October 30, 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: There Is No Food Shortage in Gaza - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on Sunday pushed back against claims of shortages in Gaza and stressed that Israel is "trying to act in accordance with international law to minimize harm to civilians."
    COGAT officer Elad Goren noted that on Oct. 7, Hamas attacked the Erez crossing where Gazans enter Israel for medical treatment. Three COGAT soldiers were murdered.
    COGAT has "assembled a team of experts that assess the humanitarian situation on a daily basis - what is in stock and what is missing - and we interface with international organizations in Gaza."
    The IDF monitors the full scope of water, food, energy, and health needs.
    "We check what is the situation in UN warehouses and shelters, the amount in hospitals and food warehouses, and the condition of water supply wells and desalination facilities."
    While Hamas wants to present the humanitarian situation as worse than it is, Israel says there is no food shortage in Gaza and there won't be for weeks to come.
    COGAT stressed that "90% of drinking water is self-sourced [from Gaza] and 10% comes from three waterlines from Israel." Hamas struck one of those lines on Oct. 7; Israel has now opened two of them.
    "Hospital administrators in Gaza have been shouting since the beginning of the war that they have diesel fuel for only another 24 hours but they are still operating."
    "Hamas is supplying them the fuel and has an interest in keeping them operational because hospitals above the ground became Hamas centers underground."

Video: Neta Jumped on a Grenade and Saved His Fiancee Iren's Life (Channel 11 TV)
    Neta Epstein and Iren Shavit, both 22, hid in the bomb shelter while Hamas terrorists entered their home in Kfar Aza on Oct. 7 and began throwing grenades inside.
    Neta, an IDF reserve paratrooper, jumped on a grenade and shielded Iren with his body - and saved her life.

Israeli Soldier Died Shielding Comrades from Hamas Grenade (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli soldier Matan Abergil, 19, used his body to protect his fellow soldiers from the explosion of a grenade during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, saving the lives of six comrades.
    During the fighting at Kibbutz Nir Am, Matan and his unit were inside their armored vehicle when they came under attack by over 50 terrorists.
    After one of the terrorists threw a grenade inside the vehicle, Matan jumped on it as it exploded.
    "I tried to do everything to protect the people of Israel," he said before dying.

IDF Medics Save Lives under Hamas Assault - Yuval Haninovich (Ynet News)
    A few weeks ago, the Nahal brigade's chief medical officer held an exercise for the fighters of the battalion aid station at the Kerem Shalom outpost.
    The entire paramedic team practiced treating dozens of wounded under fire, each of the wounded suffering from a different medical issue.
    Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that the same training would prepare them to treat and save the lives of ten of their fellow battalion members.

British Artists Lack Compassion for Victims of Hamas Atrocities - Deborah Ross (Sunday Times-UK)
    I was utterly floored by the open letter released this week by Artists for Palestine UK with its 2,000 signatories.
    The letter says "our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them" and "we demand that our governments end their military and political support for Israel's actions."
    There was no mention of Hamas. There was no mention of the rape, torture, kidnapping and murder of babies, children, grandparents, young people dancing peacefully at a peace festival.
    The lack of basic compassion and humanity, that's what was so unbelievably flooring.
    Is it so difficult to support and feel for Palestinians while also acknowledging the indisputable horror of the Hamas attacks?
    Isn't it necessary to hold both thoughts if any kind of peaceful coexistence is ever to be achieved?
    What does it solve, a letter like that? And why would anyone sign it?
    You can choose to be an anti-Zionist. You can hate Israel with every fiber of your being. But you do have to call such an atrocity out. You have to say it happened.
    Or do murdered, raped and tortured Jews not matter? What are you saying? Those babies had it coming?

