January 24, 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:

Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Back Israel in War with Hamas - Caroline Vakil (The Hill)
    An overwhelming majority of Americans support Israel over Hamas in the current war, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released Monday.
    80% said they supported Israel over Hamas, compared to 20% who sided with Hamas.
    Among respondents aged 18-24, 57% supported Israel, while 43% supported Hamas.
    Among respondents aged 25-34, 70% supported Israel, while 30% supported Hamas.
    Among respondents 65+, 93% supported Israel, while 7% supported Hamas.
    See also U.S. Poll: 2/3 Support Gaza Ceasefire only after Release of Hostages and Removal of Hamas from Power (Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll)
    The Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, conducted on Jan. 17-18, 2024, found that 52% were favorable to Israel and 28% were unfavorable. 12% were favorable to Hamas and 67% were unfavorable.
    67% are paying attention to the Israel-Hamas war and 83% think the recent attack on Israel was a terrorist attack.
    74% think the attacks on Jews were genocidal. 75% think the Hamas killing of 1,200 Israeli civilians and the kidnapping of another 250 civilians cannot be justified by the grievances of Palestinians.
    69% think Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties in its war against Hamas.
    67% think any ceasefire should happen only after the release of all hostages and Hamas is removed from power.

Israeli Demonstrators Block Passage of Aid Trucks to Gaza to Call for Release of Hostages - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    Hundreds of Israeli protesters blocked the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Gaza border on Wednesday and prevented aid trucks from entering Gaza.
    The protesters claim that "no aid goes through until the last of the hostages returns."
    Among the participants are members of the families of soldiers who fell in battle in Gaza and representatives of the families of the hostages, as well as released reservists and civilians evacuated from Israeli communities in the north and the south.

Israel's Upbeat and Believing Younger Generation - David M. Weinberg (Israel Hayom)
    Paratroopers in a reserve brigade recently withdrawn from Gaza wrote a letter to their commander declaring their willingness to carry the fight forward against Hamas "until victory," even if that means serving in the army reserves for many more months.
    "How can we go home to our families before we create the conditions whereby Israeli residents of the Gaza envelope towns can go home to their towns and families?"
    They ask for the "honor" of continuing the battle. Gutsy patriotism and positivity oozes from every paragraph of their letter.
    A new public opinion poll by the Publicis Group makes clear that Israel is blessed with believing youth; a generation who are upbeat, despite the demanding challenges.
    59% believe that Israel is strong and will win all current wars and has a great future.
    82% of Israeli youth are prepared to pause the "good life" in terms of personal plans.
    The writer is a senior fellow at Misgav: The Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy.

Exposing the Lie about Palestinian Journalists - David Collier (David Collier)
    Hamas, NGOs, and key media figures have been spreading an antisemitic conspiracy about Israel killing journalists in Gaza to silence them.
    I went looking for the social media accounts of the journalists named by the American NGO "Committee for Protecting Journalists" (CPJ).
    Half of the people that the CPJ lists as journalists work for Hamas or Islamic Jihad channels.
    This is in direct breach of the CPJ's own guidelines, which say working for terrorist groups should discount them.
    For example, Hassuna Salim has his own Telegram Channel. On the morning of Oct. 7 he made 100s of celebratory posts. He also posted a call from Islamic Jihad for everyone to rise up, grab their weapon and fight.
    It is an offensive lie to refer to this person as a journalist.
    The bottom line is: Israel is not targeting journalists. This is just another antisemitic lie going mainstream.
    See also Full Report: The "Journalists" of Gaza - David Collier (David Collier)

