh)2/6/2020
No, thank you’: Yamina, settler leaders defy Trump plan’s Palestinian stateJACOB MAGID - Times of Israel - Surrounded by members of the Yesha umbrella council of settlement mayors, Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett declared that “establishing a Palestinian terror state in the heart of our country would be an existential disaster.”(rh)2/6/2020
Gantz tells army to step up preparations, as West Bank annexation loomsJUDAH ARI GROSS - Times of Israel - Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday ordered IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi to “step up preparations for the Israel Defense Forces,” ahead of a government proposal to annex portions of the West Bank, his office said.The military has roughly one month to complete preparations ahead of the government’s plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to settlements and the Jordan Valley — some 30 percent of the West Bank — which many defense analysts and officials have warned could lead to an outbreak of Palestinian violence, as well as threaten Jerusalem’s ties with its neighbor Jordan and other Arab countries.(rh)2/6/2020
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State ViolenceHENRY GIROUX - Counterpunch - The sheer brutality of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a viciously violent cop symbolizes not only the unadulterated racism of a culture that looks away in the face of police violence against Black people but also a society in which a form of racialized domestic terrorism has become normalized.(rh)2/6/2020
Is Hamas becoming second power in ruling Palestinians? Rasha Abou Jalal - Al-Monitor - GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Bulldozers from the Palestinian Land Authority (PLA) affiliated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip demolished May 21 housing units in al-Qaraya al- Badawiya area in northern Gaza. The authority explained in a statement issued on the same day that the housing units “encroach on agricultural lands.” (rh) 2/6/2020
West Bank annexation could be delayed for days or weeks, Likud minister saysTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers that he had set a July date for the annexation of parts of the West Bank and had no intention of changing it, a minister in his Likud party said Sunday that the timing could be delayed by days or weeks. Ze’ev Elkin, a member of the top-level security cabinet, told Army Radio that the July 1 date cited in the coalition deal signed with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party wasn’t set in stone.(rh)2/6/2020
Police shoot dead East J’lem man with special needs, thought he was holding gunTOI STAFF -The Times of Israel - Police in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday morning shot dead a man who they said was thought to be “holding a suspicious object that appeared to be a gun.” The man reportedly had special needs and did not understand the officers’ calls to stop. Hebrew media reported that East Jerusalem resident Iyad Halak, 32, was not armed.(rh)2/6/2020
Israel put itself in a cornerSam Bahour -Responsible Statekraft - Anyone following the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to see if the new Israeli coalition government currently being formed will act on the green light the Trump administration has given it for additional acts of annexation of parts of the West Bank. Another act of annexation or not, Israel has already lost. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 16-hour trip to Israel last week raised red flags for some. Could it be that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, drunk on power and impunity, was taking Trump’s “Deal of the Century” and implementing it faster than the U.S. administration desires? Clearly, the world did not buy any part of Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” fiasco — not the Palestinians, not the Arab states, not the EU, and not many Israelis and devoted supporters of Israel as well. (rh)2/6/2020
Congress is poised to pass far-reaching Israeli wish listJOSH RUEBNER - Mondoweiss "With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 last week, the current Congress is now poised to enact with little transparency its most far-reaching bill related to Israel at the height of a national public health emergency. According to Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), the committee vote took place “without even bothering with a pretense of public discussion” and was especially egregious because the committee voted on a wholly new version of the bill which “was not made public until long after the hearing ended.” ca29/5/2020
Late to Realize the Cost of Trump`s Plan, Israeli Settlers Aren`t Going to PayNoa Landau - Haaretz "Who would have believed that out of all those opposed to the Trump administration’s Middle East plan, it would be the settler leadership that would head one of the most aggressive and passionate campaigns against it?" ca28/5/2020
European leaders said to implore Netanyahu not to advance annexationRAPHAEL AHREN - Times of Israel "I ask you, in a spirit of friendship, that your new government not take unilateral action [in the West Bank]. Such a move would destabilize the Middle East,” French President Emmanuel Macron told Netanyahu, according to a report aired Tuesday on Channel 13. “Only dialogue with the Palestinians and a just and balanced solution will provide Israel with peace, security and stability...Several European nations are currently considering ways to deter Israel from moving forward with its declared intention to apply sovereignty to the entire Jordan Valley and all settlements across the West Bank — territory much of the international community wants to see become a Palestinian state — and how to punish it if it ignores their warnings and carries out the annexation, according to the report.” ca28/5/2020
Netanyahu Attacks Justice System at Opening of His Corruption TrialAnshel Pfeffer Netael Bandel - Haaretz - This is the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial ■ `Netanyahu’s trial will be remembered as one of the low points of the Israeli justice system,` Knesset speaker says. (rh)26/5/2020
