November 12, 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:

Israel Isn't Struggling in Gaza. It's Winning a Rapid Victory - Col. Richard Kemp (Telegraph-UK)
    The Israel Defense Forces have been attacking Hamas in Gaza from land, sea and air for two weeks now, following a three-week air campaign.
    Before ground operations began, U.S. military advisers urged the Israelis not to launch a large-scale campaign, which they believed would result in an IDF bloodbath, and recommended a combination of air strikes and special forces raids.
    The IDF rejected that advice and moved into Gaza with a large combined arms force. And it has confounded its critics.
    The IDF has exceeded even its own commanders' expectations with the speed and extent of Hamas' destruction.
    It is assaulting terrorist strongholds and killing large numbers of fighters including key commanders, while its forces have sustained fewer casualties than anticipated. This is highly impressive.
    The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA.

Palestinian Rocket Strikes Gaza's Shifa Hospital (Jerusalem Post)
    Avichay Adraee, the IDF spokesman in Arabic, said on Friday that a rocket that hit Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza was caused by "a failed launch by the terrorist organizations that tried to fire at Israel."

Israel's Operation Has Already Transformed Gaza - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
    The public in Israel does not fully understand just how powerful Israel's fist has been on Gaza.
    What Gaza and Hamas are experiencing is unprecedented in scale: The devastation, intensity, and scope - all of these haven't occurred in the past.
    It will take months to dismantle Hamas' power structure and years to ensure it doesn't reconstitute.
    This is precisely what Israel did in Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 against Palestinian terror in the West Bank: an operation followed by sustained activity to preserve its gains.
    At the end of the conflict, the average Gazan will have an opportunity to choose a better future for themselves, one that truly keeps war at bay for generations.
    Let's hope they do. If not, we'll continue to fight. Fortunately, we're stronger, and we've learned the lessons. "Never again" means never again.
    In Israel, all defense methods will change. There will be security and safety buffers within the Palestinian territory; there will be incursions, and there will be suspicion that will take years to dispel.

They Ran Into a Bomb Shelter for Safety. Instead, They Were Slaughtered. - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    Nearly 30 young people took refuge inside a grimy bunker on Oct. 7, hoping the reinforced-concrete shelter near the border with Gaza would protect them.
    Then a group of Hamas assailants, armed with assault rifles and grenades, attacked the shelter near Kibbutz Re'im.
    The very characteristics that made the tiny fortress a refuge from incoming rockets turned it into a deathtrap for those inside.
    After a desperate defense that included throwing live grenades back at their attackers, more than a dozen of the shelter's occupants had been killed. Others, dazed and injured, were taken to Gaza as hostages.
    Hamas assailants, using identical methods, attacked multiple shelters that dot the roads near Gaza in which their victims had sought safety.
    The shelters have no doors to allow for fast entry because in these parts, incoming-rocket alerts typically give only a few seconds' warning.
    Yossi Landau, the southern region commander for ZAKA, a search-and-rescue organization, entered one bomb shelter on Route 232.
    Inside he found about 20 burned bodies fused together, adding, "It was difficult to separate them."

