October 9, 2023
Special Edition
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Over 700 Israelis Killed in Hamas Attack, over 100 Held Captive in Gaza - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    At least 700 Israelis were killed and another 2,000 injured in Saturday's Hamas attack, the deadliest in the nation's history.
    IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said there were still terrorists inside Israel and that the army was still engaged in battles to clear the border region. He said Hamas had suffered hundreds of casualties and that "dozens of enemy combatants" had been captured.
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan claimed that "dozens" of U.S. citizens are among the hostages.

1,000 Hamas Fighters Crossed into Israel - Andres R. Martinez (New York Times)
    Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, a former IDF spokesman, said Sunday, "We have amassed around 100,000 reserve troops who are currently in southern Israel who are preparing to execute the task that the Israeli government has designated the IDF to do. Our job is to make sure that at the end of this war, Hamas will no longer have any military capabilities to threaten Israeli civilians with."
    About 1,000 Hamas fighters crossed into Israel on Saturday under cover of surprise rocket attacks on Israeli cities.
    They took at least 150 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Hamas Breaks Through Security Barrier, Jams Israeli Communications (Times of Israel)
    An Israeli security source said explosives were used to breach Israel's fortified security barrier and the first terrorists went through on motorbikes.
    Then bulldozers were brought in to widen the gap, allowing jeeps to drive through.
    The source said a Hamas "commando unit" then attacked the headquarters of the IDF's Gaza division "and jammed its communications, preventing personnel from calling commanders or each other."

UN Security Council Fails to Condemn Hamas Attack on Israel - Darryl Coote (UPI)
    An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sunday failed to produce a joint statement concerning the attack on Israel, despite the U.S. calling on member nations to condemn Hamas.
    U.S. representative Robert Wood said "a good number of countries" did heed the call to condemn Hamas but not all did, suggesting that Russia was one of them. Unanimity is needed for a Security Council statement.
    China's representative Zhang Jun said Beijing was in favor of the council issuing a statement.

Israeli Soldier Sends Last Texts before Being Killed by Hamas Terrorists - Israel Moskowitz (Ynet News)
    Cpl. Naama Boni, 19, stationed at the Zikim military base, which was overrun by Hamas, texted friends on Saturday morning, "I deeply care for all of you. I have a head injury, and a terrorist nearby might start shooting at me."

Footage of Hamas Assault on Civilians Shows Likely War Crimes - Jeremy Sharon (Times of Israel)
    Video and photographic evidence of Hamas' brutal assault on Saturday demonstrate in graphic detail what appear to be both war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, Israeli experts said Sunday.
    "Hamas has committed a long list of crimes in this attack which have been documented, including the killing of civilians, taking civilians captive, and abusing the bodies of civilians and soldiers," said Prof. Yuval Shany, an expert in international law at Hebrew University.
    Shany said that Hamas' actions categorically constituted war crimes committed in a "blatant, wholesale, and clear manner" against Israel's civilian population.

How an Israeli Hostage Kept Her Captors Distracted till Rescue (Times of Israel)
    Rachel and David from Ofakim have described how they survived being held captive for 15 hours in their home by Gaza terrorists who constantly threatened to execute them - in part by giving them coffee and cookies - until police stormed their apartment and freed them.
    The five gunmen climbed in through a ground-floor bedroom window and took David and Rachel captive.
    "They had malice, they came to kill," David told Channel 12. They told the couple they were to become "martyrs."
    Outside the building, their police officer son Evyatar described the layout of the home to counterterrorism forces in preparation for a rescue attempt.
    One of the terrorists held a hand grenade over Rachel's head, having removed the pin.
    Rachel said the terrorists were heavily armed, including with a LAW anti-tank missile.
    She also said she bandaged the hand of one of the injured terrorists, trying to comfort him, and engaged in conversation with the others to keep them preoccupied.

