November 6, 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:

Six Members of My Family Are Hostages in Gaza. Does Anyone Care? - Alana Zeitchik (New York Times)
    Israeli children have been held in captivity in Gaza for four weeks. Three of them are my little cousins.
    My cousin Sharon Cunio, her husband David, their 3-year-old twins Emma and Yuli, my cousin Danielle Alony, and her 5-year-old daughter Amelia were hiding together in their bomb shelter while Hamas went on a murderous rampage through Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7.
    The last contact my family had from them is a WhatsApp message simply saying, "Help, we're dying."
    I spotted some of my family on a TikTok video. They were being carted away, surrounded by terrorists shouting, "Allahu akbar."
    Recently, my brother and I hung "kidnapped" posters of our family around Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Within a day, almost all of them had been ripped down. Some were replaced with posters reading, "Honor the martyr."
    Again and again I hear that Israel is a country of white colonizers and oppressors. My maternal grandparents grew up in Yemen, where Jews were persecuted as second-class citizens.
    In 1949 they were airlifted during Operation Magic Carpet to the newly formed state of Israel. As refugees fleeing oppression, they began their lives in Israel in poverty.
    So maybe you can imagine my surprise the first time I heard my Israeli family called "white colonizers." When did we become white? And how could a family fleeing persecution be perceived as colonizers?

Report: Hamas Planned for Massacre during Passover, Iran Forced Delay (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas' massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7 was originally intended to take place during last Passover's Seder meal, Israeli journalist Ben Caspit reported on Sunday.
    Iran decided to delay the assault to Simchat Torah due, perhaps, to informal negotiations with the U.S. which led to $6 billion being freed up for Iran in September.
    The information was uncovered during the interrogation of Hamas terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre.

IDF Reveals Evidence Hamas Used Hospitals in Gaza, Faked Fuel Crisis - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli forces have prioritized the evacuation of Palestinian civilians above other operational missions in the Gaza war, IDF spokesperson R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari said Sunday.
    He said his office carried out close to six million phone calls warning Gaza residents to evacuate before strikes.
    Hagari showed photo evidence of Hamas rocket launchpads adjacent to hospitals across Gaza, with the knowledge the IDF could not strike the launchpads due to collateral damage to the hospital.
    In a recorded conversation verified by the U.S., a Gazan official close to Hamas was heard saying, "They say there is a fuel shortage in Gaza, they are liars, liars. There is no shortage of fuel in Gaza. It is in the hands of Hamas."

October 7 Has Forced People to Choose Sides - David Suissa (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
    Oct. 7 changed everything. A terror invasion massacred 1,400 Israelis - including babies, infants, women, families and the elderly. The sheer magnitude of these atrocities has forced everyone to pay attention.
    It leaves no room for nuance. The cruelty overflows with clarity. The unprecedented magnitude of Oct. 7 has been a clarifying moment. It has shown us people's true colors.
    Our revulsion at those blaming Israel has zero nuance. Our revulsion at those who have been wishy-washy in their condemnation of the barbaric slaughter of 1,400 Jews has zero nuance. Oct. 7 is a day when so many Jews lost their innocence.
    The trauma of losing 1,400 Jewish souls and then seeing much of the world rise up against Jews will not easily go away. It is now hardwired in our collective memory.
    We don't know where this war is going, but we know where the Jews are going. The great majority of Jews have picked a side. Their own.

