J STREET GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS NEWS DIGEST | June 7, 2024

June 7, 2024

 

Government Affairs News Digest

I hope you are doing well.

I’m writing to share important updates from the region, as well as J Street’s statements and resources from this past week. As a reminder, you can always find our most recent statements on J Street crisis response page.

All the best,
Hannah


Hannah Morris
She/Her
Director of Government Affairs, J Street
Cell: 832-606-1817
J Street’s Congressional Resource Page

This week on j street

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STATEMENT

J STREET OPPOSES EXCESSIVE, COUNTERPRODUCTIVE REPUBLICAN ICC SANCTIONS BILL

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WEBINAR

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AT THE HAGUE

Watch →
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STATEMENT

J STREET COMMENDS PRESIDENT BIDEN, WELCOMES ISRAELI CEASEFIRE FRAMEWORK, AND URGES IMMENSE PRESSURE ON HAMAS TO ACCEPT THE DEAL

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What we’re reading

Israel’s Gantz Expected to Announce Resignation From Netanyahu’s Government on Saturday

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Gantz’s impending resignation has been preceded by weeks of growing pressure on him by members of his party… In his speech in which he announced his intention to resign, Gantz cited six subjects that he demanded the government make important decisions on: returning the hostages, toppling Hamas and demilitarizing Gaza, deciding on an alternative government in Gaza, allowing residents of Israel’s north to return to their homes, advancing normalization with Saudi Arabia, and adopting an outline for military or national service for all Israeli citizens.
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US warns of ‘massive’ impact to Israel if Palestinian Authority collapses

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Under peace agreements in the 1990s, Israel collects money on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank. Israel then disburses the money to the PA. But Israel blocked revenue for months following the October 7 Hamas terror assault in southern Israel and subsequent war in Gaza, and only recently agreed to transfer the hundreds of millions of shekel in PA tax revenue via Norway to ensure none are diverted to Gaza. Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has warned since then, however, that he will cut off the transfer of funds if the PA continues with its efforts for international recognition as a state. The World Bank recently warned that the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal situation has “dramatically worsened” with the risk of complete collapse.
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U.S. warns Israel “limited war” with Lebanon could draw Iran to intervene

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U.S. and Israeli officials said there is growing concern in the IDF and the Israeli Ministry of Defense that the situation in Lebanon is reaching a turning point. The U.S. and France have been trying to find a diplomatic solution to reduce tensions at the border but haven’t made progress yet. Preventing an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah that could lead to wide-ranging destruction in Lebanon and Israel has been a key objective for the Biden administration in its efforts to prevent the fighting in Gaza from expanding into a much wider regional conflict. But the Biden administration believes it will be impossible to restore calm to the Israeli-Lebanese border without a ceasefire in Gaza.
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Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the US Congress on July 24

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Congressional leaders confirmed the date of the address late Thursday after formally inviting Netanyahu to come speak before lawmakers last week. It is the most recent show of wartime support for the longtime ally despite mounting political divisions over Israel’s military assault on Hamas in Gaza… Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the U.S. — who delivered a stinging rebuke of Netanyahu in March — said in a separate statement Thursday night that he has “clear and profound disagreements” with the Israeli leader but joined in the request for him to speak “because America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister.” Other Democratic lawmakers more critical of Netanyahu’s strategy are expected to be no-shows for the address. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, said: “Netanyahu is a war criminal. I certainly will not attend.”
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House passes ICC sanctions bill despite White House opposition

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The House passed legislation Tuesday that would sanction International Criminal Court officials for seeking arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… The White House opposes sanctions, and the bill is likely to stall in the Senate, but 42 pro-Israel House Democrats broke with their party and voted for it. House Republicans had initially expressed a desire to work with Democrats to craft bipartisan legislation, but those talks ran aground after the White House came out against sanctions. The White House and senators have discussed alternatives to sanctions, Axios previously reported.
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In the West Bank, Guns and a Locked Gate Signal a Town’s New Residents

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The case of the two people on either side of the gate is a particularly clear example of a dynamic playing out across the Israeli-occupied West Bank. As much of the world has focused on the war in Gaza, Jewish settlers miles away in the West Bank have hastened the rate at which they are seizing land previously used by Palestinians, rights groups say. Dror Etkes, a field researcher with Kerem Navot, an Israeli monitoring group, estimated that since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that started the war in Gaza, settlers have taken more than 37,000 acres of land from Palestinians across the West Bank. More than 550 of those acres are near Tuqu, making it the largest such expansion by a single Israeli settlement.
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Israeli settlers in the West Bank were hit with international sanctions. It only emboldened them

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Sanctions prohibit financial institutions and residents in the issuing country from providing funds to a person or entity. In some cases, property is seized. Even though Israeli banks aren’t obliged to freeze accounts, many do so to maintain relations with banks — particularly for U.S. sanctions — and avoid risk. But for sanctioned settlers, the implications didn’t last long, with communities donating money and holding fundraisers making tens of thousands of dollars. And Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right settler leader, said he’d “take care of the issue” of people being sanctioned, Levi’s father-in-law, Noam Federman, told AP.
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