May 18, 2021
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Showed U.S. "Smoking Gun" on Hamas in AP Office Tower - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel shared intelligence with the U.S. showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday.
    "We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building," a senior diplomatic source said. "I understand they found the explanation satisfactory."
    An Israel Foreign Ministry source added, "80% of the 90 countries we spoke to in recent days released official statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself. They aren't calling to stop the operation."

IDF Pilot Suspects Children in Vicinity, Calls Off Airstrike - Tobias Siegal (Jerusalem Post)
    Video and audio recordings of Israeli Air Force pilots released by the IDF Sunday show pilots calling off an airstrike after noticing civilians, including children, in the area.

Palestinians in Lebanon Fire 6 Rockets toward Israel - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    A Palestinian faction in Lebanon fired 6 Grad-type rockets toward Israel on Monday but they all fell in Lebanese territory.
    The IDF responded with artillery fire toward the location from which the rockets originated.

Israel Arrests Arab Man for Firebomb that Injured Arab Boy in Jaffa - Eli Sinyor (Ynet News)
    Israel Police on Sunday arrested an Arab man in his 20s suspected of throwing a firebomb that severely burned a 12-year-old Arab boy and wounded his sister in Jaffa last Friday.
    The attack was captured by surveillance cameras, which showed two men throwing the firebomb into the family's home. The identity of the man's accomplice is known.
    See also Jewish Man Wounded in Lod Riots Dies - Eli Sinyor (Ynet News)
    Yigal Yehoshua, 56, who was struck in the head by a brick thrown by Arab rioters in the Israeli city of Lod last week, died from his wounds on Monday.

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The Press Lies about What's Happening between Israel and Gaza - Liel Leibovitz (New York Post)
    To hear most of the Western media tell it, war's afoot in the Middle East, fueled once again by Israel's unquenchable belligerence. "Israel struck the Gaza Strip again Monday," began the Washington Post's report.
    Not often or ever mentioned is the inconvenient fact that the Palestinians, not Israel, began the current round of violence.
    As of Monday, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have hurled 3,313 rockets at Israel.
    What we're seeing is the deliberate, methodical, and cynical weaponizing of the press as a tool of political warfare.
    This isn't skewed reporting; this is full-on propaganda, the goal of which is to deny Israel the right to defend itself against murderous attacks.