Poll: Israeli Arabs' Sense of Kinship with Israel at 20-Year High (Times of Israel)
    A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 70% of Israeli Arabs feel kinship with the state, a figure that has risen dramatically since war with Hamas broke out on Oct. 7. In June the figure stood at 48%.
    Among Jews, the figure was 94%.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital at Center of Israel-Hamas Battle Zone - Omar Abdel-Baqui
    Israeli forces said they were engaged in fierce fighting Saturday around Gaza City's Al-Shifa Hospital. Israel contends that beneath the complex is a Hamas command center. Israeli military officials said on Saturday that the east side of the hospital complex remained open and that the IDF could coordinate with any who wanted to leave safely. The officials denied reports that Israel was surrounding and attacking the hospital. "There is no shooting at the hospital and there is no siege," said Israeli Col. Moshe Tetro.
        Most of the more than 50,000 people who had been sheltering at the hospital complex fled on Friday. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israeli personnel were in touch with hospital staff to arrange the transfer of premature babies from the hospital, at the request of the staff. Israel, which repeatedly told Palestinians to evacuate, made another call for civilians to move south on Saturday, issuing a map urging residents to move along a north-south road near the coast that passes close to Al-Shifa Hospital.
        Israel said 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza since Thursday. "We have been calling for civilians to evacuate for four weeks now, while Hamas did everything in its capability to prevent civilians from leaving in order to keep them as human shields," an Israeli spokesman said. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Some Palestinians in Gaza Are Openly Challenging the Authority of Hamas - Isabel Debre
    With the Israel-Hamas war in its second month, some Palestinians have vented their anger against Hamas, shouting insults at officials or beating up policemen in scenes unimaginable just a month ago, witnesses say. In one area, angry crowds hurled stones at Hamas police who cut in front of a water line and beat them with their fists until they scattered. In Gaza City, as Hamas rockets streamed overhead toward Israel, at a UN shelter hundreds of people shouted insults against Hamas and cried out that they wanted the war to end.
        During a televised press conference Tuesday, a young man with a dazed expression pushed his way through the crowd, disrupting a speech by Iyad Bozum, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. "May God hold you to account, Hamas!" the man yelled. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Kills Hamas Commander Who Held Gazans Hostage
    The IDF eliminated Ahmed Siam, a Hamas company commander, who was responsible for holding 1,000 Gazan residents hostage in Rantisi Hospital and preventing them from evacuating south to safety, the IDF said on Saturday. Siam was killed Thursday while hiding in the "al Buraq" school, where additional terrorists under his command were also hiding and were killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF's Golani Brigade Eliminates 300 Hamas Terrorists - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF on Saturday eliminated Hamas' Sabra Battalion after ten days of intense battles in the western and southern parts of Gaza City. Golani Brigade troops, together with forces from the 7th Armored Brigade, killed about 300 terrorists. Some 150 more are estimated to be under the rubble of buildings or in destroyed tunnels. Hundreds of terrorists fled during the advanced stages of the battle. (Ynet News)
  • 4 IDF Soldiers Seriously Wounded by Hizbullah Anti-Tank Missile, Drone Strike - Emanuel Fabian
    Three IDF soldiers were seriously wounded after an anti-tank guided missile launched by Hizbullah from Lebanon hit an army post near Menara on Friday. Later in the day, another soldier was seriously wounded and a second was moderately hurt when an explosives-laden Hizbullah drone struck soldiers on the northern border. The IDF on Friday carried out strikes against Hizbullah sites in southern Lebanon in response. (Times of Israel)
        See also Several Israeli Civilians Wounded by Anti-Tank Missile on Lebanon Border (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israeli Control Is the Least Bad Option in Gaza - Dovid Efune
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his hopes for a "revitalized" Palestinian Authority governing Gaza after Israel concludes its military campaign. The Palestinian Authority assumed control of Gaza after Israel's 2005 pullout, only to be ousted in a violent coup by Hamas two years later. The Israelis can't be asked to roll the dice again. Their Gaza exit failed to deliver either the public-relations or national-security benefits that its proponents promised in 2005. Instead Gaza became a launchpad for death and destruction. There's no reason to believe a do-over would produce different or better results.
        At the recent G-7 parlay, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said he'd like to see control of Gaza handed to "a peace-loving Palestinian leadership." The idea, for now, is a fantasy. After a generation of indoctrination, it will take decades to reverse the culture of hate that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have meticulously cultivated.
        The writer is publisher of the New York Sun. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Scenes of Genocide I Saw in Israeli Morgues - Qanta A. Ahmed
    I arrived on Oct. 19 to spend 10 days in Israel as a human-rights observer with the permission of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As an observant Muslim, I felt a duty to come and bear witness. What I saw will remain with me forever. I examined bodies and ashes, incinerated teeth and bones. I saw toddlers, teens and adults, young and old, many of them bound, tortured and burned alive. One word continually came to mind: genocide.
        This isn't the first time I have seen Islamist jihadism or even Islamist genocide. Yet the Oct. 7 genocide was more barbaric than anything before it. They revealed again that Islamism is a virulent impostor of Islam with intentions anathema to the faith. And there was no doubt of Islamism's guilt: I heard phone calls exclaiming the Shahadah - the Islamic declaration of faith - as Hamas commandos murdered, executed, burned, pillaged and then broadcast their crimes.
