News Roundup for January 12, 2024

January 12, 2024
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Top News and Analysis

Accused of Genocide, Israelis See Reversal of Reality. Palestinians See Justice, The New York Times
Patrick Kingsley writes, “To many Israelis, the case is the culmination of a decades-long effort to turn Israel into a pariah by holding the country — which was itself founded in the aftermath of a genocide of Jews — to a far higher level of scrutiny than other nations. They see their invasion of the Gaza Strip as a war of defense against an enemy, Hamas, that inflicted its own genocidal attack on Israel on Oct. 7. […] By contrast, many Palestinians feel a brief sense of catharsis at the thought of Israeli officials being compelled to defend their country in front of a panel of international judges. To Palestinian eyes, only now, in a courtroom in The Hague, is Israel being treated like any other country.”

White House Says People in Gaza Starving, Calls for More Aid Trucks, The Times of Israel
Gazans are facing starvation and more humanitarian aid must get in, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby tells reporters. “We recognize that there are real food security issues in Gaza,” he says. “We understand there’s a lot of hunger and starvation in Gaza.” Kirby says not enough aid trucks are getting into Gaza. “We’re not satisfied with the level right now,” he says.

US and UK Strike Houthis in Yemen, Axios
Biden said in a statement that at his direction the military forces, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, “successfully conducted strikes” against several targets “used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways.” An American military official said US Navy warships and submarines launched precision-guided munitions in order to hit specific targets and avoid civilian casualties. A spokesperson for the Houthi rebels said that the airstrikes hit the Yemeni city of Hodeidah.

Qatar-Led Talks in Works to Get Medicine to Israeli Hostages in Gaza, The Times of Israel
High-level talks between Qatar and Hamas are moving toward a deal that could potentially see vital medicine delivered to Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli official said there has been progress on the issue and Hamas’s international spokesman Husam Badran said his terror group is engaged in the talks “with great positivity.” The talks also include negotiations on moves to get more medical supplies into Gaza for Palestinians.

Gazan Prisoners Describe Abuse at Secretive Israeli Detention Sites, The Washington Post
The Washington Post reports, “Jihad Hammouda said he spent 17 days blindfolded and handcuffed in an Israeli detention facility, made to kneel on the ground for hours at a time. He did not know where he was or when he would be released. […] Hundreds of Palestinians — both combatants and civilians — have been detained by Israeli forces in Gaza and incarcerated without charge inside Israel under a secretive legal framework that rights groups say has never been applied at this scale. Advocates say the system is intentionally opaque and open to abuse, allowing detainees to effectively disappear into a legal gray zone.”

‘It’s Like Living in a Mortuary, Waiting for Someone to Bury You’, +972
Mahmoud Mushtaha writes, “The struggle for survival has morphed into a haunting and totalizing reality for Palestinian residents here in Gaza City, as it has for Palestinians across the entire Strip. Against the backdrop of intensified Israeli military attacks, the deprivation of food and water under a tightened siege, and the pervasive threat of epidemics with no medical aid, the city’s remaining inhabitants — even as they fight to stay alive — feel as if they have been left with no choice but to wait for their death.”

Seeking Cash, Hamas Turns to Allies Experienced in ‘Financial Jihad’, The Washington Post
Across the Middle East and Europe, the Gaza conflict re-energized old fundraising networks with ties to militant Islamist groups and causes, including groups accused of raising money in the past for al-Qaeda and the Taliban as well as Hamas’s military wing, current and former US counterterrorism officials say. The groups helped raised millions of dollars practically overnight, using crowdfunding campaigns on social media that were built around photos and videos depicting the suffering of Gazan civilians. Some of the money was ultimately deposited in Hamas-controlled accounts.


Another Layer of Misery: Women in Gaza Struggle to Find Menstrual Pads, Running Water, NPR
The UN estimates that some 700,000 women and girls in Gaza experience menstrual cycles but don’t have adequate access now to basic hygiene products like pads, toilet paper or even running water and toilets because of the war. These conditions put women and girls in Gaza at risk of reproductive and urinary tract infections, according to the UN. A spokesperson for UNICEF told NPR: “This situation is particularly challenging for women and adolescent girls, who lack safe, private and dignified places to manage menstrual hygiene.”

Looming Starvation in Gaza Shows Resurgence of Civilian Sieges in Warfare, The New York Times
The number of people facing possible starvation in the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks is the largest share of a population at risk of famine identified anywhere since a United Nations-affiliated panel created the current global food-insecurity assessment 20 years ago. Scholars of famine say it has been generations since the world has seen this degree of food deprivation in warfare.

