October 13, 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:

Hamas Had Detailed Maps of Israeli Towns, Military Bases and Infiltration Routes - David S. Cloud (Wall Street Journal)
    Hamas forces that flooded into Israel from Gaza on Saturday carried detailed maps of the towns and military bases that they targeted.
    Some also carried tactical guides identifying weak spots on Israeli armored vehicles.
    The documents in Arabic were recovered from the sites of attacks or bodies of dead Hamas fighters.
    The documents indicate that Hamas set out from the start to target not just military installations, but to attack civilian population centers and to take hostages, and they offer evidence of Hamas' degree of planning for the assault.
    One 14-page document, dated June 15, 2023, describes a plan for infiltrating Kibbutz Mefalsim and taking residents hostage.
    Attackers killed in the town of Ofakim also were carrying maps and other documents, said Almog Cohen, a resident and a member of Israel's Knesset, who took part in the fighting.
    One map showed the attackers had targeted the town and knew its landmarks. "The map marks places with crowds, synagogues and kindergartens," he said.

At Least 27 Americans Were Killed in Israel - Joanna Slater (Washington Post)
    A scholar committed to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A former intensive-care nurse. A Missouri native who died shielding her teenage son.
    These are some of the 27 Americans who were killed following Saturday's terrorist attacks on Israel.
    Hayim Katsman, 32, a PhD scholar committed to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, was hiding in a closet with a neighbor, Avital Alajem, when terrorists overran the kibbutz.
    He was closest to the door, Alajem told CNN, and his body absorbed the bullets, protecting Alajem. "He was murdered," Alajem said. "I was saved."

Israel Working to Identify Victims of Hamas Mass Murder Attack - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    By Thursday afternoon, the bodies of 854 citizens had been collected and were brought to an identification point, with 361 identified and 264 buried.
    222 soldiers have been confirmed killed, and 138 have been buried.
    Some are difficult to identify after being burned or disfigured. When soldiers are recruited, they provide DNA, fingerprints and photographs of teeth for identification purposes.

Hamas Terrorists Execute 90-Year-Old Israeli Woman - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    Shmulik Harel of Kibbutz Kissufim said, "Dozens of terrorists entered Kissufim and broke into homes of innocent civilians. While they were outside, they shouted 'IDF, IDF,' possibly in an attempt to lull us into a false sense of security and make us leave our homes. However, most of the residents sensed that something was amiss."
    Among the victims was 90-year-old Gina Semiatich. Hamas terrorists dragged her from her shelter and shot her in the head in her living room.
    The terrorists reached the home of the Zaq family: Itai, Eti and their 15-year-old son, Guy. They called on them to leave, but the family refused to exit the shelter, leading the Hamas terrorists to set the house on fire. The entire family perished in the blaze.

IDF Helicopter Pilot Saw a Sea of Terrorists that Crossed into Israel (Israel Hayom)
    Lt.-Col. (res.) A., a helicopter pilot, was on call when the infiltration by Hamas began on Saturday and was the first to arrive at the scene.
    "At the border fence, I saw that it had been breached, and rivers of people were flowing into the country. It seemed unfathomable. First, you think, What is this? Where are they coming from? In such quantities! They came in cars and bulldozers."
    "Our weapon is a hellfire missile. I needed to choose where to hit best. I fire until the armament runs out, pretty quickly, within an hour. We flew to a nearby base to arm ourselves again, and shortly after, I was in the battle zone again."
    "The investigations will show the truth - how fast the response was. Obviously, when it comes to such swarms, it is much more complex."

