News Roundup for June 13, 2024

June 13, 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.

Top News and Analysis

‘Time for the Haggling to Stop’: Blinken Says Hamas Didn’t Accept Ceasefire Deal, Axios
Blinken on Tuesday stated that he’s confident Israel will commit to it – despite apparent opposition from some hard-right members of the government – if Hamas does. On Wednesday, Blinken stopped short of defining Hamas’ response as a rejection, but made clear it wasn’t what the U.S. wanted to hear. Speaking from Doha after meeting with the Prime Minister of Qatar, Blinken said: “Hamas proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table. Some of the changes are workable and some are not.”

Accounts of Life in Hamas Captivity Emerge in Israel, The New York Times
In the months after he was taken hostage in Israel and hidden in the Gaza Strip, Andrey Kozlov’s captors kept drumming in the same message: The world, they said, had given up on him. Even his family had moved on. “Your mom is on vacation in Greece,” the militants told him. “Your mom doesn’t know about you at all – and doesn’t want to know.” So persuasive were they that when Israeli security forces burst through the door of the apartment where Mr. Kozlov was being held on Saturday, he was at first unsure of whether they had come to save or kill him, his parents said in an interview this week during which they recounted his ordeal.

US Military Urges De-escalation as Israel-Lebanon Tensions Rise, Reuters
The U.S. military on Wednesday urged a de-escalation in rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon, and said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raised the matter in a call with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday. “We don’t want to see a wider regional conflict and we do want to see a de-escalation of tensions in the region,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told a news briefing. Hezbollah fired the most rockets it has launched at Israel in a single day since hostilities broke out eight months ago, as part of its retaliation on Wednesday for an Israeli strike which killed a senior Hezbollah commander.


As Rescued Hostages Return to Changed Lives, Families Push for Cease-Fire, The Washington Post
The moment of unity Israelis enjoyed Saturday after four hostages were safely ferried from Gaza amid a bloody firefight was just that – a moment. Within hours, families of hostages were on the streets in greater numbers than the previous weekend, demanding that the government approve the latest U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal. “Bring them all home!” they chanted.

Israeli Forces Advance Deeper into Rafah as Diplomacy Falters, Reuters
Residents said the Israeli forces thrust towards the Al-Mawasi area of Rafah near the beach, which is designated as a humanitarian area in all announcements and maps published by the Israeli army since it began its Rafah offensive in May. The Israeli military denied in a statement it had launched any strikes inside the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone.

Hamas Demands Israeli Gaza Pullout Within a Week of Truce, Also Releasing Hostage Bodies Initially, Haaretz
In a response given by Hamas to mediators on Wednesday, the group is seeking a complete cessation of fire from the Israeli army and the withdrawal of the IDF from population centers on the first day of the cease-fire. On the third day, Hamas seeks an Israeli withdrawal from the Salah a-Din road, which connects between both sides of the Strip and the coastal road.

US Calls Algeria’s Proposed UN Resolution Demanding Israel Halt Offensive in Rafah Not Helpful, ABC News
Algeria, the Arab representative on the council, circulated the draft resolution Tuesday evening to its 15 members after emergency council consultations on the escalating Israeli operation in Rafah. U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s monthly Mideast meeting that “another resolution is not necessarily going to change anything on the ground.”

Biden’s Israel Policy May Hasten Trump’s Rise, US Allies Fear, Politico
Diplomats and world leaders — many of whom are gathering for the G7 summit here this week — have begun to worry that Biden’s reluctance to more fully break with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could cost him the election in November.

US Holds Meeting with Israeli and Arab Generals Amid Gaza War, Axios
Gen. Herzi Halevi, the chief of the general staff of the Israeli military, participated alongside U.S. Gen. Michel “Erik” Kurilla. The meeting was a signal that military dialogue and cooperation between Israel and Arab countries continues under CENTCOM despite harsh public criticism and condemnation of Israeli military operations in Gaza.

UNRWA Accuses Israel of Frequently Preventing Aid Deliveries to Gaza, The Guardian
The UN’s relief agency for Palestinians, the largest aid organisation operating in Gaza, has said Israeli authorities are frequently preventing it from delivering aid and hampering its operations in the territory. “We are getting very few positive responses to our requests for aid delivery and permits to move around Gaza,” said Tamara Alrifai, the director of external relations for UNRWA.

Palestinian Shot in Jerusalem’s Old City in Apparent Altercation With Off-Duty Soldiers, The Times of Israel
Police said they were looking into reports that the soldier, along with other off-duty troops, were involved in a violent incident with the suspect before shots were fired. The altercation involved parties throwing objects at each other.

Survey: Christians Favor Israel Over Palestinians in Israel-Hamas War, but Catholic-Jewish Relations Hazy, USA Today
More Christians are likely to support Israel rather than Palestinians in the the latest war between Israel and Hamas, a survey of American Christians has found, with Catholics standing out as the major Christian group least likely to support Israel and pro-Israel policies.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s North Is Burning, The New York Times
Mairav Zonszein writes, “Continuing on the current trajectory of escalating tit-for-tat attacks is also dangerous, not just because of what Hezbollah is learning, but also because the risk of all-out war, even if no one wants one, is constantly rising because of miscalculations in the expanding battlefield and potency of the weapons used. That could be part of why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet had approved a Gaza cease-fire deal, believed to be the same one that President Biden recently outlined and that was passed in a United Nations resolution this week.”

Israeli Hostage Rescue Exposes a New Layer of Feeling in This Horrifying War, CNN
Jill Filipovic writes, “These four are not simply “hostages” or symbols of a greater cause, but human beings with full lives and valuable futures. The same is true for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians who have been injured, killed, displaced and traumatized by this war — most of whose names the broader public will never know, and whose faces we’ll never see. They, too, are not simply “casualties” or “civilians” or “collateral damage,” but people whose safety and futures have been snatched away.”

US Recognition of a Palestinian State Could Change Everything, The Hill
David Hoffman shares, “Israeli and Jewish voters here would initially call America’s unilateral recognition of Palestine a betrayal, but, ironically, it would give Israel the recognition and peaceful relations it craves from its Arab neighbors. With a likely cease fire, the return of hostages, and prospects of a regional rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, American Jewish voters are likely to credit Biden with bringing peace and security to Israel. It would immediately bring back into the Democratic Party fold the disenchanted young protesters and Black voters Biden needs.”

American Interests in Saudi Arabia Are Being Sabotaged by Israel’s Far-right Messianic Ministers, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el states, “Saudi Arabia has conditioned normalization on sustainable and irreversible steps demonstrating Israel’s willingness to adopt a two-state solution. But even if Riyadh were willing to make do with a public declaration of intent – at least at first – it seems unlikely that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would dare let the words “two states” cross his lips, especially now that Minister Benny Gantz has quit the government, thereby increasing the importance of far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir.”

‘It’s Time for This War to End and for the Day After to Begin’, JCall
JCall Secretary General David Chemla shares, “Biden spoke directly to the Israeli public, presenting this plan as the last chance to recover the hostages. He knows that he will find there the necessary ally in the tug of war that opposes him to Netanyahu. And he was right. The day after his speech, 250,000 Israelis demonstrated to support him. The latest poll shows that 62% of them prefer the release of the hostages to the continuation of the war.”