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The News Roundup will be on a short hiatus tomorrow in observance of Passover. Chag Sameach, and we will see you on Monday!
Israel and Gaza Militants Exchange Fire in Worst Fighting in Months, The New York Times
Militants in Gaza fired several rockets toward Israel overnight and early Thursday and the Israeli Air Force said it retaliated by striking two military sites in Gaza, the most intense fighting between the two sides since the end of an 11-day war in May last year. No deaths were reported on either side, but the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, said several Israelis had been treated for shock and injuries sustained while running for shelter.
Experts Urge Return to Iran Nuclear Deal as Prospects Dim, The Washington Post
A group of 40 former government officials and leading nonproliferation experts have urged President Biden to successfully complete negotiations for a return to the nuclear deal with Iran, warning that Tehran is a week or two away from producing sufficient weapons-grade uranium to fuel a bomb. In a statement to be released Thursday, the experts said failure to reverse the policies of the Trump administration, which withdrew from the agreement between world powers and Iran in 2018, would be “irresponsible” and “would increase the danger that Iran would become a threshold nuclear-weapon state.”
U.S. Officials To Make Emergency Trip To Calm Tensions in Jerusalem, Axios
Senior State Department officials will travel this week to Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in an effort to de-escalate the crisis in Jerusalem. The trip shows the growing concern in Washington that further escalation could spark a new round of violence, like the May 2021 fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Dozens of Palestinians clashed with police forces at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Thursday morning after hundreds of Jews attempted to reach the site with police protection. Palestinians shot fireworks and threw stones at the police, barricading themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the ensuing clashes. The police responded by firing sponge-tipped bullets and tear gas at the Palestinians, injuring at least one, according to Palestinian reports.
Israeli Police Stop Jewish Nationalist March in Jerusalem Amid Rising Tensions, Reuters
Israeli police on Wednesday blocked hundreds of far-right Jewish protesters from marching toward Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City’s Muslim quarter, amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett Says Security Decisions Taken in Jerusalem and Gaza Are ‘Not Political’, CNN
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that security steps taken by the Israeli government in Gaza and Jerusalem were not politically motivated. “All of my security decisions regarding actions in Temple Mount or with Gaza are not political. I take the decisions on the merit, Bennett told CNN on Wednesday.
Israel To Send Helmets and Body Armor to Ukraine in Policy Shift, Axios
Israel will send Ukraine helmets and bullet proof vests for medical teams and first responders, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz told his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday. Since the first days of the war, Ukraine has asked Israel for protective gear and Israel has repeatedly refused, fearing backlash from Russia. While that policy has now changed, Israel is still not offering the advanced weapons systems Kyiv is requesting.
Israel Must Prevent Ultranationalists From Starting Another War, Haaretz
Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “The problem is that some people in Israel actually do want a Guardian of the Walls 2. Words are insufficient to describe the disgrace known as the Flag March. It’s an aggressive display of Jewish supremacy whose goal is to incite, provoke quarrels and strife and set Jerusalem, Israel and, if possible, the entire Middle East on fire.”