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Delaware school district promises changes in response to federal probe of antisemitic bullying

(JTA) — A Delaware public school district will send staff to anti-harassment training and compensate the family of a Jewish student who alleged antisemitic bullying.

The agreement followed a U.S. Department of Education investigation into how Red Clay Consolidated School District handled allegations of antisemitic incidents, detailed in a complaint to the agency last June. 

The agreement marks the first time in nine months that the education department announced the closure of an antisemitism-related investigation filed under Title VI, the clause of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of “shared ancestry” or “national origin.”

It comes as the department embarks on a wave of antisemitism investigations at schools and colleges in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which has triggered widespread allegations of antisemitism on campuses. What happened in Red Clay, the department said, should be seen as a model for its work.

“This important agreement requires the Red Clay Consolidated District to fulfill its federal civil rights obligation to ensure that all of its students, including Jewish students, can learn safely and without discriminatory harassment in its schools,” Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights in the department, said in a statement announcing the resolution. “We look forward to active work with this district going forward to protect Jewish students, and all students, from targeted discrimination that impedes their equal access to education.”

The department said that a student in the district, which includes parts of Wilmington and its suburbs, was targeted by her classmates for being Jewish. Classmates had written “Blood of the Jews” and drawn swastikas on paper airplanes, and raised their arms in Heil Hitler salutes at the student. 

The department’s Office of Civil Rights said it had further determined that the district’s responses to these incidents “were often haphazard; were inconsistently enforced as well as inconsistently reflected in district documentation; did not consistently include effective or timely steps to mitigate the effects of the harassment on the student or other students; and did not appear to respond to escalating and repeated incidents.” The department opened its investigation into the district in June 2023.

In response, Red Clay has agreed to implement new annual Title VI harassment training for its staff; publicize a new anti-harassment statement; conduct a new audit of past student discrimination complaints; revise its procedure for investigating such claims, and report back to the civil rights office with student climate surveys. 

It will also reimburse the student’s family “for past counseling, academic, or therapeutic services they obtained for the student as a result of the antisemitic harassment the student experienced,” according to the department’s announcement. 

The listed agreements do not include specific antisemitism-related training that some Jewish groups have pushed schools to adopt. They do include training to recognize discrimination based on “shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics,” the Title VI language.

“A recent Office of Civil Rights investigation has highlighted the need for a collective effort to address hate and discrimination, and we want to assure our community that we stand firmly against hate in all its forms, including antisemitism,” district superintendent Dorrell Green said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Green’s statement added that the district would undertake a “comprehensive audit” and that it would encourage open dialogue with the community.

Jewish groups including the American Jewish Committee and the Orthodox Union praised the settlement agreement.

“This resolution from the Department of Education is an important step forward and contains numerous action steps that all schools can and should take to create and maintain a safe learning environment for Jewish students,” Ted Deutch, the head of AJC, said in a statement. “Discipline is not enough, and these steps crucially can create a safe, inclusive climate for learning.”

In his own statement, OU executive vice president Rabbi Moshe Hauer tied the resolution into the more than 50 Title VI investigations that have been opened since Oct. 7.

“Antisemitism has become a significant factor in the lives of Jewish students at universities and public schools,” Hauer said. “Schools must fulfill their responsibility under Title VI to maintain an environment where all students can study and thrive without experiencing hostility based on their shared ancestry or ethnicity.”

The department’s last resolution of an antisemitism investigation took place in April 2023, and involved the University of Vermont, which had agreed to take similar steps to address the problem on its campus. It has closed some investigations without publicizing them. Investigations remain ongoing in antisemitism-related cases at Columbia, Brown, the University of North Carolina and others. The Department of Education’s dockets list still-opened Title VI shared ancestry cases dating as far back as 2016.


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The Washington Post Has Abandoned ‘Truth’ and ‘Fairness’ in Its Israel Coverage

An Israeli soldier helps to provide incubators to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Photo: Screenshot

Despite The Washington Post espousing principles of “truth” and “fairness,” its expansive coverage of the Israel-Hamas war since October 7 has been marred by its bias against Israel’s defensive actions and conduct in the region.

Over the past four months, HonestReporting has tracked this biased coverage, focusing on three particularly concerning areas:

The narrative produced by The Washington Post’s general reporting;
The opinions expressed in its editorials;
Its disconcerting reliance on the testimony of controversial sources.

