News Roundup for January 18, 2023

January 18, 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

Pro-Israel Americans, US Government Should Stand Against Netanyahu Government’s Anti-Democratic Plan to Undercut Israel’s Independent Judiciary, J Street
“J Street is deeply alarmed by the Israeli government’s radical plan to drastically undercut democracy and the rule of law in Israel by remaking the entire judicial system and reducing the power and independence of Israel’s Supreme Court. Like the over 80,000 Israeli protesters who publicly protested the plan this weekend in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and across the country, we believe it would severely harm Israel’s democratic character by neutering the only significant institutional check on the Knesset.”

Top News and Analysis

The American Billionaires Behind the Far-right Attempt to Destroy Liberal Israel, Haaretz
Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial overhaul was apparently written by the Kohelet Policy Forum, one of the best-funded research institutes in Israel, which advances nationalist, libertarian policies – and is funded by two American billionaires.

Israel Deports Italian Activist Arrested in West Bank Raid, The Washington Post
Israel deported an Italian activist to Italy after security forces detained her during a raid in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities said Tuesday, accusing her of having links to a Palestinian militant group. The Israeli military arrested Stefania Costantini during a pre-dawn incursion Monday into the the Dheisha refugee camp in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.


East Jerusalem Settlement Meeting Postponed a Day Before Senior U.S. Official Arrives, Haaretz
At the last minute, the local planning and building committee for the Jerusalem municipality dropped plans for expanding the Nof Tzion settlement in the city’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood from its Wednesday agenda. The delay was announced just before National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s scheduled arrival in Israel on Wednesday and several hours after more than 90 nations also signed a declaration expressing “deep concern” about Israel’s punitive actions against the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians Clash With IDF During Pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb; 7 Arrested Overnight, The Times of Israel
Several Palestinians were reported wounded during clashes with Israeli troops late Tuesday and early Wednesday as Jewish worshipers entered the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus.

US Links Israel Visa-Waiver to West Bank Travel for Palestinian-Americans, The Jerusalem Post
The United States expects Israel, under a visa-waiver deal being discussed between the allies, to enable free passage for Palestinian Americans into the West Bank, the US ambassador said on Wednesday. Ambassador Thomas Nides said he expected an announcement soon on whether the number of Israeli applicants who were refused recent requests for US visas had been kept to 3% or fewer, as required for a waiver deal. Israel would also have to ratify such a deal.

Netanyahu Knows There Will Be No Gov’t’ if Dery Disqualified, Shas Minister Warns, Haaretz
Israel’s Welfare Minister, Yaakov Margi of Shas, warned on Wednesday that if the High Court disqualifies his party leader Arye Dery from ministerial posts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “knows there will be no government.”

Opinion and Analysis

Palestinian International Struggle Is Legitimate, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “It is impossible to continue to claim that we are the only democracy in the Middle East and that the position of most countries against us is immoral because they are not democratic and at the same time crush democracy in Israel. The claim that the whole world is against us could become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we continue with the occupation, the violation of minority rights and damage to the institutions that allow us to be part of the international community of liberal democracies that respect international law.”

How the Biden Administration Should Approach the New Israeli Government, Carnegie Endowment
Matthew Duss and Zaha Hassan argue, “The previous government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid may have been less personally corrupt and openly racist than Netanyahu’s, but judged by its behavior—violent escalation against Palestinians in the West Bank, expulsions of Palestinian families, demolition of Palestinian homes, and expansion of settlements on Palestinian land—that government was no less committed to entrenching a one-state reality. In considering what approach to take in the future, the Biden administration should consider the approach that led here. While U.S. administrations have taken various tacks to the situation, one thing has remained nearly consistent: they have protected Israel from any negative consequences—political, diplomatic, economic, or otherwise—for its illegal policies in the occupied territories.”