News Roundup for October 19, 2023

October 19, 2023
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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street In the News

Biden Came and Went to Israel. What Comes Next?, Vox
“There’s no way for this spiraling cycle of never-ending violence to ever end if there isn’t a state of Palestine,” Ben-Ami of J Street told me. Ben-Ami said that Biden could recalibrate his message. “I think there’s a space here for the president, and perhaps it’s in concert with other world leaders, to articulate where they think things have to go when the fighting stops,” he told me. “And I think that may be important to put out there, even as the fighting is ongoing.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami Joins the Dean Obeidallah Show on SiriusXM [Audio], The Dean Obeidallah Show
President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, joins Dean to discuss the violence in Israel and Palestine, the history of bloody conflict, and building toward a better civilization for future generations.

J Street Urges Swift Senate Confirmation of Jacob L. Lew as Ambassador to Israel, J Street
“Lew, President Biden’s extremely capable nominee for this post, testified today at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. While the White House and Senate Democratic lawmakers rightly seek to fast-track his confirmation, some Republican lawmakers have indicated a disturbing and damaging willingness to slow down the process. Though Lew may not need Republican backing in a Democratic-majority Senate, strong bipartisan support would allow for a much-needed swift confirmation.”

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi in Conversation with J Street [Video], J Street
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi joined in conversation with J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami to reflect on the unfolding Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and to speak with our pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy movement in these incredibly trying times.

Top News and Analysis

Israel to Allow Entry of Humanitarian Aid to Gaza from Egypt After US Pressure, Axios
Israel’s war cabinet on Wednesday approved the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt after pressure from the US and other countries. Following Israel’s decision, President Biden said later Wednesday that Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi agreed to allow 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance through the Rafah Crossing into Gaza. Sisi “was completely cooperative … He stepped up, as did Bibi,” Biden added, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom the US president met with earlier Wednesday in Tel Aviv.

Biden’s Pick for Ambassador to Israel Spars with Republican Opponents, The Washington Post
Jack Lew, President Biden’s nominee to become the next US ambassador to Israel, faced strident opposition from Republican senators during a Wednesday hearing to vet his nomination, as Democrats insisted that the urgent need to contain the deadly violence engulfing Israel and the Gaza Strip demands a speedy confirmation.

Netanyahu Has to Play by Biden’s Rules to Ensure American Support — and Deterrence, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “US President Joe Biden paid a lightning visit to Israel Wednesday, 12 days into the war in the Gaza Strip. This unprecedented step was accompanied by a speech that will enter the history books. Biden is still giving Israel a warm, secure, public embrace. Nevertheless, this embrace also reflects American concerns over the conduct of Israel’s leadership and the chances of it leading to a regional war. And it is accompanied by several demands.”

Israel’s Endgame? No Sign of Post-war Plan for Gaza, Reuters
“Israel is vowing to wipe out Hamas in a relentless onslaught on the Gaza Strip but has no obvious endgame in sight, with no clear plan for how to govern the ravaged Palestinian enclave even if it triumphs on the battlefield. Codenamed “Operation Swords of Iron”, the military campaign will be unmatched in its ferocity and unlike anything Israel has carried out in Gaza in the past, according to eight regional and Western officials with knowledge of the conflict who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.”


US Vetoes Security Council Call for ‘Humanitarian Pause’ in Israel-Hamas War, CNN
The US vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council which called for a humanitarian pause in besieged Gaza. The brief draft resolution condemned the October 7 terror attacks in Israel by Hamas and urged the release of hostages. It also called on all parties to comply with international law and protect civilian lives in Gaza amid a ferocious retaliation by Israeli warplanes.

Biden Administration Announces New Sanctions Against Hamas, Axios
The Biden administration announced new sanctions against 10 Hamas leaders and financial facilitators today, including an operative based in Qatar with close ties to Iran. The US government is working to disrupt the ability of Hamas, an officially designated terrorist organization, to raise money and finance attacks against Israel.

