November 16, 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 to Expand Operations in Southern Gaza (Times of Israel)
    Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to leave areas east of the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, residents said Thursday.
    Similar leaflets were dropped over northern Gaza for weeks ahead of the ground invasion.

Destruction in Gaza City - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    Sector by sector in northern Gaza, dozens of IDF combat teams are going from house to house, searching and destroying tunnel shafts and weapons stores.
    They're taking no risks. As nearly all of the population who lived in the area have now fled south, this means that any building suspected of harboring weapons or tunnel entrances is bombed or bulldozed.
    Soon, the issue of trying to avoid more civilian casualties will no longer exist because all those who can will have left.
    Wide swaths of Gaza City and its surroundings have already been destroyed.
    One reason why this has not yet been fully noticed is because Hamas doesn't want its own constituency, the Palestinian people and the wider Arab world, to see what they have lost due to the folly of launching such a vicious attack on Israel.
    Israel is on the cusp of doing what it said it would: destroy Hamas' military capabilities.
    Since, in the 16 years it has ruled over Gaza, Hamas spread its military infrastructure above and below ground throughout the civilian fabric of the city until they were inseparable, there was no other way but to destroy Gaza City.
    Soon the saga around Al-Shifa Hospital will be over and the implications of what has happened will finally sink in.

Iran Is Waiting to Reach a Nuclear Capability - Aviram Balleishe (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Iranian regime has cultivated the perception of Iran as a military superpower. Why, then, their constraint?
    It is not a matter of Iranian weakness but of Iranian patience and a long-range perspective.
    Analyzing the current situation, Iran plays a chess game of delay and deceit while building a decisive advantage against its adversaries by finishing the process of achieving military nuclear capability.
    The writer, Senior Director for Security, Diplomacy, and Communications at the Jerusalem Center, has served in senior government positions for over 25 years.
    See also Iran Maintains Steady Expansion of Nuclear Program - Laurence Norman (Wall Street Journal)

Israel Chana: Civilian Who "Saved a Whole Neighborhood" (Times of Israel)
    Israel Chana, 30, from Ofakim, worked as a private security guard for a bank. He was out walking his dog with his girlfriend, Shahaf Rozolio, on Oct. 7 when they began to hear nearby gunshots while hiding out from the rockets fired from Gaza.
    Rozolio told Channel 13: "Suddenly we saw [the terrorists]. Israel didn't think twice, he went to go get his personal weapon...and went with another 15 or so civilians and started to search for the terrorists."
    She never heard from him again. A neighbor told her that she had seen his body and covered it up with a blanket.
    He had just 15 bullets in his pistol against heavily armed swarms of terrorists. The neighbor told Rozolio she saw Chana "alone against a cell of terrorists."
    He was running and hiding and shooting at them, "getting their focus on him so that they wouldn't infiltrate into houses....He killed one terrorist and he seriously wounded another," stopping them from entering nearby homes.

Video: In Attempt to Escape from Hamas Raiders, Israeli Tossed Back 7 Grenades (JNS-Israel Hayom-Reuters)
    Among the victims of the Hamas rampage on Oct. 7 was Staff Sgt. Aner Elyakim Shapiro, 22, an off-duty IDF soldier and dual British national.
    In a bid to save himself and others holed up in a bomb shelter, he tossed back at least seven grenades lobbed by Palestinian gunmen. The eighth exploded inside, killing him.
    Some two dozen others were then shot dead by Hamas.

