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Daily Briefing Dec. 24: Day 79 – Are Hamas and the Palestinian Authority the same?

Arab affairs reporter Gianluca Pacchiani explains how Middle East experts see the Israeli PM’s contention; legal affairs reporter Jeremy Sharon on suspending IDF Hilltop Youth unit

Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing, your 20-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world.

Today is day 79 of the war. Arab affairs reporter Gianluca Pacchiani and legal affairs reporter Jeremy Sharon join host Amanda Borschel-Dan for today’s podcast.

The Israel Defense Forces recently halted the operational activities of a controversial unit implicated in multiple incidents of abuse against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The unit, called “Sfar Hamidbar,” or Desert Frontier in English, was known for recruiting so-called “hilltop youth.” Sharon gives background and explains what has happened recently.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn criticism from the international stage for drawing an equivalency between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Pacchiani spoke with several experts in the Middle East to see whether that was correct. As expected, he heard different things from different people.

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi wrote an op-ed for an Arabic-language outlet that was taken to mean that the government may allow a reformed Palestinian Authority to play a role in governing Gaza after the ongoing war with Hamas in over, and that earned him criticism from far-right coalition members. Hours later, a “senior Israeli official” walked back these comments. What’s going on behind the scenes?

For the latest updates, please look at The Times of Israel’s ongoing live blog.

Discussed articles include:

Live blog December 24, 2023

IDF freezes operations of ‘hilltop youth’ unit linked to anti-Palestinian violence

Hanegbi’s words ‘misunderstood,’ PA can’t rule post-war Gaza — senior Israeli official

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Civilians and soldiers killed in Hamas’s onslaught on Israel

THOSE WE ARE MISSING: The hostages and victims whose fate is still unknown

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