January 11, 2024
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: Al Jazeera "Journalists" in Gaza Were Terrorists - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari on Wednesday presented evidence to prove that two Gazan journalists killed by the IDF on Sunday were terrorists.
    Israeli forces in Gaza found Islamic Jihad internal documents proving that Hamza Al-Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera's chief correspondent in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh, was part of their terror ranks and worked for the group's electrical engineering unit.
    Documents said Hamza had previously served as a battalion leader for the Zeitoun area and was still responsible for firing Islamic Jihad rockets in that area.
    Similar documents found in Hamas command centers linked the other journalist, Mustafa Thuraya, to Hamas, listing him as deputy chief of a terror cell.
    Both had been involved in activating drones which caused a threat to Israeli forces and led to the air strike against them.

Israel's Supreme Court Rejects Foreign Journalists' Appeal for Independent Access to Gaza (AFP-Times of Israel)
    Israel's Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem to allow independent access for journalists to war-torn Gaza.
    The court argued that the restrictions were justified on security grounds, and that allowing journalists inside Gaza could give away operational details, including troop locations, in a way that could "put them in real danger."
    Foreign and Israeli journalists have been allowed limited access to Gaza under Israeli military escort.

Blocking the Road Is Civil Terrorism - Tal Fortgang (Wall Street Journal)
    The anti-Israel demonstrators who have blocked traffic in major cities know that there is little risk that the drivers who can't get to their jobs, families and other obligations will run them over, because those drivers are careful to avoid harming others and breaking the law - even as they face down people who flagrantly do both.
    It is no coincidence that only one side in the clash between Israel's friends and foes in the West behaves this way.
    Those who reacted to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack by doubling down on calls for Israel's elimination emulate Hamas by inflicting suffering on innocent people to achieve their political ends, albeit at a much smaller scale.
    Seeing their own cause as absolutely righteous, they are blind to the cruelty of their own actions.
    Why would anti-Israel activists think infuriating thousands of their fellow citizens with useless stunts will win allies for the cause?
    If the costs of continuing to support Israel are too high, they figure, Americans will start lobbying their elected officials to capitulate to terrorists at home and abroad.
    Law-abiding Americans can signal that such an outcome is impossible by raising the cost of future demonstrations by enforcing the law.
    The writer is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Hamas' Elastic Definition of the Jew - David Mikics (Tablet)
    On Oct. 7, Hamas tortured, murdered, and kidnapped not only Jews, but many foreign nationals and Israeli Arabs. How do these acts make sense?
    The answer lies in the elastic definition of the Jew. Anyone on Israeli soil was symbolically Jewish and therefore worthy of being mutilated, hacked to pieces or burned alive.
    The terrorists fired 40 bullets into the body of a Bedouin woman, since even a devout Muslim could be tainted by Zionism and righteously murdered.
    Israeli Arabs, it seems, serve for Hamas as symbolic Jews. Not surprisingly, they have displayed complete solidarity with Israel's efforts to defend itself since Oct. 7.
    Muslim Israelis do not want to be slaughtered by maniacs any more than their Jewish neighbors do.
    The writer is Professor of English at the University of Houston.

Harvard to Host Summer Program at Palestinian University Dominated by Hamas - Kassy Dillon (Daily Wire)
    Harvard University will host a summer program at Birzeit University in the West Bank that called for "glory to martyrs" after the Oct. 7 terrorist massacre in Israel.
    Birzeit has a student body that overwhelmingly elected a Hamas-affiliated bloc to run its student government.
    Harvard's "Palestine Social Medicine" course "is designed to introduce students to the social, structural, political, and historical aspects that determine Palestinian health beyond the biological basis of disease."
    When a Hamas-affiliated bloc won its student government elections for a second year in a row in May, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the victory and spoke to participants at their celebrations over the phone.
    The student government president, Abdulmajid Hassan, and seven other students were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces in September, accused of planning a terror attack, to which some of the suspects confessed.
    In 2022, Birzeit student activists were arrested for helping to launder money from Gaza to Hamas members in Turkey to finance terrorist attacks.

