Another week, another raid by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank. The most recent took place in late February in the city of Nablus and lasted four hours. The battle left at least ten Palestinians dead (four were allegedly noncombatants, with video footage confirming that at least two unarmed Palestinians were gunned down while fleeing) and more than one hundred wounded. Much of the blame for the past year’s unprecedented uptick in violence—Palestinian deaths are at their highest levels in nearly two decades—belongs to the IDF’s “Breaking the Wave” operation, which has been carrying out near-daily actions since March 2022. Israel claims these raids are designed to neutralize terrorists and squelch armed Palestinian opposition, which has already taken the lives of eleven Israelis since the start of this year. Factor in the increase of violence committed by Israeli settlers and the growing despair felt by angry young Palestinians in the West Bank, and further mayhem is all but assured. Some analysts, including CIA Director William J. Burns, have predicted a large-scale uprising on par with the intifada of the early 2000s.
Making the situation even more volatile is the political crisis unfolding in Jerusalem. For weeks, massive demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of mostly centrist Israelis have been taking place throughout the country in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to “reform” the Israeli judiciary. The proposed changes, already approved by a preliminary vote in the Knesset, would effectively eliminate judicial review in Israel: parliament would be able to veto Supreme Court decisions by simple majority vote and appoint judges directly, bypassing the independent judiciary council. The proposals also modify Israel’s Basic Laws, weakening LGBT protections, making it harder for foreign Jews to obtain Israeli citizenship, and conveniently shielding Netanyahu, who is under indictment for corruption and other charges, from prosecution.