News Roundup for October 26, 2023

October 26, 2023
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Top News and Analysis

Biden’s Post-war Plan: New Talks on Israel-Palestine Two-State Solution, Axios
President Biden is signaling for the first time what his plan would be for the day after the war in Gaza — a new generation of peace talks in the Middle East on a “two-state solution” in which Israel would co-exist with a Palestinian state. Biden’s call for a “concentrated effort” to begin talking about a two-state solution represents a pivot for the president. So far he’s focused largely on trying to avoid conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank — and securing a big peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

UN Warns Gaza Blockade Could Force It to Sharply Cut Relief Missions as Israeli Bombings Rise, AP
The UN warned Wednesday that it is on the verge of running out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, forcing it to sharply curtail relief efforts in the territory blockaded and devastated by Israeli airstrikes since Hamas militants launched an attack on Israel more than two weeks ago. The warning came as hospitals in Gaza struggled to treat masses of wounded with dwindling resources.

Biden Administration Pushes for a Humanitarian ‘Pause’ in Israel’s Military Campaign in Gaza, NBC News
The Biden administration is pushing for more aid to get into Gaza and signaling Israel to “pause” its military offensive against Hamas militants, amid concerns that days of heavy bombardment and a siege of the Palestinian enclave are creating a growing humanitarian disaster and raising the risk of a wider conflict. At a news conference Wednesday with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, President Joe Biden expressed strong solidarity with Israel but said the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza needed to “increase,” that Israel needed to do “everything in its power to protect innocent civilians.”

Israeli Troops, Tanks and Bulldozers Enter Gaza in Overnight Raid, The Guardian
Israeli infantry backed by tanks and armoured bulldozers have attacked Hamas targets in an hours-long overnight ground raid into the northern Gaza Strip, as officials raised the number of confirmed hostages being held by the militant Islamist group to 224. Although Israeli troops have been raiding frequently into Gaza in the recent fighting, this incursion was described as far more significant in scale and aimed at shaping the conditions for fighting in immediate border areas for the “next stages of the war.”

Thirst and Hunger Grow in Besieged Gaza Amid Israeli Bombardment, The New York Times
Gaza, blockaded by Israel and Egypt for 16 years, has long had a precarious water supply. Residents relied on groundwater filtered at water stations, desalination plants, a pipeline from Israel and bottled imports. Now, the taps have run dry, trucks are no longer refilling household water tanks, and the desalination plants have largely ground to a halt for lack of electricity and fuel. Israel imposed a siege on Gaza on October 9 — cutting off water, food, electricity and fuel — in response to the attack on Israel two days earlier by Hamas. Survival in Gaza now means not only escaping death from the thousands of Israeli airstrikes that have rained down over the past two weeks, but also finding enough to eat and drink.

Why News Outlets and the UN Rely on Gaza’s Health Ministry for Death Tolls, The Washington Post
Many experts consider figures provided by the ministry reliable, given its access, sources and accuracy in past statements. “Everyone uses the figures from the Gaza Health Ministry because those are generally proven to be reliable,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “In the times in which we have done our own verification of numbers for particular strikes, I’m not aware of any time which there’s been some major discrepancy.”


New House Speaker Mike Johnson, an Evangelical Christian, Holds Ties to Israel’s Far Right, Haaretz
House Speaker Mike Johnson, confirmed Wednesday after three failed previous Republican choices and weeks of inner party turmoil, is an evangelical Christian whose connections to Israel reflect the movement’s deep ties to the Israeli right, which has become increasingly mainstream over the years.

‘They Have No Answers’: Americans Trapped in Gaza Wait for US Help, Al-Monitor
Humanitarian aid is trickling into Gaza, but Americans stranded in the besieged territory can’t get out. The US government organized charter flights for its citizens to evacuate Israel, but no such plans are underway for those who live in the sealed-off Gaza Strip, which the Israeli military is bombing in retaliation for Hamas’ surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,400 dead, including 33 US citizens.

Family of Al Jazeera Gaza Bureau Chief Killed in Israeli Air Raid, Al Jazeera
The wife, son, daughter and grandson of Wael Dahdouh, Al Jazeera Arabic’s bureau chief in Gaza, have been killed in an Israeli air raid. Footage aired on Al Jazeera showed Dahdouh entering the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah on Wednesday to see his dead wife, son and daughter in the morgue. He was shown crouching and touching the face of his 15-year-old son, Mahmoud, who wanted to be a journalist like his father.

