February 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:

Sen. Bernie Sanders Targeted by Protesters in Ireland and Britain - Brendan O'Neill (Newsweek)
    Sen. Bernie Sanders was met by angry protesters in Ireland and Britain, who heckled and damned him as a sellout because he refuses to describe Israel's war on Hamas as a "genocide" and he doesn't approve of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel.
    He now says there should be a ceasefire, but that is not good enough for these people, who seem to measure an individual's moral worth by how much he hates the Jewish state.
    They want Bernie to damn Israel as uniquely barbarous. They want him to agree with them that it is right and proper to single Israel out for boycotts and sanctions. In short, they want him to bend the knee to their Israelophobic ideology.
    In a media interview, he was asked three times if he would call Israel's war on Hamas a "genocide." He refused and it went viral. Armies of erstwhile Bernie fans damned him as a "genocide denier."
    There is something quite nauseating in this spectacle of an elderly Jewish man being pressured to denounce the world's only Jewish state as genocidal.
    Sen. Sanders, who lost family in the Holocaust, clearly has a deeper moral and historical understanding of what genocide is. And he is not willing to sacrifice that understanding for an easy ride. Good for him.

Unfreezing the Abraham Accords - Barak M. Seener (Henry Jackson Society)
    Alongside its defense of maritime security, plans could be advanced and promoted to facilitate overland trading routes - especially in concert with Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
    It is economically advantageous for goods to take three days to go from Haifa to Dubai instead of three weeks via the Suez Canal.
    The UK and U.S. governments should adopt a unified stance on a hierarchy of escalation in the face of Iranian aggression.
    This should be communicated to Iran along with a shared commitment to respond along these lines to aggression by Iran or its proxies.
    This may have the desired effect of putting Iran back in its box and helping to reassure the UK's regional allies.
    The writer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.

IDF Says No Troops in Area Where Gazan Girl Was Killed - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Following reports that Palestinian girl Hind Rajab, age 6, was killed by Israeli fire in Gaza City in January, along with five of her family members and two medics who had gone to save them, the IDF said Saturday its investigation found that "IDF troops were not present near the vehicle or within firing range of the described vehicle in which the girl was found."

