November 3, 2023
Special Edition
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Hoards Massive Fuel Reserves under Gaza's Shifa Hospital - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF on Friday released a recording of a call with a healthcare official in Gaza who admitted that Hamas was hoarding massive fuel reserves under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
    In the recording, two men are heard saying there are between half a million and a million liters (roughly 132,000-265,000 gallons) of diesel fuel stockpiled under the hospital.
    The IDF said "if fuel is allowed to enter Gaza, Hamas plans to seize those resources. The IDF will continue to expose information that proves that the Hamas terrorist organization uses the resources of the civilian population of Gaza for terrorism."

New Target Detection Capabilities Ease Advance of IDF Ground Forces - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    In recent days, a Hamas anti-tank missile squad prepared to launch a Kornet missile from its hiding place at an IDF ground force.
    An IDF Intelligence Corps sensor detected the Hamas cell at a crucial moment. Within six minutes, additional intelligence resources locked in on the terrorist cell and a nearby fighter jet was tasked with the mission.
    Armed with precise coordinates, the jet launched a missile that accurately hit and eliminated the target.
    The Military Intelligence Target Directorate, created four years ago, entered the recent conflict with several thousand identified targets in Gaza.
    Since then, the directorate has tripled its list, striking over 12,000 targets and producing 150 new targets per day.
    The efforts of the Target Directorate allowed ground forces to advance toward their objectives with minimal resistance thanks to swift detection and aerial bombardment of Hamas positions and the effective targeting of booby-trapped sites and firing posts.

U.S. Drones Are Flying over Gaza to Aid in Hostage Recovery - Riley Mellen (New York Times)
    The U.S. military is flying surveillance drones over Gaza to aid in hostage recovery efforts, U.S. officials said.
    Pentagon officials said MQ-9 Reapers operated by U.S. Special Operations forces have been active in the area since the days after the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel by Hamas.

U.S. Seeks Help from Arab States to Plan Gaza Governance after War - William Mauldin (Wall Street Journal)
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his deputies are speaking with their counterparts in Arab states about plans for governing Gaza after Israel finishes its main military operations there, according to people familiar with the early stage conversations.

A Report from IDF Headquarters near Gaza - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The rear headquarters of every division and brigade operating in enemy territory is located on the Israeli side of the border. In every such headquarters is a group of staff officers, most of them veteran reservists.
    Many of them had mobilized on their own initiative on Oct. 7 without waiting for the call-up.
    Regular units are taking part in the war in Gaza alongside units that are wholly comprised of reservists.
    In all units more than 100% of soldiers reported for duty, including veterans who have long ceased to serve actively who asked to get back in uniform.
    Part of the problem of a lack of equipment in the war's first days was due to the unexpectedly large number of soldiers.
    The intelligence information that reaches them is very detailed, based in part on interrogating Hamas men who were captured in Israel in the first battles three weeks ago. Some 200 terrorists are held by Israel.

Lt.-Col. Salman Habaka Fell in Battle in Gaza - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Lt.-Col. Salman Habaka, 33, a senior officer in the IDF Armored Corps, was killed during a battle in northern Gaza on Wednesday. A member of Israel's Druze minority, he left behind a wife and a two-year-old son.
    On the day of Hamas' surprise attack, Habaka rushed from his home in Yanuh-Jat in northern Israel to join the fighting.

