March 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:

Who Will Rebuild Gaza? - Editorial (The National-UAE)
    Rebuilding Gaza's infrastructure will take years of funding, planning and work. But who will pay for all this?
    Those looking to the U.S. will not be reassured, having seen its politicians feuding about whether to keep spending taxpayers' money on supplying Ukraine - an American ally.
    Similarly, the EU has provided enormous support for Ukraine. Given their spending commitments, persuading the West to invest heavily in Gazan reconstruction may prove difficult.
    Despite many countries in the Arab world donating often and well to Palestinian relief efforts, these nations are wary of funding reconstruction for damage they did not cause and that could be bombed flat again at a moment's notice.

Morocco Secures Land Route to Deliver Aid to Gaza (Reuters)
    A shipment of humanitarian aid from Morocco for Palestinians in Gaza began entering by truck into northern Gaza on Tuesday, a Moroccan diplomatic source said.
    The Rabat government was able to secure the route as it had established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, the source said.
    "Morocco shows that its connections in Israel serve the cause of peace," the source said.

Italian Navy Downs Two Houthi Drones in Red Sea (Reuters-Al-Arabiya)
    The Italian destroyer Caio Duilio serving in the EU's naval mission in the Red Sea has shot down two Houthi drones in self-defense, Italy's Defense Staff said on Tuesday.

How the IDF Will Transform Following the Gaza War - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    The IDF is working on creating new units to meet Israel's security needs following the Oct. 7 massacre.
    The IDF is examining establishing a new engineering battalion, bolstering the air force's drone array, strengthening the Armored Corps, establishing several infantry battalions, and opening two additional Iron Dome batteries.

Anti-Hamas Demonstrator Dragged to Ground by Cops in London - Trevor Kavanagh (The Sun-UK)
    British justice was shamed Saturday as Iranian anti-Hamas demonstrator Niyak Ghorbani was dragged to the ground in London by four uniformed cops.
    As pro-Palestinian marchers gridlocked the city, Ghorbani held a sign that spelled out official British government policy: "Hamas Is Terrorist."

Israel Temporarily Evacuates 68 Palestinian Orphans from Rafah to West Bank at Germany's Request - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    68 Palestinian children, along with 11 caretakers, were evacuated from an orphanage in Rafah, Gaza, to Bethlehem in the West Bank as part of a humanitarian operation approved by Israel, the German Embassy in Tel Aviv announced on Tuesday.
    According to the embassy, the evacuation is temporary and is not intended as a permanent relocation.
    The IDF conducted the evacuation under the instructions of the Israeli government.

