News Roundup for February 2, 2024

February 2, 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

J Street Welcomes Executive Order Addressing Settler Violence, J Street
J Street welcomes the extraordinarily significant Executive Order issued today by President Biden addressing the situation in the West Bank, including settler violence, which the President has determined “constitute[s] an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “This significant Executive Order provides American officials with powerful tools to deter further violence and extremism, prevent escalation and better ensure the safety of everyone living in both Israel and the West Bank. The Biden Administration is sending a clear message to extremists in the West Bank: There will be consequences.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Controlled Demolitions Are Razing Neighborhoods in Gaza, New York Times
At least 33 controlled demolitions have destroyed hundreds of buildings — including mosques, schools and entire sections of residential neighborhoods — since November, a New York Times analysis of Israeli military footage, social media videos and satellite imagery shows.

Biden issues executive order targeting Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians, Axios
President Biden on Thursday signed an executive order allowing the U.S. to impose new sanctions on Israeli settlers — and potentially Israeli politicians and government officials — involved in violent attacks against Palestinians.

In Historic Move, Biden Sanctions Extremist Israeli Settlers in West Bank, Haaretz
Four Israeli settlers will be targeted in the first round of sanctions, in which their assets in the US will be frozen. Biden’s order will further allow the US to impose sanctions on additional individuals targeting Palestinian civilians – whether through violence, intimidation, property damage or terror.

In the West Bank, Palestinians Struggle to Adjust to a New Reality, New York Times
For many Palestinians, life in the West Bank, already hard under years of Israeli occupation, is now subject to ever more onerous restrictions and an increased military presence since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel that killed an estimated 1,200 people. Israeli authorities have created new choke points for travel, throttling traffic. They have stopped allowing many Palestinians to work in Israel, a lifeblood for the local economy. And they have increased the intensity of raids and arrests in West Bank neighborhoods.


Half of US adults say Israel has gone too far in war in Gaza, AP-NORC poll shows, AP
Half of U.S. adults say Israel’s 15-week-old military campaign in Gaza has “gone too far,” a finding driven mainly by growing disapproval among Republicans and political independents, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Western officials in protest over Israel Gaza policy, BBC
More than 800 serving officials in the US and Europe have signed a statement warning that their own governments’ policies on the Israel-Gaza war could amount to “grave violations of international law”. The “transatlantic statement”, a copy of which was passed to the BBC, says their administrations risk being complicit in “one of the worst human catastrophes of this century” but that their expert advice has been sidelined.

Hamas Will Not Be Destroyed Unless We Have a Two-State Solution, Warns Former Shin Bet Chief, CNN
Former Israeli Intelligence chief Ami Ayalon says 70% of Israelis would accept a ceasefire in exchange for a hostage release.

Israel and Lebanon are prepping for a war neither wants, but many fear it’s becoming inevitable, AP
The prospect of a full-scale war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia terrifies people on both sides of the border, but some see it as an inevitable fallout from Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli offensive will turn focus to Rafah, defense minister says, Washington Post
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the next focus of Israel’s operation in Gaza will be Rafah, a city in the south of the besieged enclave to which hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians have fled.

Biden issues order targeting Israeli settlers who attack West Bank Palestinians, NPR
The order named four people and will lay the groundwork for financial sanctions against settlers who carry out violent assaults, which have increased since Hamas launched an attack on Israel three months ago, triggering a full-scale war in Gaza.

Canada may impose sanctions on extremist Israeli settlers in West Bank, Foreign Minister Joly says during Ukraine visit, The Globe and Mail
This announcement comes on the heels of US sanctions on settlers for leading riots and other violent attacks against Palestinians.

Top UK diplomat says Britain could recognize a Palestinian state before a peace deal with Israel, AP
Britain’s top diplomat said Thursday that his country could officially recognize a Palestinian state after a cease-fire in Gaza without waiting for the outcome of what could be yearslong talks between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.

AIPAC Readies for Primaries With $40 Million War Chest Following Oct. 7 Attack, Haaretz
AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC will enter primary season with more than $40 million cash on hand after raising $35 million in the latter half of 2023, buoyed by contributions from significant political megadonors.

Opinion and Analysis

Choosing Rebirth Over Revenge After My Release From Gaza, New York Times
Liat Atzili, who was taken hostage on October 7, writes, “Without tekumah, we will only sink further into the cycle of mutual anger and victimhood that has plagued our relationship with the Palestinians for too long. That is not the approach that the survivor generation chose, and in their spirit I do not seek revenge for what I have been through.”

Biden’s Executive Order on Violent Israeli Settlers Is a Game-changer, Haaretz
Ben Samuels writes, “The Biden administration’s decision to sanction four West Bank settlers implicated in violence against Palestinians is a dramatic step, an unprecedented case of the U.S. government punitively targeting Israelis.”

Netanyahu’s Bind: Compromising in Gaza or Holding On to Power at Home, New York Times
Patrick Kingsley writes, “To end the war in Gaza and free the remaining Israeli hostages, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have to cut deals that analysts say could end his government — and potentially his career.”

Inside The Israel Lobby’s New $90 Million War Chest, The Lever
Amos Barshad writes, “In the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has reaped a $90 million fundraising haul, according to confidential internal documents reviewed by The Lever. “