News Roundup for March 4, 2024

March 4, 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

6 House Dems, Back From Israel, Accuse Netanyahu of ‘Utter Disregard for Palestinian Lives’, JTA
“The six were on a trip organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group. But the tone was extraordinary, and could only be seen as a warning that Democrats in the House would continue to veer sharply away from Israel as long as Netanyahu is prime minister. […] Jeremy Ben-Ami, the J Street president who accompanied the delegation, said the lawmakers were moved by how officials across the spectrum — in Netanyahu’s government, in the opposition and in the Palestinian Authority — saw the US role as “indispensable.” “If the United States doesn’t lead some kind of a very large initiative to come out of this in a better place, nothing is going to happen,” Ben-Ami said.”

Top News and Analysis

Gaza Doctor Says Gunfire Accounted for 80% of the Wounds at His Hospital From Aid Convoy Bloodshed, AP
Dr. Mohammed Salha, the acting director of Al-Awda Hospital, told The Associated Press that of the 176 wounded brought to the facility, 142 had gunshot wounds and the other 34 showed injuries from a stampede. Dr. Husam Abu Safyia, director of Kamal Adwan Hospital, said the majority of the injured taken there had gunshot wounds in the upper part of their bodies, and many of the deaths were from gunshots to the head, neck or chest.

Hamas Says It Presses on With Gaza Truce Talks Without Israelis, Reuters
Israel has declined public comment on the Cairo talks or its decision not to attend. A source had earlier told Reuters Israel would stay away because Hamas had refused its request for a list of names of all hostages it is holding that are still alive, information the militants say they will provide only once terms are agreed.

Anesthetics, Crutches, Dates. Inside Israel’s Ghost List of Items Arbitrarily Denied Entry Into Gaza, CNN
CNN reports, “The Israeli agency that controls access to Gaza for the multi-billion-dollar aid effort has imposed arbitrary and contradictory criteria, according to more than two dozen humanitarian and government officials interviewed by CNN. CNN has also reviewed documents compiled by major participants in the humanitarian operation that list the items most frequently rejected by the Israelis. These include anesthetics and anesthesia machines, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and water filtration systems. Other items that have ended up in bureaucratic limbo include dates, sleeping bags, medicines to treat cancer, water purification tablets and maternity kits.”

Citing ‘Extreme’ Hunger in Gaza, Israel’s Top Food Security Official Calls for Ceasefire, Haaretz
The head of Israel’s National Food Security Council, Prof. Roni Strier, is calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip because of the dire humanitarian situation there. Strier wrote on his personal Facebook account on Friday that Israel wasn’t taking the humanitarian condition of Gaza’s civilians into account because of the pain of the October 7 massacre, adding that “Israel can’t ignore the humanitarian considerations it is obligated to both morally and politically.”

‘We Look 100 Percent Weak’: US Airdrops in Gaza Expose Limit to Biden’s Israel Policy, Politico
When the US sends military aircraft to drop food, water, medicine and other assistance for people in need, it typically does so in areas occupied by terrorist groups or hostile regimes, not allies. And yet, months of pushing Israel to allow more aid into Gaza — where around 80 percent of the population is displaced and famine looms — have yielded limited results. Even Biden, who refuses to blame Israel for the scarcity of supplies, outwardly admitted Friday that more assistance should be getting into the enclave.

Thousands Rally in Jerusalem After Four-Day March for Hostages’ Return, The Times of Israel
Thousands of people arrived in Jerusalem Saturday evening in the final stretch of a four-day march calling for the return of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Media reports put the turnout in the final stretch at some 15,000-20,000 people. The marchers on Saturday night headed to Paris Square near the Prime Minister’s Office, where they joined Jerusalem’s weekly demonstration for the hostages, significantly boosting its regular numbers.

Lack of Plan for Governing Gaza Formed Backdrop to Deadly Convoy Chaos, The New York Times
Patrick Kingsley writes, “While southern Gaza is still an active conflict zone, fighting has mostly ebbed in the north of the enclave. […] Now, those areas lack a centralized body to coordinate the provision of services, enforce law and order, and protect aid trucks. To prevent Hamas from rebuilding itself, Israel has prevented police officers from the Hamas-led prewar government from escorting the trucks. But Israel has also delayed the creation of any alternative Palestinian law enforcement.”

Read the Polls Properly: Most Americans Back Israel Over Hamas, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “Overwhelmingly, Americans support Israel over Palestinians; and they support Israel way, way more than Hamas. Israelis and American Jews therefore should be a little less worried about trends in America. Of course, any individual incident symbolizing support for Hamas can be frightening, but the big picture shows no rise in support for those views.”


Harris Calls for Ceasefire, Says ‘People in Gaza Are Starving’, Axios
Harris’ remarks were the Biden administration’s most comprehensive recognition of the suffering in Gaza and strongest appeal for a ceasefire. They come as the Biden administration urgently pushes for a ceasefire and hostage deal before the holy month of Ramadan begins on March 10. “Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next 6 weeks. This is what is currently on the table,” she said, urging Hamas to accept such a deal.

