October 10, 2023
Special Report
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Fatalities in Hamas Attack Reach 900 - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The death toll in Israel from the Hamas surprise attack and subsequent battles rose above 900, including at least 123 soldiers.
    130 people are thought to have been abducted and taken into Gaza.
    Over 500 people remained hospitalized, many with life-threatening injuries; over 2,700 have been injured since Saturday.
    The IDF said it had managed to seal the border, mining areas around breaches as a stopgap against further incursions.
    "In the last day, not a single terrorist entered via the fence," said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. He added that the military had not identified any tunnels crossing from Gaza into Israeli territory.
    300,000 IDF reservists have been mobilized.
    Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht said the bodies of 1,500 terrorists had been located in Israel. Hundreds more have been killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

108 Bodies Found in Kibbutz Be'eri - Ido Efrati (Ha'aretz)
    The bodies of 108 Israelis in Kibbutz Be'eri have been found after the massacre carried out by Hamas, Zaka emergency services said.
    See also Video Shows Death of Israeli Hostages in Hamas Custody - Meg Kelly (Washington Post)
    At least four Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during their incursion into Israel on Saturday were killed soon after being taken captive, according to videos reviewed by the Washington Post.
    Graphic video shared on Telegram on Oct. 8 shows civilians in Kibbutz Be'eri with their hands tied behind their backs, being led by men in military clothing carrying AR-style weapons down a residential street.
    In a second video, four bodies are seen with matching physical characteristics including hair and clothing to the four civilians who appeared alive in the earlier video.

Hamas Drones Targeted IDF - Oded Yaron (Ha'aretz)
    Hamas used armed drones in its surprise attack against Israel.
    One Hamas video showed a drone placing an explosive device on a surveillance system tower on the Gaza border fence. These are remote firing systems operated by soldiers from a control room and meant to prevent a breach. A few seconds later, a blast appears to put the system out of commission.
    Another video shows a drone dropping a hand grenade or a small bomb on soldiers inside a military base. Similar videos show strikes on military posts along the border fence.
    Videos appear to show the damaging and disabling of at least one Merkava Mark IV battle tank.

Video Shows Palestinian Gunmen Abducting Residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz (New York Times)
    Muthana al-Najjar, a Palestinian journalist, crossed into Israel with his video camera and photographed Palestinian men holding captive residents from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

The Iran-Funded Pogrom Against Jewish Israel - Phyllis Chesler (New English Review)
    This is what a pogrom looks like. The pogromists target the most vulnerable civilians and do their worst.
    Hamas took a page from ISIS' Caliphate playbook and videoed their atrocities in real-time.
    This attack was far bigger than 9/11. In terms of demographic equivalence, the Israeli population is 9 million people; the American population is 331 million.
    800 Israeli dead and counting is the equivalent of 29,418 American deaths, 10 times the 3,000 killed in 9/11.
    The number of Israeli wounded is 2,000 and counting. In American terms, this is equivalent to 75,503 wounded.

Israeli Attack Survivor Hid under Dead Bodies for 7 Hours - Isabel Keane (New York Post)
    Lee Sasi, who was at the music festival in Israel when Hamas terrorists infiltrated, was able to survive by hiding for seven hours under the bodies of those who were killed in the attack.
    Sasi and about 35 others had taken cover in a bomb shelter when they were discovered by Hamas fighters, who began shooting into the bunker and throwing grenades.
    Sasi was one of 10 people who survived by hiding under dead bodies.

The Day Hamas Came Knocking: "I Looked at the Intercom. It Was a Guy with an RPG" - Nataliya Vasilyeva (Telegraph-UK)
    Someone rang the doorbell of the Awhazov family on Saturday morning in the Israeli town of Ofakim.
    George Awhazov looked at the intercom screen and was confronted by two men in camouflage: one of them tugged at the door handle, the other had a rocket launcher on his shoulder.
    He wisely did not open the door. He had come within a whisker of being kidnapped.
    Over a dozen towns and villages in southern Israel were overrun by Hamas fighters on Saturday as they shot residents in the streets and grabbed others to take them to Gaza.
    "The terrorists were going house-to-house simply to kill as many people as possible. They had no other purpose," said George's father, Yuri.

Survivors of Hamas Attack Speak - Aaron Poris (Medialine)
    Michal Ohana, 27, who was at the outdoor dance rave, recounted the terrorists' killing spree.
    "We started hearing gunfire from every direction. We got into our cars and started to drive - my friend and I. They just started shooting at us. We had to flee."
    "We just left the car running with all our belongings and ran. They fired on us from every direction."
    "Some of my friends who were kidnapped had already left the party. They were out, but they came back to save people."

