News Roundup for January 26, 2024

January 26, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street In the News

J Street Welcomes Renewed Biden Administration Efforts to Broker Hostage Releases, Halt to Gaza War, J Street
“Charging the CIA Director with this role indicates that this is a serious, urgent and delicate effort to broker the release of remaining hostages and put a stop to the horrific devastation in Gaza,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “As Israel’s key partner with tremendous influence in the region, these goals must be a priority for the United States. It’s past time to recognize that this war, as it is being pursued by the Netanyahu government, is not achieving its stated aims. It’s time to lead with diplomacy.”

Top News and Analysis

ICJ Tells Israel to Take Steps to Prevent Genocide in Gaza, Doesn’t Order Ceasefire, Axios
The ICJ also ordered Israel to allow more humanitarian aid, take effective measures to prevent and punish incitement to genocide and submit a report to the court within a month on what action it has taken to comply. The decision was only on the request for provisional measures, not the merits of the genocide charge.

Biden to Deploy CIA Director to Help Broker Major Gaza Deal, The Washington Post
President Biden plans to dispatch CIA Director William J. Burns in the coming days to help broker an ambitious deal between Hamas and Israel that would involve the release of all remaining hostages held in Gaza and the longest cessation of hostilities since the war began last year, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Cease-fire Remains Bone of Contention as Israel and Hamas Advance Toward Hostage Deal, Haaretz
A permanent cease-fire remains the main disagreement between Israel and Hamas as the sides reach agreements on most terms of a deal for the release of all Israeli hostages held in Gaza, a source familiar with the negotiations told Haaretz on Thursday. According to the source, the emerging outline of the deal is a 35-day period during which all remaining Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip will be released. In return, Israel will release Palestinian prisoners and provide humanitarian aid to Gaza.

UN Slams Israel for Deadly Strike on Gaza Shelter as War With Hamas Leaves Hospitals Under Siege, CBS News
The death toll from tank fire that hit a United Nations shelter in the Gaza Strip’s main southern city of Khan Younis has risen to 12, a top UN aid official said Thursday. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said, meanwhile, that Israeli fire had hit a large group of Palestinians waiting to receive humanitarian aid in Gaza City, killing at least 20 people and leaving scores more wounded.

For Third Day Running, Protesters Block Gaza Aid at Kerem Shalom Crossing, The Times of Israel
Following the protests in recent days, Biden administration officials were pressing Israel to ensure the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza remains open. According to the report, the US officials called for the crossing to continue operating as usual and said Israel must ensure aid continues flowing into Gaza, without specifically referring to the protests.

US Sets up Channel With Israel Seeking Answers on Civilian Casualties, Reuters
The channel was set up after a meeting earlier this month between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s war cabinet during which Blinken expressed concern about the “constant” reports of Israeli strikes that either hit humanitarian sites or resulted in large numbers of civilian deaths. Through the channel, Washington raises with the Israelis “every specific incident of concern” related to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, a US official said.

What to Know about Israel’s Controversial ‘Buffer Zone’ in Gaza, The Washington Post
The United States has been vocally opposed to the creation of a buffer zone, saying there should be no permanent change to Palestinian territory. Human rights groups say the destruction of civilian homes and farms could amount to war crimes. A total of 2,850 buildings once stood in the planned buffer zone, according to Israel’s Channel 12, and the IDF has already destroyed roughly 1,100 buildings.

Plans for Gaza’s ‘Day After’ Seem Ever Distant, The New York Times
Steven Erlanger writes, “Netanyahu is portraying himself as the one person who can prevent the Americans from imposing a Palestinian state on a traumatized Israel or significant restrictions on the Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank that is gradually absorbing Palestinian land. […] Netanyahu’s vision of a future Gaza is unclear. He continues to insist that Hamas will be “destroyed” and all the hostages released. But those goals seem more contradictory as the Israeli military operation in Gaza moves slowly and casualties on both sides mount.”


