News Roundup for April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024
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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.

J Street In the News

Jewish Groups Signal New Interest in Gaza Aid Following Israel’s Strike on World Central Kitchen Workers, JTA
While international groups have taken Israel to task for the shortfall of aid in Gaza, and some Israeli protesters have blocked aid convoys, many American Jewish groups have not criticized Israel directly over the humanitarian crisis. A few Jewish groups on the left, including J Street and T’ruah, have taken firmer positions calling for Israel to do more to deliver aid.

Top News and Analysis

An Israeli Airstrike in Gaza Kills 3 Sons and 4 Grandchildren of Hamas’ Top Leader, AP
Ismail Haniyeh’s sons are among the highest-profile figures to be killed in the war so far. Israel said they were Hamas operatives, and Haniyeh accused Israel of acting in “the spirit of revenge and murder.” The deaths threatened to strain the internationally mediated cease-fire talks, which appeared to gain steam in recent days even as the sides remain far apart on key issues.

Israel Would Let 150,000 Gazans Return North in Potential Truce, Officials Say, Reuters
Two officials with knowledge of the talks said that under a US proposal for a truce, Israel would allow the return of 150,000 Palestinians to north Gaza with no security checks. In return, they said, Hamas would be required to give a list of female, elderly and sick hostages it still holds alive. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment. Hamas said on Tuesday that the latest proposal passed on by Eqyptian and Qatari mediators did not meet demands, but that it would study it further before responding.

Biden Vows ‘Ironclad’ US Commitment to Israel amid Fears of Iran Attack, The Guardian
Biden administration officials fear that the April 1 Damascus bombing on an Iranian diplomatic building, which Tehran considers its own territory, has significantly raised the threat of the Gaza war widening into a broader conflict. Since the Damascus bombing, Tehran has sent Washington messages attributing ultimate blame for the attack on the US and warning the US to stay out of its confrontation with Israel.

Israel Works to Free Hostages, Without Knowing If They Are Alive or Dead, The Washington Post
For the families of the hostages, more is unknown than known. Refael Franco, former deputy head of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, who ran hostage tracking in the early days of the war, said that as Israel’s intelligence dries up, it is having trouble estimating where the hostages are. Because of this, he said, Israel is worried about miscalculating how many are dead.

Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal Hints at What Comes Next, BBC
Sebastian Usher writes, “In public at least, Mr. Netanyahu has continued to ratchet up the rhetoric on Rafah, saying that a date has been set for the operation. His defence minister, Yoav Gallant, has been more nuanced, telling army recruits that now is an “opportune” time to do a deal with Hamas. But he stressed that a ceasefire would not be the end of the war: “There will be difficult decisions and we will be ready to pay the price in order to get the hostages back, and then return to fighting.” The fighting is likely to continue, as Mr. Gallant says, but the form it takes may change substantially.”


Biden Says Israel Has Improved Aid Flow to Gaza but Must Do More, The New York Times
Since President Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu last week, Israel has done more to provide access for food, medicine and other critical supplies, but he added that he still expected additional action. “It’s not enough,” Biden said. “They need to do more, and there’s one more opening that has to take place in the north. So we’ll see what he does in terms of meeting the commitments he made to me.”

Dying for a Bag of Flour: Videos and Eyewitness Accounts Cast Doubt on Israel’s Timeline of Deadly Gaza Aid Delivery, CNN
A journalist in Gaza with the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, told CNN at the time that the majority of the casualties occurred as a result of people being rammed by aid trucks as they tried to escape Israeli gunfire. Al Za’anoun, who was at the scene and witnessed the incident, said the chaos and confusion that led to people being hit by the trucks only started once Israeli soldiers began shooting. “Most of the people that were killed were rammed by the aid trucks during the chaos and while trying to escape the Israeli gunfire,” Al Za’anoun said.

