November 14, 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 Offers Incubators, Respirators to Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital - Sam Halpern (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF is coordinating the transfer of incubators for newborns from an Israeli hospital to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, the IDF said Tuesday as it conducts an ongoing effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the hospital.
    "The IDF remains committed to upholding its moral and professional responsibilities to distinguish between civilians and Hamas terrorists. The IDF is willing to work with any reliable mediating party to ensure the transfer of the incubators," an IDF spokesperson said.
    In a phone call released by the IDF, an officer speaking with the director-general of al-Shifa Hospital offers incubators as well as helping to evacuate children and patients from the facility.
    IDF spokesperson Shani Sasson, standing in front of the incubators that are to be sent to al-Shifa, said, "extensive efforts are underway to ensure that these incubators... can reach babies in Gaza without delay. Our war is against Hamas, and not the people of Gaza."

IDF: Hamas Command Center Found under Gaza Children's Hospital - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said Monday that navy commandos and the 401st Armored Brigade raided Gaza City's Rantisi Hospital, which treats children.
    "Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control center, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons....We also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here."
    Hagari said, "Israel helped the hospital managers evacuate the Gaza patients to a safer hospital. The last 18 patients in the Rantisi Hospital had safely evacuated."
    See also Video: Hamas Command Center under Rantisi Hospital in Gaza (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

British Aircraft Providing Surveillance Support to Israel - George Allison (UK Defence Journal)
    James Heappey, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, outlined the extent of British military support to Israel, stating, "A total of 12 aircraft have deployed to the eastern Mediterranean. These flights have provided surveillance support to Israel, including preventing the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups."

Israeli Arab ZAKA Volunteer at the Scene of the Hamas Massacre (Times of Israel)
    Jamal Waraqi, an Israeli Muslim Arab volunteer for the ZAKA rescue service, described to Israel's Channel 12 on Monday what he saw in the kibbutzim in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre.
    "It wasn't easy - when we enter a home and begin to discover the life that was," he said, describing seeing photos, toys, and Shabbat candles still laid out. "Five people in a photo, five corpses on the floor."
    "What happened there is not related to Islam or any religion. It's related to cannibals, cruelty, and unbridled hatred, not religion."
    "In the Quran, it's written that during war - and I don't define this as war, because what happened was an attack on innocents, not a war - our law says you can't kill women, children; you're forbidden from killing the elderly, you can't even cut down a tree."

The Moral Clarity of a Just War - Yossi Klein Halevi (Times of Israel)
    We are at one of those defining moments in Jewish history when we find ourselves at a moral disconnect with much of the international community.
    A mere month later, the memory of Oct. 7 has faded, absorbed into the "cycle of violence."
    No, we patiently explain, the massacre was not in response to anything Israel does but to what Israel is.
    And yes, the suffering of innocent Gazans deserves the world's urgent humanitarian attention, but not at the expense of moral clarity about the justness of this war.
    But increasingly, we sense that we are talking to ourselves. The West doesn't understand the language we are speaking.
    We watch the mass marches against Israel with astonishment. What may well be the most horrific massacre of our time has resulted in the unprecedented popularity of the Palestinian cause.
    But with the Hamas massacre, we agree that those who did that to the Jewish people must not be allowed to claim victory.
    To leave a genocidal regime on our border would be a betrayal of the founding ethos of Israel as a safe refuge for the Jewish people.
    We know that the longer the fighting in Gaza lasts, even our friends will begin to pressure us to relent. We must resist that pressure and not fear the consequences.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Hamas Shattered a Fantasy - Naaman Hirschfeld (Israel Hayom)
    Should the concern that combating Hamas would lead to mass casualties among civilians stop Israel from fighting the organization? Until Oct. 7, my answer would have been a resolute "Yes." Today, my answer is a no less resolute "No."
    Hamas shattered the fantasy I and many others had. We insisted on seeing Hamas as a Palestinian political movement with which Israel could reach understandings and agreements.
    When 3,000 terrorists emerged from Gaza and slaughtered the surrounding civilian population, the death of the civilian population was not "collateral damage." It was the clear objective of this operation.
    Hamas has positioned itself as an existential enemy of Israel. Its regime in Gaza cannot be allowed to continue to exist.
