December 4, 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:

3 Commercial Ships Hit by Houthi Missiles in Red Sea - Jon Gambrell (AP)
    Missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels struck three commercial ships Sunday in the Red Sea, while the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Carney shot down three drones in self-defense during the hourslong assault, the U.S. military said.
    "These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security," U.S. Central Command said.
    "We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran."
    See also IDF: Ships Hit by Houthis near Yemen Not Connected to Israel - Tzvi Joffre (Jerusalem Post)
    Two ships hit in an attack near the Bab al-Mandab strait by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen on Sunday had no connection to the State of Israel, IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Sunday.
    "One ship was significantly damaged and is in distress with an apparent risk of sinking and another ship was slightly damaged," he said.
    The Houthis said they had attacked two Israeli ships.

Back to Combat - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Tamir Hayman (INSS)
    Much work still lies ahead for the IDF in Gaza, and it will take a long time. The initiative is in Israel's hands, and the next month is critical.
    It is imperative to complete the work in northern Gaza, and in the south to attack the Khan Yunis Brigade, and complete the conquest of the Rafah crossing to Egypt.
    Hizbullah's return to firing is actually better for us. This is an opportunity to insist on our message - move Hizbullah further north.
    American pressure is manageable. Humanitarian aid must be continued, and the movement of the civilian population for the purpose of protecting it must be allowed.
    The writer, former head of Military Intelligence, is managing director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Israel Still Has a Lot of Work to Do - Yohanan Tzoreff (Institute for National Security Studies-X)
    Hamas leader Khalil Hayya clarified that Hamas had only three hostages from the group of women and children.
    Hamas officials continue to estimate that Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor.
    In their opinion, Israel's interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages' families, and the public's broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.
    Hamas' arrogance does not show that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it. Which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.
    The writer is a senior researcher at INSS.

Ben-Gurion University Gets $100 Million Donation to Rebuild and Strengthen Negev Region - Gavriel Fiske (Times of Israel)
    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has been awarded a $100 million donation by the Sylvan Adams Family Foundation, it was announced Monday.
    "After the October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas, it is crucial that we strengthen Israel's south to ensure that Israelis feel safe and secure to rebuild their lives in the Negev," said donor Sylvan Adams, a Canadian billionaire and philanthropist who moved to Israel several years ago.

When Will Palestinians Shed Their Victimhood and Look to Coexist with Israel? - Denise Cohen (Washington Times)
    In 1991, I visited the home of a Palestinian woman in Gaza who had just lost her son. She didn't know I was Jewish.
    She launched into a recitation of her people's mission to stay in Gaza until the Jews left Israel.
    On her mantel was a photo of her son. She gave me a copy of the picture and told me that all the teenage boys had pictures ready for distribution upon their death.
    She chose to live a life of protest rather than one of betterment for the next generation.
    More than three decades later, the mission is unchanged, and the venom directed at Israel has been passed to several subsequent generations of Palestinians.
    Rather than funneling their brainpower and international aid into becoming Singapore or the United Arab Emirates, Palestinians in Gaza remain in despair.
    Perhaps it's time for Palestinians to take a page from the Jews they hate so much and shed their victimhood and hopelessness.

I'm Done with Having to Explain Myself to Jew-Haters - Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    As a Canadian Jew, I'm not going to apologize for my right to exist. Nor for my views about the Israel-Hamas war.
    I'm not the one shooting up schools, firebombing community centers, vandalizing bookstores, phoning in death threats, painting swastikas on people's homes, intimidating patrons coming out of restaurants and political events, or trying to block rail lines.
    The late British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, head of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, correctly observed that "Whenever you hear human rights invoked to deny Israel's right to exist, you are hearing the new anti-Semitism."
    That's what you're doing. You know it, I know it.
    But here's the thing. We survived the Holocaust. Do you really think we won't survive you?

