January 17, 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:

EU Adds Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar to Terrorist List - Mared Gwyn Jones (Euronews-France)
    The European Union added Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar to the EU's terrorist list on Tuesday.
    The move allows the bloc to freeze Sinwar's funds and other financial assets in EU member states, and to prohibit EU-based operators from making economic resources available to him.
    Sinwar was elected commander of Hamas' armed forces and overall leader in Gaza in 2017. He was released by Israel as part of a prisoner exchange in 2011. He was added to the U.S. terrorism list in 2015.

Israel Unearths More of Hamas' Subterranean Fortress under Gaza - Adam Goldman (New York Times)
    Israeli officials and soldiers say the scope, depth and quality of the tunnels built by Hamas beneath Gaza have astonished them.
    Senior Israeli defense officials currently estimate the network is between 350 and 450 miles long, with 5,700 separate shafts leading down to the tunnels.
    The tunnels are the core of Hamas' ability to survive.
    One soldier said he oversaw the destruction of 50 tunnels in Beit Hanoun. All of them were booby-trapped, he said.
    A senior Israeli official said that whenever the Israeli military finds a school, a hospital or a mosque, soldiers know they can expect to locate an underground tunnel system beneath them.

A Significant Part of Israeli Deaths Were Caused by Released Murderers - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    Recent past experience teaches us that terrorists who were released in previous prisoner exchange deals returned to terrorist activity.
    The first intifada, in which 154 Israelis were murdered, was fueled by the release of the captives in the "Jibril deal" in 1985.
    The thousands of terrorists released in deals between 1993-1999 perpetrated terrorist attacks during the second intifada in which 1,178 Israelis were murdered and thousands were injured.
    Dozens of those released in the "Tanenbaum deal" in 2004 murdered over 40 Israelis.
    Those released under the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011 planned hundreds of attacks in which over a hundred Israelis were murdered, many years before Oct. 7.
    As part of that deal, future Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was allowed to go to Gaza where he planned and carried out the Oct. 7 massacre.
    Moreover, a significant part of the death sown in Israel by released murderers was caused by those who were deported abroad, where they could not be rearrested.
    Every deal made in the past spilled more fuel on the bonfire of terror and contributed its share to the next attack. In fact, it almost invited these acts.

After Oct. 7, Nothing Can Ever Be the Same - Eylon Levy (Times of Israel)
    There is no future for the Jewish People or the State of Israel in a world in which an army of terror can reduce whole families to human ash and get away with it.
    No future if Hamas emerges free and emboldened to do it again, as the hate parades through London want it to emerge from this war it started.
    And so we fight, not because we want to, but because we must.
    We don't want the world's sympathy. Israel exists because we're sick of its tears.
    We demand the world's respect because we are doing exactly what they would do if subjected to such a barbaric assault.
    People respect you when you stand up for yourself, stand up against the bullies.
    Oct. 7 brought out the worst of our enemies and the best of us. It shone a light on a nation of everyday heroes, who drove into the fire to rescue strangers from slaughter.
    Jewish history has always been about the courage to do what's right. To be the dissidents who look around the world and say: "This is crazy!"
    Be part of this moment of togetherness, this moment of global Jewish solidarity.
    The fight against Hamas is not just Israel's fight. It is humanity's fight against barbarism.
    After Oct. 7, nothing can ever be the same again. Never forgive. Never forget. Never again.
    The writer, an Israeli Government spokesman, gave this speech at a rally in support of Israel and in solidarity with the Israeli hostages, in London's Trafalgar Square on January 14, 2024.

Cutting-Edge Israeli Med Tech Is Boosting Survival Rates of War Wounded - Renee Ghert-Zand (Times of Israel)
    The death rate among wounded soldiers in the current war is 6.7%, less than half the rate during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
    This can be attributed to faster evacuations from the battlefield and better protective equipment, as well as new technologies.
    For example, Hadassah surgeons have used the Mazor robotic guidance system sold by the Israeli company Medtronic to treat a soldier who had a bullet lodged at the base of his spine.

