News Roundup for June 21, 2024

June 21, 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.

J Street In the News

Shany Granot-Lubaton Came to NYC Hoping to Escape Israeli Politics. Instead, She Founded a Protest Movement, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“Shany and her husband, Omer Lubaton-Granot, had arrived in New York City four months earlier, in the fall of 2022, so he could study at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Shany took a job with the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street. […] This week, Shany and Omer are moving back. But their two years in New York have been anything but a break. Instead, they have become the leaders of a protest movement in the city that first took aim at the judicial overhaul and then — after Oct. 7 — quickly pivoted to advocating for the Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.”

Top News and Analysis

US Concerned Israel’s Iron Dome Could Be Overwhelmed in War With Hezbollah, Officials Say, CNN
The fears, which the US officials said have also been communicated to them by Israel, that the Iron Dome could be vulnerable to Hezbollah’s vast arsenal of missiles and drones are only rising as Israel has increasingly indicated to US officials that it is preparing for a land and air incursion into Lebanon. Israeli officials have told the US they are planning to shift resources from southern Gaza to northern Israel in preparation for a possible offensive against the group, US officials told CNN on Wednesday.

US Officials Say Netanyahu’s Accusation Video Hurts Effort to Avoid War in Lebanon, Axios
Three Biden administration officials tell Axios they are concerned that Netanyahu’s actions create “daylight” between the two allies and as a result are further eroding Israel’s deterrence power in the region, especially in the eyes of Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah and the group’s main backer Iran. “It is hard to fathom how a video like the one Netanyahu released on Tuesday helps with deterrence. There is nothing like telling Hezbollah that the U.S. is withholding weapons from Israel, which is false, to make them feel emboldened,” a senior U.S. official said.

Netanyahu’s Growing Rift With Israel’s Military Raises Questions About Gaza War’s Future, The New York Times
Mr. Netanyahu, no stranger to political conflict, is embattled on multiple fronts, feuding publicly with members of his own party, with leaders of other parties in his governing coalition, and with the Biden administration. But the public rift with military leaders is particularly striking amid wartime pressure for unity. Far-right members of Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet have insisted that all-out war against Hamas continue, and the prime minister has given no public indication that he is ready to let up.


The War in Gaza Has Wiped Out Entire Palestinian Families. AP Documents 60 Who Lost Dozens or More, AP
Branch by branch, 173 of Youssef Salem’s relatives were killed in Israeli airstrikes in a matter of days in December. By spring that toll had risen to 270. To a degree never seen before, Israel is killing entire Palestinian families, a loss even more devastating than the physical destruction and the massive displacement.

Report: Israeli Army Ignored Warning by Spotter That Hamas Held ‘Unusual’ Training Near Border Days Before October 7, Haaretz
The spotter, according to the report, said that some 170 Hamas terrorists were training to launch rockets while attacking Israeli tank crews. The routine rehearsed by the militants was eventually implemented almost exactly on October 7, when Hamas terrorists raided the outpost, killed soldiers, set fire to the observation posts, and kidnapped female soldiers to the Gaza Strip.

Report Claims Only 50 Hostages in Gaza Still Thought Alive, The Times of Israel
The assessment, based on a combination of Israeli and American intelligence, put the number of deceased hostages at 66, a far higher number than Israel has publicly confirmed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Almost 70 Democrats Call for Opening Pathways to Palestinian Refugees, The Hill
In a letter to Blinken and Mayorkas sent Thursday, 69 Democratic senators and representatives voiced support for granting priority-2 designation for Palestinians who are impacted by the fighting in Gaza and are relatives of either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Israel’s Pledge to Guard an Aid Route Into Gaza Falls Flat as Lawlessness Blocks Distribution, AP
With thousands of truckloads of aid piled up, groups of armed men are regularly blocking convoys, holding drivers at gunpoint and rifling through their cargo, according to a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

US-Built Pier in Gaza Resumes Operations After Latest Weather Setback, Official Says, The Times of Israel
The pier, which cost the US at least $230 million, was meant to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza via the United Nations’s World Food Program. It has faced a number of setbacks, most recently when it was temporarily removed last Friday due to poor sea conditions.

Israel Pounds Central Gaza Camps, Deepens Invasion of Rafah, Reuters
More than eight months into the war in Gaza, Israel’s advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to storm: Rafah on Gaza’s southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the centre. The operations have forced more than a million people to flee since May, the vast majority already displaced from other parts of the enclave.

US Hosts PM’s Aides Amid Concern Full-on War With Hezbollah Would Overwhelm Iron Dome, The Times of Israel
Blinken “reiterated the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” the State Department readout said, adding that the trio discussed the ongoing talks to secure a hostage deal and ceasefire agreement. The top US diplomat “emphasized the need to take additional steps to surge humanitarian aid into Gaza and plan for post-conflict governance, security, and reconstruction,” the US readout said.

Opinion and Analysis

Is Hamas Bound by International Law? What to Know, The New York Times
Amanda Taub reports, “There are two main things you need to know to understand Hamas’s obligations under international law. The first is that even though it is not a state government, it is still bound by the laws of war. […] The second point is that those laws are universal, not reciprocal. Violations by one party to a conflict do not change the obligations of the other. Conversely, no military cause is so just that it allows its proponents to violate international humanitarian law in order to achieve it. […] In addition, all individuals are subject to international criminal law regardless of whether they are affiliated with a government or nonstate armed group.”

Israel’s Ingrate Leader Is Wrecking Relations With Our Most Important Ally, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “Like a scorpion in the parable of the scorpion and the frog, Netanyahu is stinging Biden. […] Senior administration officials are accusing Netanyahu of ingratitude and of attempting to intervene in U.S. internal politics ahead of the election. Meanwhile, the White House has scaled down a strategic meeting between Israel and the U.S., meant to discuss Iran. Netanyahu is spreading threats against Iran and Lebanon while at the same time harming the most important strategic alliance of them all. He is endangering Israel and may drag it to perdition. He must be replaced forthwith.”

Hamas Is Winning, Foreign Affairs
Robert A. Pape argues, “Thanks to Israel’s assault, Hamas’s power is actually growing. Just as the Viet Cong grew stronger during the massive ‘search and destroy’ operations that ravaged much of South Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 when the United States poured troops into the country in an ultimately futile bid to turn the war in its favor, Hamas remains intractable and has evolved into a tenacious and deadly guerrilla force in Gaza—with lethal operations restarting in the northern regions that were supposedly cleared by Israel only a few months ago.”