How Netanyahu is Using Morocco and Sudan to Hold Power and Strengthen Ties with Trump

With the third Israeli election in a year looming in a month, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set off for Uganda last week, hoping to prove that he could strengthen Israel’s ties with African countries despite the increasingly violent impasse with the Palestinians. On February 3, he made a surprising announcement about establishing diplomatic ties with Sudan, a move which certainly won Netanyahu points at home while it sparked anger and protests in Sudan.

That same day, news broke that Netanyahu had been pressing the United States to recognize Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over the Western Sahara region. Although the two situations are far from identical, Morocco — whose occupation is not officially recognized by any other countries — is often the first parallel drawn by critics of Israel’s occupation. It’s easy to see why Israel would want U.S. recognition of Morocco’s claim.

Both of these were highly cynical moves by a prime minister who is increasingly desperate to hold on to his office. Now that he has been indicted in three corruption cases, the next election means more than Netanyahu’s job. It may be the only way for him to avoid the fate of his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, who went to prison for corruption after his scandals forced him from office. Netanyahu obviously doesn’t relish the prospect and has made it clear he will do anything he can to avoid it. And he really doesn’t care about the effects on other countries. Read more at Responsible Statecraft.

UNHRC issues report on businesses supporting settlements in the West Bank

Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council finally released its database of companies directly involved in activities that support or sustain Israel’s settlement project. I reproduce the list below. You can find the UNHRC report here.

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Trump’s Re-Election Ace In the Hole: The Democrats

Trump’s Re-Election Ace In the Hole: The Democrats

On Monday, the ignition was turned on the 2020 presidential election. Voters who could make it out to caucus in Iowa kicked off the primary process across that midwestern state. As you might have heard, it didn’t end well. Meanwhile the Democratic National Committee, and the mainstream of the party in general including government officials, activists, heads of think tanks, and major donors, are working very hard to drive their desired primary outcome.

For many voters, in Iowa and around the country, this election is about Trump. Re-elect him or do whatever can be done to oust him. Oddly, though, the Democratic party mainstream seems to have gotten confused about which of those things they want to work toward. Because they are currently doing a great deal to help Trump get re-elected. Read more at Medium

Call it an ‘Apartheid Plan’ — Trump’s New Neo-Colonial Proposal Cements Palestinian Subjugation

Call it an ‘Apartheid Plan’ — Trump’s New Neo-Colonial Proposal Cements Palestinian Subjugation

On Tuesday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu beaming beside him, President Donald Trump finally unveiled his “Deal of the Century” for Israel and the Palestinians.

This was more than an attempt to draw attention away from Trump’s impeachment and Netanyahu’s indictment, which was announced earlier the same day. While the announcement of the deal was intended to serve that purpose, its impact is going to be much greater.

This plan is constructed to ensure Palestinian rejection, and therefore many of its stipulations will never be implemented. But the plan’s real goals are to establish a new diplomatic frame of reference to replace the obsolete Oslo Accords; to establish Israeli annexation of settlements as an Israeli prerogative; and to maintain the U.S.’s role as sole arbiter of the conflict, even if it diminishes its own role in the region. It is very likely to succeed at these goals, and the happy acceptance of the “Deal of the Century” not only by Netanyahu but also by his primary political opponent, former Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces Benny Gantz, is going to make it very difficult politically for any future U.S. president to completely reverse what Trump has accomplished. Read more at Responsible Statecraft

How Trump’s Israel-Palestine ‘Peace Plan’ Will Kill the Two-State Solution

How Trump’s Israel-Palestine ‘Peace Plan’ Will Kill the Two-State Solution

The “Deal of the Century,” the mythical agreement floated for most of Donald Trump’s first term in office, is on the table again. Earlier this month, Avi Berkowitz, Trump’s new envoy to the equally mythical “Middle East peace process,” made his first official trip to Israel, setting off another round of speculation that the plan might soon be unveiled.

Although National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien denied that Israel’s upcoming elections — the third in a year — had any bearing on Washington’s plans, no one was convinced. Now, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz, former Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, have been invited to Washington for what is expected to be a discussion of the plan’s details.

No one believes the plan will yield peace or an agreement of any kind. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have an impact. In the short term, it has already created a political shock wave in Israel as elections loom in March. In the longer term, it has the potential to deal a devastating blow to hopes for stability and, more importantly, for Palestinian rights. Read more at Responsible Statecraft