October 29, 2023
Special Edition
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Hamas Hides in Gaza Hospitals (Israel Defense Forces)
    IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Friday that Hamas has turned hospitals into command and control centers and hideouts for terrorists and commanders.
    Additionally, according to the intelligence we have, there is fuel in hospitals in Gaza.
    Hamas terrorists operate inside and under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the biggest hospital in Gaza. In Shifa Hospital, Hamas operates some of its command and control cells, where they direct rocket attacks and command Hamas forces.
    You can go into an underground tunnel from different places in the hospital.
    We have concrete evidence that hundreds of terrorists flooded into Shifa Hospital to hide there after the massacre of Oct. 7.
    Shifa is one of many hospitals used in this way. Hamas terrorists operate inside hospitals precisely because they know the IDF distinguishes between terrorists and civilians.
    When medical facilities are used for terror purposes, they are liable to lose their protection from attack in accordance with international law.
    The IDF will continue making efforts to minimize harm to civilian populations and continue to act in accordance with international law.
    See also Aerial Photo Shows Five Hamas Headquarters and Depots under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel's War Against Hamas - Prof. Edward Luttwak (UnHerd)
    Hamas knows from previous experience that the closer the range, the greater the qualitative gap between their men and first-line Israeli infantry.
    Even in Hamas' hyper-successful surprise raids, that took full advantage of Israel's over-confident reliance on high-tech observation towers and absurdly few troops, they lost more than a thousand to civilian home guards and a handful of soldiers.
    Both the Israeli Army and the Israel Security Agency have units of skilled individual fighters who speak perfect Palestinian-accented Arabic and who can look the part. With all the confusion caused by the bombing, they have been able to walk into Gaza to blend in and look for Hamas leaders.
    So far, the names and photos of 28 Hamas commanders and political chiefs successfully found and killed have been published - and the mini-campaign is continuing.
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and his Iranian paymasters keep calling for Israel's destruction, but thus far, Hizbullah hasn't unleashed its rocket barrage. He may be deterred from action by the vulnerability of his Shia supporters in southern Lebanon to Israel's artillery and airpower.
    During the Israel-Hizbullah war in 2006, Shia southern Beirut was left in ruins along with Hizbullah headquarters and barracks - and dozens of Shia villages. Israel's bombing capacity has tripled since 2006.
    There is also the large question of asking Shia to sacrifice their homes for ultra-Sunni Hamas that views them as heretics deserving of death.
    The writer is a contractual strategic consultant for the U.S. government.

U.S. Campus Groups Condemn Israel after Hamas Massacre of Israelis - Nellie Bowles (Free Press)
    Nearly 2,000 sociologists signed a letter that Israel was committing "genocide" and anything Hamas does is justified.
    The University of California, Berkeley Ethnic Studies Faculty Council released a statement condemning anyone who describes what Hamas did as "terrorism," which is offensive.
    The student leader of a Wellesley residential house wrote to the entire dorm she oversees: "We firmly believe that there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community."
    Harvard launched a task force to help ensure the pro-Hamas protesters feel safe and can get jobs.
    At George Washington University, students projected onto the side of the school library: "Free Palestine from the river to the sea."
    At Stanford, students are asking the school to pay for round-trip tickets for Muslim students to visit home.
    At Cooper Union, pro-Hamas protesters chased a clutch of Jewish students into the library and pounded on the doors. Librarians reportedly offered to hide the students in the attic.
    UCLA professors are offering extra credit for students who go to pro-Hamas rallies.

Expecting Hamas to Abandon Ideology for Economics Was a Mistake - David Makovsky (National Interest)
    Israel assumed that under the heavy burden of governing Gaza, Hamas would feel the need to prove itself through economic performance.
    It was believed that economic inducements towards Hamas would moderate its foundational belief that Israel is an illegitimate entity whose very existence must be extinguished and its citizens killed.
    Economic advancement would bring calm, as it gave Hamas something to lose. This basic assumption was similarly held by many American and European diplomats.
    In hindsight, there were many indicators that, for Hamas, ideology trumped economics.
    Hamas used any economic gains not to improve public welfare but rather to secure armaments and build tunnels under Gaza for its fighters. Rocket production took precedence over civilian infrastructure.
    Reeling from the consequence of its failed concept, Israel is determined not to underestimate Hamas' dedication to its violent ideology again.
    The writer, a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, is a Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
by Jerusalem Center Experts
View Daily Briefing at 4:00 p.m. (Israel), 9:00 a.m. (EST)
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • As Gazans Scrounge for Food and Water, Hamas Sits on a Rich Trove of Supplies - Matthew Rosenberg
    Arab and Western officials say there is substance to Israeli claims of Hamas stockpiling supplies, including desperately needed food and fuel. Hamas, they say, has spent years building dozens of kilometers of tunnels under Gaza where it has amassed stores of virtually everything needed to keep fighting for three to four months without resupply. Hamas has hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel for vehicles and rockets; caches of ammunition, explosives and materials to make more; and stockpiles of food, water and medicine, the officials said.
        Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said Thursday that if Gazans or the UN need fuel, they should get it from Hamas. "Hamas has fuel but has different priorities - to provide ventilation and air for its tunnel system, for firing rockets."
        Samir Ghattas, an Egyptian strategic analyst who closely monitors Gaza, said there was little chance that Hamas would be willing to provide food or any other kinds of supplies to aid civilians. "The Hamas movement cares only about the Hamas movement," he said. "The public of Gaza mean absolutely nothing for Hamas."  (New York Times)
  • UN General Assembly Calls for "Humanitarian Truce" in Gaza - Edith M. Lederer
    The UN General Assembly approved a nonbinding, Arab-drafted resolution Friday calling for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza by a vote of 120-14 with 45 abstentions, after rejecting a Canadian amendment backed by the U.S. that unequivocally condemned the Oct. 7 "terrorist attacks" by Hamas and demanded the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas. Voting against the resolution were Israel, the U.S., five Pacific island nations, and four European countries: Austria, Croatia, Czechia and Hungary. Eight EU members voted in favor, including France.
        Canada's UN Ambassador Robert Rae said that the resolution which was approved appears to forget that the events of Oct. 7 happened - "one of the worst terrorist attacks in history." The vote on the Canadian amendment was 88-55 with 23 abstentions, but it failed to get a 2/3 majority of those voting for or against.
        Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called it "a day that will go down in infamy," saying, "Israel will not stop the operation until Hamas terror capabilities are destroyed and our hostages are returned."  (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Expands Gaza Ground Operations - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF continued its ground operations in Gaza throughout Saturday, warning residents of Gaza City that the area was now a "battlefield" and urging residents to "evacuate immediately" to the south.
        Also Saturday rockets launched from Gaza hit the central cities of Kiryat Ono and Holon. Rockets hit homes in Ramat Gan, Beersheba, and Ashdod. There were no casualties in any of the incidents.
        The IDF said it had killed the head of Hamas' aerial forces, Issam Abu Rukbeh, responsible for managing drones, paragliders, aerial detection systems and air defenses, who played a role in the planning and execution of the Oct. 7 onslaught by Hamas. It also killed the commander of Hamas' naval forces of the Gaza City Brigade, Rateb Abu Sahiban, who planned and commanded Hamas' foiled infiltration attempt via the sea on Oct. 24. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Begins New Phase in War Against Hamas - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF troops that entered Gaza on Friday night advanced on Saturday several more kilometers into Palestinian territory. The forces encountered several terrorists and hit them. The operation destroyed terrorist infrastructure and damaged long-range rocket launch sites. The forces are operating in an area with a very sparse population. Hamas said its men clashed overnight "with IDF forces in Beit Hanoun, in the northeast of Gaza, and in Borij in the center of Gaza."
        IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said Saturday: "Today we are entering a new phase. Our forces are currently carrying out ground operations in the Strip, which are accompanied by accurate and heavy fire....In order to expose the enemy and destroy him, there is no other way but to forcefully enter his territory."  (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Is Playing for Time in the Hostage Negotiations - Amos Harel
    There is growing recognition in Israel that Hamas is merely playing for time in the negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages, even though it's likely that Hamas has a great interest in keeping them as a bargaining chip for the future. The Hamas leadership appears drunk with power after its achievements on Oct. 7, and it now has no real interest in releasing hostages. It is only trying to postpone the Israeli invasion. There was a complete consensus on this matter among intelligence agencies dealing with the issue. This is a heartbreaking development for the families and friends of at least 229 hostages. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • I Might Have Once Favored a Cease-Fire with Hamas, but Not Now - Dennis Ross
    For 35 years, I've devoted my professional life to U.S. peacemaking policy and conflict resolution. Nothing has preoccupied me like finding a peaceful and lasting solution between Israel and the Palestinians. In the past, I might have favored a cease-fire with Hamas during a conflict with Israel. But today it is clear to me that peace is not going to be possible now or in the future as long as Hamas remains intact and in control of Gaza. Hamas' power and ability to threaten Israel must end.
        After Oct. 7, there are many Israelis who believe their survival as a state is at stake. That may sound like an exaggeration, but to them, it's not. If Hamas persists as a military force and is still running Gaza after this war is over, it will attack Israel again. The events of Oct. 7 changed everything. As one commander in the Israeli military said, "If we do not defeat Hamas, we cannot survive here."
