News Roundup for March 26, 2024

March 26, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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 Welcomes President Biden’s UNSC Decision, J Street
“The United States should not use its veto to block diplomatic efforts which are consistent with US policy,” said J Street Vice President and Chief of Staff Adina Vogel Ayalon. “This is a welcome step in the right direction. It’s part of a pattern of steps by President Biden to give fuller force to his calls to release hostages, protect civilians and end the humanitarian catastrophe. It’s extraordinary that a Prime Minister of Israel would seek to influence US policy through threats like this, and President Biden is right to show he won’t be bullied.

Top News and Analysis

UN Demands Cease-Fire in Gaza During Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, Its First Demand to Halt Fighting, AP
The 15-member council approved the resolution 14-0 after the US decided not to use its veto power on the measure, which also demanded the release of all hostages taken captive during Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack in southern Israel. The chamber broke into loud applause after the vote. The US vetoed past Security Council cease-fire resolutions in large part because of the failure to tie them directly to the release of hostages, the failure to condemn Hamas’ attacks and the delicacy of ongoing negotiations.

Israel Cancels Washington Visit After US Allows UN Gaza Ceasefire Resolution to Pass, CNN
Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Ron Dermer, a member of the war cabinet and close adviser to Netanyahu, had been scheduled to travel to Washington on Monday night to discuss the offensive and US alternatives, but the visit was canceled after the vote. National Security spokesman John Kirby said, “We’re very disappointed that they will not be coming to Washington, DC, to allow us to have a fulsome conversation with them about viable alternatives to going in on the ground in Rafah.”

Netanyahu Provoking Crisis with White House for Domestic Politics: US Officials, Axios
A US official said the White House was “perplexed” by what it sees as an overreaction by Netanyahu. The official said the White House is also puzzled that the prime minister rejected the US interpretation of the UN resolution, decided to air his differences with the Biden administration in public and to tell the US what its policy is when the US is already stating its policy, which is different from what Netanyahu is saying. “All of that is self-defeating. The Prime Minister could have chosen a different course — to align with the US on the meaning of this resolution. He chose not to, apparently for political purposes,” a US official said.

US Finds Israel in Compliance With Biden’s Demands on International Law, Humanitarian Aid, Haaretz
The US has deemed Israel in compliance with President Biden’s national security memorandum stipulating that recipients of US weapons must be in compliance with international law, nor may they block the provision of humanitarian assistance. “We’ve had ongoing assessments of Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law. We have not found them to be in violation, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or the provision of humanitarian assistance. We view those assurances through that ongoing work we have done,” he added.

The First Flight of Their Lives: An Airlift After Agony in Gaza, The New York Times
The New York Times reports, “Shaymaa Shady, 5, had her first amputation in January, after an explosion by her family’s house in Gaza, where she and her relatives had been resting. Sarah Yusuf, also 5, suffered burns and broke her leg and pelvis when Israel bombarded her town in November. Abdel Rahman Mady, 19, fractured his spine, partly paralyzing him, during an attack that killed more than two dozen members of his family. They were three of 16 young people, all but one younger than 15, who were taken out of Gaza and airlifted to hospitals in Italy.”


Israel Pulls Negotiating Team From Doha, Says Hamas Uninterested in Talks, The Times of Israel
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says Hamas’s decision to reject a US-brokered compromise is “clear proof it is not interested in continuing talks, and a sad testament to the damage caused by the UN Security Council resolution,” referring to a call for a ceasefire passed last night.

Trump Urges Israel to ‘Finish Up Your War’, The New York Times
Trump’s main thrust, however, was a more mixed prescription for the Israeli right: Israel should finish the war in Gaza — “You have to get it done,” he said — and then move on quickly to “peace,” in some form, because “Israel is in trouble.”

Israeli Minister Quits Netanyahu’s Unity Government, Saying He Was Sidelined, Reuters
Gideon Saar joined the unity government along with several other members of the opposition to help manage the war on Hamas in Gaza. Saar’s departure, along with another of his allies, is not expected to affect the stability of Netanyahu’s government, which still controls a clear majority in parliament.