The Proportional Response to the October 7 Massacre Is the Dismantlement of Hamas - Ophir Falk (Jerusalem Post)
    In terms of proportionality, had the Oct. 7 massacre occurred in the U.S., Hamas' attack would have been equivalent to the murder of 50,000 Americans and the abduction of 7,500.
    The numbers are difficult to digest. The savagery is impossible to fathom.
    Many misunderstand the principle of "proportionality." In the course of defeating Nazi Germany, more than 5,000,000 Germans were killed by the Allies, while 400,000 American servicemen lost their lives. Did America and the Allies act disproportionately? Nonsense.
    Proportionality means doing what it takes - and no more - to obtain a legitimate goal.
    Israel is fully entitled to apply all military force necessary to achieve the legitimate objective of dismantling Hamas. It is a matter of survival.
    The IDF is not limited to attacks that are "equal" to the damage caused by Hamas. It has to destroy Hamas and guarantee such atrocities never happen again.
    The proportional response to the Oct. 7 massacre is the dismantlement of Hamas.
    The writer is a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Tanks Approach Gaza City
    Israeli tanks advanced into the outskirts of Gaza City on Monday, witnesses said, with Hamas reporting "heavy fighting" in northern Gaza. Tanks entered the Zaytun district on the southern fringes of Gaza City, cutting a key road from the north to the south. "They have cut the Salah al-Din Road," the main highway of Gaza, said one resident. Israel has on several occasions warned the people living in northern Gaza, including Gaza City, to head south to avoid its military strikes as it pushes ahead with a mission to "destroy" the territory's Hamas rulers. (AFP)
  • Israeli Ground Operation Pushes Deeper into Gaza - Stephen Kalin
    Israeli soldiers pushed at least 2 miles deep into Gaza on Sunday. Tanks fired from Gaza's Mediterranean beaches, and soldiers moved across open and hilly ground, according to video the IDF released. The latest actions suggest a war that is likely to last a long time, as Israel prepares to move deliberately in stages into Gaza territory.
        On Sunday morning, Israeli authorities restored internet and phone communications after implementing a near complete communications blackout on Friday night. Washington convinced Israel that communications needed to be turned back on to allow the UN and other aid groups to coordinate with their staff in Gaza, a senior U.S. government official said. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also IDF Expands Operations inside Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF expanded its ground incursion inside Gaza on Sunday, destroying Hamas anti-tank positions and killing several gunmen on the Gaza coast and near the Erez border crossing, where a number of Hamas operatives exited a tunnel and clashed with IDF soldiers. The troops killed four of the terrorists and wounded others. More Palestinian gunmen were killed in other nearby battles. Additionally, drone strikes against Hamas staging grounds killed several operatives.
        An IDF officer was seriously hurt by a mortar and a soldier was moderately hurt during a battle with Hamas gunmen in northern Gaza. Rockets were fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ra'anana, Holon, and Hod Hasharon, sending 1.5 million people running for shelter.  (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Kills Dozens of Hamas Terrorists in Gaza - Seth J. Frantzman
    As Israeli ground operations continue in Gaza, "IDF troops killed dozens of terrorists who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels, and attempted to attack the troops," the IDF said. Videos and photos released by the army showed tanks, infantry and bulldozers active in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: A Ceasefire in Gaza Now "Would Be a Gift to Hamas"
    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, "People who are calling for a ceasefire now [in Gaza] do not understand Hamas. That is not possible. It would be such a gift to Hamas because they would spend whatever time there was a ceasefire in effect rebuilding their armaments, creating stronger positions to be able to fend off an eventual assault by the Israelis. So we're in a very different world."  (CBS News-X)
  • Anti-Israel Mob Storms Airport in Dagestan
    A mob of anti-Israel protesters stormed a Dagestan airport on Sunday night following calls on social media to block a flight from Tel Aviv from landing. Dagestan is a republic of Russia along the Caspian Sea, bordering Georgia and Azerbaijan. Video shared on social media showed hundreds of people at Makhachkala International Airport brandishing Palestinian flags and shouting anti-Israel chants.
        Some of the demonstrators were stopping cars outside the airport to check identification documents of drivers and passengers as they searched for Israeli citizens among the motorists. After the flight landed, protesters stormed into the airport, breaking past security and surrounding the plane. (Moscow Times-Russia)
  • Hamas Leaders Surprised by U.S. "Going into Battle" - Raya Jalabi
    Hamas has admitted surprise that its brutal attack on Israel this month prompted a muscular U.S. response, with Washington deploying carrier strike groups, air-defense systems and thousands of troops to the region. Ali Barakeh, a senior member of Hamas' political leadership in exile, told the Financial Times, "What we're seeing now is the entrance of the U.S. into the battle, and this we didn't count on."  (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Rockets Launched toward Northern Israel, IDF Strikes Hizbullah - Tzvi Joffre
    On Sunday, three rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Rosh Pina and nearby areas, just east of Safed. Two of the rockets were intercepted and one fell in an open area. The IDF struck the site from where the rockets were launched in response. Then six rockets were fired toward Kiryat Shmona, with three rockets falling within the city. Later, ten rockets were fired toward Nahariya, Shlomi, and nearby communities, with the IDF striking in southern Lebanon in response.
        The Fajr Forces, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Group in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire toward Kiryat Shmona. The Lebanese branch of Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket fire toward Nahariya and Shlomi. On Sunday night, a number of rockets were fired from Syria toward Israel, falling in open areas. The IDF responded against the source of the rocket fire. Terrorist infrastructure belonging to Hizbullah was also hit in IDF strikes throughout the day. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Four Palestinian Terrorists Killed in Jenin
    The IDF operated in the Jenin refugee camp overnight on Sunday in a widespread operation against Palestinian terror cells in the West Bank city. Four armed terrorists were killed by Israeli forces during clashes, and five Palestinians were wounded. The IDF also uncovered explosives that had been placed under roads in Jenin by Palestinians in an effort to target Israeli security forces. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Police Officer Seriously Wounded in Stabbing Attack in Jerusalem
    A Border Police officer was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack near the Shivtei Israel light rail station in Jerusalem on Monday. The attacker was apprehended by police. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Israel's Future Will Be Defined by the Achievements in This War - Carrie Keller-Lynn
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Friday that the current phase of the war against Hamas in Gaza may last for "months." Gallant said the current expanded ground activity, which began Friday evening, and an expected larger-scale ground maneuver, are only the second of four planned phases to the war. The first phase involved a three-week-long aerial bombardment and limited ground raids, following Hamas' devastating attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
