News Roundup for October 27, 2023

October 27, 2023
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J Street In the News

J Street Supports Urgent Calls for Humanitarian Pauses in Israel-Hamas Fighting, J Street
“Such pauses can and should be used to help bring more desperately needed aid to civilians in Gaza, including food, water, medicine and fuel; to establish safe zones and help civilians get out of harm’s way; to help ensure the protection of civilians wherever they are in Gaza; to facilitate ongoing negotiations for the urgent release of Israeli and multinational hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups; and to facilitate the safe exit from Gaza of US citizens and other foreign nationals who wish to leave.”

Security and Freedom in the Middle East: Two Voices on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict [Audio], The Boston Globe
J Street Israel Director Nadav Tamir joins The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung to discuss the status and implications of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has raged for decades.

Israel’s Response to Hamas: Strategies and Dilemmas [Video], J Street
As thousands of Israeli troops continue preparations for a potential ground invasion of Gaza, we know that decisions made by both Israel and the United States in the coming days will have potential repercussions for decades to come. J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami was joined by Noa Shusterman-Dvir and Nimrod Novik, two leading Israeli security experts, to discuss the strategic challenges, security risks and major humanitarian concerns ahead of a potential invasion.

Top News and Analysis

As Long as the Israeli Ground Invasion Into Gaza Delays, Efforts to Release Hostages Intensify, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The waiting period in the Gaza Strip is lengthening, and it is characterized by continued heavy airstrikes alongside heightened efforts to obtain the release of additional hostages before the Israeli ground operation begins. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani expressed hope Wednesday for an imminent breakthrough toward that end. Israel made sure to thank Qatar for its efforts, after thanking only Egypt for the release Monday of two additional hostages, bringing the total to four.”

Joe Biden Doesn’t Trust Casualty Figures From Gaza’s Health Ministry. Experts Do, The Guardian
Chris McGreal writes, “In this time of war, the health ministry in Gaza has been given its own health warning. Joe Biden has questioned the reliability of its reporting of the number of people killed and wounded during the Israeli assault on Gaza – because the health ministry is run by Hamas. […] On Thursday, the ministry said the Israeli bombing of Gaza had killed 7,028 Palestinians, including 2,913 children, in the nearly three weeks since Hamas killed about 1,400 Israelis and abducted more than 200 others in its cross-border attack.”

2 Jewish House Democrats Call For ‘Humanitarian Pauses’ in Gaza, The Forward
Two Jewish House members, Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman, are urging Israel to take “humanitarian pauses” in its military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to allow the delivery of essential supplies and give the Palestinian civilians time to relocate to safe areas. Their call echoes that of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is also Jewish. He asked Israel Wednesday to consider humanitarian pauses to “take all possible precautions to avoid harm to civilians.”

Israel’s Strikes on Gaza Are Some of the Most Intense This Century, The New York Times
Israel’s 19-day bombing campaign in Gaza has become one of the most intense of the 21st century, prompting growing global scrutiny of its scale, purpose and cost to human life. Since terrorists from Gaza raided Israel on October 7, killing roughly 1,400 people according to the Israeli government, the Israeli military says it has struck more than 7,000 targets inside Gaza. That is a higher number than in any previous Israeli military campaign in the territory, a narrow enclave less than half the size of New York City.

US Strikes Iran-Linked Sites in Syria After Attacks on American Troops, Axios
The “precision self-defense strikes” were in “response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria” by Iran-backed groups that began on October 17, per a Pentagon statement. “We don’t seek to widen or escalate the crisis,” the official said. “This is a decision that needs to be made in Tehran. Iran’s most senior leaders need to tell their proxies to cease attacks against US forces.” The senior American official who also spoke to reporters said the US did not coordinate the air strikes in Syria in advance with Israel.

Opinions of Hamas from Palestinians in Gaza [Audio], The World
As the death toll mounts in Gaza, there is concern that all Palestinians there are being lumped together with Hamas and seen as legitimate targets. Host Marco Werman speaks with Amaney Jamal, a professor at Princeton University and co-founder and principal investigator at Arab Barometer. It conducted a survey in Gaza just before October 7, which shows significant opposition to the Hamas leadership.


‘Our Patience Is Up’: Hostages’ Families Blast Government Inaction at Tel Aviv Rally, The Times of Israel
The families of some of the 224 hostages believed to be held in the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists held a press conference Thursday to protest what they charged was government inaction and failure to update them on the efforts to secure the release of their loved ones, warning that their patience had run out. “Free them now!” the families chanted in English, with one relative urging global human rights groups to support them and their campaign.

Who Is in Israel’s War Cabinet?, The New York Times
Before the deadly Hamas attack on October 7, Prime Minister Netanyahu was running a divisive government widely seen as the most conservative in Israel’s history. Amid anticipation of a protracted campaign to eradicate Hamas, Netanyahu responded to political pressure and formed a unity government that included opposition leaders. One of its main conditions was the establishment of a “war management cabinet” that would oversee the fighting and dilute the power of far-right politicians in Netanyahu’s government.

