Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: October 13-20, 2023

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

The Situation in Gaza: A Briefing,

Featuring Tania Hary (Gisha), Nour Odeh (journalist & political activist), and Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch), in conversation with Lara Friedman


See also: Israel-Gaza: When will the world say ‘Enough’? | UpFront, featuring author Mark Lamont Hill in conversation with Lara Friedman (FMEP), human rights lawyer Noura Erakat, and executive director of +972 Magazine, Haggai Matar, discussing the implications of the Israel-Gaza war. And listen to FMEP’s Lara Friedman  interviewed on the Politics Theory Other podcast about the dire situation in Gaza and the West Bank, and the dramatic escalation of islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in the United States.

FMEP Legislative Round-Up: October 20, 2023,

1.Bills, Resolutions

  1. Letters
  2. Hearings & Markups
  3. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

“…Check members accounts on X or their websites if you want to see what they are saying. In general, if they are Democrats the message remains: total support for/solidarity with Israel in its campaign and zero concern for even the existence of Palestinian civilians or what Israel is doing to them. From Republicans, it is largely the same, plus an almost universal narrative connecting the Hamas attack to Iran and implicitly or explicitly making the case for war against (and regime change in) Iran (and some Democrats are on these same talking points). Plus this week we have the added demonization – from both sides of the aisle – of Jewish Americans and members of Congress who dare to call for a ceasefire or to defend Palestinian rights.”

Top News

With food and water still blocked from entering Gaza, hospitals are ‘on the brink of collapse,’ the U.N. says.,

“Hospitals and health care centers in the Gaza Strip are “on the brink of collapse,” the United Nations warned on Friday, with disagreements between Egypt and Israel still blocking aid from entering. Despite a U.N.-led deal that laid out the groundwork for transporting food, water and medicine through the Rafah border crossing, no outside resources have been allowed in for the last 14 days because of disagreements over how often to allow convoys to cross, how to screen them and what they can include. More than 60 percent of primary health care centers were shut down, and hospitals were running out of power, medicines, equipment and staff, the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report. Several hospitals are out of service because they ran out of fuel, the Hamas-operated Gaza health ministry said. According to UNRWA, the U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, it had about 15 days supply of medicines, with one week’s supply of insulin remaining.” See also Food and Water Into Gaza Are Delayed as Talks Drag On, Officials Say (NYT); Gaza under Israeli siege: Bread lines, yellow water and nonstop explosions (AP); U.S.-approved aid faces several hurdles to reach desperate Gazans (WaPo); Why Egypt’s Rafah border crossing is vital for Gaza crisis (WaPo); Gazans Face Threat of Cholera and Other Infectious Diseases – Oxfam 


See also Washington Post Live Updates; Al Monitor Live Updates; NYTimes Live Updates; For daily updates on the numbers of dead, injured, and displaced, sign up for OCHA updates;  For background resources on Gaza, and the Israeli siege, check out Gisha’s comprehensive resource, “Gaza Up Close

Everything we know about the Gaza hospital strike,

“In a conflict already freighted with allegations of war crimes, a strike on a Gaza City hospital on Tuesday has divided opinion, set back hopes for a diplomatic end to fighting and deepened global anguish over the prospect of more civilian deaths. The early evening blast at the al-Ahli Hospital killed 471 and injured more than 300, a spokesman for Gaza’s Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, told The Washington Post. Israel has disputed that death toll. Palestinian and Israeli officials blame each other for the blast, which was the single deadliest incident for civilians in Gaza since the war began, coming 10 days after Hamas’s Oct. 7 cross-border attack on Israel.” See also this Twitter thread from Forensic Architecture: “Preliminary analysis by FA, @alhaq_org & @earshot_ngo into the #AlAhli hospital blast in Gaza casts significant doubt on IOF claims that the source of the deadly explosion was a Palestinian-fired rocket travelling west to east.” See also ‘A complete massacre’: Survivors recount the horrors of Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital blast (Ibtisam Mahdi and Ruwaida Kamal Amer//+972)

Israeli Airstrike Hits Greek Orthodox Church Compound in Gaza City,

“An Israeli airstrike hit the grounds of the historic Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City, which was sheltering displaced people, on Thursday night, according to church officials and witnesses. The church compound, comprising a chapel, seven buildings and a courtyard, was full of Christian families from the Gaza Strip, witnesses said. They said the airstrike happened around 7:30 p.m., when dinner was being distributed. The Gazan health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said at least 16 people were killed and many others were still buried under rubble. The death toll could not be independently confirmed. A statement from the Israeli military on Friday said that the church was not the intended target of the airstrike.”

