News Roundup for May 15, 2024

May 15, 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

In Costly Maryland Democratic Senate Primary, Candidate Endorsed by J Street Beats AIPAC-Aligned Opponent, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“David Trone, the congressman and liquor store mogul who has given generously to pro-Israel causes, lost his bid for the Democratic Senate nomination in Maryland to Angela Alsobrooks, a popular municipal leader who has the backing of J Street, the liberal Israel lobby.”

Top News and Analysis

US Poised to Send $1 Billion in Weapons to Israel, Sources Say, CBS News
The Biden administration has informed Congress that it intends to transfer $1 billion in weapons to Israel, a congressional aide confirmed to CBS News Tuesday. Congress will need to approve the transfer. The move comes days after the US withheld shipments of certain munitions to Israel, and President Biden said in an interview with CNN that the US would further curtail weapons shipments if Israel broadened its ground offensive to include civilian population centers in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

World Court to Hold Hearings Over Israel’s Rafah Attacks, Reuters
South Africa will address the court on Thursday after it asked the ICJ, also known as the World Court, last week to order Israel to cease its Rafah offensive and allow unimpeded access to Gaza for UN officials, organizations providing humanitarian aid, and journalists and investigators. Israel will present its side of the case on Friday, according to the court schedule.

Biden Issues Veto Threat Over ‘Misguided’ GOP Bill on Weapons to Israel, The Hill
The House bill urges the “expeditious delivery” of defense articles and services to Israel, condemns the Biden administration’s decision to pause shipments to Israel and reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense. It also calls for funds for the secretaries of Defense and State and the National Security Council to be withheld until defense articles are delivered to Israel.


Israel Orders New Evacuations in Rafah as It Expands Military Offensive, ABC News
Israel has now evacuated the eastern third of Rafah, and top military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said dozens of militants had been killed there as “targeted operations continued.” The United Nations has warned that the planned full-scale Rafah invasion would further cripple humanitarian operations and cause a surge in civilian deaths.

Sullivan Plans Talks in Saudi Arabia, Israel Amid Tensions Over Rafah, Axios
A senior US official said Tuesday the Biden administration had reached an understanding with the Israeli government that any operation in Rafah wouldn’t be significantly expanded before Sullivan’s visit. The White House hopes to extend this commitment until a high-level, in-person meeting between US and Israel teams in Washington in the days after Sullivan’s trip.

Protesters in Israel Arrested After Attacking Gaza Aid Trucks, ABC News
Footage of the incident, captured by bystanders at the scene and shared online, appears to show protesters blocking and raiding the aid vehicles near Hebron that were passing through the West Bank from Jordan, destroying boxes of water, food and other aid bound for Gaza. Aid trucks can also be seen set ablaze and left burning on the road.

The US Is Wrapping up a Pier to Bring Aid to Gaza by Sea. But Danger and Uncertainty Lie Ahead, AP
Relief groups are watching to see if Israeli officials will allow a freer flow of food and other supplies through this sea route than they have by land and follow through on pledges to protect aid workers. They say protections for humanitarian workers have not improved and point to aid already piling up at Gaza’s border crossings.

IDF Soldier Killed in Southern Gaza on Israel’s Independence Day, Haaretz
The Israeli army has released the name of a soldier, Sgt. Ira Yair Gispan, 19, from Petah Tikva, who was killed in combat on Tuesday, Israel’s Independence Day, in the southern Gaza Strip. Gispan served in the 75th Battalion of the 7th Armored Brigade. According to the IDF, Israeli forces attacked a Hamas training post in southern Gaza.

Jordan Foils Arms Plot as Kingdom Caught in Iran-Israel Shadow War, Reuters
The weapons were sent by Iranian-backed militias in Syria to a cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan that has links to the military wing of Palestinian group Hamas, the people told Reuters. The cache was seized when members of the cell, Jordanians of Palestinian descent, were arrested in late March, they said.

Bibi’s Rant: Israel Isn’t a ‘Vassal State’ of the US, Axios
Senior U.S. and Israeli officials said there is a deep distrust between Biden and his close advisers and Netanyahu and Dermer, especially regarding Rafah. A senior Israeli official said much of the engagement between Biden’s team and Israel’s government over Rafah during the last two weeks has gone through other Israeli channels, such as defense minister Yoav Gallant.

How Israel’s Military Investigates Itself in Cases of Possible Wrongdoing, NPR
After years of collecting evidence to assist the IDF in its investigations, though, Michaeli says B’Tselem rarely saw any of its cases move past the initial investigative stage. “We did that for many years and ultimately reached the conclusion that it was pointless,” says Michaeli, “that regardless of what we did, there was always the same result: no accountability.”

Opinion and Analysis

Amid the Gaza War, Is Israel’s Pro-Peace Camp Facing Extinction or Resurrection?, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin argues, “There’s no point projecting left-wing fantasies onto the mainstream crowds, but there is every opportunity for common cause. Ending the war to release the hostages, and toppling the government are now aims shared by at least half or a majority of Israelis, respectively.”

For Netanyahu, Gaza’s ‘Day After’ Must Wait, The Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “Netanyahu’s lack of commitment to a “day after” plan in the Gaza Strip that would help reckon with the security and political vacuum in the war-ravaged territory. Halevi echoed the frustrations of many Israeli security officials, who see Hamas fighters resuming operations in areas of Gaza where they were supposed to have been neutralized.”

A UN Trusteeship for Palestine, Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs staff writers explain, “The trusteeship should establish a time frame for full Palestinian statehood. A timeline would help focus state-building efforts and guard against the risk that this temporary measure becomes more enduring than initially intended, which is what happened to the UNRWA. UN trusteeships are designed to come to an end. Many UN trusteeships were concluded within 15 years, with some complete in less than ten. Conceivably, a Palestinian trusteeship could lead to statehood even more swiftly.”

The Shame and the Shambles of Israel’s Policy on Gaza Aid, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board states, “This is what a dysfunctional country looks like: The political echelon, in coordination with the Biden administration, decides that aid trucks should enter Gaza. Israel’s defense establishment coordinates the move, but the police are unable to secure the convoy and stop the right-wing protesters from preventing Israel from carrying out its own policy. Or maybe this is actually Israel’s new policy?”