Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: October 7-13, 2023

What We’re Reading

Resources for tracking the news:

Liveblogs & Top Articles,

Washington Post: Israel-Gaza War Live Updates; See also: How the Israel-Gaza conflict is unfolding in maps, graphics and videos; Israel orders million Gazans to evacuate; U.N. says that’s impossible; How Hamas breached Israel’s ‘Iron Wall’; Israel massed troops in the West Bank. Then Hamas attacked from Gaza.; Israel formed a unity government. Who’s in the new emergency war cabinet?; France bans pro-Palestinian protests amid call for Hamas ‘day of rage’


NYT: Live updates; Scenes from Northern Gaza after warning to evacuate; Palestinians describe calamity in Gaza as Israeli bombing intensifies; What More Must the Children of Gaza Suffer? (Op-ed by Gaza-based Fadi Abu Shammalah); Israel, Gaza, and the Laws of War


Al Jazeera: Israel-Hamas war: List of key events, day 7; For full Al Jazeera coverage, see their Israel-Palestine conflict section.


Middle East Eye: Palestinians face ‘second Nakba’ as Israel tells 1.1m to leave northern Gaza; Israel-Palestine war: US politicians greenlighting ‘potential genocide’ of Palestinians, analysts warn


Al Monitor Live Updates: Lebanon-Israel border clashes as Gaza invasion closes in; Who are the leaders of Hamas?;


Daily updates from Anera, which supports Palestinian refugees & vulnerable communities: Gaza and West Bank Response Log


UNRWA’s ongoing reports on the situation in the Gaza Strip:


Human Rights organizations daily reports on Gaza:

Israel tells 1.1 million Gazans to evacuate south. UN says order is ‘impossible’,

“Gaza is already one of the world’s most densely populated pieces of land, with more than 2 million people crammed into 140 square miles. Now, the entire population is being told to move into the southern part of the strip – an order the UN has described as dangerous and “impossible” to carry out.”

Total blackout in Gaza: Israel is imposing a humanitarian disaster on Palestinians in the Strip,

“As of today, [October 11] Gaza’s power plant has stopped operating for lack of fuel, meaning there is no supply of energy through Gaza’s electrical grid and the Strip has been plunged into a total blackout. This spells an unprecedented humanitarian disaster…Israel’s decision to completely cut supply of water, food, fuel, electricity, medicine and other goods to Gaza comes against the backdrop of an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Strip, itself caused in large part by Israel’s 16-year closure of Gaza and decades of movement restrictions preceding it, as well as its repeated attacks on the Strip. Yet the actions of the last several days represent a depth of depravity unseen, a total disregard for the civilian population, and cruel, illegal acts of retaliation.” See also this Twitter thread from Tania Hary, Executive Director of Gisha, on the impact of the evacuation order affecting 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza

Israel: White Phosphorus Used in Gaza, Lebanon,

“Human Rights Watch verified videos taken in Lebanon and Gaza on October 10 and 11, 2023, respectively, showing multiple airbursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over the Gaza City port and two rural locations along the Israel-Lebanon border, and interviewed two people who described an attack in Gaza.”

The Gaza Strip − why the history of the densely populated enclave is key to understanding the current conflict,

“But how did Gaza become one of the most densely populated parts of the planet? And why is it the home to militant Palestinian action now? As a scholar of Palestinian history, I believe understanding the answers to those questions provides crucial historical context to the current violence.”

The Hamas Attacks and Israeli Response: An Explainer,

“A rolling explainer answering readers’ questions about the current situation in Israel/Palestine.”

