November 24, 2023
Special Edition
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

The Impact of the Israeli Hostage Release - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    It's necessary to constantly bear in mind the identity of the dubious partner in the hostage deal, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, whose promises are difficult to trust.
    A "senior Israeli official" told the Washington Post's David Ignatius that Hamas is directly holding only about 50 women and children and "can probably gain control of another 20."
    Hamas intends to separate members of families (fathers will remain in captivity), there are people who were murdered in Israel whose bodies were abducted to Gaza, and others who died in captivity.
    After the picture becomes clear, the response in Israel will not be one of relief but rather a hardening of the approach of most Israelis and a demand for more vigorous warfare against Hamas.

Rocket Fire from Gaza Violates Ceasefire (Newsweek)
    The IDF intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza at Israel on Friday at 7:15 a.m. local time, 15 minutes after the ceasefire - which the IDF is calling an "operational pause" - came into effect.

Hamas Refuses to Allow Red Cross to Visit Israeli Hostages Remaining in Gaza (Ha'aretz)
    Hamas has refused to allow the Red Cross to visit the Israeli hostages who will not be released in the hostage-prisoner exchange with Hamas, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported, citing Egyptian sources.

U.S. to Invest $1.2 Billion in Israel's Iron Beam Laser System - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    The Biden administration's $106 billion package for Israel, Ukraine and U.S. border security includes $1.2 billion for Israel's Iron Beam laser system, according to Doug Bush, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.
    Israel is in advanced stages of developing Iron Beam, the laser missile interception system manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Israeli Parents Name Babies after Communities Ravaged by Hamas (AFP)
    Israeli parents have been naming newborn babies after communities that were attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, in tribute to the victims, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
    45 babies have been named Beeri, after the kibbutz that saw some of the worst atrocities.
    The name Oz, which means "strength" in Hebrew, was given to 49 boys and one girl after the communities of Nir Oz and Nahal Oz.
    Eight babies were named Nir and three girls were named Nova, after a desert rave targeted by Hamas.

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German Police Raid Properties of Hamas Supporters across the Country - Kirsten Grieshaber (AP-Toronto Star)
    Hundreds of police officers searched the properties of Hamas members and followers in Germany on Thursday following a formal ban on Nov. 2 on any activity by or in support of the militant group.
    Germany's domestic intelligence service estimates that Hamas has around 450 members in the country.
    Germany has been clamping down on groups supporting antisemitism in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.
    On Tuesday, police raided the homes of 17 people in Bavaria accused of spreading antisemitic hate speech and threats targeting Jews online.
    On Nov. 16, German police raided 54 locations in an investigation of a Hamburg-based organization suspected of promoting the Iranian leadership's ideology and supporting activities of Hizbullah in Germany.

Private Initiative Raises $40 Million for IDF Soldiers - Ariela Karmel (Calcalist)
    Since the start of the war, Eran Efrat, an Amsterdam-based Israeli entrepreneur and managing partner at Verdiesel, a green energy investment fund, has raised $40 million to purchase tactical gear for IDF soldiers.
    We "decided to focus on helmets and bullet-proof vests, and now we've also started locating thermal drones, 360 degree cameras for armored vehicles, and medical equipment," says Efrat.
    The army has tested the equipment from U.S. suppliers and the orders were modified based on IDF requirements.

