November 13, 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:

IDF Provided Shifa Hospital with Emergency Fuel; Hamas Prevented the Hospital from Receiving It (Israel Defense Forces)
    On Sunday, IDF troops brought 300 liters of fuel to the entrance of Shifa Hospital in Gaza for urgent medical purposes, in coordination with a senior Gazan official at the hospital.
    The CEO of the Hamas Health Ministry, Yosef Abu Rish, prevented the hospital staff from receiving the fuel.

Hamas Has Built a Command Base under Shifa Hospital - Matthew Rosenberg (New York Times)
    Israeli security officials say Hamas has spent 16 years building a vast command complex under Shifa hospital in Gaza City, and setting up similar bases underneath other medical facilities.
    American officials agree, citing their own intelligence.
    Israeli officials said the hospital was spared in past Israeli operations out of concern for civilian life, but at the cost of leaving what is underneath it intact.
    It is a mistake that Israel will not repeat this time. The complex under Shifa is one of the principal Israeli targets of the war.
    Israel said Sunday it was securing a route for civilians and patients to leave Shifa.
    Israel has released a 3-D representation of the Hamas command complex beneath the hospital, audio recordings of Hamas fighters discussing the tunnels under Shifa, and videos of captured militants discussing the tunnels.
    A former senior official at the Israel Security Agency said the compound included several floors with spaces for meetings, living quarters and storage facilities. It can hold at least several hundred people.
    Israeli military intelligence said "there are several underground complexes used by the leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas to direct their activities."
    Israeli intelligence officials showed the Times photos of secret entrances to the compound from inside the hospital.
    American officials said they are confident that Hamas has used tunnel networks under hospitals, in particular Shifa, for command and control areas as well as for weapons storage.

More than 180,000 March in France Against Antisemitism (AP-CBS News)
    More than 180,000 people across France, including 100,000 in Paris, marched peacefully on Sunday to protest against rising antisemitism.
    Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, representatives of several parties on the left, conservatives and centrists of President Emmanuel Macron's party as well as far-right leader Marine Le Pen attended Sunday's march.
    Family members of the 40 French citizens killed in the initial Hamas attack, and of those missing or held hostage, also took part.
    French authorities have registered more than 1,000 acts against Jews around the country in the past month.

Finland Signs $330 Million David's Sling Deal - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    Israel Ministry of Defense director Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir on Sunday signed a contract for the sale of the Israeli David's Sling air defense system to Finland, designed to intercept medium- to long-range missiles, in a deal worth $330 million.

American Volunteers Flock to Help in Israel after Hamas Massacre - Michael Kaplan (New York Post)
    Schuyler Gordon, 37, a law clerk and volunteer fireman from Great Neck, New York, volunteered as a firefighter with the Emergency Volunteers Project and deployed to Israel for two weeks in October.
    "The experience was magnificent. On Friday night, there was Shabbat dinner at the firehouse. Then the siren went off and four guys ran for the truck."
    "The Israelis were astonished that we put down our lives for two weeks. They realized we were there to work and put out fires, often caused by falling rockets."
    Dr. Zev Neuwirth, 54, an internist from Miami, volunteered as an army doctor. "War broke out on Saturday. By Sunday, I was in Israel. I recently retired from the Marines' Civil Affairs Group; so I am a physician with military experience on the front lines."
    "I've seen soldier-to-soldier combat injuries. But this hits my heart on a personal level. It's about our blood and our right to exist. [Hamas] wants to wipe us off the face of the Earth."
    "I embed myself with front-line units and provide medical support first and, after that, any aid I can offer - whether it's psychological or delivering supplies. The heartfelt connection is tremendous."
    Reuben Taub, 65, is a private investor in New York City who is volunteering as a cook.
    "My daughter, Melissa, lives in Tel Aviv. She found a group called Grilling for the IDF. Two days after the attack, I found myself flipping hundreds of burgers for the soldiers. It feels purposeful and like the right thing to do. You're helping."