        The military is preparing for a third stage of fighting during which it will begin to seek out new leadership for Gaza while rooting out "pockets of resistance." This lower-intensity conflict is also estimated to take several months. The final phase is "the removal of Israel's responsibility for life in Gaza and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel."
        Gallant stressed that Israel has no interest in reoccupying Gaza, but Israel has no clear plan for who will rule there. "Whatever will be next will be better, whatever it is." He added that "The next 75 years will be defined in many ways by the achievements in this war."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Palestinians Demand Sympathy while Spreading Hate - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Palestinian Arabs believe they are entitled to our sympathy and can never quite comprehend why they don't get more of it. At the heart of every Palestinian manifesto is a sense of astonishment that anyone would question their intrinsic status as victims. The same goes for the idea that anyone demand that they disavow those who, with good reason, claim to speak for them while committing unspeakable crimes and rejecting peace.
        That toxic mixture of grievance and entitlement is equally responsible for the sense of glee and release that so many Palestinians and their supporters felt upon hearing the news of the Oct. 7 attacks, coupled with the toll of Jewish dead and suffering exacted during the pogroms. It is also present in those videos depicting real suffering in Gaza as the Israel Defense Forces strike back at Hamas targets inside the area from which the Palestinians have launched rocket attacks aimed at killing Israeli civilians and terrorist infiltrations like that of Oct. 7.
        They take it as an intolerable insult when questioners ask them to disavow crimes committed in their name or about the choices they've made, or whether their leaders or the cause they've embraced bears even a tiny fraction of responsibility for the position they're now in.
        To the astonishment of Jews and Israelis, the unspeakable crimes committed against Jewish men, women and children on Oct. 7 has actually given the Palestinian cause the boost the Hamas terrorists hoped it would. That's particularly true in the Arab world, where, as the New York Times reports, the violence has "reignited" the "passion for the Palestinian cause."
        Responsibility for the Palestinian casualties in Gaza belongs to the people who started this war, not those seeking to punish the criminals. Yet the Palestinians are being held exempt from the consequences of their decisions. How else can one explain the widespread sympathy for people who start a war by crossing borders and murdering young and old, but then cry foul when the nation they assault seeks to stop them from repeating such crimes? (JNS)
  • Witness to an Apocalypse - Fiamma Nirenstein
    The massacre of children requires special tools to understand. We must witness the images of the little creatures who say "I want my mother" while they are tortured and killed. For 45 minutes, I watched the footage taken by the fiends of Hamas while they massacred hundreds of innocent victims: the families surprised by the attack and then immersed in their own blood.
        The terrorists are cheerful and disciplined, crowded into pickup trucks and motorbikes to carry out the massacre. Then they begin to shoot and kill the drivers of the cars around them. Once they enter the kibbutz, we see the murderers acting according to a collective script as they tear everyone to pieces, shouting "Allahu Akbar" as they hack off people's heads.
        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)
  • Doubts about the Veracity of Palestinian Death Statistics - Yaroslav Trofimov
    Video and photo evidence coming out of Gaza leaves little doubt that Israeli airstrikes, launched in response to the deadly Hamas attack on Oct. 7, have exacted a steep toll on Palestinian civilians. A senior Israeli official told the Journal he believes "several thousand" Palestinians have died in Gaza, but said that thousands among them were Hamas combatants. Neither the U.S. nor Israel have their own tally or a way to independently count the casualties in Gaza.
        The Biden administration says its doubts about the veracity of Palestinian statistics were triggered by the Oct. 17 blast at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. The Gaza Ministry of Health quickly put the number of deaths there at 500 and blamed Israel for what it called a "massacre." The U.S. and independent experts say the explosion in the hospital's parking lot was most likely caused by a malfunctioning Palestinian rocket aimed at Israel. U.S. intelligence officials put the number of fatalities in that incident at the lower end of 100-300 people.
        "The numbers are not reliable. They're just not reliable," said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications. "I would frankly recommend you don't choose numbers put out by an organization that's run by a terrorist organization."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • How October 7 Has Reignited Jewish Peoplehood - David Suissa
    Jews have bonded over disgust. They're disgusted by the savage murder, rape, torture, kidnapping and mutilation of 1,400 Israelis of all ages at the hands of Hamas on Oct. 7. They're disgusted, too, by the stunning explosion of Jew-hatred around the world and on college campuses, which came immediately after the massacres. This has ignited a level of Jewish solidarity I have rarely witnessed. There's a wartime level of urgency within the Jewish community.
        Critics who glibly call for a "ceasefire" misunderstand what Israelis are going through. Israel has survived for 75 years in a supremely hostile region because its sworn enemies were intimidated by Israel's might. Oct. 7 did much to erode the fear of Israel, and the word got out. The enemy smelled blood.
        Israel's harsh response in Gaza is not about vengeance. It's about survival. It's about regaining deterrence. Israelis know that if they can't put fear back into their enemy's hearts, their existence is in play. That's why Israelis from the left and right have supported aggressive action against Hamas. In such a life or death situation, it's hard for Israelis to take calls for a "ceasefire" seriously. In the diaspora, we're also seeing how these haters and Hamas supporters also smell blood. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • The Palestinians' Western-Funded Education System Fuels Antisemitic Violence - Marcus Sheff
    We are seeing with absolute clarity that in Gaza, education has been manipulated to teach a generation to hate with deadly and horrific consequences. On Oct. 7, graduates of Gaza's education system perpetrated the most unspeakable crimes against thousands of Israeli civilians. The roots of the unprecedented assault are found in Palestinian textbooks replete with hatred towards Jews, incitement to violence, and the glorification of terror and martyrdom. Fifth-graders are taught that it is a duty to commit jihad and become a martyr for the sake of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
        Moreover, the uncomfortable truth is that the international community, including policymakers in Washington, has unwittingly contributed to this state of affairs. The Palestinian Authority (PA) receives hundreds of millions of euros in aid from European governments and the EU itself. The PA's hate-filled textbooks are taught throughout the Gazan school system, including schools run by the UN.
        Since 1994, the U.S. has funneled billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. Among the biggest beneficiaries is UNRWA, which operates schools serving more than half of Gaza's students. The U.S. is UNRWA's largest donor, paying the salaries of teachers in UNRWA schools who peddle the hatred of the PA curriculum and teaching materials. In light of the atrocities of Oct. 7, Washington can no longer afford to write UNRWA a blank check. The human cost has become unbearable.
        The writer is the CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). (National Interest)