Video: War Room Briefing - Oct. 8, 2023 (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Jerusalem Center experts discuss the Hamas-Iranian regime assault on Israel, with Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, and JCPA President Dan Diker.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Sends Carrier Strike Group Closer to Israel and Will Begin Supplying Munitions - Courtney Kube
    The U.S. military is moving the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean as a show of support for Israel, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday. "We have also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region," he said. "In addition, the United States government will be rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions."
        "My team and I will continue to be in close contact with our Israeli counterparts to ensure they have what they need to protect their citizens and defend themselves against these heinous terrorist attacks."  (NBC News)
  • Horrifying Images Reveal Hamas Massacre at Music Fest, where Israeli Officers Acted as Human Shields to Protect Civilians - Ronny Reyes
    At least 260 people were killed in a "massacre" at an Israeli music fest on Saturday, with Israeli officers being blown away while acting as human shields and hostages having their legs shot off so they couldn't run, survivors say. One photo shows scores of bodies in a tent at the music festival.
        "50 terrorists arrived at the rave site in vans, dressed in military uniforms," an Israeli woman, Ortel, told Israel's Channel 12. Raziel Tamir told public radio, "When I went outside my tent, I saw a crazy number of bodies, and terrorists running and firing everywhere, throwing grenades." Tamir said he and 100 others were spared when Israeli soldiers used their bodies as human shields to protect those lying on the ground trying to avoid incoming gunfire and explosions. "The soldiers protected us with their bodies, and we saw them falling before our eyes," he said. Those who fled for the woods were spared an immediate ambush by Hamas in the parking lot. "People tried to run to their cars, but the terrorists waited and slaughtered them as they tried to get into their cars and escape."
        "It was a planned ambush," said Yaniv, an emergency responder. "As people came out of the emergency exits, squads of terrorists were waiting for them there and just started picking them off." He said his entire medic team was wiped out, "each one in a different place and at a different time....They killed the wounded we treated."  (New York Post)
  • Israeli Describes Festival Attack: "They Were Going Tree by Tree and Shooting"
    Gili Yoskovich was among hundreds of young people at a dance music festival in Israel, near Gaza, when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Saturday morning. "They were...all over the place with automatic weapons....The terrorists were coming from four or five places....Some people were shooting at me. I left the car and started to run, I saw a place with many pomelo trees and I went there. So I was in the middle [of this field] and I was lying on the ground. It was the second hiding place I found and they were just all around me."
        "They were going tree by tree and shooting. Everywhere. From two sides. I saw people were dying all around. I was very quiet....They were in the area for three hours....They were very close to me."  (BBC News)
  • British Family Recount Horror of Hamas Attack - Neil Johnston
    A British-Israeli family with a ten-day-old baby hid in a safe room as Hamas terrorists burnt down their house and ransacked their village. Deborah Mintz, in her 60s, hid in the tiny room with her grandson Kai, and his parents, Aimee and Uriel Labban, both in their 30s, for nine hours in the community of Nirim, 1 1/2 miles from the Gaza border. As smoke poured into the safe room, they were forced to hold baby Kai up to the ceiling to protect him from the fumes.
        Other British citizens in Israel told how their families were "hiding in bushes" after Hamas terrorists torched their home on Kibbutz Be'eri in an effort to smoke them out. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel - Summer Said
    Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas' surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hizbullah, a European official, and an adviser to the Syrian government. Officers of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions.
        "An attack of such scope could only have happened after months of planning and would not have happened without coordination with Iran," said Lina Khatib, director of the SOAS Middle East Institute at the University of London. "Hamas, like Hizbullah in Lebanon, does not single-handedly make decisions to engage in war without prior explicit agreement from Iran."  (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Evacuates Civilians from Gaza-Area Towns as Forces Scour for Remaining Gunmen - Michael Bachner
    Authorities evacuated residents of Gaza-area towns devastated by Hamas gunmen Sunday, as security forces continued to battle pockets of terrorists inside Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Navy Commandos Capture Senior Hamas Member - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF said Sunday that the Navy's Shayetet 13 commando unit had captured the deputy commander of the southern division of the Hamas naval force, Muhammad Abu Ghali. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Forces Thwart Palestinian Tractor Attack in Hebron
    Israeli security forces on Monday neutralized a Palestinian terrorist who drove a heavy tractor through a military barrier in Hebron towards the local Jewish community, all the while livestreaming the attack on social media. Soldiers at the scene "opened fire and neutralized the terrorist," the IDF said.
        On Sunday night, Israeli forces arrested two Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem armed with a knife near a synagogue in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood. They had with them a kippah and a Star of David pendant, suggesting they were planning to disguise themselves as Jews. (JNS)
  • Israelis Answer Call to Donate Blood, Aid Residents of Communities near Gaza - Yael Ciechanover
    Israelis have been responding to calls to donate blood and items needed by the residents of communities near Gaza. Thousands have shown up at impromptu collection centers set up by citizens to bring essential equipment for babies, blankets, clothes and food, while others lined up for hours to donate blood. Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said he was moved by the public response, as he too donated blood.
        Facebook groups have been opened offering babysitting services for medical teams or families where parents have been called up to the military, including offers to shelter their pets. There are even groups of women offering to breastfeed babies orphaned in the Hamas attack. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Era of Surgical Strikes Is Over - Meir Ben Shabbat
