News Roundup for July 6, 2023

July 6, 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.

J Street In the News

‘Occupation’ is Making a Comeback: The Legal Overhaul’s Ripple Effect, The Jerusalem Post
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “The destructiveness, extremism, and damage caused by this “full right-wing government” have not only brought hundreds of thousands of citizens out to the streets; they have also begun to create a change in the liberal camp’s discourse. […] One of the direct benefits of this change is the return of the word “occupation” to our discourse, a word that over the years has almost turned into a mockery.”

Top News and Analysis

Thousands Take to the Streets, Block Roads After Tel Aviv Police Chief Steps Down, The Times of Israel
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets and blocked several major highways across the country Wednesday night after Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed announced his resignation from the force, claiming he was removed from his post due to “political considerations” following what critics said was his soft handling of judicial overhaul protesters. The largest demonstration took place at Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, where police clashed with protesters blocking traffic. Mounted officers sought to clear the roads and two water cannons were deployed at the scene, but police were struggling to restore order.

Tel Aviv Police Chief Quits: I Paid a Price for Choosing to Prevent a Civil War, Haaretz
Tel Aviv’s District Police Commander Ami Eshed announced Wednesday that he is resigning from the police, saying that he was ousted on political grounds. “With my head held high I am paying an intolerably heavy personal price for my choice to avert a civil war,” Eshed said in a televised statement. Referring to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s demands to use a strong hand against demonstrators, Eshed said: “I sinned by not being able to meet the expectations of the ministerial level, which included violating the rules, protocols, organizational structure and culture in decision-making and in operational judgment.”

Broken Walls, Crushed Cars: Jenin Assesses Damage of Israeli Raid, Al-Monitor
As Israeli forces pulled out of Jenin, Palestinian residents came back to assess the devastation: trashed homes, charred cars and roads strewn with rubble, glass and bullet casings. The West Bank city and militant stronghold has endured violence before, but the latest offensive was the heaviest in years, with air strikes hitting buildings and armoured bulldozers ripping up streets. Siham al-Naaja, 53, returned to her apartment in the Jenin refugee camp Wednesday to find the windows smashed, furniture upturned, pictures ripped off walls and belongings scattered across the floor.


Israeli Woman Held for Months in Iraq by Shiite Militia Linked to Iran, The New York Times
An Israeli researcher missing for months in Iraq is being held by a Shiite militia, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Elizabeth Tsurkov, 36, a doctoral student at Princeton University, was kidnapped and held by the group Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia linked to Iran, after leaving a cafe in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, in late March, according to her family and people with knowledge of her case.

Knesset Passes Preliminary Reading of Bill to Sap Bar Association of Key Powers, The Times of Israel
The Knesset on Wednesday passed in its preliminary reading a bill to strip the Israel Bar Association of most of its powers and transfer them to a new government-appointed body. It did so in a 50-43 vote, just weeks after the country’s lawyers elected Amit Becher — who has been bitterly critical of the coalition’s judicial overhaul push — as head of the bar association, defeating the coalition’s preferred candidate to head the organization.

Israel Investigating Whether Soldier Was Killed in Jenin Due to Friendly Fire, Haaretz
The Israel Defense Forces are investigating whether the death of an Israeli solider in the final moments of the Jenin operation was caused by friendly fire. Preliminary findings indicate it is likely to have been a fellow Egoz squadron. Following the two-day incursion in the Jenin refugee camp, soldiers began to withdraw from the area on Tuesday night. The IDF announced on Wednesday that Sergeant-Major David Yehuda Yitzhak, a 23-year-old from Beit El, was killed by live fire.

Jenin Attack: Abraham Accord Arab States Seen Sticking with Israel Despite Violence in West Bank, Reuters
The military operation is diplomatically awkward for the four Arab states that have signed peace pacts – known as the Abraham Accords – with Israel, and it makes the already distant prospect of including Saudi Arabia in the US-backed push for normalized ties even more remote. But analysts said economic and trade interests were likely to trump any moral outrage felt in the Abraham Accord states – Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Can (But Won’t) Stop West Bank Settlers’ Attacks on Palestinians, The Daily Beast
Ori Givati argues, “Settler violence didn’t start last month. It began with the genesis of the settlement project, from the moment that Israel legitimized the construction of the first settlements on Palestinian land. A settlement is not only a village or a town with Israelis living in it. It’s an ecosystem of violence. It’s a pebble thrown into a pond, creating a ripple effect of violence over all the Palestinians in the area.”

Israel’s Major Incursion in the West Bank Is Over. Did It Solve Anything?, The New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “The 48-hour military operation was one of the largest in many years against armed militant groups in the occupied West Bank, including deadly airstrikes not seen in the area for about two decades. But few Israelis or Palestinians harbored any illusions, saying that before long, the groups that lost weapons and people to the incursion would rebuild and the troops would be back.”