News Roundup for June 27, 2023

June 27, 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

US ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Israeli Settlement Plan, Al-Monitor
“Left-leaning Jewish group J Street welcomed the Biden administration’s restoration of the ban and encouraged it to reverse the prior administration’s customs guidance that said West Bank exports should be labeled “Made in Israel.” In a statement, J Street said “All those who support a two-state solution to secure Israel’s democratic future must do everything possible to uphold the distinction between the State of Israel and settlements in occupied territory beyond the Green Line.”

J Street Welcomes Restoration of Longstanding Bipartisan Policy Preventing Us From Funding Research In Settlements, J Street
J Street strongly welcomes the Biden Administration’s decision to restore a longstanding bipartisan geographic restriction on American funding for US-Israel scientific cooperation projects, preventing US taxpayer dollars from supporting research conducted in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Top News and Analysis

Israel OK’s Plans for Thousands of New Settlement Homes, Defying White House Calls for Restraint, AP
Israel’s far-right government on Monday approved plans to build over 5,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Israeli media said, a move that threatened to worsen increasingly strained relations with the United States. The decision defied growing US criticism of Israel’s settlement policies. It also raised tensions with the Palestinians at a time of rising violence in the occupied territory.

IDF Confirms Palestinian Rocket Fire from Jenin, Says No Israeli Towns Threatened, The Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces confirms Palestinians in the northern West Bank attempted to launch rockets at Israeli towns this morning. The IDF says one of the rockets landed in Palestinian-controlled territory in the northern West Bank. The second apparently failed to launch, footage showed. “The rocket did not pose a threat to communities in the area,” the IDF says.


Netanyahu Compares Settler Riots in West Bank to Protests: ‘We’re a Law-abiding Country’, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared the rioting of the settlers in the West Bank to the demonstrators against the judicial overhaul on Sunday saying: “We’re a law-abiding country – in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan and on the Ayalon.” Netanyahu condemned the West Bank rioters, saying “it’s unacceptable to me that when your blood is boiling and people are murdered in the cruelest possible way – people give themselves free rein, raid villages and start fires. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

In a Snub, US Does Not Invite Israel’s Ben-Gvir, Smotrich to July 4 Reception, Al-Monitor
The US Embassy in Israel declined to invite Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to the US Independence Day reception on July 3 in another snub from the Biden administration. Smotrich and Ben-Gvir have both made hateful remarks against the Palestinians since they came to office in December.

Netanyahu Set to Visit China Next Month, in Trip Seen Likely to Annoy Biden, The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit China next month, signaling growing impatience with Washington, as Beijing increasingly throws its weight around in the region, Israeli sources said Monday. The visit is intended, among other reasons, to signal to Washington that Netanyahu has other diplomatic opportunities to pursue, Israeli diplomatic sources told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site on Monday.

Survey: Jewish Voters Strongly Favor Biden Over Trump in Possible 2024 Rematch, JTA
Jewish voters would favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump by 50 percentage points in a 2024 general election matchup, according to a survey released on Monday — a stark contrast from polls of the national electorate that predict a close race between the two leading candidates. The survey of 800 registered Jewish voters, taken by the Jewish Electorate Institute, shows Biden leading Trump 72% to 22% among respondents.

US to Test its Palestinian Dual-nationals’ Israeli Access in July, Reuters
The United States will test Palestinian-Americans’ freedom of travel in Israel next month as part of preparations for proposed U.S. visa exemptions for Israelis, an official briefed on the preparations said on Monday. Israel has satisfied some conditions for the U.S. Visa Waver Program (VWP), to which it hopes to be admitted by October. What remains is to demonstrate reciprocal access for Palestinian-Americans at Israel’s borders and to the occupied West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

Can’t or Won’t? IDF Fails to Prevent Settler Attacks, and That’s Unlikely to Change, The Times of Israel
Emanuel Fabian writes, “There is a saying in the Israeli military: “It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t.” This has apparently been the case during a recent string of attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, with the Israel Defense Forces largely failing to prevent the rampages and riots. In recent years, there have been numerous documented cases of IDF soldiers standing by as settlers attacked Palestinians.”

History Shows Israel’s Military Strength May Be Its Weakness, Bloomberg
Max Hastings argues, “The plight of the Palestinians is worsening, as is that of Arab citizens of Israel. This month’s escalating violence, in which both Israelis and Palestinians have died, reflect both radical new Israeli policies and responses to them by Hamas militants. And, as someone who has seen five decades of conflict around the globe, including Israelis fighting for their nation’s very survival, I know this bodes ill for the Jewish state just as it does for the nationless Palestinians.”