Israel: No Electricity, Water, or Fuel for Gaza until Hostages Freed (Times of Israel)
    Energy Minister Israel Katz tweeted: "Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home."
    "Humanitarianism for humanitarianism. And no one can preach morality to us."
    See also The Impact of Cutting Off Electricity to Gaza - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel supplies around 50% of Gaza's energy, said Dr. Elai Rettig of Bar-Ilan University.
    Before the Hamas attack, the typical Gaza resident only had access to four hours of uninterrupted electricity daily. As a result, Gaza residents put small, diesel-powered generators in their houses or installed solar panels on their rooftops, providing 25% of energy during the day.
    "All of this means that the effect of cutting off the energy supply to Gaza is rather limited."
    Israel said that diesel trucks from both Egypt and Israel would not enter Gaza. Therefore, the diesel will eventually run out.
    "Hamas claimed that the diesel had already run out in its power plant. This is unlikely because they should have already had enough diesel to last at least a week or two," Rettig said. "If there is no diesel, Hamas took it all."
    Eyal Pinko of Bar-Ilan University said, "Israel supplies only 10% of Gaza's water. So, even if we stop our share, they will still have water."

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Psychological Factors and the Hamas War Strategy - Irwin J. Mansdorf, PhD (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Psychological warfare by Hamas (and Hizbullah) has relied heavily on portraying themselves as "victims."
    This tactic is known as "Psychological Asymmetry," whereby a militarily weaker opponent can gain tactical advantage through psychological means.
    This manipulative tactic includes embellishing and sometimes falsifying scenes of civilian damage and suffering and intentionally creating these scenes to generate opportunities to use them.
    It is critical that the media, as well as other sources and NGOs, be aware of the tactic.
    The images and descriptions of the initial Hamas attack that showed savage violence directed at civilians need to be the backdrop for providing an accurate perspective on future Israeli actions.
    The writer is a clinical psychologist and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center, specializing in political psychology.

Why Hamas' Brutality Must Be Shown - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    After airing a report on the death and destruction in Kfar Aza on Saturday, which included grisly pictures of gutted homes and reports of desecrated bodies, Channel 12 anchor Danny Kushmaro explained on Wednesday why those images were shown.
    "We are showing these pictures to demonstrate what is happening here on the ground, in order to show how strong Israel's reaction needs to be."
    "This is not to hurt morale, but rather to encourage the morale [and show] that there is a need to respond to the atrocities that took place here."
    As the IDF continues to hit targets in Gaza, it is only a matter of time before calls arise for Israel to act "proportionally."
    This is why grisly footage is unfortunately necessary - to remind the world of what Israel is up against and why it must use all its power to eradicate Hamas.