Blinken Says Pathway to Palestinian State Best Way to Stabilize Region, Isolate Iran, The Times of Israel
Speaking to reporters after meeting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, Blinken said the region faced two paths, the first of which would see “Israel integrated, with security assurances and commitments from regional countries and as well from the United States, and a Palestinian state — at least a pathway to get to that state.” “The other path is to continue to see the terrorism, the nihilism, the destruction by Hamas, by the Houthis, by Hezbollah — all backed by Iran,” he said.

Israeli Hostage Families Shout Their Love to the Captives Across Gaza Fence, Reuters
Relatives of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas stood by the Gaza fence on Thursday, taking turns to shout messages of love and support into a microphone in the hope that the captives would hear them. “Omer, can you hear us? It’s Ima and Aba,” shouted Orna Neutra, mother of 22-year-old hostage Omer Neutra. “We’re here. We’re really close to you. We’re fighting for you every single day.”

Israel Police Bars Protests Against Gaza War, Citing Inability to Protect Public, Prevent Violence, Haaretz
The police announced on Thursday that they would not approve a demonstration against the war in Gaza that was scheduled to take place in Haifa on Saturday night, with dozens of organizations participating. The announcement came a day after the police refused to approve an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv. Rights groups have slammed the decision to prevent Jewish and Arab groups from demonstrating.

Friendly Fire May Have Killed Their Relatives on Oct. 7. These Israeli Families Want Answers Now, AP
Relatives of civilians killed at a kibbutz in southern Israel during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas are demanding the military immediately investigate signs that some may have been killed by Israeli security forces as they battled militants holding hostages. The military has said it will conduct a thorough investigation once its war on Hamas is over.

Exhausted Gaza Medics Struggle to Help Casualties From Israeli Bombardment, Reuters
The fate of the strip’s hospitals and plight of its medics operating under bombardment, with flickering electricity and water supply and inadequate medical stocks, has prompted UN fears of a collapse in the health system. As Abu Awaimer spoke, dozens of people milled around a busy hospital area, some pulling stretchers as medics prepared bandages. He said the hospital surroundings had recently been hit and ambulances destroyed.

Evacuated From a Devastated Home, Israeli Kids From the Gaza-border Restart School in Tel Aviv, Haaretz
The elementary school (1-8) children of Re’im were integrated into the environmental school, located not far from the towers. The high schoolers dispersed among the city’s schools, while the kindergartners have begun attending an ad-hoc institution opened for them in the housing complex. In total, some 120 children from Re’im have integrated into Tel Aviv’s educational system, and overall some 3,000 evacuated children – from the south and the north – are currently studying in the city.

Opinion and Analysis

We Can Save Lives in Gaza, but Not With Empty Slogans, Haaretz
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron shares, “As I saw in Arish in Egypt, too much aid is presently piled up, unable to enter Gaza. I have appointed a Representative for Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Based on their intensive work, we have identified the bottlenecks and how to unblock them. Take crossing points. With extended opening hours and capacity at the Nitzana screening facility and Kerem Shalom checkpoint, much more aid could enter Gaza. Opening Kerem Shalom in December helped – opening it seven days a week would help even more.”

Israeli Women and Girls Have Suffered Horrific Sexual Violence From Hamas. Where Is the Outrage?, The Guardian
Deborah Lipstadt, US special envoy to combat antisemitism, and Michèle Taylor, US permanent representative to the UN human rights council, write, “The silence that followed was more than just concerning; it suggests a deeper issue of antisemitism that must be acknowledged and addressed. This apparent reluctance to believe the accounts of Jewish women, a stark deviation from the global commitment to believing survivors and condemning such acts, mimics patterns of Holocaust denial, perpetuating a cycle of antisemitism by furthering the stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy.”

Pressuring Israel Works, The Atlantic
Graeme Wood writes, “On November 6, Biden had a call with Netanyahu. Netanyahu is a master cold-reader of the Israeli public, and he knew that his people were not in the mood to be rebuked over a handful of dead and wounded Palestinians in the West Bank, while the remains of hundreds of Jewish dead were still being picked bone by splintered bone out of the ashes of kibbutzim near Gaza. But Biden made settler violence a priority, according to a US official who was not authorized to speak on the record. The US provided Netanyahu a detailed list of steps, symbolic and concrete, that would prevent the West Bank from becoming another front in the war.”