April 2, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Is Disintegrating from Within, Gazan Terrorists Tell Israel (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas is "disintegrating from within," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday.
    "Over the past few weeks, hundreds of terrorists have been arrested, and what they tell us helps paint the full picture."
    "They're saying Hamas is disintegrating from within, the price they pay is very steep. The terrorists themselves are saying they can no longer take this toll."

Food Prices Drop as Gaza Flooded with Humanitarian Aid - Einav Halabi (Ynet News)
    Social media posts in the past week have noted food price drops in Gaza's markets prompted by the increased and protected flow of aid and food into the territory, according to an Israeli security source.
    "Recent online footage shows an influx and congestion in markets. Given Israeli efforts to increase aid channels to Gaza, the price drops can be attributed to the surplus of goods in the markets, especially in southern Gaza."

Israel Has Hamas Testimonies Confirming Aid Truck Disaster Not Caused by IDF - Guy Azriel (i24News)
    Israel has Hamas members' testimonies admitting that Palestinians who lost their lives in the Gaza aid trucks disaster on Feb. 29 were killed by overcrowding and not by IDF gunfire.
    According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, 118 Palestinians were killed in the disaster and 760 were injured.

Hamas Document Reveals Palestinian Casualties from Failed Rocket Launches on Israel - Ohad Merlin (Jerusalem Post)
    Lt.-Col. Avichai Adraee, the IDF spokesperson in Arabic, revealed on Saturday an official Hamas document recovered by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, which says about 11% of the rocket launches toward Israel since Oct. 7 fell within Gaza, resulting in the deaths of Gaza civilians.
    Hamas demanded that Palestinian Islamic Jihad not install launch pads close to their homes to avoid risk.
    Another document shows that despite Hamas knowing that Gazan civilians were killed as a result of the failed rocket launches, the report issued by the Ministry of Health in Gaza claimed that they were killed as a result of an Israeli attack.

Gazans Are Constantly Cursing Hamas Leader Sinwar - Amira Hass (Ha'aretz)
    Basel, 30, who remained in northern Gaza, refuses to absolve Hamas from responsibility for the catastrophe that has befallen the Gazans. "People are constantly cursing Sinwar, but this isn't reflected in the journalists' reports."
    "I'm one of the millions whose lives Hamas is gambling with for crazy slogans with no basis in reality."
    "There's enormous anger and bitterness everywhere against Hamas," says Amal, a woman in her 60s. She has also heard about people "who were threatened after they expressed their opinion in public."
    Nura, in her 60s, tells how someone proposed that they demonstrate, but others were afraid that Hamas would shoot at them.
    As Basel puts it, "Hamas' military power in Gaza has been almost totally destroyed, but not its power to oppress us."

Palestinian Authority Security Forces by Day, Terrorists by Night - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    A wave of attacks perpetrated by individuals linked with Palestinian security forces is becoming a growing concern.
    Muhammad Manassara, a former officer in the Palestinian police, executed a shooting attack at a gas station in Eli in February.
    Mujahid Barakat Mansour, who had served as an officer in the PA presidential guard, committed a shooting attack in the West Bank on March 22.
    Abu Rida al-Saadi, who wounded two Israelis on March 28 in the Jordan Valley, also held a position within the Palestinian security apparatus.
    Since 2020, 78 members of PA security bodies have either executed or been implicated in attacks against Israelis.
    From the onset of 2024, 10 such individuals have been killed.
    The relative freedom of these personnel to carry weapons and navigate the West Bank provides them with an advantage in executing more lethal attacks.
    Moreover, each assailant is incentivized with thousands of dollars in return for shooting at Israeli communities or passing Israeli vehicles.

Iranian and Arab Social Media Users Celebrate Iranian General's Elimination - Ohad Merlin (Jerusalem Post)
    The targeting of Iranian Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi in Damascus led many social media users to express their joy, in both Persian and Arabic.
    UK-based Iranian journalist and influencer in exile Pouria Zeraati rejoiced at "Netanyahu's gift," adding: "it is impossible to ignore the news of the terrorists turned to powder!"

