October 15, 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:

Israeli Forensic Teams Describe Signs of Torture, Abuse (Reuters)
    Military forensic teams in Israel have examined bodies of victims of last week's Hamas attack on communities near Gaza and found multiple signs of torture, rape and other atrocities, officers said on Saturday.
    A reserve warrant officer, Avigayil, said, "We've seen dismembered bodies with their arms and feet chopped off, people that were beheaded, a child that was beheaded."
    She said multiple cases of rape were found.

Thai Death Toll in Hamas Attacks Reaches 28 (Times of Israel)
    28 Thai nationals died in the Hamas attacks on Israel and 17 are believed held hostage by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, CNN reported.
    About 30,000 Thais work in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector.

IDF Eliminates Terrorist Who Helped Lead Hamas Massacre - Gadi Zaig (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF and Israel Security Agency eliminated Ali Qadi, a commander of the "Nakba Force," who helped lead the Hamas massacre last week, the IDF announced Saturday.
    Qadi was arrested in 2005 following the kidnapping and murder of Israelis, and was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.
    See also Israel Kills Another Hamas Commander Responsible for Attacks (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli airstrikes targeted Bilal al Qadr, another senior Hamas commander from the "Nakba Force" responsible for the massacre of Israelis, the IDF said Sunday.

Video: Israeli Navy Foils Hamas Infiltration - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Footage released by the IDF on Saturday showed the Navy killing Hamas terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza by sea on Oct. 7.
    After Hamas speedboats were sunk by Dvora patrol boats, Snapir unit sailors on small Defender boats opened fire and used depth charges against the surviving terrorists, as well as Hamas divers as they swam toward the Israeli coast.

Acts of Bravery in the War Against Hamas - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Without a shred of intelligence, Col. Benny Aharon, commander of the 401st Armored Brigade, arrived at Nahal Oz and saw a tank on the road.
    "I said to the crew commander: 'Give me the tank.' I drove to Kibbutz Re'im. I saw Hamas vans on the way and just ran over them. The terrorists threw explosives at the tank, but the tank kept going" until it ran out of fuel.
    Lt.-Col. Ran Cna'an commands the 450th battalion at the Infantry Corps school.
    "We went to Re'im. We got off the buses and advanced on foot. An Israeli vehicle approached us. Something wasn't right about it. I realized it was a terrorist and I shot."
    "I opened the trunk and I found a female French tourist who'd been abducted from the party - tied up, but alive."
    "I carried on to Kissufim. I joined a Golani company commander and a deputy military security coordinator." They began cleansing the kibbutz of terrorists.
    One of the squad commanders had been shot and was injured. The battalion commander ran to help him and was himself shot.
    "I had the strength to crawl backward with him. I put tourniquets and bandages on both of us and we carried on fighting."

IDF Soldier Dies after Jumping on a Grenade to Save Others (Ynet News)
    In the initial hours of the Hamas attack, seven soldiers from the Golani Brigade found themselves under attack by a multitude of Hamas fighters in Kibbutz Nir Am.
    Soldier Daniel Varach recounted: "We were in the armored vehicle, completely encircled with no escape route."
    Suddenly, a terrorist tossed a grenade into their armored personnel carrier (APC).
    Cpl. Matan Avergil spotted the grenade and lunged over it, saving the others.

How One Town Repelled the Hamas Onslaught - Sue Serkes (Times of Israel)
    The resistance put up by dozens of residents of Moshav Ein Habesor, 4 miles from Gaza, with only four M16 rifles and some pistols, evidently convinced the terrorists to give up and go wreak carnage elsewhere.
    After a spate of car thefts, the community's defense unit was expanded from a dozen people to 78. To ambush car thieves, groups patrolled the perimeter fence nightly.

