December 10, 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:

IDF Confirms Surrender of Many Hamas Members - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirmed Saturday that many Hamas members have surrendered in Gaza.
    "In Shejaiya and Jabaliya, terrorists who surrendered handed over weapons and equipment."
    "From the interrogations of the terrorists who surrendered, the following intelligence has emerged: The situation of the operatives on the ground is difficult, and the Hamas leadership, led by [Yahya] Sinwar, denies the reality even though it is updated on the details."
    "The operatives complain that the Hamas leadership is out of touch with the tough situation they are in on the ground."
    See also Video Shows Surrender of Hamas Gunmen - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Footage from Jabaliya in northern Gaza leaked Saturday on social media shows a Hamas operative walking past a tank while holding an assault rifle and magazine over his head, before placing them on the ground.
    Other Palestinians, who like him are clad only in underwear, hold up their identification cards as they stand across the street.
    Hamas operatives have increasingly been surrendering to the IDF in other areas of Gaza, according to military officials.
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said, "We are seeing every day more and more terror operatives killed, more and more terror operatives wounded, and in recent days we're seeing terrorists surrendering - a sign of the disintegration of the system, a sign that we need to push harder."

Two IDF Troops Severely Injured Trying to Rescue Hostages in Gaza - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF reported Friday that two IDF soldiers were severely injured Thursday night during an operation to rescue hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
    Numerous terrorists who took part in abducting and holding the hostages were killed, but no hostages were rescued.

State Department Approves Sale of Tank Ammunition to Israel - Matthew Lee (AP-Washington Post)
    The Biden administration on Saturday said it has approved the emergency sale to Israel of 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million.
    The State Department said it had notified Congress of the sale on Friday after Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined "an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale" of the munitions in the U.S. national security interest.
    That means the purchase will bypass the congressional review requirement for foreign military sales.

Attacks on U.S. Troops in Iraq and Syria Have Resumed, Pentagon Says - Meghann Myers (Military Times)
    After a break that coincided with a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war, Iran-backed militias have resumed attacking bases housing American troops in Iraq and Syria, with 5 attacks since Nov. 29, the last day of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Thursday.

French Navy Shoots Down Drones from Yemen over Red Sea (Al Arabiya)
    The French frigate Languedoc, which operates in the Red Sea, shot down two drones that were heading towards it, 110 km. (68 miles) from the coast of Yemen, the French military said Sunday.

65 Percent of Americans Say Hamas Responsible for Gaza War (Pew Research Center)
    65% of Americans say Hamas bears a lot of responsibility for the current conflict, compared to 35% who say that about the Israeli government, according to a new survey conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 3.

IDF Releases Video of Hamas Stealing Aid from Gazans - Einav Halabi (Ynet News)
    The IDF Spokesperson released a video on Saturday showing Hamas terrorists looting bags of humanitarian aid, loading the supplies onto vehicles, assaulting civilians, and moving the stolen goods to a Hamas-affiliated location in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood.