Israel Reports Surge in Cyberattacks since Oct. 7 - Omer Benjakob (Ha'aretz)
    Israel has witnessed a significant upsurge in cyberattacks since Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, says the Israel National Cyber Directorate, responsible for defending Israel's civilian infrastructure against online threats.
    Targets range from private companies and individuals to hospitals, local governments and the utilities sector.
    Most of the attacks involved hacks of Israelis' social media and WhatsApp accounts. There were also phishing attacks and attempts to hack computer systems.
    As the war progressed, more attack groups working on behalf of Iran and Hizbullah were identified.

Israeli Startups Raised $800 Million in March (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised $800 million in March 2024.
    Israeli privately-held tech companies raised $1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2024.
    They raised $6.9 billion in 2023, $15 billion in 2022, and a record $25.6 billion in 2021.
    See also Israeli High-Tech Raised $3.1 Billion since Start of War - Sophie Shulman (Calcalist)
    Despite having 15% of their workforce drafted into the IDF reserves and the near-complete air blockade on Israel, startups continue to thrive.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Three Top Iranian Commanders Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria - Farnaz Fassihi
    At least three senior commanders and four officers in the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, overseeing Iran's covert operations in the Middle East, were killed on Monday when Israeli planes struck a building next to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Iranian and Syrian officials said. The dead included Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi, 65, who oversaw Iran's operations in Syria and Lebanon. Israeli officials said the building was an outpost of the Revolutionary Guards, making it a legitimate military target. (New York Times)
        See also A Severe Blow to Iran and Hizbullah - Amos Harel
    Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi was a familiar figure in Syria and Lebanon for almost 30 years and was particularly close to Hizbullah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, serving as the liaison between him and Tehran, and as someone who was very knowledgeable about Hizbullah operations. Other senior Iranians killed included Zahedi's deputy, Haji Rahimi, and his chief of staff, Hussein Amir Allah.
        The message here is that Iran is starting to pay a higher price for its involvement in attacks against Israel carried out through its proxies. It is not immune from counterattacks. Media outlets showed an old photo of senior Hizbullah and Revolutionary Guards members. Five people, including Zahedi, are in the photo; of the five, only Nasrallah is still alive. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Who Was the Iranian Quds Force Commander Eliminated in Damascus? - Yoav Zitun
    Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi approved all plans for directing Iranian combat assets to Syria and Lebanon. The targeted building in Damascus served as a military command center for the local Iranian forces. Zahedi effectively led the IRGC's regional intelligence division, and ground and air forces. He was also involved in planning terrorist operations within Israel. He is the highest-ranking general killed since the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. strike in 2020. (Ynet News)
        See also The Iranians Pay a Price in Syria - Editorial
    As regional chief of the Quds Force, Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi was point man in Iran's war on Israel. He was the boss of Hizbullah, the Iranian proxy that has fired 3,500 rockets, unprovoked, on Israel's north since Oct. 7, and he gave orders to Syria's Assad regime as well. Zahedi was responsible for Iran's weapons transfers to Hizbullah.
        The IRGC and its Quds Force are U.S.-designated terrorist organizations that plot and execute Iran's strategy of regional subversion and expansion. These are men with rivers of blood on their hands. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Weighs Selling New Fighter Jets, Missiles and Guidance Kits to Israel - Lara Seligman
    The Biden administration is weighing selling Israel up to 50 new F-15 fighter jets, 30 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and a number of Joint Direct Attack Munition kits, which turn dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons. While the sale is still pending U.S. government approval - and it will be years before the weapons arrive in Israel - the administration has already informally notified the relevant congressional committees, a step typically signifying intent to move forward with the sale. (Politico)
  • Britain "Losing Focus" on the Threat Posed to Israel by Hamas - Edward Malnick
    British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron is "losing focus" on the threat posed to Israel by Hamas, Lord Pannick, a leading King's Counsel in the House of Lords, has suggested, as he urged the Government to face up to the "political and military reality" in the region. Lord Pannick said he was concerned that recent decisions and statements by the Foreign Office demonstrated a "failure to recognize that Israel really has no other option than to continue the war against Hamas."
        He said he hopes Lord Cameron "will reconsider a return to an approach that understands the problems that Israel faces and its vital need to do all it can to reduce the military capabilities of Hamas."  (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Stabs Three Israelis in Gan Yavne Mall