From our partners at +972

On Gaza,

On the Hamas attack in Israel,

Updates from the West Bank

How the Israel-Hamas War Looks from the West Bank,

“The West Bank, meanwhile, has been fighting its own battle. At least 27 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, with one man stabbed to death, according to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health, and five others shot dead by Israeli security forces and armed Israeli settlers near Nablus. Palestinians from Ramallah to Hebron have witnessed an exponential swell in settler attacks, with homes and cars being torched and fears of more assaults rising…So far, the PA has issued only pro forma statements on the attack, urging the international community to stop the Israeli assault. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the PA is unable to directly condemn Hamas but also fears that any scathing criticism of Israel would land it in hot water. As is usually the case during any of the conflicts between the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups, be they in the West Bank or Gaza, the PA looks largely irrelevant—this time, however, it appears even more useless than usual.” See also Israel: Police to ‘legitimise’ killing of Palestinian citizens in new open-fire rules (Middle East Eye); Analysis | Israeli Settlers Aren’t Pausing the Expulsion and Dispossession in the West Bank (Amira Hass//Haaretz)

Israel-Palestine war: Nine Palestinians killed in West Bank as Israeli settlers shoot Friday worshippers,

Israeli settlers opened fire at worshippers leaving Friday prayers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, as at least nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents in the territory. Footage published by the B’Tselem human rights organisation showed a settler shooting a Palestinian at point-blank range in the village of Tawani, southeast of Masafer Yatta…Following the incident, Israeli troops opened fire on two other Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, shooting one in the chest and one in the head, according to the Wafa news agency.” See also Israeli Settler Documented Shooting Palestinian at Point-blank in the West Bank (Haaretz);  Israel-Palestine war: Father and son killed in hail of bullets as settlers open fire at funeral (Middle East Eye); Ben Gvir says 10,000 assault rifles purchased for civilian security teams (Times of Israel: “Guns, helmets and body armor to be distributed to hundreds of residents of border regions, mixed Jewish-Arab cities, West Bank settlements”);


See also this Twitter thread from CJNV: A thread with updates from our Palestinian partners, all of whom are facing terrifying escalations of settler violence since the Israeli army put them under a severe lockdown days ago. In Gaza & the West Bank, Israel’s aim is to expel as many Palestinians from the land as possible.”

Access to Information

The Israel-Hamas War Is Drowning X in Disinformation,

“People who have turned to X for breaking news about the Israel-Hamas conflict are being hit with old videos, fake photos, and video game footage at a level researchers have never seen.” See also #KeepItOn: Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights (Access Now) 

Select Palestinian Views

‘Get out of there now’,

“The sight of Gazans paragliding over Israel’s separation barrier, and walking on land from which their ancestors were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces in 1948, rejuvenated a sense of political possibility. Video montages of militants and armed drones in action have been widely shared on Arabic social media, providing front-row seats to the operation in mimicry of IDF public relations stunts. Other images have also gone viral: a Palestinian bulldozer tearing down a section of the barbed-wire fence; gunmen dancing on the roof of a captured Israeli tank; the Erez Crossing left damaged and burned…A number of analysts are describing Hamas’s assault as a ‘game changer’. This isn’t an overstatement. The attack will probably do little to roll back Israel’s siege of the strip, which will surely be reinforced with even more cruelty. What it has done, however, is shatter a psychological barrier as consequential as the physical one. Since the end of the Second Intifada, and especially under Netanyahu, Israeli society has tried to insulate itself from the military occupation it has imposed for more than half a century, maintaining a bubble that was only occasionally punctured by rocket barrages or shootings in southern and central Israeli cities. Israel’s mass protest movement, which has been agitating since January against the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, has consciously kept the Palestinian question off its agenda. Apart from a small bloc of anti-occupation protesters, most still clung to the illusion that the current structures of permanent rule could deliver safety for Israelis and remain compatible with their claim to democracy. That bubble has now irreparably burst.”

