November 2, 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:

Gaza War to Take Several Months; Thousands of Hamas Terrorists Killed - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The current invasion of Gaza with intense fighting, and later stages of insurgency and lower-grade fighting, will take several months, informed sources have told the Jerusalem Post. Hamas is not expected to surrender at any point.
    Hamas is avoiding large-scale battles as they wait patiently to spring ambushes.
    Thousands of Hamas terrorists have been killed by the IDF, some 1,500 during the first few days.
    Tens of thousands of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad forces remain in Gaza. It is unclear how many are still in northern Gaza.
    Soldiers' morale is considered very high. Despite successful ambushes against an armored personnel carrier and a tank, losses have been low, given the challenging urban invasion setting.
    Hamas has fired hundreds of anti-tank missiles at IDF forces, mostly without success.
    U.S. support has been critical in restocking weaponry, in projecting power to other regional adversaries, and in offering useful advice for fighting in urban settings.
    But American military personnel do nothing more than give advice, which the IDF can choose to accept or reject.

Army Engineers Begin to Destroy Hamas Tunnels in Areas under IDF Control (Times of Israel)
    IDF combat engineers are using robots and explosive devices to destroy tunnels, detonate booby traps, and kill terrorists in areas of Gaza that have come under Israeli control, Walla reports.
    "Maybe at first they were able to harass us, sting us by firing from tunnel exits, but after we established control of the areas, the engineering operation started," a senior officer said.
    "We are going to collapse the entrances and the tunnels on them. It will become a death zone. They made a mistake, they chose to be in a place they cannot escape from. They will die in the tunnels."
    See also IDF General: Soldiers Won't Enter the Tunnels, Will Turn Them into Hamas Death Traps (Times of Israel)
    "Under no circumstances" should or will IDF soldiers enter Hamas' terror tunnels, former deputy IDF chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Golan told Army Radio on Thursday.
    "You don't need to go into the tunnels" and "it would be a grave mistake to enter the tunnels" where Hamas is hiding and waiting.
    "The wisdom is to find the entrances and seal them, or send in smoke that will cause the enemy to come out or will harm him."
    "You don't fight inside the tunnels, you counter the threat of the tunnels."
    "Take my word for it. The IDF has the capabilities today to deal effectively with the tunnels. It has all the knowledge and the means. If Hamas stays in the tunnels, they will become a death trap....From the moment the entrances are found, the full advantage is with the attacking forces."

3,000 Hamas Terrorists Attacked Israel on Oct. 7 - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Intelligence gathered from the interrogation of captured terrorists by the Israel Security Agency indicates that on Oct. 7, 3,000 Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, a figure higher than the initially estimated 1,500-2,000.

Fatah Brags It Took Part in October 7 Slaughter - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Fatah released a video in which members of its Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades are seen participating in and bragging about their role in the Oct. 7 slaughter of Israelis.
    The video opens by showing Fatah terrorists with yellow Fatah headbands firing Kalashnikov rifles at an Israeli kibbutz.
    A Fatah terrorist then presents captured Israeli military equipment and says: "We have plundered from them....Today we broke into the military post Nahal Oz [a civilian kibbutz]...and we killed soldiers and stepped on their heads (showing a picture of a murdered Israeli)."

Proof of Hamas Stealing Gas from Gaza Hospitals (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF on Wednesday released a recording of a conversation between the Hamas commander of the West Jabaliya Brigade and a Gaza citizen revealing how Hamas takes fuel from hospitals.

Jerusalem Arab Bus Driver Captured by Hamas Found Dead - Gianluca Pacchiani (Times of Israel)
    Suhaib Razeem, a bus driver from eastern Jerusalem, was at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 to drive partygoers home when thousands of Hamas terrorists stormed inside Israel from Gaza.
    Footage emerged on Tuesday showing the moment Razeem was captured by Hamas terrorists, some of whom apparently intended to let him go at first, upon finding out he was an Arab.
    His body was identified on Oct. 19.