Church of the Nativity reopens as Palestinians ease coronavirus curbsReuters - The church in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, is capping access to 50 people at a time and requires that they be free of fever and wear protective masks; it had been closed since March 5.(rh)26/5/2020
Israelis, drop your denial and recognize the Nakba (includes reactions to `Neither Intractable nor Unique`)Dahlia Scheindlin - +972 - Some criticized my choice of cases, which they thought favored the Palestinian argument. Others criticized the attempt to document and empathize with the Israeli national consciousness and fears. I also suggest that a political mechanism acknowledging the separate national identities of both sides is the more politically realistic approach. [bz]26/5/2020
INVITATION: Two Talks on AnnexationSam Sussman - Amidst our global pandemic, these are especially challenging days in Israel and Palestine. Israel`s new government has announced its intent to annex the West Bank, and senior Trump administration officials have signaled the U.S. will support this move. Please join Extend for two sessions on the implications of annexation for both Israelis and Palestinians:Sam Bahour on Annexation & the Palestinian Future, this Friday, May 29 at 11am ET / 6pm IT ///// Mossi Raz on Annexation & the Future of the Israeli Left, next Wednesday, June 3 at 12pm ET / 7pm IT.[ak]26/5/2020
Invitation: Sam Bahur and Mossi Raz speak online of annexation 26/5/2020
Intel: Senate Democrats warn Netanyahu against West Bank annexation Read more: Harris - Al-Monitor - Nineteen Senate Democrats warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz against Israeli plans to annex settlements in the West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley in a letter Thursday. The letter — spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — warns Netanyahu and Gantz that “unilateral annexation will be met with deep concern from our mutual allies and partners, including Jordan and Egypt, and nearly universally viewed as a violation of international law.” (rh) 26/5/2020
Netanyahu said to tell Likud MKs: West Bank annexation on for JulyTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - At the opening of his Likud faction’s weekly meeting at the Knesset, Netanyahu said there has never been a better time in the country’s history to apply sovereignty, which is tantamount to annexation, to these areas. “We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass,” Netanyahu said, referring to the year the State of Israel was established and using the biblical names for the West Bank territory.(rh) 26/5/2020
Abbas declares end to agreements with Israel, USYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - n an emergency meeting with Palestinian leadership, Abbas said: “the Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones.” He went on to say that as an occupying power, Israel should “shoulder all the responsibilities and obligations” of “protecting the civilian population and their property” in accordance with international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. (rh)26/5/2020
As his trial begins, Netanyahu rails against ‘attempted political coup’TOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday appeared in court for the start of his corruption trial, and ripped into police and prosecutors as he became the first Israeli premier to stand trial on criminal charges while in office. Flanked by ministers and lawmakers from his Likud party, Netanyahu delivered televised remarks before the start of the hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, declaring that all his right-wing supporters were on trial along with him. “Elements in the police and State Attorney’s Office banded together with left-wing journalists… to fabricate baseless cases against me,” he charged. “The goal is to oust a strong right-wing prime minister and to banish the right-wing camp from leadership of the country for many years.” (rh) 26/5/2020
Victim of a left-wing coup? Why Netanyahu’s conspiracy theory is foul and absurdDAVID HOROVITZ - Times of Israel - Honed over more than two years of attacks on the pillars of Israel’s democracy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incendiary assault on his accusers shortly before the start of his corruption trial Sunday was a brilliantly calculated assertion of innocence and victimhood. Its core thesis, that a strong, pro-annexation, right-wing prime minister is facing an illicit attempt — perpetrated by a vast, leftist alliance of politicians, media, cops and state prosecutors — to oust him because of his ideology and policies, is also demonstrably ridiculous. (rh) 26/5/2020
Trump peace plan risks upending Israel’s treaty with JordanDaoud Kuttab - Ynetnews - The Hashemite Kingdom`s total rejection of prospective Israeli annexation in the West Bank is not only due to its violation of the 1994 peace agreement but also because of its direct impact on the stability of its own dynasty. (rh)26/5/2020
Palestinians demand sanctions on Israel to stop illegal annexationMONDOWEISS EDITORS - Mondoweiss - The following statement was published today by broad coalition of over 70 Palestinian civil society organizations calling for sanctions against Israel for its plans to illegally annex parts of the West Bank. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues. Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Effective Measures by all States to Stop Israel’s Illegal Annexation of the Occupied West Bank and Grave Violations of Human Rights. (rh)26/5/2020
Peace process was never intended to give Palestinians a state — true confessions from Council on Foreign RelationsPhillip Weiss - Mondoweiss - Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations has an article at Foreign Policy saying that the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel and “end the special relationship” because the peace process has attained its real objective: Israel is established as a secure country with a standard of living rivaling the UK and France, and no real military threat. The piece is shocking because it strips the mask from the peace process, saying just what Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah said decades ago, it was intended to fail, never producing Palestinian sovereignty. (rh)26/5/2020
