News Roundup for March 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street News Roundup

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

My Key Takeaways From Our Latest Delegation to Israel and the West Bank, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “The two prongs of the Netanyahu government’s extreme agenda — undermining democracy and advancing annexation — are inextricably linked…Prime Minister Netanyahu assures the US that his “hands are on the wheel” and that he will “rein in” the extremists in his coalition. The truth is that he has not and cannot — and the car is heading off of a cliff. The Biden Administration must be stronger in its opposition to the Israeli government’s agenda. The West Bank is on fire, Israel’s democracy hangs in the balance and the assurances of the Prime Minister that he has it all under control are simply not credible.”

Top News and Analysis

U.S. Report: Israel Often Did Not Prevent Settler Attacks Against Palestinians in 2021, Axios
The State Department’s 2021 report on terrorism, published on Monday, concludes that Israeli security forces often did not prevent violent attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and almost never held violent settlers accountable. This is the most serious determination made in an official and public State Department report regarding the issue of settler violence against Palestinian civilians. The publication date of the report was scheduled long in advance, but its timing — a day after the rampage by hundreds of settlers in the Palestinian village of Hawara — put it in a more relevant context.

Israeli Police Crack Down, Clash With Anti-Netanyahu Protest, The Washington Post
Weeks of anti-government protests in Israel turned violent on Wednesday for the first time as police fired stun grenades and a water cannon at demonstrators who blocked a Tel Aviv highway. The crackdown came shortly after Israel’s hard-line security minister urged a tough response to what he said were “anarchists.” The violence came as thousands across the country launched a “national disruption day” against the government’s plan to overhaul Israel’s judicial system. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allies say the program is meant reduce the influence of unelected judges.


Israeli Orthodox Jew Raises Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars for Victims of Settler Riot, JTA
An Orthodox Jew and Israeli left-wing political activist has raised more than $400,000 for victims of a recent settler riot in a Palestinian West Bank town. Yair Fink, a former Labor Party candidate known by the nickname Yaya, launched a crowdfunding campaign for the residents of Huwara, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank where hundreds of settlers rampaged on Sunday, burning dozens of cars and buildings, and injuring dozens of residents. One Palestinian was killed in the riots in a town to Huwara’s south. The riots came after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli brothers who were traveling through the village.

Pentagon Developed Contingency Plan for War With Iran, The Intercept
The US military allocated spending for secret contingency operations pertaining to an Iran war plan, according to a classified Pentagon budget manual listing emergency and special programs reviewed by The Intercept. The contingency plan, code-named “Support Sentry,” was funded in 2018 and 2019, according to the manual, which was produced for the 2019 fiscal year. It classifies Support Sentry as an Iran “CONPLAN,” or concept plan, a broad contingency plan for war which the Pentagon develops in anticipation of a potential crisis.

UN Report: Uranium Particles Enriched to 83.7% Found in Iran, AP
Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog found uranium particles enriched up to 83.7% in Iran’s underground Fordo nuclear site, a report seen Tuesday by The Associated Press said. The confidential quarterly report by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency distributed to member states likely will raise tensions further between Iran and the West over its nuclear program.

Israeli Army Arrests Palestinian Suspects in Deadly Shooting, The Washington Post
Israeli troops arrested two Palestinians on Wednesday suspected of involvement in the killing earlier this week of an American-Israeli, the military said, in a daylight raid in a West Bank refugee camp. The arrest raid came as Israel’s parliament was meeting to give initial approval to a proposal to impose the death penalty against Palestinians convicted in deadly attacks. A top minister in Israel’s far-right government, meanwhile, called for “erasing” a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank where radical Jewish settlers went on a rampage earlier this week.

Opinion and Analysis

U.S. Jews Must Fight Netanyahu’s Moves to Defang Israeli Courts, Newsweek
Rabbi Josh Weinberg writes, “Right now, we don’t have a choice. Israel as a Jewish and democratic State is being threatened, and the damage being done is potentially irreversible. We must speak up, in the same way that we would mobilize and come together if Israel were facing a formidable external threat. We must support civil society organizations and specifically our Reform Movement that is leading the fight for religious freedom and for democracy at large.”

How the Israeli Settler Rampage Was Emboldened by the New Far-Right Government, Vox
Jonathan Guyer reports, “The violence in Huwara, escalating Israeli military raids on Palestinians, and the intensified Palestinian attacks against Israelis over the last several months reveal a new reality: The shape of Israeli government has moved to an extreme far right, further enabling the country’s most fringe elements and raising questions about whether more violence from either side can be avoided.”

Emboldened by Israel’s Far Right, Jewish Settlers Fan the Flames of Chaos, The Washington Post
Shira Rubin writes, “Violent vigilante settlers are resurfacing in the occupied West Bank, just as a cycle of deadly Israeli military raids and attacks by Palestinian militants have brought the region to the brink of another all-out conflict. With a new far-right government in power, the settlers believe that the moment to push for operational annexation of the land they see as their biblical birthright has finally arrived.”