Germany Announces Complete Ban on Hamas Activities (Reuters)
    Germany will from Wednesday ban the activities of Hamas, already a designated terrorist organization in the country, as well as the pro-Palestinian group Samidoun, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced Thursday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Official: We Will Repeat the October 7 Attack, Time and Again, until Israel Is Annihilated
    Ghazi Hamad of the Hamas political bureau told LBC TV (Lebanon) on October 24, 2023, "Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country, because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation, and must be finished."
        "We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again. The Al-Aqsa Flood (October 7) is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight. Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs."
        "The occupation must come to an end. I am talking about all the Palestinian lands."
    Q: "Does that mean the annihilation of Israel?"
    Hamad: "Yes, of course."  (MEMRI)
        See also How Hamas Defines Cease-Fire - Editorial
    Hamas has two messages for two different audiences. To the international community, it pleads for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds. To the Arab world, it pledges to repeat its Oct. 7 attacks and sacrifice as many Palestinians as it takes to destroy Israel, according to Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas Politburo. To Hamas, a cease-fire means a chance to repeat Oct. 7 another day.
        The similar idea of a "humanitarian pause" is merely an opportunity for Hamas to reload. There is nothing humane about pressuring Israel to leave a genocidal enemy in power on its border.
        Hamas promises more massacres in Arabic while asking for a humanitarian reprieve in English. It knows from experience that some Westerners are gullible enough to fall for it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Holds 32 Israeli Children Hostages - Robin Perrie
    32 child hostages snatched by Hamas are being held in underground tunnels in Gaza as Israel battles to crush the jihadists and bring them home. On Wednesday, The Sun published the names and photos of all 32 innocent kids to back the plea of their distraught families: "Please free our children."
        Mayaan, whose two daughters were snatched by Hamas, asked: "Who kidnaps children? Where in the world is that the right thing to do? Hamas should have released them all on day one. The kids have not done anything to anyone. They are not soldiers, they are not related to any conflict. You do not abduct babies and children. My two are wonderful, sweet girls who love TikTok and Snapchat and I want them home."  (The Sun-UK)
  • Israel Wages a More Aggressive War Against Hamas - Dov Lieber
    Airstrikes on a densely populated neighborhood in Gaza this week show Israel is waging a broader and more ferocious war to destroy Hamas, an approach that has sparked an international backlash. Israel says the attacks have destroyed crucial military infrastructure and killed key leaders of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Israel has shown a willingness to target Hamas leaders with fewer restraints than in the past - in their homes and underground bunkers in populated areas.
        Israel is trying to strike a delicate balance between destroying Hamas and minimizing civilian deaths in an urban area where Hamas' military capabilities are interwoven within residential neighborhoods and in tunnels beneath them. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday, "We are working very, very hard to continue to make sure that our Israeli friends are prosecuting these operations with as much due care to minimizing civilian casualties as possible, and that work will continue."
        On Tuesday, Kirby said it was "obvious to us" that Israeli forces were working to minimize casualties. "Sadly, our own experience as a military over the last 20 years has shown us that even with our best intentions and all the efforts that we put into avoiding civilian casualties, we still cause them."
        Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli Air Force general and head of Israeli military intelligence, said Israel's shifting war tactics are due to its understanding following the Oct. 7 massacres that Hamas can't be deterred from trying to achieve its aim of destroying Israel. "We are not targeting Gaza's civilians on purpose. We have obligations to defend Israeli civilians. We are in a war with the aim that the brutal massacre of Oct. 7 will never happen again."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. House Approves Bill to Sanction Hamas Supporters - Marc Rod
    The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 363-46 to pass the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, which would place new sanctions on individuals, entities and foreign governments that provide support to Palestinian terror groups. (Jewish Insider)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • In Battle for Gaza Stronghold, 100 Women and Children Pushed Forward by Hamas to Act as Human Barrier - Yoav Zitun
    IDF soldiers who were engaged in fierce combat for control over the base of Hamas' elite Force 17 near Jabaliya in Gaza were met with 100 women and children who were pushed forward by Hamas to act as a human barrier. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Soldiers Fight Off Midnight Ambush
    Golani Infantry Brigade soldiers fought off a vicious midnight ambush Wednesday night against Hamas terrorists who fired missiles, set off explosive devices, and hurled grenades at the forces, Army Radio reported. The Hamas gunmen emerged from tunnels and attacked with anti-tank missiles, mortars and drones. They tried to enter the armored personnel carriers as Israeli troops fought them off in bitter close-combat fighting, calling in air and artillery strikes to assist them. 20 terrorists were killed, while there were no Israeli fatalities in the 3-hour battle. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Killed in Samaria Shooting
    An Israeli man was shot while driving on Thursday near the towns of Einav and Shavei Shomron in Samaria. "When we arrived at the scene, we saw the car upside-down on its roof in the bushes on the side of the road," MDA medic Benzi Landsberg said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Female IDF Officer Directed Attacks on Hamas Terrorists - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Lt. T, in charge of the observation section in an artillery command post at Kissufim, was in the command center on Oct. 7. "We were suddenly hit by a storm of gunfire....They were literally storming us," she recalls.
        "While we were sounding the alarm about the invasion, I got calls from other female lookouts saying, 'there's a raid on my end too.' In the span of three minutes, they'd broken through our fence at seven different points, and at each spot, there were a whole bunch of them....The first ones in are the Nukhba terrorists, decked out in weapons from head to toe, and they were followed by others. I saw it with my own eyes - they were coming in on motorcycles, vans, tractors, cars, you name it."
