News Roundup for April 29, 2024

April 29, 2024
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J Street News Roundup

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

For Jewish Students, Protests Stir Fear, Anger, Hope and Questions, The Washington Post
Lauren Haines, a junior at the University of Michigan, has long opposed the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As national president of J Street U, the student branch of a liberal advocacy group, she supports a two-state solution with Palestinians living in peace beside Israelis. […] “Holding my point of view, which is one of nuance and complexity, is really difficult,” she said. “This past week and honestly the past six months have been hell.” […] “I always tell people I stand on the side of humanity, which for some reason on college campuses is not a popular view,” she said. “There are people on both sides who are hurting right now.”

We Condemn Scenes of Police Brutality and Antisemitism on College Campuses, J Street U Board
“Violence begets violence. It forces communities to retreat to extremist fringes. University administrations must do the important work of combating antisemitism and creating inclusive and safe campus environments for all. In doing so they must recognize that relying on police to suppress peaceful student protesters is not the answer.”

J Street Welcomes Independent UNRWA Report, Calls for White House Action, J Street
“With the completion of this report and the ongoing failure of the Netanyahu government to provide evidence of its allegations, J Street calls on the Biden Administration to end its administrative suspension of American aid to UNRWA and on Congress to reverse its legislative ban. At a critical moment in this Gaza crisis, UNRWA faces a significant mid-year funding shortfall as a result of funding suspensions. Seven nations have now resumed funding with more expected to do so following this report.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Will Accept the Release of 33 Hostages at the Start of a Truce, Officials Say, The New York Times
For months, Israel had demanded that Hamas release at least 40 hostages — women, older people and those who are seriously ill — in order to secure a new truce. Now the Israeli government is prepared to settle for only 33, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the sensitive matter.

Exclusive: Some US Officials Say in Internal Memo Israel May Be Violating International Law in Gaza, Reuters
A joint submission from four bureaus raised “serious concern over non-compliance” with international humanitarian law during Israel’s prosecution of the Gaza war. The assessment from the four bureaus said Israel’s assurances were “neither credible nor reliable.” It cited eight examples of Israeli military actions that the officials said raise “serious questions” about potential violations of international humanitarian law. These included repeatedly striking protected sites and civilian infrastructure; “unconscionably high levels of civilian harm to military advantage”; taking little action to investigate violations or to hold to account those responsible for significant civilian harm and “killing humanitarian workers and journalists at an unprecedented rate.”

Hamas Says It Is Reviewing Israeli Proposal on Cease-Fire Deal, The New York Times
The statement came as anticipation was growing of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million people have been displaced. Humanitarian groups have warned that such an offensive would have catastrophic consequences for civilians. In a statement, Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said the group had received an Israeli response to a proposal it delivered to Egyptian and Qatari mediators two weeks ago.

Keith Siegel and Omri Miran: Video Shows US and Israeli Hostages Alive in Gaza, BBC
Omri Miran says he has been held for 202 days and Keith Siegel mentions this week’s Passover holiday, indicating the clips were filmed recently. Both were captured when Hamas launched its deadly attacks on 7 October. Responding to the video, their families said they would keep fighting for the men’s return. They also urged the Israeli government to secure a new hostage release deal.

Hundreds of Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested at Campuses as Colleges Crack Down on Encampments, NBC News
Many universities have said they support freedom of speech and will allow protests on campus, but that encampments violate school policy. On Saturday, dozens of people were arrested at colleges that cracked down on encampments, including Northeastern University, where about 100 people were detained.


Exclusive: USAID Officials Say Israel Breached US Directive on Gaza Aid, Devex
In a submission to Blinken, USAID “assesses the government of Israel does not currently demonstrate necessary compliance” with the memo’s requirement that it facilitate and not impede “the transport of delivery of United States humanitarian assistance” as well as US-backed international efforts to provide relief.

Israeli Officials Believe ICC Is Preparing Arrest Warrants Over War, The New York Times
If the court proceeds, the Israeli officials could potentially be accused of preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and pursuing an excessively harsh response to the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, according to two of the five officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Israel Kills at Least 30 Palestinians in Rafah, New Gaza Ceasefire Talks Expected in Cairo, Reuters
Israeli airstrikes on three houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah killed at least 25 Palestinians and wounded many others, medics said on Monday, as leaders of Hamas arrived in Cairo for a new round of talks with Egyptian and Qatari mediators. In Gaza City, in the north of the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes struck two houses, killing at least four people and wounding several people, health officials said.

Abbas Says Only US Can Halt Israel’s Attack on Rafah, Expected in Days, Reuters
“We call on the United States of America to ask Israel to not carry on the Rafah attack. America is the only country able to prevent Israel from committing this crime,” Abbas told a special meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Biden Speaks with Netanyahu as Tensions over the Israel-Hamas War Mount in the US, NBC News
The call also underscored daylight between the two on Israeli strategy in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. Netanyahu shows no signs of backing away from a ground offensive there — a potential move that the US publicly opposes.

Blinken Says Israel Must Still Do More to Boost Humanitarian Aid to Gaza, AP
Speaking at events in Riyadh, Blinken said the best way to ease the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza would be to conclude an elusive cease-fire agreement that would release hostages held by Hamas. And, he said Hamas had been presented with an “extraordinarily generous” offer by Israel that he hoped the group would accept.

Some in State Department Don’t Believe Israel is Using US Weapons in Accordance with International Law, Source Says, CNN
There is not unanimity about whether to accept Israel’s assurances about this as “credible and reliable,” a department official said. Israel was required to make those assurances to the US under a national security memorandum issued by President Joe Biden in February.

Defense Minister Gallant Signs Administrative Arrest Warrants Against Five Israeli Settlers, Haaretz
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir criticized the arrests, referring to them as “Gallant’s persecution against the settlers.” Ben-Gvir added that “the wave of administrative arrest warrants for settlers in the West Bank is politics in the guise of security.” According to him, the arrests are “exactly what the antisemitic tribunal in The Hague is doing to the government of Israel.”

Opinion and Analysis

Leahy Law: Here’s What You Need to Know about the Law Roiling U.S.-Israel Ties, Haaretz
Ben Samuel writes, “The Leahy Law and its potential implication would not even cover at least half of the military assistance received by Israel. The majority of U.S. military aid to Israel is via “foreign military financing” — effectively the US giving Israel money to purchase US equipment. Leahy only covers assistance, which is effectively US gifts in the form of equipment.”

From the River to the Sea Getting It Right, Getting It Wrong, Salmagundi
Susie Linfield shares, “Israelis — with a powerful state, a powerful civil society, and a powerful army — are not like the helpless Jews of Europe of the 1930s and 40s, who had, alas, none of those things. (Indeed, one major aim of Zionism was to ensure that Israelis would not be like their predecessors.) Hamas is bad enough, and the reality in Gaza is bad enough, without our needing to bring in ‘Nazis.’”

The Student-Led Protests Aren’t Perfect. That Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Right., The New York Times
Lydia Polgreen writes, “Having spent the past week immersed in these protests, I understand the desire to fix upon some singular piece of evidence that will decode, definitively, their moral core. But there is plenty of evidence ready-made for any side to claim moral high ground here. The camps are on the whole peaceful but it must be acknowledged that problematic things are being said.”