Can We Be Sure UK Aid Won't Help Hamas? - Jake Wallis Simons (Telegraph-UK)
    Along with the rest of the international community, we in Britain have been played for fools.
    For decades, the West has been funneling billions into Gaza, despite the opacity of its expenditure.
    In fact, much of the expenditure is far from opaque. Since 2014, Hamas has been building terror tunnels under its civilians worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with command centers beneath hospitals.
    As we signed cheque after cheque, how much vetting work was being done to ensure Hamas couldn't take advantage to fund their rockets?
    In our hubris, the international community gambled that economic security would win peace. This proved to be a devastating foreign policy miscalculation.
    Hamas has been hiding in plain sight. In fact, it hasn't even been hiding. It has made no secret of its genocidal intentions. We have been propping up this system.
    The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle-UK.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Warned Iran, Hizbullah It Will Intervene If They Attack Israel - Adam Entous
    One of the Biden administration's top priorities has been to deter Iran and its proxies - particularly Hizbullah - from entering the Israel-Hamas war. Officials say the Biden administration has sent messages to Iran and Hizbullah, through regional partners including Turkey, that the U.S. is prepared to intervene militarily against them if they launch attacks against Israel. (New York Times)
  • Israel, U.S. Differ over Palestinian Authority's Future Role in Gaza - Lahav Harkov
    Discussing the Palestinian Authority's role in a post-Hamas Gaza, a senior Israeli official cautioned that "No one has any illusions about the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority wants to destroy the Jewish state in stages and politically, and Hamas wants to do it violently and abruptly." Once Hamas is removed from Gaza, Israel must have "ultimate security control" over the Strip, a diplomatic source said Sunday.
        U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken visited Ramallah on Sunday and said, "Palestinian voices have to be at the center" of shaping the future of Gaza. "The Palestinian Authority is the representative of those voices so it's important that it play a leading role."
        The senior Israeli official referred to incitement against Jews and Israel in PA-sponsored media and textbooks, as well as the PA's payments to terrorists and their families. A new study from the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) showed that at least 14 teachers and staff at schools run by UNRWA - the UN agency for Palestinian refugees - celebrated the Oct. 7 massacre on social media.
        According to Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the 100 terrorists who took part in the massacre and were captured by Israel received their first installment of a monthly payment of $365 at the end of October, an amount that will increase the longer they are in prison.
        Hirsch said, "PA involvement, direct and indirect, in the Oct. 7 massacre was extensive. The constant indoctrination and brainwashing of the Palestinians to hate Israel and Israelis, the constant demonization of Israel and Israelis, and the outright incitement of violence and terror are all integral parts of PA policy...topped off with the huge terror reward payments, and finally the absence of any PA condemnation."  (Jewish Insider)
  • Palestinians Refuse to Accept Partial Tax Transfer from Israel
    The Palestinian Authority will not accept a partial transfer of tax funds from Israel that withholds sums earmarked for Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Splits Gaza in Two, 30 IDF Soldiers Killed, 300 Wounded - Einav Halabi
    After ten days of operations within Gaza, the IDF said Sunday it had fully surrounded Gaza City and had effectively split the Gaza Strip in two. The IDF reported 30 soldiers had been killed and 300 wounded. IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Sunday: "Essentially today there is a northern Gaza and a southern Gaza....We continue to allow for a corridor for the residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City to move southward. This is a one-way corridor to the south."  (Ynet News)
  • Two Border Police Officers Injured in Jerusalem Stabbing - Liran Tamari
    A female Border Police officer was seriously injured and a male officer lightly injured in a stabbing attack at the entrance to a police station in the Old City of Jerusalem. The attacker was killed. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Civilian Killed by Anti-Tank Missile at Lebanon Border - Yoav Zitun
    An Israeli civilian was killed in an anti-tank missile attack near Kibbutz Yiftach on the Lebanese border on Sunday. The missile struck his car as he was leaving an IDF outpost to which he transported water. (Ynet News)
  • Ambulance Attacked in Gaza Transported Hamas Terrorists and Weapons - Yoav Zitun
    An Israeli aircraft struck an ambulance in Gaza which was being used by a Hamas unit closely positioned to the combat zone, the IDF spokesperson's unit said Friday. Several Hamas terrorists were killed in the attack. The IDF has information that Hamas used the ambulance for transporting terrorists and weaponry. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • IDF Troops in Gaza Focused on Mission - Yoav Limor
    On Friday, I joined the IDF soldiers operating in northern Gaza, accompanied by brigade commander Col. Yisrael Friedler. The main threats against the troops here are anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, drones, and snipers. "All of the 'heroes' of October 7 are now hiding in their tunnels," said Col. Friedler.
        For all the soldiers, this is their first war. For a large portion, this is their first experience of conflict. "During the first encounters there's a bit of shock, but afterward they got it together," Friedler said. They were able to train intensively before entering Gaza.
        He adds that if the IDF is given the time it needs, it will supply the goods. "This is the most justifiable war in the world, and we mustn't stop until we win."
        I asked the soldiers if they missed home. They all answered that they were focused on the mission. At one of the IDF positions were two soldiers who ask not to be filmed. "My mother doesn't know I'm here," one of them explained.
        Lt.-Col. Ran Canaan says the soldiers' motivation is at its peak. Everyone wants to fight. The shock left by the Oct. 7 attack clarified for everyone that they must fight and win.
