October 25, 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:

Listen: Hamas Terrorist Brags to Parents that He Killed 10 Jews (IDF)
    The IDF located a telephone belonging to a murdered Israeli woman that was used by one of the terrorists who phoned his parents.
    "Hi Dad. I'm talking to you from Mefalsim. Open my WhatsApp now and you'll see all those killed. Look how many I killed with my own hands! Your son killed Jews!"
    "Dad, I'm talking to you from a Jewish woman's phone. I killed her and I killed her husband. I killed ten with my own hands! Dad, ten with my own hands!"

Video: A Supernova Festivalgoer's Escape from the Hamas Attack in Israel - Shye Weinstein (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    A Canadian in Israel documented how his group got out of the rave massacre.

U.S. Sends Air-Defense Systems to Gulf Countries - Gordon Lubold (Wall Street Journal)
    The U.S. is deploying nearly a dozen air-defense systems to countries across the Middle East ahead of Israel's expected land invasion of Gaza, U.S. officials said.
    The Pentagon is sending a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system to Saudi Arabia, and Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
    The Biden administration had pulled some of the same systems out of the region in recent years, based on projections that the region had stabilized.

U.S. Details Intelligence It Says Clears Israel in Gaza Hospital Blast - Shane Harris (Washington Post)
    U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday they have determined with "high confidence" that Israel was not responsible for the huge explosion at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City that killed scores of people last week.
    The intelligence community reached its conclusion after examining multiple videos and using geolocation techniques to trace the Oct. 17 blast to a rocket launched inside Gaza that suffered a mechanical failure midflight before crashing into the hospital, three officials said.
    The damage from the strike was consistent with a rocket, and not an Israeli munition, such as a bomb or an artillery round, which would have caused significant structural damage to the hospital building and left a large crater. Videos and images show "only light structural damage."
    Analysts were able to track the trajectory of the rocket based on videos shot from four locations.
    Moreover, no Palestinians have come forward with any debris at the site that might tie the projectile to Israel.

U.S. and Gulf Nations Target Secret Hamas Investment Portfolio - Matt Egan (CNN)
    The U.S. Treasury Department is working with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to target a secret Hamas investment portfolio government officials believe to be worth up to $1 billion, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
    The official said there has been a redoubling of efforts since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel to use the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), created in 2017, to go after Hamas, Hizbullah and other Iranian-aligned militant groups.

Google Maps and Waze Suspend Live Traffic Updates in Israel and Gaza to Prevent Tracking Troop Movements - Haley Tenore (Business Insider)
    Google has stopped live traffic updates in Israel and Gaza at the request of the Israel Defense Forces, a change which impacts both Google Maps and Waze.
    "As we have done previously in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see live traffic conditions and busyness information out of consideration for the safety of local communities," a Google spokesperson said.
    Those in the area will still be able to use Google Maps and Waze to help with navigation.

A Hamas Hostage's Work in Africa - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    More than 200 people remain captive in Gaza, probably including Israeli scientist Shoshan Haran, whose innovation in plant seeds has improved the lot of poor Africans, including many Muslims.
    Haran launched the nonprofit Fair Planet in 2011 to develop vegetable seeds for struggling African farmers.
    Fair Planet's seeds, it says, can triple crop yields, improve nutrition, and increase farmer profits by eightfold per plot. They are developed for Africa's soil and climate, and they produce vegetables with longer shelf lives that fetch higher prices.
    Over the past decade its seeds have nourished a million people in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda, while helping to pull tens of thousands of farmers out of poverty.
    Haran's only offense was being Jewish and living in Israel.

