News Roundup for November 30, 2023

November 30, 2023
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J Street In the News

Biden’s Success Is the Key for a Political Horizon, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir writes, “The only way to change the situation on the ground in a sustainable way which will prevent more of the tragedies that we have witnessed on October 7, and that Gazans are witnessing since, is by an international effort led by the Biden Administration and in cooperation with the pro-western Arab countries. Only this kind of coalition will be able to empower a revitalized Palestinian Authority that will take over Gaza from Hamas and that will be a partner for a real peace process that will end in a demilitarized Palestinian state and in normalization of Israel in the region.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel and Hamas Agree to Extend Gaza Ceasefire for Another Day, Axios
Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend the pause in fighting in Gaza for another day after the militant group said it would release more Israeli hostages, according to the Qatar Foreign Ministry. The announcement came just minutes before the temporary truce was set to end. Negotiators held intense talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to reach an agreement on the second extension of the pause in fighting. The Biden administration at the highest levels has been heavily involved in the hostages negotiations.

Three Israelis Killed, Six Wounded in Jerusalem Terror Attack; Hamas Claims Responsibility, Haaretz
Three Israelis, a 24-year-old woman, a 60-year-old woman, and a 73-year-old man, were killed in a shooting attack on Thursday at the entrance to Jerusalem. Six other people were injured, two of them seriously, three moderately, and one lightly. The assailants, two Palestinian brothers from the neighborhood of Tzur Baher in East Jerusalem, were shot dead.

Some in Netanyahu’s Government Pressure Him to Reject Longer Cease-Fire, The New York Times
As international pressure grows to extend a temporary cease-fire with Hamas, some right-wing members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are threatening to bring it down if he does not resume fighting in Gaza. The far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said on Wednesday that if Israel did not continue its war with Hamas, his political faction would leave the government coalition.

Young Palestinian Prisoners Freed by Israel Describe Their Imprisonment and Their Hopes for the Future, CBS News
Among the Palestinians released so far is 17-year-old Ahmed Abu Na’im, who served 12 months in jail for, he says, throwing stones during clashes with Israeli security forces at a protest. Israel charged him with throwing stones as well as “a bomb or incendiary device,” which he denies. It was his third arrest in one year. He said conditions in the prison where he was held changed after Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 terror rampage. “It became humiliating,” he said.

UN Calls for ‘Irreversible’ Move Toward Two-State Solution to Israel Crisis, Reuters
The UN on Wednesday called for the international community to move towards a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying Jerusalem should serve as the capital of both states. “It is long past time to move in a determined, irreversible way towards a two-state solution, on the basis of United Nations resolutions and international law.”

Israel Likens Hamas to the Islamic State Group. But the Comparison Misses the Mark in Key Ways, AP
Josef Federman writes, “It has become an Israeli mantra throughout the latest war in Gaza: Hamas is ISIS. Since the bloody Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the conflict, Israeli leaders and commanders have likened the Palestinian militant group to the Islamic State group in virtually every speech and public statement. They point to Hamas’ slaughter of hundreds of civilians and compare their mission to defeat Hamas to the US-led campaign to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria. […] But in many ways, these comparisons miss the mark by ignoring the home-grown origins and base of support for Hamas in Palestinian society and by assuming that this deeply embedded movement can be stamped out like a brush fire.”

The Pause Brought Gaza a Window of Respite. But What Comes Next?, The Washington Post
Adam Taylor writes, “[Israel’s] plan is not clear, but the only path appears to lie south. Israeli officials say many of Hamas’s leaders have fled Gaza City and its environs in the north. This month, before the pause began, Israel began dropping leaflets near Khan Younis, a city in the south, warning them to move westward toward the ocean. An estimated 2 million Palestinians, a vast share of the displaced, are in the southern part of Gaza, many having already heeded earlier Israeli warnings to leave Gaza’s heavily populated northern area. Even supportive countries, among them the United States, are wary of more civilian harm.”


American Among Hostages Freed on 6th Day of Gaza Truce, Al-Monitor
An American woman is among the 16 Israeli and foreign hostages Hamas released Wednesday from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian militants abducted dual Israeli-American citizen Liat Beinin Atzili, a high school teacher and guide at Israel’s Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, from Kibbutz Nir Oz last month. Hamas also took hostage her husband Aviv, who remains in captivity.

Blinken Says Truce Between Israel, Hamas Is Producing Results, Reuters
“We have seen over the last week the very positive development of hostages coming home, being reunited with their families. And that should continue today. It’s also enabled an increase in humanitarian assistance to go to innocent civilians in Gaza who need it desperately,” Blinken said. “So this process is producing results. It’s important, and we hope that it can continue,” Blinken said.

Israel Assessing Hamas Claim Youngest Hostage and Family Members Are Dead, CNN
The armed wing of Hamas said earlier Wednesday, without providing evidence, that Kfir, his 4-year-old brother, Ariel, and their mother, Shiri, were killed in an Israeli airstrike. The armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said they had been killed in earlier Israeli bombing. The IDF responded with a statement saying they were “assessing the accuracy of the information.”