Music Festival Survivor Recounts Daring Decision (Times of Israel)
    Michael Silberberg, 50, and two friends had already managed to escape the slaughter at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re'im.
    He was driving away when he saw two terrorists just ahead of him, spraying gunfire from their motorcycle at passing cars.
    "I knew it's either I hit him or I know I die, or other people die," he said, so he stepped on the accelerator and slammed into the motorcycle.
    The shooter died immediately. The driver was badly injured.
    The men quickly drove away, with the vehicle's front end badly dented and smoke billowing from everywhere.

"Fauda" Creator: "We Need to Make Hamas Curse the Moment They Started" This War - Avi Issacharoff interviewed by Raz Shechnik (Ynet News)
    Avi Issacharoff, the co-creator of the TV hit "Fauda," is calm and soft spoken, but doesn't try, even for a moment, to hide the fact that he's raging inside.
    "The only thing the country should be concerned with right now is how to eradicate Hamas."
    "We need to make Hamas curse the moment they started out on this military adventure. If we don't make them regret that moment, we'll have a similar thing this time next year."

Hamas Bears the Blame for Every Death in This War - Bret Stephens (New York Times)
    A Hamas that wanted a more prosperous Gaza could have it, simply by desisting from its ideological aims.
    If Gaza is the open-air prison that so many of Israel's critics allege, it's not because Israelis are cruel but because too many of its residents pose a mortal risk.
    The central cause of Gaza's misery is Hamas. It alone bears the blame for the suffering it has inflicted on Israel and knowingly invited against Palestinians.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Sending Second Carrier Strike Group to Eastern Mediterranean - Oren Liebermann
    The Pentagon has ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group which arrived last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday. The U.S. warships are not intended to join the fighting, but their presence is designed to send a message of deterrence to Iran and Hizbullah in Lebanon.
        The Biden administration made clear that the ships and planes are not there to engage in combat activities on behalf of Israel. "There is no intention or plan to put American troops on the ground in Israel," said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, on Thursday. Kirby said the purpose of the bolstered force posture was "to act as a deterrent for any other actor, including Hizbullah, that might think that widening this conflict is a good idea."  (CNN)
  • Israel to Target Gaza City and Hamas Leadership - Patrick Kingsley
    The Israeli military is preparing to invade Gaza soon with tens of thousands of soldiers ordered to capture Gaza City and destroy the current leadership, according to three senior Israeli military officers who outlined unclassified details about the plan. Tens of thousands of Hamas gunmen are entrenched inside hundreds of miles of underground tunnels and bunkers beneath Gaza City and northern Gaza.
        Israel has warned Palestinians in Gaza City to head to the south of the territory. Hundreds of thousands have heeded that call, but others - encouraged by Hamas - have remained in their homes. (New York Times)
  • Israel Targets the "Gaza Metro" of Hamas Tunnels Hiding Terrorists - Ben Farmer
    Hamas has spent two decades building a labyrinth of deep, defensive tunnels to resist any ground assault by Israeli troops, experts said. The extensive network is believed to be as much as 100 feet (30 meters) beneath the surface in some places. Tunnel entrances are hidden in the bottom floors of houses, mosques and schools, while Gaza's narrow streets and alleyways are expected to have been laid with booby traps and homemade bombs in preparation for any Israeli attack.
        Dr. Daphne Richemond-Barak, an expert on underground warfare at Reichman University in Israel, told the BBC: "The tunnels inside Gaza...are definitely equipped for a longer, sustained presence. The leaders are hiding there, they have command-and-control centers, they use them for transport and lines of communication. They are equipped with electricity, lighting and rail tracks."
        "Think of Gaza as one layer for civilians and then another layer for Hamas," Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, said Thursday. "These aren't bunkers for Gazan civilians. It's only for Hamas and other terrorists so that they can continue to fire rockets at Israel, to plan operations, to launch terrorists into Israel."  (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Civilian Killed, 3 Wounded by Hizbullah Anti-Tank Missile - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    An Israeli man in his 40s was murdered and 3 other civilians were wounded by an anti-tank missile fired by Hizbullah at Moshav Shtula near the Lebanese border on Sunday. IDF artillery targeted the source of the fire. Another anti-tank missile was fired at an Israeli military position in the north. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hizbullah Fires 30 Mortar Shells at Israel - Emanuel Fabian
