April 4, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Gaza Aid Worker Tragedy Risks Overshadowing IDF Efforts to Protect Humanitarian Routes - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    Monday night's unintentional Israeli drone strike on a World Central Kitchen aid convoy in Gaza, in which seven aid workers were killed, risks overshadowing a series of recent steps by the Israeli military to facilitate the flow of aid.
    In recent months, the IDF had worked closely with WCK to distribute aid to Gazans.
    The organization came to the assistance of Israelis after the Oct. 7 mass murder.
    IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Tuesday, "They were one of the first NGOs here." Their work "is critical; they are on the frontlines of humanity. We will get to the bottom of this."
    The IDF has been taking an expanded role in the humanitarian effort in Gaza, increasingly protecting routes used by aid convoys, with an emphasis on northern Gaza, where convoys faced looting by Hamas and criminal gangs.
    The Israeli military is also opening new routes for aid trucks.
    The Israeli military will also be coordinating complex security arrangements for the U.S. floating pier initiative.
    The IDF has also helped coordinate the construction of six field hospitals in Gaza, built by Egypt, the UAE, Jordan and aid organizations, and is examining ways to build another two.

Interrogated Hamas Official: Shifa Hospital Was Used as Key Base - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The Deputy Head of the Information Department in Hamas' Military Intelligence, Ashraf Ibrahim Samur, said during interrogation:
    "Units of the [Hamas] military intelligence operated from Shifa Hospital. The Interior Ministry, the Emergency Committees and the government of Hamas also worked from there."

UN Security Council Fails to Condemn Strike on Iran in Syria - Michelle Nichols (Reuters)
    The U.S., Britain and France on Wednesday opposed a Russian-drafted UN Security Council statement that would have condemned an attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria, which Tehran has blamed on Israel.
    The European Union on Wednesday condemned the strike - saying the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected.
    Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy complex, killing seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

IDF: Hizbullah Caused Explosion that Wounded UNIFIL Patrol on March 30 (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF Arabic spokesperson Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee said Wednesday on X that the explosion on March 30 in Rmaich, Lebanon, that wounded UNIFIL troops, was caused when the patrol drove over a bomb that Hizbullah had placed in the area.

The Real Reason Al Jazeera Faces Suspension in Israel - Seth Mandel (Commentary)
    Israel's Knesset passed a law allowing for the temporary license suspension of media organizations found to materially aid a wartime enemy outside of their practice of journalism.
    While the law is clearly aimed at Al Jazeera, Israel is not considering banning Al Jazeera because of "bias" or misinformation.
    Israel intelligence agencies have caught Al Jazeera passing along Israeli troop locations to its Hamas allies, which are funded by the same Qatari regime as Al Jazeera.
    Moreover, Al Jazeera has been found giving press credentials to multiple people who were Hamas soldiers.
    The IDF has found troves of documents in Gaza that identify many terrorists as working for Al Jazeera.
    Ismail Abu Omar, an employee of Al Jazeera, was a deputy company commander in Hamas' East Khan Yunis Battalion and participated in Hamas' Oct. 7 invasion.
    Two Al Jazeera "journalists" were killed in January; one turned out to have been a rocket specialist for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the other a drone operator with Hamas.

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The Hamas Networks in America - Lorenzo Vidino (Program on Extremism at George Washington University)
    Internal Hamas documents and FBI wiretaps introduced as evidence in various U.S. federal criminal cases clearly show the existence of a nationwide Hamas network engaged in fundraising, lobbying, education, and propaganda dissemination dating back to the 1980s.
    The network was formalized in 1988, when it created the Palestine Committee in the U.S. The Palestine Committee spawned several public-facing organizations, including the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and the think tank United Association for Studies and Research (UASR).
    Over the years, U.S. authorities have conducted several activities to clamp down on the network.
    Yet, U.S.-based Hamas networks and individuals have displayed a remarkable resilience and many of the core activists of the Palestine Committee are still engaged in various forms of support for Hamas.