Hamas Terrorists Executed a 90-Year-Old Israeli Woman - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    On Oct. 7, at Kibbutz Kissufim near the Gaza border, Hamas terrorists broke into the home of Gina Semiatich, 90, dragged her out of the bomb shelter, and executed her with a gunshot to the head in her living room.
    Then they reached the home of the Zaq family: Itai, Eti and their son, Guy, 15.
    The family refused their calls to exit the shelter, so the Hamas terrorists set the house on fire. The entire family perished in the blaze.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Forces Divide Gaza in Two - Dov Lieber
    Israeli forces pushed across Gaza and in from the Mediterranean coast Thursday, dividing the enclave in two and isolating urban areas in the north. "IDF forces have finished encircling Gaza City, the stronghold of the Hamas terrorist organization," Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Thursday.
        Fighting was especially intense in Karama and Zeitoun in northern Gaza, as Israeli troops moved closer to the center of Gaza City, backed by airstrikes and gunfire from naval ships offshore. Hamas fighters used antitank missiles to target Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers as Israeli ground forces pressed into the city's outskirts. Clashes were also reported further south in Al Maghazi, Al Bureij and An Nuseirat, according to the UN.
        "Everywhere they go, soldiers are describing what they see - terrorists who come out of tunnel shafts, underground tunnels under buildings, under hospitals, under schools, they see it all," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday.
        Giora Eiland, a former Israeli general and national security adviser, said Israeli troops are now focusing on finding entrances to the tunnel network used by Hamas and seeking to kill them while they are still below ground. "Gaza is probably the most fortified military position in the world," said Eiland. "We are speaking about a tough battle that can last weeks."  (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Israeli Troops Push into Gaza City - Emanuel Fabian
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said Thursday that IDF "forces are in the heart of northern Gaza, operating in Gaza City, surrounding it, and deepening [the ground offensive]." The IDF said that around 130 Hamas terrorists were killed in gun battles with IDF soldiers Thursday afternoon and early evening. IDF troops are continuously encountering mines, booby traps and ambushes. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Vice President: We Will Not Impose Conditions on Support for Israel to Defend Itself
    U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Thursday: "We are not going to create any conditions on the support that we are giving Israel to defend itself. We are going to continue to stand with Israel's right to defend itself and, let's be clear, and never forget what happened on Oct. 7, where hundreds, thousands, 1,400 innocent people were killed, slaughtered. Young people who were simply attending a concert."  (Reuters)
  • House Approves Resolution Condemning Support of Hamas, Hizbullah on College Campuses - Mychael Schnell
    The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution Thursday condemning the support of Hamas, Hizbullah and other terrorist organizations at higher education institutions in a 396-23 vote.
        The resolution declared that the support of Hamas and Hizbullah on campuses "may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty, and staff." It also calls on campus administrators to condemn antisemitism on college campuses; ensure Jewish faculty, students and guests are able to exercise free speech rights guaranteed to others without intimidation; and urges the enforcement of federal civil rights laws meant to protect Jewish students.
        Also on Thursday, the House approved a $14.3 billion Israel aid package. (The Hill)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Pushing War Pauses - Jacob Magid
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken aims to build support for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza during his second trip to the Middle East since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, U.S. officials told the Times of Israel on Thursday. The Biden administration is pitching "temporary and localized" humanitarian pauses to increase the flow of aid in the Strip, a U.S. official said.
        Israel has yet to embrace the idea of humanitarian pauses, convinced that Hamas will only buckle if squeezed sufficiently by the IDF's intensifying ground invasion. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Rocket Fire from Lebanon Strikes Kiryat Shmona - Emanuel Fabian
    Hamas in Lebanon fired 12 rockets at the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on Thursday, wounding two people and causing widespread damage. The IDF responded with several rounds of strikes on Hizbullah positions. The city, as well as 42 border communities, were evacuated last month amid repeated attacks. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel to Transfer Frozen Funds to PA, but Withhold Funds for Gaza - Amy Spiro
    Israel's security cabinet voted Thursday to transfer frozen tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, but "deduct" $100 million in funds intended for Gaza, as well as those funds which are continuously deducted to offset money the PA pays to imprisoned terror convicts and their families. The monthly transfers make up nearly 65% of the Palestinian annual budget. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Battle for Public Opinion - Robert Satloff and Dennis Ross
    Under pressure from massive street protests, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have already slid back from the staunch support they promised Israel in the immediate aftermath of the carnage of Oct. 7. In just three weeks, that spirit of solidarity has increasingly given way to calls for a ceasefire. Israel will resist such calls, since a ceasefire would leave Hamas in control of Gaza, certain to rebuild and rearm, readying itself to launch future attacks.
        To be sure, much of this reflects the double-standard to which Israel has long been subjected. When thousands of Afghan or Iraqi civilians died in America's legitimate campaigns against al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups, it was called an unfortunate consequence of war. Yet Israel is accused of genocide.
        As this war unfolds, we urge Israel to focus on three themes that, if repeated every day, would improve Israel's information campaign. First, Israel should remind the world what this war is not about. Israel should declare it has no plan, desire or goal to occupy Gaza or to evict Palestinians from Gaza.
        Second, Israel should make clearer the distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people. Yes, Hamas earned a plurality of votes in a legislative election 17 years ago when it ran on an anticorruption, good governance platform. But it came to power in Gaza the following year through a bloody, violent coup, not by the democratic choice of local Palestinians. Hamas commands the loyalty of a small minority of Gaza's population.
        Third, Israel should continually emphasize that it is committed to fighting Hamas with the minimum possible civilian casualties, while trying to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilians it has urged to move out of harm's way to southern Gaza. For the antisemites of this world, none of this will matter. But the goal is to win the hearts and minds of millions who need a reason to give Israel the benefit of the doubt.
        Robert Satloff is executive director and Dennis Ross is a Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (The Hill)
  • Hamas' Indiscriminate Massacre Took the Lives of 100 Israeli Arabs - Muhammad Zoabi
    The horror from the scenes and the horrifying stories from the Oct. 7 Hamas attack have not only shocked all Israelis, but also marked a drastic shift in Arab Israeli attitude toward the country. Historically during Israeli-Palestinian escalations, the Arab community within Israel tended to be more sympathetic to Palestinians. But Oct. 7 made us feel more Israeli than ever - when we saw not only the footage of our mass murder but the celebrations of it in Gaza that came through on social media. We saw clearly what would happen if the other side had the upper hand, and it triggered a deep sense of solidarity from the Arab community, bolstering a shared sense of being Israeli.