Israel Helped Organize Convoy That Ended in Disaster, The New York Times
The Gaza aid convoy that ended in bloodshed this week was organized by Israel itself as part of a newly hatched partnership with local Palestinian businessmen, according to Israeli officials, Palestinian businessmen and Western diplomats. The convoy that arrived in Gaza City before dawn on Thursday ended tragically, and more than 100 Palestinians were killed.

‘We Were Constantly in Terror’: Israeli Hostage Tells of Captivity in Gaza, The Guardian
Chen Almog-Goldstein refuses to forget her eldest daughter’s last moments. Yam, 20, was gasping for breath, having been shot by Hamas gunmen, who minutes earlier had killed her father. Almog-Goldstein, 49, did not see Yam or her husband, Nadav, again because she and her three surviving children were bundled into a car and abducted.

Born and Died During Gaza War, Infant Twins Are Buried in Rafah, Reuters
Born a few weeks into the Gaza war, infant twins Wesam and Naeem Abu Anza were buried on Sunday, the youngest of 14 members of the same family whom Gaza health authorities say were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah overnight. The twins were among five children killed in the strike on a house in Rafah, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Foreign National Killed, 7 Hurt in Anti-tank Missile Attack From Lebanon, The Times of Israel
The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Hezbollah terror group, which has been launching rockets, missiles, and drones at northern Israel daily. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a man in his 30s was killed and two were listed in serious condition. Another four men were moderately hurt, and one more victim was listed in good condition

Israeli Strike Near Rafah Hospital Kills at Least 11, Gaza Officials Say, The New York Times
An Israeli strike outside a hospital in Rafah, in southern Gaza, on Saturday killed at least 11 people and injured dozens of other displaced Palestinians, including children, who were sheltering in tents nearby, the Gaza Health Ministry said. At least two health care workers, including a paramedic, were among those killed after the strike near the gate of the Emirati maternity hospital, the health ministry said.

‘They Wanted to Humiliate Us.’ Palestinian Women Detained by Israel Allege Abuse in Israeli Custody, AP
Nabela thought the United Nations school in Gaza City was a safe haven. Then, the Israeli army arrived. Soldiers stormed the place, ordering men to undress and hauling women to a mosque for strip searches, she said. So began six weeks in Israeli custody that she says included repeated beatings and interrogations.

Israel Carries Out Biggest Ramallah Raid in Years, Witnesses Say, Reuters
The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak while raiding Am’ari refugee camp. The Palestinian news agency WAFA said confrontations broke out as Israeli forces stormed the camp, “during which live bullets were fired at Palestinian youths”, wounding Abu Shalbak in the neck and chest.

Opinion and Analysis

Food Convoy Carnage Distills What’s Gone Terribly Wrong in Gaza, The Washington Post
David Ignatius writes, “The background to Thursday’s tragedy is a case study in Israel’s badly flawed management of this war. After the savage first months of fighting, humanitarian assistance was finally beginning to flow smoothly early this year, with more than 200 trucks a day distributing aid, according to US officials. But in late January, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir told police to allow demonstrators to close the main border crossing at Kerem Shalom to protest Hamas’s refusal to release all hostages.”

What Joe Biden Must Tell the Israeli Public, The New Yorker
Bernard Avishai shares, “Biden must lead: he cannot just telephone his friend Bibi, give counsel, and then, as has been reported, call him “an asshole” behind his back. The Israeli public must be presented with a stark choice: a detailed regional plan with credible American guarantees or Netanyahu’s defiant isolation; Gantz and Eisenkot would thus gain cover for diplomatic realism beyond simple military deterrence. The State Department has already signalled a new toughness, putting four violent West Bank settlers under a sanctions regime. More can be added to that list.”

If We Don’t Stop Him, Netanyahu Will Continue Israel’s War in Gaza Forever, Haaretz
Iris Leal writes, “Following Netanyahu’s speech at the end of that terrible day on Thursday, which also dealt with preserving his government, even the biggest skeptics ought to understand that he intends to keep the war going forever in order to postpone an election. And if we don’t stop him now, in this endless, blood-soaked moment, there will be more incidents, and more Gazan civilians will be killed. And more soldiers and more and more hostages will also be killed, and any hope for a tolerable future in this region will be murdered.”

Israel, Gaza and Double Standards, Including Our Own, The New York Times
Nicholas Kristof argues, “We Americans condemn Russia, China or Venezuela for their violations of human rights, but the United States supports Israel and protects it diplomatically even as it has engaged in what President Biden has called an “over the top” military campaign. […] So it’s fair to talk about double standards. They are real. They run in many directions, shielding Israel as well as condemning it. And in a world where we are all connected by our shared humanity, I believe we should never let our very human tangles of double standards and hypocrisies be harnessed to deflect from the tragedy unfolding today for the children of Gaza, or America’s complicity in it.”