News Roundup for May 28, 2024

May 28, 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

J Street Responds to Third International Court of Justice Provisional Measures Ruling, J Street
“J Street reiterates our deep concern about Israeli military operations in Rafah and supports the position of President Biden and the international community, which have repeatedly made clear that an invasion of Rafah, without adequate plans for the protection of civilians, cannot continue. Today’s ICJ decision underscores that position.”

It’s Ironic, but Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Ben-Gvir Will Be the Founders of Palestine, The Jerusalem Post
Nadav Tamir, J Street Israel’s Executive Director, writes, “Netanyahu, Smotrich, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have succeeded where Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak failed in showing the world how essential a viable Palestinian state is, not only as a response to the Palestinian aspiration for self-determination but more so: as the only possible option, to stabilize the region in terms of security and diplomacy. They showed very clearly, that a Palestinian state is not only a Palestinian goal but also a major Israeli interest.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Attack on Rafah Tent Camp Kills 45, Prompts International Outcry, Reuters
Video footage obtained by Reuters showed a fire raging in the darkness and people screaming in panic. A group of young men tried to haul away sheets of corrugated iron and a hose from a single fire truck began to douse the flames. More than half of the dead were women, children, and elderly people, health officials in Hamas-run Gaza said, adding that the death toll was likely to rise from people with severe burns.

Spain, Norway and Ireland Formally Recognize a Palestinian State as EU Rift With Israel Widens, AP
Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations to add international pressure on Israel to soften its devastating response to last year’s Hamas-led attack. Tel Aviv slammed the diplomatic move that will have no immediate impact on its grinding war in Gaza.

White House Assessing if Israel Violated ‘Red Line’ With Rafah Strike, Axios
A White House National Security Council spokesperson told Axios that the Biden administration is actively engaging the IDF and partners on the ground to assess what happened. “The devastating images following the IDF strike in Rafah last night that killed dozens of innocent Palestinians are heartbreaking. Israel has a right to go after Hamas … but as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians,” the spokesperson said.

Hamas Fires Rocket Barrage From Rafah at Tel Aviv, Central Israel for First Time in Months, Haaretz
The army said that most of the rockets were intercepted, with some falling in open areas. Hamas quickly accepted responsibility for the barrage. According to police, the roof of a home in Herzliya was damaged by falling rocket shrapnel. A woman who was inside the home was lightly injured.

Top UN Court Orders Israel to Halt Military Offensive in Rafah, Though Israel Is Unlikely to Comply, AP
Although the ruling is a blow to Israel’s international standing, the court doesn’t have a police force to enforce its orders. In another case on its docket, Russia has ignored the court’s 2022 order to halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The sharply focused decision sent a three-pronged message to Israel, ordering a halt to the Rafah offensive, access to Gaza for war crimes investigators, and a big and immediate increase of humanitarian aid to the region, parts of which are enduring famine.


Egyptian Soldier Killed in Israel Border Incident, BBC
Israeli media say there was an exchange of fire, but there are few other details and no reports of Israeli casualties. Tensions between Egypt and Israel have heightened since Israeli forces took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah crossing point three weeks ago as part of their offensive against Hamas.

Israel’s Netanyahu Says Rafah Strike Went Tragically Wrong and Will Be Investigated, Reuters
“In Rafah, we already evacuated about 1 million non-combatant residents and despite our utmost effort not to harm non-combatants, something unfortunately went tragically wrong,” he said in a speech in parliament that was interrupted by shouting from opposition lawmakers.

Israel Waiting to Hear Hamas Stance Before Deciding on Rejoining Hostage Talks, The Times of Israel
On Saturday, a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel that talks were set to resume this week, after Mossad chief David Barnea discussed “building a foundation” for the resumption of talks with CIA Director William Burns and Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

EU Foreign Ministers Discuss Sanctions Against Israel, Politico
EU foreign ministers have for the first time engaged in a “significant” discussion on sanctioning Israel if it doesn’t comply with international humanitarian law, Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said Monday.

Israeli Tanks Advance into Rafah’s Centre Despite Global Outcry, Reuters
Tanks and armoured vehicles mounted with machineguns were spotted near Al-Awda mosque, a central Rafah landmark, the witnesses told Reuters. The Israeli military said its forces continued to operate in the Rafah area, without commenting on reported advances into the city centre.

Trump Told Donors He Will Crush Pro-Palestinian Protests, Deport Demonstrators, The Washington Post
“One thing I do is, any student that protests, I throw them out of the country. You know, there are a lot of foreign students. As soon as they hear that, they’re going to behave,” Trump said on May 14, according to donors at the event. The private New York meeting offers new insight into his current thinking.

Revealed: Israeli Spy Chief ‘Threatened’ ICC Prosecutor over War Crimes Inquiry, The Guardian
Revelations about the Mossad’s efforts to influence Bensouda come as the current chief prosecutor, Khan, warned in recent days that he would not hesitate to prosecute “attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence” ICC officials.

Far-Right Israeli Settlers Step up Attacks on Aid Trucks Bound for Gaza, The Washington Post
In some cases, far-right attackers have ransacked and burned trucks and beaten Palestinian drivers, leaving at least two hospitalized. The assailants use a web of publicly accessible WhatsApp groups to track the trucks and coordinate attacks.

Opinion and Analysis

Biden’s Chance to Do the Right Thing in Gaza, The New York Times
Nicholas Kristof writes, “While Biden is deeply knowledgeable about international relations and has generally overseen a smart foreign policy, particularly in Asia, he has bungled the Middle East and damaged America’s moral authority. When he champions the “rules-based international order” in Ukraine against an enemy that breaches international law, undermines the norms of war and attacks infrastructure so as to make civilians suffer, yet then provides weapons and diplomatic protection for Netanyahu’s war in Gaza, much of the world sees only hypocrisy.”

Civilian Deaths in Rafah Could Force Israel Into a Cease-fire Even Without a Hostage Deal, Haaretz
Amos Harel states, “Disorganized management in the IDF has led to tens of thousands of reservists being called up for the coming period, frequently contrary to earlier plans presented to the units. What some reservist agreed to in December or January on the understanding that it involved a high-intensity war for the return of the hostages and to defeat Hamas, is less acceptable in May or June when it’s clear that it’s a long war of attrition without a surrender on the horizon in the near future.”

Access to Aid in Gaza Was Dire. Now, It’s Worse, The New York Times
Amy Schoenfeld Walker and Elena Shao report, “The distribution of the aid that does make it through each crossing also poses significant challenges. Israel’s recent evacuation orders in parts of Rafah and northern Gaza have made many aid agency warehouses unreachable and travel more dangerous. UNRWA announced on May 21 that it had suspended distribution in Rafah, citing security issues, supply shortages and an inability to access its warehouse.”