February 6, 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 Could Be Nuclear within a Week (Institute for Science and International Security)
    The threat posed by Iran's nuclear program has increased dramatically.
    Since the Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, the volatile situation in the region is providing Iran with amplified internal justification for building nuclear weapons while the U.S. and Israel's resources to detect and deter Iran from succeeding are stretched thin.
    The ongoing conflicts are leading to the neglect of the Iranian nuclear threat at a time when Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities have never been greater.
    Iran can break out and produce enough weapon-grade enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in a week, using only a fraction of its 60%-enriched uranium. This breakout could be difficult for inspectors to detect promptly.
    Using its remaining stock of 60%-enriched uranium and its stock of near 20%-enriched uranium, it could have enough weapon-grade uranium for six weapons in one month.

Hamas Official: We Can Repeat Oct. 7 Many Times (MEMRI)
    Hamas official Ali Baraka told Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV on Jan. 30, 2024:
    "We can repeat Oct. 7 many times, because once you storm, they collapse. This is how it works with Israel."
    "They did not expect a ground assault, because they couldn't imagine that any Arab would dare to attack them."
    "But today, things have changed. Today, the Arab fighters storm in. They stormed [the Gaza envelope] and tomorrow, they will storm the Galilee. They will storm in from wherever they can."

Dozens of Houthi Terrorists Killed in U.S.-UK Airstrikes in Yemen - Lior Ben Ari (Ynet News)
    40 Houthi terrorists were killed in joint U.S.-UK airstrikes in Yemen on Sunday and Monday, Sky News in Arabic reported.

Italy Sends Destroyer to Protect Against Houthi Threat in Red Sea (itmilradar-Italy)
    The Italian destroyer ITS Caio Duilio left La Spezia base on Jan. 28 and is heading towards the Red Sea.
    Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani said the ship will be part of the European mission aimed at protecting merchant vessels against the threat of the Houthis.
    In addition, sources report that the Italian Air Force will deploy a Gulfstream E.550 early warning and control aircraft, probably in Djibouti, with the aim of alerting naval units of missile launches as soon as they occur.
    The frigate ITS Federico Martinengo, currently assigned to the anti-piracy mission, also remains in the area.

Thai Workers Return to Nahal Oz - Nahum Barnea (Ynet News)
    On Oct. 7, the Thai workers at Kibbutz Nahal Oz were attacked twice by the terrorists and looters who raided the kibbutz. One of them was killed. The rest went home to Thailand.
    After two and a half months, they came back to work on the kibbutz.
    The civilians of the kibbutz are still living further north, and only soldiers and Thai workers are there.
    The kibbutz renovated the Thai workers' living quarters. Boaz Ben-Sira, the farm manager, made sure to replace all the equipment that was damaged. Thai food awaited the returning workers.
    The kibbutz also employed workers from Gaza before Oct. 7.
    Bobby Sorapot, the only one in the group who speaks English, said, "I don't understand. Explain to me, why did they come to kill us? They were our friends. We worked together."

The Unraveling of American Jewish Influence and Security - Dr. Steven Windmueller (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
    For 70 years, 1948-2018, American Jews experienced a period of political access, social influence, and winnable outcomes, but have now begun to see the unraveling of our influence and security. Why is it happening?
    When a minority is perceived to be excessively successful, there is often a counter-response by its opponents to minimize the community's influence and impact. This is the moment in which we find ourselves now.
    We suddenly understand that the power and influence we believed we held may have been a sad illusion or provided only a temporary interlude.
    Our place at the table is disappearing. We are being politically erased.
    A Dec. 2023 Harvard CAPS-Harris poll found that 2/3 of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 believe Jews as a class are oppressors and should be treated that way.
    For American Jewry, our growing discomfort with the rhetoric of antisemitic hate and our increasing sense of political homelessness will require us to redefine our contract with America.
    The writer, Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles, is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Executions and Public Floggings Rise in Yemen under Houthis' Reign of Terror - Melanie Swan (Telegraph-UK)
    The Houthis' reign of terror in Yemen is growing ever more brutal, with executions and public floggings on the rise, experts and civilians say.
    "While the Houthis are busy promoting an image to the world that they are defending Palestinians in Gaza... they are silencing Yemenis who dare to criticize them," said Niku Jafarnia, a Yemen researcher from Human Rights Watch.

