Tracking the Crisis in Israel and Palestine

Gaza

Last Updated on May 17, 2024.

A news and information roundup to help all those working to end the fighting, protect humanitarian access, and prevent the outbreak of regional war.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: First aid trucks cross Pentagon-constructed pier

Analysis: On Friday, the U.S. military announced that the first humanitarian aid truck was driven across the new Pentagon-constructed floating pier and onto land in Gaza. More than two months since President Biden first ordered the construction, the Pentagon announced on Thursday that it was complete. CENTCOM commander Brad Cooper said that the U.S. military aimed to get about 500 tons of aid into Gaza through the pier daily, which amounts to about 90 trucks of aid per day, with the goal of increasing that level to 150 trucks per day – drastically less than the 500 trucks that would enter Gaza before October 7. With the daily number of trucks entering through Kerem Shalom crossing severely cut and the Rafah crossing closed altogether, a potential 150 trucks per day will not come close to addressing the “full-blown famine” in Gaza. The UN Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, said that while the UN is “thankful” for the U.S.’s work on the dock, “getting aid to people in need into and across Gaza cannot and should not depend on a floating dock far from where needs are most acute.” Rather, land crossings like the Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings “are the most viable, effective and efficient aid delivery method, which is why we need all crossing points to be opened.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The floating pier is not a serious substitute for land crossings. Rather than working around the Israeli government’s military operations by building an entirely new pier, the U.S. government must do everything it can to ensure those military operations end immediately. 
  • President Biden’s primary responsibility right now is to use all existing leverage to establish a ceasefire and ensure any deal is accompanied by a dramatic expansion of aid access and ensure people across the entire strip – particularly the north – have access to that aid. 

News: Senators call for more sanctions on violent settlers

Analysis: On Wednesday, Senators Ben Cardin, Jack Reed, and Mark Warner called for the Biden administration to impose additional sanctions on extremist and violent settlers in the Occupied West Bank. In their joint letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Senators wrote, “We urge the Administration to ‘follow the money’ and take further actions against any private entities that finance or sponsor violence against Palestinian civilians or facilitate property destruction, illegal seizure or dispossession of land from Palestinians in the West Bank.” In February, President Biden issued an unprecedented executive order allowing the U.S. Treasury to impose financial and visa sanctions on actors and organizations involved in violence in the West Bank. Since then, the Biden administration has released three rounds of sanctions targeting Israeli actors contributing to the violence in the West Bank, with the last round in April, and U.S. officials claim that additional rounds of sanctions will be issued in the coming weeks and months. The U.K. and Canada have also imposed sanctions on extremist settlers accused of violence. This comes as the UN recorded more than 700 settler attacks between October 7 and April 3. In late April, senior U.S. officials warned the Israeli government that the increasing violence in the Occupied West Bank would result in the U.S. not only targeting extremist settlers but also the IDF and Israeli police.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We echo Senator Cardin, Reed, and Warner’s calls to see the Biden administration hold extremist settlers accountable for their violence in the West Bank and urge the Biden administration to use its executive power to penalize the Israeli leaders fueling this settler violence, including Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. 

News: Israeli Defense Minister challenges Netanyahu’s postwar planning

Analysis: On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant publicly opposed any postwar Israeli military or civilian rule over the Gaza Strip, saying he would “not agree to the establishment” of such control. He demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has not shared a postwar governance plan for the strip, publicly rule out this possibility, arguing that lack of planning would result in either Hamas or Israeli military rule, both of which would “erode our military achievements, lessen the pressure on Hamas and sabotage chances of achieving a framework for the release of hostages.” Gallant’s comments, backed by fellow war cabinet member Benny Gantz, were the most direct and public challenge since the war began to Netanyahu’s agenda from a leader within his war cabinet. Earlier this year, Gallant shared a four-part plan for postwar governance in Gaza, in which he reserved the Israeli military’s “right to take any military and security action necessary inside Gaza” and proposed a U.S.-led multinational task force that would run civil affairs and economic rehabilitation – a plan so fanciful and disrespectful of Palestinian self-governance as to hardly be an improvement on Netanyahu’s lack of a plan.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Ultimately, Palestinian civilians should be the only ones determining how Gaza will be governed after the war ends. President Biden has long emphasized the importance of protecting the Palestinian people’s political agency in any post-war plan, and he should stick to those principles. 
  • The most important thing to do now is not to create a multipart plan to impose on Gaza after the war – it’s to end the war in the first place with a ceasefire.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 35,233 people in Gaza since October 7 (May 15). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still held in Gaza (May 15).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 273 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (May 15). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 463 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to 10 killed by Israeli settlers and seven by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed nine Israelis (May 15). 
  • Since the Israeli military issued evacuation orders for people in Rafah on May 6, more than 630,000 people have fled Rafah, according to the U.N. (May 17).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 105 journalists have been killed in the conflict (May 17).
  • UNRWA reports that, since the Israeli military began its incursion into Rafah almost two weeks ago, only six trucks have entered the strip through Kerem Shalom on May 11 and 27 trucks through Kerem Shalom on May 15. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 344 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 73 civilians (May 2). The most recent estimates from the Israeli army show that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,040 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 30).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Biden administration acknowledges failures of Israeli government strategy

Analysis: The Biden administration is showing increasing signs of skepticism toward the Israeli government’s strategy – or lack thereof – in Gaza. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said that “total victory” in Gaza, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he seeks, is not “likely or possible.” Campbell also shared uncertainty over “what the theory of victory is.” While Israel’s incursion deepens in Rafah, with tanks pushing further into east Rafah early this week, intense fighting has also resumed in parts of northern Gaza, where the Israeli military has claimed to have defeated Hamas multiple times but is now returning to battle Hamas fighters once again. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressed concerns over how “sustainable” the Israeli military operations are and worried that such violence would result in “chaos, by anarchy and ultimately by Hamas again.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The ongoing Rafah invasion follows the same brutal illogic as the rest of the Netanyahu government’s war plan. The Biden administration should strengthen its stand against the invasion, suspending all offensive military aid rather than individual shipments of bombs.

News: Rafah border remains closed

Analysis: Since the Israeli military began its incursion into eastern Rafah last week, it has seized and closed the Rafah border crossing – the sole exit out of the Gaza Strip and one of the only main pathways for humanitarian aid to enter. Israeli authorities say that the Kerem Shalom crossing, which was briefly shut down last week, has been reopened, though no aid has entered other than a meager six trucks on Friday. As millions are stuck in Gaza, The Intercept reports that around 20 American doctors and medical workers are trapped at the European Hospital in Rafah due to the border’s closure. While the State Department told the medical team’s relatives that rescue efforts are underway for them, there does not seem to be similar evacuation efforts for other U.S. citizens and their family members who are trapped in Gaza and are unable to flee due to the Rafah border closure. The Israeli government clearly seized the Rafah crossing with no clear plan for how to administer it, and everyone in Gaza is currently paying the price..

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Netanyahu government’s complete failure to figure out how to keep the Rafah crossing open after sending the IDF to occupy it is an appalling – if unsurprising – dereliction of duty. 
  • There is literally no time to waste, as people in Gaza currently experience “full-blown famine.” There is absolutely no excuse for only six aid trucks to enter the strip through Kerem Shalom and Rafah after more than a week. 

News: Regional violence will continue so long as war in Gaza doesn’t stop

Analysis: Violence across the Middle East continues, and may soon escalate, as the Israeli government continues its war in Gaza. On Monday, Hezbollah’s head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that Hezbollah would continue fighting along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel as long as the war in Gaza continues. Addressing the tens of thousands of Israelis displaced from Israel’s north due to the cross-border violence, Nasrallah said, “If you want to solve the issue, go to your government and tell them to stop the war on Gaza,” signaling once again the political pressure he faces to continue cross-border violence while the Gaza war continues. Last week, the Houthis also threatened further violence, announcing they would target ships of any company related to supplying or transporting goods to the Israeli government. This was described as the fourth stage of escalation in retaliation to Israel’s invasion of Rafah – which could precede “the fifth stage and the sixth stage.” Seven months into the war in Gaza, it’s abundantly clear that the only way to end this regional conflict is an immediate ceasefire in the strip.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The threat of regional war is consistently increasing the longer a ceasefire deal is not in place, and both Hezbollah and the Houthis are directly linking their attacks to the Israeli government’s attacks on Rafah. The only solution is to end the Israeli government’s campaign in Gaza.
  • Biden has tangible leverage that he must use to pressure the Israeli military to stop its incursion into Rafah.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 35,091 people in Gaza since October 7 (May 13). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still held in Gaza (May 13).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 272 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (May 13). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 462 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to 10 killed by Israeli settlers and eight by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed nine Israelis (May 8). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 105 journalists have been killed in the conflict (May 15).
  • UNRWA reports that, since the Israeli military began its incursion into Rafah a week and a half ago, only six trucks have entered the strip through Kerem Shalom on May 11. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18). 
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 344 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 73 civilians (May 2). The most recent estimates from the Israeli army show that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,040 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 30). 

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, May 10, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Biden threatens to pause arms shipments to Israel

Analysis: On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden announced he would pause U.S. shipments of weapons to Israel if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expand their invasion of Rafah into the city center. While Biden had previously named an invasion of Rafah a “red line,” he had never asserted the consequences the Israeli government would face if they crossed that line. Biden’s commitment comes as, early this week, the IDF escalated its strikes on Rafah, seized control of the Rafah border crossing, and began a ground operation in eastern Rafah after ordering the displacement of one hundred thousand Palestinians. For months, the White House has exerted private and public pressure on the Israeli government to abandon plans for a full-scale invasion, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly promised such an invasion would take place. As of Friday morning, Israeli tanks have encircled the entire eastern side of Rafah, and Palestinians have reported continuous bombardment and gunfire in the east. Satellite imagery reveals destruction several miles deep into Rafah, an indication that the IDF has moved into the main areas of the city, “scenes that are consistent with what typically follows Israeli shaping operations and ground invasions.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • We welcome President Biden’s strong leadership in attempting to prevent the Israeli government’s invasion of Rafah and we urge him with more specificity to outline the policy measures he plans to take to hold the Israeli government accountable.
  • A full-scale invasion of Rafah would be an absolute catastrophe that would make not only Palestinians but also Israelis and people across the Middle East, much less afe.

News: Families fleeing for the 10th+ time.

Analysis: Almost 110,000 people have fled Rafah over the past week, according to the United Nations, as the Israeli military intensifies its incursion into eastern Rafah. With Monday’s mass evacuation orders for eastern Rafah, more than 75% of the strip is now under Israeli evacuation orders. For most in Rafah, this is not their first or even third displacement in the last seven months, with one woman telling CNN that her family had been displaced ten times since the war began – averaging out to more than one per month. Farah, a Palestinian woman currently displaced in Rafah, told CARE that amid the nonstop artillery and bombing, “Everyone has the fear of death in their eyes. We are all in shock, yet have to focus so we know what to do so we can survive.” Yet with the Rafah border crossing closed, people are unable to cross from Gaza into Egypt – the only pathway of evacuation available for civilians, including the critically injured seeking treatment abroad.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The stories of the people bearing the brunt of the Israeli government’s campaign in Gaza are too often forgotten in coverage of the war. The fact that families are fleeing for the 10th time is unimaginably cruel and further proves that nowhere – including so-called ‘safe zones’ that once included Rafah – is actually safe for people in Gaza.

News: Humanitarian operations halt as U.S. pier construction finished

Analysis: Amid Israel’s incursion into parts of Rafah this week, humanitarian aid deliveries into Gaza have effectively ceased. Sam Rose, director of planning for the UNRWA said, “We really are now down to our last reserves.” Both the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings have remained closed since May 6th, and the Israeli military occupied the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing and has declared that it intends to retain control of it. This cutoff of aid is a new level of aid obstruction by the Israeli government, which has assured the United States that it is not obstructing but in fact facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into the strip.

The Israeli government’s facilitation of aid access through established, overland points of entry has been so effective that the U.S. military built a $320 million floating pier off Gaza to help bring in more aid, a project that was finished this week. The U.S. plan is for aid to be transported to a floating platform off Gaza’s coast, where it will be transferred to smaller vessels and brought to the U.S.-constructed pier. That system, it turns out, is vulnerable to the weather, with life-saving aid simply sitting in an American Navy cargo ship off the coast of Gaza, waiting for U.S. forces to put the pier in place when weather conditions permit. Additionally, the $320 million price tag of the construction is basically equivalent to U.S. funding to UNRWA in 2022, which ran to $344 million. As UNRWA – one of the only agencies on the ground supporting Palestinians in Gaza – said it could run out of food rations by today, it is clear the U.S. government has invested resources into the wrong mechanism for aid distribution.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The simplest, cheapest, and quickest way to scale up aid operations in the Gaza Strip is through establishing an immediate ceasefire deal and investing in the institutions that have, for decades, supported Palestinians on the ground. Rather than build a $320 million pier, the U.S. should have reinstated its funding to UNRWA.
  • President Biden must take immediate action to pressure the Israeli government to pull out of Rafah and end the war, and his commitment to condition military aid is a first step. As Palestinians face famine, any existing leverage must be utilized now.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 34,844 people in Gaza since October 7 (May 8). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still held in Gaza (May 8).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 266 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (May 8). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 462 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to 10 killed by Israeli settlers and eight by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed nine Israelis (May 8). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 97 journalists have been killed in the conflict (May 10).
  • UNRWA reports that no trucks have entered the Gaza Strip since last Sunday, largely due to the continued closure of the Rafah Crossing. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 344 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 73 civilians (May 2). The most recent estimates from the Israeli army show that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,040 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 30).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, May 3, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Militants attack U.S. base in Syria with rockets

Analysis: Last week, Iranian government-backed militant groups in Iraq fired at least five rockets toward a U.S. military base in northeastern Syria. The rocket strikes, which appear not to have caused any injuries, are the first attacks by Iranian government-backed militant groups on U.S. troops since early February. The attacks occurred the day after an explosion at a military base in Iraq killed a member of an Iran-backed militant group, as well as the day after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani met with Biden at the White House. The fact that militant groups have launched attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East for the first time in almost three months is significant and points to building frustrations and regional tensions since October 7.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Since the January 2024 strike in Jordan, in which Iraqi militias killed three U.S. soldiers, and subsequent reprisals there had effectively been a ceasefire between Iranian government-backed groups and U.S. forces in the region. Following the Israeli government’s strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, which Israeli leaders barely gave the U.S. a heads up about, that ceasefire has ended and U.S. troops are once again in danger.
  • The fastest way to get U.S. troops and everyone else in the region out of danger is to secure a ceasefire in Gaza. 

News: Israeli government gives no proof that UNRWA staff have ties to Hamas

Analysis: An investigation commissioned by the United Nations has revealed that the Israeli government has not provided any evidence supporting its allegations that at least 12 employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) participated in the Hamas attacks on October 7. In March, the Israeli government escalated the accusations to say that more than 450 UNRWA staff were members of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. However, an independent review led by the former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna found that UNRWA had regularly provided the Israeli government with lists of its employees to be vetted, and that the Israeli government had not shared any concerns about the UNRWA staff based on the lists since 2011. Further, the report finds that Israeli officials have not provided any evidence or names of concern to UNRWA, which requested them numerous times to open an investigation. Despite the lack of evidence behind the accusations, 16 donor states suspended or paused funding for UNRWA when the allegations were publicized, amounting to $450 million of aid denied to Gaza – including food aid that might have delayed the onset of famine. Over recent weeks, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Japan have restored funding to UNRWA, though UNRWA’s former largest donor, the United States, has not. Congress made the path to restoring funding far more difficult by passing a one-year ban on all U.S. funding to UNRWA last month. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The fact that millions of Palestinian civilians are collectively bearing the deadly costs of unfounded Israeli government allegations is disgraceful. 
  • The U.S. must restore funding to UNRWA immediately, at a time when humanitarian work is a matter of life or death for millions across the Gaza Strip. 

News: 40 Congressional Democrats vote against sending $26 billion more to Israel

Analysis: Recently, 37 House Democrats and three Senators in the Democratic caucus voted with their conscience against the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which will allocate $26.38 billion in military assistance to the Israeli government. The act, which ultimately passed the House and Senate, and was signed by President Biden into law, included unconditional billions for the IDF to purchase U.S. arms. It also allows Blinken to waive “any congressional notification requirement applicable” to billions in foreign military financing grants and permits the Israeli government to use the funds to purchase arms from its own domestic arms manufacturers or buy U.S. weapons below “fair market value.” 37 House Democrats took a stance against such a package, 20 of whom said in a joint statement, “Today is, in many ways, Congress’ first official vote where we can weigh in on the direction of this war. If Congress votes to continue to supply offensive military aid, we make ourselves complicit in this tragedy.” Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, one of the three Senators who voted against the bill, said in a statement, “The campaign conducted by the Netanyahu government is at odds with our American values and American law.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We are deeply grateful for the leadership of each of these 40 Democrats who followed their conscience and voted no to another unconditional military aid package to the Israeli government. 
  • To end U.S. complicity in the horrors in Gaza, President Biden must enforce U.S. arms transfer law, stop military aid to Israel, and secure a ceasefire.

News: Student anti-war protesters met with state violence 

Analysis: Over the past week, police have arrested hundreds more students protesting the war in Gaza.  Protesters across the country are calling on their colleges to divest from arms manufacturers tied to the Israeli military’s campaign in Gaza, disclose university investments, and recognize the right for students to protest. Yet protesters are facing intensifying violence from militarized police forces deployed by university leadership, including the usage of chemical irritants and rubber bullets. Some of the most violent police actions came in New York City, where administrators at Columbia University and the City University of New York called in police to storm buildings and encampments to clear out nonviolent protesters. At Emory University in Atlanta, students reported being targeted by police tear gas, tasers, and rubber bullets. One video shows an officer using a taser on a protester pinned to the ground. At the University of Texas in Austin, local and state police, some on horseback, used batons to break up an encampment. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We unequivocally stand with students who are exercising their right to protest peacefully and freely. University leaders, members of Congress, and the Biden administration alike must all take steps to ensure students’ rights are protected. 
  • These universities’ willingness to use militarized police force violence to break up nonviolent protests is deeply alarming. Militarized responses to protests do not make anyone safer and are unacceptable.

News: UN says Israel improving aid access, but still long way to go

Analysis: Late last week, the United Nations senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag, claimed that the Israeli government has taken positive steps to improve the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid across the strip, but that the Israeli government needed to scale up “quality and quantity” of operations. However, the results of those steps have been limited so far. In April overall, about 189 trucks per day entered Gaza through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. In the week since Kaag highlighted improvement in the Israeli government’s performance, the daily average has been 216 trucks. Neither number is anywhere close to the amount of aid needed to address the growing famine conditions in Gaza. In fact, the Global Report on Food Crises announced that Gaza is the territory with the largest number of people facing famine anywhere in the world in 2023. This comes as the U.S. military nears completion of constructing its pier to deliver further food into Gaza, a plan announced in March by the Biden administration as a solution to the unprecedented levels of acute food insecurity across the strip. Even if the pier were to come online tomorrow, however, it would still only provide at most another 150 trucks per day, which, at current levels of overland aid delivery, would mean that Gaza’s supply deficit would continue to grow.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The simplest, cheapest, and quickest way to scale up aid operations into the Gaza Strip is through establishing an immediate ceasefire deal, not through constructing a whole new pier. 
  • Marginal improvements in aid access show that U.S. pressure on the Israeli government can produce results, but more must be done.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 34,568  people in Gaza since October 7 (May 1). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 133 hostages are still held in Gaza (May 1).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 262 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (May 1). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 457 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to 10 killed by Israeli settlers and seven by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed nine Israelis (May 1). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 97 journalists have been killed in the conflict (May 1).
  • UNRWA reported that on May 2, 252  supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 340 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 70 civilians (April 23). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 92,621people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 23).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Israeli forces target Palestinians trying to return north

Analysis: On Sunday, thousands of Palestinians attempting to return to northern Gaza came under fire, with Israeli forces killing at least five people and injuring dozens. Some of these Palestinians, who had not returned home to northern Gaza in months, heard rumors that Israeli forces were allowing people to cross the closed checkpoint on al-Rashid Street, south of Gaza City. Two witnesses said that forces were permitting some women and children to pass the crossing, but apparently began opening fire when young men attempted to pass. Following the shootings, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned again that Palestinians should not return north. The return of hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians to the north continues to be a main point of contention during ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, with the Israeli side demanding restrictions on who can return north and where.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration should reiterate its strong opposition to the forced permanent displacement of Palestinians. 
  • The Israeli government has violently displaced Palestinians from northern Gaza and now appears to be withholding their return to gain an upper hand in ceasefire talks. That policy is as cruel as it is absurd.

News: Region-wide war can be avoided, despite the Iranian government’s unacceptable retaliatory attack on Israel

Analysis: Over the weekend, the Iranian government launched more than 300 drones and missiles toward Israeli territory, in a retaliatory move against the Israeli government’s attack on an Iranian consulate in Syria. Israel’s Iron Dome and the Arrow 3 air defense systems, intercepted the majority of the missiles and drones. In addition, the U.S., British, French, and Jordanian militaries also helped thwart the attacks. Dozens of missiles and drones launched from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen toward Israel over the weekend were also intercepted by U.S. forces, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Overall, no deaths were reported following the attacks, though one 7-year-old girl is now in life-threatening condition after a piece of an intercepted Iranian missile fell on her home. Immediately following the attacks, the IDF chief of staff General Herzi Halevi said that Israel was considering next steps, threatening retaliation. But such retaliation would be no small action – it very well could result in region-wide war. Aware of such a danger, President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would not support any Israeli counterattack against the Iranian government. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We utterly condemn these dangerous attacks by the Iranian government. Any military “solution” to this crisis will only push it further toward all-out war – we need to double down on diplomacy now.
  • We are facing nothing less than the possibility of catastrophic region-wide war in the Middle East.  Biden and senior administration officials must use all their diplomatic power to prevent further violence.

News: Daily aid truck increase not as dramatic as Israel says 

Analysis: Over the weeks since the IDF targeted and killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen, the Israeli government has reported increased levels of aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip every day. Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has reported 300 to 400 trucks entering daily, and on April 9 even said 468 trucks entered the strip, which would be the highest daily number to enter Gaza since October 7. But the United Nations has not affirmed these numbers, instead reporting daily figures in the 100s and 200s, levels that have been reached regularly throughout the past six months and that are far below the 500 trucks that used to enter Gaza daily prior to October 7. The discrepancy is at least partially due to a difference in the way trucks are counted. While COGAT says it counts every truck it inspects and permits crossing into Gaza, those trucks are only half full due to an Israeli screening requirement, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Those trucks, once they have crossed into Gaza, are typically unloaded and repacked into full trucks to be delivered throughout the strip. Even if the COGAT numbers were believable, several hundred trucks of aid per day is still insufficient to address the spiraling humanitarian crisis across the Gaza Strip, where at least 32 people, including 28 children, have already died of malnutrition or dehydration. As Andrea De Domenico, head of the UNOCHA in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said, “The problem is that famine is much more complex … it’s much bigger than simply bringing in flour […] Water, sanitation and health are fundamental to curb famine.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Truly addressing the man-made catastrophe of mass starvation requires much more than sending in a couple hundred trucks a day. An immediate ceasefire is needed now, coupled with a dramatic expansion of aid consisting of thousands, not hundreds, of trucks worth of aid. 
  • President Biden can and should do something to end the IDF’s weaponization of mass starvation. Enforcing U.S. law and suspending arms transfers to the Israeli government is a key step in building the leverage to end the conflict and save Palestinian lives.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 33,797  people in Gaza since October 7 (April 15). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 133 hostages are still held in Gaza (April 15).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 259 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (April 15). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 432 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (April 12). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 97 journalists have been killed in the conflict (April 17).
  • UNRWA reported that on April 15, 204 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 331 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 66 civilians (April 5). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,393 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, April 12, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Biden warns of retaliation from Iran for Damascus strike

Analysis: On Wednesday, President Biden warned that the Iranian government was threatening to launch a “significant attack on Israel” and that major missile or drone strikes on Israeli military targets by Iran or Iran-back regional militias were imminent. For days, Iranian officials have indeed threatened retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus that killed two senior generals in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – the most high-profile killing of IRGC leaders since the assassination of IRGC General Qassem Soleimani in 2020. Retaliation could involve an attack on U.S. targets in the region, Iranian officials have privately told the Biden administration. 

While the White House characterized the Iranian regime’s threat as a major escalation, it is more likely an extension of the frequent attacks by Iranian-supported militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen that currently make up the unsustainable status quo Israeli and U.S. military and government targets since October 7. Nor, despite the White House’s rhetoric, could such an extension be a surprise to Israeli officials, who surely must have expected a response when they authorized the embassy strike in Damascus. The Iranian government has made clear that a response is in the offing but has emphasized its reluctance to escalate to full-scale regional war. Some reports indicate that the Iranian government told the Biden administration that, if a ceasefire were established in Gaza, it would not attack Israel directly – a potential escalation off-ramp that demonstrates again how central the war in Gaza is to regional instability.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dangerous decisions, including the bombing of the Iranian embassy and his refusal to end the war in Gaza, directly jeopardize stability in the Middle East and the safety of U.S. troops stationed there. 
  • We are scarily close to regional war, and it’s clear that the simplest way to move away from an escalatory attack is to end the war in Gaza immediately with a ceasefire. 

News: Despite IDF troop withdrawal, deadly attacks continue in Gaza

Analysis: The IDF has continued its deadly military operations across the Gaza Strip, days after it pulled out the majority of its ground troops. In central Gaza on Thursday, the IDF launched an operation around the Nuseirat refugee camp, where Palestinians reported the bombing of a school and a residential building. Israeli strikes in northern Gaza also resulted in deaths in a Gaza City neighborhood and at Jabalia refugee camp. Dozens of people continue to be killed by the war every day, a clear sign that the troop withdrawal has not provided much security. Netanyahu continues to insist he will invade Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are seeking refuge. The IDF has purchased 40,000 tents in preparation for evacuations from Rafah preceding an invasion – a step so totally inadequate to address the needs of civilians in Rafah that it only underscores the impossibility of an acceptable civilian protection plan for an invasion of the city.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Netanyahu’s plans are completely out-of-touch with reality. Nowhere is safe for Palestinians in Gaza, and no tent will provide safe cover from the ongoing shelling and fighting. 
  • More than half a year into this war, Biden must know better than to accept Netanyahu’s promises. Demands to protect civilians and conclude a ceasefire must be backed up with material consequences for Netanyahu’s failures to meet those standards. 

