News Roundup for July 14, 2023

July 14, 2023
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Top News and Analysis

Thousands Protest Outside US Offices in Tel Aviv, Say Netanyahu Government is Straining Relations, The Washington Post
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the main US diplomatic office in Tel Aviv Thursday night, calling upon the US to condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary. The gathering came days after President Joe Biden called members of Netanyahu’s far-right government “extreme” and said that supporters of Israel’s West Bank settlements were “part of the problem.” Netanyahu’s allies, who comprise the most far-right Israeli government ever, have proposed a series of changes to the Israeli legal system aimed at weakening what they say are the excessive powers of unelected judges.


Four Palestinians Said Wounded in Settler Attack in West Bank, The Times of Israel
Four Palestinians were wounded in an attack by Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian medical officials and an Israeli rights group said. Two Israelis were also reported wounded in the incident. The Palestinian Authority health ministry said in a statement that four people were wounded as a result of an attack by settlers in the area of the town of Kafr Thulth. The ministry said two of the Palestinians were listed in serious condition, after suffering skull fractures.

Biden to Host Israel’s President at White House on Tuesday, Reuters
US President Joe Biden will meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the White House on Tuesday when they will discuss Israel’s regional integration and Russia’s military ties with Iran, the White House said on Thursday. “Biden will stress the importance of our shared democratic values, and discuss ways to advance equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and security for Palestinians and Israelis,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Israel’s Economy Will See a Recession Next Year as Protests Persist, CNBC
Fresh protests in Israel over a controversial judicial overhaul will deliver a significant slowdown to the country’s economy, according to former central bank Deputy Governor Zvi Eckstein. Tens of thousands took to the streets earlier this week after the Israeli Parliament advanced efforts in a bill aiming to curtail the autonomy of the country’s Supreme Court. And the fervent unrest, which started months back, will likely have a “huge impact” on the economy and its inflow of investments, Eckstein said.

Hezbollah Threatens to ‘Act’ if Israel Attacks Lebanon After Border Shooting, Al-Monitor
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday that the organization is ready to defend itself against any Israeli attack, in a statement that came just hours after reports of a skirmish on the Lebanon-Israel border, adding more tension to an already volatile situation. Three Hezbollah members were injured in an explosion near the village of Boustane close to the border, according to multiple reports.

Anti-overhaul Protesters Call ‘Day of Resistance’ for Monday; Rally Near PM’s Homes, The Times of Israel
Leaders of the national protest movement against the government’s judicial shakeup said Thursday that they would hold another day of nationwide protests this coming Monday. The day, branded a “day of resistance,” comes following Tuesday’s “day of disruption,” in which thousands of anti-government protesters blocked streets across the country in response to the Knesset passing the first reading of a controversial bill to curtail the Supreme Court’s oversight powers.

Opinion and Analysis

Protest’s Lesson for Anti-occupation Left: Mobilize Israelis, Not International Community, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer argues, “The rest of the international community long ago got the message. Trying to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict is a waste of valuable time when the world has so many other crises to deal with, like the climate, Ukraine, Covid-19 and China. Everyone got the message except the Israeli peace and human-rights organizations, who loved their English-speaking bubble too much to go back to the tedious, boring, thankless work of trying to campaign outside of their comfort zone in Hebrew. And all of a sudden, Israelis have woken up.”

Biden’s New Focus Regarding Israel is Exactly Right, Israel Policy Forum
Michael Koplow notes, “The inconvenient truth as this has unfolded is that the judicial overhaul is indeed a threat to the uniqueness of US-Israel ties, but it is also the wrong threat for the US to elevate to the top of the list of its concerns. The fate of Israeli democracy is the primary interest for Israeli citizens, as it should be, and the existential dread many Israelis are feeling has been on full display this week in Israel’s streets. But there is a reason that the US has for decades focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli policies in the West Bank.”

What Can Americans Learn from the Israeli Protests? A Lot., The New Republic
Micah Sifry writes, “Perhaps the last key lesson from the Israeli movement is its willingness to disrupt business as usual to focus public attention on the struggle. It has been resolutely nonviolent, but not civil. That means it has welcomed tactics like in-your-face and noisy vigils outside the homes of right-wing Knesset members, mass blockades of major roadways and intersections, and at the zenith of the movement’s power, capital flight by top tech companies, mass work stoppages, and threats by Israeli soldiers and reservists to refuse military service if the judicial overhaul is pushed through.”