Answering the Critics: Israel Isn't a Colonial Power - Rich Lowry (New York Post)
    An academic cottage industry is devoted to deeming Israel an exercise in "settler colonialism," but the smear can't survive contact with the slightest critical scrutiny.
    The original Jewish settlers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries weren't sent by any mother country to set up enclaves for the honor and profit of the homeland. In fact, they were escaping countries that, in many cases, didn't want them.
    It would have been perverse for Jews to have sought, say, to establish an outpost of Russia, given the atrocities routinely carried out against them on Russian soil.
    They thought of their venture as a return to a place Jews had continuously inhabited for thousands of years, raising the question of how an indigenous people can be colonizers.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Tells U.S. Jewish Leaders: "I Refuse to Be Silent on the Deadliest Day for Jews Since the Holocaust" - Brett Samuels
    President Biden on Wednesday met with Jewish leaders at the White House following terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel. The president spoke of the barbarity of the attacks that have left women and children dead, and described seeing pictures of terrorists beheading children. (The Hill)
        See also Secretary of State Blinken Shown Photos of Babies Being Burnt, Decapitated - Tzvi Joffre
    The Jerusalem Post confirms, based on verified photos of the bodies, that the reports of babies being burnt and decapitated in Hamas' assault on Kfar Aza are correct. The photos were shown to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Israel on Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Warns Civilians to Evacuate Gaza City - Isabel Debre
    Israel on Friday warned civilians in Gaza City to flee south ahead of a ground offensive aiming to eradicate Hamas after its grisly assault into Israel, UN officials said. Israel said Hamas militants were hiding in tunnels under the city. "This evacuation is for your own safety," the Israeli military said, in a warning sent to Gaza City civilians. Inas Hamdan, an officer at the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City, said all UN staff in Gaza City and northern Gaza had been told to evacuate south to Rafah.
        Hamas' unprecedented assault last Saturday and smaller attacks since have killed more than 1,300 people in Israel, including 247 soldiers. (AP)
        See also Israel: UN Criticism of IDF North Gaza Evacuation Order "Is a Disgrace" - Itamar Eichner
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan criticized the UN's call to the IDF to cancel the directive to the residents of Gaza to evacuate from northern Gaza. "The UN's response to Israel's early warning to the residents of Gaza is a disgrace!"
        "For many years, the United Nations has turned a blind eye to Hamas' arming and its use of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as a hiding place for its weapons and murder, and now, instead of standing by Israel, whose citizens were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists and which tries to minimize harm to those not involved, it is preaching to Israel. The UN should now focus on returning the abductees, condemning Hamas, and supporting Israel's right to defend itself."  (Ynet News)
  • Egypt Offers Aid, but No Exit for Gazans - Declan Walsh
    Egypt, as ever in times of war, is keeping its border crossing with Gaza firmly shut. The Egyptians are adamantly opposed to allowing Gazans to cross the border.
        Allowing large numbers of Gazans to cross over, even as refugees, would "revive the idea that Sinai is the alternative country for the Palestinians," said Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, a political scientist at Cairo University. Egyptians have long feared to make the Gaza conflict Egypt's problem, too. A related scenario that worries Egypt is that it could end up as the de facto administrator of Gaza.
        The Egyptians say they will facilitate a humanitarian corridor into Gaza, but Israel said that no humanitarian aid would be allowed to enter until Hamas releases the 150 people, including children and older people, that it captured. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Reaches "Quiet Understanding" with Qatar Not to Release $6 Billion in Iranian Oil Revenues - Nanchy Cordes
    The U.S. has reached a "quiet understanding" with Qatar not to release any of the $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues that was unfrozen as part of the prisoner swap last month, a source told CBS News. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo informed House Democrats on Thursday that the $6 billion "isn't going anywhere anytime soon."
        As part of the deal to release five Americans who had been wrongfully detained in Iran, the Biden administration included the transfer of Iranian oil assets from South Korea to Qatar. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that "the regime was never going to see a dime of that money."  (CBS News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: "This Is a War over Our Home"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Thursday: "This truly is a war over our home and it must end with one thing - complete victory and the smashing and elimination of Hamas. Hamas is ISIS and the world that was outraged by ISIS and al-Qaeda after 9/11 formed an international coalition to eliminate this blight. Nobody said 'Let's meet with the representatives of ISIS or al-Qaeda.'"
        "Our people is among the world's oldest. During the thousands of years of our existence we have met countless challenges. We have known suffering. We have known pain more than any other people, but we never surrendered. Strength of will and endurance are synonyms for the Jewish people. We will also meet this current test."
        "We will find these accursed murders, these human beasts, with full force and we will defeat them. We will wipe them off the face of the earth. The time will come when we will rebuild the destroyed communities."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Air Force Chief: We Have a List of Hamas Criminals - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    IDF Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar said Thursday: "We have a list of everyone who participated in the abominable crimes against our families, against the Gaza corridor residents, and we will get to all of them."
        IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi on Thursday said, "We will hit hard and take apart the rulers of Gaza. Whoever is left in charge will understand very well that you do not do such things to the State of Israel. This will take time and will require a cool head, but it is good that our cohesion and brotherhood have all come together....We will give an eternal blow to our enemies, this is our mission and we are determined to achieve it. This abominable attack was decided on by Yahya Sinwar, the sovereign in Gaza, which makes him and all of his apparatus under him dead men."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Police Officer Seriously Wounded in Shooting Attack near Jerusalem's Old City
    An Israel Police officer was seriously wounded and another was lightly wounded in a shooting attack targeting a police station near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday. Police officers shot and killed the terrorist. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Hamas Attacks Israel

