News Roundup for April 8, 2024

April 8, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

J Street President: Netanyahu Must Go, the Only Question Is When, MSNBC
J Street President Jeremy-Ben Ami tells Ali Velshi of MSNBC, “There has to be a break in the fighting. There has to be a surge in humanitarian aid. We need an opportunity for a deal to be struck for the hostages to come out. There is no military solution to this problem, only a political solution.”

Six Months of Torture, J Street
“Together, we share outrage over the six months of hell which hostages and their families have been forced to endure – and at the catastrophic levels of death, grief and suffering inflicted on families in Gaza, and an intensity of violence which has only put hostages and civilians at greater risk.”

Turning Point? After Deadly Strikes on Aid Convoy, Democrats Push Biden to Put Conditions on Military Help for Israel, NBC News
According to Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street, a liberal lobbying group that says it is “pro-Israel and pro-peace,” more and more Democrats are urging the White House to back up its critical words with concrete actions. “I think there are a growing number of Democratic members who would like to see the administration doing more than it’s doing,” he said.

J Street Seeks a Middle Path on Gaza. Is That Possible Anymore?, New York Times
Mr. Ben-Ami said Friday that J Street backs the Biden administration, which warned American aid would depend on Israel’s treatment of civilians, and supports a negotiated cease-fire.

Top News and Analysis

Israel Reduces Troops in South Gaza, Egypt to Host New Talks, Reuters
Israel said on Sunday it had withdrawn more soldiers from southern Gaza, leaving just one brigade, as it and Hamas sent teams to Egypt for fresh talks on a potential ceasefire in the six-month conflict. Israel has been reducing numbers in Gaza since the start of the year to relieve reservists and is under growing pressure from its ally Washington to improve the humanitarian situation, especially after last week’s killing of seven aid workers.

Six Months After October 7, It Still Feels Like Day 1 for Hostage Families, CNN
Much has happened in the six months since. The massacres at a music festival in the desert and kibbutz communities prompted Israel to declare war on Hamas, leading to air and ground attacks that have devastated Gaza and the lives of the more than two million people for whom it is home. But for the families of the remaining hostages, and even for some former captives released by Hamas and now safe in Israel, it feels as if nothing has changed. Here we look at those six months from their point of view, in interviews led by CNN’s Bianna Golodryga.

Netanyahu Losing Knesset Majority as Gaza War Hits Six-Month Mark; Gantz Stays Ahead, Haaretz
Surveys aired on Israeli channels Kan 11 and 12 News on Sunday evening, six months after the start of the Gaza war, suggest that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-war right-wing coalition would lose its parliamentary majority, with projections indicating around 48–47 seats. Meanwhile, the opposition, which includes Benny Gantz’s centrist party, is anticipated to secure approximately 68–67 seats out of the Knesset’s 120.

With UNRWA Broke and Under Siege, West Bank Refugees Fear for the Future, The Washington Post
Without a significant influx of cash, the agency faces a “slow-onset implosion,” Lazzarini told reporters in Jerusalem in February. UNRWA leaders are discussing internally which services to prioritize in that case, Bouloukos said. The debate around UNRWA’s future is inextricably bound up in the intractable questions around the rights of Palestinian refugees. “This is why the Israelis want us out: UNRWA represents the refugee problem. If UNRWA goes away, then somehow the refugees just kind of go away, and the whole support for this population then also goes away,” Bouloukos said.


Israel Says It Recovered the Body of a Hostage Who Was Taken From a Kibbutz on Oct. 7, The New York Times
Elad Katzir, 47, was killed by his captors in mid-January while being held in Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a news briefing on Saturday. On Saturday, Katzir’s sister, Carmit Katzir, denounced the Israeli government for not reaching an agreement in time to secure her brother’s release.

White House Says Israeli Troop Reduction Does Not Signal New Strategy: ‘They’re Tired’, CNBC
“As we understand it, and through their public announcements, it is really just about rest and refit for these troops that have been on the ground for four months, and not necessarily — that we can tell — indicative of some coming new operation,” Kirby said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “The word we’re getting is they’re tired, they need to be refitted.”

Hamas Says Gaza Truce Talks Still Deadlocked Despite Reports of Progress, Reuters
A Hamas official said on Monday no progress was made at a new round of Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo also attended by delegations from Israel, Qatar and the U.S., shortly after Egyptian sources said headway had been achieved on the agenda.

