News Roundup for February 2, 2022

February 2, 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.

J Street in the News

Statement on Amnesty International Report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians”, J Street
“The release of Amnesty International’s new report on human rights in Israel and the territory it occupies shines another bright spotlight on the injustice of Israel’s occupation and the illegality of deepening de facto annexation of the territory it has occupied since 1967. The ongoing denial of fundamental rights and freedoms to millions of Palestinians in occupied territory runs counter to the values on which Israel was founded and undermines its security and international standing. J Street does not endorse the findings or the recommendations of the report, nor do we use the word “apartheid” to describe the situation on the ground. At the same time, we urge Israel and its friends around the world not to use issues with the report as an excuse to avoid grappling with the day-in and day-out realities of occupation and the moral and strategic catastrophe it represents for Israelis and for Palestinians.”

Pro Politics with Zac McCrary: Jeremy Ben-Ami, Founder and President of J Street, Pro Politics
“Jeremy talks his life in campaign politics, working in the White House, what led to the creation of J Street, and how J Street has grown to become an influential voice that’s changed the debate on American policy toward Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

U.S. and Allies Close to Reviving Nuclear Deal With Iran, Officials Say, The New York Times
The United States and its European allies appear on the cusp of restoring the deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program, Biden administration officials said on Monday, but cautioned that it is now up to the new government in Tehran to decide whether, after months of negotiations, it is willing to dismantle much of its nuclear production equipment in return for sanctions relief.

Us Demands ‘Thorough’ Criminal Probe Into Troops Who Left Bound Palestinian To Die, The Times of Israel
The US said Tuesday that it expects Israel to fully probe the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American man who suffered a lethal heart attack after being bound, gagged and abandoned at a construction site in the middle of winter by Israeli soldiers last month, calling for those responsible to be held fully accountable.


Israel Says Pelosi to Visit in Two Weeks, Haaretz
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is slated to visit Israel later in February, according to an announcement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry. An internal schedule with lists of visiting foreign dignitaries has Pelosi slated to visit Israel on February 14-18.

Israeli Police Find ‘Legally Debatable’ Use of Spyware by Investigators, The Guardian
Israel’s national police force has found evidence pointing to improper use of spyware by its own investigators to snoop on Israeli citizens’ phones. The announcement on Tuesday came two weeks after an Israeli newspaper reported a string of allegations that the police had used the NSO Group’s Pegasus software to surveil protesters, politicians and criminal suspects without authorisation from a judge.

Israeli PM Pledges Iran Will No Longer Be Untouchable, Al-Monitor
The Prime Minister was asked what would happen if world powers sign a nuclear agreement with Iran, leaving Israel completely alone in the campaign. “That will not change our fundamental strategy according to which the United States is our biggest and most important ally and our close friend, but the world is changing,” Bennett said. “We are in an era in which there is no longer one cop — there are other actors. Personally, I have invested a lot of time in restoring relations with the Biden administration and the Democrats, but Israel must seek support elsewhere, too, and forge additional alliances.”

Laser Defense System Will Be Ready to Intercept Missiles in a Year – Bennett, Jerusalem Post
Israel will surround itself with a defensive “laser wall,” with new missile interception technology to be ready within a year, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Human Rights Groups Slam Israel’s Move on Palestinian Family Reunification, Haaretz
The Interior Ministry will now start considering family reunification requests from Palestinians married to Israelis, and it will begin with applications from people aged 50 or older who have received a residency permit in the last five years. The three human rights groups that went to court to force the ministry to start considering the applications – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hamoked and Physicians for Human Rights – issued a joint statement panning the decision [stating] “They say they’ll consider giving temporary residency to people age 50 and older – people who have been eligible for years for permanent residency or citizenship. But of course they aren’t promising to give it to anyone in practice.”

Opinion and Analysis

In Death of Elderly Palestinian, the Israeli Army Ignores the Elephant in the Room, Haaretz
Amos Harel reports, “The Netzah Yehuda Battalion, whose troops left an 80-year-old man to die in the cold, has a concerning past and extremist ideology – and something in common with the friendly-fire incident that took two Israeli officers’ lives.”

Hilltop Youth Settlers Who are on a Rampage Must be Stopped, The Times of Israel
Ron Kronish argues, “For the past several months (if not years!), the so-called “Hilltop Youth Settlers”, who live in settlements which are mostly illegal outposts that the governments of Israel should have dismantled by law a long time ago, have been on a consistent rampage against innocent Palestinians and social justice ethically-minded Jews who are helping them in the West Bank. This is a completely outrageous and immoral phenomenon, which must be brought to halt by law enforcement authorities in Israel right away.”