March 4, 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 Review of Gaza Aid Convoy Deaths Finds Most Killed in Stampede (Israel Hayom)
    The IDF on Sunday completed a preliminary review of civilian deaths at a Gaza aid convoy last Thursday, determining that Israeli forces did not strike the convoy and that "the majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede," IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.
    "Following the warning shots fired to disperse the stampede and after our forces had started retreating, several looters approached our forces and posed an immediate threat to them. According to the initial review, the soldiers responded toward several individuals."

IDF, Local Gazans Attempt to Cooperate on Aid behind Hamas' Back (Jerusalem Post)
    Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday that the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian, was in contact with the leaders of local Gazan clans to organize the protection of the humanitarian aid convoys by local groups.
    While most factions refused, a large clan reportedly agreed, and another is considering the proposal.
    Sources in Hamas claimed that Hamas leadership has decided to take action against the local groups and that they "will pay for their actions."

Where Is the Humanitarian Aid for the Israeli Hostages? - Ruthie Blum (JNS)
    While the U.S. focuses on humanitarian aid for Gaza, those of the 134 remaining Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity who are still alive have been receiving no assistance of any kind, not even from the International Red Cross.
    Some require medication for chronic conditions. Others aren't being treated for serious wounds sustained during the Oct. 7 massacre. But all are subsisting on half a pita per day - malnourished to the point of starving.
    There is no question that the hostages being held in physically and sexually abusive conditions in the dungeons of Gaza are guiltless victims.
    Theirs is the plight that the world should be highlighting. Instead, the "humanitarians" are calling on Israel to cease its battle against Hamas.

Uncovering Hamas' Clandestine Weapons Factories - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF has dismantled 60 ammunition production facilities in Gaza and are investigating 20 more that have been uncovered.

IDF Razes Nablus Home of Hamas Terrorist Who Murdered Dee Family (Times of Israel)
    The Nablus home of Moaz al-Masri, on the fourth floor of an apartment building, was blown up and reduced to a shell on Sunday night.
    Al-Masri was part of a Hamas cell that opened fire at Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia and Rina Dee, aged 20 and 15, as they drove through the northern Jordan Valley on April 7, 2023.
    Al-Masri and the other two members of his cell, Hassan Qatani and Ibrahim Jabr, were killed in an Israeli military raid in May.