“Civilians,” “Fighters” & “Captives”: The Washington Post’s Skewed Reporting

Through its use of certain terminology, skewed facts, and context-free assertions, The Washington Post’s general reporting on the war helps to create a narrative that implicitly portrays Israel as the aggressor while simultaneously downplaying the ruthlessness of Hamas and its regional allies, including Hezbollah.

One of its most influential pieces produced since October 7 has been the investigation into the IDF’s claims regarding Hamas’ use of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

In order to undermine the evidence presented by Israel to the public (which is not the full extent of its relevant intelligence), the Post made a variety of speculations and context-less assertions to lay doubts in its readers’ minds as to the veracity of Israel’s case.

The Post used this amateurish “muddying the waters” tactic to subvert the IDF’s justified entrance into the hospital complex, portraying Israel as the aggressor while relinquishing Hamas of any responsibility for using civilian infrastructure for terrorist purposes.

Washington Post Muddies the Waters of Israel’s Shifa Hospital Operation

“This reporting is neither groundbreaking nor conclusive. It’s simply a lazy attempt to vilify Israel and absolve Hamas.”

By @SimonPlosker of @HonestReporting https://t.co/RGIWnfGv7a

— Algemeiner (@Algemeiner) December 25, 2023

In another investigative report, the Post sought to cast a dark pall over the IDF’s actions in Gaza by claiming that the number of children killed in this conflict might be unprecedented in the annals of 21st-century warfare.

However, the Post was only able to reach these conclusions by skewing the statistics against Israel: It relied on selective data that didn’t provide a complete picture of the damage wrought by these other conflicts and also relied on verified statistics for the other conflicts while relying on Hamas’ unverified number for the Gazan casualties.

While both the Al-Shifa hospital report and the comparison of Gaza with other conflict zones were blatant hit pieces directed against the IDF’s activities in Gaza, there are more subtle ways in which the Post’s bias has skewed the narrative.

For example, while the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health does not differentiate between combatants and civilians in its count of the daily dead during the war, it would be irrational to assume that all killed by the IDF were civilians. However, this didn’t stop the Post from referring on numerous occasions to all of Gaza’s dead as “civilians.”

Does @IgnatiusPost really believe that every single Palestinian killed in Gaza is a civilian or is it now @washingtonpost policy to simply regurgitate Hamas talking points? https://t.co/GXJIt81LTE pic.twitter.com/0bthk8UYO2

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 20, 2023

Similarly, in reporting on the November 2023 exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, the Post described it as an exchange of “captives” — implicitly equating civilians kidnapped by a terror organization to those imprisoned by a democratic country.

In addition, one of the reports on the exchange deal referred to Palestinian prisoners as “civilians,” sanitizing those who are members of internationally recognized terror organizations and/or in prison for violent activities.

Following the November exchange, the newspaper even uncritically quoted a Hamas official saying that all women and child hostages had been released, even though that was patently untrue.

This is not the only instance in which the Post has parroted Hamas’ claims to its audience.

Days after the October 7 massacre, the news outlet published an explainer on what Hamas is and why it had invaded southern Israel. This included detailing Hamas’ reasoning for its attack without any editorial rebuttal, implicitly justifying the terror group’s twisted logic.

Similarly, following the IDF’s entrance into Al-Shifa Hospital, the Post uncritically tweeted Hamas’ claim that this constituted “war crimes and crimes against humanity” to its 20 million followers.

Is this a @washingtonpost or a Hamas tweet?

Hard to tell. https://t.co/LpezGoDiPG

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 18, 2023

The Washington Post has sought to create a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas by comparing Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire directed against Israeli civilian centers to Israel’s strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

Similarly, clashes on the northern front between the IDF and Hezbollah have been described as “tit for tat” fighting, where Israel attacks Lebanon and then Hezbollah attacks Israel even though it is actually the opposite: Hezbollah initiated hostilities on that front and Israel is forced to respond to the terror organization’s attacks against northern Israel.

The Post’s bias is not limited to reporting on the present; it can also be observed in the newspaper’s revisionist view of Israeli history.

For example, in one article, the outlet claimed that during the creation of Israel, “750,000 Palestinians were expelled.”