For a new political imagination, Israeli Jews must unlearn ZionismNorma Musih - +972 - As Israelis, our task is not only to recognize the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 — it is to train our imagination to build a shared place to live in freedom and equality [ry] 25/5/2020
Will Mahmoud Abbas really stop PA collaboration with Israel?Ali Abunimah - Electronic Intifada "The only meaningful move Abbas could make would be the one the PA leadership has ruled out: dissolving the authority and forcing Israel to bear the full legal responsibilities, costs and consequences of its occupation of millions of Palestinians and their land...Meanwhile the European Union appears to have completely backed off any threat to hold Israel accountable over its annexation plans." ca22/5/2020
Palestinian leaders` confused messaging over next steps with Israel Ahmad Melhem - Al-Monitor "Ghassan al-Khatib, a former Palestinian planning minister and a former director of the government media office in Ramallah, told Al- Monitor this is the first time that Abbas had used the language he did in his speech; Khatib said the Palestinian position is not an escalation but rather a result of Israeli policies that abolished the implementation of all agreements...He said Israel is dragging the PA away from cooperation and into conflict. He also said the announcement that security coordination is stopping does not harm Israel but would rather be painful to the PA, which he said benefits from it more than Israel does." ca 22/5/2020
Netanyahu will do ‘crawling annexation’ of colonies near Green LinePhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss "...Trump and Pompeo have given Israel a semi-OK to move toward annexation, Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer is lobbying administration officials and conservative politicians/influencers to back Israel on annexation, and AIPAC has said whatever Israel does the U.S. has to stand by Israel.In Israel, Netanyahu’s political opposition says that annexation will move forward. Though it is likely to be piecemeal.Here are Yair Golan of the Meretz party and Aida Touma- Sliman of the Joint List speaking on an Israel Policy Forum call two days ago." ca22/5/2020
Israel’s `annexation government` sworn inMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor - Israel’s 35th government, which was sworn in May 17, is also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fifth government. Officially, it is known as a national unity government, with Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party poised to step in as prime minister in 18 months. Gantz has, in fact, already been sworn in with Netanyahu, in his capacity as “alternate prime minister.” Nevertheless, the one person who will mark this new government’s course, set its tone and determine its agenda will for the most part be Netanyahu.(rh) 19/5/2020
Israel put itself in a cornerSam Bahour - Responsible Statecraft - The European Union, that underwrote most of the past 25 years of U.S. failures in the Middle East Peace Process, is also up in arms about Israel’s possible annexation moves. Hugh Lovatt, a policy fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote “West Bank annexation will bring an end to the EU’s cherished two-state solution. International norms and the EU’s own laws will now need to underpin post-annexation relations with Israel.” He goes on noting that, “Annexation — whether it starts with one settlement block or most of Area C — will cross a threshold which will be almost impossible to reverse back on. The full repercussions that such a move will trigger may be slow in coming, but they are real. This will challenge EU credibility and relevance. It will also undermine the fundamentals of the international rules-based order — in particular, the prohibition on the acquisition of territory through force.” He speculates that post-annexation, “Palestinians [will] live under an increasingly explicit system of apartheid.” It is no wonder that the EU, for the first time, is speaking about possible economic sanctions on Israel if they proceed with any form of annexation.(rh)19/5/2020
Palestinians to Mark Nakba Anniversary Digitally for First Time in HistoryIMEMC - On the eve of the Palestinian people’s catastrophe or Nakba anniversary, the Ramallah-based higher national committee for marking the Nakba, called on all Palestinian masses to commemorate the Nakba anniversary digitally and not on the ground. “As we are marking such a historic significant moment of our Palestinian history, the entire world, including our Palestinian territories, is facing the threat of Coronavirus, that has so far impacted lives of many world nations. Therefore, we would urge our people, everywhere, to mark the Nakba anniversary by digital means such as social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others”, a statement by the higher committee read.(rh)19/5/2020
West Bank annexation will be the end of Israeli-Jordanian peaceMarwan al-Muasher - Ynetnews - By annexing parts of the West Bank, Israel would put the Hashemite Kingdom at risk of an influx of Palestinians and it should protest such unilateral move at all costs. (rh)19/5/2020
Israeli Troops Throw Fire Bombs, Burn Palestinian Homes, Farm Land in HebroIMEMC - Palestinian sources in Yatta village, south of Hebron, said that Israeli troops fired some torch bombs in the sky over Hebron, which burned half an acre of Palestinian farm land of barley and wheat to blaze. Coordinator for the steadfastness and protection committee in the city, Foad Alemour, told local media outlets that the fire bombs, launched by Israeli troops, also set on fire two homes owned by the Rashid family. (rh)19/5/2020