Egyptian Activist Forced to Flee for Backing Israel over Hamas - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
    Dalia Ziada, an acclaimed Egyptian author and liberal democracy activist, has been forced to flee her home country amid a furious backlash after she praised Israel's military campaign against Hamas, saying it will benefit the entire region if the terror group is eliminated.
    Ziada told the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, three weeks ago that she hopes Israel's efforts to remove Hamas from power in Gaza succeeds.
    She told Israel's Channel 11 on Wednesday, "I fully support what Israel is doing to eliminate Hamas....I support it 100% and urge everyone to support it."
    Without Iran-backed Hamas or other extremist Islamist organizations, the situation in the Middle East would "without a doubt be a thousand times better."
    She added, "If it weren't for the security collaboration of Israel with us, with Egypt... the terror organizations would still be in Sinai today."
    The terror groups behind deadly terror attacks on Egyptian security forces in Sinai "were established by Hamas."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Begins, to Be Followed by an Exchange of Hostages and Prisoners - Jared Malsin
    Israel and Hamas on Friday morning began a temporary pause in fighting, raising hopes that 13 Israeli hostages, all women and children, would be freed later in the day in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, also women and minors. The broad terms of the agreement outlined a four-day pause in the fighting in Gaza and the release of 50 hostages by Hamas in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners. "The war is not over yet. The humanitarian pause is temporary," said Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel: "We Won't Live with Hamas," the Truce Is "Just a Pause" - Emma Soteriou
    Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told LBC on Friday that the four-day truce with Hamas was "just a pause. In Israel, we made a decision because we refuse to live with this Hamas-controlled terror enclave on our southern border. That's the bottom line."
        "For too long, Israeli parents have had to live in fear of terrorists crossing the frontier and butchering their children. No longer. We won't live with Hamas - to live with Hamas is to live in constant terror. They say so. They say they'd do the Oct. 7 massacre again, again and again, and we take them at their word on that issue."
        "This will only end when Hamas no longer controls Gaza and no longer has the capability to inflict the sort of massacre on our people that they did on Oct. 7."  (LBC-UK)
  • Fuel Trucks Start Entering Gaza from Egypt as Humanitarian Pause Takes Effect - Mustafa Habboush
    As a humanitarian pause came into effect in Gaza early on Friday, trucks carrying cooking gas and diesel fuel began to enter the Palestinian enclave from Egypt. Relief and medical supplies also began crossing into Gaza. (Anadolu-Turkey)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: After "Short" Truce, Intense Fighting Will Resume for at least Two More Months - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told IDF troops on Thursday that once the "short" temporary truce with Hamas ends, the IDF will resume the fighting "with intensity" for at least two more months. "This respite will be short. What is required of you in this respite is to organize, get ready, investigate, resupply arms, and get ready to continue....We need to complete the victory and create the impetus for the next groups of hostages, who will only come back as a result of pressure."  (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Says Many Hizbullah Rockets Fall Short of Border - Einav Halabi
    IDF Arabic language spokesperson Col. Avichay Adraee said Thursday that at least 20 of the more than 30 rockets launched at Israel that day landed inside southern Lebanon, causing damage to villages there. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • Hostage Deal Shows Hamas' Desperation - Haviv Rettig Gur
    Many of the terrorists released in the Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011 were the ones who planned and executed the Oct. 7 massacre. Hamas abducted too many, including babies and ailing grandmothers, and did so in such cruel ways that the old logic of prisoner exchanges has been forever upended in the Israeli psyche. There's a tipping point to extortion, when the victim's incentives flip from payment to vengeful defiance.
        When Israel telegraphed for three long weeks that it was preparing to enter Shifa Hospital, it was giving the enemy time to escape. It didn't want a bloody battle in the hallways of a hospital. But it did want to enter that hospital and show Hamas there are no safe places anywhere in Gaza.
        Israel is sending a message to Hamas, and this message is the strategic heart of the war effort: There is nowhere in Gaza we won't go, no stone or tunnel or building we won't overturn in pursuit of you. None of the tactics that once kept you safe apply anymore. Tens of thousands of Hamas fighters have now been underground for nearly seven weeks. They were prepared for an Israeli incursion, but not an open-ended one. Meanwhile, the IDF has systematically destroyed and sealed hundreds of tunnel entrances, seeking to bury Hamas forces alive in their own tunnels.
        For six hours each day of the truce, Israel must ground its reconnaissance drones. It may be that Hamas, with many fighters trapped in the steadily tightening IDF noose around Gaza City, has negotiated a last-ditch means for saving its northern forces by giving them a brief window to flee south while the Israelis agree not to watch their escape too closely. Israeli officials are optimistic that Hamas will ultimately carry out its part of the deal since Hamas needs the time. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Is Winning. It Won't Give Up the Fight Now - Con Coughlin
    The Israeli government's decision to approve a hostage swap deal with Hamas that will result in a four-day pause in the fighting has inevitably raised expectations that it could lead to a broader ceasefire. Yet despite the arrangement, the Israeli military has no intention of ending its military assault to destroy Hamas. The reality is that the agreement is unlikely to distract the Israeli government from its goal of wiping Hamas from the face of the earth.
        Having eliminated much of Hamas' terrorist infrastructure in northern Gaza, the Israelis will want to finish the job. From Israel's perspective, the notion that hostilities can be brought to an end before the Hamas threat has been completely eliminated is wholly untenable. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Did Hamas Operate under Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital? A Tour of the Tunnels Leaves No Room for Doubt - Yaniv Kubovich
    In the Al-Shifa Hospital plaza, the troops laid out dozens of rifles, explosive devices, drones, hand grenades and other munitions found there. "This place served as a headquarters for Hamas company and battalion commanders," IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said.
        The question of whether Al-Shifa's administrators knew about the tunnels, the munitions and the military headquarters is answered the moment you go down into the tunnel with the IDF - one stretch is 170 meters long. There is no way the hospital administrators didn't know what was happening. The long tunnel network, made entirely of reinforced concrete, is replete with power sockets, power lines and ventilation equipment. Hamas siphoned power from the hospital. The tunnels lead to well-lit, air-conditioned rooms that contain tables and beds. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video: Before Truce, IDF Destroys Hamas Tunnel under Shifa Hospital - Emanuel Fabian
    Shortly before the ceasefire commenced on Friday, the IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel discovered under Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, as well as other tunnel entrances in the area. An IDF video shows the tunnel at Shifa being destroyed, as well as several other recent strikes in Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Can Never Again Decide Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die - Aviva Klompas
    Etched into the psyche of the Jewish people is a dread born from centuries of helplessness when enemies would tear Jews from their homes and decide who would live and who would die. Scenes that we thought were relegated to the history books now play out before our eyes. Families bound together, slaughtered, and turned to ash, just like in the Holocaust.
        For all the post-Holocaust promises of "never again," it is abundantly clear that "never again" was an empty promise. The Jewish State must reset the course of Jewish history and restore the promise of Jewish security by destroying Hamas' ability to wage war against Israel and extinguish Jewish lives. The goal of peace-loving people should not just be an end to this current war; it should be to end all wars between Israel and Hamas.
        The writer is former director of speechwriting at the Israeli Mission to the UN. (Newsweek)