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:
  • U.S. Hits Iraq Militia Sites and Anti-Ship Missiles in Yemen as Fight with Iranian Proxies Intensifies - Tara Copp
    The U.S. military struck three facilities in Iraq and two anti-ship missiles in Yemen operated by Iranian-backed militias that have continued to instigate attacks on U.S. personnel and ships in the region.
        Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday the strikes in Iraq targeted facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia and other groups. "These precision strikes are in direct response to a series of escalatory attacks against U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias."
        On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command announced it had struck two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch. "U.S. forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • Iranian Military Technology and Advisers Aid Houthi Attacks in Red Sea - Benoit Faucon
    Iran is sending increasingly sophisticated weapons to its Houthi allies in Yemen, Western officials and advisers say, enhancing their ability to attack merchant vessels and disrupt international commerce. Iran has provided the Houthis with drone jammers and parts for long-range rockets and missiles. The Iranians and their Hizbullah allies have sent advisers to Yemen to help the Houthis plan and launch their attacks.
        On Jan. 11, the U.S. Navy seized a vessel laden with state-of-the-art Iranian military technologies, including assembly kits for the Ghadir, an Iranian antiship rocket with a range of over 200 miles; engine nozzles for the Toufan, a ballistic missile that could target Israel more effectively; and optical extensions designed to improve the accuracy of drone attacks. Three days earlier, Omani authorities confiscated drone jammers which had come from Iran. (Wall Street Journal)
  • British Prime Minister Sunak: Anyone Unable to Condemn "Evil" Hamas Has "No Conscience or Morality" - Lee Harpin
    British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned Monday that any person or organization that "cannot unequivocally condemn the evil that Hamas did" on October 7 has "no conscience, no morality, no decency and deserves no respect."
        "I also reject any attempt to draw an equivalence between Israel's actions and those of the terrorists who videotape their appalling crimes, who rape and murder with gratuitous zealotry. That is why this government has condemned the completely unjustified case that South Africa has brought to the International Court of Justice."
        Sunak said the responses by some pro-Palestinian activists to the Hamas October 7 terror atrocity have provided a "painful reminder" of how "anti-Zionism all too often morphs into antisemitism."
        "It is sadly the case that, when Israel responds to terrorism, to some people it automatically becomes the aggressor. Those people who rip down posters of hostages reveal themselves to have no humanity....We will have zero tolerance for those who promote or glorify terrorism or peddle antisemitism on our streets."  (Jewish News-UK)
        See also Video: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Addresses Conservative Friends of Israel (YouTube)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Kills over 100 Hamas Operatives in Khan Yunis Tuesday - Emanuel Fabian
    IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said troops killed more than 100 Hamas operatives in the west Khan Yunis area on Tuesday during intensive battles. "Our forces are continuing a wide offensive on west Khan Yunis, one of the major Hamas strongholds. This is a complex area, densely populated, and many Hamas terrorists are hiding in the area, including in sensitive sites, trying to surprise our forces."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Establishing Gaza Buffer Zone - Yoav Zitun
    Israel intends to control a buffer zone inside Gaza after the war to allow the residents of the Western Negev to return to their homes with relative security. The IDF is demolishing buildings that served as observation and firing positions on communities adjacent to the border such as Netiv HaAsara, Nir Oz, Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom and Sderot. The redesigned border strip is expected to incorporate both permanent and mobile military installations and positions, as well as military roads and fortified observation posts.
        On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington opposes any "permanent change" to Gaza's territory. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, "We do not want to see a reduction in Gazan territory under any circumstances. We will not support it."  (Ynet News)
  • Israel: No Breakthrough in Talks on Hostages
    A senior Israeli official rejected reports that there has been a breakthrough in the talks for a deal that would see hostages held by terrorists in Gaza released during a temporary ceasefire. The official said, "The reports of progress in the talks and a breakthrough are incorrect. There are very large gaps and no progress in the talks....There is a constant hardening of positions on the part of Hamas. No one should be fooled - it will take a long time."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Letter from a Fallen IDF Soldier - Elkana Vizel
    Sgt.-Major Elkana Vizel, 35, a father of four, was among 21 reservists killed in an explosion in Gaza on Monday. He left this letter to his family:
        "If you are reading this, something must have happened. If I was taken hostage, do not free even one Palestinian terrorist in exchange for my release. Our resounding victory is paramount, so just go on fighting until it is achieved. Perhaps I fell in battle. When a soldier is killed it is sad. But my request to you is to be happy. Don't be sad that you are bidding me farewell....We have so much to be proud of and joyous about....We are now writing the most significant chapter in the history of our people."
        "I was wounded before in the 2014 Protective Edge conflict. I had the choice to stay behind. But I do not regret returning to my role as a combat soldier, not for a minute. On the contrary, that was the best decision I've ever made."  (Ynet News)
  • A Just War, with an Overwhelming Cost - Editorial
    In the horrific explosions in central Gaza on Monday, just meters away from Israel's border, 21 fathers, sons, husbands, and brothers were extinguished, 21 dreams were snuffed out, 21 families were left devastated.
        One might have expected that a tragedy of this magnitude would have led to a chorus of voices inside Israel saying, "Enough is enough; it is time to end the war and bring the soldiers home." But that chorus did not emerge, and that is telling. To the contrary, the dominant message heard Monday was the need to continue forward, despite the mind-numbing loss.
        That message - keep fighting, despite the cost - is one heard often at the funerals of fallen soldiers as well as in conversations with soldiers and reservists who have fought in Gaza. These reactions showed that almost 16 weeks into a war that Israel neither expected, wanted, nor triggered, the country has not lost sight of what it is all about.
        Israel is fighting because its people were murdered, mutilated, and raped; Israel is fighting to get back those hostages taken by a maniacal terrorist regime; Israel is fighting to ensure that Hamas can never do this again; and Israel is fighting to send a message to others who may seek to emulate Hamas that it would not be in their interests to do so.
        This war with Hamas is a just war of no choice. This explains the widespread support to continue it, despite the exorbitantly high price and the pain and sorrow felt by millions of Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Meaning of Gaza's Tunnels - Bret Stephens
    Ever since Israel withdrew its soldiers and civilians from Gaza in 2005, critics have accused it of blockading the territory - turning it into an "open-air prison." The charge was always preposterous. Gaza shares a border with Egypt. Gazans were often treated in Israeli hospitals for cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Israel provided Gaza with much of its electricity and other critical goods even after Hamas came to power in 2007.
        Gaza's vast underground tunnel network has turned the territory into a gigantic military fortress. How much did it cost to build these tunnels? How much concrete, steel and electricity did it divert from civilian needs? How many millions of hours of labor were given to the effort? Hamas stole from foreign donors, subtracted billions of dollars over several years from Gaza's gross domestic product, and diverted labor from productive to destructive ends, all to feed its war machine.
        Hamas could have averted this tragedy if it had turned Gaza into an enclave for peace rather than terror, if it had not started four previous rounds of war against Israel, if it had honored the cease-fire that held on Oct. 6. It could have eased it by releasing all of its hostages. It could end it now by surrendering its leaders and sending its fighters into exile. Till then, Hamas bears the blame for every death in this war. (New York Times)
  • The Impact of the War on the IDF Liaison Unit for Gaza Civilians - Ruth Marks Eglash
    Col. Moshe Tetro heads the IDF's Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza, a division of COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories). He recounted that in the two years prior to Oct. 7, close to 20,000 Palestinian laborers entered Israel daily and permits for those seeking medical care in Israel were increased.
        Israel was planning to expand and streamline the Erez crossing with computerized turnstiles. Israel also bolstered its support for the local Gaza economy, allowing greater export of textiles and fish, and approving more goods to enter than ever before.
        "Hamas' attack on Oct. 7 destroyed it all," said Tetro. Hamas destroyed much of the civilian infrastructure that served its own population, including water pipes, electrical lines, desalination plants and communication networks. Hamas also destroyed the CLA's home base at the Erez crossing, murdered three CLA soldiers, and kidnapped three more, two of whom were later killed in Gaza. (Jewish Insider)

