This week we seek to understand the recent and unprecedented large-scale offensive launched by Palestinian militant groups in Israel on Saturday.
In other news, a 6.3 magnitude devastating earthquake hits Afghanistan, six men accused of murdering Ecuadorean presidential candidate are found dead, and Donald Trump confronts New York fraud claims in court.
All this and much, much more in our newest issue. Have a read to start your week well informed.
Spotlight: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “We are at war.”
“We are at war.” These were the words spoken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday morning in a message delivered shortly after the Palestinian militant groups Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip enclave, and Islamic Jihad had begun firing thousands of rockets and sending gunmen into Israel. The unprecedented offensive signaled a catastrophic intelligence failure by Israel. Indeed, it is still unclear how the staggering offensive by the Palestinian groups, whose armed militants broke through the hi-tech border fences surrounding the strip to enter into southern Israel, could go unnoticed by Israel’s notoriously highly sophisticated and highly invasive security establishment. According to Hamas, the attack appears to have been sparked by an event the past week during which some Jews prayed inside the compound of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, where it is forbidden and highly provocative for them to pray. In Jewish religion, the mosque is known as Temple Mount, and is venerated as the site of the biblical Jewish temple.
On Saturday morning, Gaza militants infiltrated Jewish communities near the border, killing and taking hostages; several unverified videos showed terrified Israeli civilians being taken by Palestinian gunmen. In response to the attacks, Netanyahu vowed to reduce Hamas hideouts in Gaza to “rubble.” The Israeli government has, in fact, called up army reservists, while also launching a wave of airstrikes on the Gaza strip and cutting off electricity and fuel supplies to the isolated enclave, which may soon affect medical facilities treating civilians injured in the airstrikes. This slim strip of land is considered one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, being home to about 2 million people, all of whom, unable to flee, often have nowhere to evacuate to. Complicating Israel’s military response are the estimated 150 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza territory. According to official reports from Sunday, 700 Israelis and 413 Palestinians had been killed in the two days since Saturday’s attack. The New York Times reports this as the deadliest attack on Israel in at least two decades.
At the international level there has been overwhelming support demonstrated for Israel and the country’s right to defend itself against the Palestinian attacks. US President Joe Biden confirmed on Sunday that military aid to Israel was on its way. Similarly, in the UK, which has the second largest Jewish population in Europe, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that he would “continue to provide Israel with every support that it needs,” as the Israeli flag illuminated the façade of 10 Downing Street on Sunday night. Also Premier Giorgia Meloni, speaking to Netanyahu, reiterated Italy’s full solidarity following the attacks and that the country would coordinate with international partners to coordinate support. The Egyptian government, which has been heavily involved in brokering past ceasefires, is said to be in talks with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to diffuse the crisis.
Around the World
Powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquakes hits Afghanistan. More than 2400 fatalities after powerful earthquakes hit Afghanistan, UN says. The 6.3 magnitude quake took place on Saturday morning, 35 km northwest of the city of Herat. According to Janan Sayeeq, spokesman of the Ministry of Disasters, more than 9 thousand people have been injured in the disaster, and the toll could rise higher. This earthquake could aggravate the already dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, which has for long battled terrorism, poverty, and lack of proper healthcare facilities.
Six Accused of Murdering Ecuadorean Presidential Candidate Are Found Dead. On Friday, the six Colombian men accused of murdering the Ecuadorean presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio were found dead in the prison where they were being held. In August, the assassination of Mr. Villavicencio, who had been very outspoken about the links between organized crime and government during his campaign, had served as a jolt for the nation, increasingly shaken by the narco-trafficking industry.
Donald Trump confronts New York fraud claims in court. Donald Trump confronts New York fraud claims by in court. The state’s lawsuit accuses the former President of having declared false sums in his bank statements. According to Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for New York’s Attorney General office, Trump, and his company “were lying year after year after year”. Trump has denied any allegations, calling the trial “disgraceful” and a “sham”. If he loses, the businessman risks losing important properties throughout the country, including the Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Hospitalisation of Iranian girl leads to claims against ‘morality police’. One year after Masha Amini, a 16-years-old girl has been hospitalized in Tehran for what human rights organizations defined as a severe physical assault by the morality police for not complying with the rule of wearing the hijab. Authorities justify the footage of the girl being carried out from the train, claiming that she fainted after a drop in blood pressure. Access to the hospital has been restricted and a journalist who tried to enter to cover the news has been briefly arrested. Activists on social media claim that authorities are making up stories to cover-up for their brutality, repeating Masha Amini’s history.