News: Famine will have dire consequences not only in Gaza but regionally

Analysis: On Wednesday, the head of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power became the first U.S. official to publicly say that famine has already started in parts of Gaza. In a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, when asked about a recent cable sent by USAID to the White House about famine likely occurring in parts of Gaza, Power said that such an assessment was “credible.” The day before, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that the deadly mass famine in Gaza “will accelerate violence, and it will have the effect of ensuring that there’s a long-term conflict.” Austin emphasized such a scenario did not have to happen. Despite Israeli government promises to increase aid access in recent weeks, the numbers of aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip are unclear. While the Israeli government claimed about 400 trucks have entered the strip per day this week, the United Nations has only reported 100-200 trucks per day. Regardless, neither estimate is near the 500 trucks per working day that were entering Gaza before the Israeli government’s invasion, nor does it begin to address the deep supply deficit that has plagued the strip since Israeli forces cut off aid and commerce in Gaza. Palestinians facing conditions of famine are going to need significantly more than just several hundred trucks of aid.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • There is no valid reason to continue this Netenyahu-made catastrophe. Rather than issuing soft threats, the Biden administration must use its substantial leverage to ensure the Israeli government ends its illegal obstruction of aid. 
  • People in Gaza are facing dual threats of bombs and famine – the only way to address one is by addressing the other. Saving lives requires a ceasefire in Gaza.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 33,207 people in Gaza since October 7 (April 8). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 133 hostages are still held in Gaza (April 8).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 259 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (April 8). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 428 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (April 3). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (April 9).
  • UNRWA reported that on April 8, 223 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 331 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 66 civilians (April 5). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,393 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: IDF withdraws most troops from Gaza

Analysis: On Sunday, the Israeli military said it withdrew all maneuvering ground forces from the Gaza Strip, leaving behind one brigade. In an ABC interview, National Security spokesperson John Kirby characterized the withdrawal as a “rest and refit” for the troops. Israeli leaders were quick to signal that the withdrawals do not indicate the end of Israeli ground operations in Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant explained the troops were withdrawn to prepare for follow-up missions in the strip, including in Rafah. Likewise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that a date has been set for an invasion of Rafah. 

The brigade remaining in Gaza is stationed at the Netzarim Corridor, a route bisecting the strip that allows the IDF to continue carrying out raids in north and central Gaza – like the horrendous 14-day one of al-Shifa hospital – in addition to preventing Palestinians from returning to the north and humanitarian agencies from delivering aid to the north.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The fact the Israeli military pulled back most troops after President Biden escalated his rhetoric with Netanyahu is indicative of the immense influence the U.S. government has on the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza. 
  • But this troop withdrawal is not a satisfying, nor reassuring, response – especially when accompanied with the Israeli government’s persistent warnings of a full-scale attack on Rafah. Biden must exert even further pressure to ensure a permanent ceasefire. 

News: Palestinians return to their homes in Khan Younis

Analysis: Following the IDF’s withdrawal from southern Gaza, thousands of Palestinians decided to return to their homes in Khan Younis, where they found destruction, chaos, and death. “We don’t have a city anymore, only rubble,” 38-year-old mother Maha Thaer said. Thousands of buildings and homes have been demolished, some burned and others damaged. The streets were bulldozed. Some people have had to pull the bodies of their loved ones out from under the rubble, their remains now decomposed after months of an intense southern offensive. One estimate using satellite imagery found that 55% of buildings in Khan Younis — 45,000 homes, apartment complexes, hospitals, and stores —  have been destroyed or damaged. Another mother returning to her home, now completely destroyed, mourned, “There are no words to describe the pain inside me. […] Our memories, our dreams, our childhood here, our family — we were raised with them here … It’s all gone.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • War does not only kill, it demolishes homes, memories, and history. The impacts of this intense destruction and trauma will be long-lasting for Palestinians in Gaza. 
  • The international community must make plans now for Gaza’s reconstruction – and the Biden administration, responsible for having allowed the war to go on for so long, must lead efforts to obtain that funding and protect Palestinians’ right to choose how to use it.

News: Members of Congress urge White House to halt weapons transfers to Israel

Analysis: At the end of last week, Representatives Mark Pocan, Jim McGovern, Jan Schakowsky co-led a letter urging President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to stop all pending weapons transfers to the Israeli government and condition future weapon sales. 37 other members of Congress signed the letter, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In particular, the representatives asked the Biden administration to reconsider its recent decision to authorize the transfer of yet another arms package to the Israeli government. The letter pushes the administration to pause any future arms transfers until an independent investigation into the Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers has been completed and results in holding responsible those accountable, and until the Israeli government stops violating international law by failing to protect civilians in Gaza and restricting aid – including U.S. aid – from entering into Gaza. 

Suggested Messaging:

  • We applaud these calls to enforce U.S. law and policy and suspend arms transfers to the Israeli government. 
  • Growing congressional support from these vital measures, including from such prominent figures as Congresswoman Pelosi, show the political momentum behind the call to use U.S. leverage to secure a ceasefire in Gaza.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 32,975 people in Gaza since October 7 (April 3). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (April 3).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 255 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (April 3). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 428 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (April 3). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (April 4).
  • UNRWA reported that on April 3, 160 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 316 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 54 civilians (March 19). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,491 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 19).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, April 5, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Primary voters express anger over Biden’s Gaza policy

Analysis: In Wisconsin’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, more than 47,800 voters, or 8.3% of total primary voters, selected “uninstructed” as part of an effort to signal outrage at President Biden’s Gaza policy. This is more than double the number of votes Biden won the state by in 2020 against former President Trump and follows a series of elections in states like Michigan and Minnesota where tens of thousands of people cast “uncommitted” votes in months prior. Wisconsin, like Michigan, is a swing state, and organizers aimed to garner as much leverage as possible to push the Biden administration to change its policy towards the war in Gaza. Young progressives are a key group of people voting uncommitted in these Democratic primaries.

Suggested Messaging:

  • Voters are deeply concerned about what is happening in Gaza – and the current strategy is both bad policy as well as bad politics. 
  • Most people in the US want a ceasefire, and the political logic is as clear as the moral logic: continued support for the Netanyahu government’s destruction and starvation of Gaza is unacceptable.

News: The central (deadly) role of AI in Israel’s military offensive.

Analysis: A new investigation by +972 and Local Call shows that, during its war on Gaza, the Israeli military has heavily utilized an artificial intelligence (AI) program called “Lavender,” developed by the military’s elite intelligence division, to govern the targeting of airstrikes. Despite claims that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was carefully vetting target lists to prevent civilian casualties, it turns out that IDF officers were just asking Lavender to decide who in Gaza was a Hamas operative and then bombing those people, often along with their families. According to six Israeli intelligence officers, the IDF treated Lavender’s suggested kill lists “as if it were a human decision,” without checking why or how the selection was made. Some intelligence officers also revealed that the IDF permitted the killings of 15 to 20 civilians in exchange for the killing of every junior Hamas operative, and authorized the killings of more than 100 civilians in exchange for the assassination of a single Hamas commander. One officer shared, “We were constantly being pressured: ‘Bring us more targets.’ […] No matter what the cost. Whatever you can, you bomb.” Throughout the war, the IDF utilized Lavender – which at one point even generated a list of 37,000 potential human targets – in conjunction with the “Gospel,” another AI-based system that offers lists of buildings and structures it recommended to be targeted.

Suggested Messaging:

  • We are absolutely horrified at the violence and cruelty underpinning the Israeli military’s operations in Gaza. It is unacceptable for artificial intelligence to decide who lives and dies, and for any military to try to excuse the bombing of civilians by saying “the computer told me to.” 
  • The IDF’s apparent reliance on Lavender reflects the gap between the intelligence capabilities the Israeli government claims, and what it actually appears to have. If AI is generating target lists, it is no wonder that IDF bombs have killed tens of thousands of civilians while Hamas continues to operate throughout Gaza.

News: Biden warns, but does not shift Gaza policy, even after strikes on World Central Kitchen aid workers.

Analysis: On Thursday, Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone to emphasize that the humanitarian situation in Gaza and, in particular, strikes on humanitarian aid workers, are unacceptable. The call came four days after the IDF conducted deadly strikes on World Central Kitchen staff delivering food aid to northern Gaza, killing seven aid workers, including a U.S. citizen. According to the White House readout, Biden warned Netanyahu that U.S. policy on Gaza would be determined by whether the Israeli government immediately takes measurable steps to address civilian harms and safety for aid workers. Speaking to reporters, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, “What we want to see are some real changes on the Israeli side. And if we don’t see changes from their side, there will have to be changes from our side,” without specifying the specific changes the U.S. would demand from the Israeli government, nor the consequences the Israeli government would face.

Suggested Messaging:

  • We recognize President Biden’s toughening rhetoric towards Netanyahu in the shocking aftermath of the airstrikes on World Central Kitchen staff, but tough talk has not worked yet to change Netanyahu’s behavior.
  • U.S. law is quite clear: the Netanyahu government’s attempts to starve Gaza by obstructing humanitarian aid already make it ineligible to receive U.S. arms. President Biden needs to move beyond threats and begin to enforce the laws already on the books by suspending military aid to the Israeli government.

News: US and Israel hold virtual talks on Rafah

Analysis: U.S. and Israeli officials held virtual talks on Monday to discuss the Biden administration’s concerns and alternative proposals to Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah. The talks were originally scheduled for last week (and in-person), but had been canceled as a form of public protest by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the U.S. abstained from – rather than vetoed – a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Netanyahu later quietly asked the White House to reschedule.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi participated in the talks on Monday, during which the White House said it “expressed its concerns” about a possible invasion of Rafah, which include concerns about impacts on the 1.4 million civilians in Rafah and the existing humanitarian crisis there. According to a Politico report, the Israeli delegation “presented the U.S. with no plans for how to alleviate civilian suffering throughout a planned invasion of Rafah.” A Biden administration official told reporters that some aspects of a timeline for evacuating civilians from Rafah were discussed, but that the timelines for the plan “were not realistic.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • There is no realistic civilian protection plan for an attack on Rafah, yet Netanyahu continues to vow the attack will take place. The White House has no time to waste – it must clearly lay down the consequences the Israeli government will face if it proceeds with an invasion of Rafah. 
  • The only realistic way to protect civilians is to secure a ceasefire in Gaza and an immediate expansion of aid access across the strip. There is literally no other scenario that will ensure millions of Palestinian civilians are protected from further violence. 

News: Protesters in Israel call for ceasefire and new elections 

Analysis: Tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem are participating in a mass protest movement demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and for Netanyahu and his government to resign immediately. The demonstrations, the largest since October 7, are set to go on for four days, and come as ceasefire negotiations resumed in Cairo. Protesters have a variety of grievances against the Netanyahu government and its handling of the war in Gaza. One man, Boaz Atzili, whose family members were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, said, “We believe that no hostages will come back with this government because they’re busy putting sticks in the wheels of negotiations for the hostages […] Netanyahu is only working in his private interests.” If early elections were held now, analysis based on polling indicates that Netanyahu – whose national standing since the war in Gaza began has only deteriorated – would be unable to form a new government. 

Suggested Messaging:

  • Tens of thousands of people in Israel oppose Netanyahu’s far-right policies and his failing military operations in Gaza. Rather than backing a corrupt, extremist leader responsible for countless war crimes, President Biden must support those in Israel demanding an end to the war in Gaza and urging for responsible leadership from Israeli officials.
  • As ceasefire talks resume in Cairo, it’s not too late for the Biden administration to exert intense pressure on Israeli leadership to guarantee a ceasefire deal is produced. People in both Israel and Palestine want and need a ceasefire desperately.

News: Israeli military withdraws from al-Shifa 

Analysis: After a two-week raid on Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew early on Monday morning, leaving behind unimaginable horror. People reported finding bodies inside and outside of the hospital, with one resident saying IDF bulldozers razed a makeshift cemetery inside the compound. The IDF killed several hundred people during the raid Before the IDF withdrew from al-Shifa, the military brought foreign journalists into the medical complex, who were told by IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, “It is a success that we struck Hamas so hard, that this was a brutal hit against them, that Hamas now tell us that they are ‘out of business’ in the north.” Hagari’s line is yet another declaration that the IDF’s brutal tactics in northern Gaza have succeeded in dismantling Hamas in the region. None of those declarations have been true so far, and this one does not seem to be either – Hamas fighters shelled an IDF command post in Gaza City as recently as Sunday.

Suggested Messaging:

  • IDF claims that its siege on al-Shifa was a “success” that put Hamas “out of business” in Northern Gaza are only petty excuses to rationalize the Israeli military’s failing (and horrifyingly deadly) policy in Gaza. Israel cannot eradicate Hamas through military means – and President Biden must not accept this meaningless excuse to attack thousands of displaced and injured people. 
  • The Biden administration must end its unconditional support for Netanyahu’s failing, brutal policy in Gaza. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 33,207 people in Gaza since October 7 (April 8). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 133 hostages are still held in Gaza (April 8).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 259 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (April 8). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 428 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (April 3). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (April 9).
  • UNRWA reported that on April 8, 223 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 331 people have been killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 66 civilians (April 5). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 93,393 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (April 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: US and Israel hold virtual talks on Rafah

Analysis: U.S. and Israeli officials held virtual talks on Monday to discuss the Biden administration’s concerns and alternative proposals to Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah. The talks were originally scheduled for last week (and in-person), but had been canceled as a form of public protest by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the U.S. abstained from – rather than vetoed – a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Netanyahu later quietly asked the White House to reschedule.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi participated in the talks on Monday, during which the White House said it “expressed its concerns” about a possible invasion of Rafah, which include concerns about impacts on the 1.4 million civilians in Rafah and the existing humanitarian crisis there. According to a Politico report, the Israeli delegation “presented the U.S. with no plans for how to alleviate civilian suffering throughout a planned invasion of Rafah.” A Biden administration official told reporters that some aspects of a timeline for evacuating civilians from Rafah were discussed, but that the timelines for the plan “were not realistic.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • There is no realistic civilian protection plan for an attack on Rafah, yet Netanyahu continues to vow the attack will take place. The White House has no time to waste – it must clearly lay down the consequences the Israeli government will face if it proceeds with an invasion of Rafah. 
  • The only realistic way to protect civilians is to secure a ceasefire in Gaza and an immediate expansion of aid access across the strip. There is literally no other scenario that will ensure millions of Palestinian civilians are protected from further violence. 

News: Protesters in Israel call for ceasefire and new elections 

Analysis: Tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem are participating in a mass protest movement demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and for Netanyahu and his government to resign immediately. The demonstrations, the largest since October 7, are set to go on for four days, and come as ceasefire negotiations resumed in Cairo. Protesters have a variety of grievances against the Netanyahu government and its handling of the war in Gaza. One man, Boaz Atzili, whose family members were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, said, “We believe that no hostages will come back with this government because they’re busy putting sticks in the wheels of negotiations for the hostages […] Netanyahu is only working in his private interests.” If early elections were held now, analysis based on polling indicates that Netanyahu – whose national standing since the war in Gaza began has only deteriorated – would be unable to form a new government. 

Suggested Messaging:

  • Tens of thousands of people in Israel oppose Netanyahu’s far-right policies and his failing military operations in Gaza. Rather than backing a corrupt, extremist leader responsible for countless war crimes, President Biden must support those in Israel demanding an end to the war in Gaza and urging for responsible leadership from Israeli officials.
  • As ceasefire talks resume in Cairo, it’s not too late for the Biden administration to exert intense pressure on Israeli leadership to guarantee a ceasefire deal is produced. People in both Israel and Palestine want and need a ceasefire desperately.

News: Israeli military withdraws from al-Shifa 

Analysis: After a two-week raid on Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew early on Monday morning, leaving behind unimaginable horror. People reported finding bodies inside and outside of the hospital, with one resident saying IDF bulldozers razed a makeshift cemetery inside the compound. The IDF killed several hundred people during the raid Before the IDF withdrew from al-Shifa, the military brought foreign journalists into the medical complex, who were told by IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, “It is a success that we struck Hamas so hard, that this was a brutal hit against them, that Hamas now tell us that they are ‘out of business’ in the north.” Hagari’s line is yet another declaration that the IDF’s brutal tactics in northern Gaza have succeeded in dismantling Hamas in the region. None of those declarations have been true so far, and this one does not seem to be either – Hamas fighters shelled an IDF command post in Gaza City as recently as Sunday.

Suggested Messaging:

  • IDF claims that its siege on al-Shifa was a “success” that put Hamas “out of business” in Northern Gaza are only petty excuses to rationalize the Israeli military’s failing (and horrifyingly deadly) policy in Gaza. Israel cannot eradicate Hamas through military means – and President Biden must not accept this meaningless excuse to attack thousands of displaced and injured people. 
  • The Biden administration must end its unconditional support for Netanyahu’s failing, brutal policy in Gaza. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 32,975 people in Gaza since October 7 (April 3). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (April 3).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 255 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (April 3). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 428 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (April 3). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (April 4).
  • UNRWA reported that on April 3, 160 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • The UNOCHA’s most recent figures indicate that 316 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 54 civilians (March 19). The Israeli army claims that 14 Israeli soldiers and eight civilians have been killed by the fighting there (March 28). According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,491 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 19).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Gaza’s supply deficit grows worse by the day

Analysis: A new report from the Washington Post visualizes the vast supply deficit caused by the Israeli government’s siege of Gaza. Before the war, roughly 7,500 tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip during each working day. Since the imposition of even tighter entry restrictions and the wartime reopening of a checkpoint into the strip in late October, daily deliveries have averaged about 1,500 tons. That means that, with each passing day of aid and supply obstruction, the deficit of food, medical supplies, clothes, and other necessities grows by almost 3,000 tons. The total deficit now stands at over half a million tons. As the Post points out, even the Biden administration’s planned response of building a temporary pier off the Gaza coast, when and if it is completed, could only facilitate the arrival of 1,700 tons of goods per day, meaning the supply deficit will only continue to grow even as Palestinians trapped in the strip continue to die from famine.

Suggested messaging:

  • The only way to stop the man-made famine in Gaza is to end the Israeli government’s obstruction of aid flows and allow the international community to address the catastrophic supply deficit.
  • Any supplies that enter Gaza through the Biden administration’s offshore pier will be welcome, but the foreign policy equivalent of a Rube Goldberg machine is neither necessary nor sufficient to address this crisis. The administration needs to insist that the Israeli government facilitate aid along land access routes.

News: IDF proceeds with buffer zones, thumbing nose at Biden administration

Analysis: The Biden administration has long made clear that one of its core positions on the war is that it ends with “no reduction in the territory of Gaza” – a demand sharpened by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in January when he confirmed that the administration views the creation of permanent “buffer zones” as an unacceptable reduction in Palestinian territory. Yet an investigation in Ha’aretz shows that the IDF is building a buffer zone anyway. Satellite photos show that the Israeli military is in the process of bulldozing a one-kilometer-wide area inside the border between Israel and Gaza, and sources told reporters that the plan is to turn the area into berms that will be permanently accessible to the IDF but off-limits to Palestinians. If the buffer zone is completed across the entirety of the Israel-Gaza border, it will take 16% of the entire land area of the strip. The IDF is also building what the article calls a “control corridor,” bisecting the strip in central Gaza, that would allow the IDF to control traffic between northern and southern Gaza and, according to one journalist’s estimate, increase the proportion of Gaza’s land area under permanent IDF control to nearly 20%.

Suggested messaging:

  • So-called “buffer zones” are a transparent land grab, and Secretary Blinken was right to reject them in January. The Biden administration should reiterate its defense of Gaza’s territorial integrity in the strongest terms.
  • The Netanyahu government’s continued flouting of assurances it has made to the Biden administration only underscores how futile it is to rely on personal relationships to change Netanyahu’s behavior.

News: IDF launches major airstrikes in Syria

Analysis: Today, Israeli forces killed at least 42 people in airstrikes near Aleppo in Syria. The strikes, which targeted Hezbollah fighters but reportedly killed 33 Syrians as well, mark a significant escalation in the conflict on Israel’s northern border – they are the deadliest strikes the IDF have carried out in Syria since the horrific attacks of October 7th. Following the strikes, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant promised further escalation, telling reporters the IDF will “expand the campaign [against Hezbollah] and increase the rate of attacks in the north.” Gallant has often urged escalation and even full-scale war against Hezbollah, despite clear evidence that such a conflict would be catastrophically destructive and could spark a region-wide war. That Israeli forces are carrying out larger strikes and Gallant is promising further expansion of operations does not bode well, given how close Israel and Hezbollah already are to all-out war.

Suggested messaging:

  • The threat of regional war has not receded, and in fact, the Netanyahu government continues to take exactly the kind of risks that threaten to bring it about. 
  • To avoid regional war, the Biden administration should pressure the Israeli government to de-escalate its strikes in Lebanon and Syria and, crucially, conclude a ceasefire in Gaza. Without an end to the fighting there, the threat of broader war will be ever-present.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 32,490 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 27). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 27).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 251 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 27). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 426 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 16 Israelis (March 27). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 28).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 28, 224 supply trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered the strip on average each working day before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 19, 316 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 54 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,491 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 19).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Biden administration passes up opportunity to enforce law without fear or favor

Analysis: As part of the process created by President Biden’s National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), the Israeli government last week offered assurances to the U.S. that it was abiding by international law in its war in Gaza and facilitating, rather than obstructing, the flow of humanitarian aid to the strip. The State Department, charged with evaluating the credibility of these assurances, appears to have simply taken them at face value, despite overwhelming evidence offered by experts on the ground that neither assurance is true. 

The decision not only undermines the stated purpose of NSM-20, which was meant to ensure that U.S. weapons are not being used to commit war crimes – it also represents a failure to enforce existing U.S. law. Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act clearly states that most military assistance may not be sent “to any country when it is made known to the President that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.” We know that the Israeli government is restricting delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance, and accepting false assurances that it does not hurt both Palestinians in Gaza and the rule of law in the United States.

Suggested messaging:

  • No one can be above the law – not presidents (or former presidents), and certainly not Benjamin Netanyahu. We need to be confident that the president will enforce our laws without fear or favor, rather than accepting what amounts to a pinky promise from a government already flouting the law.
  • The president can choose to enforce Section 620I at any time, whether through the mechanism of NSM-20 or not. He should do so immediately.

News: U.S. allows passage of UN Security Council ceasefire resolution; Netanyahu throws fit

Analysis: On Monday, the UN Security Council (UNSC) finally passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Having vetoed a series of earlier resolutions, the United States abstained from this vote, allowing the resolution to pass. A State Department spokesperson explained the shift in policy by saying that the resolution was “consistent with the longstanding United States position” that a ceasefire must come as part of a deal to release hostages held by Hamas. The resolution is more limited than preceding efforts – it calls only for a ceasefire during Ramadan, and U.S. diplomats insist that it is a “non-binding” resolution, though other countries have pointed out that all UNSC resolutions are binding.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a minor conniption, rejecting the resolution and canceling an Israeli government delegation that was set to travel to Washington to discuss plans for an attack on Rafah. His government has vowed to ignore the resolution, with Foreign Minister Israel Katz writing yesterday, “The State of Israel will not cease firing.” While Netanyahu likely thinks he is simultaneously keeping his far-right governing coalition together while sending something of a warning to the administration (U.S. backing for the war in Gaza must be unequivocal or else), these big rays of sunlight between President Biden and Netanyahu are long overdue. The Israeli government cannot prosecute the war in Gaza or manage its increasing international isolation without U.S. support, so the resolution and the growing rift between Netanyahu and the Biden administration create more leverage for the president to use to expand aid access, protect Rafah, and secure a ceasefire, but whether he will use it remains to be seen. So far, U.S. officials have downplayed the idea that the Israeli government will face any consequences for ignoring the resolution.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We applaud the Biden administration for allowing the international community’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to finally pass the Security Council. 
  • For the resolution to have an effect, however, the administration must be willing to use it to pressure the Netanyahu government to stop the fighting. Allowing the resolution to become a dead letter would be worse than not passing it at all.

News: First defection from Israeli unity government

Analysis: Gideon Sa’ar, member of the Knesset and leader of the New Hope party, withdrew his party from Israel’s governing coalition yesterday. New Hope had joined the government as part of a unity effort after the horrific Hamas attacks of October 7, but Sa’ar expressed frustration at not having a role in setting policy for the war in Gaza. New Hope is a small party – it has only four seats in the Knesset – and its withdrawal from the coalition does not directly affect the stability of Netanyahu’s government. But Sa’ar’s defection indicates that the imperative for political unity that pervaded the Knesset in the wake of 10/7 no longer holds. In its place, the tensions between right and center-right parties are re-emerging – Netanyahu was ultimately unable to meet Sa’ar’s demands to join the war cabinet because he would have had to bring far-right ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich in as well, which would have caused Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz to defect, bringing down the emergency government. 

Suggested messaging:

  • The war in Gaza has not frozen domestic politics in Israel. Netanyahu’s government is weak, and the prime minister has strong incentives to prioritize his political survival in decisions about the war.
  • The Biden administration must not confuse Netanyahu’s interests with the Israeli people’s or with those of the United States.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 32,333 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 25). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 25).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 251 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 25). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 419 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 21). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 19).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 26, 159 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. Another crossing has opened in northern Gaza, called “Gate 96,” but daily data for crossings there is not available.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 19, 316 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 54 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,491 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 19).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, March 22, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: U.S. proposal for an immediate ceasefire vetoed in U.N.