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: Palestinian Authority Right Now Lacks Credibility to Govern Gaza - George Stephanopoulos
    U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told ABC News on Sunday why the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended. "It fell apart because Hamas was unwilling and refused to come up with additional lists of women and children, which we know they are holding...and we could get them exchanged."
        "We believe [the Israelis] have been receptive to our messages here in terms of trying to minimalize civilian casualties....They published online a map of places where people could go to avoid combat, and where they could...find safety from combat. There's not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that...to telegraph their punches in that way. So, they are making an effort."
        Regarding governance of Gaza after the war, "it's got to be responsive to the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and it has to be representative of them. Right now the Palestinian Authority doesn't have that credibility. So, what we want to see is a reformed PA, a revitalized Palestinian Authority that can have a voice and some measure of control over governance in Gaza."
        Q: Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have ruled that out, having the PA oversee Gaza.
    Kirby: "What he said was right now you've got an unreformed PA. And that that's unacceptable to him. I would tell you that's unacceptable to us too. We don't believe the PA is in a position right now to be in credible control of governance in Gaza."  (ABC News)
  • Israel: We're Doing Everything We Can to Keep Gaza Civilians Out of Harm's Way - Rachel Schilke
    Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer told ABC News on Sunday: "We're doing everything we can to keep [Gaza] civilians out of harm's way." This war "is going on at a time when rockets are flying into our country, and we have people running to bomb shelters."
        "When you have an enemy right on your border, and you're doing everything to get the civilians of that enemy out of harm's way, I don't think any other country, including the United States...would take such great care. So, we agree with the United States that we want to do everything we can to reduce civilian casualties and to ramp up humanitarian assistance."  (Washington Examiner)
  • Hundreds of Thousands of Palestinians Have Lost Jobs Due to War - Aseel Mafarjeh
    Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank have lost their jobs after Israeli authorities cancelled their work permits and imposed restrictions on crossings after the Oct. 7 attacks. West Bank and Gaza residents who worked in Israel and Jewish communities in the West Bank are no longer working. Alaa Mousa, 35, from Ramallah, said, "I made enough working in Israel, but now my debts are piling, my family is hungry and I have no clue when this is going to end." Mousa is among thousands of Palestinians who worked in Israel, generating about $3 billion a year. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Anti-Tank Missile Attack in North Injures 12 - Emanuel Fabian
    11 men and one woman were wounded when an anti-tank missile fired by Hizbullah hit the town of Beit Hillel, 3.5 km. from Israel's northern border, on Sunday. IDF jets struck several Hizbullah sites in southern Lebanon in response. (Times of Israel)
  • Joint Operations of Air and Land Forces Reduce IDF Losses - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    On Sunday, the IDF announced that its special joint operations unit that enables air support for ground forces advancing in dense urban settings has repeatedly saved IDF forces facing larger losses. In one case, a battalion was pinned down by Hamas anti-tank missiles and sniper units in Beit Hanun. Within 15 minutes, the IDF special unit struck from the air and removed the Hamas threat.
        Another unit was ambushed in Jabalya by a complex trap of anti-tank missiles and other Hamas forces. In one hour, the Joint Special Forces-Air Force unit attacked Hamas 11 times, ended the ambush, and succeeded in evacuating wounded IDF soldiers. In another incident, Golani forces were being ambushed. The special unit carried out eight attacks against Hamas within 15 minutes, helping the forces deal with the situation.
        The special unit - which at first was mostly made of attack helicopters - has added drones and other kinds of aircraft to strike within 150 meters of advancing IDF forces, most often without hitting civilians. A senior IDF official said the same tactics used in northern Gaza should work in the south. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Interrogated Israeli Hostages Using Excessive Force
    Hostages freed last week said Hamas terrorists interrogated Israeli captives about their past service in the IDF and often used excessive physical force as part of their interrogations, Army Radio reported Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The New Antisemitism Is the Oldest Kind - Lance Morrow
    The antisemitism that has poured forth onto the country's streets and campuses in the autumn of 2023 is a reversion to a politics of aggressive, unapologetic hate. Of course, the new Jew-haters - especially young people on campuses - think of themselves as perfectly virtuous. What is a thousand times worse, they think of their Jew-hatred as righteous. It's morally fashionable among them.
        Sympathy for innocent Palestinian civilians who have been killed under the Israeli bombardment of Gaza? By all means. Who doesn't feel that? But wait. As Lenin said: How you assign blame for violence depends on who has done what to whom. The Americans didn't bomb Yokohama on Dec. 7, 1941; the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. And the Japanese were responsible for what followed.
        Students at Harvard and Columbia don't protest the region's routine inhumanities. They do so only when there are Jews around to blame and to hate. It's the Israelis' Jewishness that brings the demonstrators out. This isn't "a new antisemitism." Antisemitism is never new. It's an ancient beast that awakens from time to time.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Can Hamas Really Be "Eliminated"? - Nadim Koteich
    The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell called Hamas "an unkillable idea and ideology." History suggests that seemingly invincible organizations and ideologies can indeed be defeated, often after military defeat, through socio-economic and political reformations. The fall of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy, when skillfully married with political and economic foresight, underscored that even the most formidable ideologies can be unraveled.
        The military defeat of Hamas must be definitive enough to prevent Hamas from claiming illusory victories amidst the ruins of Gaza. But those who live there must be offered hope of a better future. Any aid must be linked to political and cultural reforms to ensure that a corruption-free, peace-committed political authority emerges from the ruins.
