News Roundup for June 27, 2024

June 27, 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

‘Now There’s Barely Anything’: Gazans Describe Life on the Verge of Famine, The New York Times
“I swear our stomachs are decaying,” said Eman Abu Jaljum, 23, whose family in northern Gaza has been surviving off canned peas and beans. In a report issued on Tuesday, the experts said that almost half a million people in the territory faced starvation. They stopped short of declaring a famine, a designation that depends on a variety of criteria being met. But in a Gaza devastated by almost nine months of war between Israel and Hamas, that can seem like a distinction without a difference.

US Officials Went Line-by-Line through Arms Shipments to Israel with Defense Minister to Rebut Netanyahu’s Delay Claim, CNN
A State Department official stressed that, with the exception of the hold on heavy bombs, “everything else is moving in due course.” They “continue to have constructive discussions with the Israelis” for the release of the heavy bombs, the official said, but they did not have a further update on when that hold might be lifted. The official said that the US has “surged billions of dollars in security assistance to Israel since the October 7 attacks” and pointed to the administration’s passage of “the largest ever supplemental appropriation for emergency assistance to Israel.”

Israel Re-Establishes Working Groups on Iran Nuclear Program, Axios
Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, Yaakov Nagel, who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and is still very close to Netanyahu, claimed several dozen Iranian scientists have been working in recent months on technical processes necessary for the building of a atomic bomb. He told Axios this activity is taking place “under an academic umbrella” and is “pushing the envelope” of experiments that can have civilian uses.

Egypt, UAE Prepared to Participate in Postwar Gaza Security Force — Officials, The Times of Israel
Officials said that Egypt and the UAE both stipulated conditions for their involvement, including a demand that the initiative be linked to the establishment of a pathway to a future Palestinian state — an outcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to block.

NewsUS Keeps Pause on One Bomb Shipment to Israel While It Is Under Review, Reuters
The official, briefing reporters about national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s meeting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, said the allies remain in discussions about the single shipment of powerful munitions, which was paused by Biden in May over concerns they could cause more Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza.

Israeli Army Officer Killed, 16 Wounded by Explosions in Raid on West Bank’s Jenin, Haaretz
The incident unfolded after an IDF force was hit by an explosive device buried about a meter and a half underground. Sacgiu was part of a team heading to rescue the forces who were wounded in the initial blast. The army reported that military bulldozers scanned the area prior to the forces’ entry, including the road under which the explosives were buried.

Israel Rejects UN War Crimes Claim: Hamas Turned ‘Large Parts of Gaza into Combat Sites’, The Times of Israel
The report alleged in regard to the strikes on Jabaliya, the Taj3 Tower, Al Buraq school and Shejayia that it was “hard to conceive” of a military advantage that would justify what it said was the “predictable scale” of harm to civilians in those strikes. It also alleged that there were “hundreds” of similar strikes, which it said appear, to have been committed “as part of a pattern of attacks” over several months.

Democrats Groan at AIPAC ‘Overkill’ Against Jamaal Bowman, Axios
Even some lawmakers who are generally supportive of Israel say the money is meant to intimidate Democrats away from criticism of the Jewish state. “It might change how they talk about [Israel],” one moderate House Democrat said of their colleagues, speaking on the condition of anonymity. AIPAC’s record-shattering spending has some House Democrats rattled. “The number is gross … I don’t like it,” one told Axios, calling the figure “overkill.”

Medical Groups Challenge Israel’s Ban on Evacuations from Gaza. Is Israel Relenting?, NPR
Aid officials involved in evacuations said this week that, for the first time in almost two months, the Israeli government is allowing a group of child patients and their guardians to leave Gaza for medical treatment. The sources asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue.

She Managed to Flee Gaza After Half Her Family Was Killed in an Israeli Strike. She Blames Israel and Hamas for What Happened, CNN
Roba Abu Jibba looked shocked as the doctor delivered his news: She couldn’t have the operation she desperately wanted. She nervously scrunched the fabric of her dress, fighting off the tears that began flooding her one remaining eye. The 19-year-old Palestinian woman had pinned all her hopes on getting a prosthetic eye after suffering life-changing injuries in an Israeli strike in Gaza.

Israel’s Many Conflicts Could Soon Crack its Iron Dome, NPR
The Iranian-backed group has been conducting increasingly brazen attacks using exploding drones and low-flying missiles that Iron Dome has struggled to intercept. And last week, Hezbollah published a 10-minute-long surveillance video from an unmanned aerial vehicle that had slipped past multiple Iron Dome launchers.

Israel’s Push to Create a ‘Dead Zone’ in Lebanon, Financial Times
Data gathered by the Financial Times suggests that as diplomatic negotiations sputter, the Israeli military has used force to create a new reality on the ground. Near-daily aerial bombardment, artillery shelling and the incendiary chemical white phosphorus have made much of the 5km north of the Blue Line uninhabitable.

Opinion and Analysis

What the Court’s Ruling on Drafting the Ultra-Orthodox Means for Israel, The New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “For now, Mr. Netanyahu is likely to play for time. The Haredi parties do not have much interest in toppling the government, which is the most right-wing and religiously conservative in Israel’s history. But the court ruling, said Israel Cohen, a prominent Haredi commentator with Kol Berama, an ultra-Orthodox radio station, certainly created a ‘negative dynamic’ for the government.”

The Man Leading Israel’s Not-So-Quiet Annexation of the West Bank, Foreign Policy
David E. Rosenberg argues, “The legal formalities involved in annexation are less important to Smotrich than creating the conditions that will bring it about. To do that, he is employing a two-pronged strategy that on the one side involves changing laws and creating a settler-friendly bureaucracy and on the other helping to foment violence and anarchy in the West Bank. As Smotrich has indicated many times, the signal event in the process of ‘unification’ will be the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA), leaving Israel with no choice but to fill the vacuum and reassert control over the entire West Bank.”

Three Israeli Army Reservists Explain Why They Refuse to Continue Serving in Gaza, Haaretz
Liza Rozovsky shares anecdotes from IDF reservists who refused to serve in Gaza. “Ofer Ziv says he felt confused when he watched the air force bombings from headquarters. ‘At first it’s very hard to say what’s justified and what isn’t,’ he says. ‘From a distance it’s easy to say: ‘That’s how it is in war; people get killed.’ But in war there aren’t 30,000 people killed, most of them buried beneath the ruins when they’re bombed from the air. The feeling is of indiscriminate firing.’”