News Roundup for January 10, 2024

January 10, 2024
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Top News and Analysis

As Israel Proclaims ‘Targeted’ Phase of War, Gazans Find Little Change, Reuters
Families continue to rush into Gaza’s hospitals each morning, carrying relatives injured during overnight bombardment, and finding crammed, sometimes bloodstained wards and corridors. Rescue workers arrive to offload corpses pulled from pancaked buildings. “Any moving thing is targeted in Palestine, and in Gaza especially,” Shehada Tabash said as he arrived at the European Hospital in Khan Younis after losing his niece and cousin to an air strike. Health authorities in Hamas-run Gaza said early on Tuesday that 126 people were killed over the previous 24 hours, bringing the toll since Oct. 7 to 23,210.

Blinken Urges Israel to Engage With Region on Postwar Plans That Include Path to Palestinian State, AP
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with top Israeli leaders, Blinken said Israel “must stop taking steps that undercut the Palestinians’ ability to govern themselves effectively.” Israel, he added “must be a partner of the Palestinian leaders who are willing to lead their people” and live “side by side in peace with Israel.” Settler violence, settlement expansion, home demolitions and evictions “all make it harder, not easier, for Israel to achieve lasting peace and security.”

Israel, Shifting War Tempo, Tailors Its Messages for Home and Abroad, The New York Times
Israeli officials have begun to tell the international news media that its forces are shifting to a less intense phase of operations, particularly in northern Gaza, amid international alarm at the scale of destruction and civilian casualties in the territory. But after those comments were published on Monday, Israeli leaders sought to reassure the Israeli public that they remained committed to a long-term war in Gaza to destroy Hamas, even if the military tactics are shifting.

It’s Not Too Late for Biden to Restrain Israel, Foreign Policy
Howard French writes, “The Biden administration has said that it opposes the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and also rejects the idea of Israel assuming political and administrative control over the enclave, but the Biden team’s record of holding Israel to account on anything to do with this crisis is extremely weak, and its willingness to stand up to Israel by denying it military or political support still seems close to nil. […] The world needs to say no to this and mean it. Clearing Palestinians en masse out of ever more of their land is just the kind of seductive-looking “fix” that is not only profoundly unjust, but will also only guarantee more hatred and tragedy in the future.”

Israel Mulls Investigating Lawmakers Over Calls to Harm Gazan Civilians, YNet News
Israel may investigate comments calling for harm to civilians in Gaza over possible incitement to violence and other crimes, the attorney general said on Tuesday. The probe of statements made by lawmakers may go ahead despite their immunity from prosecution. The move was seen by some in political circles as a warning to Israeli public figures to refrain from explicit remarks ahead of the International Court of Justice hearing accusations that Israel was committing genocide.

Top Biden Adviser Quietly Visits Qatar to Discuss Hostage Talks, Regional Tensions, Axios
President Biden’s top Middle East adviser Brett McGurk met in Doha on Tuesday with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdelrahman al-Thani and discussed regional tensions and efforts to secure the release of hostages held in Gaza, according to a US source and two other sources familiar with the trip. The White House and the Qatari government kept the trip very low profile. They didn’t announce McGurk’s visit and didn’t issue a readout of his meeting with the Qatari prime minister.


Blinken: Israel to Allow UN to Assess Northern Gaza for Future Return of Palestinians, Axios
Israel will allow the UN to send experts to the northern Gaza Strip to evaluate the conditions for the future return of displaced Palestinian civilians, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on Tuesday. While necessary, the move will only modestly advance the broader US goal of allowing more than 1 million Palestinians who evacuated to the southern parts of the enclave to go back to their homes. Israel’s agreement appears to be, at the moment, the only tangible thing Blinken has achieved in his visit to Israel.

Video Appears to Show the Israeli Army Shot 3 Palestinians, Killing 1, Without Provocation, AP
Security camera video from a West Bank village shows a young man standing in a central square when he is suddenly shot and drops to the ground. Two others rushing to his aid are also hit, leaving a 17-year-old dead, moments before Israeli military jeeps roll in. An Associated Press review of the video and interviews with the two wounded survivors showed Israeli soldiers opened fire on the three when they did not appear to pose a threat.