        From the inside, it seems that the IDF knows what it's doing, or what it wants to do. The soldiers are facing a real enemy and real threats. But neither they nor we have a choice: Whoever doesn't defeat Hamas today will receive them on steroids tomorrow. (Israel Hayom)
  • Free Palestinians from Hamas - Editorial
    The full, murderous horror of Oct. 7 continues to emerge, in accounts of genocidal savagery that are almost beyond imagining. Yet facing what happened, in all its monstrosity, is the only way to see Hamas for what it is, and why it must be destroyed.
        Hamas places its genocidal goal to destroy Israel above all else, including the Palestinian people. Its refusal to accept Israel's right to exist and hence its rejection of any two-state solution has brought nothing but misery and eliminated any hope of peace.
        Some argue that Israel's campaign to remove Hamas from power in Gaza cannot succeed. That it will only make the situation worse by radicalizing a new generation. Yet this fails to see how Hamas indoctrination brewed the wild hatred which slaughtered 1,400 people. The leaders of Hamas are proud of their atrocities. The end of Hamas is the only possible path back to the negotiating table.
        An ideology committed to abominable cruelty in the name of territorial conquest and genocide cannot be reasoned with. As with Japan and Nazi Germany in World War II, it simply needs to be defeated. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Gazans Were Polled on Oct. 6. What Did They Say? - Ezra Klein
    Dr. Amaney Jamal, who grew up in Ramallah, is dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and a co-founder and co-principal investigator of Arab Barometer, which conducted a survey of public opinion in Gaza that was completed on Oct. 6, 2023.
        There would be no invasion of Gaza right now, no massive air bombing campaign, no siege of food and water, if Hamas hadn't butchered more than 1,400 people in Israel and taken hundreds more hostage on Oct. 7. They did this. It should be on them to end it. Israel is right to want to destroy Hamas, or at least destroy the threat that it poses. Every country in the world would want the same in its position.
        One wonders whether so many Gazans want to be sacrificed as martyrs by Hamas.
        Jamal: "In Gaza, what we found is that trust for the Hamas government was low. It seems to be on the decline. So we found about 67% said they had no trust or little trust in Hamas....When we asked people if elections were held today, who would you vote for? What we also found is that about a quarter said that they would vote for Ismail Haniyeh, who is the leader of Hamas.... Mahmoud Abbas did not receive very high scores either."
        "When we asked people in Gaza who is their preferred party, 27% said Hamas...and then 30% said they would favor Fatah....A good percentage of citizens in Gaza have little faith in either of the political parties."
        "Everybody keeps basing the Hamas popularity on the 2006 election...[which] never was based on a landslide for Hamas. Hamas secured 44% of the popular vote in that election. And...a lot of that vote was mobilized on ending corruption of the Palestinian Authority."  (New York Times)
  • Hamas, Not Israel, Is Perpetrating "Collective Punishment" in Gaza - Amb. Daniel Taub
    The allegation that Israel's actions to defend itself from murderous attacks constitute collective punishment of the people of Gaza is wrong in law and dangerous in practice. Israel seeks to prevent the Oct. 7 massacre from ever happening again. Israel isn't losing soldiers every day in Gaza to punish the people there, but to hunt down Hamas terrorists.
        Weighing the likelihood of civilian harm against the imperative of defeating a terrorist machine is an agonizing process that Israel grapples with every day, both internally and in discussions with its closest allies.
        There is indeed collective punishment of the people of Gaza, but it is perpetrated by Hamas. Laying the blame for Hamas' abuse of civilians at Israel's door only rewards its inhuman tactics and ensures that they will be copycatted by terrorist groups in other places. Genuine humanitarian concern must look this reality in the face and place the blame for the suffering of Gaza squarely where it belongs.
        The writer served as Israeli Ambassador to the UK (2011-2015). (Telegraph-UK)
  • Why a Ceasefire in Israel Would Backfire - Kenneth M. Pollack
    All of the well-meaning calls for the U.S. to pursue an immediate ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Hamas are dangerously misguided. A ceasefire now would only lead to more war and more killing in the future. Ending the war now would lock in the gains of Hamas and Iran, handing a great victory to America's worst enemies in the Middle East.
        When you reward an aggressor and prevent the attacked from fighting back, you simply encourage that aggressor to attack again, and encourage other would-be aggressors to do the same. The only outcome that will make peace possible is if Hamas is broken and driven from Gaza by Israel's military response so that it is incapable of repeating this attack and deprived of control of the Palestinian people. Peace requires the military defeat of the opponents of peace - Hamas and Iran - and not arbitrarily cutting short this war before it has achieved that crucial destination.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (The Hill)
  • Egyptian Journalists: Hamas Is a Terror Organization Bent on Destroying Israel and the Jews
    Since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the dominant tone in the Egyptian press has been hostility towards Israel and support for Hamas' actions. However, some Egyptian journalists have taken a different line.
        Journalist Sahar Al-Ga'ara wrote in Al-Watan on Oct. 12: "Like many other Egyptians, I was raised from infancy to deeply love Palestine, defend it and feel for it. [But] I have never felt such shame as I felt when I saw Hamas' 'hostages': women, men, children and that disabled old woman! What began as legitimate resistance ended in ISIS-like terror."
        Journalist Dr. Mouna Al-Hilmi wrote in Al-Dustour on Oct. 21: "Hamas explicitly seeks to destroy or dismantle Israel....Since it is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, it takes part in the [Brotherhood's] jihad to establish a global Islamic caliphate....Hamas is not interested in liberating the Palestinian homeland, because, ultimately, it does not recognize the idea of the homeland and regards Islam as the homeland. What really interests it is...getting rid of the Jews and expelling them from every place."  (MEMRI)