A "Revitalized" Palestinian Authority Means Unity with Hamas Terrorists - Bassam Tawil (Gatestone Institute)
    The U.S. administration believes that the Palestinian Authority (PA) should be "revitalized" before it is handed control over Gaza after the Iran-backed Hamas terror group is removed from power.
    However, for PA leaders, revamping the PA means forging an alliance with Hamas by inviting the terror group to be part of a new governing body that would rule Gaza in the post-war era.
    Instead of distancing themselves from Hamas, especially in the aftermath of the massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7, PA leaders in the West Bank continue to view the terror group as a key and legitimate actor in the Palestinian political landscape. This is why PA President Mahmoud Abbas never condemned the massacre.
    According to Hussam Zomlot, the PA envoy to Britain: "They [Hamas] are part of us. We refuse to describe any Palestinian party as a terrorist organization. We refuse to describe the Palestinian struggle as terrorism. We refuse to describe any Palestinian activity as terrorism."
    In late February, representatives of Fatah and Hamas met in Moscow to discuss ways of achieving "national unity."
    The PA has so far shown no signs that it is serious about embarking on any plan to reform its political, economic and security institutions.
    Abbas is reportedly planning to replace the outgoing prime minister with another one of his loyalists.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • White House Denies Biden Has Set "Red Lines" for Israel-Hamas War in Gaza - Peter Baker
    The White House denied on Tuesday that President Biden had set any "red lines" for Israel in its campaign against Hamas in Gaza, though it warned again that Israel should not attack the city of Rafah without protections for more than a million people sheltering there. Israeli officials have said they are developing a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Pause on Funding UN Relief Agency for Palestinians May Become Permanent - Humeyra Pamuk
    U.S. officials are preparing for a pause on funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to become permanent due to bipartisan opposition in Congress. (Reuters)
  • Canada Commits Funding to Help Survivors of Sexually-Based Attacks in Israel - Stephanie Levitz
    Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says Ottawa will commit $1 million to support survivors of sexually-based attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. "We believe Israeli women. And we stand with them in their fight for justice," Joly announced on social media. She added that support from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been offered to assist in investigations of the reported crimes.
        Joly's decision to provide funding follows repeated pressure from a coalition of high-profile Canadian women who urged the government to act in response to reports that Hamas assailants sexually assaulted people during their unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7. (Toronto Star-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Offensive in Gaza Continues - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF is continuing its offensive against Hamas in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, in the Hamad Town residential complex and in the suburbs of al-Qarara and Abasan. The Israel Air Force carried out widespread strikes against Hamas sites in central Gaza's Deir al-Balah. (Times of Israel)
  • Two Israelis Wounded in Palestinian Stabbing Attack near Jerusalem - Emanuel Fabian
    Muhammad Abu Hamed, 15, arrived at the "tunnels" checkpoint south of Jerusalem by bicycle, and as security forces attempted to question him, he drew a knife and stabbed them before IDF troops shot him dead. (Times of Israel)
  • Top Hamas Official Killed in Israeli Drone Strike near Tyre in Lebanon
    Palestinian sources said senior Hamas official Hadi Mustafa from Rashidiyah was killed Wednesday in an Israeli drone strike on his car in south Lebanon near the city of Tyre. (Naharnet-Lebanon)
  • West Bank Police Chief: Most Complaints of "Settler Violence" Are False, Filed by Anarchists - Noa Shpigel
    The commander of the Central Unit of the Israel Police's Judea and Samaria District said Tuesday in the Knesset that half of the complaints that Palestinians in the West Bank have filed against settlers since the war in Gaza began have proved to be false. "Most of the complaints are deliberate complaints from radical left-wing organizations which are situated in Tel Aviv," Avishai Mualem told a subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
        Mualem called the false complaints a widespread practice that interferes with military activity and damages Israel's reputation. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Has No Choice but to Fight On - Bret Stephens
    If Israel were to end the war now, with several Hamas battalions intact, at least four things would happen. First, it would be impossible to set up a political authority in Gaza that isn't Hamas: If the Palestinian Authority or local Gazans tried to do so, they wouldn't live for long. Second, Hamas would reconstitute its military force as Hizbullah did in Lebanon after the 2006 war with Israel - and Hamas has promised to repeat the attacks of Oct. 7 "a second, a third, a fourth" time.
        Third, the Israeli hostages would be stuck in their awful captivity indefinitely. Fourth, there would never be a Palestinian state. No Israeli government is going to agree to a Palestinian state in the West Bank if it risks resembling Gaza.
        This is the fifth major war that Hamas has provoked since it seized power in Gaza in 2007. After each war, Hamas' capabilities have grown stronger and its ambitions bolder. At some point this had to end; for Israelis, Oct. 7 was that point.
        Whenever Israel's critics lecture the country on better calibrating its use of force, they don't have any concrete suggestions. The reality of urban warfare is that it's exceptionally costly and difficult. The U.S. spent nine months helping Iraqi forces flatten the city of Mosul to defeat ISIS, with results that looked even worse than Gaza does today. I don't remember calls for "Ceasefire Now" then.
        Israel is fighting a war it didn't seek, against an enemy sworn to its destruction and holding scores of its citizens hostage. Around 200,000 Israelis are living as refugees inside their own country because its borders aren't secure. No country can tolerate that. There should be more public pressure on Hamas to surrender than on Israel to save Hamas from the consequences of its actions. (New York Times)
  • Stop the War in Gaza by Defeating Hamas - Bernard-Henri Levy
    Those crying out against genocide are the same people who call for the birth of a Palestine from the Jordan River to the sea that would involve an ethnic cleansing purging the entire region of all Jewish presence. (Apparently, pure genocide is OK, where imagined genocide is worthy of an impassioned outcry!)
