At first criticized, Israel now looks like a coronavirus containment visionary

The walls went up, and Israel is now a fortress. In a dramatic decision the government made this week, all those entering the country from abroad – regardless of where they have been – must be quarantined for two weeks to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many other Western countries have begun taking similar measures, including the US, which barred entry from Europe on Wednesday night.

But when Israel first started pulling up the drawbridges, it was taking the most extreme measures in the West to contain COVID-19. After the government announced it was stopping flights from China, there was talk about adverse diplomatic effects.

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Netanyahu’s victory is an indictment of his indictment

The silver lining for Netanyahu of not having an immunity request on the Knesset’s docket was that long debates on his status would not be at the top of the news in the weeks before an election.

WASHINGTON – It has been a persistent political meme since the end of 2016, when it was first brought to light that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was under investigation for alleged corruption offenses, that the end of his political career was imminent.

Yet three years, three investigations and three indictments – including one bribery charge – later, Netanyahu is still living on Balfour Street in Jerusalem and will probably start negotiations to form his fifth – fourth consecutive – government. The indictment did not seem to be on voters’ minds, and if it was, then they didn’t care enough about it to abandon Netanyahu.

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Caught in the middle of the Palestinians’ normalization debate

I was one of the journalists invited to be briefed by Palestinian officials. Then, the restaurant where we had lunch was attacked, and the PLO is pretending they had nothing to do with us.

“It is disgraceful,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi tweeted on Monday night.

“I agree,” PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat chimed in a couple of hours later.

What disturbed these veteran Palestinian leaders so much? My effusive tweet about the knafeh in Ramallah.

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Will Sinn Féin’s ascent hurt Israel-Ireland relations?

There are two issues on the agenda when it comes to Israel and Ireland: the “Occupied Territories Bill” and possible recognition of a Palestinian state.

With Sinn Féin, the political arm of the former Irish Republican Army, surging in exit polls in Saturday’s election, there is a real possibility that the next government of Ireland could take anti-Israel steps in the near future.

Sinn Féin, which has long held anti-Israel positions, reached 22.3% of the vote for the Daíl, Ireland’s lower house of parliament, the highest share of the national vote it has ever received, according to exit polls.

The radical party was nearly tied with what are traditionally the two large parties in Ireland: Fine Gael, the party of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, which received 22.4%; and Fianna Fáil, which got 22.2%.

“Fine Gael, which has been in power since 2011, has been friendlier to Israel than Fianna Fáil or, for that matter, Sinn Féin, of course, which has been known to be extremely anti-Israel and very close to the Palestinian delegation in Ireland,” said Daniela Traub, Israel’s former deputy ambassador to Ireland.

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No daylight between Trump, Netanyahu – but will the sun set on annexation?

Likud voters in Judea and Samaria are a relatively small yet influential group, and Netanyahu is left doing damage control and repeating over and over that annexation will really happen.

That Jerusalem and Washington have no daylight between them is something both sides have been saying. It is important to both the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government to emphasize they are in sync with one another.

The reason they keep having to say that is because it sure looked like there was daylight recently.

Right after US President Donald Trump presented his peace plan almost two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would annex the settlements within a matter of days. Then, mere hours later, special adviser to the president Jared Kushner more or less said, “not so fast.”

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Friedman to ‘Post’: Settlers should want annexation to be done right

US ambassador provides clarity in the confusion over the timing of US recognition of Israeli settlement annexation.

Waiting for annexation, rather than having it be done immediately, is in the interest of settlers, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Friedman sought to provide clarity regarding the timing of US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over 30% of Judea and Samaria under the Trump administration’s peace plan, which they call a “vision.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the immediate aftermath of the plan’s presentation last month that he would annex West Bank settlements the following week. But he amended that to after the March 2 election in remarks this week. This came after Special Adviser to the US President Jared Kushner repeatedly said annexation could take a few months and would come after the election.

Though it appeared at first that Netanyahu’s and Kushner’s statements were at odds with one another, Friedman said: “There has never been a substantive disagreement on these issues.”

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Donald Trump peace plan was two years in the making – ‘not a sprint’

Dore Gold, who advised the US team, explains how this plan might actually work.

WASHINGTON – When US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made their joint statement on Tuesday about “Peace to Prosperity,” the latest US plan for Israel and the Palestinians, all the expected players were in the East Room of the White House: Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner; daughter Ivanka Trump; Jason Greenblatt, the former head of the peace team; and US Ambassador David Friedman.

And there were some of Trump’s greatest and most pro-Israel supporters there, as well, like casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and Evangelical Christian leader and founding member of a Trump advisory panel, Dr. Mike Evans.

Among all the usual suspects was a less expected face, that of Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) president Dore Gold.

Gold quietly helped the peace team, but only went public with his involvement when he attended the program’s rollout. He shared details of his work for the first time with The Jerusalem Post hours after Trump presented his plan.

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