Biden links Hamas, Putin as he pledges ‘unprecedented’ Israel support,

“President Joe Biden used a prime-time address to the nation Thursday to make the case that sending tens of billions of dollars in wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine is in America’s interest.  “We’re facing an inflection point in history, one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come,” Biden said in a rare speech from the Oval Office. He pledged an “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security” following the deadly cross-border attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct. 7…Biden sought to draw a link between the wars in Israel and Ukraine, where he said Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin “both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.” “We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win,” Biden said. “I refuse to let that happen.” See also World is at an ‘inflection point in history,’ Biden says in rare Oval Office speech (WaPo); US unveils sanctions against Hamas members, financial network (Al Monitor);  As 2024 looms, Biden unveils $106 billion foreign aid package (WaPo: “$14.3 billion for Israel military assistance.) US warship in Red Sea intercepts 3 missiles fired from Yemen, possibly at Israel (Times of Israel)

In Israel visit, Biden balances US support with calls for restraint in Gaza,

“In a historic wartime visit to Israel on Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s message was one of steadfast support, but also included a subtle appeal for restraint, as the war-torn country readies for a ground offensive inside the densely populated Gaza Strip. “Shock, pain, rage — an all-consuming rage,” Biden said in Tel Aviv, drawing a comparison between Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault on Israel and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. “I understand. Many Americans understand,” Biden said. “You can’t look at what has happened here … and not scream out for justice. While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it.” Earlier that day, Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, as well as with first responders and the families of victims of the Hamas attack. Biden’s appearance in Israel, less than two weeks after Hamas’ attacks killed 1,400 Israelis, was intended not only to demonstrate solidarity with America’s closest ally in the Middle East but to keep the war from spilling into a broader regional conflagration, with Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah joining the fray.” See also Israel retaliates after 30 rockets fired from Lebanon (Al Monitor)

Is Israel preparing another Nakba for Gaza?,

“If, for Palestinians, Tuesday’s massacre has the hallmarks of an Israeli attack, it is not just because the state has a history of bombing clearly marked schools and hospitals. Although the causes of the Al-Ahli massacre are still being disputed, the enormity of this war on Gaza has only one obvious analogy: Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages…This is one reason why Palestinians and their allies have made remaining on the land a rallying cry of this war. From the way it is being executed to the rhetoric Israel and its allies are using to justify it, this onslaught, for Palestinians, appears designed to push Gaza’s people — all of them — off the land…The possibility of another population “transfer” at such a massive scale — Gaza’s population makes up more than a third of the Palestinians in the occupied territories — may have seemed impractical, if not impossible, just two weeks ago. But recent events and statements suggest that efforts may be underway to see it through, even under the guise of a “humanitarian” solution.” See also A Textbook Case of Genocide (Raz Segal//Jewish Currents); Center for Constitutional Rights: “There is a credible case, based on powerful evidence, that Israel is attempting to commit, if not actively committing, genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

Conditions in Gaza

In Khan Younis, Palestinians struggle to surmount ‘unbearable’ crisis,

“Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have escaped south since Friday, when the Israeli army ordered the citizens of northern Gaza to evacuate. Hundreds fled to UNRWA schools, others to Nasser Medical Hospital, and some to their friends’ and relatives’ homes. Within just a few days, the population of Khan Younis — the largest city in the southern part of the strip — has swelled dramatically…Overcrowded shelters are liable to lead to devastating second-order effects on public health, with reports of infectious diseases spreading, including smallpox…Others have been unable even to find shelter. There are hardly enough beds in Khan Younis to accommodate the influx of people fleeing northern Gaza, with some forced to sleep in the streets.” See also How do you bury 3,000 martyrs? (+972) ““Across the Gaza Strip, cemeteries are full, hospital morgues are filled with unidentified bodies, and families are digging mass graves for their loved ones.”