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:
  • UN Security Council Demands Houthis Stop Red Sea Attacks - Edith M. Lederer
    The UN Security Council on Wednesday demanded an immediate halt to attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea. The resolution, sponsored by the U.S. and Japan, was approved by a vote of 11-0, with four abstentions including Russia and China. The resolution condemns "in the strongest terms" at least two dozen attacks by the Houthis on merchant and commercial vessels, which are impeding global commerce and undermining navigational freedom.
        U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, "The Houthis are targeting a range of vessels, few of which are owned or operated by Israelis. And so, what is at issue here is not any particular conflict, but rather the simple principle of upholding freedom of navigation and a waterway vital to the free flow of global commerce." She also lashed out at Iran for supplying advanced weapons systems to the Houthis in violation of UN sanctions, including drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, which have all been used in attacks on vessels. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Houthi Rebels Who Attacked British Ship Trained in Iran - Melanie Swan
    Houthi rebels, who have fired missiles at the British Navy ship HMS Diamond in the Red Sea, trained at an elite Iranian naval academy. Some 200 mercenaries received instruction from Iran's Revolutionary Guards at the Khameini Academy of Naval Sciences and Technology in Ziba Kenar.
        On Tuesday, at least one Houthi missile directly targeted a Royal Navy ship for the first time, prompting a threat of retaliation by Grant Shapps, the Defense Secretary. "Enough is enough," he said. "This cannot continue and we won't allow it to continue." He said there was no doubt that Iran was guiding the Houthis on the attacks. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Video: "The People of Israel Do Not Want War" - Israeli First Lady Michal Herzog interviewed by Marc Perelman
    First Lady Michal Herzog, the wife of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, described the Gaza conflict as "a very just war," while she insisted that "the people of Israel do not want war; they do not want civilians to be hurt. The people who are hurting the people in Gaza are the terrorist regime that uses them."
        "The Hamas terrorists...have a jihadist ideology. And this is not about resistance or freedom fighting. This is about pure hate," Herzog said. (France 24)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Levels Gaza Neighborhoods Facing Israeli Border Communities - Yoav Zitun
    For years, Israeli border communities faced Hamas anti-tank, sniper, and mortar fire from Gaza neighborhoods. In recent days, IDF forces have been finalizing the demolition of thousands of Palestinian houses which enabled hostile fire on Israeli communities. The demolition includes eastern areas of Shijaiyah opposite Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza, the eastern neighborhood of Beit Hanoun facing Sderot, and the northern parts of Beit Hanoun opposite Netiv HaAsara. Similar operations are planned in other parts of Gaza facing Israeli communities.
        Each structure was scrutinized and identified as a Hamas military target. The aim of the operation is to facilitate the safe return of Israeli residents to their homes, eliminating the need to confront nearby threats. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Official Overseeing Transfer of Aid Says "No Food Shortage in Gaza" - Charlie Summers
    The Israel Defense Forces unit overseeing the transport of humanitarian aid into Gaza said Wednesday there are no shortages of food and that existing problems were caused by the inability of the UN to properly distribute the goods inside Gaza. Speaking at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which reopened last month, Col. Moshe Tetro, head of the IDF's Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza, said, "In terms of food, the reserves in Gaza are sufficient for the near term. However, if there are any organizations that would like to bring more food, we are happy to facilitate it."
        Tetro denied that any bottlenecks on the Israeli end were preventing aid from reaching Gaza, asserting that "the problem lies with the international organizations processing and receiving the aid."  (Times of Israel)
  • Video: IDF Enters Luxurious Home of Hamas Military Official in Gaza - Einav Halabi
    Israeli forces entered the luxurious home of Marwan Issa, deputy head of Hamas' military wing, in al-Bureij. It includes a swimming pool, a large manicured garden, and luxurious furniture. IDF Arabic spokesperson Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee said Wednesday, "This is further evidence of the absolute disconnect between the Hamas leadership, including the heads of its military wing, who live in luxury and enjoy great wealth, and a large segment of Gaza's population pleading for donations and international aid. Hamas leaders are in paradise while Gaza residents are in hell."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Making Demands Israel Can't Meet - Lazar Berman
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was back in Israel this week. Despite ongoing support from the White House, disagreements over core issues were at the center of discussions. President Biden would like to see the war in Gaza wind down, and is adamant that the humanitarian situation must change dramatically. The White House wants Palestinian civilians to return to their homes in northern Gaza, and wants the war to lead to a political process toward a Palestinian state.
