News Roundup for June 26, 2024

June 26, 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

US Warned Hezbollah It Can’t Hold Israel Back if Escalation Continues, Axios
During his visit to Beirut last week, President Biden’s envoy Amos Hochstein told Lebanese officials Hezbollah is wrong to think the U.S. would be able to stop Israel from invading Lebanon if the militia continues its attacks, according to a U.S. official, an Israeli official and a Western diplomat briefed on the issue. The Biden administration is highly concerned that both Israel and Hezbollah are miscalculating as they escalate their rhetoric and fighting on the ground while thinking they can avoid an all-out war.

UN Tells Israel It Will Suspend Aid Operations Across Gaza Without Improved Safety, AP
U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric called conditions for aid workers in the territory “increasingly intolerable.” But he said the U.N. was “pushing all its contacts” with the Israelis to resolve the problems and noted that “the U.N. will not turn its back on the people of Gaza.” U.S. officials are talking with the U.N. and Israeli military to try to help resolve U.N. concerns, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters Tuesday.

In First, US Describes Hamas Response to Israeli Ceasefire Offer as a ‘Rejection’, The Times of Israel
The terror group “came back several weeks ago and rejected the proposal that was on the table,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press briefing Tuesday. The comment marked the first time that a US official had publicly gone so far. To date, only Jerusalem has branded the Hamas response as a rejection. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Hamas’s counter-proposal as including changes that are “not workable,” but insisted the gaps were still bridgeable.


New Report on Hunger in Gaza Adds Fuel to Calls for Lifting Israeli Restrictions on Aid, The New York Times
Spurred by new evidence that the Gaza Strip is on the brink of a long-feared famine, aid groups and international leaders on Tuesday called for the Israeli border restrictions choking off the supply of food to the territory to be lifted. “We need sustainable, meaningful, uninterrupted aid in the Gaza Strip if we want to reverse the hunger situation,” Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, said.

Austin: Diplomacy Is Needed to Restore Calm on Israel-Lebanon Border, US Department of Defense News
“We’re urgently seeking a diplomatic agreement that restores lasting calm to Israel’s northern border and enables civilians to return safely to their homes on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border,” Austin said, as he hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting at the Pentagon for Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Bowman Falls to Latimer in a Loss for Progressive DemocratsGeorge Latimer Defeats House ‘Squad’ Member Jamaal Bowman in Historic New York Democratic Primary, The New York Times
AIPAC’s involvement further inflamed the race. A bipartisan group dedicated to advancing Israel’s interests in the United States, it has taken an increasingly active role in electoral politics lately to try to stamp out growing skepticism for Israel among Democrats, particularly young progressives.

Israeli Forces Pound North and South Gaza, Battle Hamas in Rafah, Reuters
Residents said fighting intensified in the Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood in western Rafah, where tanks were also trying to force their way north amid heavy clashes. The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said fighters attacked Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs.

US Military Shows Reporters Pier Project in Gaza as It Takes Another Stab at Aid Delivery, AP
The U.S. military said about 6,800 tons of aid have so far been delivered from the project to Gaza’s shore. While aid from the pier is reaching the beach, it’s still difficult to get it to Palestinians in Gaza. The U.N. World Food Program has suspended aid delivery from the pier due to security concerns after the Israeli military appeared to use the area in a June 8 hostage rescue.

US and Israel to Reconvene Iran Meeting Cancelled After Netanyahu Accusations, Axios
The gathering of the forum was supposed to take place last Thursday, but was canceled shortly before by the White House after Netanyahu released a video accusing the Biden administration of stopping the U.S. supply of weapons to Israel. Senior Israeli and U.S. officials said the date for the meeting hasn’t been set, but added it is expected to take place in mid-July, before Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on July 24.

The Pro-Israel Donor With a $100 Million Plan to Elect Trump, The New York Times
Miriam Adelson is poised to become one of the biggest donors in the presidential election — and, if Mr. Trump wins, one of the most powerful private citizens with a say in American foreign policy. Fiercely hawkish on Israel, she was deeply unnerved by the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 and would be likely to shape a second Trump administration’s posture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas Officials Believe US Will Pressure Israel for a Deal Only After IDF Leaves Rafah, Haaretz
Hamas and the other factions feel that the Americans have begun to lose interest in pressuring Netanyahu to reach a deal, and may scale back its involvement on the matter to focus on preventing a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and in averting a broader war between Israel and Hezbollah.

‘This Is the Blood of My Son’: While Israel Hailed Rescue of Four Hostages, Palestinians Recall the Horrors, CNN
The allegations provide a window into the scale and force of this Israeli operation to free hostages taken during the attack on Israel last October. Eyewitnesses say they are still traumatized, after more than 270 Palestinians were killed and another 698 people injured on June 8, according to authorities in Gaza. Health staff said that hospitals, already stretched beyond their limits, were completely overwhelmed.

Israeli Army Tightens Protocols After Two Soldiers Die in Explosion of Non-armored Tank in Gaza, Haaretz
The IDF is now examining why plates were not installed on the tank that hit a roadside bomb. Since the fighting began, 44 members of the Armored Corps have died, representing 14.4 percent of all IDF fatalities in the war.

Opinion and Analysis

Our Relatives Are Held Hostage in Gaza. We Are Begging American Jews to Pressure Netanyahu to Make a Deal Now, The Forward
Twelve relatives of hostages in Gaza write, “There is one man preventing 120 families from being reunited and from bringing their loved ones home to proper burial. That man is indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We need the leadership of American Jewish institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and UJA Federation of New York, to pressure him directly and forcefully to make a deal.”

Netanyahu Does Not Speak for Us. Congress Should Disinvite Him., The New York Times
David Harel, Tamir Pardo, Talia Sasson, Ehud Barak, Aaron Ciechanover and David Grossman, all former high level Israeli leaders and academics, state, “Inviting Mr. Netanyahu will reward his contempt for U.S. efforts to establish a peace plan, allow more aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza and do a better job of sparing civilians. Time and again, he has rejected President Biden’s plan to remove Hamas from power in Gaza through the establishment of a peacekeeping force.”

Some Think a Robust Anti-War Movement in Israel Is Impossible. They’re Wrong, The Guardian
Etan Nechin shares, “A new, revitalised anti-war bloc is crucial not only for ending violence and fostering a peaceful, secure resolution, but for rescuing Israeli society from its current perilous trajectory. After two decades marked by political hopelessness, the degradation of the left and the ascent of the settler right, such a movement is imperative. Israeli democracy is under threat: freedom of the press is being eroded, and messianic forces are not only cementing their hold on leadership, but are infiltrating the media, the judiciary and the army. A new movement is possible because it’s seen by many as Israel’s last hope.”