March 28, 2024
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

New Poll: 79 Percent of Americans Support Israel, 66 Percent Say Israel Is Trying to Avoid Civilian Casualties (Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll)
    A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll conducted on March 20-21, 2024, found that by 56% to 44%, Americans agree that Congress should pass $14 billion in aid for Israel and for humanitarian aid for Gaza to help Israel defeat Hamas.
    Supporters included 60% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.
    79% said they support Israel in the conflict, compared to 21% for Hamas. Israel supporters included 85% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats, and 79% of Independents.
    66% agreed that Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties in its war against Hamas, while 34% disagreed. Those who agreed included 75% of Republicans, and 62% of Democrats.
    63% say a ceasefire should happen only after the release of all hostages and Hamas is removed from power. 77% said Hamas should be removed from running Gaza.

IDF Preparing to Evacuate Civilians from Rafah - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    In order for the Israel Defense Forces to be able to operate freely in Rafah, the civilians there will have to evacuate - and Hamas will do everything in its power to prevent them from doing so for precisely this reason.
    The IDF's Southern Command and its Population Evacuation Unit possess a state-of-the-art control center and real-time map of Gaza's civilian situation, enabling evacuation from specific areas and the tracking of those efforts.
    By December, the IDF was able to evacuate over a million people from northern Gaza, setting a vital precedent.
    During these past evacuation efforts, the IDF witnessed many attempts by Hamas to stop Palestinian civilians from leaving.
    The difference this time will be that now, the IDF will need to set up checkpoints to filter out any terrorists attempting to move north with the civilians.

Statistically Impossible: A Critical Analysis of Hamas' Women and Children Casualty Figures - Tom Simpson, Lewi Stone and Gregory Rose (Fathom-BICOM-UK)
    The Hamas casualty figures concerning women and children are statistically impossible. The widely reported figure of 70% women and children deaths is contradicted by the statistics that the Gazan Ministry of Health itself provides in its own reports.
    The BBC "factcheckers" and other Western media could easily have determined this for themselves, using publicly available information.
    See also Gaza Fatality Data Has Become Completely Unreliable - Gabriel Epstein (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    The repeated claim that 72% of the dead in Gaza are women and children is very likely incorrect.
    Data from the central collection system indicates that 58% of those killed since the start of the war are women and children; this figure drops to 48% for those killed since Nov. 3.
    For the 72% claim to be accurate, women and children would have to make up about 90% of deaths recorded from media reports.
    This proportion is implausible - men comprise a quarter of the population, and these fatalities have largely occurred in areas with fewer civilians and more combatants, most of whom are adult men.

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A Voice from Gaza: "Aid Enters in Large Amounts, Distribution Is in the Hands of Hamas" - Ohad Merlin (Jerusalem Post)
    M. spoke to the Jerusalem Post from his current location in southern Gaza.
    He says the high prices are not due to a lack of goods. "The Rafah crossing is operating well, and aid enters in a very large amount, and there is never a shortage."
    "However, the distribution of aid is in the hands of Hamas, which means it does not reach all the displaced people."
    "There is no solution except by [Israel] entering Rafah and pressing the fighting until there is great pressure on Hamas. Many Gazans hope that Israel will end the war and eliminate Hamas quickly."
    "They reject the 'resistance' and will not accept Hamas again in power."

