News Roundup for June 7, 2024

June 7, 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

Israel Used a US-Made Bomb in a Deadly UN School Strike in Gaza, NPR
The Israeli military made improper use of a US-made bomb in a deadly airstrike Thursday on a UN school compound in Gaza, according to current and former US defense officials who analyzed an image of the bomb remnants documented by NPR at the site. The munition used was a GBU-39 small-diameter bomb, according to a Pentagon official and a former US Air Force official. It is the same kind of bomb, according to The New York Times, that Israel used in an airstrike last month that killed dozens of displaced civilians at a tent camp in Rafah.

US Warns of ‘Massive’ Impact to Israel If Palestinian Authority Collapses, The Times of Israel
The United States warns that Israel will see a “massive” negative impact if the Palestinian Authority collapses as Washington again presses its ally to let revenue flow. “We have made clear to the government of Israel in some very direct conversations that there is nothing that could be more counter to the strategic interests of Israel than the collapse of the Palestinian Authority,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller tells reporters.

Scoop: US Warns Israel ‘Limited War’ With Lebanon Could Draw Iran to Intervene, Axios
US officials told Axios the Biden administration told Israel it doesn’t think “a limited war” in Lebanon or a “small regional war” is a realistic option because it will be difficult to prevent it from widening and spinning out of control. The Biden administration warned Israel that a ground invasion of Lebanon, even if it is only in the areas close to the border, would likely push Iran to intervene, US and Israeli officials said.

Israel Rejects Security Council Resolution in Support of Its Own Hostage Deal Offer, The Times of Israel
Explaining Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan’s opposition, an official in the Israeli mission pointed out that an updated version of the resolution refers to the hostage deal as one that will bring about a “ceasefire,” as opposed to the original draft that described the end goal as a “cessation of hostilities,” which Israel reads as less permanent in nature.


‘Mama! Mama!’ Israeli Strike Sets Off Chaos at Gazan Hospital, The New York Times
“The most painful thing I have ever experienced was picking up those pieces of flesh with my hands,” said Mr. Abu Ammar, a 27-year-old construction worker. “I never thought I would have to do such a thing.” Early on Thursday, Israeli airstrikes hit the school complex, killing dozens of people – among them at least nine militants, the Israeli military said.

Exclusive: NAACP Asks Biden to Halt Weapons to Israel as He Seeks to Shore up Black Voter Support, Reuters
The NAACP’s call was a rare instance of the influential civil rights organization taking a position on US foreign policy towards a country without a significant Black population. It appeared likely to deepen the Democratic president’s election-year challenges as he tries to back a key ally abroad and temper unrest among his supporters at home.

Israel’s Netanyahu Set to Address the US Congress on July 24, AP Sources Say, AP
Congressional leaders last week formally invited Netanyahu to come speak, delivering the most recent show of wartime support for the longtime ally despite mounting political divisions over Israel’s military assault on Hamas in Gaza. But the date of the speech had been in flux. It has now been set for July 24, according to people familiar with the matter.

CIA Assessment Concludes Netanyahu Is Likely to Defy US Pressure to Set a Post-war Plan for Gaza, CNN
Overall, the assessment illustrates how Israel’s coalition government remains deeply divided over several critical post-war issues – supporting the CIA’s broader conclusion that a lack of unity among Netanyahu’s political rivals could enable his continued defiance of any pressure to define a plan for Gaza once the conflict ends.

18 Arrested at Israeli Nationalist Flag March Through East Jerusalem, The New York Times
The Israeli police said they arrested 13 people “involved in various violent incidents” in the Old City. Some of the Israelis attending the march also hurled bottles and jeered at journalists from Arabic news outlets, who were watching the area from a designated platform. Officers later moved in after the bottle-throwing continued, detaining five more people, the police said.

US Announces Sanctions Against Largely Dormant Lion’s Den West Bank Terror Group, The Times of Israel
“The United States condemns any and all acts of violence committed in the West Bank, whoever the perpetrators, and we will use the tools at our disposal to expose and hold accountable those who threaten peace and stability there,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says in a statement.

Israel Says It Won’t Let Palestinian Authority Have Rafah Crossing Role, Axios
During a meeting of Israel’s security cabinet ahead of the talks in Egypt, Netanyahu said he doesn’t agree to any role for the Palestinian Authority at the Rafah crossing, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting. One of the sources said Netanyahu’s remark contradicted a policy approved in the war cabinet a few days earlier that said Israel would agree to the Rafah crossing being operated by any government entity other than Hamas.

US Urges Israel to Be Transparent over Gaza School Strike, BBC
In Washington, Mr Miller said the US has seen reports that 14 children were killed in the strike. “If that is accurate that 14 children were killed, those aren’t terrorists,” he said. “And so the government of Israel has said they are going to release more information about this strike… We expect them to be fully transparent in making that information public.”

Russia, China Wrangle with US over UN Resolution on Gaza Ceasefire Plan, Reuters
Some council members have raised questions about whether Israel has actually accepted the plan and want the council to stick to a demand made in March for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional release of all hostages, diplomats said.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden Wants an End to the Gaza War. But He Is Finally Realising Netanyahu Will Block Any Attempts at Peace, The Guardian
Alon Pinkas writes, “The US administration finally reached the conclusion, after months of living in a convenient state of denial, that Netanyahu was deliberately defying it by refusing to entertain Washington’s ideas or present a postwar political framework or plan of his own. Furthermore, evidence was mounting that he was intentionally seeking a confrontation with Biden for political expediency. Biden said so himself, in an interview with Time magazine earlier in the week.”

America’s Israel Policy Is Stuck in the 1990s, Foreign Policy
Steven A. Cook argues, “The underlying assumption to what the Biden administration’s approach to the war is and its aftermath is straightforward but deeply flawed: If Washington gives (how?) Palestinians a “political horizon” for the establishment of their state that simultaneously offers Israelis the security they crave, both sides will jump at the opportunity. This is the same assumption that fueled Oslo. It may have been closer to reality in the 1990s. By now, it is a Washington, DC, fever dream.”

Who’s Minding the Stockpile of US Weapons Going to Israel?, Responsible Statecraft
Janet Abou-Elias shares, “The stockpile, dispersed across multiple warehouses, lacks a public inventory and a legal framework to ensure transparent and accountable transfers of materiel. Bilateral agreements require Israel to cover storage and maintenance costs, but there’s no public policy guidance on transfers. Significant withdrawals have been made for Israeli conflicts and US military aid to Ukraine, often without public documentation. The legal basis for these transfers […] does not mandate comprehensive reporting to Congress, limiting oversight and accountability.”