Dispatches from Gaza ,

“Three Palestinians describe life under constant Israeli bombardment—and lay out their visions for liberation…Khalil [in Gaza]: I’m physically fine, but I’ve lost a lot of family, friends, and neighbors. My surviving family members are disconnected from each other. Some of us are in the north of Gaza, others are in the south. My sister was injured last night in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a civilian building. People are being killed every minute, thousands of people are injured, tens of thousands are mourning. For many, there is no water, no electricity, no access to food, no access to medicine—a shortage of everything. It seems like things can’t get worse—but when we reach the bottom, it turns out there is another bottom. It’s an abyss. We are experiencing genocide. Systematic, appalling. An apocalypse.

[Jewish Currents]: Does this moment feel different from other Israeli attacks on Gaza?

K: This is the first war I’ve experienced where a vast majority of people are searching for water, bread, medicine. We are being treated like animals. But in other ways, it feels no different: In previous wars, we have lost beloved friends, neighbors, relatives. We’ve been deprived of our rights, blamed for our own suffering, failed by the international community…

JC: What is your message for the world?

K: Don’t leave us alone.”

More from +972 Magazine,

Hamas Attack in Israel // Update on Hostages

Hamas Releases Two U.S. Hostages, a Mother and Daughter,

“A 59-year-old woman and her teenage daughter from Illinois were released by Hamas militants in Gaza on Friday nearly two weeks after they were taken hostage along with 200 others during terrorist raids in southern Israel that ignited a war, plunged the Middle East into crisis and left thousands dead. Hamas said it was freeing the two American women, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, for “humanitarian reasons.” Their releases came after negotiations involving officials in Qatar, who served as mediators between the United States and Hamas.” See also 203 Empty Seats: Families of Israeli Hostages Held in Gaza Erect Symbolic Installation (Haaretz); ‘Window of Opportunity to Free Israeli Hostages Is Closing,’ Warns Mossad Expert in Prisoner Exchanges (Haaretz); Hamas Took More Than 200 Hostages. Here’s What We Know About Them. (NYT); People from 35 countries killed, missing in Israel-Gaza war: What to know (WaPo)

Israel/Palestine: Videos of Hamas-Led Attacks Verified,

“Human Rights Watch has verified four videos from the October 7, 2023 attacks by Hamas-led gunmen, showing three incidents of deliberate killings, and presents this analysis in a video published today. The attacks should be investigated as war crimes…Under international humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict, targeting civilians is strictly prohibited, and intentionally targeting and killing civilians are war crimes. Violations and abuses by one party in a conflict do not justify violations, including targeting civilians, by another. The three incidents Human Rights Watch analyzed were captured on dashcam and security camera footage on October 7. These videos were shared to Telegram by the South First Responders account. Human Rights Watch verified the videos by verifying the coordinates, timestamps, and date stamps on the videos and comparing them to satellite imagery, open-source imagery, and shadows to determine the time and place the incidents took place.”

The First Hours of the Israel-Hamas War: What Actually Took Place?,

“At the start of the attack on the morning of Saturday, October 7, when Israel had not yet begun to understand what it was facing, Hamas already knew its next steps. The terror organization had overcome barriers Israel built on the border, murdering more than 1,300 people and taking at least 199 hostages. Over a week into the war, not everything is clear about how exactly Hamas implemented its plan. From the moments before the invasion to the first Israeli military forces that reported to the scene, this is what we know about how the events unfolded.” See also Families of Israelis abducted to Gaza decry government ‘abandonment’ (Roy Cohen//+972)

Nir Oz Wasn't a Battle, It Was a Systematic Massacre,

“The massacre at Kibbutz Nir Oz was described by IDF officers this week as a “black hole.” The more the fog surrounding the events of October 7th clears, it turns out that there were four kibbutzim that sustained a horrible blow, each with dozens or more killed: Kfar Aza, Be’eri, Nahal Oz, and Nir Oz. But while the other three saw significant fighting between IDF troops and Hamas militants, it seems that there was hardly any battle at Nir Oz…The picture emerging from the testimonies and the look of the kibbutz is one of systematic extermination of its residents by dozens of armed militants. The survivors’ accounts paint a consistent pattern of action: Murder of anyone encountered, breaking into homes, attempting to break into safe rooms and shelters. In cases where the residents managed to prevent the opening of the safe room door, the terrorists torched the homes with the occupants inside, forcing the residents into a horrible choice – risk suffocation with their families in the shelters, or walk out into the killers’ arms.” See also Israeli video compilation shows the savagery and ease of Hamas’ attack (WaPo)