    The time for hard questions and drawing conclusions will come, but right now we need to devote all our attention and efforts to the battle against Hamas and to give our unreserved support to the commanders and soldiers who will need to march bravely into battle and determine the outcome.
        The current circumstances not only justify but necessitate a departure from the policy of surgical strikes. While they provide precision and show Israel's special capabilities, they cannot constitute a sufficient price tag for the severe attack carried out by Hamas.
        Israel should see itself as freed from any responsibility for the economy of Gaza and the welfare of its residents. All border crossings with Israel should be shut down, including the fuel and goods crossing, the electricity supply should be reduced to a minimum and Gaza's internet and communications should be disrupted.
        The scale of the attack by Hamas provides legitimacy for Israel to take extraordinary measures. It would be wrong to operate with a timer running in the background or fearful of how the U.S. and the international community will react.
        The writer, head of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem, served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Israel Announces "Complete Siege" of Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday: "I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly."  (Times of Israel)
  • A Tragic Misjudgment about Hamas' Intentions - Edward N. Luttwak
    In recent months Hamas refused to join Islamic Jihad in launching rockets against Israel, which seems to have convinced Israeli leaders that the leading terror group in Gaza had decided to prioritize the welfare of its subjects over more futile rocket attacks. Israel reciprocated by allowing thousands of Gazans to work in Israel - first 17,000, then 20,000, with the potential for many more. Their earnings were changing the lives of 100,000 family members. What was happening on the ground seemed to open a path toward tranquility for Israel and a degree of prosperity for Gaza. Evidently it was all a delusion.
        The writer is a contractual strategic consultant for the U.S. government. (Tablet)
  • Israel Needs a New Strategy for Hamas - Max Boot
    Though Israel could never make peace with Hamas, a movement dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, it had learned to live with a terrorist organization in control of Gaza as a lesser evil - compared with a renewed Israeli occupation, an even more extremist group such as al-Qaeda in charge, or Libya-style chaos. As a 2017 Rand Corp. study noted: "Israel's grand strategy became 'mowing the grass' - accepting its inability to permanently solve the problem and instead repeatedly targeting leadership of Palestinian militant organizations to keep violence manageable."
        Most Israelis have no desire for a long-term occupation of Gaza, one that would inevitably lead to further Israeli casualties and accusations that their troops are committing war crimes. But they are running out of alternatives. (Washington Post)
  • Soldiers Don't Kidnap Civilians - Editorial
    Hamas claims that its fighters are soldiers, but soldiers don't kidnap civilians from their homes to seize them as hostages, as Hamas did, in addition to their barrage of thousands of rockets fired at civilian population centers, including Tel Aviv. (New York Daily News)
  • Hamas' War on Israel Offers Sobering Clarity in the Fight Against Evil - Aviva Klompas
    It is already clear that Palestinian terrorists have crossed a line as never before. In an era when the line between right and wrong is constantly blurred, this is a moment of sobering clarity. Hamas has sunk to a depth of savagery that should shock us to the core.
        The terror group infiltrated Israel and attacked nearby communities. They slaughtered the elderly, gunned down civilians in their homes, kidnapped mothers with babies in their arms, mutilated the bodies of men and women, and paraded their victims through the streets of Gaza in a show of celebration.
        Through these and many other inhumane acts, Palestinian terrorists have shown their fight is not about settlements or checkpoints. On Saturday, we saw what militant Palestinians and their supporters mean when they tell us they want the land "From the River to the Sea." They want every inch of land - every city, town, and kibbutz - between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and they want it cleansed of every single Jew.
        Some things are not open to interpretation. Certain lines should never be crossed. We must never confuse the terrorists who target civilians with an army that targets terrorists who attack its civilians. (Newsweek)
  • U.S. Policy Options in Light of Hamas' Invasion of Israel - Gregg Roman and Clifford Smith
    The unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas forces prompts the consideration of stringent policy measures aimed at curbing the Islamist organization's aggression. A Congressional resolution calling unequivocally for the eradication of the Hamas threat would signify a paradigm shift, underscoring the unyielding U.S. commitment to Israel's sovereignty and safety.
        In tandem, a domestic reassessment of aid to Gaza is pivotal. The recent conviction of World Vision's Gaza Director for siphoning off tens of millions of dollars for Hamas shows that even well-intended USAID funds can easily be used for nefarious purposes. No U.S. aid should reach Gaza's shores so long as it can be siphoned off by a terrorist organization running a functional military dictatorship.
        Nations providing refuge to the Hamas leadership such as Turkey and Qatar must face a stark choice - sever ties with the organization, including expelling senior leaders who live in luxury as ordinary Gazans suffer, or confront a cessation in U.S. military and intelligence support.
        Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum. Clifford Smith is director of the Forum's Washington office. (National Interest)
  • The Ghosts of Gaza - Steve Israel
    In August 2005, I stood at the border of Israel and Gaza, as a member of Congress, to witness the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli citizens and troops from the territory. The Israeli government had made a highly risky bet: If it ended 38 years of Israeli occupation of Gaza (which Israel had won after it was attacked by Egypt in 1967), the Palestinians would demonstrate an ability to live peacefully, stably, next to Israel. I can't think of another country in history that has sent in its own armies to forcibly evict its own people from disputed territory as Israel did.
        The bet made by Israel failed. A failed state was born. On Sept. 23, 2005, Palestinian leaders launched their first barrage of rockets against Israel. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza, hoping for peace. It was repaid in the terror and tears we witness at this very hour.
        The writer, a former U.S. Congressman (2001-2017), is director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. (The Hill)