How Hamas Raises, Uses, and Moves Money - Kimberly Donovan (Atlantic Council)
    Hamas has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. since 1997.
    Nevertheless, the group has been able to access the global financial system to amass a diverse stream of income from multiple sources.
    In addition to extorting money from the civilian population of Gaza and receiving financial support from Iran, estimated to be as much as $100 million, Hamas has created a global investment portfolio valued between $500 million and $1 billion.
    This portfolio is invested in companies in countries including the UAE, Turkey, and Qatar.
    Hamas has also effectively exploited the charitable sector and solicited donations from witting and unwitting donors using crowdfunding websites.
    Moreover, Hamas and other illicit actors use increasingly sophisticated money laundering techniques including smuggling cash and using shell companies to avoid detection.

Israel Should Finish the Job in Rafah - Morgan D. Ortagus and Gabriel Noronha (The Hill)
    During World War II, Roosevelt and Churchill disagreed about a wide range of strategic questions, sometimes strongly. But neither the public nor the Nazis and Japanese had a clue about these family fights - and that's how it should remain today.
    Rather than constantly critiquing Israel in the press and from the pulpit, the Biden administration should discuss tactical disagreements in private.
    Israel cannot defeat Hamas without going into Rafah. There is no permanent solution to the crisis until Hamas is defeated militarily on the battlefield.
    Israel has committed to going into Rafah, and the U.S. should work to ensure the operation is a success.
    Morgan D. Ortagus was the spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State from 2019-2021. Gabriel Noronha served as the special adviser for Iran at the State Department from 2019-2021.

Stray Dogs from Gaza on the Loose in Israel Are Attacking People, Animals - Yaron Drukman (Ynet News)
    Since Hamas terrorists breached the Gaza border fence on Oct. 7, an estimated 5,000 dogs have made their way into Israeli communities, causing harm to livestock and, in some instances, attacking people.
    Dozens of calves have fallen victim to these dogs.

