News Roundup for June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

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J Street News Roundup

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.

Note: There will be no News Roundup tomorrow as the J Street offices will be closed for the Juneteenth holiday.

Top News and Analysis

After Delay, Top Democrats in Congress Sign Off on Sale of F-15 Jets to Israel, The New York Times
The decision to relent to pressure from the Biden administration was a stark reversal for Mr. Meeks, who had been outspoken about his opposition to the deal, signaling his frustration with Israel’s actions in the war, which have led to tens of thousands of Palestinian casualties and helped to create a hunger crisis in Gaza. “I don’t want the kinds of weapons that Israel has to be utilized, to have more death.”

U.S. Wants to Avoid ‘Greater War’ along Lebanon-Israel Border, Envoy Says, Reuters
Hochstein on Tuesday urged Hamas to accept a U.S.-backed proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, which he said “also provides an opportunity to end the conflict across the Blue Line”, a reference to a demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel where parts of the international border are disputed. Hochstein also met caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who told him that “Lebanon does not seek escalation”, according to comments issued by Mikati’s office.

Gaza Is World’s Deadliest Place for Aid Workers, U.N. Says, The New York Times
Aid groups have said that most of the dangers come from Israeli bombardment and airstrikes, which have devastated Gaza over eight months of war, killing more than 37,000 Gazans, according to local health authorities. Israel launched its retaliatory campaign in Gaza after the Hamas-led assault in southern Israel killed about 1,200 people and abducted about 240, according to Israeli officials.


Israeli Forces Deepen Rafah Invasion, Kill 17 in Central Camps, Reuters
Residents reported heavy bombardments from tanks and planes in several areas of Rafah, where more than a million people had taken refuge before May. Most of the population has fled northwards since then as Israeli forces invaded the city. Rafah is being bombed without any intervention from the world, the occupation (Israel) is acting freely here, a Rafah resident and father of six told Reuters

Senior Israeli Negotiator Says Dozens of Gaza Hostages ‘Alive, with Certainty’, Times of Israel
The official said Israel could not end the conflict with Hamas before a hostage deal is signed because the terror group could “breach its commitment… and drag out the negotiations for 10 years” or more. “We cannot, at this point in time — before signing the agreement — commit to ending the war,” he said. “Because during the first phase, there’s a clause that we hold negotiations about the second phase. The second phase is the release of the men and male soldier hostages.”

Israeli Anti-government Protesters Rally in Jerusalem, Reuters
Following the departures of Gantz and Eisenkot, opposition groups declared a week of street protests that include blocking highways and mass demonstrations. By sundown, a crowd of thousands had gathered outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, before marching to Netanyahu’s private home in the city.

‘We Cannot Look Away,’ Kamala Harris Says after White House Screening of Sheryl Sandberg Documentary on Oct. 7 Sexual Violence, JTA
Harris framed the event as part of an initiative she is spearheading on raising awareness about conflict-related sexual violence. A panel of speakers on experts on sexual violence spoke that included Nadia Murad, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is a survivor of the Islamic State’s genocide of the Yazidi people.

UK Approval of Arms Exports to Israel Plunged at Start of Gaza War, Reuters
Unlike the U.S., Britain’s government does not give arms directly to Israel but rather issues licences for companies to sell weapons, with input from lawyers on whether they comply with international law. Many of the licences approved in the period after the start of the war in Gaza were for items listed for “commercial use” or non-lethal items such as body armour, military helmets or all-wheel drive vehicles with ballistic protection.

U.S. And Israel Assessing New Intelligence about Iran Nuclear Models, Axios
The U.S. and Iran have been engaged in indirect talks mediated by Oman in order to try to reach unofficial understandings about a temporary constraining of the Iranian nuclear program. These efforts were the reason the U.S. tried to convince France, the U.K. and Germany not to move forward with a censure resolution against Iran via the IAEA two weeks ago for its non-cooperation with inspectors, U.S. officials said. The U.S. was concerned such a move would derail indirect negotiations with Iran and push the Iranians to escalate their nuclear program, the officials said.

Israeli Soldiers Order Palestinian Minor to Handle Explosives He Had Hidden at His Grandfather’s Home, Haaretz
The Palestinian teen had been arrested in his home and questioned, during which, he pointed to his grandfather’s house saying there were explosive devices stored there, IDF sources said. Soldiers who were at the site, together with Shin Bet security service operatives, then ordered the youth to enter his grandfathers home and remove the explosives from the building.

Israel’s High Court Hears Petitions Against Law Subordinating Police to Far-right Minister Ben-Gvir, Haaretz
Attorney Aner Helman, who is representing the attorney general, said that every Israeli should be disturbed by the law, not just the attorney general. Helman said that “there is a reason why police orders are almost never touched,” because every attempt to make even the slightest changes “brings up very big questions about police conduct in a democratic society.”

Opinion and Analysis

American Leaders Should Stop Debasing Themselves on Israel, The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman argues, “Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has made eight trips to Israel since Oct. 7, should not make another without Israel and Hamas agreeing to a clear war-ending plan. He is debasing his and U.S. power. This is ultimatum time. Biden should be telling Israel that it should accept Hamas’s key demand: Totally end the war now and withdraw from Gaza in exchange for the return of all Israeli hostages. Israel cannot think straight while Hamas holds its people.”

Israel’s Plan for ‘Tactical Pause’ for Aid Raises Questions and Deepens Rifts. Here’s What We Know, CNN
Nadeen Ebrahim reports, “The pause is “intended for the hearing… at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Israel will have to prove that it did not violate the order it issued regarding the fighting in Rafah,” which prevented a court order to stop the war, the IDF said.”

An Israeli Hostage Parent: This Is Not the Holocaust, The New York Times
Jonathan Dekel-Chen shares, “Cynically invoking the Holocaust and pogroms for political purposes is neither historically accurate nor necessary to demonstrate the inhumanity of Hamas toward Israelis and the people of Gaza. On the contrary, it insults the memory of the countless victims of antisemitism in the past, including my parents. The Israel-Hamas war is proof that weaponizing language on all sides only prolongs hatred and conflict, in great part by allowing the participants to deflect attention from fundamental issues, including the Israeli government’s failure to bring all of our hostages home.”