News Roundup for July 1, 2024

July 1, 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

Israeli Government Ties to European Far-Right Is Unsettling, The Jerusalem Post
J Street Israel Executive Director Nadav Tamir shares, “These are the new allies of Minister Chikli, Israel’s government’s newly found friends estranged from the liberal world. Instead of working towards restoring the country’s international standing, Israel has chosen the easier and perilous path: befriending European racists who currently choose to emphasize their racism towards the Muslim population within their own countries and temporarily conceal their antisemitism, an integral part of their general racism.”

Top News and Analysis

US Proposed New Language in Effort to Reach Gaza Hostage-Ceasefire Deal, Axios
The new effort, which hasn’t been reported before, is based on the Israeli proposal that was approved by Israel’s war cabinet and presented by President Biden in a speech last month. The Biden administration is still pushing for a three-phase deal that would lead to the release of the remaining 120 hostages being held by Hamas and to “sustainable calm” in Gaza, where more than 37,700 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, according to local health authorities.

Israeli Source Says Hostage Deal Not Close, Goal Is to Get Back to Negotiating Table, Haaretz
According to the source, the “distance between the sides” is significant, especially after Netanyahu’s statements about a “partial deal,” and that the mediators are only now trying to restart talks. Another source said Sinwar is not interested in a deal and prefers escalation in the north to an end to the war.

Israel Sparks International Condemnation Over Plans to Legalize Five West Bank Settlements, CNN
The spokesperson for Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, told CNN that the Israeli government had agreed in a late-night cabinet to recognize five Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that were built illegally and that Smotrich will release tax funds to the Palestinian Authority that Israel collects on its behalf.


No Escape From ‘Sharp, Quick’ War Against Hezbollah, Israeli Far-right Minister Says, Haaretz
According to Smotrich, the threat posed by Iran requires Israel to set a goal of bringing down the government in Tehran, with more immediate steps to include “total destruction of Hamas” and thwarting the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Exclusive: US has Sent Israel Thousands of 2,000-pound Bombs Since Oct. 7, Reuters
While the officials didn’t give a timeline for the shipments, the totals suggest there has been no significant drop-off in U.S. military support for its ally, despite international calls to limit weapons supplies and a recent administration decision to pause a shipment of powerful bombs.

Israel’s Labor Party, Left-Wing Meretz Merge into One Party, to Be Called ‘The Democrats’, Haaretz
MK Reznik stated that “this union is a double correction – it is also a correction of the past, but it is mainly a correction for the future – because without the union and without the integration of the ideology and ideas of the parties alongside their translation into a significant political force, there will be no correction for Israel. This is the only political body that bravely waves the political, social and civil flag, and Israel must make fateful decisions in these areas.”

US and Europe Warn Lebanon’s Hezbollah to Ease Strikes on Israel and Back off From Wider Mideast War, AP
The Americans and Europeans are warning the group it should not count on the United States or anyone else being able to hold off Israeli leaders if they decide to execute battle-ready plans for an offensive into Lebanon. And Hezbollah should not count on its fighters’ ability to handle whatever would come next.

Israeli Airstrike in West Bank Kills Palestinian Militant, Wounds 5 Others, ABC News
The strike took place in Nur Shams, an urban refugee camp that has been a frequent target of the Israeli military and is known as a stronghold of Palestinian militants. The state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa said an Israeli drone fired three missiles and struck a house.

Israeli Ministers Approve Law That Would Reserve ‘Administrative Detention’ for non-Jews, Haaretz
The proposed law says that administrative detention, or detention without trial, would only be allowed if the person belongs to a “terror group” that aims to destroy the state or harm its citizens. Between Oct. 7 and May 1, 10 Jews were put into administrative detention compared to 2,733 Arabs.

Ultra-Orthodox Protest Against Order to Enlist in Israeli Military Turns Violent in Jerusalem, AP
Israeli police said protesters threw rocks and attacked the car of an ultra-Orthodox Cabinet minister, pelting it with stones. Water cannons filled with skunk-scented water and police mounted on horses were used to disperse the crowd. But the demonstration was still not under control late Sunday.

Israelis Fear Iran and Its Proxies Might Try to Exploit Biden’s Apparent Weakness, The New York Times
While some on the Israeli right have mocked Mr. Biden’s debate performance, hoping for a Trump victory, Mr. Harel continued, that was a display of ungratefulness after the U.S. president stood by Israel and supplied it with large quantities of weapons. “Moreover,” he added, “Trump is a feeble reed to rely on.”

Gaza Militants Fire Rockets into Israel, as Tanks Advance in North and South, Reuters
The volley of around 20 rockets caused no casualties, according to the Israeli military. But it showed militants still possess rocket capabilities almost nine months into Israel’s offensive it says is aimed at neutralising threats against it. In some parts of Gaza, militants continue to stage attacks on Israeli forces in areas that the army had left months ago.

Israel Releases Director of Hospital It Says Was Used as a Hamas Base. He Alleges Abuse in Custody, AP
Abu Selmia was released back into Gaza along with 54 other Palestinian detainees, many of whom also alleged abuse. The allegations could not be independently confirmed but matched other accounts of Palestinians who have been held in Israeli custody. “Our detainees have been subjected to all kinds of torture behind bars,” Abu Selmia said at a news conference after his release.

Opinion and Analysis

On GPS: American Jews Reckon with Israel’s War in Gaza [Video], CNN
Rabbi Sharon Brous joins Fareed Zakaria to discuss how Jews in the US are grappling with their Jewish identity amid the war in Gaza and rising antisemitism.

Can This Conference Inspire a New Israeli-Palestinian Peace Movement?, +972
Oren Ziv interviews Maoz Inon and Aziz Abu Sarah about their work creating a new Israeli-Palestinian peace movement. “Together with dozens of organizations, Inon is now leading an event titled ‘It’s Time — The Great Peace Conference,’ which will take place on July 1 in Tel Aviv, and is expected to be the largest formal left-wing gathering in recent decades. Delegations representing vast swaths of Israeli and Palestinian society will be in attendance, with artists, politicians, and intellectuals expected to speak. The event will screen a video message from Abu Sarah, who is currently abroad.”

Palestinian Fighters in West Bank Seek to Emulate Hamas in Gaza, The New York Times
Steven Erlanger reports, “More weapons and explosives are being manufactured in the West Bank, according to both the fighters themselves and Israeli military officials. They say the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which runs parts of the West Bank, is losing ground to the more radical Palestinian factions, who are actively fighting Israel and gaining more support from Iran in the form of cash and weapons smuggled into the territory.”

Fact or Fiction: Is Israel Unfairly Singled Out for Global Condemnation?, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin shares, “Israel has violated UN General Assembly resolutions, including 181 (the Partition Plan) and 194 (regarding Palestinian refugees) since the earliest years. In 1967, Israel occupied territory in war (not illegal in itself), which it has essentially been annexing in slow motion ever since – and yes, the prohibition against acquiring land by force applies to any territory, not only sovereign states.”