Female Doctors and Medics with the IDF in Gaza - Yifat Erlich (Israel Hayom)
    Lt. Bar, 27, a career soldier and senior medical officer of an armored battalion, spent sixty consecutive hours in a tank on the Gaza front, providing life-saving medical care to IDF soldiers.
    Staff Sgt. Ella, 24, a paramedic reservist, saved the lives of two wounded battalion commanders and two fighters.
    Capt. Shaked, 26, also a reserve paramedic, treated four soldiers while under fire.
    They are part of a group of 70 female medical professionals who fight alongside IDF forces in Gaza.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Vetoes Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Resolution at UN Security Council - Farnaz Fassihi
    The U.S. on Friday vetoed a UN resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. The U.S. argued that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas attacks. The vote was 13 to 1, with Britain abstaining.
      Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood called the resolution "not only unrealistic, but dangerous - it would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on Oct. 7." Wood said the U.S. had tried to negotiate changes to the resolution, but "nearly all of our recommendations were ignored," including adding a condemnation of Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and an endorsement of Israel's right to self-defense.
        Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said Israel had been taking steps to keep civilians safe "despite attempts by their own leaders to deliberately sacrifice them as human shields. That's why we published a very detailed map to help civilians evacuate; it's why we surrendered the element of surprise by urging the evacuation of areas before moving in. We believe we are setting the highest possible standard for the minimization of civilian casualties in counterterrorism operations in urban areas."  (New York Times)
  • Israel's Operations in Khan Yunis Expected to Last 3 to 4 More Weeks - Barak Ravid
    A senior Israeli defense official told Axios Israel expects to end its military operation in Khan Yunis in three to four weeks. The high-intensity phase of the war would likely last another three to four weeks, he said. The IDF has "made significant progress" in northern Gaza, but the operation in Khan Yunis in the south "has just started."
        The Israeli official said the U.S. isn't giving Israel a firm deadline to stop the operation, but that the U.S. would be satisfied if Israel ended the high intensity phase of the operation by the end of December, while Israel is aiming for the end of January.
        "The U.S. message is that they would want us to finish faster, with less civilian casualties and more humanitarian aid to Gaza. We want the same thing, but there is another player here and this is the enemy that doesn't agree. The U.S. understands this. We are working together. We need them and they need us."  (Axios)
  • Hamas Leaders: Our Goal Is Establishment of a Global Islamic Caliphate, Not Just Liberation of Palestine
    Hamas leaders and spokesmen repeatedly stress that the liberation of Palestine is just a prelude to the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Hamas Political Bureau member and former Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad declared on Dec. 1, 2023, on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza) that the Palestinians are preparing to establish an Islamic caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital.
        Egyptian journalist Dr. Mouna Al-Hilmi wrote in Al-Dustour on Nov. 5, 2023, "Hamas is not interested in liberating the Palestinian homeland, because, ultimately, it does not recognize the idea of the homeland [a state] and regards Islam as the homeland. What really interests it is what it regards as the 'sacred religious duty' of every Muslim everywhere, namely, getting rid of the Jews and expelling them from every place."  (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Rockets Fired at Israel from Gaza Humanitarian Zone - Einav Halabi
    IDF Arabic spokesperson Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee reported Saturday that rockets fired toward central Israel on Friday were launched from a humanitarian zone in Gaza. He posted an aerial map of the area on X to support his statement. He also noted that on Friday, "Hamas terrorists fired...four rockets from the humanitarian zone, which fell inside the Strip, endangering the lives of many Gazan civilians."
        The IDF revealed last week that Hamas launched 12 rockets toward Beersheba from launching pads located not far from the humanitarian zone in Rafah near a UN facility. (Ynet News)
  • Egypt Mulls Plans for Global Resettlement of Gazans - Lior Ben Ari
    The Arab newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted sources on Saturday claiming that Egypt is exploring the possibility that other countries will agree to host Gazans who will be allowed to leave via the Rafah border crossing. According to this scenario, Egypt will accept hundreds of thousands of Gazans based on medical and humanitarian conditions, or those with immigration visas and foreign student visas. These individuals will stay in Egypt for a limited period at the beginning before moving to other countries.
        Egypt has started examining whether Arab countries in North Africa and the Gulf States will agree to receive immigration quotas. Egypt is also interested in promoting scholarships for Gazan students in the West and Turkey, allowing them to move there with their families.
        At the same time, Egypt is investing considerable efforts in trying to prevent mass migration from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt told the U.S. that the displacement of Gazans into its territory would threaten its security. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Gen. Petraeus Envisions Israeli Counterinsurgency Campaign in Gaza - Todd South
    U.S. Army Gen. (ret.) David Petraeus, who led a surge of U.S. troops to help turn the tide of the Iraq War, said on Nov. 30 that a similar, counterinsurgency-based approach could work in Gaza. Petraeus said that Israel has determined Hamas is the equivalent of the Islamic State, meaning it is an irreconcilable, extremist organization. "You have to, therefore, destroy them." Israel cannot allow Hamas to reconstitute as a militant group and it also must dismantle the group's political wing.
        "But...you can't kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency. The campaign should be a counterinsurgency campaign. Don't clear and go on. Clear, hold and build." He added, "There needs to be a vision for who's going to oversee Gaza." While Israel may not want that job, it might need to do it, at least temporarily. (Army Times)
  • Israel Is Not Morally Required to Sacrifice Its People to Save Gazan Civilians - Alan Dershowitz and Andrew Stein
    Recent polls show overwhelming support by Gazans not only for Hamas but also for its barbarities of Oct. 7. The only way to get the civilian population of Gaza out of the arms of Hamas is to show them that atrocities committed by Hamas will hurt the civilians of Gaza as well as the terrorists of Hamas.
        This message is intended for most adults, men and women alike, many of whom not only cheer for Hamas but are complicit in their terrorism by allowing themselves to be used as human shields and their homes and mosques to be used as hiding places for weapons and commanders.
