News Roundup for February 4, 2022

February 4, 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

Police Minister Criticizes IDF Chief for Military Nonintervention in Settler Attacks, Times of Israel
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev has written a letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz criticizing army leadership and seeking more military involvement against settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, according to a Thursday report. Barlev, who oversees police, asked Gantz to make clear to Kohavi and other IDF officials that the attorney general has ruled that IDF soldiers can and should detain and arrest Israelis who are suspected of carrying out attacks in the West Bank.

Israeli Government Says Fate of Illegal Outpost of Homesh in Gantz’s Hands, Haaretz
The Israeli government said Thursday that no date has been set for the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Homesh, and that the decision to remove the last remaining structure in the northern West Bank site rests only with Defense Minister Benny Gantz. In response to a petition filed at the Supreme Court by the Palestinians who own the land, the government also said that it will continue to allow Israelis who study at the outpost yeshiva to come there, despite this violating a law that bars the presence of Israeli civilians from areas which Israel withdrew in 2005.


Israel’s Defense Minister Gantz Meets Bahrain’s King, Signs Historic Security Deal, Haaretz
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and other senior leadership on a historic visit on Thursday, signing a deal to formalize security ties between the two countries.

Israeli Police ‘May Have Hacked Phone’ of Key Witness in Netanyahu Trial, The Guardian
A key figure in the corruption trial of Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have been illegally bugged by police, according to reports, amid global controversy about Israeli-made spyware and how it has been used.

PLO To Fill Key Posts as Abbas Succession Struggle Heats Up, Times of Israel
The Palestine Liberation Organization is scheduled to convene in Ramallah on Sunday in a meeting some see as providing a boost to a possible successor to long-ruling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Soldiers Force Closure of Palestinian Stores in Hebron’s Old City, +972 Mag
Last week, the Israeli army shut 45 Palestinian stores in the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, without telling the business owners why or when they would be permitted to reopen.

Israeli Consumers Angry Over Cost-of-Living Hike, Al-Monitor
With the cost of living rising steeply, and with the poor getting even poorer, Israel’s government is facing plenty of angry citizens.

Opinion and Analysis

Their Palestinian-American Father Was Left to Die by Israeli Soldiers. Now They Seek Justice, Haaretz
Ben Samuels reports, “The death of 78-year-old Palestinian-American Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, after he was violently detained by Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint last month, has drawn international attention. Meanwhile, two of his daughters – Heba Assad and Hala Hamad – are forced to navigate a previously unimaginable reality, mourning the loss of a man who valued family over everything and never hesitated to tell his children how important they were to him.”

Israel’s Attorney General Proves That Under Occupation, Violence Always Wins, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board writes, “Eight Palestinians – all residents of Beita, the village whose land was stolen – have already been killed in demonstrations against the takeover of the nearby hilltop. On Thursday, the Palestinians announced that the attorney general’s decision would intensify their popular struggle to get this land returned to its owners. Bennett must put a stop to this folly, which will result in Evyatar’s land being soaked with more blood, solely for the sake of appeasing the settlers’ appetite for annexation.”