News Roundup for March 23, 2023

March 23, 2023

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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

The Netanyahu Government’s Destructive Actions Are Out of Control. Here’s How the Biden Administration Should Respond., J Street
“In the face of continued escalatory and provocative actions from the far-right Netanyahu government, the Biden Administration is rightly becoming increasingly alarmed and frustrated…We call on the Biden Administration to take the firm action necessary to truly stand up to the Netanyahu government’s far-right agenda. Only with that determined approach can they truly uphold our two countries’ shared values and interests, and help secure Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinian Killed in Israeli Military Raid in West Bank, AP
Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian militant during a raid in the northern West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian health officials said, the latest escalation of violence in what has been the deadliest start of a year for Palestinians in the occupied territory in more than two decades. Israeli forces stormed into the northern city of Tulkarem, home to an emerging militant group with ties to the armed offshoot of the nationalist Fatah party. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 25-year-old Amir Abu Khadija was shot multiple times in the head and legs. The Tulkarem branch of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed Abu Khadija as its leader.

Israel Passes Law Shielding Netanyahu From Being Removed Amid Protests Over Judicial Changes, CNN
The Israeli parliament on Thursday passed a law that would limit the ways a sitting prime minister can be declared unfit for office as part of a package of bills the government is pushing through in its controversial judicial overhaul. The bill is largely seen by the opposition and critics as a way to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing an ongoing corruption trial. By a 61-to-47 final vote, the Knesset approved the bill that states that only the prime minister himself or the cabinet, with a two-thirds majority, can declare the leader unfit. The cabinet vote would then need to be ratified by a super majority in the parliament.


Iran Enriching Uranium Above 60% Could Trigger Strike, Israeli Official Says, Axios
Israel told the Biden administration and several European countries that Iran would be entering dangerous territory that could trigger an Israeli military strike if it enriches uranium above the 60% level, a senior Israeli official told Axios.

Palestinian Prisoners, Israel Prison Service Agree on Hunger Strike Suspension During Ramadan, Haaretz
The leaders of the Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli jails said on Thursday they had reached an agreement with the authorities to suspend a planned hunger strike during the month of Ramadan. The prisoner leadership said in a statement that the decision was taken following “intensive negotiations” with the Israel Prison Service that produced an agreement “to ensure the preservation of their rights.” They said the terms of the accord with the IPS would be released over the next day.

Police Deploy Water Cannons Against Protesters Blocking Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, The Times of Israel
Police used water cannons against anti-overhaul protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv. The controversial crowd-control measure has been used on a number of occasions against people protesting the government’s legislative package that will — among other things — allow the Knesset to override court decisions with the barest majority, preemptively shield laws from judicial oversight, and put the selection of judges in the hands of coalition politicians.

U.S. Dem Lawmakers Hold “Emotional” Meeting With Israeli Ambassador, Axios
A group of Jewish Democratic members of Congress held a tough meeting with Israeli Ambassador to Washington Mike Herzog two weeks ago and expressed grave concern about the Netanyahu government’s plan to weaken the Supreme Court, two Israeli officials briefed on the meeting and two members of Congress who attended the meeting told Axios.

Opinion and Analysis

Concern Over Violence As Palestinians Prepare for Ramadan in Jerusalem, The Guardian
Bethan McKernan and Sufian Taha report, “The period of fasting that commemorates Gabriel’s revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad is a time for self-discipline, reflection and celebrations with family and friends. As with almost every religious holiday in the contested city, however, this year Ramadan is accompanied by worries of surging violence. At least 88 Palestinians, of whom about half were militants and half civilians, and 16 Israelis, of whom 15 were civilians, have been killed since January, according to rights groups, making 2023 the deadliest start to the year in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in two decades. The bloodshed has led to speculation that the region is at the beginning of a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising.”

Israel’s Disengagement From Reality, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board writes, “The settlers’ rampage, with the government’s encouragement, shows one of the major goals of the regime coup: cultivating the settlement enterprise, future annexation and eliminating the two-state option. Fighting this destructive policy must be one of the goals of the protest.”