December 7, 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:

U.S. Justice Department Investigating Deaths and Kidnapping of Americans in Hamas Attack - Lindsay Whitehurst (AP-Washington Post)
    The Justice Department is investigating the deaths and kidnapping of Americans during the Hamas attack against Israel on Oct. 7, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday.
    "Hamas murdered more than 30 Americans and kidnapped more" during the attack, Garland said.
    "We are investigating those heinous crimes and we will hold those people accountable."

Israel's Arrow System Intercepts Fourth Iranian Ballistic Missile Launched from Yemen - Avi Scharf (Ha'aretz)
    Israel's Arrow missile defense system intercepted an Iranian ballistic missile launched from Yemen on Wednesday before it entered Israeli airspace.
    Since the Gaza war began on Oct. 7, the Arrow has downed four missiles launched from Yemen, and another long-range missile launched from Gaza.
    The Houthi regime in Yemen has a large arsenal of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones capable of reaching Israel, a distance of over 1,500 km. (over 900 miles).

Following U.S. Pressure, Israel Approves Increased Fuel Deliveries to Gaza (Times of Israel)
    Israel on Wednesday approved a minimal increase in fuel supplies to Gaza to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
    The U.S. has been demanding that the current daily delivery of 60,000 liters of fuel be doubled or even tripled, despite Israeli concerns that the fuel will fall into the hands of Hamas for military purposes.
    Israel's Channel 11 reported that 120,000 liters of fuel would be delivered to Gaza daily starting on Thursday.
    Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said the decision to boost fuel supplies was critical to secure continued backing from Washington for Israel's military operation in Gaza.

Video: Inside an Israeli Artillery Unit Targeting Gaza - Nick Pisa (Daily Mail-UK)
    IDF troops are engaged in combat in Gaza with support from the powerful 155mm howitzers of the Artillery Corps.
    We saw an artillery unit in Israel firing shell after shell at regular intervals with pinpoint accuracy at targets radioed in from troops on the ground in Gaza.
    Chicago-born Maj. Shraga said, "A shell from here will reach Gaza in twenty seconds."
    He added, "I got the call and I jumped straight on the first plane from Chicago back to Israel as I'm a reservist. We all have other day jobs in normal times, but when we get the call to defend our country and our people, there's no hesitation."
    "Morale is very high and, to tell you the truth, everyone is deeply motivated, not out of hate of Palestinians but by a deep feeling that we have no choice."
    "This war was brought upon us by Hamas who brought Hell into our communities and neighborhoods....We all want to get home, but until we get all the hostages back and dismantle Hamas, then we won't be going home."

IDF Sees Surge in Female Conscripts Seeking Combat Roles - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The IDF said Wednesday it has seen a massive spike in female conscripts seeking to join combat units since the war in Gaza began in October.
    The most popular combat units included the Border Defense Corps' light infantry units, Combat Intelligence Collection units, the Artillery Corps, Air Force air defense units, Home Front Command Search and Rescue units, and the Border Police.

Israel Securities Authority Finds No Suspicious Trading ahead of Hamas Assault - Sharon Wrobel (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said Wednesday it did not find any abnormalities in share trading in the days ahead of the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught, responding to U.S. claims that there were informed investors who may have profited from prior knowledge.
    The ISA said it operates a technological intelligence system which continuously monitors for abnormalities during all trading hours.
    Yaniv Pagot, head of trading at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, exposed why the researchers' calculation was inaccurate, noting that share prices on the local exchange are quoted in agorot and not shekels. There are 100 agorot in each shekel.
    Saar Golan, a trader at Bank Leumi, wrote that "the professors made some calculations, but just forgot to divide by 100." So the reported profit of the transactions "was NIS 32 million and not NIS 3.2 billion."

Israel at War: Daily Zoom Briefing
by Jerusalem Center Experts
View Daily Briefing at 4:00 p.m. (Israel), 9:00 a.m. (EST)
    View recent briefings

