News Roundup for January 24, 2024

January 24, 2024
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Top News and Analysis

Dozens of People Killed as Israel Intensifies Offensive in Southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, NPR
Gazan health officials said that dozens of people have been killed in the fighting, and the United Nations said a hospital was struck, cutting off access to already limited medical care. Earlier in the war between Hamas and Israel, the city swelled with thousands of displaced people from northern Gaza. People are now being forced to flee even farther south.

Israeli Hostage Families Have ‘Nothing Left to Lose’ in Push for New Deal, The Washington Post
In the early days of the war, “We couldn’t attack the government because the government was responsible for bringing our loved ones back,” said Shahar Mor Zahiro, one of the protesters who disrupted the Knesset on Monday. His uncle Abraham Munder turned 79 in Gaza. Now, “society is cracking at the seams,” Zahiro said. “A lot of families took the gloves off. We have nothing to lose any more.” On Wednesday, protesters declared a “day of rage” with nationwide events calling for the immediate release of the hostages.

One-Month Gaza Truce Focus of Intensive Talks, Sources Say, Reuters
Israel and Hamas broadly agree in principle that an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners could take place during a month-long ceasefire, but the framework plan is being held up by the two sides’ differences over how to bring a permanent end to the Gaza war, three sources said. Mediation efforts led by Qatar, Washington and Egypt have focused on a phased approach to release different categories of Israeli hostages – starting with civilians and ending with soldiers – in return for a break in hostilities, the release of Palestinian prisoners and more aid to Gaza.

Netanyahu Faces Hostages Dilemma as Israeli Political Debate Heats Up, The Guardian
Jason Burke writes, “Politics, frozen in Israel in the aftermath of the October attacks, are warming up again. Local media talk of “resurgent opposition” to Netanyahu. Seasoned observers warn against exaggerating any thaw, pointing to the lack of any mass mobilization and how most Israelis are still absorbed in their personal grief or worries about close relatives in uniform. But there are signs of change. Relatives of hostages still in Gaza are growing more vocal.”

Palestinian Aid Emerges as Sticking Point in Supplemental Talks, Roll Call
Senate Democrats have long pushed for humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians as an integral part of a national security package and it was included in the Senate’s $110.5 billion bill that stalled last month. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that a deal must include “humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in Gaza and humanitarian aid to other places around the world.” But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pushed back against Gaza aid, saying the Palestinians had no reliable governing entity that could be trusted with it.

As Some Israeli Troops Leave Gaza, a Long-Term Strategy Remains Elusive, The Washington Post
The Washington Post reports, “How Israel can keep a weakened Hamas from rebuilding is an open, and vexing, question for military leaders. The entity that ultimately governs Gaza – whether the Palestinian Authority, as the United States advocates, or an international force, an idea that some Israeli officials have floated – will determine whether IDF troops can operate from permanent positions inside the enclave or respond from bases just across the border. Remaining inside would amount to reoccupying Gaza, a goal supported by far-right politicians but fiercely opposed by Washington and by most Israelis, polls show.”


Nearly Two Dozen Americans Have Been Killed in Israel-Gaza War, US Says, The Washington Post
“As a result of continued violence after Oct. 7 … we can confirm the deaths of 23 American citizens — 21 who have served in the IDF, one who served in the Israeli National Police, as well as the recently reported death of Mr. Jabbar,” State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in his Monday press briefing. He was referring to 17-year-old Tawfic Hafeth Abdel Jabbar, a Palestinian American teenager who was fatally shot in the occupied West Bank last week.

More Democrats Criticize Netanyahu for Rejecting Palestinian State, Semafor
The letter was led by Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. and Jim Himes, D-Conn. and signed by more than three dozen other House Democrats (including most Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee). “We are deeply concerned by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s public rejection of a two-state solution on January 18, and respectfully request that your Administration outline a strategy to marshal international and ultimately, Israeli and Palestinian support to successfully implement a two-state solution,” the lawmakers wrote.

