News Roundup for May 13, 2024

May 13, 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

Israelis Shouldn’t Need Arrest Warrants to Maintain Their Humanity, Haaretz
J Street Israel Executive Director Nadav Tamir writes, “We shouldn’t need the threat of arrest warrants against the prime minister, the defense minister and top officers to maintain our humanity. It is the legal and moral duty of Israel and its military to guarantee the safety of the Palestinians in the West Bank against harassment by extremist settlers, to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gazans, and to do everything in our power to minimize the harm to civilians at all times, including when fighting rages.”

J Street Statement on UN General Assembly Vote on Palestinian Status, J Street
“We support many of the steps outlined in today’s UNGA resolution that would enhance the status, rights and privileges of the Palestinian people at the United Nations. Moves that bind Palestinian leadership to the obligations of statehood are peaceful, international-law-affirming steps that help prepare them and the world for universally recognized Palestinian statehood – and are a stark contrast to the violence and rejectionism of Hamas.”

Top News and Analysis

US Report Says It’s ‘Reasonable to Assess’ That Israel Has Violated Humanitarian Law, NPR
The report stated that Israel initially did not cooperate with the U.S. and international aid groups to let in humanitarian aid and thus “contributed significantly” to the lack of aid to the Palestinian people. But that has changed over time, the report added. “We do not currently assess that the Israeli government is prohibiting or otherwise restricting the transport or delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance,” it said.

Israel Moves Deeper Into Rafah and Fights Hamas Militants Regrouping in Northern Gaza, AP
The exodus of Palestinians from Gaza’s last refuge accelerated Sunday as Israeli forces pushed deeper into the southern city of Rafah. Israel also pounded the territory’s devastated north, where some Hamas militants have regrouped in areas the military said it had cleared months ago.

Israel Marking Memorial Day, Muted Independence Day in Shadow of Oct. 7, Ongoing War, The Times of Israel
Some politicians and family members of victims of the October 7 Hamas massacres have asked government ministers and lawmakers to refrain from speaking at the various ceremonies on May 12-13, citing concerns that the day will be tainted by the presence of politicians whom many blame for the failures surrounding the unprecedented Hamas terror assault.

Israel Lacks ‘Credible Plan’ to Safeguard Rafah Civilians, Says Blinken, Reuters
“Israel is on a trajectory potentially to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas fighters left or if it leaves a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy and probably refilled by Hamas,” Blinken said on NBC’s Meet the Press. Hamas fighters, he said, are returning to northern Gaza areas that Israel claimed to have cleared, and an assault on Rafah “risks doing terrible harm to civilians” without ending the Hamas presence there.


As Israel Steps Up Attacks, 300,000 Gazans Are Forced to Evacuate, The New York Times
“So far,” the military added, “approximately 300,000 Gazans have moved toward the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.” Although Israel has characterized Al-Mawasi as a humanitarian zone, the United Nations has stressed that the area is neither safe nor equipped to receive the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians already displaced by the war.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken Declines to Identify ‘Red Line’ for Aid to Israel, NBC News
Blinken told moderator Kristen Welker that the Biden administration doesn’t have a red line, but is “in active conversations with Israel about the provision of heavy or high-payload weapons — large bombs — because of the concern that we have about the effect these weapons can have when they’re used in a dense urban environment like Rafah.”

Egypt Announces Intention to Join South Africa’s Lawsuit Against Israel in UN’s Top Court, The Times of Israel
Egypt’s statement says the decision “comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee.”

Pro-Palestinian Protests Dwindle on Campuses as US College Graduations Are Marked by Defiant Acts, AP
A tiny contingent of Duke University graduates opposed pro-Israel comedian Jerry Seinfeld speaking at their commencement in North Carolina Sunday, with about 30 of the 7,000 students leaving their seats and chanting “free Palestine” amid a mix of boos and cheers. Some waved the red, green, black and white Palestinian flag.

Families Rage Against Netanyahu Gov’t as Israel Marks an Unprecedented Memorial Day, Haaretz
At military cemeteries, certain families of fallen Israeli soldiers voiced their protest against the Netanyahu government and its representatives. During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the ceremony on Mount Herzl, many people walked out of the cemetery in protest.

In Gaza, a Hidden Threat Could Kill Palestinians Even after a Cease-Fire, NPR
10% of munitions do not detonate on impact. That means an estimated 7,500 metric tons of live munition may be scattered throughout the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations. These weapons could continue to kill and maim Palestinians even if a cease-fire eventually ends the Israel-Hamas war. The U.N. estimates it could take 14 years to make Gaza safe from these bombs.

Opinion and Analysis

Israeli Palestinian Joint Memorial Ceremony [Video], Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle Families Forum
The Joint Memorial Day Ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle Families Forum, is the largest Israeli-Palestinian jointly organized peace event in history. The Joint Memorial Ceremony provides a unique opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to grieve together and stand strong in demanding an end to the occupation and ongoing violence. The ceremony occurs yearly on the eve of Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day).

Amid War, We Bereaved Israelis and Palestinians Are Mourning Together, Haaretz
Robi Damelin writes, “We are sure that now more than ever our message of nonviolence, reconciliation and ending the war needs to be heard. But, how, we asked ourselves. And where could we give the grieving angry, fearful people from both sides, some hope? From those conversations a decision was made that the annual joint ceremony this year will be dedicated to the innocent children whose only crime is that they were either Palestinian or Israeli.”

Strapped Down, Blindfolded, Held in Diapers: Israeli Whistleblowers Detail Abuse of Palestinians in Shadowy Detention Center, CNN
The CNN International Investigations team states, “Reports of abuse at Sde Teiman have already surfaced in Israeli and Arab media after an outcry from Israeli and Palestinian rights groups over conditions there. But this rare testimony from Israelis working at the facility sheds further light on Israel’s conduct as it wages war in Gaza, with fresh allegations of mistreatment. It also casts more doubt on the Israeli government’s repeated assertions that it acts in accordance with accepted international practices and law.”

An Israeli Newspaper Presents Truths Readers May Prefer to Avoid, The New Yorker
David Remnick writes, “No less impressive is the paper’s over-all capacity to present multiple truths to readers who might prefer to avoid them. Haaretz has reported, for example, on the deeply troubling rise in antisemitism around the world, but, unlike some other outlets, it has generally avoided comparing the situation to 1938 or tarring most student demonstrators as “pro-Hamas.” The reporting on Netanyahu has been both factual and critical, but Haaretz has also presented a three-dimensional picture of the world in which the Israeli Prime Minister is not the only dangerous actor in the regional drama.”

Biden Has Not Turned His Back on Israel. But Netanyahu Has, Haaretz
David Rothkopf argues, “Netanyahu’s war cabinet has responded to the Biden promise to withhold further arms if Rafah operations are expanded by gradually expanding Rafah operations. The military benefit of such expansion is unclear. But the political objective is obvious. In Rafah, on the orders of Netanyahu, the IDF is now conducting Operation Find Biden’s Red Line. They want to see just how far they can push the U.S. president before the flow of all offensive weapons is cut off.”