News Roundup for August 18, 2023

August 18, 2023
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Top News and Analysis

White House Targets Key Democrats on Potential Saudi-Israel Pact, The New York Times
The White House needs to persuade two historic adversaries to find common ground. But then the administration faces a potentially more daunting challenge – getting 67 senators to go along with it.

US Opposes Israeli Plan to Allot Nearly A Billion Shekels to Settlements, Ynet News
The US State Department’s Deputy Spokesman says settlement expansion incites tensions and further harms trust between Israelis and Palestinians. The US urged Israel to refrain from funding them and promoting outposts.


Blinken Presses Dermer for Calm, as US Awaits Pledged Boost for PA, The Times of Israel
The DC sit-down between Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes a month after Jerusalem agreed to help the PA deal with crises to mollify Washington, but never actually followed through. Officials blamed far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich for the delay.

Palestinians Petition Israeli High Court to Halt Legalization of West Bank Outpost, Haaretz
The petitioners claim that the legalization of Homesh will prevent Palestinian landowners from accessing their nearby land. This has happened in similar cases when Israeli security forces prevented Palestinians from accessing lands located near West Bank settlements.

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Gunman in West Bank Raid, Reuters
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian fighter during a raid that set off clashes in the flashpoint city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, medical officials and militant groups said. The Palestinian Health Ministry said one of its staff, a woman, was also shot and wounded by Israeli gunfire.

Amid Protesters’ Boos and Road Closures, Netanyahu Launches Tel Aviv Light Rail, The Times of Israel
Hundreds of protesters against the government’s judicial overhaul plan gathered outside the ceremony’s venue with Israeli flags, and their shouts and boos and horn-blowing were heard while the premier spoke, requiring him to raise his voice.

Opinion and Analysis

Funding Annexation: Additional 700 Million NIS Earmarked for Settlements in 2023-2024, Peace Now
In its latest report, Peace Now writes, “The allocation of 700 million NIS by the current government decision is evidence of the public officials’ shamelessness in prioritizing the interests of a small group living in occupied territory over the broader Israeli society. Instead of investing in Israel’s future, the Israeli government is pouring money into settlements, perpetuating the occupation, and fueling the conflict and confrontation with the Palestinians.”

No Democracy, No Academia, Science
Leading Israeli scholars and scientists argue, “Academia can maintain its excellence only if it operates without undue interference by nonexperts. Academic studies are dynamic and are cross-fertilized through interactions within the international community. Control or limitation of this dynamic by government and politics is bound to reduce excellence.”

Why Palestinian Self-Government is Unraveling Under President Abbas, The Christian Science Monitor
“Over the past 12 years, the president, also known as Abu Mazen, has ousted and exiled potential rivals, detained opposition figures, and quashed dissent, both within his Fatah movement that dominates the PA and across the West Bank. With the Palestinian parliament dissolved, judiciary sidelined, and his party hollowed out, Mr. Abbas and a handful of allies now rule the West Bank alone. The result, observers and Palestinians say, is a self-inflicted leadership crisis.”