Germany Mulls Possible Aid Suspension to Palestinians after Hamas Attack (Reuters)
    Following the biggest attack on Israel in years by Hamas, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said, "We will now review our entire engagement for the Palestinian territories."
    "All of Europe, all 27 states, must now say: we need a new start and we will no longer finance terrorists," said Armin Laschet, chancellor candidate for the conservatives at the last federal election.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden: At Least 11 Americans Murdered in Terrorist Assault Against Israel
    President Joe Biden said Monday: "As we continue to account for the horrors of the appalling terrorist assault against Israel this weekend and the hundreds of innocent civilians who were murdered, we are seeing the immense scale and reach of this tragedy. Sadly, we now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed. We also know that American citizens still remain unaccounted for....We believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas."
        "This is not some distant tragedy. The ties between Israel and the United States run deep. It is personal for so many American families who are feeling the pain of this attack as well as the scars inflicted through millennia of antisemitism and persecution of Jewish people....In this moment of heartbreak, the American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis....Americans across the country stand united against these evil acts that have once more claimed innocent American lives. It is an outrage."
        "The United States and the State of Israel are inseparable partners, and I affirmed to Prime Minister Netanyahu again when we spoke yesterday that the United States will continue to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and its people."  (White House)
  • Obama: Stand by Israel "as It Dismantles Hamas" - Julia Mueller
    Former President Barack Obama said Monday, "All Americans should be horrified and outraged by the brazen terrorist attacks on Israel and the slaughter of innocent civilians. We grieve for those who died, pray for the safe return of those who've been held hostage, and stand squarely alongside our ally, Israel, as it dismantles Hamas." (The Hill)
  • Leaders of U.S., UK, France, Germany and Italy: We Support Israel in Efforts to Defend Itself Against Hamas Atrocities
    On Monday, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the U.S. released the following joint statement following their call: "We - President Macron of France, Chancellor Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Meloni of Italy, Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom, and President Biden of the United States - express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism."
        "We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned....Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage."
        "Over the coming days, we will remain united and coordinated, together as allies, and as common friends of Israel, to ensure Israel is able to defend itself, and to ultimately set the conditions for a peaceful and integrated Middle East region."  (White House)
  • More than 10 Britons Feared Dead or Missing after Hamas Attack - Roland Oliphant
    More than ten British citizens are feared dead in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel. Among the dead is British photographer Danny Darlington, who was staying in Kibbutz Nir Oz, two miles away from the Gaza border. His sister Shelley said: "My baby brother, Dan, was murdered by terrorists on Saturday morning on our kibbutz, Nir Oz, alongside his beautiful friend Carolin," referring to his German friend Carolin Bohl. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 3 IDF Soldiers Killed in Clash with Terrorists on Lebanon Border - Emanuel Fabian
    Lt.-Col. Alim Abdullah, 40, from the northern Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, and two other soldiers were killed and three wounded during a clash with gunmen who infiltrated into Israeli territory from Lebanon on Monday near the northern Bedouin Israeli town of Arab al-Aramshe. The IDF said two of the infiltrators were killed. Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the armed infiltration.
        A number of mortars were also fired at northern Israel. Israel returned fire and Hizbullah said three of its members were killed. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Rockets Cause Injuries near Jerusalem - Emanuel Fabian
    Fresh Hamas rocket strikes pounded Israeli communities throughout Monday. Four people were wounded by a rocket in Beitar Illit, south of Jerusalem, including a 10-year-old boy in serious condition. A man in his 20s was seriously wounded by rocket shrapnel in the Arab town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Defenders Stand Unyielding in Face of Death - Yoav Zitun
    Shlomo Boimester, in his 70s, serves as a reserve front-line officer in the Gaza Division during emergencies. He rushed into the Re'im base while carrying his personal weapon, and on his way there he encountered terrorists and eliminated them. Boimester was wounded by shrapnel during the exchange, and despite his injury continued to function in the division's war room.
        2nd Lt. A., an assistant information security officer without combat training, was on duty at the Re'im base when the surprise attack by Hamas began. A. eliminated several terrorists and managed to thwart several attacks.
        The commander of the Shahar battalion in the Rescue Brigade of the Home Front Command, Lt.-Col. Yarden Shukron, was sent to the Urim base along with several of her soldiers following reports of four terrorists roaming the base. During the fighting, Shukron killed three of the terrorists inside the base, and her soldiers thwarted the fourth terrorist.
        A force from the Caracal Battalion under the command of Lt.-Col. Or Ben Yehuda captured 15 armed terrorists in Moshav Yad after many hours of intense fighting. (Ynet News)
  • Survivor Recounts Escape from Gaza - Jessica Steinberg
    Avital Aladjem from Kibbutz Holit, 2 km. from Gaza, told Israel's Channel 12 she was hiding in her home's safe room with a neighbor and communicating with her next-door neighbor, Adi Vital-Kaploun, via WhatsApp, when Hamas terrorists blew up her front door and entered the house on Saturday.
