News Roundup for March 29, 2022

March 29, 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.

J Street in the News

Bolton Was Wrong on Iran Under Trump, and He’s Wrong Now, The Washington Post
J Street Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy Dylan Williams writes in a letter to the editor, “In 2018, President Donald Trump made a calamitous foreign policy decision: withdrawing from the highly successful Iran nuclear deal. The agreement was working: Nuclear material was shipped out of Iran, enrichment activities were restricted and inspectors were given unprecedented access to verify compliance. Mr. Trump’s abandonment of the agreement and his “maximum pressure” approach were utter disasters. That policy strengthened Iranian hard-liners, unleashed Iran to enrich nuclear fuel to unprecedented levels, and stoked tensions between the United States and Iran.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Raids Homes of Islamic State Suspects, Arrests 2, AP
Israeli security services raided the homes of at least 12 Arab citizens and arrested two suspected of having ties to the Islamic State group in a crackdown sparked by recent deadly attacks, authorities said Tuesday. Hours before the raid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the recent assaults inside Israel, which killed six people, marked a “new situation” that required stepped-up security measures.


After Two Terror Attacks in a Week, Israel Lays Out New Measures to Prevent Escalation, Haaretz
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday that he had ordered a bolstering of Israel’s security forces until Independence Day on May 5, with an emphasis on volatile regions at risk of violence following a terror attack that left two Israelis dead and put Israel’s security echelon on high alert.

In Rare Rebuke, MK Pans AIPAC Endorsement of Republicans Who Disputed 2020 Election, The Times Of Israel
Knesset Member Alon Tal has harshly criticized the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbying group for its endorsement of Republican lawmakers who refused to recognize the results of the 2020 election, calling the organization’s decision to do so “outrageous.”

Lawmakers Are Starting to Grumble About Israel’s Lack of Action in Ukraine, CNN
A number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as Israel’s lack of action in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. More than one month into the conflict, Israel’s Prime Minister has yet to openly condemn Russia, instead trying to balance a fine line between Israel’s Western allies, including the United States, and its strategic relationship with the Kremlin.

NSO Says Israeli Police Got ‘Weaker’ Variant of Pegasus Phone Hacking Tool, Reuters
The chief of Israeli spyware firm NSO Group said on Tuesday it had sold the country’s police a variant of the Pegasus hacking tool that can access local cellphones, but which he described as being “weaker” than the export version.

Israeli Defense Minister Gantz Meets Jordan’s King Abdullah Ahead of Ramadan, Haaretz
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at his palace in Amman to discuss “regional security challenges” ahead of Ramadan. Gantz’s visit was planned before the Islamic State-linked attack that killed two Israelis in Hadera Sunday.

Opinion and Analysis

No to Israel’s Cruel Home Demolitions, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial Board discusses the response to last Tuesday’s terror attack in Be’er Sheva, arguing “Bennett, the cabinet and the defense establishment must shut their ears to the voices demanding revenge and the calls for collective punishment coming from the opposition. One such call is the automatic demand to demolish the homes of the perpetrators, even though they are Israeli citizens, as Israel does in the case of Palestinians from the territories. This is a cruel tactic that punishes family members despite the fact that they were not involved in the attack. Home demolition is not a legitimate means of punishment; moreover, its effectiveness in deterring potential terrorists is also in doubt.”

All of a Sudden, Israel Cares About Illegal Weapons, (+972 Mag
Orly Noy writes, “For years, Palestinian leaders in Israel have been calling on law enforcement to address the deadly scourge of illegal weapons in Arab communities. They even went on hunger strike for three days in front of the Knesset demanding that the authorities take action to confiscate those weapons. The state comptroller referred in a special report to the scandalous incompetence of the security forces in preventing the spread of illegal firearms in Arab communities, but in vain. So long as the victims of these weapons were exclusively Palestinian citizens, the matter simply did not interest the Israeli authorities.”