October 27, 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 Kills 5 Senior Hamas Commanders - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces said its airstrikes in Gaza killed five senior Hamas commanders on Thursday.
    They included the deputy head of Hamas' intelligence directorate, Shadi Barud, who planned the Oct. 7 massacre along with Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.
    Another strike killed the head of Hamas' North Khan Younis rocket array, Hassan al-Abdullah.
    Also killed were three senior commanders in Hamas' Daraj-Tuffah Battalion: battalion commander Rifaat Abbas, deputy commander Ibrahim Jadba, and combat support commander Tarek Maarouf.
    Thursday saw multiple salvos of Palestinian rockets aimed at central Israel, including the cities of Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, and Holon, as well as barrages targeting Ashdod, Ashkelon and Netivot, as well as the largely evacuated Gaza border communities.

Video: Inside Hamas' Underground Combat Tunnels in Gaza (MEMRI)
    Al-Jazeera aired a report on Hamas' complex of underground combat tunnels on June 5, 2021.

Drone Strike Launched from Yemen Hits Egyptian Red Sea Town of Taba - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    A drone strike hit a medical facility and a hospital administration building in the Egyptian Red Sea town of Taba, near Israel, early Friday, wounding six people, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.
    Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are believed to be responsible.
    "Israel will work together with Egypt and the U.S. and tighten the defense against threats from the Red Sea area," Hagari said.

Hamas Murdered Israeli Arabs on Oct. 7 - Loveday Morris (Washington Post)
    A silver Volkswagen minibus sits in a sandy lot on the edge of Sderot in Israel. Its seats were stained with dried blood and covered in smashed glass. Bullet holes pocked its sides.
    A blue Israeli ID gave a clue to its owner: Sami Gergawi, 51, from Wadi al-Na'am, a Bedouin village.
    Dozens of the victims of Hamas' brutal attack on Oct. 7 were Arab citizens of Israel, among them at least 18 Bedouins, descendants of traditional nomadic communities.
    Gergawi was gunned down as militants took up sniping positions at Sderot intersections and caused havoc on city streets in their mission to kill and kidnap.
    A father of 30 children with three different mothers, his presence leaves a gaping hole, the family said.
    Gergawi was ferrying Gazan workers who have permits to work in Israel from their accommodations to farms near the border.
    On the back seat next to a bloodied buckle lay another identity card for a temporary worker from Beit Lahia in Gaza.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

At a Dead Sea Hotel, Refugees from Kibbutz Be'eri Count Their Dead and Grieve - Eliyahu Freedman (JTA)
    Kibbutz Be'eri, ransacked and empty, is now a closed military zone.
    Most of Be'eri's remaining members are staying at a Dead Sea hotel. They meet nightly to update the list of kibbutz members who have been moved from "missing" or "kidnapped" to "dead."
    The tally of kibbutz members has now grown to 85 dead and is likely to increase. Additional people who lived at Be'eri, but were not members of the kibbutz, were also killed, for a total death toll of more than 100.
    Gal Cohen, 54, who has lived on the kibbutz his entire life, said, "You read the list of the dead. These are people you grew up with and had countless experiences and interactions with."
    He spends his days attending funerals and shivas (week-long mourning periods). "There was a day with 17 funerals," he said.
    Some of the funerals are being thought of as temporary; families plan to rebury their loved ones on the kibbutz once the military allows them access.

