Thousands remain stuck in the West Bank as Israel forces workers from Gaza back

Speaker Speaker Speaker Paul Cohen argues against a House Set to Pass Aid Bill for Israel, Clashing With Biden and Sen. Senate Minority Leader Jeffries

The measure made for a tricky vote for many pro-Israel Democrats, who were eager to support the Jewish state at a time of crisis but reluctant to embrace a bill that omits help for Ukraine and humanitarian aid and takes aim at their domestic policy priorities. Leading Democrats including Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, made the case privately on Thursday for Democrats to oppose the bill.

Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois said that “in my worst nightmares, I never thought I would be asked to vote for a bill cynically conditioning aid to Israel on ceding to the partisan demands of one party.”

The money in the G.O.P measure will be used to replenish Israel and its weapons systems, including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems. It also provides $200 million for the protection of U.S. personnel. It does not include humanitarian aid for Gaza, which Mr. Biden has requested.

Mr. Johnson said he attached the spending cuts because House Republicans were attempting to get back to fiscal responsibility.

The spending cuts in the bill were found to increase the deficit by more than $10 billion over the next decade.

Source: [House Set to Pass Aid Bill for Israel](, Clashing With Biden and Senate

Gaza Strip War and the First Evacuees Left by a U.S. Repellent During the First Three Years of the War Between Israel and the United States

Mr. Johnson appears to have structured the Israel legislation in an effort to keep his conference, which is deeply divided over funding foreign wars, united in the early days of his speakership. His predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was ousted after he passed two bills — one to avert the nation’s first default on its debt and the other to avert a shutdown — that did not have majority backing from his House Republicans.

The people who were going to be evacuees went to the crossing at least a few times, only to find the gate shut. Many people decided to head there despite not being scheduled to go as news spread that the crossing was open. Some people who were on a list to leave this week may not have heard that because of the lack of internet and spotty phone connections.

The process of reaching safety was not easy, as many evacuees stated in interviews with The New York Times.

Ms. Eldin was among the first few hundred people to leave Gaza since the war with Israel erupted nearly a month ago. Weeks of intensive negotiations among Israel, Egypt, the United States, Hamas and Qatar, which often acts as a diplomatic intermediary for Hamas, had yielded an agreement for the dual citizens, foreigners and their families, as well as Palestinian staff of international organizations, to leave Gaza through Egypt.

“It’s very difficult, but she should go,” Ms. Salah said in a phone call from the city of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, holding back tears. To be safe.

White House officials said Mr. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials remained opposed to a broad cease-fire but appeared receptive to the idea of further pauses in the fighting for those purposes.

That is what happened on Oct. 20, officials said. The Red Crescent picked up two American women and Mr. Netanyahu agreed that there wouldn’t be shelling in the area. The women were released after that pause ended.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will urge the Israeli government to agree to a series of brief cessations of military operations in Gaza to allow for hostages to be released safely and for humanitarian aid to be distributed, White House officials said on Thursday.

After several weeks of Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, civilians have paid a heavy price. Thousands have lost their lives or suffered serious injuries. There is a surge of severely injured children entering hospitals, doctors operating without anesthesia, and ambulances overflowing with dead people in Gaza, according to reporters for The Times. There is a shortage of food, water, and fuel to operate desalination plants and generators.

“I think we need a pause,” he said, speaking to a crowd of supporters after giving a campaign speech. The White House later clarified that he meant the hostages held by Hamas, not military operations.

A Humanitarian pause in a conflict with a terrorist group is unlikely to allow the safe return of hostages or end the suffering of civilians. There is a chance that this conflict will lead to a regional conflagration. Hezbollah and other groups are being urged to join the fight against Israel by supporters of Hamas, who have used the deaths of Palestinians to excuse Hamas for its role in Gaza.

Officials have said negotiations are continuing for the release of additional hostages, with representatives of Qatar serving as mediators. The officials said they would urge Israel to stop its operations in the area if the negotiations succeed.

The Gaza Story: How Videos, Videos, and Videos are Misrepresented in the Era of Israel’s First War on Gaza, and How to Take It Out of Context

The concern, the officials said, is that the trucks need a way to safely get the aid to neighborhoods without risking being hit by an Israeli airstrike or caught in the middle of fighting on the ground. And the official said the aid does no good if residents of a neighborhood are too afraid to come out of their homes to get the food or water.

The video that shows a little boy crying for his sisters in Gaza was widely shared over the past weeks on X, a platform that is no longer known for it’s previous use as a megaphone.

In Syria, where the boy cried hundreds of miles away, there was an Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza over the past three weeks.