        "There are 22 of us girls holed up in the situation room. Then the shootout starts. Egoz special forces are called in and start to clear out the base. They're going toe-to-toe with dozens of terrorists, stopping them from capturing the post. You could clearly hear the gunfire inside our command center."
        They return to their lookout positions. "We can see there's a full-on battle going on in Kibbutz Kissufim. I manage to get in touch with a combat helicopter and an attack drone. With my girls, we're able to take control of our positions and box in a lot of the terrorists. At the same time, I get hold of the tank in my sector and tell them there's a terrorist coming their way from the north. They manage to take him out. That's how we spend five hours, controlling the sector and directing our firepower to take down the terrorists. The longer it goes on, the safer we start to feel."
        Lt. T has returned to the command center and works with the many forces in the sector. "Despite the fear that I might die, I realized already in those hours that this is a real war - a war for our home. Therefore, it is important for me to return to the command center and do everything I can to ensure that we win."  (Ynet News)
  • Video: Israeli Medic Recounts Attempt to Save Young Girl Whose Hand Was Cut Off by Hamas
    Veteran paramedic Linor Atias shares her harrowing experience following the Hamas attack on Kibbutz Be'eri, where she tried to save an 8-year-old girl from bleeding to death. "There was a little girl around 8-years-old and they cut her hand here (she points to just below the elbow). They just cut it all. No hand. She was still breathing. She was shaking. And I applied a tourniquet, but it was her last breathing. I wasn't there earlier to save her. She just lost so much blood. For hours, all by herself. No one was near her. She was so afraid. Her eyes, all by herself."  (CNN-X)
  • Videos of Oct. 7 Massacre Show Hamas Terrorists Enjoying Themselves - Charles Lane
    On Monday, the Israeli Embassy hosted a screening of a 46-minute video about Hamas' Oct. 7 rampage, compiled from cellphones, dash cams, GoPros and social media accounts of victims, perpetrators and first-responders. The film mainly reinforces what is already known about these atrocities and cannot be denied or minimized by any decent person.
        What was revelatory - what you really do have to see and hear to believe - is the attitude of the terrorists. They are having the time of their lives. Some whoop with delight over dead civilians lying on a highway. A team of gunmen brings a dead Israeli soldier back to Gaza and stands triumphantly over his body, as a crowd spontaneously rushes forward to kick and stomp the corpse. Young, heavily armed members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades pose for a video selfie, shouting in Arabic, "that's how it's done." The fact that the killers were clearly having so much fun is a special aspect of the massacre that must be reckoned with. (Washington Post)
  • We Are Not Asking for Anyone's Permission to Exist - Amb. Dror Eydar
    Let's talk about public diplomacy. We don't have to apologize anymore. We will no longer allow anyone in the world to harm Jews. Period. Without trying to find the reasons for the rage of those who would harm us. We will not participate in this sickening game of attempting to understand evil. Those looking to understand the psychopathology of the Gazans are like those who look for reasons why the Nazis gassed Jews.
        In the wake of Oct. 7, the game is over: Anyone who harms Jews or Israeli citizens can have only one fate - to leave this world. A society that murders 1,400 Israelis in all sorts of cruel ways and holds hundreds of hostages should be under complete siege until the hostages are released. We are not asking for anyone's permission to exist, nor are we asking for legitimacy to defend ourselves.
        Few in Israel now talk seriously about a Palestinian state. No sane person would agree to allow a society that sees the genocide perpetrated by Hamas and the residents of Gaza against Jews as normal to establish an independent political entity on the mountain range that looks over Israel's large population centers. Were we to do so, we would see in Judea and Samaria what happened in Gaza, multiplied a hundred-fold.
        The writer served as Israel's Ambassador to Italy. (Israel Hayom)
  • Is Israel Overreacting? Let's Not Forget Who Started This War - David Keene
    The so-called experts busily explaining that Israelis are acting irrationally in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel dismiss the loss of life and barbarity of that attack. Given Israel's size and population, it was the equivalent of 13 or more times the number killed when New York's World Trade Center was attacked. As they condemn Israel for "overreacting," they might want to think about how the U.S. reacted to that attack. A united America demanded that the perpetrators be hunted down and eliminated.
        The attack on the American homeland was seen by millions of Americans as an assault on their homes and way of life. In the wake of that attack, we were willing to pay any price to "get" those who had wronged us and killed thousands of our fellow citizens. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which has demonstrated that it's dedicated to wiping out Israel and the Jews living there. The victory Israel seeks may be difficult, but who can blame Israel for trying?
        A liberal Israeli academic, Corey Gil-Shuster, has interviewed thousands of Palestinians in Gaza about their attitudes toward Hamas, Israel, Jews and the possibility of peace since 2012. The Palestinians he has interviewed don't want to coexist with Israelis; they want them gone. (Washington Times)
  • Israel Is Not Committing Genocide in Gaza - Eitay Mack
    The false claim continues to be spread that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza in retribution for the massacres carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7. There's a very high bar set for defining genocide laid out in international conventions and law. It is not enough to count the dead, but one must also prove "intent to destroy," in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. That is not what is happening on the ground in Gaza.
        Civilians in Gaza were killed not because Israel specifically targets them, but because of the extensive Hamas military infrastructures that are located near civilian buildings and in the tunnels beneath them. If Israel wants to exterminate the civilians of Gaza, why would it call on them to evacuate to the south and limit its attacks there?
        The writer is a human rights lawyer based in Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)