Opinion | I Was There. In Kfar Azza. Indiscriminate Bombing of Gaza Is Not the Solution,

“I was there. I was visiting my beloved family in Kibbutz Kfar Azza, where I was born and raised, where my people live, my family, my classmates and friends, friends of my parents, members of the kibbutz, a tight-knit community…I have no idea how this will influence the rest of my life. If I will ever be able not to fear every small noise, not to imagine gunshots in the depths of the night. But one thing I feel more strongly than ever: we must stop this cycle of death. We must invest all of our power and energy in the end game, how to build a peaceful and secure future for all who live in this place. It will not end with words like “deterrence,” “a final blow,” “decisive.” Quiet will arrive only through political means.” See also Opinion | My 84-year-old Mother Was Taken Hostage. In Her Name, Too, I Plead: Don’t Destroy Gaza (Neta Heiman//Haaretz); The Safety of Our Hostages Must Come First (Mikhael Manekin//NYT); Picking up the pieces of our grief (Noam Shuster//+972)

West Bank

As Gaza war rages, West Bank faces violent collective punishment,

“On the heels of the Hamas-led attack against Israel on Oct. 7, and Israel’s devastating response in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has imposed a stringent lockdown and movement restrictions on Palestinians in the occupied territory. The lockdown, which is intended to keep the West Bank firmly segregated as Israel carries out its war, has made Palestinians here feel as if they are reliving the days of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s…As a result, a sense of terror and exhaustion has taken root among many Palestinians in the West Bank these past two weeks, a consequence not only of the lockdown but also of the profound changes that have occurred this month, which seem to have fundamentally altered the political landscape. Since Hamas’ attack, the number of extrajudicial killings, displacements of local communities, and settler attacks in the West Bank have skyrocketed, and are almost certain to go unpunished. As of Thursday, at least 75 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,300 injured in the West Bank since Oct. 7, according to the PA’s health ministry.” See also Violence Surges in West Bank, With 13 Palestinians and an Israeli Killed (NYT)

'There's War, Blood Is Boiling': Settlers Force Palestinians Out Their West Bank Homes,

“Since the outbreak of the war on October 7, more and more Palestinians in shepherding communities in the West Bank have been fleeing from their homes because of escalating settler violence. In some cases, entire communities have been emptied. In others a number of families have left, or just the women and children. The residents report threats from settlers, sometimes armed, who tell them they have to leave…According to an estimate by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published in September, 1,105 shepherds which is about 12% of the entire population of herders in the West Bank have abandoned their homes during the past year. This process has been going on for some time, due to the reduction in grazing areas and harassment by settlers, which stepped up in the last week.” See also Settlers take advantage of Gaza war to launch West Bank pogroms (Yuval Abraham//+972: “Israeli settlers and soldiers have killed 51 Palestinians in the West Bank this past week, with two villages entirely depopulated after attacks.”); See also Israel-Palestine war: Settlers and soldiers ‘severely abuse’ Palestinians and activists (Middle East Eye: “Palestinians and left-wing Israeli activists in the West Bank village of Wadi al-Siq were physically assaulted, sexually humiliated and tortured by Israeli soldiers and settlers, according to a new report in Haaretz. Three Palestinians and three activists spoke to the Israeli newspaper about their arrest on 12 October by the Israeli army’s Desert Frontier unit, which has recruited members from the far-right Hilltop Youth settler group.”

