October 23, 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:

"Israel Is Fighting to Protect Not Only Itself, But the Free World" - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the Christians United for Israel on Sunday: "In order to destroy Hamas we must go deep into Gaza."
    "This is a war for the future of Israel as a safe and prosperous country. It's not a war we wanted - but it's a war we will win."
    "Hamas' ideology is the same as that of ISIS, al-Qaeda and the ayatollah regime in Iran, and it is for Islamic rule over the entire world."
    "They will not stop until they kill all the 'infidels' - that is, the Jews and Christians. Israel is fighting today to protect not only itself, but the free world."

Poll: Israel Must Eliminate Hamas in Gaza War (Jerusalem Post)
    70% of the Israeli public wants "eliminating Hamas" to be the primary objective of the IDF, according to a poll of 1,086 Israeli adults conducted by Direct Polls Ltd. on Oct. 17.
    54% of respondents who voted for an Arab party in the last election chose this option.
    When given a choice between "launching a ground operation in Gaza to eradicate Hamas" or "avoiding a ground operation and finding another way to deal with Hamas," 68% chose a ground invasion, while 25% chose the second option.

American Jews Mobilize to Help Equip Israeli Soldiers - Amy Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    After the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, Jews around America took action: some raised money for established organizations, others helped to send IDF reservists home, and many wanted to ensure that Israeli soldiers were equipped to go into battle.
    Among the items most requested by IDF units were tactical gloves, LED headlights, and kneepads.
    Rachel Kahn, 26, a kindergarten teacher in Los Angeles, who served in the IDF, realized that donations were being gathered all around the city, in synagogues and people's houses, and they needed to be centralized.
    Kahn secured two warehouses - one for military and medical supplies and the other for nonessentials, including clothes, baby supplies, toys, and hygienic supplies.
    Kahn said they sent 15 pallets of military and medical equipment with a cargo plane chartered by Israel Friends, and are sending another five pallets.
    "What I learned from this process is that, as a Jewish nation, it's our passion to help each other."
    "It's so amazing to come together in unison; the call to action as a nation is insane. We all want to be with Israel, to mourn with Israel, and all this feels really, really helpful, when we felt so helpless."
    Other American Jews are focusing on smaller operations. Jewelers have sent 2,000 watches to soldiers in Israel.
    A group in Miami has purchased thousands of combat tourniquets and is now moving to blood-clotting gauze. Another answered a request from Zaka to send body bags.

IDF Publishes Aerial Images of Hamas Rocket Launchers near Schools, Mosques - Emanuel Fabian (Israel Defense Forces)
    Since the beginning of the war, Hamas has been exploiting civilian sites such as kindergartens, schools, and mosques for the purpose of firing rockets at Israel, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Sunday.

Mother Flees Terrorists with Baby Daughter - Nirit Anderman (Ha'aretz)
    When sirens sounded in Kfar Aza on Oct. 7, Shaylee Atary entered the safe room with her partner Yahav Winner and their one-month-old daughter.
    While Winner fought off the terrorists who had entered the kibbutz, and held the safe space window shut, Atary took their baby daughter and fled.
    She hid with her daughter in the shrubs, then in a warehouse, hiding under the flowerpots. Each time the baby cried, she was forced to hush her and flee elsewhere.
    Finally the two found shelter in the safe room of another family until they were rescued after 27 hours.
    See also Video: Israeli Woman Receives News of Husband's Death While Being Interviewed by Sky News (X)

"From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free" Means "Slaughter the Jews" - Noa Tishby (Instagram)
    Israeli actress and activist Noa Tishby addressed the Friends of the IDF in New York on Oct. 17.

21 Israeli Children Orphaned by Hamas Massacre (Jerusalem Post)
    21 children from 13 families were left without both of their parents because they were murdered or kidnapped in the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas, the Israel Welfare Ministry announced on Sunday.
    One of the orphaned children, a four-year-old girl, was kidnapped by Hamas and is being held hostage in Gaza.