Emails Show Biden Staffers’ Confusion Trying To Help Desperate Americans In Gaza, HuffPost
As Israel escalates its offensive in Gaza, US officials are privately telling some Americans trapped in the region that the government lacks key pieces of information involving ongoing diplomatic negotiations and when it will be safe to exit. In one case, US officials resorted to asking private citizens to use their own influence to improve the situation.

Senate Committee Advances Jack Lew’s Nomination to Be US Ambassador to Israel, NBC News
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has advanced Jack Lew’s nomination to be the next US ambassador to Israel. The Democratic-led panel reported the nomination out of the committee in a 12-9 vote Wednesday, a week after Lew testified before lawmakers at his confirmation hearing. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican in the committee who voted with all Democratic members.

Desantis Seeks to ‘Deactivate’ Pro-Palestinian Student Groups in Florida, The Guardian
A pro-Palestinian student group said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was seeking to undermine free speech rights by moving to “deactivate” its chapters in the state university system, over its response to Hamas attacks on Israel and Israel’s strikes on Gaza in response. “Governor DeSantis continues to disrespect American values such as freedom of speech to extend his political power,” the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine said.

Jews, Palestinians and Muslims in the US Say They’re Experiencing Growing Fear About Rising Bigotry and Hatred, CNN
There is a palpable fear and tension in communities across the United States already scarred by the violent incidents stemming from the early days of the Israel and Hamas war, with some equating the bigotry and hatred being experienced by Jews, Palestinians, Muslims and other groups across the country to that of a post-9/11 world.

Israel Accuses UN Chief of Justifying Terrorism for Saying Hamas Attack ‘Didn’t Happen in a Vacuum’, AP
Israeli officials expressed outrage Wednesday over UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ remarks that the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel “did not happen in a vacuum,” saying his comment amounted to a justification for terrorism. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen canceled a scheduled meeting with Guterres while Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, said the UN chief “failed the test.”

Opinion and Analysis

Why Right-wing America Is No Real Ally for Israel, Haaretz
Etan Nechin writes, “The divisive language from the right has blurred the lines between Hamas militants and everyday Palestinians living under their control, further escalating already high tensions in the US. The reactionary American right, like the extreme right in Israel find common ground in their anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant stances. Both factions also see this as opportune moment for Israel to annex and ethnically cleanse the West Bank and Gaza.”

‘You Started a War, You’ll Get a Nakba’, The Atlantic
Graeme Wood shares, “Hamas’s level of savagery seems to have licensed a new level of settler aggression. One settler WhatsApp group passed around a threat intended for distribution to Palestinians too stubborn to have left their land yet. I saw the Arabic version. “You started a war, you’ll get a Nakba!” the settler message said, referring to the permanent displacement of Palestinian Arabs during the 1948 war. It invited them to seek refuge elsewhere. “We’re giving you a chance to flee to Jordan now in an organized fashion, because we will exterminate the enemy and expel you by force from our land.” The message ended: “You better get packing quickly. You’ve been warned!”

Listen to Israeli Survivors: They Don’t Want Revenge, +972
Orly Noy notes, “It is thus all the more remarkable that, in the face of the prevailing political mood, more and more of those Israelis who survived the massacres, or whose loved ones were killed or kidnapped to Gaza, are coming out and expressing unequivocal opposition to the killing of innocent Palestinians, and saying no to revenge. In a eulogy for her brother Hayim, an anti-occupation activist who was murdered in Kibbutz Holit, Noi Katsman called on her country ‘not to use our deaths and our pain to cause the death and pain of other people or other families. I demand that we stop the circle of pain, and understand that the only way [forward] is freedom and equal rights.’”

Israel: From the Six-Day War to the Six-Front War, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman writes, “If Israel is asking its best allies to help the Jewish state seek justice in Gaza while also asking them to look the other way as Israel builds a settlement kingdom in the West Bank with the expressed goal of annexation, that is strategically and morally incoherent. It won’t work. Israel will not be able to generate the time, the financial assistance, the legitimacy, the Palestinian partner or the global allies it needs to win this six-front war. And all six fronts are now hiding in plain sight.”