May 14, 2021
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Rockets Falling in Gaza Killed 17 Palestinian Civilians on Monday before IDF Airstrikes - Sharon Wrobel (Algemeiner)
    Rockets fired at Israel by Hamas that fell within Gaza killed 17 Palestinians in the hours preceding IDF retaliatory airstrikes on Monday, an Israeli security official said.
    On Tuesday, a Hamas rocket that fell short damaged power lines in Gaza, cutting off electricity to 230,000 residents.
    In addition, the power line to the Rafah sewage treatment plant has been damaged and the lines to the Gaza sewage treatment plant are down.

Israel: When Hamas Stops Firing, Israel Will Stop Firing - Christiane Amanpour (CNN)
    Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's ambassador to the UK, says the solution to the current conflict is simple: "When Hamas will stop firing, Israel will stop firing."

3 Rockets Fired from Lebanon Hit Sea off Israel's Northern Coast - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    Three rockets fired from southern Lebanon landed in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel's northern coast on Thursday night, the IDF said.
    A Palestinian group was believed to be behind the attack, not Hizbullah, according to Lebanese media.
    "The rockets that were fired towards northern Israel came from the vicinity of Rashidiya [Palestinian refugee camp] in Tyre," Al-Jazeera reported.

Former U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser: Hamas Must Be Weakened - Elliott Abrams (Fox News)
    Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams said Thursday that he hopes that the Biden administration understands that "Hamas has to lose" the ongoing conflict with Israel.
    "If Hamas wins this encounter, then not only does Israel lose - we lose and all of the Arab countries that recently improved relations with Israel lose."
    He added that Iran "absolutely" played a role in the conflict by supplying Hamas with the technology for the rockets currently being fired.
    "10 years ago, 15 years ago, it was impossible for Hamas to shoot this many rockets this far into Israel." 

Hamas Starts Wars It Always Loses - Eli Lake (Bloomberg)
    According to its exiled political leader, Hamas' war strategy - if that's the proper term for raining hundreds of randomly fired rockets on Israel - is working.
    In a televised address on Tuesday, Ismail Haniya called the barrage a "victory" and "an honor for our people."
    Hamas always claims to win the wars it loses.
    Israel in 2021 has a very effective missile defense system that has intercepted most of Hamas' rockets in midair.
    While a few have gotten through, the rockets do not seem to be breaking the will of the Israeli people.

Israeli Hospital Evacuates Top Floor Wards (Jerusalem Post)
    Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot has evacuated wards in the upper floors of its buildings in line with instructions of the IDF Home Front Command.
    Patients on these floors would be unable to evacuate quickly enough to protected areas if a rocket targeted the buildings.
    Patients on respirators are also located on these floors.

Parenting under Fire: A Bomb Shelter Guide for Israeli Parents - Nathan Jeffay (Times of Israel)
    As rockets rain down, how should Israeli parents talk to their children?
    How should they explain the dash to the safe room? What is the appropriate response to kids' fears? And what can be done with news-addicted teenagers?
    Susan Raanan, a mental health professional who has been working for two decades with children in the Gaza periphery where she lives, says:
    "The most important thing of all is for parents to remain calm and always tell the truth. Remember, children are very quick on picking up when parents are trying to make things seem rosier than they are."
    "Parents should explain to children that sirens are there to protect them, and explain that the sirens are the country's way of trying to keep them safe."
    "What's really important is to practice responding to a siren ahead of time. When parents feel they are able to get to the safe room in time, they will be calmer about managing the challenge."
    "Don't tell them to stop being afraid. This isn't helpful - it dismisses what they are feeling. Rather, acknowledge that it is a scary situation and reassure them that you are with them and things will be okay."
    "After the alert has passed, go to YouTube for breathing exercises, music, and movement exercises to 'shake out the fear' and reduce levels of tension."

