News Roundup for November 16, 2023

November 16, 2023
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Top News and Analysis

‘Erase Gaza’: War Unleashes Incendiary Rhetoric in Israel, The New York Times
Shock, grief and pain have cascaded across Israel since Hamas gunmen poured out of Gaza to kill an estimated 1,200 Israeli civilians and soldiers on Oct. 7. So have anger and a thirst for vengeance, which the country’s leaders are verbalizing in language that critics in Israel say often crosses the line into incitement. “We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly,” said Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, two days after the attacks, as he described how the Israeli military planned to eradicate Hamas in Gaza. “We’re fighting Nazis,” declared Naftali Bennett, a former prime minister.

Israel Faces Wave of International Condemnation Over Hospital Raid, The Guardian
Israel faced an unprecedented wave of international condemnation after its troops entered the Shifa hospital complex in Gaza, while the UN and aid agencies expressed concern about the impact of the raid on staff and patients. The scale and virulence of the global condemnation from Arab and western governments raised questions about how much longer Israel can continue with its offensive in the face of waning international support. The US distanced itself from the military takeover of the hospital, saying it had not authorised the Israeli decision.

The Gap Between the Biden Administration and Netanyahu Government Over Gaza’s Future Is Widening, NBC News
Biden administration officials are increasingly at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over how it is conducting its military assault on Hamas and how the two countries envision the political future of Gaza, current and former US officials say. Amid dire scenes from hospitals in Gaza and a rising civilian death toll, frustration is building among administration officials who have repeatedly appealed to Netanyahu and his government to take more action to protect Palestinian civilians and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israel Signals Wider Offensive in Gaza’s South, Where Hundreds of Thousands Have Fled, AP
Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to flee parts of southern Gaza, residents said Thursday, signaling a possible expansion of their offensive to areas where hundreds of thousands of people who heeded earlier evacuation orders are crowded into UN-run shelters and family homes. Broadening operations to the south — where Israel already carries out daily air raids — threatens to worsen an already severe humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory.

UN Security Council Approves Resolution Calling For ‘Humanitarian Pauses’ in Gaza, The Times of Israel
The UN Security Council approved a resolution Wednesday calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” after four failed attempts to respond to the Israel-Hamas war. The vote was 12-0 with the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia abstaining. The final draft watered down language from a “demand” to a “call” for humanitarian pauses. It also watered down a demand for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups.”

Gaza in Ruins: The Largest Palestinian City in the World Will Soon Be Uninhabitable, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Sector by sector, they are going from house to house, searching and destroying tunnel shafts and weapons stores. They’re taking no risks, and as nearly all of the million-plus population who lived in the area just six weeks ago have now fled south (and of the small number remaining, most are concentrated in the center of Gaza City), this means that any building that is any way suspected of harboring weapons or tunnel entrances is bombed or bulldozed, or both. We may be very near the point where there are more Israeli soldiers in Gaza City than Gazans, and the issue of trying to avoid more civilian casualties will no longer exist because all those who can will have left. Hamas’ powers to prevent civilians from leaving are rapidly eroding.”


US Warns Israel It’s Violating Visa Waiver Deal With West Bank Closure, Axios
The Biden administration warned Israel that it is violating the visa waiver agreement with the US by preventing Palestinian Americans who live in the occupied West Bank from entering Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, two Israeli and US officials told Axios. A continued violation of the agreement by Israel could trigger a snap-back mechanism in the deal and suspend the privileges Israeli citizens get by not needing a visa to enter the United States.

Inside the Desperate Effort to Evacuate Young Cancer Patients From Gaza, The New York Times
The youngest is not even a year old; the oldest is 14. All are battling lymphoma, leukemia and tumors that doctors said could kill them if left untreated. Over the past 10 days, 21 children with cancer have been evacuated from Gaza to hospitals in Egypt and Jordan, according to doctors involved in the effort. But at least 30 other young cancer patients have not made it out, and aid workers said that in the chaos of war, they can no longer reach some of the families.

Six Israelis Wounded, One Critically, in Shooting Attack at Checkpoint Near Jerusalem, Haaretz
Eight Israeli security forces personnel were wounded, one critically, in a shooting attack on Thursday at a West Bank checkpoint south of Jerusalem. The three assailants were all killed at the scene. The police said that the shooters arrived at the “Tunnels” checkpoint in a car from the West Bank. They believe that they intended to carry out an attack inside Jerusalem, but were stopped at the checkpoint and opened fire.

How the US Is Trying to Bring Home American Hostages Held in Gaza, The Washington Post
In practice, the US government deploys a range of tools to bring home hostages and detainees, experts say, including negotiating prisoner swaps, policy changes and access to funds via third parties. The one exception: It does not pay ransoms to groups it has designated as terrorist organizations, such as Hamas. The United States has also worked to mount rescue operations, although such missions are invariably risky. These efforts are sometimes led by foreign partners.