Israeli activist who slapped Ahed Tamimi’s prosecutor sentenced to eight monthsOren Ziv - +972 - An Israeli court sentenced Israeli activist Yifat Doron to eight months in prison on Wednesday for slapping a military prosecutor during the trial of Ahed Tamimi in March 2018. The incident took place during a sentencing hearing for Ahed’s mother, Nariman, who was arrested for filming her daughter slapping an Israeli soldier who had entered their yard during a demonstration in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in 2017. Doron, who was in Ofer Military Court on March 21, 2018 to support the women of the Tamimi family, approached military prosecutor Lt. Col. Issam Hamad at the end of the hearing, shouted “Who are you to judge her?” and slapped him. She was immediately arrested. (rh) 19/5/2020
Leading British Jewish group’s claim it is neutral on West Bank annexation should fool nobodyROBERT COHEN - Mondoweiss - After all, Israeli governments of the centre left and the centre right have spent the last 53 years actively enabling half a million Jewish Israelis to build towns on occupied Palestinian land. That’s meant massive government-funded infrastructure, government financial incentives and army protection. Awkward, because all of this is in violation of the Geneva Convention of which Israel is a signatory. Awkward, because the ‘facts on the ground’ created by the settlements have also required the oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population. That’s meant other awkward facts: land confiscation, house demolitions, property laws, water control, checkpoints, and a parallel but unequal judicial system. It you check out the legal textbooks you’ll find it’s collectively known as ‘apartheid’. That’s definitely awkward, especially for any Jewish organisation, attempting to nurture positive attitudes towards Israel both within and beyond the Jewish community.(rh) 19/5/2020
A very dangerous governmentHaggai Matar - +972 - When the new government was sworn in on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that bringing an end to the economic crisis would be at the top of his priority list. But those promises ring empty when considering the direction we are already heading in. Netanyahu has pledged to “do as much as possible to bring the economy back to where it was.” That means going back to a situation in which one in three children live in poverty, with citizens forgoing purchasing medicine to ensure they have enough money to pay their water and electricity bills. It means going back to tens of thousands of families facing food insecurity and thousands waiting in line for public housing.(rh) 19/5/2020
Trump sends Pompeo to Israel bearing gifts for the far-rightZvi Schuldiner - Global Ilmanifesto - Pompeo arrived in Israel with three objectives that reflect the dangers of Trump’s policy: to support, in moderation, Benjamin Netanyahu’s intentions regarding the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories, to continue to stoke tensions with Iran and—no less important—to try to stem China’s economic penetration into Israel. (rh)19/5/2020
Pompeo’s Visit to Israel Signals a Green Light Turns Yellow on Annexation, New York Times - What was so urgent and sensitive, in the middle of a virus pandemic, that America’s top diplomat had to make a 16-hour trip to Israel instead of simply picking up the phone? Although Mr. Pompeo took pains to avoid publicly addressing annexation, analysts suggested that a goal of the trip was to caution Israel’s leadership against moving too quickly.Mr. Pompeo met first with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had campaigned on a promise to push ahead with annexation as soon as possible, and later with Benny Gantz, alternate prime minister in the new government, who had campaigned against unilateral annexation. Without explicitly suggesting that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz slow the process, Mr. Pompeo seemed to signal as much, telling Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper, that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz “will have to find the way forward together.”“To the extent that in the coalition agreement, Gantz waived his veto right over annexation, Pompeo is handing it back to him,” said Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group. [ak]19/5/2020
Coalition flaw isn’t all the new ministries, but the ones that were ripped apartHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - I’ve taken part in swearings-in of governments, from the coalition side and from the opposition side,” said MK Yair Lapid in his maiden speech as opposition leader shortly before the Sunday vote. “It was always a celebration. Families sat excited in the gallery....Turning to the two bridegrooms, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, he minced no words: “We know exactly what you think of each other. There’s nothing I can say here from the podium that will be worse or more violent or ugly than the things you’ve already said about each other, and that you still say about each other behind the other’s back when the microphones are turned off.”(rh) 19/5/2020
Set for new term, Netanyahu eyes risky West Bank annexationAssociated Press - Ynetnews - Israel`s longest-serving premier has a friendly ally in the White House and wide support in the new Knesset for his long-promised goal, but the move still may encounter many hurdles and obstacles along the way. (rh)12/5/2020
Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal was sacrificed by the State of Israel on the altar of occupationAdam Keller - Gush Shalom - Gush Shalom mourns the unnecessary death of Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal who fell in battle at the village of Ya’bad, where the State of Israel sent him to enforce occupation rule. Amit Ben Yigal joins a very long and painful line of young victims who were sacrificed by the State of Israel on the altar of a 53 years old occupation, on the altar of settlement expansion, on the altar of the annexation plans of the government which is to be inaugurated his week.[ak]12/5/2020
Not a terroristNir Gontarz - Twitter - "The Palestinian who threw a brick at the soldiers who were walking around in his neighborhood last night is not a terrorist. Anyone who targets IDF soldiers while they are outside the borders of the state and in the midst of a civilian population is not a terrorist. Soldiers who die during such activity - are not murdered. They are killed. None of this detracts from the intensity of grief for a soldier`s death. (Signed:) Nir, father of a combat soldier" [bz] 12/5/2020
