News Roundup for February 23, 2023

February 23, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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J Street In the News

‘Sounding the Alarm’: Progressive Jews Decry Netanyahu Government at New York Rally, The Times of Israel
“The rally was organized by the Progressive Israel Network, an alliance of twelve organizations that advocate for human rights in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The group includes leading leftist Jewish organizations T’ruah, J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund and New York Jewish Agenda…“We’re sounding the alarm because we care so deeply about the state and the people of Israel, who are our family, our friends,” Jonathan Kopp of J Street told the crowd. “But of course this anti-democratic wave has its most harmful impact on our Palestinian family, friends and allies.” “To be pro-Israel in 2023 means standing with the hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Israel to defend democracy,” he said. “To be pro-Israel means working to prevent the nightmare for both Palestinians and Israelis of outright annexation and permanent conflict.””

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Announces Agreement To Hand Some West Bank Authority to Smotrich, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announces that he has inked an agreement with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, regarding the division of powers between the latter two. The statement from Netanyahu’s office doesn’t provide details on the arrangement. As part of their coalition deal, Netanyahu’s Likud party agreed to transfer control over the Civil Administration and Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories to Smotrich’s far-right Religious Zionism party.

Gaza Rockets, Israeli Strikes Follow Deadly West Bank Raid, The Washington Post
The bloodshed extends one of the deadliest periods in years in the West Bank, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of the year. Palestinian attacks on Israelis in 2023 have killed 11 people. The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired six rockets and two anti-aircraft missiles from the Gaza Strip toward the country’s south early Thursday. Air defenses intercepted five of the rockets and one landed in an open field, according to the military. The missiles did not hit their targets. The attacks were not immediately claimed by Palestinian militant groups.


Ahmed Qurei, Among Palestinian Architects of Oslo Accords, Dies at 85, Haaretz
Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, has died at the age of 85, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced late Wednesday. Born in 1937 in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, Qurei – also known as Abu Ala – became financial adviser to Yasser Arafat in the 1970s and, around a decade later, began advising the late Palestinian leader on political matters. Along with Abbas, he is seen as one of the Palestinian architects of the Oslo Accords and was involved in every agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Iran Acknowledges Accusation It Enriched Uranium to 84%, AP
Iran on Thursday directly acknowledged an accusation attributed to international inspectors that it enriched uranium to 84% purity for the first time, which would put the Islamic Republic closer than ever to weapons-grade material. The acknowledgement by a news website linked to the highest reaches of Iran’s theocracy renews pressure on the West to address Tehran’s program, which had been contained by the 2015 nuclear deal that America unilaterally withdrew from in 2018. Years of attacks across the Middle East have followed.

Israel: Oman To Allow Israeli Planes Through Its Airspace, The Washington Post
Israel’s foreign minister said Thursday that the Gulf Arab state of Oman has decided to allow Israeli planes to fly through its airspace. The announcement was another sign of closer ties between Israel and some Arab countries. Oman’s Civil Aviation Authority tweeted that it “affirms that the Sultanate’s airspace is open for all carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflying,” without directly mentioning Israel.

13-year-old Palestinian Who Stabbed Israeli Border Policeman Charged With Murder, Haaretz
The State Prosecution on Thursday charged a 13-year-old Palestinian boy with murder after he stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer last week. The officer, 22-year-old Asil Suaad from a Bedouin village in northern Israel, passed away after he was also wounded by a security guard who shot him by accident in an attempt to target the Palestinian boy.

Opinion and Analysis

How Israeli Youth Helped Usher In the Farthest Right-Wing Government Ever, Vox
Claire Porter Robbins explains, “Over the past month, tens of thousands of Israelis have come out to protest their new government’s proposed judicial reforms, which could weaken the country’s democracy and separation of powers. The crowds are diverse in age, but unlike popular liberal or democratic protests in many countries, attendees say the audience skews older. Recent polling backs that surprising observation: A joint poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute last month found that 73 percent of Jewish Israelis between ages 18 and 24 identify as right-wing, compared with only 46 percent of Jewish Israelis over 65. Young Jewish Israelis are showing up to rallies and polling stations for the extremist politicians whose November electoral victory ushered in Israel’s farthest right-wing government ever.”

Tech Leaders in Israel Wonder if It’s Time to Leave, The New York Times
David Segal reports, “Ahead of a judicial overhaul that could transform the country and frighten away investors, the executives of Start-Up Nation are mulling an exodus.”