        When the Allies killed hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians during World War II, this did not drive the surviving civilians into the arms of the enemy. To the contrary, the show of strength and the total victory of the Allies drove most of them into the arms of the victors who promised them a better life - and delivered.
        Israel is doing more than any military in history to try to minimize the civilian casualties that are caused by Hamas. The world - and especially the U.S. - should understand that when Hamas undertook the barbarous attack on Israel with the help, support and approval of many Gazans, they sentenced their civilian population to disastrous consequences, just as the Germans and Japanese did when they started World War II.
        Israeli soldiers should not be required to sacrifice their lives and to forgo an Israeli victory to protect the citizens of Gaza from self-inflicted wounds caused by Hamas. Moreover, the greatest beneficiaries of the total defeat of Hamas would be the civilians of Gaza, even if they don't realize it. The same was true for the civilians of Germany and Japan.
        Alan Dershowitz is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. Andrew Stein served as New York City Council president (1986-94). (New York Post)
  • Hamas Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Be Allowed to Fade - Qanta A. Ahmed
    Hamas committed crimes against humanity in Israel on Oct. 7. That much should be obvious from the terrorists' own mass-murder video recordings, but it is indisputable for anyone who has visited the ravaged sites of their attack, as I have.
        At Israel's National Center of Forensic Medicine, I inspected the body of an older man. His decaying body was now a quilt of stab wounds and gunshot entries and exits. His wrists remained encircled in plastic zip ties. A CT scanner was required to reveal that a charred mass was actually two humans. Cables bound the bodies together. The orientation of two spinal columns showed one adult and one child had died while locked in an embrace.
        Now, two months later, much of the discussion has moved on to considering how to achieve peace between Israel and Palestinians. But what happened on Oct. 7 meets the internationally recognized definition of genocide. The world has an obligation to recognize what was done - and to punish the perpetrators.
        The writer, a British-American Muslim, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York. (Washington Post)
  • Why Did the Hamas Murderers Shout "Allahu Akbar" - "God Is Great"? - Koen Metsu
    In 1980, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini began planting the seeds of a genocidal movement to destroy Israel. Iran's goal is to bring the entire Middle East under Islamist control, and Hamas is only one part of this strategy. Iran is helped by the fact that Hamas and the people of Gaza have never supported a "two-state solution." They believe that Muslims must control all the land "from the river to the sea." It must be purged of Jews and any semblance of democratic governance.
        On my trip to Israel in November, I made myself watch a 46-minute film of the horrors of Hamas' Oct. 7 massacre. I would rather not have seen it, but I felt it was my duty to do so. I will never be able to erase the images from my mind. I sincerely did not think any human could commit such atrocities. Most hideous of all, perhaps, was that throughout those 46 minutes, terrorists were shouting "Allahu Akbar" - "God is great" - again and again. What God, one wonders, would condone such violence?
        During my visit to Kibbutz Kfar Aza, I met Yula and her son. Yula survived by hiding with her children in a drawer under the bed while Hamas terrorists entered her home and set it on fire. Yula's family tried to flee the fire, only to be met with terrorists outside their home, so they instinctively ran back into the inferno to escape via a back room. For seven hours they hid in a warehouse until the IDF rescued them.
        I am in the peace camp. I support democracy and coexistence. But anyone who disparages Israel after Oct. 7 opens the door for another Oct. 7 anywhere in the world.
        The writer is a Belgian member of parliament. (JNS)
  • Israel's Critics Want to Cancel a Whole Country - Dan Perry
    The obsession of the West with identity politics seems to stem from understandable shame at the fact that much of the West was built on white colonization. Israel has attracted ire because many of its critics think it's a colonization project that can still be stopped - a whole country that can be cancelled. That is the meaning of the slogan "from the river to the sea" - the elimination of Israel and the expulsion of its Jews.
        There are plenty of arguments about why this is wrong. History has been one long power play. Pretty much every modern country is the product of conquest and injustice. Not knowing this is infantile; picking on Israel only is unfair.
        Moreover, Israel was created by a large Jewish migration to an ancestral homeland in which Jews had lived throughout. The same cannot be said of the Anglo arrival in Australia and New Zealand, the Iberian invasion of Central and South America, or the 7th century Arabian invasion of the Levant - which includes the Holy Land.
        Those now advising Israelis to "just go back to their home countries" should recall that the vast majority of Israel's 7 million Jews were born there. The countries from which their ancestors came to Israel in some cases include Arab ones that remain inhospitable to Jews. In many cases these ancestors were kicked out of those countries and their property stolen.
        The writer is a former Middle East, Europe, and Africa editor for the Associated Press. (Newsweek)

  • Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Saturday night that in the wake of the slaughter of 1,200 people in Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, Hizbullah's Radwan force could attempt a similar murderous invasion from the north, targeting Israeli civilians in communities near the border "within minutes."
  • He said Israel was tackling Hamas "17 years too late," and "we can no longer accept the Radwan force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept Resolution 1701 not being implemented," referring to a UN Security Council resolution from 2006, at the end of the Second Lebanon War, that barred any Hizbullah presence within 30 km. of the border with Israel.
  • Some 60,000 residents of border communities have been evacuated from the north since Oct. 7, amid relentless clashes across the border between Hizbullah and Israel. "Residents will not return if we don't do the same thing" in the north against Hizbullah as is being done in the south against Hamas, Hanegbi told Israel's Channel 12.
  • "The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hizbullah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don't believe it will." Therefore, "when the day comes," Israel will have to act to ensure that residents of the north are no longer "displaced in their land, and to guarantee for them that the situation in the north has changed."
  • Israel does not want to fight simultaneously on two fronts and has been "making clear to the Americans that we are not interested in war [in the north], but that we will have no alternative but to impose a new reality" if Hizbullah remains a threat.
  • Hanegbi said that at least 7,000 terrorists have been killed during the war so far.

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