The Hamas Chief Who Lives in London Public Housing - Gabriel Pogrund and Anshel Pfeffer (The Sunday Times-UK)
    Muhammad Qassem Sawalha, a Hamas fugitive who "ran the group's terrorist operations in the West Bank" and served on its ruling body, lives in London in a council property (public housing) he recently bought with a 112,000-pound discount.
    Sawalha evaded Israel's security services using a relative's passport and fled to the UK in the 1990s, later obtaining British citizenship.
    Upon arrival, Sawalha continued to work for Hamas, holding secret talks about "revitalizing" terrorist acts in Israel and helping to launder money to support activities in Gaza and the West Bank, according to a U.S. Department of Justice indictment in 2004.
    As recently as 2019, he took part in an official Hamas delegation to Moscow, and served on Hamas' politburo between 2013 and 2017.

Pillay's Pogrom: The UN Tells Palestinian Terrorists, "We Have Your Back" - Anne Bayefsky (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The UN "Commission of Inquiry," created by the UN Human Rights Council and headed by Navi Pillay, has released its latest report.
    See also The UN Has Blood on Its Hands: Denying Israel's Right of Self-Defense Must Stop - Anne Bayefsky (Times of Israel)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Advising Israel to Delay Gaza Invasion - Edward Wong
    The Biden administration has advised Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza, hoping to buy time for hostage negotiations - particularly involving women and children and dual nationals - and to allow more humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians, according to several U.S. officials. American officials also want more time to prepare for attacks on U.S. interests in the region from Iran-backed groups, which are likely to intensify once Israel moves into Gaza.
        The administration is not making a demand of Israel and still supports the ground invasion and Israel's goal of eradicating Hamas, the officials said. President Biden called Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday to discuss the latest developments.
        Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., told CNN that "There is really no pressure. They give us advice, but they are not telling us what to do or what not to do."  (New York Times)
  • Scores of Foreigners Killed, Abducted or Missing after Hamas Attack
    According to an AFP count, 200 foreigners have been confirmed dead by their national authorities in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, many of them also holding Israeli nationality. At least 31 U.S. citizens were killed and another 13 American nationals are unaccounted for. 30 Thais have been killed and another 19 are thought to have been abducted. 30 French citizens are dead, with 1 hostage and 6 missing.
        19 Russian-Israeli citizens have been confirmed dead, 2 are hostages and 7 are missing. 18 Ukrainian citizens have been confirmed dead. 10 Britons have been confirmed dead and 6 remain missing. 10 Nepali citizens were killed in Kibbutz Alumim, which was hosting 17 Nepali students at the time of the attack. 9 Argentine citizens were killed, with 21 others missing. 6 Canadians have died and 2 were missing. 4 Chinese nationals were killed and 2 were missing. 4 Filipinos were killed and 2 were missing.
        Other nations reporting their citizens dead or missing in the attacks include Austria, Portugal, Romania, Belarus, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Australia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. (AFP-France 24)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Soldier Killed, 3 Hurt in Hamas Attack near Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    IDF Cpl. Tamir Barak, 19, from the Combat Engineering Corps, was killed by an anti-tank missile and three others were hurt on Sunday near Kissufim after Hamas attacked troops searching for bodies of missing Israelis and clearing the area for Israel's upcoming ground offensive.
        Also Sunday, an Israeli man was seriously wounded by a rocket in the city of Netivot. Gaza terror groups have fired more than 7,400 rockets into Israel since Oct. 7. The Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted over 1,100 rockets.
        On Saturday, a member of Hamas' Nukhba commando forces was captured by Israeli forces while attempting to return to Gaza after spending more than two weeks hiding in Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Army Awaits Order to Invade Gaza - Amos Harel
    Every day, Hizbullah launches antitank missiles, mortars and rockets at Israeli troops deployed along the Lebanese border. (Israeli civilians have largely been evacuated from communities near the border, on the army's orders.) The IDF has gotten better in recent days at identifying and dealing with terrorist cells. Over the past two weeks, dozens of Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists have been killed on the northern border.
        President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken said Sunday that they don't oppose Israel going into Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is not rushing into a ground operation in Gaza, given the risk from the north. Former national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror told Israel's Channel 11 on Sunday that "no harm is done by waiting with a ground operation. Every day that passes benefits us and hurts Hamas, and the more time passes, the less the air force will be needed in Gaza, so it will be possible to move it up north."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF: 320 Hamas Targets Were Attacked in Gaza on Monday Night - Yaniv Kubovich
    The targets included Hamas tunnels, headquarters, military compounds, and observation posts. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: There Is No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