Analysis: The United States proposed a new resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling for “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in Gaza. The proposal was promptly vetoed today by Russia and China. Algeria, whose own UNSC proposal for an immediate ceasefire was vetoed by the U.S. in February, also voted against the U.S. resolution. Axios explained, “The dispute was over the U.S. insistence on linking the ceasefire call to a hostage deal and condemnation of Hamas, rather than the unconditional ceasefire resolution demanded by Russia and China.” Still, this is the Biden administration’s strongest language in a UNSC resolution yet. When announcing the resolution draft, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believed the ceasefire resolution “would send a strong message, a strong signal.” Over recent weeks, President Biden claimed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “hurting Israel” and said an Israeli invasion of Rafah is a “red line”, while U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called for an “immediate ceasefire” and said the Israeli government had “no excuses” to not significantly bolster the flow of aid. But President Biden has not coupled these rhetorical shifts with tangible consequences for the Israeli government – which would have the most impact on Netanyahu’s next moves in Gaza.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • With Blinken currently traveling in the Middle East, he must exert pressure to ensure real results are produced through the ceasefire talks in Doha.

News: Raid on al-Shifa enters its fifth day

Analysis: The Israeli military’s raid on al-Shifa hospital continues for a fifth day, becoming one of the longest raids on a hospital since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza. Since the raid began on Monday, Israeli troops report killing more than 140 people – who they claim are terrorists – in and near al-Shifa, and detained about 600 people. On Thursday, Al Jazeera reported that thirteen patients have died at al-Shifa so far due to being deprived of medicine, oxygen, and food by the Israeli army. Four of those people were on ventilators and died after the army cut off electricity supply to the hospital. Israeli troops blew up the main surgical building and ordered the 30,000 injured patients, hospital staff, and displaced people currently trapped in al-Shifa to evacuate before they bombed the entire hospital facility.

People in northern Gaza, where al-Shifa hospital is located, are now saying that they are witnessing some of the most intense fighting in months. Residents living near the hospital in Gaza City say they face bombardment now comparable to the scale they faced at the beginning of the war, with heavy exchanges of fire. These accounts of renewed intense fighting prove the scale of the Israeli military’s failures, and that  “dismantl[ing] Hamas’ military framework in the northern Gaza Strip” – something they claimed to have completed in the winter – is neither complete nor possible given Netanyahu’s failing strategy of mass violence.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The conditions faced by tens of thousands of people at al-Shifa Hospital and in the area are absolutely horrifying, and we urge Biden to make clear that such a violent siege on a hospital is unacceptable. 
  • This intense fighting in the north is further proof that the Israeli government’s mass violence is not succeeding in eradicating Hamas. The Biden administration must use all tools at its disposal to ensure Netanyahu does not replicate this failed strategy in Rafah. 

News: Jared Kushner dehumanizes Palestinians in Harvard interview 

Analysis: In an interview at Harvard University, former Trump adviser (and current Trump son-in-law) Jared Kushner said that Gaza’s waterfront “could be very valuable […] if people would focus on building up livelihoods” and that “from Israel’s perspective I would do my best to move the people out and then clean it up.” He added, “I would just bulldoze something in the Negev, I would try to move people in there.” Such forced displacement from Gaza would be ethnic cleansing – a reality more than one million people in Rafah are currently facing as the Israeli military threatens to invade. Severely downplaying the six months of war that has killed about 32,000 people – half of them children – created conditions of an imminent famine in Gaza, and forcibly displaced more than 75% of the population, Kushner said, “It’s a little bit of an unfortunate situation there.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We are appalled and condemn such demeaning language from Kushner. Not only are his suggestions ridiculous, but they completely dehumanize millions of Palestinian people whose land and homes are being bombed and demolished.
  • We strongly re-iterate the Biden administration’s opposition to the forced displacement of Palestinians and urge the administration to double down on the demand that all Palestinians be guaranteed the right to return to their lands. Gaza is their home – and not the Israeli government’s to capitalize off of.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 31,988 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 21). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 21).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 250 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 21). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 419 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 21). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 19).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 21, 181 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18). 
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 5, 306 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 51 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,859 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Famine is imminent in Gaza.

Analysis: Famine could occur anytime between now and May in northern Gaza, according to a new assessment by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, an internationally accepted food security classification system. The IPC Global Initiative projected that from March to July 2024, more than one million people – half of the entire population of Gaza – will be in IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe/Famine). According to the most likely scenario – in which conflict persists, humanitarian access is very low, and civil unrest worsens – 70% of all people in the north will be experiencing famine. In southern Gaza, the IPC said that Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah are classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), with some threats of famine. On Monday, Oxfam reported the Israeli government is exploiting bureaucratic procedures to “deliberately” block life-saving aid from entering Gaza, directly contributing to these conditions of famine. 23 children and four adults have already died because of malnutrition and dehydration, with one in three children under the age of two years now acutely malnourished in northern Gaza. Unfortunately, due to the collapsed medical system and enforced fuel shortage, the real figures for these deaths are likely much higher.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war – and the consequences are chilling. There is no excuse for inaction to address this human-made tragedy in the Gaza Strip. 
  • People in Gaza cannot wait 2 months for the Biden administration to build a port to deliver food. A ceasefire and an end to Israeli obstruction of aid access in Gaza are needed immediately. 

News: Israeli government claims it will use U.S. weapons according to international law.

Analysis: Late last week, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant sent a letter to the Biden administration claiming the Israeli military would utilize U.S. weapons in a way that abides by international law and that the Israeli government would allow more aid to enter Gaza. The letter is required by Biden’s National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), released in February, which establishes certain prerequisites for countries receiving U.S. weapons. Secretary of State Antony Blinken must certify the credibility of the Israeli government’s commitments by next Monday, March 25 for U.S. weapons transfers to Israel to continue. According to the policy outlined in NSM-20, if Blinken does not issue a certification, U.S. weapons transfers will be suspended. 

Since October 7, the White House has approved more than 100 weapons sales to Israel – and there is no doubt that these weapons have been used extensively in Israel’s horrific operations resulting in close to 32,000 deaths across Gaza. Written assurances mean little to nothing as the Israeli military continues to violate international law through its daily attacks on people across the Gaza Strip, often using U.S.-made weapons. Just last week, for example, Medical Aid for Palestinians and the International Rescue Committee shared that an Israeli airstrike on their residential compound in January most likely involved a 1,000 lb U.S.-made “smart bomb” fired from a F-16 jet (itself manufactured in the U.S.).

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Secretary Blinken cannot in good faith certify that the Israeli government is abiding by international law and allowing U.S. aid into Gaza, because it simply is not. .  
  • The Biden administration should take a stand, refuse to issue a certification, and use the leverage created by the ensuing suspension of arms transfers to secure an end of Israeli obstruction of international aid for Gaza and a commitment to an immediate ceasefire.

News: Israeli troops raid al-Shifa hospital again.

Analysis: The Israeli military again raided the largest medical facility in Gaza, al-Shifa hospital, early on Monday. Clashes between Israeli and Hamas forces continued all day inside and around the hospital in northern Gaza. About 30,000 patients, medical staff, and displaced civilians who were sheltering at the complex are now trapped and unable to flee, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. Medical staff told the BBC that electricity had been cut inside the hospital and that Israeli troops prohibited them from moving and treating patients. The raid reportedly caused a fire to break out at the hospital’s entrance, further trapping and suffocating the tens of thousands of Palestinians. On Monday, the Israeli military said it had killed 20 alleged members of Hamas and detained dozens of suspects – which included members of the media

The Israeli military last raided Al-Shifa hospital in November 2023, causing the surgery, intensive care, and pediatric units to stop working. Since that raid, the Israeli government claimed it had “dismantl[ed] Hamas’ military framework in the northern Gaza Strip” – a claim that, as this renewed fighting shows, is patently untrue. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made note of the fact that Hamas fighters returned to al-Shifa despite the Israeli military clearing the area in the winter, which Sullivan commented “raises questions about how to ensure a sustainable campaign against Hamas.” The Israeli military campaign is failing, and Palestinian civilians are paying the price.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The continued fighting in northern Gaza is further proof that the Israeli military’s offensive in the North was an absolute failure and that its offensive deeper and deeper in the South will create the same failed outcome. The Biden administration must make it absolutely clear to the Israeli government that it will face tangible consequences if it expands its invasion southward into Rafah. 
  • Evidence is mounting by the day that the Israeli government’s stated goal of eradicating Hamas from Gaza is not attainable by military means. The failed campaign needs to end before more Palestinians are killed in senseless violence.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 31,341 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 18). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 18).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 248 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 18). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 408 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and two by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 18). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 19).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 17, 192 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza by May 2024. Between now and July 2024, this classification of Catastrophe/Famine is projected to impact half of the entire population of Gaza – 1.1 million people. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (March 18).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 5, 306 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 51 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,859 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, March 15, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: The Israeli military’s “humanitarian island” plan will lead to more civilian suffering.

Analysis: As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that he will press forward with a full-scale invasion of Rafah, the Israeli military claims it plans to direct many of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Rafah toward “humanitarian islands” in advance of such an offensive. These designated “islands” would be situated in central Gaza and supposedly provide temporary housing, food, and water to evacuated Palestinians, according to the Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. This announcement warrants immediate skepticism – if this war has demonstrated anything, it’s that Palestinian civilians are unsafe wherever they go, including supposed “safe zones” designated by the Israeli government. Rafah, the last place of refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, has been continuously bombed, and children have often borne the price of that violence. Furthermore, central Gaza – where these “humanitarian islands” are supposedly situated – continues to face strikes and fighting. In other words, there are no guarantees that these “islands” would secure Palestinians’ safety. 


Suggested Messaging: 

  • The IDF’s soft launch of a Rafah civilian protection “plan” is out of touch with reality and likely to guarantee further civilian death and destruction – the Biden administration and Congress should reject it.
  • President Biden must reiterate and bolster his previous claim that a full-scale invasion of Rafah is indeed a U.S. red line by making it clear that such an offensive would result in direct consequences for the Israeli government. 

News: the Israeli government is further disrupting humanitarian assistance by targeting aid workers, creating a chaotic distribution process in north Gaza

Analysis: Just a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, violence at Israeli-coordinated aid deliveries in northern Gaza continued. Late on Wednesday evening, as Palestinians waited for aid supplies at the Kuwait Roundabout in Gaza City, the Gaza Health Ministry claimed that Israeli forces fired on and killed at least 21 and wounded 150 others; a snap investigation by the IDF denied responsibility and blamed unidentified Palestinian gunmen. What cannot be denied, however, is the consistent Israeli military pattern of targeting aid workers and facilities, evidenced by a fresh attack on a UNRWA center in Rafah this week and an International Rescue Committee housing compound in January. And further attacks on desperate, aid-seeking Palestinians are inevitable, given the harmful and shambolic manner in which the IDF has chosen to facilitate aid deliveries in north Gaza. As The Washington Post reported yesterday, U.S. officials assess that the Israeli government “had created the conditions” for the deadly February 29 “flour massacre” in Gaza City; its efforts to outsource distribution to a random assortment of businessmen and family “clans” in Gaza, instead of relying on UNRWA and facilitating greater international access, threatens to doom Palestinian survivors of the initial military campaign to starvation.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • It is absolutely unacceptable that the Israeli military is consistently targeting and killing desperate, hungry civilians seeking aid and the few aid agencies and aid workers left to help them. 
  • President Biden cannot accept that U.S.-made weapons be involved in such horrific war crimes – he must immediately take action to halt arms shipments to the Israeli government that are being used to target starving Palestinians. 

News: Biden must listen to his own CIA director and secure a ceasefire.

Analysis: For months, U.S. intelligence assessments of the war in Gaza and its consequences have seemed quietly out of step with the Biden administration’s actions toward the conflict – a pattern once again surfaced this week. On Monday, CIA Director William Burns told a Senate panel that the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip could only be solved through a ceasefire deal, arguing, “It’s very difficult to distribute humanitarian assistance effectively unless you have a ceasefire.” Burns was on the Hill to discuss the intel community’s annual threat assessment – which included other bleak notes that the war in Gaza is destabilizing neighboring countries and likely to inspire new extremist attacks globally. Although this week’s Senate hearing and new report punctuated assessments that have been making the rounds for months, the Biden administration has only recently begun calling for a ceasefire and is still pursuing roundabout measures to implement humanitarian aid delivery instead of using its leverage with the Israeli government to fully open key land crossings into Gaza.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • People in Gaza do not have the luxury of time. Sending aid to Gaza doesn’t need to take months – it can take days if the Biden administration boosts its pressure on the Israeli government to secure a ceasefire now and expand pathways for aid access. 
  • The humanitarian community, intelligence community, and people on the ground all know it’s impossible to resolve this humanitarian catastrophe without a ceasefire. The president must heed their calls to secure an immediate and lasting ceasefire now.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 31,341 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 14). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 14).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 247 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 14). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 407 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to nine killed by Israeli settlers and two by either Israeli forces or settlers. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 14). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 15).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 14, 142 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 5, 306 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 51 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,859 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Palestinians celebrate Ramadan as the war continues

Analysis: The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun. However, with no ceasefire in place, Israeli military operations continue across Gaza. The first night of Ramadan was marked by bombardment and fighting. People continue to face mass starvation, exacerbated by the siege and minimal amounts of aid. At least 20 people, most of them children, have died from malnutrition and dehydration. With markets bare of food and prices sky-high for the little available, one mother said, “Even without Ramadan, we are fasting.” While many used to decorate the streets with lights and lanterns to celebrate the holiday, now the “streets bear the scars of Israeli bombings, and the community is in mourning,” according to another mother. Many have found ways to commemorate the month, with some displaced people decorating their tents with fairy lights. On the first night, hundreds of people gathered in bombed-out mosques and displacement camps to pray.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Though negotiators did not meet the hoped-for Ramadan deadline to reach a ceasefire, it’s still not too late to save lives – but President Biden must ensure his calls to halt the fighting are followed with real action, including using existing U.S. military and diplomatic leverage, to establish a ceasefire immediately.  

News: Senators, civil society move to uphold U.S. law

Analysis: Once a wonky bit of foreign policy minutiae, Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act is getting new attention in and out of the halls of power. Passed in the 1990s as the “Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act,” the law is simple: “No assistance shall be furnished” to another country that “prohibits or otherwise restricts” U.S. humanitarian assistance. Yesterday, seven senators sent a letter to the president rightly noting that the Netanyahu government, which continues to brazenly obstruct the delivery of U.S. and other international humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, is violating this law – even to the point of forcing the U.S. government to undertake cumbersome and ineffective workarounds. And Win Without War joined 24 other organizations today in demanding that the president comply with this law and “end U.S. support for catastrophic human suffering in Gaza.” For months, many of these same senators and civil society groups have made the case that curtailing military aid to the far-right Netanyahu government is not some major policy break, but the straightforward and needed application of robust U.S. laws already on the books – a message that may finally be breaking through.

Suggested Messaging:

  • By his own statements, President Biden is plainly aware that the Israeli government is tying up the delivery of U.S. aid to Gaza – this must trigger the enforcement of the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act and the suspension of military assistance in support of military operations in Gaza. 
  • Months of quiet engagement and increasingly public pleading have not budged the Israeli government from its unacceptable aid obstruction – the Biden administration must suspend military assistance to push the Israeli government from its disastrous course.

News: Sweden and Canada resume funding for UNRWA

Analysis: The Swedish and Canadian governments announced that they will resume funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the largest body operating in Gaza to provide aid, healthcare, and education to Palestinians. This comes more than one month after the United States, along with 15 other countries, suspended funding pending an investigation of Israeli government allegations that 12 agency employees were involved in Hamas’ October 7 attacks. UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini said the agency was “functioning hand-to-mouth” as a consequence of the severe funding crisis. The Swedish government, the fourth largest donor to UNRWA, committed to an initial payment of $20 million after receiving assurances of independent auditing and strengthened internal supervision and staff checks. The Canadian government, the 11th largest donor, made its decision to resume funding due to what it describes as “the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza that is worsening by the hour.” Yet despite the dire situation, in which mass starvation and dehydration are already killing people, the Biden administration has refused to resume funding.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The Biden administration must follow the Swedish and Canadian governments and immediately resume funding to UNRWA, one of the few actors on the ground that can mitigate the terrible and deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
  • The suspension of support by the United States and other governments has only furthered the collective punishment of millions of ordinary people across the Gaza Strip who are starving and dying from the lack of food, medicine, and other life-saving resources.

News: Biden criticizes Netanyahu – but tangible consequences still elusive

Analysis: President Biden said in an MSNBC interview over the weekend that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been “hurting Israel more than helping Israel” by harming “innocent lives” and stated that a ground incursion into Rafah would be a “red line”. While this stronger rhetoric is notable, failing to make the consequences for crossing this red line clear could rob these statements of any real force. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to be counting on the president to limit himself to words. Speaking to Politico after Biden’s interview, he insisted that the Israeli government would press ahead with an invasion of Rafah, where roughly 1.5 million people have nowhere to go, displaced numerous times already throughout the war. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The consequences for continuing to threaten an invasion of Rafah against explicit U.S. warnings must come now – the U.S. must end its political cover and military support for the Israeli government’s devastating assault on Gaza. 
  • An invasion of Rafah would heap catastrophe on top of catastrophe, and result in further mass slaughter, displacement, and destruction – in addition to further collapse of humanitarian aid networks.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 31,112 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 11). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 11).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 247 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 11). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 417 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 11). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 12).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 11, 236 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of March 5, 306 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7, which includes at least 51 civilians. The Israeli army’s most updated casualty figures on February 15 show that 10 Israeli soldiers and six civilians have been killed by the fighting there. According to an internal Israeli government database provided to NPR, 94,000 people are still displaced from their homes in northern Israel (March 9). Similarly, UNOCHA reports that 90,859 people living in Lebanon’s south have fled their homes due to the fighting (March 5).

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, March 8, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: White House signals new pressure on Israel regarding weapons transfers

Analysis: According to Axios, the Biden administration recently asked the State Department and Department of Defense to share a list of all weapons transfers planned or up for approval to be sent to Israel. The same day, White House sources told David Ignatius at the Washington Post that the administration is exploring steps to prevent the Israeli government from using U.S. weapons to conduct a full-scale attack on Rafah – an unimaginably bloody scenario that would almost certainly be an act of ethnic cleansing. These stories aren’t news – the White House doesn’t need to send a formal request to learn which weapons the U.S. has sent to Israel – but they are signals to the Israeli government of the administration’s growing frustration with its approach to the war in Gaza. So far, however, expressions of disapproval have only taken place at the level of signaling, and those signals aren’t working. At the level of actual policy, as was recently revealed in The Washington Post, the White House has approved and delivered more than 100 separate arms sales to Israel since the war in Gaza began. It’s well past time for a real policy change to help end this war.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • These signals are welcome but insufficient. Laws already on the books and President Biden’s own policies give him ample justification to suspend military support for the Israeli government’s war in Gaza, and he should use it, rather than just obliquely suggesting that he might.
  • The majority of Americans who voted for Biden in 2020 support stopping more U.S. arms shipments to the Israeli military. Biden must listen to them. 

News: Ramadan is just three days away – ceasefire needed now.

Analysis: Hamas negotiators left Cairo this morning after talks ended with no ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas officials. This was deeply disappointing news for millions of people in Gaza and across the region, with Ramadan mere days away – since the Israeli government has threatened to carry out a ground invasion of Rafah during the holiday. On Tuesday, Biden warned that if a ceasefire was not reached by Ramadan, the Middle East would be  “very, very dangerous.” Another U.S. official claimed that hope for the deal “is fading.” Such language, though accurate, overlooks the immense power the U.S. government has to ensure such a “very dangerous” outcome does not happen. Rather than solely issuing verbal warnings, the Biden administration must immediately take measures to ensure the Israeli government has no option but to establish and abide by a ceasefire.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • With Ramadan beginning this weekend, we’re down to the wire. Biden has incredible leverage he is not using. As millions of Palestinians face the imminent threat of further bloodshed, Biden must use his leverage to ensure a ceasefire is established now.

News: Houthi attacks on Red Sea ships result in first deaths

Analysis: On Wednesday, the Houthis killed three crew members – two from the Philippines and one from Vietnam – on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden. These are the first people who have been killed by the Houthi campaign of missile and drone attacks on Red Sea commercial shipping, which began in November 2023. The fact that the Houthis have continued these operations in the Red Sea, despite more than a month and a half of U.S. and U.K. airstrikes on Yemen targeting their facilities, shows that the Houthis have not been deterred by the U.S.-led response and maintained the military capacity to conduct these attacks. Following the deaths, the Houthis claimed the U.S. and U.K. militaries struck Yemen’s Hodeidah airport.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • These tragic deaths are the result of regional escalation that can only be effectively managed with diplomacy. 
  • A ceasefire in Gaza would cut the Houthis’ political incentives to carry out their maritime operations and allow the U.S. government to extricate itself from this vicious cycle.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 30,878 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 8). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 8).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 245 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 8). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 417 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 8). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 95 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 8).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 6, 195 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 21, 195 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 42 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Bombs continue hitting Rafah

Analysis: Over the weekend, dozens of Palestinians were killed by a series of Israeli strikes on Rafah, the last area in the Gaza Strip designated by the Israeli government as a “safe zone.” In a night strike on a family home, the Israeli military killed at least 14 people, including six children. Among the children killed were five-month-old twins. Another drone strike close to the Emirati Hospital, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering from the shelling, killed at least 11 displaced Palestinians finding refuge under a tent. Around 1.5 million Palestinians currently in Rafah, many of whom are living unprotected under makeshift tents, continue to face the frightening threat of an Israeli ground invasion, deemed “inevitable” by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

But amid the cruel conditions of mass death, starvation, and trauma, Palestinians in Rafah have found sources of joy and relief. From stores in downtown Rafah, some Palestinians are purchasing canaries, lovebirds, and goldfinches, whose songs offer calm from the strikes. One young man, Hassan Abu Jazar, who suffers from anxiety about the war, said, “The songs of the canaries can shield any space against the terror that comes with the violent sound of shelling. […] They give me a sense of comfort that helps me endure the fear.” Children in Rafah have similarly found comfort through flying kites, many of which are homemade. One father commented that the kites, “make the sky look nice instead of the usual smoke from the bombings.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • People in Rafah are facing the growing, dangerous threat of bloody slaughter and indefinite displacement should the Israeli government proceed with a full-scale attack on the city. 
  • President Biden must use his leverage to ensure the Israeli government does not invade Rafah, and be explicitly clear that any breach of such a redline would result in serious consequences. We applaud all members of Congress who have put explicit pressure on the Biden administration to do so, and urge more to join the call.  

News: Ceasefire talks in Egypt

Analysis: Negotiators met in Cairo for a third day of the most recent round of ceasefire talks in an attempt to reach a deal before the beginning of Ramadan — which is less than a week away. The ceasefire talks ended with no major breakthrough according to Egyptian officials, though Hamas shared a draft agreement with the Israeli government and is now awaiting a response. For its part, the Israeli government did not send a delegation to the talks, demanding instead that Hamas produce a list of the hostages who would be released first. Axios reported that mediators from Qatar and Egypt told Israeli negotiators that, if the Israeli government allowed more Palestinian civilians to return to northern Gaza, Hamas would decrease the number of Palestinian prisoners it is demanding be released as part of the ceasefire deal. This comes as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip and said the Israeli government had “no excuses” to not significantly bolster the flow of aid. Harris’ comments were the strongest appeal yet from the Biden administration for a ceasefire and for the Israeli government to do more to alleviate the suffering it has created across the strip.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • As Ramadan approaches in six days, we call on the U.S. government to use all its political leverage to ensure a ceasefire is established. Ramadan should be a time of peace, not violence, for the millions of everyday Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.  
  • We urge President Biden to join his Vice-President in calling for an immediate ceasefire and to back up that demand with policy shifts to bring a ceasefire about. 

News: Airdrops are not a solution to mass starvation

Analysis: On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said it worked with the Jordanian military to airdrop food aid consisting of over 36,800 meals in northern Gaza. The first of these airborne aid delivery operations happened on Saturday when the U.S. and Jordan dropped the equivalent of 38,000 meals across Gaza. It is hard to overstate how inadequate these airdrops are given the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. According to the best international estimates, more than half a million Palestinians in Gaza are facing crisis-level food insecurity as a result of a siege conducted with U.S.-origin weapons. Yet the Biden administration is asking for credit for airdropping fewer than 70,000 meals and taking no concrete steps at all to break the siege. 

Late last week, the International Rescue Committee underscored the absurdity of the U.S. approach, saying that airdrops “do not and cannot substitute for humanitarian access,” and that they “distract time and effort from proven solutions to help at scale.” As minimal amounts of aid trucks enter Gaza Strip, Palestinians continue facing the serious threat of famine. Conditions are particularly dire in northern Gaza, where one in six children under the age of two years were acutely malnourished in January and where children are already dying of starvation, according to the World Health Organization. At one hospital in the north, Kamal Adwan Hospital, at least 15 children have died from malnutrition and dehydration.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Food airdrops cannot replace concerted efforts to increase the amount of food aid that enters the Gaza Strip. Rather than launching performative airdrops, the Biden administration should be taking action to stop the Israeli government from blocking overland aid corridors into Gaza. 
  • U.S. law is quite clear: any country that blocks the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid is not eligible to receive U.S. weapons. It is past time to apply the law to the Israeli government and raise the stakes on Israeli obstruction of aid into Gaza.

News: Strikes persist between Hezbollah and Israel
Analysis: Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that continued fighting between Hezbollah and Israeli forces has neared “a critical point” and that the Israeli military would consider escalating its military operations in Lebanon. Over the weekend, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s grandson was reportedly among those who were killed by Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon. Speaking in Beirut after meeting with Lebanese government officials on Monday, U.S. Special Envoy Amos Hochstein said “a diplomatic solution is the only way to end the current hostilities” between Hezbollah and Israeli forces and warned, “a limited war is not containable.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We are encouraged by U.S. officials’ efforts to stop a larger escalation at the Israel-Lebanon border and urge the Biden administration to do more to ensure such an all-out war is prevented. The easiest way to prevent it is through a ceasefire deal in Gaza.
  • Not only will a permanent ceasefire agreement disincentivize cross-border violence, but it will also increase the likelihood of successful negotiations between Hezbollah and Israeli officials on border demarcations.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 30,631 people in Gaza since October 7 (March 5). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (March 5).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 244 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (March 5). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 413 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 15 Israelis (March 5). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 94 journalists have been killed in the conflict (March 6).
  • UNRWA reported that on March 3, 141 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 21, 195 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 42 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

###

Friday, February 23, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Rafah faces bombardment as Netanyahu continues threatening invasion.


