News Roundup for April 9, 2024

April 9, 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.

Top News and AnalysisUS Delivers New Proposal for Israel-Hamas Hostage and Ceasefire Deal, Axios
A key issue in the new proposal concerns Israel’s demand that Hamas release 40 hostages who are alive, even if some of them do not meet the original criteria for release on humanitarian grounds, two senior Israeli officials said. The first phase of the deal includes the release of women, female soldiers, men over the age of 50 and men under the age of 50 with serious medical conditions. In recent negotiations, Hamas said it does not have 40 living hostages from these categories.

Israel Has Set Date for Rafah Offensive, Benjamin Netanyahu Says, The Financial Times
Both Ben-Gvir and Smotrich have repeatedly opposed any measures designed to ease the military pressure on Gaza, with Ben-Gvir voting against a November deal that involved a temporary truce and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages. Smotrich wrote to Netanyahu on Monday, accusing him of sidelining the cabinet on the decision to withdraw some troops from Gaza, and demanding that the cabinet be convened to discuss the matter.

UN Security Council Refers Palestinian Application to Become Full UN Member to Committee, Reuters
The United Nations Security Council president on Monday referred the Palestinian Authority’s application to become a full member of the world body to the committee on the admission of new member. Malta’s U.N. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier proposed that the committee meet on Monday afternoon to consider the application, adding that deliberation has to take place this month.

Israel’s Account of Attack on Aid Convoy Raises Wider Legal Questions, Experts Say, The New York Times
The Israeli military announced on Friday that its preliminary investigation had revealed a string of errors that led to the deaths of seven aid workers. It took responsibility for the failure, saying that there were “no excuses” and citing “a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making and an attack contrary to the standard operating procedures.” But the description of events that has emerged raises broader questions about the military’s ability to identify civilians and its procedures for protecting them, legal experts told The New York Times — including new concerns about whether Israel has been complying with international law in its conduct of the war in Gaza more generally.

Israel Finds the Body of a Hostage Killed in Gaza, While Talks Will Resume on a Cease-Fire, ABC News
Israel’s military said Saturday it had recovered the body of a 47-year-old farmer who was held hostage in Gaza, while negotiators prepared for another round of talks Sunday on brokering a cease-fire and securing the release of the remaining hostages, six months into the war. Israel’s army said it found the body of Elad Katzir and believed he was killed in January. “He could have been saved if a deal had happened in time,” Katzir’s sister Carmit said in a statement… “Our leadership is cowardly and driven by political considerations, and that is why (a deal) did not happen.”

Despite Optimism in the Wake of a Troop Drawdown, Gaza Cease-Fire Talks Stall, The New York Times
Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, said in a radio interview that a new truce was within reach — if Hamas is willing to agree to it. “For the first time since the first deal, we’ve reached a critical point,” Mr. Katz said. “If matters work out, a large number of hostages will return home.” Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defense minister, said in a speech to new military recruits that Israel would be willing to “pay the price to get the hostages back, and then get back to fighting and do everything we need to do.” The comment was interpreted as a sign of Israeli willingness to reach a compromise.


Hamas Says it Won’t Compromise on Key Demands as US Leans into Hostage Talks, The Times of Israel
Hamas has not issued a list of the Palestinian prisoners it wants released, and Israel has not sent a list of who it is willing to let go in a potential deal, the Israeli official said late Monday, claiming that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar feels he currently has the upper hand. The latest discussions have been focused, in large part, on reaching a compromise regarding the return of Palestinians to northern Gaza after they were displaced during the early months of the war when the IDF offensive began.

Israel Opposition Leader, in Washington, Calls Hostage Deal Hard but ‘Doable’, Reuters
Israel and Hamas on Monday both dampened hopes of a speedy breakthrough in talks in Cairo after Egyptian state-linked media had reported “significant progress.” President Joe Biden sent CIA chief Bill Burns to the talks after publicly urging Israel to come to a deal. Biden last week warned that the future of US support was on the line without action on humanitarian concerns after Israel killed seven aid workers in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned of impending famine. Lapid, who has criticized Netanyahu in the past for eroding bipartisan US support for Israel, said that both Israel and the United States should be concerned about civilians in Gaza. “We need to make sure we do our best to avoid hurting the people of Gaza,” Lapid said.