Many Anti-Israel Initiatives Anything But Grassroots Efforts - Warren Kinsella (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    The anti-Israel, pro-Hamas propagandists would like you to believe that theirs is a spontaneous, organic, community-based effort - just a bunch of well-meaning ordinary people concerned about "genocide" being committed by "Zionists" in Gaza.
    Even though Gaza's population growth has far exceeded Israel's. Even though Israel provided Gazans with food, water, fuel, medical supplies and more, for years.
    If the "Zionists" were committing "genocide," they sure weren't doing a very good job at it.
    The anti-Israel, pro-Hamas folks are one of the best-organized, best-run, best-funded propaganda efforts that many political people have seen in a long time.
    The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) has a multi-million-dollar budget, a website that is better-looking than just about any professional political party, scores of full-time staff, field organizers, plus steering committees and advisory boards aplenty.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu Says Hamas Should Understand International Pressure on Israel Will Not Work
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday his cancellation of a planned visit to Washington by top aides this week was meant to show Hamas that Israel would not bend to growing international pressure to halt the war in Gaza. "It was a message first and foremost to Hamas: 'Don't bet on this pressure, it's not going to work,'" he said at a meeting with visiting U.S. Senator Rick Scott. (Reuters)
        See also Israel, U.S. to Reschedule Meeting in Washington on Rafah - Lazar Berman
    Prime Minister Netanyahu's office reached out to the White House to reschedule a meeting regarding an Israeli operation in Rafah, which the premier canceled earlier this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Pushes to Shape Israel's Rafah Operation, Not Stop It - Michael R. Gordon
    In meetings on Monday and Tuesday between Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and senior officials in the White House and Pentagon, discussions on Israel's planned military operation in southern Gaza focused not on how to stop it, but on how to protect civilians during its rollout. The discussions were on a phased operation to reduce the potential harm to civilians while still ensuring that Israel dismantles Hamas' four battalions in Rafah.
        "I think there is an understanding we have to dismantle Hamas," Gallant said, following his White House meetings. Both sides agreed that the Hamas battalions in Rafah must be dislodged so that the militants cannot attempt a comeback or continue to smuggle weapons into the enclave, which are prerequisites for ending the war and paving the way for a new political authority in Gaza.
        After negotiations in Doha, Qatar, on a temporary ceasefire stalled last weekend, Israeli officials told mediators that it could launch an operation in Rafah as soon as Ramadan ends around mid-April if efforts to reach a deal fail, Egyptian officials said Wednesday. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S., UK Sanction Hamas-Aligned Terrorist Fundraising Network
    On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two individuals and three entities as key financial facilitators involved in fundraising for Hamas. This action is being taken as part of a collaborative effort with the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, which is implementing sanctions on these same targets.
        "Treasury remains committed to degrading Hamas' ability to finance its terrorist activities, including through online fundraising campaigns that seek to funnel money directly to the group," said Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. (U.S. Treasury Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Shooting Attack on School Bus, Cars in Jordan Valley Wounds Three - Elisha Ben Kimon
    A terrorist wearing a military uniform fired at a school bus and several other vehicles on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley near the town of Al-Auja early Thursday, injuring at least three people.
        The wounded included a 30-year-old man, a 21-year-old man, and a 13-year-old boy. Two armored bullet-proof buses carrying students were hit. (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
  • Sen. Graham: U.S. Won't Support Gaza War Pause without Hostage Release - Tovah Lazaroff
    The U.S. will only support a pause to the Gaza war that includes the release of hostages, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said in Israel on Wednesday as he warned Hamas not to misunderstand Washington's abstention on the recent UN Security Council ceasefire resolution. "Hamas can't believe for a second that Israel would pause the fighting without the return of the hostages," Graham said.
        "The resolution debacle, for lack of a better word...will soon be behind us. The one thing that Israel cannot afford is mixed signals." He noted that the wording of the UN resolution "created doubt" and that confusion has to be erased. Israel has a "moral obligation to its people to destroy Hamas," backed by international law, and that Washington would in the end support an IDF Rafah operation. "I do know this administration agrees [that] to ask Israel not to destroy these [Hamas] battalions [in Rafah] is just off the table."
        "Israel has to destroy Hamas militarily. There is no hope for peace until you do that. The idea that Israel is somehow doing less than this [or] that Israel is violating international law. I don't buy that." He also dismissed claims that Israel was deliberately starving Palestinians, explaining that no other army in modern-day history has done as much as Israel to provide for enemy civilians during wartime.
        Graham also stressed that Congress does not support slowing down weapons sales to Israel. "There would be a violent reaction in Congress if there was a whiff of any suggestion that we're slowing down armaments to Israel, which is fighting for its very existence. So I think there will be a bipartisan pushback."
        "UNRWA as an organization is dead to the United States and the people of Israel. It must be replaced in terms of health care, basic necessities like food, as well as education....Somebody needs to pull the Palestinian school system up by its roots and destroy it."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Doctor Chronicles Evacuations of Wounded Soldiers in Gaza - Hilla Alroy
    Lt.-Col. Dr. A. completed 77 days of reserve duty as a physician in the Air Force Search and Rescue Unit 669, specializing in evacuating the wounded under fire. On Oct. 7, a family member was murdered in the Nova music festival, and one of his patients was abducted by Hamas.
        He wrote in his war diary on Oct. 9: For the past two days, the unit evacuated more than 200 wounded from the Gaza border area. This is an unimaginable number of evacuations. An endless stream of civilians and soldiers was flown from the carnage to hospitals.
        Oct. 17: I spoke with a younger doctor for a long time. He's relatively experienced in treating shock patients from road traffic accidents in the emergency room of a hospital, but less experienced in treating combat casualties. On that cursed Saturday, he was on the base in routine reserve duty and was therefore among the first to deal with evacuating casualties.
