News Roundup for June 14, 2024

June 14, 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 NewsA Path Forward: Creating a Political Horizon for Israel-Palestine [Video], J Street
Dr. Debra Shushan, J Street Director of Policy, was joined by Special Guest Congressman Sean Casten (IL-6) and Mideast policy experts representing Israeli, Palestinian and Arab perspectives to discuss: Five steps to achieve regional security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians, recommended by a recent J Street Policy Expert Symposium; potential enablers and spoilers on the path forward; how the crisis plays out in Congress for Representative Casten; what we in the American Jewish community can do to take action and make a difference.

Ritchie Torres vs. the Left, The New Republic
As public opinion has shifted on Gaza—particularly among Democrats—Torres has become a valuable ally to pro-Israel Democrats and groups that are anxious about growing calls for a cease-fire. But his stance on Israel has also brought him into conflict with a decidedly mainstream figure in American Jewish politics: Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of J Street, a “pro-Israel, pro-peace group” whose conference brings out Democratic leaders.

Protesters Don’t Want to Know about Biden’s Push for Peace, The Jewish Independent
Only J-Street stood up to praise Biden’s efforts. “This was a powerful display of presidential leadership,” J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a release. “The deal President Biden outlined offers a realistic, credible pathway out of this catastrophe. Immense pressure must now be brought to bear on Hamas to accept this deal to stop the war, free the hostages, and end this nightmare for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Top News and Analysis

US-Built Pier in Gaza Is Facing Its Latest Challenge — Whether the UN Will Keep Delivering the Aid, AP
For the U.N. and independent humanitarian groups, the event made real one of their main doubts about the U.S. sea route: Whether aid workers could cooperate with the U.S. military-backed, Israeli military-secured project without violating core humanitarian principles of neutrality and independence and without risking aid workers becoming seen as U.S. and Israeli allies — and in turn, targets in their own right.

Blinken Pressed Netanyahu to Release Frozen Palestinian Funds, Axios
U.S. officials say the suspension of the Palestinian tax revenues by Israel is hampering a U.S.-Saudi Arabia attempt to mobilize an aid package for the Palestinian Authority from the Gulf states. White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the aid package with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during his last visit to the kingdom.

Hamas Official Says ‘No One Has Any Idea’ How Many Israeli Hostages Are Still Alive, CNN
Hamas spokesperson and political bureau member Osama Hamdan offered an insight into the militant group’s position on the stalled ceasefire talks, a view on whether Hamas regrets its decision to attack Israel given the mounting Palestinian death toll, and a commentary on the leak earlier this week of messages from its chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, the man believed to be the ultimate decision-maker on any peace deal.

Biden Says Hamas Needs ‘To Move’ on Truce Deal, Blaming Terror Group for Hold-up, Times of Israel
US President Joe Biden said Thursday that he doesn’t expect a ceasefire and hostage release deal for Gaza to be reached in the near future, saying Hamas needs to shift its position closer to Israel’s US-backed proposal on the table. Biden, attending a Group of Seven summit, said international leaders gathered in Italy had discussed the ceasefire, but when asked by reporters if a truce deal would be reached soon, Biden replied simply, “No,” adding, “I haven’t lost hope, but it’s going to be tough.” “Hamas has… to move,” he added.


Cardin Predicts Israeli Operations in Gaza May Begin to Wind down Even Without Cease-Fire Deal, Jewish Insider
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicted in a Thursday meeting with reporters that Israel’s operations in Gaza may begin to wind down even if Hamas continues to resist and reject offers for a cease-fire, while also emphasizing that the terror group could still be pressured into agreeing to a cease-fire deal that it has been resisting.

Poll Shows Rise in Support by Palestinians for Armed Struggle, Reuters
The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) showed support for armed struggle climbed by 8 percentage points to 54% of those surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Support for Hamas rose by 6 percentage points to 40%. Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, had 20% backing.