        The women dashed to hide from the terrorists. The neighbor who was hiding with Aladjem was discovered by the gunmen, shot, and killed. Aladjem was pulled out of the closet where she was hiding. The gunmen then brought her Vital-Kaploun's children from next door, ages 4.5 months and 4, and began walking the three of them through the kibbutz. The children's mother, a Canadian citizen, is missing.
        With one of the terrorists carrying the screaming 4-year-old on his shoulders and Aladjem holding the infant, they were marched to the fence surrounding the kibbutz and then on toward Gaza - "me and the kids and the terrorists," said Aladjem. After the terrorists brought Aladjem and the children into Gaza, they left them standing alone. Aladjem turned around with the children and began walking with them back to the kibbutz. She passed more gunmen and hid with the children in the sand dunes. After reaching the kibbutz, the three were taken to the nearby community of Gvulot, where the children were eventually reunited with their father. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Must Now Defeat, Not Just Contain, Hamas - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    Hamas remained a fanatical radical Islamist organization that was ready to perform cruel and horrific terror attacks and other war crimes against Israel, driven by similar ideologies to those of the Islamic State. Israel is preparing now to take the initiative and embark on a wide-scale operation against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, while maintaining readiness to confront potential widening of the war to other fronts.
        The Hamas offensive reflects its commitment to terror and to its merciless Jihadist identity. Hamas prepared itself for a long time for this attack - using Iranian military and financial support to accumulate rockets and develop capabilities to infiltrate Israel. Hamas took the Iranian Islamic idea of swarm attacks and implemented it very successfully.
        Israel has no choice but to change its policy towards Hamas from containment and deterrence to decisively defeating it to make sure it will not be able to rearm itself. This is necessary to get rid of the threat from Gaza, and it is also critical to deter Iran and Hizbullah. It should do so regardless of the complexity created by the holding of so many hostages in Hamas custody.
        The writer was chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and a former director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs. (Fathom-BICOM-UK)
  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad Are Criminally Liable for War Crimes - Amb. Alan Baker
    The indiscriminate firing of more than 3,300 rockets into Israel's towns and villages violates the rule of distinction in international humanitarian law, which requires combatants to limit attacks to legitimate military targets. This is a clear violation of accepted humanitarian norms and principles prohibiting targeting civilians.
        The willful, deliberate, and hysteric massacre of civilians, including young people attending an open-air music event, as well as the indiscriminate entry into, destruction, and pillaging of private civilian homes in Israel's towns and villages, and indiscriminate murder of civilians living in those homes, is a clear violation of all accepted humanitarian norms, for which Hamas and Islamic Jihad must be held criminally responsible.
        The taking of multiple civilian hostages, including entire families, elderly, women, and infants, and their cruel and violent kidnapping and transfer to Gaza, as well as the loathsome exhibition of dead and mutilated bodies in the streets of Gaza, is an inexcusable and flagrant violation of humanitarian norms and an odious insult to humanity.
        For these crimes, Hamas and PIJ leaders and commanders are accountable and prosecutable under international law, which considers non-state actors bound by customary norms of international humanitarian law when they become a party to an armed conflict. Thus, they are punishable for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
        The writer served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Senior Israeli Officials Say Hamas Must Be Crushed - Steven Erlanger
    Since its founding, Hamas has declared that Israel has no right to exist, that there are no Israeli civilians and that every Israeli citizen is a soldier of the state, and thus a legitimate target. The assault launched by Hamas this weekend, notable for its targeting civilians, including women and children, has now stripped away any remaining illusions about the group or its intentions. Senior Israeli officials now say Hamas must be crushed, both to restore stability in Gaza and credibility for Israel as an ineradicable part of the Middle East.
        Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said, "It's a huge mistake that I made, believing that a terror organization can change its DNA. I thought that Hamas, because of its responsibility and because it's not only a terror organization, but also an organization with ideas about the future, a small branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is more responsible, and I learned the hard way that it is not so, that a terror organization is a terror organization. We don't want to make the same mistake again. Hamas should be killed and destroyed....It is the last time that we can allow Hamas to be strong enough to attack Israel."  (New York Times)
  • Hamas Attack Restores Israeli Solidarity - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Tamir Hayman
    Right now, our blood is boiling. The images of families slaughtered in cold blood, of innocent children, the elderly, women, of dozens of captives, enrage every single one of us. The anger and fury that we feel is felt by our military as well. This rage must now be channeled into exacting an unprecedented price from Hamas.
        Israel will win this war. It is amazing to see the solidarity shown by Israeli society, the solidarity that we have been missing so much lately. What a pity that we needed a national disaster to recall once again this manifest miracle called the people's army.