        He talked about seeing dead parents lying on their dead children. Dozens of cars with bodies of parents who tried to shield their children. Both the parents and the children were hit by countless bullets. Bodies of children burned inside cars that were set on fire while they were in them. "The mission was to locate and treat the wounded," he said. "I didn't find one wounded, just bodies."  (Ynet News)
  • Kinneret Nearly Full as Spring Begins
    As spring begins, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is nearly full. The lake is currently 73 cm. from its maximum level. Last year the Kinneret failed to reach even 1 meter from its maximum level. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The West's Shameful Betrayal of Israel Gives Hamas the Chance to Kill Again - Andrew Roberts
    Have we really forgotten so quickly the monstrous events of Oct. 7 that we genuinely want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza before Hamas has been utterly destroyed as a military force and government there? As we watched the British ambassador to the UN raise her hand at the Security Council meeting this week to vote for a ceasefire, alongside the Chinese and Russians, do we not feel embarrassed, even ashamed? I know I do.
        How proud I would have felt if we had actually had the guts to veto a resolution that is designed to prevent Israel from genuinely exercising her right to self-defense. Israel's "right to self-defense" is utterly worthless if its forces are stopped from entering Rafah and annihilating the Hamas leadership there. Hamas has already stated that it is committed to repeating Oct. 7-style massacres as soon as it gets another chance.
        Wars are not won by ceasefires, so the British Government should stop calling for one until victory is won.
        The writer a member of the House of Lords, is a British historian. (Telegraph-UK)
  • How Is the Palestinian Authority's Agenda Not Genocide? - Sander Gerber
    As the accusation against Israel of genocide persists, the White House willfully ignores the Palestinian Authority's incentive program for killing Israelis: the infamous "pay-for-slay." Enshrined in Palestinian law, the program authorizes the eradication of Israel and the Jewish people. How is this not genocide? It is time for the White House to demand as a condition for peace that the PA finally end the "pay-for-slay" program.
        The PA's ruling Fatah Party's charter explicitly calls for the "eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." This is clearly genocide. The PA pays the families of "martyrs" a lifetime salary and monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners. The payments are larger the more people the terrorist kills and the length of his prison sentence. Prisoners are offered government jobs upon release. All of this costs more than $350 million per year.
        Yet the Biden administration has decided that the PA should govern Gaza when the current war ends. The PA is party to Hamas' genocidal agenda. By endorsing the PA without considering other options for a post-war Gaza government and without publicly condemning "pay-for-slay," U.S. officials are handing power to the wrong people. They are supporting ideologies and actions hostile to peace and condoning crimes against humanity.
        The writer is a fellow and steering committee member of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (JNS)
        See also PA to Grant "Pay-for-Slay" Payments to 661 Hamas Terrorists from Gaza - Itamar Marcus
    The PA has announced that since Hamas launched its war on Oct. 7, an additional 3,550 terrorists have been recognized as prisoners who will receive "pay-for-slay" payments, including 661 Hamas terrorists from Gaza. The rise in the number of prisoners will cost the PA an additional $1,331,000 per month. These are only the initial costs. According to PA law, prisoner salaries will rise the longer they are in prison.
        In addition, the official PA daily announced that there are 23,210 additional "martyrs" whose families are eligible to receive monthly stipends as well. "Martyrs" include all terrorists who were killed attacking Israelis. The PA does not differentiate between Hamas terrorists who committed atrocities after invading Israel on Oct. 7 or Hamas terrorists killed by Israel in the ensuing war. They are all considered "martyrs."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Who Is It that Needs to Agree to a Ceasefire? Not Israel - Yaara Segal
    The U.S. and several Western countries have spent recent weeks exerting heavy pressure on Israel, demanding that it not enter the Palestinian city of Rafah in Gaza, under the pretext that a military offensive would cause heavy civilian casualties among the locals. Who is it that needs to agree to a ceasefire? Not Israel. Israelis do not wake up in the morning looking for ways to kill as many people as possible. In fact, on Oct. 7, Israelis near Gaza were planning to fly "peace kites" as a sign of hope for a better future with their Palestinian neighbors.
        The international community does not understand that the war will never stop as long as all the Israeli hostages are not freed. The vast majority of Israelis from across the political spectrum are united on this. The only time that the Israeli hostages are mentioned in Western media is almost always within the context of a possible "prisoner exchange" between Israel and Hamas. This term is offensive. It is an attempt to equate the innocent Israeli civilians kidnapped barefoot in their pajamas from their bedrooms by a terror group with Palestinian terrorists serving time in Israeli prison for killing Jews.
        Now, almost six months after the most horrific massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, the story in the media is one that is no longer capable of differentiating between the villain and the victim. The media has kept the spotlight off the terrorists and continues to all but physically arm Hamas and its patrons by delegitimizing Israel with irresponsible headlines.
        The writer served in Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is a former senior advisor to Israel's ambassador in the UAE. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Silver Linings in an Ongoing Nightmare - David Horovitz
    During a meeting with a group of Jewish leaders on a solidarity visit to Israel on Tuesday, one of them asked me for some "good news." Amid the ongoing nightmare of Oct. 7 and a war we have yet to decisively win, much about this country remains inspirational.
        Our people are widely resilient, competent, wise and patriotic. We rebuilt our ancient homeland in spectacularly unpromising circumstances, focused innovation and inspiration to make it thrive, and have been fighting as one to defend it and restore its security through six hellish months. 3/4 of the terrorist army that Hamas established next door, and which Hamas believed Israel would never have the guts to confront, has been dismantled. The IDF is battling Hamas gunmen in their death-trap tunnels.
        Israel has to dismantle the Hamas army so that we, as victors, get to write the history of this war, and to emphasize that Israel destroyed a terrorist army widely supported by the Gaza populace, in a conflict murderously imposed upon it by the government of a territory from which Israel had withdrawn. Somehow, this remarkable people of ours, hundreds of thousands of whom constitute its army, has managed to both fight the war and maintain some semblance of what used to be normality.
        The writer is the founding editor of the Times of Israel. (Times of Israel)

