Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 10, 2019

What We’re Reading

Israeli Politics & Elections

Netanyahu set to make ‘dramatic’ announcement, his office says,

“One report says PM will announce annexation of parts of West Bank; election rivals appeal to delay broadcast, saying it amounts to illegal campaign advertising”

If politicians want settler votes, must guarantee sovereignty - analysis,

“Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman appears to know that speaking of sovereignty is a must when it comes to stumping for the settler vote. Once upon a time, a politician who sought votes in the third-largest West Bank settlement – the mixed secular and religious city of Ma’aleh Adumim – pledged to build, particularly in the E-1 area of the settlement. In 2019, such promises are already passé, in a city of 38,000 people that already believes it is spiritually part of sovereign Israel. Past sovereignty campaigns have targeted this city, strategically located outside of Jerusalem, as potentially the first place in Judea and Samaria that should be annexed to sovereign Israel.”

Israel Discriminatory measures undermine Palestinian representation in Knesset,

Elected but restricted: Shrinking space for Palestinian parliamentarians in Israel’s Knesset, details how the right to freedom of expression of Palestinian members of the Knesset (MKs) is threatened by discriminatory legislative changes, proposed bills and Knesset regulations. It also highlights the inflammatory rhetoric used by Israeli government ministers to stigmatize Palestinian MKs and exposes how bills put forward by Palestinian MKs have been unfairly disqualified on discriminatory grounds.”

This Is What Political Persecution Looks Like,

MK Heba Tazbak writes, “Regrettably, we’ve grown accustomed to such demonization. Such incitement against Arab Knesset members and the Arab public in general has been around forever, only growing worse since Balad was formed in the 1990s. Our vision of a state of all its citizens, with full and equal rights for Arab citizens, in all walks of life, should be self-evident. But in a situation where Jewish supremacy prevails, it sounds like an abomination.”

Here we go again: A beginner’s guide to Israel’s 2nd election in 2019,

“The following guide, which is broken into topical-based sections, breaks down how Israel’s government is constructed, why Israelis are going to the polls again and who the major players are in the campaign to govern the Jewish state. Click on the links below as a shortcut, or scroll through for a complete primer.”

Occupation & Human Rights

Palestinians in Jordan Valley want more to remain in their land,

“When the Palestinian government announced its plan to provide grants, it gave no details other than that they aim to support the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the tensest areas, in light of Israeli control over the area, which makes up 31% of the West Bank. The Jordan Valley’s importance for Palestinians is not limited to its geographical area, as it has great strategic and agricultural significance that would be difficult to match should a Palestinian state be established. In addition, it represents Palestine’s food basket, constituting 50% of the total agricultural areas in the West Bank and 60% of the total vegetable output. Meanwhile, Israel has declared that it would not withdraw from the Jordan Valley under any political settlement. It is imposing aggressive measures to control the entire territory, by turning the areas into military land or nature reserves and then into settlements.”

IN PHOTOS: Israel's Settlers and the Palestinians They Live Among,

Across the road from one another, their homes and surroundings depict the gap between them

Palestinian Politics

Should Palestinian Citizens of Israel Boycott the Elections?: An Al-Shabaka Debate,

“Palestinian citizens of Israel earlier this year organized a campaign to boycott the April Knesset elections. Under the banner of the ‘Popular Campaign for the Boycott of the Zionist Elections,’ the campaign called on Palestinians to refuse participation in the Israeli general elections so as not to recognize the Knesset as a legitimate entity…On the occasion of the imminent elections, Al-Shabaka is recirculating this roundtable debate, first published in April 2019, in which Al-Shabaka Policy Analyst Nijmeh Ali and Al-Shabaka Palestine Policy Fellow Yara Hawari argue against and for boycotting Knesset elections, respectively.”

Why is Hamas reshuffling its security apparatus in Gaza?,

The source added, “The changes aim at promoting Gaza’s security and adopting new security measures to better control internal security and border security.”

Fed Up With Hamas, Young Gaza Activists Are Trying to Take Matters Into Their Hands,

“The younger generation is frustrated with how the organization is reining in the weekly March of Return demonstrations, and are abandoning Hamas for rogue groups”

U.S. Politics/The Deal of the Century

The ‘Road Not Taken’: The Dilemma Facing Trump’s Mideast Peace Team,

“The option of publishing the entire plan during the Israeli coalition talks, thus increasing the likelihood of a unity government, became the Trump peace team’s ‘road not taken.'”

Who is Avi Berkowitz, the Kushner adviser stepping in to work on Israeli-Palestinian peace?,

“But Berkowitz’s elevation tells an even more Trumpian story: one of elevating those who are close to the family, as opposed to Washington insiders, and of a Middle East peace team that has made Israel’s interests paramount in its strategies. There isn’t a ton of public knowledge about Berkowitz, a 30-year-old assistant to Jared Kushner who graduated from law school in 2016, and the critical quick-take headlines were harsh. ‘Trump’s New Mideast Point Man Is Jared Kushner’s Former Coffee Boy Avi Berkowitz,’ Vanity Fair wrote.And from New York magazine: ‘Trump Somehow Replaces Unqualified Mideast Envoy With Even Less Qualified One.'”