Israel to Open New North Gaza Crossing for Overseas, Jordanian Aid, Reuters
Israel has gradually reopened two established cargo crossings and created a new crossing on its border, and last week announced it would admit Gaza-bound aid shipments at its southern port of Ashdod. Briefing reporters, Gallant said a new crossing point would be created on the northern part of the Gaza border to reduce the time taken to truck in aid from Ashdod, 25 miles away.

‘It’s an Established Fact’: US Envoy Says Most Gazans at Risk of Imminent Famine, The Times of Israel
“This is not a point in debate. It is an established fact, which the United States, its experts, the international community, its experts assess and believe is real,” David Satterfield said during a virtual event hosted by the American Jewish Committee.

Trump Again Insults Jews Who Support Biden, The New York Times
Trump once again criticized Jews who back Democratic candidates on Wednesday, saying that “any Jewish person that votes for a Democrat or votes for Biden should have their head examined.” His comments marked the third time in the last month that Trump has cast aspersions on Democrat-supporting Jewish voters, a group that in the past he has accused of disloyalty.

Killing of Hamas Leader’s Sons Won’t Torpedo Deal, but Could Postpone It More, Haaretz
Haniyeh emphasized the message that his children were part of the Palestinian people and that Hamas is a popular movement – that any targeted killing, including of high-ranking Hamas officials, may be perceived in Israel as an intelligence and tactical achievement, but won’t signify any strategic shift or make Hamas retreat from its demands in the negotiations. It could, however, throw another wrench into the negotiations and compel the parties to spend further hours, days, and weeks in talks in which Hamas will demand guarantees that its leaders and their families won’t targeted,

Indonesia Agrees to Normalize Ties With Israel as Part of Bid to Join OECD — Official, The Times of Israel
Indonesia could normalize ties with Israel as part of a deal to smooth the entry of the world’s most populous Muslim nation into a global forum for developed countries, an Israeli official said Thursday.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Military ‘Maneuver’ in Gaza Was a Pointless Success, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “In private, the generals are blaming Netanyahu and his ministers for the lack of a day-after strategy to fill the vacuum in Gaza. And they are of course right. But it’s not as if they met Netanyahu for the first time on October 7. They knew he was a notorious procrastinator who would avoid coming up with a strategy so as not to jeopardize his far-right governing coalition. They knew they were being sent into Gaza without a strategy. And that, even if they had executed the maneuver flawlessly, it would be of very limited value without a political outcome.”

What to Know About the Palestinian Bid to Become a Full UN Member, The Washington Post
Rachel Pannett quotes Gilbert Achcar, a professor of development studies and international relations at SOAS University of London, who said the application “is more likely to succeed now than ever before,” as Western governments seek to “dissociate themselves” from the Israeli war in Gaza. “We have thus seen France, followed by the U.K., shifting their position with time, both hinting at a possible support for the [Palestinian Authority’s] application,

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target, AP
Jack Jeffery shares, “Israel’s promises have done little to quiet growing international anger over its offensive. More than 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since the war began, including at least 30 killed in the line of duty, according to the U.N. Many aid workers noted the convoy strike stood out only because six of those killed were not Palestinian. Aid workers are, in many ways, a hard community to define. Some are experts who earn a good living traveling from disaster to disaster. Some are volunteers looking for a way to do some good. Some are driven by ambition, others by faith.”

The Untold Story of Arab Jews — and Their Solidarity with Palestinians, Vox
Sigal Samuel discusses how Mizrahi Jews, the largest ethnic group in the country, have “been victims of the same kind of anti-Arab ideology that is wielded against the Palestinians.” He writes, “The vision of Mizrahi-Palestinian solidarity seems even more important in light of what has actually happened in more recent decades: Mizrahim drastically moved to the political right, and solidarity with Palestinians became Israel’s road not taken. Understanding that swerve is key to understanding what went wrong in Israel’s history that made it unable to imagine coexistence with an Arab people. And it may be key to building a better future for all.”