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Israel and Palestinian Territories in February 2023

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Israel and Palestinian Territories in February 2023

2 February 2023

  1. Israel Targeting Iranian Arms Flow to Ukraine, Netanyahu Tells CNN (Jerusalem Post).  Israel is targeting the production of Iranian weapons that could be sent to Russia for use against Ukraine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview aired on Wednesday. “Israel… acts in ways that I will not itemize here against Iran’s weapons productions, which are used against Ukraine,” Netanyahu said. Israel has already been active in working to thwart Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, but in his conversation with CNN, he said that such efforts were also directed toward preventing the flow of Iranian weapons to Russia.

3 February 2023

  1. Netanyahu Visits France to Press Macron on Iran (The New Arab). Netanyahu hopes that Iran’s role supplying drones to Russian invaders in Ukraine as well as the crackdown on protests at home will prompt Western allies to drop any pursuit of a revival of the 2015 deal over its atomic drive. The prime minister has also said Israel is considering sending military aid to Ukraine, apparently dropping its previously more neutral stance over the conflict in the hope of a more confrontational Western position towards Iran.
  2. Israeli Foreign Minister Visits Sudan to Announce Normalization During this Year (Al Jazeera). Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen revealed that Israel has presented a draft peace agreement with Sudan, which will be signed during this year, after his meeting with the head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council in Sudan, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan – Thursday – in the capital, Khartoum.
  3. US Pushes Palestinians to Adopt Security Plan with West Bank Crackdown (The New Arab). The plan was drafted by US Lieutenant General Michael Fenzel and involves PA forces being deployed around Jenin and Nablus in order to suppress fighters from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Lions’ Den, and other armed groups who have led attacks on Israeli forces in the occupied territories.

9 February 2023

  1. Netanyahu Pledges “forever” ٍٍٍٍSecurity Control of West Bank (Al Sharq Al-Awsat). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his well-known position that he will not give up security control in the West Bank under any circumstances, even with any future scenario (an agreement with the Palestinians). Netanyahu attacked the Palestinian Authority and said it does not play its role in confronting those it needs to confront (Palestinian militants). “There is no alternative to our control here,” Netanyahu said, on a visit to the “Dovdovan” unit, on Tuesday, which is a special forces unit in the Israeli elite units, known as the “undercover” forces and spearheading the army’s activity in the West Bank.

10 February 2023

  1. Israel Will Strike Any Weapons Iran Sends to Syria Under Guise of Aid (Elaph). An Israeli military official told Elaph that if Iran transferred equipment and weapons to Syria under the cover of humanitarian aid, it would receive a strict military response from Israel without hesitation. Information indicates that Israel has intensified its monitoring by air, land and sea of ​​everything that Iran is transporting to Syria now, and that Israel’s spy drones are working overtime to track the trucks and equipment Iran is sending to the victims of the devastating earthquake in Syria.

14 February 2023

  1. Deepening Constitutional Dispute over Judicial Reform. On Monday Israel was thrown into political turmoil as the Knesset took up the question of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to reform Israel’s judiciary. As a Knesset committee voted to pass some of the plan’s provisions, chaos broke out in the Knesset as opposition members attempted to shout down the committee’s chairman and prevent a vote. Meanwhile, in the streets of Israel’s largest cities, including directly outside the Knesset building, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in opposition to Netanyahu’s plan and his government. At issue is Netanyahu’s plan to change the Israeli supreme court’s ability to strike down laws the court deems unconstitutional. Netanyahu’s opposition considers the move an antidemocratic power grab. Netanyahu and his allies, on the other hand, argue that it is the judiciary that has already amassed too much power in recent years, and their reforms are a necessary rebalancing of power. Either way, the dispute has grown into a full-fledged constitutional crisis.

15 February 2023

  1. Israeli Army Punishes Soldier Who Beat a Palestinian Activist (An Nahar). The Israeli army sentenced a soldier to ten days in prison after he assaulted a prominent Palestinian activist in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, who was working with foreign journalists. Human rights activist Issa Amro, who strongly criticizes Israeli practices and has previously criticized the Palestinian Authority, said he was working with prominent American journalist Lawrence Wright, writer for The New Yorker, when the incident occurred. 
  2. Herzog hosts Rothman, Lapid, Gantz separately in bid for judicial overhaul compromise (Times of Israel).  Coalition and opposition leaders met separately with President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday to discuss the president’s urgent call for compromise on the government’s fraught push to overhaul the judiciary, as coalition lawmakers said they were willing to discuss some parts of the proposal but unwilling to fold on others.
  3. Ben Gvir Warns Netanyahu:  This Isn’t What We Signed up For, It Can’t Continue’ (Times of Israel). Ben Gvir said on Wednesday he was promised ‘full right-wing government.’