To What Extent Does Hamas Represent the Palestinians? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Jerusalem Center expert Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser told the Jerusalem Center War Room zoom briefing on October 31, 2023:
  • We hear repeatedly from Western leaders including President Biden that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. I beg to differ. There's a big part of the Palestinian people that consider Hamas their representative, not only in Gaza but even in Judea and Samaria. Hamas represents a very important part of the Palestinian people. Many Gazan civilians followed Hamas operatives into Israel to loot and murder.
  • Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, has avoided elections for the last 18 years, since Hamas is likely to be victorious. Since the October 7 massacre, Hamas' support has grown in the West Bank from 44% to 58%. As evident on Arabic social media, the massacre was seen as an historic victory for Islam. Hatred for Israel and the Jews has kept Hamas popular.
  • Both Hamas and Fatah share the same narrative: the denial of a Jewish identity and an opposition to Zionism - Jewish sovereignty. Yet the West and the international community share a willful blindness in recognizing that Hamas represents a large part of the Palestinian population, and that Fatah's ideology is similar to that of Hamas.
  • Admitting this would mean the West must accept Israel's claims about the difficulty of making peace with the Palestinians.
  • Without demanding that the Palestinians change the Israel-negative narrative, not much will come out of Israel's expected victory in Gaza politically. Yet changing a narrative takes many years, at least a generation.
  • Without first priority given to this fundamental change, Israel will have to unwillingly govern Gaza for a long period.

    The speaker is former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. Watch the full video.

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