If the Perceived Enemy of the Palestinians Were Not Jews, There Would Be Little Concern for Their Plight - Alan M. Dershowitz (The Hill)
    Why are there no demonstrations on behalf of the Kurds, the Chechens, the Uyghurs, the Tibetans?
    The answer can be summarized in one word: Jews. The enemy of these groups is not the Jews. Hence, there is little concern for their plight.
    If the perceived enemy of the Palestinians were not the Jews, there would be little concern for their plight as well.
    This was proved by the relative silence that greeted the massacre of Palestinians by Jordan during "Black September" in 1970, or the killings of Palestinian Authority leaders in Gaza during the Hamas takeover in 2007, or the 4,000 Palestinian civilians killed by Syria during that country's civil war.
    I support the legitimate rights of Palestinians to a peaceful state because it would be good for peace in the region and for Israel. But I refuse to prioritize it over other equally compelling claims just because Jews are on the other side.
    The writer is a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Discusses Gaza Cease-Fire with Netanyahu But Does Not Demand Immediate Halt - Ellen Knickmeyer
    President Joe Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, but stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to Israeli airstrikes. Biden's comments were similar to previous statements of support in principle for a cease-fire. An administration official said the decision to not explicitly demand a cease-fire was intentional, reflecting White House determination to support Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas. (AP)
        See also President Biden Calls Prime Minister Netanyahu (White House)
        See also U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution on Gaza that Did Not Mention Rocket Fire at Israel - Jonathan Lis
    A draft UN Security Council statement on Gaza that was vetoed by the U.S. on Monday did not mention the rocket barrages on Israel's civilian population by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Israel's response to indiscriminate attacks by Hamas strictly adhered to international law. "Israel uses its missiles to protect its children. Hamas uses children to protect its missiles," Erdan said. "Hamas murdered 10 people in Israel, both Jews and Arabs, and fired hundreds of rockets at Gaza residents as well, killing Palestinian children and destroying Palestinian houses."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also below Observations: Netanyahu Defends Gaza Strikes, Says Israel Will Do "Whatever It Takes" to Defend Our People - John Dickerson (CBS News)
  • EU Divided on Gaza Conflict - David M. Herszenhorn
    When the EU ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, delivered a statement to the Security Council on Sunday condemning the violence in Gaza, he was prevented from speaking "on behalf of [EU] member states" after Hungary, an ally of Israel, blocked the statement.
        Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are among those in strongest support of Israel, while in recent days the flag of Israel has flown prominently over the headquarters of Germany's biggest governing party, the Christian Democratic Union, and official buildings in Austria and the Czech Republic in a show of support. (Politico-EU)
        See also German Chancellor Merkel Stresses "Solidarity" with Israel in Call with Netanyahu (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Senior Islamic Jihad Commander Killed in Gaza
    Hussam Abu Harbeed, commander of the Islamic Jihad's northern brigade, was killed in an IDF drone strike on Monday. Throughout Monday, Palestinians in Gaza launched at least 190 rockets at Israeli communities; 25 of them fell inside the Strip. Palestinian rockets were fired at Beersheba, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi and Ashdod, where a residential home sustained a direct hit, wounding three people. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Thwarts Hamas Underwater Drone Strike from Sea - Yoav Zitun
    Israeli air and naval forces managed to thwart a Hamas attack from the sea using an unmanned underwater vehicle, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said on Monday. The vessel that unloaded the underwater attack drone was also destroyed, killing several Hamas militants. (Ynet News)
  • IDF: Over 160 Terrorists Killed in Gaza Fighting - Judah Ari Gross
    The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed over 160 terrorist operatives as of Monday night, the majority from Hamas, during the current fighting in Gaza. IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said 130 of those killed were members of Hamas and over 25 were members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Targets Palestinian Rocket Launchers - Anna Ahronheim
    IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said that in the past three days Israel has destroyed 65 multi-barrel rocket launchers which can fire between 4 and 9 rockets within seconds. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Thwarts Terrorist Attack in Hebron
    A Palestinian terrorist approached a group of Israeli soldiers in Hebron on Tuesday with a pipe bomb, a Carlo submachine gun, and a knife. He tried to fire the weapon but it jammed. then the bomb he was carrying blew up in his hands. He kept charging the soldiers, who opened fire and killed him. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Is Part of Iran's Network of Proxy Militias - Dore Gold interviewed by Sean Hannity
    Amb. Dore Gold told Sean Hannity on Monday that the current Gaza war unveiled yet again the intimate connection between Iran and the Hamas war machine.
        "Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has a research center in London that does work on the Middle East and they put out a report this year about Iranian militias that are operating in our region. It says that people expected that after the 2015 Iran deal, Iran would mellow out and become more moderate, and they admit that the exact opposite occurred. Iran got much worse."
        "We've had a lesson and the lesson is that the last time a deal was made with Iran, many more Iranian militias sprouted up like mushrooms. You've got to make sure that if anybody is negotiating with Iran, the same thing doesn't happen so that the Middle East doesn't face a new wave of threats by the number one state sponsor of terror."  (Sean Hannity-WOR Radio)
  • Hamas Rocket Launches at Israeli Cities Are War Crimes - Editorial
    Israel did not start the war that now rages between it and Hamas. The Islamist movement began launching missiles indiscriminately at Israeli cities a week ago, using as a pretext several days of unrest in Jerusalem. Israel's subsequent bombing of targets in the Gaza Strip, which has been aimed at killing commanders of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, eliminating rocket launchers and destroying the tunnel network used by the militant groups, is not morally or legally comparable to the rocket launches, which are war crimes.
