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Weekly Newsletter
June 5, 2020
In this issue:
  • Annexation delays anticipated
  • Netanyahu warns ‘pandemic is most definitely not behind us’
  • VIDEO:  IAI has successfully completed an operational dual firing trial with the LORA Weapon System
  • Israel Helps Congo Establish First Drive-Thru Covid-19 Testing Facility
  • Facebook Removes Viral Post Falsely Portraying IDF Soldier

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Annexation delays anticipated

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with settler leaders on Tuesday, ahead of the anticipated move towards annexation.

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  • According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “Prime Minister Netanyahu said in the meeting that ‘an historic opportunity is before us to apply sovereignty in the territory of Judea and Samaria.’" Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to hold negotiations on the basis of the Trump plan. Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan expressed criticism of the quid pro quo of the Trump plan, that annexation would be matched with the creation of a Palestinian State in the remainder of the West Bank
  • However, there could be delays, as Israel is still waiting on the US to hear when they can move forward, what the scope of the territory that can be annexed is going to be and where.
  • According to Kan Radio, the settler leaders said Netanyahu has agreed in principle to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state, adding that they had been unable to persuade him to keep the issue of applying sovereignty in the West Bank separate from that issue.
  • The US-Israel mapping committee’s efforts to demarcate what Israel can annex in the West Bank have been delayed. Key members of the US team, including Jared Kushner, Avi Berkowitz and Scott Leith have been unable to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The settlers are concerned that the US plan results in around 19 enclaves becoming surrounded by a future Palestinian state on all sides, leaving their only connection to other Israeli towns via a narrow access road. There are estimated to be around 20,000 settlers living in these communities.
  • There is growing disagreement within the settler leadership. A minority argue that any plan that allows them to extend sovereignty should be supported. But the majority thinks that the plan is dangerous and should be opposed, and that they should be allowed to present an alternative map to the US team.
  • The former head of the Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen, told Kan Radio, “Such a major move of annexation is liable to destabilise the security situation and to precipitate a crisis in relations with Arab and European countries. And what worries me most is that we’re devolving into the option of a single state de facto coming into being, which is a catastrophe for the State of Israel. Who’s going to defend us when we count our dead?”
  • There is concern that any move could increase terror attacks even before annexation is applied, primarily because of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and the lack of Israeli-Palestinian security coordination.
  • Everyone is still waiting for the US-Israel mapping team to release finalised maps and arrangements. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu claims he hasn’t seen the final US approved map.
Netanyahu warns ‘pandemic is most definitely not behind us’

On Saturday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against a loosening of discipline in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Netanyahu said: “We have had very major successes in the fight against corona, successes on a global scale. But the pandemic is most definitely not behind us. It is running amok in the world and it is still here in Israel – among us and in our midst. We extinguished the greatest flames of the conflagration in the country but we have been left with the smouldering embers which a slight breeze can fan ablaze and carry the fire to other places. Nobody is immune.”
  • For now the government is not imposing additional restrictions but may have to if citizens don’t abide by regulations. Netanyahu urged Israelis to keep their distance from one another, wear masks, and wash their hands.
  • Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting that “the Health Ministry is able to perform 15,000 tests per day,” and he urged “all citizens – if you think you are sick, or have any symptoms, or you think you were near a sick person – get it checked out”.
  • Edelstein announced that his office is changing its regulations in order to make coronavirus testing more widely available, including to those who are asymptomatic.
  • Finance Minister Yisrael Katz is preparing a plan to rehabilitate the economy, including grants to businesses that bring back their employees, and added that over half a billion shekels had been budgeted for businesses.
  • Overall, 17,495 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 291 people have died. Israel currently has 2,191 active cases, with 23 in serious condition, all of whom are on ventilators.
  • The next few days will be critical to see whether there will be a second wave of infections.
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AFL- American Friends of Likud
6:43 AM - Jun 5, 2020

Facebook removed on Friday a viral photo that falsely accused an "IDF soldier" of killing a "Palestinian" boy. The photo, which was shared more than 25,000 times on Facebook before it was removed, depicted a Chilean police officer crushing a bloodied boy alongside the caption: "An Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian child." According to the profile of Nabil Ben H, the Facebook user who uploaded the photo, he is an employee of the Tunisian Education Ministry. The post was first exposed by the Israeli-Arab social activist Yoseph Haddad and was soon picked up by the Arab Desk of the pro-Israel watchdog Im Tirtzu, which urged its tens of thousands of followers to report the post.

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