16 February 2023

  1. Netanyahu & Putin Agree to Continue Air Strikes on Iranian Headquarters in Syria (Syrian Observer). According to Dr. Mahmoud al-Hamza, a researcher and expert on Russian affairs, the understandings between Israel and Russia regarding Syria are not new. Israel has previously notified Russia of its intention to launch air strikes, but the level of coordination between the two sides had decreased in recent times. However, with the return of Netanyahu, who has a strong relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the level of coordination has increased once again, and the two sides are now returning to their previous course. 
  2. News of a “sharp and noisy” debate between Washington and Tel Aviv… Expectations of the Security Council’s vote to call on Israel to halt settlement activity (Al Jazeera). Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in New York reported that next Monday the UN Security Council will discuss a draft resolution that would demand that Israel immediately stop all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories…And the “Walla” website reported that the discussion – which the White House had with the representative of the Israeli government and Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer in this regard – was sharp and loud.
  3. Israeli Intelligence Warns Ben Gvir’s Policy Will Detonate the Security Situation (Al Jazeera). The Israeli Channel 13 quoted the head of the Israeli internal intelligence service, Ronen Bar, as having warned Ben Gvir that his actions in Jerusalem would push more Palestinians into the circle of carrying out operations.

17 February 2023

  1. Washington is “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s announcement of settlement expansion (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The White House announced Thursday that the United States is “deeply disturbed” by the Israeli cabinet’s decision to expand settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, indicating that President Joe Biden is ready to take a more hawkish approach in dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. White House spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre told reporters that this behavior “creates facts on the ground that undermine the two-state solution” between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

22 February 2023

  1. Secret Israeli-Palestinian Talks to De-Escalate Rising Tensions (Axios). The weeks of secret talks, which have not been previously reported, are among the first pieces of evidence of direct high-level engagement between the Palestinian Authority and the new right-wing Israeli government.
  2. Dismayed” UN Security Council Says Israeli Settlements Impede Peace (Daily Sabah). “The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution,” the Council said in a statement supported by all 15 members but which does not have the binding force of a resolution considered last week. Israel was quick to hit back at the declaration, with the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu saying it denied the “historic” rights of the Jewish people.
  3. Israel Signals Readiness for Military Confrontation With Iran (Iran International). Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday that Netanyahu met five times in recent weeks with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Mossad head David Barnea, Military Intelligence chief Aharon Haliva and other military figures to examine Israel’s readiness for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear targets.
  4. Nine Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raid on West Bank City of Nablus (Al Arabiya). Palestinian medical officials said two Islamic Jihad commanders were killed in the Israeli raid. The other seven fatalities included at least three civilians, among them a 72-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. Some 70 Palestinians were wounded, the medical officials said. 
  5. Netanyahu Calls for Talks as Opposition to Judicial Reform Grows (Daily Sabah). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously derided opponents of the proposals, which would increase the power of politicians to appoint judges and curb the power of the Supreme Court to overturn government decisions, as embittered leftists who refuse to accept the result of the last election.

23 February 2023

  1. Israeli Minister of Intelligence Calls for Severe Sanctions Against Iran to Stop its Nuclear Program (Al Hadath). The Israeli Minister of Intelligence, Gila Gamliel, considered that the only way to prevent the killing of demonstrators and stop the development of Iran’s nuclear program is to impose severe sanctions on the Iranian regime. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen expected that “the Western world will re-impose sanctions on Iran before the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September of this year.”
  2. Israeli Iron Dome Intercepted Five Missiles Fired from the Gaza Strip (Al Jazeera). On Thursday morning, the Israeli air force bombed two sites of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza City after militants fired missiles from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army announced that its warplanes attacked two Hamas sites, one of which is used to produce weapons in the center of the Strip, and another to store naval weapons west of Gaza City, in response to the firing of missiles at settlements.

27 February 2023

  1. Aqaba Meeting:  A Palestinian-Israeli Pledge to Reduce Escalation (Al Arabiya). Palestinian and Israeli officials pledged at the conclusion of a meeting held Sunday in the coastal city of Aqaba, southern Jordan, to “reduce escalation on the ground and prevent further violence,” according to the meeting’s final statement. In the statement, the Israeli government and the Palestinian National Authority affirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediate action to stop unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months, provided that this includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussing the establishment of any new settlement units for a period of four months, and to stop approving any new settlement outposts for a period of six months.

28 February 2023

  1. US Citizen Murdered in Terror Attack Near Jericho (Jerusalem Post). A US-Israeli dual national was killed in a shooting attack near the Beit Haarava Junction on Highway 90 in the Jordan Valley on Monday afternoon. The terrorists proceeded to drive to the area of the Monastery of Saint George in Wadi Qelt, burned their vehicle and switched to a different vehicle before driving away from the area. The roads leading to Jericho were closed as Israeli forces searched for the terrorists.
  2. Israeli Settlers Rampage Through West Bank Town; Palestinians Report One Killed, Dozens Wounded (Haaretz). A few hours after Sunday’s shooting which killed two Israelis, a large group of settlers entered the West Bank town of Hawara and began throwing rocks at houses and setting trees and cars in the village on fire. 36 houses have been burned along with 15 cars and 9 families have been evacuated…The Palestinian Red Crescent reports that 98 Palestinians have been wounded in the attacks by settlers, along with damage to 3 ambulances…An Israeli military reserves battalion arrived at Hawara, south of Nablus, along with fire brigades, and is using riot control equipment to repel the settlers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the settlers “not to take the law into your hands” in an announcement on Sunday night.

 

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