Trump Won`t Just `Allow` Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation – He`ll Force ItChemi Shalev - Haaretz - Trump’s scandalous mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis makes his reliance on evangelicals absolute. Without their full and enthusiastic enlistment, up to and including the very last believer, not only does Trump stand a good chance of losing the swing states that enabled his victory in 2016, he could very well be beaten in longstanding Republican strongholds as well, including North Carolina and Texas, in which evangelicals comprise about a third of the voting public. Which is why the very thought – or hope – that Trump will behave like a responsible statesman and stop the new Netanyahu government from annexing the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank is ludicrous. With a crumbling economy, an ongoing epidemic and the death of tens of thousands of Americans blamed on his mismanagement; with his back to the wall, polls in free fall and GOP colleagues starting to voice concerns about losing the Senate – Trump won’t dare disappoint his loyal evangelical legions. They want annexation, and annexation they will get. [bz]12/5/2020
As trial nears, Netanyahu’s associates go after attorney general Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - The historic indictment, the first against an incumbent Israeli prime minister, bears the signature of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Nonetheless, in the court of public opinion, Netanyahu has already made his accuser out as the accused. A wave of mudslinging is turning Mandelblit from state prosecutor to defendant, at least in the eyes of Netanyahu’s acolytes. Calls are growing for Mandelblit’s suspension or at least a criminal probe into his actions, both virtually impossible under Israeli law. Reports of alleged wrongdoing by Mandelblit and anyone linked to Netanyahu’s prosecution are flooding the media. Netanyahu’s emissaries and his many outspoken defenders are busy impugning Mandelblit 24/7. (rh) 12/5/2020
Israel: Discriminatory Land Policies Hem in PalestiniansHuman Rights Watch - Human Rights Watch - Decades of land confiscations and discriminatory planning policies have confined many Palestinian citizens to densely populated towns and villages that have little room to expand. Meanwhile, the Israeli government nurtures the growth and expansion of neighboring predominantly Jewish communities, many built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. Many small Jewish towns also have admissions committees that effectively bar Palestinians from living there. “Israeli policy on both sides of the Green Line restricts Palestinians to dense population centers while maximizing the land available for Jewish communities,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East executive director at Human Rights Watch. “These practices are well-known when it comes to the occupied West Bank, but Israeli authorities are also enforcing discriminatory land practices inside Israel.”12/5/2020
What will happen to Palestinian land the day after annexation?Ziv Stahl - +972 - The exact shape annexation will take — how much territory will be annexed, how many Palestinians will live on that territory, and what their status will be — is still unknown. One thing is certain: Palestinian human rights will be severely violated. This is true for Palestinians who find themselves living under Israeli sovereignty inside the annexed areas or remain in parts of the West Bank that will stay un-annexed. While many rights will likely be violated after annexation, the right to property will be among the hardest hit. Once territory is annexed, Israel will likely expropriate the land en masse and transfer it from its Palestinian ownership to state hands. One of the tools Israel might employ is the Absentees’ Property Law, which was used to nationalize property owned by Palestinians who became refugees during the 1948 war. According to the law, Israel is able to expropriate land and property of Palestinians who were expelled or fled during the war.(rh)12/5/2020
In Israel, coronavirus crisis improves Jewish-Arab relationsAfif Abu Much - Al-Monitor - The coronavirus had the opposite effect on attitudes toward Arab citizens, and strengthened the relationship between the Arab and Jewish communities. All it took was a precursory glimpse at how the Arab community adhered to all government instructions, even shutting down its mosques and churches. The improved relationship has extended into the holy month of Ramadan. Given the high rate of infection in the Arab community, and especially in villages in the north such as Deir al-Assad and Baanah (both of which were put under closure), the Home Front Command launched Operation Ramadan Nights. This included videos geared to the community, with verses from the Quran and quotes from the Prophet Muhammad, and even the delivery of holiday sweets directly to residents’ homes. The command also translated its website into Arabic for the occasion. As the unit`s commander for Arab affairs, Col. Shams al-Fares (res.), explained, “People understand that this is a war that doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs.” (rh) 12/5/2020
The Supreme Court Can’t Help Trump Now Without Hurting ItselfDavid R. Lurie - The Daily Beast - The Supreme Court is about to hear cases about whether Congress and Manhattan’s district attorney can subpoena Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. Trump has lost his challenges to the subpoenas repeatedly in the lower courts, and for good reason: his arguments against them are exceedingly weak. But Trump, a profoundly transactional man who is desperate to keep his tax returns from seeing the light of day before the election, plainly expects the high court’s protection as a reward for packing the federal bench, including the Supreme Court itself, with young right-wing extremists. If Justice John Roberts and the court’s other right-wing jurists twist the law to do Trump this favor, they will deal a heavy blow to the court’s already compromised legitimacy, and potentially to their own power as well. (rh) 12/5/2020
