October 16, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

"The Horror": Israeli Collecting Corpses near Gaza (AFP)
    Yossi Landau, 55, has spent decades collecting corpses in Israel, but he almost reached his breaking point recovering the remains of people killed by Hamas in the country's deadliest assault.
    He has 33 years of experience volunteering for Zaka, an organization which recovers the bodies of people who suffered unnatural deaths.
    "A piece of road that should've taken 15 minutes, it took us 11 hours because we went and picked up everyone, put them in a bag," he said.
    After he reached Kibbutz Beeri, "I felt that I'm falling apart, not only me, my whole crew," he recalled, after entering the first home and finding a dead woman.
    "Her stomach was ripped open, a baby was there, still connected with the cord, and stabbed."
    He said he saw multiple civilians, including around 20 children, who had their hands tied behind their backs before being shot and torched.
    "We saw some victims positioned that they were sexually abused." More than 100 people were killed in the kibbutz.

Confirming the Worst Hamas Atrocities - Ido Efrati (Ha'aretz)
    The victims of the horrors carried out by Hamas in the communities near Gaza are sent to the Rabbinate center for the identification of the dead near Ramle.
    According to the people involved in handling the bodies, Prime Minister Netanyahu's description of beheaded babies is accurate.
    Benny Schechter, a volunteer for Zaka, said, "Some of the bodies are in a very bad state. They weren't just shot dead. Some are very hard to identify because they were burned. In some cases, you find the body and head separately."
    The world needs to understand that the descriptions voiced by Israel's leaders aren't exaggerated, said IDF international spokesman Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht.

A Developing Humanitarian Issue: Israeli Refugees from Hamas Terror - Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The recent Hamas massacres have created thousands of Israeli civilian refugees, displaced from their homes, places of work, schools, and communities.
    Short-term support issues are being addressed by a wide citizen-based volunteer network.
    Many of the refugees are survivors of the deadly attacks on their communities and were under direct threat of death for hours. Many have family members who have been killed or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
    All of the refugees have experienced many years of aggression from Gaza, including thousands of missile attacks which had a significant psychological effect.
    No international body is providing humanitarian assistance to Israel or to the refugees created by the Hamas massacre and threatened Hizbullah action.
    The writer is a clinical psychologist and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center, specializing in political psychology.

Israel Restores Water Supply to Southern Gaza - Amy Spiro (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz confirmed on Sunday that water would begin to flow again from Israel to the southern part of Gaza - which Israel has urged residents to flee to in recent days.
    "The decision to restart water to the south of the Gaza Strip was agreed upon between Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. President Biden, and will push the civilian population to the southern part of the Strip," Katz said.

Video: Hamas Terrorists Inside an Israeli Community - Danielle Greyman-Kennard (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF has shared a video recorded by a Hamas terrorist operating inside an Israeli community.
    It ends with the terrorist being neutralized by Israeli security forces.

Video: IDF Helicopter Gunships Hit Hamas Terrorists on Oct. 7 - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The IDF published video of helicopter gunships striking Hamas terrorists as they streamed across the border from Gaza on Oct. 7.
    The video shows missiles hitting cars, trucks, motorcycles and people on foot as pilots report hundreds of gunmen sweeping into Israel.

To Hamas, All Citizens Are Targets, Say Arab Israelis - Gianluca Pacchiani (Times of Israel)
    Arab Israelis were gunned down by Hamas terrorists or killed by Hamas rockets.
    Awad Darawshe, 23, an Arab Israeli paramedic, arrived at the scene of the Hamas massacre at a music festival near Gaza on Oct. 7 to treat the wounded. He was killed by Hamas terrorists, who stole his ambulance and drove it into Gaza.
    Jamal Alkirnawi, a social activist from the Bedouin city of Rahat, said: "We are heartbroken. Those who were slaughtered were our friends and neighbors. We have good relations with the Jewish communities along the Gaza border. Many Rahat residents work in agriculture in the kibbutzim. Some of them were killed in the fields on Oct. 7."
    Alkirnawi put the number of Bedouins killed during the war at 18, of which at least five were from Rahat. In one village, "a family of four was directly hit by a Hamas rocket and died instantly."

We Interviewed Them Six Months Ago. Last Week Hamas Murdered Them - Kenan Reuveni (Ha'aretz)
    Six months ago, we received a letter from a reader: "You all should speak with my grandmother, Bilha Yinon of Moshav Netiv HaAsara, who turned the reinforced shelter in her and my grandfather's house into a place full of optimism and hope," wrote her granddaughter, Mai Avgon.
    We did, and we took pictures and published the interview with Bilha and Yaakobi Yinon, 75 and 78 years old respectively, under the headline, "Our home is 500 meters from the border fence with Gaza, and when it's quiet, it's heaven on earth."
    On Sunday, their daughter Mai wrote me: "My grandfather and grandmother were killed yesterday. The home was burned down with them inside."

From Carpark to World's Largest Underground Hospital in 30 Hours - Joris Fioriti (AFP)
    In 30 hours last week, staff transformed the level three basement carpark at Haifa's Rambam hospital into a huge underground hospital, equipped with 1,300 beds, complete with fittings for oxygen, medical and sanitary supplies.
    "The facility has three floors....On regular days, it is a parking lot and in emergency, it becomes the biggest underground hospital in the world with 2,000 beds," said Michael Halberthal, director general of the hospital.
    Work was ongoing in basement level two, where 700 beds will be installed. Basement level one could be turned into a decontamination room and a triage area in case of a chemical attack.
    The hospital also has food, petrol, oxygen and medical supplies enabling it to be self-sufficient for three days.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli President Shows CNN Hamas Terrorists' Guide to Torture Hostages
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog showed CNN a guide on Sunday found on Hamas terrorists which laid out how they would torture and kidnap hostages in Israel. Herzog said, "We are faced with an extremely cruel, inhumane enemy which we have to uproot with no mercy."
        "This is a booklet found on the body of one of the terrorists. It is an instruction guide how to go into civilian premises - a kibbutz, a city, a moshav - how to break in. And the first thing you do when you find the citizens, you torture them. The booklet says exactly how to torture them, how to abduct them."
        "For the last two years we enabled huge economic growth in Gaza. We enabled tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to work in Israel - to break bread, to enjoy life. What happened?...It is simply an ISIS-type ideology that wants to eliminate us off the ground, and therefore they need to be eliminated off the ground."  (X)
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards Move Fighters Closer to Syrian Border with Israel - Benoit Faucon
    Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been redeploying fighters from the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor southward to an area close to Damascus. Some of the redeployed military were missile experts. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Canadian Mother Was Shot by Hamas in Front of Her Children - Mark MacKinnon
    Adi Vital-Kaploun, 33, a Canadian citizen with ties to Ottawa, was shot and killed by Hamas gunmen in her house in front of her two sons, four-year-old Negev and four-month-old Eshel. The family was told by the Israeli military that her body was then shoved under Negev's bed and booby-trapped so it would explode whenever someone tried to pull her out. Negev had been shot in the leg. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also Five Canadians Dead from Hamas Attack in Israel (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF to Evacuate Civilians from 28 Communities along Lebanese Border amid Attacks - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF and the Israel Defense Ministry announced Monday the evacuation of civilians living up to 2 km. (1.25 miles) from the Lebanese border amid repeated rocket attacks by Hizbullah and allied Palestinian factions in recent days. Many residents have already evacuated southward.
        On Sunday, Hizbullah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at an Israeli town and military positions on the Lebanon border, killing one civilian and one soldier. Another nine rockets were launched from Lebanon at northern towns; Hamas claimed responsibility. (Times of Israel)
  • Most of Sderot's Residents Have Been Evacuated - Carrie Keller-Lynn
    On Oct. 7, a bus loaded up thirteen Sderot residents for a day trip during the Simhat Torah holiday. It never made it out of the city, instead gunned down by Hamas terrorists. On Sunday, buses evacuated some of the few remaining residents of this Israeli city on the border with Gaza, to ferry them to state-sponsored hotel stays away from the front lines. By Sunday evening, only a tenth of Sderot's 30,000 residents remained in the city.
        The IDF has already evacuated nearly all 13,000 residents of the 25 agricultural communities within 4 km. (2.5 miles) of Gaza, many of them devastated by massacres. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Israeli Officials, Foreign Ambassadors Sprint to Shelter during Sderot Briefing - Joel C. Rosenberg
    Sderot Deputy Mayor Elad Kalimi and Amb. Danny Danon were briefing a group of European and African ambassadors to Israel in Sderot on Sunday when they heard an air raid siren and sprinted to a nearby shelter. The rocket, Sderot's 75th direct hit in nine days, struck a home within the city. (X)
  • Visiting U.S. Senators to Israel: "You Are Not Alone" - Lazar Berman
    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, visiting Israel with a bipartisan group of senators, said Sunday in Tel Aviv: "You are not alone. The United States stands beside you as an unrelenting partner." The group was forced to run to shelters twice because of Hamas rocket fire.
        Schumer said Hamas herding kibbutz members into a room and shooting them all reminds him of the fate of his great-grandmother in the Holocaust, who was machine-gunned along with dozens of Jews from her Ukrainian town. "If we don't prevent the threat from Hamas from occurring, it will happen again," he said. "We cannot let this evil continue to foul the earth."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • One Tank Facing Hundreds of Terrorists - Tal Ariel Yakir
    When Hamas infiltrated southern Israel and began its massacre, Captain Bar and his tank crew of four found themselves facing hundreds of terrorists trying to climb the fighting vehicle, damaging the communication system, and piercing the oil tanks. The IDF fighters drove through the targeted towns of Nirim, Ein Hashlosha, and Kissufim, and single-handedly eliminated over 70 terrorists.
        "I saw wounded soldiers on the way, but the mission was clear to us," Bar said. "I understood I needed to save hundreds of residents, not a few soldiers. It breaks the heart to see wounded and killed fighters on the ground, but you have to turn off your emotions because breaking down is not a solution. In war, you act calmly."
        He recalled the sudden rocket barrage that began on the morning of Oct. 7 and said, "We immediately jumped into the tanks. Our commander informed us that terrorists had infiltrated near Nirim. We drove in that direction, and less than a minute later, near Ein Hashlosha, we came across a group of four terrorists with cars and motorcycles. They shot at us, but we managed to eliminate them."
        "I continued driving with a faulty engine, and we took down squad after squad. We continued like this until Re'im when the engine gave out." The tank crew joined up with an infantry force, while Bar and the gunner walked to a nearby base. "In front of the outpost, dozens of terrorists surrounded us, and we ran inside....I organized the outpost....It was 25 of us against 60 terrorists, and we managed to push them back."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Eliminating Hamas: Obstacles and Opportunity - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Is it possible for the IDF to fulfill the mission of eliminating Hamas? Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a significant religious political movement in Palestinian society with broad popular support. In 2006, it won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Hamas' popularity on the Palestinian street has dramatically increased after positioning itself as the "defender of the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
        Israel will have difficulty uprooting Hamas, which is deeply rooted in Palestinian society. Still, the IDF can eliminate its military leadership in Gaza, together with its military infrastructure, such as the tunnel system, rocket depots, production workshops, drone systems, and more.
        There are a series of additional steps Israel could take to weaken the power of Hamas. An international campaign should be launched to demand that Qatar expel the Hamas leadership from its capital, Doha. The Israeli Mossad should pursue the leaders of Hamas worldwide as it pursued the "Black September" organization that massacred Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
        Israel should arrest all Hamas leaders in Judea and Samaria. Israel must demand from Turkey the closure of the offices of Hamas in Istanbul that direct the terrorism in Judea and Samaria. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Uses Western Morality as a Weapon Against Israel - Alan Dershowitz
    Israel has declared northern Gaza a war zone. They have given its civilians the opportunity to move several miles south in order to protect themselves from Israeli bombing of legitimate military targets. In giving civilians sufficient warning to leave, Israel has gone further than other Western nations at war. In World War II, the U.S. did not warn the civilians of Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that were about to be nuclear targets. Great Britain did not give the civilians of Dresden the opportunity to leave.
        Israel is generally held to a higher standard of morality by other governments, the media, and academia. Hamas knows this and exploits it as a weapon of war. When dead children are shown on TV, many viewers fail to distinguish between deliberate targeting of civilians and unintentional collateral deaths. Hamas has named this misuse of morality "the CNN strategy."
        Israel must not permit itself to be limited in its preventive military actions by any double standard of morality. It is an all-out war against Hamas-controlled Gaza, and Israel is entitled, by any fair reading of international law, to do to Gaza City what the U.S. did to Berlin and Tokyo in 1945. It has warned civilians to leave. The collateral deaths of Palestinian civilians, caused directly by the Hamas decision to use them as human shields, would be the moral, political, and legal responsibility of Hamas.
        Israeli reluctance to violate the double standards imposed on it by friends and foes alike allowed Hamas to re-arm and re-coordinate its military to facilitate the recent horrible massacres. These brutal attacks against Israeli civilians must change all that. Israel should apply its own very high standards of morality in deciding how to balance the collateral deaths of Palestinian civilians against the need to prevent the intended deaths of its own civilians at the hands of Hamas.
        The writer is emeritus professor of law at Harvard Law School. (Newsweek)
  • What Were the Palestinians Thinking? - Haviv Rettig Gur
    The October 7 massacre seemed to many Palestinians as a rational step on the road to liberation rather than, as Israelis judge it, yet another in a long string of self-inflicted disasters for the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian strategy of terrorizing Israeli civilians, going back to 1920, follows the basic theory that the Jews are an artificial, rootless polity removable by sustained violence, so sustained violence must be deployed to remove them. This Palestinian vision of Israelis is taught to Palestinian children as the basic truth of the Palestinian struggle.
        For Israelis, if the response of Palestinians to the Oslo peace process in the 1990s was the mass murder of Israeli civilians beginning in 2000 with a wave of 140 suicide bombings in Israeli cities and towns - killing grandmothers and infants in buses and pizzerias - and the response of Palestinians to the current stagnation of the peace process is the mass murder of Israeli civilians, then Israeli policy isn't the cause of Palestinian mass murder of Israeli civilians.
        On October 7, for a moment, Israel's guard went down. Hamas was free to live out its intentions. It did so with blazing clarity and purpose. Israelis are now convinced that the massacre, in its enormity and astonishing cruelty, and especially in the joy with which it was carried out, wasn't a Palestinian miscalculation. The goal, as in 2000, was simply the complete removal of the Jews from this land.
        With clarity comes closure. Israelis are unified as never before. No peace and no withdrawal will satisfy this impulse or grant Israeli Jews safety from this kind of wild, joyful hatred. And that brutality has now made itself too dangerous to be tolerated. In the Israeli mind, any brutality Hamas can commit it will commit. And so it cannot be allowed to ever commit any act ever again. (Times of Israel)
  • Why Hamas' Methodical Slaughter of Jews Carries a Special Horror - Hugh Hewitt
    Evil people commit unspeakable crimes against humanity with horrifying regularity. But somehow Hamas' slaughter of Israelis feels different, in its intensity and immediacy, and not just because the terrorists grotesquely exploited social media to document their atrocities. The chilling and methodical depravity that stalked infants and the very old, as well as young people joyfully dancing at a music festival, was profoundly disturbing. An army of mass murders rampaged in search of victims targeted solely because they were Jews. No military objective, no strategic aim.
        However much, over the past three-quarters of a century, we have seen crowds chant "Death to Israel" and "Death to America," many of us never imagined the existence of would-be Nazi hordes who, given the chance to kill Jews, would kill and kill and kill, and then celebrate the carnage. We clung to the ideas of deterrence and that the Islamist menace could be contained. We believed that the sort of irrational hatred that fueled Adolf Hitler's legions of killers was a thing of the past - or at least limited and incapable of producing mayhem on the scale that befell Israel.
        We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of believing "Never again" actually meant "Never again." Israel will now wage the war it must, to shatter the very idea that the deep evil driving Hamas can be allowed to thrive. The U.S. and the civilized world - which of course includes many Muslim nations - must support this effort. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Must Be Destroyed - Rosie DiManno
    After the Hamas attack, there were images of charred bodies, incinerated in their cars, butchered in their beds, slaughtered when parents futilely tried to save their kids by lying atop them. Shooters unloaded their guns into a row of port-o-potties at a music concert where the terrified were hiding. Monsters raped women in front of their families.
        Evisceration of Hamas must be achieved. And it can be, just as ISIS was defeated in its self-proclaimed Islamic State - the caliphate that a decade ago controlled at least a third of both Iraq and Syria.
        The barbarity of it has been almost matched by the outrageous advocacy and embracing of the abomination by Hamas supporters in our midst who sanction Israeli suffering as if there is a shred of moral relativism in methodical mass murder. There's no moral choice either. There is only moral clarity. Condemn Hamas to hell. (Toronto Star-Canada)

