News Roundup for December 22, 2021

December 22, 2021
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Top News and Analysis

Iran Nuke Talks: Israel Sees Window for Change in U.S. National Security Advisor Visit, Haaretz
Israeli officials believe U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s visit to Israel this week will offer a window of opportunity to reorient the United States’ approach to Iran, ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks this weekend.

Omicron Case Tally Doubles to 341 in Single Day as Bennett Urges ‘Easy Restrictions’, The Times of Israel
The Health Ministry said Tuesday that 170 new cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus had been confirmed in Israel, doubling the number of infections, as leaders scrambled to curtail the reach of the virus and prepare for its seemingly inexorable spread.


Severe Shortage of Hospital Equipment Threatens Lives of Gaza Newborns, The Jerusalem Post
Baby deaths can be reduced by 80% if the necessary incubation equipment is provided, health official says.

Palestinian Detainees to Boycott Israeli Courts Over Arrests Without Trial, Haaretz
Representatives of Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention announced on Monday that they had decided to boycott the Israeli legal system, and their lawyers will no longer appear in sessions on their matters in military courts and the Supreme Court.

Driver Killed in Fiery Wreck After Suspected West Bank Ramming Attack, The Times of Israel
A driver attempted to ram into Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank Tuesday night, the military said. There were no serious injuries to Israelis in the incident in the northern West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces said. The driver, whose car went up in flames following an apparent crash after the ramming attempt, was killed.

Departing British Visitor Delayed at Tel Aviv Airport, Questioned About Arab Partner, Haaretz
A British citizen who arrived in Israel to visit his Arab partner was delayed for questioning for about three and a half hours last week at Ben-Gurion International Airport on his way out of the country.

Opinion and Analysis

My Neighbor Protested His Family’s Expulsion from Its Home—Now He’s in an Israeli Prison, The Nation
“When Israeli officers and undercover agents raided Murad Attieh’s home and arrested him on August 10, his mother, Nuha, had hoped he would be out of the interrogation room in a matter of hours. She’d seen many of her neighbors in Sheikh Jarrah—including my siblings and myself—detained, interrogated, and released shortly after and assumed her son would fall into this pattern. Today, however, marks Murad’s 133rd day in prison. No one knows if and when he will be released.”

“Pro-Israel” Pundits Don’t Talk About Israel, Jewish Currents
Peter Beinart writes, “Many of the hawkish commentators frequently described as Israel experts show surprisingly little interest in the on-the-ground reality in the state they admire.”

Israel Knows Attacking Iranian Nuke Program Will Bring War With Hezbollah, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit observes, “The extreme complexity of [an attack] makes it hard to assess the extent of the damage an Israeli strike could inflict on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. What’s more, Israeli ingenuity could come up with additional offensive scenarios or aspects in a bid to cause maximal damage that no one had previously entertained. Either way, such an operation would require a massive Israeli effort and stretch the state’s abilities to their utmost limits and beyond. On the other hand, no Israeli prime minister, now or in the future, would allow Iran to reach military nuclear abilities. This is one issue that enjoys full consensus in Israel — perhaps the final one.”

Israelis Long to Reconnect With Arab, Islamic Homelands, Al-Monitor
“Not all the memories are painful. Many Jews from Arab nations long to rekindle ties with homelands left behind and vice versa. For instance, there has been an enthusiastic response in Israel to Iraqi efforts to normalize relations between the two countries and foster new ties with descendants of the departed Jewish Iraqi community. Another example is a first-of-its-kind meeting held Nov. 3 between Lebanon’s ambassador in Paris Rami Adwan and Jews of Lebanese origin living in France. Adwan is apparently close to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has a complicated history with Israel and is considered close to Hezbollah. And while the Jews invited to the Lebanese Embassy were for the most part French citizens, several of them have relatives in Israel or are connected to Israel in other ways.”