Saving Israel from Itself? - Dr. Leon Hadar (National Interest)
  • The Israelis, according to some Americans, just don't understand their real interests and pursue policies that could lead to the ruin of the Jewish state. The role of Washington, as a friend, is to press Jerusalem to change its diplomatic direction.
  • American State Department official George Ball in 1977 published an article in Foreign Affairs titled: "How to Save Israel in Spite of Herself" - which soon became part of the American diplomatic lexicon.
  • The notion that the U.S. had to save Israel from itself to pursue Arab-Israeli peace is a meaningless intellectual exercise. Two years later (1979), Israel signed the peace agreement with Egypt that responded to its national security needs.
  • Moreover, the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians resulted from an Israeli initiative with very little involvement by the Americans, proving that Israel is an independent diplomatic player that is driven by its interests and can make peace with the Arabs without an American "savior."
  • In principle, the American president is elected to steward and secure U.S. interests rather than those of foreign countries like Israel. Israel's citizens didn't elect him, which suggests that he doesn't have an obligation to save them and certainly not to make decisions about war and peace in their name. The government elected by Israeli citizens has that responsibility.
  • Politicians and pundits have to understand that if they fail to convince the majority of Israelis that an independent Palestinian state would pose no threat to Israel, such a state will not be established.

    The writer is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
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