News Roundup for February 24, 2023

February 24, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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J Street In the News

American Jews Cannot Stay ‘Neutral’ in the Face of Israel’s Catastrophe, Haaretz
Former deputy head of Israel’s National Security Council Eran Etzion and former Israeli ambassador to France Daniel Shek write, “J Street ensures that U.S. elected officials receive a nuanced and honest picture of Israel’s reality from its security establishment, opposition leaders and civil society – not just from the government and its cheerleaders. They make clear that while we Israelis need American help to defend ourselves against rockets, terror attacks and other security threats, we also need help to end the cycle of endless conflict, and to achieve peace. They make clear that now, more than ever, we need help to preserve and defend our democracy.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Settlers Shoot, Wound 2 Palestinians in West Bank, The Washington Post
Israeli settlers shot and seriously wounded two Palestinians in the northern occupied West Bank early Friday, Palestinian health officials said, in what authorities describe as the latest incident in a wave of settler violence. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the two wounded Palestinians were being treated at a hospital in the village of Qusra, near the West Bank city of Nablus. It did not identify the men.

Israel’s Outpost Approvals Boost Settlers, Deepen Conflict, AP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government announced last week it would legalize Givat Harel, along with nine other unauthorized West Bank outposts, boosting settlers’ morale and strengthening their hold on the land. Anti-settlement groups and experts describe a steady government effort to entrench Israeli rule over the West Bank and grab more occupied land that Palestinians seek for a future state. Strings of strategically located outposts have changed the landscape of the territory — threatening to make a future Palestinian state little more than a shriveled constellation of disconnected enclaves.


Police, Security Agencies Advise Jews To Be on Alert Ahead of Planned ‘National Day of Hate’ on Shabbat, JTA
The police bulletins have circulated among Jews on social media, in WhatsApp chats and via email: A white supremacist group is calling for a “National Day of Hate” this Saturday and encouraging antisemites to vandalize and deface Jewish institutions. Information about the antisemitic campaign was first provided by the Chicago Police Department, and a “situational awareness alert” with NYPD insignia circulating online advises local Jewish communities to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Israeli Military Reservists Threaten Not to Serve if Judicial Coup Legislation Continues, Haaretz
Reservists in the Israel Defense Forces’ intelligence corps are threatening to refuse to serve should the legislation of the Netanyahu government’s judicial coup move forward without broad public consensus, according to a petition published on Friday. The petition, which was signed thus far by dozens of officers and soldiers, reads: “We will not volunteer for reserve service while a giant black flag flies over the government’s actions.”

Israel Advances Plans for 7,000 New Settler Homes, Places E1 Project Back on Docket, The Times of Israel
Israel is seeking to once again advance the highly controversial E1 settlement project that would bisect Palestinian contiguity in the West Bank, as it also green-lit plans Thursday for more than 7,000 new settlement homes, the largest number ever authorized in one sitting. The far-reaching moves to further entrench Israel’s presence beyond the Green Line comes just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government neared its two-month anniversary.

Israeli Government Approves 2023-2024 State Budget, Haaretz
Israel’s cabinet approved the 2023 and 2024 state budgets, the Finance Ministry announced on Friday. Among the various items approved, the cabinet agreed to earmark 9 billion shekels (about $2.5 billion) for Itamar Ben-Gvir’s National Security Ministry. This money will be used to fund numerous projects Ben-Gvir has been attempting to advance, including the creating of a national guard that would operate within Israel’s borders.

Palestinians Threaten To Pull Out of Security Summit After Deadly IDF Raid, Axios
The Palestinian Authority is threatening to pull out of a security summit with the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Egypt after 11 Palestinians, including civilians, were killed in an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. The security summit, scheduled to take place on Sunday, is meant to formalize the understandings recently reached between Israel and the Palestinians that led to the postponement of a UN Security Council vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

A Disaster for Democracy Looms in Israel, The Washington Post
Yuval Noah Harari writes, “I have never seriously considered leaving Israel. Despite the many problems here, and despite receiving many invitations from various universities and research centers around the world, I always thought it was more important to stay and try to change things here than to leave for somewhere calmer and safer. But as my job is to think and say things that the majority often does not like, I doubt whether I could go on working in a place lacking any meaningful protection for minority rights and for the freedom of expression.”