Fitch Removes Israel from "Credit Watch Negative," Affirms A+ Score - Sharn Wrobel (Times of Israel)
    Fitch Ratings on Tuesday removed Israel from "credit rating negative" and affirmed the country's A+ credit rating - but with a negative outlook, citing uncertainty about the duration and magnitude of the war with Hamas and its toll on the debt burden.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Holds Hamas War Talks with Israel - Zeke Miller
    Top American and Israeli officials held a 2 1/2-hour meeting by secure video conference on Monday to discuss Israel's planned ground assault against Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The meeting was described by both sides as constructive and productive. In a joint statement released by the White House, the U.S. and Israeli teams said, "They agreed that they share the objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah." The Israeli side agreed to take U.S. concerns into account and to have follow up discussions in person next week. (AP)
        See also Israel Is Determined to Invade Rafah - William Booth
    In a videoconference with senior Israeli government officials Monday, the White House stressed that it is up to the Israelis to decide what to do regarding Rafah, a U.S. official said. U.S. officials say they will provide general guidance to Israel but no detailed alternative.
        Israeli military experts expect that the IDF - having ordered civilians to go to Rafah in the early stages of the war - will now order them to leave, neighborhood by neighborhood, as they enter the city to capture and kill Hamas fighters and search for hostages. IDF officials say the city sits atop a network of tunnels. Above and below ground, they believe, are thousands of Palestinian fighters and Hamas' top leaders. Israeli intelligence suggests that most of the remaining hostages are in Rafah.
        U.S. officials say their push to protect Palestinian civilians has bought time and made any major military operation in Rafah highly unlikely before late April or May. (Washington Post)
  • White House: Israel Is Living Next to a Genocidal Threat from Hamas
    White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said Wednesday: "While we take issue with aspects of how [IDF] operations [in Gaza] are being conducted...we also continue to believe and continue to act on the belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against a still-viable threat by Hamas. They still have every right and responsibility to their people to eliminate that threat after the 7th of October. And so, that support for Israel continues. No country should have to live next door to a threat that is truly genocidal, as Hamas has been....Israel is going to continue to have American support for the fight that they're in to eliminate the threat from Hamas."
        "Israel has a right to defend itself. Maybe not everybody believes that, but they do. And maybe not everybody believes that they're living next to a genocidal threat, but they are. And so, we're going to continue to support them. No country should have to live like that. No country should have to be attacked, like they were on the 7th of October, with 1,200 people slaughtered."  (White House)
  • U.S.: The IDF Did Not Attack a Hospital, They Attacked Hamas Fighters Hiding Inside a Hospital
    State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday: "I don't know why I don't hear more people calling on Hamas to stop going into hospitals. You shouldn't have to clear Hamas from a hospital once, let alone twice....Israel has said what they tried to do is protect patients and not operate in places when there are patients, to evacuate people from the hospital, and only operate in a way that would impact the Hamas fighters that were there. Obviously, it's an incredibly difficult situation. There shouldn't be terrorists in a hospital at all....I would think everyone could conclude that Hamas should not be inside a hospital."
        "Do not believe that this attack was on the hospital. The attack was on the Hamas fighters that are hiding inside a hospital....some place that they should never be....I don't think there's anyone who has cause to dispute that yes, there were Hamas fighters hiding in al-Shifa Hospital - again, not for the first time."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also White House: "Hamas Should Not Be Operating Out of Hospitals"
    White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday: "Hamas should not be operating out of hospitals - we have said that over and over again - and putting civilians at risk. That's what we're seeing....This just points to how challenging Israel's military operation is because Hamas has intentionally embedded themselves into civilian infrastructure, into these hospitals....We also have to call out Hamas here. They are operating out of hospitals. That's what they're doing."  (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Death of World Central Kitchen Workers in Gaza Shouldn't Have Happened - Yoav Zitun
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said Wednesday that the Tuesday night incident in which seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) volunteers were accidentally killed by military forces "was a mistake that followed a misidentification - at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn't have happened."
        "WCK is an organization whose people work across the globe, including in Israel, to do good deeds in difficult conditions. The IDF works closely with the World Central Kitchen and greatly appreciates the important work that they do....I want to be very clear; the strike wasn't carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers....This incident was a grave mistake. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza....We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK."
        "An independent body will investigate the incident thoroughly....We will share, in full transparency, the findings of the investigation with the World Central Kitchen and other relevant international organizations. We see great importance in our continued delivery of humanitarian aid."  (Ynet News)
  • Four Israeli Police Officers Wounded in Ramming and Stabbing Attack by Israeli-Arab - Josh Breiner
    Four Israeli police officers were wounded Tuesday night in a ramming and stabbing attack near the central Israeli town of Kochav Yair. The attacker, Wahb Shpita, 26, from the Israeli-Arab town of Tira, was shot and killed as he tried to stab security guards at a checkpoint. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Thwarts Assassination Attempt on Minister - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The Israel Security Agency announced on Thursday the arrest of seven Israeli Arabs and four West Bank Palestinians involved in a plot to kill National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir in Kiryat Arba using rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons. The terror cell was also targeting Ben-Gurion Airport and government offices, and planned to kidnap IDF soldiers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Signals Opposition to Renewed Palestinian Bid for Statehood Status at UN - Jacob Magid
    The Biden administration on Wednesday indicated it opposes a renewed Palestinian bid to obtain full-member state status at the UN, which the Palestinian Authority is pushing for a vote. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, "While we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state...that is something that should be done through direct negotiations through the parties...and not at the United Nations."
        Under longstanding U.S. legislation, the U.S. is required to cut off funding to UN agencies that give full membership to a Palestinian state. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The World Central Kitchen Tragedy in Gaza

  • Making Sense of the WCK Tragedy in Gaza - Jason Greenblatt
    The deaths of the World Central Kitchen aid workers who were trying to alleviate suffering in Gaza are a tragedy. They are not props to be weaponized against Israel in a blame game. Israel will determine how this happened and draw the appropriate lessons. Making a mistake, even one that causes tragedy, is not the same as being reckless.
        Saying that Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers and other civilians is simply untrue. It gives fuel to those who spread lies about Israel. The fault for every civilian death in Gaza remains with Hamas, not Israel. Hamas started this war. It hides among civilians to make tragedies like this more likely. It steals food and supplies, making aid like this necessary in the first place.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as U.S. Middle East envoy and played a key role in the Abraham Accords of 2020. (X)
  • Israel Takes Responsibility. Who Else Does? - Matthew Hennessey
    On Tuesday a news alert from the Journal said, "Israel has taken responsibility for a strike that has killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza. Benjamin Netanyahu said it was unintentional."
        War is hell. Everyone knows that. Accidents are bound to happen, and when they do, political spinmeisters step forward to deny, deflect, delay and distract. Not here. Israel has taken responsibility. What a contrast with its adversary. The only thing Hamas takes responsibility for is doing what it loves: spreading terror and delivering death. It doesn't take responsibility for the human calamity it has unleashed on its people.
        No. Hamas pushes all responsibility for the suffering of Gazans onto Israel, onto Jews and Americans. Hamas is always innocent, when, in fact, it killed 1,200 people in a single day. Israel is engaged now, as always, in a fight for survival. Often lied about, Israel nevertheless respects the rules of war. It fights with precision and restrains its soldiers to protect the innocent. It provides food and aid to its enemy. It owns up to its mistakes. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Iran

