November 9, 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:

U.S. Attacks Iranian Targets in Syria - Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
    For the second time in nearly two weeks, the U.S. carried out airstrikes against a weapons warehouse used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxies in eastern Syria on Thursday, ratcheting up retaliation for a steady stream of rocket and drone attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria.
    The Pentagon said Wednesday that there had been at least 41 attacks on U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq since Oct. 17 and that at least 46 U.S. service members had been injured, 25 of whom had suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Israel's Mossad Thwarted an Attack by Hizbullah Against Jews in Brazil (Ha'aretz)
    Security forces in Brazil have thwarted an attack planned by Hizbullah, under the guidance and funding of Iran, against Israeli and Jewish targets in the country, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Wednesday.
    The attack's prevention was carried out in cooperation with the Israeli Mossad.
    One of the suspects was arrested at Sao Paulo Airport upon his arrival from Lebanon, and according to investigators, he arrived with plans to carry out the attack.

Israel Warned Gaza Man to Evacuate Buildings before Bombing. All the Residents Survived - Alice Cuddy (BBC News-UK)
    On Oct. 19, Gaza dentist Mahmoud Shaheen, 40, received a phone call: "I'm speaking with you from Israeli intelligence," said the caller.
    Mahmoud said, "He told me he wanted to bomb three towers...and ordered me to evacuate the surrounding area."
    Mahmoud's tower was not directly under threat - but he was suddenly responsible for evacuating hundreds of people.
    He screamed until his throat hurt for people to run away and led a mass evacuation of his neighbors - then watched his neighborhood explode in front of his eyes.
    People around Mahmoud warned that the call may be fake. Mahmoud asked the voice on the phone to fire a warning shot to prove this was real. A warning shot seemingly from nowhere, but perhaps from a drone, hit one of the apartment blocks under threat.
    "I asked him to shoot another warning shot before you bomb," Mahmoud says. One more rang out. Mahmoud asked the man to be patient. The man replied he would give Mahmoud time - he said he did not want anyone to die.
    Mahmoud asked, "Why do you want to bomb?" "He said, 'There are some things that we see that you don't see.'"
    Thanks to Mahmoud's efforts, it is believed that none of his neighbors died that day.

Video: Inside Israel's Mission to Destroy Hamas Tunnels in Gaza - Raf Sanchez (NBC News)
    The Israeli army is trying to find and destroy Hamas tunnels used to mount ambushes.
    NBC News followed a unit of Israeli combat engineers tasked with destroying the tunnels.

60,000 Donated Blood since Oct. 7; No More Urgently Needed - Renee Ghert-Zand (Times of Israel)
    Magen David Adom's Blood Service announced that it has collected 60,000 units of blood donated since the beginning of the war one month ago.
    MDA expressed its gratitude for the public's overwhelming response to calls for blood donations at the outbreak of the fighting when hospitals were inundated with an influx of patients.
    MDA reports it currently has enough blood to supply all hospitals and the IDF Medical Corps.

