November 21, 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:

Israeli Expert: Gazans Are Saying to Hamas, "Look What You've Done to Us" - Natasha Mozgovaya (VOA News)
    Shlomi Eldar has been covering the Palestinians in Gaza for Israeli media since 1991 and has interviewed Hamas leaders.
    Yet since the Oct. 7 attack, he no longer sees them as a group that can be reasoned with.
    "I followed Hamas for over 30 years. I've never imagined to myself they become monsters," he said, adding that he never previously compared any of the group's behavior to the Nazis and the Holocaust.
    But Eldar said seeing images of burned bodies from the attacks was not something he could shake off. "Butchering, burning bodies, children, rapes, kidnappings. They kidnapped a baby, nine months old, to Gaza."
    Eldar said the attack cost Hamas a lot of support in Gaza.
    "People in Gaza know what Hamas brings them....They took them 20 or 25 years back - even more."
    "I heard voices in Gaza now, talking freely, [look] 'what you've made for us, what you've done to us,' they said."
    He thinks the exceptional cruelty of the Oct. 7 attack was made possible because of a combination of several factors - one of them is Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza.
    "He is a cruel man. I've heard many, many stories. He was arrested in 1989 because he butchered Palestinians. He suspected they were collaborating with Israel, and he just tortured them and killed them."
    The second factor, Eldar said, is the education of children in Gaza toward violence.
    "The new generation, the young people - they were born, or they were children when Hamas took power in Gaza."
    "They grew up with incitement all the time. And they've been taught that the Israelis are not human beings."
    "When they invaded Israel, they didn't see the Israelis as human beings, just something that they can kill."

Anti-Israel Incitement Runs Rampant in West Bank amid Hamas War - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    As the war against Hamas continues in Gaza, some Palestinian voices in the West Bank are inciting against Jews and offering rewards to whomever murders them.
    The owner of a car dealership near Ramallah posted an advertisement reading, "Anyone who brings a dead Jew will receive a free car" - leading IDF forces to raid the business and arrest the owner.
    Over 200 suspects have been arrested for incitement to violence since the beginning of the war.

Detained Gaza Terrorist Says Hamas Hid as Hospital Staff in Al-Shifa - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF released video from the questioning of detained terrorists.
    One terrorist confessed that not only Hamas but also Palestinian Islamic Jihad members were active in Al-Shifa Hospital, where some disguised themselves as medical staff.
    Another said terrorists concealed rockets in mattresses in the Palestine Red Crescent building.
    A senior official from Unit 504 of the Intelligence Corps, which specializes in operating undercover agents, said that since the beginning of the war, they had received "thousands of phone calls from Gazans, on a scale never seen before in the unit," with tips on Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Video: IDF Forces Find Rocket Production Lab inside Mosque - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    In recent days, IDF forces discovered a rocket production lab, explosives, a tunnel, significant ammunition, and even unmanned aerial vehicles inside a mosque in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.
    Four days of fighting in the sector involved numerous close-quarters engagements with frontline Hamas cells.
    Many of the terrorists are abandoning their weapons, donning civilian attire, and attempting to escape.

Gaza Is Gen Z's First Real War - Walter Russell Mead (Wall Street Journal)
    Even if Hamas' initial Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel was itself a war crime, a student asked, isn't the larger loss of civilian life in Israel's subsequent attacks just as bad?
    Being a professor, I turned the discussion to the history of war. One night in March 1945, U.S. planes dropped incendiary bombs over Tokyo, killing tens of thousands of Japanese civilians.
    Incomplete estimates from Japan put the total death toll from allied bombing raids as high as 500,000.
    As for the treatment of enemy civilians, at the 1945 Potsdam Conference, the U.S. agreed to the forcible removal of 12 million Germans, again largely civilian and many children and elderly, from lands their ancestors had inhabited for centuries.
    One reason the news from Gaza has so massively affected the younger generation is that they have grown up considering peace to be normal and natural. For younger generations, war was passe.
