January 25, 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:

Iran Is Building a Drone Aircraft Carrier - Sam Lagrone (U.S. Naval Institute)
    At Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Navy is converting the former container ship Shahid Mahdavi into a warship to carry both helicopter and fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles, in order to increase the range of its strike capabilities.

Poll: 69 Percent of Israeli Jews Favor Full Israeli Security Control in Gaza (Tel Aviv University)
    According to the Tel Aviv University Peace Index survey, conducted on Jan. 8-15, 2024, from a security standpoint, 69% of Israeli Jews favor full Israeli control in Gaza after the end of the war, 25% favor control by international and regional forces, and 2% favor Palestinian Authority control.
    51% of Israeli Jews said the IDF used appropriate force in the Gaza war, 43% said the army used too little force, and 3% said it used too much force.
    66% of Israeli Jews oppose and 27% support the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.

Gazans Must Demand the Release of the Israeli Hostages - Hamza Howidy (Newsweek)
    How could a person convince himself that kidnapping women in their 80s and little children is some kind of noble "resistance"?
    I remember 16 years ago when I was a child in Gaza and Hamas supporters were celebrating their victory in taking control of Gaza from Fatah.
    I remember Fatah detainees being dragged by Hamas members on motorcycles with signs of torture on their bodies.
    I remembered Hamas members firing dozens of bullets into their bodies from their AK-47s.
    I remembered Bahaa Balousha's three children who were under the age of 10, who were killed by masked men because their dad was a Fatah member.
    This is who Hamas has always been. They were not better to their own people than they were to the innocent Israelis they massacred. They are psychopaths.
    I organized protests against Hamas and was imprisoned and tortured. Then I managed to leave Gaza.
    If we don't speak out about the atrocities Hamas has committed, if we don't speak up on behalf of the Israeli hostages, we are allowing Hamas to paint the entire population of Gaza as a group of terrorists who celebrated Hamas' crimes.
    Don't forget that Gaza is still full of innocent Hamas hostages who are Palestinians.

Israel Says Hamas Gets Online Donations Via Groups Posing as Gaza Charities - Galit Altstein (Bloomberg)
    Israeli officials estimate Hamas is getting $8-12 million a month through online donations, much of it through organizations posing as charities to help civilians in Gaza.
    Washington also believes that Hamas receives significant funding from online-donation sites and it is determined to help Israel put a stop to that, according to a senior U.S. official.