Gun Sales Surging among Jewish Americans in Wake of Hamas Attack on Israel - Merritt Enright (NBC News)
    The deadly terrorist attack in Israel and the torrent of social media threats that followed have forced many American Jews to reconsider their long held stances against owning or using guns.
    Firearm instructors and Jewish security groups across the country say they have been flooded with new clientele since Hamas assaulted Israel on Oct. 7.
    David Kowalsky, who owns Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, said local synagogues had reached out to him to host gun training seminars and shooting sessions in the past week.
    The participants "are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them," Kowalsky said.
    "People are nervous about what's going on and what can happen."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Secretary of State Asks UN Security Council: "Where Is the Outrage" over Hamas' Barbaric Attack Against Israel?
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council on Tuesday: "We all recognize the right, and indeed the imperative, of states to defend themselves against terrorism. That's why we must unequivocally condemn Hamas' barbaric terrorist attack against Israel - babies riddled with bullets; young people hunted down and gunned down with glee; young people beheaded; families burned alive in a final embrace; parents executed in front of their children; children executed in front of their parents; and so many taken hostage in Gaza."
        "It must be asked - where is the outrage? Where is the revulsion? Where is the rejection? Where is the explicit condemnation of these horrors? We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself. No member of this council - no nation in this entire body - could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people....This council has a responsibility to denounce member states that arm, that fund, and train Hamas or any other terrorist group that carries out such horrific acts."  (U.S. State Department)
  • White House Says a Cease-Fire Would Only Benefit Hamas - Erica L. Green
    The U.S. on Tuesday rejected growing calls to support a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas because such a move would only benefit Hamas, White House spokesman John F. Kirby said. "We're going to continue to make sure Israel has the tools and the capabilities that they need to defend themselves. We're going to continue to try to get that humanitarian assistance in, and we're going to continue to try to get hostages and people out of Gaza appropriately."
        "A cease-fire, right now, really only benefits Hamas. It is ugly and it's going to be messy, and innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward." Kirby said that Israel had a legitimate concern that Hamas could abscond with humanitarian shipments of fuel and use it for military purposes. (New York Times)
  • Hamas Confiscates Fuel Sent into Gaza - Mark Regev
    Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN on Tuesday: "Israel has given the green light for medicine, for water, for food - humanitarian aid for the civilian population [in Gaza]....Fuel, unfortunately is essential for the Hamas military machine. They need it for their rockets, they need it for their underground terror network of tunnels."
        "We had a documented case last week when CNN reported that 6 tankers went in through the Rafah crossing with Egypt and it was said that the fuel was going for generators in hospitals to help save lives. And yet Hamas, at gunpoint, stole a large proportion of that fuel and we presume that it was diverted to their military machine."
        "President Biden has addressed this issue publicly. He said if supplies that are meant for the people of Gaza to alleviate human suffering are in fact stolen by Hamas, there must be consequences. We have no interest in more fuel going to the Hamas military machine....Fuel doesn't go in because it will be stolen by Hamas and it will be used by them to power rockets that are fired into Israel to kill our people."  (CNN)
        See also IDF Says Photos Show Half Million Liters of Fuel Held by Hamas - Gianluca Pacchiani
    The IDF on Tuesday issued photos showing fuel tanks near the Rafah crossing in Gaza. "This is what over half a million liters of diesel looks like, while Hamas keeps claiming it does not have enough fuel to support hospitals and bakeries," IDF Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee wrote on X.  (Times of Israel)
  • Death Tolls from Hamas-Run Health Ministry Are Not Trustworthy, Former Reuters Chief Warns - Joe Barnes
    Hamas is likely inflating the daily death toll in Gaza and the media should be wary of treating its figures as reliable, said Luke Baker, a former Reuters bureau chief for the region. "Hamas has now been in charge of Gaza for 16 years. It has squeezed the life out of honesty and probity. Any health official stepping out of line and not giving the death tolls that Hamas wants reported to journalists risks serious consequences."
       "I'm not denying there are civilians being killed," Baker said. "What is not verifiable are the numbers that emerge throughout the day from Gaza of new death tolls - 700 killed in the last 24 hours, 500 killed in the Ahli hospital car park blast, 5,000 killed since October 8. Hamas has a clear propaganda incentive to inflate civilian casualties as much as possible."
        Instead of 500 people killed in the blast at the hospital caused by a misfiring rocket, between 50 and 70 people were killed in the explosion, according to one European intelligence agency. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Militants Supported by Iran Have Injured 24 U.S. Troops since Gaza War Began - Dan Lamothe
    At least 24 U.S. troops were hurt amid a wave of attacks on their bases in Iraq and Syria over the past week. On Oct. 18, 20 troops were injured at the al-Tanf Garrison in southeastern Syria when multiple one-way drones targeted the base. That same day, multiple drones also were launched against U.S. and coalition forces in two separate attacks on Ain al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq.
