News Roundup for August 9, 2023

August 9, 2023
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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street In the News

Netanyahu, the Supreme Court, and the Future of Democracy in Israel [Video], World Affairs Council of Maine
J Street’s Director of Policy Dr. Debra Shushan joins the World Affairs Council of Maine to discuss the implications of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul on the Supreme Court and the future of Israeli democracy.

Top News and Analysis

US, Saudi Arabia Agree to Broad Terms for Israel Normalization, The Wall Street Journal
US and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the broad contours of a deal for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel in exchange for concessions to the Palestinians, US security guarantees and civilian nuclear help, according to US officials.

Israel’s Extremist Settlers Control Government as Netanyahu Dismisses Warnings, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “The radical Jewish parties Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced since forming his government seven months ago are biting the hand that feeds them. Having given them responsibility for national security and settlement expansion, these coalition members and their constituents are sowing discord and chaos in the West Bank, and protecting settlers who wreak them. And Netanyahu? He is mum.”

2023 Sets Record for Settlement Construction and Outpost Legalization, The Times of Israel
The year 2023 has set an all-time record for settlement construction in the West Bank and for the legitimization of illegal outposts, according to the Peace Now settlement watchdog. Since the beginning of the year, the government has legalized 22 settlements that were previously considered illegal outposts.


Israeli-Saudi Normalization Pact Could Die in Congress if Palestinians Overlooked, Senators Warn, Haaretz
Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Tim Kaine both say the Palestinians must feature prominently in any potential Biden-brokered deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Settler Suspected in Fatal Shooting of Palestinian Released to House Arrest, The Times of Israel
Elisha Yered, one of two Israeli suspects held over the fatal shooting of a Palestinian, was released to house arrest on Tuesday after a court found police do not have enough evidence to keep him in custody. The other suspect, Yehiel Indore, remains in custody. Indore is believed to be the person who shot 19-year-old Qusai Jamal Matan last Friday.

Israel Demolishes Home of Alleged Palestinian Attacker, Fueling West Bank Tensions, AP
Israeli security forces on Tuesday demolished the West Bank home of a Palestinian man accused of carrying out a deadly shooting attack earlier this year, the military said. Israel’s decades-old tactic of leveling the family homes of alleged Palestinian assailants has drawn intense criticism from human rights groups, which call it collective punishment.

Israel Threatens to ‘Return Lebanon to Stone Age’ in Any War with Hezbollah, Reuters
Israel threatened on Tuesday to “return Lebanon to the stone age” in any war against Hezbollah, following weeks of friction with the armed Iranian-backed group along the countries’ border.

Opinion and Analysis

Who Won the Battle Over the White House Antisemitism Strategy?, +972
Emily Tamkin notes, “In the run-up to the strategy’s unveiling, establishment American-Jewish groups were very clear that they expected the White House to exclusively adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, a controversial tool they have been promoting for years. In the end, though, the strategy only made passing reference to the IHRA definition, noting that the United States had “embraced” it, before turning to the more concrete actions the administration wanted to pursue. The American-Jewish leaders who had been pushing so intensively for the IHRA definition seemed split in their response.”

Mahmoud Abu Rish Dreamed of Returning to His Land. Israel’s Court Destroyed His Dream, Haaretz
Ziv Stahl writes, “The justices dragged out the hearings for years, during which time the outpost grew and became entrenched. Countless violations of the law took place – violence against neighboring villages, destruction of property, illegal construction and mass events held in violation of both the law and military orders. As all this was happening, the state was making promises to the court about enforcing the law and evicting the settlers when the time came. But the time never came.”

I Was Israel’s Most Senior Diplomat. I Urge Australia to Recognise the State of Palestine, The Guardian
Alon Liel argues, “The international community must push back by giving Palestine increasing international legitimacy. Doing so sends a message that they will not stand idly by while Israel’s far right realises its agenda. More states must recognise Palestinian statehood to push back against this impending reality.”