    Gaza introduced Gen Z to the true horror of war. In the short run, Hamas' propaganda machine is enlisting images of suffering Palestinians to foil Israeli efforts to break its power in Gaza.
    The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • White House: Hamas Has "Genocidal Intentions"
    U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Monday: "The President is focused on...making sure that we can continue to support Israel as they fight a terrible terrorist group, Hamas."
        "This word 'genocide' is getting thrown around in a pretty inappropriate way by lots of different folks. What Hamas wants, make no mistake about it, is genocide. They want to wipe Israel off the map. They've said so publicly on more than one occasion - in fact, just recently. And they've said that they're not going to stop. What happened on the 7th of October is going to happen again and again and again. And what happened on the 7th of October? Murder. Slaughter of innocent people in their homes or at a music festival. That's genocidal intentions."
        "Israel is not trying to wipe the Palestinian people off the map. Israel is not trying to wipe Gaza off the map. Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. So if we're going to start using that word, fine, let's use it appropriately."  (White House)
  • Israeli Military, Border Residents Demand Action to Eliminate Hizbullah Threat - Dion Nissenbaum
    In the days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, Orna Rayn searched frantically for someone to build a barricade to secure the door of a safe room in her house in Lehavot Habashan, 6 miles from the Lebanon border. Rayn's sister, Einat Rothem-Nechushtan, moved into the safe room on Oct. 10, even before the Israeli government ordered the evacuation of her small farming community of She'ar Yashuv, 2 miles from Lebanon. The sisters have mapped out a plan of escape if Hizbullah fighters stage an Oct. 7-style cross-border attack. "This is the first time in my life that I don't feel safe in my home," said Rothem-Nechushtan, 54.
        Many Israelis who live near the border say their military can't end the fighting without assuring them that Hizbullah can't do to them what Hamas did to Israelis in the south. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has pushed for broader military action against Hizbullah, while the Biden administration has put consistent pressure on Israel to refrain from taking steps in Lebanon that could drag the American military deeper into the fight.
        Netanyahu has so far acceded to American pressure, but military officials say Israel is one deadly Hizbullah strike away from a new war in Lebanon. Tens of thousands of Israelis from 42 communities near the Lebanon border have been officially evacuated by the government. Israeli officials say that there are thousands of Hizbullah fighters positioned along the border. Security officials in border communities estimate that 100,000 Israeli soldiers have deployed along the northern border. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Base Damaged by Hizbullah Rocket Fire; Israel Strikes Hizbullah Targets in Lebanon - Emanuel Fabian
    Hizbullah continued firing rockets and launching drones at northern Israel on Monday, causing heavy damage to an army base. No injuries were caused in the attacks. In response, IDF fighter jets, combat helicopters, and tanks struck Hizbullah sites in southern Lebanon. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Hizbullah has fired more than 1,000 rockets, mortars, missiles, and drones at Israel since the Gaza war erupted. (Times of Israel)
  • Video: Hamas Used Military-Grade Weapons Against Israeli Civilians - Aaron Poris
    Last week the IDF invited the international press to view the weapons used by Hamas against Israeli civilians on Oct. 7. Lt.-Col. Idan Sharon-Kettler, deputy commander of the IDF's enemy equipment collection unit, explained that Hamas was equipped with "vast amounts of weapons, [and] of explosive materials used not against soldiers, but citizens and families in their own houses."
        Hamas equipment included military-grade weapons like the Shawaz anti-tank explosive which was used to break into protected shelters and safe rooms, and thermobaric grenades, which raise the temperature in a given space to 3,000 degrees Celsius. These grenades were used in houses and civilian cars at the Nova music festival to incinerate everything and everyone.
        Sharon-Kettler said, "This is [the result of] organized smuggling into Gaza from many different countries. There's a lot of money that goes into this. Someone is funding and planning for a long time, and we see the result - a massacre of civilians."  (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran Pays No Price for Bad Behavior - Yaakov Katz
    While the world's attention is focused on Gaza, Hizbullah is firing antitank missiles and rockets into Israel every day. President Biden should give Iran a sharp and simple message: Pull Hizbullah away from the Israeli border, stop enriching uranium, order Yemen's Houthis to give back the cargo ship they seized in the Red Sea this weekend, and tell Hamas to release the 240 hostages it kidnapped from Israel on Oct. 7.
