A Cease-Fire Holds After a 3-Day Gaza Conflict: Key Takeaways | Big Indy News
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A Cease-Fire Holds After a 3-Day Gaza Conflict: Key Takeaways



JERUSALEM — A cease-fire ending three days of fierce cross-border fighting between Israel and a Palestinian militant group in Gaza appeared to be holding on Monday, and life on both sides of the lines began to return to normal.

The Israeli military opened an offensive on Friday afternoon with missile strikes aimed against targets of the group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, saying the action was intended to thwart an imminent attack. It pounded targets in the Gaza Strip from the air, land and sea. Islamic Jihad fired about 1,100 rockets and mortar shells toward Israeli territory, the military said.

Both sides agreed to an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire Sunday night to halt the most intense round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in more than a year. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, at least 44 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, 15 of them children, and 360 people were injured, with 20 of them in serious condition.

After about a week of closure, Israel reopened Gaza’s border crossings for humanitarian supplies on Monday morning, starting with fuel deliveries to address dire electricity shortages in the enclave. By midday, the Israeli authorities had removed all safety restrictions that had been imposed on residents in the border areas over the past week to keep them close to bomb shelters and out of range of militant sniper fire.

Here is what we know about the consequences of the three-day conflict.

Summing up its campaign in Gaza, the Israeli military said on Monday that it had hit 170 Islamic Jihad targets, eliminating senior commanders of the group as well as rocket launching squads, and destroying launch pits, command posts and weapons stores.

Islamic Jihad said it had lost 12 of its leaders and members. Among them were Taysir al-Jabari, the commander for the northern region of Gaza, and Khaled Mansour, the southern region commander.

Although Islamic Jihad claimed to have gained some vague concessions relating to its prisoners in Israel under the terms of the cease-fire, Israel denied that it had agreed to any conditions other than a cessation of fighting on both sides.

The Israeli military said about 200 of Islamic Jihad’s rockets fell short and landed inside the Gaza Strip, causing casualties among civilians, including children.

And it said that its Iron Dome antimissile defense system carried out 380 interceptions of rockets heading for population centers in Israel, with a success rate of about 96 percent — up from about 90 percent in previous rounds. Tzipi Livni, a former senior Israeli government minister and a veteran negotiator with the Palestinians, said those defenses shortened the duration of the fighting and prevented more casualties.

But the secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, also claimed victory shortly after the cease-fire announcement on Sunday night.

“The jihad movement is today stronger, and all the enemy’s cities were within the range of the resistance’s missiles,” he said in a televised speech, adding, “We remained in control of the field despite the power imbalance with the enemy.”

The latest Gaza operation has been widely seen as a success in Israel, with no Israeli deaths and little damage on the Israeli side.

That is playing well for Yair Lapid, the new, centrist prime minister of Israel’s caretaker government, who is running for office in an election scheduled for Nov. 1.

Mr. Lapid has long been accused by critics in Israel of lacking the necessary national security know-how to lead the country in times of war, particularly when compared with his main rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has built up a wealth of experience as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and now leads the opposition.

But by initiating the airstrikes on Friday, Mr. Lapid improved his starting position in the political race, analysts said. And on Sunday, he scored a public relations coup when Mr. Netanyahu, who has refused to attend security briefings with Mr. Lapid in the past, was photographed sitting across the table from him receiving a formal update on the security situation and issued a statement backing the government.

“Now Lapid has gained the image of a prime minister who has led a military operation,” said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hamas, the largest and most powerful militant group in the blockaded Palestinian coastal enclave of Gaza, sat out the latest conflict with Israel, leaving all the fighting to the smaller Islamic Jihad. The two groups are rivals but often partner in taking on Israel.

Israeli officials and experts said Hamas’s decision to stay on the sidelines, even as the death toll rose in Gaza, was testament to the success of an Israeli government shift in policy toward the impoverished enclave over the last year.

In an effort to improve the economy of Gaza, with a population of about two million and an unemployment rate of about 50 percent, Israel has offered work permits to 14,000 residents of the territory — a small number in relative terms but by far the most since Hamas seized power in 2007, providing a financial lifeline to thousands of families.

Israel says it might expand the number of permits further, to 20,000, depending on the security situation, and that it has also worked over the past year to increase Gaza’s imports and exports.

But the prospects of much greater economic development are hampered by the refusal of Hamas to release the remains of two Israeli soldiers, held since 2014, and its yearslong imprisonment of two Israeli civilians suffering from mental health issues.

Another factor limiting Gaza’s development, Israeli officials say, is that Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and continues to focus on building its military force at the expense of investment in the civilian population.

Islamic Jihad, for its part, denies that Hamas’s decision to stay on the sidelines of this round of fighting has deepened the split between the two groups. Mr. al-Nakhala, the Islamic Jihad leader, said: Hamas is the backbone of the resistance and we are in a continuous alliance with them to confront the enemy.”

The secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Mr. al-Nakhala, said his organization wanted to protect the life of Bassem Saadi, a senior Islamic Jihad figure who was arrested by Israeli special forces in the occupied West Bank last week. The militants had threatened reprisals in response to the arrest. Islamic Jihad later demanded his release as part of the Egyptian-mediated cease-fire talks — so far to no avail.

The last two days of conflict in Gaza can be linked back to a spike in violence across Israel and the West Bank several months ago. A spate of Palestinian attacks on civilians in Israel in April and May led to an increase in Israeli raids across the West Bank and almost nightly arrests, culminating in the arrest of Mr. Saadi.

With its threats of retaliation, Islamic Jihad had hoped to curb Israeli actions against the group in the West Bank. But the raids in the West Bank have continued, even as the fighting raged in Gaza.

On Saturday, the Israeli military said it had apprehended 19 suspects belonging to Islamic Jihad in overnight raids across the West Bank. On Sunday it said it had detained another 20.

The latest round of violence came soon after a mid-July visit to the region by President Joe Biden. In a statement issued by the White House welcoming the cease-fire late Sunday, Mr. Biden said, “My support for Israel’s security is longstanding and unwavering — including its right to defend itself against attacks.”

Mr. Biden particularly thanked the Egyptian leadership for its central role in bringing the hostilities to an end, as well as Qatar for its help, and said the United States had also worked with officials from Israel, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

Israeli officials said strong expressions of support had also come from European countries.

The fighting also highlighted the growing acceptance of Israel in other parts of the Arab world. Past Gaza wars have drawn heavy criticism from other Arab countries. This time, the response was more muted.

Two of the three Arab countries that formalized ties with Israel in 2020 in a process known as the Abraham Accords, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, expressed concern about the violence but avoided criticism of Israel. Only the third country, Bahrain, directly condemned Israel’s strikes.

Hiba Yazbek, Fady Hanona and Iyad Abuheweila contributed reporting.

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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