Inside of Israel / '48

Gazan Workers Stuck in Purgatory After Israel Revokes Permits,

“On October 11th, four days after Hamas’s attack and Israel’s declaration of war, thousands of Gazan workers logged on to the blue-and-white-colored defense ministry app Al Munaseq (“the coordinator”) to find that Israeli authorities had revoked their work permits, stripping them of their legal status. The change meant that these workers could no longer remain in Israel, but they also could not return home to Gaza, which Israel had placed under a hermetic siege and constant bombardment…The permit revocation was ordered by the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli body in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs, and came without any explanation or instruction. And just hours after the permits were revoked, Israeli authorities began detaining the now-illegal workers…Jessica Montell, the executive director of Israeli human rights organization HaMoked, told Jewish Currents that the arrest campaign is “unprecedented in both scope and lack of transparency,” noting that “overnight, thousands of people who had Israeli work permits became illegal aliens and have been rounded up.”…For the thousands of Gazan workers in Israel, the suspension of permits has meant not just a loss of livelihood but also displacement and imminent danger…These detentions have created additional panic among the families in Gaza, who are themselves living under Israel’s bombardment campaign. “Hundreds of families [from Gaza] have contacted us,” Montell said, but “we have been unable to locate their loved ones because the authorities refuse to provide information about who has been detained and where they are being held.””

‘This is political persecution’: Israel cracks down on internal critics of its Gaza war,

“According to the Haifa-based Palestinian human rights organization and legal center Adalah, around 50 Palestinians studying at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the University of Haifa, Western Galilee College, Tel Aviv University, and other academic institutions have been summoned to disciplinary committees in recent days on the basis of social media posts seen as supportive of Hamas — and some of them notified that they have been suspended from their studies…But the rising persecution in recent days has not been limited to academic institutions. The newly-established Civil Society Coalition for Emergencies in the Arab Community reports that at least 30 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been fired from their jobs — in retail, car companies, and restaurants, as well as the Jerusalem Municipality — since Oct. 7 because of social media posts perceived as supporting the Hamas attack. Meanwhile, the Municipality’s inspectors today prevented Arab construction workers — including senior managers — from entering several sites in central Israel. Israel Police has stated that at least 170 Palestinians have been arrested or brought in for questioning since the Hamas attack on the basis of online expression. According to Adalah, this number — which includes both citizens of the state and residents of Jerusalem — represents the highest rate of arrests in such a short period of time for 20 years, and comes after State Attorney Amit Aisman authorized such investigations without his office’s prior approval…Adalah’s general director Hassan Jabareen told +972 that Adalah is “receiving reports of illegal arrests, often carried out brutally and late at night without justification, all based on social media posts,” reflecting “an alarming trend of deliberate persecution and prohibiting legitimate expression.” Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi, Jabareen’s colleague at Adalah, added that they have received reports about people being summoned to police investigations or questioning simply for “liking” posts on social media — including an Arab teacher working in Tiberias who was suspended because she liked a post shared by the Instagram page Eye on Palestine. “Any expression of solidarity with the Palestinian civilian victims, opposing the war on Gaza, or calling it a war crime is being perceived as support for terror or a terrorist organization,” said Jabareen.” See also ‘From friend to enemy’: Palestinians in Israel suspended from jobs over war (Al Jazeera); Palestinian Citizens of Israel Are Wary, Weary and Afraid (NYT);

Israel-Palestine war: Israeli journalist who expressed solidarity with Palestinians attacked by mob,

“A prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli journalist has gone into hiding after his home was attacked by a mob of far-right Israelis, who targeted him in response to expressions of solidarity with Palestinians under bombardment in Gaza. The crowd of far-right Israelis surrounded Israel Frey’s home on Saturday night, firing flares into the sky and threatening to kill him.” See also this video from Israel Frey speaking about this attack and his ethical commitments. 

US Scene

Palestinian American boy stabbed to death in hate crime, sheriff says,

“On Saturday, a week after Hamas militants launched a devastating attack on Israel, Czuba allegedly knocked on the Palestinian family’s door just after 11 a.m. When the mother, Hanaan Shahin, answered, Czuba assaulted her with a serrated military-style knife while yelling anti-Muslim statements, forcing her to run to the bathroom to call 911, according to local authorities and the family’s statements at a news conference on Sunday…In Arabic-language text messages to the boy’s father right after the attack, the family said, she wrote that Czuba had knocked on the door. When she answered, she texted, he choked her and then tried to stab her while yelling words to the effect of, “You Muslims must die.””