Pause in War Gives Traumatized Israelis a Chance to Visit Home – Or What’s Left of It, The Times of Israel
Mateh is one of hundreds of Israelis who have been using the current temporary ceasefire to return briefly to their homes, or what’s left of them. Most have come to stock up on clothes and gear before heading back to the safety of state-afforded accommodations. Some are devastated by what they see; others see their resolve to return increase. In Sderot, 27,000 residents evacuated with some leaving behind yards and balconies with sukkahs still standing.

Four Palestinians Including 8-Year-Old Killed by Israeli Forces in West Bank, Reuters
Four Palestinians, including an 8-year-old boy and a 15-year-old male as well as two senior militant commanders, were killed on Wednesday by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian official news agency WAFA said. “The two children, Adam Samer Al-Ghoul (8 years old) and Basil Suleiman Abu Al-Wafa (15 years old), were shot dead by occupation forces in the city of Jenin,” the Palestinian health ministry said.

85-year-old Israeli Hostage Says She Confronted Hamas Chief Sinwar in Gaza Tunnel, Haaretz
Peace activist Yocheved Lifshitz confronted Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar when he visited the hostages in the underground tunnels where Hamas was keeping them captive. “Sinwar was with us three to four days after we arrived. I asked him how he is not ashamed to do such a thing to people who have supported peace all these years,” Lifshitz said. “He didn’t answer. He was silent.”

As Congress Weighs Aid to Israel, Some Democrats Want Strings Attached, The New York Times
Democrats in Congress are clashing with each other and the Biden administration over a push from the left that would attach conditions to an emergency infusion of security aid for Israel during its war with Hamas, the latest reflection of a growing rift within the party over support for the Jewish state. The debate is a striking departure from longstanding practice on Capitol Hill, where for decades, lawmakers have approved huge amounts of military funding for Israel with few strings attached.

Video Shows Israeli Extremists Assaulting Palestinians in Their West Bank Homes, The Times of Israel
Footage has emerged showing what appears to be armed Israeli settlers storming homes in the Palestinian village of Mu’arrajat in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday night and assaulting local residents. A video circulated on social media showed several individuals armed with guns and wearing khaki clothes entering a Palestinian home, shouting in Hebrew and mocking the residents.

Aid Groups Navigate Dangers of Gaza War Amid Growing Internal Strife, The Washington Post
For weeks, humanitarian workers at the United Nations’ migration agency have detailed their concerns over the Israel-Gaza war in emails, town-hall meetings and an internal letter to their director — demanding “a clear, public stance against forced displacement” of Palestinians. They have yet to receive an answer, according to five staff members in the Middle East who are among the signatories. Instead, they said, higher-ups at the International Organization for Migration have sent reminders to stay neutral on social media and tips for self-care in stressful times.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Israel Won’t Change, Foreign Affairs
Dahlia Scheindlin shares, “Although Israelis blame the country’s leadership for the catastrophic security failures surrounding the attacks, their basic political orientation seems unlikely to budge. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may well be forced to step down when the war is over—if not before, since the war has no clear endpoint. But as Israeli history has repeatedly shown, especially in recent decades, episodes of war or extreme violence like the current one have only reinforced a rightward tilt in Israeli politics. If that pattern holds now, Israelis might elect a new government, but they might also endorse the same flawed assumptions that have defined that tilt and which have helped shape the current crisis.

It’s Not Just Israeli Jews Who Were Displaced by the Hamas Attack, JTA
Dyonna Ginsburg and Tanyah Murkes share, “The discrimination Solomon and countless others experience as they seek new homes in the aftermath of Oct. 7 reinforces a dismal reality: Those who are already on the margins of Israeli society experience additional hardships during a time of war. This is not only the case for refugees and asylum-seekers, but also for tens of thousands of migrant workers, primarily in agriculture, construction and home healthcare. While the legal status of these workers is different from that of asylum-seekers, they too experience discrimination and injustice.”

A Political Stalemate Led to the Bloodshed in the Middle East. Only a Political Settlement Can Truly End It, The Guardian
Omer Bartov writes, “Without clearly defined political goals, war tends to devolve into endless destruction and annihilation. The only way out of this conundrum is for Israel to declare that it seeks a peaceful resolution of the conflict with an appropriate and willing Palestinian leadership. Making such a statement would dramatically transform the situation and clear the way for intermediate steps to be taken on the ground, starting with a halt to the mutual killing and a return of all surviving hostages.”

What Israel Owes Gaza, The New York Times
Michael Gross notes, “While collateral injuries may be unintentional and unavoidable, they remain a catastrophic side effect of war. Armed conflict, by its very nature, is a humanitarian disaster. […] And while the rules of war acknowledge civilians can suffer harm, they’ve done nothing to warrant their fate. They are, therefore, owed something by those who harm them. True, the lion’s share of responsibility sits with the aggressor — in this case, Hamas. But nations defending themselves also incur something more than negligible liability. Condolence payments and medical care can discharge this moral debt.”