U.N. Official Says He Saw Israeli Troops Kill 2 Palestinians Fishing off Gaza Coast, CBS
Asked if the men in the water had shown any signs of hostility toward Israeli forces, he told CBS News: “They were fishermen. They were fishing.” When asked about the incident, which Elder first reported in an Instagram post, the Israel Defense Forces asked for an exact location and said it was looking into the claim. Elder said he and his team were prevented from delivering their aid shipment and forced to turn back that day.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah Reveals More of Its Arms in Risky Escalation, Reuters
The source said Hezbollah had begun escalating with the aim of increasing pressure on Israel as it launched an offensive in Rafah in the Gaza Strip in early May, and also with the intention of gradually unveiling more of its capabilities. This included the anti-aircraft weapons Hezbollah fired at an Israeli warplane for the first time on June 6, an effort to challenge the air supremacy Israel has long enjoyed, the source said, declining to identify the type of weapon used.

Israel Will Not Discuss Hamas Changes to Cease-fire, Hostage Deal, Senior Official Says, Haaretz
According to Israeli sources, despite the official position that views Hamas’ response as a rejection of the outline, Jerusalem will continue the negotiations and attempt to advance a deal that meets Biden’s original outline. The U.S. and the mediating countries, Egypt and Qatar, are now expected to pressure Hamas to retract the changes it made to the outline.

Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap behind Gantz, Reuters
Both polls showed a majority of voters would prefer Gantz as prime minister in a head-to-head choice with Netanyahu. However the Israel Hayom poll showed that if former prime minister Naftali Bennett were to join forces with Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar, two other centre right politicians from outside the Likud camp, their alliance could beat both Likud and Gantz’s National Unity Party.

Colombia Plans to Provide Medical Treatment to Palestinian Children Injured in Israel-Hamas War, AP
Colombia’s Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs Elizabeth Taylor Jay told reporters the children would travel with their families to Colombia for rehabilitation. She did not provide further details, including the number of children who would receive treatment, when they would arrive in Colombia or how long they would remain in the country.

Wounded Gazans Evacuated to Qatar Hope to Learn to Walk Again, Reuters
Many Palestinians, including children, have had limbs amputated because of the severity of their wounds during the Israeli offensive, which Israel says is intended to eliminate the Palestinian militant group Hamas and secure the release of the Israeli hostages they hold in Gaza. In December 2023, Qatar’s emir launched an initiative to bring 1,500 wounded Palestinians from Gaza to Qatar for treatment. So far, around 500 have arrived.

In the Search for Hostages, U.S. is Israel’s Key Intelligence Partner, The Washington Post
Since the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7, the United States has ramped up intelligence collection on the militant group in Gaza and is sharing an extraordinary amount of drone footage, satellite imagery, communications intercepts and data analysis using advanced software, some of it powered by artificial intelligence, according to current and former U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials. The result is an intelligence-sharing partnership of rare volume, even for two countries that have historically worked together on areas of mutual concern, including counterterrorism and preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Hamas Seeking US Guarantees in Gaza Ceasefire Plan, Sources Say, Reuters
Hamas wants written guarantees from the United States for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip in order to sign off on a U.S.-backed truce proposal, two Egyptian security sources said.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel-Hamas War Reopens Old Divisions and Reveals New Ones Among Americans [Video], PBS NewsHour
Far from the frontlines of the war in Gaza that has raged on for the last eight months, Americans are grappling with new and old divisions. Judy Woodruff visited southeastern Pennsylvania to hear from Americans on different sides of this difficult conflict. J Street leaders Rabbi Beth Janus and Dan Segal participated in this PBS discussion.

Why a Gaza Cease-Fire Is So Elusive, The New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “At the crux of the disagreement over the three-phased deal, according to officials and experts, is Hamas’s goal of essentially securing a permanent cease-fire from the outset and a withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza before handing over most of the hostages.”

AIPAC, AOC and the American Left’s Antisemitism Problem, Haaretz
Ben Samuels shares, “Ocasio-Cortez one of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s most significant adversaries in its history. Not only that, her popularity also played a significant part in AIPAC shifting its long-held model to get involved in political campaigns. While she is far too popular in her district for AIPAC to ever consider backing a challenger, she has used her pulpit to rally support (financial and otherwise) for candidates that AIPAC does consider politically vulnerable.”

The View From the Israeli Right, The New York Times
Ezra Klein talks with Israeli journalist Amit Segal about Benny Gantz’s departure from the war cabinet, Israel’s shift to the right and whether a new theory of security is emerging in Israeli politics.