    Israel has no choice but to fight this war until it utterly defeats Hamas in Gaza.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: We Would Love to See Hamas Stop Using Civilians as Human Shields
    State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday: "We don't want to see civilians caught in the crossfire. We would love to see Hamas vacate the hospitals that it's using as command posts immediately. We would love to see all the people that are calling for Israel to take steps to protect hospitals call for Hamas to vacate the hospitals and stop using civilians as human shields. We would love to see Hamas take some of the fuel reserves it's sitting on and use that to supply hospitals in northern Gaza. We would love to see Hamas have taken the fuel that Israel offered it yesterday - that they declined - for use at al-Shifa Hospital."
        "We would love to see Hamas stop using civilians as human shields, which they very cynically do. They're the ones that continue to put civilians in harm's way. They obviously have shown no sign of changing that longstanding, abhorrent practice of theirs."  (State Department)
  • Israeli President Herzog: We Must Protect Against a Culture that Celebrates Atrocities
    President of Israel Isaac Herzog told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Nov. 12: "Let's also be honest and think whether an average Israeli citizen who seeks security, first and foremost, for himself, for his kids, for his parents, for his loved ones. Why would anybody agree right now to any progress [with the Palestinians] when our neighbors, when we don't see, truly, their ability to fight terror? And many, many of them, including those in Gaza, are hailing and smiling and celebrating in the most atrocious way, the world's greatest atrocity, almost, since World War II."
        "Part of the whole issue is a culture that celebrates these awful atrocities. These atrocities cannot be accepted in any way. It has nothing to do with the conflict. It has nothing to do with the borders, with settlements, or anything. This is simple, clear barbarism, Jew-hate, other-hate, which is advocated by ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaeda. Which if we weren't here, then Europe would be next and probably the U.S. is the end game for all of them."
        "We first and foremost have to give safety and security to Israel. And I think a lot of the ideas that will be worked out afterwards will be dependent on their ability to produce safety and security for Israel. And, by the way, for the Palestinians as well."
        "I believe that all nations in the region would like to get to that moment because, after all, the historic trajectory is the inclusion of Israel in the region and normalization with its neighbors. The whole atrocious campaign, this sadism and barbarism, first and foremost has to do with eradicating Israel, but also undermining and, of course, stopping this process of normalization in the region."  (CBS News)
  • More Attacks on U.S. Forces following Strike on Iran-Backed Targets in Syria - Carla Babb
    Iranian-backed militants have attacked U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria at least four times in the past 24 hours, raising the number of attacks to 52 in less than a month, U.S. defense officials say. "These attacks must stop, and if they don't stop, then we won't hesitate to do what's necessary, again, to protect the troops," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday.
        In the latest attack against U.S. forces on Monday, multiple one-way drones were launched at Rumalyn Landing Zone in Syria. One drone was shot down while the other impacted the garrison, causing no casualties. (VOA News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel's Army Makes Headway in Gaza - Amos Harel
    Israel is still far from defeating Hamas. But for now, it looks like Hamas isn't capable of stopping or even significantly delaying an Israeli division that enters a military facility or a neighborhood. Almost 700,000 residents of northern Gaza have evacuated the area and headed south to safer areas. Entire neighborhoods of Gaza City and its suburbs have been destroyed.
        Five and a half weeks after the Oct. 7 massacre, these terrible events are still what is dictating Israel's conduct. During many years of covering IDF operations, I've never encountered determination like this among both officers and soldiers. As far as the officers in Gaza are concerned, the operation should end only once Hamas is defeated.
        The number of terrorists killed is estimated at 4,100, including almost 1,100 on the first day of fighting inside Israel, and thousands of others have been wounded. The performance of the infantry and tank brigades has been a pleasant surprise, given their comparative lack of operational experience. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF Breaks Through 10 Out of 24 Hamas Battalions in Gaza - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The effectiveness of 10 out of 24 Hamas battalions has been broken, according to the IDF. Each battalion contained more than 1,000 men. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Terrorists Fire Anti-Tank Missile at IDF Troops from Gaza Hospital - Elisha Ben Kimon
    "During operations carried out by the 188th Brigade, RPG fire and small arms fire were directed at the soldiers from the direction of the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City," the IDF reported on Monday. "The shooting was carried out by a terrorist squad that had embedded itself within a group of civilians at the entrance of the hospital. The soldiers identified a terrorist squad with two RPG launchers among the civilians." The soldiers shelled the sources of the attack. Some 20 terrorists were killed in the clashes while no Israeli soldiers were hurt. (Ynet News)
  • Video: Hamas Weapons Found in Gaza Waters - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, the Israeli Navy's Unit for Underwater Missions (Yaltam) has uncovered dozens of weapons and military devices in the waters of Gaza. Many were used by Hamas in attempts to infiltrate Israeli territory, which the Israeli Navy successfully thwarted. They included explosive devices, explosive belts, ammunition and inflatable boats. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Day After Israeli Victory - Editorial
    While Israel focuses on winning the war against Hamas, the U.S. has been pressing for commitments on what will come next. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the way forward to peace "must include the Palestinian people's voices and aspirations at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza." The rush to empower "the Palestinian people's voices" after Israel left Gaza in 2005 saw Gazans elect Hamas in 2006. The Palestinian Authority hasn't held another election in the West Bank, knowing Hamas could win there, too.
