News Roundup for November 2, 2023

November 2, 2023
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J Street In the News

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Avoids Censure Over Israel Criticism, Roll Call
“Kevin Rachlin, vice president of public affairs for the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street, called it a waste of lawmakers’ time. “We clearly have bigger things to deal with like the supplemental package,” he said, noting his organization is opposing the House Republicans’ standalone bill to appropriate over $14 billion in mostly weapons assistance for Israel because it wouldn’t include money for other national security priorities and would claw back billions of dollars in previously appropriated funding for tax collections. “It’s all political stunts,” he said.”

Top News and Analysis

Americans Leave Gaza for First Time During Israel-Hamas War Through Rafah Border Crossing Into Egypt, CBS News
Hundreds of foreign passport holders, including a number of Americans, and some wounded Palestinians who were trapped in Gaza started leaving the war-torn territory Wednesday as the Rafah border crossing to Egypt opened to them for the first time since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. In Washington, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed some American citizens have left Gaza but he wouldn’t provide a specific number.

Israeli Ground Forces Are Expanding Into Gaza — But Operations Are Deliberately Ambiguous, Analysts Say, CNBC
Israel’s military is expanding its operations in the Gaza Strip, but has avoided calling it a “ground invasion” despite sending tanks into the territory. That’s by design, security analysts say. Saturday marked the start of the “second stage” of Israel’s war against Hamas, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that the fight will be “long and difficult,” amid rising risks of a wider Middle East conflict. A key reason for the ambiguity in what appear to be smaller land operations, rather than a full-scale land assault, is to throw off the enemy, analysts say.

Israeli Strikes on Gaza Refugee Camp Offer Glimpse of War’s Destruction, The Washington Post
More than 110 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the attack, according to doctors at two nearby hospitals, in what appeared to be the deadliest aerial assault by Israel since the war began. The final toll remained unclear, Palestinian officials said, because victims were still trapped under the rubble. Kamal Masoud and his family survived. But 30 of his relatives were killed, he said, among them children as young as 2 months old.

The Death Toll From Gaza, Explained, Vox
Biden questioned whether the fatality numbers, which came from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, accurately captured the reality on the ground. “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” he said. Biden’s remarks were met with intense anger by some commentators who found them overly dismissive of death and suffering; others noted Biden’s own administration has been relying on those figures internally throughout and before the conflict.

US Sees Palestinian Authority as Possible Solution in Gaza, Yet Israel Is Working to Weaken It, Haaretz
The United States and Israel are divided on the future of the Palestinian Authority. While the Biden administration is attempting to present it as an eventual governing body in Gaza, far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition are working to weaken it. The divide comes with the Americans increasingly wary about the status quo in the West Bank, where an already weakened PA on the verge of collapse and spiking settler violence threaten to destabilize the Middle East even further following Hamas’ attack on October 7.

Does a 2-State Solution, Long Discounted, Still Have a Future?, The New York Times
Mark Landler writes, “Such an effort would have to overcome a thicket of obstacles, not least the proliferation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians say have eroded the dream of creating a viable state on that land. The rise of ultranationalists in Israel further complicates the task: They oppose Palestinian statehood and seek to annex the West Bank. […] Among Palestinians, suffering Israel’s bombardment and blockade of Gaza, and rising tensions on the West Bank, the prospects for statehood appear even more far-fetched. But some Palestinians argue that the shock of the Hamas attacks on October 7 has stripped Israelis of the illusion that they can manage conflict with Palestinians without confronting their deeper aspirations for nationhood.”

Gaza Needs a Humanitarian Pause. Then We Need a Vision of Where We Go From Here, The Guardian
Senator Bernie Sanders writes, “An immediate humanitarian response is vitally important, but it is equally important for Israel to have a political strategy. It cannot bomb its way to a long-term solution. Such a strategy must include, as minimum first steps: a clear promise that Palestinians displaced in the fighting will have the absolute right to safely return to their homes; a commitment to broader peace talks to advance a two-state solution in the wake of this war; an abandonment of Israeli efforts to carve up and annex the West Bank; and a commitment to work with the international community to build genuine Palestinian governing capacity.”


Biden Facing Tough Questions Over Israel’s Strikes on Civilians, CNN
President Joe Biden and his top national security officials are increasingly confronting questions about Israel’s commitment to minimizing civilian deaths and how scenes from Gaza could affect his domestic political standing. Even some allies of the administration are worried that defending Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas terror attacks could become an untenable position for the White House.

Hamas Official Says Group Aims to Repeat October 7 Onslaught Many Times to Destroy Israel, The Times of Israel
A senior member of Hamas has hailed the systematic slaughter of civilians in Israel on October 7, vowing in an interview that if given the chance, the Palestinian terror group will repeat similar assaults many times in the future until Israel is exterminated. The remarks by Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, were swiftly shared online by Israeli and Western officials as a vindication of the Jewish state’s resolve to destroy the terror group’s military capabilities in its ongoing war in Gaza.