US ambassador says Washington ‘ready to recognize annexation’ within weeksTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - In the latest show of American support for Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, US Ambassador David Friedman said in an interview that Washington is ready to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the disputed areas should it be declared in the coming weeks. In an interview with the pro-ruling party Israel Hayom daily published Wednesday, Friedman said that it is up to Israel to decide whether it wants to move forward with annexing settlements but that if it does, Washington will recognize the move. (rh)12/5/2020
Netanyahu’s voters like him, his allies back him, but no one believes himHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - Netanyahu’s reputation for dishonesty is a vital part of Israel’s present-day political story. It’s a story not about Netanyahu, but about the political culture he has shaped around him. The comprehensive distrust that he elicits even from his closest allies shapes the new government’s structure and policy priorities, and now echoes through Israel’s constitutional order with the amendments passed this week to the country’s Basic Laws, whose sole purpose, according to the authors of the legislation, is to prevent Netanyahu from going back on his word.(rh) 12/5/2020
Netanyahu won the battle in the court but not the warTova Tzimuki - Ynetnews - The High Court`s decision to reject all petitions against Netanyahu and coalition might have awarded him with greatest legal victory yet, but verdict leaves room for future intervention by the court. (rh)12/5/2020
The coronavirus crisis is a ‘pressure cooker’ for domestic violenceHenriette Chacar - +972 - Government directives to shelter at home may be flattening one curve, but they have led to a spike in another, as incidents of domestic and gender-based violence have multiplied — a global trend UN Women has described as “the shadow pandemic.” Six weeks into a nationwide lockdown, the Israeli government has yet to offer timely solutions, leaving survivors of abuse in danger, say women’s rights advocates. (rh) 12/5/2020
A moment of truth for Israel-PalestineMarwan Bishara - Al Jazeera - The story and logic behind Israel`s `annexation government` [ry] 11/5/2020
100 Years of Shame: Annexation of Palestine Began in San RemoRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - "In fact, one could argue that the West’s long engagement in the question of Israel and Palestine has followed the same San Remo prototype: where the Zionist movement (and eventually Israel) is granted its political objectives based on unenforceable conditions that are never respected or implemented" [ry] 11/5/2020
The High Court didn’t stop Netanyahu. It won’t stop annexation eitherMeron Rapoport - +972 - Fighting corruption is not much of a political platform. It does not have the ability to provide answers to complex questions that plague Israeli society. The story that has animated Israel’s existence for the past 52 years is the occupation. This, and the notion of “Jewish supremacy,” in which this country belongs solely to one ethnic group, is what defines the State of Israel. This is precisely why as soon as the 61 Knesset members — from Avigdor Liberman to the Joint List — vowed to not sit with Netanyahu and rallied around Benny Gantz, the entire camp crumbled to pieces. As Haggai Matar wrote on these pages in late March, the minute Gantz had to make a choice between corruption and sitting in a government backed by the Joint List, he went with the former. Of course, a center-left government would not have brought about the end of the occupation. But a coalition that would have included nationalists like Liberman alongside Israel’s Palestinian leadership would have posed a significant challenge to the notion of “Jewish supremacy,” and could have opened the door to potentially ending the occupation and Israeli apartheid. [bz]9/5/2020
Is there no limit to the anti-Palestinian racism of The New York Times?Michael F. Brown - The Electronic Intifada/Media Watch - Liberal Zionists still believe in a Jewish state that grants special and better rights to Israeli Jews than to Palestinians. But they have lost the argument among Zionists that the best way to achieve this is through ethnic separation in the form of a two-state solution. Pipes is now a means to an end: soft Zionist bastions like The New York Times op-ed page will tolerate his toxic anti-Palestinian incitement as long as he can be recruited in the cause of protecting the Zionist dream of an exclusivist* Jewish state. [*"an exclusivist state" isn`t what liberal Zionists dream of, but they do insist on "a Jewish majority state", yes-bz] 9/5/2020
A Call to Collective International ActionDr. Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - The Palestinian leadership welcomes important statements made by many states and regional organizations, including the European Union, Russia, China, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Norway rejecting Israeli plans for the annexation of Palestinian territory as illegal and unacceptable. These statements reflect a global and principled commitment to the standing and universal application of international law, which strictly prohibits annexation. Immediate corrective measures are required to confront unilateralism, annexation, and land grab and save the prospects and requirements of peace. It is time for preemptive and concrete measures that can change the dangerous dynamics on the ground and restore the relevance and effectiveness of accountability and international responsibility, as they are detailed in international and European laws. States need to individually and collectively honor their domestic laws and international obligations in relation to human rights violations, annexation, and other illegal actions Israel is undertaking. The international community can and should leverage its collective influence to chart a new and credible multilateral political, legal, and financial approach that stops Israel’s illegal and toxic actions from condemning the region to perpetual conflict. [ak]9/5/2020