    Hizbullah launched 30 mortars at IDF positions in the Mount Dov area on the Lebanon border on Saturday. The IDF shelled the source of fire with artillery, and carried out a drone strike on a terror cell planning to carry out an anti-tank missile attack. Earlier Saturday, the IDF killed three terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon. Three drones were also shot down over northern Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • "Next Stage Is Coming," Netanyahu Tells IDF - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Kibbutz Be'eri and Kfar Aza on Saturday, places that experienced high rates of murder in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, where he met with soldiers and walked through the ruins of the houses. On Friday, he addressed the nation, saying that Israel will destroy Hamas, no matter how long it takes. "This is just the beginning. Our enemies have only begun paying the price."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Defense Secretary in Israel: "Hamas Is Worse than ISIS" - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday. Referring to Hamas' assault on Israel, Austin said, "We have seen the horrific acts of this terrorist organization. As you know, I was the one who first planned the war on ISIS. So I know ISIS very well, and it's worse than what I've seen with ISIS."
        "In times like these, sometimes the best thing a friend can do is just to show up and get to work. This is no time for neutrality or for false equivalence or for excuses for the inexcusable. There is never a justification for terrorism, and this is especially true after this rampage by Hamas....The deliberate cruelty of Hamas vividly reminds me of ISIS, bloodthirsty, fanatical, and hateful. Like ISIS, Hamas has nothing to offer but zealotry, bigotry, and death."
        In response to a question about concerns of Palestinian civilians being harmed in Israel's response in Gaza, Austin stressed that he fought alongside Israeli forces in the past and they are "professional, disciplined, and focused on the right things."
        In response to a question about Iran's involvement in Hamas' assault, Gallant stressed that "Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas are one axis. Everything is directed generally from Iran, the permission is given by Iran, the money is supplied by Iran, and the ideas are shaped in Iran."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Border Police Kill 4 Palestinians Trying to Blow a Hole in West Bank Security Barrier - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli Border Police officers shot and killed four Palestinians who set off explosive devices in an attempt to breach the West Bank security barrier near Tulkarem on Friday. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Has the Right - and the Duty - to Besiege Gaza - Avi Bell and Erielle Davidson
    The sheer evil of Hamas' deeds exceeds what can be conveyed in words. Anything other than an end to Hamas rule will leave Israel's citizens unacceptably exposed to savage criminal activity. Israel's government has a duty to its citizenry to move rapidly and effectively to use every lawful means of warfare to defeat Hamas, deny Hamas territory in which to operate, and kill or capture all Hamas terrorists.
        Both the Geneva and Hague Conventions include instructions on conducting sieges under international law, recognizing they may be effective tools for bringing a conflict to a rapid and successful end. Sieges are lawful unless deliberately aimed at starving the local population. International pressure demanding Israel provide terrorists with electricity and other goods is absurd and without basis in international law. Israel is not required to fund or assist Hamas' war effort as it attempts to butcher Jews.
        International law requires that Israel facilitate the passage of food and medicine by third parties, but only if such goods can be reliably delivered without diversion to Hamas. Given Hamas' 16-year exploitation of humanitarian aid and infiltration of human-rights and international organizations in Gaza, diversion is a certainty.
        Allowing aid to reach Hamas would prolong the conflict, worsen Gaza's physical destruction, and result in greater loss of civilian life.
        Avi Bell is a professor of law at Bar-Ilan University and the University of San Diego. Erielle Davidson is a senior fellow at the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason Law School. (New York Post)
  • The October Horror in Israel Is Something New - Peggy Noonan
    Terrorists calling themselves a resistance movement passed over the border from Gaza and murdered little children; they took infants hostage as they screamed. They murdered old women, tormented and raped young women, targeted an overnight music festival and murdered the unarmed young people in cold blood or mowed them down as they ran screaming. They murdered whole families as they begged for their lives; they burned people alive; they decapitated babies.