  • On Oct. 12, 2022, U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein facilitated a maritime border and natural gas agreement between Israel and Lebanon and tweeted that he was proud to have served "as mediator/facilitator of an historic agreement to provide #Israel security & stability."
  • Just one year later, Hizbullah joined with Hamas in attacking Israel. The U.S. believed the maritime deal would reduce tensions in the north and deter Hizbullah. Instead, the opposite has proven true.
  • Now, Hochstein has returned to negotiate a land deal and distance Hizbullah from Israel's northern border. Unlike the maritime dispute, in which Hizbullah didn't give up anything, "Hizbullah is being asked to disarm itself and abandon its position threatening Israel in southern Lebanon - something Hizbullah has refused to do for more than 17 years," said Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
  • This is "despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding it, and billions of dollars sent to the Lebanese Armed Forces and UN peacekeepers to enforce that resolution."
  • Blaise Misztal, vice president of policy at JINSA, said, "There is value in the U.S. attempting a diplomatic solution." Sooner or later, Israel "will be forced to confront the Hizbullah threat, and it will be important for the legitimacy for any Israeli operation in the north to be able to say there is [UN Resolution] 1701 that says Hizbullah should not be there and the world has failed to enforce it."
  • "We tried diplomacy and a peaceful resolution and Hizbullah ignored it. The only option we have left to defend ourselves and our territories is to take on Hizbullah directly."

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