Israel's Sensitivity to IDF Casualties - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why did Israel let Hamas build up a terrorist empire? Why did Israel allow Hizbullah to build up an arsenal of 130,000 missiles in Lebanon and sit right on the border and peer into Metulla? The answer is the fear of losing soldiers.
  • Israel has a tremendous sensitivity to fallen soldiers. Their smiling faces are featured on the front pages of newspapers, their funerals are broadcast on the television news, and their friends and relatives are interviewed on the radio. Because a large percentage of the population has loved ones somewhere in harm's way, almost everyone can put themselves in the shoes of the families of the fallen.
  • Israel avoided going into Gaza at full throttle in the past to avoid casualties. It avoided going into Lebanon and pushing Hizbullah far beyond the border to avoid casualties. IDF casualties in Lebanon numbered between 16 and 22 annually from 1985-2000.
  • In both cases, Israel withdrew soldiers from buffer zones it had created to defend civilians, only to find that as a result of these withdrawals, civilians in both sectors were left horribly exposed.
  • According to Udi Lebel, a researcher at Bar-Ilan University's BESA Center for Strategic Studies, things are different this time. If Prime Minister Netanyahu would have initiated an action into Gaza two months ago to dismantle Hamas, there would have been rigorous protests both in Israel and abroad, with critics saying that war was unnecessary and that Hamas could be contained.
  • But once Hamas carried out its barbarous attack, once this war was foisted on Israel, once it became clear that the soldiers were fighting to literally protect their homes, it made it easier for the country to absorb the losses because there was a purpose to them.

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