January 28, 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:

Displaced Gazans Call for Downfall of Hamas - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian, shared footage on Saturday showing masses of displaced Gazans calling to bring down Hamas.
    He wrote, "In recent days, we are witnessing more and more public criticism by Gaza residents against the Hamas terrorist organization."
    "The people of Gaza rightly prefer their welfare and the security of their children over the continued military buildup of Hamas and its terrorist activities that harm them and their future."

Hamas Fights with Weapons from Iran, China, Russia and North Korea - Michael Biesecker (AP-Washington Post)
    An AP analysis of videos and photos from three months of combat in Gaza shows that Hamas has amassed an arsenal of weapons from around the world - much of it smuggled past a blockade that was aimed at stopping such a military buildup.
    These include Iranian sniper rifles, AK-47 assault rifles from China and Russia, and North Korean- and Bulgarian-built rocket-propelled grenades.
    Experts who reviewed the images were able to identify distinguishing features and markings that show where many of the weapons wielded by Hamas were manufactured.
    Many of the weapons appear to be relatively new.
    "The majority of their arms are of Russian, Chinese or Iranian origin, but North Korean weapons and those produced in former Warsaw Pact countries are also present in the arsenal," said N.R. Jenzen-Jones, director of the Australian-based Armament Research Services.
    An Israeli military official said most of the smuggled weapons are believed to have been brought in through Egypt.

Security Experts View "Day After" War Ends in Gaza - David Isaac (JNS)
    Israeli security experts discussed the "day after" the current war in Gaza at a conference in Ashkelon on Jan. 25, organized by the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF).
    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, co-founder and chairman of IDSF, said Israel must control the Egyptian border "indefinitely" to prevent the flow of weapons, terrorists and money into Gaza.
    The IDF must be able to operate anywhere in Gaza, "just like it can anywhere in Judea and Samaria."
    Israel also needs a security perimeter to give the IDF time to act against terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel.
    In civilian affairs, Avivi said, "no one but Israel" can ensure the denazification of Gaza's population, which has been marinated in antisemitism, adding that the UAE and Saudi Arabia may also have a role, as they have experience dealing with this within their own populations.
    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), said that the U.S. and Europe mistakenly believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main issue.
    "They don't understand that the head of the snake is Iran."
    "If we're able to defeat Hamas in Gaza, we'll be able to change the entire swing of the pendulum of Iranian power against us. We'll move the pendulum in the opposite direction and weaken the Iran axis."

Sen. John Fetterman Waves Israeli Flag from His Roof after Pro-Hamas Protesters Gather Outside His Home - Jon Levine (New York Post)
    After protesters waved Palestinian flags and screeched "Fetterman, Fetterman, you can't hide. You're supporting genocide," outside the Braddock, Pa., home of Sen. John Fetterman on Friday night, the senator responded to the din by going on his roof and waving an Israeli flag at them.
    His Senate office is covered with posters of missing Israeli hostages.

