February 13, 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:

Yemen's Houthis Strike Cargo Ship Bound for Iran - Nayera Abdallah (Reuters)
    Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis fired two missiles on Monday at an Iran-bound cargo ship in the Red Sea, causing minor damage, U.S. military officials said.
    The Greek-owned Star Iris was transporting a cargo of corn from Brazil to Iran.

The Fighter Pilots Hunting Houthi Drones over the Red Sea - Nafiseh Kohnavard (BBC News)
    When Yemen's Houthis began firing missiles and flying drones into commercial ships in the Red Sea, the crew of the USS Bataan assault ship found themselves having to adapt to air combat, sending jets out to try and shoot them down.
    Since mid-December, the Yemeni Houthis have attacked more than two dozen shipping vessels, claiming all were either Israeli-owned or operated. However, many appear to have no connection with Israel at all.
    Lead pilot Capt. Earl Ehrhart says he has intercepted seven Houthi drones. But when flying so close to these explosive devices, every interception carries great risk.
    "They are shooting at us all the time, so we need to be even more focused. Our systems need to be primed so we can stay safe."
    The Combat Information Center on the USS Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer, equipped with elite radar, is the eyes and ears for all the U.S. warships in the area. It sends out alerts for any perceived threat from land or sea.

Dutch Court Halts Export of F-35 Fighter Jet Parts to Israel - Yair Navot (Ynet News)
    A Dutch appeals court on Monday ordered the government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over concerns they were being used in violation of international law during Israel's Gaza offensive.
    The Dutch government said it would appeal the order.
    The U.S.-owned F-35 parts are stored at a warehouse in the Netherlands and then shipped to several partners, including Israel, via existing export agreements.
    The parts do not belong to the Netherlands but to the U.S., which keeps them in warehouses in the Netherlands to optimize the export process.
    If the Dutch did not supply the parts from the warehouse based in the Netherlands, Israel could easily procure them elsewhere.

Israelis Refuse to Be Erased - Dr. Fiamma Nirenstein (JNS)
    We are faced with a wave of catastrophic antisemitism, worse than any since the 1930s, a complete collapse of a society supposedly dedicated to human rights.
    In Italy, where I was born and am visiting, antisemitism is becoming a flood. According to the Fondazione CDEC-Observatory on Antisemitism, Italy saw 454 antisemitic incidents in 2023, compared to 241 in 2022.
    To the media, the war that has been forced upon Israel by 13,000 missiles, the slaughter of 1,200 people, the rape and mutilation of women and children, the kidnapping of over 200, and all the other atrocities of Oct. 7, does not exist.
    The Israelis displaced from their kibbutzim, the families deprived of their loved ones, they do not exist either. They are Jews, so they are erased.
    There is nothing else in the news, in politics, and on the screens but the blood libel - pure antisemitism everywhere.
    The writer, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