As Israel sends its troops farther into Gaza, vowing to eradicate Hamas in retaliation for a brazen assault in early October that massacred more than 1,400 people, videos and photographs of the conflict offer a powerful record of the costs of war. Experts say online accounts compete with depictions of unrelated tragedies and also risk tarnishing the reputation of legitimate evidence of atrocities from the war. Photographs and clips taken out of context are a common form of misinformation, but experts say their misuse to relay the extent of suffering is particularly egregious.

“Can you imagine the kind of commodification of violence against a loved one and have that be used by others as a kind of generic depiction of violence?” said Elisa Massimino, the executive director of the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown University. It is frightening.

The State Department is urging Israel to leave the Gaza War, but does not want to compromise with the United States and the Israeli Embassy in the Middle East

All of the passport holders who were approved for departure were given a new list by the border authority overnight. It included around 400 Americans. It was not clear if many would be able to cross.

Matthew Miller, a department spokesman, said the State Department has been in contact with over 400 Americans who want to leave. With their family members, the total number is around 1,000, Miller said.

People fear that the war in Gaza could lead to a second war between Israel and Hezbollah, and spark a regional conflagration.

If Ukraine is able to escape Russia’s grasp and eventually join NATO and the European Union — with its formidable army, agricultural exports and technology prowess — it would be a giant boost for a Europe whole and free. A two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority could help pave the way for a more pluralistic Middle East built around Palestinians, other Arabs and Israelis.

Unfortunately, the new G.O.P. House speaker, Mike Johnson, is either too inexperienced or too ideological (or both) to see this (or to care). He wants a budget to help Israel defend itself, but not the United States or Ukraine, which would be badly hit by Russia.

He wanted the administration to give Israel $14.3 billion so it could better collect taxes from tax evaders, if they would agree to give the same amount to the IRS. Do not go along with that game, Israel lobby. Next time, aid will be tied to extreme positions on issues like abortion and guns.

Why Israel Gaza Maserati During World War II? The Ukrain Crisis: A Model for the Evolution of the Middle East and the Cross-Contingent Middle East

Thank goodness Johnson was not the speaker during World War II; he and his myopic members might have pressed to fund the war against the Germans in Europe but not against the Japanese in the Pacific. If President Franklin Roosevelt eliminated the I.R.S., then they would agree to lend-lease assistance for the allies. There’s more guns, more butter, no taxes, and two fronts.

If it seems like an incoherent world that undermines American global leadership that has shaped a world for the past century, that is because it is. And if it feels as if House G.O.P. leaders are small thinkers in a big time, it’s because they are. They are shameless, shameful and dangerous. Please do our country a favor and audition for Fox News on some other issue.

The post-Cold War world has a better chance to handle other global challenges, like climate change, if these shifts can happen.

You don’t have to speak any of those languages to know that Hamas launched its war to stop Saudi-Israeli ties and that Putin started his war to stop the expansion of Europe, all because of Iran.

The leaders are against other countries with the same ideals as Russia and Iran. “Ukraine proves that there can be a Slavic, Orthodox country, very close to Russia ethnically — yet free, democratic and thriving, with a Western political and economic orientation and not needing a state of war with the West or to be a police state like Belarus or a military dictatorship like Russia,” Aron said.

Source: Opinion | Seeing the Big Picture in Two Big Wars

The War of Gaza against Hamas and the Palestinians in the West Bank: Israel, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Most Populous Muslim Country

Meanwhile, normalization of relations between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, would very likely pave the way for normalization between Israel and the most populous Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, as well as Malaysia and maybe later even Pakistan. It would show that Muslims and Jews can live side-by-side and still have harmonious relations after years of conflict.

And Hamas knew that if Israel was able to normalize with Saudi Arabia on terms that would satisfy the more moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and bring it significant financial advantages and more legitimacy, the Hamas Gaza resistance-forever model would have been totally isolated. So Hamas launched this war knowing it would bring death and ruin not only to many Israelis but also to many more of its own innocent civilians. Disgusting. Iran knew the same thing.

Second, the U.S. still sees a giant hole in the heart of Israel’s strategy: When will Hamas be evicted from Gaza? The only likely possibility is the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, in the West Bank. But the only way those Palestinian leaders will assume that role is if Israel permits their capabilities to grow — provided they get their act together — and if Israel is seen as advancing a two-state solution. But the current government of Benjamin Netanyahu is dedicated to annexing the West Bank.

Those who think that cynical exploitation of civilian suffering will save Hamas are wrong. With the removal of Hamas, the suffering will end for us and the Palestinians. Anyone trying to tie our hands is, intentionally or not, undermining not only Israel’s defense but also any hope for a world where these atrocities cannot happen.

Some governments condemn Israel’s response to Hamas and even offer justification for the atrocities that they have committed. It would have been unthinkable to hear such moral confusion uttered after the Sept. 11 attacks or after bombings in London, Barcelona and Baghdad. When I spoke to a joint meeting of Congress this year, I said terrorism “contradicts humanity’s most basic principles of peace.” Not everyone agrees.

