News Roundup for June 28, 2023

June 28, 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

Israeli Defense Officials Slam Gov’t for Harming Efforts to Fight Settlers’ Violence, Haaretz
The Israeli government’s policy is disrupting efforts to counter hate crimes by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, senior defense officials told Haaretz. The sources said that the IDF and the Shin Bet security service have lost control of the situation and of their ability to halt the settlers – who operate freely with the encouragement of ministers and coalition lawmakers. The sources further told Haaretz that state officials are preventing them from bolstering security forces in the West Bank, do not approve of them evacuating illegal outposts and commands that they turn a blind eye to the movement of equipment into these sites.

UN Urges Israel and Palestinians to Halt West Bank Violence in Statement Backed by US and Russia, AP
The UN Security Council urged Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday to avoid actions that can further inflame tensions in the volatile West Bank. The statement was backed by both the United States and Russia in a moment of unity on a divisive issue, reflecting the widespread international concern at the escalating violence especially by Israeli forces and settlers. The statement followed what UN Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland called “an alarming spike in violence” in the West Bank that led to numerous Palestinian and Israeli casualties.


Israel’s Herzog Calls Abbas, Condemns Settler Violence Against Palestinians, Al-Monitor
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog made a rare phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and addressed the recent assaults by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians. A statement issued by the Israeli president’s office said that Herzog called Abbas to convey his greetings ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which falls on Wednesday, but also condemned the Israeli violence against Palestinians.

US Envoy Says He Doesn’t Believe Netanyahu will Advance Entire Judicial Overhaul, Axios
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said in a virtual briefing to the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will move forward with the entire judicial overhaul plan unilaterally because the public reaction will be “dramatic.”

Blinken ‘Conveyed Concern’ Over West Bank Violence to Israeli Foreign Minister, Reuters
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “conveyed concern” over escalating violence on the West Bank during a call with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, the US State Department said on Tuesday. Blinken also expressed condolences to Cohen over a recent terrorist attack against Israeli citizens and urged all parties to work together to “de-escalate the situation,” the State Department said.

Palestinian Child Loses an Eye After Being Shot with Sponge-tipped Bullet, The Times of Israel
A five-year-old Palestinian boy has lost an eye after being shot during West Bank clashes between Palestinian gunmen and the Israel Defense Forces. Khaled Malalha from the village of Bazariya, northwest of Nablus, was traveling with family members to a wedding last Friday when the gun battle erupted at a nearby junction.

Ben-Gvir: Settlers who Torched Palestinian Villages are ‘Sweet Boys’, The Jerusalem Post
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called young settlers who torched a number of Palestinian villages after a deadly terrorist attack in Eli last week “sweet boys,” during a meeting on Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. “Most of them are sweet boys,” said Ben-Gvir.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Do So Many Conversations About Israel Exclude More than Half of the Jewish Population?, The Forward
CEO of T’ruah Rabbi Jill Jacobs writes, “The maleness of the Israel conversation may not be unique within the foreign policy space, an area where there are crucial efforts to lift up female experts. But American Jewish conversations about Israel tend not to be wonky foreign policy conversations, but intracommunal Jewish conversations, and the invited experts are generally not foreign policy professionals, but rather rabbis, journalists and pundits from the Jewish community itself.”

When It Comes to Defining Antisemitism, It’s Official: IHRA is No Longer the Only Game in Town, The Georgia Recorder
Joe Sterling, vice chair of J Street’s Georgia chapter, notes, “But millions of our friends and neighbors are there to be educated. The antisemitism strategy laid out by the Biden administration calls for understanding, teaching, learning and outreach and it has been embraced across the board. Let’s use all the tools we have to fight this scourge, not just one of them.”

Like the Palestinian Authority, Israel Has Lost Control of Its Extremists, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “A common Israeli argument that serves to justify army operations in Jenin and Nablus that end with many Palestinians dead goes: “The Palestinian Authority has lost control” to terrorist organizations and lone gunmen. Defense officials who work closely with their Palestinian counterparts in other parts of the West Bank often speak disparagingly of the PA’s weakness in northern West Bank cities. But Israel is exactly the same. It has lost security control in the hilltop settlements of the northern West Bank to armed settlers.”