This is a gross mischaracterization of history (which serves to perpetuate the myth of Palestinians being the victims of Israeli aggression), as most of the Palestinian population that was displaced during that time voluntarily fled to escape the fighting.

Similarly, describing the 1967 Six-Day War, the Post claimed that Israel “launched” the “war against Syria, Jordan and Egypt,” ignoring the fact that in the month prior to the outbreak of the war, Syria and Egypt had engaged in acts of war against the Jewish state and Israel only fought Jordan after the latter attacked Israeli positions after the war had started.

.@washingtonpost‘s history section isn’t so hot on actual history.

Israel didn’t simply “launch” the 1967 war. It responded to Arab threats to annihilate it & other belligerent actions with a pre-emptive strike.
Israel warned Jordan to stay out of the fighting. Jordan… pic.twitter.com/opqRooviOE

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 16, 2024

The Washington Post has also published an array of anti-Israel opinion pieces, both those written by its staff and those contributed by guest writers.

In the month following the October 7 attack, columnist Karen Attiah published several opinion pieces that sought to tarnish Israel’s reputation and its fight against Hamas through misleading statements, a skewed analysis, and unfounded opinions.

Some of the most egregious examples of Attiah’s disdain for the Jewish state and whitewashing of Hamas include the claim that Israel is committing “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians, the implicit comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany, the complete disregard for the rise in global antisemitism since October 7, and the undermining of the term “human shields” in regards to Hamas’ cynical use of Gazan civilians for its nefarious purposes.

The Nazis trapped millions of Jews & transported them to their deaths.

Israel is helping Palestinians escape while rooting out Hamas evil that’s ACTUALLY perpetrating atrocities based on identity.

How dare @washingtonpost allow @KarenAttiah‘s antisemitism to infect its pages. https://t.co/biLeEPboRT pic.twitter.com/IBZ7F3kJ1d

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) October 14, 2023

Ishaan Tharoor has used his column to promote the false idea that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and to present a one-sided view of Israeli administrative detention.

Like Karen Attiah, Tharoor relies on biased sources, skewed analyses, and misleading statements to denigrate the Jewish state in the eyes of The Post’s readership.

But it’s not only seasoned columnists like Ishaan Tharoor and Karen Attiah who have been given a platform to spread their anti-Israel views.

In December 2023, Perry Bacon Jr. (who rarely comments on Israel) penned an op-ed accusing Israel of “indiscriminately bombing” Gaza while simultaneously downplaying the role of Hamas, its misappropriation of civilian infrastructure, and its October 7 atrocities to make them seem almost irrelevant.

Similarly, in a guest op-ed by Benjamin Moser, Israel is blamed entirely for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with nary a mention of the numerous Palestinian terror attacks, rejections of peace offers, and continued incitement against the Jewish state.

While opinion pieces may not reflect a newspaper’s official viewpoint, the fact that the pieces mentioned above were deemed acceptable for publication speaks volumes about how the Post’s editorial board views the conflict.

Why do @benjaminfmoser & @washingtonpost hold only Israeli government policies responsible for the lack of a Palestinian state?

Palestinians also have agency & responsibility for:
The Second Intifada
Terrorism against Israeli civilians
Rejecting multiple peace offers… pic.twitter.com/4TaV6w9O4z

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 3, 2024

On January 8, 2024, HonestReporting published an investigation into two Gaza-based freelance journalists who had supported the October 7 invasion of Israel.

One of these freelancers, Ashraf Amra, hosted an Instagram Live where he encouraged Gazans to cross into Israel and gleefully watched footage of the lynching of an Israeli soldier. It was also revealed that Amra has at least twice had friendly interactions with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Mere hours after HonestReporting published its investigation, Ashra Amra was quoted by name in a Washington Post report.

The same day we exposed Gaza freelancer Ashraf Amra enjoying footage of an IDF soldier being lynched on Oct. 7 as well as his relationship with Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, @washingtonpost quoted Amra.

Amra should never be cited again. In any media outlet. https://t.co/GfLlUuXcUb

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 9, 2024

This is not the only time that the Post has relied on the testimony or evidence of a controversial Gaza-based figure.

In late October 2024, the Post’s Instagram page shared a video of Israel’s military activities taken by Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary.