  • Other Issues

  • The Silence over Hamas' Mass Rapes Is a Betrayal of All Women - First Lady of the State of Israel Michal Herzog
    At the President of Israel's Residence in Jerusalem, we are preparing for the day the UN General Assembly has designated the International Day for the Prevention of Violence against Women, which is observed every Nov. 25. Every year, I host victims, civil-society leaders, activists, and scholars committed to women's rights and safety. But this year will be different. The Hamas massacre on Oct. 7 deeply impacted our visceral understanding of the cruelty of gender-based sexual violence - and our faith in the international organizations that claim to care about women.
        At the Nova music festival, witnesses hiding in the bushes saw terrorists gang-rape, then murder and mutilate women. A Hamas video from a kibbutz shows terrorists torturing a pregnant woman and removing her fetus. Our forensic scientists have found bodies of women and girls raped with such violence that their pelvic bones were broken. Confessions of captured terrorists makes abundantly clear that mass rape was a premeditated part of Hamas' plan.
        International organizations like UN Women exist to protect women from such crimes, thus, our second shock: The inconceivable and unforgivable silence of these organizations when faced with the rape and murder of Israeli women. It is not that condemnations of gender-based violence by Hamas have been weak or insufficient - there have been none at all. The silence of international human rights organizations, and the unwillingness to believe Israeli women in the face of overwhelming evidence, has been devastating. (Newsweek)
  • Since the Hamas Massacre, Golan Heights Druze Speed toward "Israelization" - Adi Hashmonai
    The Oct. 7 massacre sped up the "Israelization" process for the Druze community in the Golan Heights. The IDF has completed the training of a local guard squadron for Majdal Shams, the largest of four Druze towns. The town's council head, Dolan Abu Salah, told Ha'aretz: "We live here in peace and safely, and suddenly all the red lines were crossed. There was a shocking attack on innocent people, children, women and old people, and clearly it must be condemned and we must do our part."
        He said the training of the squadron was another step in the process of "cooperation and harmony with IDF forces in the villages of the Golan, in view of our need to be ready to protect the residents." The squadron in the neighboring Druze community of Buqata has already started operating, while in Mas'ada and Ein Qinya the recruitment is being completed and the list of volunteers is much longer than the required quota. "This is an emergency, this isn't the time to think about politics," said Wa'il Mugrabi, head of the Ein Qinya local council. (Ha'aretz)