  • How Mai Hayat Escaped Hamas Terrorists - Yael Ciechanover
    Mai Hayat worked at the bar at the music festival near Kibbutz Re'im along with her friend Liron. When the shooting started, "We hid in the police station....I hugged the one who cried and couldn't breathe, and Liron helped the wounded while we were under fire. The shootings started to get closer, the policemen stood ready with weapons by the door...and said: 'charge.' They turned to us and said, 'Pray and run.' They went outside - and fell one after the other....For a moment there was quiet, we ran away to the field, I looked back and saw Liron, but she didn't join us."
        After Mai was captured, "the guy who was with me begged for his life and cried....They murdered him right before my eyes. I was left alone with the terrorists; one of them hit me on the head with a board every few seconds just to humiliate me, one of them held a knife and every few seconds approached me with it."
        After escaping, "I ran like crazy. I went under a platform and laid down next to three corpses; I took some of the blood that was dripping from the corpse next to me and applied it to my face, playing dead for three hours that felt like an eternity, three hours in which terrorists were shooting everywhere, burning everything around, and missiles that were shot above me; three hours that I am among corpses trying to protect myself. Three hours in which I thought I was the only one left alive. Suddenly I heard Hebrew, I screamed: 'Help!' They were Israeli soldiers."  (Ynet News)
  • An Israeli Border Policeman Defends His Community
    A 20-year-old Israeli Border Policeman who lives near Gaza described his experience on Saturday. "Five minutes after the missile launches started, my little brother got a message from a friend saying he could hear gunshots near his house. I decided to head out to see if everything was OK. I got in the car and drove over to the neighborhood with my service rifle. When I got there, there were loads of police cars and the sound of gunfire. Immediately, I ran over to the first policeman I saw and joined up with him, telling him that I was in the Border Police. We opened fire at two of the terrorists' pickup trucks. There were around eight terrorists inside. We finished them off."
        Later, driving in an armored vehicle to Re'im, "we saw an armored police vehicle with five soldiers, who it turned out were terrorists. We slowed down to stop them and they opened fire on us. The gunfire was so intense that the glass from the windscreen flew in our faces and they also hit the engine....Another 500 meters later, we saw a shelter. We stopped and checked if anyone was there. We got to the shelter and found around fifteen scorched bodies inside....We saw two girls from the party who were still alive, so we brought them into our vehicle and gave them medical attention."
        Right after they dropped the girls off near a tank, "we got shot at with two RPGs, which missed us by a few meters, as we came under a hail of bullets....We were five people with only two long guns, against twenty terrorists who were much better armed....While we were under fire, we took turns - one bandaging the wounded and the other shooting at the terrorists....When we started running out of ammo, we started shooting with the Kalashnikovs of the terrorists we had killed."  (Mosaic)
  • IDF Naval Commandos Eliminate over 60 Terrorists and Rescue Hundreds of Hostages - Yoav Zitun
    On Saturday, both regular and reserve units of Shayetet 13 commandos were airlifted to the Gaza border, joining ground forces engaged in combat with terrorists in Gaza border towns and at sea. The forces operated in numerous locations, including Kibbutz Be'eri, Sufa Outpost, Kfar Aza, Sa'ad, Mefalsim and Nir Oz. Shayetet 13 commandos eliminated over 60 Hamas terrorists and rescued 250 hostages alive. 26 terrorists were detained, including deputy commander of Hamas' southern naval brigade Muhammad Abu Ali. Two members of the unit, Lt.-Col. Eli Ginzburg and Staff Sergeant Ofek Russo, were killed. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Officer Protects Her Recruits
    2nd Lt. Adar Ben Simon, 20, was a platoon commander in the Home Front Command. Her relatives said that on Saturday, "Adar was among the officers leading the trainee course at Zikim. When Adar and her fellow commanders discovered the large number of terrorists infiltrating the base, their immediate priority was to protect the trainees under their command."
        "Adar fearlessly engaged in battle, fighting with all her might to eliminate the terrorists and defend her country, while ensuring the safety of her soldiers and sacrificing her own life. Together with her comrades, she fought valiantly against overwhelming odds, and thanks to their bravery, almost all the recruits returned home unharmed."
        On Saturday, Adar's older sister messaged her: "Hey Adar, are you at the base? Are there alarms?" Adar replied, "Missiles are flying above me, even landing inside the base." Then she messaged again: "Nine terrorists are running towards us. I've got a bullet in the chamber. Shema Yisrael. We'll talk later."  (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Broadcast the Slaughter. It's as if the Cossacks Had TikTok - Bari Weiss
    In October 2023, Hamas broadcast what they did. They took horrific videos to document and share it all. Videos of naked women; of a captured six-year-old-boy; of beheaded soldiers. It's as if the Cossacks had TikTok. Surely this amount of blood will be enough to shake the world awake.
        Yet at our most prestigious universities there is silence from administrations that leapt to speak out on George Floyd's killing and on the war in Ukraine. Meantime, the social justice crowd offers explanations for the massacre that, in part, targeted a group of progressive Israelis at a music festival.
        Now we know who would have looked at Jews shoved onto cattle cars and said, "Well, they did undermine the German economy." Those are the people today saying: "This is a justified response to the provocation of Israel existing." Now we can see exactly how people manage to always come up with a reason for why the Jews deserved it. (The Free Press)

