A scene unfolded on the streets of New York City near 83rd and 2nd Avenue, where a man identified as Stuart Seldowitz, a former Obama administration official, was caught in a heated exchange with a halal cart vendor.
Seldowitz was seen berating the vendor with inflammatory and provocative statements. He served as deputy director and senior political officer in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003 and later as a National Security Advisor under President Obama.
Witnesses reported that Seldowitz made several derogatory remarks, questioning the vendor’s immigration status, and even making offensive comments about the vendor’s religious beliefs.
The video shows Seldowitz, dressed in a green jacket, accusing the vendor of supporting terrorism and making insensitive comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
He was even heard saying, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough.”
After his identity was revealed on Twitter, Seldowitz acknowledged to the Daily Beast that he was the person shown in the video.
Earlier in the week Israel and Hamas reached a tenative agreement to release dozens of women and children held prisoner in Gaza in exchange for a five-day cease-fire. This would result in the first sustained pause in the military conflict in Gaza.
The healthcare system in Gaza has been significantly impacted by the conflict. Major medical facilities, including the Ahli Arab Hospital and al-Quds Hospital in Gaza, have had to halt operations because of fuel shortages. Concerns are growing that this could lead to the shutdown of all hospitals in Gaza.
Israel indicated that the ceasefire’s extension might depend on the release of more hostages. A Palestinian source mentioned to Reuters the possibility of up to 100 hostages being freed by month’s end. This comes after about 240 hostages were taken during an attack by Islamist terrorists in southern Israeli towns on October 7, orchestrated by Hamas and its allies.
Until now, only four hostages had been released. The ceasefire is expected to commence on Thursday morning, though its official start time was not confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated that over a span of four days, 50 women and children would be released, with a minimum of 10 daily. The truce might be prolonged on a day-by-day basis provided that an extra 10 hostages are released each day.
The Israeli justice ministry disclosed a roster of 300 Palestinian prisoners eligible for release. The government statement affirmed, “Israel’s government is committed to return all the hostages home. Tonight, it approved the proposed deal as a first stage to achieving this goal.”
Beginning with the visit of the US President to Tel Aviv a week after the conflict started, and followed by numerous trips from the Secretary of State and other high-ranking officials, the US government has urged Netanyahu to acknowledge the loss of the Palestinian death toll. Reports have indicated that over 11,000 people have died in Gaza.
“I think we need a pause,” Biden remarked at a campaign rally two weeks ago. “A pause means time to get the prisoners out.”