    The IDF's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office reported Sunday that it has set up a mechanism to monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza to avoid deterioration to a humanitarian crisis. On Saturday, 13 trucks containing medical supplies, 5 trucks containing food, and 2 trucks containing water entered Gaza through the Rafah Crossing.
        Hamas has prepared for this war for months, accumulating many resources which it chooses not to share with hospitals in need. Hamas owns a fuel reserve of 1 million liters. On Sunday, Hamas confiscated 50,000 liters of fuel from a private vendor. When it infiltrated Israel, Hamas destroyed 9 out of 10 power lines to Gaza.
        There is no evidence of severe food shortage in supermarkets, despite some localized shortages. There are no reported shortages in UNRWA shelters. The list of medical supplies demanded by the Gazans isn't proportional to what is needed for a hospital in an emergency state, according to the expert opinion of the medical corps. (IDF)
  • Israeli Medical Teams Provide Details of Hamas Massacre for War-Crimes Probes - Ofer Aderet
    Israeli authorities have begun collecting testimony from civilian Zaka Identification, Extraction and Rescue volunteers in connection with the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of Israelis as evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in future legal proceedings. Three days after the massacre, 20 Zaka members gave their testimony. Some of those interviewed wept while testifying. Another 180 are scheduled to recount their experiences shortly to a team from the international crime investigation unit of the Israel Police. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Have Already Shown Who They Are. They Must Be Defeated - British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
    On Oct. 18 in Jerusalem, I sat down with the families of British victims of the Oct. 7 attacks. As a father, a son and a husband, I can only begin to contemplate their pain: a pain shared by too many other Jewish families. If Hamas had a single ounce of humanity, they would release all the hostages immediately. But Hamas have already shown who they are. They must be defeated.
        We support, absolutely, Israel's right to defend itself against this murderous enemy. More than a right, it has a duty to its citizens to restore the country's security. This a moment for moral clarity. It is a moment for humanity to win out against the scourge of terrorism. We will not let Hamas win. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Hamas Mortally Threatens Israel's Existence - Amb. Michael Oren
    Israel has to destroy Hamas because the attack of Oct. 7 threatens the country's existence. If the conflict ends in stalemate or cease-fire, the terrorists will have gotten away with mass atrocities on Israeli soil. We will never be secure from future onslaughts. Tourism and foreign investment will vanish. The attack informs our enemies that our borders are porous.
        Victory is necessary to preserve the idea of Israel, the reason for our existence. Founded in May 1948, three years after the end of the Holocaust, modern Israel promised to prevent its recurrence. Nowhere in the world would Jews be safer than in Israel. Based on that pledge, generations of Israelis sent their children to the army and spent months each year in the reserves. We put up with some of the world's highest taxes and costs of living. We believed the state would always be there in our hour of need.
        On Oct. 7, the state failed to anticipate the massive Hamas attack. Only by destroying Hamas can Israel secure our borders and deter our enemies. Only when we have freed ourselves from the threat of Hamas barbarism can we begin restoring our faith in our governing institutions and armed forces.
        The writer served as Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Attacks: A Turning Point for U.S. Policy - Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, Michael Singh, and Patrick Clawson
    The Hamas attacks against Israel underscore realities that can no longer be overlooked: Hamas is not just some political party with a "military wing." It came to power through a violent coup and is motivated by a jihadist ideology. Hamas is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. The horrific attacks of Oct. 7 were a reminder that Israel's decades-long battle for survival - within any borders - is not over, despite dramatic progress made toward regional peace.
        In its brutality, Hamas has shown itself to be in the same category as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State - except that Hamas is connected to a wider network whose participant groups are influenced or controlled by Iran. This network collectively poses a threat to the U.S. and its allies in the region. Defeating this Iran-led threat network requires unwavering commitment. America and its allies should not view calm as a significant achievement in itself or expend substantial assets just to preserve it.
        The failure of many Arab allies (along with others around the world) to condemn Hamas for its targeting of civilians, butchering children, or taking hostages underscores a persistent, deep divide on confronting terrorism - a gap that decades of partnership with the U.S. has not bridged. Addressing this frankly and directly on the governmental and civil society levels is an urgent priority.
        The writers represent the senior research staff of the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Why the U.S. Is Wrong to Send Money to Gaza - Danielle Pletka
    Visiting Israel in a show of solidarity, U.S. President Joe Biden also announced "$100 million of new U.S. funding for humanitarian assistance in both Gaza and the West Bank." Let's get this straight: Iran-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) destroy Gaza and the U.S. taxpayer fixes it up?
        No doubt there are urgent humanitarian needs among the Palestinians. In addition to the rank thievery and mismanagement of the last decade and a half under both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank that has devastated the Palestinian economy, both Hamas and PIJ have done immense damage with rocket fire that has missed its intended targets in Israel and hit its subjects in Gaza.
