News Roundup for October 22, 2021

October 22, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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 Two-State Solution Act Takes on the Harmful Israeli-Palestinian Status Quo, LA Jewish Journal
J Street’s Kevin Rachlan writes, “For those of us who care deeply about Israel and its future as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people, September was a month where we finally got some good news. After years of watching the prospects for a peaceful two-state solution dim without much meaningful reaction from the US government, we saw progressive Jewish Congressman Andy Levin introduce a new bill that gives our elected leaders an opportunity to forge a new path.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements, Axios
Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages. This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement building since President Biden assumed office, and it’s the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in “Area C” of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel. The Biden administration has pressed the Israeli government in private to restrain settlement activity. The Israeli decision will likely cause tensions, and it could push the U.S. to air its criticism in public.

‘It’s a nightmare I can’t shake’: The lives robbed by Israel’s Gaza assault, +972 Magazine
“The horror in the Gaza Strip has been going on for so many years. We have reported on the blockade, the poverty, the wars. We have shared stories of life without water, without electricity, without hope. We have explained what international law requires and what conscience dictates. Now, words fail us.” This admission opens the latest report from Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which features 35 testimonies from Palestinian residents of Gaza who experienced the inferno of Israel’s 11-day bombing campaign this past May.

Israel declares leading Palestinian NGOs to be PFLP-affiliates, Jerusalem Post
The Israeli government declared several leading Palestinian NGOs to be affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), according to a document released by the Justice Ministry. The NGOs that will be designated as PFLP-related will include Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, DCI-P, Samidoun and UAWC.


Israel moves to allow tourists back in — if they are vaccinated., New York Times
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Israeli health officials announced a plan on Thursday to allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country starting Nov. 1, the first time the country will open its borders to tourism since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Since May, Israel has allowed entry only to immediate relatives of Israelis who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection, provided they obtain approval from the government. The new plan, which still requires official government approval, comes at a time when infection rates in Israel are steadily declining after a fourth wave.

National climate, voting rights groups try to keep movements unified after dispute about Israel, Washington Post
Leaders of two national liberal groups — one focused on climate, the other on voting rights — on Thursday issued statements aimed at trying to keep their diverse movements unified after a controversy erupted related to Israel and accusations of antisemitism. It centered on a voting rights rally scheduled for late Saturday morning near the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, the D.C. branch of Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate organization, issued a statement saying it was declining a speaking spot at the Freedom To Vote rally due to the presence of three Jewish groups that “are in alignment with and in support of Zionism and the State of Israel.” The three groups include the policy arm of Reform Judaism, the largest denomination of Jews, and the National Council of Jewish Women, another prominent progressive Jewish advocacy group.

Alongside Putin, Bennett Says Will Discuss Staving Off Iran’s Nuke Program, Syria, Haaretz
Bennett and Putin discussed Israel’s fears over Iran’s strengthening in Syria, the campaign against the Iranian nuclear program and Russian officials’ fears over uncoordinated Israeli attacks in Syria

Opinion and Analysis

Dragging out consulate reopening, Biden does Israel a favor, but not himself, Times of Israel
Jacob Magid writes, “It’s been five months since Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US would be reopening its consulate in Jerusalem. Bringing back the de facto mission to the Palestinians was a campaign promise of US President Joe Biden, part of a broader renewal of US ties with the Palestinians. Those relations all but dissipated under former president Donald Trump, who shuttered the consulate in 2019 and downgraded relations with Ramallah to a sub-file within the US Embassy to Israel. But little to no progress has been made since the May announcement, and the cost of such a move appears to be growing steeper over time.”

Israel’s Chances of a Political Assassination Rise, and Netanyahu Is the Only Reason, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Never has an Israeli prime minister suffered so much filth, obscenity, invective and calumny in the Knesset, while the opposition leader pretends he doesn’t see it.”

Unite Jordan and Palestine—Again, Foreign Policy
Hasan Ismaik writes, “Jordan’s 1950 unification was one of the most fluid and best-designed political annexation processes in modern history. All Palestinians in the West Bank immediately gained Jordanian citizenship and were recognized politically in its parliament, with 30 seats for both the west and east banks. Moreover, they enjoyed the same rights as Jordanians from the East Bank. In comparison, every attempt at a solution since the Six-Day War in June 1967 has been deeply flawed, unnecessarily complex, or downright lopsided, causing decades of unrest and hundreds of thousands of injuries and deaths to both Palestinians and Israelis.”

Jordan Is Not Palestine, Foreign Policy
Zaid Omar Nabulsi writes, “Hasan Ismaik begins his recent article in Foreign Policy—in which he advocates the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Jordan as an ingenious solution to the Palestinian problem—by evoking the philosophical notion of Occam’s razor, proclaiming that “the simplest solution is almost always the best.” Yet there is absolutely nothing in Ismaik’s proposal that can be remotely described as simple. In fact, his attempt at out-of-the-box thinking is riddled with countless complications, contradictions, unrealistic assumptions, and unachievable end results.”