Israeli Air Force Planning Massive Procurement in Lesson from Gaza War - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
    As a lesson from the Gaza war, the Israeli Air Force is working on a new plan aimed at procuring F-35 and F-15 advanced fighter jets, Apache combat helicopters, and additional refueling aircraft.
    The plan also calls for boosting the volume of ammunition that the IDF will have at its disposal and dramatically increasing Israel's indigenous production capabilities in order to increase self-reliance.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Senate Rejects Bernie Sanders' Resolution on Gaza Human Rights Questions - Liz Goodwin
    Senators overwhelmingly rejected a resolution Tuesday that would have forced the Biden administration to look into potential human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel in its military campaign in Gaza. Just 11 senators supported moving to a vote on the resolution, while 72 voted to table the matter, a sign of the body's unflagging support for Israel. The resolution faced staunch opposition from the Biden administration, congressional Republicans and most Democrats, who raised concerns about the message the vote would send to its ally.
        Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called the vote "a gift to Hamas, a gift to Iran...an indictment against Israel." National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, "We do not believe that this resolution is the right vehicle to address these issues. And we don't think now is the right time."  (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Military Seizes Iranian Missile Parts Bound for Houthis - Carla Babb
    U.S. Navy SEALs seized weapons bound for Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi militants in a raid last Thursday where two service members went missing, the U.S. military said Tuesday. The SEALs boarded a vessel near the coast of Somalia, seizing Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components, including propulsion, guidance, and warheads, U.S. Central Command said. The U.S. detained the crew and sank the ship after deeming it unsafe. (VOA News)
        See also U.S. Targets Houthi Anti-Ship Missiles in New Strike on Yemen - Idrees Ali
    The U.S. military on Tuesday carried out a new strike in Yemen against four Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles being prepared to target ships in the region. Tuesday's strikes appeared to show that the U.S. military would proactively go after Houthi military capabilities as they are detected. (Reuters)
  • Anti-Israel Protesters Target New York City Cancer Hospital - Haley Brown
    Anti-Israel protesters descended on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan on Monday over its alleged "complicity in genocide" in Gaza. The protesters shouted "Shame!" while patients inside received treatment, before targeting a Starbucks and a McDonald's restaurant they accused of making "meals for genocide." To the beat of a drum, scores chanted: "MSK shame on you, you support genocide, too." Protesters also targeted Mt. Sinai Medical Center for "supporting Zionism" and "genocide."
        When news spread that Iran launched a ballistic missile attack near the U.S. Consulate in Iraq, some protesters cheered. (New York Post)
        See also The Gaza Protest at the Cancer Hospital - Editorial
    It's hard to imagine a more grotesque and counterproductive mode of dissent than taking Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an opportunity to scream at people who are spending their own holiday in a cancer ward. This might end up stiffening American support for Israel among those who don't want to be associated with such a display. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Carries Out Extensive Strike on Hizbullah Targets in Lebanon - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF on Tuesday carried out major strikes on the Suluki Valley in South Lebanon, targeting dozens of Hizbullah "positions, military instillations and weapons production infrastructure." A senior officer in the Northern Command said, "This was a combined air and land strike against many Hizbullah targets. This was one of the more extensive strikes we carried out since the war began and was completed in a matter of a few short minutes." Lebanese security sources told Reuters there were at least 16 airstrikes in quick succession. (Ynet News)
  • Nablus Terrorist Cell Planning Imminent Large-Scale Attack Targeted in Drone Strike
    The IDF and Israel Security Agency announced Wednesday that the terrorist leader of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, Amed Abdullah Abu-Shalal, was eliminated in a drone strike along with two other terrorists as they were planning an imminent large-scale terrorist attack. Abu-Shalal had orchestrated numerous attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers over the past year. Balata's terrorist infrastructure is believed to have been receiving funds and direction from Iran. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Destroys Rocket Launchers that Hit Netivot on Tuesday
    50 rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Netivot on Tuesday. Following the attack, IDF troops located the compound in Gaza from which the rockets were fired. The troops discovered three launchers, each equipped with ten barrels, some of which were loaded with rockets. The launchers were promptly destroyed. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • South Africa's False Charges of Israeli "Genocide" - Max Boot
