News Roundup for March 29, 2024

March 29, 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

Former IDF Soldiers Speak out Against Israeli Occupation at J Street U Duke Event, The Duke Chronicle
Sagi recalled being visited by her close friends who got angry with her when she gave them a tour of Hebron. That was when Sagi began to realize what exactly she was participating in. “I’m standing in the middle of this huge Palestinian city, every few meters on that street soldiers with weapons,” Sagi said. “All the Palestinian neighborhoods around me, I don’t see the Palestinians — I don’t meet them on the streets and they’re not allowed to walk on the street.” “I have no idea that the city is under military control, while I’m taking part of this military control,” she continued.

Top News and Analysis

UN Top Court Orders Israel to Open More Land Crossings for Aid Into Gaza, AP
Thursday’s order came after South Africa sought more provisional measures, including a cease-fire, citing starvation in Gaza. Israel urged the court not to issue new orders. In its legally binding order, the court told Israel to take measures “without delay” to ensure “the unhindered provision” of basic services and humanitarian assistance, including food, water, fuel and medical supplies. It also ordered Israel to immediately ensure that its military does not take action that could harm Palestinians’ rights under the Genocide Convention, including by preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Hostage Families Told Netanyahu They Get Better Treatment From the White House, Axios
A family member of a hostage who is a US citizen told Netanyahu that not only does the White House embrace the families, it also supports them and keeps them informed, the sources said. They told the prime minister the Israeli government doesn’t act the same way, the sources said. Netanyahu responded with “a long rant” about why an Israeli prime minister should know how to say no to the president of the US, according to two sources who attended the meeting.

Visualizing Gaza’s Aid Shortage as ‘Man-Made’ Famine Looms, The Washington Post
Adam Taylor and Manuel Canales report, “Gaza faces a catastrophic supply shortage. Five months into the conflict, the deficit between the volume of all supplies, including food and medical necessities, that would have entered the Gaza Strip if not for the war and what has actually been received has reached at least half a million tons.”

Hamas Took Her, and Still Has Her Husband [Audio], The New York Times
It’s been nearly six months since the Hamas-led attacks on Israel, when militants took more than 200 hostages into Gaza. In a village called Nir Oz, near the border, one-quarter of residents were either killed or taken hostage. Yocheved Lifshitz and her husband, Oded Lifshitz, were among those taken. Today, Yocheved and her daughter Sharone tell their story.

Palestinian Authority Announces a New Cabinet as It Faces Calls for Reform, ABC News
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said it was too early to make any broad assessments of the new Cabinet and whether it would deliver on the “credible and far-reaching reforms” that the Biden administration has called for. Hamas has rejected the formation of the new government as illegitimate, calling instead for all Palestinian factions, including Fatah, to form a power-sharing government ahead of national elections.


US Says Israeli Banks Don’t Have to Close Accounts of Sanctioned Settlers, The Times of Israel
Officials in Washington told the Israeli Finance Ministry that US sanctions against violent settlers are not intended to compel Israeli banks to close the accounts of targeted individuals. The clarification, sent in a letter from unspecified US officials earlier this week, is intended to cool anger from Israel’s treasury chief over the fact that sanctioned individuals had lost access to local banking services, due to fears of violating the US penalties.

Doctors Visiting a Gaza Hospital Are Stunned by the War’s Toll on Palestinian Children, AP
After nearly six months of war, Gaza’s health sector has been decimated. Roughly a dozen of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are only partially functioning. The rest have either shut down or are barely functioning after they ran out of fuel and medicine, were surrounded and raided by Israeli troops, or were damaged in fighting. “I spend most of my time here resuscitating children,” Tanya Haj-Hassan, a pediatric intensive-care doctor, said after a recent shift. “What does that tell you about every other hospital in the Gaza Strip?”

Israeli Supreme Court Orders Government to Stop Funding Religious Schools That Defy Enlistment, in Blow to Netanyahu, CNN
The Israeli Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the government to stop funding religious schools whose students defy the country’s mandatory military service, posing one of the most serious threats to date for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

Freed Israeli Hostage Recounts Time in Captivity [Audio], NPR
Former Israeli hostage Luis Har speaks to NPR about how he endured 129 days of captivity in Gaza. He was freed in February by an Israeli special forces raid.

Strikes in Syria Near Aleppo Kill 38, Injure Dozens, Say Security Sources, The Times of Israel
The Syrian army claimed that Israeli airstrikes early Friday near the northern city of Aleppo killed and wounded several people and caused material damage, while security sources cited by Reuters said that at least 38 people had been killed.

Israel Has Not Received Everything It Has Asked For, Top US General Says, Reuters
“Although we’ve been supporting them with capability, they’ve not received every [weapon] they’ve asked for,” said General Charles Q. Brown, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Some of that is because they’ve asked for stuff that we either don’t have the capacity to provide or not willing to provide, not right now,” Brown added.

Troops Raiding Gaza’s Shifa Hospital Kill Senior Hamas Commander, Says IDF, Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces said Hamas commander Raad Thabet was killed by soldiers from the Navy’s Shayetet 13 commando unit as he attempted to flee with two other operatives into the hospital compound.

Opinion and Analysis

Van Hollen Pushes Israel for More Gaza Aid and Against ‘War Crimes’, The Washington Post
Sen. Chris Van Hollen tells the Federal Insider, “With respect specifically to the obligations to allow access to humanitarian assistance, I don’t believe that the Netanyahu government is in compliance with the requirements of National Security Memorandum 20. […] The purpose of the National Security Memorandum 20 is not to cut off all assistance, but its purpose is to use our influence to achieve our goals. So, if that means pausing the delivery of bombs to be used in Gaza until the Netanyahu government meets the terms of NSM-20 and allows more humanitarian assistance in Gaza, yes, I think we should use our leverage to make sure more people don’t starve to death in Gaza.”

US Support for Israel’s War Has Become Indefensible, The Atlantic
Phil Klay writes, “In Gaza, Israel has shown itself willing to cause heavy civilian casualties and unwilling to care for a population left without basic necessities for survival. It has offered no realistic plan for an eventual political settlement. Far from the hypothetical war for Israeli security, this looks like a war of revenge.”

Why Biden Can’t Force a Truce on Israel – or Won’t, Foreign Policy
Aaron David Miller and Adam Israelevitz offer four reasons why President Biden can’t or won’t force a truce on Israel: the President’s love affair with Israel, the way October 7 changed the equation, how Israel’s domestic politics make It hard and how Biden can’t end the war without Israel’s cooperation.