News Roundup for May 22, 2023

May 22, 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.

J Street In the News

Responding to the Outlandish, Offensive Claims in Mahmoud Abbas’ Nakba Speech, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami responds to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent speech at the UN.

How to Reverse the Trend of the US Distancing, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel Executive Director Nadav Tamir writes, “The claim by Israel’s supporters in Washington that Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East guarantees its strong alliance with Washington is highly doubtful — both because we are undermining liberal democratic values and making it difficult for the Americans to realize their interest in stability in the region, especially in the Iranian and Palestinian contexts. The agenda of the Netanyahu-Haredi-messianic coalition, as set out in the coalition agreements, contravenes Israel’s main national security interest: strengthening the alliance with the United States and helping it restore its dominant position in the region.”

Clarification on Bill Cosponsored by Summer Lee, The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle
Mark Fichman (chair) and Arlene Weiner of J Street’s Pittsburgh Chapter respond to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle’s recent coverage of Betty McCollum’s re-introduced bill, supported by local Congresswoman, Rep. Summer Lee.

Top News and Analysis

Extremist Israeli Cabinet Minister Visits Sensitive Jerusalem Holy Site, ABC News
A far-right Israeli Cabinet minister visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site on Sunday, declaring that “we are in charge,” while the Israeli Cabinet held a rare meeting in Jerusalem’s Old City to celebrate its control of the area. The visit by Itamar Ben-Gvir to the disputed hilltop compound drew condemnations from the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbor, Jordan. The site is revered by Jews and Muslims, and the competing claims lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Three Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in West Bank, Yahoo News
Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank early on Monday, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement. There was no immediate confirmation of the fatalities by the Israeli military. The Israeli forces raided Balata refugee camp in the city of Nablus accompanied with bulldozers and blocked ambulances from entering the camp, Palestinian state news agency reported on Monday.

Israeli Army Permits Settlers to Enter Evacuated West Bank Outpost, U.S. ‘Deeply Troubled’, Haaretz
The Israeli military’s Central Command chief signed an order on Thursday allowing Israelis to remain at the evacuated West Bank settler outpost of Homesh, prompting concern from the United States. A security official told Haaretz that the army also signed an order temporarily barring the entry of Israelis into the outpost until the yeshiva established there is moved to a nearby plot recognized as state land.


Israeli Soldier Lightly Wounded in West Bank Ramming Attack, Army Searching for Suspect, Haaretz
An Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in a ramming attack in the West Bank village of Hawara on Sunday. Israeli forces are searching for the assailant. According to an army official, a preliminary probe found that the suspect drove up on the curb and struck the man before fleeing towards Nablus. One of the soldiers on the scene fired at the fleeing vehicle but missed, the official added.

Palestinians Accuse PA of Cracking Down on University Students, The Jerusalem Post
Palestinian Authority security forces have resumed their crackdown on university students suspected of affiliation with Hamas, Palestinians said on Sunday. The crackdown comes on the eve of the elections for the student council at Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah, which are scheduled to be held later this week. Hamas scored a landslide victory in the last elections at Bir Zeit University in May 2022.

As Tensions Mount with Israel, Hezbollah Stages a Massive Show of Force in Lebanon, NPR
The military exercise on Sunday at a Hezbollah base in southern Lebanon, close to the border with Israel, was the biggest public show of force by the militia in at least a decade. The group invited local and foreign journalists to attend, giving them rare access to a sensitive military position to report on the event.

Iran Claims to Capture Infiltrators Linked to Israel, The Times of Israel
Iran’s Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib said Sunday that the country’s forces had recently captured a “terrorist” group he claimed was linked to Israel, local media reported. Khatib said the team was captured entering across the western border with Iraq. He said the new government in Iraq has promised to tighten border security.

Opinion and Analysis

When the Jewish State’s Government Defends Antisemitism, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “Back in 2017, the Jewish community in Hungary begged the Netanyahu government to put pressure on Orban so that he would stop his campaign against Soros, which encouraged antisemitic stereotypes. The end is known: Netanyahu chose Orban’s side…The Musk affair is but one more reminder of the ongoing shame of the consistent support the Netanyahu government lends to those fostering antisemitism around the world. A government defending antisemitism.”

Fear and Loathing at Damascus Gate, The Times of Israel
Benjamin Birely, who attended Jerusalem’s Flag March to document the event, recounts the hatred and incitement he witnessed on the part of extremist participants.