  • Israel's Response to Hamas Attacks

  • What Israel Must Do: Disarming Hamas Will Be Costly but Essential for Peace - Dennis Ross
    In launching its unprovoked, heinous attack on Israelis on Oct. 7, Hamas created the bloodiest day that Israel has seen in more than five decades. This unprecedented assault has left Israel in a state of shock but also with the resolve to end Hamas' ability to threaten Israel again. In setting off what will by necessity be an overwhelming onslaught on Gaza, Hamas has brought to a new level the punishment of Palestinians that it has inflicted over and over for nearly two decades.
        Hamas' priority is destroying Israel, not building Gaza. Its main agenda for Gaza is building its own military infrastructure and arsenal. It has constructed dozens of miles of underground tunnels to protect its own fighters and weapons.
        Israel can no longer be satisfied with a punishing response, followed by a return to the status quo. The assumption that Israel could live with Hamas and manage periodic conflicts with it has been shattered. It is determined that Hamas will never again be able to threaten the Israeli people. Israelis across the political spectrum now believe that Hamas must be destroyed as a military power and that Gaza must be demilitarized. Israel will no longer accept a truce with Hamas.
        Hamas is not a partner for peace; it is an agent of war and destruction. If there were any doubts about Hamas' intentions in the past, its attack has permanently laid them to rest. But Hamas has gravely miscalculated this time. Israel's leaders are now contemplating options that they have not been prepared to consider since the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
        As the toll in Gaza mounts, some Western and Arab leaders will likely argue that Israeli military action is disproportionate. But if Hamas retains any ability to threaten Israel, it will present itself as the victor, and that will be a tremendous boost to radical and destabilizing forces across the region.
        Western and Arab leaders have a responsibility to support Israel's campaign against Hamas even as they frame essential objectives: unconditional release of the hostages and an end to Hamas rockets, mortars, and weapons- and bomb-making facilities. Aid for reconstruction of Gaza must be tied to its demilitarization. For Israel this is the minimum. Israel's endgame is making sure that Hamas cannot threaten it again.
        The writer is Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former U.S. Envoy to the Middle East. He served in senior national security positions in four U.S. administrations. (Foreign Affairs)
  • We Are Fighting an Existential War - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland
    In the wake of recent events, Israel cannot be satisfied with any other goal than the elimination of Hamas in Gaza as a military and governing body. Anything less would be an Israeli failure. For twenty years, Israel refrained from formalizing this goal. Now, it is essential.
        The UN secretary-general has initiated humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Israeli condition for any aid should be a visit by the Red Cross to Israeli hostages. Until this happens, no aid of any kind should be permitted to enter into Gaza.
        The Americans should understand that Israel has no choice. It is comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to an atomic bomb in Japan. There is no other option for ensuring the security of the State of Israel. We are fighting an existential war.
        The writer is a former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Ynet News)
  • How Not to Let Hamas Win - Steve Israel
    We hear and are heartened by statements that Israel has the "right" to defend itself. But a right confers optionality: One can choose whether or not to exercise it. Israel has not the right but the paramount responsibility to defend its citizens from invasion, abduction, annihilation, and beheadings. Any nation that abdicates that responsibility might as well not exist.
        The fundamental issue that drives today's conflict in Israel and Gaza is Israel's existence. It's not about the so-called occupation (after Israel unilaterally and unconditionally left the Gaza Strip in 2005). It's about a hateful worldview that Jews have no right to govern their historic lands.
        Hamas is counting on Israel's responsibility to retaliate. Hamas is betting that the resulting images on social media and television will incite the Arab street, weakening the Abraham Accords and triggering Hamas' allies in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere to join the conflagration. Have we not been here before? The world expresses its revulsion when terrorists strike Israel, then turns against Israel when it responds.
        It will take strength, imagination and the gritty tolerance of risk to deny Hamas that victory. First, America must continue to support Israel as it dismantles Hamas once and for all. Let Israel do the world, including the Arab world, a favor. Second, rather than allowing Hamas to undermine the Abraham Accords, we must double down on them.
        The time will come for a new coalition of Middle East nations to rebuild Gaza. Gaza must be rebuilt not as a terrorist training base, but as a fit place for innocent Palestinians to live.
        The writer, a former U.S. Congressman (2001-2017), is director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. (The Hill)
  • NYC Mayor Eric Adams: "Hamas Must Be Disbanded and Destroyed Immediately"
    Mayor Eric Adams told the "New York Stands with Israel" rally on October 10, 2023: "We are not all right when we see young girls pulled from their home and dragged through the streets. We are not all right when we see grandmothers being pulled away from their homes and children shot in front of their families. We are not all right when right here in the City of New York you have those who celebrate at the same time....Everything is not fine. Israel has a right to defend itself, and that's the right that we know."
        "We will not be all right until every person responsible for this act is held accountable. And we don't have to pretend....This was intentional. This was bitter. This was nasty. This was something that shows Hamas must be disbanded and destroyed immediately."
        "I'm your brother. Your fight is my fight....You marched with us with Dr. King. You stood with us with all the fights we have. And I'm saying we're going to stand with you and stand united together. And we don't have to be all right. We should be angry at what we saw."   (City of New York)
        See also Video - Mayor Eric Adams: "We Are Not All Right" (Instagram)
  • A Middle East Wake-Up Call - Walter Russell Mead
    After Hamas fanatics bent on murder slipped across the borders of Gaza, the cause of the Palestinians has suffered. I see no prospect that any Israeli government of any party would embrace the establishment of an independent Palestinian state now. The danger that Hamas-linked genocidaires would take over is too real to make the idea acceptable to Israelis. Israeli politicians must make the survival of Israel the supreme goal of their policies. Thanks to Hamas, the goal of Palestinian independence is further off than ever.
        In a horrible way, the descent of death-dealing paragliders into a peaceful music festival in Israel is an apt symbol of our times. The post-Cold War trance of the West, generally living as if utopia had already arrived, has left us mentally and morally disarmed.
        The revisionist powers that recognize no moral limits on their power as they seek to overturn the existing world system in an ocean of blood are descending onto our festival of folly like the hell-bound paragliders of Hamas. We must soberly and deliberately address a mortal danger to everything we hold dear - and we must at long last wake up.
        The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Israel Mobilizes for War