Sister of Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh Treated in Israeli Hospital - Itay Gal (Jerusalem Post)
    Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas' political bureau who lives in Qatar, has two brothers and eight sisters, three of whom are married to Israeli Bedouins, have Israeli citizenship, and live in Tel Sheva, a Bedouin town in Israel bordering the city of Beersheba.
    One of Haniyeh's sisters gave birth to a premature baby in the last few days and receiving life-saving treatment at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran-Backed Groups Continue to Target American Bases - Benoit Faucon
    A drone strike on Monday near a U.S. base in Syria killed six members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia, despite the U.S. pounding Iran-allied militia sites with airstrikes over the weekend. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella of Iran-backed armed groups, claimed responsibility for the attack.
        The U.S. on Monday launched a strike against two Houthi drone boats carrying explosives in Yemen. "The United States will continue working with regional partners to address threats to U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as Houthi threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Lawmakers Seek Investigation of Pro-Palestinian Charities for Terror Ties - Marc Rod
    A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee wrote to the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation last week requesting information on alleged links between Hamas and U.S.-based tax-exempt charities that may be providing support to the terrorist group.
        Such charities employ top officials previously involved in other charities such as the Holy Land Foundation and KindHearts for Charitable Development, which were shuttered by the U.S. government for providing funding to terrorists.
        "Today, it appears that members of these now-defunct charities are reorganizing and forming new U.S.-based charities that may be seeking to take advantage of well-intentioned Americans by redirecting their money to support terrorist organizations like Hamas," the lawmakers wrote. (Jewish Insider)
  • Pope Francis Laments "Terrible Increase" in Attacks Against Jews - Ken Oliver-Mendez
    In a letter addressed to "my Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel" released on Feb. 3, Pope Francis lamented the "terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world" since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war last October. He emphasized that "the path that the Church has walked with you, the ancient people of the covenant, rejects every form of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred toward Jews and Judaism as a sin against God."
        "We had hoped that 'never again' would be a refrain heard by the new generations, yet now we see that the path ahead requires ever closer collaboration to eradicate these phenomena."  (Catholic News Agency)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two IDF Soldiers Wounded in Hizbullah Rocket Attack from Lebanon - Emanuel Fabian
    Two soldiers were lightly wounded in a rocket attack from Lebanon near the northern community of Margaliot on Tuesday. The IDF shelled the launch sites and carried out additional airstrikes against Hizbullah targets. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire from West Bank at Israeli Kibbutz - Emanuel Fabian
    Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank opened fire at nearby Kibbutz Meirav on the slopes of Mount Gilboa in Israel on Tuesday. There were no injuries, but damage was caused to a home. (Times of Israel)
  • We Were All Lied To - Gaza Was a Modern, Developed Place before Oct. 7 - Roi Yanovsky
    I was recently released from reserve duty in Gaza after serving 100 days in the IDF. I feel I have to share the things I saw there. For years, we've heard about how terrible life is for the poor, oppressed Gazans, how it is an open-air prison. But now, having experienced it myself, I can confidently tell you that we were lied to.
        Gaza has been depicted as a backwards, "densely populated" area that's been under Israeli "siege" for years. But pre-war Gaza City was modern, beautiful, and developed - with large, furnished houses, wide avenues, public areas, a promenade, and parks. It looked much better than any other Arab city "from the river to the sea." Gaza City reminds me more of Tel Aviv than the awful slums that some people try to make it out to be. And Gaza is far from being the "most densely populated area in the world."
        If this is how a city looks after two decades of "siege," then I want to be sieged. The houses in Gaza were full of goods and food from across the Middle East. They had modern furniture, appliances, and pretty much any up-to-date consumer product and electronics you can imagine. There are also high-end mansions that could easily have been in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills. There was no lack of wealth in Gaza.
        I realize now that the optimistic notion that "if only Gazans had the chance for a better life, they would not be fighting Israel," is irrelevant for Gaza. Many of them had everything a normal person in the West strives for, yet Hamas still executed their Oct. 7 massacre.
        The most common thing I saw inside the houses was a map of the State of Israel, with the heading "Map of Palestine." There is no mention of any Israeli city. The goal of eradicating Israel was not hidden or played down, it was everywhere. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israelis Won't Stand for Anything Short of Victory in Gaza - Gadi Taub
    Something fundamental changed in Israel on Oct. 7. We were reminded of the mortal danger that fantasies about our neighboring enemies pose to our survival. This in turn awakened in us a fierce determination to prevail and a spirit of self-sacrifice we thought we no longer had. The ferocity of Israel's instinct for self-preservation is manifest now like it has never been in our lifetime.
        Very few Israelis will agree to a retreat from Gaza that leaves the Nazis on our borders. I've interviewed reservists who are demanding to stay in service until the job is done. One of them, who is also an evacuee from the Gaza envelope, said his children asked him why he's back from the front if they all can't return to their home. "Call me up for a month, call me up for two months, call me up for two years," he said, "I'll come."
        A forum called Mothers of IDF Soldiers has just published an open letter to President Biden. "We are an organization of mothers of IDF soldiers, who are now serving on the front lines in the war for our national survival....We accept the inherent risks our sons and daughters take, but we cannot accept placing their lives in unnecessary danger due to concerns for the enemy population....Israel has to keep fighting until...Hamas is defeated, and our 136 hostages are freed."
        You will not convince mothers or fathers who have assumed the risk of losing their sons and daughters - not to mention those who have already sacrificed a child in this war - that Israel can just leave Gaza without victory. (Tablet)
  • A Palestinian State Is Likely to Become Another Iranian Terrorist Proxy - Amb. Zalman Shoval
