News Roundup for January 26, 2023

January 26, 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

Israeli Raid on West Bank City Kills Nine Palestinians, Officials Say, The New York Times
Israeli forces raided the occupied West Bank City of Jenin early Thursday and killed at least nine Palestinians, including a 60-year-old woman, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The Israeli army and a local armed Palestinian group said that a gun battle between the Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen broke out amid the raid. More than a dozen people were injured from tear gas inhalation or gunfire, the Palestinian health ministry and Palestinian Red Crescent said. They accused Israeli troops of storming a hospital, firing tear gas in the hallways, and preventing ambulances from reaching the injured.

Granting West Bank Authority to Smotrich Is De Facto Annexation, Legal Experts Say, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned on Tuesday by senior legal advisers from the defense establishment against granting Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister who also holds a portfolio in the defense ministry, authority over the Civil Administration in the West Bank and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office, Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi and defense ministry legal adviser Itay Ofir said transferring authority to Smotrich could be viewed by international bodies – including the International Court of Justice in The Hague – as de facto annexation of the West Bank by Israel.


Bank of Israel Governor Says Judicial Reform Could Hurt Economy, The Guardian
The governor of the Bank of Israel has warned Benjamin Netanyahu that his new government’s proposals for sweeping judicial reform could damage the country’s economy, according to Israeli media reports. Prof Amir Yaron met the Israeli prime minister on Tuesday, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, after requesting an “urgent meeting”.

Palestinian Officials Say the Abbas-Sullivan Meeting Was Bleak, Axios
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan last week was bleak and didn’t make much progress, Palestinian officials told Axios. The meeting’s tenor reflects the current low point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. has expressed concern over the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied West Bank, and Palestinians have warned the situation is only set to get worse.

Israel’s Herzog Urges EU To Fight Resurgent Antisemitism, The Washington Post
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Thursday that antisemitism is on the rise in the Western world and urged the European Union to ensure that Jews can live safely on the continent where the Holocaust took place. Speaking at the European Parliament on the eve of the annual commemorations of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, Herzog said EU countries as well as the 27-nation bloc’s officials should use legislation, education and security to eradicate antisemitism.

Former Shin Bet Head Slams Judicial Overhaul, Calls to ‘Shut Down’ Israel, Haaretz
The former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service has called to “shut down the country” in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform, in a rare op-ed published on an Israeli news site on Thursday. According to Yuval Diskin’s op-ed, which appeared on the Ynet news site, it is critical to strike at this moment to protest the immense harm being done to Israeli democracy by the new government, namely the plan to weaken the independence of the judicial system, which would be “disastrous” if passed.

Opinion and Analysis

The Liberal Camp Must Stop Attacking Its Leaders, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “It is imperative that we learn to join hands when things are normal, and certainly when we are in an existential struggle for our democracy. We do not have the privilege of excluding feminists and pro-equality Arabs from our struggle, even if they have made mistakes. We must stand with the few remaining representatives of the left in the Knesset and halt the poisonous criticism towards them.”

What American Jews Fight About When They Fight About Israel, JTA
In a profile of Author Eric Alterman, Andrew Silow-Carroll writes, “[Alterman] never stopped thinking about the widening gap between the idealized Israel of his youth and the reality of its relations with the Palestinians, its Arab neighbors and the West. Even when Israel’s revisionist historians were uncovering evidence of massacres and forced expulsions of Palestinians during the War of Independence, and Israeli politicians and intellectuals began asking why, indeed, the Palestinians didn’t deserve a state of their own, he saw that such discussions were considered blasphemous in most American Jewish circles.”