        Now is the time for the Palestinians' most loyal supporters to ante up for their friends, and for Hamas' underwriters to pay for the damage their proxies are inflicting.
        The writer is a senior fellow at AEI. (American Enterprise Institute)
        See also Block U.S. Funds for Palestinian Aggression - Editorial (Washington Times)
  • Why Did Hamas Attack Israel? - Amir Taheri
    Why did Hamas attack Israel on Oct. 7? The "occupation" claim is out because Israeli occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, and since 2007 Hamas has been in full control of the enclave and its government. The "colonial settlements" claim is equally inapplicable because the last Israeli communities in Gaza were dismantled in 2005 prior to full withdrawal.
        Between 2005 and the latest Hamas attack, the only "expulsions" that happened in Gaza concerned 20,000 Bedouins kicked out of their villages and grazing areas by Hamas gunmen. The "apartheid" claim is even less credible because there is not a single Israeli living in Gaza to practice it.
        The claim that Hamas is fighting for a two-state solution is also untrue, as the militant organization has consistently opposed it. Hamas has never hidden its hope for the elimination of Israel in any shape or form.
        The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Gatestone Institute)
  • We Cannot Return to Normalcy without Hamas Eliminated - Haim Jelin
    I live in Kibbutz Be'eri, which was conquered by Hamas on Oct. 7. Children, adults, babies, and families were slaughtered and burned. This was a Holocaust here by us.
        For 20 years we have been living from one military operation to the next. In the end, 2,000 terrorists occupied a region of the State of Israel. We will not return to Be'eri as long as there is one bullet, one gun, or one terrorist in Gaza. We will not go "back to normal," we will not put up with another "round." The whole world of concepts and words that we are using must be erased from the dictionary.
        Security will no longer rely on gut feelings of a "sense of security" but on clear facts. No missiles will fall because there won't be any. They will not break through the "separation fence" because there will be no one on the other side who will even consider trying.
        There will be no more "deterred Hamas," because there will be no Hamas. No more "reinstating deterrence for years to come," because there will be no one to deter. Anything less than that would not be considered the restoration of security and will not allow a safe return to our beloved home.
        The writer, a resident of Kibbutz Be'eri, is the former head of the Eshkol Regional Council. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians, Allies Are to Blame for the Coming Nakba - Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
    The Palestinians have often asserted that the creation of Israel was the cause of their Nakba (catastrophe). But they have failed to acknowledge that they brought the Nakba on themselves by their own actions and those of their leadership. The same holds true for the forthcoming invasion of Gaza. The Hamas brutality and mass murder of Oct. 7 left Israel no alternative but to invade to stop future massacres.
        The single most important factor in the failure to set up a Palestinian state to this day is that they established their narrative to eliminate the Jewish state first. No people has a right to achieve its national sovereign dignity by destroying another state.
        Ironically, Israel's rule over the West Bank was a golden age for the Palestinians. The gross national product of the West Bank rose 12.9% a year from 1968-1978. The average per capita earnings in Gaza went from $80 to over $1,700 in 25 years. There were no universities on the West Bank before 1967 - afterward, seven were set up.
        Hamas' vile atrocities of Oct. 7 convinced the entire spectrum of Israelis that life could not go on by containing Hamas or trying to change its policies with economic incentives. The conclusion: Hamas must be eliminated, whatever the cost. Thus, the Palestinians have brought down on their own head the coming losses and suffering.
        The writer, a leading Jewish thinker, has written extensively on post-Holocaust Jewish religious thought, Jewish-Christian relations, pluralism, and the ethics of Jewish power. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arab-Israeli Reservists Are Fighting Fake News in Arabic - Roy Rubinstein
    During the current war against Hamas, Arab-Israelis who served in the Israel Defense Forces in a variety of roles have been recruited to the reserves to assist in the effort to inform the Arab world of the Israeli point of view.
        Yahya Mahamid, 26, from Umm al-Fahm, who served in the Nahal unit, serves in the reserves as an IDF spokesman. "I prefer to serve where I am most useful. If they had told me that I was more useful at the front, I would have gone there," he says. Mahamid understands the difficulty he faces in explaining the Israeli side to the Arab world. "We are an iron dome in the cyberworld," he said.
        Muhammad Kabiya, from a village in the Jezreel Valley, became a network star recently after he was interviewed by the BBC in Arabic and stated that the terrorist attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 is against Islam. "This is not the first time I have been interviewed by the BBC, and I always assume that it will not be easy and that the interviewer will not be pro-Israel," he said. "But against all his questions I use my weapon - the facts. With them we always win because the truth is on our side."
        "I also receive support from Israeli Arabs - of course there are a few who attack, but the majority are in favor. This is happening because what Hamas did that Saturday was shocking, and shocked the whole world. Forget that they also murdered Arabs there, this goes against everything in Islam and every basic human standard."  (Ynet News)