Analysis: As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to threaten a full-scale attack of Rafah, people in Rafah have faced some of the heaviest bombardment yet seen in the city. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that, unless a ceasefire deal is reached, the Israeli military would carry out a ground offensive during the Ramadan holiday, which begins March 10. This comes as humanitarian conditions worsen day by day in the southern city, where 1.5 million people have nowhere to go, displaced numerous times already throughout the war. Faced with this gruesome reality, a growing group of Democratic members of Congress – including some who previously had not called for a ceasefire in Gaza – are now speaking against the horrors of an invasion of Rafah and calling on the Biden administration to pressure the Israeli government to end plans for such an offensive.

Suggested Messaging:

  • A full-scale attack of densely-populated Rafah would be absolutely horrifying, and result in further mass slaughter, displacement, and destruction. Ramadan should be a time of peace for Palestinians in Gaza, not a time of growing violence.
  • The Biden administration must utilize its leverage over the Israeli government to make it absolutely clear that an invasion of Rafah would result in serious consequences. We applaud all members of Congress who have put explicit pressure on the administration to do so, and urge more to join the call. 


News: Up to 85,000 further Palestinian deaths if conflict continues.

Analysis: A new study from investigators at Johns Hopkins, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine finds that 58,260 more people in Gaza could be killed over the next six months if the war and the existing humanitarian conditions proceed as they are, with no ceasefire established. If the current conflict escalates, that number could rise to 74,290. Additional outbreaks of infectious diseases as a result of the Israeli military’s siege of Gaza could kill more people, driving the death toll as high as 85,000. The study comes as the actual death toll since the Israeli government began its military campaign in Gaza nears a staggering total of 30,000 people. Israeli military attacks have killed one out of every 100 children in Gaza since October 7. This kind of mass killing is only one form of violence we’ve seen unleashed on people, including children. Yesterday, the head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) informed the UN Security Council that the psychological trauma of losing family members, including watching their killings, have caused children as young as five years of age to say “that they would prefer to die.” Negotiations for a ceasefire that the study suggests could save nearly 80,000 lives over the next six months and avoid more unspeakable trauma for thousands of others continue in Paris today.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The human cost of not establishing a ceasefire immediately is the deaths of tens of thousands of people who had absolutely no say in Hamas’ or the Israeli government’s actions. 
  • President Biden and CIA Director Bill Burns, who is in Paris now for negotiations, must do everything in their power to ensure a lasting ceasefire deal is reached.

News: Intense fighting resumes in northern Gaza.

Analysis: Heavy fighting has flared up again in northern Gaza over the past couple of days, in regions the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed were largely cleared of Hamas fighters. The IDF ordered evacuations from two neighborhoods in Gaza City earlier this week in preparation for operations against Hamas militants who remain active despite the Israeli government’s claim to having “dismantl[ed] Hamas’ military framework in the northern Gaza Stripthem.” This comes as, last month, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) assessed that “Hamas and other Palestinian militias are likely in the early stages of reconstituting their governance and military capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip” – a conclusion that seems more plausible daily and is directly at odds with the Israeli government’s portrayal that its military offensive is heading to victory over Hamas. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Renewed fighting in northern Gaza, in areas where the IDF claimed it had dismantled Hamas networks, reinforces the fact that the Israeli military’s campaign in the Gaza Strip is a strategic failure, on top of being a human catastrophe. 
  • As Israel expands its military offensive in southern parts of Gaza, the Biden administration must demand an immediate end to all this senseless (and counterproductive) violence. 

News: Amid mass starvation, UN pauses food aid deliveries to northern Gaza. 


Analysis: The World Food Program (WFP) announced that it is pausing food aid deliveries to northern Gaza due to the scale of unsafe conditions – disastrous news for a region that has been almost entirely cut off from aid in weeks. Barely any aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip from either the Rafah or the Kerem Shalom crossings over the past week, with a mere 9 trucks entering on Monday, 19 trucks on Tuesday, and 57 trucks on Wednesday. Due to the absence of this desperately needed aid, one in six children under the age of two years were acutely malnourished in January, and, according to the UN, “the situation is likely to be even graver” this month. Unfortunately, the true toll of starvation in Gaza is hidden, since many people who die from starvation-related symptoms have their deaths attributed to other physical causes.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The human cost of such severe aid shortages is immeasurable. Starvation must be taken seriously as a cruel killer, another instrument of war that the Israeli military has weaponized throughout its military campaign.
  • To truly ensure the wellbeing of people in Gaza, any negotiated ceasefire deal must also entail dramatically expanded aid operations. Stopping the bombs alone will not save people – sufficient food and medical aid is crucial. 

    Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 29,514 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 23). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 23).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 235 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 23). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 399 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 13  Israelis (February 23). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 88 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 16)
  • UNRWA reported that on January 21, 57 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21). 
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 21, 195 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 42 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting. To truly ensure the wellbeing of people in Gaza, any negotiated ceasefire deal must also entail dramatically expanded aid operations. Stopping the bombs alone will not save people – sufficient food and medical aid is crucial.

    Further Win Without War resources

###

 

###

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Ceasefire talks continue, with some progress

Analysis: Ceasefire talks are continuing this week in Qatar, where mediators are meeting with both Hamas and Israeli officials separately. Following negotiations in Paris last week, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the “basic contours of a ceasefire deal had been reached.” According to Reuters, a source said that the Israeli government had instructed an Israeli working delegation made up of IDF and intelligence staff to create an operational center in Doha to bolster the negotiations – an indication that talks may be progressing further along than in previous weeks this month. Still, a ceasefire cannot come fast enough, especially for the 1.5 million Palestinians in Rafah who face Netanyahu’s threat of a bloody full-scale assault. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres argued such an attack would be “the nail in the coffin” of deliveries to the starving territory, which would directly impact people everywhere in Gaza in dire need of humanitarian aid. A lasting ceasefire is needed now: to save those hanging on the edge of death, endemic malnutrition, and disease and prevent the humanitarian catastrophe that would erupt in the case of a Rafah invasion.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We welcome these so-called “proximity talks” and urge the Biden administration to do everything in its power to ensure a ceasefire deal is reached this week.
  • Now is the time to put unprecedented pressure on Biden to use his political and military leverage on the Israeli government. All Members of Congress who have not yet explicitly called for a ceasefire in Gaza must do so immediately. 

News: Israeli military presents its Rafah plan

Analysis: On Sunday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) presented to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s war cabinet its plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians from Rafah. Though no tangible details about this plan were disclosed to the public, Netanyahu told CBS News that “there’s room for [1.4 million Palestinians] to go north of Rafah, to the places that we’ve already finished fighting in.” The heads of international humanitarian aid organizations, foreign policy activists, and sheer common sense all say that Netanyahu’s claim is nonsense. Not only are there no facilities or undamaged infrastructure for people staying in Rafah to use in other parts of Gaza, there also are no areas where the IDF has “finished fighting in.” Analyst reports show ongoing “clearing operations” by IDF ground forces and clashes with Hamas forces in areas long declared “cleared” by the IDF, while the UN continues to report Israeli bombardment throughout the strip. Despite this reality and a growing chorus of voices raising the alarm about the catastrophic potential consequences of an invasion of Rafah, Netanyahu says he is steadfast in pressing ahead. In his CBS interview, he said that even if a ceasefire deal was established, the military operation in Rafah may be “delayed somewhat” but that he still planned to push forward with the invasion, since “total victory is our goal, and total victory is within reach.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Benjamin Netanyahu is out of touch and out of control. His continued doubling down on a policy that would amount to ethnic cleansing is yet further evidence of the need for the Biden administration to use its leverage to avert the Rafah invasion and end his brutal Gaza campaign. 
  • Far from being on the precipice of strategic victory, the Israeli military campaign in Gaza has been a strategic disaster as well as a humanitarian one. As the death toll nears 30,000, ongoing Hamas operations throughout Gaza show that the killing has not resulted in the destruction of the group that perpetrated the atrocities of October 7th. Instead, the group is politically stronger than it was on October 6th, while millions of Palestinians who had nothing to do with the attacks suffer the consequences.

News: IDF strikes deeper into Lebanon

Analysis: The Israeli military has struck eastern Lebanon for the first time since the war in Gaza began, the deepest attacks inside Lebanese territory since October 7. On Monday, three Israeli air strikes outside a village near Baalbek, a Hezbollah political stronghold more than 60 miles from the border, killed two people. The Israeli army said it was targeting sites used by Hezbollah, “in response to the launch of a surface-to-air missile” that took down an Israeli drone earlier that day in southern Lebanon. This follows weeks of strikes deep in Lebanon’s territory, areas that the Israeli military had not previously hit in the cross-border attacks following the start of the war.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The prospect of deadly regional war is very real and increases every day that these cross-border attacks continue between Israel and Hezbollah and everyday that the war in Gaza continues. 
  • A lasting ceasefire in Gaza is the simplest, most viable way to achieve durable de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah and to reverse the incentives that push both parties to a place to all-out war.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 29,782 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 26). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 26).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 238 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 26). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 13 Israelis (February 26). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 88 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 26).
  • UNRWA reported that on February 25, 94 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21). 
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 21, 195 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 42 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting. 

Further Win Without War resources

###

Friday, February 23, 2024

Key updates and messaging 

News: Rafah faces bombardment as Netanyahu continues threatening invasion.


Analysis: As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to threaten a full-scale attack of Rafah, people in Rafah have faced some of the heaviest bombardment yet seen in the city. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that, unless a ceasefire deal is reached, the Israeli military would carry out a ground offensive during the Ramadan holiday, which begins March 10. This comes as humanitarian conditions worsen day by day in the southern city, where 1.5 million people have nowhere to go, displaced numerous times already throughout the war. Faced with this gruesome reality, a growing group of Democratic members of Congress – including some who previously had not called for a ceasefire in Gaza – are now speaking against the horrors of an invasion of Rafah and calling on the Biden administration to pressure the Israeli government to end plans for such an offensive.

Suggested Messaging:

  • A full-scale attack of densely-populated Rafah would be absolutely horrifying, and result in further mass slaughter, displacement, and destruction. Ramadan should be a time of peace for Palestinians in Gaza, not a time of growing violence.
  • The Biden administration must utilize its leverage over the Israeli government to make it absolutely clear that an invasion of Rafah would result in serious consequences. We applaud all members of Congress who have put explicit pressure on the administration to do so, and urge more to join the call. 


News: Up to 85,000 further Palestinian deaths if conflict continues.

Analysis: A new study from investigators at Johns Hopkins, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine finds that 58,260 more people in Gaza could be killed over the next six months if the war and the existing humanitarian conditions proceed as they are, with no ceasefire established. If the current conflict escalates, that number could rise to 74,290. Additional outbreaks of infectious diseases as a result of the Israeli military’s siege of Gaza could kill more people, driving the death toll as high as 85,000. The study comes as the actual death toll since the Israeli government began its military campaign in Gaza nears a staggering total of 30,000 people. Israeli military attacks have killed one out of every 100 children in Gaza since October 7. This kind of mass killing is only one form of violence we’ve seen unleashed on people, including children. Yesterday, the head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) informed the UN Security Council that the psychological trauma of losing family members, including watching their killings, have caused children as young as five years of age to say “that they would prefer to die.” Negotiations for a ceasefire that the study suggests could save nearly 80,000 lives over the next six months and avoid more unspeakable trauma for thousands of others continue in Paris today.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The human cost of not establishing a ceasefire immediately is the deaths of tens of thousands of people who had absolutely no say in Hamas’ or the Israeli government’s actions. 
  • President Biden and CIA Director Bill Burns, who is in Paris now for negotiations, must do everything in their power to ensure a lasting ceasefire deal is reached.

News: Intense fighting resumes in northern Gaza.

Analysis: Heavy fighting has flared up again in northern Gaza over the past couple of days, in regions the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed were largely cleared of Hamas fighters. The IDF ordered evacuations from two neighborhoods in Gaza City earlier this week in preparation for operations against Hamas militants who remain active despite the Israeli government’s claim to having “dismantl[ed] Hamas’ military framework in the northern Gaza Stripthem.” This comes as, last month, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) assessed that “Hamas and other Palestinian militias are likely in the early stages of reconstituting their governance and military capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip” – a conclusion that seems more plausible daily and is directly at odds with the Israeli government’s portrayal that its military offensive is heading to victory over Hamas. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Renewed fighting in northern Gaza, in areas where the IDF claimed it had dismantled Hamas networks, reinforces the fact that the Israeli military’s campaign in the Gaza Strip is a strategic failure, on top of being a human catastrophe. 
  • As Israel expands its military offensive in southern parts of Gaza, the Biden administration must demand an immediate end to all this senseless (and counterproductive) violence. 

News: Amid mass starvation, UN pauses food aid deliveries to northern Gaza. 


Analysis: The World Food Program (WFP) announced that it is pausing food aid deliveries to northern Gaza due to the scale of unsafe conditions – disastrous news for a region that has been almost entirely cut off from aid in weeks. Barely any aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip from either the Rafah or the Kerem Shalom crossings over the past week, with a mere 9 trucks entering on Monday, 19 trucks on Tuesday, and 57 trucks on Wednesday. Due to the absence of this desperately needed aid, one in six children under the age of two years were acutely malnourished in January, and, according to the UN, “the situation is likely to be even graver” this month. Unfortunately, the true toll of starvation in Gaza is hidden, since many people who die from starvation-related symptoms have their deaths attributed to other physical causes.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The human cost of such severe aid shortages is immeasurable. Starvation must be taken seriously as a cruel killer, another instrument of war that the Israeli military has weaponized throughout its military campaign.
  • To truly ensure the wellbeing of people in Gaza, any negotiated ceasefire deal must also entail dramatically expanded aid operations. Stopping the bombs alone will not save people – sufficient food and medical aid is crucial. 

    Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 29,514 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 23). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 23).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 235 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 23). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 399 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 13  Israelis (February 23). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 88 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 16)
  • UNRWA reported that on January 21, 57 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21). 
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 21, 195 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 42 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting. To truly ensure the wellbeing of people in Gaza, any negotiated ceasefire deal must also entail dramatically expanded aid operations. Stopping the bombs alone will not save people – sufficient food and medical aid is crucial.

    Further Win Without War resources

###

Friday, February 16, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Israeli government continues plans for Rafah invasion

Analysis: Despite calls from the international community for the Israeli government to abandon its plans to invade Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised to press ahead with the offensive. Already facing dire humanitarian conditions, the majority of those displaced to Rafah now live unprotected under makeshift tents, and as Palestinian doctor and psychiatrist, Bahzad Al-Akhras writes, “What can a thin piece of nylon protect you from? It won’t stop the shrapnel from hitting you or your family.” Having fled further and further south due to a series of evacuation orders throughout the war in Gaza, Palestinians now have nowhere to go, and human rights groups have made clear that no reasonable evacuation plan is possible. Alarmed by the horrific situation, several members of Congress, in addition to various world leaders, have spoken out against Netanyahu’s plans over recent days.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration must utilize its significant political leverage over the Israeli government to make it absolutely clear that invading Rafah would result in serious consequences. We urge all Members of Congress to put explicit pressure on the administration to do so. 
  • Millions of people in Gaza, including pregnant mothers, orphaned children, and desperate families in Rafah, are terrified and await a permanent solution to protect them from these past five months of bloodshed. They need a ceasefire now. 

News: Aid is not entering Rafah

Analysis: The entire population in the Gaza Strip is now facing crisis-level acute food insecurity, with more than a quarter of people living in conditions of famine exacerbated by severely restricted commercial and humanitarian aid. The 335,000 children in Gaza under the age of five are all projected to be at high risk of malnutrition and preventable death. This, combined with soaring rates of infectious diseases and a collapsed medical infrastructure, forms a lethal combination. Food and medical aid is desperately needed across Gaza. Yet the number of trucks entering Gaza remains significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7, with 130 trucks entering the strip on February 14, 100 trucks on February 13, and a mere 9 trucks the day before. Importantly, none of those trucks crossed through the Rafah border crossing, which has been closed since February 12 due to “security concerns.” The sharp, dangerous decline in supply underscores how dangerous an Israeli military attack on Rafah, which would close the crossing for a long period, would be for Gaza as a whole.  

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The looming threat of a ground offensive on Rafah is exacerbating already dire humanitarian conditions that Palestinians are enduring every single day – and the offensive would make these cruel conditions even worse. 
  • Only a lasting ceasefire will ensure humanitarian needs across the Gaza Strip are adequately met. The Biden administration must do everything in its power to ensure a ceasefire is secured and entails dramatically expanded humanitarian aid operations. 

News: Biden grants Deferred Enforced Departure to Palestinians

Analysis: On Wednesday, President Biden issued a memo to shield about 6,000 Palestinians currently in the U.S. from deportation for 18 months, citing the catastrophic humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. The memo instituted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Palestinians in the U.S., a benefit the president can grant at his discretion that allows those covered to stay in the United States as long as the order remains in effect. The order came after some Members of Congress, including Senator Dick Durbin and Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Pramila Jayapal, pushed the Biden administration to grant temporary legal status to Palestinians in the U.S. to ensure they are not sent to an active war zone. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We are relieved to hear that thousands of Palestinians currently in the U.S. will be, for now, protected from deportation to a region devastated by full-scale war – and we call on the Biden administration to take further action to protect Palestinians in the U.S. and their families. 

News: Deadly attacks at the Israel-Lebanon border 

Analysis: Over recent days, tit-for-tat attacks between Israeli and Hezbollah forces have escalated. In response to an attack from Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, which killed one civilian, the Israeli military conducted air raids deep in southern Lebanon, killing at least 10 civilians, marking the deadliest day of cross-border fighting at the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7. Importantly, the Israeli military has been striking deeper and deeper in southern Lebanon, including villages that had previously been sheltered from the current conflict. The daily violence at the border has resulted in more than 80,000 Israelis relocating from Israel’s northern border and more than 75,000 Lebanese relocating from Lebanon’s southern border. In a televised address this week, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, directly linked the end of the war in Gaza to the end of Hezbollah’s aggression toward northern Israel, saying, “On that day, when the shooting stops in Gaza, we will stop the shooting in the south.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The prospect of regional war, particularly centered at the Israel-Lebanon border, is very real and increases every day that the war in Gaza continues. 
  • A lasting ceasefire in Gaza is the simplest, most viable way to achieve durable de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah and to reverse the incentives that push both parties closer to war.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 28,775 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 16). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 16).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 232 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 16). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 389 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. 1338 Palestinians fled their homes due to Israeli government and settler violence, in addition to home demolitions, since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 10  Israelis (February 16). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 88 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 16).
  • UNRWA reported that on January 14, 130 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. The Rafah Crossing has been closed since February 12.
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 12, 171 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 26 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

###
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Israeli military attacks Gazans’ last ‘safe zone’

Analysis: Early Monday morning, the Israeli military conducted “successive and sudden” airstrikes on homes and mosques across Rafah, the last area designated by the Israeli government as a “safe zone,” killing 100 Palestinians. During the raid, Israeli special forces rescued two Argentine-Israeli hostages. This comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that the Israeli military would invade Rafah and ordered the Israeli military to create a plan for civilian evacuations. After months of mass displacement, over half of Gaza’s population is now crowded in the city bordering Egypt, and it is not clear where people living there could be evacuated. In response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a ground attack on Rafah, President Joe Biden told Netanyahu not to invade Rafah without a “credible” plan to protect civilians, while U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby commented the ground invasion would be “a disaster” and  “not something that we would support.” ​A UNOCHA spokesperson said that a ground invasion of Rafah would lead to a “large-scale loss of civilian lives” and said that “everything possible” should be done to avoid such an incursion. One businessman and father of six children in Rafah shared UNOCHA’s analysis, telling Reuters that if the IDF expands its ground invasion, “we will be left with two choices: stay and die or climb the walls into Egypt.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Nowhere in Gaza is safe for the millions of innocent civilians, and the Biden administration must do everything in its power to ensure the Israeli military ends its operations in areas once promised as safe. 
  • We welcome the safe return of the two hostages to their loved ones. The only way to end this horror and save all lives in Gaza including those of the remaining hostages, is for the U.S. government to do all that it can to secure a lasting ceasefire.

News: U.S. strikes Iraq, Syria, and Yemen

Analysis: In response to a lethal drone attack on U.S. troops in Jordan, the Biden administration conducted a series of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq on more than 85 targets, including targets associated with Kataib Hezbollah, the group the Pentagon says was responsible for the Jordan attack. Nearly 40 people were reportedly killed by these airstrikes two weeks ago which the White House said were just “the beginning, not the end” of its response to the Jordan attack. Last week, the U.S. military again struck Iraq, targeting and killing a senior commander from Kataib Hezbollah. The Biden administration has also continued its strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen, the most recent strikes conducted late last week. One U.S. official revealed to the New York Times that Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed to ensure Middle Eastern allies to not interpret these U.S. strikes as an escalation of violence – a sign of the administration’s concern for further the spreading of the war.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Militants have shown no signs of being deterred by U.S. strikes – in fact, U.S. military activity has reinforced militants’ political incentives to continue their attacks. The November temporary ceasefire in Gaza, on the other hand, stopped attacks by Iran-backed militants on U.S. troops. 
  • The U.S. cannot bomb the way to de-escalation. The quickest and cleanest path to end this regional turmoil and ensure the safety of U.S. service members from militia strikes is to secure a lasting ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government. 

News: Blinken leaves the Middle East with no ceasefire deal.

Analysis: Last week, Secretary of State Blinken was in the Middle East for the fifth time since October 7th in hopes of making progress on a potential ceasefire deal and de-escalating regional violence. Reports of progress toward a second temporary ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas trickled out throughout the week, but nothing released so far indicates that a deal is at hand.

On the broader regional situation, Blinken emphasized that the U.S. “does not want to see the conflict escalated” and “will not escalate the conflict” – a case rendered more difficult to make by extensive U.S. airstrikes across the region over recent weeks. Last Monday, Blinken met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, where he mentioned “the importance of building a more integrated and prosperous region” – a hint at the Biden administration’s efforts to link normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia to the creation of a pathway for the establishment of a Palestinian state. While he was in Israel, Blinken discussed this prospect of normalization with Netanyahu’s war cabinet, using it as an incentive for the Israeli government to commit to a new ceasefire deal.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Widespread U.S. airstrikes are far likelier to lead to broader war than to peace.  
  • We urge Blinken to focus his leverage and power on securing a ceasefire rather than conditioning progress toward peace in Gaza on Saudi-Israeli normalization of relations.  

News: Continued diplomatic push for a ceasefire

Analysis: Following Blinken’s visit to the Middle East last week, CIA director William Burns headed to Cairo for further meetings with Egyptian, Israeli, and Qatari officials to continue pushing for a second ceasefire deal. Burns has met with regional negotiators several times since the start of the war in Gaza, including in the weeks running up to the temporary ceasefire in November 2023 as well as during the temporary ceasefire. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is himself in Doha for talks on securing a ceasefire and expanding aid efforts in Gaza with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Meanwhile, Jordanian King Abdullah II is meeting with Biden this week as part of a wider tour to Western countries including France, Canada, and Germany to mobilize “international support for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.” King Abdullah II is the first Arab head of state to travel to Washington since the start of the war in Gaza.

Suggested Messaging:

  • We call on the Biden administration to echo the concerned regional voices, including King Abdullah’s, who are rightfully alarmed by the potential for regional war and are calling for an end to the five months of cruel violence and scary escalation.  
  • The previous ceasefire deal showed us that such diplomacy works and can save lives on all sides of the conflict, but negotiators need to be serious to reach a second deal. We urge the Biden administration to do everything in its power to secure a second ceasefire, this one lasting, to end the violence and bring security to Israel, Palestine, and the region. 

News: New Biden memo on arms transfers

Analysis: Shortly after Netanyahu announced an expansion of the Israeli government’s ground invasion into Rafah, President Biden issued a memo outlining new policies around U.S. arms transfers. The memo requires countries receiving U.S. weapons to provide written assurances that they will not use the weapons to violate international law and directs the administration to report to Congress about the status of those assurances.  In the context of Gaza, the memo is effectively meaningless – despite clear evidence of international law violations by the Israeli government put forward by a wide range of respected NGOs, administration officials reiterated today that they do not believe that any country currently receiving U.S. arms is violating international legal standards. Nothing about the memo suggests that it will result in fewer U.S. weapons being transferred to the Israeli government.


Suggested Messaging: 

  • Biden’s new memo is a small step in global arms control, but it does not offer significant protections to people in Gaza. To reduce violence in Gaza, the Biden administration could simply enforce its own Conventional Arms Transfer policy, which rules out transfers where serious international humanitarian law violations are “more likely than not.” 
  • The new policy is a direct response to a similar amendment from Sen. Chris Van Hollen, which demonstrates Congress’ power to pressure the administration on its support for the Israeli government’s war in Gaza. Members should continue to press the administration to use its leverage to help end this conflict.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 28,576 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 145). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 134 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 13).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in  230 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 14). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, 388 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in addition to Israeli settlers in at least eight cases. 814 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed 10  Israelis (February 14). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 85 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 14).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 24, a total of 153 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is significantly below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. The UN has not offered a report detailing the number of trucks accessing Gaza since then. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of February 6, 171 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 26civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, February 2, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Mass destruction across the Gaza Strip

Analysis: A new analysis by the BBC indicates that more than half of the buildings in Gaza – universities, shopping centers, mosques, and residential neighborhoods – have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli incursions and bombardment since the war in Gaza began. Large swaths of the southern city of Khan Younis, once promised as a safe zone by the Israeli military, are now in ruins. Corey Scher, of The City University of New York, said that the Israeli military’s destruction of infrastructure in Gaza surpasses the extent and pace of infrastructure destruction in Ukraine and Syria. While the Israeli Defense Forces’s aerial offensive caused much of this damage on 144,000 to 175,000 buildings, its ground troops also played a significant role in the horrendous scale of ruin, having conducted at least 33 “controlled demolitions” of hundreds of buildings. Israeli officials told the New York Times that these demolitions were part of an effort to create “buffer zones” inside Gaza, though most of the infrastructure targeted was located outside what would constitute such a buffer zone.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • This is not just the destruction of buildings – it is the destruction of generations of Palestinian history and livelihood. The damage has forced millions to flee their homes and makes it harder for them to return to their lives before the war. 
  • The cost of war is extremely high, and this price tag for Gaza’s reconstruction will only keep increasing as the war continues. The U.S. should lead international efforts to source that funding and ensure Palestinians are central to deciding how that reconstruction aid is used. 