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:
  • World Court Rejects Demand for Gaza Cease-Fire - Jess Bravin
    The International Court of Justice on Friday declined a plea to order Israel to cease military operations in Gaza following Hamas' Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, but required Israel to enable humanitarian aid to the civilian population and take every measure to prevent destruction of its Palestinian community. The court called for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack. (Wall Street Journal)
  • UK, Italy, Canada and Australia Join U.S. in Pulling Funding for UN Palestinian Agency - Mark Scott
    Britain, Italy, Finland, Canada, and Australia followed the U.S. in withdrawing financial support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees after some of its employees were suspected of involvement in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks against Israel. The U.S. on Friday suspended its funding after Israel provided evidence via its security services that 12 of UNRWA's employees may have been involved in the Oct. 7 attacks. (Politico-EU)
  • Houthis Attack British-Linked Tanker in Gulf of Aden - James Gregory
    The tanker Marlin Luanda, with links to the UK, was on fire for several hours in the Gulf of Aden on Friday after being hit by a missile fired by the Houthis. The Iran-backed movement, based in Yemen, said it targeted the tanker in response to "American-British aggression." UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps called the attack "intolerable and illegal." "It is our duty to protect freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and we remain as committed to that cause as ever," he said. (BBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Kills Terrorists throughout Gaza, Pushes Forward in Khan Yunis
    IDF troops continued to engage in intense fighting in Khan Yunis, eliminating terrorists and locating numerous weapons, the IDF reported on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: More UNRWA Staff Complicit in Crimes - Itamar Eichner
    Israel believes there are more UNRWA staff collaborating with Hamas, after the UN conceded that 12 staff members had participated in the Oct. 7 massacre. Government spokesperson Mark Regev said there was a structural relationship between UNRWA and Hamas and not just a matter of a few bad apples. The 12 names provided by military intelligence were just the "tip of the iceberg," he said.
        Regev said the Hamas terrorists posted their atrocities, which revealed others among them to be official UNRWA employees. Others captured by the IDF said during their interrogations that they worked for UNRWA. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Calls to Replace UNRWA after Gaza War - Tal Shalev
    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Saturday evening: "UNRWA's ties with Hamas, providing refuge for terrorists, and perpetuating its rule, are undeniable. The leadership of UNRWA should be dismissed and thoroughly investigated for their knowledge of these activities. In Gaza's rebuilding, UNRWA must be replaced with agencies dedicated to genuine peace and development."
        Opposition Leader Yair Lapid said, "Congratulations to the U.S., UK, Italy, Canada, Finland, and Australia for the decision to stop funding UNRWA. The time has come to establish an alternative organization that will not educate generations of Palestinian children in hatred and will not cooperate with Hamas terrorism."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Responds to International Court of Justice Decision on Gaza War
    The charge of genocide leveled against Israel at the International Court of Justice is false and outrageous. It constitutes a shameful exploitation of the Genocide Convention that is not only wholly unfounded in fact and law, but is morally repugnant.
        As the court recognized, on October 7, Hamas and other terrorist groups committed unspeakable atrocities against Israel and its citizens. Like every country, Israel has an inherent and inalienable right to defend itself against the terrorist onslaught it still faces. The vile attempt by South Africa to deny Israel this fundamental right was justly rejected.
        Israel welcomes the court's clear demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held in Gaza. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • The UN's War on Israel - Editorial
    On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a preliminary ruling in South Africa's case against Israel that managed to be both outrageous and meaningless. At the same time, its special forever-refugee agency for the Palestinians, UNRWA, had to fire staff accused of involvement in Hamas' Oct. 7 massacre.
        UNRWA has kept Palestinians in permanent refugee camps, which have become terrorist-incubators with third- and fourth-generation refugees who are educated to expect a victorious return to take over Israel. The UN agency for all other refugees helps them build new lives. UNRWA alone has a mandate to perpetuate refugee status that freezes a conflict in place.
        Gaza will never be a peaceful refuge as long as its friends at the UN keep using it for anti-Israel purposes. UNRWA as it currently works doesn't deserve U.S. support. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A UN Court's Ruling on Israel and Gaza Is a Perversion of Justice - Ruth Marcus
    On Friday, the International Court of Justice issued a preliminary ruling against Israel. It could have been far worse: The order stopped short of instructing Israel to immediately cease military operations in Gaza, as South Africa had sought. But the court found that "at least some of the acts and omissions alleged...to have been committed by Israel in Gaza appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the [Genocide] Convention."
        This is a gross misreading of genocide; indeed, it is a perversion of the term. It is especially offensive wielded against Israel - a country that was forged in the ashes of the worst genocide in human history. If there is a party guilty of genocidal intent and acts in this war, it is Hamas - although, because it is not a state, the terrorist group cannot be brought before the ICJ. None of the civilian casualties in Gaza would be happening were it not for Hamas. (Washington Post)
  • International Court of Justice Accepted that Claim of Genocide in Gaza by Israel Was Plausible - David Horovitz
    While Israel's main TV stations headlined that the International Court of Justice "did not order a halt to the fighting" in Gaza, the court's decision was awful nonetheless, practically and morally. The court determined that South Africa's claim of genocide was plausible. Making plain that it was not finished with Israel and the interim stage of the claim of genocide against it, the court also required Israel to report back within a month on its progress in implementing the judges' demands that it "take all measures within its power" to prevent the killing or injuring of Gazans.
        The court cited at length a series of comments by Israeli leaders interpreted as suggesting that Israel's war is against all Gazans, quoted UN officials describing Gaza as unlivable, and airbrushed out Hamas - the instigator of the conflict and the prime cause of Gaza's deepening catastrophe.
        The court's measures were misdirected; it is from Hamas, not Israel, that Gaza's noncombatants must be protected by international measures. Were it not for Hamas, they would not be in danger. There would be no war. Israel would not be mourning its dead and seeking the return of its hostages. And tens of thousands of Israelis would not be internal refugees, displaced from their communities by Hamas - another part of the reality the judges overlooked.
        It should be obvious that if Israel had any intent to commit genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, there was nothing to stop it bombing Gaza to oblivion. Except it wouldn't do any such thing. Its leadership would not have ordered such an onslaught. Israel's conduct of its war against Hamas has been overtly designed to protect noncombatants - notably by pleading with them to leave war zones and overseeing humanitarian corridors for their evacuation.
        The overwhelming majority on the court essentially backed a monstrous aggressor, protecting a barbaric, death-cult Islamic government, indifferent to the well-being of the populations it governs, with genocidal ambitions against the state next door. And its judges are not done yet. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Survived the International Court of Justice - Dr. Matan Gutman
    In essence, the ICJ called on Israel to adhere to international law and prevent actions that could be contrary to the Genocide Convention - actions that Israel currently already takes. None of the ICJ's 17 judges granted South Africa's request for an order to stop the fighting in Gaza.
        Furthermore, no ICJ judge mandated that Israel should minimize its military operations or allow some of Gaza's population to return to their homes, and no operative orders were given regarding the supply of a specific amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza. South Africa's cynical attempt to use the Genocide Convention against Israel and force an immediate cease-fire has failed. (Ynet News)