No, Israel Isn't a Country of Privileged and Powerful White Europeans - Hen Mazzig (Los Angeles Times)
    Along with resurgent identity politics in the U.S., there is a growing inclination to frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of race.
    According to this narrative, Israel was established as a refuge for oppressed white European Jews who in turn became oppressors of people of color, the Palestinians.
    As an Israeli and the son of an Iraqi Jewish mother and a Tunisian Jewish father, this is gut-wrenching to witness.
    The majority of Jews in Israel today are of Middle Eastern and North African descent (Mizrachi). Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are descendants of European Jews (Ashkenazi).
    I am baffled as to why mainstream media and politicians around the world ignore or misrepresent these facts. I believe the misrepresentations of pro-Palestinian activists are part of a strategic campaign to taint Israel as an extension of privileged and powerful white Europe, thereby justifying any and all attacks on it.
    This way of thinking signals a dangerous trend that positions Israel as a colonialist aggressor rather than a haven for those fleeing oppression. Worse, it all but erases the story of my family.
    One of Judaism's central themes is a story of national liberation in the face of imperial powers.
    Israel is a place where an indigenous people have reclaimed their land and revived their ancient language, despite being surrounded by hostile neighbors and hounded by radicalized Arab nationalists who cannot tolerate any political entity in the region other than their own.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Fighter Jets Strike Iran-Linked Sites in Syria in Retaliation for Attacks on U.S. Troops - Lolita C. Baldor
    U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes Friday on weapons and ammunition storage areas linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps near Boukamal in eastern Syria, the Pentagon said, in retaliation for 19 drone and missile attacks against U.S. bases and personnel in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, including three new ones Thursday. (AP-Washington Post)
  • White House Slams Hamas at Press Briefing
    U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby was asked at a press briefing on Thursday about President Biden's statement that "innocents will die and that this is the price of the war" in Gaza.
    Q: Don't you think this is insensitive? There has been very harsh criticism about it. For example, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it was deeply disturbed and called on the President to apologize. Would the President apologize?
    Kirby: No.
    Q: Does he regret saying something harsh like that?
    Kirby: What's harsh is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. What's harsh is taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families anxious, waiting, and worrying to figure out where their loved ones are. What's harsh is dropping in on a music festival and slaughtering a bunch of young people just trying to enjoy an afternoon. I can go on and on. That's what's harsh....We know that there are thousands waiting to leave Gaza and Hamas is preventing them from doing it. That is what is harsh."  (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli UN Ambassador Shows General Assembly Video of Hamas Decapitation - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan on Thursday showed the General Assembly a Hamas terrorist attempting to decapitate one of its victims. "The man on the ground is an agricultural worker from Thailand. He is not Israeli. He is not Jewish. He was merely alive, trying to make a living for his family. But he was decapitated with a blunt gardening tool."
        Erdan said a ceasefire would allow Iranian proxy Hamas to rearm itself to launch further attacks against Israeli civilians. "Any call for a ceasefire is not an attempt at peace. It is an attempt to tie Israel's hands, preventing us from eliminating a huge threat to our citizens," he said.
        Erdan stressed that Israel "is not at war with the Palestinians. Israel is at war with the genocidal Jihadist Hamas terror organization. Hamas' genocidal ideology, just like ISIS, al-Qaeda...is not just about destroying Israel. It is ultimately about world domination. It is about bringing the Jihad war to the soil of each and every one of your countries."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • 125,000 Israelis Evacuated from Their Homes since Oct. 7
    IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoram Laredo, head of the National Emergency Authority, stated Thursday that since the beginning of the war on Oct. 7, 125,000 residents from the north and south have been evacuated to hotels and guest rooms funded by the state. The first evacuees were communities up to 4 km. from Gaza. A week later, communities located 4-7 km. from the border and the city of Sderot were evacuated. Soon after, communities within 2 km. of the northern border, the city of Kiryat Shmona, and 14 other communities in the north were evacuated.
        In addition, 70,000 residents of Ashkelon who lack shelters are to be evacuated. (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
  • White House Slams "Grotesque" Displays of Antisemitism on College Campuses - Jacob Magid
    "Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses," White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told the Times of Israel.
        "Just over the past week, we've seen protests and statements on college campuses that call for the annihilation of the State of Israel, for genocide against the Jewish people. Jewish students have even had to barricade themselves inside buildings. These grotesque sentiments and actions shock the conscience and turn the stomach."
        "Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable - and the definition of antisemitism."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Israel at War

