News Roundup for June 22, 2023

June 22, 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

Jewish Leaders Ask Federations Network to Clarify Position on Israeli Settlements, The Forward
“Nearly two dozen current and former officials at local federations and community relations councils are calling on the Jewish Federations of North America to clarify its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the umbrella group sponsored a conference promoting Israeli settlements earlier this month…“We urge Mr. Fingerhut to publicly explain why he made this decision; to clarify JFNA’s position on Israeli settlements, democracy and the two-state solution; and to commit not to sponsor or legitimize such far-right events, positions and speakers in the future,” the letter concluded…“We’re encouraged that many veteran Jewish communal leaders have signed on to express their concern about the JFNA’s decision to sponsor a controversial conference that was heavily linked with the settlement movement,” Logan Bayroff, J Street’s head of communications, said in a statement.”

65 Senators Urge Israel’s Entry into the Visa Waiver Program by End of September, JTA
A number of Democrats have joined Arab American and other groups in demanding full reciprocity as a condition of Israel’s entry into the program. “Every country, of course, has the right to establish its own rules for the entry of foreigners,” said that letter, which had the backing of J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group. “However, if a country wants the privilege of participating in our Visa Waiver Program, it does not have the right to discriminate against US citizens.”

Top News and Analysis

‘Our Response to Terror’: PM Okays 1,000 New Homes in West Bank Settlement of Eli, The Times of Israel
Israel will authorize 1,000 new homes to be constructed in the West Bank settlement of Eli, the site of a deadly terror attack that killed four Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Wednesday. The decision was made in a meeting between Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who agreed on the “immediate advancement” of planning for the homes. “Our response to terror is to hit it hard and build in our land,” the statement said.

US Warned Israel: West Bank Escalation Will Harm Arab Normalization Push, Haaretz
The US administration has recently warned Israel that a violent escalation in the West Bank, along with continued settlement construction there, will jeopardize the United States’ efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Arab countries. The United States expressed this to Israel before its military operation in Jenin on Monday, and it was reiterated by the administration afterward, due to concerns that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would adopt the position of his cabinet’s far-right ministers and launch an extensive military operation in the northern West Bank.


Palestinians Pick Up the Pieces After Settler Pogrom in West Bank Village, +972
Dozens of Israeli settlers attacked the Palestinian village of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday night, damaging cars, homes, and businesses through arson and stone throwing. Five Palestinians were injured by live fire either from settlers or soldiers. According to eyewitnesses, Israel’s army and police were present throughout the attack.

Israel Conducts Rare Drone Strike in West Bank, Escalating Already High Tensions, Axios
Violence in the occupied West Bank dramatically escalated this week after the Israeli military killed six Palestinians in a raid, Palestinian militants killed four Israeli settlers in an attack, and Israeli settlers rampaged through a Palestinian town. Later Wednesday, Israel conducted a drone strike on a car the Israeli military said carried three Palestinian militants who had attacked an Israeli village. It was the first such strike in two decades. The three in the car were killed.

In the West Bank, UNESCO Site Battir Could Face a Water Shortage From a Planned Israeli Settlement, AP
Generations of Palestinians have worked the terraced hillsides of this West Bank farming village southwest of Jerusalem, growing olives, fruits, beans and exquisite eggplants renowned across the region in a valley linked to the biblical King David. But residents fear their ancient way of life could soon be in danger as Israel’s far-right government moves ahead with a settlement project on a nearby hilltop.

Hours After Losing Battle for Bar Association, Likud Moves to Void its Power, The Times of Israel
Hours after the coalition’s preferred candidate to lead the Israel Bar Association acknowledged defeat in the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Wednesday prepared to advance a bill to strip the IBA of much of its authority. Results from the organization’s leadership election handed a win to Amit Becher, the candidate standing on an anti-overhaul platform.

Opinion and Analysis

An Unwritten Deal Is Exactly What Iran and America Need, Foreign Policy
Trita Parsi notes, “Rumors are abounding that after 10 months of almost no diplomatic activity, the United States and Iran are close to reaching an informal agreement that will prevent a further escalation between the two. What is on the table is not the renewal of the 2015 nuclear agreement—which remains in a comatose state—but rather an unwritten understanding that neither side will pull the plug on the respirator.”

Israel’s Contradiction of Eliminating Terrorism and Expanding Settlements, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “The murderous attack on Tuesday, which left four Israeli civilians dead near the West Bank settlement of Eli, tragically reminds us – as if there were a need for such a reminder – of the profound danger facing Israelis who choose to live in conquered territory. The government’s efforts to blur the existence of the occupation and the legal contortions defining the West Bank as an area of “belligerent occupation” … will not change the difficult, dangerous reality.”