News Roundup for November 8, 2023

November 8, 2023
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J Street In the News

One Month Since October 7, J Street
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “At the one-month mark, we believe it is necessary to ask tough questions and to consider whether the approach being taken will achieve the goals we all share and whether the cost in civilian lives is acceptable. We also must ask out loud questions that many in Israel and its friends globally are pondering quietly: Can a government with far-right, anti-democratic extremists in key decision-making roles be trusted to responsibly lead such a complex, difficult and morally fraught operation? Do they have any intention of heeding the calls and warnings of the United States to uphold international law, protect civilians and defeat Hamas via more surgical and targeted counter-terror operations?”

Top News and Analysis

Israel Marks One Month Since Hamas Massacre With Vigils, Memorials, Protests, The Times of Israel
Marking one month since the worst attack in the history of the Jewish state, Israelis across the country took part in vigils, memorial gatherings, prayers and protests as the nation continues to grapple with the devastating massacre. Around 1,400 people were murdered in southern Israel after Hamas terrorists stormed across the border in the early hours of October 7, also taking at least 245 people captive. As the nation mourns its losses, many families still do not have closure, with the bodies of only 736 civilians and 348 members of security forces cleared for burial as of Monday.

Israel-Hamas War Said to Have Left 10,300 Dead in Gaza and Displaced 70% Of Its Population in a Month, CBS News
One month since Hamas’ launched its brutal terror attack on Israel, killing over 1,400 people, the death toll from Israel’s response in the Gaza Strip has soared over 10,300, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health. The ministry says more than 4,200 of the dead are children, and about 1,300 more children are believed to be buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

White House Warns Israel Over Post-war Plans for Gaza, CNN
The White House maintained Tuesday that it doesn’t believe Israeli forces should reoccupy Gaza following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comments that the country will have the “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an “indefinite period” after the war ends. “The president still believes that a reoccupation of Gaza by Israeli forces is not good. It’s not good for Israel; not good for the Israeli people,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

Israel Says Its Forces Operating in ‘Heart of Gaza City’, Reuters
Israel said on Tuesday its forces were operating deep in Gaza City in their battle to wipe out Hamas in the Palestinian enclave and said the Islamist militant group’s leader was trapped inside a bunker there. Retaliating for a deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas gunmen, the Israeli military is focused on Gaza City, Hamas’ stronghold in the north of the territory. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told a televised news conference that Israeli soldiers had advanced to the heart of Gaza City and “were tightening the noose.”

US Confident Israel Is Inching Toward Its View on Humanitarian Pause, Politico
The Biden administration is confident Israel has moved, ever so slightly, closer to its view that there must be humanitarian pauses throughout the war against Hamas to help civilians, senior US officials said. For weeks, the US has engaged in a flurry of diplomacy with Israel to push for temporary halts in fighting so hostages can be safely rescued, Palestinians in Gaza can move freely and humanitarian aid can get into the enclave.

UN Says Israel-Gaza War Is Deadliest Ever for Its Personnel, The New York Times
The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said on Monday that 89 employees of the UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, had been killed in Gaza in the month of war between Israel and Hamas. That is more “than in any comparable period in the history of our organization,” he told reporters at UN headquarters in New York, adding that many of the employees had been killed with members of their family.

A Kidnapped Israeli Activist and Two Sons Grappling With a War in Her Name, The Washington Post
Kevin Sieff interviews Yonatan and Chen, the sons of Vivian Silver, a 74-year-old Canadian Israeli peace activist, kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Beeri. “Yonatan is a social worker who tends to Tel Aviv’s homeless. He believed in a cease-fire, and that a diplomatic solution could be reached with Hamas. […] Chen is a doctoral student in prehistoric archaeology at the University of Connecticut who frantically boarded a flight back to Israel after Oct. 7. He was more certain that Israel needed to respond militarily in Gaza. And Vivian — what would she say? “It’s impossible not to wonder,” Chen said. She was a “peacenik,” part of a shrinking group of secular Israeli leftists who believed in communal living and a road map for peace. They had been appalled by Israel’s rightward shift and the proliferation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Like Vivian, some chose to live near Gaza, to be closer to their life’s work; on Oct. 7, they were among the first to be killed.”

The US and Israel’s Looming Divergence of Interests Over the Gaza War, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “It is conceivable that a decisive and comprehensive military defeat of Hamas is attainable. It is equally plausible that it will be entailed by a consequential political outcome of incapacitating Hamas’ political power and ability to govern Gaza. But even if that materializes, it does not constitute a strategic triumph, because it fails to address the ultimate question of “Who rules Gaza now?” This is the epicenter of US concerns about Israeli planning, and this is where friction in US and Israeli interests will occur in the next few weeks.”


1 Month After Hamas’ Attack on Israel, a Desperate Father’s Plea: “At Least Let the Children Go”, CBS News
For Irish national Thomas Hand, who’s 8-year-old daughter Emily Hand is believed to be among the hostages, there initially wasn’t any hope at all, only resignation. Then, forensics teams poring over the gruesome remnants of the massacre at the kibbutz found no DNA evidence of Emily’s death. Now, a month after Hamas stormed through his community, likely taking his daughter and the friend she was enjoying a sleepover with, Hand told CBS News his family was just “praying for her to be released… Whether in one piece or broken.”

Arab States Intensify Pleas for Gaza Cease-fire as Public Anger Mounts, The New York Times
Facing growing anger from their own people, Arab countries are intensifying their appeals to the United States to pressure Israel to implement an immediate cease-fire in Gaza or risk sabotaging the security of the entire Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all implored American officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to get Israel to halt its military assault.

