News Roundup for September 14, 2022

September 14, 2022
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J Street News Roundup

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

Israel Weighs Limiting West Bank Operations to Help Strengthen Palestinian Authority, Haaretz
Defense officials concede that for Israel there is no real substitute for the PA security forces in the West Bank. According to these officials, there are two main possibilities: Help the PA forces take back responsibility for security in the cities of the northern West Bank, or stay on the sidelines and watch the PA collapse, which could mean that Israel would have to enter the resulting vacuum.

IDF Officer, 2 Palestinians Killed in Firefight Near Tense West Bank Barrier Zone, The Times of Israel
An Israel Defense Forces officer was killed when two Palestinian gunmen opened fire as soldiers tried to apprehend the pair near the West Bank security barrier early Wednesday, the military said. The two gunmen, one of whom was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services, were killed in the subsequent firefight. The IDF confirmed the death of the officer several hours after the incident and said his family had been informed. He was later identified as Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit.

2022 Already the Deadliest Year for West Bank Palestinians in 7 Years, Haaretz
As of Monday, 81 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank so far this year, making it the deadliest year since 2015 – in which 99 were killed. Seventy-eight of the 81 were shot by Israeli security forces, three were killed by Israeli civilians, and one more whom the Palestinians say was shot by Israeli forces despite IDF claims that he was likely killed by armed Palestinians. Based on IDF data for this past year, there have been 140 incidents in which Israeli forces and civilians were fired at in the West Bank, compared with 61 such incidents in 2021 – which was double the number for 2020.


Abbas To Demand Recognition of Palestinian State at UNGA, Al-Monitor
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be delivering an important speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Sept. 23. This is likely the 86-year-old president’s last speech to the UN. An important eighth congress of Fatah is due to take place before the end of the year and this large gathering of nationalist Palestinian activists and leaders will most likely reflect the direction and personnel that will lead the Palestinian national movement.

Israel Indicts Palestinian Journalist Over ‘Incitement’ in Facebook Posts, +972 Mag
An Israeli court indicted a Palestinian journalist on Monday for identifying with a terrorist organization and incitement to violence, based on 11 posts taken from her personal Facebook profile. The indictment claims that in some of her posts, Lama Ghosheh praised the activities of Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza, after they were killed by the Israeli army.

Israeli Officials in D.C. Try To Justify Terrorist Designation for 6 Palestinian NGOs, Axios
An Israeli delegation held talks in Washington last week to try to convince the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies to back Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations.

US Redoubles Support for Its Iran Talks Envoy, Trashed by Senior Israeli Official, The Times of Israel
The US on Tuesday doubled down on its support of its special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, after a senior Israeli official told reporters a day earlier that Jerusalem managed to sideline the architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement from a decisive role regarding a possible US return to the agreement.


Opinion and Analysis

Israel Can Do More to Prevent Civilian Casualties, The New York Times
Serge Schmemann argues, “The Israel Defense Forces has so far not acknowledged that killing a journalist whose helmet and flak jacket were clearly marked “Press” was a grave violation of how an occupying army should behave. Nor has Israel said that it has any intention of changing the way it operates in the occupied territories. On that issue, too, Israel has not done nearly enough. There is no question that Israel has the right and obligation to defend its population against terrorists, and journalists and civilians face the risk of being killed and wounded in the Palestinian territories, as they do in other conflict zones around the world. But an army that operates as an occupying force, as Israel’s does, has a special obligation to combat the callousness and moral corruption that comes with controlling a hostile population over many years.

Israel Must Strengthen the Palestinian Authority, Haaretz
Haaretz’s Editorial board writes, “[T]he absence of “political feasibility” for negotiations, and all the more so for the signing of a peace agreement, requires the strengthening of the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatus. It should receive far greater assistance than it currently does. Israel is not the only party that should adapt its policy to reality in the West Bank and reduce the number of operations in areas controlled by the PA before things lead to an explosion and a widespread uprising. The United States cannot shake off its responsibility to the Palestinians and their leadership either. It has the strength to present a diplomatic horizon, rehabilitate Abbas’ standing, and formulate an activist policy that will not allow any Israeli government established following the elections to evade dealing with the conflict.”

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