The Third World Isn't All Pro-Hamas - Sadanand Dhume (Wall Street Journal)
    As Israel's war against Hamas grinds on, some pundits have taken to tut-tutting about the dangers for the U.S. of alienating public opinion in the low per capita income Third World. But developing nations are hardly a monolith.
    In India, the world's most populous nation, much of the Indian media has rightly framed Israel as a beleaguered democracy defending itself against a barbarous terrorist group.
    Most developing countries - including those that take public positions hostile to Israel - would benefit from the annihilation of Hamas.
    Many nations in Asia and Africa face a genuine threat from the bloodthirsty jihadism the group exemplifies.
    An Israeli defeat would inspire jihadists across the world. It's also a serious risk for Muslim-majority nations struggling with homegrown extremist challenges.
    Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, widely popular in Latin America for crushing organized crime in his country, may have put it best: "As a Salvadoran with Palestinian ancestry, I'm sure the best thing that could happen to the Palestinian people is for Hamas to completely disappear."
    The writer, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, was formerly the New Delhi bureau chief of the Far Eastern Economic Review.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Troops Fight in the Heart of Gaza City - Loveday Morris
    Israeli troops set on ousting Hamas pushed into the heart of Gaza City on Wednesday. Residents said Israeli forces had reached the Ansar roundabout in central Gaza City, a block from its port. "Violent clashes" were taking place around the Ansar and Azhar neighborhoods in the middle of the city, said Hamdan Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera cameraman. Fadi al-Rubai, 25, described fleeing al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with his family as fighting drew closer. They passed a large number of tanks and Israeli soldiers along the route.
        Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday, "We are tightening the noose." Gallant said there would be "no humanitarian pause without the return of the hostages. It is impossible to stop this fighting until we achieve our goals. This war was pushed on us, and we have no way to go back. There's no stopping. We can only go forward to victory over Hamas and bringing the hostages back."  (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Terrorists' Last Stand at Gaza Hospital - Paul Nuki
    Israeli planes, tanks and infantry cornered the last remains of a 1,000-strong battalion of Hamas forces holed up in the Indonesian Hospital and a nearby school in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza on Tuesday. Lt.-Col. Ido, commanding officer of the 551 Reserve Paratroop Battalion, said the Indonesian Hospital is empty, something Israeli forces have verified with drones and other "tactical measures," adding: "They are firing on us from this hospital."
        Lt.-Col. Ido said booby-trapped houses, tunnels and alleyways were the biggest threat when soldiers first entered the area. Air strikes took out most of the IEDs, but he and his men have cleared more than 150 themselves. "They are buried in the ground, some in the woods, some in the kindergarten rooms, some in the schools," he said, adding that some of the charges were designed to pierce armor with technology imported from Iran.
        On Tuesday, the IDF released footage of an air strike on a building close to Al Quds hospital. The strike set off a major secondary explosion, which the IDF said indicated that a Hamas weapons store had been hit. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Secretary of State Blinken: U.S. Opposes Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Tokyo for a meeting of the G7 political and economic forum, said Wednesday: "The G7 ministers reaffirmed our staunch support for Israel's right and obligation to defend itself and seek to ensure the attacks of October 7th can never happen again....Israel has repeatedly told us that there's no going back to October 6th before the barbaric attacks by Hamas. We fully agree."
        "Those calling for an immediate ceasefire have an obligation to explain how to address the unacceptable result it would likely bring about: Hamas left in place, with more than 200 hostages, with the capacity and stated intent to repeat October 7th - again and again and again."  (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Young Israeli Couple Wounded in Shooting Attack in Jordan Valley - Hagar Shezaf
    A young Israeli couple in their 20s were wounded in a shooting attack Wednesday night near the community of Gitit. A 5-month-old baby girl in the car was uninjured. They were able to drive to the entrance of Gitit, where they were evacuated by helicopter. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: 50,000 Palestinians Left Northern Gaza on Wednesday - Yaniv Kubovich
    IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated that 50,000 Gazans crossed from the northern part of Gaza to the south. "They are leaving because they understand that Hamas has lost control in northern Gaza and the south is safer." The IDF will continue to allow residents to move to the south on Thursday as well through "coordinated humanitarian windows that enable the Gaza population to organize and travel south safely." Hagari emphasized that "we are not fighting the population of Gaza; we are fighting Hamas."  (Ha'aretz)
  • War Cabinet Minister Gantz: Israel's War Against Hamas Is Existential and Carries No Time Limit - Carrie Keller-Lynn
    Former defense minister and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz said Wednesday: "The war here is for our existence and for Zionism, and so I can't provide an estimate of the length of each stage in the war and the fighting that will continue after. We can't retreat from our strategic objective."
        Over 240,000 Israelis are internally displaced as a result of Hamas' attack, with northern border communities joining Gaza border towns as closed military zones. Gantz said that residents, especially from communities ravaged by Hamas invaders, will not return to revive their destroyed towns until the threat posed by Hamas is neutralized. "Israel cannot accept such an active threat on its borders," Gantz said. "The whole idea of people living side-by-side in the Middle East was jeopardized by Hamas."