Gaza Workers Get Their Attention With A Phone Call: Ibrahim Zrain, 22, a Gazan Worker, an Israeli, and his Two Nephews

“My son, when I speak with him, I say, ‘How are you?’ and he tells me, ‘Baba, I write my name on my arm, in case I am killed,'” Zrain says. His son wants people to know who he is when he dies.

His wife and five children are staying in Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, where the United Nations estimates some 50,000 people are seeking refuge from Israeli strikes. He thrives on every phone call and text message even if the news is bad.

In the courtyard of the university, another worker from Gaza, Basel Zrain, tells NPR even though he and the other men are safe here, with food and water, being away from their children haunts them.

He scrolls through his phone, looking at photos of his two young daughters, Layan and Razan. Seeing pictures of their smiling faces, before the war, helps him forget all the bad things that have happened, he says.

Alfarany has more than 2 dozen nieces and nephews and thinks about them a lot.

“I had a video, but it disturbed me too much that I deleted it,” he says. “I watched it four or five times, and then said, ‘I’m gonna delete it,’ and I did.”

Source: As [Israel forces workers from Gaza back, thousands more remain stuck in the West Bank](

The Journey of Thousands of Laborers to the Gaza Strip: Ibrahim Alfarany, a Palestinian Worker and the Story of His Journey to Gaza

A few weeks ago his wife and kids were in the middle of a playground when an Israeli airstrike hit. There are no homes left in the area on the northern outskirts of Gaza City, he says.

Alfarany feels relieved to know that his brother is alive, but it’s difficult to watch from afar as he and his family live in Gaza.

While Alfarany was able to take a bus to the West Bank after Oct. 7, his brother was detained by the Israeli military near Nahariya, in northern Israel. Alfarany spoke to his brother as his brother was in Gaza with thousands of other workers.

One of the Palestinian workers, Ibrahim Alfarany, has been staying at Al-Istiqlal University for more than three weeks. He usually works and lives near a store just south of Tel Aviv, where he stocks vegetables for a few weeks at a time, and travels back to Gaza.

Many of the thousands of laborers from the Gaza Strip who avoided arrest after the Oct 7 attack are now stuck in the West Bank’s shelters and camps. They were able to make their way to the West Bank, which is under Israeli occupation. The Palestinians have some control in the West Bank and they provide their accommodations.

Laundry is hung from the windows at the Al-Istiqlal University campus. Men in dorm rooms are usually crammed into bunk beds and in larger halls they lounge on mattresses against the walls scrolling on their cellphones. Whatever belongings they have fill plastic bags that dot the floor. There are communal sinks and an impromptu barber shop where you can get a shave and a trim if you join the wait list.

Days after Oct. 7, Israel revoked those temporary work permits and imposed a total blockade of the Gaza Strip. In the following days, thousands of Palestinian laborers from Gaza went missing or were detained by Israeli police, according to HaMoked, a human rights organization in Israel.

They have to go through Israel before they can return to Gaza. There is no way to know how they would get to Gaza.

On Friday, they heard that thousands of other laborers who were forced to return to Gaza on foot from Israel had been dropped off several miles away from the border with Gaza.

News from Gaza comes across in conversations in the hallway, over the communal sinks, between bunk beds and calls with relatives. For thousands of workers from Gaza who are stuck in makeshift shelters and camps in the West Bank, much of their world — including their families — is still 60 miles away.

The Plan of Hezbollah: The Fate of the Lebanese Front in the Continuum War in the Middle East

That is not Hezbollah’s plan, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a widely anticipated address to his followers on Friday, his first public remarks since the start of the war.

Nasrallah said in escalating attacks along Lebanon’s border with Israel, Hezbollah is intending to draw Israeli firepower away from Gaza. He claimed the operations, which have included shelling attacks, incursions and most recently suicide drones, are tying up significant parts of Israel’s military and causing psychological warfare in forcing the displacement of residents in the north of the country.

There were a lot of forces that were going to go in to escalate the attacks on Gaza, but the Lebanon front has mitigated that. Many in Lebanon think that we are taking a risk. But this risk is part of a beneficial, correct calculation.”

The message was most likely disappointment to Hamas, a Hezbollah ally that is supported by Iran, and others in the region, who have called for more help in the fight against Israel. Israel, the United States and other countries consider both groups terrorist organizations.

Mr. Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah would be ready for any war with Israel. “All the possibilities on our Lebanese front are open,” he said. “All the choices are available and we could resort to them at any time.”

During one of the most tense periods in the Middle East in recent years, though, Mr. Nasrallah’s speech offered a small measure of relief for many, that at least one powerful force was not seeking to plunge the region into even greater violence.