Egypt Lashes Out at ‘Extremist Israeli Leaders’ After Netanyahu Says IDF Must Seize Gaza-Egypt Buffer Zone, CBS News
“The Philadelphi Corridor — or to put it more correctly, the southern stoppage point [of the Gaza Strip] — must be in our hands. It must be shut,” Netanyahu said at the end of December. The Head of Egypt’s State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, lashed out Monday at Netanyahu’s declaration as “an attempt to create legitimacy” for what he said was the Israeli government’s real goal of occupying the border corridor in violation of security agreements signed between the two neighbors.

US Hits Iraq Militia Sites and Anti-ship Missiles in Yemen as Fight With Iranian Proxies Intensifies, AP
Both the strikes in Iraq and Yemen late on Tuesday targeted sites that the US has said are involved in the attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria and were threatening US military and commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Both fronts — land attacks in Iraq and Syria, and sea attacks originating from Yemen — have seen a significant uptick in launches and counterstrikes over the last few days.

‘More Killing Won’t Bring Back Lost Lives’: Tal Mitnick, 18, on Going to Prison Instead of Joining IDF, The Guardian
The events of October 7 only affirmed his decision. “Israel has already lost this war,” he believes. “More killing and more violence won’t bring back the lives lost on October 7. I know people are hurt. Traumatized. But this doesn’t make anything better. To root out extremist ideas from Palestinian society, we must root them out in Israel.” For first-time refuseniks, seven to 10 days is a standard sanction. On December 26, Mitnick received 30 days to be spent at a prison.

NYPD Investigates ‘Serious Crimes’ in Apparent Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protesters, ABC News
A group of demonstrators at Columbia University say they were attacked with what they believe to have been a “chemical-based weapon” during a gathering in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The New York Police Department told ABC News there is a report on file for assault after the protesters said they smelled a foul odor and began to feel nauseated, accompanied by headaches, during a protest Friday.

UN Chief: Israel’s Rejection of Two-State Solution Will Embolden Extremists, Reuters
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said it was “unacceptable” for Israel’s government to reject a two-state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians, warning that the move would “embolden extremists everywhere.” At a high-level meeting of the UN Security Council on the Middle East, Guterres said: “Israel’s occupation must end.”

Opinion and Analysis

Don’t Ask Israelis Right Now About Palestinian Casualties in Gaza, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin argues, “If you were distressed by high levels of support among Palestinians for Hamas, […] the widespread Israeli support for Israel’s firepower and the massive casualties incurred offers a mirror image. […] The Israeli and Palestinian peoples are strained to breaking point, or they’re already broken. Each is inconceivably traumatized and the suffering is ongoing every day, in different ways. We don’t need polls; we need leadership.”

As a Gazan, I Still Believe Israelis and Palestinians Must Talk, The Times of Israel
Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib shares, “My uncle, Riyad, was killed in December by an Israeli strike on my family’s house in Rafah in southern Gaza. Before I left Gaza in 2005, one of his last remarks to me was that by the time I returned, he would have gone back to work in Israel after years of inability due to the Second Intifada. While I mourn the unjust and senseless murder of Uncle Riyad, I dream of the day when his wishes will come true and Gazans and Israelis reconnect. To make this a reality, I will seek coexistence and peace instead of revenge and, importantly, always be open to dialogue with Jews and Israelis. I dream of the day when this position is the norm, not the exception.”

The Man Who Could Unseat Netanyahu, The New York Times
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “If – or more likely when – Mr. Gantz decides to leave the war cabinet and take his party back into the opposition, it will mean a crossroads for Israel’s future. It could well be the moment that opens the floodgates of protest, which have been largely shut because of the war, and bring hundreds of thousands of Israelis, including many reservists returned from the battlefield, to the streets to demand Mr. Netanyahu’s resignation.”