Drawing New Lines: Israel’s Unilateral Policies to Reshape JerusalemYehudit Oppenheimer and Betty Herschman - Palestine Israel Journal - Over the past several years, the government of Israel has intensified its two-pronged Jerusalem strategy to consolidate control over East Jerusalem while eroding the Palestinians’ hold on the city. Israel is actively working to redraw the boundaries of Jerusalem through legislation and political proposals to both territorially and demographically reshape the city. And it is asserting its power at the center of East Jerusalem by promoting an unprecedented number of touristic settlement initiatives inside Palestinian neighborhoods, evicting and uprooting Palestinian families, demolishing homes (throughout East Jerusalem), and tolerating pressure from messianic Temple movements to challenge the status quo on the Temple Mount/al- Haram al Sharif (rh)5/5/2020
Annexation of the West Bank will have catastrophic consequencesGershon Baskin - The Jerusalem Post - Let it be known and crystal clear that the unilateral annexation of the West Bank or parts of it will be catastrophic. The idea that Israel can get away with such a unilateral move is based on little more than when our outgoing health minister declared that the coronavirus pandemic would be resolved by the coming of the Messiah. Annexation will lead to probable unified Palestinian violence of the Second Intifada type; and/or the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and forcing the responsibility of governing an unwilling population of millions of Palestinians on Israel; and/or the collapse of the peace treaty with Jordan; and/or the final end of Israel as a democracy. [ak] 5/5/2020
Netnayahu can implement annexation - but will he?Judy Maltz - Haaretz - The coalition agreement allows Netanyahu to introduce a West Bank annexation bill, starting July 1, and Benny Gantz can`t veto it. But will he actually go through with it? Shaqued Morag, executive director of Peace Now, has no that he will. “Bibi is a different person now. In the past, he might have considered annexation an irresponsible move and more cautious – but today, what motivates him is his legal and political survival and hhis trial in the Jerusalem District Court, beginning on May 24, in three separate cases involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, currently a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University, is not so sure. "The Israeli security establishment is opposed to annexation, which might undermine the peace with Jordan and the security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. Even if Gantz has no veto, with him as Defense Minister the opinion of the army would get voiced. Also, there might be pressure by the settlers to extend the annexation far beyond the 30% of the West Bank promised by Trump, which could slow down the entire process. And Netanyahu might hesitate to carry out annexation with the approval of Trump two months before the US election where Trump might be replaced by a Democrat who might reverse approval for the annexation. It would be more sensible to wait until the November Presidential Elections. [ak] 5/5/2020
Dawn of a New Era? Jerusalem and Its Palestinian Residents Joining Forces to Battle CoronavirusNir Hasson - Haaretz - Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, the director general of the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center, which assists in the building of relationships between the authorities and Palestinian civil society, said that “The advantage of the coronavirus crisis is that it’s not linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and can be dealt while disregarding political considerations. “We see a trend in which the old orientalist concept, by which East Jerusalem is made up of villages, clans, and hostile Palestinian organizations, is being replaced by a new perspective – Jerusalem`s eastern part enables a civil society to flourish, and is home to activists and professionals, just like in the western part of the city," Agmon-Snir said. He added that the "old reality hasn`t completely vanished," but a civil society has been gradually forming in East Jerusalem. (rh)5/5/2020
High Court pans coalition deal, but signals no ruling until relevant laws passedTOI STAFF and JACOB MAGID - The Times of Israel - The High Court of Justice indicated Monday that it could strike down some clauses of the unity deal signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, including those that expand the so-called “Norwegian Law” and set a six-month period during which almost no legislation that isn’t coronavirus-related could be advanced, and during which there would be no full-time appointments for senior roles. The court invited Likud and Blue and White to consider changing clauses in the coalition deal relating to those matters, and come back with a response within 24 hours.(rh)5/5/2020
Stability or straitjacket? The Netanyahu-Gantz coalition deal goes to courtHAVIV RETTIG GUR - The Times of Israel - In two days of hearings, 11 judges will hear eight separate petitions that have been filed in order to stymie the political pact, and their rulings could make or break the unity deal, a byzantine contract seemingly borne of deep distrust harbored by each party against the other.The petitions, filed by advocacy groups, concerned citizens and political opponents of the two parties, cover three big questions: Is the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White legal? Is the legislation now being advanced in the Knesset to alter Israel’s constitutional order in order to allow for the deal’s implementation constitutional? And is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fit to be appointed premier once more, despite his corruption indictments? (rh)5/5/2020