  • Regime Change, Israeli-Style - Robert Satloff
    Israel has defined its war aims as the destruction of Hamas - of Hamas' political leadership, its military capability, its administrative capacity, its control of Gaza; everything. The war triggered by Hamas' barbaric attacks on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 will be the first zero-sum conflict in the Arab-Israeli arena since 1948. What lies ahead will be different than every conflict in the memory of current policymakers. This would be "regime change," Israeli-style.
        In the past 15 years, since Hamas took control of Gaza in a violent, bloody coup - not, as some have mistakenly written, in elections - there have been a series of violent rounds between them and Israel. Thousands of Hamas rockets have landed inside Israeli cities, towns and villages, terrorizing millions. But Israel's goal was never to destroy Hamas, just to periodically "mow the grass," as Israeli defense officials often said.
        All that changed on Oct. 7. The enormity, the audacity, and the depravity of what Hamas did - butchering more than 1,300 civilians in a way not experienced by Jews since the darkest days of the Holocaust - changed the rules of the game. It was the rudest of awakenings, opening eyes to the almost incomprehensible realization that while they were engaged in what they thought was a conflict defined by clear rules and boundaries, the enemy was readying itself for a diabolical, bloodthirsty massacre.
        For Israelis, whose national pastime is to avoid being taken for a sucker, the old rules of "limited war" are gone. In their place is Israel's adoption since of "regime change" as a goal of war. One should not discount the overpowering sense of national mission that flows from Oct. 7, leaving Israel apparently undeterred by the inevitability of battlefield losses, setbacks and failures, as it pursues the fight to finish off Hamas for good.
        The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (American Purpose)
  • Why Fuel Is a Key Issue for Hamas - Ron Ben-Yishai
    What primarily hinders Hamas in Gaza right now is the issue of fuel. UNRWA still has an adequate amount of fuel to keep the main hospitals fully functional, but Hamas lacks the fuel needed to operate the generators that supply clean air to its tunnels, bunkers and command posts located deep underground. The electricity provided by the generators is also used to power warning systems, cameras, military equipment, and remote launch pads of rockets and mortars, as well as their production factories. Without fuel, a significant part of the command and a large part of Hamas' combat capabilities become non-functional.
        Israel needs to continue taking action to prevent the supply of fuel to Gaza that may reach Hamas. There is no humanitarian consideration that would justify, even from the perspective of international law, aiding the operation of Hamas' rocket launching, command and control systems.
        This war is about our ability to live and feel secure anywhere in the country without needing to go to war every few years to protect or, God forbid, avenge our children. Without establishing a new and robust deterrence doctrine, we won't be able to maintain a normal way of life in this country. (Ynet News)
  • A War Against the Jews - Amb. Michael Oren
    It wasn't the chants of "gas the Jews." Nor was it the glorification of Hamas paragliders by the Chicago branch of Black Lives Matter or, in New York and London, the tearing down of posters with the faces of Israeli children held hostage by Hamas. Not even the off-the-charts uptick in antisemitic incidents in Germany (240%), the U.S. (400%), and London (1,353%) convinced me. It was, rather, one of those realizations that so many generations of Jews before me have experienced. This war is not simply between Hamas terrorists and Israelis. It is a war against the Jews.
        It wasn't the press' insistence on calling mass murderers "militants" or citing Hamas and its "Health Ministry" as a reliable source. I've long known that the terrorists are "militants" solely because their victims are Jews, and only in a conflict with Israel are terrorists considered credible.
        Instead, it was the media's predictable switch from an Israel-empathetic to an Israel-demonizing narrative as the image of Palestinian suffering supplanted that of Israelis beheaded, dismembered, and burnt. It was the gnawing awareness that dead Jews buy us only so much sympathy. 1,400 butchered Jews bought us a little less than two weeks' worth of positive coverage.
        Hamas opposed the Oslo process and every subsequent peace initiative. Hamas assassinated not only Jews but also Palestinians who supported the two-state solution. The reason most Israelis now oppose that solution is because they know that Hamas would take over the nascent Palestinian state in a day. I tell this to journalists but they are seldom, if ever, convinced. Much of the press, I've learned, has internalized the ultimate antisemitic myth: that Jews just have it coming.
        Incontestably now, anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Hatred of the Jewish nation-state cannot be distinguished from hatred of the Jewish people. The war between Hamas and Israel, involving the largest and cruelest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, is a war against Jews everywhere.
        The writer was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. and a deputy minister of diplomacy in the prime minister's office. (Free Press)
  • Israel Cannot Accept a Terror-State that Calls for Its Destruction on Its Border - Dr. Raphael BenLevi
    The outcome of the Gaza war will determine who dominates the Middle East in America's great power competition with China and Russia. A decisive Israeli victory will pave the way for a strengthened pro-American alliance of the Jewish state and the Gulf Arab monarchies. For America to prevail, Israel's victory must be overwhelmingly decisive, impressive if not shocking, and leave the region permanently changed.
        Israel's response must go well beyond merely responding to the Hamas attack. It must demonstrate its power to eliminate its foes and ensure the physical security of its people by creating new realities on the ground that will resonate throughout the region. The total destruction of the Hamas regime in Gaza is obviously necessary.
        The writer is a fellow at the Misgav Institute for Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem and a reserve officer in the IDF intelligence branch. (Tablet)
  • "We're Going to Finish It," Says NY Resident Serving in the IDF - Ryan Mills
    New York resident Noy Leyb, 32, is a reservist machine gunner in an Israel Defense Forces paratrooper unit who headed to Israel after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. He's not looking for revenge on Hamas terrorists for slaughtering Israeli citizens. His mission, as he sees it, is to protect Israel and to bring quiet back to the country. "We're going to finish it, complete it, and then come back home."
        He's not surprised that the IDF has not rushed into an invasion of Gaza. "I think the IDF is being more careful about when we're going in, and how we're going to go in....Just marching in is a death wish, and the IDF really values life. And the difference is Hamas worships death."
        "I know people who got injured [in the Hamas attack], shot in the stomach. I know people who were killed. I have friends in my unit who used to serve with me who were killed. I have friends in my unit whose family was kidnapped. Every day I wake up to the news hoping that I don't see a familiar face or a familiar name, but that's not the reality."
        "Anyone who says they're not scared is a liar. We're going against people who behead people and burn people. I'm scared for my family, for my friends. I'm scared, but just a bit. I'm scared just enough to keep me on my toes, just enough to make the correct steps, not to step on the mines."  (National Review)

