News Roundup for July 3, 2023

July 3, 2023
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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

Israel Attacks Jenin in Biggest West Bank Incursion in 20 Years, The Guardian
Israel has launched a major aerial and ground offensive into the West Bank city of Jenin, its biggest military operation in the Palestinian territory in years, in what it described as an “extensive counter-terrorism effort.” At least eight Palestinians were killed and 50 injured, 10 seriously, in the attack that began at about 1am on Monday, with the death toll likely to rise, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

US Officials: Israel’s West Bank Policy Could Scuttle Visa Waiver Program Admittance, Haaretz
Israeli political and defense officials have been told that their government’s acquiescence to the presence of unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts and its failure to deal with violence toward Palestinians would harm Israel’s relations with the Gulf states and the prospects of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. They were told that it would also affect planned cooperation between Israel and the United States, including efforts to exempt Israeli visitors to the US from having to apply for visas in advance.

Settler Violence in Israel Opens a New Split in Netanyahu’s Government, The Washington Post
The recent spate of settler attacks on Palestinian villages in the West Bank is deepening fissures in Israel’s right-wing government, with hard-line ministers pushing back on calls by military and security chiefs for a crackdown on Jewish extremists. In the attacks, carried out over several days in revenge for the killing of four Israeli settlers by Hamas gunmen, armed mobs marauded through villages, torching homes and cars, cutting power lines and firing weapons. At least one Palestinian was killed and dozens have been injured.


Overhaul Critics Seek Show of Force in Afternoon Protest at Ben Gurion Airport, The Times of Israel
Protesters against the government’s effort to overhaul the justice system are hoping for a major show of force Monday at a planned large-scale demonstration at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s central travel hub. Organizers are planning to rally outside the airport’s Terminal 3 at 5:30 p.m., with throngs of demonstrators expected to arrive by car and train. Police, meanwhile, said the rally would only be allowed outside the smaller Terminal 1 and would be limited to 5,000 participants, an instruction protest leaders rejected and indicated they may ignore.

Netanyahu to Advance Partial Version of Israel’s Judicial Overhaul as Protests Continue, JTA
The Israeli government is poised to advance its proposal to weaken the country’s Supreme Court, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had dropped the plan’s most prominent provision. The renewed legislative effort comes amid continued protests against the proposed reform, which have taken place at least weekly since the beginning of this year. Widespread demonstrations in March — in addition to other threats of civil disobedience — led to a pause in the advance of the reforms and sparked negotiations between the governing coalition and opposition.

US Presses Lebanon to Remove Hezbollah Outpost in Israeli Territory, Axios
The US is pressing the Lebanese government and military to take steps to dismantle a Hezbollah outpost that was established several weeks ago in Israeli territory on the Israel-Lebanon border, four Israeli and US officials told Axios. Hezbollah has increasingly taken what Israel sees as provocative steps near the border, raising concerns of a possible escalation that could lead to a new armed conflict between Israel and the militant group along a border that has been mostly stable since the 2006 war.

Israeli Settlers Burn Palestinian Crops in Hebron, Al-Monitor
The Palestinian Authority reported more Israeli settler violence toward Palestinians on Friday as tensions simmer in the West Bank. Israeli settlers are accused of burning crops belonging to a local Palestinian in the village of at-Tawani, south of Hebron. The settlers came from the nearby settlement of Ma’on, according to the PA’s official WAFA news agency. WAFA also reported that settlers attacked a spring in Qaryut, south of Nablus. Israeli forces fired gas canisters at local Palestinians who confronted the settlers, according to the outlet.

Over 1,100 Palestinians Said Held by Israel Without Trial, Highest Figure Since 2003, The Times of Israel
Israel is currently holding over 1,100 Palestinians without trial or charge, the highest figure since 2003, an Israeli rights group said Sunday. The group, HaMoked, which regularly gathers figures from Israeli prison authorities, said that 1,132 people were being held in administrative detention, a practice in which prisoners can be held without charge practically indefinitely and are not granted access to the evidence against them. The vast majority of them are Palestinians. Just four of the detainees are Jewish Israelis.

Opinion and Analysis

A Silver Lining in an Israeli Crisis, Newsweek
Dan Perry and Gilead Sher argue, “Israel is currently at a turning point in what is clearly an acute national crisis, as the government proceeds in a cleverer piecemeal fashion. The protest movement has by now coalesced into a formal (if loose) structure. There is a voluntary headquarters acting as a facilitator that provides management, infrastructure, and funds, as well as coordinating legal counsel, logistics, campaigning, and media (among its leaders is Gilead Sher, one of the authors of this article). There are more than 200 movements, NGOs, organizations, and groups under this umbrella, and 150 regular protest locations throughout the country.”

It’s Time to Make Israel’s Protest Impolite, Haaretz
Shikma Bressler-Schwartzman notes, “Our efforts in the coming weeks are likely to be less pleasant. Some will probably disrupt our daily routine, but the choice between momentary unpleasantness and life under the laws of far-rightists Avi Maoz and Bezalel Smotrich is clear. The choice between life in a normal country and an extremist country is clear. The choice between democracy and dictatorship is clear. On Monday we’ll demonstrate legally at Ben-Gurion International Airport. It’s enough to read the oppressive regime’s reactions to our efforts to understand their effectiveness. The country’s daily routine can’t continue when the judicial overhaul that the regime envisions is taking place.”

Netanyahu Gambles on Israel-US Relations with Trip to China, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to China has had a mixed reception in Israel. As Netanyahu continues to await an invitation to the White House, reports emerged this week of advanced contacts for a visit to China in the coming months at the invitation of the government in Beijing. Netanyahu confirmed the news in a briefing to American lawmakers this week. Initial reactions to the news ran the gamut from speculation that this was Netanyahu’s revenge on the Biden administration for embarrassing him by failing to invite him to Washington to the take that Netanyahu is hinting Israel could manage without US patronage.”