        According to a large poll carried out after the Hamas attack, over 80% of Arab Israelis rejected Hamas' attack and almost 70% supported Israel's right to respond and defend its citizens. Only 5% voiced support for Hamas' actions. Many social initiatives popped up with opportunities for Arab Israelis to assist and volunteer.
        Leaders from across the political spectrum in the Arab community condemned the attack and rejected Hamas' calls on Israel's Arab citizens to join the assault on Israel. Mansour Abbas, leader of the Raam Islamist Party, condemned Hamas' atrocities and said they are "contradictory to the teachings of Islam."
        Hamas' indiscriminate massacre against Israeli civilians took the lives of at least 100 Israelis from the country's Arab community. One of those was Awad Darawshe, a paramedic from a Nazareth suburb who was stationed at the Nova music festival, murdered by Hamas while trying to save lives. Amer Abu Sabila was shot to death by Hamas terrorists while trying to save a local Sderot family.
        A Negev Bedouin man was driving with his wife down the highway that Saturday morning when a group of terrorists blocked his way. The Bedouin begged the terrorists not to hurt him and his wife, to which one of the terrorists responded, "You [Arab Israelis] are more Jewish than Jews, you deserve to die." The terrorist then shot the man's wife, a hijabi Muslim woman, to death. (Newsweek)
  • Israel's Quest to Identify Every Victim of Hamas Leaves Scientists Exhausted, Traumatized - David S. Cloud
    Three weeks after the bloody massacre that killed 1,400 people in southern Israel, Israel's government forensic laboratory is still inundated with unidentified remains. The pressure to identify the victims has forced the institute onto an emergency footing like none it has seen before. Its staff examines whole cadavers and the tiniest body parts, takes fingerprints, does X-rays and CT scans, removes tissue samples for DNA extraction - all while suppressing the instinct to grieve.
        As many as 80 Israelis are still missing and many are feared dead, but identifying the remaining victims from the often badly burned and decomposing remains is proving more of a challenge as days pass, officials said. The center has received around 1,500 sets of remains since Oct. 7 - just 500 fewer than it handles in an average year.
        Of the bodies that still arrive, a growing number are Gazan militants killed in the fighting. Any females are assumed to be victims, since the attackers were all believed to be male. The head of one young girl's corpse examined at the lab was severed from her torso except for a thin flap of skin, according to a photo shown by Dr. Chen Kugel, the director. In other photos, the wrists of burned bodies were bound with cable, indicating they were executed.
        "Sometimes you look at something and you think it belongs to one person and then you start separating it out and you realize that it is multiple people who were holding each other, close to each other, comforting each other through everything that was happening," said Michal Peer, 29, the institute's staff anthropologist and a Colorado native. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Future of Hamas after October 7 - Gershon Baskin
    I have negotiated with Hamas, on and off, since 2006. Most of the time I did this without official backing, while also always informing officials in Israel what I was doing. For years I believed that it was possible to negotiate a long-term ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
        For the past eight years I have spent hundreds of hours in talks trying to bring home the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed in 2014 in Gaza - Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin - as well as the living Israeli civilians Avera Mengisto and Hisham A-Sayed. The bottom line is that the deal never happened because Hamas demanded that Israel release several hundred prisoners including Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis.
        There is no legitimacy whatsoever for what Hamas and others did inside Israel on Oct. 7. These were inhuman, inexcusable crimes that will never be forgotten or forgiven. Hamas has forfeited its right to exist as a government of any territory and especially the territory next to Israel. Hamas behaved like ISIS in their attack against Israel, and Hamas now fully deserves the determination of Israel to eliminate them as the political and military body that controls Gaza.
        Israel cannot create deterrence against Hamas. Not only are Hamas fighters and leaders not afraid to die, they recruit Hamas fighters from early ages from bereaved families immediately after each round of conflict. They are then educated in the (distorted) Islamic values of dying for Palestine, for Allah, for Islam, for Al-Aqsa and to get revenge for the death of their family member. They truly believe that life only has true meaning if you become a martyr - the guarantee of eternal paradise. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Victory over Hamas Would Reduce Innocent Deaths in Israel and Gaza - Lawrence J. Haas
    Critics of Israel have it backward. Those concerned about human rights and those seeking peace should be rooting for Israel's full-scale destruction of Hamas - however long it takes or bloody it becomes. It's the only path to more human rights and more peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
        On human rights, Israelis deserve to live without fear of rocket attack, infiltration, and slaughter from across their border. Gaza's Palestinians also deserve peace as well as the prospect of a better life - both of which remain elusive because they live under Hamas.
        Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in a violent coup in 2007 and has ruled it since with an iron fist. It allows no elections; permits no free press; arrests, beats, and tortures its critics; and murders those suspected of collaborating, or seeking peace, with Israel. Over the last 16 years, Hamas has instigated multiple wars with Israel by launching thousands of rockets or attacking the Jewish state in other ways.
        Nothing would reduce innocent deaths in Israel and Gaza more than Israel's total victory over Hamas. This would also send a strong signal to Iran, which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars as well as weapons and military training for the group since the 1990s.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. (National Interest)
  • Let Israel Win - Matthew Continetti
    Less than a week has passed since Israel launched a ground campaign in Gaza and already there are calls for a ceasefire. Not only should these calls be ignored. They should be denounced. Why? Because calls for a ceasefire reward barbarism.
        Hamas terrorists spent years planning the murder of more than 1,400 Jews on Oct. 7, and Hamas terrorists continue to hold hundreds of captives, including Americans, while shelling Israel with indiscriminate rocket fire. Yet it is somehow Israel's responsibility to exercise self-restraint. Hamas, not Israel, is the aggressor. Hamas, not Israel, rejects international law.
        If Israel were to end combat operations now, with Hamas in control of Gaza and the captives, then the terrorists will score a remarkable victory. Harassment and attacks on Jews worldwide will surge. Hamas will regroup. Its ranks will swell. It will plot its next move. You cannot maintain a ceasefire against homicidal maniacs with genocidal intent.
        While President Biden has supported Israel, he has also taken pains to remind the Jewish state, like it is some sort of wayward pupil, to "uphold the laws of war" and protect civilian lives. The implication is that Israel is not obeying international law or doing everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties. And that implication is insulting.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Washington Free Beacon)