In Israel and Beyond, Purim Revelry Tempered by Trauma, Thoughts of Hostages, The Times of Israel
In Jerusalem, a service omitted the loud noise-making associated with the holiday to accommodate soldiers traumatized by months of war. In Tel Aviv, bakeries peddled a triangular treat renamed for a contemporary villain, the leader of Hamas. And in Jewish communities around the world, costumes and holiday gifts paid homage to the more than 130 Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza.

UN Chief Urges Massive Gaza Aid Flow, Sees ‘Dramatic Starvation’, Reuters
“It is absolutely essential to have a massive supply of humanitarian aid now. This means opening more entry points, this means a concentration of efforts of all entities and without obstacles and limitations from the Israeli side,” Guterres said.

Israel Defense Minister’s Meeting with Lloyd Austin Comes at a Delicate Moment in Push for US Weaponry, CNN
Despite the heightened tensions, the growing weapons sales from the US remain top of mind for Israeli defense officials, who have been pushing their US counterparts for faster approval and progress on the weapons transfers, multiple officials and people familiar with the requests told CNN.

With War in Gaza, Israel Faces New Pressure to Draft the Ultra-Orthodox Into Service, NPR
A core tension in Israeli society has grown more urgent since the Hamas attack on Israel last October: Whether to draft the ultra-Orthodox into military service. […] Facing a deadline set by the nation’s Supreme Court, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is supposed to present a military draft plan by the end of the month. He could either extend the exemption, or embrace growing calls for change. Either way, he faces opposition that threatens his ruling coalition.

Dozens Killed in Israeli Strikes on North and South of Gaza, Reuters
Israeli air strikes killed dozens of Palestinians at both ends of the Gaza Strip overnight, hitting the area around Al Shifa hospital in the north and Rafah on the southern edge where more than a million people have sought shelter.

Opinion and Analysis

The Smotrich Method: Israeli Settlers Obtain Mortgages, Build Illegally Elsewhere in the West Bank, Haaretz
Hagar Shezaf reports, “An investigation by Haaretz finds that at least two more settlers obtained mortgages for lots whose numbers are found in the Neria urban zoning plan, even though their houses were actually built in Harasha, in years when the status of the land rights there was not formalized and therefore Harasha had no official urban zoning plan. Documents obtained by Haaretz from the Registrar of Pledges (part of the Corporations Authority), indicate that the mortgages were given with the knowledge of the World Zionist Organization’s settlement department, which manages a majority of public land (state land) in the West Bank, and whose conduct has received much criticism over the years.”

Why Getting Rid of Netanyahu Is Unlikely to Shift Israel’s Approach to Gaza, Time
Yasmeen Serhan writes, “If elections in Israel were held today, Gantz’s centrist National Unity party would be in pole position to form the next government. But a Gantz administration wouldn’t necessarily bring a new approach to the war. On Gaza, “there isn’t much difference between Netanyahu and Gantz,” says Mairav Zonszein, a Senior Israel Analyst at the International Crisis Group, noting that both men have voiced their support for the Rafah incursion. Nor is there much daylight between them and Israeli public opinion.”

Nearly 6 Months After Hamas Attacked Israel, Has Israel Accomplished its Goals?, NPR
Raphael Cohen, an expert in military strategy, shares, “If you look at, say, polling of the Palestinian population, support for Hamas today is roughly where it was prior to the conflict. So clearly Israel’s not winning hearts and minds any better than we did in Iraq, and perhaps arguably more so. And moreover, you can already see some of the international backlash from this, particularly for Israel among key Arab allies like the Jordanians or the Egyptians, but also from key allies in the West, most notably from the United States and particularly the left of the American political spectrum.”

US Allows UN Ceasefire Vote, but It’s Too Late for Many in Gaza, The Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “For many people in Gaza, the passage of the Security Council comes far too late. We are already halfway through Ramadan, a month-long holy period marked by pronounced grief and suffering in the Palestinian territories. The Israeli campaign in Gaza has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, including many women and children, forced the overwhelming majority of people in Gaza to flee their homes and plunged more than half of Gaza’s population into a de facto famine. Small children are dying of malnutrition in what UN officials describe to be the broadest and most severe food crisis in the world.”