Israel’s Militarized Approach to Gaza Brought Us Here. It’s Bound to Keep Failing.,

“Today, as Israel pummels Gaza once again and prepares for a bloody ground invasion, Netanyahu has vowed “mighty vengeance.” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that he would tighten the existing siege on Gaza, cutting off any entry of fuel, food, and people into the territory. Gallant said Israel was fighting a war against “beasts.” The collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza and the dehumanizing language used by Israel’s leading defense official foreshadow the absolute worst. The international community must immediately sound the alarm to prevent atrocities and war crimes, which an Israel with unhinged leadership can easily carry out again. Thus far, that is not the message most Western officials have been sending…What will be gained from all of this beyond death and destruction? At this critical juncture, there are two paths before decisionmakers in Israel and its Western partners. One path leads down a road of unprecedented killing, oppression, hatred, and potential mass atrocities—all while maintaining the likely prospect that these events will repeat themselves again after a short period of time. The other path requires leaders to demand that Palestinians’ core political grievances, the ultimate sources of violence, finally be resolved. The first path requires leaders with power. The latter requires leaders with courage and dignity.” See also this March 2023 article that Yousef Munayyer cites, “Is Israel on the Precipice of Genocide?” by Michael Barnett.

Despite what you think, Palestinians are not celebrating death,

“Despite what you might think, no Palestinians are not celebrating death. We do not look at the news and rejoice over the number of Israelis killed. We do not salivate at the sight of blood-drenched bodies. Despite what you might think, we are not well. We do not look at death and feel happiness. The “joy” you might be seeing is the idea that, for the first time in history, we might have a chance to reclaim our land. We might have a chance to end the occupation, we might have a chance to open Gaza’s borders, to visit our family without reprisal, and to escape from torturous prisons – this time without a spoon in our hand…We are simply tired, and hurt, and grieving, and I cannot condemn the militants if I believe even for a second that there might be a possibility of all of this finally coming to an end.”

The Violence of Demanding Perfect Victims,

“Fixating on Palestinians as imperfect victims is the absolution of, and complicity with, Israel’s colonial domination. This is only compounded by an abject failure to uplift and celebrate the thousands of Palestinians who have attempted to resist Israel’s cruel domination through non-violent protest…The message to Palestinians is not that they must resist more peacefully but that they cannot resist Israeli occupation and aggression at all…​​Hamas’ attack should make clear that the problem is not the Palestinian people’s insatiable thirst for freedom but an international status quo that has aimed to normalize Israel’s permanent subjugation of Palestinians. This crisis and looming war must be understood as more than a hostage situation of significant magnitude. It is a crisis of political will to challenge the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel which have led us to this point. Ongoing failure to properly contend with this context is tantamount to telling Palestinians that they must die quietly. This is an immoral and impossible demand that threatens far more than Palestinian life. Any condemnation of Palestinian violence now must begin and end with demands to lift the siege, end the occupation, and dismantle Israel’s apartheid system.”

Where the Palestinian Political Project Goes from Here ,

“The scale of the offensive and its success, from Hamas’s perspective, mean that we’re actually in a new paradigm, in which Hamas’s attacks are not restricted to renegotiating a new reality in the Gaza Strip, but, rather, are capable of fundamentally undermining Israel’s belief that it can maintain a regime of apartheid against Palestinians, interminably, with no cost to its population…In 2021, Palestinians emerged in demonstrations and protests throughout the land of historic Palestine, in a unity intifada meant to overcome this idea that there’s a partition between, let’s say, the interior of Israel and the occupied territories. That was, in some ways, the beginning of this shift, to move away from this Oslo design of partitioning Palestinians and into really understanding the Palestinian struggle as a struggle of a single people against a single regime of oppression. But what Hamas has done now—and I’m not entirely sure that Hamas thought its offensive could be as major as it ultimately was—really shattered the idea that Israel can maintain a regime of apartheid, or, rather, that Israel can still pretend to be a Jewish and democratic state while it’s oppressing another people interminably.” See also Isaac Chotiner‘s interview with Nathan Thrall, Could the Attack on Israel Spell the End of Hamas?

