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IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Israel and Hamas Sign Peace Agreement

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Israel and Hamas signed an Egypt-brokered ceasefire to end an escalation of violence between the two parties that began on Sunday. After the agreement was signed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Hamas “begged for peace”. However, Palestinians in Gaza reportedly celebrated the signing of the ceasefire as a victory.

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Spike in Violence Between Israel and Gaza

Violence between Israel and the Palestinians has increased along the Israel-Gaza border since Sunday. The increase in bombings and attacks follows a failed intelligence operation by the Israeli military that resulted in the deaths of several Palestinians, including Nour Baraka, the commander of Hamas’ Qassam Brigade. The latest attacks mark the greatest escalation in violence since 2014, with some officials expressing concern that Israel and Palestine may be on the brink of war.

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Mass Graves Discovered in Former ISIS Territory

Over 200 mass graves left by the Islamic State (ISIS) have been discovered in Iraq, according to a joint report released Tuesday by the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is estimated that 6,000-12,000 victims are buried at the sites, including women, children, people with disabilities, the elderly, foreign workers, and members of the Iraqi security forces.

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Japanese Journalist Freed from Syria

Jumpei Yasuda, a freelance journalist from Japan, was freed after being held in captivity by militants in Syria since 2015. Yasuda is now being held in an immigration facility in Turkey and is believed to be in a healthy, stable condition. His captors were members of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which is known for holding foreigners hostage and demanding ransom from their governments. The group was previously affiliated with al Qaeda.

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Mnuchin Visits Saudi Arabia: US Policy Focuses on Terrorism Amid Khashoggi Uproar

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin visited Saudi Arabia this past Sunday despite uproar over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Mnuchin justified his trip by emphasizing the importance of the economic and strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, while at the same time stressing the need for the U.S. to serve as a leader for human rights.

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New York Arab Cultural Initiative Attempts to Showcase Young Arab Voices

On Saturday Oct. 13, the Brooklyn Museum opened an exhibit called “Syria then and now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart.” This exhibit marks the beginning of the 2018-2019 “New York Arab World Art & Education Initiative,” in which museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, as well as colleges like Columbia University are, according to the initiative’s website, coming together to “build a greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world.”

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