Netanyahu is giving more gifts to the right-wing in his fight to hold power

On March 2, Israelis will go to the polls for the third time in a year to try to elect a prime minister and a new Knesset. They are frustrated and exhausted from the ongoing electoral campaign, the repeated trips to the polls and the repeated unresolved outcomes. But unless the polls are drastically mistaken and have been since the last election in September, there’s every reason to believe that there will be another deadlock, resulting in a fourth election.

From Peace Now, Israel

The only realistic chance for the impasse to break this time is for incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find a way to cobble together a majority coalition. His opponent, former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Benny Gantz, has no credible path to the prime minister’s office.

Netanyahu’s stake in the race goes beyond retaining the prime minister’s office, as he is under indictment for fraud and breach of public trust, and is facing prison unless he can use his position as prime minister to shield himself from accountability. His trial is due to start shortly after the election.

Netanyahu is working tirelessly for every electoral edge. His recent overtures to Morocco and Sudan were an attempt to bolster his image as the leader who can improve Israel’s ties to the rest of the world without granting the Palestinians their rights and freedom. Now he’s moving to solidify his support among the settler movement, which has recently voiced some frustration with him. He’s making some very significant decisions with long-term ramifications, and all for his re-election bid. Read more at Responsible Statecraft

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