        There is no cause on earth that justifies what these murderers did. There is no historical grievance that excuses or "gives greater context" to their actions. This is what happens when savages hold the day: They imperil the very idea of civilization. Butchering people was the aim. It is what they set out to do. It was cruelty as an intention.
        The famously dangerous neighborhood has never been more so, and one senses Israel's enemies think this is their moment. What Hamas did was stone evil. Tell the world and show the world, over and over.
        Israel has led with its heart. On a Zoom call this week, a man in Israel told Americans about a young woman killed at the rave who was from Brazil. Her mother and sister flew in for the funeral. Fearing that no one else would be there to mourn, someone on WhatsApp sent out the word. 7,000 people showed up, having heard that the family might be alone. My eyes filled as I heard it, and fill again as I write. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Death of the Two-State Solution - Efraim Karsh
    It is likely now that Israel will end its decade-long policy of containment in favor of an attempt to totally destroy Hamas' military capabilities. Hamas' latest aggression may well have driven the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. While most Israelis have been disabused of the idea by Yasser Arafat's war of terror and the subsequent confrontations with Hamas, its horrendous massacres may convince other international players of the mortal dangers that would follow if Israel withdraws from key West Bank areas.
        After all, were such an invasion to ensue from a West Bank state, hordes of terrorists would be able to roam the more populous streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in no time. What sovereign state could possibly allow a situation that would arise in which their citizens could be indiscriminately slaughtered on its streets?
        So long as the West Bank and Gaza continue to be governed by Hamas' (and the PLO's) rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can possibly develop there.
        The writer is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London and former director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. (Spectator-UK)
  • Denial of Israel's Right of Self-Defense Needs to Stop Now - Anne Bayefsky
    On Oct. 9, 2023, two days after a slaughter of Jews unprecedented since the Holocaust, the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN in Geneva asked the states attending a UN Human Rights Council meeting to stand and join him in a minute of silence for "the victims of decades of foreign occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." And they did.
        UN forces are doing the political dirty work of Hamas and its partners. UN officials reacted immediately by condemning Israel and finding ways to excuse and diminish the actions of its mortal enemies. The UN is not a neutral party in this war.
        UN statistic-gatherers rely heavily on Hamas sources, who lie. Palestinian terrorists seek to inflate casualty numbers, and the UN has repeatedly obliged. The UN continuously announces alleged numbers of dead and injured in Gaza without separating casualties into terrorists and civilians. Yet killing the armed combatants of the enemy during a time of war is not illegal.
        UN sources constantly misrepresent international law, claiming that any civilian casualty is a war crime. In fact, the rules prohibit targeting civilians, and they recognize that within limits, civilian collateral damage or indirect harm is unfortunate but legal.
        The writer is President of Human Rights Voices and Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. (Times of Israel)
  • "Proportionality in Conflict Is a Joke" - Douglas Murray interviewed by Julia Hartley-Brewer
    British author and political commentator Douglas Murray said Friday: "There is some deep perversion in Britain whenever Israel is involved in a conflict, and is the word you just used 'proportionality'? Only Britain is really obsessed with this."
        "But if we were to decide that we should have this fetish about proportionality, then that would mean that in retaliation for what Hamas did in Israel on Saturday, Israel should try to locate a music festival in Gaza and rape precisely the number of women that Hamas raped on Saturday, kill precisely the number of young people that Hamas killed on Saturday."
        "Proportionality in conflict is a joke. It's a very strange British concept which we've had. Only the Israelis, in a conflict when they are attacked, are expected to have precisely the proportionate response."
        "The difference between the Western way and Hamas terrorists' way of war is that their objective is to kill civilians....The objective in conflict of the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and other civilized democracies is the killers and as few innocent people as possible."  (TalkTV-UK)