‘Nowhere Safe’: In Southern Gaza, a Scramble in Vain to Outrun the War, The Washington Post
Some Gazans heeded the warning [from the Israeli government to flee south] while others stayed put amid outcry from international rights groups over Israel’s demands. This week, almost two-thirds of the casualties from Israeli strikes occurred in the southern part of the enclave, the Gaza Health Ministry said Wednesday. The figures could not be independently verified by The Post. In attempts to counter questions about the body count in Gaza, the Gaza Health Ministry released a document Thursday that it said contains names and other details of those killed.

Israel Targets Gaza City Outskirts in Second Ground Raid, The Hill
The Israeli military raided the central Gaza Strip, near Gaza City, overnight Friday with ground troops for the second time in as many days ahead of an expected full ground invasion of the territory. The IDF said the “targeted” raids were intended to “prepare the battlefield.” Overnight Thursday, a small group of IDF tanks entered Gaza as “part of preparations for the next stages of combat.”

US Adults’ Views on Israel-Hamas War Depend on Age, Axios
There is a clear generational divide when it comes to how American voters perceive the war in Israel, according to a slew of new polling data. This could explain the challenges university leaders have faced in reacting to the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks. It could also explain why CEOs have not come under the same level of scrutiny, given that most 18- to 24-year-olds have not yet entered corporate America.

European Bans on Pro-Palestinian Protests and Slogans Test Free Speech, The Washington Post
National and local governments in major European countries have blocked pro-Palestinian protests and detained hundreds of protesters, citing an overriding interest in public order and safety. In the city of Berlin, schools have been given permission to ban traditional kaffiyeh scarves, maps of Israel in the colors of the Palestinian flag and stickers that say “Free Palestine.”

Attacks, Arrests, Threats, Censorship: The High Risks of Reporting the Israel-Hamas War, Committee to Protect Journalists
Since the Israel-Gaza conflict started on October 7, journalists and media across the region have faced a hostile environment that has made reporting on the war exceptionally challenging. In addition to documenting the growing tally of journalists killed and injured, CPJ’s research to date has found more than 10 incidents of assaults, arrests, threats, cyberattacks, and censorship targeting journalists while carrying out their work in Israel and in the two Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank.

Death and Trauma Stalk Palestinian Children, NBC News
Children make up about half of Gaza’s nearly 2.3 million people — many of whom were born during Israel’s strict 16-year blockade of Gaza and are now watching bombs destroy their neighborhoods. In 2022, 4 out of 5 children in Gaza were already living with depression, fear and grief, according to a report by Save the Children. More than half said they had contemplated suicide. This war has only made it worse.

Opinion and Analysis

A Thousand Roi Rotbergs: Israel, Gaza and Kibbutz Nahal Oz, New Thinking
Ambassador Alon Pinkas writes, “The story of Nahal Oz is a story of sacrifice, resilience and hope. Its story stands as a living testament to the valor, tenacity and unyielding spirit of an entire nation. It is a story that reminds us of the indomitable spirit of Israel and its people. As we remember the sacrifices of the past and confront the challenges of the present, we must also look towards the future—a future where peace and security are the order of the day, not a dream. In the echoes of Nahal Oz’s history, we find a timeless message: the strength of a nation lies not only in its ability to defend itself, but also in its capacity to seek peace. This is what Roi Rotberg wanted, and we must not forget that.”

The Loneliness of the Israeli Left [Audio], Jewish Currents
Editor-in-chief Arielle Angel speaks with Michael Sfard, an attorney specializing in international human rights law and the laws of war; Sally Abed, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of national leadership in the Arab-Jewish grassroots movement Standing Together; and Yair Wallach, a social and cultural historian of modern Palestine/Israel at SOAS University of London. They discuss the particular loneliness of the Israeli left in this moment and the precious and endangered horizon for shared struggle beyond it.

See How Israel’s Siege has Plunged Gaza into Darkness and Isolation, The Washington Post
Ruby Mellen and Szu Yu Chen report, “The effects can be seen from space. The Gaza Strip, a 25-mile-long sliver of land bordering Israel and Egypt, has plunged into darkness since Israel announced a “complete siege” of the enclave on October 9. Israel, which manages most of the electricity that powers Gaza, closed its borders to the strip, launched a deadly bombing campaign and turned off the territory’s power lines in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. The impact was almost immediate. Palestinians enduring the relentless bombings night after night are doing so in darkness.”

View from the West Bank [Audio], The New York Times
There are fears that the Israel-Hamas war could expand into the West Bank, an already combustible and tense region, where the Israeli military has just carried out another round of arrests. Jeffrey Gettleman, an international correspondent, has been reporting from the West Bank. He tells Lulu Garcia-Navarro that “this is the most polarizing moment” he’s ever witnessed in the region.