        Seemingly indomitable rigid ideologies can indeed be conquered. Hamas need not be here forever. But whether it can be killed off will depend on what happens when the latest war in Gaza finally ends.
        The writer is an Emirati journalist based in Abu Dhabi. (Spectator-UK)
  • Harvard Alumni Are Tackling Antisemitism - Adrian Ashkenazy
    I am a poster child for Jewish assimilation. So, what compelled such an unlikely adherent to become what a friend recently dubbed a "Super Jew"? Even before the blood was dry following Hamas' murderous attack on Israel on Oct. 7, three dozen student groups at Harvard College aggressively condoned the terror group's rampage.
        Within days, my collegemate Eric Fleiss and I started the Harvard Jewish Alumni Association. Our mission is to advocate for a truly pluralistic campus community, where all students are welcome, regardless of religious identity. And that includes Jews. Especially Jews. I was surprised that Harvard didn't already have a Jewish alumni group, but the reason was obvious. We never needed one. But something has changed rapidly and profoundly. Suddenly, it has become fashionable for students and faculty to hate Jews.
        Within a month following the Hamas attack, we built a network of 2,000 alumni - 200 of whom are actively working on complex issues related to campus finance, media, education, policy enforcement, outreach, student support and admissions.
        Among many saddening discoveries, we see that Jews have been purged across campus - from the administration and the Board of Overseers to the faculty and the student body. Since the 1970s and for the next four decades, Jews comprised roughly 25% of students. Today, the class of 2027 is barely 5% Jewish.
        Injustice isn't just a Jewish issue: Once hateful and violent factions are finished with us Jews, everyone else could easily be next.
        The writer (Harvard '96) is a hotel developer. (New York Post)
  • The Determination of Israel's Reservists - Fiamma Nirenstein
    I met IDF reserve soldiers at a base just across the border from Gaza during the recent ceasefire. These soldiers are older and more emotional than you would imagine. Their intentions are clear: "Never Again." The Oct. 7 massacre will never be permitted to reoccur. Israel must be freed from the nightmare of Hamas.
        These soldiers have completed their three-year military service - or two years, if they are women - but they all keep their reserve duffel bag under the bed. If the phone rings, as happened on Oct. 7, they rush to the front, whether they are in Tel Aviv or Japan, whether they are left-wing or right-wing, professors or taxi drivers.
        Commander A. hasn't been home since Oct. 7. His brigade was sent into Beit Hanoun in Gaza. He said, "We had to quickly learn a lesson.... The terrorists let you enter easily. There's a row of houses, two or three more, and that's where Hamas is waiting for you - where you don't expect it, in civilian structures."
        "If we decide to destroy a structure and there are civilians inside, we warn the civilian population....There are precise rules for evaluating whether we have to act, whether it's essential because if we don't act, the lives of soldiers or Israeli civilians are in danger. We try to stop Hamas' continuous use of human shields by moving the civilians out completely."
        Maj. Moshe, a 50-year-old engineer who works in high-tech, said, "An army generally advances on a territory that, once occupied, is the starting point of your next step. But here, through the tunnels under the ground, suddenly you find the enemy shooting at you from behind."
        First and foremost, however, they are Jews who know exactly what was done to their people on Oct. 7 and will continue their war of justice and survival. One of them tells me, "Yes, I feel when we fight, feel it physically, that our kidnapped citizens are not far away, and I fight for them too with all my heart. This is the most just war of all time."
        The writer, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.  (JNS)
  • Western Media Outlets Are Hamas' Devastating Weapon of War - Melanie Phillips
    Hamas, the genocidal jihadi force responsible for the barbaric Oct. 7 pogrom in Israel, has a devastating weapon of war - the Western media. Despite the terror group's record of lying through its teeth, the media accepts what it says at face value while casting doubt on everything said by the habitually truthful Israelis.
        Journalists sneered at Israel's repeated claims of Hamas command tunnels beneath Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital. Even as the IDF produced videos of these tunnels, showing their arched roofs, toilets and rooms using electricity sourced from the hospital, the New York Times continued to falsely assert that the Israelis "have not shown conclusive evidence of a vast network of tunnels."
        The media waved away the fact that many of the Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails in return for the release of Israeli hostages have convictions for terrorist violence. Worse still, journalists have drawn a depraved moral equivalence between Israeli hostages released by Hamas and the Palestinian terrorist prisoners released by Israel.
        The most important serial offender is the BBC, with innumerable examples of selective, distorted reporting, using Hamas propaganda as legitimate talking points and twisting itself into a pretzel to cast Israel in the worst possible light. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has flagged several posts by BBC journalists rejoicing at the Oct. 7 atrocities, supporting "Palestinian brethren in their war against the occupying entity," a day after Israeli women and children were beheaded, raped and burned alive.
        The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK. (JNS)
  • Is It Time for Israel to Ignore the World? - Tom Basile
    Today, as global elites in media, academia, politics and government bend to terrorist propaganda, Israel is being bludgeoned for defending itself against an enemy that has consistently vowed to destroy it. It's time for Israel to ignore the world, the pundits and the protesters.
        Israel has played the game of hope and change long enough. Israelis hoped working toward a two-state solution and some modicum of peaceful coexistence was possible. They thought providing the Gaza territory to the Palestinians in 2005 would change the trajectory of the relationship. They thought providing essential services such as power and water as well as thousands of work visas for struggling Palestinians in Gaza would result in a more hopeful future.
        However well-intentioned those moves were, they didn't work. Since 2006, tens of thousands of rockets and innumerable other attacks have been committed unprovoked by Hamas against Israel. Hizbullah and now Houthi terrorists are part of a global Islamist crusade against Israel.
        Biblical history dispatches the ridiculous notion that Jews are occupiers of the region. The unprovoked terrorist attacks on Israel clearly demonstrate that despite the propaganda, the only group involved in this fight that has faced genocide is the Jewish people. (Washington Times)