IDF Introduces Array of Unmanned Weapons in Gaza War - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    During the Gaza war, the IDF has introduced into service remote-activated weapons systems.
    The Panda excavator, used to locate and destroy Hamas tunnels, is a remotely-run machine developed by Israel Aerospace Industries.
    Unmanned armored personnel carriers (APCs), based on the IDF's M-113, are able to carry munitions to great distances.
    The IDF's technological development arm has adapted dozens of drones to carry out surveillance inside buildings and tunnels.
    Some are also armed. More than 100 terrorists were killed by the Maoz attack drones, used mostly by commando forces.
    These units also used drones able to discharge grenades and attack 4 or 5 targets per mission.
    After Hamas in the south and Hizbullah in the north destroyed IDF observation facilities, they were quickly replaced by new technologies that have been in development for the past two years.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • White House Reverses U.S. Policy on Israeli Communities in West Bank - John Hudson
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a reversal of the U.S. position on Israeli communities in the West Bank on Friday, saying they are "inconsistent with international law." The decision - which was also announced at the White House - followed the Israeli finance minister's announcement Thursday of plans for approval of 3,000 new homes in existing communities in response to an attack by Palestinian gunmen near Jerusalem that killed one Israeli and wounded five.
        In 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the U.S. no longer considered Israeli communities in the West Bank a violation of international law. (Washington Post)
        See also Former Secretary of State Pompeo: Calling Israeli Communities Illegal Rewards Hamas Attacks - Tovah Lazaroff
    Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the White House on X on Friday: "Judea and Samaria are rightful parts of the Jewish homeland, and Israelis have a right to live there. President Biden's decision to overturn our policy and call Israeli "settlements" illegal will not further the cause of peace. It rewards Hamas for its brutal attacks on October 7th and punishes Israel instead. These Israeli communities are not standing in the way of peace; militant Palestinian terrorism is."
        Ma'aleh Adumim, with a population of 38,000, is due to receive authorization for the construction of an additional 2,350 housing units. Efrat, with a population of 11,800, is due to receive authorization for 694 new housing units. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Amb. David Friedman: There Is Nothing Illegal about Jews Living in Their Biblical Homeland
    Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman wrote on X on Friday: "Blinken is 100% wrong. I researched this for over a year with many State Department lawyers. There is nothing illegal about Jews living in their biblical homeland. Indeed, Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow, also the Dean of the Yale Law School (who negotiated UNSCR 242), stated that Israel has the best legal claim to Judea and Samaria. For Blinken to announce this in the middle of a war...is unconscionable." (X)
        See also U.S. House Speaker Slams Decision on Israeli Communities in West Bank - Jacob Magid
    U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson wrote on X on Saturday: "The Jewish people have a historic and legal right to live in the Land of Israel including in Judea and Samaria - the biblical heartland. It is an absolute disgrace the Biden administration would issue this decision, especially as Israel fights terrorists on multiple fronts that seek Israel's destruction and as more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza. The Biden Administration must stop undermining Israel and facilitating efforts to delegitimize Israel. It is misguided."  (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. and British Planes Strike Houthi-Linked Targets in Yemen - Helene Cooper
    The U.S. and Britain carried out another round of large-scale military strikes Saturday against multiple sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants, intended to degrade their ability to attack ships in sea lanes that are critical for global trade, U.S. officials said. The strikes hit 18 targets across eight locations in Yemen associated with Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter.
        "The Houthis' now more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November constitute a threat to the global economy, as well as regional security and stability, and demand an international response," the U.S.-led coalition said Saturday. (New York Times)
        See also Houthis Target U.S. Fuel Tanker in Gulf of Aden
    Yemen's Houthis targeted MV Torm Thor, a U.S. oil tanker, in the Gulf of Aden, Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Sunday. U.S. Central Command said Saturday it shot down one anti-ship ballistic missile that was likely targeting the tanker. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hizbullah Fires Rockets, Drone at Galilee as Israeli Jets Pound Southern Lebanon - Emanuel Fabian
    A number of rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Kiryat Shmona and surrounding areas on Saturday, with the Iron Dome air defense system successfully swatting away much of the barrage, the Israel Defense Forces said. Rockets were also fired from Lebanon at Arab al-Aramshe, Hanita, and the Mount Dov area. The IDF carried out airstrikes on Hizbullah targets in south Lebanon, including a weapons depot where a cell of operatives was gathered. (Times of Israel)
  • Iran Accelerating Weapons Shipments to Hizbullah through Syria - Tzvi Joffre
    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote to the UN Security Council on Thursday that Iran has accelerated its shipments of weapons to Hizbullah through Syria since the war in Gaza began. He stressed that Israel has an "inherent right...to defend its territory and its citizens."
        Katz wrote on X on Friday: "Iran is the head of the snake. We will not be patient much longer for a diplomatic solution in the north. If the dramatic intelligence information we revealed to the Security Council does not bring about change - we will not hesitate to act."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: UN Human Rights Council Call for Arms Embargo on Israel Supports Hamas
    Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to calls for an arms embargo on Israel by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council. "Israel is defending itself against the terrorists of Hamas, a murderous terror organization that calls for Israel's destruction....Even in the face of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists, Israel has acted, and will continue to act, in accordance with international law....Calls for an arms embargo on Israel are actually calls of support for the Hamas terrorist organization."
        Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, "Since the Oct. 7 massacre, the UN has cooperated with Hamas terrorists and is trying to undermine Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens. Ignoring the war crimes, sexual crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists constitutes a stain on the UN that cannot be erased."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • No, President Biden, Most Palestinians Support Hamas - Editorial
    U.S. President Joe Biden declared on X on Friday, "The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not Hamas." Following the president's statement, various public figures disagreed on social media. Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, now a human rights advocate and ally to Israel, countered, "Tell that to the Palestinians in my inbox telling me Hamas are heroes and are freedom fighters."
        Though not all Palestinians are members of Hamas or even support it, most of them agree with its basic ideology. Several surveys, as well as monitoring of social media, contradict Biden's remarks. According to a Nov. 14 survey by the Arab World for Research and Development, most Palestinians supported the killing and kidnapping of Israelis on Oct. 7, and just a tiny percentage supported a two-state solution. In the West Bank, 83% expressed their support, while only 7% were opposed.
        Regarding a two-state solution, 75% favored a single Palestinian state "from the river to the sea." Though most Palestinians aren't Hamas, a vast majority of them agree with it on almost any question regarding their basic ideology after Oct. 7. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The West Must Stand with Israel - Editorial
    In the case of Israel, the West is rapidly losing the moral courage to stand for what is right. In the days after Oct. 7, it was widely accepted that, in order to prevent such an evil occurring again, Hamas had to be utterly defeated. Yet before the Israelis had even embarked on ground operations, the criticism and hand-wringing had already begun.
        The same disgusting tendency which casts Western countries as innately and uniquely evil turned its sights upon Israel, denying that it had any right to defend itself, or to rescue the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. Shockingly, such sentiments appear to be gaining ground in public discourse, while political leaders are equivocating.
        It is disturbing just how quickly the actual cause of this conflict - the pogrom of Oct. 7 - appears to be being forgotten. It speaks to the limited attention spans of Western societies, as well as the power of the hard-Left to shape the political and broadcast media narrative. Israel did not start this war. It deserves, and was promised, our support. The West cannot go back on its word now, and should remember why we gave it in the first place. It is long past time that the democratic world rediscovered its moral center. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
  • Why the Palestinian Authority Opposes Marwan Barghouti's Potential Prison Release - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Marwan Barghouti, a principal figure behind the Second Intifada, who was sentenced to five life terms for his role in attacks against Israelis, believes his release from prison is imminent as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas.
        Barghouti poses a significant threat to Mahmoud Abbas' leadership of the Palestinian Authority. In 2011, the PA successfully blocked Barghouti's release as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal. There is also apprehension in the PA about the release of hundreds of Hamas militants into Judea and Samaria as part of the Israeli-Hamas deal, which could bolster Hamas and further destabilize the PA. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Two democracies are under attack by a sworn foe of Western civilization. One is in Eastern Europe; the other in the Middle East. One is vast; the other tiny. Both have recently seen unarmed civilians, including children, brutally slaughtered, tortured and kidnapped by their enemies. Both are sending their sons, husbands and fathers into brutal battles.
  • Yet, despite all these resemblances, these two fighting democracies are treated much differently by the world. One is praised for its heroism; the other is condemned - even accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
  • One is encouraged to fight on to victory, "for as long as it takes"; the other is told to agree to an immediate ceasefire before victory has been achieved. The armed forces of one country can do no wrong; those of the other are charged with "war crimes."
  • How can we explain the fact that Ukraine is lionized and Israel reviled? Is it because the enemies of Ukraine and Israel are in some way different? In many ways, Russia and Iran are like two peas in a pod. They are brutal autocracies in which the rule of law and human rights count for nothing. They murder without compunction their enemies at home and abroad. They each pose threats that extend far beyond Ukraine and Israel.
  • Thirty years ago, Israel agreed with the Palestine Liberation Organization on the beginnings of Palestinian self-government under the Oslo Accords - "a separate Palestinian entity short of a state," in the words of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Prime Minister Ehud Barak went even further at Camp David in 2000, but PLO leader Yasser Arafat walked away from the table. Have the Palestinians enhanced the case for statehood in subsequent years? No.
  • The Palestinian Authority is an oxymoron; Palestinians despise it, and it has no authority. A large majority of the inhabitants of Gaza, to say nothing of the Palestinians of the West Bank, prefer Hamas. The nature of Hamas was laid bare on Oct. 7, which should be regarded as an event disqualifying the Palestinians from self-government, not entitling them to it.

    The writer is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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