Israel Cannot Afford to Stop the War in Gaza - Yedidia Stern (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ending the war in Gaza before the overthrow of Hamas rule would likely expose Israel to existential security threats. Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion understood that because Israel is dwarfed by its enemies - in demographic terms (100s of millions vs. less than 10 million), in terms of strategic depth (100s of km. vs. a narrow-waisted land base), and in terms of financial resources - they would be tempted to try, time after time, to destroy us.
  • This is why deterrence is such a crucial element of Israel's security concept. Deterrence forestalls the next round of war for as long as possible.
  • Over time, it may lead our enemies to despair at the prospect of our destruction, thus opening up the possibility of signing peace agreements. Israel's clear victory in the Yom Kippur War, which ended with the IDF positioned 100 km. from Cairo, eventually brought us to a peace treaty with the largest and most formidable of our neighbors.
  • Israel must strive for nothing less than overwhelming victory in its wars. This is the only way to stave off the next war and preserve the peace agreements and informal alliances with various powers in the region and beyond.
  • In its opening salvo, Hamas handed a humiliating defeat to Israel that will not be forgotten. This was also the case in the Yom Kippur War - which began with a failure of the warning system but ended with an overwhelming victory that strengthened Israeli deterrence and effectuated a strategic reconfiguration in the region.
  • Even if the Hamas surrender is delayed, its total collapse as the entity in control of Gaza is essential to preserving Israeli deterrence. If we do not act decisively to complete the task, we will send a signal to the entire region that Israel is vulnerable, and the appetite to wipe us from the map will increase.
  • Those who wish to strengthen Israel's security for future generations must grit their teeth and continue the war until a clear and decisive victory is achieved.

    The writer is president of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) and a professor (emeritus) of law at Bar-Ilan University.

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