US Public Support for Israel Drops, Majority Backs a Ceasefire, Reuters
US public support for Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza is eroding and most Americans think Israel should call a ceasefire to a conflict that has ballooned into a humanitarian crisis, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Some 32% of respondents in the two-day opinion poll, which closed on Tuesday, said “the US should support Israel” when asked what role the United States should take in the fighting. That was down from 41% who said the US.should back Israel in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted between Oct. 12 and 13.

With 102 Workers Killed, UN Agency in Gaza Struggles to Provide Aid, The New York Times
At least 102 workers from the largest United Nations agency in Gaza have been killed in five weeks of heavy Israeli bombing. Most did not die in the line of duty but instead while at home, often in strikes that also killed members of their families, UN officials said. They were men and women. The largest number were teachers. Others included school principals, warehouse workers, engineers, a software developer, a gynecologist and a man in charge of staff safety.

Gun Permit Requests Rise Dramatically Since October 7 Massacre, The Times of Israel
Requests for gun permits have skyrocketed since Hamas’s devastating October 7 massacre, the National Security Ministry said Wednesday, as far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir seeks to arm civilians in the wake of the attack. More than 236,000 new requests for permits have been filed since the incursion — a figure equal to the number filed in the past 20 years, the ministry said in a statement, noting that 31,000 licenses have so far been issued.

Israel’s Netanyahu ‘Must Go Now,’ Says Opposition Leader Lapid, Al-Monitor
The centrist leader of Israel’s opposition, Yair Lapid, said Wednesday evening that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can no longer head the Israeli government. It was the first time since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that Lapid made such a statement. Interviewed by Israeli Channel 12, Lapid said that “this government is not functioning. We need a change in the government. Netanyahu cannot continue being the prime minister of the state of Israel.”

West Bank Olive Harvest ‘More Dangerous Than Ever’ Under Shadow of War, +972
The settler violence that is currently taking place has coincided dangerously with the olive harvest season, which occurs between October and November each year. Settlers have long targeted Palestinians during this period, aiming to disrupt their agricultural livelihoods. Since 1967, settlers have uprooted more than 800,000 Palestinian-owned olive trees. The burning of olive trees and mass swathes of agricultural land in the village of Burin, near Nablus, in July stands out as a tragic reminder of the ongoing theft.

Polls Show American Jews Approve of Biden’s Handling of Israel-Hamas War While Americans Do Not, JTA
Three polls this week asking the same question showed a stark contrast: A substantial majority of American Jews approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, while majorities of Americans disapprove. The upside down results appear to be a result both of Jewish appreciation for Biden’s wholehearted support for Israel during the war, as well as the tendency of Jewish voters to favor Democrats.

Opinion and Analysis

Once, There Was Hope in Gaza. I’d Like to Think There Can Be Again, The New Republic
Omar Shaban shares, “Today’s problems are the outcomes of yesterday’s shortsighted actions. The Israeli policies that turned Gaza into a radical, poor, narrow-minded society, and the absence of serious US involvement in peace talks, are to be blamed for what has been happening. The consequences of this war will be indescribable, as the young generation is angry at the world that has been standing idly by as Israel drops its bombs. Peace will not easily prevail. The people of Gaza wake up every morning to the horrendous scenes of their destroyed houses, memories of their lost loved ones, and the tragic atmosphere of the whole region.”

King of Jordan: A Two-State Solution Would Be a Victory for Our Common Humanity, The Washington Post
King Abdullah II writes, “Let’s start with some basic reality. The fact is that the thousands of victims across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank have been overwhelmingly civilians. On Oct. 7, Israel was wounded and deeply traumatized by the killings of more than 1,000 Israelis, including women and children, by Hamas. And since then, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed by the indiscriminate Israeli shelling of Gaza. Thousands of children lie dead in the rubble of Gaza’s destroyed houses, schools and hospitals. In the name of our common humanity, how can such brutal acts and murders be accepted?”

Why Televangelist John Hagee Was a Shocking March for Israel Speaker, MSNBC
Emily Tamkin notes, “It is unsurprising that more progressive groups in attendance objected to Hagee’s presence. After all, he has a history of deeply offensive comments: that God sent Hitler to carry out the Holocaust “to help Jews reach the promised land,” that Hitler was a “half-breed Jew,” and that Israel is the only home God ever intended the Jewish people to have. One could reasonably object to this person being on a stage at a rally against antisemitism. While Tuesday’s rally was held to both support Israel and fight antisemitism, the organizers’ invitation to Hagee illustrates that these two things are not necessarily the same. One can support Israel and also spread antisemitism.”

If Israel Aspires to Life, It Must Change Its Approach to the Palestinians, Haaretz
Yonatan Mendel writes, “But while Hamas’ massacre of innocent civilians, of women and children, is impossible to grasp and impossible to explain, one obvious thing should be remembered: The Hamas movement became steadily more extremist as the blockade of Gaza persisted; during the years of the blockade the Palestinians had no political horizon, in either the West Bank or Gaza, not for Fatah supporters or Hamas supporters; in the last two decades, Israel pursued a policy of isolating Gaza from the West Bank, and in the 16 years of the blockade, the situation in Gaza, including the physical and mental health situations, got worse.”