Don’t Blame Blips in the Israeli Economy on Proposed Changes to the Judicial System

Earlier this year, respected Israeli economists and businesspeople issued dire warnings about the potential effects of judicial reform on their country’s economy. They are now citing a major decline in venture-capital investment over the past year and Moody’s recent decision to downgrade the Israeli economic outlook from “positive” to “stable” as evidence that they were correct. Michael Fertik is not convinced:

Israel is in a superb position—probably the best globally, except for the United States—to ride the current and future waves of venture-capital allocation. Israeli startups have never been stronger, more inventive, more dynamic, more sophisticated, or more attractive. The recent downturn in venture-capital investment in Israel mirrors the declines across the globe. It has precious little to do with how many opposition Knesset lawmakers get to vote on judicial candidates.

For reasons of their own understandable concern, political conviction, or personal inclination toward catastrophic thinking, commentators against the judicial reform link a couple of juicy data together to paint a picture of looming economic doom for the state of Israel.

Israel is experiencing a venture-capital reset along with the rest of the planet. It’s a healthy and good thing. You might even conjecture that over the past decade, there has been too much venture capital flowing into companies around the world, perhaps into Israeli startups more than those of most other countries. A reset is fine. It’s right. It’s typical. And it will make Israeli startups only stronger in the medium and long term. And, more than anything else, no matter your political opinion, the venture-capital reset has just about zippo to do with judicial reform.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Israeli economy, Israeli Judicial Reform

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority