October 17, 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:

IDF: 199 Hostages Held in Gaza (Globes-Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF said Monday that 199 families have been notified that their loved ones are being held hostage in Gaza.
    The number of murdered and fallen since the start of the war stands at 1,300, including 299 soldiers.
    4,229 people have been wounded since Oct. 7; 26 are in critical condition and 312 in serious condition.

Captured Weapons Shed Light on Hamas' Battle Blueprint - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Documents and maps seized from the Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated Israel reveal the extent of their meticulously planned operation, which they had been preparing for years.
    In addition to attacking border kibbutzim and cities like Sderot and Ofakim, Hamas also intended to invade Ashkelon via sea and even reach Kiryat Gat, 20 miles into Israeli territory, bringing along more than 30 vehicles.
    Hamas intended for their stay in Israeli communities to last a month, as evident from the quantities of food the invading forces brought with them.
    The massive quantities of weaponry found in Israeli territory also suggest Hamas' plans to engage in combat within Israel for several weeks.
    To date, 10,000 weapons of various types have been located and transferred to the National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit.
    The vast amount of weaponry could equip an entire military brigade and included thousands of full magazines and explosive charges of various sizes, some designed to attach to tanks and destroy armored vehicles.
    There were RPG missiles of various types originating from Russia and North Korea; thermobaric missiles - which the terrorists fired into living rooms, immediately setting them ablaze; 1,500 AK-47s; 2,000 grenades and dozens of Strela shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
    Also found were numerous night-vision devices and communication equipment; hundreds of Dragunov sniper rifles and machine guns; explosive devices for breaching walls, fences and doors; trapping devices; hundreds of commando knives; drones equipped to drop explosive devices; and large Egyptian-made mines converted into handheld explosive devices.

PA to Give Hamas Terrorists' Families $3 Million - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Palestinian Authority will pay at least 11,100,000 shekels ($2,789,430) this month to the families of the 1,500 dead Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel as a reward for participating in the Oct. 7 murders and atrocities against Israeli civilians.
    In addition, the 50 captured Hamas terrorist murderers will receive monthly salaries in prison.

19 French Citizens Killed in Hamas Attack (Reuters)
    The death toll of French citizens from the Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 19, and 13 others are still unaccounted for and may have been taken hostage, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Sunday.
    "Israel has the right to defend itself against the monstrosity of Hamas and the danger it represents. Its response must be firm, it must be fair, it must be strong," she said during a visit to Israel.

Israeli Farmers in Gaza Border Region Assess Damage - Neta Seroussi (Globes)
    The agricultural losses in the communities bordering Gaza are huge. Amit Yifrach, chairperson of the Israel Farmers Federation, said 75% of the vegetables consumed in Israel come from this area, plus 20% of the fruit, and 6.5% of the milk. There are also chicken runs, cattle farms, and fish farms.
    Farmers and farmhands were murdered, fields were set on fire, cattle and poultry were left uncared for, and there were also severe problems in the water and power supply.
    "There is produce, but it's impossible to reach the fields, the army won't allow entry," says Yaron Solomon, head of the economic department of the Farmers Federation.

Israeli Colonizers? - Bill Maher (X)
    A colonizer is when one country that had nothing to do with another country, like the British or the Dutch in South Africa, marched in with an army and took over a place they had no connection to.
    Israel has quite a connection to Israel. If you did a land acknowledgment like we do in this country, "I'm standing on ground that was..." - I'm standing on ground that 3,000 years ago was King David's capital of Jerusalem.
    If land acknowledgment means we honor who originally owned the land, why does this work with American Indians and not the Jews?

Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital Is Closest to Gaza - Yuval Haninovitch (Ynet News)
    Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon has been under fire from Hamas rockets. On Wednesday, one hit the childcare clinic.
    There were no children there because most of the hospital was moved underground. It was the second time that the hospital, which has never stopped operating and treating the mass casualty influx, took a direct hit.
    Since October 7th, 685 wounded were treated, 100 hospitalized with serious injuries, and by the end of last week, 25 remained.
    Hospital director Dr. Hezy Levy said: "The injuries we've seen were severe - gunshots from close range, requiring emergency surgery."
    Professor Ronen Debi, head of the orthopedic ER, said, "for 24 hours we tried to save the limbs of hundreds of people."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • President Biden to Visit Israel on Wednesday
    President Biden said he will visit Israel on Wednesday to show solidarity with the U.S. ally "in the face of Hamas' brutal terrorist attack." Biden will then travel to Jordan where he will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Washington Post)
  • IDF: "We Will Defend Ourselves by Ourselves" - Kelly Kasulis Cho
    Speaking squarely to Americans, IDF Spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said Tuesday that while the U.S. was working with Israel, "To be clear, for all Americans listening, we in Israel do not request or do not want a single hair on the head of an American serviceman or woman to be taken out of place in defending Israel. We will defend ourselves by ourselves."  (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Documents Show that Terrorists Targeted Children - Anna Schecter
    Attack plans labeled "top secret" in Arabic, found on the bodies of Hamas terrorists by Israeli first-responders and shared with NBC News, show that Hamas created detailed plans to target elementary schools and a youth center in Israel's Kibbutz Sa'ad to "kill as many people as possible," seize hostages, and quickly move them into Gaza. Surveillance video of Hamas terrorists entering a kibbutz on Oct. 7 shows tactics similar to those laid out in the documents. (NBC News)
  • Israeli Forensic Experts Identify Tortured and Burned Bodies - Peter Wilke
    As chief military rabbi from 2000 to 2006, Rabbi Israel Weiss was responsible for identifying fallen Israeli soldiers. When the Hamas killing squads murdered more than 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians, he returned from retirement to help identify the bodies with the forensics unit of the Israeli army. Many bodies had been burned, he said. The forensic examination by his team showed they were still alive when they were burned. "We found bodies of elderly civilians. They had all their fingers and toes cut off."
        Avigayil, 48, a reservist with the corpse identification team, said, "We saw chopped-up bodies. Decapitated people, a decapitated child. Many shots to the head, as if one was not enough. A woman whose eyes were shot out."
        Reservist Mayaan added, "We see them in stages of abuse that even if we knew them, we wouldn't even recognize them." Mayaan, 35, who usually works as a dentist, said the forensic examination found several cases of rape. One of the people she identified was one of her patients. His face was recognizable, but the body mutilated. "What we saw, we will never stop seeing," she said. (Politico)
        See also Video: 13-Year-Old Israeli Girl Describes Her Mother and Brother's Death in Kibbutz Be'eri (i24News)
  • Hamas Affiliates "Looted UN Fuel and Medicines in Gaza" - Roland Oliphant
    The IDF stated on social media Monday: "Hamas stole fuel and medical equipment from UNRWA in Gaza. The amount of fuel stolen is enough to power Gaza's water desalination facilities for six days." The IDF also said Hamas used first aid kits distributed by the UN during its attack on Israel. The IDF published images of blue aid kits emblazoned with the UNICEF logo close to destroyed Hamas trucks. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Hamas Tries to Counter Global Condemnation - Edmund Bower
    In a pre-recorded English-language press conference, Basim Naim, Hamas' head of international relations, insisted Thursday that its gunmen were "keen to avoid harming civilians." Naim said Hamas terrorists had "targeted only Israeli military bases."
        Earlier in the week, senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said that those killed at the Supernova rave may have been mistaken for sleeping Israeli soldiers. Their deaths were a "coincidence," he told The Economist. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • The Hamas Jihad Guide for Killing, Torturing and Kidnapping Israeli Citizens - Dan Diker
    A document in Arabic found in a Hamas vehicle at Kibbutz Re'im has been translated by the Jerusalem Center.
        Plan for Kidnapping the Prisoners: Collection of the prisoners at a number of locations when each group completes the cleansing of the area of its activity.
        Control within the Location: Killing of any person who may constitute a threat or a distraction/disturbance. Creating chaos by use of shooting, sound/stun grenades, threats, electric shocks, violence, and inducing terror. Individual binding of each prisoner.
        Safety: Killing of the problematic individuals and those who constitute a threat. Set fire to a large number of locations.
        Publicity: Live broadcast. Directly conveying the picture.
        Enemy Attacks: Activating ambushes and beginning the killing of prisoners. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel Kills Four Hizbullah Terrorists Attempting to Infiltrate - Tzvi Joffre
    IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari on Tuesday said the IDF used airstrikes to thwart an attempted penetration by Hizbullah forces into northern Israel, killing four of the terrorists. The IDF struck military targets belonging to Hizbullah in Lebanon on Monday night in response to attacks by Hizbullah against the IDF on Monday. Hizbullah announced that it had targeted five IDF positions near the border. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Ramps Up GPS Jamming to Thwart Hizbullah, Hamas Drone Attacks - Avi Scharf
    Israeli defense forces have increased GPS jamming to try to thwart drone attacks by Hamas and Hizbullah. Hamas' surprise attack on Oct. 7 included extensive use of drones to observe and attack IDF communications and firing positions along the border fence with Gaza and to fire at soldiers from the air at bases adjacent to the fence. Hizbullah has a much more advanced unmanned aircraft force. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • How the War with Hamas Ends Will Define the Future Deterrence of Israel's Enemies - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead interviewed by Stav Livne
    Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead, head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Reichman University, insists that the IDF's operational level is high, and consequently it will achieve the aims set for it. "Israel defined its aim as neutralizing the capabilities of Hamas, which committed atrocities that even ISIS did not commit on such a scale, abductions and hostages, cruelty and horror on an unprecedented scale."
        "Many things will change here in the wake of this catastrophe. When we finish the war, which requires the highest level of military activity, depending on how it ends, this is how the deterrence of our enemies will be defined."  (Globes)
  • Former Mossad Chief: Israel Should Not Bow to Global Pressure to End Gaza Siege - Amy Spiro
    Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said Monday that Israel should not lift its siege on Gaza even in the face of international pressure. "In order for us to be able to [achieve our military goals] in Gaza, we need abilities and we need time. The element of time is critical - right now Gaza is under siege...and I have said we should not 'blink' on that."
        "International pressure doesn't understand that civilians from Gaza, not just Hamas terrorists...took part in the abominable murders of children, babies and women." Many Gazans, seemingly civilians, were seen in videos rushing through the border fence after the first wave of attackers had come through, taking part in looting within Israeli communities. There have been reports that they too joined in murderous attacks on Israelis.
        Cohen said that the government and the military must take "the most practical approach to defeating Hamas rule," adding that "the previous state of affairs will never return."  (Times of Israel)
  • The Siege of Hamas Is No War Crime - Eugene Kontorovich
    Most victims of the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel weren't yet buried when some prominent international voices suggested that Israel's efforts to defend itself are war crimes. One of the great tragedies of war is that civilians often become victims. That is why countries like Israel resort to war only as self-defense, which, according to the UN Charter, is every nation's inherent right.
        The law of war prohibits directly targeting civilians. Israel has made clear that its objectives are only military. Military targets can be attacked even when doing so may result in the loss of civilian life. As this rule is understood by Western countries, even significant civilian casualties don't necessarily make strikes on legitimate targets illegal. International law makes clear that "the presence of civilians within or near military objectives does not render such objectives immune from attack."
        Israel has laid siege to Gaza, prompting the usual array of EU-funded organizations to accuse it of violating the law of war. But siege is a "legitimate" and ordinary part of lawful war, in the words of the U.S. Defense Department law-of-war manual. An army need not help its enemy obtain provisions during a conflict.
        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)
  • How Iran, the "Head of the Snake," Directly Helped Hamas' Assault on Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas leaders have long been boasting of the financial and military aid they receive from Iran to enable them to pursue the Jihad (holy war) to slaughter Jews and extinguish Israel. Based on the statements of these leaders, it is massively clear that without Iran's support, and reported planning, Hamas could not have carried out the massacre of Israelis near the border with Gaza.
        A growing number of Arabs are convinced that Iran is the "head of the snake" and that it was deeply involved in the Hamas massacre. These Arabs have taken to social media to voice their outrage over the Iranian regime's responsibility for the assault.
        What will it take for the U.S. and its allies to grasp that the appeasement of the Iranian regime is read by the mullahs and their proxies as weakness? If such appeasement continues, make no mistake: today, the carnage is in Israel; tomorrow, it will be in the U.S. and Europe. (Gatestone Institute)
  • What Hamas Wants - Yair Rosenberg
    In October 2014, Vanity Fair published an investigative report on a sophisticated plot by the Islamist terror group Hamas to kill and kidnap Israelis on the Gaza border using underground tunnels to infiltrate nearby civilian enclaves on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
        The operation had two goals: "First, get in and massacre people in a village. Pull off something they could show on television. Second, the ability to kidnap soldiers and civilians using the tunnels would give them a great bargaining chip." But the tunnels were gradually detected and blocked. On Oct. 7, Hamas executed something quite like the attack on the Gaza border that it had planned all those years ago.
        Successive Israeli governments and security officials spent recent years lifting economic restrictions on Gaza, granting thousands of work permits for Gazans, and transferring hundreds of millions of Qatari dollars to Hamas in exchange - they thought - for relative quiet. But it turned out that Hamas wasn't being pacified; it was preparing. The group was less committed to national liberation than to Jewish elimination. What Hamas did was the explicit fulfillment of its long-stated objectives.
        The question is not why Hamas did what it did, but why so many people were surprised. Journalists like me failed to take Hamas' overt anti-Jewish ethos as seriously as we should have. Many got Hamas wrong. But they shouldn't have. Again and again, people say they intend to murder Jews. And yet, century after century, the world produces new, tortuous justifications for why anti-Jewish bigots don't really mean what they say - even though they do. (Atlantic)
  • Hamas and Israel: What Next? - Amir Taheri
    On October 7 (10/7), Israel experienced its version of America's 9/11. However, Israel's 10/7 is worse than 9/11 in the U.S. The al-Qaeda attack claimed 3,000 lives while Israel mourns over 1,300 lives lost. Adjusted for population, Israel lost the equivalent of 48,000 U.S. citizens in one day. 7/10 has ended the status quo that had taken shape between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
        Hamas has been in a position to totally ignore the needs of people living in Gaza. Essential needs such as food, education and health care are covered by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), over 100 NGOs from some 30 countries, and frequent donations from countries wishing to show solidarity with Palestinians. In some cases, foreign donors even pay the salaries of the personnel in the local administration. Thanks to "gifts" from "certain friendly powers," Hamas and its partner, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, don't even have to buy their arms.
        Hamas doesn't want just territory, because Israel had already evacuated Gaza in 2005. Hamas, as its charter clearly states, is not in the business of nation-building: what it seeks is the elimination of Israel, something that Israelis are unlikely to offer. The latest Hamas attack restores the old image of Palestinians as terrorists and hostage-takers.
        The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Gatestone Institute)