A Group of Palestinian Men Waving a White Flag Is Shot At, Killing 1, NBC News
The incident, recorded in the Al Mawasi neighborhood in Khan Younis, which the Israeli military had designated a “safe zone,” unfolds in nine videos obtained and verified by NBC News. It raises more questions about Israeli forces’ treatment of civilians caught in the war, which has already killed 25,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 children.

Nearly All Senate Democrats Sign Onto Palestinian Statehood Measure, Axios
The measure reiterates that it is US policy to “support a negotiated comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.” It comes after Netanyahu, despite pressure from President Biden to support a Palestinian state after the Israel-Hamas war, said Israel “needs security control” in Gaza and the West Bank as part of any peace deal.

Thousands of Right-Wing Activists Are Getting Ready to Resettle Gaza After the War, The Times of Israel
On Sunday, the activists will hold a large conference on “Jewish settlement in Gaza” at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center that is expected to draw over 3,000 people. Additional Likud ministers are also expected to attend and speak at the event. All of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party’s cabinet ministers will be there, and it is also likely that fellow far-right party Religious Zionism ministers will not miss the opportunity to appear.

Death of Israeli Soldiers in Explosion Highlights Friendly Fire Accidents in Gaza, NBC News
Out of 170 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza last year, 29 were either shot by fellow soldiers or died in accidents, according to the latest available IDF data. That means nearly 1 in 5 or 17% of all Israeli losses have come not at the hands of Hamas, but from mishaps on their own side. Most countries don’t release data on friendly fire deaths, meaning that Israel faces added scrutiny.

More Netanyahu Blowback: Senate Dems Call for New Leadership in Israel, Politico
While no senators outright called for him to resign, many pointed out significant problems with Netanyahu’s tenure Thursday, saying he’s mishandled the war against Hamas after the October terrorist attack. Their pointed comments, which include both lawmakers typically critical of Israeli governance and others normally more reserved, show how much Democratic faith in the long-time Israeli leader has eroded.

Biden Tells Bibi He’s Not in It for a Year of War in Gaza, Axios
Biden’s comments during the two leaders’ call last Friday reflect the growing US concern about the continuation of the war and the president’s desire to see it end long before the November elections. A Biden adviser told Axios the White House is very concerned about losing young voters, many of whom are opposed to the president’s policy on the Gaza war.

The West Bank Economy Has Been Hammered by War, NPR
Many fear the economic pain could lead to even more violence in the territory. After the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, Israel banned some 100,000 Palestinian laborers in the West Bank from crossing the border to work in Israel. The country cited security concerns. This has been a huge financial blow to the West Bank.

Opinion and Analysis

No One Is Listening to Gaza’s Pleas — Including Our Leaders, +972
An anonymous Gaza-based Palestinian journalist shares, “I am still confused about what to write and how to express my feelings and opinions. Do we blame just Hamas or Israel, or are both the culprits? Hamas’ October 7 attack does not justify in any way Israel’s actions in Gaza, but we are all dead in Gaza now. […] All this time, we have been pleading for the war to end, but no one is listening to us. I have written dozens of articles and given many interviews throughout this war, but I feel that I, too, have reached the end.”

Israel Must Not Resettle Gaza, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “The racist/settler wing of the cabinet, the Knesset, and the public is endangering Israel’s existence. In the name of a zealous, messianic vision, it is knowingly intensifying hatred between the two peoples, distancing any possibility of reconciliation and turning Israel into a pariah in the enlightened world. This is additional proof of the urgent need to hold a general election as soon as possible and oust this disastrous government.”

A Palestine Less Than Zero, Middle East Insights from Carnegie
Dr. H.A. Hellyer writes, “Netanyahu’s engagement on a Palestinian state represents a continuation of a long-standing tactic: to position himself before the Israeli public as the only leader who will be able to stand up to pressure from the United States to establish such a state. But, as has been abundantly clear, there is no such American pressure; it’s simply a case of Washington expressing its preferences. Pressure would mean using the tools that Washington has as leverage, whether aid to Israel or other forms of support. None of that is remotely in question.”