News Roundup for February 7, 2022

February 7, 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

President Biden to Visit Israel ‘Later This Year,’ White House Says, CNN
President Joe Biden will visit Israel “later this year” after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett invited him to the country, according to a readout of a call between the two on Sunday released by the White House. The White House said the two leaders “discussed the shared security and other challenges in the Middle East region, including the threat posed by Iran and its proxies.”

U.S. Restores Sanctions Waiver to Iran With Nuclear Talks in Final Phase, Reuters
President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday restored sanctions waivers to Iran to allow international nuclear cooperation projects, as indirect American-Iranian talks on reviving the 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran enter the final stretch.


Israel’s Cabinet to Send Palestinian Family Unification Bill for Knesset Vote, Haaretz
Israel’s cabinet approved proposed legislation on barring Palestinians married to citizens from receiving permits to live in Israel in a stormy session on Sunday, sending the bill for a Knesset vote this week without a clear majority. The citizenship law expired in July in an early embarrassment for the fledgling coalition. Nevertheless, the Interior Ministry has refused to deal with applications since then.

Israel Sanctions Lebanese Companies Aiding Hezbollah Missile Project, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday signed a series of administrative orders to seize the assets of three Lebanese companies that Israel accuses of supplying materials to advance Hezbollah’s efforts to manufacture precision missiles.

Israel Expresses Interest in NATO-like Mideast Alliance, Al-Monitor
Israel and its moderate allies in the region “must build a new strategic alliance” to block Iran’s continued expansion in the region, former Israeli Minister Brig. Gen. (Res.) Ephraim Lapid told Al-Monitor’s “On Israel” podcast last week. And that is precisely what Israel is doing, at an accelerated pace, as reflected in this week’s visit to Bahrain, on Feb. 3, by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to sign a security cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Israel Expected to Elect First Woman as Attorney General, Haaretz
The government is expected to approve Gali Baharav-Miara’s appointment as Attorney General on Monday following Justice Minister Gideon Saar’s recommendation, which would make her the first woman to fill the role.

‘They Hijacked Gaza’: Palestinians Hold Rare Online Events Critical of Hamas, Times of Israel
For the past week, Palestinians from Gaza have been participating in a series of social media events criticizing Hamas rule in the Strip, voicing concerns rarely expressed in the repressive enclave. Under the hashtag, “They Kidnapped Gaza,” hundreds of Palestinians have taken part in nightly Twitter conversations lamenting the suffering of ordinary Gazans. While also critical of Israeli restrictions, the speakers regularly attacked what they deemed Hamas’s poor governance and corruption.

Illegal Outpost Resident Arrested After Attack on Left-wing Activists, Haaretz
Police arrested on Monday a resident of an illegal West Bank outpost and detained two others for questioning in connection with assault and arson in an attack involving left-wing activists last month.

Opinion and Analysis

When the Palestinian Victim Is Not a U.S. Citizen, the Israeli Army Doesn’t Care, Haaretz
Amira Hass explores the difference in response from the Israeli military between the death of Omar Assad, a Palestinian and American citizen, and Ibrahim Abu Yaqoub, a 34 year old Palestinian. She writes, ” A look back at the killing of another Palestinian, Ibrahim Abu Yaqoub, 34, shows how extraordinary the steps are that the military has taken against those involved in Assad’s death.”

Love, Marriage, and Residency (Or Why the Citizenship Law Is Wrong), Times of Israel
Naomi Chazan argues, “The ban on family unification being brought before Israel’s parliament is an act of overt discrimination unworthy of any society that seeks to protect fundamental human rights and individual freedoms. It is also antithetical to essential Jewish values of human dignity and tolerance. Whatever one calls it — apartheid, systemic discrimination, racism, or unavoidable caution — it is wrong, morally reprehensible, and, unsurprisingly, also unequivocally counterproductive and hence stupid.”