In Call With Blinken, Father of Killed Aid Worker Urges Tougher US Stance on Israel in Gaza, AP
“If the United States threatened to suspend aid to Israel, maybe my son would be alive today,” John Flickinger told The Associated Press in describing his 30-minute conversation Saturday with Blinken. Flickinger said Blinken did not pledge any new policy actions but said the Biden administration had sent a strong message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the relationship between the United States and Israel may change if the IDF do not show more care for the fate of Gaza’s civilians.

Chef José Andrés Calls Israeli Airstrike ‘Unforgivable’, Axios
“This doesn’t seem a war against terror. This doesn’t seem anymore a war about defending Israel. This really, at this point, seems it’s a war against humanity itself,” Andrés told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. The award-winning chef and humanitarian thanked the IDF for conducting a quick investigation, but also expressed criticism about their efforts saying the probe, “should be much more deeper.”

They Were Thought to Be Hostages in Gaza. Israeli Raids Found They Were Dead, The Washington Post
For five nightmarish months, the parents of Daniel Perez and Itay Chen thought their sons, both soldiers based at a military outpost less than a mile from the Gaza border on Oct. 7, were being held hostage by Hamas in conditions they could hardly bear to think about. They lobbied and prayed for their sons’ release. Then, last month, the Israeli army made a devastating announcement based on battlefield intelligence gleaned during their ground operation in Gaza: The two men had been killed on Oct. 7, their bodies dragged into Gaza.

At Rally for Hostages, Some Boo When Congressman Calls for Gaza Aid, The New York Times
While some people in the crowd applauded, others began to boo as he went on: “We must do more, because we are better than Hamas. We must do more to bring food and assistance to those who are suffering.” The heckling grew louder and continued until the end of the congressman’s remarks as more attendees joined in, some chanting “bring them home” or “shame.”

Palestinians Return to Destroyed Homes in Khan Younis after Israeli Withdrawal, The Guardian
Bassel Abu Nasser, a Khan Younis resident who fled after an airstrike hit his home in January, said much of the city had been turned into rubble. “There is no sense of life there,” the 37-year-old father of two children said. “They left nothing there.” Others suggested that even returning to badly damaged apartments was better than remaining in a tent in Rafah.

Opinion and Analysis

Why an Immediate Ceasefire is a Moral Imperative — and the Best Thing for Israel, The Forward
Jodi Rudoren, the editor in chief of the Forward, argues “The IDF could have declared victory on the battlefield weeks or even months ago in order to focus on the war’s other goal, freeing the remaining 134 hostages — several dozen of whom are believed dead — a goal truly essential to the soul of Israel and the Jewish people. Instead, it has promised to press its deadly campaign on through Rafah, the southern Gaza city where some 1 million Palestinian evacuees have been sheltering in tents — an operation that might further degrade but also cannot “destroy” Hamas, and would have disastrous collateral consequences.”

Israel Is Making the Same Mistake America Made in Iraq, The New York Times
David French writes, “Our forces — much like the Israeli military — proved remarkably lethal and effective in urban combat. But we were ineffective in maintaining civil society or the rule of law. Iraqis’ hunger and thirst didn’t make the news as much as the Gazan plight does today. They did experience anarchy, though, and that anarchy almost cost America the war. We went for the quick win, and we ended up embroiled in one of our longest conflicts.”

Dear President Biden, Are You Okay with Israeli Settlers Using American Weapons?, Haaretz
Amira Hass shares, “Their guns are US-made, and the goal is for these weapons to terrorize people. Many residents of Mukhmas are American citizens. They own land and vineyards but can’t reach them due to the threatening presence of armed Jews who have taken over their land. This is done, for example, by the nearby offshoots of Ma’aleh Mikhmash: the Neveh Erez and Nahalat Tzvi outposts.”

‘Everyday Feels Like Forever’: Israelis Observe 6-Month Anniversary with Sadness and Frustration, The Forward
6 months after October 7, Forward’s Susan Greene shares “observations from Hostage Square in Tel Aviv Sunday morning, a vigil in Jerusalem in the evening, and other reminders in between of how that grim day six months ago has reframed life in Israel.”