  • Israel Transforms Itself for War - Steve Hendrix
    On the road outside the military base, hundreds of cars were pulled onto the shoulders for a half-mile in either direction. It was a pop-up parking lot for military reservists, hurrying into the base as civilians and leaving as soldiers. No one knows when they will be back to their civilian lives. 360,000 people are back in uniform in one of the largest mobilizations in the country's history.
        Schools are closed. Shopping malls are empty, with almost every shop closed. Ashdod Port, the country's largest, with more than 8% of its staff departed for the army, is calling in retirees to keep the cargo moving. "We're working under fire now, but we have no choice," said Shaul Schneider, executive chairman of the port, where crane operators 200 feet above the ground have to hope for the best when Hamas rockets scream overhead, sometimes 10 times a day.
        Construction sites are silent, and the Palestinian laborers who normally work at them have been prohibited from crossing over from the West Bank since Saturday. Apartment buildings instructed residents to remove bikes and personal items from safe rooms and stock them with emergency provisions.
        Ofek Iyzem, 22, was a university student last week. Daniel Blum, 30, was a counselor for troubled teens. Ron Dahan worked for a tech company and was on holiday in Vietnam when he got the call. "It's a big change, but for us very natural," Dahan said. "When you live in Israel, you always know that you'll be back in the army."  (Washington Post)
  • Israelis Rush to Volunteer after Hamas Attacks - Isabel Kershner
    In the wake of the Hamas terrorist attacks Saturday that left 1,300 dead, Israel's citizens are pouring their anxious energy into raising funds and collecting goods for those in need: soldiers; survivors of the atrocities; hospitals treating the thousands of wounded; and people whose loved ones were killed, are still missing or are being held hostage in Gaza. Thousands of grass-roots initiatives have sprung up across the country, many organized on social media.
        Mothers were donating breast milk for orphaned infants. Dozens of florists and event designers are making hundreds of funeral wreaths and bouquets for hospitals. Large nurseries have been donating the flowers. With many weddings canceled, a Jerusalem wedding hall was turning out thousands of meals a day for soldiers.
        Hadas Duchan, 34, an artist whose two brothers are among the reservists recently mobilized, spent Wednesday distributing food and medicine to families in Ofakim, that was infiltrated by the gunmen. "I don't know anyone who doesn't know someone who was there and who was hurt or killed or kidnapped," she said. (New York Times)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • Palestinians Steal Water from Palestinians, Blame Israel - Bassam Tawil
    Israel currently supplies the Palestinians with 52 million cubic meters (MCM) a year of water, far beyond its obligation of 31 MCM in the "Water Agreement" that was part of the 1995 Oslo II accords. In contravention of the agreement, however, the Palestinians have drilled more than 300 unauthorized wells. The Palestinians have also failed to treat their sewage, which flows freely into streams flowing through the West Bank and Israel, thereby contaminating both the environment and the Mountain Aquifer for everyone.
        If anyone is depriving Palestinians of water, it is the Palestinians themselves, specifically those who are drilling illegal wells and polluting the environment. Israel's recent sealing of four illegal wells near Hebron was part of an effort to stop Palestinian thieves from stealing water intended for Palestinians. Were Palestinians to stop stealing water, there would be no shortage of water supplied to any city, village or farm. Yet the Palestinians blame Israel for their own illegal actions. (Gatestone Institute)

