A four-year-old dual Israeli-American citizen was among the 17 more hostages released by Hamas today. Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom were under 19 years old. Hamas has expressed interest in extending the truce; Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has echoed that interest so long as each day brings at least ten more hostages out of captivity. Officials from the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar continue to negotiate.
Thank you Heather.
These things linger:
* Netanyahu and Hamas have expiration dates
* Funding our government and defending democracy
* Stalin and now Putin’s attempts to erase the Ukrainian identity
Such a dynamic time we live in. We truly are living at the precipice.
Thank you for highlighting the war in Ukraine in your letter. It has been pushed to out of the spotlight by the Hamas/Israel conflict and likely will be again by the renewed government funding crisis.
It seems like even the former papers of record like the New York Times and Washington Post now believe their readership can no longer think about two issues at once, and that we no longer deserve broad and deep coverage of events. Instead we are getting horse-race polling and no policy coverage. This has been documented in an article from the Columbia Journalism Review.
It is time for all of us to start making our outrage at this known to the Boards of Directors and editorial boards of these companies. They have turned to subscriber based revenue models so subscriber-based outrage can get attention.
Below is the link to the corporate board of the NY Times.
As WaPo motto says, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." We all have to do our part to make sure that our news outlets are held accountable for biased coverage and placement and resource allocation decisions being made by editorial boards.
The stakes couldn't be higher.
How can we humans call ourselves civilized when we hate people for centuries and “solve” our problems by killing each other... even babies and children?
Thank you Heather for all you do.
Post Thanksgiving weekend, I could use help defending Biden’s 2024 candidacy. My “liberal” family claims he can’t win regardless of his accomplishments and that he appears too old, out of touch etc. and that young voters will stay home if he’s the candidate.
Can you write a summary for us on why he can and will win and will bring out the young vote? I’m running out of ideas and patience.
Thanks again, Heather. You are our North Star.
Thank you Professor, for keeping us up to date and informed about our human rights and military commitments. I wish the way we connect with adversity didn’t include direct war and death. I always ask why violence and hate instead of compassion, cooperation and peace-making decisions. I am not naive. I am hopeful that someday the words of great leaders will come to pass. A web search leads to abundant antiwar voices, but Albert Einstein (1879-1955) gave a warning that should make anyone pause and think of the future, considering today’s lethal weapons and guaranteed loss of life. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Heather AGAIN describes our US historical challenges whether in Ukraine or Israel or wherever. The need for a real two state solution in Palestine, the need for an effective Ukrainian defense…God willing we as a country can so provide…..but the price is constant vigilance, an informed electorate…and the WILL to deal with these challenges….the political will, the activist spirit…the commitment! God willing we have it!
I note that very few comment on the imprisoned Palestinian women and children Israel has begun to release as part of the temporary pause deal. If anyone wants to learn some about them, see Bethan McKerman’s Guardian piece (Nov. 22, 2023) “300 Palestinian women and children in Israeli jails listed before prisoner release.” Spoiler alert: While it is not stated in this particular piece, I understand from CNN reporting that Israel has arrested a million Palestinians in the West Bank (a territory of about 5 million) since 1967 largely to suppress resistance to occupation.
What is this war that is being waged?
Will it succeed in obliterating Hamas, while destroying Gaza and killing many, many innocent children and adults who live there?
Does Netanyahu owe the Palestinians an apology as well as the Israelis?
'Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace' (NYTimes)
'Even a conservative assessment of the reported Gaza casualty figures shows that the rate of death during Israel’s assault has few precedents in this century, experts say.'
'Israel has cast the deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip as a regrettable but unavoidable part of modern conflict, pointing to the heavy human toll from military campaigns the United States itself once waged in Iraq and Syria.'
'But a review of past conflicts and interviews with casualty and weapons experts suggest that Israel’s assault is different.'
'While wartime death tolls will never be exact, experts say that even a conservative reading of the casualty figures reported from Gaza shows that the pace of death during Israel’s campaign has few precedents in this century.'
'People are being killed in Gaza more quickly, they say, than in even the deadliest moments of U.S.-led attacks in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, which were themselves widely criticized by human rights groups.'
'Precise comparisons of war dead are impossible, but conflict-casualty experts have been taken aback at just how many people have been reported killed in Gaza — most of them women and children — and how rapidly.'
'It is not just the scale of the strikes — Israel said it had engaged more than 15,000 targets before reaching a brief cease-fire in recent days. It is also the nature of the weaponry itself.'
'Israel’s liberal use of very large weapons in dense urban areas, including U.S.-made 2,000-pound bombs that can flatten an apartment tower, is surprising, some experts say.'
“It’s beyond anything that I’ve seen in my career,” said Marc Garlasco, a military adviser for the Dutch organization PAX and a former senior intelligence analyst at the Pentagon. To find a historical comparison for so many large bombs in such a small area, he said, we may “have to go back to Vietnam, or the Second World War.” (NYTimes) See gifted link below.
