News Roundup for February 24, 2022

February 24, 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

Out of the Global Spotlight, A Revived Iran Nuclear Deal Appears Imminent, Los Angeles Times
While the world’s attention has been focused on Ukraine, the Biden administration has been racing with world powers toward restoring the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. After months of negotiations in Vienna, the various sides have indicated that a new deal is close, perhaps in the coming days. But instead of the “longer, stronger” agreement originally promised by the U.S., the deal is expected to do little more than reinstate the original pact, whose key restrictions on Iranian nuclear activity expire in a few years.

As Minister Resigns, Israel’s Government More Fragile Than Ever, Al Monitor
Minister Eli Avidar submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday afternoon [Feb. 22], possibly marking the beginning of the end for the current coalition. Avidar resigned from the Knesset last July upon being appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, in keeping with the Norwegian Law, which requires ministers give up their Knesset seats. He will return to be a regular member of Knesset on Thursday afternoon, 48 hours after he submitted his resignation. From that point onward, Avidar will be the 61st vote in a very narrow coalition. He is expected to operate as a one-man faction, and to make demands for every major vote to a coalition that already has problems getting its legislation through the Knesset.


Russia Attacks Ukraine From Land, Air and Sea, The New York Times
Early Thursday, just as President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia announced on television that he had decided “to carry out a special military operation” in Ukraine, explosions were reported across the country. Blasts were heard in Kyiv, the capital; in Kharkiv, the second largest city; and in Kramatorsk in the region of Donetsk, one of two eastern Ukrainian territories claimed by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

Israeli, Palestinian Officials Agree to Cooperate on Climate Change, Haaretz
A senior Palestinian negotiator called for increased regional cooperation on climate change, including with Israel, at Wednesday’s climate conference in Jerusalem. “Our region has to go green because we … are already suffering from conflict; we are suffering from a shortage of resources,” said Dr. Shaddad Attili, Palestinian Liberation Organization Minister in the Negotiation Department, at the Israel Climate Change Conference. Gideon Behar, Israeli Foreign Minister Special Envoy for Climate Change and Sustainability, expressed willingness for cooperation. “I think that there is no other choice but to cooperate on all of these issues, including water,” he said.

Bennett Races to Solve Dispute with Gantz So Government Can Resume Legislation, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday told Defense Minister Benny Gantz that he is working to solve the dispute between the Blue and White party and the rest of the coalition. On Monday, Blue and White announced a boycott of Knesset votes over the coalition’s refusal to advance legislation to enshrine increases to the pensions of career military officers. The party said that it would not cooperate on government-backed bills due to “the apparent damage to state security and the breach of coalition obligations for a period of months.”

Opinion and Analysis

The U.S. Must Investigate the Death of My Palestinian American Father in Israeli Custody, Washington Post
Hala Hamad, daughter of Omar Assad, writes, “My father worked hard and set a good example for his family and community. His death was a heartbreaking injustice, but I am not so naive to believe that it will lead to the dismantling of Israel’s occupation or oppression of Palestinians. But it should at least lead to my government doing everything in its power to fully investigate the death of a citizen — and to ensure that the information gleaned from that investigation may serve to protect all Palestinian civilian lives. Then, maybe, my father’s goal of doing good and setting a good example will have been furthered in death, just as it had been in life.”

Stop Lying About the Iran Deal, The Times of Israel
In response to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s recent sppech about a potential Iran nuclear agreement, Dan Perry writes, “If Israel does not want a nuclear Iran and understands the principle of priorities in life, it should welcome the efforts of President Biden and his allies.”