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2023 War with Hamas - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • As Israel responds to the Hamas atrocities, several basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) are essential to recall. The principle of distinction requires that all attacks be focused on military targets instead of purely civilian targets. The principle of military necessity dictates that the warring sides must avoid wounding or permanently injuring combatants except as part of the fight. The principle of unnecessary suffering prohibits the warring sides from using weaponry that causes superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.
  • The principle of proportionality refers to a situation in which a military target is attacked, and that attack causes incidental or collateral damage. Attacks of this nature are legitimate so long as the loss of life and damage to property incidental to the attack are not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained. As the value of the military target grows, so too does the extent of permitted incidental damage.
  • When Hamas deliberately locates its operational headquarters in high-rise buildings, no provision of IHL would prevent attacking that target, even if it means destroying the entire building. Medical facilities and places of worship enjoy specific safeguards and should not be attacked as a general rule. However, when the enemy uses these sites to facilitate military operations - including using them as command centers or warehouses and storage areas to stockpile ammunition and weapons - the installations become legitimate military targets. Moreover, those wearing civilian clothes who directly participate in hostilities are considered combatants and legitimate military targets.
  • The electricity provided by Israel to Gaza is essential for the terrorist war effort. Limiting the flow of electricity into Gaza from Israel would substantially impair the enemy's military capabilities. No provision in IHL requires Israel to provide the enemy, which slaughtered 1,200 Israelis, injured thousands of others, and kidnapped scores more, with a resource essential to further its homicidal terrorist goals. Cutting the flow of electricity from Israel does not meet the definition of collective punishment under IHL.
  • IHL takes into account that civilians, including children, will be killed during an attack on a legitimate military target. In as much as Israeli forces do not knowingly and intentionally target a child who was not participating in the hostilities, the incidental death of a child during the fighting would certainly not constitute a crime of any nature.

    The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.
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