Far-left lawmakers call for Israel-Gaza cease-fire, breaking with other progressives,

“Thirteen House Democrats, led by members of the Squad, introduced a resolution on Monday calling on the U.S. to push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The statement highlights a division between the larger House progressive movement — which has stopped short of calls for a cease-fire — and the far left.” See also Lawmakers reject de-escalation, urge strong action against Iran, Qatar, Turkey (Jewish Insider)

Exclusive: ‘Mutiny Brewing’ Inside State Department Over Israel-Palestine Policy,

“Officials told HuffPost that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his most senior advisers are overlooking widespread internal frustration. Some department staff said they feel as if Blinken and his team are uninterested in their own experts’ advice as they focus on supporting Israel’s expanding operation in Gaza, where the Palestinian militant group Hamas is based…Two officials told HuffPost that diplomats are preparing what’s called a “dissent cable,” a document criticizing American policy that goes to the agency’s leaders through a protected internal channel…The cable would come in the wake of Josh Paul, a veteran State Department official, announcing his resignation on Wednesday. After more than a decade of working on arms deals, he said, he could not morally support the U.S.’s moves to supply Israel’s war effort.” See also ‘I Couldn’t Shift Anything’: Senior State Department Official Resigns Over Biden’s Gaza Policy (HuffPo); ‘On Thin Ice’: Some Biden Administration Staffers Feel Stifled Discussing Horrors In Gaza (HuffPo)

300 arrested as Jewish protesters in D.C. demand Israel-Gaza cease-fire,

“U.S. Capitol Police arrested about 300 people who were protesting inside the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building to demand that Congress pass a cease-fire resolution in the Israel-Gaza war amid an intensifying humanitarian crisis. The arrests occurred after demonstrators, including American Jews and allies worried about Palestinians in Gaza, rallied on the National Mall. Protesters held a banner with red writing that said, “Our blood is the same color,” waved Palestinian flags, and raised posters that read, “My grief is not your weapon,” “Never again for anyone” and “Zionism is racism.” There were Jewish people wearing prayer shawls and kippot, young activists sporting tattoos and nose rings, and people in headscarves and Palestinian checkered black-and-white scarves. “We are here to say, ‘Not in our name,’” Jay Saper said. “We are here as Jews — many descendants of survivors of genocide — to stop a genocide from unfolding in real time.”” See also Jewish groups rally at White House urging Biden to push for Gaza ceasefire (Guardian); Thousands Of Jewish Protesters In Washington Call For Cease-Fire In Israel-Hamas Conflict (HuffPo); Jewish Grief Must Not Be Used as a Weapon of War (Stefanie Fox of JVP//The Nation)

In show of unity, Jewish institutions rally behind Israel and condemn anti-Zionist rhetoric,

“The outpouring of grief and mourning with Israel in the week and a half since the Hamas terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,400 Israelis represents a new moment in American Jewish history, community leaders and scholars of Jewish history tell Jewish Insider. The loudest anti-Zionist voices have been pushed further to the margins while American Jews across the religious and political spectrums have joined together in a unified show of solidarity. Jewish federations in communities across America have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to support relief efforts in Israel, and the American nonprofits supporting the Israel Defense Forces and the Magen David Adom ambulance corps have been overwhelmed by support from people who want to help Israel in the face of so much devastation.” See also On Israel, Progressive Jews Feel Abandoned by Their Left-Wing Allies (NYT)