I Wish Americans Could See the Humanity of Palestinians as They Do With Israelis,

“A core part of the Palestinian American experience in moments like these is our escalated experience of systemic racism and the silencing of our voices — not only in Palestine/Israel, but here in the U.S. as well. The campaigns of demonization of Palestinians and targeting of visible voices are in full force as we speak. Students and others in the U.S. who are attempting to raise awareness about the need for Palestinian rights and protection are being smeared, doxed and even fired by their employers. As I worry about my own loved ones back home and try to keep up with the staggering statistics on the decimation of Palestinian lives and livelihoods, I also am grieving for Israeli civilians as they process the unprecedented scale of killing they experienced this past weekend. I know Palestinians and Israelis who have been killed, maimed and displaced, and who are missing, and my heart is broken in a million pieces…It is disheartening to witness political forces in the U.S., who are instrumentalizing compassion regarding Israeli suffering, to help channel further U.S. military support for Israeli violence against innocent Palestinians in Gaza. It is an upsetting experience to realize that many of the same folks justifiably expressing horror about the murder and abduction of Israeli women, men, children and the elderly have never uttered a word about the murder and disappearance of Palestinians, even though Palestinians have disproportionately shouldered the casualties of this conflict and settler colonialism. I find the empathy and compassion that so many Americans have for Israeli life to be beautiful. Yet the extreme imbalance in recognizing the humanity of Israelis versus Palestinians has been relentlessly stoked by the biases of mainstream U.S. media, which have yielded a U.S. public that has largely never seen the countless images of Palestinian children being abducted from their beds and neighborhoods and taken to Israeli dungeons over decades now. I hope that one day we will get to the point that the sort of empathy that the majority of people in the U.S. so readily feel for Israelis can also be extended to the Palestinian people as well.”

Select Jewish Israeli or Jewish American Perspectives

Opinion | Arriving Again at the Cycle of Vengeance,

“In a few days Israelis went through what Palestinians have experienced as a matter of routine for decades, and are still experiencing – military incursions, death, cruelty, slain children, bodies piled up in the road, siege, fear, anxiety over loved ones, captivity, being targets of vengeance, indiscriminate lethal fire at both those involved in the fighting (soldiers) and the uninvolved (civilians), a position of inferiority, destruction of buildings, ruined holidays or celebrations, weakness and helplessness in the face of all-powerful armed men, and searing humiliation. Therefore, this must be said once again – we told you so. Ongoing oppression and injustice explode at unexpected times and places. Bloodshed knows no borders.” See also Opinion | Israel Can’t Imprison Two Million Gazans Without Paying a Cruel Price (Gideon Levy//Haaretz)

We feel fear, anger and helplessness: all of Israel is in a state of war. But revenge is not the answer,

“It is important not to minimise or condone the heinous crimes committed by Hamas. But it is also important to remind ourselves that everything it is inflicting on us now, we have been inflicting on the Palestinians for years. Indiscriminate firing, including at children and older people; intrusion into their homes; burning down their houses; taking hostages – not just fighters but civilians, children and older people. I keep reminding myself that ignoring this context is giving up a piece of my own humanity. Because violence devoid of any context leads to only one possible response: revenge. And I don’t want revenge from anyone. Because revenge is the opposite of security, it is the opposite of peace, it is also the opposite of justice. It is nothing but more violence…Terrible crimes were committed against Israelis this Saturday, crimes that the mind cannot fathom – and in this time of dark grief, I cling to the one thing I have left to hold on to: my humanity. The absolute belief that this hell is not predestined. Not for us, nor for them.”

“We Cannot Cross Until We Carry Each Other”,

“Anyone who has been working in this space knows that our movements are not prepared to manage the emotional and political fallout. We watch as Jewish people and groups we thought we had pulled into our struggle, or at least begun to move politically, suddenly close ranks, profess support for the IDF, retreat into despair. Already complex and fragile relationships between Palestinian and left-wing Jewish activists—as well as factions within both of these groups—are being challenged as we struggle to derive the same meaning from the images coming across our screens…As I watched people online debate the models of anti-colonial struggle, raising comparisons to Algeria and North America and South Africa, I found myself returning to the foundational Jewish liberation myth: the Exodus…what Exodus reminds us is that the dehumanization that is required to oppress and occupy another people always dehumanizes the oppressor in turn. For people who feel like their pain is being devalued, it’s because it is; and that devaluation is itself a hallmark of the cycle of the diminishing value of human life.”

