Israel, Palestine/Gaza May 2020 –

Written by  //  July 4, 2020  //  Israel  //  No comments

Israel, Palestine/Gaza

It didn’t start out as a social experiment; but proved to be a hugely successful one. It should be repeated over and over.
I love this story.

‘Everybody’s Getting Along Here’: How ‘Hotel Corona’ United Israelis And Palestinians

4 July
Over 30,000 Israelis Ordered Into Quarantine as Coronavirus Digital Tracking Resumes
Some say they were at home at the time in question, but they have no means of appealing the order which came after Knesset temporarily allowed Shin Bet assistance to locate suspected patients
Like Trump, Netanyahu Is Running Into the Brick Wall of Coronavirus Reality
The resurging coronavirus pandemic, annexation delay, economic slump and his own unforced errors are making snap elections less attractive by the day

30 June – 1 July
Gwynne Dyer: Netanyahu stalls
The problem with annexation is both national and personal. Since Israel already controls the entire West Bank militarily, and effectively treats the third of the territory that has been taken by Jewish settlers as part of Israel, there’s not much to be gained by annexation, and the costs are high.
The ‘two-state solution,’ in which an independent Palestinian mini-state shares historic Palestine with the far larger and more powerful ‘Jewish national state’ of Israel, has in principle been the goal of Israeli-Arab peace talks for almost three decades now. Even though it is really long dead.
It was Netanyahu who killed it, the first time he was prime minister back in 1996-99, but he was careful not to put a stake through its heart. The two-state solution was the ‘threat’ he used to mobilize the growing right-wing majority in Israel to vote for him, posing as ‘Mr Security’ who would never let it happen.
Eventually Netanyahu added another threat to his electoral rhetoric, in the form of an Iran allegedly always on the brink of getting nuclear weapons. He even seems to believe in that one. But the two-state ‘threat’ always remained an indispensable part of his sales pitch, so he must have watched the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency in 2016 with mixed emotions.
First, annexation is illegal, and might trigger sanctions and boycotts against Israel in other countries. Secondly, it might lead to a new uprising by the several million Palestinians who live in the occupied areas, and a rupture in relations with Israel’s increasingly friendly Arab neighbours, like Jordan, Egypt, and even Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps more importantly for Netanyahu, a large-scale annexation of the occupied territory would eliminate the mythical ‘two-state’ threat that has been his greatest political asset — and deprive him of the ability to dangle the prospect of annexation before the settler block again in future elections. He prefers the status quo, and he is now stalling in the hope that he may be able to avoid keeping his promises.
Delay Appears Likely In Israel’s Plans To Annex Parts Of West Bank
For weeks, observers of Israel and the Palestinian territories have had July 1 circled on the calendar. Yet, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous suggestions, it appears that the date will pass without a formal announcement concerning Israel’s plans for annexing part of the occupied West Bank.
“It seems unlikely to me that this will happen today,” said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of the Blue and White party, which partnered with Netanyahu’s Likud in an uneasy coalition government earlier this year.
Netanyahu’s Annexation Throws 72 Years of Israeli Diplomacy Down the Drain
The proposed land grab undermines long-held support for direct talks, opposition to unilateral actions and efforts to refute analogies with apartheid South Africa
(Haaretz – pay wall)

9 June
Israel’s High Court Strikes Down West Bank Land-grab Law as ‘Unconstitutional’
The Law for the Regularization of Settlement in Judea and Samaria has been frozen since its approval in 2017 pending High Court ruling
(Haaretz) Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered on Tuesday to nullify a law that would legalize the status of settlements partially built on privately owned Palestinian land under the claim that it is “unconstitutional.”
The “” was approved in February 2017. It was meant to allow the use of privately-owned Palestinian land to build Israeli settlements and to legalize outposts and structures erected on such soil. The law was frozen shortly after its approval in an agreement between the state and until the High Court ruled on the matter.
In her ruling, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut said that the law “seeks to retroactively legalize illegal acts perpetrated by a specific population in the region whilst harming the rights of another.”

27 May
Israeli Annexation Explained: What Is Netanyahu Planning for the West Bank and What Does It Mean
(Haaretz) Based on his agreement with Gantz, Netanyahu will be able to commence West Bank annexation plans on July 1. Will the U.S. require Israel to implement the less favorable parts of Trump’s Mideast plan as well, and what are the consequences for the Palestinians?
… According to the Trump plan itself and senior U.S. officials, including Pompeo, Israeli annexation is dependent on acceptance of the entire plan, especially its agreement to conduct direct negotiations with the Palestinians for at least four years. During this period, Israel is asked to freeze all construction and demolitions in the territory earmarked for the Palestinian state, as well as possibly in other areas. The plan also includes the establishment of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem neighborhoods and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
All these clauses are vehemently opposed by the settler leadership, which sees the plan as a significant compromise on its “Greater Israel” vision. It is deliberating whether to support annexation in the hope that the rest will never come to fruition. The plan also includes a long list of conditions the Palestinians must fulfill. As U.S. Ambassador David Friedman put it, there would only be a Palestinian state “when the Palestinians become Canadians.”
However, while the U.S. administration has repeatedly stressed that Israel must accept the entire plan in order to annex, the committee drawing up the borders for annexation has already done a lot of work. In other words, practically speaking, both Israel and the United States are preparing to carry out a unilateral annexation.
Army Chief Is Preparing IDF for Violence in West Bank Over July Annexation
Defense sources in Israel say that in contrast to previous periods of tension, the break between PA security apparatus and its Israeli counterparts is more significant this time

23-24 May
Netanyahu Corruption Trial Begins, Taking Israel Into Uncharted Territory
(NYT) The prime minister’s trial is expected to last a year or more, with the first witnesses not expected to testify for months. He has long maintained his innocence.
… good-government experts warn, if the accusations against Mr. Netanyahu boil down to conflicts of interest, those are nothing compared with the perceived conflicts that could arise when the prime minister is simultaneously leading the nation and fighting for his freedom.
“If, God forbid, we will have a war, is it going to be because there is a security threat, or because this is going to be a wag-the-dog kind of moment that you want to disrupt public opinion?” said Prof. Yuval Shany, a legal scholar at Hebrew University and the Israel Democracy Institute.
What To Know As Israel’s Netanyahu Goes On Trial For Corruption Charges
(NPR) He was his country’s most powerful man. Time magazine crowned him “king of Israel.” But he couldn’t win over Israel’s unforgiving free press. So he is accused of buying his way inside the newsroom of a leading news site, secretly dictating flattering coverage that helped him win reelection twice.
That allegation is at the center of an unprecedented courtroom drama that kicked off Sunday in Jerusalem: the State of Israel v. Benjamin Netanyahu.
The longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, after 11 uninterrupted years in office, entered the courtroom charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. If convicted, he could spend several years behind bars.
… Netanyahu is not required by law to step down after being indicted and has refused to resign. The conservative leader denies wrongdoing and alleges there is a left-wing witch hunt against him, a claim that has sparked an ugly culture war against Israel’s judiciary, law enforcement and media.

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