        Could the PA even hold Gaza? Hamas overpowered it in 2007, throwing its members off buildings. The PA has since decayed. The Soviet-trained PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, who blames the Holocaust on Jews, has been unwilling to clearly condemn the Oct. 7 massacres. A wing of his Fatah party even claims to have taken part.
        Mr. Blinken also has a tendency to talk as if the peace process can soon return to regularly scheduled programming. After Oct. 7, it can't. It matters that Palestinians elected an Iran-backed terrorist group that used the territory Israel had given up to commit a proto-genocide against Jews. Until there is substantive change among Palestinians, it is futile to demand that Israel empower them to do it all over again in central Israel. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Palestinian Authority Cannot Govern Gaza - Sander Gerber and Ezra Gontownik
    On Nov. 1, Secretary of State Antony Blinken floated that a "revitalized" Palestinian Authority (PA) might oversee Gaza after Israel hopefully cripples Hamas' military and governing capabilities. This would be a terrible mistake. After Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the PA was put in charge of the territory and failed miserably to maintain power or order, or to bring any peace or growth.
        It is the PA's "pay for slay" program that will provide financial rewards to families of the thousands of Hamas terrorists killed and captured on Oct. 7. The reality is that the PA financially incentivizes and rewards terror that targets Jews and Israelis. The powers-that-be must not settle on a failed, corrupt, and terror-sponsoring PA to govern Gaza after Israel defeats Hamas.
        Sander Gerber, a member of the steering committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is also a member of the State Department's Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) advisory board. Ezra Gontownik is co-founder and president of Kol HaNearim, a nonprofit supporting at-risk Israeli youth. (Jerusalem Post)
  • How the Palestinian Authority Failed Its People - Ghaith al-Omari
    Since its establishment in 1993, the Palestinian Authority has been losing credibility among the Palestinian people. It governed on a model of corrupt authoritarianism. Government jobs were political favors to be doled out to supporters; public funds, many of them from international aid, were mere means toward the enrichment of officials. Efficiency, responsiveness to the public, and the provision of services were all an afterthought.
        When in 2006, the newly elected PA President Mahmoud Abbas called elections, Hamas ran an effective campaign focusing on the PA's corruption and promising clean governance - and won. A year later, Hamas clashed with the PA old guard in Gaza and expelled the PA.
        Today, a staggering 87% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza believe that the PA is corrupt, 78% want Abbas to resign, and 62% believe the PA is a liability. This loss of popular legitimacy means that even before the current war in Gaza, areas of the West Bank were practically ungoverned.
        In Gaza, meanwhile, Hamas' initial popularity has evaporated. Today, 72% of Palestinians believe that Hamas is corrupt - but the group maintains its power through fear and brutality, not the consent of the governed.
        If the PA were a more effective, clean government, better trusted by its people, one might imagine it returning to Gaza when this war ends and leading the process of reconstruction and recovery. But Palestinians have no confidence that the PA has their interests at heart, and the international community does not trust it to administer funds on the scale of those that will be needed for reconstruction.
        The writer is a Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Arab Druze Village Proud to Serve in Israel's War
    In the Druze village of Hurfeish, near Israel's border with Lebanon, mostly women remain after many men had left to join the front lines of war. This community in Galilee, brightly adorned with Israeli and Druze flags, has been flush with patriotic fervor since Oct. 7. The unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel galvanized Hurfeish into action to support the troops. A local factory was refitted to produce military uniforms. Cars are dotted with blue and white stickers - the colors of the Israeli flag - bearing Arabic script.
