News Roundup for January 24, 2022

January 24, 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

Israeli Soldiers Blindfolded and Gagged Elderly Palestinian American Later Found Dead, According to Leaked Report, The Washington Post
A leaked summary of an Israeli investigation into the death of a Palestinian American in the West Bank after Israeli troops detained him this month suggested that no soldiers were likely to be prosecuted despite investigators confirming that the man was dragged from his car, blindfolded and handcuffed and then fell silent while being held at a construction site.

Jewish Settlers From West Bank Outpost Attack Human Rights Activists, JTA
Settlers from a West Bank outpost that Israel does not sanction attacked human rights activists assisting Palestinian farmers in planting trees, amid an intensification of such attacks.


Israel’s Public Security Minister: Settler Attack on Activists Is ‘Terrorism’, Haaretz
Israel’s public security minister decried Friday’s settler attack against human rights activists in the West Bank as the “actions of a terror organization,” after over a dozen masked assailants violently attacked the group near the Palestinian village of Burin.

Blinken: Iran Nuclear Talks Reach ‘Decisive Moment’, Al-Monitor
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is one area where the United States and Russia can work together and that the two countries are on a “clearer path” to understanding each other’s concerns.

Netanyahu Plea Talks Enter Crunch Time, Axios
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

In Latest High-Level Contact, Lapid Meets With Top PA Official Hussein Al-Sheikh, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh on Sunday night, in the latest in a string of meetings between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Israel to Add Two Arabs to Committee for Naming Towns, Sites Following Criticism, Haaretz
The cabinet will add two Arab Israelis to the committee for naming towns, villages, nature reserves and other sites, following criticism from ministers from Meretz, the farthest-left Zionist party in Naftali Bennett’s government.

Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian Residents Take Turns Guarding Their Homes, Al-Monitor
Amid the Israeli authorities’ repeated attempts to evict the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem so they can demolish their homes and build settlement units, Jerusalemite families in the neighborhood have been taking turns guarding their homes around the clock, for fear of attacks by extremist settlers and the Israeli army.

Opinion and Analysis

The City of Jerusalem Would Not Treat Its Jewish Residents Like This, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board writes of the recent eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, “The eviction was condemned by the United States and the European Union. But there’s no need for such condemnations to see this eviction as an aggressive step against Palestinian residents of the capital. It comes on top of extreme police brutality in East Jerusalem, efforts by settler activists to push out Palestinian residents under the auspices of discriminatory laws, and discrimination against these residents by all government agencies. Mayor Moshe Leon must work to repair his relationship with Palestinian residents of the city through dialogue and investment, not through cops and bulldozers.”

A Palestinian Shepherd Peacefully Resisted the Israeli Occupation. And Now He’s Dead, MSNBC
“Al Haj Suleiman al-Hathaleen was a shepherd in the West Bank and a well-known anti-occupation activist. Suleiman was a small man with no weapons. He resisted the occupation through civil disobedience. While Israeli bulldozers destroyed the homes in his neighborhood, he stood in peaceful defiance with a Palestinian flag and his shepherd’s staff. Ali Velshi met Haj Suleiman on his last trip to Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank at the end of 2019. Two weeks ago, Israeli forces entered Haj Suleiman’s village of Umm Al-Khair and began confiscating unregistered Palestinian cars. Haj Suleiman did what he had done for decades: he peacefully resisted. Then he was run over by a tow truck, under contract to the Israeli police. Witnesses say the tow truck driver and their police escort simply fled the rural village. They did not render aid to Haj Suleiman. They did not even call for an ambulance. Al Haj Suleiman al-Hathaleen never emerged from his coma, and died of his injuries this week. Suleiman was a man with little to his name, except for his land, his village, and his ability to stand up to an illegal occupation. This small man with just his words and his staff, was a thorn in the side of the Israeli occupation, because he had become a symbol of the resistance, and an emblem of the Israeli occupation.”

For Israel’s Settlers, It’s War. Their Target: Palestinian Land – and Bodies, Haaretz
Ori Nir reports, “This weekend’s attack on Israeli peace activists by violent West Bank settlers should put to rest any attempts to doubt or dismiss the severity of what is a grotesque and accelerating campaign of terror. But perhaps even more alarming than the attempts to turn a blind eye to settler violence is the misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the settlers’ goals. Most of the violent attacks by West Bank settlers are not random acts of sporadic hooliganism. The extremist settlers’ violent attacks are harnessed to a strategy, a political objective, which Israeli politicians – including some members of the current coalition government – wholeheartedly endorse.”