World roundup: November 3 2023
Stories from Israel-Palestine, Indonesia, Brazil, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
November 3, 644: The second Muslim caliph, Umar, is assassinated. Between the total conquest of the Persian Empire and the capture of most of the Byzantine Empire, Umar’s caliphate saw a massive expansion in the Arab empire that had been established by Muhammad. He was murdered by a slave, Piruz Nahavandi (or “Abu Lulu”), who had previously been a soldier in the Persian army. His motives are unclear, but revenge for the Arab conquest may have been among them.
November 3, 1903: Panama declares itself independent of Colombia, at the encouragement of a US government that wanted to deal with an independent and…oh, let’s say “persuadable” Panamanian government in constructing the Panama Canal. Commemorated as Panamanian Separation Day.
With Gaza City now encircled, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken turned up in Israel on Friday a) to reiterate the Biden administration’s frequently reiterated position that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is an act of “self-defense,” and b) to kindly ask if it would be possible for the Israeli military (IDF) to exercise its right of “self-defense” without killing thousands of civilians—well, thousands more civilians, on top of the thousands it’s already killed. To the latter point, he apparently broached the subject of a “humanitarian pause” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him nothing of the sort will be possible unless Hamas and its fellow militants release the hostages they’re holding. It’s unclear how denying humanitarian relief to Gazan civilians is supposed to secure the hostages’ freedom or, indeed, how it can be considered anything other than collective punishment.
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