Nearly One-Third of Americans Say Israel has Gone Too Far in Gaza: Poll , The Hill
The new Chicago Council on Global Affairs-Ipsos survey released last week found that 32 percent of respondents said Israel has gone too far in Gaza and its military actions are not justified. This is slightly more than the 27 percent who said Israel’s actions are justified in defending its interests, according to the poll.

Gaza Family Clings to Destroyed Home After Israeli Withdrawal, Reuters
Israel said on Sunday it had withdrawn more soldiers from southern Gaza, leaving just one brigade.It has been reducing numbers in Gaza since the start of the year to relieve reservists and is under growing pressure from top ally Washington to improve the humanitarian situation, especially after last week’s killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers. Gaza authorities said they discovered more than 60 bodies in Khan Younis since the Israeli forces departed after operating there for months.

Elizabeth Warren Says She Believes Israel’s War in Gaza Will Legally be Considered a Genocide, Politico
Warren has grown increasingly vocal in her criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration in recent months. In January, she floated the idea of imposing restrictions on military aid to Israel, saying on X that the U.S. “cannot write a blank check for a right-wing government that’s demonstrated an appalling disregard for Palestinian lives.” In the wake of the Israeli drone strikes that killed seven aid workers last week, including a U.S.-Canadian dual citizen, Warren told CNN that Congress “has a responsibility to act,” and “cannot approve the sale of arms to a country that is in violation” of U.S. laws, including laws surrounding access to humanitarian relief.

Turkey Imposes Export Restrictions on Israel until Gaza Ceasefire, Reuters
Turkey will impose trade restrictions on Israel starting Tuesday on a range of products including cement and steel and iron construction materials in response to the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, the trade ministry said in a statement. Israel responded by saying it would form an “extensive” list of Turkish items to be banned from import and lobby in Washington and around the world for other countries to punish Turkey over its move. “This decision will remain in place until Israel declares a ceasefire immediately and allows adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the Turkish trade ministry announced on social media. The ministry issued a list of 54 products subject to the export restrictions.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Is Lost and Netanyahu Has No Idea Where He’s Taking Us, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “The safe return of the hostages is meant to be our top national priority. And yet, the Netanyahu government is only grudgingly granting the negotiating team room to maneuver. Are we on the road towards a cease-fire deal that includes a hostage release? Or are we forging ahead on the highway to a supposed “total victory”? Which way are we headed? Nobody knows. As for who will rule in Gaza and how we will live alongside it, Bibi has not provided even the minimum level of communication expected of a malfunctioning GPS that tells us it is recalculating its route – because that would imply that he had planned one at all.”

After Six Months of War, I Fear We May Lose Palestine Completely, The Guardian
Raja Shehadeh expresses that the war has also exposed the failure of Hamas to have anticipated and prepared its civilian population for Israel’s response. The organisation succeeded in carrying out a complicated military operation, indiscriminately killing Israeli civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. It has also subjected its own people to unmitigated vengeful onslaught by its adversary. As the Palestinian population in northern Gaza goes hungry, anger at the organisation may rise. The iron-clad support of Israel by the US has also been confirmed. Despite what one former senior UN official described as probably the highest kill rate “since the Rwandan genocide of 1994”, the flow of arms to Israel from its ally continues unabated.

I’m Jewish, and I’ve Covered Wars. I Know War Crimes When I See Them., The Washington Post
Peter Maass claims: “This puts all Americans, not just American Jews, on the spot. The U.S. government is Israel’s principal supporter, by virtue of the bombs and other weapons that continue to be provided to the extremist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We are all implicated. The idea of Jews protecting the rights of Palestinians is not as new as you might think. Before the Holocaust, my ancestors were part of the “non-Zionist” movement that supported Jewish emigration to Palestine but opposed the creation of a Jewish state. The non-Zionist position was based on the concern that a Jewish state would result in violence and reinforce accusations that Jews were not loyal to America.”