IDF Develops New Solutions to Charge Devices and Drones in the Field - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    As the IDF began ground operations in Gaza, it realized an urgent need to be able to charge communications devices and drones.
    Drones could not be charged from tanks or vehicles due to voltage differences.
    "We were required to provide solutions that did not exist until the current war broke out," said Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Molokandov of the Technological and Logistics Directorate.
    Molokandov's team created an energy pack within a week that allows the charger for the drone to be used from a tank. It also halved the charging time needed.
    "We created a product that didn't exist that combines a protective mechanism against electrocution and charging capacity for multiple battery charging."
    Since the energy pack was relatively large and heavy, within two more weeks they produced special 3D-printed cables and developed a card to provide an effective electrical solution that was lighter and more compact.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Rebuts Genocide Charge by Declassifying Cabinet Decisions Aimed at Diminishing Palestinian Civilian Deaths - Patrick Kingsley
    Israel has declassified more than 30 secret orders made by government and military leaders, which it says rebut the charge that it committed genocide in Gaza, and instead show Israeli efforts to diminish deaths among Palestinian civilians.
        The Genocide Convention of 1948, which South Africa accused Israel of violating at the International Court of Justice, does not define genocide solely as killing members of a particular ethnic or national group. Crucially, it says the killings must be committed "with intent to destroy" that group.
        Among the declassified Israeli documents are summaries of cabinet discussions in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered supplies of aid, fuel and water to be sent to Gaza. He also instructed the government to examine how external actors might set up field hospitals to treat Gazans. "The prime minister stressed time and again the need to increase significantly the humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip," reads one declassified document from a cabinet meeting on Nov. 14. (New York Times)
  • Houthis Attack U.S. Ships near Yemen
    Two U.S. commercial vessels carrying U.S. military supplies were forced to turn around when they were transiting the Bab al-Mandab Strait off Yemen, accompanied by the U.S. Navy, after being attacked by Houthi missiles. CENTCOM said the Iranian-backed terrorists fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles toward the U.S. container ship M/V Maersk Detroit. One missile impacted in the sea. The two other missiles were successfully shot down by the USS Gravely. (Reuters-CENTCOM)
  • Israel Clears Buffer Zone along Gaza Border - Dov Lieber
    Israeli soldiers have been clearing a 1-km. security zone inside Gaza along the border with Israel. The width of the zone could vary, depending on the topography and how close Palestinian communities are to the border, according to a former Israeli official familiar with the plan.
        Israeli officials say the buffer zone is a critical security measure in their plan to demilitarize Gaza and assure Israelis that they can return safely to their communities near the border that were evacuated after the Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people. A clear field of fire is being created so Israeli troops can see and stop anyone approaching the frontier. 21 IDF reservist soldiers were killed on Monday during demolitions of buildings in the planned security zone.
        While Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced opposition to the concept Tuesday, saying, "We've been very clear about maintaining in effect the territorial integrity of Gaza," he indicated Washington might accept a zone temporarily. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel at UN: Hamas Exploited International Aid and Turned Gaza into a War Machine - Joanie Margulies
    Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council on Tuesday: "Eighteen years ago, Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in hopes to build trust with the Palestinians and chart a path towards a joint future. Instead, the Palestinians voted in the Hamas terror organization, and since then, under the UN's nose and its agencies, Hamas has exploited international aid and turned Gaza into the war machine that it is."
        He noted the terror tunnels that Hamas built with aid donations and Hamas' clearly stated genocidal goals against Israel and the Jewish people. "The world knew this. The UN knew this," he said. If there was a ceasefire before the IDF destroyed Hamas, it would regroup, rearm, and attack again. "Hamas seeks to annihilate Israel. If you support a position that leaves Hamas in power, you cannot pretend to wish for a solution to the conflict."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Says Blast at UN Shelter Not Caused by Airstrike or Artillery Fire - Emanuel Fabian
    An explosion at a UN shelter in Khan Yunis that killed and injured many Palestinians was not caused by an IDF airstrike or artillery fire, the Israeli army said, but may have been caused by an errant Hamas rocket. (Times of Israel)
  • Fierce Battles Rage in Khan Yunis - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli troops carried on fierce battles around Khan Yunis in southern Gaza on Wednesday, killing scores of Hamas gunmen, including squads preparing to fire anti-tank missiles. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Is Still Winning the Political War - Prof. Edward Luttwak
    In spite of all the anti-Israel demonstrations around the world, Israel is definitely winning the political war. How times have changed since 1967, when socialist Israel still enjoyed the enthusiastic support of global "progressives," but was so diplomatically isolated that it received no support at all from Europe or America when openly threatened with war by Egypt, Jordan and Syria. France had been willing to sell weapons to Israel, but Charles de Gaulle stopped all further sales as soon as the fighting started. In Rome, a cargo of gas masks headed for Tel Aviv was intercepted at the airport.
        This time it has all been very different. The U.S., UK and EU did not try to stop the Israeli counter-offensive against Hamas, with the U.S. sending military supplies. While in UN venues, Russia and China declared their support for the Palestinians, Moscow has continued to cooperate smoothly with Israel's air force as it operates over Syria to attack Iran's Revolutionary Guards, while not one Chinese partner has withdrawn from any joint venture in Israel. Likewise, not one Arab country with whom Israel has diplomatic relations has interrupted them in any way.