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu Outlines Israel's Primary Objectives in Gaza - Radina Gigova
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday: "If you're talking about stopping the fighting, that's exactly what Hamas wants. Hamas wants an endless series of pauses that basically dissipate the battle against them."
        Netanyahu outlined Israel's primary objectives in Gaza: First, destroy Hamas so it cannot carry out attacks like Oct. 7 again. Second, implement "an overriding and over-reaching Israeli military envelope" to ensure that "terrorism" does not resurge in Gaza post-war. Third, ensure any civilian authority taking over control of Gaza would agree to "demilitarize" and "de-radicalize" the enclave. (CNN)
  • U.S. Airstrikes Kill Iranian Proxies in Syria - Dan Lamothe
    The Pentagon on Sunday announced a new round of airstrikes on Iranian facilities in eastern Syria linked to dozens of recent attacks targeting U.S. troops there and in Iraq. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes hit a training facility near the city of [Bukamal] and a "safe house" near Mayadin. A senior U.S. defense official said the training facility was used to store weapons and that secondary explosions were observed. The safe house functioned as a headquarters for groups affiliated with the IRGC.
        "We continue to message to Iran that we hold them accountable for these [attacks on U.S. personnel], and that their leaders must take action to constrain the activities of the groups Iran directs, trains, and equips," the official said. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Envisioned Deeper Attacks, Hoping to Inspire Violence in the West Bank - Shira Rubin
    Evidence has revealed the contours of Hamas' intentions to strike a blow of historic proportions. After breaching the Israeli border in 30 places, Hamas staged a mass slaughter of soldiers and civilians in 22 Israeli villages, towns and military outposts. Some carried enough food, ammunition and equipment to last several days and had instructions to continue deeper into Israel if the first wave of attacks succeeded, potentially striking larger Israeli cities. Hamas assault teams penetrated as far as Ofakim, an Israeli town 15 miles from Gaza, about half the distance to the West Bank.
        One unit carried reconnaissance information and maps suggesting an intention to continue the assault up to the border of the West Bank. Hamas sought to kick-start a new wave of violent Palestinian resistance in the region and scuttle efforts at normalizing relations between Israel and Arab states. (Washington Post)
  • EU Condemns Hamas for Using Hospitals as Human Shields
    "The EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday in a statement issued on behalf of the 27-nation bloc. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • UK Defense Secretary: Israel Mustn't Stop War on Terrorists Who Cut Off Heads - Tovah Lazaroff
    Great Britain would not be told to halt its war on a terror group that attacked its sovereign territory and cut off the heads of its citizens, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC on Sunday. "If Britain had been subject to an attack of terrorists coming and murdering [1,200] people and cutting off heads, and we knew where those terrorists had gone, no one would say to Britain stop going after them."
        Shapps said that it was important to note that Israel was taking steps to prevent civilian deaths and that its actions must be placed within the larger context of how nations act in wartime. He compared the IDF bombings of Gaza with the British and American bombing of the German city of Dresden during World War II. "We have sort of forgotten that in war, very sadly, people lose their lives. When Britain bombed Dresden, 35,000 people lost their lives," Shapps said.
        He noted that Israel was pursuing terrorists within tunnels in which thousands of rockets were stored. "How can we ask Israel not to go and destroy those bunkers?" Shapps asked. In this war, Great Britain "should absolutely be on the side of right, and right is going after Hamas."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Europe's Socialist Leaders Condemn Hamas Brutality, Support Israel's Right to Defend Itself - Jonathan Lis
    European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and prime ministers from Spain, Denmark, Romania, and Malta, issued a joint statement that "unequivocally condemns Hamas for the brutal terrorist attacks" it launched on Israel on Oct. 7. The statement, part of the summary of the gathering of 32 socialist parties in Europe (PES) that took place this weekend in Spain, does not limit Israeli army activity in Gaza. It also says: "We demand that Hamas releases the hostages immediately and unconditionally. Israel has a right to defend itself."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • For Israel, a Ceasefire Means Death - Amb. Michael Oren
    Pressure is mounting on Israel to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel wants nothing more than to see an end to this war, but accepting a ceasefire means victory for Hamas. For Israel, a ceasefire means death. A ceasefire would enable the terrorists to get away with mass murder. It would empower them to replenish their rocket arsenal and repair the damage to their military infrastructure. As in the past, much of the international aid channeled into Gaza would be siphoned off by Hamas to augment its ability to kill Jews.
        A ceasefire would empower Hamas to declare a triumph for its jihadist aberration of Islam and to prepare for the next, even more barbarous, round. A ceasefire would mortally tie Israel's hands. Israel would lose its regional deterrence. Iran could strike us with impunity, confident that any attempt to defend ourselves would swiftly be curtailed by a ceasefire.
        President Biden understands this and, together with Israel, has withstood the rising pressure for a ceasefire. He knows that a ceasefire means not only defeat for Israel but also for a U.S. facing many of the same Iranian and terrorist threats. Neither country can allow Hamas to win nor to permit Israel's security to be permanently and perhaps fatally impaired.
        The writer was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. and a deputy minister of diplomacy in the prime minister's office. (The Hill)
  • Hamas Is Seen as Representative of the Palestinians - Itamar Marcus
    The Palestinian Authority and Fatah, by giving unrestrained support to Hamas' massacre, have helped galvanize the entire Palestinian population behind the ISIS-like atrocities and behind Hamas. PA and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas justified the massacres as the Palestinian "right to self-defense" and called Israel's counterattack "Israeli escalation against our people."
        The PA and Fatah, with their own actions, have handed the loyalty of the West Bank on a silver platter to Hamas, which must now be recognized as the uncontested representative - not only of the Palestinian people, but also of Fatah and Abbas himself.
        The writer is director of Palestinian Media Watch. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Theology of Hamas - Ed Husain
    Hamas isn't only a terrorist group, it is a religious organization, incubated by the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, departed from Islamic tradition and created Islamism, a totalitarian ideology to resist the pluralist West. The Brotherhood developed a new declaration of faith that includes: "Jihad is our method. Martyrdom is our aspiration."
        Theology is central to Hamas' charter, which declares that "Islam will destroy Israel" and that because "Palestine is an Islamic land," it is the "individual duty of every Muslim" to liberate it. Hamas envisages a future Palestine that is cleansed of Jews. Hamas calls its terror faction the al-Qassam Brigades, after the Syrian cleric Izzaddin al-Qassam, who attacked Jews living in kibbutzim in the 1930s.
        Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood aspire to create a region-wide Shariah state, an anti-Western confrontational caliphate in line with Iran's political model. That intention has led Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt to ban both groups from organizing within their borders.
        The writer is a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. (Wall Street Journal)
  • On a Visit to Israel, I Have Seen the Horror that the World Must Never Forget - Douglas Murray
    The scale and catastrophe of what happened when Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7 is still becoming clear. Ever since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas got elected and killed their rivals, the people of the Israeli communities near Gaza have known that their neighbors might not love them. But few could have imagined the sheer human hate and evil that came down on their communities one Saturday morning last month.
        Nir Oz was a community of 400 people. Today it is a ghost town. One of the surviving members of the community took me around through the burned-out ruins of his town. He knew the families who had lived in every one of these houses. He knew their names, their stories, their hobbies. It was a scene of utter carnage. At least 30 were murdered in their homes and over 80 were kidnapped and taken into Gaza, many very badly wounded. There were Thai workers who helped in the kibbutz and had their own accommodation. The terrorists had gone from door to door, shooting them.
        Hamas didn't allow them to live. Israel cannot live with Hamas. The world must realize this. (New York Post)
  • In Memory of Major (res.) Moshe Yedidyah Leiter - A Hero in Life and Death - Dr. Miriam Adelson
    I had the privilege of knowing Major (res.) Moshe Yedidyah Leiter. The tragic death in battle of this young and talented man fills my heart with deep sorrow. Moshe was among the most promising students in the medical school that I founded with my late husband, Sheldon, at Ariel University. He was older than most of his peers in the program, having served until the age of 33 in an elite military unit and had already started a family. After all this, he embarked on his new medical career path with the joy of a pioneer, while volunteering for 90 days of reserve duty each year.
        Moshe was born in the historic part of Hebron and grew up in Eli in a family of patriotic olim, intellectuals with a deep sense of duty toward society. He excelled as an officer in the Shaldag unit. He was a father of six, yet he himself seemed to be the eternal, inquisitive child with a mischievous smile that would never leave his lips. Moshe fell in battle as a hero during one of the most dangerous missions in Gaza: Clearing a tunnel boobytrapped by terrorists.
        Like all the People of Israel, I mourn for all those who were murdered in the October 7 massacre and in the war imposed upon us since then. Each and every one of them is an entire world. Each left a massive void.
        The writer is the publisher of Israel Hayom. (Israel Hayom)