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Fights in Khan Yunis while Weighing U.S. Concerns - Gordon Lubold
    Israel continues to target the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, while the U.S. has called on Israel to minimize civilian casualties and increase aid allowed into Gaza. Giora Eiland, a former Israeli general and national security adviser, said the American demands on aid and objections to mass evacuations of civilian areas are counterproductive. "We are fighting with one hand tied behind our back because we are supposed to take care of the population in Gaza," Eiland said. Of the Biden administration, he said: "With one hand they are helping us, and with the other, they are helping Hamas."
        Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, "Lately, I have been asked whether we have the legitimacy to continue fighting, and to that I answer: We do not have the legitimacy to stop. There is only one legitimate thing to do: to win against Hamas, to strike them and eliminate them - destroying their governing and military capabilities, and bringing the hostages home."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • As It Planned for Oct. 7, Hamas Lulled Israel into a False Sense of Calm - Shira Rubin
    Hamas spent more than a year planning its assault on Israel, Israeli intelligence officers said this week. Yet for years, in public statements and private diplomacy, Hamas had claimed that it was more interested in building Gaza economically than in renewing a conflict with Israel. Hamas had largely refrained from firing rockets at Israel after 2021. In May 2023, Hamas remained on the sidelines as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) engaged in a short-lived conflict with Israel.
        Hamas officials even provided Israel with intelligence on the PIJ to reinforce the impression that they were interested in collaboration, an Israeli security official said.
        In recent months, large demonstrations were staged at the Gaza border fence to get the IDF used to crowds at the border, and "to lull Israel into complacency," said Miri Eisin, a former senior IDF intelligence officer. Eisin said that Israel and many of its allies were more concerned with Hizbullah in the north, that in 2018 declared plans to conquer the Galilee region. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Launched Rockets at Israel from Humanitarian Zone near UN Facility - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF spokesman on Thursday released a recording of Hamas terrorists launching 12 rockets toward Beersheba. The rockets were launched near the tents of Gazans who were evacuated to the south for their protection and near UN facilities. One of the rockets misfired, putting many Gazan civilians at risk. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Locates Massive Weapons Depot in Gaza - Yoav Zitun
    IDF soldiers have located one of the largest stockpiles of weapons found in Gaza, near a clinic and a school in northern Gaza. The stockpile contained hundreds of rockets and RPG launchers, long-range rockets, UAVs, ready-to-use explosive devices, dozens of anti-tank missiles, dozens of explosive charges, and dozens of grenades. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Defense Minister Gallant: We'll Push Hizbullah beyond Litani River before Residents of Northern Israel Return Home
    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met on Wednesday with the heads of local governments located near the Lebanon border, promising that their communities - evacuated since border skirmishes began in October - will not be returned home until Hizbullah is driven north of the Litani River. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006, barred Hizbullah from maintaining a military presence south of the Litani, which is 30 km. (18 miles) north of the border.
        Gallant said the best option is to reach a diplomatic arrangement that will cause Resolution 1701 to be enforced. If that doesn't succeed, Israel will "act with all the means at its disposal" to push Hizbullah back through military actions. Some 80,000 residents of communities located up to 10 km. south of the Lebanon border have been evacuated. (Times of Israel)
  • Yad Vashem "Appalled" by University Presidents "Excusing" Calls for Genocide Against Jews - Judy Maltz
    Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, expressed "extreme alarm" on Wednesday at the refusal of leaders of elite U.S. universities to deem genocidal calls against Jews a violation of their codes of conduct at a congressional hearing on Tuesday. "Yad Vashem is appalled that leaders of elite academic institutions would use misleading contextualization to minimize and excuse calls for genocide of the Jews," said Chairman Dani Dayan.
        "The positions taken by the three university presidents in their testimonies highlight a basic ignorance of history, including the fact that the Holocaust did not start with ghettos or gas chambers, but with hateful antisemitic rhetoric, decrees and actions by senior academics, among other leaders of society. Any university, institution, or society that can 'contextualize' and excuse calls for genocide is doomed."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • How the IDF Is Reducing Civilian Casualties in Gaza - Yaakov Lappin
    The Israel Defense Forces is making great efforts to limit civilian casualties in its war against Hamas, despite the terror group's core strategy of embedding itself in the heart of civilian areas and sites.
        A sophisticated control center at the IDF Southern Command monitors and evaluates the situation in Gaza in real time. The system divides Gaza into 623 blocks, each featuring detailed data on civilian presence, in a continuously updating smart map. The information is made available to air, ground and naval units, and can have a decisive influence on IDF actions.
        This information is crucial for analyzing the evacuation of Gazan civilians and understanding the distribution of the civilian population. The control center primarily serves a humanitarian purpose, and enables IDF commanders to evaluate how "clean" of civilians a given sector is before launching any kind of strike or maneuver.
        A senior IDF official said, "The IDF puts a lot of effort in...to make sure that civilians won't be on the battlefield. Unfortunately, we are facing an enemy whose core strategy is to do exactly the opposite."
        The military has demonstrated a commitment to addressing the immediate humanitarian needs arising from the conflict, facilitating the construction of new pipelines to ensure water access in areas like Khan Yunis and Dir Al-Balah. The IDF has also coordinated the entrance of two field hospitals and the evacuation of injured civilians to these facilities.
        All of these efforts reflect a concerted attempt to balance the military imperative of dismantling Hamas' army in Gaza against the need to minimize collateral damage as much as possible. (JNS)
  • How Human Rights Advocates Became Antisemites - Gadi Taub
    Antisemitism has evolved and is now conveyed through the lingo of human rights. A host of people - many of them Jews - have been seduced into supporting NGOs that claim to promote human rights, but are in fact promoting a racist view of the Jewish people. They do so by singling out the Jews as the one people not partaking in the universal right to self-determination, and Israel alone among the nations as the one state which has no right to exist. Singling out the Jews for special hostile treatment is, of course, the very definition of antisemitism.
        How did the idea of human rights, which purports to serve as a universal standard, get distorted so badly as to yield an argument for the targeting and exclusion of Jews? One part of the answer lies with academia and the media which, by using gross double standards, portrays Israel as a uniquely monstrous violator of human rights. The world's actual egregious violators of human rights - such as China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and most of Israel's neighbors - don't receive a fraction of the moralizing attention that Israel gets.
        A vast number of NGOs - which include "human rights" in their mission statements - operate freely inside Israel, with the aim of changing Israeli society and subverting its democratic modes of governance. As Swedish journalist Paulina Neuding aptly put it, Israel is a virtual Disneyland for NGOs. Many of these are bent on inflaming the conflict, defaming Israel by documenting the human rights violations of one side only, real and imagined, with the explicit intention of drawing outside pressure to force Israel into making concessions to its foes.
        The writer is a senior lecturer in communications and public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Tablet)
  • Why Everyone Should Refrain from Recognizing a "Palestinian State" Just Now - Drieu Godefridi
    There are whispers in the corridors of power that Belgium, Norway and Spain are preparing to recognize a "Palestinian State." The first conditions for recognizing a state are territory and state authority. In the case of a "Palestinian State," there is no territory on which even the Palestinians agree. Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority lay claim over all of the territory, including all of Israel.
        As for any constituted state authority, there are two. In Gaza, Hamas has governed since 2007. In the Palestinian-populated areas of Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority dominates. These two authorities do not recognize each other. In strict international law, it makes no sense to recognize a "Palestinian State" that does not exist in any of its fundamental components.
        The writer is a jurist, philosopher, and PhD in legal theory.  (Gatestone Institute)
  • Silence the Diplomatic Clock for Israel - Nave Dromi
    For many years, a figurative diplomatic clock was set for Israel every time it launched a defensive military operation. This clock is not brought out for any other conflict in the world. It only exists in the imagination of Israel's foreign interlocutors.
        But the diplomatic clock is a fraud. There can be no specific time limitations on responding to the murder, rape and butchery of 1,200 people, the wounding of thousands of others, and the vicious kidnapping and humiliation of 240 Israelis and foreigners. There is no precedent for such crimes. Thus, there can be no time limit set on how long it takes for Israel to ensure that it never happens again.
        Israel's wars are not fought halfway around the world. They are fought on our borders, mere meters from our homes, towns and cities. The war launched against Israel on Oct. 7 broke something that needs fixing, regardless of how long it takes. My expectation is that Israel will ignore those who demand that Israel speed up the war, because speeding up means many more Israeli soldiers will be killed.
        The only clock that matters is the one that stops when Israel achieves victory. Not a minute before. Israel governs the clock; it is not governed by the clock. (JNS)

