December 3, 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:

Pro-Palestinian Mob Targets Rockefeller Center Christmas-Tree Ceremony - Warren Kinsella (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    Since the 1950s, the lighting of the Christmas tree in New York City's Rockefeller Center has been broadcast live on TV.
    On Wednesday night, a mob claiming to be "pro-Palestinian" descended on the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
    They fought with police, screaming genocidal slogans. Some of them even held up signs with big swastikas on them.
    They tried to break down barricades separating them from families who had come to see the tree lighting.
    Since Oct. 7, when Palestinian Hamas terrorists killed hundreds of Israelis, it's been obvious that the "pro-Palestinian" protesters really, really hate Jews and the Jewish state. It's obvious that many, if not most, are wildly anti-Semitic.
    But here's the thing: a Christmas tree lighting ceremony is for, and about, Christianity.
    You know that old saying that suggests how pogroms start with the Jews, but never end with the Jews? It's true. And we're now seeing it happen, in real time.

Six Israeli Hostages Held by Hamas Confirmed Killed in Captivity - Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
    The Israeli army on Friday confirmed the death of six Israeli citizens who were abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7: Kibbutz Nir Oz residents Maya Goren, 56, Ronen Engel, 55, Eliyahu Margalit, 75, and Arye Zalmanovich, 86; a resident of Kibbutz Be'eri, Ofra Keidar, 70; and Guy Iluz, 26, from Tel Aviv, taken hostage from the Re'im party.

IDF Brigade Commander Killed on Oct. 7, Body Held by Hamas - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, commander of the Gaza Division's Southern Brigade, was killed on Oct. 7 and his remains are being held by Hamas in Gaza, the IDF said Saturday.
    His death brought the toll of fallen IDF soldiers since Oct. 7 to 396.

Pallywood's Global Media Star - Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
    We see Saleh Aljafarawi, 25, a victim of an Israeli air raid, writhing in pain in a Gaza hospital, his body dotted by wires and electrodes.
    Two days later we see him again. He's a radiologist now, helping a blood-smeared patient into an MRI machine.
    Since Oct. 7 he has died on camera twice, and then came back to life.
    Aljafarawi is a professional social media influencer in Pallywood, where terrorist groups create fake dramatic videos and peddle them to sympathetic Western media outlets.
    Many of the creeps who purport to weep for Palestine don't really care about Palestinians, dead or alive. What they want is an excuse to indulge in hating Jews.

New Video Shows Hamas Infiltration of Zikim Beach on Oct. 7 - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    A video has been released showing Hamas terrorists emerging from a boat and entering Zikim Beach on Oct. 7.
    On the beach, 10 civilians were murdered. The bodies of 9 more victims were discovered in a nearby shelter.

A Thai Farm Worker in an Israeli Hospital - Hillel Kuttler (Tablet)
    Wanchai Monsana, 44, was transferred on Oct. 10 to Sheba Medical Center with severe burns. His coworkers from Thailand were either murdered by Hamas or kidnapped.
    Monsana doesn't speak Hebrew or English. An Israeli woman whose son was also in that hospital saw the Thai man, with no visitors, and sent a WhatsApp message about him. Someone else's Facebook post followed, and soon Israelis came by to see him.
    So many Israelis have come, sometimes taking along their Thai workers, that a sign on his door requests that he be left alone between noon and 3 p.m. to rest.
    His first visitors brought him two phones and a wallet with money. Thai restaurants in Tel Aviv have delivered meals.
    Israeli health insurance will cover Monsana's medical bills. Israel's National Insurance Institute and Thai agencies will compensate for his being out of work, said Pimchanok Jirapattanakul, a consul at Thailand's Embassy.
    He added that "Israelis have shown much compassion and extended assistance to Thai workers who were affected."
    Prior to Oct. 7, 30,000 Thais worked in Israel. About 21,000 Thai agricultural workers remain in Israel.