The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False - Simon Sebag Montefiore (Atlantic)
  • The Hamas attack resembled a medieval Mongol raid for slaughter and human trophies. Yet since Oct. 7, Western academics, students, artists, and activists have denied, excused, or even celebrated the murders by a terrorist sect that proclaims an anti-Jewish genocidal program. It seems odd that one has to say: Killing civilians, old people, even babies, is always wrong.
  • Much of the justification for killing civilians is based on a fashionable ideology, "decolonization." I always wondered about the intellectuals who supported Stalin, and those aristocratic sympathizers and peace activists who excused Hitler. Today's Hamas apologists and atrocity-deniers, with their robotic denunciations of "settler-colonialism," belong to the same tradition but worse: They have abundant evidence of the slaughter of old people, teenagers, and children, but have not changed their views an iota. The lack of decency and respect for human life is astonishing.
  • The decolonization narrative has dehumanized Israelis to the extent that otherwise rational people excuse, deny, or support barbarity. It holds that Israelis are "settler-colonialists," and that Palestinians have a right to eliminate their oppressors. This ideology is a toxic, historically nonsensical mix of Marxist theory, Soviet propaganda, and traditional anti-Semitism from the Middle Ages and the 19th century.
  • At the heart of decolonization ideology is the categorization of all Israelis as "colonists." This is simply wrong. Jews are indigenous in the Holy Land, and if one believes in the return of exiled people to their homeland, then the return of the Jews is exactly that. Even those who deny this history or regard it as irrelevant must acknowledge that Israel is now the only home of 9 million Israelis who have lived there for four, five, six generations.
  • Most migrants to the UK or the U.S. are regarded as British or American within a lifetime. Politics in both countries is filled with prominent leaders whose parents or grandparents migrated from India, West Africa, or South America. No one would describe them as "settlers." Yet Israeli families resident in Israel for a century are designated as "settler-colonists" ripe for murder and mutilation. It is dismaying that it is often self-declared "anti-racists" who are now advocating murder by ethnicity.

    The writer is a British historian, television presenter and author of popular history books.

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