Ex-Head of Israel Space Program Critically Injured When Arab Rioters Burn Acre Hotel - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
    Avi Har-Even, 84, former director of the Israel Space Agency, was in critical condition Thursday after suffering from smoke inhalation when the hotel he was staying at in Acre was torched two days earlier during rioting by Arab residents of the city.
    He is a research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Bar-Ilan University.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Says Israel Hasn't Overreacted to Gaza Rocket Attacks - Jordan Fabian
    President Joe Biden defended the Israeli government's response to Palestinian rocket attacks "that are indiscriminately fired into population centers," saying Thursday he has not seen a "significant overreaction" to the deadly barrages. (Bloomberg)
        See also Secretary of State Blinken: Hamas Is Targeting Israeli Civilians, Israel Is Targeting the Terrorists Who Are Raining Down Rockets
    Asked about the disparity in casualties of Israelis and Palestinians, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday: "There is first a very clear and absolute distinction between a terrorist organization, Hamas, that is indiscriminately raining down rockets - in fact, targeting civilians - and Israel's response defending itself that is targeting the terrorists who are raining down rockets on Israel. But...I think Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casualties, even as it is rightfully responding in defense of its people."  (U.S. State Department)
  • A Night of Rockets, and a Morning of Fear - Iyad Abuheweila
    Gazans took to the streets on Tuesday evening, cheering the thunderous sounds of rockets being fired toward Israel. Some whistled and chanted. "Go! Go! Go!" they shouted. "God is with you." Nadal Issa, 27, recalled standing by a window of his home and watching the rockets take flight. "I was praying from my heart that the rockets reached the heart of Tel Aviv," he said.
        But on Wednesday morning the cheers had stopped as Israel responded with airstrikes. (New York Times)
        See also Video: Gazans Cheer Rocket Launches at Israeli Cities
    Hamas' 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades posted footage on Telegram showing heavy rocket salvos targeting Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Tel Aviv on May 11, 2021. (MEMRI-TV)
        See also Photos Capture Battle between Israel's Iron Dome and Hamas Rockets (AFP-Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Have Fired 1,750 Rockets and Mortars at Israel - Judah Ari Gross
    The IDF said 1,750 rockets and mortar shells have been fired toward Israel by Palestinians in Gaza since Monday evening, including 190 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday. Around 300 landed inside Gaza and in at least one case killed a number of children when the rocket hit a school. Multiple barrages of rockets were fired at Ben-Gurion Airport and the Tel Aviv region, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheba. A man in Ashkelon was seriously injured when a rocket struck a building. 90% of the rockets heading toward populated areas were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system.
        Hamas said it had launched "suicide drones" carrying explosive payloads into Israel. The IDF confirmed downing at least two drones. Channel 12 reported that the drones had primitive capabilities and did not represent a serious danger. (Times of Israel)
        An additional 220 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza on Thursday night and Friday morning, of which 30 landed in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Strikes Gaza Tunnel Network - Judah Ari Gross
    An IDF air campaign involving 160 aircraft conducted a massive attack on a network of tunnels dug by Hamas under Gaza City on Friday, with 450 missiles dropped on 150 targets in 40 minutes. In addition, Israeli tanks and artillery fired over 500 shells at targets in Gaza. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: IDF Prepares to Strike Hamas' Underground Facilities in Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Jews and Arabs in Israel Push Back Against Local Violence - Sue Surkes
    Shocked by unprecedented scenes of violence between Jews and Arabs over recent days, Israelis took to the streets on Thursday to push back and call for peaceful coexistence. In Jerusalem, hundreds rallied in the downtown area, as 300 school principals and educators rallied in front of the Knesset. Crowds also gathered at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, the Hemed junction near Jerusalem, and Nahalal junction in northern Israel, as well as in Haifa and Modi'in.
        City council members from Acre, Lod, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Ramle and other mixed Jewish-Arab cities issued a joint call for calm. Leaders of both communities also came together in northern Israel and in the Negev to call for an end to the violence. At Haifa's Rambam Hospital, Jewish and Arab colleagues posed together with posters calling for peace. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • For the Sake of Peace, Israel Must Rout Hamas - Bret Stephens
    Gaza is often said to be utterly destitute. Yet Hamas, which rules Gaza, seems not to have had too much trouble amassing the 1,750 rockets it has so far fired at Israel. The usual rule in life is that if you throw the first punch, you can't complain if you're counterpunched.
        It can't be emphasized enough, especially among those who think of themselves as pro-Palestinian: If you want a Palestinian state to exist and succeed, you must also want Hamas to be humiliated and defeated. Hamas' sole aim for over 30 years has been to turn a difficult, but potentially negotiable, conflict into a nonnegotiable, zero-sum holy war. That strategy has to be proved a loser before Palestinian politics can move in a better direction.
        Contrary to conventional wisdom, the U.S. does not have a vital national interest in creating a Palestinian state: It's on the "nice" but not "necessary" list of America's Middle East priorities. But we do have a vital interest in nurturing and sustaining an alliance of moderates and modernizers, people who can offer a plausible alternative to the politics that have dominated the region and spread their pathologies worldwide.
        When it comes to Gaza, the goal of U.S. policy is to support Israel's efforts to defang, deflate and ultimately disempower Hamas, not just for the sake of Israelis living under threat but also for Palestinians living in fear. Moderates only thrive when the shadow of terror lifts. (New York Times)
  • Israel Foreign Ministry: Israel Is Protecting Its Citizens from a Wave of Terror Instigated by Hamas