        On Oct. 19, U.S. and coalition forces endured rocket attacks at Mission Support Site Euphrates in Syria, Ain al-Asad Air Base and the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Iraq. Attacks continued over each of the next three days, with drones hitting areas in Bashur, Iraq, and targeting Ain al-Asad and al-Tanf again.
        Brig.-Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that there had been 13 attacks over the last week, with 10 in Iraq and three in Syria. "What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near-term coming from Iranian proxy forces and ultimately from Iran."  (Washington Post)
  • Democrat Congressman Calls Out Members of His Own Party for Blindly following Hamas' Word - Nicole Sislverio
    Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) called out Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on Tuesday for blindly spreading Hamas propaganda and engaging in antisemitic behavior. They repeated Hamas' claim that an Israeli airstrike bombed a hospital and killed 500 people in Gaza City. Tlaib has refused to retract her claims and said she "cannot uncritically accept" that Israel played no part in the bombing.
        Moskowitz told Fox News: "I continue to be disappointed in members of Congress who are not willing to listen to U.S. intelligence and listen to the Biden administration, who have said Israel had nothing to do with the issue that happened in the parking lot of the hospital. Remember, the hospital wasn't hit, the hospital is still there, it was the parking lot of the hospital."
        "That was the first lie that was told. The second lie that was told was over 500 people died there. There's no proof of that. And the third lie that was told is that it was Israel. All those things have turned out to be inaccurate; U.S. intelligence is saying that. Any member of Congress who continues to trust Hamas' information over U.S. information is obviously deeply concerning."  (Daily Caller)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Kills at least 10 Hamas Terrorists in Attempted Maritime Infiltration
    At least ten Hamas terrorists were killed off the shore of the town of Zikim after attempting to infiltrate into Israel, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Five Wounded in Hamas Rocket Barrage on Central Israel
    Five Israelis were wounded in a massive barrage of rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza on Tuesday in Holon, Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba, Be'er Yaakov, and Yavne. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Strikes Syria after Rocket Attack on Golan Heights - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF said its fighter jets hit "military infrastructure" belonging to the Syrian Arab Army and mortar launching sites early Wednesday after rockets were fired from Syria toward Israeli communities in the Golan Heights. The IDF said it also responded with artillery shelling at the source of the fire. Syria said eight soldiers were killed and another seven were wounded in the Daraa area. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Establishes 600 Local Security Squads - Jeremy Sharon
    Since the Oct. 7 attacks, 600 civilian security squads have been established and armed in Israel under the auspices of the Israel Police. Retired Deputy Police Commissioner Shimon Lavi, appointed as coordinator of the effort, said Tuesday that these numbers comprised "a third" of the target.
        "In the last two weeks, we have been on a marathon process of establishing a very substantial force," said Lavi. "I'm not talking about just distributing weapons to civilians, but rather building a force of professional civilian security squads, a rapid response [capability] with a broad geographic reach, to provide a sense of security." He said the squads "have same authority to use weapons as the police."
        Lavi said the rationale behind the move was to prepare for a multi-front scenario in which the security forces are stretched thin. During Hamas' murderous attack on Israel on Oct. 7, some squads helped repel Hamas terrorists and likely saved numerous lives. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Heroic Nurse Was Shot by Hamas as She Treated Wounded at IDF Base - Renee Ghert-Zand
    Michal Elon, 44, was with her husband and 8 of their children at the IDF Zikim training base on Oct. 7. Elon and her husband, Rabbi Omri Elon, often volunteer to spend the Sabbath on military bases, allowing IDF rabbis a break. When the incoming rocket sirens went off, they ran to the shelter with the trainee soldiers.
        Someone arrived saying that a female soldier had been hurt. "I said I was a nurse and that I could come out and see if I could help," Elon said. Elon moved the soldier to a room in a building close to the shelter and tried to care for her as best as possible. "Suddenly we heard shots and this soldier (who was standing at the door) fell into the room."
        Seconds later a terrorist appeared at the door. "He looked me in the eye, raised his gun, and shot me. He hit me in my arm, stomach, and chest." She quickly removed the headscarf she wears and tied it on her arm as a tourniquet. She staggered to the shelter and fell on the ground close to its entrance. Her husband stepped out and dragged her inside, where she told him what happened and instructed him on how to staunch her bleeding wounds. "The soldiers were amazing. They took off their shirts, and he took the shirts and he pressed the wounds so I wouldn't bleed."
        As she sat seriously wounded and propped up against the shelter wall, Elon stayed calm and tried to smile to reassure her children as they huddled waiting to be rescued. This horrifying experience has brought all of the children closer. "They used to always squabble about who would sleep together in which room and who would get a room of their own. After this, they all slept together in one room. None of them wanted to be alone."  (Times of Israel)
