January 29, 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:

IDF to Send Soldiers to Northern Gaza as Hamas Terrorists Resurface - Tal Spungin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF will ramp up its military presence in northern Gaza over the coming weeks to counter attempts by Hamas to re-establish itself in the area, Army Radio reported on Monday.
    The IDF estimates that 2,000 Hamas terrorists remain in northern Gaza, with rockets on Sunday being fired at Ashkelon from the north for the first time in over a month.
    The IDF also reported clashes along Gaza's northern coast, with troops killing five terrorists.

UK Navy Ship Shoots Down Houthi Drone (BBC News)
    The British Ministry of Defense said the HMS Diamond air-defense guided missile destroyer shot down a Houthi drone targeting the vessel in the Red Sea on Saturday.

New Ideas Weighed for Restoring Deterrence on Israel's Northern Border - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    A new approach to providing security for tens of thousands of residents of northern Israel who were evacuated from their homes in October is under consideration.
    The new arrangement would keep two full IDF divisions on the northern border instead of the single division which was there before Oct. 7.
    There would be continued attacks on Hizbullah forces south of the Litani River, which have so far cleared 75% of the Radwan special forces from the area and 85-95% of the lookout towers.
    Top defense officials may prefer not to go to a full war with Hizbullah even in half a year since the war in Gaza may not be over and significant Israeli attention will need to remain focused on Gaza to finish the job.
    Even if Hizbullah was as ready as Hamas before Oct. 7 to attack Israel, it could be argued that now that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has seen what the IDF has done to Gaza, and facing two full IDF divisions on the border [and without the element of surprise], he actually is deterred.

Former House Speaker Pelosi Wants FBI to Investigate Pro-Palestinian Protesters - Kayla Guo (New York Times)
    Former House speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) on Sunday called for the FBI to investigate protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
    "For them to call for a ceasefire is Mr. Putin's message," Pelosi told CNN. "Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see."
    "I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia....I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the FBI to investigate that."

Global Ammunition Shortage Forces Israel to Limit Bombing - Yuval Sade (Calcalist-Ynet News)
    A surge in ammunition usage during the wars in Gaza and Ukraine has triggered an unprecedented global shortage across all types of ammunition.
    Over 25,000 tons of weapons have been delivered to Israel via 280 aircraft and 40 ships from the U.S. since the onset of the conflict on Oct. 7.
    Simultaneously, the Israeli defense industry is working diligently to replenish IDF stocks.
    Israeli companies postponed supplying weapons exceeding $1.5 billion to global customers, redirecting resources to meet the IDF's combat requirements.
    In the last three months, the Defense Ministry has ordered weaponry worth $2.7 billion.

Sky News Apologizes for Comparing Situation in Gaza to the Holocaust - Eliana Jordan (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    During a live interview with Israeli Knesset member Danny Danon after the International Court of Justice's initial ruling on Friday, Sky News presenter Belle Donati compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust.
    In a televised apology several hours later, Sky News acknowledged "the complete inappropriateness of this comparison" and apologized "unreservedly" for any offense caused by the comment.
    Daniel Sugarman, Director of Public Affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote on X:
    "This is the new normal, apparently. The industrialized mass murder of 6 million Jews can now be compared by a Sky News representative to the awful situation in Gaza, where Israel is trying to root out the terrorist organization that murdered 1,200 of its citizens on Oct. 7."