It was revealed in 2020 that Khoudary had reported to Hamas a group of Palestinian youth who had engaged in a Zoom dialogue with Israelis.

Members of this group were later arrested by Hamas for “normalization.”

In January 2024, the Post advertised a talk about life in Gaza during the war to be given by Plestia Alaqad, an “aspiring journalist.”

However, Alaqad has been known to spread Hamas propaganda and anti-Israel libels, including claims of genocide and the assertion that Israel had committed a “massacre” at the Al-Ahli Hospital (the explosion outside the hospital was actually determined to have been caused by an errant Palestinian rocket).

While it should be noted that The Washington Post has also featured some opinion pieces and reports that are favorable to Israel, this does nothing to “balance” what remains the clear evidence of bias against Israel in its pages.

This should concern anyone who looks to The Washington Post for an objective and fair take on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post The Washington Post Has Abandoned ‘Truth’ and ‘Fairness’ in Its Israel Coverage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Jewish Civil Rights Group Hold ‘Emergency Rally’ Outside NYC Department of Education

Protesters gathered at CUNY Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez’s office under the mantra ‘End Jew Hatred’ to protest growing antisemitism within CUNY and their campuses on Sept. 12, 2023. Photo by Meir Chaimowitz/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

Jewish civil rights nonprofit End Jew Hatred (EJH) held an “emergency rally” outside the New York City Department of Education (DOE) on Wednesday to call for eradicating antisemitism in public schools.

Organized in partnership with New York City Public School Alliance — which describes itself as an advocacy group — the demonstration follows a series of disturbing incidents and expressions of pro-Hamas sentiment on New York City public school campuses since Oct. 7, including pro-Hamas walkouts led by teachers, mass demonstrations in which students screamed “globalize the intifada,” and the mobbing of a teacher who posted pro-Israel content on social media, which resulted in her hiding in an office.

The groups are urging New York City Public School Chancellor David Banks to protect Jewish and pro-Israel staff by increasing Jewish representation in the DOE, monitoring educational content that contributes to delegitimizing Israel and Zionism, and adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism — a tool used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations and supported by lawmakers across the political spectrum.

“Chancellor Banks has failed to act on rising Jew-hatred across the NYC public school system,” Adar Rubin, EJH director of mobilization, said in a press release issued on Wednesday. “We need understanding for the unique trauma experienced by Jewish students and teachers, and immediate action to address antisemitism in a manner that embraces and supports Jewish identity in all its forms, including indigeneity to Israel and the Middle East.”

According to the New York Post, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) announced last Monday new policies for addressing “Islamophobia, antisemitism, or any other form of bigotry” as well as empowering school administrators to discipline students who commit acts of harassment and intimidation, which New York City Schools have been restrained from doing since the Obama administration, when progressives in the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began launching civil rights investigations against public schools that suspended disruptive and violent students, a measure they accused of perpetuating racism.

“We cannot and we will not have schools where students feel like they can do whatever they want without accountability for their actions,” Banks said last Monday during a press conference about the reforms. “That is no way to run a school system, and we will not allow that to happen, certainly not on my watch.”

Under the Biden administration, New York City’s DOE is being investigated for ignoring antisemitism, in contravention of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Jewish Civil Rights Group Hold ‘Emergency Rally’ Outside NYC Department of Education first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘An incredibly volatile time’: From Iran to Yemen, how the Israel-Hamas war is sparking violence across the Middle East

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A conflict that started on a tiny perimeter of land on Oct. 7 is, less than four months later, reverberating throughout the region, from Turkey in the north to Morocco in the west, Iran in the east and Yemen in the south.

“This is an incredibly volatile time in the Middle East,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday at a press conference. “I would argue that we’ve not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we’re facing now across the region since at least 1973, and arguably even before that.”

The epicenter of the Israel-Hamas conflict remains Gaza, where tens of thousands have been killed, and where much of the population is displaced and at risk of famine. Hamas’ invasion of Israel killed some 1,200 people, and more than 200 soldiers have died in the months following Oct. 7. As the war has continued, momentum toward an extended truce and hostage release has mounted.

But because of the war, the broader region is changing, too. The rivalries, intimacies and enmities among the different peoples and religious communities in the Middle East have been churning for millennia. Now, as in other times of crisis, they are threatening to erupt into a broader war that could ensnare the United States.