U.S. Sends Israel Bunker Busters for Gaza War - Jared Malsin (Wall Street Journal)
    The U.S. has provided Israel with 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound, bunker buster bombs designed to penetrate concrete shelters, to help dislodge Hamas from Gaza, U.S. officials said.
    These are part of a surge of arms the U.S. has provided to Israel, including 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Blames Hamas for End of Truce, Says Israel Taking Steps to Protect Gaza Civilians
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday in Dubai discussed the end of the pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas: "It's also important to understand why the pause came to an end. It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it made. In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem, killing three people, wounding others, including Americans. It began firing rockets before the pause had ended. And as I said, it reneged on commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages."
        "We saw Israel take steps immediately today to start to get information to people about where safe areas are, how they can get out of harm's way....I saw the plans that Israel has in a multiplicity of ways to do everything possible to protect civilians, including making sure that they have the information they need and there are ways to accommodate them."  (State Department)
  • Israel Wants Buffer Zone in Post-War Gaza - Samia Nakhoul
    Israel has informed Egypt, Jordan and the UAE that it wants to carve out a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of Gaza's border to prevent future attacks from Gaza after the war ends. In Washington, an Israeli official said, "It is a security measure, not a political one. We do not intend to remain on the Gaza side of the border."  (Reuters)
  • Families of Hamas Hostages Face Pro-Palestinian Protesters in Australia - Phil Mercer
    A group of Israelis whose relatives were kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 were followed to their hotel in Sydney, Australia, from a Wednesday meeting with members of the public and local politicians at a local college by about 20 pro-Palestinian protesters, who stormed the lobby of the hotel, shouting slogans and waving banners. The Israelis were ushered to a police station by private security guards, while police eventually moved the protesters from the hotel.
        Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Thursday that the demonstrators' actions were "beyond contempt." Conservative opposition leader Peter Dutton told Parliament the pro-Palestinian protest was "an act of depravity."  (VOA News)
  • Radical Islamist Fatally Stabs German Tourist in Paris, Wounds Two Others
    A person known to the French authorities as a radical Islamist stabbed a German tourist to death with a knife and wounded two people with a hammer in central Paris on Saturday before being arrested. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the man had already been sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for planning another attack. (France 24)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu: "All of Us Are United behind the Justice of Our Cause"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday: "In order to eliminate Hamas - and in order to ensure that Gaza does not go back to constituting a threat to Israel, and that there will be no element there that educates its children for terrorism, supports terrorism, finances terrorism, and calls for the destruction of Israel - we are continuing to fight with full force."
        "I tell our friends around the world...there is no way to achieve victory except by continuing the ground incursion. The IDF and the security forces are doing this with determination, strength, and while upholding international law....We are in the midst of a difficult and bitter war but there is no war more just. It is a war for our home. All of us are united behind the justice of our cause and all of us give full backing to our soldiers. A difficult war is yet before us, but in the end, we will be victorious."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Hizbullah Renews Attacks on North, Prompting IDF Response - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF struck Hizbullah sites in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel Saturday. Hizbullah had halted its attacks during the seven-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. On Saturday, two mortars were fired from Lebanon at the Israeli community of Shomera, while several rockets were fired at army posts along the border. Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the attacks. In both instances, the IDF shelled the source of fire with artillery. The IDF also carried out airstrikes against terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon. (Times of Israel)
  • Truce Fell Apart after Hamas Refused to Release More Female Israeli Hostages - Jacob Magid
    The temporary truce broke down last week after Hamas refused to release 10 more female hostages, and instead sought to free abductees taken on Oct. 7 from other categories, Israeli officials said Friday. The truce lasted seven days, beginning on Nov. 24, during which 105 civilians were released from Gaza, including 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and 1 Filipino, in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners, all of them women or minors.
        Israel said it knows Hamas is still holding roughly 17 more women and two children, and that it would not hold talks on other categories of hostages until all female and child abductees are released. (Times of Israel)
  • ICC Prosecutor in Israel: "Reason to Believe" Hamas Committed War Crimes on Oct. 7 - Amir Tibon
    For the first time ever, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, visited Israel this weekend at the invitation of several families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Khan told Ha'aretz he has "reason to believe" that actions defined as crimes according to international law were committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.
        "These were not random murders," Khan said, noting that Hamas "hunted down people" and that "children were kidnapped from their cots." He also stated that many women and elderly people were murdered, including Holocaust survivors. Khan said his office will be happy to cooperate with Israel in investigating the events of Oct. 7, even if Israel maintains its current policy of not recognizing the court's jurisdiction. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Rights Groups Snub ICC Prosecutor (Reuters)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Rules of War for Israel - Editorial
    During his recent visit to Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he "underscored the imperative...that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south." The best way to save civilians is to get them far from urban combat zones, away from Hamas strongholds like the city of Khan Yunis. Blinken called on Israel to create "safe zones" for civilians near the fighting.
        But what should Israel do when Hamas positions itself in those zones? That's how it used hospitals and schools in the north. If Israel must do more to protect civilians but can't evacuate them and can't hit Hamas when it hides in key civilian infrastructure and safe zones, how is it to fight at all?
        Israel has a right to defend itself, which it reasonably believes requires destroying Hamas. Israel deserves U.S. support as it topples Hamas, not rules and restrictions that push a decisive victory further away. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Israeli Public Hopes for Victory over Hamas - Amos Harel
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi showed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken the military plans for the continued campaign against Hamas and spoke of a few more months of high-intensity combat. Blinken replied: "You don't have that much credit" with the international community.
        Yet within Israel, there is considerable public pressure on the government to continue the ground offensive. This sentiment comes from the rank and file, from the command rooms and troops, including reservists whose civilian lives came to a screeching halt two months ago.
        There is a deep sense that Hamas must be removed from power, despite the assessment that entering Khan Yunis and conquering areas in southern Gaza will entail military losses. The testimonies of the torment of hostages in captivity and the belated realization that Hamas methodically weaponized sexual crimes have increased public sentiment, which in turn influences the government.
        Israel will struggle to achieve its declared aim, the destruction of the Hamas regime, without a ground maneuver to the area where most of the Hamas leadership and remaining military array are located. (Ha'aretz)
  • ZAKA Volunteers Pick Up Remains from Hamas Massacre - Ariela Ayalon
    When she is not volunteering at ZAKA, Nurit Cohen, 59, is a diving instructor. She has been working in the communities near Gaza, diligently removing clotted blood stains. She then moved to an area near Re'im, where they held the Nova music festival and many were murdered, where there is a "cemetery" of burnt cars. She helped clear the cars of blood and body parts. They were put in a bag and buried according to the Jewish religion.
        Cohen was then assigned to a team to work in the houses in Kfar Aza and Be'eri: "There, too, our job was to look for every scrap of tissue, organ, hair, and to remove the spots of clotted blood that were splashed everywhere." "I noticed a man was dragged by the blood trail. In the shelter that was sprayed with lots of bullets, we literally saw a pool of blood."
        Margalit Yahad, 58, a welfare worker, is also a ZAKA volunteer. She says: "I'm still there, purifying houses in Be'eri, Kfar Aza, Nirim and Nir Oz. My work routine is this: I enter the house, two gloves on each hand, in a lab coat. I photograph and document the blood stains and the other findings - tissue, nails. I collect them and they are sent to the rabbinate military base to undergo identification. I remove the blood from the walls, from the ceiling, from objects, and put it in a bag."
        Some of the particularly difficult experiences will accompany her forever. "I entered a house whose children's room was in a shocking state. A bed turned upside down, a baby's pillow full of blood, a baby's suit, toys, all stained."  (Ynet News)
  • UN Teachers in Gaza Glorify Hamas Massacre - Ariel Kahana
    At least 20 teachers from UNRWA schools have praised and glorified the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, according to the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).
        Former Knesset member Einat Wilf said, "The findings of this report once again prove that UNRWA is committed absolutely to the Palestinian 'Right of Return' agenda, which denies the right of the Jewish people to have a state anywhere between the river and the sea. On Oct. 7, we saw what it looks like when trained murderers implement the ideology with which they were educated all their lives. If we want a different future, a radical change in Israel's attitude towards the organization is necessary this time."
        "There will be no change, neither in Gaza, nor in the West Bank, nor in eastern Jerusalem, as long as UNRWA continues to provide international legitimacy to the permanent refugee idea and the Palestinian 'Right of Return.' Israel needs to declare the end of its voluntary cooperation with UNRWA and remove the organization from any place where it operates. Only then can one imagine a life other than perpetual warfare."  (Israel Hayom)