  • Israel Targets a Commander in Iran's Undeclared War Against Israel and America - David Ignatius
    Monday illustrated the Israel Defense Forces' astonishing precision in targeting some of Iran's most toxic commanders at a secret meeting in Damascus. Nearly six months into the Gaza conflict, Israel has achieved tactical successes that are gradually degrading Hamas and deterring its Iranian sponsors. It can conduct "targeted killings" of its enemies, at least aboveground, almost at will.
        Monday's strike on Brig.-Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi, the Quds Force commander in Lebanon and Syria, was a brilliant Israeli show of arms. The Israelis gathered intelligence that he would meet six commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in a building adjacent to Iran's embassy in Damascus - and hit them with smart weapons from F-35 fighters.
        The Quds Force victims were hardly innocent. They had Israeli - and probably American - blood on their hands. Like his mentor, Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by the U.S. in 2020 in a similar precision attack, Zahedi was a commander in Iran's undeclared war against Israel and America. (Washington Post)
  • The Precision Strike on Iran in Syria Was an Important Proof of Israel's Strength - Editorial
    The airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi was the latest in a list of precision strikes across Lebanon and Syria, sending a signal to the rest of the world - particularly the Arab world - that Israel is as strong as it ever was, and is back to its lethal best, especially after Oct. 7.
        Iran has sought to expand the Gaza war by pushing its proxies to attack Israel on seven different fronts. The IDF's use of precision strikes to eliminate targets both near and far has shown that Israel continues to be a formidable fighting force on a global scale. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Misunderstanding Iran - Dr. Harold Rhode
    Periodically, the U.S. or Israel makes a concession to an adversary, planning - or hoping - for reciprocity. The underlying assumption is that, as the stronger party, they can afford to be generous. This is a fundamental misreading of how the Muslim world will understand the concession. In the Muslim world, only weak people make concessions. An offer to compromise is a sign of weakness, encouraging those receiving one not only not to reciprocate, but to increase the pressure against their adversaries.
        The idea of bringing Iran into a balanced relationship with its adversaries is not how things work in the Middle East. (Shiite) Iran doesn't want a "balanced" policy with its neighbors, nor with us. It is pursuing a policy aimed at defeating and humiliating its Sunni Arab neighbors. What concerns Iran most of all is to prove that its version of Islam - Shi'ism - is the correct one and to eviscerate Sunnism.
        The Western concept of compromise does not exist in the Middle East. Giving in on issues before defeating one's enemy means the person offering the compromise is humiliating-shaming himself. For those rooted in this culture, humiliation is worse than death. The Western concept of "let bygones be bygones" is alien to the Middle East, a region where people have long memories.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as an adviser on the Islamic world for the U.S. Department of Defense for 28 years. (Jewish Policy Center)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • How Much Is a Dead Jew Worth? - Gadi Taub
    The Palestinian Authority compensates the families of terrorists in proportion to the amount of harm they inflict on Jews. Killing Jews is not just a religious calling that can grant you the status of "martyr" and guarantee you a place in heaven with 72 virgins. It is also a way to make a living. If you're sentenced to 10 years, you make four times the minimum wage and twice the average wage in the PA. The PA spends 7% of its budget on the pay-for-slay scheme.
        This program is just one thread in the whole fabric of Palestinian national culture that has woven the idea of jihad against the Jews into all aspects of life. Terrorists dominate the gallery of national heroes. They are essentially the only role model for Palestinian youth. Regardless of how much well-meaning Israelis tried desperately to imagine otherwise over the years, the Palestinian national ethos is built around a genocidal war to ethnically cleanse Palestine, from the river to the sea, of Jewish presence.
        Itamar Marcus, founder of Palestinian Media Watch, said Oct. 7 was not the result of Hamas indoctrination, but the product of PA indoctrination, which has been around for three decades. Both in Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian children are still being instructed in books produced by the PA that ceaselessly pump into young minds the poison of the death cult - of suicide and genocide.
        Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs concurs that PA indoctrination is a greater source than Hamas of this genocidal hate. The idea that the way forward in Gaza is for Hamas to be replaced by the PA is therefore a risible exercise in wishful thinking, since the PA, in reality, glorifies and incentivizes terrorism.
        By now, we know that PA security forces personnel are directly involved in terror attacks. The police forces Israel armed and the U.S. military trains are active participants in the terror they were supposed to stop. Using the guns we gave them to stop terror, they instead kill Jews - in the process securing the livelihoods of their families.
        The writer is a senior lecturer in communications and public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Tablet)