    Three Israeli young men were wounded Sunday in a stabbing attack at a mall in the Israeli town of Gan Yavne near Ashdod. The three victims were rushed to the hospital with multiple stab wounds, two with very serious head injuries. The attacker, a 19-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank who used two knives in the attack, was shot dead by security officers. (Times of Israel)
  • Drone Damages Building at IDF Base in Eilat
    A hostile drone infiltrated into Israel from Jordan on Sunday night and caused minor damage to a building at an IDF naval base near Eilat. Iran-backed Iraqi terrorists took responsibility. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Concludes Two-Week Operation at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City - Yoav Zitun
    IDF forces left Gaza City's Shifa hospital on Monday, after two weeks. The operation concluded with the elimination of 200 terrorists and the arrest of 500 terrorists, including senior figures and commanders. Numerous military intelligence reports related to Israeli hostages were found in the hospital, alongside new footage of atrocities from Oct. 7, filmed by the terrorists themselves. Three IDF soldiers were killed in the operation and another eight were injured. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Where Is the World's Outrage on Behalf of the Israeli Hostages in Gaza? - William Daroff
    The plight of the hostages captured by Hamas on Oct. 7 has outraged the Israeli public and the global Jewish diaspora. But where is the rest of the world?
        When Boko Haram, the radical militant West African group, abducted hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls, the world spoke up. Countries around the world jumped into action to rescue them. When the Kremlin wrongfully imprisoned American basketball player Brittney Griner, her case became a cause celebre on social media. A wave of emotion swept the U.S. during the Iranian hostage crisis (1979-81). But the silence for the Israeli hostages in Gaza is deafening outside the Jewish community.
        In this cruel war - one that Israel did not seek but will win - the plight of the hostages pains each and every Jew throughout the world. If only the rest of mankind, or at least the Western world, viewed their ordeal with the same gravity.
        The writer is the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Orwellian Nightmare - Melanie Phillips
    For the Jewish world, these are nightmarish, hallucinatory times. Instead of being supported in its attempt to prevent a second holocaust of the Jews, Israel now finds itself demonized. Its overwhelmingly just war of self-defense has been turned into a war crime. The victims of pure evil are themselves depicted as evil and turned into the pariahs of the world.
        Untold numbers in the West now believe the demonstrable lies being pumped out by Hamas. Millions now believe that the Israelis are deliberately starving Gaza's people by preventing aid from coming in; that they have wantonly killed more than 30,000 civilians who are mostly women and children; and that they are attacking hospitals and causing helpless patients to die. All of this is not only false but the very opposite of the truth.
        Israel's current Orwellian treatment at Western hands should be no surprise because this treatment has been Orwellian for decades. America and the West have feted Palestinian leaders as statesmen even while those leaders brainwash generations into believing it's their highest duty to kill every Jew. The Americans have armed and trained Palestinian police officers who have subsequently mounted terrorist attacks on Israelis.
        The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK). (JNS)
  • Crafting an Effective Strategy to Crush Hamas - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and Col. (ret.) Udi Evental
    Israel has several important military objectives in the Rafah area and cannot exclude it from the campaign in Gaza. First, the goal of dismantling Hamas' military capabilities requires targeting the four battalions of its Rafah Brigade, which are still intact.
        Far more important is the need to cut off the smuggling routes from the Sinai, aboveground and primarily underground, along the Egypt-Gaza border (the "Philadelphi" route). This smuggling activity has enabled Hamas to amass an enormous quantity of weaponry, which the citizens of Israel and IDF forces have encountered in the war.
        Finally, Hamas commanders and leaders are hiding among the population in Rafah and in the tunnels below the city, and Israeli hostages are being held there. In any case, it will be imperative to destroy tunnels and strike a severe blow to the remaining Hamas battalions. These battalions are not among Hamas' most stalwart forces, prompting suggestions that Israel, or even Egypt, issue an ultimatum demanding their surrender before initiating an operation. (Times of Israel)
  • The Big Lies about Israel's Big Bombs: How Media Created a Fictional "War-Crime' Narrative - David Adesnik and Mark Montgomery
    How does one wage a less destructive war when facing an enemy that has spent more than a decade building tunnels underneath densely populated areas, turning whole neighborhoods into human shields? A growing contingent of journalists believes Israel must stop using 2,000-pound bombs in Gaza and shift to smaller, less powerful munitions. Investigations by CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times all make the case that employing such large bombs in dense urban environments is inherently reckless, even criminal.