News: U.S. prioritizes war over peacebuilding

Analysis: It’s no secret the U.S. government has been the primary supporter and funder of the Israeli military. But the difference in U.S. military funding to the Israeli government versus U.S. funding to Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilding, human rights, and humanitarian groups is staggering. While the Biden administration gave $3.3 billion to the Israeli government just in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in fiscal year 2023, it only gave around $55 million to local Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations – including human rights, peacebuilding, and humanitarian groups – meaning U.S. funding for such critical civil society organizations constitute a mere 1.67% of U.S. funding for weapons and training for the Israeli armed forces. True, the U.S. government also committed $422 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees in 2023, but this sum is still barely above 10% of the amount the U.S. gave the Israeli government in FMF. Today, UNRWA is in crisis after the U.S. suspended funding pending an investigation of allegations that 12 agency employees were involved in Hamas’ horrific October 7 attacks. Long-term peace in Israel and Palestine will require serious investment in the institutions of peace. This stark imbalance toward funding the means of war is not tenable.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration must seriously revise its priorities in Israel and Palestine by scaling back its investment in the IDF and dramatically bolstering and expanding its support to humanitarian and civil society organizations. It’s in the U.S.’s best interest to invest in peace, not war. 
  • We urge the U.S. government to immediately reverse its decision to halt funding for UNRWA. Any individuals found to be involved in the October 7th attacks should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but millions of Palestinians already facing famine conditions in Gaza cannot afford to face further collective punishment at the hands of the international community. 

News: Biden issues sanctions against violent Israeli settlers 

Analysis: On Thursday, President Biden issued an unprecedented executive order aimed at curbing violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The order allows the U.S. Treasury to impose financial sanctions on individuals and organizations involved in violence in the West Bank. The order enables the U.S. to sanction not just the settlers, but also politicians and government officials involved in “directing, enacting, implementing, enforcing, or failing to enforce policies… that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the West Bank.” This is an important move as Palestinians in the occupied West Bank face heightened levels of settler violence since the war in Gaza began, with the United Nations recording 494 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7. With the order, the Biden administration issued initial financial sanctions and visa bans against four individuals responsible for attacks on Palestinians and Israeli activists and said it was evaluating whether to sanction others involved in settler violence. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We applaud President Biden’s bold action to hold those who commit and enable violence in the West Bank accountable for their actions.
  • The executive order clearly allows the administration to sanction officials and organizations that carry out and enable violence, and we urge President Biden to designate Israeli officials who have played key roles in the spiraling unrest in the occupied West Bank.

News: Iraqi militia says it will stop targeting US troops 

Analysis: Two days ago, the Iraqi armed group Kataib Hezbollah said it is suspending all of its military operations against U.S. troops in the Middle East. The group, which the Pentagon held responsible for the drone attack in Jordan that killed three U.S. soldiers, made the announcement after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani carried out days of intensive diplomatic efforts to prevent further escalation. The Biden administration is evaluating how to respond to the Jordan strike, a decision that will have far-reaching impacts on the likelihood of regional war in the Middle East. Thus far, Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-backed armed groups have claimed more than 150 attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East since October 7.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Regional governments are deeply concerned by the increasing risk of broad escalation after the Jordan strike and are providing a model for how diplomacy is an effective tool for halting these attacks on U.S. troops. Prime Minister Al-Sudani has opened a diplomatic door for the Biden administration, and the administration should walk through it to avoid a dangerous escalation that could lead to region-wide war.
  • The November temporary ceasefire in Gaza stopped attacks by Iran-backed militants on U.S. troops, which the Biden administration’s “deterrence restoring” airstrikes against militias have failed to reproduce. The quickest and cleanest way to ensure the safety of U.S. service members from militia strikes, like the lethal one in Jordan last weekend, is to secure a lasting ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 27,019 people in Gaza since October 7 (February 1). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 136 hostages are still held in Gaza (February 1).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 222 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (February 1). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 360 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed five Israelis (February 1). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 85 journalists have been killed in the conflict (February 2).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 24, a total of 153 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. The UN has not offered a report detailing the number of trucks accessing Gaza since then. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of January 23, 151 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 25 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Monday, January 29, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Lethal militant strike on US troops in Jordan

Analysis: Yesterday, three U.S. service members were killed and at least 34 others injured in a drone strike by an Iran-backed militant group on U.S. troops in northeast Jordan. Militants have carried out more than 150 attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East since October 7. The Biden administration quickly vowed retaliation, while members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Ranking Member of US Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Roger Wicker, called for the U.S. to bomb Iran directly.  Such an escalation would be the start of a catastrophic regional – and potentially global – conflict.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • As it prepares its response to this awful loss of life, we urge the White House to remember that a war between the U.S. and Iran would have no winners and would lead to immense losses on all sides. 
  • The November temporary ceasefire in Gaza stopped attacks by Iran-backed militants on U.S. troops – an achievement that a series of “deterrence restoring” airstrikes against the militias have failed to reproduce. A lasting ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government is the only clear path to halting this dangerous regional escalation.

News: Ongoing violence and displacement in southern Gaza

Analysis: Palestinians in southern Gaza are facing intense fighting and shelling as the Israeli military advances its bloody offensive around Khan Younis. Israeli forces have targeted schools, universities, medical facilities, and UN facilities, with heavy fighting in particular near the Al Aqsa, Nasser, Al Amal, and Al Kheir hospitals. As entire neighborhoods are demolished, people who have lost their homes are unsure of where to go. Last week, an Israeli strike killed dozens of Gazans and injured more than 150 while they were queuing for food aid in Gaza City. This comes as, over the past few days, the Israeli government repeatedly issued mass evacuation orders that have forced more than half a million people, including injured patients and medical staff in three hospitals, to move to “even smaller areas” of southern Gaza that are already over-crowded, according to the UN. Palestinians trying to flee to the crowded southern town of Rafah cannot find safe passage.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • This horrific violence is yet more evidence that the Israeli military’s claimed strategic shift to more “targeted operations” is a mirage. 
  • We urge the Biden administration to do everything in its power to pressure the Israeli government to put an end to this cruel collective punishment.

News: Hamas regaining power and governance in northern Gaza

Analysis: Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have recently assessed that “Hamas and other Palestinian militias are likely in the early stages of reconstituting their governance and military capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip.” That’s big news for three reasons:

First, it contradicts the Israeli government’s narrative that it has destroyed Hamas in northern Gaza and consolidated its control there. In early January, the Israeli military announced that it dismantled Hamas’ military activities in northern Gaza and began withdrawing some of its forces. Hamas action in northern Gaza – including a rocket attack from northern Gaza into the Israeli city of Netivot and operations against IDF forces in northern Gaza – quickly undermined that claim, but, notably, the IDF’s narrative is now being rejected by a stridently anti-ceasefire organization like AEI.

Second, it underscores how the Israeli government’s military campaign in Gaza is failing to reach its overall objectives, despite the horrific cost it has inflicted on people living in the strip. Even after months of shelling, bombing, and infantry operations, a campaign of mass displacement, and a declaration of victory, IDF action in northern Gaza is still not preventing Hamas from targeting Israeli territory, and the group’s military and governing structures are regenerating. That, in combination with polling showing growing support for Hamas as a result of Israeli action and Israel’s growing international isolation, shows how deep a strategic failure this war has been for the Israeli government. 

Finally, the assessment speaks to the falsity of the Israeli government’s assertions of a “strategic shift” toward more targeted operations in Gaza. The government’s early January claims that it had dismantled Hamas in northern Gaza were the basis of its claim to be able to downsize operations. Yet not only has the claimed shift not been forthcoming, but the supposed success it is based on is itself a mirage. The truth is that the IDF’s campaign in Gaza is failing, and the only way to avoid it failing further and more catastrophically is to end it through a ceasefire.

Suggested Messaging:

  • Reports that Hamas is rebuilding its governance and military capacity in the north only reinforce the fact that the Israeli military’s campaign in the Gaza Strip is an absolute strategic failure. 
  • Tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed, and millions of others are enduring cruel violence and war-made conditions of famine, all in an effort that has produced almost no strategic progress against Hamas. Rather than backing the Israeli government as it repeats in southern Gaza the same military mistakes it made in the north, the U.S. must demand an immediate end to all of this illogical violence.

News: CIA director joined weekend ceasefire talks 

Analysis: On Sunday, CIA director William Burns met with the Israeli and Egyptian intelligence chiefs and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Paris, with hopes of securing another ceasefire deal. In the run-up to the talks, two senior Biden administration officials said U.S. negotiators were pushing forward a potential multi-month framework, in which a two-month ceasefire would be implemented. According to the framework, during the first 30 days, the remaining women, elderly, and wounded hostages would be returned home. During the second 30 days, Israeli soldiers and male hostages would be released in exchange for an increase in aid. Following the negotiations, the Israeli government released a statement that talks were “constructive” but “significant gaps” remained between the two sides. This comes as, over the weekend, Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant told Israeli troops that as long as hostages remain in Gaza, “we will intensify the (military) pressure and continue our efforts — it’s already happening now.”

Burns has met with negotiators several times since the start of the war in Gaza, including in the weeks running up to the temporary ceasefire in November 2023 as well as during the temporary ceasefire. Burns’ upcoming talks in Europe come as Qatari and Egyptian mediators continue urging for progress, with the Israeli government recently proposing to stop the fighting for several months in exchange for the release of all remaining hostages.

Suggested Messaging:

  • We welcome Burns’ participation in high-level ceasefire talks and urge that he do everything he can to ensure a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is secured. People in Israel and Palestine are not safe until the war ends – for good. 
  • A ceasefire is as vital as it has ever been, especially given the dire need for humanitarian aid in Gaza as hunger and disease have become endemic in recent weeks.

News: Right-wing Israeli activists promote re-settlement in Gaza

Over the weekend, thousands of extremist right-wing activists attended a conference in Jerusalem calling for a revival of Israeli settlements across the Gaza Strip. Eleven Israeli government ministers, including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and 15 Knesset members from the governing coalition were there, encouraging not only the rebuilding of Israeli settlements in Gaza but also the emigration of Palestinians after the end of the war in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who didn’t attend the conference, said over the weekend that resettlement in Gaza wasn’t official government policy.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration must make it absolutely clear to the Israeli government that re-occupation and re-settlement of the Gaza Strip is a serious red line. It must stay true to its commitment that Palestinians be able to freely return to their homes across Gaza. 
  • So far, the Biden administration has left it to spokespeople to explicitly condemn Israeli government ministers for these kinds of statements. That is unacceptable. The president and his closest advisors should be publicly repudiating blatant calls for permanent forced displacement in Gaza, made by high-ranking Israeli government ministers. 

News: U.S. strikes bolstering Houthis’ popularity

Analysis: Before October 7, the Houthis were declining in popularity among Yemeni civil society and began facing some domestic resistance. However, since the start of their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, the Houthis’ domestic popularity has soared. After the U.S. and allies began striking Yemen in retaliation for the Houthis’ Red Sea operations, thousands of Yemenis demonstrated on the streets against the coalition airstrikes, many showing support to the militant group. According to Yemeni analysts and former government officials, some domestic enemies of the Houthis are now aligning with them, expressing support, with some factions now even providing weapons to them. The Houthis, according to Michael Horton in Responsible Statecraft, are increasingly being seen by people in Yemen “as victors over not only Saudi Arabia but also over much of the West.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • The U.S.-led maritime operations have had completely counterproductive results in the Red Sea. Not only are the U.S.-led strikes on Yemen not deterring the Houthis from furthering their Red Sea attacks, but they are also benefiting the Houthis politically and boosting their popularity in Yemen.
  • A ceasefire in Gaza would cut the Houthis’ domestic political incentives to carry out their maritime operations and give the U.S. an opportunity to extricate itself from this vicious cycle. 

News: ICJ orders Israeli government to prevent genocide

Analysis: The International Court of Justice ​​(ICJ) ruled on Friday on motions from the Israeli government to dismiss the case that the South African government has brought against it for breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention, and from the South African government calling for emergency injunctions against Israeli military action in Gaza. The court declined to dismiss the case and ordered the Israeli government to “take all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians. The ICJ also ordered the Israeli government to prevent and punish direct and public incitement to genocide as well as take immediate steps to ensure the distribution of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians. Responding to the ruling, the U.S. State Department said that the provisional measures ordered by the court are in line with the Biden administration’s own asks of the Israeli government, to minimize civilian harm and increase humanitarian assistance. In terms of the next steps, the ICJ ordered the Israeli government to submit a report on how it would implement the orders and to report back in one month with evidence of its compliance. The UN Security Council will meet soon to discuss a resolution calling for the enforcement of the provisional measures.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • If the Biden administration supports the ICJ’s efforts to protect Palestinian civilians, it should avoid using its veto in the UN Security Council against a resolution reiterating the court’s provisional measures.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 26,422 people in Gaza since October 7 (January 28). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 136 hostages are still held in Gaza (January 28).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 218 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (January 28). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 352 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed five Israelis (January 28). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 83 journalists have been killed in the conflict (January 29).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 24, a total of 153 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21). 

UNOCHA reported that, as of January 23, 151 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 25 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: The Israeli military’s strategy has not shifted.

Analysis: The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to bombard Gaza, concentrating heavily on the southern city of Khan Younis, where troops have engaged in the deadliest fighting so far this year. Amid the continued assault from air, land, and sea, there is little indication that violence in Gaza has lessened, let alone will end soon, despite the Israeli military’s claim two weeks ago that “the war shifted a stage” toward more targeted operations. The Israeli government’s military campaign continues to consistently kill more than 100 people every day, with 190 people killed by strikes over the last 24 hours. Humanitarian aid has also not increased, with a mere 66 humanitarian aid trucks entering yesterday. 

Some mainstream analysis argues that the IDF has indeed embarked on the strategic shift it had announced two weeks ago, citing a “decline in deaths among Gazan residents.” When looking strictly at daily death tolls, this month’s average daily death toll is indeed lesser than that of late October. However, the long-term decline in the pace of killing is hardly an indication that the IDF has turned over a new leaf. The IDF announced it was making a “strategic shift” toward more targeted operations on January 8, not earlier on in the conflict when the pace of killing peaked. If you compare the two weeks since the announcement of the supposed shift to the two weeks before it, deaths in Gaza fell only 15%. The Israeli military has also not halted its mass attacks in the strip. In fact, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the IDF is leading a large-scale operation in southern Khan Younis that will last several days and move towards the western parts of the city. Importantly, the number of humanitarian aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip has also not significantly changed in comparison to the figures in the weeks before the IDF’s announcement.

Second, the period of a “decline in deaths” parallels with a period of mass displacement and mass starvation used as a weapon of war, with 100% of people in Gaza facing acute malnutrition at the IPC Global Initiative’s Crisis, Emergency, and Catastrophe/Famine levels – the highest level the IPC has ever recorded. With the majority of Gaza’s population displaced to cramped tent camps in the south, the likelihood of being killed by the IDF’s continuous strip-wide bombardment has decreased slightly. And yet, millions of Gazans are facing other lethal consequences of the siege: widespread conditions of famine, in addition to soaring rates of infectious diseases and a collapsed healthcare infrastructure. Those forms of violence are no less a result of the Israeli government’s ongoing military campaign than bombs falling on people’s homes.

Win Without War has documented the number of daily deaths and the number of trucks entering the Gaza Strip since the end of the November 2023 ceasefire, using UN reports (see Figure 1, 2, and 3).

Figure 1

Screenshot 2024-01-23 at 5.15.52 PM

Figure 2

Screenshot 2024-01-23 at 5.16.00 PM

Figure 3

Screenshot 2024-01-23 at 5.16.06 PM

Suggested Messaging:

  • There is little evidence to support the IDF’s claims that the war is transitioning away from large-scale operations, nor is there evidence that the IDF is ready to allow more aid into the strip – this war is continuing at its normal, horrific pace, and a ceasefire is still vitally needed to stop it. 
  • The war in Gaza is killing people through multiple forms of violence – not only directly through strikes, but through the conditions of famine, disease, collapsed healthcare, and displacement.  

News: Temporary ceasefire developments

Analysis: Yesterday, the Israeli government shared with Hamas officials a proposal for a temporary ceasefire deal in which the IDF would stop fighting for two months in exchange for the release of all remaining hostages trapped in Gaza. Part of the deal includes the IDF’s withdrawal from Gaza City and northern Gaza to allow for the return of civilians. Such an agreement could eventually lead to a ceasefire, and Israeli officials have said that if such a temporary ceasefire deal is implemented, IDF operations would be lower in intensity and smaller in scope after the two months. Hamas has reportedly rejected the proposal, however, demanding that the Israeli military fully withdraw from the strip.  

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Establishing a new ceasefire in Gaza is the most important step for people to find safety in Gaza and the entire region. As U.S. envoy Brett McGurk travels across to Egypt and Qatar this week, we urge that he does everything in his power to ensure a ceasefire is secured. 
  • A new ceasefire would save lives – but must be accompanied by intense efforts to get as much humanitarian aid into Gaza as possible to safeguard the lives not only threatened by the bombardment and fighting but by the conditions produced by the war, such as mass starvation. 

News: Hostage families continue calling for hostage exchange deal

Analysis: The Israeli family members of the hostages in Gaza have been making clear their anger and frustrations with Netanyahu’s war cabinet since the war in Gaza began – taking to the streets, meeting with government officials, and speaking to the press. Over the weekend, the hostages’ family members protested outside of Netanyahu’s private residence in Jerusalem, blocking traffic, waving signs with the faces and names of the remaining hostages in Gaza, and calling for an immediate hostage exchange deal. On Monday, relatives of the hostages interrupted a Knesset Finance Committee session by bursting in and demanding the government secure the hostages’ release. The temporary ceasefire at the end of November 2023 allowed for the release of about 100 hostages from Gaza, and a second, lasting ceasefire would ensure the safe return home of the remaining hostages.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The Biden administration can be a powerful ally to the hostages’ families who are calling for the safe release and return of their loved ones by pushing for the Israeli government to prioritize peace and recovering the hostages. 
  • The hostages’ families are a powerful voice in Israeli society and are only growing more so. The Biden administration must pay specific attention to the voices of the families of hostages and hear their concerns about the Israeli government’s mishandling of the situation in Gaza. 

News: French hospital on ship treating wounded Gazans

Analysis: As tens of thousands of wounded people in Gaza find it almost impossible to receive medical care from Gaza’s collapsing health system, a French field hospital on a warship at Egypt’s port of al-Arish has offered some Gazans relief. The helicopter carrier docked just 30 miles west of Gaza since November, currently carries 70 medical staff who have treated 1,000 wounded people from Gaza, 120 of whom have been hospitalized on board. France recently played a key role in securing medicine shipments to the Gaza Strip for hostages in the most recent deal between the Israeli government and Hamas. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We applaud the French government’s efforts to ensure people in Gaza, including both Palestinians and the hostages kidnapped by Hamas, have access to medical care and medicine. 
  • The U.S. can and should join efforts to provide people in Gaza with vital aid, but it would be borderline disingenuous to do so without also calling for a ceasefire, as the French government and many others have done.
  • No amount of medical care will secure the safety and health of people – residents and hostages alike – in Gaza. What’s needed is an immediate, lasting ceasefire. 

News: Militant attack on U.S. base in Iraq

Analysis: In the latest instance of militant attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, militants fired at least 10 rockets and 7 short-range missiles at a U.S. base in western Iraq, two of which penetrated American defense systems and injured several U.S. military members. That is the most harm inflicted on U.S. troops yet by an attack carried out by Iran-backed militants in Iraq since October 7. In response to a recent U.S. strike on the country, the Iraqi government announced it was forming a committee to prepare the removal of the 2,500 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq. The weekend strikes on the U.S. troops came after a suspected IDF airstrike in Damascus killed five Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Iran-backed militants halted their attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria during the November 2023 ceasefire. Regional violence would drastically de-escalate if a second, lasting ceasefire were put in place.
  • A ceasefire would protect lives on all sides: not only the lives of people in the Middle East who are living in fear of regional escalation and war but also the lives of American troops coming under attack amid the war in Gaza.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 25,295 people in Gaza since October 7 (January 22). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 136 hostages are still held in Gaza (January 18).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 196 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (January 22). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 348 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed five Israelis (January 22). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 83 journalists have been killed in the conflict (January 23).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 17, a total of 66 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of January 9, 135 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 24 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, January 19, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Israel and Hamas negotiate medication deal for hostages

Analysis: The Qatari government has announced a deal between the Israeli government and Hamas to immediately deliver medication to hostages still held in the Gaza Strip. The French government played an instrumental role in the deal, securing a list of required medicine for 45 hostages, purchasing the medicine, and sending it to Qatar. Yesterday the medicine entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt. 136 Israeli and foreign nationals are still being held captive in the Gaza Strip, where the World Health Organization has struggled to bring in medical supplies due to the scale of violence. 


Suggested Messaging: 

  • We welcome this joint Qatari-French effort to mediate such an important deal and are relieved that many hostages will access desperately needed medicines that are hard to find in the besieged Gaza Strip. 
  • The only way to truly ensure the hostages’ long-term safety is for them to be released and returned to their loved ones – which is why we need a second ceasefire as soon as possible. 
  • These successful negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli government are proof that diplomatic efforts to save lives in this horrible conflict are still possible. We urge the U.S. to take on a bigger role in working with the Qatari government to advance a new, lasting ceasefire deal. 

News: McGurk ties Israel-Saudi normalization with Gaza reconstruction

Analysis: White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk has privately proposed a controversial post-war plan for the Gaza Strip centered on Israel-Saudi normalization, according to HuffPost. This plan envisions the reconstruction of post-war Gaza as requiring the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Israeli and Saudi governments, in which the Saudi government would leverage reconstruction aid to pressure Palestinian leaders to establish a new administrative structure for both Gaza and the occupied West Bank. This, the theory goes, would likely quiet the Saudi government’s criticism of the Israeli government’s actions and also pressure Israeli leaders to take on a more limited role in the Gaza Strip. HuffPost reported that this vision was “shared in some circles of the Washington national security establishment,” with some administration officials rightly expressing “serious concerns” that such a plan would contribute to further regional instability. Most absurdly, as one U.S. official told HuffPost, McGurk envisions President Biden traveling to the Middle East on a “victory tour to claim credit for an Israel-Saudi deal as an answer to Gaza’s pain.”

These revelations, which the White House has denied, are disappointing for a number of reasons. To start, the deal is unworkable on its own merits, given that normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia is quite unlikely at the moment due to overwhelming domestic opposition in Saudi Arabia to the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza. Furthermore, any U.S.-Saudi mutual defense pact, which the Biden administration would likely try to include as part of the normalization negotiations, would both increase tensions in a region already on the brink of a region-wide war and increase the chances of direct U.S. involvement in such a war – both outcomes the Biden administration has said it wishes to avoid. Additionally, by making the Saudi government the key player in Palestinian governance, the proposal fails to respect the redlines President Biden has set forth about the disposition of Gaza after the end of the Israeli military offensive: “the voices of Palestinian people and their aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza.” Post-war plans must center Palestinian voices and aspirations, not U.S. or Saudi officials’ underlying agendas, to ensure genuine stability and sustainable reconstruction. 

Suggested Messaging:  

  • We oppose any plan that conditions safety and self-governance for people in Gaza on the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia or a U.S.-Saudi defense pact. 
  • President Biden should stay true to his commitment to ensure that Palestinians are central to governance in Gaza going forward. 

News: The Israeli military isn’t transitioning its Gaza operations 

Analysis: The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are not still phasing out large-scale attacks in the Gaza Strip, despite IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari claiming last week that the IDF has already begun to transition toward more targeted operations. Over the past few days, people across the strip continued facing heavy air, land, and sea bombardments, in addition to IDF ground operations and fighting with Hamas. In fact, Israeli forces returned to parts of northern Gaza they had left last week, despite having announced they would scale back operations there. Civilians in the north experienced some of the most intense fighting and bombardment they have seen in weeks, while people in the southern city of Khan Younis faced successive airstrikes, including on residential buildings. IDF attacks continue killing more than 100 people every day, with 172 Palestinians killed over the past 24 hours as the cumulative toll of Gazans killed since October 7 nears 25,000. Likewise, humanitarian aid is not increasing, with a mere 98 aid trucks entering Gaza on January 17 according to the United Nations. This daily toll is significantly below the average 500 that would enter the strip each working day before the current conflict, and barely addresses the needs of people in Gaza, 100% of whom are facing acute malnutrition at the IPC Global Initiative’s Crisis, Emergency, and Catastrophe/Famine levels. 

Figures 1, 2, and 3 below show the number of daily deaths, cumulative deaths, and the number of trucks entering the Gaza Strip since the end of the November 2023 ceasefire, using UN reports.

Figure 1

daily death 1

Figure 2

Total death 2

Note: Gaps in the data above correspond to days when the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs did not report a cumulative death toll, partly due to frequent communication blackouts and the difficulty of obtaining real-time information from the ground.   

