News Roundup for May 31, 2022

May 31, 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

Nancy Pelosi, Years-long AIPAC Ally, Accepts J Street Endorsement, Haaretz
“Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accepted the endorsement of J Street on Tuesday, a political development that signals the shifting attitudes on Israel inside the Democratic Party. “I am so thankful for all of the great work that J Street has done to help advance diplomacy and to safeguard Israel’s future,” Pelosi said of the endorsement from J Street’s political fundraising arm.“ J Street’s supporters across the country consistently strive for peace, justice and equality – for both Israelis and Palestinians, and for all Americans too,” she noted, adding: “I welcome their endorsement as we continue to work together toward these shared goals at this critical moment in our history.” Announcing the endorsement, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said Pelosi had “proven herself to be a true leader in promoting pro-Israel, pro-peace policies that advance the true interests of both the United States and Israel. “As a true champion for strong diplomacy, Speaker Pelosi played an invaluable, leading role in shepherding the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] through the House in 2015, ensuring the passage of the landmark agreement that blocked all Iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon.” Ben-Ami added that “at a time when liberal democracy is under attack both at home and abroad, we’re grateful for the speaker’s defense of the democratic values that the overwhelming majority of American Jews hold dear.””

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Nationalists Chant Racist Slogans in Jerusalem March, AP
Thousands of Israeli nationalists, some of them chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded through the heart of the main Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, in a show of force that risked setting off a new wave of violence in the tense city. The crowds, who were overwhelmingly young Orthodox Jewish men, were celebrating Jerusalem Day — an Israeli holiday that marks the capture of the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians see the event, which passes through the heart of the Muslim Quarter, as a provocation. Last year, the parade helped trigger an 11-day war with Gaza militants, and this year’s march drew condemnations from the Palestinians and neighboring Jordan.

Impact of Israeli Strike in Gaza Akin to Chemical Weapons, NGO Report Finds, The Guardian
An Israeli airstrike on an agrochemical warehouse during last year’s war in Gaza amounted to the “indirect deploying of chemical weapons”, according to a report analysing the attack and its impact. Incendiary artillery shells fired by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) hit the large Khudair Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Tools warehouse in the north of the Gaza Strip on 15 May last year, setting fire to hundreds of tonnes of pesticides, fertilisers, plastics and nylons. The strike created a toxic plume, which engulfed an area of 5.7 sq km and has left local residents struggling with health issues, including two reports of miscarriages, and indications of environmental damage.


Israeli Commander Says Army, Settlements Are ‘One and the Same’, Haaretz
An Israeli commander said Sunday that “the army and the settlements are one and the same,” while speaking at a yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh. “It has often been said that the army and the settlements work together. I disagree with that, I think the army and the settlement enterprise are one and the same,” Zweig said. Anyone who says that “the army and the settlers work together is drawing a distinction between the two populations,” Zweig added.

Al Jazeera To Refer Killing of American Journalist to War Crimes Court, The Washington Post
The Al Jazeera news network said it would refer the killing of its longtime correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court after accusing Israeli forces of fatally shooting the Palestinian American journalist, whose death sparked global outrage.

Israeli PM Defends March Marked by Violence, Racism, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday defended the decision to hold an annual march that celebrates Israel’s takeover of east Jerusalem and was marked by violence and anti-Palestinian racism. Bennett praised the marchers, saying that “except for an extremist group, whom we will deal with to the fullest extent of the law, those who celebrated yesterday did so in a very special, heart-lifting way.”

Lacking Votes, Coalition Pulls Bid To Extend Application of Israeli Law to Settlers, The Times of Israel
The coalition shelved a bill to renew the extension of Israeli criminal and some civil law to Israelis living in the West Bank, just hours before it was set to come up for its first vote on Monday, after opposition parties pledged not to support any government-sponsored legislation. A spokesperson for Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said in a statement that he acceded to a request by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to push the vote back by a week, “in order to maximize efforts to pass this vital law.”

Arab Reporter Assaulted in Sheikh Jarrah After Right-wing March; Two Arrested, Haaretz
Israeli police arrested two Jewish suspects on Monday for assaulting an Arab reporter in East Jerusalem after a right-wing march. Clashes erupted in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday as young Jews attacked Arabs, homes and vehicles. The reporter, Iyad Harb, is a well-known journalist in Jerusalem reporting for the Arabic service of Israel’s public broadcasting corporation, Kan.

Opinion and Analysis

JPost Poll Wake-up Call For Israeli Coexistence Efforts, The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post editorial board writes of their new poll findings, “It shows that Israel – even after 74 years – still has to decide where it wants to go. Does it want to work toward greater separation between its Jewish and Arab citizens or does it want to work toward greater integration? That is something the Bennett government tried to answer by showing what a partnership can look like – and that is what Ben-Gvir is trying to answer by standing for a different message: one of Jewish power that dominates the Arabs in this land. The poll published Friday should be a wake-up call for Israel. While this government might collapse in the coming weeks, it does not mean that the vision of an integrated Jewish-Arab country needs to die with it. That is still something all people in this country should work toward. And it is really the only way to preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.”

Masafer Yatta: The 22-Year Legal Battle Over West Bank Village Evictions, Explained, The Jewish Journal
Following the High Court approval of the largest single mass displacement of Palestinians by Israel since 1967 – and the mobilization of those on the ground trying to stop it, Andrew Lapin publishes in depth reporting about the movement to save Masafer Yatta and explains the history of the place.