  • A Journey to the Scene of the Massacre - Fiamma Nirenstein
    On a fiery wave of antisemitism, Adolf Hitler almost destroyed the world. But during the Holocaust, the Nazis hid the extermination. It took years to assess its scale and cruelty. In contrast, the sadistic Hamas terrorists filmed their imaginatively managed attempted genocide and then posted it on social media. They documented how they set fire to children in front of their mothers' eyes and vice versa, how they raped girls and then killed them, how they cut off the heads of people and then, not satisfied with that, tore them to pieces and gouged out their eyes.
        At the Shura military base, one of the busy soldiers explains: "Hundreds of still-unidentified bodies have accumulated in these refrigerators due to the burning, torture and mutilation."
        At Kibbutz Be'eri we meet Commander Golan, who saved 19 people in Turkey after the recent earthquake. He shows us the burned houses with entire families inside. Before leaving Be'eri, I found myself in a nursery literally flooded with blood, a lake among toys.
        The writer, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. (JNS)
  • The World's Favorite Victims Suddenly Became Human Butchers - David Suissa
    What do you do when you spend a lifetime fighting for the Palestinian cause, and then, overnight, they become associated with the butchering, beheading, raping and mutilating of 1400 people, including infants, babies, women, rave dancers, families and the elderly? How do you spin that?
        For half a century, Palestinians have managed to charm the global elite with the seductive narrative of glorious, helpless victimhood. They became the forever oppressed. Amazingly, Palestinians have managed to hold on to their elite victim status despite decades of terror attacks against Israel. No matter how many Jews they killed, victimhood has defined them.
        You could have millions of genocide victims in Africa, or millions of oppressed in China, or millions of refugees in Syria - it doesn't matter: no group of victims has been able to dislodge the Palestinians from the top of the victim food chain. Have you noticed that we rarely hear about Palestinian refugees who live in much worse conditions in Jordan and Lebanon? Why should we? There are no Jews involved.
        October 7 introduced 1400 complications. Suddenly, Jews were the oppressed and Palestinians the oppressors. October 7 was so horrific that it threatened to ambush the Palestinian cause. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • No Ceasefire without Release of Israeli Hostages - Brendan O'Neill
    On the two-week anniversary of the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, thousands of people gathered in London to shout out the slogan of the killers: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." The world witnesses the bloodiest pogrom against Jews in 80 years and then central London shakes with the chant that the pogromists themselves will have used. Trafalgar Square was rocked by hollers of "Allahu Akbar," which were the last words some of those Jews in Israel heard before they were shot to death or burnt alive.
        A mob of Hizb ut-Tahrir members chanted for "Muslim armies" to invade the Jewish state. What is "the solution" to the problem of Israel, a speaker asked? "Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!," came the chilling reply. I'm sure Hizb ut-Tahrir, a cult that referred to Hamas' invasion of Israel as "a day of good news," was using the word jihad in the peaceful sense. Maybe its call for Muslim armies to commence holy war on Israel was code for holding peace talks?
        If you march with Islamists who referred to Hamas' slaughter of Israeli Jews as a "day of good news," you have sided with racial hatred. If you say "ceasefire now" but you don't say "release the hostages," you are demonstrating to the world that you value Jewish lives less than other lives. (Spiked-UK)

The False and Deceitful Charges Against Israel - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
  • The charges that Israel's military actions against terrorists in Gaza are inhumane and violate international humanitarian law have no basis. They emanate from observers who are totally ignorant of, and unfamiliar with, the international law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, or who deliberately and knowingly choose to mislead and lie to the international community.
  • Since the military capability of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad is intended solely to destroy Israel, then Israel has the proportionate prerogative and strategic duty under the international law of armed conflict to destroy that military capability.
  • According to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, "military targets" include "civilian objects that by their nature, purpose, location, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose destruction offers a definite military advantage."
  • As is widely known, Hamas places its military infrastructure within the heart of the civilian population in Gaza, including in residential houses, schools, mosques, and businesses. Accordingly, these civilian sites lose their civilian protection and international law permits the direct targeting of such sites as legitimate military targets due to their military use.
  • According to law professor Alan Dershowitz, "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."
  • The taking by Hamas of multiple civilian hostages is an inexcusable and flagrant violation of international law as well as of humanitarian norms. The 1979 International Convention against the Taking of Hostages has criminalized the taking of hostages. Since Qatar is party to the convention, it is incumbent on the international community to ensure that Qatar extradites the terrorist leaders whom it now hosts.

    The writer served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute.

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