Hamas' "Numbers Warfare": Understanding Hamas' Casualty Reporting in the Gaza War - Prof. Kobi Michael (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMH) in Gaza is tightly controlled and operated by Hamas, a barbaric radical Islamic terror organization whose charter calls for the mass murder of Jews. Any report by the ministry, by definition, is a Hamas report.
  • The PMH reports on Palestinian casualties with attribution exclusively to IDF strikes. Reports of Hamas fighters' casualties are noticeably absent. In short, five weeks after the outbreak of the war, neither the Hamas leadership nor the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported a single casualty among Hamas forces.
  • No one questioned how PMH reported 30,000 Palestinians wounded when the total number of hospital beds in all medical facilities in Gaza, including UNRWA clinics, did not exceed 3,000. So, where exactly are all the 30,000 wounded? According to PMH reports, there are already more than 13,000 Palestinians dead. If that casualty number is accurate, where were they buried?
  • Due to the zero reliability of Hamas and its strategic manipulations, we offer an alternative analysis to help determine an objective measure of casualties in Gaza. It starts from a number of dead and wounded which is about half of the number reported by Hamas, although it is possible, and even with high certainty, to assume an even lower number.
  • At least half of the number of dead and wounded are probably Hamas members, whether armed terrorists, whose identity is disguised as civilians by Hamas, or members of the Hamas establishment. A significant number of the "children" reported as killed or wounded are young people aged 13-18, who were in Hamas facilities or even took an active part in the fighting. (Israeli Minister Ron Dermer, in an interview with Sky News, reported 3,000 Hamas members killed.)
  • From the remaining number, a significant number of Palestinian dead and injured resulting from nearly 1,000 failed rocket launches that landed short must be subtracted, such as the one that fell on the al-Ahli hospital. From the remainder one must subtract all the Palestinians who fled northern Gaza for the safe zone in the south and who were killed by Hamas.
  • The small balance of casualties is indeed comprised of unarmed civilians who were regretfully and unintentionally killed by IDF attacks. But compared to every other war in the last hundred years, the collateral damage caused by the IDF is low compared to other Western military campaigns, particularly by the UK or U.S. military.
  • This relatively small civilian collateral damage is the result of Israel's strict adherence to the international laws of war and the utmost efforts made by the IDF to convince the Gaza civilian population to evacuate battle zones while opening humanitarian corridors and securing safe civilian passage.

    The writer is a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University and editor-in-chief of Strategic Assessment.

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