Biden is Expected to Request $100 Billion for Israel, Ukraine and Other Crises, The New York Times
The package is expected to include about $10 billion in mostly military assistance to help Israel, as well as around $60 billion for Ukraine, according to aides familiar with the discussions, who described the emerging proposal on the condition of anonymity because it has yet to be announced. The balance of the $100 billion is expected to be dedicated to border security and helping beef up the defenses of Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region, in order to better counter threats from China.

Palestinian Reports: Five Killed, Dozens Arrested in Clashes in the West Bank, Haaretz
Five Palestinians were killed and dozens arrested overnight on Thursday during clashes in the West Bank, according to local Palestinian reports. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that one person had been shot dead by an Israeli civilian, and others were shot by Israeli forces. Forty of the detainees are from the Hebron area, with most being previously released prisoners. Among those who were arrested is a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, Sheikh Hassan Yousef.

Hundreds Mourn as Israeli Family of 5 that was Slain Together is Laid to Rest, AP
An Israeli family of five whose bodies were discovered in each other’s arms after being killed by Hamas militants were buried together in a funeral attended by hundreds of mourners. Family and friends bid farewell Tuesday to the Kotz family — a couple and their three children who were gunned down in their home at kibbutz Kfar Azza during the October 7 Hamas invasion of southern Israel.

On Israel’s Northern Border, Hezbollah Missiles Fly and Civilians Flee, The Washington Post
One hundred fifteen miles from Gaza, Israel was racing to harden its border with Lebanon on Wednesday, preparing for a potential second front in its war against Islamist militants. In Shtula and other small towns in this hilly region, fears are rising that Hezbollah will join the fight. Officials were positioning military forces up and down the border and clearing the few remaining civilians from 28 communities within a buffer zone that extends just over a mile from the Lebanese line.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu Led Us to Catastrophe. He Must Go, The New York Times
Gershom Gorenberg shares, “Despite the regular rounds of fighting between Israel and Gaza, Mr. Netanyahu allowed Hamas to continue entrenching its rule. Reconquering Gaza, I stress, was never a practical or moral option, and Israel’s ability to push for Palestinian reunification had limits. But under Mr. Netanyahu, the country evaded opportunities to do so when Hamas was isolated and weak. Bringing Gaza back under the Palestinian Authority was apparently never part of the prime minister’s agenda. Hamas was the enemy and, in a bizarre twist, an ally against the threat of diplomacy, a two-state solution and peace.”

Israel Must Defeat Hamas — and Then Get Serious About Peace, The New Republic
Jo-Ann Mort and Michael Walzer write, “The defeat of Hamas must be followed with a revised plan, probably including several key Arab countries, to allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. Israel needs borders that are internationally recognized, and that means borders that recognize in turn the rights of the two peoples who now coexist in oppression and hatred. Warfare is the worst and most dangerous way to practice politics, but sometimes it can lead to a better politics afterward.”

Only Biden Can Give Israelis the Fresh Hope They Want, Haaretz
Ami Ayalon and Avi Gil note, “The US alone has the ability to launch a diplomatic initiative that could positively impact the entire region; in fact, the tragic events have ripened conditions for its feasibility. Biden is holding out his hand in friendship to Israel during wartime. Soon, he will also have to extend a guiding and deliberate hand so that Israel can know peace.”

‘Do Not Take Your Mezuza off Your Door’, The New York Times
Rabbi Rachel Timoner writes, “I understand now why our ancestors said that to save a single life among Israel is to save an entire world, even as the meaning of the larger text is that every human life has equal value and that every life is worth the life of the whole world. Both are true. We start with us, but we must not ever end with us. I pray that we will find a way to free the hostages, end Hamas’s reign of terror and save innocent Palestinian lives. Some day, may all people see Israelis and Palestinians in their goodness, in their pain and in their full humanity, just as, at the beginning, God saw us all.”