Mass protest in Barcelona against possible amnesty for Catalan separatists. On Sunday, tens of thousands of people joined conservative and far-right Spanish political leaders to protest against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his party’s decision to propose an amnesty for those involved in the failed, unlawful, and unilateral push for Catalan independence six years ago. The opposition parties argue that Sánchez’s move is motivated by increasing reliance on Catalan separatist parties to keep his coalition afloat.
South China Sea: Philippines resupplies Second Thomas Shoal troops despite Beijing’s attempts to ‘harass’. Tensions between the Philippines and China continue in the South China Sea with the former accusing China of blocking and interfering in his mission to ship fresh supplies to the military outpost in Second Thomas Shoal. On August 5, Manila had issued a diplomatic note after a Chinese coastguard ship blocked and fired water cannons on a Philippine’s supply vessel. In another shoal, a Chinese barrier has been removed by the Philippines last week, with accusations of expansions in the resource-rich waters regardless of the 2016 international tribunal’s invalidation of Chinese territorial claims.
Southeast Asia won’t be ‘split between two camps’ over US-China rivalry, Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong says. On Thursday, in occasion of the geopolitics-focused Asia Future Summit in Singapore, the country’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was optimistic that Southeast Asian countries would not be “split between two camps” despite the intense rivalry between the United States and China. Lee cited the deepening of economic relations between US-ally Australia and China who recently lifted barriers on Australian hay exports as a virtuous example, advocating for less geopolitical interference in international trade rules that distorts markets “and leaves everyone worse off”.
Migranti, patto elettorale in Ue. La Germania frena sulle Ong, sì di Roma. La negoziazione fra Italia e Germania per la ricollocazione dei migranti è giunta a un compromesso. Il testo accordato prevede che, su richiesta di paesi Ue, i governi nazionali possano innescare lo stato di emergenza, qualora si presentino più sbarchi improvvisi. In tal caso si andrebbe a innescare un meccanismo di solidarietà obbligatoria, in cui ognuno dei paesi tra i Ventisette è obbligato a contribuire al ricollocamento dei migranti. Per ogni persona respinta, ogni stato è tenuto a versare una quota di 20 mila euro.
Incidente Mestre, Procuratore: “Nessun incendio, si indaga per omicidio plurimo”. Bus elettrico precipita dal Cavalcavia superiore di Marghera a Mestre, da 9,40 metri di altezza. Il volo è preceduto da una particolare manovra in cui l’autista il quale, abbandonando la corsia principale, si affianca sulla destra, sfregando con la fiancata del veicolo il guardrail per più di 30 metri. I passeggeri, di ritorno da una giornata a Venezia, presentano evidenti segni di schiacciamento, ma ci vorranno ancora settimane per stabilire la causa di ogni decesso.
Food delivery, business da 1,8 miliardi ma c’è chi abbandona l’Italia. UberEats abbandona il campo delle consegne a domicilio in Italia. Attualmente questo mercato raggiunge più del 71 % della popolazione italiana che, tuttavia è altamente decentrata nell’aspetto demografico. Questo aspetto è stato critico anche per Gorillas e Getir, aziende che al giorno d’oggi non operano più nel delivery italiano. Nonostante ciò, l’ecommerce alimentare è cresciuto del 39% l’anno dal 2010.
Booking.com, il caso dei mancati pagamenti agli host italiani: «In arretrato di 10 mila euro». Host italiani lamentano i mancati pagamenti da parte della piattaforma online Booking.com. La questione è stata sollevata in primo luogo dal The Guardian, che ha riportato l’interruzione dei pagamenti da parte della piattaforma, cause problemi tecnici. Ad oggi, molti albergatori sono in attesa della somma che gli spetta, che in alcuni casi ammonta anche a migliaia di euro, motivo per cui alcuni si sono persino rivolti all’Associazione Europea Consumatori Indipendenti.
Tuesday 10th October 6:15 PM – In honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2023, Campus Lifeis offering a hands-on gardening workshop that will help us understand how important it is to foster and develop our mental health, which in many ways is very similar to how we care for and nourish a plant. More info here.
Friday 13th October 12:30 PM – IGIER seminar series: “Climate Change Economics over Time and Space”. Speaker: Esteban Rossi-Hansberg (University of Chicago). Velodromo: Room N07. More info here.
Monday 16th October at 6:15 PM – Première Année directed by Thomas Lilti, in French with French subtitles – Room Zappa (University Building of via Sarfatti 25, ground floor). You can book your seats until 12th of October from the link here.
Thursday 19th October at 9 PM – Isole sonore: Piano con le parole. Original compositions alternated with readings of literary pieces dedicated to the piano and its greats in a grand concert performance full of emotions, with Debora Mancini and Daniele Longo. You can register here.