Here’s a rundown of how the Gaza war is sparking, or inflaming, conflicts across the region.

Iran’s proxies take aim at U.S. troops 

The strike last weekend by an Iran-backed militia, which killed three American soldiers in Jordan, demonstrated how central Iran has become to the conflicts unfolding across the Middle East. Believed to be on the precipice of nuclear weaponization, Iran is the eminence grise in the current war: Hezbollah in Lebanon is its proxy and it has funded and trained Hamas and the Houthis.

Since Oct. 7,  Hezbollah has engaged Israeli forces in a constant exchange of fire. Syria, another Iran ally, has fired rockets on the Golan Heights, the plateau Israel seized in the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed.

Israel has fought back against Hezbollah and other threats. Iran and Syria blamed Israel for a strike last month in Damascus that killed five members of Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. Iran “reserves its right to respond to the organized terrorism of the fake Zionist regime at the appropriate time and place,” its foreign ministry said.

That strike came weeks after what Iran said was an Israeli attack on Damascus, which killed another top IRGC figure.

The strike on American troops came from an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq. Since Oct. 7, those militias have launched more than 150 attacks on American troops, with the United States counter-striking against the militias’ bases. Like the Houthis and Hezbollah, the militias say they are motivated by Israel’s war with Hamas.

Iran also exchanged fire with Pakistan two weeks ago, aiming its strikes at separatist groups. Eleven people died in the strikes. 

Hamidreza Azizi, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said that Iran may be flexing its muscles as it feels besieged by American counterstrikes against its Iraq-allied militias as well as alleged Israeli strikes on Damascus. In addition, a massive Islamic State attack last month at a memorial for Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani killed nearly 100 people. 

“It has to do, I think, with Iran’s overall threat perception in the region rising. And at the same time, feeling the need – as a result of domestic and external pressure – to respond,” he told Al Jazeera.

Kelly Shannon, a member of the Atlantic Council think tank’s Iran Strategy Project, said recent Iranian-backed strikes were the country’s “attempt to project strength at home and to its allies and proxies, as well as to issue a warning to its enemies that it will use force to defend its interests.”

Tensions simmer on the Lebanese border

For Israel, Hezbollah presents the most immediate threat aside from Hamas. The Lebanese terror group launched missiles at Israel’s north the day after the war began. The barrage led to Israel’s evacuation of tens of thousands of Israelis from the northern perimeter, joining families displaced by the Gaza war.

Agence France Presse estimates that at least 175 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 130 Hezbollah fighters. At least nine Israeli soldiers and four civilians have also been killed. 

Hezbollah’s commander, Hassan Nasrallah, has cast his group’s attacks as an aid to Hamas as they divert Israeli forces from Gaza. “Some would like Hezbollah to engage in an all-out war, but I can tell you: What is happening now along the Israeli-Lebanese border is significant, and it is not the end,” he said in November.

Israeli cabinet ministers have mulled launching a preventive war in Lebanon, and polls have shown substantial support for such a strike. But defense officials in Israel, as well as the Biden administration, have cautioned against it. Israel and Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006. 

“If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war, it will by its own volition turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in December, referring to two cities in Gaza. 

Nasrallah has reason to refrain from all-out war: The organization he leads, which is the country’’s preeminent militant group and political force, is increasingly unpopular in Lebanon after decades of neglect and corruption. It is also depleted after years of assisting the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War.

That doesn’t mean the situation is stable. Nasrallah promised retaliation after Israel assassinated one of the top Hamas officials while he was under Hezbollah’s protection last month. He issued another warning less than a week later after Israel killed one of the top Hezbollah commanders in the country’s south.

Conflict escalates with the Houthis in Yemen

The Houthi militia, which controls much of Yemen after years of civil war, has launched almost daily attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, ostensibly to pressure Israel into drawing down its forces in the Gaza Strip. But some of the ships have nothing to do with Israel, or with the United States.  

Last month, in retaliation, U.S. and British combat aircraft struck Houthi targets, killing five fighters. There have been forays since then. 

“These strikes were designed to disrupt and degrade the capability of the Houthis to continue their attacks on global trade and innocent mariners from around the world, while avoiding escalation,” said a joint statement last week by the United States, the United Kingdom and another 22 countries lending the operations logistical and diplomatic support.