        Over the past two weeks, when I talked to Arab officials throughout the region whom I have long known, every single one told me that Hamas must be destroyed in Gaza. They made clear that if Hamas is perceived as winning, it will validate the group's ideology of rejection, give leverage and momentum to Iran and its collaborators, and put their own governments on the defensive.
        As Israel's aerial bombardment of Gaza picks up in pace and civilian casualties rise, international calls for an immediate cease-fire are mounting. But ending the war now would mean Hamas would win.
        The writer, Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former U.S. Envoy to the Middle East, served in senior national security positions in four U.S. administrations. (New York Times)
  • Israel's Laws of War - Asa Kasher
    In Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces will confront tens of thousands of heavily armed Hamas fighters deeply embedded in a large noncombatant population. Given this highly challenging setting, a core concern is how the IDF can effectively protect Israel, its citizens, and Israel's own soldiers while adhering to moral principles, military ethical norms, and international law.
        It is crucial to understand that Israel has a legal, moral, and ethical framework for approaching questions about conduct in war. Israel's military response to the attacks so far has followed these standards, and the IDF has taken multiple steps to minimize collateral damage.
        There is not a shred of doubt that Hamas' blatant acts of aggression fit the legal criteria of war crimes. Israel has witnessed no comparable act of terrorism in its 75-year history.
        Israel's military operation in Gaza stems from the state's right to take necessary action to defend its inhabitants, and its duty to protect them against not only the present attack but also continuing threats from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Thus, Israel needs to go beyond the reestablishment of security on its border with Gaza and eliminate the possibility of any future such attacks. Israel's operation in Gaza should not be depicted as revenge. The major principle at issue is self-defense.
        The writer, Professor Emeritus of Professional Ethics and Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, was a lead author of the Israel Defense Forces Code of Ethics. (Foreign Affairs)
  • "All of Israeli Society Understands that There Can Be No Compromise with Hamas" - Natan Sharansky interviewed by Tunku Varadarajan
    Israeli politician and human-rights advocate Natan Sharansky, who spent nine years in Soviet prisons, served as a cabinet minister in every Israeli government from 1996 to 2005. He said Hamas' atrocities eclipse "even the worst Russian pogroms" of the 19th century. This was also "the first pogrom in history which was all on the Internet....Even the Nazis tried to hide their killing from the world. Here they tried to show to all the world what they were doing to these Jews." They believed it would "win sympathy and support" from the Islamic world - including Muslim populations in Europe - and "understanding" from parts of the West.
        Sharansky finds the reaction on American campuses "mind-boggling." "A pogrom occurs, and the first reaction is that Israel is to be blamed. They see the most barbaric pogrom since the Holocaust as the beginning of Palestinian liberation." Intellectuals, academics and college leaders "refuse to call the most primitive act of anti-Semitism by its name," and instead dignify the Hamas murders as a form of "anticolonial" struggle.
        "Palestinian people are oppressed by the ruthless dictators and terrorists who rule over them. And the free world...are accomplices." "I'm not against compromises with the Palestinians. I've said I'm for a two-state solution from the moment I came to Israel. I want Palestinians to have the same rights as me, but they should never have an opportunity to destroy me."
        The Oslo Agreement - the peace accord Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed in 1993 - handed control to Yasser Arafat, "a ruthless dictator." "We told them, 'Like it or not, he will be your leader.'...We gave Arafat the power to destroy all the beginnings of freedom of the Palestinian people and helped build a generation of haters." It's "absolutely ridiculous" that a "fifth generation" of Palestinians lives in refugee camps, but "their leaders are to blame. And the free world, that gives money to these leaders - a lot of money."
        After the atrocities of Oct. 7, "all of Israeli society understands that there can be no compromise with Hamas - or we will survive or they will survive."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Is the Only "Army" to Want Its Own Civilians Killed. They Must Not Win - Col. Richard Kemp
    Hamas is the only "army" in the history of war that has deliberately sought to provoke its enemy to kill its own people. This is what its entire strategy is based on. They welcome the deaths of Gazan civilians in Israeli air strikes. Hamas embed themselves in the civilian population. They know that fighting from within the population will eventually lead to civilian casualties.
        The Gaza Health Ministry, which Hamas controls, will churn out civilian death statistics. These are often grossly exaggerated. Journalists will be brought quickly to the scene to film dead or wounded civilians. Much of the world's media will then condemn Israel. The journalists who feed this machinery of anti-Israel hatred are playing directly into the hands of Hamas. They encourage Hamas to repeat the operation again and again.
