News Roundup for October 9, 2023

October 10, 2023
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A Note from J Street:

Hamas’ horrific surprise attack on Israel and the staggering carnage of the past few days have us all reeling. We know this is an intensely distressing moment, especially for the many members of our community here in the United States who have family and loved ones in Israel, and for our staff and partners in the region. Our thoughts and our hearts are with all of the victims and their loved ones.

Expert Briefing: Terror Onslaught, Israel at War with Hamas

Tomorrow at 12pm Eastern, leading Israeli security and geo-political experts will join J Street for a public briefing on what happened, the response within Israel, and what could come next. The call will feature retired IDF Brigadier General and member of Commanders for Israel’s Security, Yoni Shimshoni, and Celine Touboul, Co-Executive Director of the Israeli Policy Think Tank ECF.

Register via Zoom to join us Tuesday at 12pm Eastern / 9am Pacific >>

J Street In the News

Standing With The Israeli People In Pain, Horror And Grief, J Street
“Over 48 hours since Hamas launched a shock terrorist onslaught against Israel, the J Street community is reeling from the full scope of the nightmare that has unfolded and the full extent of the losses […] Hamas’ heinous, murderous attack is a gross violation of international law and constitutes an abhorrent crime against humanity. This is one of the most shocking massacres in the history of Israel, and indeed in the entire history of this century. The horror and pain is difficult to process and comprehend.”

Top News and Analysis

J Street works to promote open, honest and rigorous discussion. 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.

Death Toll from Hamas Onslaught Passes 800, Over 100 Kidnapped, as Israel Strikes Gaza, The Times of Israel
Israel formally declared a state of war on Sunday as the death toll from an unprecedented Hamas attack a day earlier rose above 700 and was expected to rise further, with the fate of over a hundred people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip still unclear. On Monday afternoon, the toll was updated to 800.

Biden Plans to Send Additional Aid to Israel, Politico
The Biden administration is working to fulfill Israel’s request to urgently transfer weapons to Tel Aviv, according to a US official and second person familiar with the talks, a day after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented wave of attacks on southern Israel.

Israel-Gaza War: A Catastrophic Failure That Will Send Political Shockwaves, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Israel’s conception regarding Gaza has collapsed. It failed in policy, in the deployment of defensive forces, in preparedness for surprises and in the total lack of intelligence warnings. On the night between Friday and Saturday, Israel’s political and military leaders slept safely in their homes. Forces were not reinforced since there was no early warning. The customary thinking was that Hamas was preparing for more war games.”

Americans, Other Foreign Nationals Feared Dead in Israel, The Washington Post
Foreign nationals from around the world have been reported killed or missing in Israel, as the country’s leaders declared war against Hamas on Sunday and the combined death toll among Israelis and Palestinians crossed 1,000. At least 9 American citizens are among those killed by Hamas.


How Hamas’s Attack on Israel Unfolded, The New York Times
Palestinian militants from Gaza raided Israel on Saturday, killing and abducting hundreds. Survivors have begun to recount the most complex attack on their territory in half a century.

Israeli Survivors Recount Terror at Music Festival, Where Hamas Militants Killed at Least 260, AP News
The open-air Tribe of Nova music festival will go down in Israeli history as the country’s worst civilian massacre. Dozens of Hamas militants who had blown through Israel’s heavily fortified separation fence and crossed into the country from Gaza opened fire on young Israelis who had come together for a joyous night of electronic music.

Hamas Kept Israel in the Dark as it Planned Devastating Attack, Reuters
A careful campaign of deception ensured Israel was caught off guard when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched its devastating attack, enabling a force using bulldozers, hang gliders and motorbikes to take on the Middle East’s most powerful army. Saturday’s assault, the worst breach in Israel’s defences since Arab armies waged war in 1973, followed two years of subterfuge by Hamas that involved keeping its military plans under wraps and convincing Israel it did not want a fight.

Israeli Defense Minister Orders ‘Complete Siege’ of Gaza, as Conflict with Hamas Enters Third Day, CNN
Israel’s Defense Minister ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza on Monday, as the military said it had retaken control of Israeli communities near the enclave that were stormed by Hamas gunmen over the weekend. Yoav Gallant said Israel would halt the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to Gaza.

Lawmakers Want to Help Israel, but Political Chaos Means it Won’t be Fast, Politico
Despite pronouncements of support on both sides of the aisle, there will likely be no fast or easy response until the chaos surrounding the House’s empty speakership is settled. Both candidates for the gavel backed more support for Israel on Saturday, yet the House is still several days away from electing a leader, and the lower chamber remains far from unified on most issues.

Israel, Hezbollah Exchange Artillery, Rocket Fire, Reuters
Hezbollah on Sunday said it had launched guided rockets and artillery onto three posts in the Shebaa Farms “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people. Israel has held the Shebaa Farms, a 15-square-mile (39-square-km) patch of land, since 1967. Both Syria and Lebanon claim the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese.

Arab States Call for Restraint After Hamas Attack — But Some Blame Israel, The Forward
Countries with which Israel has in recent years normalized ties, including the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, urged a cessation of violence on all sides, as did Saudi Arabia, with which Israel is currently working toward normalization. But a number of countries and groups with whom Israel has no diplomatic relations blamed the conflict on Israel, and called for continuing violence.

At Least 2 Members of Congress Were in Israel During Attack, Politico
Both Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were in Israel over the weekend while extremist group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack at the country’s border with Gaza. Both congressmen have since left the country, according to their offices.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Worst Day at War, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman writes, “If there is going to be an Israeli invasion of Gaza to try to destroy Hamas, it has to be paired with a political initiative that empowers and helps to strengthen that Palestinian Authority so we can forge, as Victor put it, ‘a settlement that provides all sides with something they can live with. Otherwise, sooner or later, we will be right back in the same situation — only worse. That was the true lesson of the Yom Kippur War.’”

Civilians Will Pay Price for Biggest Challenge to Israel Since 1973, The Guardian
Bethan McKernan writes, “The kidnap and murder of three Israelis in the occupied West Bank led to the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel. But nothing quite like this has happened in the Arab-Israeli conflict. While 1973 was a war between conventional militaries, this time, the consequences for civilians on both sides are likely to be horrific.”

My 62-year-old Dad Fought Hamas Terrorists to Free My Family. The Israeli State Failed Us, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “My father, General (Ret) Noam Tibon wrote that he was on the way from Tel Aviv. We had no idea how he would get here. But just like our girls put their faith in us during these critical hours, we also put ours in him. Only later, in the evening, did I hear what he and my mom went through that day, how many people they helped save, and the heroism they showed on their trip down here.”

Could The Attack On Israel Spell The End Of Hamas?, The New Yorker
Nathan Thrall tells the New Yorker, “Clearly, this act by Hamas is suicidal. It is an attack of unprecedented scope, and Israel will retaliate to a greater degree than it has before, potentially leading to outcomes we haven’t seen before.”