Video: Hamas Bodycam Shows How Attacks on Israel Began - Oren Liebermann (CNN)
    This video is from the bodycam of one of the terrorists who took part in the attack on Israel on Oct. 7, provided to CNN by the Israel Defense Forces.
    The video includes footage of Hamas tunnels in Gaza used on the day of the attack.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Insists Gaza War Won't End until "Hamas No Longer Maintains the Capacity to Murder" - Laura Kelly
    President Joe Biden said Wednesday: "You have a circumstance where the first war crime is being committed by Hamas by having their headquarters, their military, hidden under a hospital....Hamas has already said publicly that they plan on attacking Israel again, like they did before, cutting babies' heads off to burning women and children alive."
        "With regards to when is this going to stop? I think it's going to stop when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder and abuse and just do horrific things to the Israelis. They plan on doing the same thing again, what they did on the 7th. They're going to go in, they want to slaughter Israelis. They want to do it again."  (The Hill)
  • U.S. Relied on Intercepts in Assessing Hamas Operations at Gaza Hospital - Nancy A. Youssef
    The U.S. assessment that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were operating within Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital was based in part on intercepted communications of fighters inside the compound, sources said Wednesday. Signals intelligence picked up in recent weeks was among several pieces of U.S.-gathered information. People familiar with the matter stressed it was based on multiple streams of data and was collected independently of Israel. The U.S. has also picked up intelligence about other hospitals. Using a hospital for any militant activities would be considered a war crime. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran Tells Hamas It Will Not Enter the War with Israel - Parisa Hafezi
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a clear message to the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, when they met in Tehran in early November: We will not enter the war with Israel on your behalf. Khamenei said Iran - a longtime backer of Hamas - would continue to lend the group its political and moral support, but wouldn't intervene directly, said three senior Iranian and Hamas officials with knowledge of the discussions.
        Khamenei pressed Haniyeh to silence those voices in Hamas publicly calling for Iran and its ally Hizbullah to join the battle against Israel, a Hamas official told Reuters.
        Iran won't directly intervene in the conflict unless it is itself attacked by Israel or the U.S., according to six officials with direct knowledge of Tehran's thinking. One source said Hamas wanted Hizbullah to strike deeper into Israel with its massive arsenal of rockets but that Hizbullah believed this would lead Israel to lay waste to Lebanon without halting its attack on Gaza. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Army Finds Hamas Headquarters, Weapons in Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital - Yaniv Kubovich
    IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that forces located a military headquarters in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, as well as weapons, intelligence materials, military technologies and military equipment. Hagari said the findings "unequivocally prove that the hospital was used operationally for terrorism, in total violation of international law."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video: Evidence Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital Used for Terror - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
  • Ex-USAID Director in Gaza: It Was Well Known Hamas Used Shifa Hospital, Traveled in Ambulances
    Dave Harden, a former USAID mission director in the West Bank and Gaza, says it was well known that Hamas terrorists used Shifa Hospital as a commander center and would use ambulances for travel as far back as 2014. (Times of Israel)
  • 8 Injured, 1 Critically, in Shooting Attack near Jerusalem - Liran Tamari
    Six members of the security forces and two civilians were injured Thursday in a shooting attack near the tunnel road checkpoint south of Jerusalem. Three terrorists, residents of Hebron, were shot and killed. A large amount of ammunition, as well as axes, were found in their vehicle which had been stopped for inspection. Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said, "They were probably planning to carry out a more significant operation in Jerusalem, but we eliminated them before they could do so."  (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas' Grave Miscalculation on How Israel Would React - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    Hamas hopes a ceasefire will compel Israel to change its war objectives and revert to the softer approach that Hamas initially believed Israel would follow right after the Oct. 7 massacre. I believe that Hamas leaders were convinced that the Israeli response would focus on targeted airstrikes and perhaps even a limited ground maneuver. But they never anticipated that Israel would launch an all-out undertaking to eliminate Hamas along with retaking Gaza.
        Hamas assessed that Israel's problematic relations with the U.S., coupled with its inherent reluctance to pay the high price involved in a broad military operation to remove Hamas from Gaza, would ultimately prevent it from completely defeating Hamas, just like in previous flare-ups. This time Israel adopted a different approach.
        Most Western leaders understand the importance of Israel's success in undermining Hamas and the moral justification for it. As the fighting continues, Israel will need to remind Western leaders that letting Hamas stay in power would be beyond the pale and that Israel can bring about its demise within a reasonable time without causing a humanitarian disaster in Gaza or leading to actions that would escalate into a regional war.
        The writer, former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Raid on Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital Is a Firm Message to Hamas - Amos Harel
    Israel took the risk of conducting searches in Al-Shifa Hospital in the heart of Gaza City on Wednesday to signal that there is no place its forces fear to enter and there is no place Hamas can feel safe.
        The raid on the hospital appears to have been preceded by understandings reached with the U.S. to undertake only a limited action and ensure the safety of doctors and patients. To maintain its freedom to operate militarily, Israel accepted these understandings and followed them to the letter. (Ha'aretz)
  • Implications of Expanded American Support for Israel - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
    The Hamas attack of Oct. 7 may have changed the U.S.-Israel defense relationship. Before the day was over, President Biden made the unprecedented decision to back Israel not only by a rapidly organized line of supplies, including interceptors for its Iron Dome batteries, but also by the presence in the eastern Mediterranean of two carrier strike groups to deter Hizbullah from opening a second front. Having been there for Israel at the hour of need, America has carved for itself a central role in preparing for the day after.
        Israeli decisions now have to take into account American constraints and imperatives. American concerns apparently played a role in Netanyahu's decision not to launch a preemptive strike against Hizbullah in Lebanon. The timing of the ground incursion in Gaza was delayed by a few days to give the U.S. military time to deploy force protection measures across the region.
        The persistent American demand for humanitarian relief and a corridor into Gaza raised the ire of the Israeli public, given the manner in which the hostages are held, against all humanitarian norms. While the IDF is also interested in humanitarian relief arrangements in the south of Gaza - so as to draw as many civilians as possible away from the battle zones in northern Gaza - the perception has taken hold that these gestures are all due to U.S. pressure. American involvement in the hostage negotiations is also placing some constraints on Israeli actions.
        The writer is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and former deputy director of Israel's National Security Council. (Jerusalem Strategic Tribune)
  • Hamas Is Murdering Palestinian Babies in Gaza Hospitals - Alan Dershowitz
    Media outlets around the world are showing dead and dying Palestinian babies in hospitals - but what they are not showing is who murdered these babies. Babies are now dying because Hamas has stolen the fuel to run hospital generators. Babies are also dying because Hamas is using them as human shields to protect its murderous terrorists.
        The main cause of these deaths is Hamas strategy, and a secondary cause is the role of the media in implementing the Hamas strategy. The only way to break this cycle is for the media and the international community to expose and condemn it as a clear violation of the laws of war, which expressly prohibit the use of hospitals and patients to protect terrorists.
        Next time you see a dead Palestinian baby on TV, shed a tear for that innocent victim. But point the finger of guilt at Hamas, not Israel.
        The writer is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. (The Hill)
  • Arabic War Songs Blasted Out on London "Peace March" - Moataz Khalil
    As a Muslim Egyptian journalist living in London, I am attuned to the nuances of what happens in the anti-Israel protests. So far, I've attended all of the weekly marches. Though the marches are being portrayed as peaceful calls for a ceasefire in Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza, the truth is quite different. If only Londoners understood the Arabic songs blaring out on loudspeakers brought by protestors.
        One song rang out: "I am rising up on you, my enemy. I am rising to you from every house, neighborhood, and street. From every wall and house, flying with machetes...and with our hand grenades, we declared a popular war." In the midst of the crowds, I heard the distinctive and persistent presence of songs of death. Those who understood the Arabic songs evidently approved of them, and those who did not understand carried on obliviously. (Daily Express-UK)