        Israel's war cabinet see things differently. They talk about the continuation of the fight until Hamas is toppled. Some Israeli leaders reportedly told Blinken that there would be no return for Gazans to the north until Hamas agrees to another hostage deal. And there is absolutely no capacity right now among the Israeli public to consider the creation of a Palestinian state.
        "He came out with a long list of expectations and demands of Israel, of which, to my mind, very few can be met," said Michael Oren, a former ambassador to Washington. "I don't believe that the army is going to let refugees in any significant numbers back into the north....We can't let them back yet. They come back, Hamas is going to be with them, and it's going to get soldiers killed."
        The Biden Administration approach - publicly pushing Israel - could come with dangerous unintended consequences. "The message to the region is that the U.S. relationship with Israel is conditional and strained," said Oren. "They're going about it in the way best guaranteed to actually make [a broader war] happen. Think about it like this: If you are Iranian, Russian or Chinese and you're listening to America's messaging that a) it's not standing foursquare behind Israel, and b) it's afraid of regional war, is that going to make you less likely or more likely to escalate?"  (Times of Israel)
  • Chilling Evidence of Hamas Crimes on Oct. 7 - Ariela Ayalon
    Israel's National Center of Forensic Medicine continues to document hard evidence of Hamas terrorists' murderous crimes through bones and imaging. Center Director Dr. Hen Kugel is a member of a panel that has managed to declare the death of missing persons in the absence of a body, based on assessments that also rely on watching numerous videos of the terrorists' atrocities.
        "One of the videos that shocked me the most was of a Tanzanian student who worked on one of the kibbutzim near the border. He was seen on security cameras talking to his killers. He was probably begging for his life, but they dragged him outside from the dairy barn, plunged a huge knife into his chest that came out his back, and then shot him. When I first encountered this atrocity, I remember asking myself, 'what do they have against him? Can't they see he's not Israeli? Do they have some previous conflict with him? Why did they murder him, and with such cruelty?'"
        "It's about hate, deep wickedness, humiliation. I've seen many murder cases, but who ties up people together, shoots them all and then sets them on fire? What kind of despicable murderer would do all of this? It's pure evil."  (Ynet News)
        See also Israel Posts Hamas Atrocities on New Website ahead of International Court of Justice Hearing - Itamar Eichner
    The day before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague convened to hear claims that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza, the Prime Minister's Office launched a new website that includes horrific video of the Hamas terrorists committing their massacre on Oct. 7.
        The site is intentionally not accessible from within Israel, preserving the victims' privacy. It was created due to the need to safeguard Israel's legitimacy globally, especially amid increasing anti-Israel protests by pro-Palestinian groups. The IDF explained, "We want to reach the world. Time is running out....The goal is to make sure the world remembers why we went to war."  (Ynet News)
        See the website Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas Massacre: Documentation of Crimes Against Humanity
    Warning: Graphic content. (Prime Minister's Office-IDF Spokesperson)
  • The Agony and Determination of Sderot - Alon Davidi, Mayor of Sderot, Israel
    Until the morning of Oct. 7, the town of Sderot was a parable of hope and success. Less than a mile from the Gaza border, it emerged as a haven for Jewish refugees fleeing antisemitic persecution - from North Africa, Kurdish lands, Ethiopia, and the former Soviet Union. My parents found refuge in Israel from Iran. Those people forged a city brimming with cultural richness, industrial vitality and a spirit of coexistence.
        After Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, rocket attacks from Gaza-based terrorist groups became the new normal. Air raid sirens and rushed trips to bomb shelters invaded our days and nights. Over the years, 10 of our residents were killed. The children of Sderot grew up in an atmosphere of perpetual danger. Despite these challenges, Sderot flourished, even attracting new residents.
        The Israeli government tried to help Gazans where we could, offering job opportunities in agriculture and industry within Israel and a proposed, but unrealized, industrial zone aimed at providing jobs for thousands of Gazan residents. On Oct. 7, my friend and colleague Ofir Libstein, head of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, who spearheaded the industrial zone project, was slain defending his town, Kfar Aza. Sderot lost at least 50 people, including eight members of our police department who died trying to protect our city.
