News Roundup for March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022
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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

Blinken to Visit Israel, West Bank, Morocco and Algeria, Axios
Secretary of State Tony Blinken is expected to travel to the Middle East next week after he joins President Biden’s trip to Brussels and Poland. He is expected to arrive in Israel on Saturday evening and have meetings with Israeli officials in Jerusalem and Palestinian officials in Ramallah.


Israeli Soldiers Collect Personal Information of Foreign Activists in West Bank, Haaretz
Israeli soldiers operating in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank have been collecting personal information about human rights activists from Europe, according to footage obtained by anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence.

Europe Unhappy With Israel’s Reluctance to Sanction Russia, Al-Monitor
European Union members are expected to adopt a fifth sanctions package against Russia tonight or tomorrow, but Israel is not expected to change its stance on the issue. So far, Israel has been implementing some of the banking sanctions adopted by the United States and European Union members against Russian financial institutions, but Jerusalem has not adopted any official sanctions policy.

Mosque Arson, ‘Revenge’ Graffiti in Palestinian Villages in Days After Be’er Sheva Murders, Haaretz
Five violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank were reported this week, four of them taking place after the stabbing attack by a Palestinian on Tuesday in Be’er Sheva, a security official told Haaretz. Israeli police announced Thursday that they were investigating the attempted arson of a mosque on Wednesday night in the village of Zeita Jama’in near Nablus.

Zelensky Speaks Again With Bennett Amid Israeli Mediation Efforts, The Times of Israel
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday night that he’d spoken again with Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has been trying to mediate an end to hostilities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Public Interest Low in Run-up to West Bank City Elections, Haaretz
As large Palestinian cities gear up for voting, a Hamas member says Fatah is using force to promote candidates and Nablus expect turnout of no more than 30 percent.

Opinion and Analysis

Al-Walaja Deserves a Zoning Plan, Not Home Demolitions, The Times of Israel
Kenneth Bob reflects on his stay in al-Walaja, “As we sat in [my host] Hassan’s son’s living room drinking tea and eating snacks, the door opened and two grandchildren came running in, school knapsacks on their backs. “Can you imagine if you were a child,” Hassan asked, “and you didn’t know if you are going to have a home in 10 days?” The families of al-Walaja deserve a zoning plan and a path forward to thrive as good neighbors, not a future of sitting on rubble not knowing where they will live. As the members of Congress wrote, our values dictate a better future for the residents of al-Walaja.”

The Moral Bankruptcy of AIPAC, Tikkun
Ivan Rothman argues, “For decades a two state solution (TSS) was widely regarded as the most promising framework to achieve such a resolution. Clearly, primary responsibility for the failure to implement the TSS lies first and foremost with the parties themselves, both the Palestinians and the Israelis. However, it would be an understatement to say that AIPAC’s policies and actions have contributed significantly to this failure. For decades, AIPAC’s lobbying efforts have only resulted in a distorted U.S. foreign policy toward Israel that has provided unconditional political cover and financial support for a host of Israeli policies and practices that have severely damaged the prospects for the TSS, including massive settlement and other infrastructure projects resulting in the de facto annexation of the West Bank, and unrelenting punitive measures of incarceration, deportations and targeted killings of Palestinians that have undermined the development of a united and more moderate Palestinian leadership. U.S. foreign policy toward Israel has, in fact, only played into the hands of the most right-wing, ultranationalist and expansionist elements of the Israeli polity.”