        Yet the military analysis that informs this conclusion is amateurish, placing inordinate emphasis on the potential of 2,000-pound bombs to inflict grave harm on people and buildings far from the point of impact. This ignores how a well-trained air force can limit such harm by fusing a bomb to detonate below ground, as well as adjusting factors such as the angle and velocity of its delivery. Moreover, Hamas has spent a decade constructing a tunnel network that is more extensive, built tougher, and buried deeper than those of other insurgent forces. Ignoring this key fact, the critics ask why Israel needs to use 2,000-pound bombs.
        Finally, the critics shy away from observing that Hamas has embedded its military infrastructure directly under homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques. This is a war crime, plain and simple, yet the media's emphasis remains on Israel's alleged culpability, with no reference to the original sin of locating military infrastructure in prohibited spaces. Unquestionably, the war has inflicted unprecedented suffering on the people of Gaza. Yet that is part of Hamas' plan.
        David Adesnik is a senior fellow and director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery (ret.) is a senior fellow and senior director of the Center for Cyber and Technology Innovation at FDD. (Commentary)
  • Gaza Transitions to Guerrilla Warfare - Melanie Swan
    Israel believes it has dismantled Hamas' main command and control structure in central and northern Gaza but pockets of "guerrilla" resistance remain. Months of urban warfare has pushed Hamas out of major strongholds and its forces are now scattered. "Hamas no longer operates as an army. Its units have been eradicated and they don't have a central command and control," an IDF source said. "Each unit is acting independently, doing what they think they should do, but there is no control center that can move units around."
        "They turned into the old style of guerrilla warfare....A lot of them are surrendering. A lot have lost the motivation and the urge to fight and you can see this as the numbers of Israeli casualties have reduced significantly. Hamas are not fighting." What remains of the senior leadership team is now in Rafah, the only remaining urban center that the IDF's ground teams have not reached.
        One Hamas commander told the Telegraph that in spite of the suffering, the Oct. 7 operation has become "a thing of pride" to Palestinians and the Arab world. He suggested the operation did not go as planned. "We lost thousands of soldiers and by the borders there are thousands of corpses and nobody can go and take them."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Hamas' Strategy Is to Create a False Perception of Reality - Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf interviewed by Bennett Ruda
    Irwin J. Mansdorf is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs specializing in political psychology. "Political psychology is the application of psychological, behavioral, or cognitive theory and techniques to help us understand political phenomena better. Hamas, as the weaker military force than Israel, has been using a variety of psychological techniques to compensate for its military disadvantage. Much of their strategy is to create perceptions through distorting facts - leading to deception and a false perception of reality."
        Israel's Foreign Ministry "was wrong in assuming that 'rebranding' Israel through showing its accomplishments would help. The 'rebranding' effort...is based more on well-meaning people sitting around a table and deciding what makes sense to them rather than expending effort on conducting real, focused research to find out what really works....Showing an accomplished Israel contrasted with a suffering and downtrodden Palestinian population evokes sympathy for the Palestinians and works against Israel's interests."
        The Palestinian strategy accusing Israel of human rights violations "has been used before successfully by the Palestinians, and is being used again today successfully....That is something that could have been countered by presenting the reality of Palestinian culture glorifying violence towards Jews, educating to terror, paying terrorists, and denying and distorting Jewish history in the land."  (JNS)
        See also The Psychology of Palestinian Distortions and Deceptions - Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • "Israel Alone" - Jeff Jacoby
    The cover of the current issue of the Economist is titled: "Israel Alone." Israel retains plenty of defenders. Grass-roots support for the Jewish state in the U.S. remains solid. Foreign leaders, such as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have been at pains to emphasize that their endorsement of a Gaza ceasefire does not lessen their solidarity with Israel as it fights a ruthless enemy. Israel has loyal friends of inestimable value.
        But ultimately the Jewish state stands alone because ultimately the Jewish people stand alone. For more than 3,000 years, almost everywhere Jews lived, they sooner or later found themselves isolated, demonized, ghettoized, dispossessed, or exterminated. Again and again they were expelled en masse from countries where they had lived for generations. The pioneers of modern Zionism were convinced that only in a country of their own could Jews finally achieve the normality other peoples take for granted.
        But they were wrong. Israel has never been regarded as a "normal" country. Alone among the 193 members of the UN, it is the only one whose very right to exist is under constant assault. Jerusalem is the only capital city in the world where the vast majority of governments refuse to locate their embassies. In territory and population, the Jewish state is tiny, yet the passions it arouses are of an intensity worthy of a superpower. The same has always been true of the Jewish people. (Boston Globe)