For Israel's Elbit Systems, Business in Europe Is Booming - Shiri Habib-Valdhorn (Globes)
    In the past two years, the West has been rearming and Elbit Systems has been a beneficiary.
    Between August 2023 and February 2024, new contracts reported by the company amounted to almost $2.3 billion.
    In addition, Elbit Systems has won several weighty contracts from Israel's Ministry of Defense.
    The war that began on Oct. 7 has meant a great deal of work for Elbit, which had to find creative solutions to meet the demand, with many of its employees drafted into the IDF reserves.
    Elbit Systems has hired hundreds of people since the outbreak of the war, and has brought back over 100 pensioners to the production lines.
    Following the war in Ukraine, in the first three quarters of 2023, Elbit's revenue from Europe grew by 54.8%, to $1.3 billion. Europe became the main revenue source, accounting for 30.6% of the total, up from 21.4% in the corresponding period of 2022.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Refuses to Reveal How Many Hostages Are Alive - Melanie Swan
    Israel has demanded to know how many of the roughly 130 hostages that remain in Gaza are still alive as a condition of returning to the negotiating table. Hamas was refusing to hand over the names of living hostages, stalling talks for a ceasefire on Sunday. Israel is demanding the release of all the remaining hostages as part of the ceasefire negotiations. The latest reports from the ceasefire talks suggest that only 40 of the hostages would be released. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran's Islamic Regime Stages a Dismal Election - Ishaan Tharoor
    With an opposition boycott and widespread disenchantment, only 40% of Iran's electorate voted Friday for the country's national parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the political body that will select the successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 84, Iran's supreme leader. The turnout may mark the lowest since the 1979 revolution. In Tehran, as little as 11% may have voted. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 1 Killed, 7 Wounded in Hizbullah Missile Attack - Tzvi Joffre
    One person was killed, and seven were wounded, two of them seriously, after Hizbullah fired an anti-tank missile toward Moshav Margaliot on the Israel-Lebanon border on Monday morning. The casualties were all Thai workers. In response, the IDF struck Hizbullah sites in southern Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Eliminates over 100 Terrorists in Gaza City's Zeitoun Neighborhood - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF said Sunday it had completed a two-week operation in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City and eliminated over 100 operatives. The forces also apprehended dozens of terrorists who provided valuable information on the location of terrorist forces in the field. IDF troops discovered launch sites and dozens of rockets. On one occasion, the terrorists took refuge in a civilian home and surrendered to an IDF drone. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Strikes Terrorists Minutes after Hamas Launches Rockets
    The Israeli air force eliminated a terrorist squad less than 30 minutes after it fired rockets toward Israel on Saturday, the IDF said Monday. Additionally, on Sunday, the Nahal Brigade eliminated 15 terrorists with sniper fire, aircraft, and tanks. The 7th Brigade arrested 80 suspects from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad west of Khan Yunis who tried to hide within the civilian population. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Netanyahu's Bold, Realistic Plan for "the Day After Hamas" - Daniel Pipes
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month presented Israel's security cabinet with a plan for "the Day After Hamas." Israel plans to work primarily with Gazans to rebuild their territory. "Civil affairs and responsibility for public order will be based on local actors with 'management experience,'" and "not identified with countries or organizations supporting terrorism" or receiving payments from them.
        In a step toward this program of self-rule, the Israeli military has begun to seek out community leaders whose duties will include distributing humanitarian aid. The concept is brave, bold and contested. Many Israelis and Palestinians alike insist that Jerusalem won't find local actors to work with.
        Yet the Israeli plan is correct. It envisages a decent Gaza run by decent Gazans. It recognizes that Gazans have endured 17 years of exploitation by their rulers as cannon fodder for public-relations purposes. Hamas sacrifices civilians for political support. The more misery Gazans endure, the more convincingly Hamas can accuse Israel of aggression and the wider and more vehement its global backing becomes.
        Many Gazans want to be liberated from Hamas. However hostile to the Jewish state, they desperately want to move on from their present squalor, even if that means working with Jerusalem. Israel, therefore, can reasonably expect to find many cooperative Gazans ready to establish a new governing authority capable of taking on a range of tasks, from policing, utilities, municipal services and administration to communications, teaching and urban planning.
        The writer is president of the Middle East Forum. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Playing Hamas' Game on Aid to Gaza - Editorial
    After the tragic stampede at a Gaza aid convoy on Thursday, President Biden decided to airdrop some aid to the strip and increase his pressure on Israel. The onus on Israel plays into Hamas' strategy: Place civilians in maximum danger and trust the international community to set up Israel to take the blame.
        In war, civilians flee to safety. Only in Gaza has the world decided that all civilians must stay trapped in the war zone, in danger and harder to reach with aid. One would expect Egypt to face great pressure to save lives. The opposite occurred. Rather than demand that Egypt follow its obligation under international law to accept refugees from the fighting next door, the U.S., UN and aid organizations took up Egypt's position and admonished Israel not to "displace" civilians from Gaza.
        Only when it can damage Israel does it become the liberal position to close the borders and keep refugees penned in a war zone. Instead of civilians fleeing the fighting, receiving aid in freer conditions and then returning after the war, they have been kept in Gaza to serve as "Israel's problem." Rather than get Gazans to safety, the world's humanitarian organs have demanded that Israel cease fire, leaving Hamas in power with hostages in tow. Gazans need aid, and they also need the world to stop playing Hamas' game. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Demand for a Ceasefire Is a Demand for the Annihilation of Israel - Ben-Dror Yemini
    When the Americans and British bombed Tokyo, Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed. But it was not a crime. This was a necessity in order to defeat the Nazi axis of evil. When the U.S. bombed Fallujah, Mosul and Raqqa to defeat al-Qaeda or ISIS, thousands were killed. This was not a war crime. It was a necessity, even though there was no existential threat to the West.
        When Hamas leaders repeatedly declare their intent to exterminate the Jews, and embark on a campaign to murder innocents, Israel is forced to defeat Hamas. As Razi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, declared: "October 7 was only the first time. There will be a second and third and fourth time." So it is not only Israel's right to defeat Hamas. It is Israel's duty.
        A demand for a ceasefire is tantamount to supporting the resumption of Hamas' extermination efforts. Anyone who would have proposed a ceasefire with Germany without the complete surrender of the Nazis would have been considered insane. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas' Delusional War Propaganda - Rany Ballout
    "Abu Obaida" is the military spokesman of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades. He regularly appears on TV screens throughout the Middle East, providing updates on Hamas' war effort since Oct. 7. He announces Hamas' purported tactical achievements and consequential losses for Israel while promising an imminent victory.
        Abu Obaida has gained massive popularity and traction across the Arab and Muslim world. Arab social media depicts people, including children, glued to TV screens awaiting his speeches. Large banners featuring his picture appear in many Arab and Muslim states and cities. As a result, large segments of the Arab and Muslim population embraced Hamas' information war against Israel, celebrating the Oct. 7 assault as a major military breakthrough.
        Abu Obaida's speeches predominantly frame the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as a historical and perennial conflict between Islam and Judaism. His strongest arguments often refer to the purportedly imminent demise of the Jewish state, with the current operation beginning the decisive era of Israeli defeats, and he extensively quotes martial verses from the Quran.
        Hamas depicts an effective and victorious battle against Israel, while most Arabic media and a majority of the Arab public appear to have subscribed to Hamas' war narrative against Israel. The conflict is incorrectly described as one between equal powers. Claims include Hamas having killed substantial numbers of Israeli forces, destroying hundreds of tanks and weapons, an Israeli economy suffering as a result of reservist mobilization, and a political divide tearing Israeli society apart.
        Israel's massive military response and the ensuing large-scale destruction has not deterred a majority of Arabs from a sentimental appeal to illusory promises of victory. Yet this is hardly surprising and replicates similar delusional portrayals by the Arabic media in previous Arab-Israeli conflicts. (National Interest)
  • Israel's Founding Certainly Wasn't Imperialist - Nigel Biggar
    In December on Al Jazeera, University of Kent lecturer Dr. Shahd Hammouri said: "Israel is a colonizing power and the Palestinians the colonized indigenous population." That's the simplistic melodrama. Here's the complicated truth. Before 1914, Jewish corporations bought Palestinian land from Arab landlords to settle thousands of Zionist immigrants fleeing Russian pogroms. Whatever our evaluation, this was no "invasion."
        In 1917 the British government made the Balfour Declaration, pledging to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, without prejudice to "the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities." A major motive was sympathy for the Zionist story of an exiled people yearning to return home. At the same time, the British established two Arab states, Jordan and Iraq. The cartoonish "decolonization" narrative doesn't begin to do justice to the past.
        The writer is Emeritus Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford. (Telegraph-UK)