Select Views from Human Rights Advocates

Neither Palestinians nor Israelis Will Be Safe Unless All Are Safe,

“As a Palestinian Israeli American and human rights lawyer, I know the larger context of the current violence is essential. It is not senseless religious hatred, as “war on terror” stories pretend. I also know that any response to violence must start by rejecting the killing of noncombatants and affirming the need to protect humanity—especially in the darkest times. Some initially felt victorious that Hamas fighters broke through the walls of the punishing Gaza prison until the attack’s horrors came to light. Now, Israel is using this unprecedented attack and “war on terror” narratives to distort Palestinians’ fight for liberation, to further Islamophobia, and to commit mass atrocities with impunity. There is no rejoicing…Palestinians have the right to resist Israel’s brutal decades-long military occupation, apartheid, and settler-colonialism, including the inhumane 17-year blockade on Gaza. And yet, redlines must protect civilians and those not directly participating in hostilities or committing violence. Israel’s systematic and horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity do not justify Palestinian fighters’ intentional attacks on nonviolent noncombatants. Period…For real and just peace, global leaders must stop treating Palestinians’ liberation struggle as a security threat to quash militarily or through “counterterrorism” and must recognize Palestinians’ legitimate rights and take action to end Israel’s system of oppression and domination. Seventy-five years of state violence and subjugation are at the core of the current catastrophic situation…Neither Palestinians nor Israelis are safe unless all are safe. The way out is not to falsely blame irrational religious hatred and support further atrocities (military or otherwise), but to insist on addressing the root causes of this violence and ensure that living peacefully with dignity, equality, and freedom is possible from the river to the sea.” See also What It Takes to Choose Life Over Revenge (NYT//Palestinian citizen of Israel and Knesset Member Ayman Odeh) 

The Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza,

“SB: You do not get to target civilians because somebody else has targeted civilians. It’s nonreciprocal because your obligations are to the civilians. It’s not a deal between fighters. It’s a deal with humanity.” See also from Sari Bashi “Nowhere to Go in Gaza” (NYRB)

There Is a Jewish Hope for Palestinian Liberation. It Must Survive.,

“The savagery Hamas committed on Oct. 7 has made reversing this monstrous cycle much harder. It could take a generation. It will require a shared commitment to ending Palestinian oppression in ways that respect the infinite value of every human life. It will require Palestinians to forcefully oppose attacks on Jewish civilians, and Jews to support Palestinians when they resist oppression in humane ways — even though Palestinians and Jews who take such steps will risk making themselves pariahs among their own people. It will require new forms of political community, in Israel-Palestine and around the world, built around a democratic vision powerful enough to transcend tribal divides. The effort may fail. It has failed before. The alternative is to descend, flags waving, into hell…Before last Saturday, it was possible, with some imagination, to envision a joint Palestinian-Jewish struggle for the mutual liberation of both peoples…More Jews in the United States, and even Israel, were beginning to see Palestinian liberation as a form of Jewish liberation as well. That potential alliance has now been gravely damaged. There are many Jews willing to join Palestinians in a movement to end apartheid, even if doing so alienates us from our communities, and in some cases, our families. But we will not lock arms with people who cheer the kidnapping or murder of a Jewish child…American Jews who rightly hate Hamas but know, in their bones, that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is profoundly wrong must ask themselves a painful question: What nonviolent forms of Palestinian resistance to oppression will I support? More Palestinians and their supporters must express revulsion at the murder of innocent Israeli Jews and affirm that Palestinian liberation means living equally alongside them in safety and freedom. From those reckonings, small, beloved communities can be born, and grow.”

The Tangled Grief of Israel’s Anti-Occupation Activists,

““This is a real moment of no return,” [Breaking the Silence’s Avner] Gvaryahu said. “I don’t think anything will be the same.” This is the one analytical idea that most Israelis can agree on right now. They interpret it differently, though. “The right expects us to say that we were wrong,” [Analyst Dahlia] Scheindlin said. “That we were wrong to think we can make peace with the Palestinians. That we were wrong to think we can live with the Palestinians. That we were wrong to see them as equals.” In fact, anti-occupation activists on the left such as Gvaryahu believe that they were right. “This proves a lot of what we’ve been trying to highlight,” he told me. “That you can’t ignore what’s happening in the Gaza Strip, that it’s not some ex-territory.” Israeli human-rights activists had long said that maintaining Gaza as an open-air prison was not only inhumane toward the residents of Gaza but also a security risk for the region. “We’ve warned for a long time,” [B’Tselem’s Sarit] Michaeli agreed. “But, when it actually happens, it’s the most devastating thing.”” See also Human Rights Organizations raise a loud and clear voice against the harming of all innocent civilians (Many HR organizations, including B’Tselem, Gisha, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hamoked, Yesh Din, Women Wage Peace, Standing Together, Breaking the Silence, and many others)