News Roundup for May 29, 2024

May 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

Mr. President, Enough Is Enough, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “In the wake of what we see as Netanyahu crossing President Biden’s red line regarding Rafah in the tragedy of this weekend, we reiterate our call of many months now: It is time for this war to end. It is time for a negotiated ceasefire that brings home the hostages and halts the fighting. It is time for a deal that allows for a surge of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. […] So we say to President Biden: Demand an end to this war now and lay out the choice clearly for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Either resolve this war and the underlying conflict the right way – in a manner that brings lasting peace, security and freedom to both peoples – or go it alone on the path of never-ending violence and bloodshed.”

Nick Kristof on Gaza, Journalism and his New Memoir [Video], J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami sits down with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Kristof to discuss how he applies his years as a reporter, foreign correspondent, bureau chief and columnist at The New York Times to the current war roiling Israel and Gaza as well as the glimmers of inspiration and the important voices Nick is always searching for on the ground.

Top News and Analysis

US Says Latest Rafah Deaths Won’t Change Israel Policy, Military Aid, Reuters
“The Israelis have said this is a tragic mistake,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, when asked about whether the events over the weekend qualified as the type of “death and destruction” US officials have warned could result in the withholding of more aid to Israel. The US doesn’t have “a measuring stick here or a quota,” Kirby said. “We’ve also said we don’t want to see a major ground operation in Rafah that would really make it hard for the Israelis to go after Hamas without causing extensive damage and potentially a large number of deaths. We have not seen that yet,” he said.

Israel Gave Mediators Updated Proposal for Gaza Hostage-Ceasefire Deal, Axios
The updated Israeli proposal includes “a willingness to be flexible” regarding the number of living hostages that would be released in the first, humanitarian phase of the deal, as well as a willingness to discuss Hamas’s demand for “sustainable calm” in the Gaza Strip, the source said. “There is a new initiative and it is serious,” a source with knowledge of the negotiations said. The Prime Minister of Qatar is expected to meet on Tuesday in Doha with Hamas representatives and share Israel’s proposal to them.

Israeli Strikes Kill at Least 37 Palestinians, Most in Tents, Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands, AP
Israeli shelling and airstrikes killed at least 37 people, most of them sheltering in tents, outside the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight and on Tuesday – pummeling the same area where strikes triggered a deadly fire days earlier in a camp for displaced Palestinians – according to witnesses, emergency workers and hospital officials.

US Pier for Gaza Aid Damaged by Rough Seas, The New York Times
“Unfortunately, we had a perfect storm of high sea states, and then, as I mentioned, this North African weather system also came in at the same time, creating not an optimal environment to operate,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon deputy press secretary, said at a news conference. Army engineers are working to put the pier back together and Defense Department officials hope that it “will be fully operational in just a little over a week,” she said.

Algeria Proposes Security Council Resolution Demanding Israel Halt Offensive in Rafah, AP
The draft demands compliance with previous Security Council resolutions that call for the opening of all border crossings and humanitarian access to Gaza’s 2.3 million people who desperately need food and other aid. The proposed resolution says that “the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security.” It expresses grave concern at “famine spreading throughout the Gaza Strip” and the suffering of Palestinians who took refuge in Rafah.


Israeli Army Investigates if Weapons Explosion Ignited Deadly Fire in Rafah Tent Camp After Airstrike, Haaretz
The Israeli army announced on Tuesday that it is investigating if the fatal blaze at the Rafah tent camp on Sunday, after targeting two Hamas officials, resulted from a weapons explosion or a nearby fuel tank unknown to the IDF. According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, 45 people were killed and around 250 wounded in the blaze.

White House Comes Out Against GOP Bill to Sanction ICC Over Israel Arrest Warrants, The Times of Israel
“We don’t believe the ICC has jurisdiction [in this case], so we don’t support these arrest warrants. However, we don’t believe that sanctioning the ICC is the answer,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing.

Israel Denies Strike on Camp near Rafah That Gaza Officials Say Killed 21 People, Reuters
Israel’s military later said in a statement: “Contrary to the reports from the last few hours, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) did not strike in the Humanitarian Area in Al-Mawasi.” Israel told around one million Palestinian civilians displaced by the almost eight-month-old war to evacuate to Al-Mawasi.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Publishes Propaganda Video of Hostage Sasha Trufanov, The Times of Israel
Trufanov’s relatives said they were happy to see a sign of life and desperate for him to return home.“ To see him today on television is very joyous, but also heartbreaking because he is still in captivity,” said his mother, Yelena. “I call on all decision-makers, please do everything to bring him and all the hostages home now.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Visits Madrid after Spain, Norway and Ireland Recognize Palestinian State, AP
It was a victory for the Palestinians and could encourage other Western powers to follow suit. “On behalf of President (Mahmoud) Abbas and the government of Palestine, the people of Palestine, we warmly welcome Spain’s recognition of the state of Palestine,” Mustafa said afterward. “This recognition strengthens our resolve to continue our struggle for a just and lasting peace.”

‘FINISH THEM,’ Nikki Haley Scribbles on Israeli Artillery Shell, Politico
The Republican, who was America’s UN ambassador during the Donald Trump administration, was photographed bending down and writing on the shell with a purple marker. “‘Finish Them!’ Haley’s scrawl drew immediate blowback from human rights watchdogs, as Israel’s months-long assault on Gaza continues.

3 Israeli Soldiers Killed in Rafah Booby Trap Explosion, Media Say, as Offensive Widens, AP
Three soldiers have been killed in Rafah, the Israeli military said Wednesday. Israeli media reported that the soldiers were killed when a booby trap exploded Tuesday, and three other soldiers were wounded. The military says at least 290 soldiers have been killed since the ground operation in Gaza began in October.

Opinion and Analysis

The Slaughter in Rafah and Israel’s Moral Nadir, Vox
Zack Beauchamp argues, “Israel’s war isn’t just failing to accomplish its objectives. It is actually weakening two of the most important pillars of the Jewish state’s long-term survival: international support and Palestinian belief in the possibility for coexistence.”

Senator Schumer, Don’t Invite Netanyahu. He’s Not Your Ally or Your Friend. He Never Was, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas shares in letter addressed to Sen. Schumer, “Netanyahu wants to tell you that Israel is fighting a “second War of Independence.” Over 50 percent of the Israeli public, in consistent polling, isn’t buying that narrative. Over 70 percent want him to resign. He wants to warn you of the grave dangers of “imposing” on Israel a Palestinian state? That’s a blatant lie. No one is imposing anything, and he has had 15 years to come up with an alternative model to the two-state solution. Have you heard anything from him on that? Of course not.”

The Shallow Roots of Iran’s War With Israel, Foreign Affairs
Ali M. Ansari writes, “Beneath the regime’s long-dominant rhetoric about a “Zionist occupying state” lies a more complex dynamic with Israel. In the pre-Islamic era in particular, successive Persian states enjoyed a surprisingly intimate connection to the Jewish people. For several decades of the twentieth century, Iran and Israel seemed to have more in common with each other than either country did with the Arab world. Nor did this affinity entirely end with the Islamic Revolution in 1979.”