Israeli Forces Arrested 40 Palestinians during First 6 days of RamadanIMEMC & Agencies - The Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies, said on Wednesday, that Israeli troops abducted 40 Palestinian residents, since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, last Friday. Spokesperson for the center, Riyad Alashqar, was quoted as saying that the Israeli occupation forces have exposed lives of Palestinian prisoners to danger, by continuing to abduct them under the spread of the coronavirus, across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. (rh)5/5/2020
Welcome to the Era of the Great DisillusionmentJonathan Cook - The Palestine Chronicle - The real test of our societies – and the only hope of surviving the coming emergencies, economic and environmental – will be finding a way to hold our leaders truly to account. Not based on whether they are secretly lizards, but on what they are doing to save our planet from our all- too-human, self-destructive instinct for acquisition and our craving for guarantees of security in an uncertain world. That, in turn, will require a transformation of our relationship to information and debate. We will need a new model of independent, pluralistic, responsive, questioning media that is accountable to the public, not to billionaires and corporations. Precisely the kind of media we do not have now. We will need media we can trust to represent the full range of credible, intelligent, informed debate, not the narrow Overton window through which we get a highly partisan, distorted view of the world that serves the 1 percent – an elite so richly rewarded by the current system that they are prepared to ignore the fact that they and we are hurtling towards the abyss.5/5/2020
PLO official: Annexation of West Bank territory destroys possibility of a peace agreementWafa - Israeli government`s annexation of occupied Palestinian territories, in part or in whole, means destroying any possibility of reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Speaking via ZOOM technology to Forward Thinking in London and to Harvard University in the United States, Erekat said that that he conveyed messages from President Mahmoud Abbas to a large number of countries in the world in which he called on them not to allow the Israeli government to implement the "apartheid" and annexation scheme, and the necessity of convening an international peace conference on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions with the aim of ending the Israeli occupation, establishing the independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital to live in security and peace alongside the State of Israel on the 1967 borders, and resolving all final status issues, particularly the issue of refugees and prisoners in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.(rh)5/5/2020
Army To Demolish The Home Of A Palestinian Suspected Of Carrying Out A Stabbing AttackIMEMC News - Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Tulkarem refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and stormed the home of a wounded Palestinian, who is suspected of carrying out a stabbing, Tuesday, and handed the family a demolition order for their home. Media sources said several army jeeps invaded the refugee camp, before the soldiers stormed the family home of Mohammad Reesha, 19, and interrogated them for a few hours.They added that the soldiers then handed the father a demolition order targeting his home. Protests erupted during the invasion, and the soldiers fired gas bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets, and concussion grenades at Palestinian youngsters, causing several injuries. (rh) 5/5/2020
Peace activist author A.B. Yehoshua now pushes for a one-state solutionANNE JOSEPH - The Times of Israel - Yehoshua has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Israel Prize in 1995, the Dan David prize in 2017, and in 2005 he was shortlisted for the International Man Booker. An ardent peace activist, Yehoshua has also used his literary voice as a social and political commentator. He is an outspoken critic of Israeli and Palestinian policies and for decades was a die-hard believer in the two-state solution — the vision of a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state. In the last few years, however, his position has changed, partly, he says, due to the question of the settlements. (rh) 5/5/2020
What will happen to Palestinian land the day after annexation?Ziv Stahl - +972 - The exact shape that annexation will take is still unknown. One thing is certain: Israel will use it to facilitate the theft of Palestinian land across the West Bank [ry] 4/5/2020
Hating Arabs as a Common Ground: Why Israel’s Coalition Government is Likely to SurviveRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “Shortly after an agreement to form a ‘national emergency government’ in Israel, leader of the Blue and White […] party, Benny Gantz, tweeted triumphantly that ‘democracy’ in Israel has been ‘safeguarded’. […] By making such an assertion, Gantz is simply deluding himself, following one the most disgraceful acts of political betrayal in the country’s modern history” [ry] 4/5/2020
Israeli attorney general clears Netanyahu to head new government Rina Bassist - Al Monitor "It was a dramatic day on Israel’s political scene. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit wrote to the High Court today that in his opinion, there are no legal obstacles to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forming the next government, despite the criminal charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust he is facing. Mandelblit also argued that despite the legal difficulties, the unity deal should be accepted and not invalidated by the court. The attorney general stated, “Despite the significant difficulties that arise in this matter, they do not constitute grounds for judicial intervention.” ca 1/5/2020
11 European ambassadors warn Israel against West Bank annexationTOI STAFF - "The envoys from the UK, Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the EU issued a formal objection to the Foreign Ministry against the move, Channel 13 reported...Also on Thursday, the Arab League said that the planned annexation constituted a “new war crime” against the Palestinians during a virtual conference chaired in Cairo." ca1/5/2020
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