News Roundup for May 3, 2024

May 3, 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

Duke J Street U Statement on “Gaza Solidarity Encampments”, The Chronicle
The Executive Board of Duke J Street U writes, “In this time of heightened tensions on college campuses, it is critical to vigilantly ensure the safety of Jewish students while protecting free speech and protest. We must be careful not to breach into anti-democratic action that conflicts with our liberal ideals and contributes to more hate.”

Top News and Analysis

Here’s What’s on the Table for Israel and Hamas in the Latest Cease-Fire Talks, AP
The initial stage of the deal would last for 40 days. Hamas would start by releasing female civilian hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. After this first batch, Israeli troops would withdraw from a coastal road in Gaza and head inland to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid. This would also allow displaced civilians to return to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip.

‘Violent Protest Is Not Protected,’ Biden Says of College Campus Unrest, ABC News
“We’ve often faced moments like this because we are a big, diverse, free-thinking and freedom-loving nation”, Biden said on Thursday. “In moments like this, there are always those who rush in to score political points. But this isn’t a moment for politics. It’s a moment for clarity.” “So, let me be clear. Violent protest is not protected, peaceful protest is”, Biden said.

Saudi Arabia and the US Want a Mutual Defense Pact – With or Without Israel, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el reports, “The United States and Saudi Arabia would sign a bilateral defense deal that would entail US assistance in the building of a Saudi civil nuclear energy program and a sharing in the field of artificial intelligence. Israel will then be offered a normalization deal with the Saudis in exchange for Israeli approval of the two-state solution. This plan B, however, says that the completion of the US-Saudi deals wouldn’t require Netanyahu’s approval.”

Hamas Is Sending a Delegation to Egypt for Further Cease-Fire Talks in the Latest Sign of Progress, AP
Hamas said Thursday that it was sending a delegation to Egypt for further cease-fire talks, in a new sign of progress in attempts by international mediators to hammer out an agreement between Israel and the militant group to end the war in Gaza. After months of stop-and-start negotiations, the cease-fire efforts appear to have reached a critical stage, with Egyptian and American mediators reporting signs of compromise in recent days. But chances for the deal remain entangled with the key question of whether Israel will accept an end to the war without reaching its stated goal of destroying Hamas.


UK Announces New Sanctions for Alleged Violence against Palestinians on 2 Extremist Groups, 4 Settler Leaders, The Times of Israel
The statement names the groups as Hilltop Youth, which it calls “a hardline nationalist Israeli youth group which establishes illegal settler outposts across the West Bank” and Lehava, which it says is being sanctioned for “facilitating, inciting, and promoting violence against Arab and Palestinian communities.”

Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel, Cites Worsening Palestinian Situation, Reuters
Israel’s foreign minister said that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was breaking agreements by blocking ports for Israeli imports and exports. This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on social media platform X.

Israel Accused of Possible War Crime Over Killing of West Bank Boy, BBC
The IDF said the suspects had been about to hurl explosives towards their forces, putting them in immediate danger. “The troops responded with fire and hits were identified,” Israel’s military said. But according to the video evidence we have examined and witness testimony, Adam did not appear to have been armed and had been running away when he was shot in the back of the head.

34 GOP Senators Call Potential Biden Plan for Palestinian Refugees National Security Risk, The Hill
The GOP senators further frame accepting Palestinians from Gaza as a national security risk, raising doubt that the Biden administration could prevent Hamas-members or other members of a terrorist group from entering the U.S.

Scoop: Senators Meet with ICC Over Concerns About Possible Israel Arrest Warrants, Axios
The Israeli government warned the Biden administration that if the ICC issues arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, it will take retaliatory steps against the Palestinian Authority that could lead to its collapse. The issue of potential ICC arrest warrants came up during a call between Netanyahu and President Biden last Sunday, with Netanyahu asking Biden for help, Axios reported earlier this week.

US Says Hamas Seized First Aid Shipment That Entered Gaza via Reopened Erez Crossing, The Times of Israel
According to Miller, the aid shipment was unloaded by the Jordanian military inside the Strip before being “picked up by a humanitarian implementer for distribution inside Gaza, and that aid was intercepted and diverted by Hamas on the ground in Gaza.”

Survivors of Oct. 7 Attack Sue Pro-Palestinian Groups in US, The Washington Post
The nine plaintiffs — six survivors of the attack, the brother of one victim who was killed and two people who were not attacked but remain displaced from their homes in an Israeli kibbutz — are seeking unspecified monetary damages from the two defendants, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP).

Opinion and Analysis

An Israeli Invasion of Gaza’s Rafah Will Be Deadly. There Is a Better Way, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “The real problem in Rafah is the vast underground tunnel network connecting the city to Egypt. These tunnels have allowed Hamas to flood Gaza with weapons and to bring in unsupervised building materials that were used in its local military industry. Dismantling those tunnels – and making sure Hamas doesn’t replace them with new ones – is a crucial requirement for long-term security along the Israel-Gaza border.”

Protesters Are Calling on Universities to Divest from Israel. Here’s What That Means, Time Magazine
Solcyré Burga and Nik Popli share, “Divesting from Israel would mean universities reassessing their investment portfolios to identify and potentially divest from companies implicated in Israel’s war effort, such as supporting Israeli settlements in occupied territories or supplying equipment used in military operations.”

Israel and Saudi Arabia Are Trading Places, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman writes, “The Biden team has run into an unprecedented situation with these two longtime partners that is creating a huge opportunity and a huge danger for America. It derives from the contrast in their internal politics. To put it bluntly, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has put his country’s worst religious extremists in jail, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put his country’s worst religious extremists in his cabinet.”

Why America’s Israel-Palestine Debate is Broken — and How to Fix It, Vox
Zach Beauchamp writes, “Anyone who even touches the issue knows it’s toxic. The conversation is dominated by extremists who aggressively police the slightest misstep and punish internal dissent, a longstanding dynamic supercharged in recent years by social media. Recently, a prominent person in American politics privately told me that they see engagement on the topic as a no-win proposition. About half of all young American Jewish adults have stopped talking to someone they know over the conflict.”