Democrats Say Biden Must Notify Congress About Israel Arms Transfers, The Washington Post
More than a dozen Senate Democrats said Tuesday that they will seek to block President Biden’s request to skirt congressional oversight of arms transfers to Israel. Led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the push comes as more Democrats, historically stalwart backers of the Jewish state, have urged the president to step up efforts to rein in America’s chief ally in the Middle East.

Jordanian King to Host Egyptian, Palestinian Leaders for Gaza Talks, The Times of Israel
Jordan’s King Abdullah II will host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday for talks on “dangerous developments” in war-torn Gaza, the royal palace said. The meeting will be held in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba as part of “Jordan’s efforts to coordinate Arab positions to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and ensure the uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid,” a statement said.

Oct. 7 Assaults, Including Sexual Violence, Could Be Crimes Against Humanity, 2 UN Experts Say, The New York Times
Alice Jill Edwards, a special rapporteur on torture, and Morris Tidball-Binz, a special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the growing evidence of sexual violence in the day’s wide range of “brutal attacks” was “particularly harrowing,” noting allegations of sexual assault, gang rape, mutilation and gunshots to the genital areas.

Hezbollah’s Precision Precedent: Sniping at Israeli Homes Using Antitank Missiles, Haaretz
Hezbollah is believed to be the first to use precise antitank missiles to target civilian structures. Dozens of Israeli buildings have taken direct hits – and now even towns that were not evacuated are within firing range. One hundred twenty of Metula’s 600 houses have taken perimeter damage.

Saudi Envoy Says Kingdom ‘Absolutely’ Still Open to Normalization Deal With Israel, The Times of Israel
Prince Khalid bin Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the UK, told the BBC in a radio interview that Riyadh is still open to establishing ties with the Jewish state as long as it is part of an overall two-state solution. “We’ve been at this for a long time, and willing to accept Israel for a long time, it’s a reality that’s there that we have to live with. But we can’t live with Israel without a Palestinian state.”

‘We Can Not Continue With This Blindness’: Famed Israeli Columnist on Israel After October 7 [Video], CNN
Christiane Amanpour speaks with Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, who claims that Israeli media is not showing the public the images of destruction and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Opinion and Analysis

For Gaza’s Pregnant Women and Newborns, the War Will Never Be Over, The New York Times
Dr. Alice Rothchild shares, “If these mothers and their children manage to survive the war, they will grapple with its effects for the rest of their lives. Health research into multiple areas of armed conflict (such as Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Kosovo) reveals that these kinds of conditions are linked to an increase in miscarriages, congenital abnormalities, stillbirths, preterm labor and maternal mortality. Other studies of armed conflict from 1945 to 2017 show that children exposed to war are more likely to suffer from poor living conditions and sanitation, and multigenerational poverty caused by the loss of educational and economic infrastructure.”

The Far Right Infiltration of Israel’s Media Is Blinding the Public to the Truth About Gaza, The Guardian
Etan Nechin writes, “Channel 14 has a counter that logs the number of buildings demolished in Gaza, the number of Palestinians wounded, the number of “terrorists killed” (all casualties are labelled as “terrorists”). On a late-night panel show, an operative from Netanyahu’s party, Likud, blamed the Hamas surprise attack on “the crimes of Oslo” and the “leftist cancer” to the cheers of the live audience, while host Shimon Riklin said he was “for war crimes”. The extreme discourse is so widespread that South Africa has cited journalists from Channel 14 and others cheering for mass killings in its appeal to the international court of justice against Israel.”

Israel Is Using a Notorious Military Tool to Arrest Its Own Palestinian Citizens, +972
Baker Zoubi reports, “Israel has routinely used administrative detention to arbitrarily incarcerate Palestinians in the occupied territories — who are subject to Israeli military rule — for months or even years on the basis of “classified” evidence, without the need for standard legal proceedings like presenting charges or holding a trial. Before the war, there was already a higher number of administrative detainees — over 1,300 — than at any time in the previous three decades; now, that figure has more than doubled. But this practice has very rarely been used against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship since the lifting of military rule inside the state in 1966.”