How Israel Differs from the Rest of the West - Jake Wallis Simons (Spectator-UK)
    If you want a healthy society, you need a spirit of unity. As we saw in London during the Blitz, if citizens feel they are part of a national family, they can maintain their morale even in the face of great adversity.
    While across the democratic world, societies are in a state of slow-motion collapse, one country dramatically bucks this trend.
    Israel has retained a powerful sense of national pride and togetherness, with a strong ethos of sacrifice for the good of the nation.
    Since Oct. 7, the Israeli diaspora has returned home en masse to join the war effort.
    The willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good of the country is instilled in Israelis from a young age, and reaches its most vivid expression in military service.
    It is this sense of social responsibility that enables young fathers to say goodbye to their little children and head off to war, from which they may never return.
    They do so to protect their families, their country and their people.
    The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle-UK.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Three U.S. Troops Killed in Iran-Backed Drone Attack in Jordan, 34 Injured - Haley Britzky
    Three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and at least 34 service members were injured in a drone attack Sunday in northeast Jordan near the border with Syria. U.S. officials said the drone was launched by Iran-backed militants in Syria. CENTCOM said "there are approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel deployed to the base, conducting a number of key support functions."
        President Joe Biden said on Sunday, "We know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq....Have no doubt - we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing."  (CNN)
  • Israel Details Claims Against UN Workers It Says Aided Hamas - Ronen Bergman
    A dossier provided to the U.S. by Israel details claims against a dozen UNRWA employees who played a role in the Hamas attacks against Israel on Oct. 7 or in their aftermath. One is accused of kidnapping a woman. Another handed out ammunition. A third took part in the massacre at a kibbutz where 97 people died.
        Israeli intelligence officers had established the movements of six of the men inside Israel on Oct. 7 based on their phones. Others had been monitored while making phone calls inside Gaza during which they discussed their involvement in the Hamas attack. Three others got text messages ordering them to report to muster points on Oct. 7, and one was told to bring rocket-propelled grenades stored at his home. Israel described 10 of the employees as members of Hamas, and another was affiliated with Islamic Jihad.
        Seven were teachers at UNRWA schools. A school counselor from Khan Yunis worked with his son to abduct a woman from Israel. A social worker from Nuseirat helped to bring the body of a dead Israeli soldier to Gaza, as well as distributing ammunition and coordinating vehicles on the day of the attack. (New York Times)
        See also More Countries Suspend UNRWA Funding - Tovah Lazaroff
    Eleven countries have now suspended funds to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in the wake of allegations that 12 of its staff members participated in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre. The countries that have announced suspended funding include the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Japan, and Estonia.
        Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called on all donor states to suspend their support and demand an in-depth investigation into "the involvement of all UNRWA employees in terror."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Reiterates: Allegations Against Israel of Genocide Are "Unfounded"
    After the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to do everything to "prevent the commission of all acts within the scope" of the Genocide Convention, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Friday: "We continue to believe that allegations of genocide are unfounded and note the court did not make a finding about genocide or call for a ceasefire in its ruling."  (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Soldier Seriously Injured in Ramming Attack in Haifa - Josh Breiner
    A soldier was seriously wounded in a car ramming attack near the Navy's training base in Haifa. After the driver ran over the soldier, he got out of the car, armed with an ax, and started running toward the entrance to the base. He was shot dead by soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Approved UN Delegation Visit to Northern Gaza amid U.S. Pressure - Itamar Eichner
    Israel's War Cabinet approved a visit by a UN delegation wishing to map civilian needs in northern Gaza, after the U.S. urged Israel to allow it, Ynet learned on Monday.
        The Cabinet set three conditions in their meeting on Thursday: Defense Minister Yoav Galant insisted that before entering Gaza, the delegation must visit Israeli communities near the border that fell victim to the Hamas massacre. Israel clarified that the visit would not imply an intention to allow Gazans to return to their homes after evacuating to the south. Israel insisted on the inclusion of Americans in the UN mission. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli President Blasts ICJ's Portrayal of His Remarks - Jonathan Lis
    Israel's President Isaac Herzog accused the International Court of Justice on Sunday of misrepresenting his words in its ruling on Friday. The court referenced remarks by Herzog made shortly after the Oct. 7 attack, telling a news conference on Oct. 12 that "an entire nation" was responsible for the massacre. Herzog had said: "The entire nation is responsible. This rhetoric of 'unaware, uninvolved civilians' is not true. They could've resisted, they could've fought this evil regime that took over Gaza."
        On Sunday, Herzog said, "I was disgusted by the way they twisted my words, using very, very partial and fragmented quotes, with the intention of supporting a fabricated legal contention."
        "The reality cannot be ignored, a reality which we all saw with our own eyes as published by Hamas on that cursed day, and that was the involvement of many residents of Gaza in the slaughter, in the looting, and in the riots of October 7. How the crowds in Gaza cheered at the sight of Israelis being slaughtered and their bodies mutilated. At the sight of hostages - God knows what they did to them - wounded and bleeding, being dragged through the streets."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Should Target Iranian Operatives after the Killing of U.S. Troops - Max Boot
    Since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Iranian-backed militias have escalated their attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria who are assisting with continuing operations against the Islamic State. There were at least 160 such attacks in less than four months involving drones and rockets. About 70 U.S. personnel had been wounded.