  • Hamas death tolls hide the relevant truth: How many of those killed by Israeli fire are really totally innocent civilians? How many were active Hamas terrorists? How many were vocal supporters of Hamas terrorism?
  • How many 14-, 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds, who Hamas counts as "children," were in fact combatants or accessories? How many women were Hamas accessories? How many were killed by misfiring terrorist rockets?
  • A common mantra is that Israel is at war only with Hamas, not with the Palestinian people of Gaza. That ignores the reality that many, perhaps most, of the Palestinian people of Gaza support the brutal tactics of Hamas.
  • Israel is at war with Hamas, which controls Gaza politically and militarily. It is comparable to when America was at war with Germany and Japan in the 1940s. Civilians pay a price when their country attacks another country, as Hamas attacked Israel.
  • Even when it is only a group within a country, such as al-Qaeda or ISIS, civilians die, as many did in Afghanistan and Iraq when the U.S. battled terrorists thousands of miles away from our homeland. Israel is fighting mass murderers just across its borders.
  • Every genuine civilian and young child that is killed is a tragedy, but these tragedies are entirely the fault and responsibility of Hamas. When Hamas decided to invade Israel and murder and kidnap its civilians, it knew that Israel would have to respond militarily and that Palestinian civilians would inevitably become collateral victims.

    The writer is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School.
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