US Scene

How should the US respond to the Israel-Palestine crisis? Our panel weighs in,

“Joe Biden said on Monday that ‘the American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis’” Responses from Noura Erakat, Alex Kane, Joshua Leifer, Libby Lenkinski, Yousef Munayyer and Diala Shamas. See also from the Guardian: In Gaza and Israel, side with the child over the gun, Naomi Klein

‘We’ve Been Shaken Out of This Fantasy’: How the Left Sees the War in Israel,

“Burns: You’ve been really articulate in talking about the Ukraine war in the context of discourse about anti-imperialism and calling out people on the left who make excuses for the Russians through that lens. I wonder what your reaction is over the last day as you see some pretty similar voices talking about this attack in terms of resistance to empire in a way that clearly makes excuses for it.

Duss: I think that is disgusting and I condemn it completely. There is no justification for attacking civilians, for slaughtering civilians, for kidnapping elderly people in wheelchairs, for killing people at a rave. This is just — this is disgusting. If we believe in human dignity, if we believe in international law, I think we need to condemn that unequivocally. That does not mean we can’t have a deeper conversation about the context of the situation, Israel-Palestine. We have to have that conversation. But I think the way into that conversation has to be very clear about principles of civilian protection and very clear on how disgusting this violence is.

Burns: Is it fair to paraphrase that you’re saying there are principles more fundamental than anti-imperialism?

Duss: Yes. True anti-imperialism supports a world of rules and not might makes right. And one of those rules is the protection of civilians.”

In Shadow of War, a Snapshot of U.S. Military Assistance to Israel,

“As Israel reels from Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 assault and prepares for what could be a large-scale ground operation inside Gaza, the Biden administration has expressed its “ironclad support” for Israel and its determination to fulfill requests of assistance. Washington has already begun delivering additional military aid to Israel, reflecting a more than 70-years-long partnership underwritten by billions of dollars in arms transfers and security assistance.” 

Progressives Warn of Israeli 'Ethnic Cleansing' in Gaza, Widening Rift With Mainstream Democrats,

“Progressive Democrats, who have long been at the forefront of criticism of U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are steadily increasing their warnings of “ethnic cleansing” regarding Israel’s response in Gaza following the Hamas attacks.” See also Tucker Carlson Questions U.S. Support for Israel War – Could the GOP Follow? (Haaretz);  Lawmakers echo Israeli rhetoric ahead of Gaza ground offensive;  (WaPo) See also from WaPo: At least 27 Americans were killed in Israel. Here’s what we know so far.; For American family trapped in Gaza as bombs fall, there’s no way out


Following the Unfolding Horror,

Given the horrific events of the past week, there will not be a regular settlement report. Instead, we are sending out recommended resources for tracking events in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Ways to Support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,

  • US-registered 501(c)(3) charities:
  • Gaza-based NGOs:
  • Israel-based NGOs working with, and many with staff in, the Gaza Strip:

FMEP Legislative Round-Up: October 13, 2023,

1.Bills, Resolutions

  1. Letters
  2. Hearings & Markups

NOTE: Given the scope and pace of current events — the absolute horror show of Hamas’s attack on Israel and the Israel reaction which at this point is clearly incipient genocide/ethnic cleansing — and given the for the most part morally reprehensible responses from members of Congress in terms of a non-stop stream of dehumanization of Palestinian civilians and support/celebration of military action targeting them, there is no “On the Record” section this week. Check members accounts on X or their websites for yourself if you want to see what they are saying. In general, if they are Democrats the message is: 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). And yes, a few Democrats have dared to utter even meek support/concern for Palestinians; they have, predictably, been pilloried by colleagues on both sides of the aisle as antisemites and apologists for terrorism. It is all just soul-crushing to follow, let alone to try to document comprehensively while also following the actual horror-show of genocide unfolding on the ground.


Also, there is no “media” section this week. Just too much to cover. All of it soul-crushing.


Also, for my views on where things are today (as of 4pm ET on 10/13/23, see my thread on the site formerly known as Twitter.