        The writer is a contractual strategic consultant for the U.S. government. (UnHerd)
  • Why Are People More Agitated by the Gaza War than by Any Other? - Brendan O'Neill
    This week, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said there is a dearth of political concern for the poor people of Gaza. I'm sorry, what? There have been more public displays of sorrow for the people of Gaza than for any other people caught up in a war as far back as I can remember. Solidarity with Gazans is virtually mandatory at dinner parties across the land.
        We've seen think piece after think piece about the pain of the Palestinians. Bourgeois youths have hit the streets every weekend to register their compassion for Gazans and their hatred for Israel. MPs have made tub-thumping speeches on the need for a ceasefire. Palestinian flags fly from lampposts. The keffiyeh has become the fashion item du jour for the ostentatiously virtuous.
        The real question is not why people are silent on Gaza (they're not), but why they seem so much more agitated by this war than by any other of recent times. There's been a tsunami of media coverage on Gaza. Far more than there was for the Saudi-Yemen war, every African war of recent years, or the horrific return of Azerbaijan-Armenia hostilities last year. Our activist class have obsessively devoted themselves to the cause of Gaza, to the exclusion of every other issue on earth.
        Where were these people when tens of thousands of Muslims, including Palestinians, were slaughtered in the war in Syria? Or when the mullahs of Iran massacred hundreds of their own citizens for the sin of standing up for women's rights? Do the lives of young women in Iran who want to show their hair in public have a "different value" to the lives of people in Gaza? The lives of Syrian dissidents?
        Why did they not make as much noise over those violent assaults on Muslim life as they have done over Israel's war against Hamas? Because it is only when the Jewish state is involved in the loss of Muslim life that people take to the streets in vast numbers. (Spectator-UK)
  • Israel's Arab Citizens Feel Lucky - Bassam Tawil
    Hamas' Oct. 7 atrocities did not distinguish between Jew and Arab. At least 20 Arab Israeli citizens were murdered by Hamas terrorists on that day or by Hamas rocket attacks in the ensuing days. Moreover, several Bedouin men and women were abducted by Hamas. It is no wonder, then, that an overwhelming majority of the Israeli-Arab public opposed the Hamas attack.
        A study conducted by Nimrod Nir of the Adam Institute and Dr. Mohammed Khalaily among the Arab public showed that most Arabs support Israel's right to defend itself and even expressed a willingness to volunteer to help civilians who were harmed during the Hamas attack. The study showed that almost 80% of Israeli Arabs opposed the Hamas attack and 85% opposed the kidnapping of civilians.
        IDF Sgt. 1st Class (res.) Ahmed Abu Latif, 26, a Muslim citizen of Israel, was killed on Jan. 22 during the fighting in Gaza. Abu Latif represented a shining example of coexistence and unwavering love for Israel.
        Israeli Arab blogger Nuseir Yassin, popularly known as "Nas Daily," posted two days after the Oct. 7 massacre: "I realized that if Israel were to be 'invaded' like that again, we would not be safe. To a terrorist invading Israel, all citizens are targets....And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government. Which means I only have one home, even if I'm not Jewish: Israel."
        The Palestinians living under the corrupt Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza can only envy Israeli-Arab citizens for living in Israel, where they enjoy democracy, freedom of expression, access to superb healthcare, educational institutions and careers, as well as a thriving economy. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Eyal Barad, 40, was in the safe room of his home in Nir Oz for more than 12 hours on Oct. 7 while Palestinians went on a rampage of his kibbutz, kidnapping or murdering more than a quarter of its residents. On his phone he watched the live feed of a camera he had recently installed outside his home. Images from the feed, which I obtained, show Palestinian women and children taking part in the horror of that day.
  • Survivors' accounts, video evidence, and the interrogation recordings of apprehended Palestinians paint a damning picture of the complicity of Gazan civilians both in the Oct. 7 attack and its aftermath. It challenges the inclination to draw distinctions between ordinary Palestinian civilians of Gaza and their terror leaders. For many, Oct. 7 reeked of something that Jews have been familiar with for centuries - where a society at large participates in the ritual slaughter of Jews.
  • Around 700 Palestinians stormed Nir Oz - less than a five-minute drive from Gaza - CCTV footage shows. Eran Smilansky, a member of the kibbutz's security squad, estimated that the overwhelming majority of those, around 550, were civilians. Some carried out wholesale acts of terror themselves, including rape and abduction, while others abetted the terrorists. Others looted Israeli homes and farms, including stealing hundreds of thousands of shekels in agricultural equipment.
  • Similar scenes played out in several of the more than 20 brutalized Israeli communities. In one video, an elderly Palestinian man with walking sticks is seen hobbling at an impressive clip along with the rest of the mob through the breached gate of Kibbutz Be'eri.
  • Batya Holin is a photographer and peace activist from Kfar Aza, which was one of the heaviest-hit communities. Holin had developed a friendship with a Gazan photographer, Mahmoud, with whom she arranged a joint exhibit last year of photos of her kibbutz and his village in Gaza. On the morning of Oct. 7, Mahmoud called and interrogated Holin, asking her how many soldiers were in her vicinity. That was when Holin realized that Mahmoud had given the photos of her village to Hamas. "Whoever says there are people there who are uninvolved, here is the proof," she told Israel's Channel 13. "They are all involved. They are all Hamas."
  • Nir Oz was home to scores of peace activists. Many now believe that while there are Gazans who want to live in peace, they do not represent the majority; or, as one survivor told AFP, "there are more who don't want us alive." Irit Lahav from Nir Oz, who shuttled Palestinian cancer patients several hours from the border with Gaza to their treatments in central Israel, told me, "How can we ever get over this sense of betrayal? The Palestinian public simply hates us."
  • Nir Shani, from Be'eri, speaking of the involvement of Gazan civilians, said, "I don't differentiate between them and Hamas. Let me know of one Palestinian in Gaza who tried to save a Jew and maybe I'll change my mind."

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