News Roundup for June 5, 2024

June 5, 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.

J Street In the News

J Street Opposes Excessive, Counterproductive Republican ICC Sanctions Bill, J Street
“The legislation undermines America’s commitment to a rules-based order and risks applying broad, excessive sanctions against International Criminal Court officials, witnesses, allied governments, and Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, among others. As the White House has said, ‘there are more effective ways to defend Israel, preserve US positions on the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress on those options.’”

Netanyahu Should Not Be Honored with a Congressional Address, The Hill
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “Netanyahu comes to Washington attempting to salvage his shattered status in Israel. It’s the maneuver of a beleaguered prime minister who has lost the public’s trust, failed to release hostages or to outline a path out of the devastation in Gaza. Now he’s seeking to use the theater of a congressional address as a backdrop for his political survival campaign — not to enhance and strengthen the US-Israel relationship.”

Briefing: Israel and Palestine at The Hague [Video], J Street
J Street Director of Policy Dr. Debra Shushan talks with Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Professor Eliav Lieblich about the role of international courts in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Top News and Analysis

Biden: People Have ‘Every Reason’ to Think Netanyahu Extending War to Stay in Power, The Times of Israel
Asked in an interview with Time magazine published Tuesday whether he accepts the allegation made by some that Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political self-preservation, Biden responded, “I’m not going to comment on that.” But he subsequently added, “There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion.” Administration spokespeople declined to elaborate further on whether Biden himself shared the views of Netanyahu’s critics.

US House Votes to Sanction International Court Over Warrants for Netanyahu and Other Israeli Officials, NBC News
Biden’s administration remains “deeply concerned about the ICC Prosecutor’s heedless rush to apply for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials,” the administration said, but it also opposes sanctioning “the ICC, its personnel, its judges, or those who assist its work. There are more effective ways to defend Israel, preserve U.S. positions on the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress on those options.”

Netanyahu in North: We’re Ready for Intense Action Against Hezbollah, The Jerusalem Post
The IDF is prepared [sic] military action against Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit Wednesday morning to the northern border. “Whoever thinks that he will hurt us and that we will then sit idly by is making a big mistake,” Netanyahu said. He during a visit to the northern city of Kiryat Shmona after firefighters battled blazes along the northern border that had been set off by rockets Hezbollah had launched at Israel from Lebanon.


Netanyahu’s Ultra-Orthodox Coalition Partners Back Gaza Hostage Deal, Reuters
“Our position is that there is nothing greater than the value of life and the commandment to redeem captives, because their lives face a real and present danger,” Goldknopf, Israel’s housing minister, said in a statement. Similarly citing a religious obligation, Shas pledged “full support” to the proposal.

Jerusalem Day: Haaretz Reporter Attacked by Right-wing Jewish Youth in Rampage Through Old City, Haaretz
Hours before the parade officially launched, hundreds of young men chanting rampaged through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. Chanting “Death to Arabs,” they violently attacked Palestinians, journalists and activists in a group called the Humanitarian Guard. Some of them also entered Palestinian shops and wreaked havoc.

Slovenia Becomes Latest European Country to Recognize a Palestinian State After a Parliamentary Vote, AP
“Dear people of Palestine, today’s final decision of Slovenia is a message of hope and peace,” Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said on the social media platform X. “We believe that only a two-state solution can lead to a lasting peace in the #MiddleEast. Slovenia will tirelessly continue to work on the security of both nations, Palestinians and Israelis.”

Israel Phasing Out Use of Desert Detention Camp after CNN Investigation Detailing Abuses, CNN
Israel has transferred hundreds of Palestinian detainees out of the shadowy detention facility of Sde Teiman in Israel’s Negev desert, a state attorney told Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday during a first-ever hearing about the facility where prisoners from Gaza have allegedly been held under conditions of extreme abuse.

Hamas Signals Post-war Ambition in Talks with Palestinian Rival Fatah, Reuters
Hamas recognises it cannot be part of any internationally recognised new government of the Palestinian territories when fighting in the enclave eventually ends, said the source. Nonetheless, it wants Fatah to agree to a new technocratic administration for the West Bank and Gaza as part of a wider political deal, the source and senior Hamas official Basim Naim said.

CIA Chief Returns to Region to Push Hostage Deal as Israel Vows Not to Budge Further, The Times of Israel
CIA director William Burns and White House Mideast czar Brett McGurk departed to the Middle East on Tuesday for meetings in Doha and Cairo aimed at advancing the Israeli hostage deal proposal submitted last week, two US officials confirmed to The Times of Israel.

Famine Is Possibly Underway in Northern Gaza despite Recent Aid Efforts, a New Report Warns, AP
For a formal declaration of famine, the data must be there. Such a declaration could be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court as well as at the International Court of Justice, where Israel faces allegations of genocide. The report cautioned that data collection would likely be impeded as long as the war goes on.

UN Rights Office Criticises Israel Over Deaths of 500 Palestinians in West Bank, Reuters
U.N. human rights monitors studied 80 cases in-depth among 506 documented deaths of Palestinians in the West Bank since the Oct. 7 attack. The cases studied showed “consistent violations of international human rights law on the use of force by the Israeli security forces through unnecessary and disproportionate use of lethal force and an increase in apparently planned targeted killings,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said.

In a West Bank Refugee Camp, Israel’s Raids Fuel the Militancy It Tries to Stamp Out, AP
[Israeli leaders] have vowed to maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. In the West Bank, that approach has been met with waves of armed struggle over the years. The battered streets of Nur Shams are testament to a low-level but stubborn insurgency and offer a vivid illustration of what Gaza might be like after the war.

Mass Graves and Body Bags: Al-Shifa Hospital After Israel Withdrew Its Forces, BBC
At least some of the corpses found recently at al-Shifa were those of patients who died during Israel’s latest military action. A paramedic involved in the search said some had IV catheters still attached. […] Despite the Israeli claim that there was “not a single civilian casualty” from its raid, we have been given strong testimony that there were Palestinian civilians killed by heavy Israeli bombardment and intense shooting in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel Secretly Targets US Lawmakers With Influence Campaign on Gaza War, The New York Times
Sheera Frenkel reports, “The campaign began in October and remains active on the platform X. At its peak, it used hundreds of fake accounts that posed as real Americans on X, Facebook and Instagram to post pro-Israel comments. The accounts focused on U.S. lawmakers, particularly ones who are Black and Democrats, such as Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader from New York, and Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, with posts urging them to continue funding Israel’s military.”

Famine Risk Increases as Israel Makes Gaza Aid Response Virtually Impossible, Oxfam
Oxfam reports, “A lethal combination of closed border crossings, ongoing airstrikes, reduced logistical capacity due to evacuation notices and a failing Israeli permission process that debilitates humanitarian movement within Gaza, have created an impossible environment for aid agencies to operate effectively. With the Rafah Crossing closed since May 6, Kerem Shalom is the only crossing that thousands of humanitarian aid trucks queued at Rafah could be re-routed to use, but inside is an active combat zone and extremely dangerous. Long delays in Israeli approval to collect and move any aid that enters, means that missions often have to be aborted.”

The Man Who Tried to Save Israel From Itself, Foreign Policy
Gershom Gorenberg shares, “What would have happened if Eshkol’s government had gritted its teeth in 1967 and accepted its own lawyer’s opinion? […] Accepting Meron’s opinion back then could also have established a different attitude toward international law among Israeli politicians and military leaders—namely, a position of stringent observance. Perhaps such an attitude would have led Netanyahu and Gallant to conduct the current war in a different way, avoiding the acts now alleged by the ICC prosecutor.”