        A small, fragile, and threatened country, confronted with the most sadistic mass terror attack in modern history, responds like any other democracy would have in its place, and, in fact, like the U.S. did when invading Afghanistan after Sept. 11. Instead of supporting Israel in its legitimate self-defense, the world accuses the Jewish state of poisoning wells and starving the civilian population.
        It takes for granted that Israel is "indefensible," that Zionism - alone among national liberation movements - is a curse word, and that the very survival of the Jewish people on its land is an entirely legitimate object of dispute.
        "Ceasefire now!" is a solution that would hand victory to Hamas; prolong the hold of a Muslim Brotherhood death cult on a population that serves as its guinea pig in a horrific experiment; and see the aura of the terror cult and its backers grow beyond Gaza, with all the cataclysmic consequences that one can imagine, both throughout the Middle East and in Europe.
        Does anyone care about peace and justice enough to demand an end to this war in the only way it can actually end - with the defeat of Hamas?
        The writer is a philosopher and author of more than 30 books.  (Tablet)
  • Israel Must Go Ahead with an Operation in Rafah - Col. (res.) Prof. Gabi Siboni
    The IDF is succeeding in systematically dismantling Hamas, although the fighting in Gaza is fierce and exacts painful costs. After more than four months of war, the IDF has taken control of northern Gaza and has full operational freedom of action in the area. Progress has also been made in Khan Yunis, where the IDF is eliminating terrorists and destroying their infrastructure.
        Hamas is deeply embedded in the population of Gaza. Hamas terrorists receive support and assistance from the population. Gaza has seen the emergence of a generation whose sole goal is to kill and exterminate Jews. In the face of this resistance, the IDF is advancing methodically and systematically.
        Israel's prime minister has said on several occasions that this war will not end until the IDF operates in Rafah and takes over the border between Gaza and Egypt - the Philadelphi Corridor. The operation in Rafah is necessary and inevitable. Rafah is Hamas' last organized stronghold, and the elimination of Hamas' military capabilities will not be achieved without the destruction of the battalions stationed there. Israel must remove Hamas' governmental capabilities in this area. Moreover, in order to free hostages, it is essential to reach the areas where they are held.
        Israeli communities in areas opposite Rafah will not return to their homes if operational Hamas battalions are on the other side of the border. Finally, weapons still enter Gaza through a network of tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor. The IDF will have to eliminate this smuggling route.
        The writer was director of the military and strategic affairs program, and the cyber research program, of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) from 2006-2020. (Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security)
  • The Day After the Gaza War - Amb. Ron Dermer interviewed by Alex Traiman
    Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, currently Minister of Strategic Affairs and a member of Israel's war cabinet, said, 20 years ago, a BBC reporter asked Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashwari, "'Mrs. Ashwari, you're not going to get a state unless you fight terrorism and make peace with Israel.' And what she said is, 'No. The question of a Palestinian state and peace with Israel are two separate things.'"
        "And it was something of a eureka moment for me because it was so clear to me exactly what their strategy is. Their goal is to establish a state to continue the conflict...to get the world to recognize a Palestinian state without them giving up anything in return. And my plea to everybody who supports a two-state solution is: Do not separate statehood from peace. Because if you do, there will never be peace. They will get their state, and they will continue the conflict."
        "Years ago...I was asked about Israel's position on a Palestinian state. So being Jewish, I answered the question with a question and I asked the audience, 'How many of you support a Palestinian state and a two-state solution?' And in that audience, I would say about 90% supported it."
        "Then, I said, 'Well, how many of you support the Palestinians having an army?' No hands went up. 'And how many of you think the Palestinians should control half the airspace between the Jordan and the Mediterranean?' No hands went up. 'How many of you think they should control their borders so they can bring in any weapons they want?' No hands went up. 'How many of you think they should have military pacts with Iran?' No hands went up."
        "So I said, 'Basically, what you're saying is you want the Palestinians to have all the powers to govern themselves, but you don't want them to have the powers that could threaten Israel.' And that's the position of the prime minister."  (Israel Hayom-JNS)
  • Antisemitism's Point of No Return - Dr. Fiamma Nirenstein
    We have reached the point of no return, of zero tolerance. There can be no further conciliation with antisemitism. Anyone who will not acknowledge that mass rape and murder, the beheading of children, and the symphony of blood set to the cry of "yehud" and "Allahu Akbar" are crimes against humanity, has betrayed their own humanity. They are unworthy of civilization. The only task before us is their overthrow.
        The Oct. 7 slaughter took place because of a long-institutionalized culture of Islamic terrorism. Islamists, we should remember, hate everyone.
        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.  (JNS)

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC Conference in Washington by video link.
  • I deeply appreciate the support we've received from President Biden and the administration and I hope it will continue. But let me be clear, Israel will win this war no matter what. To win this war, we must destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. If not, Hamas will regroup, rearm and reconquer Gaza and then we're back to square one.
  • That's an intolerable threat that we cannot accept. We will destroy Hamas, free our hostages, and ensure that Gaza doesn't ever pose a threat to Israel again.
  • We will finish the job in Rafah while enabling the civilian population to get out of harm's way. We've taken measures to minimize civilian casualties that no other army has taken in history.
  • To our friends in the international community, I say this: you cannot say you support Israel's right to exist and to defend itself and then oppose Israel when it exercises that right. You cannot say you support Israel's goal of destroying Hamas and then oppose Israel when it takes the actions necessary to achieve that goal.
  • You cannot say that you oppose Hamas' strategy of using civilians as human shields and then blame Israel for the civilian casualties that result from this cynical Hamas strategy.
  • For Israel, every civilian death is a tragedy. For Hamas, every civilian death is a strategy. So it is wrong and immoral to hold Israel to a standard for avoiding civilian casualties that no other country on earth is held to.

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