News Roundup for February 9, 2022

February 9, 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 Evict Right-wing Activists Who Declared New ‘Settlement’ Near Southern Bedouin City, Haaretz
Police cleared out some 20 right-wing activists who set up several mobile structures in a largely Bedouin area in southern Israel early Wednesday morning. Over 100 police officers arrived in the area to quell tensions, and later evacuated the activists and took down “a number of illegal temporary structures,” a police statement said.

Israel’s Spreading NSO Scandal Derails Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial, The Washington Post
An Israeli court on Tuesday postponed the corruption trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu following media reports that police had unlawfully hacked the phone of a key prosecution witness using Pegasus spyware supplied by Israel’s NSO Group. Jerusalem District Court judges initially gave prosecutors a day to look into the use of the spyware, but Tuesday afternoon, noting the complexity of the matter, they agreed to postpone the trial until next week.


Family Unification Bill Meant to Stop Palestinian ‘Creeping Right of Return,’ Israel’s Shaked Says, Haaretz
Israel’s interior minister said that the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Law, which would limit the automatic granting of residency in Israel to Palestinians married to Israelis, also has demographic reasons. “The law wants to reduce the motivation for immigration to Israel. Primarily for security reasons, and then also for demographic reasons.” It is meant to prevent a “creeping right of return,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told Yedioth.

Sudanese Envoy in Israel To Promote Ties, Source Says, Reuters
A Sudanese envoy was in Israel on Wednesday in order to promote ties between the two countries, a source with close knowledge of the visit said.The presidential envoy arrived in Israel at the beginning of the week, the source said. There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli and Sudanese government spokespeople.

Thousands Take to the Streets in West Bank Over Cost of Living, Haaretz
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in a number of West Bank Palestinian cities this week over the increased price of basic goods. On Tuesday, another protest is planned in Bethlehem that is expected to attract thousands of people calling for the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to intervene to bring down prices.

Bennett Vows ‘No Safe Harbor for Terrorists’ Following West Bank Raid, Times of Israel
Israeli leaders on Tuesday hailed security forces after a rare daytime operation in the West Bank during which three Palestinian terror suspects were killed. “Our forces proved today, again, that there is no immunity for terrorists,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. “Whoever hurts us will be hurt.”

Israeli Minister Keeps up Campaign Against Growing Settler Violence, Al-Monitor
Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev’s efforts are being challenges by other Cabinet ministers and Knesset members.

Biden’s Antisemitism Envoy Nominee Has Confirmation Hearing After Six-month Delay, Haaretz
Deborah Lipstadt appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday for her confirmation hearing, six months after the Biden administration nominated her to serve as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

Opinion and Analysis

I Fear My Son’s Future in Gaza Will Be as Unlivable as Mine, +972 Mag
New father Mohammed Rafik Mhawesh reflects, “Life has become rose-colored since I nestled my newborn son in my arms, tightened him to my heart, and listened to his soft, cuckoo-bird voice cry. For Israel’s rule, however, he’s just another unfortunate: stone-thrower, terrorist. Rafik and I are living different, but similar versions of the same life under constant fear. His childhood is likely to closely follow my own, and those of every one of my family, and every child born and raised in Palestine. Everyone has their own ledgers of violence. Their own memories of horrible, childhood-wrecking moments.”

Pegasus Snooping Spared No One, and Israel Police Fail to See What’s Wrong, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board argues, “The fact that the police struggle to comprehend the scope of the failure emphasizes the burning need to overhaul the police and prosecute the lawbreakers.”