January 23, 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:

Hamas: We Reject the Two-State Solution (MEMRI)
    Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas abroad, told Kuwaiti podcaster Amar Taki in January 2024:
    "We have nothing to do with the two-state solution. We reject this notion, because it means you would get a promise for a [Palestinian] state, yet you are required to recognize the legitimacy of the other state, which is the Zionist entity. This is unacceptable."
    "Especially following October 7, I believe that the dream and the hope for Palestine from the River to the Sea, and from the north to the south, has been renewed."
    "The Palestinian consensus - or almost a consensus - is that we will not give up on our right to Palestine in its entirety, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, and from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat or the Gulf of Aqaba."
    "I believe that October 7 has enhanced this conviction, has narrowed the disagreements, and has turned the idea of liberating Palestine from the River to the Sea into a realistic idea that has already begun....We are standing on its threshold."

EU's Top Diplomat: Palestinian State May Need to Be Imposed on Israel from Outside - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell suggested on Friday that the creation of a Palestinian state might need to "be imposed from the outside," without Israel's agreement.
    While some international actors believe the recent violence only underlines the need for a peace deal, Israeli leaders argue the Oct. 7 attack highlighted the extreme danger of an autonomous Palestinian entity near its population centers.
    Amid soaring support for Hamas among Palestinians in the wake of the atrocities, there appears to be little appetite in the Israeli public for peace efforts.

Hamas, Inc.: The Property Empire that Funded Militant Attack on Israel - Sean O'Driscoll (Newsweek)
    In bustling Istanbul, AG Plaza boasts terraces, pools and commercial space. It was built by a company controlled by what the U.S. Treasury Department describes as "Hamas elements."
    Hamas has a financial empire that operates in the UAE, Turkey, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
    On Jan. 5, the Biden administration announced it is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that could dismantle the group's economic foundations under its Rewards for Justice Program.
    On May 24, 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department estimated that the Hamas-linked construction empire was worth $500 million.
    On Oct. 29, the Israeli embassy in the U.S. said that Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chair of the Hamas Political Bureau, was worth $3 billion, while senior leaders Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniyeh were each worth about $4 billion.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says Iran Is "Directly Involved" in Houthi Ship Attacks - Jon Gambrell
    Iran is "very directly involved" in ship attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, head of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, said Monday.
        "Clearly, the Houthi actions, probably in terms of their attacks on merchant shipping, are the most significant that we've seen in two generations. The facts simply are that they're attacking the international community; thus, the international response I think you've seen....What we need is a Houthi decision to stop attacking international merchant ships. Period."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • U.S., British Forces Strike New Houthi Sites in Yemen - Missy Ryan
    The U.S. and Britain on Monday struck eight targets in Yemen, including an underground storage facility and sites linked to missiles and aerial surveillance, the Pentagon said. "Let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways in the face of continued threats."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 21 IDF Soldiers Killed as RPGs Cause Gaza Building Collapse
    The IDF said Tuesday that 21 soldiers were killed in Gaza as they were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings on Monday in central Gaza. A terrorist firing a rocket-propelled grenade triggered the explosives, causing the buildings to collapse on the soldiers inside. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Leaders React to Worst Incident since War Began - Yael Ciechanover
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Monday was "the most challenging day since the onset of the war....The IDF has initiated an investigation into this disaster. It is crucial that we extract the necessary lessons and take every measure to safeguard the lives of our soldiers. In the name of our heroes and for the preservation of our lives, we will continue our fight until achieving complete victory."
        IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari stated, "Even in the face of this painful and challenging event, the reservists exhibit immense bravery and unwavering dedication in this war. They are driven by motivation and a firm belief in the righteousness of the cause, remaining resolute in their commitment to contribute further."  (Ynet News)
  • Gaza Explosion Highlights Need to Eliminate Hamas Threat - Ron Ben Yishai
    The fatal incident on Monday highlights how necessary the IDF's incursion into Gaza was and is. The explosion occurred just 600 meters from the border and Kibbutz Kissufim. Residents of the border communities in the Western Negev would not be able to return to their homes safely if the mission was not completed. One lesson that can already be learned is that when there are explosives prepared to detonate, all those not directly involved in the final stages must clear out of the danger zone. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Ratchets Up Pressure on Hamas in Khan Yunis - Amos Harel
    The IDF began a new operation in Khan Yunis Sunday night, its most significant offensive in Gaza in almost a month, ramping up the intensity of the fighting considerably. The IDF encountered fierce resistance from Hamas as soon as it advanced to the new areas.
        In northern Gaza, the IDF maintains a relatively small presence, mainly on the outskirts of urban areas, while periodically entering those areas to quash Hamas' efforts to regain control of them.
       In addition, the Gaza Division is maintaining a security perimeter along the Gaza-Israel border - a strip about a kilometer wide on the Palestinian side of the border. But more than half the troops who were in Gaza a month ago have already left, including many reservist units. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Troops Hunt for Rockets in Northern Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    In northern Gaza, Israeli forces are carrying out mop-up operations to locate every last rocket launcher and any other Hamas threat. In Gaza City's Tuffah neighborhood on Sunday, Lt.-Col. Daniel said, "The war has definitely not ended for us....We receive an area where there is intelligence on rockets that were fired or are intended to be launched at Israel, and we arrive at the area, capture it, and destroy these capabilities." IDF forces were still encountering small Hamas cells, Daniel said.
        On Sunday, IDF forces located eight long-range rocket launchers embedded in the ground and covered by an olive grove. Beneath the launchers was a tunnel. (Times of Israel)
  • ISIS Supporters Arrested after Planning Jerusalem Terror Attack
    Two supporters of Islamic State were arrested in eastern Jerusalem for planning to detonate a car bomb full of gas tanks near the Knesset in Jerusalem, the Israel Security Agency said Monday. They had acquired chemical materials for explosives. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Netanyahu Is Not Alone in Opposing a Palestinian State - Raphael S. Cohen
    President Biden asked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to commit to a Palestinian state once the Israel-Hamas war ends, and Netanyahu said no. Israel sees that its 2005 withdrawal from Gaza gave Hamas a sanctuary to plan, train for and ultimately launch an attack on Israel.
        In Israel's view, a two-state solution would only compound this problem. So, Israel asks, what would prevent Hamas or a similar group from usurping control of a Palestinian state much as they did in Gaza?
        This is not just Netanyahu's view but Israelis' view. In a survey conducted several months before the Hamas attack, a mere 35% of Israelis thought two states could "coexist peacefully."
        Even if Netanyahu were to depart from the political scene, such Israeli opposition may remain. The U.S. can promise incentives such as normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia, but the fear of another Oct. 7 will trump any potential benefits.
        The writer is director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program of the Rand Corp.'s Project Air Force.  (Los Angeles Times)