    Washington is pressing Israel to allow more humanitarian aid, including fuel, to enter Gaza, without, however, making this contingent on the release of hostages - aid that, if allowed in, could result in the lengthening of the war. The Biden administration is advancing an initiative linking the reconstruction of Gaza after the war to a process leading to Palestinian statehood. Yet Palestinian statehood is not relevant to the Gaza issue or to Hamas. Hamas totally rejects the two-state formula or indeed any solution other than obliterating the State of Israel and its people.
        The declaration by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that "a Palestinian state" is the best way of isolating Iran might lead some people to think that Washington was looking at the Middle East through the wrong end of the binoculars, since by all realistic indications a sovereign and irredentist Palestinian state would not lead to Iran's isolation but, rather, to the creation of another Iranian terrorist proxy a few hundred meters from most of Israel's main population and economic centers.
        Also, not making Palestinian statehood predicated on Palestinian recognition - not only officially and diplomatically but also ideologically - of Israel and of the right of the Jewish people to a state of its own (a condition that President Joe Biden himself had previously raised) means not peace but unending wars.
        As Dr. John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former U.S. deputy defense secretary, recently wrote: "After what happened to Israelis on Oct. 7, it is hard to imagine that they will trust any Palestinian government at this stage."
        The writer twice served as Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The International Court of Justice Is Not a Court - Gerald M. Steinberg
    In contrast to the legal and court systems of democratic countries, international law lacks basic political legitimacy. Instead, these institutions and individuals are political actors who use soft-power warfare to accompany and amplify kinetic conflict (bombs and rockets) through the facade of a legal process.
        The International Court of Justice (ICJ) (like its newer counterpart - the International Criminal Court) is linked to the UN framework, and its 15 standing "judges" are selected by the Security Council and General Assembly. The countries that are judged (in this case, Israel) are not duly represented in the process. There are no checks and balances, and judges are often political appointees with no real-world knowledge of the nature of warfare, deterrence, terrorism, or other issues on which they render pseudo-legal decisions.
        While legitimate national legal systems are based on equality before the law, the members of what Prof. David Bernstein has coined "the cult of international law" have favorite causes. Some are motivated by dangerous messianism, which envisions criminalizing warfare through imaginary global frameworks.
        Treaties and conventions create the illusion of rules under the rubrics of the so-called Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), but these are, at best, selectively enforceable. States that face legitimate threats are nevertheless said to be required to conform through a fiction known as "customary international law." It is important to expose the wider illusion of "international law." Institutions like the ICJ are built on the illusion of legality and justice. In practice, the results are often injustice and immorality.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Biden's "Two-State Solution" to Reward Palestinian Terrorism - Bassam Tawil
    Both the U.S. administration and the British government have said they are considering recognizing a Palestinian state. These statements send a message to Hamas and other Palestinians that the Americans and British want to give them a prize for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel in which 1,200 Israelis were murdered, decapitated, raped, tortured and burned alive.
        The declared policy of the U.S. and Britain, ever since the painstakingly negotiated the 1993-95 Oslo Accords, has been that a two-state solution should come as part of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. If the Oslo Accords are so cavalierly abrogated, what do any international agreements mean, and why would any country sign one in the future?
        There was a Hamas-led potential Palestinian state in Gaza before Oct. 7. The U.S. and UK are now saying they want to copy-paste the Hamas-led state and import it to the West Bank and to the heart of Jerusalem. Do they see this would mean bringing Iran and its terror proxies right to the hilltops overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv?
        Why should any Palestinian leader return to the negotiating table with Israel when the Americans and British are already offering them a state on a platter, unilaterally and unconditionally? By making such statements, the U.S. and Britain are sending a message to the Palestinians that they can continue to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel and do not need to dismantle the multiple armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza or do anything at all.
        Those who are promoting the idea of creating a Palestinian terror state next to Israel are paving the way for more Oct. 7-like massacres. They are essentially asking Israel to commit suicide at a time when its soldiers are fighting to eradicate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer serve Hamas, or its terror master Iran, as a base for murdering Jews, Americans, or anyone else in the West. (Gatestone Institute)
  • UNRWA Has Subjugated the Palestinian People - Raymond J. de Souza
    Why is UNRWA running hundreds of schools in the Palestinian Authority, which was established 30 years ago with the Oslo Accords? Why does UNRWA provide medical and social services more than 70 years after it was established in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War? The principal problem with UNRWA is that it is doing things that the Palestinians ought to be doing for themselves.
        No self-respecting people would want their health system to be run by the Red Cross years after a natural disaster. UNRWA in Gaza is like the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency still running New Orleans years after Hurricane Katrina. The entire premise of UNRWA is that the Palestinians alone have been uniquely incapable of organizing their own affairs.
        Palestinians can be found all over the world succeeding in professions, achieving academic distinction, unleashing entrepreneurial energy. Yet at home a massive UN bureaucracy is supposedly needed to provide basic services. UNRWA has deployed untold billions over generations to entrench a welfare mentality that denies Palestinians the opportunity to exercise their own agency, creativity and freedom.
        All this suits the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza just fine, for it absolves them of their basic responsibilities. The PA and Hamas would long ago have been overthrown, or been forced to change, if they failed to deliver basic services. But they are propped up from outside. UNRWA's existence means that Palestinians are not considered fully human, capable of providing for themselves. (National Post-Canada)

