News Roundup for February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

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J Street News Roundup

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.

J Street In the News

Democrats’ Ilhan Omar Defence Weakened by Party’s Own Attacks Over Israel, The Guardian
“Several liberal Jewish American groups, including J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and the New Israel Fund, said that none of Omar’s policies or statements merited her removal from the committee. They added that accusations against her by the Republican speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, seem “especially exploitative in light of the rampant promotion of antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories by him and his top deputies amid a surge in dangerous right-wing antisemitism” The groups noted that McCarthy himself had deleted a tweet accusing Jewish billionaires of trying to “buy” an election.”

Top News and Analysis

Normally Sleepy Jericho Drawn Into West Bank Violence After Israel Kills 5, The Washington Post
Israeli security forces killed five Palestinians during an early morning raid Monday in the normally quiet city of Jericho, amid the worst violence in the West Bank in nearly two decades. The Israeli army said two of the killed were captured on CCTV footage preparing to attack a Jewish-run restaurant on the main road outside Jericho with assault-style weapons last month and had been the target of an intensive manhunt. It described two of the dead as members of Hamas’s military wing.

In West Bank, Settlers Sense Their Moment After Far Right’s Rise, The New York Times
The most right-wing government in Israel’s history, which includes settler leaders among its key ministers, entered office late last year, and the settler movement has been emboldened, sensing a window of opportunity to expand its enterprise faster than ever before. After a surge in violence, there are fears of a wider escalation in the occupied West Bank. Israeli settlers see an opportunity, and Palestinians fear what’s next.


Blinken Pressed Abbas To Accept U.S. Security Plan for Jenin, Axios
Secretary of State Tony Blinken pressed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept and implement a U.S. security plan aimed at reestablishing Palestinian Authority control over the cities of Jenin and Nablus, which have become centers of unrest in the occupied West Bank.

Smotrich Aims to Legalize West Bank Outposts, but Asks Settlers to Delay Building New Ones, Haaretz
Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has told mayors of West Bank settlements that for now, they should refrain from establishing new outposts, and that all such activity should be coordinated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu Says Israel Will Send Earthquake Relief to Syria As Well as Turkey, The Times of Israel
Israel is sending aid to Syria as well as Turkey as they grapple with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed over a thousand people in the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. Netanyahu said that Israel had received requests through diplomatic channels to assist in Syria, and that aid would be provided there.

Ukraine Lays Out Demands for Israel Ahead of Key Visit to Kyiv, Axios
Ukraine in recent days requested Israel publicly condemn the Russian invasion and approve a $500 million loan to the Ukrainian government. The requests were made ahead of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s expected visit to Kyiv this week. It will be the first visit by an Israeli minister to Ukraine’s capital since the Russian invasion one year ago.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Guns Are Everywhere’ in Israel, Occupied Territories As Violence Spikes, The Washington Post
William Booth and Sufian Taha report, “In earlier rounds of lethal violence here, lone Palestinian assailants often relied on kitchen cleavers, or cars as battering rams. Now they are using guns…The violence underscores what security experts have been observing in recent years — a flood of illegal arms into Palestinian communities, including East Jerusalem, where local arms traffickers say business has never been better. The same is happening in Palestinian Israeli towns, where a political and security vacuum has allowed criminal gangs to flourish, and spurred ordinary people to buy guns for their own protection.”

Israeli Democracy Can Only Survive With Palestinian-Jewish Solidarity, Time
Omri Boehm argues, “The massive protests in Israel are welcome and important, but they will only bear fruit if they will lead to serious soul-searching: to a brave recognition that what has been cannot continue, that our fundamental political assumptions must change; that the constitutional crisis threatening the country does not contradict its Jewish and democratic identity but arises from it. The protests will only be successful if they give birth to a new party or movement, which will allow, at least to parts of the Israeli public, to choose the path of civil partnership between Jews and Palestinians, and fight to create a rule of law in a state that belongs to its citizens, not to protect the political system that leads to its destruction.”