More than a week after fighters with the militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip launched a brutal surprise attack on Israelis, thousands have died on both sides. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared the country at war, calling up more than 300,000 reservists and pummeling Gaza with airstrikes in retaliation.
Israeli troops have continued amassing at the border of the enclave early this week ahead of a widely expected ground invasion. Israel told those in northern Gaza to evacuate, sending more than half a million people streaming into the south. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is growing worse by the day, as fuel, food, and clean water run out. Talks that would open the southern border crossing between Gaza and Egypt have stalled, with people hoping to flee trapped on one side and trucks loaded with supplies stuck on the other.
The war has sent reverberations around the globe, affecting many in Massachusetts. Follow here for live updates.
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Israeli-Palestinian incubator led by Deval Patrick faces scrutiny from alumni (Oct. 17)
A startup incubator that supports Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs, overseen in part by former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, is under pressure from graduates as the war between Israel and Hamas escalates.
Our Generation Speaks, based at Brandeis University, is a nonprofit dedicated to building an “entrepreneurial community of leaders committed to shaping a peaceful Israeli-Palestinian future built on trust.” It fosters the ventures of people looking to create change in the region and “inject optimism back into the public discourse and promote a more productive conversation” around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As that conflict has turned increasingly deadly, alumni of OGS are saying that the organization has not taken a strong enough stance on the violence. Almost four dozen Israeli OGS graduates sent a letter to the organization’s leadership following the initial Hamas attacks, saying that it needed to take a “decisive stance” against other graduates who had allegedly made comments supporting the attack, Politico reported.
A group of Palestinian graduates also requested that OGS release a statement expressing concern for “the impact of this crisis on innocent lives, including their own lives and families,” Patrick told Politico.
OGS was the brainchild of an Israeli who was called up as a reservist soldier during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. He grew disillusioned after his military service, telling Haaretz that lasting peace would not be brokered by leaders on either side. Instead, OGS grows the ideas of Israelis and Palestinians that want to improve life for everyday people where they come from.
OGS has the backing of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Patrick serves as chair of the Advisory Board.
In a statement to Politico, Patrick acknowledged that the current situation is stressing the work done by OGS.
The “horrific war has and will continue to test whether the personal bonds of trust and shared experience we have worked so hard to build will hold up under the current crisis. I am confident that they will endure,” he told Politico. “I believe in the power of this organization and its members now more than ever. But it is a question they should not have to answer under the extreme stress of this moment.”
A WhatsApp chat used by graduates devolved into bitter fighting in the wake of the Hamas attack, and some graduates were accused of spreading antisemitic or pro-Hamas content. CEO Lobna Agbaria told Politico that any alumni who “expresses support for Hamas or any act of terrorism” would be expelled.
In an email to alumni, Patrick said that OGS would continue to build an entrepreneurial community focused on shaping a peaceful future instead of responding directly to the recent attacks.
“Any response from our organization can place our alums’ safety across the border at great risk due to their affiliation with OGS,” he wrote, according to Politico. “This is especially important during an active war. These are terrible times, and the unimaginable can happen, as we have already witnessed. Our approach is to protect all involved and support future connections.”
Ayanna Pressley among progressive Democrats who call for Israel-Hamas war ceasefire (Oct. 17)
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is among the more than a dozen progressive lawmakers in the House who backed a resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.
“Let me make it plain: The murder of Israeli civilians by Hamas is horrific and unacceptable. And the murder of Palestinian civilians is a horrific and unacceptable response from Israel,” Pressley posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Monday. “Vengeance should not be a foreign policy doctrine. Our humanity is at stake.”
The resolution also calls for aid to be sent to Gaza, as the humanitarian crisis worsens and Israel continues its “full siege” — which has left Palestinians without electric