Figure 3

daily trucks 3

Note: Gaps in the data above correspond to days when the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs did not report the daily number of aid trucks entering the strip, partly due to frequent communication blackouts and the difficulty of obtaining real-time information from the ground.   

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Reports that IDF ground forces have returned to northern Gaza prove that the Israeli government has not ‘phased down’ its war in Gaza. Despite IDF claims, killing in Gaza has not slowed or stopped, and aid deliveries remain completely inadequate. 
  • More than two million people in Gaza need the Biden administration to step up to the plate and pressure the Israeli government for a ceasefire that will offer real relief. What’s needed isn’t a shift in IDF operations, but an immediate ceasefire. 

News: More U.S. strikes on Yemen

Analysis: The U.S. military launched a fifth set of strikes on Yemen on Thursday, destroying two anti-ship missiles at their launch sites in the latest example of regional escalation of the conflict in Gaza. Unlike the first two U.S. strikes, which appeared to have pre-planned the targets, the most recent three sets of strikes seem to show the U.S. military would destroy Houthi capabilities as they were detected. In response to these U.S. strikes, the Houthis’ spokesperson said the group would expand its targets to include U.S. ships, even those not heading toward Israel since, in his words, “it is enough for [the ship] to be American.” As Houthis continued their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, they damaged a U.S.-owned commercial vessel and even attempted to hit a U.S. warship. Despite the strikes not deterring the Houthis from their Red Sea operations, Biden said the U.S. military would continue striking Yemen

Suggested Messaging:

  • U.S. strikes that were meant to deter the Houthis clearly have not done so, creating an alarming situation in which the U.S. is being drawn deeper into a completely unnecessary conflict in the Red Sea.
  • U.S. strikes have failed to end Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, but they have harmed Yemeni civilians who had nothing to do with those attacks, with humanitarian aid organizations being forced to suspend operations in Yemen due to the strikes. 
  • The best way to avoid spiraling violence in the Red Sea is to end spiraling violence in Gaza. A ceasefire in Gaza would disincentivize Houthi aggression in the Red Sea and sharply reduce the risk of escalation across the region – two vital ingredients to resolving the Red Sea crisis.

News: IDF special forces operate in Lebanon

Analysis: In a rare acknowledgment, the IDF said its special operations forces conducted multiple operations in the Sluki Valley in southern Lebanon. Lebanese security sources described 16 IDF airstrikes in quick succession as the “densest bombardment of a single location” in Lebanon since October 7th. These strikes were coupled with heavy artillery shelling. IDF leadership continues to message its willingness to launch a full-scale war against Hezbollah, with the commander of Israel’s Northern Command telling reservists recently, “We are more prepared than ever…we can [go to war] tonight if needed.” The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency found that the IDF would actually have a difficult time winning a war against Hezbollah, given that its assets and resources are heavily concentrated in Gaza.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration must continue warning the Israeli government, both publicly and privately, against pursuing what would be a disastrous war in Lebanon. A lasting ceasefire in Gaza is the only way to secure long-term de-escalation between Israeli and Hezbollah forces and reverse the incentives that have pushed both groups to the closest point to all-out war since 2006.
  • Not only will a ceasefire disincentivize cross-border violence, but it will also boost the possibility of negotiations between Hezbollah and Israeli officials on border demarcations. 

News: More than $15 billion needed to reconstruct Gaza’s homes

Analysis: This week, the Palestinian Investment Fund estimated that it would cost more than $15 billion to reconstruct less than half of the homes damaged or destroyed by IDF strikes. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the fund’s chairman, Mohammad Mustafa, said that the war in Gaza has partially or completely destroyed at least 350,000 housing units across the strip. He did not offer an estimate of the full cost of rebuilding Gaza, arguing that such a figure needed to account for the hospitals, power grids, and other infrastructure. The destruction of Gaza – from the north to the south – has caught the international media’s attention, though there have been few serious conversations about how to rebuild all that has been lost.

Suggested Messaging:

 

  • The cost of war is extremely high, and this price tag for Gaza’s residential reconstruction is only the beginning. The U.S. should lead international efforts to source that funding. 
  • Just as they must be central to Gaza’s governance, Palestinians must also be the ones deciding how reconstruction aid is used. We reject any proposal that ties Gaza’s reconstruction to external influence over Gaza’s administration. 
  • As long as the war continues, the cost of reconstruction is only going to increase – and reconstruction efforts cannot even until the war ends. A permanent ceasefire is needed now to ensure people in Gaza can have lasting safety and find help from the international community to rebuild their lives. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 24,620 people in Gaza since October 7 (January 18). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 136 hostages are still held in Gaza (January 18).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 191 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (January 18). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 348 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed five Israelis (January 18). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 83 journalists have been killed in the conflict (January 19).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 17, a total of 98 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative has ever reported (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of January 9, 135 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 24 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. As of January 4, more than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Israeli Defense Ministry proposes re-occupation.

Analysis: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has shared his four-part plan for postwar governance in Gaza – the first such public proposal from a government minister. According to the proposal, the Israeli government would maintain its blockade of the Gaza Strip and “the right to take any military and security action necessary inside Gaza,” while a U.S.-led multinational task force would run civil affairs and economic rehabilitation. Palestinians would only influence certain administrative mechanisms, such as sewage, electricity, water, and aid distribution in conjunction with the U.S.-led task force.

The plan will not be implemented because it is barely tethered to reality – it assumes that Hamas has lost all of its military capacity and makes no provision for providing security in Gaza or bringing displaced Gazans back to their homes, among other oversights. It is, however, useful as an indicator of the Netanyahu government’s thinking about the future of Gaza. Gallant’s plan amounts to a re-occupation of the Gaza Strip – Palestinian self-government in name only, with Israeli government preferences enforced by unchecked IDF access to the strip. The Biden administration has made clear for months that it opposes re-occupation, and it should be willing to enforce that red line.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The fact that the Israeli government has yet to release its clear plans for postwar Gaza underlines how unprepared it is. 
  • As Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes his rounds across the Middle East, he should reiterate that Israeli re-occupation of Gaza is unacceptable. 
  • While the Israeli government mulls implausible scenarios for a postwar Gaza, more than two million innocent Palestinians are waiting for the war to end. They need a ceasefire today. 

News: US intelligence community: The Israeli military would likely lose a war in Lebanon

Analysis: The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency found that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would have a difficult time winning a war against Hezbollah, given that its assets and resources are concentrated in Gaza. According to The Washington Post, the Biden administration has warned the Israeli government against escalation in Lebanon, with Blinken traveling to Israel to discuss steps to avoid such a situation. U.S. officials worry that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may see a war with Hezbollah as “key” to his political survival. Cross-border strikes have continued between the IDF and Hezbollah forces. On Saturday, Hezbollah conducted one of its biggest attacks since October 7, damaging an Israeli military base, while on Monday and Tuesday, the Israeli military killed two Hezbollah commanders through strikes on southern Lebanon. Not only are civilians also dying in the crossfire on both sides, but U.S. intelligence shows the IDF has hit positions of the Lebanese Armed Forces, who are funded and trained by the U.S., more than 34 times since October 7.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • A lasting ceasefire in Gaza is the only way to secure long-term de-escalation between Israeli and Hezbollah forces and reverse the incentives that have pushed both groups to the closest point to all-out war since 2006.
  • Not only will a ceasefire disincentivize cross-border violence, but it will also boost the possibility of negotiations between Hezbollah and Israeli officials on border demarcations. 

News: Avoidable, heartbreaking medical crisis 

Analysis: More than four months into the war in Gaza, hospitals have either completely collapsed or are barely functioning – and millions of people’s bodies are on the line. Every day, more than 10 children are losing one or both of their legs, many of which are amputated without anesthesia. Under intense airstrikes across the strip, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, which the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus characterized as “the most important hospital remaining in Gaza’s Middle Area,” now only has five doctors overseeing hundreds of emergency cases and injuries every single day.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Humanitarian aid, including desperately needed medical supplies, must be significantly expanded to meet the severe levels of people’s needs across the Gaza Strip. 
  • This is a mass-disabling war with very real implications on people living in Gaza, and a ceasefire is the sole solution to ensuring more people do not get permanently injured, let alone die. 

News: Hostage families continue urging for a ceasefire

Analysis: Over the weekend, family members of Israeli hostages met for the first time with  Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who told them that current conditions to secure a second ceasefire are challenging. Still, the Qatari government – which brokered talks for the first ceasefire and its extensions in November 2023 – plans to continue mediating dialogue in hopes of arriving at a deal between the Israeli government and Hamas. On Sunday, five family members of the hostages called for the Israeli government to prioritize such negotiations. Daniel Lifshitz, one of those members whose grandfather was kidnapped by Hamas and is still held in Gaza, said that delaying ceasefire talks “is killing the hostages.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Our hearts continue to break for the families in Israel and across the world who still await the return of their loved ones from the Gaza Strip. 
  • The November 2023 ceasefire made clear that diplomacy works and protects lives on all sides of the conflict, including securing the release of hostages, and we urge the U.S. government to press for a second ceasefire deal, this one lasting, to end the violence and bring security to Israel, Palestine, and the region. 

News: U.S. strikes Baghdad, invoking war authorizations 

Analysis: Last week, a U.S. military airstrike in Baghdad killed a senior commander of an Iran-backed militia that also serves as part of Iraq’s security apparatus. Since October 7, Iran-backed militant organizations have targeted bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria more than 100 times based on opposing U.S. support of the Israeli government’s war in Gaza. In response to the U.S. strike last week, the Iraqi government announced it was forming a committee to prepare the removal of the 2,500 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq

The Biden administration invoked the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that authorized the invasion of Iraq as part of its legal justification for the strike, which is concerning given that the White House is on record supporting repeal of the 2002 AUMF. Resurfacing this zombie war authorization underscores how the violence emanating from the Israeli government’s campaign in Gaza threatens to draw the U.S. back into direct involvement in a major Middle Eastern war.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Congress is on the cusp of repealing the 2002 AUMF, and it should prioritize getting repeal over the finish line.
  • Militants halted their attacks on U.S. troops during the November 2023 ceasefire. Regional violence would drastically de-escalate if the Israeli military abided by a second, lasting ceasefire. Rather than invoking War on Terror-era laws that provoke further hostilities and long-term consequences on U.S. security, Biden can simply call for a ceasefire.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 23,210 people in Gaza since October 7 (January 9). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 136 hostages are still held in Gaza (January 9).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 183 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (January 9). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 321 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed five Israelis (January 9). 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 79 journalists have been killed in the conflict (January 10).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 9, a total of 131 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • According to the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative, 100% of people living in Gaza are classified by Phase 3 (Crisis) or above (Emergency and Catastrophe/Famine) levels of acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are the highest that the IPC Global Initiative (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of December 30, 123 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes at least 21 civilians. As of January 3, rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed about nine soldiers and six civilians since October 7, according to the Soufan Center. More than 80,000 people living near the northern Israeli border, and about 75,000 people near Lebanon’s southern border, have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, January 5, 2024

Key updates and messaging

News: Israeli troop withdrawals

Analysis: The Israeli military announced that it is withdrawing at least five brigades operating in northern Gaza, consisting of several thousand troops each. Reservists from at least two brigades are being sent home, with three active-duty brigades returning for training. The Israeli government said the move would also lessen the domestic economic cost of the war on Gaza, which hit Israel’s labor force hard as hundreds of thousands of Israelis were mobilized or left their businesses in towns bordering Palestinian territories. One U.S. official said that the move indicates “the start of the gradual shift to lower-intensity operations in the north that [the U.S.] ha[s] been encouraging.” Despite such predictions from U.S. officials, accompanied by increasing U.S. diplomatic pressure to end the “high intensity” phase of its fighting, the Israeli military is showing no evidence of such an operational shift as it continues to devastate the middle and especially southern parts of Gaza, where it had directed hundreds of thousands of people to flee at the beginning of the invasion. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Killing between 100 and 200 people daily over recent days, the Israeli military hasn’t shown tangible evidence that it is shifting to lower-intensity operations despite U.S. government predictions and pressure. 
  • Troop rotations and vague gestures at an operational shift offer no safety for the millions endangered in Gaza. A ceasefire remains the only path toward ameliorating the suffering and fear there. 

News: Lethal strikes in Lebanon

Analysis: On Tuesday, a drone strike in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahiyeh killed Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas’ deputy political head and a founder of Hamas’ military wing, along with six other Hamas members including two commanders. Al-Arouri, whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to kill even before Hamas’ horrific October 7 attack, had worked to deepen the relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and his assassination heightens the risk of war between Israel and Hezbollah. Though the Israeli government neither explicitly confirmed nor denied its role behind the attack, an Israeli spokesperson named it a “surgical strike against Hamas leadership.” In a speech addressing the strike in Beirut, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against launching a war in Lebanon but did not commit to any particular response against the government for its alleged assassination of al-Arouri.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Region-wide war is a very real possibility, and an Israeli government airstrike on a residential area far from the Israel-Lebanon border makes such a war more likely. 
  • The Biden administration’s pressure on the Israeli government not to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah or attempt to goad the group into all-out war is welcome.   
  • But a ceasefire in Gaza is the only way to achieve durable de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah and to reverse the incentives that push both parties closer to war. 

News: Horrendous scale of food insecurity  

Analysis: The threat of famine is intensifying for people across the Gaza Strip every day as the Israeli government deepens its deadly military operations and continues imposing severe restrictions on humanitarian aid access. As evidence increases that the Israeli military is weaponizing civilian mass starvation as a tool of warfare, 90% of Gazans are regularly going entire days without food. Mothers, deprived of food and water, are reporting that they can no longer breastfeed their babies. The most recent Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Global Initiative special brief shares dismaying projections that by February 2024, 21% of the Gazan population will be classified by Phase 3 – Crisis, 53% by Phase 4 – Emergency, and 26% by Phase 5 – Catastrophe/Famine – the most severe phase of food insecurity (definitions of phases below). In other words, by February, every single person in Gaza will be facing high or above-usual acute malnutrition. These absolutely unimaginable and unprecedented levels of food insecurity are in fact the highest that the IPC Global Initiative, an internationally accepted food security classification system designed to improve the fight against global hunger, has ever classified for an area or country, revealing the scale of cruel collective punishment Gazans are enduring every day without a ceasefire.  

IPC Phase 3 – Crisis: Households face food gaps shown by high or above-usual acute malnutrition, or are barely able to meet minimum food needs by depleting assets for survival.
IPC Phase 4 – Emergency: Households face large food gaps shown by very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality, or mitigate food gaps but only by employing emergency livelihood strategies and asset liquidation.
IPC Phase 5 – Catastrophe/Famine: Households face an extreme lack of food and basic needs even with coping strategies, with acute malnutrition levels, starvation, death, and destitution. Famine classification applies to areas with extremely critical acute malnutrition and mortality levels. 

Suggested Messaging:

  • There are no words to justify this completely war-made humanitarian tragedy, nor are there words to excuse the U.S. government’s lack of serious action. The tens of thousands of lives lost due to inaction will forever haunt U.S. foreign policy in the region and beyond. 
  • Logistically, securing a ceasefire is the quickest way to bring food aid into the Gaza Strip and end the increasing risk of famine. The temporary ceasefire from November 2023 allowed for heightened levels of aid to enter the strip, and a lasting ceasefire would do the same.
  • On Wednesday, a mere 105 aid trucks entered Gaza, – far from enough to meet the scale of need. A ceasefire deal must guarantee a dramatic expansion of humanitarian aid and ensure its distribution across all of the strip. 

News: U.S. sinks 3 Houthi ships

Analysis: On Sunday, the Houthis and U.S. forces came into direct and deadly military contact, for the first time since October 7. The U.S. military reported that it sank three Houthi boats in the Red Sea, killing the 10 people aboard after Houthi militants attacked a commercial ship. This comes less than two weeks after a U.S.-led, 20-country task force arrived in the Red Sea’s crowded shipping lanes, which we predicted would escalate the situation in the Red Sea. Yesterday the U.S. and its allies released a joint statement warning the Houthi movement (who formally call themselves Ansar Allah) of unspecified consequences if they continue their attacks on commercial ships, the Houthis said they would continue targeting ships they consider to be linked to the Israeli government.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Continually raising the stakes with the Houthis is neither necessary nor strategic. U.S. saber-rattling is more likely to produce escalation than deterrence against a non-state actor anxious to be seen as a relevant player in the conflict in Gaza.
  • An immediate ceasefire in Gaza would disincentivize the Houthis’ unacceptable aggression in the Red Sea, a much cleaner path forward compared to the U.S.’s current chosen response, which increases the chances of regional war.

News: U.S. government skips Congress to approve 155mm artillery shell sale
Analysis: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken approved the emergency sale of 155mm artillery shells to the Israeli government after determining that circumstances justify waiving congressional review requirements, bypassing basic congressional oversight. In previous IDF operations in Gaza, these 155mm shells, with a casualty radius of up to 300 meters, have been used by Israeli forces and resulted in widespread civilian death and injury. According to Oxfam, “there are no known scenarios in which 155mm artillery shells could be used in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza in compliance with international humanitarian law.” As the Biden administration exerts diplomatic pressure on the Israeli government to “be more careful” to protect Gazan civilians and shift to a “lower intensity” war, the sale of these kinds of weapons would only enable Israel to further escalate – revealing the fact that the Biden administration has no tangible plans to hold the Israeli government accountable for the unconscionable harm it continues to cause to people in Gaza. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • This sale is unacceptable, including by the standards of the Biden administration’s own arms transfer policy, which rules out transfers where serious international humanitarian law violations are “more likely than not.”
  • If the Biden administration is unwilling to enforce its own policy, Congress can and should step in to ban these dangerous arms transfers.

News: Netanyahu loses in court

Analysis: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has faced losses this week at multiple levels. On Monday, the Israeli Supreme Court struck down a central piece of his controversial judicial reforms, which aimed to prevent judges from overturning government decisions on the basis of being “unreasonable.” The Court emphasized the proposed reforms caused “severe and unprecedented harm to the core character of the State of Israel as a democratic country.” This comes as a new poll shows that only 15% of Israelis want Netanyahu in office after the war in Gaza ends. Over the past year, Netanyahu has lost support nationwide, demonstrated by summer protests against his judicial overhaul plans and by the ongoing protests since October 7 against his management of the war in Gaza. Most recently, over the weekend, hundreds of protesters in Tel Aviv called for new elections, with some urging for “a diplomatic agreement” and others asking to bring soldiers home from Gaza.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Even as the Biden administration has doubled down on its support for the Netanyahu-led government, voices inside Israel opposing Netanyahu’s failing, far-right policies and corrupt rule have only gotten louder. President Biden has an opportunity to stand with the people in Israel demanding responsible leadership, rather than continuing to support Netanyahu’s cruel and counterproductive campaign of collective punishment. 
  • The Biden administration must prioritize the conditions that secure the most stability and security for people in Israel, which includes a lasting ceasefire deal.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 22,438 people in Gaza since October 7 (January 4). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 128 hostages are still held in Gaza (January 4).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 173 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (December 21). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 305 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis (January 4).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 77 journalists have been killed in the conflict (January 4).
  • UNOCHA reported that on January 4, a total of 177 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, December 22, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: IDF deploys more troops to South Gaza

Analysis: The Israeli military announced the deployment of thousands of more troops to southern Gaza, in particular to Khan Younis, to bolster its “deepening” southern offensive. The IDF’s chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said these additional forces would target the remaining tunnels. The Israeli military also recently ordered new evacuations in the south, with maps showing new areas amounting to one-fifth of Khan Younis marked for evacuation, according to the United Nations. This all comes as Defense Minister Yoav Gallav said that the Israeli military could “transition gradually to the next phase” of its operation in Gaza. It is unclear from Israeli officials, however, what this “next phase” would entail. 

If the next phase follows the Biden administration’s formulation of targeted operations against Hamas led by Israeli special operations forces (SOF), one way to interpret the increase in troop levels around Khan Younis is that the added brigade could be part of the long-term garrison of general purpose forces required to enable a SOF-focused approach. In other words, a shift to “targeted operations” doesn’t mean an end to constant, large-scale IDF involvement in Gaza. Though the Biden administration has continually opposed a new occupation of Gaza, it is unclear how such a policy would differ from occupation.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Israeli government’s continued lack of clarity about its long-term plans for its ground offensive is proof that it has no realistic endgame in Gaza. 
  • The Biden administration must make absolutely clear that it condemns any Israeli attempt to re-occupy Gaza. 

News: Risky US-led task force in Red Sea

Analysis: In response to increasing Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, the U.S. announced the creation of a U.S.-led multinational naval task force, Operation Prosperity Guardian, in hopes of fending off further attacks. More than twenty countries, including Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, and the U.K., are part of the group – though at least eight countries have declined to be publicly named. U.S. allies in the region, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have either not joined the task force or have joined secretly due to heightened regional criticism of the Israeli government. Immediately after the announcement, the Houthis’ spokesperson said the Houthis would not stop their operations in the Red Sea, and even warned they would strike U.S. warships if targeted first. This is a scary possibility, considering U.S. officials recently revealed the Biden administration is weighing options to strike back at the Houthis in Yemen and the U.S. military recently moved the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group from the Persian Gulf into the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, to potentially back such a U.S. response.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • This U.S. initiative escalates the situation in the Red Sea while providing only marginal security gains for commercial shipping. No one’s prosperity is guarded by increasing the chances of regional war.
  • The quickest, simplest, and surest path to de-escalation is a lasting ceasefire in Gaza.

News: Ceasefire talks continue, but deal far off

Analysis: Over recent days, the Israeli government and Hamas relaunched indirect talks mediated by Egypt and Qatar, which the U.S. has characterized as “very serious.” Hamas’ top political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, visited Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian officials to secure a second ceasefire deal in which more hostages would be released. However, negotiations don’t seem to be nearing an end, with Hamas rejecting an Israeli proposal for a week-long truce in Gaza in return for the release of around 40 hostages. Instead, Hamas officials insisted they wanted a permanent ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for a hostage release.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • An immediate, lasting ceasefire deal would be a win for innocent people on all sides – the hostages and their loved ones, the people in Gaza bearing “hell on Earth” every day, the people in Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East living at the edge of regional war, and the international community grieving the tragic loss of life. 

News: UN Security Council approves aid resolution

Analysis: Today, the United Nations Security Council voted to pass a resolution calling for more humanitarian aid for Gaza after the vote was delayed four times to make room for high-level negotiations. The watered-down text no longer calls for a ceasefire, nor does it condemn the Israeli government’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians, which many countries sought to include. Instead, the resolution calls for “urgent steps to immediately allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and also for creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” Ultimately, the U.S. abstained from the vote. Families across Gaza need aid as quickly as possible. Facing the risk of widespread famine, almost all households are skipping meals every day.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We are disappointed that the resolution no longer calls for an end to Israel’s war in Gaza, but we know that people across the strip, including more than one million children, need food and water as soon as possible and cannot wait for more negotiations and delays at the UN. 
  • Expanded aid is only the band-aid solution – ending the humanitarian crisis in Gaza requires ending the Israeli government’s unrelenting bombardment, siege, and ground incursions into areas once promised as safe. 
  • Only a lasting ceasefire can ensure humanitarian needs are adequately met, and the Biden administration must do everything in its power to support its establishment.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed around 20,000 people in Gaza since October 7 (December 21). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 129 hostages are still held in Gaza (December 21).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 138 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (December 21). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 283 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,208 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis (December 21).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 68 journalists have been killed in the conflict (December 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that on December 21, a total of 100 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 170 aid trucks that entered Gaza during the temporary ceasefire and the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7.
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of December 13, 99 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes 16 civilians. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Signs of a new hostage deal? 

Analysis: On Monday, CIA Director William Burns – who played a central role in coordinating the last temporary ceasefire in Gaza – met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the head of Israel’s Mossad in Warsaw to discuss a potential new ceasefire, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. Over recent days, Hamas officials publicly said they will relaunch negotiations over a new agreement only if the Israeli government halts its military campaign in Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu, too, hinted at the negotiations, while Israeli President Isaac Herzog said, “Israel is ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages.” This comes as high-ranking American officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Jake Sullivan, become rhetorically tougher on the Israeli government to prioritize civilian protections and plan to transition from the current large-scale operations to lower-intensity operations.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We welcome these signs of negotiations and applaud the Biden administration’s continued diplomatic involvement at all levels to release the hostages in Gaza. 
  • The previous ceasefire deal showed us that such diplomacy works and can save lives on all sides of the conflict, and we urge the U.S. government to press for a second ceasefire deal, this one lasting, to end the violence and bring security to Israel, Palestine, and the region. 
  • We urge the Biden administration to match its sterner rhetoric with sterner actions, including using its significant leverage and resources to press the Israeli government for a lasting ceasefire deal. 

News: IDF using starvation as a weapon of war 

Analysis: A new Human Rights Watch report reveals that the Israeli military is weaponizing civilian starvation in Gaza as a tool of warfare, with Israeli forces “deliberately blocking” access to water, food, and fuel while “willfully impeding” international aid. These military actions match the public rhetoric of Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who have expressed the goal of depriving Gazan civilians of food, water, and fuel. On October 17, Ben-Gvir tweeted, “So long as Hamas does not release the hostages – the only thing that should enter Gaza is hundreds of tons of air force explosives – not an ounce of humanitarian aid.” HRW argues that the Israeli forces’ military operations, including targeting facilities indispensable to civilians’ survival such as bakeries, are reflected and endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials’ horrific public statements. The impact on the ground is deeply distressing. Currently, half of all people in Gaza are starving, and nine out of 10 families in some areas are going entire days and nights without food, according to the World Food Programme

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We emphatically condemn this weaponization of mass starvation, which is a cruel form of collective punishment, and our hearts break for the families, and children in particular, deprived of desperately needed food. 
  • A ceasefire is the quickest way to bring food aid into the Gaza Strip and end this collective starvation of innocent lives. The most recent temporary ceasefire allowed for increased levels of aid to enter the Strip, which offered relief to Gaza’s civilians, and a lasting ceasefire would do the same.
  • Given the scale of need, any ceasefire deal that is reached must guarantee a dramatic expansion of humanitarian aid and ensure people across the Strip can access the aid. 