Preparing for the Next International Court of Justice Debacle - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Having weaponized the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Jewish state, the judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are now preparing to hear oral arguments starting February 19, 2024, on the "legal consequences" of the "Israeli occupation" of "Palestinian territory."
  • The problem is that there is no such entity as the "Palestinian territories." The term "Palestinian territories" is an invented term used to define areas allocated by the international community to the Jewish state, which were then illegally invaded by Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  • The underlying assumption of the court is that Israel is in some way "occupying Palestinian territory." In reality, an independent country called "Palestine" has never existed. In fact, "Palestine" is the only country in the world that did not exist before it was "occupied."
  • In reality, the area the UN General Assembly has asked the ICJ to consider as "Palestinian territory" was controlled for 400 years by the Ottoman Empire. In reality, after World War I, the international community repeatedly allocated the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Lebanon to the Red Sea, for the sole purpose of reconstituting the Jewish homeland.
  • In reality, in 1947, the UN offered the Arabs an opportunity to create another Arab country to the west of the Jordan River alongside Israel, but the Arabs refused. Instead, five Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state with the stated goal of throwing the Jews into the sea.
  • From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip, and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria, which it renamed "The West Bank." During that time, no UN General Assembly resolution or the Security Council demanded that Egypt and Jordan retreat and desist from occupying those areas.

    The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

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