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FIVERR, To the Bank, Grounded


Netanyahu Lauds ‘Incredible Victory’ As Results Show Clear Win

Times of Israel, April 10th 2019

Recap:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the 2019 General Election and seems to have a clear path to forming a new government. “This is a night of an incredible, incredible victory,” he told exuberant supporters.

The Context:

  • Netanyahu’s fifth term in office would make him Israel’s longest-serving leader, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion. He has served consecutively for the past 10 years and was also Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999.

  • Netanyahu faced his stiffest challenge in a decade from the Blue and White party, which ratcheted up more than a million votes, dethroning Labor as the main alternative to Israel’s right wing [1].

  • Arab turnout was 15% below the national average and 17% below Arab turnout in 2015 [2]. Many Arabs boycotted the vote out of disillusionment with Israeli politics and their own politicians [3]. Several smaller parties, including Naftali Bennet's New Right party failed to secure the 3.25% needed to enter parliament.

  • Netanyahu has 42 days to build a coalition for president Reuven Rivlin’s approval. He must have the support of at least 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset [4].

  • The next Israeli government will confront several challenges in the region including the entrenchment of Iran in Syria, tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the ongoing altercations with Hamas in Gaza. [5].

  • In addition to domestic and international challenges, Netanyahu also faces corruption charges in three separate cases.

Conversation Points:

  • Was Netanyahu’s win buoyed by his tight alliance with US President Donald Trump?

  • Will Netanyahu become a Prime Minister for all Israelis or focus solely on his base of supporters?

  • Did Arab Israelis succeed in making a difference by boycotting the election?

  • Why is Netanyahu still popular amongst Israelis despite relentless domestic criticism and pending legal issues?

As Netanyahu Seeks Re-Election, The Future of The West Bank Is Now on The Ballot

David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, April 7th 2019

Recap:

Netanyahu vowed to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements if re-elected. The move flies in the face of Palestinian demands for statehood in the West Bank and East Jerusalem [6].

The Context:

  • Over 400,000 Jews live in West Bank settlements surrounded by 2.6 million Palestinians [7].

  • In 1947, the UN deemed the West Bank a portion of the new Palestinian state however, upon Palestinian rejection of the plan, Jordan seized the territory and ruled it through 1967. Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan during a defensive war in 1967 but never annexed the territory. The 1993 Oslo Accords, a roadmap to Palestinian statehood, divided the West Bank, placing areas A and B under the autonomy of the Palestinian Authority and Area C under the military and civil control of the IDF. All West Bank settlements are located in Area C [8].

  • Arab countries warned that they won’t accept a US brokered peace plan that doesn’t include a Palestinian state in the West Bank. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to comment on Netanyahu’s statement [9] and Jared Kushner is at work on a peace plan that is not expected to insist on a two-state solution [10].

Conversation Points:

  • Will Netanyahu have Trump’s support if he ultimately decides to annex the West Bank?

  • What will become of Palestinians living in the West Bank if Israel annexes the territory?

  • Does annexation of the West Bank mean the end of a possible two-state solution?

  • Is a two-state solution the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian problem?

US Denies Entry to Palestinian BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti

Middle East Eye, April 11th 2019

Recap:

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, was denied entry to the United States, despite having valid travel documents

The Context:

  • The BDS campaign advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, universities and artists. Supporters say BDS is a nonviolent movement for Palestinian independence, but Israel claims it’s anti-Semitic at its roots [11] and a cover for a more nefarious campaign to delegitimize the country [12].

  • Barghouti was stopped at Ben Gurion Airport and told he would not be allowed to board his flight to the US, where he was expected to join a panel in Washington and visit NYU & Harvard. Barghouti is resident of Acre and holds Israeli permanent resident status [13].

  • Barghouti has previously had difficulties with freedom of movement, due to the Israeli government. The Strategic Affairs Ministry, which spearheads Israel’s battle against BDS, said it was not involved in the US decision [14]. US officials refused to comment.

Conversation Points:

  • Is the Barghouti travel ban a win or loss for BDS?

Notes:

  1. Netanyahu Poised for Victory, New York Times, April 10th 2019

  2. Israel Elections: Netanyahu Likely Winner in Tight Race, Al Jazeera, April 10th 2019

  3. Netanyahu Poised for Victory, New York Times, April 10th 2019

  4. Ibid.

  5. Middle East Is Watching Israel Election Results, Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, April 10th 2019

  6. Netanyahu: If I’m Re-Elected, I’ll Extend Sovereignty to West Bank Settlements, Times of Israel, April 6th 2019

  7. Pompeo Refuses to Say What U.S. Would Do If Israel Annexes West Bank, Edward Wong And Catie Edmondson, New York Times, April 9th 2019

  8. Turkey: Western Nations Must Decry Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation Talk, Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, April 7th 2019

  9. Trump Admin Refuses to Discuss Netanyahu's Remarks on Annexing West Bank, Haaretz, April 10th 2019

  10. Pompeo Refuses to Say What U.S. Would Do If Israel Annexes West Bank, Edward Wong And Catie Edmondson, New York Times, April 9th 2019

  11. Palestinian BDS Founder Omar Barghouti Denied Entry to Us, Tamar Pileggi And Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, April 11th 2019

  12. U.S. Denies Entry to Leader of Movement to Boycott Israel, Am Et Hannah Allam, NPR, April 11th 2019

  13. Palestinian BDS Founder Omar Barghouti Denied Entry to Us, Tamar Pileggi And Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, April 11th 2019

  14. Ibid.


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