  • How America Can Help Israel

  • How America Can Help Israel - Yonah Jeremy Bob interviewed by Elliot Kaufman
    Yonah Jeremy Bob covers the Israeli intelligence agencies and military for the Jerusalem Post. He said Saturday's shock gave way to rage, "and then rage crystallized into a very steely determination. It's the thing Israel's enemies never fully understand. They think of Israel as a weak Western state, where people care about their looks and money and all the things that will make them flee rather than fight." Hamas often scoffs that "the Jews love life." But that's why they fight for it.
        "Hamas took its best shot and it won big on the first day. But it really doesn't have anything else. It isn't going to accomplish anything else close to what it has already done. From here on, it's going to be Israel demolishing them." Israelis used to worry that it might cost 1,000 soldiers to topple Hamas. But by letting Hamas reign, "we've now lost 1,200 people. So nobody has a hesitancy."
        What does Israel need from the U.S. now? First, "give Israel bunker-buster bombs." Second, "declare that the U.S. won't pressure Israel to prematurely halt its counterinvasion," even as civilian casualties inevitably follow. Third, "shoot down one Hizbullah or Hamas rocket to show that the U.S. is willing to lean into this, and the naval movements aren't for show." Fourth, "move up delivery of the KC-46 refueling planes."
        "There was shock when people saw the pictures, but that lasts for only so long." Israel's assault on Gaza will lead to "new pictures on the Palestinian side" and moral equivocation from the West. That's when Israel needs the U.S. to stand firm, because no one else will. (Wall Street Journal)
  • How the Pentagon Can Help Israel Now - Bradley Bowman and Ryan Brobst
    With the possibility that Hizbullah could open a major new front in the north, the U.S. would be wise to proactively provide Israel additional air defenses and weapons as soon as possible to augment what has already been sent or is in the pipeline for delivery. Bloomberg reported on Oct. 10 that a pending order of 1,000 Small Diameter Bombs was already picked up by an Israeli transport aircraft and that an additional sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions conversion kits, which convert unguided bombs into precision munitions, is being accelerated.
        More than 5,000 rockets have been fired at Israel so far, and if Hizbullah joins the war, that number could be in the tens of thousands. Therefore, the Pentagon should provide Israel all of the U.S. Army's Tamir interceptors from its two Iron Dome batteries, some of which the U.S. has already started to provide. Washington should strongly consider providing Israel the two Iron Dome batteries themselves as well.
        Bradley Bowman is the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Ryan Brobst is a senior research analyst. (Defense News)

What Israelis Are Feeling Now - Dr. Micah Goodman interviewed by Amanda Borschel-Dan (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli author Dr. Micah Goodman, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, was asked what many Israelis are feeling after the Hamas attack. "I'm in a state of shock, overwhelmed, because what happened in the massacre of Simchat Torah is unthinkable....I'm also filled with sadness and grief because people that I love...have someone that they love in the hands of the monsters in Gaza, and people that they love that were murdered in Be'eri and Nahal Oz, in Kfar Aza, in Sderot, in Ofakim."
  • "I'm also feeling admiration...because we admire the spirit of our people - the amount of stories of absolute bravery of men and women in Be'eri, in Kfar Aza, in Nir Am who fought to kill terrorists, to save lives, to save their families, to save other people's families....We're also experiencing rage like we've never experienced before. Rage directed at the monsters of Hamas. This rage is going to speak very, very loudly in the next few weeks and months to come."
  • "And maybe above anything else in this cocktail of emotions, I feel pride. I've never in my life felt more proud to be an Israeli....There's not one Israeli that's not waking up in the morning every minute of these days and asking one question: how can I help?"
  • "When we speak about our international relationships, there are two emotions we have to be thinking about: love and fear....We want Western civilization to love us....In the Middle East, we don't want to be loved. We want to be feared....But here's the problem....Everything we do that will guarantee that the Middle East is afraid of Israelis, of these crazy, unpredictable Israelis, everything we do in order to build that myth back again is going to make people in the West not like us, not love us."
  • "Hamas is just a front of Iran. It's one large, organic monster. We weren't attacked by a local militia, we were attacked by the Persian Empire. We were attacked by Iran....It's not just Hamas - it's a large, powerful, sophisticated network of military forces that are training and were designed to bring Israel down."

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