    Israelis struggle to understand how their country could be accused of carrying out genocide in a war they did not start. If any party to the conflict is guilty of attempted genocide, it is Hamas. This terrorist organization, which is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, has carried out war crimes, including the murder of Israeli civilians, the kidnapping of more than 200 Israelis (including old people and young children), and the widespread use of rape and sexual violence against Israeli girls and women.
        There is no denying that Israeli forces have inflicted large-scale death and destruction in Gaza. This is a great tragedy for the people of Gaza, but primary blame must lie with Hamas, because it launched an unprovoked attack on Israel and uses civilians as human shields, in violation of the laws of war.
        But there is no evidence that Israelis have engaged in a deliberate campaign to "destroy, in whole or in part," the Palestinian people - which is what "genocide" means in international law. If Israel, with all the firepower at its disposal, had been trying to commit mass murder, the death toll would have been higher by orders of magnitude.
        Far from trying to deliberately slaughter Palestinian civilians, Israeli forces have made extensive efforts to notify them in advance of military operations and urge them to move out of the line of fire. Israeli forces ordered "humanitarian pauses" to facilitate relief efforts and created a "humanitarian corridor" for evacuations from northern to southern Gaza.
        Israel has also facilitated the entry of more than 8,000 trucks carrying more than 145,000 tons of food to Gaza since the start of the war, some of which Hamas has seized for itself. These are clearly not the actions of a nation bent on exterminating the Palestinian people. (Washington Post)
  • The Genocide Charge Against Israel Is a Moral Obscenity - Bret Stephens
    The U.S. and Britain killed a staggering number of German and Japanese civilians on the path to defeating the regimes that had started World War II - often known as the Good War. Events such as the bombings of Dresden or Tokyo, to say nothing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were far more indiscriminate than anything Israel stands accused of doing. But no serious person holds Franklin Roosevelt to be on a moral par with Adolf Hitler. What the Allies did were acts of war in the service of a lasting peace, not genocide in the service of a fanatical aim.
        Reasonable people can argue that Israel has been excessive in its use of force, or deficient in its concern for Palestinian civilians. I disagree. But how curious that the discussion has turned to genocide because it's the behavior of the Jewish state that's in question. And how telling that the accusation is the same one that rabid bigots have been making for years: that the Jews are the real Nazis - guilty of humanity's worst crimes and deserving of its worst punishments.
        A verdict against Israel at the International Court of Justice would signal that another international institution has adopted the moral outlook of antisemites. (New York Times)
  • Why the War Against Hamas Must Go On - Herb Keinon
    Israel must continue fighting this war - despite the casualties and despite the Israeli hostages' unspeakable suffering and the suffering of their families. If the country runs out of patience or gives in to Hamas' demand to end the war and stop the fighting, Israel would be mortgaging its future for possible short-term gain.
        Since 2007, Israel has avoided a full-blown war with Hamas, trying to push the issue down the road, hoping that somehow, the problem of having a terrorist organization with genocidal intent right on its doorstep would disappear or become manageable. The same was true in Lebanon. Since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel has not wanted to go to war to prevent Hizbullah from arming itself with tens of thousands of missiles. But the problem only got bigger.
        As a result, Israel now faces the reality of needing to dislodge Hamas from Gaza and Hizbullah from southern Lebanon so that Israeli residents can move back into their homes near the border.
        If this war ends without a conclusive victory for Israel, then all of Israel's enemies will be emboldened, and its potential friends will reconsider forging ties with the Jewish state. Hamas will declare victory if it will be able to fire a single rocket at Sderot. So Israel needs to defeat Hamas in such a way that no rational person can conclude that it won this war. (Jerusalem Post)
  • How to End the Suffering of the Palestinians - Bassam Tawil
    In Syria, Palestinians are worried about a new government law that considers them "foreigners," which would deprive them of the ability to purchase real estate. In Lebanon, Palestinians are also considered to be foreigners and are "prevented from employment in 39 professions such as medicine, law and engineering," according to UNRWA.
        Arab citizens of Israel, by contrast, have Israeli citizenship, can own, buy and sell property, can vote and run in national and local elections, and have equal access to public healthcare and education. Many serve in senior positions in hospitals, universities and colleges, courts, the civil service, and even in the Israel Police and the Israel Defense Forces.
        Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, 4,214 Palestinians living there have been killed and more than 15,000 wounded, according to the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS). 3,076 Palestinians are currently being detained in the prisons of the Syrian security services, while another 333 have gone missing. Fayez Abu Eid, a spokesperson for AGPS, said the Syrian security services have killed 643 Palestinians under torture in their detention centers.