Bedouins Who Fought Hamas on Oct. 7 Honored for Bravery and Heroism - Greer Fay Cashman (Jerusalem Post)
    Although military service for members of the Bedouin tribes in Israel is not mandatory, more than 1,500 are presently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
    Some have been killed while fighting Hamas in Gaza, and some are among the kidnapped hostages in Gaza. The terrorists do not distinguish between Muslim and Jewish Israelis.
    On Monday, 13 civilian Bedouin who saved men, women, and children while being fired at by genocidal Hamas killers were honored in Jerusalem.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • How Hamas Uses Gaza's Hospitals - Matthew Rosenberg
    Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is Gaza's largest medical facility. Israel claims that Hamas leaders operated a command-and-control center beneath it. Hamas and hospital staff, meanwhile, insisted it was only a medical center. But evidence examined by the New York Times suggests Hamas used the hospital for cover, stored weapons inside it and maintained a hardened tunnel beneath the complex that was supplied with water, power and air-conditioning.
        Classified Israeli intelligence documents reviewed by the Times indicate that the tunnel is at least 700 feet long, extends beyond the hospital, and likely connects to Hamas' larger underground network. According to classified images reviewed by the Times, Israeli soldiers found underground bunkers, living quarters and a room wired for computers and communications equipment along a part of the tunnel beyond the hospital.
        American officials have said their own intelligence backs up the Israeli case, including evidence that Hamas used Al-Shifa to hold at least a few hostages. American intelligence also indicates that Hamas fighters evacuated the complex days before Israeli forces moved into Al-Shifa, destroying documents and electronics as they left. (New York Times)
  • Egypt Says Committed to Upholding Peace Treaty with Israel
    Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Monday that his country is committed to upholding its peace treaty with Israel, Anadolu Agency reports. His remarks come after a report in U.S. media claimed that Cairo has threatened to suspend its peace deal with Israel over a planned ground offensive in Rafah near the border with Egypt. (Middle East Monitor-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Mother, Son Wounded by Hizbullah Missiles in Kiryat Shmona - Matthias Inbar
    Two Israelis - a mother, 47, and her son, 15 - were seriously wounded by anti-tank guided missile fire from Lebanon in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on Tuesday. Deputy Mayor Ofir Yehezkeli said the two were traveling in a car when a missile fell near them. "The vehicle flew sideways, they got out of it, and then there was a second missile that hit them."  (i24News-Ha'aretz)
  • New Details from IDF's Daring Hostage Rescue Mission in Gaza - Yossi Yehushua
    New details have emerged on the successful rescue of two Israeli hostages in Rafah on Sunday night. The police counterterrorism unit and Israel Security Agency operatives caught the terrorists off guard in the house where the hostages were being held and eliminated them within seconds. As soon as the troops' presence was detected, they came under fire from nearby buildings and many more terrorists were killed in the ensuing firefight.
        To ensure a safe retreat back to Israeli lines, heavy bombardments were directed at Hamas military sites, command centers and police facilities. When the terrorists tried to regroup and called for backup, a vehicle used by the terrorists to pursue the Israeli forces was attacked from the air. Intelligence collected during the war facilitated the successful extraction of the hostages. (Ynet News)
        See also Rescued Hostages Lost Half Their Body Weight - Adir Yanko (Ynet News)
  • IDF Deepens Control of Khan Yunis as Gun Battles Against Hamas Continue - Emanuel Fabian
    Dozens of Hamas operatives have been killed by Israeli troops in Gaza over the past day, mostly in the Khan Yunis area, the IDF said Tuesday. The 7th Armored Brigade killed more than 30 Hamas operatives in the western Khan Yunis area in the last day, as troops deepened their operational control of the area. In central Gaza, the Nahal Brigade killed around 10 Hamas operatives over the past day. (Times of Israel)
  • UN Rapporteur for Palestinians Banned from Israel after Blaming Israel for Oct. 7 Massacre - Lazar Barman
    UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese tweeted, "The victims of 7/10 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel's oppression." In response, the Israel foreign and interior ministries have announced that she will not be allowed into Israel.
        Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said, "The era of Jews being silent is over. If the UN wants to return to being a relevant body, its leaders must publicly disavow the anti-Semitic words of the 'Special Envoy' - and fire her permanently."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Was Right Under UNRWA's Nose - Editorial
    For how much longer will UNRWA try the ostrich defense? The UN's forever-refugee agency for Palestinians claims it had no idea Hamas was operating a key tunnel underneath UNRWA headquarters in Gaza. On Saturday Israel exposed the tunnel, which includes one of Hamas' most valuable intelligence assets, a data center linked to the electricity in the UNRWA building above.
        UNRWA's function is to prevent Palestinians from moving on with their lives. It blocks resettlement and state building, keeping third- and fourth-generation refugees waiting in terrorist-incubating camps for an eventual return after the destruction of Israel. The day after the Gaza war will be a brighter one if UNRWA and Hamas exit the stage together. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The U.S. Knows Full Well that in Judea and Samaria It Is the Jewish Residents Who Are Under Threat - Nadav Shragai
    Palestinian pollster Dr. Khalil Shikaki found that 80% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support Hamas and the Oct. 7 massacre it committed. Some within the Israeli security establishment who found these results difficult to believe commissioned their own poll. The results were identical.
        The position of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria was also examined and it was found that only a tiny fragment of a percent supports Jewish terrorism. But for the U.S., in an extreme display of a total loss of proportion, there is nothing more urgent than to impose sanctions on four Jews, who are alleged to have attacked Palestinians, even though Washington is fully aware that Israel deals with them or those similar to them with extreme severity.
        This same line of thinking led the Americans to demand and obtain an Israeli commitment that the thousands of M16 assault rifles purchased in the U.S. will not be handed over to the rapid response squads in the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. The U.S. knows full well that it is the Jewish residents who are under threat, and that the rapid response squads have a purely defensive function. It also knows that the chance of the rapid response squad members going and attacking Palestinians is next to nonexistent.
        The Americans know that members of the Palestinian Authority security forces are heavily involved in acts of terrorism. The beating heart of the PA is Fatah. Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades operate in joint cells together with terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Fatah recently published a mourning notice in memory of three young men - "heroic martyrs" from Idna near Hebron, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - who were killed while trying to infiltrate and attack the nearby Jewish community of Adura. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Speak Out Against Hamas - Bassam Tawil
    Since the beginning of the current war in Gaza, a growing number of Palestinians and Arabs have been speaking out against Iran-backed Hamas, whose members committed the Oct. 7 massacre against Israelis. However, their voices have been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media in the West, most of which remains obsessed with Israel, and by the Arab media as well.
        Ahmed Fouad Al-Khatib, who left Gaza for the U.S. a few years ago, posted on X: "Hamas could have made different choices that would have opened new political pathways for Palestinian unity and the development of Gaza. Instead, they chose to hold their people hostage and divert materials and resources into a futile armed resistance project that has set Palestinians back by decades."
        "Those who don't have to live with the consequences of Hamas' 'resistance' are understandably the group's most fervent supporters and excusers (weirdly, especially in London). Leave it to lousy beneficiaries of Western privilege to defend a terror group that oppresses its own people and uses them as cannon fodder in its suicidal adventures."
        "Never forget that over 30,000 Gazans would still be alive today if Hamas kept its fighters at home on October 7. The pro-Palestine movement deserves better 'allies' and 'supporters' than overt & covert Hamas enthusiasts. Denying the atrocities of October 7 is truly shameful."  (Gatestone Institute)