        "Once the Gaza area is safe, and the northern area will be safe, and the Judea and Samaria region will calm down, we will sit down and review an alternative mechanism for Gaza. I do not know what it will be. But I do know what cannot be there - an active presence of Hamas with governance and military capabilities."  (Times of Israel)
  • The IDF's War on Hamas Is Going Better than Expected - Lazar Berman
    A month into the war against Hamas in Gaza, "I think it's going slightly better than I expected in terms of the rate of advance, the ratio of casualties," said Eran Lerman, former deputy director of Israel's National Security Council. "Given the extremely complex conditions, they're doing it very wisely, very carefully."
        35 IDF soldiers have died since the ground invasion began a week and a half ago against an enemy that had 15 years to prepare its defenses. Hamas can shoot off RPGs before rushing back into tunnels, but it has not shown itself capable of doing anything that would keep the IDF from reaching exactly where it wants to go. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hillary Clinton: "There Was a Ceasefire on Oct. 6 that Hamas Broke"
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday: "There was a ceasefire on Oct. 6 that Hamas broke by their barbaric assault on peaceful civilians and their kidnapping, their killing, their beheading, their terrible inhumane savagery. There was a ceasefire. It did not hold because Hamas chose to break it."
        "Hamas is a terrorist organization. It has made very clear it is committed to the elimination of the State of Israel and it has consistently broken ceasefires over a number of years. Israel has a right to defend itself as any country would....A ceasefire done prematurely benefits those who do not abide by any laws, by any rules."
        "My husband (President Bill Clinton), with the Israeli government at the time, in 2000, offered a Palestinian state to the Palestinians, at that time run by Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).... Arafat turned that down. There would have been a Palestinian state now for 23 years if he had not walked away from it. There was another attempt when I was Secretary of State to try to bring the Palestinians and the Israelis together. That didn't work out. Israel left Gaza in 2005 and forcibly ejected thousands of Israelis who were living in Gaza."
        "I believe it is imperative, since we have had numerous ceasefires with Hamas, all of which they have violated, to try finally to dislodge Hamas and allow the Palestinians to have other leadership that will actually work for a two-state solution....You have to remove from the scene terrorists like Hamas who don't believe in peace. They don't believe in it for their own people. They're using their own people as shields."  (ABC News)
  • Former President George W. Bush: "One Side Is Guilty and It's Not Israel" - Mike Allen
    Former President George W. Bush said on Oct. 10 about the Hamas attack on Israel: "We need to support Israel. No ands, ifs or buts. This was an unprovoked attack by terrorist people willing to kill innocent people to achieve an objective....Don't be surprised if Israel takes whatever actions necessary to defend herself....I'm pretty confident the United States will stand squarely with Israel."
        "There's going to be a weariness, you watch. The world's going to say, 'OK, let's negotiate. Israel has got to negotiate.' They're not going to negotiate. These people have played their cards. They want to kill as many Israelis as they can and negotiating with killers is not an option for the elected government of Israel. So we're going to have to remain steadfast. But it's not going to take long for people [to say]: 'It's gone on too long. Surely, there's a way to settle this through negotiations. Both sides are guilty.' My view is: One side is guilty. And it's not Israel."  (Axios)
  • Israeli Rescuers Release Video of Aftermath of Hamas Attack on Music Festival - Isabel Debre
    An Israeli security officer could be seen drawing a pistol, his hand shaking violently. Hours earlier on Oct. 7, these desolate fields teemed with thousands of young people dancing to electronic music and camping out in tents. Now, it was silent. "It's the police!" he yelled again and again. "Are there any wounded?" Silence. His body camera tilted down. There were more than a dozen bodies - riddled with bullets.
        The scene unfolds in a 100-second clip of footage released Saturday by an Israeli first-responder team. The Israeli officer pleaded, "Somebody, please! Can someone answer?" There was no answer. (AP)
        See also Video: The Aftermath of the Hamas Attack on Music Festival [Warning: Graphic Content]
    Elad Simchayoff, European correspondent for Israel's Channel 12 News, posted on Nov. 4: We're faced with an unprecedented denial campaign happening in real time. The overwhelming evidence is apparently not sufficient for those who try to claim that the Oct. 7 attacks did not happen in the way that is being told. "Where's the proof?" - I keep getting asked. Well, here's your proof. (X)
  • A "Humanitarian Pause" in Gaza Would Punish Israel and Strengthen Hamas - Carson Jerema
    The best possible outcome for civilians in both Israel and Gaza would be the swift destruction of Hamas. Anything less would leave the terrorist group in place to plot its next murderous rampage against Israeli Jews.
        A so-called humanitarian pause would give Hamas time to regroup, refuel and refortify, not to mention providing easier access to weapons and other supplies from Iran, its backer. Pausing fighting could also be deadly for Israelis. Retired Canadian Gen. Rick Hillier told CBC Tuesday that a pause could result in the deaths of hundreds of soldiers.
        The onus is being placed on Israel to put the safety and lives of its own citizens at risk to satisfy politicians in the West who have disgracefully romanticized Hamas as some sort of freedom-fighting resistance group.
        Hamas did not attack Israel because of an occupation in Gaza, an occupation that ended in 2005, or because of the years-long blockade against the territory, which Egypt has also enforced. Hamas attacked because it wants to eradicate Israel from the map, and because of its twisted desire to murder Jewish people. In practice, a humanitarian pause would be just another way to punish Jews and give comfort to Israel's terrorist enemies. (National Post-Canada)