  • The message conveyed by the U.S. regarding the continuation of the war in Gaza is: Reduce the intensity of the fighting and increase humanitarian aid. However, each of these demands will hinder Israel in its efforts to topple Hamas' rule and destroy its military capabilities. Complying with them will only prolong the war and significantly increase the risks to our soldiers.
  • The ceasefire has strengthened the morale of Hamas commanders and fighters, as well as their hopes for ending the war through some arrangement. The indirect negotiations with it, even after it had been compared to ISIS and the Nazis, have boosted its confidence. Hamas has also gotten points from the public in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, thanks to its achievements in freeing prisoners from Israeli jails and its "struggle" against Israel.
  • The expectation that Israel allow humanitarian aid to Gaza (and even increase it) is based on mistaken assumptions. The simple reality is that Hamas has taken over all the institutions and resources in Gaza, and has the support of most of its residents.
  • To topple Hamas, our civilian leaders should seek to sever the links between Hamas and the various Gaza power centers in a way that the Hamas government would no longer be able to provide for the needs of its residents, will not be able to provide them with any services or enforce its rules on them.
  • Massive humanitarian aid undermines this, as it exempts Hamas from its obligations towards its residents, thus sparing it from their anger and preventing the population from turning against it. The aid serves as a temporary solution and will prolong the war in every possible aspect.
  • It is almost impossible to separate between "aid to citizens" and "aid to Hamas." Hamas can receive or take anything that enters the strip for its needs, regardless of the means of transfer or who delivers it. In this case, Israel should adopt a strict and minimalist approach: It should allow only the necessary assistance, and only when necessary, and only to the extent required.

    The writer, head of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem, served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council.

Daily Alert is published from Sunday through Friday during the war.
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