White House Condemns Demonstrators Ripping Down Posters of Israeli Hostages, NBC News
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday condemned demonstrators tearing down photos of Israeli hostages, calling it “wrong and hurtful” on social media shortly after she sidestepped the question at a news briefing. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month, artists have created posters calling attention to the 240 hostages held in Gaza. The posters feature photos, names and ages of hostages and say “kidnapped,” in bold, uppercase letters at the top. Videos have circulated on social media of demonstrators ripping down the posters.

House Votes to Censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib Over Comments About Israel, The Washington Post
The House on Tuesday voted to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), punishing the only Palestinian American member of Congress over her comments related to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. In a 234-188 vote late Tuesday night, the House passed a censure resolution put forward by Rep. Richard McCormick (R-Ga.), who accused Tlaib of “promoting false narratives” regarding the Hamas attack on Israel in October and for “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.” Twenty-two Democrats voted for the censure, while four Republicans voted against it.

The Biden Administration Says Colleges Must Fight ‘Alarming Rise’ in Antisemitism and Islamophobia, AP
The Biden administration is warning US schools and colleges that they must take immediate action to stop antisemitism and Islamophobia on their campuses, citing an “alarming rise” in threats and harassment. In a Tuesday letter, the Education Department said there’s “renewed urgency” to fight discrimination against students during the Israel-Hamas war. The letter reminds schools of their legal duty to protect students and intervene to stop harassment that disrupts their education.

Gaza Journalist Killed Alongside 42 Relatives, News Agency Says, BBC
A Palestinian reporter has been killed alongside 42 family members, his news agency says, as a watchdog said the past month had been the most deadly for journalists since its records began. The Wafa news agency said Mohammad Abu Hasira was killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City. At least 37 journalists had been killed since the war began, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

35 Israeli Jewish and Arab Rights Groups Call for Ceasefire, Hostage Deal, Political Solution to Conflict, Haaretz
A list of 35 Israeli Jewish and Arab peace and human rights groups called on the government to work towards a ceasefire in Gaza, to bring to the release of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas, and work towards a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict. “It is evident that there is no military solution to this conflict, nor can there ever be one. The only way to stop the bloodshed is a political agreement that will guarantee security, justice, and freedom for both nations,” they said in an open letter signed by the organizations.

1 Month After Oct. 7 Massacre, the Ruins of Kibbutz Kfar Aza Testify to Its Horrors, JTA
It was the second time Hanan Dann had toured that area of the kibbutz since the massacre. The first time he “lasted five minutes and couldn’t take it any more,” said Dann, a computer programmer who has been residing in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Shmaryahu in the past weeks. His house, on the other side of the kibbutz, was spared and together with his wife, young children and parents, who had been visiting for the Simchat Torah holiday, he survived the hours-long ordeal in their safe room, reading terror-filled text messages from friends and neighbors, some the last they would ever send.

Americans Divided Over Israel Response to Hamas Attacks, AP-NORC Poll Shows, AP
Americans have become more likely to describe Israel as an ally that shares US interests and values since the war with Hamas began, but they’re divided over whether Israel has gone too far in its response to last month’s attack, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey, which was conducted from Nov. 2 to 6, also reveals skepticism among Democrats toward Israel, which could present a challenge for President Joe Biden as he tries to balance support for the country’s defense and his party’s shifting priorities.

Opinion and Analysis

When Hamas Tried to Kill My Children on October 7 They Knew What Would Happen Next in Gaza, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “Imagine yourself having to tell a 1-year-old, stuck in a dark room with no food, electricity or toys, hearing gunshots and shouting all around her, that she must be silent. That this is not a time to make any noise because it’s dangerous outside. Think about that for a second. Now imagine having to do that for 10 hours. Ten hours in the dark, with sounds of war immediately outside your window. Not nearby, not down the street. Literally on your porch. Right in your backyard. Gunshots fired into your living room. Asking yourself: Is my dog still alive? Exactly one month ago, when Hamas entered the civilian community where I live, they knew exactly what they were doing – and what the price would be.”

Why Israel Should Promote Peace in the Midst of War, The Washington Post
Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, shares, “As Israel wages war against Hamas, it must simultaneously propose a path toward peace. Clearly, it is difficult to talk about peace during wartime. Temperatures are running high, and an understandable sense of pain and outrage has overtaken even the soundest of minds. So much so that there are those who cannot see past seeking revenge. But a peace initiative is the only way Israel’s ultimate security can succeed. Israel should vow that, once the war ends, it will aspire to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.”

What Do Gazans Think About the Hamas Leadership?, The Institute for National Security Studies
INSS reports, “On October 6, the day before the murderous attack by Hamas, the Arab Barometer survey examined the attitude of the Gaza population toward the Hamas leadership. According to the findings, an absolute majority of the Gazan public (67%) expressed little trust or a complete lack of trust in Hamas, compared to 29% who expressed a high degree of trust. The lack of trust evidently stems from the dissatisfaction by the residents of the Gaza Strip with the precarious economic situation, the governmental corruption, and the ineffectiveness of the government.”

The Settler Movement Already Has Plans for Gaza, The Forward
Eyal Lurie-Pardes writes, “The international community must not let rage and pain from the terror attack be used as a blank check for a destructive, messianic, Jewish supremacist mission to settle in Gaza. A reestablishment of settlements would lead to tremendous Palestinian suffering, a humanitarian nightmare, and the loss of any international credibility that Israel has left. To prevent such a scenario, the international community must require Israel to provide assurances that it will maintain its international obligations under the Disengagement Plan — including specifying how it would block any attempt to establish Jewish outposts or civil presence in the Gaza Strip.”