Dalit Ram Aharon, mother of three (ages 4, 7, and 9), Kibbutz Nir Oz:
  • At 6.30 a.m. a "red alert" siren was heard, and we all entered the safety room. We are already used to rocket fire, but this time the sirens did not stop for a moment. Then scary text messages started coming from all the residents in the kibbutz, stating they also had terrorists trying to break into their safety rooms, burn down the houses, shoot everywhere and throw grenades at the windows.
  • My husband was trying, with all his might, to keep the door of the safety room shut, attempting to prevent the terrorists who had also entered our home from infiltrating inside.
  • My 4-year-old daughter didn't understand what was going on and started screaming, but since we needed to keep complete silence, I covered her mouth and begged her to be quiet, as if we were in the Holocaust.
  • One out of four kibbutz members was either kidnapped or murdered. There is almost no family from Nir Oz that came out of this massacre unscathed. The feeling of "survivor guilt" exists, and there are moments when I catch myself looking at the children, hugging and kissing them, and saying to myself: 'Thank God that you are with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.' I understand how lucky we were.
Dorin Re'ee, mother of three (ages 7, 8, and 9), Kibbutz Nir Oz:
  • We started hearing gunshots. The shooting sounded very close, as if it took place right outside our window. The terrorists shot the door and windows, barged into the house, and started screaming in Arabic, "Allahu Akbar."
  • The terrorists tried to open the door of the safety room and almost succeeded, but her husband, with unexplained and supernatural strength, held the doorknob and didn't let go.
  • My daughter keeps asking me: "Mom, why did they kill Tamar? And why did they kill her children? And why did they kill Johnny?" And she is very worried about her friend Yuval Engel, who was kidnapped. It's hard to be a mother in a situation like this. I don't want to cry near the children, and it's not easy to hide the tears when throughout the day I remember the people I knew and loved who were murdered and kidnapped.
  • My husband was among those who walked around the kibbutz with the soldiers and collected some of the bodies of the residents. He saw our beloved friends there, some of them were shot in all parts of their bodies and some were burned while alive, and it is very difficult for him.

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