News Roundup for February 10, 2022

February 10, 2022
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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.

Top News and Analysis

Israel Wouldn’t Oppose U.S. Return to Unesco, Axios
The Israeli government recently notified the State Department it wouldn’t oppose a U.S. return to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Israeli and U.S. officials told me. The new Israeli position paves the way for Congress to vote on the allocation of the more than $500 million needed to pay the U.S. debt to UNSECO and return as a full member.

German FM Says Iran Nuclear Talks Entering ‘Final Phase’, The Washington Post
Germany’s foreign minister said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran are entering a “final phase” and that, despite Israeli reservations, a return to a nuclear agreement would make the region safer. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke at a joint press conference in Tel Aviv with her Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, during an official visit to Israel.


Iran Unveils New Missile Said To Put Israel, Us Regional Bases Within Range, Times of Israel
Iran unveiled a new missile on Wednesday with a reported range that would allow it to reach both US bases in the region as well as targets inside its archfoe Israel.

Vehicles Vandalized in Palestinian Village Hours After Israel Evacuates Outpost, Haaretz
Two vehicles owned by a Palestinian man were vandalized Tuesday night in the West Bank by a group of Hebrew-speaking attackers, hours after the nearby illegal outpost of Ma’ale Ahuvia was evacuated.

Israel Continues To Impede Medical Care For Gazan Patients Needing Treatment in the West Bank or in Israel, B’Tselem
B’Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd collected testimonies from patients who cannot receive the treatment they need as Israel has not replied to their requests to travel to hospital in the West Bank.

Abbas Accused of Power Grab After Palestinian Appointments, Al Jazeera
Major Palestinian groups have slammed new appointments to top positions in the PLO as illegitimate and an attempt to entrench the power of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and secure the 86-year-old’s favoured successor.

Iran Says Us Must Make ‘Political’ Decision To Rejoin Deal, Al-Monitor
An Iranian official described as being “close to the negotiation team” told Tasnim News Agency that “Iran has made its political decision” regarding the current negotiations. He added, “The biggest obstacle is the lack of political decision by the US. The US should be concerned about losing this opportunity.”

Bennett, Liberman Promise Vexed Public to Tackle Living Costs, Help Families, Times of Israel
The government on Wednesday announced a NIS 4.4 billion ($1.4 billion) plan to address the rising cost of living, which will include a suite of measures to lower taxes for working families and decrease the prices of energy and food staples.

Opinion and Analysis

Senator Murphy: ‘Max Pressure’ on Iran Has Been Tried, and Failed, Responsible Statecraft
A return to a version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is “in sight,” which means that the typical chorus of opponents to the deal are launching a last-ditch effort to prevent an agreement. A letter sent to President Biden by Sen. Ted Cruz and 32 other senators claimed they will use “the full range of options and leverage available” to prevent a deal from being reached. With this context in mind, Sen. Chris Murphy made a blistering speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday making the case for the JCPOA. Murphy aimed at answering one simple question: What is the alternative?

The IDF Is Becoming a Militia, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board discusses the Netzah Yehuda battalion, whose troops bound and gagged Omar Assad. They argue, “If the IDF continues to fear the political implications of dismantling Netzah Yehuda, the problem will not disappear, but only grow more acute. And if Kochavi doesn’t muster the courage to do the right thing, he will forever be etched on the list of those responsible for the territories in the hands of militias.

And Then the Spyware Came for Us…, TImes of Israel
Avidad Freedman writes, “We were silent when Israeli cyber technology attacked activists all over the world. And in the end, it attacked us too, Netanyahu supporters and Netanyahu opponents, right wing and left wing activists and everything in the middle.”