"On the Ukrainian remembrance day of Holodomor, Russia launched 75 drones at Kyiv, its largest drone strike against Ukraine since the start of its invasion in February 2022." Ukraine intercepted 74 of the 75 -- a very good batting average. Let's hope Chuck Schumer can do as well in achieving the goals of his letter (Not since WW II have we been defending democracy and the civilization democracy creates as we are now doing and must continue to do)
This comment is not directly about the Israeli- Hamas war. It is an observation. Since this began, we have heard virtually nothing of the Ukranian war from MSM. It is a defacto censorship. This war is arguably more consequential to the preservation of Democracy and the security of all western nations than is the middle east conflict. With declining coverage, our short attention span population loses interest, and the support for the war against the invading Russians falters.
Putin's game since his blitzkrieg failed has been to wait us out, and wait for us to lose interest. There is ample evidence that he will be successful at this.
The MSM HAS TO understand that their choice of what to put on the air has a profound effect on the way the US population responds to issues. I cannot understand putting every tiny detail of the middle east war on a 4 hour repeption cycle, to the exclusion of information about Ukraine. In the days of a sinlge 30 minute broadcast in the evening, that woudl be understandable, but with the 24 hour coverage that the news outlets now have, I simply cannot figure this out.
It IS obviously a conscious choice. and in my opinion, a bad choice to exclude any significant coverage of Ukraine.
Impressive statistics for snacks and beer. That should shut a few mouths. One way or another...
Thank you Heather.
I have to wonder how much staying power Netanyahu really has. It's an understatement to say he is unpopular among his people.
The fighting in that sector of the world won't end in my lifetime. There is no kumbaya or magic pill to fix it.
Other than humanitarian efforts, various countries including the US, need to stop getting into the middle of this dog fight.
I have spoken to far too many lifelong Democrats that are backing away from Biden over this. The common thread in the conversations I have had, is that when Netanyahu made his point clear that he was only out for blood, Biden didn't call him on it.
Even my friend who's grandchildren are living in Gaza, feels the indifference from Biden has drawn the line for her.
Frankly, I don't have a moral come back for that.
Be safe. Be well.
The ‘hostage pause’ is an agonizing interlude in the murderous Israeli/Palestinian human chess board.
Hamas is dribbling out a few Israeli hostages, women and children ranging in age from 4 to 85 with released foreigners overwhelmingly agricultural workers from Thailand.
Israeli is selecting from about 9,000 Arab prisoners.
Meanwhile, a minimal amount of food, water, and fuel is being brought into Gaza after more than a month of total cut off. Starvation, massive disease, and no safe refuge are facing 2,000,000 Gaza residents, who anticipate the prospect of a return of a massive Israeli military engagement.
While Netanyahu, some members of the ‘war cabinet,’ and the Israeli Defense Forces seem intent on a swift end to the ‘hostage pause,’ many world leaders, including President Biden and the UN secretary general, are pressing for a ‘cease fire.’
It is unclear what will transpire for the remaining hostages (especially the Israeli soldiers), for Gaza residents, and for Hamas.
Netanyahu is a wily politician who has ruled for much of the past two decades. He is desperately endeavoring to remain in power despite his personal culpability for the pressure cooker Hamas murderous explosion and Israel’s brutal revenge.
Given the mood in Israel, I find it possible that Netanyahu will be replaced, though I don’t envisage a moderate successor capable of pursuing some sort of ‘two-state’ amelioration.
Hamas, apart from its military arm, seems an amorphous governing entity. Since its election over Fatah in 2007, Hamas and Netanyahu had been engaged in a dangerous tit-for-tat game in which Israel maintained Gaza Palestinians under prison-like conditions.
I don’t envisage a Hamas ‘surrender,’ however long Israel maintains a full court military press. Nor do I envisage a viable Gaza Palestinian leadership emerging in the weeks and months ahead.
My hope is that the ‘hostage pause’ will morph into a cease fire in which the killings will end and some sense of post-war rationality will emerge.
More likely is that Israel will resume its military air strikes and boots on the ground assaults, there will be greater suffering for the 2,000,000 Gaza residents, and Hamas will experience serious personnel losses, while Gaza will remain a breeding ground for a new generation of ‘terrorists.’
I watched President Zelenskyy's address on Holodomor. It was dignified and moving. He is the right person to be leading Ukraine at this time. And we must pass aid to Ukraine! We cannot allow the mad GOP/Trump Party to hand Ukraine over to Putin.
Remember too that Putin is one of Trump’s idols! He loves the autocratic leadership style. We must not lose our focus on winning in 2024! Trump and his MAGA cult must be defeated!
If America and the West allow Putin to succeed in Ukraine we can all throw our hat at ever standing up for freedom again....anywhere.
His invasion and bullying since 2014 must be reversed and Russia's population must be shown that there is a crippling price to be paid for such wanton destruction of lives and property.