    Israel is currently experiencing a large-scale wave of terror that is being directed entirely at civilian population centers throughout the country. No country would tolerate such extreme levels of aggression. Every rocket launched at Israel is a war crime. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have carried out over 1,500 war crimes in the past three days. 20-30% of the rockets launched by Hamas fall inside Gaza. At least 9 Palestinian children were killed by these rockets.
        Israel is acting against these attacks in a measured and accurate manner and on the basis of unequivocal intelligence information, adhering to the principles of international law.
        Hamas is attacking Israel for its self-declared goal of eliminating Israel. Hamas has exploited the tensions surrounding the Sheikh Jarrah legal matter and turned it into a nationalist issue. Whoever links Hamas' hundreds of rocket launches against the civilian population in Israel to the issue of Sheikh Jarrah is playing into the hands of the terrorist organization and granting legitimacy to terrorist activities. (Embassy of Israel-New Zealand)
  • A New Axis of Evil Is Fomenting Violence in Israel - Con Coughlin
    The barrage of deadly rockets fired at Israel's heartland by Palestinian militants is not simply an attempt to inflict maximum casualties against the Israeli people. It is part of a well-orchestrated campaign by leaders of the extremist Palestinian Hamas movement and its Islamist backers to seize control of the Palestinian cause as part of their long-standing campaign to destroy the Jewish state.
        Palestinian militants, together with their backers in Islamist regimes such as Iran and Turkey, have been waiting for an excuse to provoke a fresh confrontation with Israel. Israeli security officials have been warning for months that Hamas has been building stockpiles of missiles in anticipation of renewed hostilities.
        Hamas' military build-up, moreover, has taken place amid a broader effort by Islamist extremists to increase the pressure on Israel throughout the Middle East. In southern Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hizbullah has been steadily building its stockpiles of missiles to threaten Israel, while in Syria, Iran is building a network of military bases along Syria's border with Israel.
        Both Turkey and Iran are keen that Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of Israel, becomes the dominant voice in Palestinian politics in place of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian leader. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Don't Compare Israel to Hamas - Stephen Daisley
    The British Prime Minister's "both sides" response to the terrorist attacks on Israel underscores how Western political elites lose all critical reasoning when it comes to one tiny strip of land in the Middle East. Israel is under assault from Hamas, the Islamist mafia that runs Gaza like 19th-century Sicily.
        You will have seen a lot of headlines about Israel "storming" the al-Aqsa Mosque. Buried in much coverage is that Israeli police raided the joint because Palestinians were rioting and using this sacred Islamic site to store concrete slabs, rocks and fireworks, which they turned on officers.
        The pretense of equivalence between the IDF and a kill-the-Jews terror gang would be offensive if it weren't so risible, because the values of Hamas and the values of Israel don't exist in the same moral universe. Israel arrests Jews who try to pray at Judaism's holiest site while facilitating worship and pilgrimage by Muslims.
        Israel is urged to show "restraint," as though more than a decade of rocket attacks without going into Gaza and toppling Hamas doesn't show a level of restraint most nations wouldn't dream of showing.
        The international community from the Bush administration on down piled pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza, promising international legitimacy and recognition of its right to self-defense in return. When it withdrew, it was calumnied and arraigned for war crimes in the court of international public opinion every time it defended itself. (Spectator-UK)
  • The Bad Optics of Fighting for Your Life - Bari Weiss
    I'm scrolling through my phone, looking at the tsunami of lies. It appears that standing up for the right of innocent people to protect themselves from a genocidal terrorist organization has become extremely risky to one's "brand." Lies have replaced truth. Memes have replaced morality. Hashtags have replaced history.
        More than 1,500 rockets have rained down on Israeli cities. Friends across Israel told me about huddling with their crying children in safe rooms. It's fine, they insisted. But living like this is not fine.
        Hamas and Islamic Jihad are genocidal terrorist organizations that want to wipe Israel, a country the size of New Jersey that contains the largest Jewish community on Earth, off the map. That is their reason for being. The goal here is the eradication of the Jewish people. That is the bone-chilling truth. That is the core obstacle to peace. (Substack)
  • I Stand with Israel Because Its the Right Thing to Do - Rep. Ritchie Torres
    Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told a Zoom broadcast hosted by UJA Federation New York on Wednesday: I'm praying for all the Israelis who are experiencing a level of trauma and terror that most of us, including myself, cannot even begin to imagine. With sovereignty comes the inherent right of self-defense, a right that every state, including our own, takes for granted.
        Why should Israel be an exception to the rule? Why should Israel be held to a deadly double standard in a moment of terror? It is unreasonable to expect a nation-state to be the passive target of hundreds of rockets and then forfeit the right to defend itself under a constant stream of terror. No right-minded person would impose that kind of self-destructive burden on any other country.
        What is under siege is not only Israel but the truth itself. Increasingly we seem to live in an Orwellian universe where the truth no longer matters. All of us have to be visible and vocal, fearless and forceful, in standing up for our greatest friend in the Middle East.
        The moment I sent out a statement denouncing the rocket fire from Hamas, I was swiftly denounced by BDS extremists as a white supremacist, as a supporter of apartheid and ethnic cleansing and genocide - terms that have been stripped of their proper meaning. And although these comments cause great pain to my loved ones, the complicity of silence would cause me even greater pain. I remain as determined as ever to speak out. I stand with Israel because doing so, quite simply, is the right thing to do. (Jewish Star)