        On Sunday, an exploding drone hit a U.S. outpost in Jordanian territory, killing three U.S. military personnel and injuring more than 30. Clearly the deaths of U.S. service members necessitates a greater response than what the U.S. has so far done with limited airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias. It's clear that the Biden administration needs to do more than it has been doing in pushing back against Iran's aggression. It's clearly time to show Iran that it cannot kill U.S. troops with impunity.
        Tehran won't care if the U.S. targets more militia members or even militia leaders; from the Iranian perspective, they are expendable. To get Iran's attention, the U.S. needs to target Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force personnel in Yemen, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon, beginning with Quds Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani's successor, Brig.-Gen. Ismail Qaani.
        In addition, the Biden administration should do more to target the Iranian economy with sanctions. When Biden came into office, he relaxed sanctions enforcement in the hopes of reviving the Iran nuclear accord. But the nuclear deal remains dead, so there is no good reason not to continue to ratchet up sanctions on Iran. Iran's escalating aggression makes the case for an economic crackdown. (Washington Post)
  • After the ICJ Ruling, Israel Will Continue Its Honorable Quest for Justice - Alan Dershowitz
    The International Court of Justice did the right thing by refusing to enjoin Israel from conducting its military operation against Hamas. Even if an injunction had been issued, Israel would have justifiably ignored it. But the court gave Israel a yellow light to proceed, requiring it to report back in a month on its efforts to prevent its soldiers from committing genocide.
        But Israel's soldiers were not committing genocide. They were fighting in the same way that the U.S. and Britain fought urban warfare against terrorist groups. Israeli soldiers do not need to be lectured about not doing something they would never do.
        A nation bent on genocide does not put its soldiers at risk by warning the other side about its intended military targets. Nor does it provide humanitarian corridors for the provision of food, medicine and other necessities. There have been fewer civilian deaths in Gaza, and a lower ratio of civilian to combatant causalities, than in any modern war in history.
        It is Hamas who should be lectured about its multiple war crimes: using hospitals, schools and mosques to protect its fighters, rockets and tunnels. But the ICJ did not order Hamas to do or stop doing anything. Unless the ICJ addresses the Hamas war crimes, it will deserve no respect.
        The writer is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • The West's Enemies Are Using the International System to Undermine Our Allies - Editorial
    On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) failed to throw out an absurd case brought last year by South Africa accusing Israel of "genocide." When the case was first filed, warnings were rightly issued that it represented a clear example of "lawfare" - the exploitation of legal processes and institutions in order to advance political and propaganda aims against Israel.
        The 1948 Genocide Convention identifies "genocide" as the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Israel's stated intention is only to destroy the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza. Britain must show that it still stands with Israel. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Israel Goes to Greater Lengths to Avoid Civilian Casualties than Any Other Nation - Jake Wallis Simons
    Ever since its birth, Israel has been subjected to empty judgments and prim finger-wagging. While the International Court of Justice resisted the urge to demand that Israel lay down its arms and bare its neck for the slaughter, it could not help but deliver a scolding. Israel goes to greater lengths to avoid civilian casualties than any other nation.
        Take the leaflets warning people to leave the combat zone in advance of an attack or the strikes aborted when innocents are spotted in the target zone. Did the RAF do the same when we pounded Iraq, Afghanistan or the Houthis in Yemen? Did the Americans? Israel has managed to maintain a combatant-to-civilian ratio of around 1:2, even on a battlefield designed to put civilians in harm's way (the global average is 1:9).
        Will the ICJ now address Russia's invasion of Ukraine or Turkey's massacre of the Kurds? It's not the killing that's the problem. It's the Jewishness of the finger on the trigger. As Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky remarked: "We do not have to account to anybody. We are not to sit for anybody's examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change, nor do we want to."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Push Israel Now for a Two-State Solution? You Must Be Kidding - Jason Willick
    In 2005, Israel, with U.S. encouragement, embarked on a unilateral trial run for a Palestinian state. It evacuated its soldiers and civilians from Gaza, leaving its people to govern themselves. Hamas thoroughly militarized Gaza, importing arms from Iran, starting rocket wars every few years, tunneling under civilian centers, and finally invading and rampaging inside Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 and abducting 250.
        You might expect the origins of the current war to inspire caution about the practicality of barreling toward a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Instead, the concept - essentially moribund before the war began - is suddenly at the center of U.S. diplomacy. (Washington Post)
  • Gullible Americans Are Funding Hamas, Not Starving Children - Jonathan S. Tobin
    For the international media, the Israeli victims of Oct. 7 were quickly erased from the collective memories of the West, replaced by pictures and videos of the Palestinians of Gaza, who have suffered as a result of the war started by the organization that most of them supported.
        The suffering of the people of Gaza is real. The destruction of the Strip and deaths of many of its civilians is a tragedy, as well as a completely avoidable situation. The ceasefire that Hamas apologists are calling for existed on Oct. 6 and need never have been broken.
        The American government is working to ensure that international aid continues to flow into Gaza, even though much, if not most, of the supplies of food, fuel and medicine are hoarded by Hamas terrorists rather than distributed to residents. Israel has been compelled by American pressure to allow this aid to go to the terrorists they are fighting - a concession unheard of in the annals of war. And this is happening while the fate of the more than 100 Israeli hostages is still unknown, with no proof of life or evidence that they are receiving adequate care.
        Many Americans are donating millions to charities that claim to be bringing aid directly to Palestinians in need. Except there is very little evidence that the money raised in the U.S. is reaching its intended targets. There is good reason to believe it is likely winding up in the hands of Hamas. (JNS)

