News Roundup for February 27, 2023

February 27, 2023

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Top News and Analysis

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through Palestinian Towns in Revenge for Shooting, The Washington Post
Dozens of Israeli settlers rampaged through Palestinian towns, torching cars, homes and killing a man, hours after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis. The scenes from the hours-long rampage Sunday night bore the trademark of a once-active settler movement known as “price taggers,” whose mission is to extract a “price” for any Palestinian attacks or threats to the settler movement. Sunday’s rampage, which particularly focused on the town of Huwara, was a response to a drive-by shooting that killed two brothers from a nearby settlement. It also came after a rare meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jordan in which Israel promised to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank — the land Palestinians envision as part of their future state.

Israel Beefs Up Troops After Unprecedented Settler Rampage, AP
Israel sent hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank on Monday, a day after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis and settlers rampaged through a Palestinian town, torching homes and vehicles in the worst such violence in decades. The responses to the rampage laid bare some rifts in Israel’s new right-wing government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealing for calm while a member of his ruling coalition praised the rampage as deterrence against Palestinian attacks.


Palestinians and Israelis Agree To Take Steps to De-Escalate Tensions, Axios
Senior diplomats and security officials from the U.S., Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan and Egypt convened in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba on Sunday for regional talks aimed at de-escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. It is the most significant regional and international meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in more than a decade. The meeting is focused on security, but it also carries a lot of political significance.

Israel Agrees to Halt New Settlement Construction for 4 Months, Haaretz
Israel has pledged on Sunday to “stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months,” in a joint statement at the end of a security summit in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba.

Former US Ambassador Accuses Israel of ‘Creeping Annexation’ of the West Bank, The Guardian
A former US ambassador to Israel has accused Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government of breaking a written agreement with Washington by legalising a group of hardline nationalist and religious settlements in the West Bank. Daniel Kurtzer, who served in Tel Aviv during the George W Bush administration, also warned that some ministers in Netanyahu’s new coalition are not interested in a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He called on the Biden administration to be more proactive in stopping Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the West Bank.

Far-right Netanyahu Ally ‘Pleased With Deterrence’ After Settlers Riot in West Bank, Haaretz
A prominent member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition said on Monday that he approves of the rampage that Israeli settlers went on in a West Bank Palestinian town following the deadly terror attack on Sunday. Far-right Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Zvika Fogel said that “the effect of deterrence that was achieved yesterday following these so-called ‘pogroms’ hadn’t been achieved in the West Bank since Operation Defensive Shield,” referring to the extensive operation carried out in the West Bank by the Israeli army in 2002, during the peak of the Second Intifada.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu’s ‘Reforms’ Are Threatening the Very Foundations of Israel’s Democracy, CNN
Dan Perry writes, “Those who care about the country, a technological and military power far beyond what its close to 10 million population suggests, should understand how dire this moment is. Israel’s existence is in peril — certainly as a democracy and, in the longer term, as a viable economy and Jewish state.”