After the War: A Two-State Solution? - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
  • In his plan for "the day after" the current war between Israel and Hamas, U.S. President Joe Biden has reasserted his belief in the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to replace the Hamas terror organization in governing Gaza, and in the necessity to reach a "two-state solution" as the outcome of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.
  • The phrase "two-state solution" is constantly being repeated despite the fact that the concept of two states as a solution to the conflict has never been officially accepted as the agreed solution either by Israel or by the Palestinian leadership.
  • On the contrary, as agreed in the still-valid Oslo Accords, the permanent status of the territories remains an open negotiating issue. As such, repetition of the call for a two-state solution prejudges the outcome of the negotiating process and seriously underestimates the flawed capabilities of the PA in its present form.
  • Clearly, any concept of two states that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel could only emanate from direct negotiations between Israel and a unified and fully representative Palestinian leadership. It could not be a result of any off-the-cuff political declaration or UN resolution.
  • A politically and economically unstable and non-viable Palestinian entity would be open to manipulation by Iran and other foreign states and terror elements. As such, it could never be acceptable to Israel or to the international community inasmuch as it would constitute a constant threat both to Israel's security as well as to regional stability.
  • Calls for the restoration of the PA as the governing body in Gaza are naive and uninformed in light of the corruption rife among its leadership, its failure to maintain security within the area it governs (Judea and Samaria), and its policies of encouragement and incitement to terror - as well as its financing of terror through payment of salaries to perpetrators of terror and their families.
  • Only after the formation of a unified responsible Palestinian administration - and not a corrupt one like the PA - that would be fully capable of governance and of fulfilling its international obligations, would it be possible to consider viable options for solving the dispute.

    The writer, former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and ambassador to Canada, directs the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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