        Iran has learned a dangerous lesson in the past six weeks. It has seen that there is no price to pay for arming its terrorist proxies and encouraging them to attack Israel. Iran's actions - including attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias - are met not with reprisals but gifts, like the Biden administration's decision to issue a sanctions waiver and grant Iran access to $10 billion. This money will be used to fund even more terrorism.
        Iran's leaders see no reason to stop funding Hizbullah, Hamas or the Houthis. No one is threatening to stop the ayatollahs in Tehran or warning them that they will pay a price. What is to keep Iran from creating new terrorist proxies, training them and giving them weapons to attack Israel, the U.S. or Europe? Letting Iran's bad behavior go unchallenged will ultimately extract a higher price. Iran won't stop supporting terrorist groups until it is made to.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Putting the UN in Charge of Gaza Would Be a Joke - Prof. Eugene Kontorovich
    The Biden administration is pressuring Israel to define its plan for "the day after" the war. This is a bit like demanding America have a plan for postwar Japan weeks after Pearl Harbor. Washington insists the end goal of Israel's war be the establishment of a Palestinian state. Israel is unlikely to accept this suicidal proposal.
        President Biden called for the "international community" to provide "interim security measures" in Gaza. The idea of international forces in Gaza repeats decades of mistakes. In every single case in the past, UN forces and agencies failed to provide Israel any security and were coopted and used by its enemies. It's ridiculous to talk about an international presence in Gaza when rockets from Lebanon rain down on Israeli homes under the nose of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the largest peacekeeping force outside Africa.
        When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it agreed on a European Union force to monitor border crossings and prevent weapons from being smuggled in. But when Hamas took power two years later, the EU observers took off.
        No foreign presence will be willing to do the grinding work of ensuring Hamas is not reconstituted. When even America tolerates Iranian proxies' drizzle of attacks on its bases in the Middle East, Israel cannot expect any outside actor in Gaza will stand up for the Jewish state's security.
        The writer is director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University Law School. (New York Post)
        See also Handing Gaza over to a Multinational Force Is a Fantasy - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
  • What Do the Palestinians Want? - Caroline B. Glick
    For more than a generation, Western leaders have insisted that the Palestinians want peace. Over the years, Israelis have produced lengthy dossiers, documentaries, and intelligence reports exposing how the Palestinian education system indoctrinates children from birth to embrace the cause of Israel's annihilation and imbued the entire society with a genocidal, jihadist outlook that seeks the utter elimination of Judaism and Jews. Yet these efforts failed to impact the West's tendency to blame the absence of peace on "extreme right-wing" Israelis who reject territorial concessions to a society and a governing authority that aspire to wipe Israel off the map.
        On Oct. 7, the sadism and scope of Hamas' slaughter shocked the whole of Israeli society to its core. Polling data indicates that there has been a sea change of opinion among Israelis regarding the possibility of peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians. The same cannot be said of the West. Led by the Biden administration, Western governments have uniformly insisted that Hamas does not represent the Palestinians.
        Last week, Birzeit University near Ramallah published a survey of Palestinian opinion which found that 75% of Palestinians support the Hamas-led slaughter of Oct. 7. Likewise, 75% of Palestinians seek the annihilation of Israel. As to the Westerners insisting the Palestinians are peaceful and hate Hamas, the Palestinians hate the U.S. and UK as much as they hate Israel: 98% of Palestinians hate the U.S. and 97% hate Britain.
        In short, the Birzeit poll does not reflect a peaceful people interested in coexistence and peace. It presents a clear portrait of a genocidal society. The Palestinians are a society unified by their common goal of annihilating Israel. That is who they are. That is what they want. (JNS)
  • Those Who Celebrated the Hamas Massacre Are Not Our Critics, They Are Our Enemies - Dr. Miriam Adelson
    As Hamas' machine-gunning, stabbing, dismembering, burning, torturing, raping and kidnapping of Israeli civilians on the Gaza periphery was still proceeding, pro-Palestinian advocates were already surfacing in Western cities to chant their support. The media described these displays as "protests," but that was false. Israel had yet to repel the terrorists, let alone retaliate, so there was nothing to "protest" against. No, those ghastly gatherings were celebrations, hallelujahs to the horrors.