  • Antisemitism

  • Antisemitic Ireland Needs to Shake Off the Imbecility - Terry Glavin
    Since the bloody pogrom of Oct. 7, which drew Israel into a last-straw determination to smash the Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza entirely, the Irish legislature came 16 votes away from approving a motion to expel the Israeli ambassador and 10 votes away from approving a motion to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court.
        Ireland is an EU outlier on the matter of Israel. Irish politicians like to claim that it's because of Ireland's history of dispossession, occupation and resistance to colonialism - three virtues fashionably attributable nowadays to the Palestinians. But there's something else in the Irish psyche that's impolite to mention. Not a few of Ireland's celebrated champions of the underdog, its heroes of Irish freedom, were vulgar antisemites and Nazi collaborators.
        Mary Lou McDonald assumed the reins of Sinn Fein party in 2018. As a social justice activist in Dublin, she spoke at a commemoration for Sean Russell, a 1930s-era IRA chief of staff who spent time in Nazi Germany training in the use of explosives. Russell died of a perforated ulcer in a Nazi submarine that was returning him to Ireland to lay the groundwork for an IRA sabotage campaign to assist a planned Nazi invasion of British-controlled Ulster.
        Today's proud Irish "pro-Palestine" shouters would rather forget that Ze'ev Jabotinsky, founder of the Zionist Irgun organization in British Mandate Palestine, wrote to IRA leader and later Irish president Eamon de Valera asking to learn about Ireland's guerrilla war against the British. De Valera invited Jabotinsky to Ireland, where he stayed for several weeks.
        It's fair enough to empathize with the Palestinians. But there is a difference between the IRA at its worst and savage moments, and Hamas in its routine conduct. The IRA never vowed to slaughter every British loyalist on the island of Ireland and hunt every Englishman to the ends of the Earth, to the ends of time. That's what Hamas has in mind for the Jews. The Irish should remember that. (National Post-Canada)

  • Weekend Features

  • Video: Wounded Israeli-Arab IDF Officer Recalls October 7 - Major F interviewed by Suzan Quitaz
    I am an Arab Muslim and serve in the Israeli army because the Israeli army is an army of peace, which does not kill innocents, an army that helps all people even during wars. The Israeli army always teaches us that we are here to maintain the security and safety of the people inside Israel.
        Over the years I progressed and became an officer, and I even studied at the expense of the army. In the army everyone is equal. I have not felt a hint of racism in the army and they have given me everything I've wanted. As an Arab and as a Muslim, I was respected and have never felt anything racist or unsatisfactory.
        On Saturday, Oct. 7, I received a call from the commander of the unit who told me that we have terrorists infiltrating the country. We approached the towns where there were terrorists and tried to push them back. We repelled those that we could and protected the people, children and elderly that were there. And with thanks to Allah, we managed to keep them away. I believe that when you act with good intentions, Allah, praised be His name, helps you.
        I was in Kerem Shalom, Holit and Sufa. I saw many dead and wounded, from kids to old men and women. And the sight of it was very, very difficult. I saw many soldiers, men and women, that had been beheaded, their hands and limbs cut off, a lot of young men burned, and I have friends who were burned and some who were kidnapped there. We saw many things that we did not believe that any person would have the heart to do.
        When we entered Kibbutz Holit, we encountered a lot of terrorists, and I was one of the first fighters there. There was an exchange of fire, and several bullets penetrated my legs. Thanks to Allah, today we are trying to heal my legs fully.
        The army does not leave me at all. They're with me 24/7, both by communicating and in providing any assistance that I need, helping to restore my condition to better than it was. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, I thank the entire army, officers and commanders who came and called.  I am very satisfied with the way I have been treated while I get my strength back.
        The State of Israel is a peaceful country. The Arab countries must stand by Israel and help and support it and prevent acts of terror against it so that there will be a true, full, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. (October7Attack-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Has Israel Achieved Its War Aims in Gaza? - James Shotter (Financial Times-UK)
  • Even after six weeks of fighting in which it has occupied northern Gaza and wrought unprecedented destruction there, Israel is a long way from achieving its military objectives.
  • "It's fair to assume that the firepower and infrastructures of Hamas have been significantly degraded, much more than in any previous [Israeli] campaign," said Jean-Loup Samaan, senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore. "But because the objective was the total destruction of the [Hamas] movement, including its leadership, the campaign is far from achieving it."
  • Since sending troops into Gaza on Oct. 27, a senior Israeli military official said the assault had "significantly hurt" 10 of Hamas' 24 battalions, which before the war each had about 1,000 soldiers. Including the 1,000 killed in Israel after Hamas launched the Oct. 7 attack, Israeli officials estimate that 5,000 of Hamas' 25,000 fighters have now been killed. "It's not 10,000, but it's not 1,000," the Israeli official said.
  • The invasion has also had a big impact on Hamas' ability to fire rockets at Israel. The fire has become more sporadic and less precise. "The center of gravity for [Hamas' rocket-launching capabilities] was the Gaza City metropolitan area," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Zvika Haimovich, former commander of the Israel Air Defense Forces. "Today we are talking about a salvo of four or five rockets every three days. In the first two weeks, it was a salvo every four or five hours. It's a huge difference."
  • Former officials say the Israeli advance has brought better intelligence on Hamas' tunnel network and paths for advancing deeper into the area that are less laden with explosive devices and booby traps. "To defend against a force that is coming from new routes that were not the ones expected is going to be hard for Hamas," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, former deputy commander of the Gaza Division.
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