News Roundup for July 2, 2024

July 2, 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

West Bank Annexation and Destabilization in the Shadow of the Israel-Hamas War, J Street
This issue brief provides an overview of key Israeli annexationist policies and actions contributing to destabilization in the West Bank since October 7, notes policies adopted by the US and other countries in response, and provides recommendations for further action by the Biden Administration and Congress.

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Generals, Low on Munitions, Want a Truce in Gaza, The New York Times
Israel’s top generals want to begin a cease-fire in Gaza even if it keeps Hamas in power for the time being, widening a rift between the military and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has opposed a truce that would allow Hamas to survive the war. The generals think that a truce would be the best way of freeing the roughly 120 Israelis still held, both dead and alive, in Gaza, according to interviews with six current and former security officials. Underequipped for further fighting after Israel’s longest war in decades, the generals also think their forces need time to recuperate in case a land war breaks out against Hezbollah.

Palestinians Ordered to Flee Khan Younis, Signaling Likely New Israeli Assault on Southern Gaza City, CBS News
The order suggested a new assault into the city was imminent. Israeli forces fought for weeks in Khan Younis earlier this year and withdrew, claiming to have destroyed Hamas battalions in the city. But in other places where the military made similar claims, renewed raids have underscored Hamas’ continued capabilities. Thousands of Gazans had returned to Khan Younis in April after Israel’s withdrawal from the city.


At Tel Aviv Confab, Israel’s Embattled Peace Camp Seeks to Revive Itself Post-Oct. 7, The Times of Israel
In perhaps the most impressive display of numbers for the Israeli left since the October 7 Hamas attack, thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu neighborhood on Monday evening for a conference demanding a hostage deal and end to Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

Blinken: Israel Effectively Lost Sovereignty in North Due to Hezbollah, The Jerusalem Post
Israel has “lost sovereignty” in the northern part of its country due to the persistent cross-border attacks Hezbollah has launched against Israel since October, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday. “People don’t feel safe to go to their homes,” he said during a public interview at the Brookings Institute in Washington.

Israelis and Palestinians Rally for Cease-fire Across US Ahead of Major Peace Event in Tel Aviv, Haaretz
Hundreds of protesters, including Israelis and Palestinians, protested in cities across North America on Sunday, calling for an end to the war, the return of hostages and in support of ‘The Time is Now’ peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu Privately Showing Openness to PA Involvement in Postwar Gaza — Officials, The Times of Israel
The second Israeli official explained that Netanyahu’s opposition to handing control of Gaza to the “current PA” remains in place, but that he could be more flexible if Ramallah implements significant reforms to better address incitement and terrorism in the West Bank.

Israel Reconnects Gaza With Electricity for Water Desalination and Sewage Plant, Haaretz
Israeli security officials said that repair of electric wires in Gaza and connecting them to the Israeli grid is carried out as a humanitarian effort to prevent disease outbreaks and contamination in Gaza that may endanger IDF forces in the Strip and Israeli residents.

Israel to Reportedly Try Creating Hamas-Free ‘Bubble’ Zones in Northern Gaza, The Times of Israel
The scheme, which would dovetail with a post-war plan to hand aspects of control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority and moderate Arab states, has reportedly been met with skepticism by anonymous former officials and others familiar with the plans.

Iran Would Use ‘All Means’ to Back Hizbollah If Israel Launches Full-Blown War, Official Says, Financial Times
Kamal Kharrazi, foreign affairs adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the Financial Times that the Islamic republic was “not interested” in a regional war and urged the US to put pressure on Israel to prevent further escalation. But asked if Iran would support Hizbollah — its most important and powerful proxy — militarily in the event of a full-blown conflict, Kharrazi said: “All Lebanese people, Arab countries and members of the axis of resistance will support Lebanon against Israel.”

How Israel Is Contending With a Potential Far-right French Election Win by Le Pen’s National Rally Party, Haaretz
Le Pen has espoused pro-Israel views during the campaign. And the party’s designated prime ministerial candidate, Jordan Bardella, even said that France should reconsider its support for a two-state solution in light of Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

Lawsuit Accuses Iran, Syria and North Korea of Providing Support for Hamas’ Oct. 7 Attack on Israel, AP
The lawsuit draws on previous court findings, reports from U.S. and other government agencies, and statements over some years by Hamas, Iranian and Syrian officials about their ties. The complaint also points to indications that Hamas fighters used North Korean weapons in the Oct. 7 attack. But the suit doesn’t provide specific evidence that Tehran, Damascus or Pyongyang knew in advance about the assault.

Israel Risking Disastrous War Against Hezbollah for Political Reasons, Says Former US Official, The Guardian
“I don’t know how realistic their assessments are of the destruction that Israel would incur, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have a realistic idea of how successful they would be against Hezbollah,” said Harrison Mann, a major in the Defence Intelligence Agency who left the military last month over US support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

‘We Will Not Enlist:’ Ultra-Orthodox in Israel Vow to Defy Orders to Serve in the Military, CNN
The clashes between some protesters and police following the gathering in Mea Shearim underscored the depth of emotion in the ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom believe that serving in the military is incompatible with their way of life.

Opinion and Analysis

Ehud Olmert on Israel’s Two-Front War and the Fall of Netanyahu, Foreign Policy
Ehud Olmert shares, “There are still 6 million Palestinians. What are we going to do with the 6 million Palestinians? Is Israel anxious to continue to be an occupier forever? Is it possible? Is it not going to cost Israel the price of pain, of isolation, of boycott, of rejection? So, if there is an alternative political solution that will release Israel of the occupation, I’m ready to discuss it. But I haven’t heard from anyone that may propose to me, ‘OK, not a two-state. Something else that will not imply a continued Israeli occupation of 6 million people.’ So, there is no alternative. There is only one solution. The question is: Will Israel have the power and determination, the vision and the leadership to move forward?”

With Crime in Gaza Soaring, Israel Faces the Reality of Iraq-style Guerilla War, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “In the face of a reality in which gangs and Hamas terrorist squads, who have switched to a guerrilla war in Iraqi and Syrian style, control 2.25 million people living with appalling, unceasing hunger and stress, Israel has no strategy or operating plan. In the best case, it will be forced to cooperate with armed family gangs, and in the realistic case, Hamas will return to control Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.”

Biden’s Mixed Messages to Israel Are Coming Home to Roost, Responsible Statecraft
Khaled Elginy argues, “Instead of attempting to change the incentive structure of both sides, the Biden administration has consistently worked to absorb, deflect or otherwise offset any potential costs or consequences that Israel could incur by continuing the war, thereby prolonging it. Despite serious and growing differences between the U.S. and Israel over both its conduct and goals of the war, the administration has continued to provide nearly unrestricted military, political and diplomatic support for Israel’s military campaign at virtually every stage — regardless of the costs for Palestinians and even when it has strongly disagreed with those actions.”

Fear of a Full-blown Conflict in Lebanon Looms, With Members of Israel’s Government Stoking It, Haaretz
Amos Harel reports, “Some ministers in the Israeli government have made remarks that do nothing to contribute to calming the situation. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the security cabinet, sketched out what a region-wide offensive might look like. The renowned strategist proposed the ‘collapse of the regime in Iran, the complete destruction of Hamas and a sharp and swift war against Hezbollah’ that would take the Shi’ite organization out of the game.”