Palestinian Americans Sue State Department on Behalf of Relatives Stuck in Gaza, The Guardian
American citizens trapped in the Gaza Strip and their families in the US are lawyering up after weeks of desperate and futile attempts to exit the war zone, which has been under heavy bombardment by Israel since Hamas’s attacks on October 7. Nearly a dozen lawsuits have been filed or are set to be filed against the US State Department, according to the Arab American Civil Rights League.

Open Hatred of Jews Surges Globally, Inflamed by Gaza War, Reuters
In Los Angeles, a man screaming “kill Jews” attempts to break into a family’s home. In London, girls in a playground are told they are “stinking Jews” and should stay off the slide. In China, posts likening Jews to parasites, vampires or snakes proliferate on social media, attracting thousands of “likes”. These are examples of incidents of antisemitism, which have surged globally since the attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on October 7 and subsequent war on the Islamist group launched by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Wounded Palestinians Treated in Egypt May Return to Gaza After War, Israel Says, Axios
Israel has told the US, Egypt, the UK and other countries that any Palestinian who leaves Gaza for medical treatment will be allowed to return after the Israel-Hamas war, according to two Israeli officials and a Western diplomat. Israel’s commitment was needed to get Egypt, the US and other nations on board with a plan to begin evacuating wounded Palestinians to hospitals in Egypt for treatment while the fighting continues in Gaza, Israeli officials said.

Hundreds Involved in Attacking Arabs and Leftists, but Israel Police Arrest Only Four, Haaretz
Hundreds of right-wing activists have engaged in violent attacks on Israeli Arabs and left-wing activists since the start of the war with Hamas, but Israel Police have detained only four suspects. The small number of arrests is despite the fact that many incidents have been filmed, and the perpetrator’s faces are easily identified.

GOP Lawmaker Compares Palestinian Civilians To Nazis As Gaza Death Toll Climbs, HuffPost
A Republican lawmaker who is pushing to slow down any humanitarian aid to Gaza compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis, as Israel’s continuous airstrikes and ground invasion have left more than 8,000 dead, over a million displaced, and nearly all of them without basic necessities.

Israel Criticizes South American Countries After They Cut Diplomatic Ties and Recall Ambassadors, AP
Israel criticized Bolivia, Chile and Colombia on Wednesday after the South American countries undertook a series of diplomatic moves to protest Israel’s military operations against Hamas in Gaza. Other Latin American countries, including Argentina and Brazil, have also increased their criticism of the impact that Israel’s military operations are having on civilians.

US Discussing Peacekeeping Force for Gaza After Hamas Falls, Senators Say, Politico
Talks are underway to establish a multinational force in Gaza after Israel uproots Hamas, two senators confirmed Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that the US and its partners are seriously weighing deploying foreign troops to the enclave. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) told POLITICO that there’s early, closed-door diplomacy over establishing a peacekeeping force in Gaza, though it was not likely to include American troops.

Opinion and Analysis

What Should American Jews Do With Our Fear?, Slate
Emily Tamkin writes, “I do not want American Jews, at this moment, to reduce ourselves to our fear. We are entitled to our fear. But we are also simultaneously capable of nuance, and empathy, and solidarity, and refusal to see ourselves only as the objects of antisemitism. That is how I wish I had thought of myself as a younger Jewish person. It’s what I wish for Jews on American campuses, and, for that matter, throughout the country and of all ages, right now.”

A War to End All Wars Between Israel and Palestine, The Atlantic
Raja Shehadeh, founder of the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq, shares, “What if this war should end, as it must, not by a cease-fire or a truce, like other wars with Hamas, but with a comprehensive resolution to the 100-year-old conflict between the Palestinian and Israeli people? To imagine anything good coming out of such a destructive war is not easy, especially for those of us witnessing its cruel prosecution from Ramallah, on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. And yet, as bad as things are, I feel compelled to resist giving in to despair. I may be clutching at straws, but I feel a moral responsibility to seek any grounds for hope.”

An Israel-Hamas Ceasefire is in Everyone’s Best Interest, Humanely and Practically, The Guardian
Matthew Duss writes, “Advocacy efforts should focus on members of Congress who have not yet called for a pause, rather than attacking members who have, even if not in the preferred language. The war of words being waged to create a false binary between whether Israel should be taking any military action or not – with the dividing line being support for a so-named “ceasefire” – is harmful to protecting civilian lives.”

Gaza: Israeli Attacks, Blockade Devastating for People with Disabilities, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch reports, “A general lack of assistive devices in Gaza such as wheelchairs, prostheses, crutches, and hearing aids, a result primarily of restrictions linked to Israel’s unlawful 16-year closure of Gaza, is also effecting people’s ability to flee. People who have visual, hearing, developmental, or intellectual disabilities may not hear, know about, or understand what is happening. Several people with disabilities said that lack of electricity and internet disruptions, have made it more difficult for them to access crucial information that would have helped them to decide where, when, and how to flee for greater safety.”