  • Bombing alone cannot succeed in achieving Israel's war aims. Only by the regrettably costly route of ground operations - costly in terms of Israeli soldiers, Palestinian civilians, and perhaps the hostages - can Israel meet the objective of ending Hamas rule in Gaza.
  • Israel's war aims are to guarantee Gaza cannot be a platform for attacks in the future, to restore the confidence of the Israeli people that its government and army can provide for security, and to reestablish Israel's deterrent power in the eyes of friends and adversaries in the Middle East.
  • Reestablishing Israel's deterrence is critical to prevent a much bloodier conflict in the future and to open possibilities for a return to diplomacy with Arab states. The region-wide perception of Israel's strength has been the prerequisite of all peacemaking since 1973.
  • Calls to impose a ceasefire on Israel to achieve "calm" fail to appreciate the enormity of what happened on Oct. 7, not just in its barbarity but in its strategic significance. The effort by an Arab force to take territory inside pre-1967 Israel is as if al-Qaeda took control of Manhattan on 9/11 rather than hit the Twin Towers, forcing the U.S. army to fight to retake the island.
  • The absence of decisive action by Israel now will invite more attempts of this sort in the future - more sophisticated, more audacious, more lethal.
  • Demands that Israel present a detailed plan for "the day after" the war are a tool to prevent its decisive action.

    The writer is Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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