Behind the Outbreak of Palestinian Violence - Amb. Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Amb. Dore Gold addressed an Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) webinar on May 12, 2021. View the entire webinar here.
  • The eruption of the violence that we're seeing occurred during the month of Ramadan among the Muslims. While most Muslims find Ramadan to be a joyous time, for a small but very dangerous minority it's a time to initiate what they call jihad.
  • Whenever I see violence erupting, one of my questions is: Is it something spontaneous? Did the population suddenly decide to go out for its own crusade or was this something that was pre-planned? Was it something that was incited and for political purposes?
  • The evidence that the disturbances in Jerusalem were incited and planned is overwhelming. It was not spontaneous. One of the most disturbing aspects of what went on in Jerusalem is the evidence that the Palestinian organizations - Hamas and Islamic Jihad - were pre-positioning the implements they used for attacks on Israelis on the Temple Mount.
  • This is not a new phenomenon; it goes back to the days of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, when they would store firearms on the Temple Mount to be used during times of violence. The Israel Police had no choice but to go up on the Temple Mount, where they found large amounts of rocks and boulders which had been brought there to be used first against the Israeli security forces, and secondly, against Jews who prayed at the Western Wall just below the Temple Mount. But when you see material stored for future violent use, you know that this is a pre-planned operation and not something spontaneous.
  • The Abraham Accords was one of the biggest sources of defeat for Hamas and for Iran. All of a sudden you have Israelis coming to Gulf States and speaking about their joint interests, which include dealing with the problem of Iran. That was something which Iran wants to see rolled back and defeated. I believe they set as a goal for themselves to break the Abraham Accords.
  • The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has been developing ties with think tanks in the Gulf. I'm on the phone with their leadership quite frequently, and recent events did not lead to any sudden cooling on the other end. They were concerned, they wanted information, and they wanted to know why this is occurring and when it's going to end. The fundamental interest they have in a warm relationship with Israel continues, but it is under a potential strain should events drag out.
  • It's going to take a long time to defeat the forces we're dealing with. It's going to require a lot of patience on the part of the Israeli public. Some people get very frustrated in these situations and would like to see us take our F-35s and carpet bomb whole sections of the Gaza Strip. That's not what we're going to do. It's not smart and it's also not moral. One of the things we should take pride in is that Israel wages war with a sense of the moral elements of modern warfare, particularly when the other side is completely immoral and uses human shields to protect its highest-level officials.

    The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Daily Alert is published every Monday and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.