A Weekend on the Brink

Happy Monday! If you turned off the Jets-Eagles game last night when you heard a certain pop star was not at Metlife Stadium, let us fill you in on what you missed: Gang Green grounded the previously undefeated Birds in their first win over the team in franchise history.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli soldiers on Saturday that “the next stage” of the war against Hamas was “coming,” as Israel called up 300,000 reservists and moved closer to a large-scale ground invasion of Gaza. The Israeli government instructed Palestinian civilians in the region’s northern half to evacuate in preparation for the escalation, but Hamas leaders have issued contradictory orders, telling civilians to remain in place. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported over the weekend it had killed several Hamas commanders responsible for last weekend’s devastating terrorist attacks.
  • Following the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford last week, the United States on Saturday sent a second carrier strike group—the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Groupto the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to act as deterrence for any escalation of violence in the Middle East. “There is a risk of an escalation of this conflict,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday on Face the Nation. “The opening of a second front in the North, and of course of Iran’s involvement—that is a risk.” President Joe Biden spoke to both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by phone over the weekend, urging both to prevent the war from rippling throughout the region. In a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, Biden said Israel should eliminate Hamas, but cautioned it would be a “big mistake” to occupy Gaza and stressed the need for a “path to a Palestinian state.”
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned Sunday that if Israel didn’t “cease their atrocities in Gaza,” Iran would not be able to “remain an observer” in the conflict, adding that “significant damages” would also be “inflicted” upon the United States if the scope of the war expands. Iranian and Hamas leaders met in Qatar this weekend and “agreed to continued cooperation,” while Amir-Abdollahian praised the attack on Israel as a “historic victory.” Reuters also reported Friday that Saudi Arabia is engaging with Iran and putting normalization efforts with Israel “on ice.”
  • France raised its terror threat alert to its highest level Friday after a teacher was stabbed to death by a man connected to Islamic extremism. The attack—which also wounded three others—prompted French authorities to deploy 7,000 additional troops to maintain safety as the nation monitors an increase in Islamic terrorism seemingly tied to the Israel-Hamas war. The stabbing occurred on what a former Hamas leader declared a “Day of Rage,” which saw increased demonstrations in support of Palestinians, as well as the stabbing of an Israeli Embassy employee in Beijing.
  • Poland’s main opposition group, the Civic Coalition, declared victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections this morning, after exit polls indicated that the nationalist Law & Justice Party had lost its bid for a third term. The opposition’s apparent win marks a return to what will likely be a closer relationship with the European Union for Poland, and could yield more Polish support for neighboring Ukraine.
  • House Republicans voted 124-81 on Friday to nominate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio as their next choice for speaker, and a full floor vote is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. Jordan and his allies have launched an aggressive vote-whipping operation to ensure victory—though the pressure campaign has aggravated some members of the caucus. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told Meet the Press on Sunday that “informal conversations” were happening with a bipartisan group of representatives to more quickly arrive at a consensus pick.
  • Republican Jeff Landry, Louisiana’s current attorney general, was elected governor of the state on Saturday, winning nearly 52 percent of the vote in a crowded, all-party contest. By garnering more than half of the ballots cast, Landry avoided a runoff election and flipped the Louisiana governor’s mansion from blue to red, replacing term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • A coalition of health care workers unions reached a tentative deal with Kaiser Permanente on Friday, potentially ending the largest health care strike in U.S. history. The contract, which still must be ratified, would raise wages by 21 percent over the next four years.

Israel Prepares to Strike Back

Israel Defense Forces soldiers walk through Kibbutz Be'eri where days earlier Hamas terrorists killed over a hundred civilians near the border with Gaza on October 11, 2023 in Be'eri, Israel. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Israel Defense Forces soldiers walk through Kibbutz Be'eri where days earlier Hamas terrorists killed over a hundred civilians near the border with Gaza on October 11, 2023 in Be'eri, Israel. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

On October 7, hundreds of terrorists descended on Israel from the sky using paragliders, rushed in on the ground through holes dug in walls surrounding the Gaza Strip, and launched thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israeli territory. Hamas—a Palestinian militant group and U.S.-designated terrorist organization—led the surprise attack, infiltrating villages and towns along the Gaza-Israel border. The fighters massacred men, women, and children—in their homes, in the street, even at a music festival—killing more than 1,400 Israelis and leaving more than 3,000 injured. Hamas terrorists also abducted more than 150 people and carried them back to Gaza—bounded on three sides by walls and on the fourth by the Mediterranean Sea—where many remain as hostages. The atrocities, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in Israel this week, were “worse than what I saw with ISIS,” when he commanded U.S. military operations in the Middle East at the height of the terror group’s power. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas last Saturday, vowing “the enemy will pay an unprecedented price.” As the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) regained control over the towns and kibbutzim Hamas fighters had infiltrated, it also began airstrikes on Gaza, which have killed at least 2,450 people over the last week, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry. A ground campaign in the Gaza Strip—from which Israel withdrew entirely in 2005—is imminent. More than 300,000 Israeli reservists have been called up to fight, and the IDF has amassed troops and vehicles to the north of Gaza. Over the weekend Israel ordered the evacuation of more than 1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza—which Hamas openly discouraged—urging them to move south in anticipation of the invasion. 

Questions abound as Israel—and the world—prepare for the next phase of the war: What would a ground offensive in such a densely populated region look like? What kind of U.S. support will Israel see? And in a region historically fraught with conflict, how do the events of the past week set this war apart?

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (337)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More