News Roundup for November 14, 2023

November 14, 2023
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Top News and Analysis

Israel’s Assault on Gaza Adds to Uncertainty of Fragile Hostage Talks, NBC News
The Israeli government is both in talks to try to free the hostages held in Gaza for over a month and pushing on with a military campaign that could risk their lives or turn out to be a hostage rescue. Israel’s ongoing ground assault in Gaza is fueling mounting outrage as hospitals in the north of the strip face an increasingly dire situation. It is also helping fuel growing anxiety among those closes to the talks.

Vivian Silver, Veteran Canadian-Israeli Peace Activist, Declared Dead in Hamas Massacre, JTA
Vivian Silver, a Canadian-Israeli peace activist who had been presumed kidnapped by Hamas, was declared dead after her remains were found at her home. “Vivian was always persistent in the pursuit of peace and justice,” said Shifra Bronznick, a prominent Jewish social justice activist and lifelong friend of Silver’s. “She was a lifelong feminist, a committed activist, a fearless leader, an exceptional friend and a loving mother, wife and grandmother.”

‘We’re Rolling Out Nakba 2023,’ Israeli Minister Says on Northern Gaza Strip Evacuation, Haaretz
Israeli security cabinet member and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) was asked in a news interview on Saturday whether the images of northern Gaza Strip residents evacuating south on the IDF’s orders are comparable to images of the Nakba. He replied: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. From an operational point of view, there is no way to wage a war – as the IDF seeks to do in Gaza – with masses between the tanks and the soldiers.” When asked again whether this was the “Gaza Nakba”, Dichter – a member of the security cabinet and former Shin Bet director – said “Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.”

Doctors Race to Save Newborns as Israel Says It’s Battling Hamas Around Gaza’s Largest Hospital, CNN
Premature babies at Gaza’s largest hospital are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in a desperate bid to keep them alive in “catastrophic” conditions, the hospital director has warned, as Israeli firepower pounds surrounding streets and remaining fuel reserves dry up, leaving the facility unable to function. Staff at the Al-Shifa hospital were fighting to keep the newborns alive and warm after oxygen supplies ran out and they had to move the babies by hand from the neonatal unit’s incubators to a different part of the hospital.

Internal State Dept. Memo Blasts Biden, US Policy on Israel-Hamas War, Axios
An internal State Department dissent memo accuses President Biden of “spreading misinformation” on the Israel-Hamas war and alleges that Israel is committing “war crimes” in Gaza, according to a copy of the memo obtained by Axios. The memo – signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees – urges senior US officials to reassess their policy toward Israel and demand a ceasefire in Gaza, where more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry.

UN Says That Without Fuel It Can No Longer Distribute Humanitarian Aid, The New York Times
The United Nations said on Monday that its already dwindling reserve of fuel in the Gaza Strip would run out as soon as Tuesday, preventing the organization from receiving and distributing the desperately needed aid trickling in, and imperiling the only lifeline for the 2.2 million people in the coastal enclave. The UN’s agency for aiding Palestinians, UNRWA, has been the main coordinator of humanitarian aid crossing into Gaza from Egypt since Israel placed Gaza under siege.

Biden’s Initial Confidence on Israel Gives Way to the Complexities and Casualties of a Brutal War, AP
Zeke Miller writes, “In the early days and hours after the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden spoke with stark declarations and unqualified support for the longtime US ally. Now, a month on, that unambiguous backing has given way to the complexities and haunting casualties of the war, and the Biden administration is imploring Israel to rein in some of its tactics to ease civilian suffering in Gaza. As condemnation of the conflict has grown around the world, stoking anti-Israel sentiment, the Democratic president is also confronting the limits of the US ability to direct the outcome — not only about the war, but what comes after it.”

Israel Presides Over a New Palestinian Catastrophe, The Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “Some Israeli officials are sanguine, if unapologetic, about what their operation is doing to Palestinians. Speaking on one of the country’s main news television channels on Saturday, Avi Dichter, Israeli agricultural minister and a former director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, said the nature of the fighting in northern Gaza required the mass evacuation — and potential expulsion — of Palestinians living in Gaza City.”


Another 200,000 People Flee Northern Gaza as Fighting Continues, The Guardian
Another 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza in the past 10 days, the UN has said, as fierce fighting between Hamas militants and the Israeli army encroaches on hospitals where patients are dying due to energy shortages and dwindling supplies. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that only one hospital in the northern half of the blockaded Gaza Strip still had electricity and was able to receive patients.

Civilian Buildings Increasingly at Center of Israeli Operation in Gaza, The Washington Post
Israel maintains Hamas fighters are operating out of buildings designated for humanitarian purposes — including medical facilities, schools and mosques. Doctors, first responders and the few aid workers still left in the area have denied giving cover to militants and are pleading with the international community for a cease-fire. In the past three days, at least 32 people, including three babies from the intensive care unit, have died at al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, which is surrounded by Israeli troops, Medhat Abbas, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said Monday.

Blinken Acknowledges Disagreements Within State Department on Israel-Hamas War in Email to Staff, CNN
His message to personnel, sent on the heels of his recent travels, comes amid growing anger and dissent not only from staff at the State Department but within the broader Biden administration. CNN reported last week that hundreds of personnel at the US Agency for International Development signed an open letter calling for a ceasefire, and there are reports of a “dissent memo” inside the State Department.