        As Israel fought to recover control of the area and as Hamas rocket attacks on Israel intensified, we evacuated 30,000 inhabitants of our city to shelters all over Israel. As mayor, I face an overwhelming task while forced to work out of a hotel in Jerusalem: ensuring the provision of essential public services like education, after-school programs and social services for our city's residents at 110 locations across the nation.
        What sustains us is the hope that Oct. 7 was a turning point, igniting global awareness of the need to end the Hamas nightmare. The world must understand that Israel's fight is existential, that we will not cease until the Hamas threat is eradicated. Our community has suffered immensely, and it's time to guarantee us the basic security that every human being deserves. (New York Times)
  • Hamas Should Go on Trial at the International Court of Justice - Irwin Cotler
    Genocide is the ultimate crime against humanity. This Thursday and Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear an application by South Africa alleging that Israel is in breach of the Genocide Convention due to its conduct in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. These proceedings turn fact and law on their head, inverting reality and effectively undermining international justice and the rules-based international order.
        The war began on Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists invaded Israel and committed mass war crimes and crimes against humanity. Over 1,200 people - mostly civilians - were brutally murdered and 240 Israelis were taken as hostages to Gaza. The context that set the stage for those heinous acts is the crime of incitement to genocide, not only by Hamas but by its patron, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
        By launching a baseless proceeding against Israel for genocide, it provides protective cover to Hamas and its related Iranian terrorist proxies, who themselves are the ones guilty of those crimes.
        The writer, International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, is a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. (National Post-Canada)
  • Going After Oct. 7 Terrorists - Editorial
    For eight years, the U.S. State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on the whereabouts of Saleh Arouri, a Hamas terrorist whose hands were dripping with blood. Last week, Israel found him in Beirut. The New York Times reported that "Arouri worked with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' chief in Gaza, in recent years to link the group's military wing more closely to Iran, which, regional security officials say, most likely helped the group develop some of the capabilities it used in the Oct. 7 attack."
        In other words, he was knee deep in carrying out a barbaric military operation against Israeli civilians that left more than 1,200 innocents dead and led to the kidnapping of more than 200 men, women and children. Critics of Israel maintain that the attack on Arouri will escalate the violence, but Hizbullah has been shelling northern Israel with missiles from Lebanon since the Oct. 7 massacre. Who is escalating what?
        It's just as likely that Israel's targeted operation sends a message of steely resolve to those who wish to destroy the Jewish state. Israel has made clear that it won't be cowed into a ceasefire that allows its enemies to rearm and recuperate in order to terrorize innocents once again. Arouri ran but he couldn't hide. They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind. (Boston Herald)

Pro-Hamas Protesters Can't Change Facts - Rick Berman (Washington Times)
  • The protesters who want to free "Palestine" are apparently unaware that there has never been a country called Palestine. The Arabs claimed the term "Palestinians" for themselves in 1964 when Yasser Arafat established the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Arabs rejected the 1948 international settlement of their claim and subsequent peace offerings.
  • Reports often refer to "Palestinian refugees." But the children and grandchildren of those who lost or left their homes in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War are not refugees. There are no other examples where refugee status becomes an inherited birthright. Children and grandchildren of Jews who lost their homes to the Nazis or descendants of American Indians forced off their land are not legally entitled refugees.
  • Last year, the U.S. gave $153 million to the UN agency UNRWA for "Palestinian refugees." There is no special UN agency for families who have lost homes in Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya or other war-torn countries.
  • Some reporters state that the people in Gaza have been living in cramped quarters. Reality check: The population density of Gaza is equal to that of London and Tel Aviv.
  • Before this war, most residents of Gaza were not living in so-called refugee camps. News videos of the war show neighborhoods of multifloor apartment buildings. Before the Hamas attack, these neighborhoods had upscale shopping malls, a Mercedes-Benz dealership, entertainment venues, and a "world-class zoo."
  • Gaza has been described as an "open-air prison." Israel allowed only selective crossings in response to Hamas' proclaimed desire to destroy its people. Egypt is also unwilling to provide open access given Hamas' connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, another terrorist group.
  • There is no possibility that Israel will make a deal with a terrorist group committed to its destruction. And protesters with slogans on signs won't change these facts.

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