News Roundup for June 3, 2024

June 3, 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.

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J Street In the News

J Street Commends President Biden, Welcomes Israeli Ceasefire Framework, and Urges Immense Pressure on Hamas to Accept the DealJ Street
“This was a powerful display of presidential leadership. We couldn’t agree more: It’s time for this war to end,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “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.”

Pressure From Pro-Israel Advocacy Group After Rafah Violence Could Explain Biden’s New Plan, The Handbasket
“By Friday, Biden was standing in front of the world echoing Ben-Ami’s language in saying, ‘It’s time for this war to end, for the day after to begin.’ He presented a three-phase plan for a ceasefire, return of the hostages and a lasting peace in the region that Biden later confirmed had been sent to Hamas with Israel’s approval; Netanyahu released a statement indicating support; and Hamas said they viewed Biden’s speech ‘positively.’ It left Adina Vogel-Ayalon, Vice President and Chief of Staff at J Street, feeling, ‘cautious optimism,’ she told me Friday. ‘This would be amazing.’”

Top News and Analysis

Kirby: US Expects Israel to Agree to Proposal if Hamas Does, ABC News
“It is an Israeli proposal, one that they arrived at after intense diplomacy with their own national security team and over at the State Department,” Kirby told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “Where we are right now is that proposal, an Israeli proposal, has been given to Hamas. It was done on Thursday night our time. We’re waiting for an official response from Hamas. We would note that publicly, Hamas officials came out and welcomed this proposal.” “We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal, as was transmitted to them an Israeli proposal, that Israel would say yes,” Kirby said.

Biden’s Gaza Plan ‘Not a Good Deal’ but Israel Accepts It, Netanyahu Aide SaysReuters
Ophir Falk, chief foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu, said Biden’s proposal was “a deal we agreed to — it’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.” “There are a lot of details to be worked out,” he said, adding that Israeli conditions, including “the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organisation” have not changed.

Congressional Leaders Invite Israel’s Netanyahu to Deliver an Address at the Capitol, AP
Leaders said the invitation was extended to “highlight America’s solidarity with Israel.” “We invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” they wrote. A speech by Netanyahu would almost certainly expose election-year divisions in the US, where a growing number of Democrats have turned away from the right-wing prime minister, while Republicans have embraced him.

Two Far-Right Israeli Ministers Threaten to Topple the Government if It Accepts Biden Peace PlanCNN
In a statement on social media, Smotrich said he had “made it clear” to Netanyahu that he would not “be part of a government that will agree to the proposed outline and end the war without destroying Hamas and returning all the hostages.” National Security Minister Ben Gvir meanwhile described the deal as “reckless” and “a victory for terrorism,” as well as a security danger to Israel.

Egypt Urges Israel and Hamas to Accept Cease-Fire ProposalThe Washington Post
Egypt’s foreign minister urged Israel and Hamas on Monday to accept a cease-fire plan presented by President Biden in a surprise speech before the weekend, days after Hamas said it had received the proposal “positively” in a rare sign of diplomatic progress amid the grinding conflict.

Families of Hostages Call for Israel and Hamas to Accept Cease-Fire Proposal Pushed by Biden, CBS News
“We want to see people coming back from Gaza alive and soon,” Gili Roman told the AP. His sister, Yarden Roman-Gat, was taken hostage and freed during a weeklong ceasefire in November, but Yarden’s sister-in-law, Carmel Gat, is still being held. “This might be the last chance to save lives. Therefore, the current state must be changed and we expect all to adhere to Mr. Biden’s call for accepting the deal on the table, immediately.”

Netanyahu Says Israel’s War Plans ‘Have Not Changed’The New York Times
A day after President Biden called on Israel and Hamas to reach a truce, declaring that it was “time for this war to end,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday reiterated that Israel would not agree to a permanent cease-fire in Gaza as long as Hamas still retained governing and military power.

Israeli Justices Press Government on Religious Conscription WaiversNBC News
“We’re not on quiet waters. We are at war, and the need (for military personnel) cries out,” one of nine justices hearing the case, Noam Solberg, told a government lawyer who argued that it was still too early for an ultra-Orthodox mass-conscription.

Gallant Says Israel Working on ‘A Different Government’ to Replace Hamas in Gaza, The Times of Israel
“In any process of ending the war, we will not accept the rule of Hamas. We are advancing an alternative government to Hamas, within the framework of which we will isolate areas, remove the Hamas members and bring in other forces that will enable a different government,” Gallant says following an assessment at the Southern Command in Beersheba.

Israel Maintains a Shadowy Hospital in the Desert for Gaza Detainees. Critics Allege MistreatmentAP
Accusations of inhumane treatment at the Sde Teiman military field hospital are on the rise, and the Israeli government is under growing pressure to shut it down. Rights groups and other critics say what began as a temporary place to hold and treat militants after Oct. 7 has morphed into a harsh detention center with too little accountability.

UN Experts Urge All Countries to Recognise Palestinian StatehoodReuters
The experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories, said recognition of a Palestinian state was an important acknowledgement of the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle towards freedom and independence. “This is a pre-condition for lasting peace in Palestine and the entire Middle East – beginning with the immediate declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza and no further military incursions into Rafah,” they said.

The Israeli Army Says It Investigates Itself. Where Do Those Investigations Stand?, AP
In one of the highest-profile cases, an attack on a World Central Kitchen convoy that killed six foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver, the Israeli army promptly published its findings, acknowledged misconduct by its forces and dismissed two soldiers. But other investigations remain open, and admissions of guilt are rare.

Egypt Demands Israel Withdraws From Rafah Crossing for It to Operate Again, Sources SayReuters
Officials from the United States, Israel and Egypt ended a meeting in Cairo on Sunday with Egypt sticking to its position that Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing for it to operate again, two Egyptian security sources said.

Opinion and Analysis

Yoav Gallant Has Shown Defiance. Will He Again?The New York Times
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “Israel needs pragmatists who can win elections, to be sure. It also needs visionaries, and the defense minister has not yet shown himself to be one. Mr. Gallant has raised red flags about the worst excesses of the government he served, but he hasn’t walked out. His defiance has been fleeting and reactive, not a forward march; he has yet to offer Israel a path to a better future.”

Inviting Netanyahu to DC, Democratic Leaders Stabbed Israel’s Liberals in the Back, Haaretz
Amir Tibon shares, “There is nothing “pro-Israel” about this invitation. It is not “pro-Israel” to side with Netanyahu’s party against the brave families of the hostages, who are fighting to secure a deal for their release. It is not “pro-Israel” to help Netanyahu address Congress while knowing that since October 7, he has not found the time to meet with ANY of the Israeli communities invaded by Hamas under his watch. It is not “pro-Israel” to help Netanyahu help Trump’s election campaign, just a month-and-a-half after Biden led an international coalition that helped Israel avert huge damages from Iran’s ballistic missile attack on April 13.”

In the West Bank, Guns and a Locked Gate Signal a Town’s New Residents, The New York Times
The New York Times reports, “Before the war in Gaza, the two populations had limited interactions, mostly through the Palestinian laborers who worked construction in the Jewish town. Settlers have seized land to expand their community over the decades — a process that took another leap forward after the Oct. 7 attack. The Israeli military mobilized thousands of reservist settlers to protect the settlements and imposed wide-ranging restrictions on Palestinians, blocking the exits from their communities and barring Palestinian workers from entering Israel or the settlements.”