The Obstacle to Peace Is Not the Absence of a Palestinian State but the Opposition to a Jewish State - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interviewed by Tunku Varadarajan (Wall Street Journal)
  • To "ensure that Gaza never again poses a threat to Israel" will require "durable demilitarization, which can only be carried out and sustained by Israel," along with "deradicalization," a cleansing of the ideological poison in Gaza that most Jewish Israelis on both left and right now regard as nonnegotiable preconditions for peace with the Palestinians.
  • How is the campaign against Hamas going? "Better than many expected. It took the U.S. and its allies nine months to defeat radical forces in Mosul" in 2016-17 against Islamic State. "Mosul is smaller than Gaza and did not have the massive terror underground infrastructure. We're now in the fourth month."
  • Netanyahu, like most Israelis, is aghast at the way protesters in the West - especially on American campuses - demonize Israel and, in some cases, laud Hamas. "This is a problem not just for Israel but also for America....America is the vanguard of freedom and the guarantor of liberty in this century. If a younger generation emerges in America that supports the head-choppers, it is a problem for civilization."
  • Asked about Washington's push for a two-state solution while Israel is in the throes of an existential war, he says, "Anyone supporting Israel and who also supports a two-state solution should ask themselves some questions. Do they support the Palestinians having an army? The answer is of course not. Should the Palestinians be able to bring in weapons? The answer is of course not. Should they be able to make military pacts with Iran? Of course not."
  • "In any future agreement, the Palestinians should have all the power to govern themselves and none of the powers to threaten Israel." In any agreement, "Israel must retain overall security control over territory west of the Jordan River, and that includes Gaza."
  • "Some in the United States believe that the obstacle to peace with the Palestinians is - me. They don't realize that I reflect the view of most Israelis." Polls confirm Netanyahu's assertion and indicate that Israelis, far from clamoring for a two-state solution, are adamant that the war should be fought with intensity.
  • Most of his compatriots "understand that the problem is that the Palestinians don't want peace with Israel but peace without Israel." It's "not the absence of a Palestinian state but the opposition to a Jewish state that is the obstacle to peace."

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