Hamas' Deadly Attack Has Changed Everything - Anshel Pfeffer (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Three concepts that have been at the foundation of Israel's military and political policies regarding Gaza and Hamas collapsed on Saturday as hundreds of Hamas fighters stormed across the border and began their bloody rampage through kibbutzim and towns. The first concept was that Hamas has a greater interest in bolstering its rule over Gaza and improving the economy there than in once again inviting destruction on its inhabitants.
  • The second concept was that Israel had already succeeded in denying Hamas nearly all avenues of attack. The massive border fence would prevent incursions over ground. A network of underground sensors would detect tunnels which would then be destroyed. And Israel's Iron Dome would eliminate the missile threat. All these systems worked brilliantly, until they weren't enough to hold back a concerted and coordinated attack on multiple points at the fence, all under the cover of a barrage of rockets.
  • The third concept was that Israel can "shrink the conflict" by minimizing points of friction between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. That it can create sufficient economic incentives to disincentivize violence among groups like Hamas who are sworn to destroying Israel. This concept has now failed spectacularly.
  • Hamas launched this operation with one main objective - snatching as many Israelis, soldiers and civilians, dead or alive, into Gaza. And have succeeded beyond their wildest imagination. It is not hard to predict they will insist on the release of all 5,200 Palestinian prisoners Israel is currently holding.
  • Hamas has seen in the past how difficult it is for Israelis to accept that their own people are being held captive by the enemy. Israel released over a thousand Palestinian prisoners, including dozens of murderers, one of whom, Yihya Sinwar, is now Hamas chief in Gaza and one of the men directing this operation, in exchange for one IDF sergeant, Gilad Shalit.
  • But Israel may not conform to Hamas' concept this time. Israel is reeling from the worst military setback and tragedy most of its citizens can remember. Hamas has won the first round. But this time it seems that Israel is not going to limit its forces when it embarks on the inevitable attack on Gaza, at least not to the extent it has in the past.

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