News Roundup for May 30, 2024

May 30, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Pro-Israel Group Wages Fight over Democrats’ Gaza Stance, Axios
“Some liberal groups such as J Street, which has been critical of Biden at times for not doing more to rein in Israel, are trying to thread the needle. Spokesperson Tali deGroot said in a statement that ‘re-electing President Biden has to be the top priority’ and that ‘the risk of a second Trump presidency to our country and our democracy is too serious to disregard the very real concerns many voters have about the situation in Gaza.’ ‘It’s in everyone’s interests — including Israel’s interests — to end this war, free the hostages, stop the humanitarian catastrophe, and chart a course for a peaceful future free of terror and injustice,’ deGroot added.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Used US-Made Bombs in Strike That Killed Dozens in Rafah, The New York Times
The bombs used in the Israeli strike that killed dozens of Palestinians in a camp for displaced people in Rafah on Sunday were made in the United States, according to weapons experts and visual evidence reviewed by The New York Times. Munition debris filmed at the strike location the next day was remnants from a GBU-39, a bomb designed and manufactured in the United States, The Times found US officials have been pushing Israel to use more of this type of bomb, which they say can reduce civilian casualties.

Eisenkot: Israel Needs Elections This Year; Netanyahu Government Must Be Replaced, The Times of Israel
“It is clear that this government needs to be replaced as soon as possible,” he said in an address, adding that moderate voices in the government were becoming increasingly marginal. Eisenkot suggested a vote be held sometime between September and December “to build the nation.” In particular, Eisenkot criticized Netanyahu over the ongoing war against the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Aid Groups in Rafah Say Israel’s Advance Is Pushing Them Out, The New York Times
Aid workers have noted how difficult it is for people in Gaza to determine whether they are in a designated safe area, as many have limited access to mobile phones or the internet. “Civilians are being massacred. They are being pushed into areas they were told would be safe only to be subjected to relentless airstrikes and heavy fighting,” Chris Lockyear, the secretary general of Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement.

How Joe Biden’s Red Line on Israel Went from a ‘Parlor Game’ to a Murky Milestone, CNN
Biden’s aides, acutely aware of previous presidents who drew red lines only to back away from any promised action when they were crossed, once dismissed talk about “red lines” as a media obsession. “The whole issue of the red line, as you all define it, is something that you guys like; it’s almost become a bit of a national security parlor game,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters in March, after the president suggested for the first time that an invasion of Rafah would prompt him to rethink some aspects of his policy.

Surveillance and Interference: Israel’s Covert War on the ICC Exposed, +972
For nearly a decade, Israel has been surveilling senior International Criminal Court officials and Palestinian human rights workers as part of a secret operation to thwart the ICC’s probe into alleged war crimes, a joint investigation by +972 Magazine, Local Call, and the Guardian can reveal. The multi-agency operation, which dates back to 2015, has seen Israel’s intelligence community routinely surveil the court’s current chief prosecutor Karim Khan, his predecessor Fatou Bensouda, and dozens of other ICC and UN officials.


War in Gaza Could Last Another Seven Months, Israel Warns, CNN
While Netanyahu has portrayed Rafah as Hamas’ “last bastion” his forces have been operating in northern areas the military previously said it dismantled the militants’ command structure. In a radio interview on the Israeli station Reshet Bet, Hanegbi said “it was honestly stated in the first days of presenting the plans to the cabinet that the war would be long.”

Israel Says It’s Taken Control of Key Area of Gaza’s Border With Egypt Awash in Smuggling Tunnels, AP
Egypt says any increase in troops in the strategic border area would violate the countries’ 1979 peace accord. It already has complained about Israel taking over the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt. “The Philadelphi Corridor served as the oxygen line of Hamas through which Hamas carried out weapons smuggling into Gaza on a regular basis,” said Israel’s military chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

US Tells UN: Israel Undermines Goals With Civilian Harm in Gaza, Reuters
Israel must do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza and should “remove all barriers to the flow of aid at scale through all crossings and routes” into the enclave, the US told the UN Security Council on Wednesday. “The continued pattern of significant civilian harm resulting from incidents like Sunday’s airstrikes undermines Israel’s strategic goals in Gaza,” deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood told the 15-member council.

Netanyahu Blasts Biden Admin for Rejecting GOP Effort to Sanction ICC, Politico
“The United States said that they would, in fact, back the sanctions bill,” Netanyahu says in the interview. “I thought that was still the American position because there was bipartisan consensus just a few days ago.”

Brazil’s President Recalls Ambassador to Israel, Intensifying Diplomatic Crisis Over Gaza War, Haaretz
Brazilian officials say that the recall was due to Israel’s “humiliation” of the ambassador, when Israel’s foreign minister summoned him on a mandatory tour of the Yad Vashem museum as a reprimand for President Lula’s remarks comparing the Gaza offensive to the Holocaust.

Xi Pledges More Gaza Aid and Talks Trade at Summit with Arab Leaders, AP
He called for an international peace conference for resolving the Israel-Hamas war and pledged 500 million yuan ($69 million) in humanitarian aid for Gaza. He also promised to donate $3 million to a United Nations agency that provides assistance and relief to refugees of the Israel-Hamas war.

How Israeli Security Nixed Haaretz’s Report into Alleged Mossad Extortion of International Court Prosecutor, Haaretz
The investigation this week by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper revealed an alleged extortion operation led by then-Mossad head Yossi Cohen against then-International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. About two years ago, Haaretz was about to reveal the affair, but an Israeli security official blocked publication. Now the affair has been exposed at a difficult time for Israel.

Opinion and Analysis

The US Must Recognize Palestine as a State. It’s Time to Look to the Future, Not the Past, The Guardian
Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of the Forward, writes, “There is no hope for resolving the dueling historical narratives of the Holy Land. A peace agreement is possible only if it takes today as its starting point and focuses on the future. A future in which Palestine and Israel exist side by side, recognized by each other and all the world as the nation-states of their respective peoples.”

Why Israel Can’t Destroy Hamas [podcast transcript], Vox
Mairav Zonszein, a senior Israel analyst with the International Crisis Group shares, “When you get down to the nitty-gritty of how the Israel Defense Forces defines the war goals, they specifically talk about taking away the governing and military capabilities of Hamas. We’ve heard a lot of very incendiary rhetoric — destroying Hamas, destroying Gaza — but when you actually break it down, they want to remove Hamas as a power in the Gaza Strip. And they largely haven’t been able to do that.”

Israel Must Stop Its Campaign Against UNRWA, The New York Times
Philippe Lazzarini, UNWRA Commissioner General, states, “As I write this, our agency has verified that at least 192 UNRWA employees have been killed in Gaza. More than 170 UNRWA premises have been damaged or destroyed. UNRWA-run schools have been demolished; some 450 displaced people have been killed while sheltered inside UNRWA schools and other structures. Since Oct. 7, Israeli security forces have rounded up UNRWA personnel in Gaza, who have alleged torture and mistreatment while in detention in the Strip and in Israel.”

The Gaza War Won’t End until Netanyahu and Israel Answer These Three Questions, Haaretz
Dahlia Scheindlin argues, “It is not insignificant that even the most senior figures of the war cabinet beyond the useless Netanyahu have named similar notions. In January, Gallant mentioned an international task force for civil governance. Gantz’s six aims named as part of his ultimatum for staying in the government include a European-Arab-American-Palestinian governing authority to replace Hamas. I can’t think of one other plan that has even baseline buy-in from the normally zero-sum approach of sides in the conflict, including at least some Palestinian voices.”