  • The reason why so many people around the world are moved to demonstrate their sympathy and solidarity for the perpetrators of the largest mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust isn't much of a mystery. That Israel is being judged by standards applied to no other nation on earth is obvious.
  • Although pro-Hamas propagandists and their fellow travelers call what is happening a "genocide," the human cost of conflict is minuscule when measured against actual genocides, such as those that have occurred in recent decades in Africa or the ongoing campaign by China against its Muslim Uyghur population. There was no international movement - let alone mass demonstrations - in the streets of the world's cities about any of those conflicts and genocides. Even the illegal and brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine hasn't generated the same kind of intense passion in the form of public demonstrations.
  • Since the 1993 Oslo peace accords, three decades of Palestinian terrorism and rejection of Israeli/U.S. offers of statehood have sobered Israelis up about the intentions of their Arab neighbors. The Second Intifada - five years of Palestinian suicide bombings of civilians on buses, and in restaurants and schools from 2000 to 2005 - and now the horrors that took place on Oct. 7 have created a broad consensus among Israelis mandating both the elimination of Hamas and opposition to Palestinian statehood for the foreseeable future.
  • Neither the territorial withdrawals of Oslo nor its disengagement from Gaza in 2005 made Israel popular. The same was true of the offers of statehood made to the Palestinians in 2000, 2001 and 2008. In fact, the opposite was true. The more Israel took risks for peace by giving up its rights and endangering its security, the more despised it became around the world. Rather than convincing the international community of its good intentions, concessions to the Palestinians made Israel appear to be a thief returning stolen property to its rightful owners.
  • Tragically, the spectacle of Jewish suffering and victimhood on Oct. 7 had a similar impact. Rather than demonstrating the barbaric nature and genocidal goals of Israel's opponents, the anti-Zionists argued that the Jews had it coming. The spilling of Jewish blood has only incited more hatred against Jews. If the current war ends in anything but total victory over Hamas, Israelis should expect no wave of sympathy or understanding.
  • The only formula for Jewish survival is the one that Zionist statesman Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote about in his 1923 essay, "The Iron Wall," in which he preached that only when the Arab world realizes that it can't defeat the Jews can peace be possible. Those who care about Israel must take these lessons to heart and realize that the only solution to its current situation is for Jerusalem to ignore its critics and push through to victory.

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