News: Hamas recruiting in Lebanon

Analysis: Hamas is said to be recruiting members through announcements in Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps and mosques. Two weeks ago, Hamas announced the establishment of a new Hamas-affiliated organization based in Lebanon, Vanguards of the Al-Aqsa Flood, and called for Palestinian men and youth to join. In response, Lebanese political officials and civil society accused Hamas of violating Lebanon’s sovereignty. While the Hamas representative in Lebanon argued the new group would not be a military one, other Hamas statements hint at some of the new members being involved in armed activities.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • This is another sign that the Israeli military campaign is backfiring and playing to the advantage of Hamas, which is emerging stronger, not weaker, than before the war. 
  • The quickest way to halt this regional escalation and stem the expansion of Hamas is for the Israeli government to halt its offensive in Gaza immediately and abide by a lasting ceasefire. 

News: IDF kills 3 hostages 

Analysis: Last Friday, Israeli troops in northern Gaza shot and killed three hostages kidnapped by Hamas on October 7. A preliminary report indicated that the hostages, three men in their 20s who had escaped Hamas captors, were “mistakenly identified” by Israeli soldiers despite being shirtless, wearing civilian clothes, screaming in Hebrew, and waving a white flag. In response, the IDF issued new protocols of conduct to the Israeli ground troops in anticipation of more hostages fleeing captivity, and the IDF Chief of Staff told soldiers that people holding a white flag of surrender must not be fired upon. While Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed the killings “broke [his] heart,” he signaled no change in the Israeli government’s ground invasion, despite its clear risks on hostages’ lives.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The IDF’s tragic killing of three hostages reveals the complete failure of the Israeli government’s poorly-planned ground invasion. Despite eight weeks of ground operations, the IDF has yet to achieve its goal of freeing all the hostages
  • The temporary ceasefire deal, on the other hand, offered the most protection and ensured safe rescue of the hostages. We must return to a ceasefire, this one lasting, to ensure the remaining hostages can return to their loved ones. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed at least 19,453 people in Gaza since October 7 (December 18). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 129 hostages are still held in Gaza (December 18).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 129 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (December 18). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 281 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and either forces or settlers killed two. 1,257 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis (December 18).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 64 journalists have been killed in the conflict (December 17).
  • UNOCHA reported that on December 17, at least 102 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is below the 170 aid trucks that entered Gaza during the temporary ceasefire and the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7. 
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of December 13, 99 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes 16 civilians. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, December 15, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Mass starvation across Gaza

Analysis: As the Israeli government escalates its military offensive in Gaza, Palestinians are facing mass starvation. With aid agencies severely restricted under the Israeli military’s continuous bombardment, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that humanitarian operations are collapsing. Half of the population in Gaza is starving, according to the WFP, and nine out of 10 families in some areas are going “a full day and night without any food at all.” A large bag of flour that cost about $9 before the war now costs up to $140, and is often not even available. As long as the fighting continues, the situation will only worsen – threatening the lives of innocent civilians, including about one million children. But this is not inevitable. During the 7-day temporary ceasefire, Palestinians across the Gaza Strip saw a major increase in humanitarian aid.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Mass starvation is a form of collective punishment – a practice that is deeply unjust and should not be supported by the Biden administration. 
  • The quickest way to bring desperately needed aid into the Gaza Strip and end the mass starvation is a ceasefire. The most recent temporary ceasefire saved many lives, and a lasting ceasefire would do the same.  
  • The Biden administration must exert significant pressure on the Israeli government to immediately halt its expanded ground operations and ensure any ceasefire deal guarantees a dramatic expansion of humanitarian aid. 

News: First post-10/7 poll of Gaza released

Analysis: The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) released a new poll of Palestinian public opinion conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between November 22 and December 2, with all interviews in Gaza taking place during the temporary ceasefire. The poll is the first major survey of opinion in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive there. The poll’s results speak to both the horrific humanitarian situation in Gaza and the strategic failure of the Israeli military campaign there. On the humanitarian side, 64% of respondents in Gaza said that someone in their family had been killed or injured in the violence, and only 44% of respondents said they had enough food and water to last them more than a day or two (and the aid situation has worsened since the poll was conducted – see above). 

The poll also underscored the absurdity of the Israeli government’s claims that it is succeeding in “destroying” Hamas in Gaza. Among Gazans, who are among the best placed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Israeli military campaign, only 17% of respondents predicted that Israel would succeed in destroying Hamas in the strip, while 44% said Israeli efforts would fail. Asked to predict who will be governing Gaza in the “months after the end of the current war,” a majority of Gazans said Hamas. Support for Hamas as a political party in Gaza is up slightly since the last PCPSR poll, in September 2023, and up dramatically in the West Bank. The same is true for support for armed struggle as the best option for ending the occupation and building an independent Palestinian state. None of these numbers suggest that the horrors the Israeli military offensive has inflicted on people in Gaza are achieving the Israeli government’s stated goal for its offensive– indeed by some measures, Hamas is growing stronger as a result of the war. A ceasefire is the only way to avert further suffering in Gaza and to open the door for new solutions that can lead to dignity and the ability for people in Israel and Palestine to live without the fear of violence. 

Suggested messaging:

  • This poll is yet more evidence that the Israeli government’s strategy in Gaza is both horrific and counterproductive. An immediate and lasting ceasefire is vital to saving lives and dramatically shifting the Israeli government’s failing strategy.
  • The poll also shows that 87% of Palestinians think that the U.S. response to the Israeli government offensive shows a disregard for international humanitarian law, and 70% think that President Biden’s rhetoric about a two-state solution is not serious. The Biden administration’s opposition to a ceasefire is destroying U.S. credibility with the very people whose support is most necessary to create a peaceful future in Palestine.

News: Threats of regional war rising

Analysis: Violence at the Israel-Lebanon border continued escalating over the weekend. On Sunday, Hezbollah militants launched explosive drones and missiles at Israel, and the IDF struck several Lebanese towns and villages, damaging homes in southern Lebanon. Cross-border violence continued into Monday, when the Israeli military shelled parts of southern Lebanon, killing a local village mayor. These escalations represent a sharp uptick in violence from the period of the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, which Hezbollah chose to observe. Now, rather than an end to cross-border violence, the attacks have led Israeli authorities to threaten all-out war against Hezbollah – exactly the kind of spiraling regional escalation the Biden administration is trying to avoid. 

The Washington Post reported that in October cross-border attack by the Israeli military that injured nine Lebanese civilians was conducted with 155mm white phosphorus artillery rounds supplied by the U.S. Amnesty International has said that the attack should be investigated as a war crime.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Fears of regional war are real and weighing on people across the Middle East, and in particular on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border. 
  • This regional escalation will only continue rising if the Israeli government does not halt its offensive in Gaza. A lasting ceasefire will de-escalate the deadly conflict at the Israel-Lebanon border, as we saw during the temporary ceasefire.
  • We are alarmed by new reports that U.S.-made munitions were utilized in the IDF’s attacks on Lebanon and urge the administration to stick to its revised Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy, which rules out transfers where serious international humanitarian law violations are “more likely than not.”

News: U.S. delays rifle sale to Israel 

Analysis: The Biden administration is delaying a shipment of more than 27,000 U.S.-made M4 and M16 rifles for the Israeli national police due to concerns over increased Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli government requested these rifles immediately after the October 7 attacks for Israeli civilian response teams trained and armed by the Israeli police. Though the Biden administration initially approved the weapons’ export licenses, the administration decided to review and pause the deal amid soaring settler violence in the West Bank that has doubled since October 7. Officials also expressed concern that the rifles would be distributed to extremist settlers by the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who reportedly ordered police to not arrest violent settlers.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The rifle sale delays are welcome, but the administration should simply cancel the sale – putting U.S. arms in Ben-Gvir’s hands will never be safe for Palestinians, no matter how long the delay. 
  • We urge the Administration to apply the same critical lens it is applying in the West Bank on the Gaza Strip and immediately hold the Israeli government accountable for civilian safety there as well. 

News: U.S. plans Red Sea task force

Analysis: As attacks by the Houthis on commercial vessels continue in the Red Sea, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan revealed the U.S. is in active talks with other countries to form a “maritime task force … to ensure safe passage of ships in the Red Sea.” Such a task force would involve 12 nations, including the navies of at least the U.S., France, U.K., and Israel. The threat the Houthis pose to commercial shipping is real, but this task force is a totally counterproductive response to it. The real threat of escalation in the Red Sea comes from Houthi missiles hitting a foreign naval ship, on purpose or otherwise. Putting more such targets in the Red Sea – particularly from the Israeli Navy, which the Houthis would likely see as more of a tempting target than a deterrent – is a recipe for disastrous miscalculation. A much simpler plan, which would both protect commercial shipping and cut the risk of regional war, is for the Biden administration to urge for a ceasefire in Gaza, a move that would calm regional tensions and disincentivize the Houthis from further maritime escalation. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Biden administration is tying itself up in knots trying to manage the consequences of the Israeli government’s failing war in Gaza when a simple solution is available: push for a lasting ceasefire.
  • The establishment of such a multinational task force in the Red Sea heightens the chance of regional war, which makes it a very risky move. 

News: US tells Israel to stop large-scale ground campaign 

Analysis: During his visit to Tel Aviv, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet that the U.S. wants the Israeli government to end its large-scale operations in Gaza and offered a timetable to transition towards low-intensity operations. According to unnamed U.S. officials, the Biden administration foresees these involving smaller groups of Israeli forces and carrying out missions to find hostages and target Hamas leaders. These U.S. officials also told The New York Times that Biden wants the Israeli military to end the war within three weeks. This all developed as the Biden administration exerted increasing rhetorical pressure on the Israeli government to do more to protect the millions of civilians bearing the brunt of its campaign in Gaza.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We welcome this change in approach from the Biden administration and urge it to use all its leverage to ensure the Israeli government is pressured to end the war. 
  • Still, people in Gaza cannot wait a single day longer – let alone three weeks. We urge the Biden administration to move up its three-week-long timeline and call for an immediate ceasefire now. 

 

####

Friday, December 8, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: No one is safe in Gaza

Analysis: The Israeli military’s campaign in Gaza continues to grow in scope and violence. Over the course of 24 hours in the middle of this week, the IDF struck 250 targets killing at least 350 people across Gaza. This includes places the Israeli government very recently told civilians were safe, such as Rafah where Israeli airstrikes hit two homes and killed at least 20 people. As Commissioner General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said this week, “No place is safe in Gaza, whether in the south, or the southwest, whether in Rafah or any unilaterally so-called ‘safe zone.’” 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • It’s clear that nowhere in Gaza is truly secure for civilians, and that the Israeli government’s attempts at civilian protection, long inadequate, are falling apart even more as the IDF expands its operations. 
  • Researchers have verified that U.S.-made munitions have already been used to kill civilians in Gaza. 
  • The only way to save lives in Gaza and limit U.S. complicity in widespread killing is for the Biden administration to push for a lasting ceasefire.

News: Hamas far from being ‘destroyed’

Analysis: While the Israeli government continues to repeat its stated military objective of eliminating Hamas, it has barely made progress toward that goal. Israeli officials claim that the IDF has killed at least 5,000 Hamas fighters in its campaign in Gaza. Even if we accept these numbers, they hardly indicate the destruction of an organization that includes as many as 40,000 militants – a fact acknowledged by Israeli military officials who told reporters, “This [campaign] is going to be a long haul” and “It will be very tough.”

There is also ample reason to distrust the Israeli government’s estimates. At the time of the IDF estimates, Israeli forces had killed over 15,000 people in Gaza in the current campaign, and the UN estimates that about two-thirds of those killed were women and children. For the IDF to have killed 5,000 Hamas fighters, therefore, just about every adult man killed in the IDF’s widespread bombing and shelling of civilian areas would have had to be a Hamas fighter. That assumption underscores the ways the Israeli government’s campaign of collective punishment dehumanizes people in Palestine.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Israeli government has made little progress toward destroying Hamas, and done so at an inexcusable cost to people’s lives.
  • Israel’s bombardment campaign across the Gaza Strip is, quite simply, a strategic failure that should be ended immediately through a lasting ceasefire.

News: Hostages and families disappointed by Israeli government

Analysis: Earlier this week, Netanyahu and members of his war cabinet met with a group of hostages released during the 7-day ceasefire who discussed the unimaginable circumstances endured during captivity, as well as family members of hostages still trapped in Gaza. One freed hostage, Sharon Cunio, whose husband and other family members are still in captivity, argued, “You [the government] are putting politics above returning the hostages.” Dani Miran, whose son was taken hostage, said the “entire performance was ugly, insulting, and messy” and that the Israeli government made a “farce” out of the issue of saving the hostages. In recordings, some attendees demanded for Netanyahu to resign. 138 hostages, including both people from Israel and other countries, have yet to be rescued. 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • The Israeli government’s ongoing military campaign decreases the chances that the remaining hostages will return home safe the longer it goes on. 
  • While the Israeli military’s offensive only led to the rescue of one hostage, the temporary ceasefire deal led to the release of more than one hundred. We must return to a ceasefire, this one lasting, to ensure the remaining hostages can return to their loved ones.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed 17,177 people in Gaza since October 7 (December 7). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 138 hostages are still held in Gaza (December 7).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 93 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (December 7). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 246 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and two were killed by either forces or settlers. 1,014 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis. (December 7).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 63 journalists have been killed in the conflict (December 8).
  • UNOCHA reported that on December 7, 69 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is well below the 170 aid trucks that entered Gaza during the temporary ceasefire and the 500 truckloads that entered before October 7
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of November 29, a total of 92 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes 13 civilians. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Intense Israeli bombardment across Gaza

Analysis: With the end of the seven-day temporary ceasefire, the Israeli military has resumed its heavy bombardment of Gaza and said it is expanding ground operations “in all of the Gaza Strip.” From the Jabalia refugee camp in the north to the southern city of Khan Younis, civilians are facing the Israeli military’s lethal strikes that have already killed 900 people since the end of the temporary ceasefire. Telecom services are now down in Gaza City and northern parts of Gaza, according to one of Gaza’s main telecommunication companies, once cutting people there off from the rest of the world. A State Department spokesperson said it was too early to know whether the Israeli government is abiding by U.S. calls to protect civilians in the resumed fighting. 

Suggested messaging

  • We are deeply concerned by the level of violence and forced displacement civilians are facing across the Gaza Strip and urge the White House and members of Congress to redouble their efforts to secure a renewed, lasting ceasefire. 
  • The Biden administration must exert further pressure on the Israeli government to immediately halt its expanded ground operations and avoid repeating the strategic failures of the horrific ground operations in the north. 

News: Regional violence continues after one-week pause

Analysis: Regional tensions, which had eased during the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, have ratcheted back up since the resumption of the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza. Violence between Israeli and Hezbollah forces has continued every day since the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. In the Red Sea, the Houthis claimed attacks on commercial vessels that came under fire on Sunday and a U.S. warship shot down three drones during the attacks. No U.S. Navy ships are thought to have been targeted during the attacks, but early reports that they were indicate the risks of escalation in the crowded shipping lanes of the Red Sea. The Houthis have promised more attacks if the Israeli military does not stop its war in Gaza. 

The temporary ceasefire in Gaza resulted in real de-escalation not only in Israel and Palestine but across the entire Middle East. In fact, during the ceasefire, there were no attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria, following a total of 73 attacks against U.S. troops there from October 17 to November 23, the day the temporary ceasefire started.

Suggested messaging

  • People across the Middle East — in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen — all need a lasting ceasefire in Gaza to live safely without fear of regional escalation and all-out war. 
  • The ceasefire brought a halt to escalatory attacks on U.S. troops in the region. The lack of a ceasefire in Gaza directly threatens their safety.

News: US sends Israel 2,000lb bombs

Analysis: The Biden administration has sent the Israeli government one hundred “bunker buster” bombs meant to penetrate hardened structures before exploding, according to the Wall Street Journal. U.S. officials have urged the Israeli government to avoid harming civilians in its bombardment of Gaza, but it is difficult to see how “bunker busters” – or many of the other weapons the U.S. has sent to Israel since the bombardment of Gaza began – could plausibly be used in Gaza without killing innocent people. The Biden administration undermines its credibility when it both asks the Israeli government to minimize civilian harm and provides the IDF with weapons that practically guarantee civilian harm. 

Suggested messaging:  

  • The Biden administration needs to walk the talk about civilian protection – stop providing the IDF with weapons likely to kill civilians and get serious about pushing for a lasting ceasefire that will save lives.
  • The Biden administration must stick to its own revised Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy, which rules out transfers where serious international humanitarian law violations are “more likely than not.”

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed 15,899 people in Gaza since October 7. (December 4). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 137 hostages are still held in Gaza (December 4).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 80 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (December 4). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 236 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and two were killed by either forces or settlers. 1,014 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis. (December 4).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 63 journalists have been killed in the conflict (December 5).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of November 29, a total of 92 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border, which includes 13 civilians. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting. 
  • UNOCHA reported that on December 4, 100 aid trucks entered Gaza, which is well below the 170 aid trucks that entered Gaza during the temporary ceasefire.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, December 1, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Ceasefire breaks down, threatening to deepen catastrophe

Analysis: Under mutual recriminations between Hamas and the Israeli government, the temporary ceasefire ended today. At the time of writing, the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has resumed, reportedly killing more than 100 people and appearing to focus on the south, where Israeli officials told Palestinians to flee for safety in October. Hamas rocket attacks into Israel have also resumed. The Biden administration continues to back negotiations to restart the ceasefire, though Qatari officials engaged in mediation between the parties have stated that the resumption of hostilities are complicating these efforts. 

The ceasefire was a diplomatic breakthrough that allowed the freeing of hostages, desperately needed humanitarian relief for Palestinians in Gaza, and a ratcheting down of regional tensions. It showed, for even a seven-day stretch, that a more lasting ceasefire and a diplomatic pathway to end the conflict are possible and must be pursued. Its collapse is an utter nightmare for Palestinians, Israelis, and people in neighboring countries. The Biden administration and members of Congress must redouble diplomatic efforts to renew the ceasefire. Saving lives, freeing hostages, and ending this cycle of violence must be the overriding objective of the U.S. government.

Suggested messaging: 

  • We are gravely alarmed by the breakdown of the ceasefire and urge the Biden Administration and members of Congress to redouble their efforts to secure a renewed ceasefire. 
  • We strongly condemn all efforts to deepen this conflict – including further Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and the Netanyahu government’s unthinkable bombardment of southern Gaza, where more than one million displaced Palestinians are attempting to shelter.
  • Saving lives, freeing hostages, and ending this cycle of violence must be the overriding objectives of the U.S. government. 

News: Palestinian gunmen attack in Jerusalem 

Analysis: In the run-up to the ceasefire’s collapse, worrying harbingers of escalation in and beyond Israel surfaced. In Israel, two Hamas militants from East Jerusalem shot and killed three Israeli civilians. One other Israeli civilian, mistaken for being one of the attackers, was shot dead by Israeli security forces at the scene. Likewise, amid a lull in fighting at the Israel-Lebanon border due to Hezbollah’s commitment to the Israel-Hamas truce, the Israeli military said it intercepted an “aerial target” that crossed from Lebanon on Thursday. In response, Israel shelled near a southern Lebanese village.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • These recent developments, especially the horrific attacks by Hamas gunmen in Jerusalem, reinforce the fragility of the situation regionally and the potential for escalation at any moment – another reason for the Biden administration and its allies to push harder for a lasting ceasefire.

News: Gaza residents’ experience of ceasefire

Analysis: Before the breakdown of the ceasefire deal, people in Gaza were experiencing a much-needed respite from seven weeks of the Israeli military’s continuous airstrikes. But the calm did not come with ease. As people headed to markets to purchase food and winter clothing, they faced sky-high prices and blamed shopkeepers for exploiting their desperation. As a result of the Israeli government’s siege of Gaza, people are wrestling with inflation of between 300% and 2,000% for everyday products, while the increased volume of humanitarian aid is still insufficient to meet the needs of people across the strip. 

The ceasefire also gave thousands of people the chance to return to their homes, particularly in northern and central Gaza where the Israeli military ordered evacuations. But many found their homes and neighborhoods destroyed, the result of the Israeli military’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets. One mother who returned to her destroyed home in Abasan, Khan Younis, told Al Jazeera, “We will rebuild.”

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Though a temporary ceasefire provided tremendous relief to Gaza’s residents, a lasting ceasefire is imperative for Palestinians to have stability and the opportunity to rebuild their lives without the constant threat of war. 
  • Given the massive economic toll and the unimaginable widespread destruction caused by the war across the Gaza Strip, more humanitarian aid is desperately needed – but aid deliveries can’t increase with the resumed bombardment of Gaza. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that the Israeli military attacks have killed more than 15,000 people, 6,150 of whom are children, in Gaza since October 7. (November 30). 
  • Israeli officials estimate that about 1,200 people in Israel were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. According to Israeli authorities, 137 hostages are still held in Gaza (November 30).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 75 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 30). 
  • UNOCHA reports that since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 231 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and two were killed by either forces or settlers. 1,014 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In around the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis. (November 30).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 57 journalists have been killed in the conflict (December 1).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of November 21, a total of 85 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting. 
  • UNOCHA reported that since the start of the temporary ceasefire until November 29, approximately 4,850 metric tons (MT) of food, 1,110 MT of bottled water, and 29,500 liters of fuel have been delivered to Gaza. However, this level of aid is completely inadequate to civilian needs.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Temporary ceasefire deal extended

Analysis: Negotiators from Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend a temporary ceasefire deal in the Gaza Strip by an additional two days. While specific details remain unclear, an Egyptian representative announced that the extension would involve the release of 20 Israeli hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 in exchange for 60 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.  Both Hamas and Israeli forces adhered to the guidelines of the original four-day ceasefire, leading to the release of 51 Israelis and 19 foreign nationals taken on October 7 in exchange for 150 Palestinians held in Israeli custody. News of the extension is welcome for the millions of Palestinian civilians who have endured seven weeks of the Israeli government’s indiscriminate bombardment, which has killed civilians at a “historic pace”. The ceasefire is also welcome for the families in Israel and across the world who continue to await their loved ones’ safe return home. The Biden administration played a key role in negotiating the ceasefire extension, and CIA Director William Burns is now in Doha for a new round of negotiations to free more hostages – further evidence of Biden’s ability to secure de-escalation and important progress in the conflict through diplomatic pressure.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We welcome news of the temporary ceasefire’s extension in Gaza and urge all parties to continue respecting its guidelines so that all hostages may return to their families and people in Gaza may find safety and aid. 
  • This extension shows how effective the Biden administration can be when it commits to de-escalation – now is the time for the president to push for a lasting ceasefire that can provide safety to people in Gaza, free all remaining hostages, and ease regional tensions. 

News: Increased humanitarian aid brings crucial relief

Analysis: The temporary ceasefire in Gaza has enabled aid agencies to scale up operations, with trucks transporting essential food, water, and medicine throughout the strip. Aid has even reached northern Gaza, the target of Israel’s ground invasion, for the first time in over one month. On Tuesday, the White House announced its first relief flights facilitated by the US military to provide aid to Gazans. While people in Gaza are seeing the largest volume of aid since the resumption of humanitarian convoys to Gaza on October 21, it barely matches the scale of need, suffering, and destruction in Gaza. Fuel deliveries during the ceasefire amount to only 10% of the daily volume sent before October 7 and have yet to reach hospitals in northern Gaza where it is desperately needed. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged that “even with that additional amount of time [of the ceasefire], it will be impossible to satisfy all the dramatic needs of the population.” 

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Following weeks of Israel’s unrelenting siege and indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Gaza, we are relieved to hear that aid is entering the Strip at increased levels, applaud the White House’s role in aid delivery, and express our gratitude for those working on the ground to distribute these critical resources. 
  • These aid convoys are not the lasting solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The only way to truly meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population in Gaza is to establish a permanent ceasefire so that everyone, both in Palestine and in Israel, is safe. 

News: Three Palestinian students shot in Vermont

Analysis: Over the weekend, three university students of Palestinian descent — Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, best friends visiting one of their grandmothers for Thanksgiving — were shot in Burlington, Vermont. . The suspect connected to the shooting has been charged with attempted murder, and authorities are investigating whether the shooting can be characterized as a hate crime. This attack occurred amidst a sharp rise in Islamophobia in the U.S. since October 7.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • We can’t accept a situation where Muslims in the U.S. fear violence at their family Thanksgiving celebration or any other part of their daily lives. 
  • The conflict in Gaza, and the cruel policies and hateful rhetoric that drive it, make Muslims and Jews in the U.S. and around the world less safe. We need to de-escalate the conflict and lean into recognizing, not denying our shared humanity. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that, as of November 23, Israeli military attacks have killed more than 14,800 people, 6,000 of whom are children, in Gaza since October 7. (November 27). 
  • Israeli officials have revised down their assessment of the number of people killed in the Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7 to roughly 1,200. According to Israeli authorities, 167 hostages are still held in Gaza (November 27).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 75 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 27). 
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 222 Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have killed an additional eight, and one was killed by either force. 1,014 Palestinians fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. In the same time frame, Palestinians in the West Bank have killed four Israelis. (November 27).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 57 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 28).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of November 21, a total of 85 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border. This figure does not capture more recent estimates. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups have killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting. 
  • UNOCHA reported that 200 aid trucks entered Gaza on November 25, though the total number of trucks entering the Strip during the ceasefire is unclear at the time of writing, as many continue to be processed. Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every working day. 

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Temporary Gaza ceasefire deal near

Analysis: Israeli officials are expected to announce a deal that will see some 50 hostages held by Hamas freed, a four-day ceasefire that could be extended to five, and a number of Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli custody. The deal is welcome news, both for families of hostages who will have their loved ones returned safely to them and for Gazans who will get a reprieve from the intense violence of the ongoing Israeli government offensive. It also showcases the role that the U.S. can play in securing de-escalation. The Biden administration played a key role in shepherding the deal to its conclusion and deserves credit for that.  The administration can and should leverage its power and relationships to bring about the kind of lasting ceasefire that will provide safety to Gazans, free the remaining hostages, cool tensions in the region, create the opportunity for genuine accountability for the perpetrators of the October 7th attack, and open a pathway towards a sustainable and just peace. 