Hamas Would Never Have Dared Attack Israel without Iran's Backing - Walter Russell Mead (Wall Street Journal)
  • There is accumulating evidence that the killers from Hamas lacked even the humanity to grant their victims the mercy of a quick death. In far too many cases, the victims were tortured before they were killed. Decent people everywhere, including pious Muslims, recoiled from acts of barbarity that recall the darkest moments in human history.
  • Basic decency, however, is not universal. There are Jew-haters among us. Moved by bloodlust and orgiastic fantasies, they thronged the streets and squares of Europe and marched across American campuses. Jew-hatred for them is a passion so pure, so justified, that those who torture Jewish children and slaughter helpless babies are heroes.
  • Team Biden does not seem to have internalized the reality that the American policy to develop a U.S.-Iranian detente that would allow the U.S. to reduce its role in the region remains a destabilizing force in the Middle East. It has discomfited our friends, disrupted our alliances, emboldened terrorists, and provided Iran's mullahs with the resources to turn both Hizbullah and Hamas into formidably destructive forces.
  • While the perpetrators of these horrors came from Gaza, those ultimately responsible do not live there. It is the mullahs and the agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran who provided the resources, training and encouragement without which the Hamas leadership would neither have dared nor been able to unleash this evil on the world.
  • Iran is at war with Israel and with the U.S. It does not seek compromise or accommodation. It does not want its interests respected or its grievances redressed. It wants what it says it wants: a holocaust in Israel and the destruction of the U.S. We must be honest with ourselves. We have a war on our hands with the worst kind of enemy. Wishful thinking won't make it go away.

    The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College.

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