  • Hamas

  • Hamas Is Causing Untold Suffering among the Palestinian People - Jason Greenblatt interviewed by Carole Walker
    Regarding calls for humanitarian gestures in Gaza, Jason Greenblatt said: "Of course, in a perfect world, I'd love for fuel to get to those hospitals. But let's remember that Hamas syphon's off and steals, essentially, a lot of that fuel and uses it to launch the destructive rockets against Israel. These are impossible situations. They're valid questions. I don't want to minimize them at all. There are people suffering because of what Hamas is doing."
        "But you're essentially saying to Israel, 'allow the fuel in for the hospitals and also accept the fact that the fuel is going to be stolen and more rockets are going to rain on Israel.' Some of those rockets might get through and kill Israelis and do all sorts of other damage in Israel."
        "I don't know how people choose. It's a tough position. But I think the prime minister of Israel's job is to make sure that his citizens are safe and not have to think about his citizens being put in danger because of the bad acts that Hamas is doing to the Palestinian people."
        "Everybody seems to be focused on Israel being the actor here who has to make sure that the Palestinians get what they need. Hamas is a terrible actor. They will stop at nothing other than to destroy Israel. They're causing untold suffering among the Palestinian people. Let's focus our eyes on Hamas and demand to all of our allies - friends who have some potential influence on Hamas - let's make sure they do what they're supposed to do for the Palestinian people."
        Jason Greenblatt, a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as Assistant to the U.S. President and Special Representative for International Negotiations (2017-2019). He played a key role in developing the Abraham Accords, signed in 2020. (The Times-UK-Radio)
  • Gaza Is Plagued by Poverty, but Hamas Has No Shortage of Cash - Dan De Luce
    More than 80% of Gazans live in poverty, according to the UN. Hamas, however, has funded an armed force of thousands equipped with rockets and drones and built a vast web of tunnels under Gaza. Estimates of its annual military budget range from $100 million to $350 million. Since seizing power in Gaza in 2007, Hamas has filled its coffers with hundreds of millions in international aid, cash from Iran and ideological partners in Turkey, Kuwait and Malaysia, as well as cryptocurrency, taxes, extortion and smuggling, U.S. officials say.
        "All the funds that were supposed to go to the public, most of it went to their military capability," said Neomi Neumann, former head of research for the Israel Security Agency. "In retrospect, it was a mistake to allow a terrorist organization to control Gaza," an Israeli official said. "We intend to rectify that mistake now."  (NBC News)

Reassessing the Two-State Paradigm - David Brooks (New York Times)
  • According to critical race theory, as it applies to the Middle East, international conflicts can be seen through a prism of American identity categories like race. In any situation there are evil people who are colonizer/oppressors and good people who are colonized/oppressed. It's not necessary to know about the particular facts about any global conflict, because of intersectionality: All struggles are part of the same struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed.
  • This paradigm shapes how many on campus saw the Hamas terror attacks and were thus pushed into a series of ridiculous postures. A group of highly educated American progressives cheered on Hamas as anti-colonialist freedom fighters even though Hamas is a theocratic, genocidal terrorist force that oppresses LGBTQ people and revels in the massacres of innocents. These campus activists showed little compassion for Israeli men and women who were murdered at a music festival because they were perceived as "settlers" and hence worthy of extermination.
  • Many progressives called for an immediate cease-fire, denying Israel the right to defend itself, which is enshrined in international law - as if Nigeria should have declared a cease-fire the day after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in 2014.
  • The two-state paradigm is based on the notion that this conflict will end when there are two states with two peoples living side-by-side. After this month's events, several assumptions underlying this worldview seem shaky: that most people on each side will eventually come to accept the legitimacy of the other's existence; that Palestinian leaders would rather devote their budgets to economic development than perpetual genocidal holy war; that the cause of peace is advanced when Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories; that Hamas can be contained until a negotiated settlement is achieved.
  • Those of us who see the conflict through this two-state framing may be relying on lenses that distort our vision, so we see the sort of Middle East that existed two decades ago, not the one that exists today.
  • I'm hoping the Biden administration will do two things that will keep the faint hopes of peace and basic decency alive. The first is to help Israel re-establish deterrence. In the Middle East, peace happens when Israel is perceived as strong and permanent and the U.S. has its back. Second, I'm hoping the U.S. encourages Arab nations to work with the Palestinians to build a government that can rule Gaza after Hamas is dismantled.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Daily Alert is published from Sunday through Friday during the war.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.