        For Israelis, for Jews, and for our many supporters in the world, this should have been the final unmasking of the "From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free" mobs. They do not yearn for Palestinian liberation or advancement. They yearn only to see the end of the world's sole Jewish state and they are willing to countenance an Israeli bloodbath in achieving that goal. These people are not our critics. They are our enemies.
        The stakes in Israel's war of survival have never been so clear. We need no longer engage those who condemn Hamas and then add a "but" followed by condemnation of Israel; or those who thunder at the tactics of Israel's counter-offensive, without ever having taken an interest in far bloodier campaigns waged from Afghanistan to Iraq to Mali; or those who are more outraged by posters of kidnapped Israeli kids than about the fact that they were kidnapped in a vile crime against humanity.
        The writer is the publisher of Israel Hayom. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Will Never Apologize for Being More Powerful than Its Enemies - George Monastiriakos
    Israel will never apologize for being more powerful than the failed states and terror groups that seek to destroy it. Nor should any reasonable person ever expect it to. To paraphrase Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir: If Jews have a choice between being dead and pitied or alive with a "bad" image, then they will always choose the second option. A powerful state is the best insurance policy for ensuring their survival.
        The world's Jewish population still hasn't recovered from the Holocaust three generations later. "Never again" is now, and it means that Jews will fight to defend themselves or die trying. Forged by adversity, the days when the Jewish people were weak, stateless, and bullied are over.
        Israel is aware that segments of the international community will side with the underdog, even if the underdog is a morally bankrupt terror group like Hamas. Israel knows that it can't rely on thoughts, prayers, empty words, biased global opinion, or failed institutions like the UN to keep its citizens safe. Israel will never apologize for being strong enough to prevent Hamas, or any other failed state and terror group that seek its destruction, from succeeding.
        The writer is a Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.  (Toronto Star-Canada)

  • It has been more than six weeks since the barbaric Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7 - Israel's 9/11 - and more than three weeks since the Israel Defense Forces began ground operations in Gaza. The IDF has encircled northern Gaza and is now conducting operations in the heart of "Hamastan."
  • "The ground operation was successful with fewer casualties than all the predictions forecast," Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, a former director of Israeli military intelligence, told me. "There has been excellent cooperation between ground forces and the air force and intelligence. And they basically control northern Gaza - with one caveat, which is that many of the Hamas fighters who were not killed are in their underground fortress, which still exists."
  • There is little doubt that Hamas has suffered a serious blow, but its senior leadership has not been captured or killed. Israel suspects that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is hiding in his hometown of Khan Yunis, the biggest city in southern Gaza. The process of destroying Hamas' hold on Gaza will be a lengthy one. "We are only at the beginning," Zohar Palti, a former official at the Israeli Defense Ministry, told me, while Yadlin estimated that it will take an additional six months to dismantle Hamas.
  • In all of its wars going back to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, international outrage over civilian casualties forced Israel to curtail offensive operations before achieving a clear-cut victory. A short cease-fire of up to five days might occur as part of a deal to release some hostages held by Hamas, but a longer cease-fire is a complete nonstarter for the Israelis.
  • Israel is still reeling from the worst one-day attack in its history, and some 200,000 Israelis still cannot return to their homes in the north and south because of ongoing fighting. Israelis know that a longer cease-fire now means Hamas has won.
  • "I've never seen such determination since 9/11," a U.S. official told me. "They are utterly and totally committed to dismantling Hamas, and whatever is required to get the job done, they will do it." Israel's implacable determination to defeat the terrorists who attacked it on Oct. 7 is likely to ensure that the IDF has the time it needs to secure Gaza, no matter how much blowback it receives from abroad.

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