        Those who are condemning Israel for defending itself against the savagery and terrorism of Hamas care nothing about the plight of the Palestinians in Syria or any Arab country. So-called pro-Palestinian groups in the U.S. do not speak out against Arab crimes against the Palestinians; they are too busy unjustly demonizing Israel.
        If these activists want to end the suffering of the Palestinians, they should be demanding that the Arab countries end their discriminatory and repressive measures against their Palestinian brethren. The real anti-Palestinians are not the Israelis at all, but those who cannot be bothered to learn the truth about the actual human rights abuse of Palestinians, delivered at the hands of Arabs. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Futility of a Possible Palestinian Authority Return to Gaza - Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
    Western leaders, including President Biden, are calling for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume control of Gaza the "day after" Hamas is removed from power. Yet pinning Gaza's future on the PA is a recipe for surefire disaster.
        The PA was the byproduct of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the wishful thinking that terrorists could be rehabilitated into becoming responsible statesmen. But Yasser Arafat's PA never ended its war against Israel. Since 1994, the State Department's USAID has sent more than $5.5 billion to prop up the PA. The CIA and other federal agencies have spent untold billions more to prop up the PA's numerous security agencies, but that training and the funds were merely used to facilitate and finance the mechanisms of terror rather than to combat it.
        Mahmoud Abbas - Arafat's successor and the current PA president - is corrupt, ineffective and a promoter of virulent antisemitic conspiracies. A year before the Oct. 7 attacks, Human Rights Watch published its findings that torture by the PA in the West Bank may amount to crimes against humanity. How then can anyone expect the PA to govern a war-torn Gaza?
        For 30 years, the PA has failed its benefactors and betrayed the Palestinian people. Fantasizing that the PA can solve the gargantuan problems of post-Oct. 7 Gaza is a mistake of epic proportions that will only guarantee continued bloodshed and misery.
        The writer is an Israeli attorney, human rights activist, and the founder of Shurat HaDin - Israeli Law Center, which has represented hundreds of terror victims in legal actions against terror organizations. (The Hill)
  • The West Must Win This Battle with the Enemy Within - Stephen Pollard
    The Daily Express exposed a plot by the Palestine Action group to shut down London's Stock Exchange. The plot is a perfect illustration of the wider moral inversion which has taken hold, and which shows why the battle Israel is now fighting against Hamas matters to everyone. Now the threat comes not just from outsiders like Iran and its proxies such as Hamas and the Houthis, but from within our own countries.
        It's not just from the radical Islamists but from their Socialist allies - what has been termed the "red-green alliance" of opposition to Western values. You can see this on the so-called Free Palestine marches in London most Saturdays. As well as the usual chant of "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" - which means the elimination of Israel and its Jews - there were antisemitic posters (one had a coffee cup and the accusation that Jews were drinking Palestinian blood, the classic "blood libel") and speeches.
        On Saturday there was a new chant: "Yemen, Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around" - a reference to the Houthis' attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. What, you might wonder, do extremist Islamist rebels in Yemen have to do with a Free Palestine march, bar that they claim to be undertaking piracy to stop the war in Gaza? (Daily Express-UK)

The U.S. Wartime Aid Package for Israel - Ofer Shelah and Hadas Shabtai (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Shortly after the war began in Gaza, the U.S. administration asked Congress to approve $14.25 billion in supplementary military aid for Israel. Approval has been delayed because President Biden has linked it to approval of $106 billion in aid for Ukraine.
  • $4 billion is earmarked to replenish Iron Dome, David's Sling, and Arrow rocket interceptors, and to increase Israel's inventory of interceptors.
  • $801.4 million is for ammunition for the ground forces, together with $10 million for naval munitions and $38.6 million for air force munitions.
  • $3.5 billion is a one-time doubling of the $3.3 billion "regular" annual aid budget, and can be used "for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services." This is of great significance for the defense industries in Israel.
  • $1.2 billion is earmarked for development of the Iron Beam laser system for defense against short-range, high-trajectory weapons, with an additional $150 million listed separately for internal U.S. reasons.
  • $4.4 billion is to be used to replenish inventories stationed in Israel (mostly artillery and tank shells), which were depleted before Oct. 7 and sent to Ukraine.
  • $150 million is to fund State Department expenses incurred as a result of the war, such as for the evacuation of U.S. citizens from the vicinity of the fighting.

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