News Roundup for February 23, 2022

February 23, 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

Court Freezes Eviction of Palestinian Family from Sheikh Jarrah Home, Times of Israel
A Jerusalem court indefinitely postponed the eviction of a Palestinian family from a home in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Tuesday, potentially defusing an issue that had been a major contributor to tensions in the area. The Salem family — around 11 Palestinians — were set to be evicted beginning on March 1. Israeli police had been given an order allowing them to remove the Palestinians at any point in March so that the new owner, right-wing city councilmember Yonatan Yosef, could move in. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled that the eviction would be suspended to allow time to consider an appeal against the removal of the family.

Israel Drops Terror Funding Charge Against Head of Blacklisted Palestinian NGO, Haaretz
The director of a Palestinian NGO that was blacklisted by Israel last year was convicted in a plea bargain of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but as part of the deal, the sections in her indictment that accuse her of transferring money to the terror group were removed. The court gave 16 months in prison to Khitam Saafin, the director of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, one of the six NGOs Israel designated as terror groups in October by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.


Mansour Abbas Tells Jewish Leaders He Wants to Expand Ties with US Jews, The Jerusalem Post
Deepening relations between Arab society and Jewish communities abroad is important, Ra’am (United Arab List) head Mansour Abbas told a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the Knesset on Tuesday. Abbas said he has met with many groups of American Jews since entering Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition last June and appreciates the willingness of American Jews to help Israeli Arab communities economically. “We Arabs in Israel are the bridge that can create hope for the two peoples living together in the holy land, based on the vision of Jews and Arabs living together in security, peace and mutual respect,” he said. “This can bring light to the entire world.”

14-year-old Killed by Israeli Forces Near Bethlehem, Palestinian Health Ministry Says, Haaretz
A 14-year-old Palestinian was shot dead on Tuesday by Israeli forces near Bethlehem, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The Israeli military said in a statement that the teen, Mohammed Shehadeh, was throwing a Molotov cocktail before being shot by soldiers in the West Bank town of al-Khader. The Israeli force “identified three suspects who arrived at a location where Molotov cocktails were repeatedly thrown at Israeli vehicles recently,” the military said. According to a military source, Shehadeh was dragged a few hundred meters by his two friends as soldiers chased them until the two left his body. According to the Israeli statement, the soldiers gave Shehadeh medical aid at the scene. He was later pronounced dead.

Netanyahu Urges US Jews to Fight Iran Deal or Risk Nuke Threat on NY, LA, Times of Israel
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused American leaders of not doing enough to confront the Iranian nuclear threat with their full power, as negotiations progress on a potential renewal of a nuclear deal Netanyahu claimed will ultimately whitewash Iranian efforts to create a bomb. “You’re postponing [nuclear capabilities] for a few years and giving it a kosher seal of international approval for Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, whose ongoing mission visited the Knesset on Tuesday.

Israel Straddles Ties with US, Russia over Ukraine, Al-Monitor
“We will not say so explicitly, and we will not do anything that we don’t have to … but it is clear to us and the Russians that if we have to choose, our choice will be clear: Israel is on the side of the United States of America,” a senior Israeli source who asked not to identified told Al-Monitor. His comment makes it clear that in a face-off between Russia and Ukraine, Israel would take Russia’s side, but when it comes to Russia and the United States, Israel will be forced to side with the United States despite its vested interest in security cooperation with President Vladimir Putin, whose troops cast a dark shadow over Israel’s northern front.

Opinion and Analysis

Bennett’s Nuclear Deal Speech Shows Israel Has Learned Nothing, ynetnews
Ofer Shelah, former Member of Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, argues, “Make no mistake, any nuclear agreement, even a carbon copy of the 2015 agreement, is better than the position Trump’s unilateral withdrawal has put us with the egging on of Israel…The road to nuclear capabilities for Iran is shorter than ever. The emerging nuclear deal will reverse things back to where they were in 2015, and more importantly, it will allow the Iranians to keep putting off the nuclear question like it has been doing for years.

Sheikh Jarrah Is the First Test for Israel’s New Attorney General, Haaretz
Akiva Eldar writes, “Will the new attorney general, Gali Baharav-Miara, follow her predecessor’s cowardly path and watch from her office, on nearby Saladin Street, as police throw hundreds of women, children and elderly residents of Sheikh Jarrah out of their homes? Sheikh Jarrah is her first trial by fire. She has the power to put an end to the residents’ suffering, to prevent bloodshed and to show the world a less ugly side of the face of the occupation. Extinguishing Ben-Gvir’s match requires permanently getting rid of the powder keg that he loves to sit on. If Attorney General Baharav-Miara recommends expropriating the property that right-wing nonprofit organizations have acquired in the neighborhood, she would assist the government in preventing the expulsion of the Palestinian residents and in providing them the status of protected tenants. It’s difficult to think of a better test of her intelligence, of her sense of justice and of her courage.