As War Grinds On, Israel Sees Sharp Drop in Rocket Attacks From Gaza, The Times of Israel
On the sixth week of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities have dropped considerably, data shows. During the first hours of Hamas’s deadly assault on October 7, more than 3,000 rockets were fired at Israel. Following the attack, Israel declared war, and has engaged in an air and ground campaign against the terror group, with the stated aim of ending its rule in Gaza. Since then, another estimated 7,000 rockets have been fired, but at a much slower pace.

Gaza’s Journalists Rush to Document Israeli Bombardments. Dozens Have Paid With Their Lives, Haaretz
But in contrast to ordinary Gazans, who do the best they can to take cover from the bombing, local journalists rush to reach the sites of Israeli attacks to report on the damage and broadcast it to the world. Dozens of them have paid with their lives, according to Palestinian sources. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate says that since the outbreak of the war, 33 journalists and other communications professionals have been killed in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists puts the number at 35 while the Hamas Information Ministry says it is 50, including technicians and people working for private networks.

White House Reveals 3-Year-Old American Among Hamas Hostages, CNN
A 3-year-old American citizen toddler is one of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, the White House said. In a readout of a Sunday call between President Joe Biden and Qatar’s Emir, the White House said the child’s parents were killed by the group during the October 7 attacks in Israel and that the leaders discussed Qatari-brokered efforts to free hostages.

Pentagon Urged to Halt Plans for Giving Israel Artillery Supplies, The Washington Post
A group of civil society organizations urged the Biden administration on Monday to forgo supplying artillery shells to Israel, reflecting the mounting pressure the United States faces over its support for the Israeli campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, more than 30 US-based aid, advocacy and religious organizations including Oxfam America, Amnesty International and the Center for Civilians in Conflict expressed alarm about the Pentagon’s plan to provide the Israel Defense Forces 155mm artillery munitions from a special American weapons stockpile in that country.

As Gaza War Wages On, Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians and Create a New Reality in the West Bank, Haaretz
Defense sources say that settlers are having their way, often breaking the law. These actions are being openly supported by members of the coalition, while security forces mostly turn a blind eye, sometimes even giving the settlers their protection. Since October 7, more than 170 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israelis across the West Bank. This includes suspected terrorists killed by security forces. The Shin Bet is aware of four cases in which the settlers shot and killed Palestinians, but estimates put settler violence at a far larger number.

Detroit-Area Doctor Grieves the Loss of 20 Relatives Killed During Israel’s War Against Hamas, AP
Each time Dr. Emad Shehada’s phone rings, the suburban Detroit pulmonologist worries that it could be more bad news about loved ones in Gaza. He said that so far, 20 cousins and other relatives have been killed since the start of Israel’s campaign against Hamas following the militant group’s deadly Oct. 7 incursion into southern Israel that set off the war.

Opinion and Analysis

Arresting Arabs and Left-wingers: How Israel Intends to Crack Down on Domestic Dissent Over Gaza War, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board shares, “Over the last month, dozens of Arab Israelis have been arrested over alleged incitement. Both the police and the prosecution are party to this move, which significantly curtails freedom of expression in Israel. Even if some of these statements are uncomfortable for Israelis to hear, they should be permitted as long as they don’t constitute genuine incitement. At a time when the government is seeking to silence people, the police and prosecution shouldn’t agree to do the work of persecution for it. The courts must prevent this and protect Israelis and their freedoms.”

Israel Using Gaza War to Forcibly Transfer Palestinians From South Hebron Hills, B’Tselem
B’Tselem reports, “Since the war in Gaza began, Israel has greatly increased its efforts to drive Palestinian shepherding communities out of their homes and land in the South Hebron Hills. The communities are being subjected to unusually extreme violence on a daily level, carried out by settlers with state backing and military and police support. The attacks have been virtually incessant, with little relief. By night and by day, armed settlers have entered residents’ homes, assaulted them and overturned their belongings, taking away their mobile phones to prevent documentation. They have destroyed solar power systems and water containers, stolen livestock and in some communities, as in Khirbet Susiya, threatened to kill residents if they do not leave within a short period.”

It’s Time for a Biden Peace Plan, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman writes, “It is time for President Biden to create a moment of truth for everyone — for Netanyahu, for the Palestinians and their supporters, for Israel and its supporters and for AIPAC, the Jewish lobby. Biden needs to make clear that America is not going to be Netanyahu’s useful idiot. We are going to lay down the principles of a fair peace plan for the morning after this war — one that reflects our interests and that will also enable us to support Israel and moderate Palestinians and win the support of moderate Arabs for an economic reconstruction of Gaza after the war.”

Meet Israeli Hostage Families. It’ll Change How You View Hamas Apologists, The Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin writes, “Despite suffering one cannot begin to imagine, not a single family member has called to kill Palestinians or destroy Gaza. They simply want their loved ones back. They candidly acknowledge that Palestinians are victims, too. And, to a person, they insist all hostages should be released. Though each person’s return is a celebration, they deplore the notion that one but not another should be spared.”