Hamas Also Slaughters Muslims - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel on Oct. 7 also murdered and kidnapped scores of Muslim citizens of Israel, including members of the Bedouin community. The terrorists' murder spree made zero distinction between Muslim and Jew.
  • Hamas mercilessly beat, humiliated, abducted, and murdered their fellow Muslims, including Awad Darawshe, 23, an Israeli-Arab paramedic who had remained behind at the music festival, refusing to abandon the wounded. "I speak Arabic. I think I can manage," he said. He was wrong.
  • Abed al-Rahman Alnasasrah, 50, was murdered by Hamas terrorists when he attempted to rescue people from the music festival.
  • Fatima Altallaqat, 35, from the Bedouin village of Ar'ara, was murdered while working with her husband near Ofakim in Israel. Her husband, Hamid, recounted: "We're a religious Muslim family and she wore the traditional headdress of a devout woman." Her brother said that Hamas terrorists shot 40 bullets into her.
  • Hamas was hoping to trigger another cycle of violence between Jews and Arabs inside Israel, similar to that which erupted in May 2021. This year, however, Israeli-Arabs have not heeded the calls by Hamas. One reason is that they saw how Hamas terrorists make no distinction between Jews and Muslims.
  • On Oct. 7, Hamas showed the world, with unfathomably ghoulish pride, by way of Go-Pro cameras and other self-documentation, that it has neither a religious nor a secular-humanist set of values.
  • Perhaps the Palestinians in Gaza should look at the Arab citizens of Israel and note how they enjoy equal rights, democracy, freedom of speech and a free media. If Palestinians wish to live well, like the Israeli-Arabs, this is the time for them to get rid of Hamas and all the terror leaders who, for seven decades, have brought them nothing but one disaster after another.

    The writer, an awarding-winning Israeli Arab journalist, lecturer, and documentary filmmaker, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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