News Roundup for February 7, 2023

February 7, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians: Teen Killed in Israeli Army Raid in West Bank, The Washington Post
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Tuesday that Israeli troops killed a Palestinian teenager in an army raid in the occupied West Bank. He was the latest casualty in what is already one of the most violent periods in the West Bank in recent years. The ministry said 17-year-old Hamza al-Ashqar died of a gunshot wound to the head in the West Bank city of Nablus, but provided no additional details about the incident.

From This Hill, You Can See the Next Intifada, The Atlantic
Yair Rosenberg reports, “Hamayyel is intimately familiar with the violence and loss that pervades this part of the world. Decades ago, his father, brother, and sister were all killed in combat with Israeli forces. Along with them, Hamayyel is claimed as a member by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an internationally designated terrorist group responsible for numerous attacks on civilians. But when his son Mohammed was killed, the teenager was not engaged in armed conflict. He was protesting an Israeli outpost called Evyatar, which overlooks Beita. Although few Israelis could pinpoint Evyatar on a map, and although its existence is illegal under Israel’s own law, this tiny settlement is set to play a large role in the new Israeli government’s plans and the future of Israel and the West Bank.”


Senator Warns of ‘Alarm’ Among Colleagues Over Future of Israeli Democracy, Haaretz
In an interview with Vermont Senator Peter Welch, he notes that he sees similar threats in Israel and the U.S., and warns that “Israel is proud of its democracy, but it’s being challenged by the current government.” With an Israeli government “much more supportive of annexation,” he foresees a dangerous eruption of violence between Israelis and Palestinians as the prospects for a two-state solution continue to erode. “These are troubling signs, and there are big, big challenges,” he says.

U.S Asked Israel and PA To “Pause” Certain Actions in West Bank and at UN, Axios
Secretary of State Tony Blinken while in the Middle East last week asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for a temporary “pause” in certain actions each side opposes, including Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and Palestinian moves at the UN. he Biden administration is looking for ways to de-escalate the situation in the West Bank and prevent it from deteriorating into a third intifada. This includes a package of steps the U.S. hopes both Israel and the Palestinian Authority could take and others they would refrain from taking in order to lower tensions.

Religious Zionism Vows No West Bank Settlement Freeze Amid Reports of US Pressure, The Times of Israel
The far-right Religious Zionism party vows there will be no freeze in settlement construction in the West Bank following a report on the Axios news site that the US is pressuring Israel to halt construction. “There will be no freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria. Period,” reads a statement from Religious Zionism, using the biblical names for the region.

Israel-Palestine Escalation Bears ‘Unhappy Resemblance’ to Days Before Second Intifada, CIA Director Says, Haaretz
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Burns warned Thursday that Israel appears to be on the brink of another intifada following his visit to the country just two weeks earlier. Speaking at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Burns said that he and his colleagues in the intelligence community are “concerned that lot of what we’re seeing today has a very unhappy resemblance to some of those realities that we saw then,” referring to his time as a U.S. diplomat during the time of the second intifada.

Opinion and Analysis

They Want to Set Women Back 500 Years’: Israel’s Rabbinical Courts Now Set to Enjoy ‘Horrifying’ Power, Haaretz
Yael Darel explains, “The coalition agreement PM Netanyahu signed with ultra-Orthodox party Shas promises to broaden the reach of Israel’s rabbinical courts far beyond family law — and grant them a status equal to that of civil courts.”

Grave Concerns Shared by Many As Israeli Coalition Agreements Turn Into Policy, The Jerusalem Post
Tamir Pardo and Nimrod Novik write, “The US administration has its plate full of domestic and global priorities. However, to use another metaphor befitting the situation: Washington’s seeming reluctance to apply timely and effective medicine to the Israeli-Palestinian situation is likely to end up with the far greater and costlier challenge of dealing with the pandemic.”