  • World Reaction to the Hamas Massacre

  • Ireland's Troubling Response to the Israel Attacks - Ian O'Doherty
    Within Israeli diplomatic circles, Ireland is seen as something of a lost cause. As the true horrors of what happened in Israel began to emerge, before the bodies were even cold, there was an air of grotesque exultation on many Irish social media sites, with the hashtag #karma attached to countless posts. It was a disgusting spectacle. At this point it was no longer possible to justify the response of so many Irish people as naivety. This was positively wicked. Israel is facing the worst pogrom since the Holocaust and many of my fellow citizens are openly celebrating the atrocities.
        Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned the Israelis that they would quickly lose international solidarity if they went "too far." Does he honestly think the Israelis care about squandering international support at this point? As we have seen in the past week, Israel enjoys precious little international support as it is.
        Is there any other county in the world which would be expected to tolerate such depravity and slaughter of its own citizens and then accept being lectured that they must refrain from retaliation and instead sign a cease fire?
        There has always been a rump of Irish people who simply hate the Jews. After all, we had our very own pogrom in the city of Limerick back in 1904. Modern day prejudice is couched as purely a form of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Many Irish progressives seem to look on the Palestinians as if they are cuddly hobbits, mercilessly persecuted by the Jewish orcs, as opposed to people with their own agency. Many decent Irish people left floral tributes outside the Israeli embassy. They were quickly damaged by Irish protestors. (Spectator-UK)
  • Supporters of Hamas' Barbaric Actions Must Be Shunned - Brian Lilley
    Over the last week since Hamas began their horrific terrorist attacks in Israel, we've watched in dismay as elected officials marched in support of Hamas, union leaders expressed support for terrorist acts, and law professors at our supposedly best schools defended the Hamas attacks on social media.
        On Friday, we saw people come out in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and even tiny Kamloops on a so-called "day of rage" because Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called on them to do so. Let's be clear, if you were marching "in support of Palestine," you were actually marching in support of Hamas and endorsing the terrorism they inflicted upon Israel.
        People think it's appropriate to march in rallies where the Hamas flag is flown, where chants of "from the river to the sea" ring out, and where organizers play recordings of the Israeli early warning air raid siren to warn of incoming missiles while the crowd chants "Zionists hide." All of these things happened in Toronto over the past week, on our major streets and with hundreds if not thousands cheering on.
        You don't need to be on Israel's side to see how wrong this is, how sick and twisted the thinking of some people is to cheer on the slaughter of innocent civilians. Once you state that you support the barbaric acts of Hamas, you are no longer a member of civilized society, nor should you be treated as such. (Toronto Sun-Canada)

The Israeli Government Has Decided to Destroy Hamas - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin interviewed by Karl Vick (TIME)
  • Amos Yadlin was a fighter pilot in the squadron that in June 1981 destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. But Yadlin, 71, is best known for the five years he spent in charge of Israel's Military Intelligence. Yadlin said: "Israel was attacked by a neighboring state, a mini-state controlled by Hamas....We see Hamas attack Israel by surprise, and we are going to war to destroy Hamas."
  • "What we have to put behind us is all the thinking before Oct. 7, because the paradigm was that Hamas, even though it's a terror organization, is a reasonable government....This assumption no longer exists. We now see Hamas as worse than ISIS. Hamas was not "an address" for anybody for negotiation....We are not anymore in a deterrence game. We are in denying Hamas the capabilities to attack Israel. We are not dealing with their intentions. We are dealing with their capabilities."
  • "We are not dealing with ideology. We are not trying to convert them....They are terrorists and they believe in terrorism. They proved it. What they have done is unacceptable. They killed families, women, beheaded children, raped young girls, killed 90-year-old elderly and behaved like animals, so we cannot change the ideology of 21st-century Nazis. That's how we treat them now, the way the Allies treat the Nazis - not to convince them to be liberals and democrats, but to destroy their capability to inflict harm on Israel and the Jewish people."
  • "They took an observation post with five women and they killed all of them and they did more than killing....In the kibbutzim...they burned people alive. This is a nightmare of every Jew since the Holocaust, that he will be at the mercy of animals that want to destroy him. I grew up like this, knowing that it can happen again and swearing that it will not happen again....12 kibbutzim were basically taken by Hamas and what happened there was unbelievable. I saw generals crying when they saw the pictures."
  • "My recommendation, as a strategic expert, is not to re-occupy Gaza for the long-term....We can take over Gaza, do the cleaning, the destroying of Hamas, and then hand it over to the PA after Hamas is destroyed, or to Egypt or to any Arab country that wants to control this piece of land. And if not...Israel will deploy its forces around the Strip according to our defense needs and will not let them do it again."
  • "It's not necessarily that Israel will control 2 million Palestinians. But we are no longer telling ourselves, 'We need Hamas as an address, otherwise ISIS will take over.' We saw that Hamas is even worse than ISIS. So let the Palestinians decide who will control them and Gaza. But we will destroy and will continue to target any attempt to have a military power in Gaza."
  • "We are not going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by this war. But we want to make Israel safe. We came to Israel after the Holocaust, and said there will be no pogroms anymore - that women and children will not have to hide in closets, in shelters, and face bloodshed. So, at this moment, it's not about the conflict. We care about the security of Israel."

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