        The writer is Managing Director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • The Iran-Gaza War - Eugene Kontorovich
    On Saturday, the Iranian-backed Palestinian militia Hamas invaded Israel from Gaza. Chilling videos have surfaced of them desecrating bodies and parading captives through the streets of Gaza, as large crowds yell "God is great." It is a rampage of unspeakable cruelty, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. An operation of such scale and complexity is unlike anything Hamas has previously attempted and strongly suggests significant Iranian involvement.
        Imagine if those who perpetrated the attacks also had control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), a vastly larger territory with a much longer frontier a few miles from Israel's main population centers. The consequences would be orders of magnitude worse.
        False doctrines of international law have given Hamas in Gaza an insurance policy: No matter what atrocities they commit against Israel, they will come out of any conflict with no less territory than before.
        The writer is a professor at the George Mason University Law School and director of its Center on the Middle East and International Law. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Simchat Torah War - Carlos Roa
    In August, I visited Kfar Aza - a kibbutz in Israel only 2 km. from Gaza. One of the residents, Chen Kotler Abrahams, invited my colleagues and me to her home, served lemonade, and pulled out body-height remnants of rockets fired by Hamas for us to see. Despite the grim conversation, life in Kfar Aza appeared fairly normal: children played in groups, adults gardened. As of now, there is a chance that many of the people I met are dead. According to the latest reports, a baby was found alive but alone amid the community's charred remains.
        This isn't just another episode in the Israel-Hamas conflict; it is a watershed moment. That this attack came on a Jewish religious holiday makes it more than a military maneuver; it's a symbolic gesture. Hamas aims to rally the wider Arab world around its cause, invoking memories of past glories.
        For years, Israel has hesitated from launching a full-scale operation to take Gaza, primarily due to the sheer military cost, the international repercussions, and the humanitarian concerns such an assault might trigger. But the scale of the recent attack may have shifted the calculus in Jerusalem. (National Interest)
  • Israel Wanted to Avoid a Big War in Gaza and Got a Slaughter in Israel - Shimrit Meir
    The videos circulating of Israelis taken hostage, defenseless, will haunt us for the rest of our lives. The images are anathema to the country's raison d'etre as a safe haven for Jews.
        A policy of trying to appease the enemy, in the hopes that Hamas would eventually grow out of its jihadist origin, prevented us from recognizing and forestalling what we should have seen. Instead, Hamas' military wing grew from a small organization to a powerful army. Israel wanted to avoid a big war in Gaza, and we got a slaughter in Israel. (New York Times)
  • Hamas Is No Resistance Movement - It Is an Antisemitic, Misogynist Terror Cult - Martin Bright
    An organization that kidnaps unarmed women, children and old people, then parades the naked bodies of its dead victims, should not be considered as a resistance movement. Hamas is a violent Islamist terror cult. Nothing can justify or explain the brutality of those men with guns on motorbikes and pickups. They were driven by the hatred of Jews and the hatred of women, which lie explicitly, transparently at the heart of Hamas ideology. It is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
        There is no correct way to react to atrocities of this kind, but this is surely the moment to show our common humanity. Many of these atrocities took place at a music festival for peace in the desert. What greater cultural symbol of progressive, inclusive Israel could there be? (Telegraph-UK)
  • A War over Our Home - Omer Lachmanovitch
    We will win because this is a war over our home, and when we fight for our survival, something awakens within us that reminds us who we are, why we are here, and what we are fighting for. The terror campaign that began on Simchat Torah will be remembered as one of those moments when reality knocked on our door and reminded us that our enemies' real target was our home.
        These are also the moments when the fighting spirit awakens within us. Yesterday's grudges fade away, and last night's arguments subside. And then a strong, unparalleled urge arises, an indomitable will. It is even greater than the will to survive. The bravery of the soldiers, the bravery of the civilians; the people rise to defend their home, with all that the words "defend" and "home" entail.
        The writer is editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom. (Israel Hayom)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday:
  • Israel is at war. We didn't want this war. It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way. But though Israel didn't start this war, Israel will finish it.
  • Once, the Jewish people were stateless. Once, the Jewish people were defenseless. No longer.
  • Hamas will understand that by attacking us, they have made a mistake of historic proportions. We will exact a price that will be remembered by them and Israel's other enemies for decades to come.
  • The savage attacks that Hamas perpetrated against innocent Israelis are mindboggling: slaughtering families in their homes, massacring hundreds of young people at an outdoor festival, kidnapping scores of women, children and elderly, even Holocaust survivors. Hamas terrorists bound, burned and executed children. They are savages. Hamas is ISIS.
  • And just as the forces of civilization united to defeat ISIS, the forces of civilization must support Israel in defeating Hamas. I want to thank President Biden for his unequivocal support. I want to thank leaders across the world who are standing with Israel today.
  • In fighting Hamas, Israel will win this war, and when Israel wins, the entire civilized world wins.

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