        Of the 7,000 villagers, nearly "80% work in national defense," in the army, police, intelligence, or penitentiaries, said Hassan Rabakh, leader of an armed self-defense group formed after the Hamas attack. "We are very close to the Lebanese border, at four km. as the crow flies, and in our village we have no fence. So we have two vehicles constantly patrolling," Rabakh said.
        In the Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, neighboring Hurfeish, hundreds took part in a religious ceremony to honor Lt.-Col. Alim Saad, killed in clashes on Oct. 9 with Hizbullah just a few km. away. "He evacuated his soldiers and went back alone," his brother Kamal Saad, also a soldier, said. "He sacrificed himself so they don't do to us like they did in the south."  (AFP-France24)
        See also With Israeli Soldiers on the Northern Front
    Kamal Saad, 33, commands the Israeli army's 299th Battalion operating in the north, where cross-border exchanges of fire have intensified since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The infantry battalion is 70% Druze, an Arabic-speaking minority in Israel who are known for being fierce fighters. "We grew up here, it's our home. We know every stone," says Saad. "Our mission is to protect the security forces operating here and the remaining civilians," he adds. His brother Alim was killed by Hizbullah on Oct. 9 in the area.
        The fire from Lebanon is sporadic, but it does take place every day. And for the first time in Israel's history, all civilians in areas along the border have been evacuated. In the north since Oct. 7, at least 70 Hizbullah fighters have been killed on the Lebanese side, and eight people inside Israel, including six soldiers. (AFP-France24)
  • U.S. Evangelicals Are Sending Money and Manpower to Israel - Cathryn J. Prince
    High above Times Square the images flash: a bloodied pacifier, rope-bound hands, an empty wheelchair, pictures of the 240 Israeli people taken hostage by Hamas. The images are part of Don't Look Away, a campaign launched by Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Over a month into the Israel-Hamas war, American Evangelicals are providing moral and material support to Israel, hosting fundraisers and poster campaigns, and sending volunteers and supplies.
        "We have 10 million members. So many people want to help in a physical way to give Israel and Jewish people some sense that you are not alone," said CUFI's co-executive director Shari Dollinger. CUFI, founded in 2006, has so far raised $2.65 million for Israeli charities, primarily first responders. On Oct. 15, member churches shared the same talking points in sermons. CUFI is selling yard signs and unity pins showing an American flag together with the Israeli flag for $2. All proceeds go to Israeli charities.
        On Oct. 11, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention issued an "Evangelical Statement in Support of Israel" signed by 2,000 pastors, theologians, and academic leaders across denominational lines. It said, "In keeping with Christian Just War tradition, we also affirm the legitimacy of Israel's right to respond against those who have initiated these attacks as Romans 13 grants governments the power to bear the sword against those who commit such evil acts against innocent life."  (Times of Israel)

  • Over the last few weeks, alongside the unprecedented level of support and aid that the Americans have granted Israel in the current military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, they have also been sharing their plan for after Hamas has been defeated: the "good guys" from the Palestinian Authority (PA) will take over the reins of government in Gaza too.
  • This will occur in tandem with a concerted effort to implement the "Two-State Solution" and a far-reaching compromise that Israel will have to make in Judea and Samaria.
  • But the American theory suffers from a key, basic preliminary fault. Their underlying assumption that Judea and Samaria are home to the "good guys" or that Hamas does not represent the majority of the Palestinians simply does not tally with reality.
  • More than 1,000 terrorist attacks planned by both Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations have been thwarted by the IDF and the Israel Security Agency throughout Judea and Samaria in recent years, in those very areas where the "good guys" are.
  • Since the beginning of the war, manifestations of support and identification among the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria with the Oct. 7 massacre and the fighting led by Hamas in Gaza against Israel have been steadily growing.
  • The support for Hamas continues in those very areas where the Americans seek to establish a Palestinian state, even when rockets launched from Gaza fall on them by mistake. In the Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem, children, youth, men and women celebrated with fragments and shrapnel from the rockets, dancing in joy and chanting cries of incitement against Israel and calls of support for Hamas.
  • Itamar Marcus, the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, noted that in Judea and Samaria after the massacre, "Initially there was tremendous joy there. The feeling was that Hamas had fulfilled a dream that the PA could only ever have fantasized about. You are repeatedly witness to the use of words such as 'joy,' 'pride' and 'heroic.'"

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