November 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Blinken Calls for “Pauses” in Gaza War

November 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Blinken Calls for “Pauses” in Gaza War

Latest Developments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered remarks on November 3 after arriving in Israel for the fourth time since October 7. In his speech, Blinken outlined three priorities: the need “to prevent escalation of this conflict,” protect Palestinian civilians, and “increase the sustained flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.” The secretary called for “humanitarian pauses” to enable progress on all three fronts.

Expert Analysis

“Any pause in the fighting will enable Hamas to gain its footing. This is not in the interest of the United States or Israel. It would play into the hands of Iran and its other proxies. The United States must hold the line, even in the face of mounting public pressure, and enable Israel to remove one of Iran’s valuable chess pieces from the board.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Secretary Blinken said he supports a humanitarian pause carried out in a way that doesn’t benefit Hamas. Since any ceasefire is bound to benefit Hamas, the secretary’s remarks are more political messaging than policymaking.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Israel Demands Hostage Return, Hamas Response Unclear

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on November 3 that Israel “refuses a temporary ceasefire that doesn’t include a return of our hostages.” The same day, Israeli President Issac Herzog published an article in The New York Times in which he stressed that “anyone trying to tie our hands is, intentionally or not, undermining not only Israel’s defense but also any hope for a world where these atrocities cannot happen.” He said that “the suffering will end only with the removal of Hamas.” According to The Washington Post, Hamas had previously indicated willingness to release all civilian hostages, but not military captives, in exchange for a sustained pause.

Palestinian Civilians Stuck in Gaza

Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on November 1, allowing passage for foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians stuck in the Gaza Strip. By the evening, 361 foreigners and 45 wounded Palestinians had crossed the border. Thousands more are expected to leave Gaza within the next couple of weeks. Egypt agreed to open the border as part of a Qatar-mediated agreement with Egypt, Hamas, and Israel. Nevertheless, Cairo is refusing to shelter Palestinian refugees caught in the war zone. On October 17, Jordan’s King Abdullah declared that “there will be no refugees in Jordan and no refugees in Egypt.”

Hamas’s Enablers Should Take Gaza Refugees,” by Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer

Blinken to Visit Israel and Jordan as Iran-Backed Groups Threaten Regional War,” FDD Flash Brief

Egypt Opens Its Border to Gaza Wounded, Foreigners,” FDD Flash Brief


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