A network of Iranian-backed militias in several Arab countries that share an anti-American and anti-Israeli ideology have come to coordinate their operations more closely over the past few years as Mr. Nasrallah is a highly respected figure inside. A decision by Hezbollah to launch a full-on war with Israel would most likely encourage attacks by an assortment of allied militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

During a live-stream of his speech, Hezbollah’s leader Mr. Nasrallah criticized the United States for its continued support of Israel, saying that it had lied to Israel about the right to defend itself.

He said the group was not afraid of the two aircraft carriers that the United States had sent to the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr Nasrallah said that the fleets in the Mediterranean wouldn’t scare them. “Your fleets that you threaten us with, we are prepared for them as well.”

Should the United States intervene directly in the war, Mr. Nasrallah said, it could expect attacks by Hezbollah’s allies on its military bases and other targets in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

The U.S. military has said the carriers were sent to deter a wider regional war — a fear that has grown alongside mounting anger in Arab countries over the crisis facing Gazan civilians and the death toll in the strip, which has risen into the many thousands since Israel’s bombardment began. Israel has been criticized for its failure to deliver aid in Gaza, but has resisted calls for a cease-fire or pauses in fighting.

The leader of the Hezbollah group in Lebanon praised fighters from his group and others for their attacks on Israeli military positions. Israel had to flee because of those attacks and use its military resources to the north in order not to contribute to the attacks on Gaza.

Thousands of Hezbollah supporters gathered in Lebanon to watch the speech on giant screens. The largest site in the southern suburbs was adorned with Hezbollah and Palestinian flags. Celebratory gunfire rang out when he appeared onscreen, and supporters chanted, “We are here for you, Nasrallah.”

He said that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians had gotten so bad that a “great event” had been required to restore the Palestinian cause as “the No. 1 issue in the world.”

Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks: Israeli-Jewish dialogue in the Middle East, and the conflict between Israel and Lebanon

In Lebanon, a man named Sbeti fired a volley of celebratory gunfire into the air with his pistol after the Hezbollah leader spoke. He said that he would respond to any call by Hezbollah to fight Israel.

Mr. Sbeti had grown poorer during the recent economic crisis, but he did not worry much about what Israel would do in a new war.

“We will support Israel’s argument that it has the right and the obligation to defend itself, and we will do everything in our power to prevent this event from happening again,” said TonyBiteen.

In Tel Aviv and in a subsequent press conference, the US ambassador to Israel again reiterated his country’s solidarity with Israel.

“We offered Israel advice on how to minimize civilian deaths while still achieving its objectives of finding and finishing Hamas terrorists and their infrastructure of violence“, Blinken said.

The head of the Hezbollah militant group, who was threatening an incident between Israel and Lebanon, was to visit other regions in the Middle East.

The health officials of the Palestinian Territory said over 9 thousand people have died since the start of the war. The ministry of health in Gaza stated that two-thirds of the victims are children and women.

The U.S. wants for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza that will allow aid to enter and the release of hostages, according to deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Despite mounting international criticism on Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks, Herzog sought to defend the country, claiming Israel has followed international law in its reaction.

Herzog said Gaza citizens are receiving millions of leaflets, text messages and phone calls to alert them in advance of airstrikes and to warn them to leave the area he claimed in accordance with international law.

The families of hostages demonstrating outside could be heard demanding the release of their loved ones, of which there are many Israelis and Americans.

I wrote these lines after spending time with the families of some of the people that were kidnapped by Hamas. The hostages now held in Gaza include Jewish Israelis, Muslim Israelis and foreign citizens of different ethnicities.

In all my years of public life, the meetings with these families were the most difficult and fraught I’ve ever held. Some of the 1,400 people killed on that day were murdered in their homes or dancing at music festivals, and I have talked to the families of some of them. The blood off my shoes came from the attack on one kibbutz.

Hamas terrorists burned babies when they attacked Israeli homes and families. They raped women and tortured children. They decided to broadcast their actions live because they were so proud of them. These videos will forever remain a stain on those Palestinians and their supporters who celebrated that day and a testament to the depravity of the terrorists and of the ideas that inspired them.

It’s disturbing that many in the world, including in the west, are willing to support these actions. In capitals of Europe, we have seen rallies supporting the total destruction of Israel. American colleges make speeches and sign statements justifying terrorism.

All of this shows that this collision of values is happening not just here in Israel but everywhere and that the terrorist ideology threatens all decent people, not only Jews. History has taught us that foul ideologies often find the Jewish people first — but tend not to stop there. We find ourselves on the front lines of this battle, but all nations face the threat, and need to realize that they could be next.

These are important questions that will be important in our discussions with the Secretary of State during his stay in the region beginning Friday so that we can discuss the strategic issues on the agenda.

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