Where Is the Outcry by the Irish for the Israeli Children Held Hostage by Hamas? - Ambassador of Israel to Ireland Dana Erlich (Irish Times)
  • Through the inhumane, brutal massacre of innocent civilians on Oct. 7 by Hamas, we truly understand the enemy we are facing. We call on the world, and Ireland, to do the same.
  • It was troubling to see people marching in the streets calling out against Israel, but not against Hamas. Where is their outcry for the lives of Israeli babies and children being held hostage by Hamas? Where is the outcry against the atrocities and abuse this terror organization has inflicted, and continues to inflict, on its own population?
  • Hamas is an integral part of the jihadist movement. Its aim is replacing Israel with an Islamist caliphate. These fanatics believe that goal justifies carrying out the most brutal, inhuman attacks on Israeli civilians and treating Gaza's population as pawns to be sacrificed. Hamas preys on the sympathies of people who still do not comprehend that it is not a national liberation movement, but rather a twin of Islamic State.
  • Israel's war is against Hamas and not the Palestinian people. It is not indiscriminate revenge, but a war using targeted operations adhering to international law to make sure we eliminate the threat on our doorstep.
  • There is no equivalence between those deliberately attacking innocent civilians and those battling against the source of such attacks.
  • International law recognizes that there are times when the use of force is a necessity, an obligation, and the only moral course of action. Facing the evil of Hamas, it is the obligation of every state to prevent such atrocities happening again.
  • Like every other state in the world, Israel has the right and the obligation to take all necessary measures to protect its citizens. There is a growing realization that peace will only come when the majority of Palestinians choose coexistence over conflict, and eject the extremists from their midst.

        See also Irish Parliament Motion to Expel Israeli Ambassador Defeated - David Young
    A motion in the Irish Parliament calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador has been defeated by 85 votes to 55, as more than a thousand protesters called for the expulsion of the ambassador. Irish Minister of State James Browne told the Dail parliament that maintaining diplomatic links with Israel was vital. A motion calling for Ireland to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court was also defeated. (Independent-UK)

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