  • Other Issues

  • The Appalling Tactics of the "Free Palestine" Movement - Bret Stephens
    Protest movements have an honorable place in American history. But not all of them. Not the neo-Nazis who marched in Chicago in 1978. Not the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. And not too much of what passes for a pro-Palestinian movement but is really pro-Hamas, with its open celebration of the murder of Israel's people and its efforts to mock, minimize or deny the suffering of Israelis, which so quickly descend into antisemitism.
        It wasn't a response to the human suffering in Gaza. Pro-Hamas demonstrations broke out worldwide on Oct. 8, before any Israeli response. Nor is it a matter of seeking a Palestinian state. Among the popular chants at many protests is "We don't want no two states! We want all of '48!" - all of what had been Mandatory Palestine. In other words, the central, animating sentiment behind much of the protest movement is neither humanitarian nor liberationist. It's eliminationist.
        Tactics like the routine removal or defacement of posters of Israelis kidnapped to Gaza; or holding a loud and aggressive demonstration outside of New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer hospital; or shouting down Rep. Jamie Raskin at the University of Maryland for being "complicit in genocide" reveals the bullying mentality at the heart of the pro-Hamas movement.
        It isn't enough for them to speak out; they must shut other voices down. They aim to instill a palpable sense of fear in their opponents. American civil libertarians once understood that inherent in the right to protest was the obligation to respect the right of people with differing views to protest as well. (New York Times)
  • The International Court of Justice Is Waging Lawfare on Israel - Ruth Marcus
    The International Court of Justice is neither behaving like a court nor dispensing justice. Rather, the ICJ is allowing itself to be used as a geopolitical weapon in the Israel-Gaza war. In January, the court found that South Africa had made a "plausible" claim that Israel was committing genocide in waging the war against Hamas in Gaza. The perversity of deploying this accusation against Israel is hard to grasp.
        Israel's legitimate intent, under international law, is to defend itself and destroy Hamas. A country with genocidal intent does not warn the civilian population it is supposedly seeking to destroy to leave an area it plans to bomb. It does not deliver incubators and baby formula to their hospitals.
        What's going on here isn't law; it's lawfare, an effort to hijack the mechanisms of international justice to political ends. Years from now, when the genocide claim is ultimately resolved, it's not likely Israel will be found to have committed this most terrible of crimes. But that's not the goal. The goal is to turn current public opinion even further against the Jewish state.
        Somehow Israel seems always to be held to a different, higher standard than other countries. The ICJ's ruling is the latest manifestation of this familiar double standard. (Washington Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Indigenous Sovereignty Movement Called Zionism - Joseph and Laralyn Riverwind
    Ateret Shmuel of Indigenous Bridges, a nonprofit organization that builds bridges between Jewish people and other indigenous cultures worldwide, states: "We define an indigenous nation as a nation [that] has an ethnogenesis within a specific land space. So they came into existence as a people within a specific land who have historical ties to that land that predate colonial contact."
        History recorded in Jewish writings over the centuries, as well as in the continuous accounts from neighboring nations, both friend and foe, attest to the existence of the Jewish tribes, their ties to the Land of Israel, their origin in ancient Judea, their international commerce dealings, the devastating chronicle of wars, diplomatic relationships between countries, stories of kings, scholars, historians, and the existence of a powerful kingdom.
        Enemies of Israel purport that Jews are colonizers, not indigenous to the Holy Land. Our question is: Where are the Jews indigenous to, if not Israel? Another question: Does every people-group around the world have a place to which it is indigenous except the Jews? Of course not. The word Jew comes from Judah, son of Israel (Jacob), a patriarch for whom the nation is named - long before Judea was renamed "Palestine" by Roman conquerors.
        We recognize the Jewish people as the indigenous people of Israel. Moreover, Israel is the prime example of hope for other displaced indigenous tribes worldwide. Israel stands as the original land-back and decolonization model. An ancient tribal people, the Jews, have been restored to the place of their origin, to the locations of their sacred places. This is the dream of any indigenous person: to return home to the land of their ancestors, to the origin place of their traditions, customs, beliefs, and language.
        Zionism is the essence of being indigenous. Israel stands as a beacon of hope not just to Jews around the globe but to all indigenous people.
        Chief Joseph RiverWind and Dr. Laralyn RiverWind are co-founders of the Indigenous Embassy of Jerusalem. (Tablet)
  • Behind Ireland's Grandstanding on Israel - Michael Murphy
    Ireland has joined South Africa in its genocide case against Israel, nailing its hatred of the Jewish state firmly to the doors of The Hague. The Irish public have long been among the most hostile in Europe to Israel. This is because Ireland has for decades viewed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a rerun of its own bloody struggle with Britain. Yet this messy conflict, more than 3,000 miles from its shores, is wholly different from Ireland's fight with Britain.
        Hamas has made clear in its charter and public utterances it wants to kill not only all the Jews in the Levant, but worldwide. It is unclear how Israel could meet Hamas halfway, or tolerate having such people as sovereign neighbors. Israel has agreed to the formation of a Palestinian state five times since 1937. All of these offers have been rejected. Ireland, on the other hand, took Britain up on the offer of home rule in 1922, deciding wisely that an imperfect state was better than none. The Palestinian leadership have for a century arrived at the opposite conclusion, to the great detriment of their people.
        The English were sent to Ireland over the centuries as an instrument of English power. Whereas the Jews fled to their ancestral homeland from persecution in Europe - in the aftermath of the pogroms in Russia and the Holocaust - and after yet another wave of pogroms that swept across the Middle East and North Africa after 1948. Ireland, with its genuine compassion for refugees, has a glaring blind spot when it comes to the series of cataclysms which drove Jews to found the State of Israel. (Telegraph-UK)