Suggested messaging:

  • We welcome this deal and hope that the pause in violence creates a genuine pathway to a lasting ceasefire and the return of all hostages to their families.
  • The deal makes it clear that a long-lasting ceasefire is possible and that U.S. leadership can help make it happen. The Biden administration should be doing all it can to extend this pause and achieve a durable ceasefire.

News: More members of Congress endorse a ceasefire

Analysis: In the past week, the number of members of Congress endorsing the calls for a ceasefire in Gaza continued to grow, with the count now standing at 43 representatives and two senators. As a supplemental funding bill that includes military aid to the Israeli government awaits its day in Congress, support on the Hill for a “no red lines” policy of supporting an Israeli offensive that has already killed well over 11,000 Gazans with no end in sight is eroding. More members are likely to join the chorus of voices calling for a ceasefire, responding to grassroots pressure, the political reality that a ceasefire is hugely popular, and their own analysis of the situation on the ground. 

Suggested messaging:

  • Congressional calls for a ceasefire are mounting, reflecting a deep unease within the Democratic caucus about potential U.S. complicity in the Israeli government’s collective punishment of people in Gaza, which has not and will not produce security for people in Israel or hostages taken in the October 7 attacks.
  • A ceasefire remains highly popular across the country, and we should expect the list of congressional supporters to only grow in the coming days as they continue hearing from their constituents and colleagues. 

News: Houthis hijack Israel-linked ship 

Analysis: On Sunday, Houthi fighters seized a cargo ship in the Red Sea and took its 25 crew members hostage. A Houthi military spokesperson framed the action as a “response” to Israel’s continuous bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Though the ship is British-owned and Japanese-operated, the Houthis claimed the ship was linked to Israel and warned that any vessel linked to Israel “will become a legitimate target for armed forces.”  

Suggested messaging: 

  • Israel’s offensive in Gaza continues to drive regional escalation. 
  • To mitigate the risk of further violence and a broader war in the Middle East, the Biden administration should push the Israeli government to establish a ceasefire immediately. 

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that, as of November 10, Israeli military attacks have killed 11,078 people, 4,506 of whom are children, in Gaza since October 7. These figures come from the Ministry of Health, which has not updated its cumulative casualty figures since the collapse of services and communications at northern hospitals (November 21). 
  • Israeli officials have revised down their assessment of the number of people killed in the Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7 to roughly 1,200. According to Israeli authorities, 237 hostages are still held in Gaza (November 21).  
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in  71 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 21). 
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 201 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 52 children and 1,014 people fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. Israeli settlers in the West Bank have killed an additional eight Palestinians in the same time frame, and Palestinians there have killed four Israelis. (November 21).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 53 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 21).
  • UNOCHA reported that, as of November 14, a total of 77 people were killed in Lebanon due to armed clashes at the Israel-Lebanon border. This figure does not capture recent developments, including an Israeli airstrikes that killed two journalists. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups killed seven soldiers and three civilians since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting between the Israeli and Hezbollah forces. 
  • On November 21, UNOCHA reported that at least 1,320 aid trucks had entered Gaza since October 21. Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day. 

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, November 17, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Israel expanding its ground invasion

Analysis: The Israeli military has issued evacuation orders on the eastern edge of Khan Younis, the biggest city of southern Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians have fled as they seek refuge from Israel’s airstrikes and ground invasion in the north. During peacetime, more than 100,000 people who lived in these southern towns are now being ordered to evacuate. Some civilians described leaflets warning them to leave being dropped, resembling the ones dispersed in northern Gaza before the Israeli military’s ground invasion. There are now reports of airstrikes by Israeli forces in southern Gaza, in regions residents of Gaza City were once directed to evacuate to.

Suggested messaging: 

  • The IDF is now targeting a region to which it originally forced Gazans to flee and promised safety, undermining the fiction that there is any safe place for civilians in Gaza. 
  • This points to a desire by the Israeli military to expand its ground invasion of Gaza, which only underlines the necessity of the Biden administration pushing for a ceasefire immediately. 

News: Thousands at risk as Israel raids al-Shifa

Analysis: Israeli forces continue to raid the al-Shifa hospital, where thousands of people including civilian patients, medical staff, and displaced Palestinians are stuck after the military encircled and bombarded the complex for days and prevented ambulances from entering or leaving. According to the head of al-Shifa’s plastic surgery department, 43 out of the 63 intensive care patients have died thus far, with oxygen running out. The emergency department, specialized surgical department, and maternity ward have all been subject to the raid, with the Israeli military under intense pressure to produce evidence to back its claims that al-Shifa served as what an Israeli spokesperson called the “beating heart” of Hamas military operations. Human Rights Watch says Israel has yet to provide sufficient evidence to justify revoking al-Shifa’s protected status as a hospital under international law. All the while, the Biden administration says it is “still confident” in its intelligence assessment of Hamas using al-Shifa as a “command and control node.”

Suggested messaging:

  • Attacks on people in a hospital will not bring justice for Hamas’ heinous October 7 attacks. 
  • The Biden administration cannot have it both ways. – Saying that the president believes hospitals must be protected, while also backing the Israeli government’s weakly supported claims that this hospital is a crucial Hamas command center.

News: The US public wants a ceasefire 

Analysis: More and more polls are revealing that a strong majority of people in the United States want a ceasefire in Gaza. One Reuters/Ipsos survey recently found that over two-thirds (68%) of Americans agree that “Israel should call a ceasefire and try to negotiate.” An earlier Data For Progress poll found that the vast majority of Democrats (80%) more than half of independents (57%) and Republicans (56%) support a ceasefire in Gaza. Not only does this support extend across party lines, but it also does across various demographics, especially key supporters of the Democratic party’s base: 70% of voters under 45 support a ceasefire, 72% of Black voters correspondents, and 71% of Latinx voters.

Suggested Messaging: 

  • Not only is a ceasefire the right thing to do, but it is politically popular and transcends party and demographic lines. 
  • The Biden administration needs to listen to what Americans really want: peace.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that, as of November 10, Israeli military attacks have killed 11,078 people, 4,506 of whom are children, in Gaza since October 7. Israeli officials have revised down their assessment of the number of people killed in the Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7, to roughly 1,200. 237 hostages are still held in Gaza (November 17).
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 56 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 17). 
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 186 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 51 children and 1,014 people fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. Israeli settlers in the West Bank have killed an additional eight Palestinians in the same time frame, and Palestinians there have killed four Israelis. (November 17).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 42 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 17).
  • Human Rights Watch says that, as of November 10, Israeli attacks on Lebanon killed at least 10 civilians and 70 Hezbollah fighters since October 7. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups killed seven soldiers and three civilians during that same time frame. Thousands on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting between the Israeli military and Hezbollah (November 14). 
  • On November 15, UNOCHA reported that 1,139 aid trucks had entered Gaza since October 21. Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Thousands dying during “diplomatic window”

Analysis: Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told reporters that the Israeli government has a “diplomatic window” of some two or three weeks before international pressure for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip increases. Cohen’s statements make clear that the Israeli government is responsive to international pressure, and that Israeli leaders understand that their destructive campaign in Gaza is not acceptable to the international community. But the Israeli offensive has already killed over 11,000 Gazans, and the death toll rises every day – the costs of a multi-week “diplomatic window” are still unacceptably high.

Suggested messaging: 

  • The Biden administration should act to close the “diplomatic window” by advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Cohen’s comments make clear that international pressure matters – now is the time to keep the pressure up in order to save lives.

News: US arms transfers to Israel increasing

Analysis: The Defense Department is in the process of delivering 155mm artillery shells, missiles for use on Apache attack helicopters, “bunker buster” munitions, and other military equipment to Israeli forces, according to a new report. Some weapons, such as 1,800 shoulder-fired rockets designed to destroy concrete structures, have already been delivered, while others, including some 57,000 155mm shells, are en route. Win Without War and 32 other civil society organizations have strongly urged the Biden administration to refrain from supplying the Israeli military with 155-mm artillery munitions. In their letter, the groups argued that, “Under the current circumstances, granting the government of Israel access to these munitions would undermine the protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law [IHL], and the credibility of the Biden administration.” Notably, these unguided high explosive rounds, with a casualty radius of between 100 and 300 meters, have previously been used by Israeli forces in Gaza operations, resulting in widespread civilian death and injury.

Suggested Messaging:

  • The Biden administration should immediately halt the transfer of 155mm artillery rounds to the Israeli military, and if it does not, Congress should pass a law prohibiting the transfer.
  • The administration must stick to its revised Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy, which rules out transfers where serious international humanitarian law violations are “more likely than not.”

News: “Inside a circle of death” 

Analysis: Israeli forces have raided al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. According to a surgeon there, during the raid, 650 patients,700 medical staff, and thousands of displaced people were present on the hospital grounds. For days, intense fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces has prevented ambulances from entering or leaving. The Israeli government claims Hamas uses hospitals like al-Shifa as covers for its fighters, accusations Human Rights Watch has not corroborated. In the midst of this horrific scene, as well as fuel shortages and power outages resulting in al-Shifa’s closure, dozens of patients have died — including newborn babies. Al-Quds, Gaza’s second-largest hospital, also halted operations due to fuel and power shortages, with firefights unfolding outside the facility.

Suggested Messaging:

  • There is neither justice nor security to be found in an operation that kills babies in a NICU – the al-Shifa raid is instead a perfect example of the kind of violence that can only breed more violence.
  • The only way that al-Shifa and other hospitals can be “protected,” as President Biden has demanded they must be, is by ending the Israeli government’s offensive in Gaza.

News: Potential Truce? 

Analysis: Reports continue to emerge of ongoing negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli government, through Qatari intermediaries, centered on the return of some hostages being held in Gaza for a temporary halt to fighting. The latest report, from today, cites officials familiar with the talks saying that there is a deal on the table for 50 hostages to be released in exchange for a three-day truce, the release of some Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, and an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza. Hamas has reportedly agreed to the deal in principle, but the Israeli government is still negotiating. The deal would also require Hamas to produce a list of all the remaining hostages, a crucial step in long-term efforts to secure their release. Hamas claimed today, through a video, that Israeli forces’ bombardment of Gaza has already killed one hostage.

Suggested Messaging:

  • Any move to release hostages and stop the violence is a welcome step forward.
  • Bombardment from Israeli forces endangers both Gazans and the hostages, and a ceasefire is the only way to keep hostages safe while fruitful negotiations for their release continue.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that, as of November 10, Israeli military attacks have killed 11,078 people, 4,506 of whom are children, in Gaza since October 7. Israeli officials have revised down their assessment of the number of people killed in the Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7, to roughly 1,200. 238 hostages are still held in Gaza (November 14).
  • According to the UN, the fighting in Gaza resulted in 51 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 14).
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 182 Palestinians in the West Bank and 1,149  people fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. Israeli settlers in the West Bank have killed an additional eight Palestinians in the same time frame, and Palestinians there have killed three Israelis. (November 14).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 42 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 15).
  • Human Rights Watch says that, as of November 10, Israeli attacks on Lebanon killed at least 10 civilians and 70 Hezbollah fighters since October 7. Rocket strikes and other attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Palestinian groups killed seven soldiers and three civilians during that same time frame. Thousands on both sides of the border have fled due to the fighting between the Israeli military and Hezbollah (November 14).
  • UNOCHA reports that 1,187 aid trucks have entered Gaza since October 21 (November 14). Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Israeli government agrees to daily humanitarian pauses

Analysis: The White House announced today that the Israeli government has agreed to “put in place four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in its assault on Hamas in northern Gaza starting on Thursday.” The pauses are far shorter than the pause of at least three days that President Biden had been pressing for, but they constitute a major shift in the Israeli government’s war policy. Pauses should allow for increases in deliveries of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. U.S. officials told reporters that it hopes to see 150 aid trucks crossing the Gaza border daily, which would be an improvement on current aid delivery (106 trucks entered Gaza on November 8), but still not nearly enough to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza. Before October 7, the UN reports, around 500 trucks crossed into Gaza each working day. Any pause in the violence is a step in the right direction, and it’s key to continue to monitor the situation to ensure these pauses are in fact being enacted. Especially given some reporting that indicates the Biden Administration’s characterization may have been overly optimistic.

Suggested messaging:

  • The pauses and any moves that safeguard lives are welcome, but a ceasefire is still a necessity.
  • The Biden administration’s success in changing Israeli policy shows how effective U.S. pressure could be in pushing for a ceasefire.
  • Growing congressional calls for ceasefire, humanitarian pauses, and de-escalation are clearly having an effect – Biden and Netanyahu are responding to the political momentum for ending the horror people in Gaza are enduring.

News: Netanyahu wants to occupy Gaza

Analysis: In an interview with ABC News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, after the war, Israel could stay in Gaza “for an indefinite period” with “overall security responsibility” since “we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it.” In response, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby warned that the Biden administration believes “reoccupation [of Gaza] by Israeli forces is not the right thing to do.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken also refuted Netanyahu’s plan, arguing it is “clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza.” Israel previously occupied Gaza from 1967 to 2005.

Suggested messaging:

  • This is just more evidence that the Israeli government has no realistic endgame in Gaza, and is blundering into a dangerous occupation not unlike the U.S. experience in the Iraq War.
  • Indefinite collective punishment of civilians in Gaza is absolutely unacceptable, and an Israeli government re-occupation of Gaza offers no guarantees that civilians will be safe under Israeli rule and that the 1.5 million displaced will have a right to return to their homes when the war is over.
  • The Israeli government occupying  the Gaza Strip will almost certainly lead to further violence and instability.

News: Israeli government’s misuse of history.

Analysis: Some Israeli officials are attempting to legitimize their military campaign with horrific death toll in Gaza by drawing similarities to U.S. military actions in places like Fallujah and Hiroshima. Both comparisons should stir real alarm among policymakers. Battles in Fallujah took place as part of a disastrous U.S. war of choice in Iraq and helped strengthen Iraqi opposition to U.S. military presence. As for Hiroshima – the international community has built up an entire diplomatic architecture to ensure that such a strike, due to its devastating human toll, never happens again. Though Israeli authorities argue they are trying to limit civilian casualties, Israeli military action has already killed more than 10,000 people, almost half of them children. The war is already a moral, strategic, and humanitarian disaster – the only metric by which Israeli officials’ historical comparisons make sense.

Suggested Messaging:

    • Israeli officials citing some of the worst foreign policy decisions in U.S. history as positive inspiration for their war in Gaza is a strong indication that the U.S. should be calling for a ceasefire.
    • Past war crimes do not justify war crimes today.
    • The reliance of Israeli officials on such comparisons to validate collective punishment of Gaza civilians underscores the inherent injustice of the Israeli government’s policy.

News: 24 Members and Counting…

Analysis: Congressional opposition to Israeli government operations in Gaza, and the resulting massive civilian harm, is growing. 24 members of Congress in the House and Senate have called for a ceasefire, either by joining the Bush-Tlaib resolution or through separate statements. They’re buttressed by an increasing number of members who are throwing up bright red flags over the course that the Israeli government’s response to Hamas’ brutal October 7 attacks has taken. 26 Senators – a majority of Senate Democrats – wrote to President Biden on November 8 to ask for assessments of the Israeli military strategy in Gaza, specific mechanisms for upholding international law, and the humanitarian response. The letter further noted that administration responses would shape their approach to the $14 billion supplemental for Israel and Gaza that President Biden has requested.

Suggested Messaging:

  • We commend members of Congress who have called for a ceasefire and strongly urge all others to join them.
  • Other members are asking needed questions over the Israeli government’s lack of strategy and what violations the U.S. will be complicit in – when the administration can’t answer them, members must escalate their concerns to calls to end the violence now.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that Israeli military attacks have killed 10,818 people in Gaza since October 7. The Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7 killed roughly 1,400, with 239 hostages still held by Hamas (November 9).
  • The UN reports that the fighting in Gaza resulted in 35 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 9).
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 167 Palestinians in the West Bank  and almost 1,000 people fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. Israeli settlers in the West Bank have killed an additional eight Palestinians in the same time frame, and Palestinians there have killed three Israelis. (November 8).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 39 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 9).
  • UNOCHA reports that 821 aid trucks have entered Gaza since October 21 (November 9). Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: U.S. Officials Fear American Guns Ordered by Israel Could Fuel West Bank Violence

Analysis: The State Department is on the verge of approving the sale of roughly $34 million in semiautomatic and automatic rifles to the Israeli government, prompting fears that the weapons could be used to further ongoing anti-Arab violence in Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli government has reportedly provided assurances that the rifles will only be distributed to police and “civilian initial response units” overseen by police within Israel proper, rather than to similar civilian militias in the West Bank. But these private assurances are unsatisfactory when the weapons are headed to units that ultimately report to far-right Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has personally promised to arm settlers and has a long history of inciting violence against Arabs.  It is all too easy to pass firearms around, and Ben-Gvir cannot be trusted not to pass them to violent anti-Arab zealots in Israel or the West Bank. Unless the State Department can announce a robust and verifiable end-use monitoring mechanism for these firearms, there is simply no guarantee that they won’t be used to further devastate Palestinian communities in the West Bank in the coming months.

Suggested messaging:

  • Any proposed arms sale to the Israeli police should be evaluated not on the strength of private assurances from the Israeli government but on the unacceptable risk likelihood that the weapons will be used by Ben-Gvir to intimidate and persecute Palestinians in the West Bank and/or Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.
  • As the co-director of the Israeli grassroots organization NGO Standing Together pointed out, this transfer is also dangerous for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel currently subjected to right-wing attacks and intimidation.

News: Foreign Nationals Evacuating the Gaza Strip 

Analysis: Close to 1,200 people have left Gaza through the Rafah Crossing into Egypt since last Wednesday, under an agreement between the United States, Egypt, Israel, and Qatar, with the most recent evacuation occurring today. The majority of those evacuated were dual nationals and individuals with injuries, although some countries including Ireland and Brazil alleged that their nationals have not been permitted to leave. Brazil’s ruling Workers Party contended that the Israeli government is playing favorites when determining which countries’ nationals are allowed to leave.

Suggested messaging:

  • We are pleased to hear about the successful evacuations via the Rafah Crossing and urge authorities to maintain the necessary conditions for ongoing evacuations.
  • The Biden administration should urge the Israeli government to ensure all foreign and dual nationals, in addition to injured individuals, have unrestricted access to evacuations. No individual should be denied evacuation based on their government’s actions.

News: 10,000+ People Dead, “A Graveyard for Children”

Analysis: Nearly one month since the October 7 Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians, a grim milestone has been reached in Gaza: more than 10,000 people were killed by the Israeli military’s response. Of those killed, 4,104 are Palestinian children, a toll so horrific that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described Gaza as “a graveyard for children.” The UN has reported that more than 88 of its workers have been killed in Gaza so far, in what is the “highest number of United Nations fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict.” This all comes as the Israeli military continues to strike in the close vicinity of hospitals and roughly 1.5 million people have been forced to flee or have lost their homes because of the fighting.

Suggested messaging:

  • We continue to emphatically call for a ceasefire and to condemn this collective punishment against civilians, particularly the indiscriminate attacks against thousands of children who had no involvement in the conflict, nor Hamas’ decisions, whatsoever.
  • This devastating milestone of more than 10,000 deaths underscores the urgent need for the Biden administration to push for a ceasefire immediately.

Humanitarian situation: Tracking the human cost of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza

  • The UN reports that Israeli military attacks have killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza, including 4,008 children, since October 7. The Hamas attack on people in Israel on October 7 killed roughly 1,400, with 240 hostages still held by Hamas (November 6).
  • The UN reports that the fighting in Gaza resulted in 30 Israeli soldiers’ deaths since the start of ground operations on October 31 (November 6).
  • UNOCHA reports that Israeli forces killed 147 Palestinians in the West Bank  and almost 1,000 people fled their homes due to settler violence and access restrictions since October 7. Israeli settlers in the West Bank have killed an additional eight Palestinians in the same time frame, and Palestinians there have killed three Israelis. (November 6).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 37 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 7).
  • UNOCHA reports that 526 aid trucks have entered Gaza since October 21 (November 6). Before October 7, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Friday, November 3, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: Keep 155mm shells out of Gaza

Analysis: The Pentagon has confirmed that it intends to provide the Israeli military with tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that had been designated to go to Ukraine. These shells – unguided high explosive rounds with a casualty radius of between 100 and 300 meters – are meant for use in conflicts like the Ukraine war, where artillery and armor play a major role, not for use in highly-populated urban areas. As Oxfam writes in a new report, “there are no known scenarios in which 155mm artillery shells could be used in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza in compliance with international humanitarian law.” As Oxfam shows, Israeli forces have used 155mm shells in past operations in Gaza in 2014, 2009, and 2005-7, resulting in huge numbers of civilian deaths and injuries.

Suggested messaging:

  • The Biden administration should prevent the transfer of these munitions to the IDF before they are again used to indiscriminately kill civilians, and if it won’t, Congress should pass a law prohibiting the transfer.
  • The administration must stick to its revised Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy, which rules out transfers where serious IHL violations are “more likely than not”.

News: Dissent within the Biden administration  

Analysis: Senior administration officials are increasingly alarmed by how the Israeli government is conducting its military operations in Gaza, as well as the reputational repercussions of the Biden administration’s support for a collective punishment strategy that clearly violates international law. Many worry that the U.S. will be blamed for the Israeli military’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians, particularly women and children. Yet dissenting voices appear to be largely excluded from decision-making. One State Department official divulged, “It feels like we are advocates on the outside or civil society banging on the doors of government and that’s not our role.”

Suggested Messaging:

  • We applaud those in government who advocate for de-escalation, and who articulate the moral and strategic case for a ceasefire.
  • The policy process is meant to be a robust, expert-driven discussion, and the Biden administration should heed dissenting voices rather than trying to shunt them aside.

News: Hezbollah not at full-scale war, for now

Analysis: In his long-anticipated speech today, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah did not declare a full-scale war against Israel. However, he did threaten that “all scenarios are open on our Lebanese southern front,” where tit-for-tat attacks have increased in recent weeks, and that a broader war “is a possibility.” Military escalation will depend on how the violence in Gaza and the Lebanese-Israeli border violence continues to unfold. Increased border fighting, and the documented use of white phosphorus in Israeli strikes into Lebanon, could still lead to larger-scale violence between Hezbollah and Israel.

Suggested Messaging:

  • Though we are cautiously relieved that Hezbollah did not articulate a military escalation, the situation could change at any moment.
  • The safest and surest path to prevent a regional war — a very real and frightening possibility — is through a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, followed by an intentional de-escalation of the violence in Gaza and at the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Humanitarian situation

  • The UN reports that 9,061 people have been killed in Gaza, including more than 3,700 children. The death toll for Israelis remains at roughly 1,400, with 242 hostages held by Hamas (November 2).
  • UNOCHA reports that 132 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed as of November 2, and almost 1,000 forcibly displaced, since October 7 (November 1).
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 36 journalists have been killed in the conflict (November 3).
  • UNOCHA and Palestine Red Cross reported that 102 aid trucks entered Gaza on November 2. This is the largest aid delivery since Israel intensified its blockade of Gaza, but it is still far less than is needed.

Further Win Without War resources

 

###

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Key updates and messaging

News: “Children were carrying other injured children

Analysis: Yesterday, an Israeli military strike on Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza killed and injured dozens of civilians. An Israeli official confirmed responsibility, stating that they were targeting a senior Hamas commander and seeming to argue that innocent civilians had had the opportunity to move south (where Israeli airstrikes are still occurring).

Suggested messaging:

  • The killing of dozens of innocent civilians in the Jabalia refugee camp is horrific and disproportionate.
  • This is yet another example of why the Biden Administration needs to push for a ceasefire immediately.

News: Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe

Analysis: Palestinians in Gaza are in critical need of the bare essentials of survival. The Israeli government has alternated between shutting off and tightly controlling people’s access to food, water, medicine, and electricity. This siege likely violates international law and guarantees a massive humanitarian crisis. Efforts – mostly private – by the White House, and public calls by members of Congress, have helped open the way to some food, medicine, and fuel being allowed into Gaza, but it’s not nearly enough to support the millions trapped within the strip.

Suggested messaging:

  • We are alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza – the head of UNOCHA has stated that the “scale of the horror” is “really hard to convey,” and the head of UNRWA has stated “An immediate humanitarian ceasefire has become a matter of life and death for millions.”
  • U.S. law prohibits assistance to governments that prevent or restrict, “directly or indirectly,” the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid – the Biden administration must apply the law if the Israeli government does not end its siege.

News: Nasrallah to finally speak

Analysis: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will give a speech on Friday, during which he is widely expected to clarify his organization’s response to Israel’s actions in Gaza. Nasrallah’s decision could determine how widely the conflict will spread. To this point, Hezbollah has continued to target people in Israel with shelling as well as small-scale attacks post October 7 at the Israel-Lebanon border. But the beginning of Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza may change Nasrallah’s calculus. If Hezbollah backs Hamas with a major offensive, the consequences for people living in Israel, Lebanon, and potentially throughout the region could be catastrophic.

Suggested messaging:

  • A ceasefire and de-escalation in Gaza would reduce the possibility of a new Israel-Hezbollah war, shutting down one of the most dangerous escalation paths that this conflict could take.

Humanitarian situation

  • The UN reports that 8,525 people have been killed in Gaza, including 3,542 children. The death toll for Israelis remains at roughly 1,400, with 240 hostages held by Hamas (October 31).
  • UNOCHA reports that 123 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed, and almost 1,000 forcibly displaced, since October 7 (October 31).
  • As of October 18, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), an independent international conflict monitor, records 27 people killed in fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists confirms that 31 journalists have been killed in the conflict (October 31).
  • UNOCHA and Palestine Red Cross reported that 59 aid trucks entered Gaza on October 31. This is the largest aid delivery since Israel intensified its blockade of Gaza, but is still far less than is needed.

Further Win Without War resources

November 1, 2023