The Houthi strikes on commercial vessels have not flagged. In an impromptu Jan. 18 press conference, a reporter asked Biden if the strikes were working.

“Well, when you say ‘working,’ are they stopping the Houthis? No,” Biden said. “Are they going to continue? Yes.”

Qatar houses Hamas — and pushes diplomacy

If there’s a winner so far in this war, it’s Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich Gulf nation that has gained outsize influence since Oct. 7. Qatar funds Hamas and houses some of its leadership; it also was among the first Gulf nations to establish low-level ties with Israel in the 1990s. It simultaneously has relations with Iran and hosts one of the largest overseas U.S. bases.

That’s made it a key player in efforts to return the hostages and ultimately end the war. Netanyahu reportedly told hostage families last week that he’d like the United States to leverage Qatar into doing more to bring back the hostages. 

That earned a rebuke from Qatar’s foreign minister, but they’re still committed to negotiations — and the United States is committed to Qatar, with Blinken calling the country “indispensable.” Despite the criticism, Israeli officials acknowledge Qatar’s centrality, meeting with its representatives last weekend in multilateral talks over a hostage deal.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, the influential Jewish Maryland Democrat who has been a leading advocate for the hostages, said Qatar was key to any solution.

“Qatar obviously has been involved with Hamas in economic, strategic and ideological ways,” Raskin said in an interview. “So  it can use its leverage to get the hostages back and to change the brutal dynamics of this situation.”

Washington area Jews rally outside the Qatari embassy, Jan. 24, 2024. (Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington)

Jewish communities in the United States are also urging Qatar to stay in the game. Several hundred Washington area Jews rallied recently outside the Qatari embassy in Washington, asking for greater efforts to free the hostages. More rallies are planned for Friday outside Qatari missions in Washington, New York and Ottawa.

“The goal was to simultaneously express appreciation and frustration,” said Ron Halber, the director of the Greater Washington Jewish Community Relations Council, which organized the rally. “The appreciation for the role that Qatar played and the initial release of hostages and frustration that it’s been over a month, and that over 130 people are still languishing.”

Israel seeks a future agreement encompassing Saudi Arabia and beyond

When they discuss the “day after” the war in Gaza, Israel and the United States frequently refer to a role for Middle Eastern nations that either have relations with Israel — or are close to establishing them.

On that list are Egypt and Jordan, which have long-standing peace treaties with Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy partner that Biden hopes will lead funding for reconstruction in Gaza. 

Egypt borders Gaza, making it an essential part of any solution. Jordan borders the West Bank — a territory Israel hopes to keep calm despite spiking unemployment and a rise in Israeli counter-terror raids in the territory that have killed hundreds of Palestinians. This week, Israeli troops entered a West Bank hospital in disguise and killed three Hamas operatives. 

But Israel’s desired partner to spearhead the “day after” in Gaza is Saudi Arabia. Israel and the kingdom appeared to be on track to sign a treaty before the war broke out, a would-be signature accomplishment that Netanyahu hopes to salvage, in part through working with Saudi Arabia to set up a new government in Gaza. 

Saudi Arabia has stressed that if Israel wants relations, it will have to agree to Palestinian statehood. That’s something Biden wants, too. 

“We need stability” for Israeli-Saudi normalization, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told CNN last week “and stability only will come through resolving the Palestinian issue.”

Netanyahu and his far-right partners have publicly rejected Palestinian statehood. But a middle ground of sorts may be emerging. Israeli outlets reported this week that a clandestine group of businesspeople has sketched out a plan whereby a postwar Israeli military government would give way to a new Palestinian government in the territory set up with the help of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Could that lead to a Palestinian state? Netanyahu has so far said no, though that could change, writes Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist and Netanyahu biographer, in an article laying out the details of the plan

“We must remember that Netanyahu knows his days are numbered,” Caspit wrote, alluding to the prime minister’s low poll numbers. “His legacy at present is the Oct. 7 massacre… Steps toward an accord with Saudi Arabia, and some kind of progress on the Palestinian front could help change, a bit, the impression he will leave on the pages of history.”


The post ‘An incredibly volatile time’: From Iran to Yemen, how the Israel-Hamas war is sparking violence across the Middle East appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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