Civilian Casualties Occur in Fog of War - Col. Richard Kemp (Ynet News)
  • The deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers were a terrible tragedy. We can only admire the courage and humanity of these men and women, and others like them who work to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population, while knowing they could be killed or seriously wounded in a war zone where by definition nowhere can be safe.
  • While combatants on both sides have an absolute duty to adhere to the laws of war and where possible avoid killing uninvolved civilians, the ultimate responsibility for all killings in this war - including the WCK workers - lies with Hamas.
  • The IDF has accepted direct responsibility for these deaths and initiated an independent investigation. Knowing the ethos of the IDF and its strict adherence to the laws of war, it is unthinkable that the action was deliberately intended to kill aid workers. Those who point to the prominent vehicle markings have presumably never observed drone optics at night.
  • Unfortunately, nightmares like this occur frequently in the fog of war. During President Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, a U.S. drone strike in Kabul mistakenly killed an aid worker and nine members of his family including seven children.
  • In October 2015, a U.S. gunship attacked a hospital in Kunduz operated by Doctors Without Borders in which 42 staff and patients were killed and many wounded.
  • Three soldiers from my own regiment were killed by a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan in August 2007 due to human error by both the American strike commander and the British ground controller.
  • While lessons will be learned by the IDF to help them avoid repetition, the unfortunate reality of war is that other tragic incidents will re-occur during this and other conflicts around the world, especially where terrorists use human shields.

    The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA.
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