        The Palestinian death toll had reached 200, some of whom may have been killed by the more than 400 rockets fired at Israel that fell in Gaza itself. Ten Israeli residents had died, including elderly and disabled people and a 5-year-old; were it not for the effectiveness of Israeli antimissile batteries, hundreds would have been killed. (Washington Post)
  • The U.S. Needs to Give Israel Time to Degrade the Hamas Rocket Threat - Editorial
    Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities, Israel retaliates by bombing the source of the rockets in Gaza, Hamas plays up the civilian casualties, and the world leans on Israel to stop defending itself. The truth to keep in mind is that this conflict was started by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They are attempting to kill Israeli civilians with rockets supplied by Iran, or manufactured in Gaza with parts supplied by Iran. As of Sunday the Islamists had fired 3,000 rockets into Israel. The miracle is that more Israelis haven't died.
        The Israeli government is well aware that the diplomatic costs rise each day that bombing continues. But they can hardly stop as long as the rockets keep coming. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Gaza Civilian Casualties Are Due to Hamas' Unprovoked Aggression Against Israel - Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp
    Hamas could be quickly and much more cheaply defeated by crushing military force were it not for the Israeli need to minimize loss of civilian life. According to the Geneva Conventions, inflicting civilian casualties is not illegal provided a military operation is necessary for the prosecution of a war, they are not disproportionate to the planned military gain, and that combatant commanders do not intentionally target civilians while doing all they can to avoid hitting them.
        As the media unceasingly show us, the real victims in this campaign have indeed been Gaza civilians. But every one is due to Hamas' unprovoked aggression against Israel. None would have occurred without it. If Western governments, international bodies and human rights groups are genuinely interested in avoiding suffering in Gaza, they should strive to end Hamas' reign of terror rather than support it by parroting their narrative.
        The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Let's Tell the Truth about Israel and Hamas - David Harris
    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is, at its heart, about two competing national movements, and the only logical way to resolve it is by a negotiated settlement. The UN recommended a two-state settlement as early as 1947. It was accepted by the Jews, rejected by the Arabs. From 1948 to 1967, the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza were all in Arab hands. A Palestinian state could have been created at any time. It wasn't. Israel, joined by President Bill Clinton, offered a viable two-state accord to the Palestinians during 2000-2001. Clinton describes in his autobiography how they refused.
        Hamas' ire for Israel is permanent. It's been firing thousands of missiles over the years, building cross-border terror tunnels, kidnapping Israelis, and foregoing development in Gaza to focus on damaging Israel. Millions of Israelis are rushing to bomb shelters, caring for the elderly and disabled, and comforting traumatized children, as rockets fly overhead today and could strike anywhere, even with the Iron Dome anti-missile system in place.
        One day, peace will be realized with the Palestinians. The fact that six Arab countries now have normalized ties with Israel is a powerful reminder that peace is attainable. But it won't happen as long as Hamas rules Gaza, clings to its genocidal goals, and snookers well-meaning people abroad into believing it's the victim in a conflict of its own making. The writer is CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). (Algemeiner)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told "Face the Nation" on Sunday:
  • "We were attacked by Hamas...unprovoked attacks on Jerusalem and then thousands of rockets and missiles on our cities. And I think any country has to defend itself. It has a natural right of self-defense. We'll do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet and the security of our people and deterrence. We're trying to degrade Hamas' terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again."
  • "If Hamas thought that they could just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity, that's false. We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields. We're doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches and their arms. But we're not going to just let them get away with it. Neither would you. I mean, just imagine what would have happened if you had 2,900 rockets fired on Washington and New York."
  • Asked about the bombing on Saturday of a building in Gaza that housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, Netanyahu said: "[The] intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization [was] housed in that building that plots and organizes terror attacks against Israeli civilians. So it's a perfectly legitimate target. And I can tell you that we took every precaution to make sure that there were no civilian injuries....No people were killed."
  • "We, unlike Hamas, take special precautions to tell people, leave the building, leave the premises. We make sure that everyone is gone before we bring down those terrorist facilities. And that's the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our civilians. They glorify the death of children and civilians and old people. They are happy with it....We grieve for every non-combatant loss in Gaza and we grieve for all our civilians who died."
  • "When the international community attacks Israel, they're actually encouraging Hamas to continue these attacks because Hamas says it's great, we're both killing Israeli civilians and...it gets the international community to focus their attacks on Israel instead of Hamas. That's wrong. It's both wrong and unproductive, because actually what it does is prolong the conflict and escalate and increase the number of casualties that happen as a result of the continuation of the conflict."
  • "If Hamas would simply move these rockets out of the civilian areas, if they moved their command posts out of these homes and offices, then there wouldn't be any problem. You know it. And I know it. But the fact is they're sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our civilians from these places. What would you do if it happened to Washington or to New York? You know damn well what you would do. You'd do at the very least what we're doing."

        See also Video: Prime Minister Netanyahu on "Face the Nation" (CBS News)

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