        Article 6 of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines genocide as a crime against humanity. Its essential element is intent "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group."
        The Oct. 7 attack was premeditated, organized and targeted, seeking to destroy as many Israelis as possible. This was a methodically planned genocide. Eyewitnesses told me the terrorists came with tablets loaded with maps of the kibbutzim, blueprints and floor plans of homes, names of families and specific knowledge of service records and where Israeli veterans were living.
        The writer, a British-American Muslim, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Hamas Massacre: Is This What Hell Looks Like? - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    I was running our news desk the day of the massacre, so I knew what had happened. But I did not know. It was only when I watched the IDF movie, designed to highlight the horror of that day, that the narratives fell into place. These accounts are just a tiny fraction of the horrific events that transpired. On Oct. 7, there were over 5,000 separate incidents as thousands of people fell victim to Hamas' relentless onslaught.
        The situation depicted in the footage underscored why Israel believes it has no alternative but to take action against Hamas. The atrocities committed by Hamas have left a deep scar, making it difficult for us to believe we are safe in our homes. I saw what happened. I saw where it happened. I saw the results of what happened. And I saw who it happened to. It happened in my home. To me. To my people. To my country. Is this what hell looks like?
        As I emerged from the screening, a young Government Press Office staffer approached me to hear my reaction and extended her microphone. "Could you please tell me what you witnessed?" she asked. I attempted to speak, but instead of words, a flood of tears welled up from deep within me. I hadn't anticipated breaking down, but the emotions were so intense that tears were the only answer.
        The writer, a former Jerusalem Post news editor, is Deputy CEO - Strategy & Innovation for the Jerusalem Post Group. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Human Rights Watch: Destructive Agenda, Token Balance - Gerald M. Steinberg
    New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a key leader in the campaign to condemn Israel. With an annual income of more than $100 million, HRW's public relations team has been working full time to book their "experts" on television news programs and market their propaganda campaign to journalists, politicians, and diplomats. When mobs attack Jewish targets on university campuses and on the streets of London, New York, Toronto, and Sydney, their chants and signs echo the HRW slogans.
        In HRW's first public statement following the attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the incomprehensible brutality of the Hamas massacres was somehow justified or required contextualization. The deluge of HRW post-massacre posts, interviews and solemn statements repeat the organization's standard menu of Israeli apartheid and war crimes, wrapped in authoritative-sounding manipulation of international law. In HRW's version of "international law," Hamas and Israel are, at best, indistinguishable.
        Perhaps at some point, journalists, government officials, and donors will recognize the false accusations and stop providing HRW with platforms and funding to promote its destructive agenda. And perhaps the dissonance between its carefully manicured image of promoting morality and the blatant immorality of its Israel agenda will become too obvious to ignore.
        The writer, a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is emeritus professor of politics at Bar-Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor. (Fathom-BICOM-UK)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening:
  • "We will not stop until the mission is complete. The war against Hamas-ISIS is advancing at full force and it has one goal - victory. There is no substitute for victory. We will eliminate Hamas and bring back our hostages."
  • "IDF forces have completed the encirclement of Gaza City. They are operating in the heart of the city and are on the outskirts of Shifa Hospital. They have eliminated thousands of terrorists including senior commanders and arch-murderers who were among those involved in the terrible massacre on the cursed Saturday of October 7."
  • "We are also prepared on the northern front. We are operating there with heavy fire - from the air and on the ground....We are also fighting on additional fronts. Every day, we are taking action against terrorism, its emissaries and militants, in Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea and anywhere necessary."
  • "About the hostages, my directive and that of the Cabinet is clear: There will be no ceasefire without the return of our hostages."
  • "To the leaders of the Arab states...you must come out against Hamas. In the 16 years of its tyranny, Hamas has brought disaster on Gaza. It has brought only two things to the residents of Gaza: blood and poverty. Hamas is an integral part of the axis of terrorism led by Iran, and this axis of terrorism and evil endangers the entire Middle East, and the entire Arab world as well."
  • "As to the talk about the day after, this will only come after Hamas has been eliminated, and Gaza is demilitarized and no longer able to threaten the State of Israel. In order to ensure that there is no such threat, the IDF will continue to have security control over the Gaza Strip for as long as necessary to prevent terrorism from it."
  • "The massacre on October 7 proved once and for all wherever there is no Israeli security control, terrorism will return and establish itself; therefore, I will not agree to concede security control under any circumstances."
  • Netanyahu also ruled out the possibility of the Palestinian Authority controlling Gaza, saying, "There will not be a civil authority there that educates their children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, or to eliminate Israel. There cannot be an authority there that pays the families of murderers. There cannot be an authority who didn't condemn the massacre." (Jerusalem Post)

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