Monday, November 6, 2023:
Here’s what we’ll be discussing today:
UP FIRST: Ceasefire calls grow as Israel’s invasion of Gaza intensifies
CATCH UP: Biden’s new plan for student loan relief, explained
—Rachel DuRose, Future Perfect fellow
Israel hits civilian infrastructure as ceasefire calls grow
Protestors attend a demonstration in support of Palestine in Madrid, Spain, on November 5, 2023. Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Multiple civilian targets were struck by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in recent days, amidst growing calls for a ceasefire. As the attacks on Gaza have grown, the IDF claims it’s killed 10 Hamas commanders thus far. Hamas is responsible for the devastating October 7 attacks on southern Israel, which killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
The lowdown: In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attack, much of the international community voiced its support for Israel. As the civilian death toll rises in Gaza, that support has begun to wane, however. Political leaders across the globe are now calling for a pause in the fighting to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries and civilian evacuation of Gaza. Israel’s leaders reject these calls.
Here are the latest developments:
Since October 7, 10,022 Palestinians have been killed (at least 4,000 of whom are children, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health). Approximately 24,000 Palestinians have been injured in Gaza. More than 40,000 housing units have been destroyed in the region, and 1.51 million Palestinians — around three-quarters of the population of the Gaza territory — have been displaced.
The IDF targeted the Jabalia refugee camp and Palestine Red Crescent ambulances near the al-Shifa hospital. The IDF claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were necessary to destroy Hamas’s tunnel-based infrastructure. The Gaza Health Ministry denies the hospital covers an underground command center.
Throughout the weekend, protesters in DC, Berlin, London, and several other major cities gathered to call for a ceasefire in Israel. Protesters in Washington, DC, laid out small white body bags with the names of Palestinian children killed in the airstrikes, and tens of thousands marched through the streets.
Several countries have recalled diplomats from Israel as global criticism of its continued bombardment of Gaza grows. South Africa, Turkey, Jordan, Bahrain, Bolivia, and a number of other states have suspended diplomatic ties with Israel.
- The US has rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire, but has encouraged Israel to “pause” its assault for humanitarian reasons. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that a ceasefire would “leave Hamas in place to regroup and repeat attacks.”
The stakes: Israel doesn’t necessarily need international support to continue its war, especially as long as the US remains at its side. However, international pressure could weaken US support, and make post-war international relations more difficult for the country.
As James Jeffrey, former special envoy to the International Coalition to Defeat ISIS, told weekend and world reporter Ellen Ioanes, Israel must “really care, as a strategic military issue, [about] civilian casualties and humanitarian issues because that will determine how long you have American support. They only have so much time, even if it’s an existential battle.”
Given the mass protests, severing of diplomatic ties, and international backlash, that time may now be running out.
Read Ellen’s full story here.
If you have questions about the ongoing war, let us know here. And here’s where you can keep track of all our developing coverage.
Biden’s new plan for student loan relief, explained
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images
In 2022, President Joe Biden announced an enormous loan forgiveness initiative, only to have the Supreme Court declare it unconstitutional. Beginning in 2020, Biden stretched a moratorium on loan payments for months and then years, until congressional Republicans forced the collection system back into operation. Now, his administration has a new debt relief plan.
Here’s how Biden’s battle for student loan forgiveness has played out thus far:
Biden’s first loan forgiveness initiative would have forgiven $10,000 from nearly every federal student loan, and up to $20,000 for low-income borrowers. The Court ruled that the plan unconstitutional.
Monday, the Department of Education announced new plans to forgive billions of dollars in loans. Biden’s Plan B targets specific groups of borrowers who are especially in need, and fall into at least one of the following four categories:
- People who owe more money than they originally borrowed, due to accumulating interest.
People who have owed payments on their loans for more than 25 years.
- People who qualify for forgiveness under existing federal programs but have never applied for relief.
- People who took out loans to enroll in job-oriented programs that left them with heavy loan burdens and few prospects to start a well-paying career.
It will take some time to implement the new loan plan. The Department of Education is still in the middle of a lengthy, technically complicated rulemaking process that won’t conclude until well into 2024, and forgiveness won’t occur until 2025.
There’s a significant likelihood, however, that everything won’t go according to plan. While the new Biden forgiveness plan is based on a different federal law than his first initiative, the Supreme Court could still ax it.
You can read freelance writer Kevin Carey’s full story here.
🗣️ “An entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essentials for survival, bombed in their homes, shelters, hospitals, and places of worship. This is unacceptable … We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It's been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now.”
— Joint statement from 18 UN chiefs, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UN aid chief Martin Griffiths. [Reuters]
Maine’s US senators want the Army to provide information on the reservist who killed over a dozen in Lewiston. Fellow soldiers expressed concerns about the shooter’s mental health before the October 25 tragedy. One of them sent a text message in September saying, “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting," according to law enforcement. [ABC]
Donald Trump testified in the New York civil fraud trial against him, his company, and his adult sons. Judge Arthur Engoron became impatient with Trump’s various tangents. "This is not a political rally. This is a courtroom," the judge said at one point. [CNN]
Russia bombed the Odesa region of Ukraine this weekend after Ukrainian forces struck a Russian missile carrier at a Kerch shipyard. The ship was in the Russian Zaliv shipyard in the city of Kerch in Russian-occupied Crimea. Ukrainian forces also targeted a Russian ammo depot in Sedove on the coast of the Azov Sea in the Donetsk region. [Politico]
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