How Much Is a Dead Jew Worth? - Hodaya Karish Hazony (Makor Rishon-Hebrew)
  • Lital Shemesh, a host on Israel's Channel 14, has written a new book, How Much Is a Dead Jew Worth? (Hebrew), a detailed look at the Palestinian Authority's "Pay to Slay" policy. The author explained in an interview that throwing a firebomb at a vehicle is worth NIS 4,000 a month to Palestinian terrorists. Stabbing and critically wounding a Jewish youth - NIS 6,000. A key factor in compensation is the amount of time the prisoner serves in jail.
  • Already by the fifth year, the prisoner earns more than the average Palestinian, and much more than the minimum wage. Abdallah Bargouti, a commander of the Hamas military wing in the West Bank, was sentenced in 2004 to 67 life sentences. Over 20 years he has received more than a million shekels.
  • The Palestinian Authority also pays compensation to Gaza residents and Israeli Arabs that have attacked Israelis. It even gives a bonus to terrorists who are from eastern Jerusalem or Israeli citizens. And when the terrorist is released from jail, his years of incarceration are counted as part of his seniority for jobs in the PA civil service. In the hostage release in November, one young Palestinian who was due to be released asked not to be freed because he would lose out on a PA bonus.
  • Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, former director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria, described cases where the defense attorneys requested a heavier sentence for their Palestinian clients in order to qualify for bonuses from the PA. A week after the Oct. 7 massacre, the PA announced that it would give grants to all the families of terrorists who participated.
  • In the month after Oct. 7, the PA distributed close to $3 million to families of the 1,500 Hamas murderers who participated in the attack. Every family of a terrorist who was killed in the invasion of Israel received a grant of NIS 7,400 in honor of his participation in the murders and atrocities - a gift from the Palestinian Authority. Seven percent of the PA budget today goes to families of terrorists. This is money that incentivizes the murder of Jews.
  • The PA has created a well-oiled murder machine which educates and incentivizes people to go out and kill Jews. Today, the best-paid profession in the Palestinian Authority is to be a murderer. When will the West take a stand and tell the Palestinians: "If you want our money, stop incentivizing terror."

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