Palestinians Deny Hamas' Oct. 7 Atrocities - Gianluca Pacchiani (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian diplomat Abdullah Abu Shawesh claimed to Al Jazeera in January that no Israeli civilians were killed in the Oct. 7 onslaught on communities near Gaza, and that accounts of rape and other atrocities "were lies," dismissing the overwhelming evidence. On the Palestinian street, these views reflect mainstream beliefs, with polling showing high levels of denial.
  • According to a Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) survey last month, over 90% of Palestinians believe that "Hamas did not commit the atrocities seen in the videos" on Oct. 7. That number is 97% among West Bank residents, compared to 83% of Gazans.
  • PCPSR director Khalil Shikaki said this is due to the lack of coverage in Palestinian and Arab media. 85% of Palestinians said they had not seen video of the acts.
  • Al Jazeera, which Shikaki estimated is the main news outlet for half of the population, "was more focused on the glorification of what happened, relying on the official statements by Hamas and repeating those quite often." The Qatari outlet published videos of Palestinians celebrating the attack in what it described as outbreaks of "spontaneous" and "overwhelming joy."
  • "Many Palestinians believe...that the large-scale destruction could not have been produced by a small armed group [of Hamas fighters], but rather must have been the work of Israeli tanks or helicopters," Shikaki said.
  • Michael Milshtein, head of the Forum for Palestinian Studies at the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, said, "Palestinians live in a state of perpetual victimhood; they always find a justification for whatever they do. They cannot accept the elevated levels of violence that exist in their midst, nor the fact that they are capable of perpetrating war crimes."

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