  • I embraced the two-state solution for many years. Our own Declaration of Independence says that "It is the natural right of the Jewish peoples to be, like all peoples, masters of their own fate, in their own sovereign state." But, compelling as it is, the two-state solution is, sadly, no solution at all. Rather, it would doom the Zionist project, not save it, while producing much greater misery and more bloodshed for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
  • We now know exactly what our would-be neighbors have in mind for us. We see that a majority of Palestinians support Hamas and are well pleased by its massacres. Most of us therefore believe that turning Judea and Samaria into another Hamastan to satisfy those who see the massacre as an inspiration and its perpetrators as role models would be suicidal.
  • If one is determined to feel overwhelming sympathy for one of the many stateless peoples of the world, why not start with the Kurds, or the Catalans, or the Basques, or the Rohingya, or the Baluchis, or any of dozens of subnational groups - none of whom seem likely to attain their longed-for goals of statehood anytime soon. If the Palestinians are determined to kill us on the road to replacing us, then they can wait, too.
  • The two-state solution was a noble dream. But it always was just that - a dream. What enabled those who clung to it through the wrecks of exploding buses, the bodies of slain civilians, the constant wild calls for violence against us, the massive efforts to build terror infrastructures under our noses and on our borders, was our own tendency to imagine Palestinians in our own image. We find it hard to imagine a people that is not like ourselves.
  • Palestinian identity is structured as a rejection of the two-state solution, and denies the legitimacy of any form of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Land of Israel. The Palestinian leadership has manipulated their Israeli counterparts, as well as all mediators (including American mediators), with fake negotiations intended to extract temporary benefits, and to buy time, in preparation for the larger goal of eradicating all traces of Jewish sovereignty between the river and the sea.
  • If you bring your children from kindergarten to stage plays where they pretend to kill Jews, you cannot also tell them to hold back forever on acting them out once they've grown up. The tree of Palestinian identity, it seems, must be constantly watered with the blood of Jews to sustain it through the many sacrifices required for a nonproductive life of permanent victimhood.

    The writer is a senior lecturer in communications and public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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