        Israel scrupulously adheres to the laws of war. More often than not, Israel goes well beyond the strict requirements of the Geneva Conventions. Hamas knows it can't defeat the IDF by military means, so their entire strategy is to work towards Israel's delegitimization, vilification and isolation in the world, using the lives of their own people as weapons of war. We must not let them win.
        The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA. (The Sun-UK)
  • Israel Tries to Part the Fog of War - Peggy Noonan
    The Israel Defense Forces compiled a video record of the Hamas attacks, which included footage from terrorists' body cameras and cellphones, Israeli security cameras and dash cams, and showed it to hundreds of journalists. Graeme Wood in the Atlantic described what he saw: "Men, women and children are shot, blown up, hunted, tortured, burned, and generally murdered in any horrible manner you could predict, and some that you might not."
        Isabel Kershner of the New York Times described "an emergency medical worker pouring mineral water from a bottle to douse the smoldering remains of charred bodies....Faces are frozen in shock and agony." Later, the Israeli government showed clips of their interrogation of Hamas prisoners. One is asked what his mission was in Kibbutz Be'eri. "To conquer," he replied.
        Why did Israel show these pictures to reporters? Because the world needs proof it can't forget or sweep away. This includes Hamas' supporters in the U.S. and elsewhere. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Puts Its Pogrom on Video - Editorial
    No one at Friday's screening in New York of the raw footage of Hamas' atrocities during its Oct. 7 invasion of Israel will forget what they saw. Why did the Hamas men, upon confronting the dead body of a teenage girl, start cheering? Why did they argue over who would get to decapitate a Thai guest worker they had shot, then proclaim "Allahu akbar" with every swing at his neck? "Allahu akbar" was on their lips over and over as they shot defenseless civilians, dragged corpses and pumped round after round into the dead.
        This isn't Palestinian nationalism, or a proper understanding of Islam. This is nihilistic jihad. Some Hamas men took their time to execute a terrified woman after cornering her and shining a flashlight on her face. One raided the fridge in front of the young children he had just wounded with a grenade that killed their father. During the music-festival massacre, a terrorist paused to put a bullet through each of the porta-potties, lest a single girl escape.
        There were also the shell-shocked faces, heavy breathing and stopped cries of young women hiding in bunkers and dumpsters, knowing they weren't going to survive. Then came the photos: piles of bodies, bloodied and mutilated, babies burned, families burned together, some with hands tied.
        The point of the screening, explained Aviv Ezra, Israel's acting consul general, was to show that "this isn't more of the same." "There is no political solution with Hamas," not after Oct. 7. Hamas in Gaza now "threatens the basic contract between Israel's government and its citizens," the never-again clause that Israel is a safe haven for the Jews. Israel's citizens will not forget the Hamas-recorded images of Oct. 7. Neither should the rest of us. (Wall Street Journal)

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs President Dan Diker and JCPA Fellow Khaled Abu Toameh discussed the Hamas war on Fox News on Friday.
  • Dan Diker: "Israel has announced that it is planning a major ground operation to destroy the Hamas leadership which perpetrated the worst mass murder of women, children, and innocents since the Holocaust."
  • "Israel not only has every right but the responsibility following the Holocaust, when people in Buchenwald said, 'Never again, never again.' This is the next time - the nation-state of the Jewish people is protecting the Jewish people by wiping out ISIS-Hamas in Gaza, which is connected to the attacks on U.S. troops across Syria and Iraq as well."
  • Khaled Abu Toameh: "We are very worried, both Jews and Arabs, because one of the goals of the terrorists - Hamas, Iran - has been to foil normalization between Israel and the Arabs. They are openly stating that 'We invaded Israel, we attacked Israel with the declared goal of preventing Arabs from making peace with Israel.' That's why we are trying to prevent that from happening. We can't let the terrorists win. We want to show them that despite the carnage, despite the massacres that they committed, and although they are supported by Iran, Jews and Arabs are determined to move forward."
  • "I feel sorry for Palestinians living in Gaza. I speak to many of them, and they're very angry. They're not only angry at Israel. They know that Hamas dragged them into this war. They are fully aware of what's happening. They're afraid to speak out. That's a problem."
  • Diker: "The Iranian regime has a grand strategy of attacking the United States that they labeled as of 1979 'the Great Satan' and Israel as 'the Little Satan.' This is a total Iranian, full-scale attack on the United States and Israel which has been planned for the last forty years."
  • "The Iranian regime proxy Hamas is on college campuses. When you see these mass protests of thousands yelling 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,' that is the same refrain as the Hamas Charter of 1988 that calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel. It's the same chant on university campuses under Students for Justice in Palestine that you see in the Hamas Charter calling for the genocide against Jews. In fact, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has published a report on Hamas on campus - Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked - in which we reveal to the American people what is going on in this Jihad on American campuses."

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