April 7, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Interrogator Reveals Hamas Terrorists' Oct. 7 Atrocities - Shlomi Heller (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel Police Superintendent Yaron Binyamin said, "We interrogated hate-filled terrorists who were trading body parts of those murdered on Oct. 7."
    "They took a knife and murdered everyone in their wake. They cut off organs and took them to Gaza in order to trade with them in future hostage negotiations."
    "I say to those who deny the crimes committed by Nukhba terrorists that at the end of six months of investigation, there is no doubt at all about the number of horrible crimes they committed on Oct. 7."
    "Today, we understand this through the testimony of the terrorists who themselves carried out the terrible massacre."

Bulgarian Police Uncover Hidden Hamas Weapons Cache - Ze'ev Avrahami (Ynet News)
    The Bulgarian police uncovered a hidden weapons cache Thursday that is linked to four Hamas members, all Lebanese nationals, who were arrested in Germany and the Netherlands before Christmas.
    They are suspected of planning to attack Israeli individuals and institutions in Europe under instructions from a terror group in Lebanon.
    The weapons cache was hidden years ago by the terror organization. Another weapons cache likely located in Poland hasn't been discovered yet, but German security forces are now aware of its existence.
    Der Spiegel said the initial arrests on Oct. 23 were based on a tip from Israeli intelligence agencies.

Iran Ramps Up Executions - Nilo Tabrizy (Washington Post)
    Iran has ramped up its use of the death penalty, according to an Amnesty International report published Thursday.
    Iran executed 853 people in 2023, the highest number recorded since 2015.

Why Israel Must Enter Rafah - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    After the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7, Israel had no choice but to uproot Hamas from Gaza.
    It has already made considerable progress and has taken over most of Gaza, killing or capturing about 20,000 terror operatives.
    Israel is now looking at completing the mission of defeating Hamas, denying it the ability to rule Gaza, releasing the hostages and establishing - together with the international community and the moderate Arab world - a new reality that will guarantee Gaza will not be used as a base for launching terror attacks.
    Achieving these goals depends on Israel taking over Rafah, Hamas' last stronghold in Gaza. Israel needs also to clear the area so that the people of Gaza will be fully convinced that Hamas is not coming back.
    Taking Rafah is also necessary to improve the living conditions for the Gaza population.
    Taking Rafah is also necessary for containing Iran and its proxies, stabilizing the Middle East and securing the West.
    The writer, director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division. 

What Happens if Israel Does Not Go into Rafah? Look at Afghanistan - Col. Richard Kemp (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Hamas is determined to prevent Israel from destroying its ability to threaten Israel and, increasingly, the international community seems intent on helping them.
    As the narrative goes, whatever Israel does in its own defense, including finishing off Hamas in Rafah, is wrong and uniquely evil.
    The White House is apparently recommending a strategy for Rafah based on pinpoint, clinical strikes, targeting Hamas leaders.
    Their template seems to be U.S. special forces operations in Afghanistan, and we all know how that ultimately worked out. The Taliban survived, gained strength and eventually reconquered the country.
    Israel identified Al-Mawasi, a 16-sq.-km. coastal area of southwest Gaza, as a humanitarian area. It could have housed more than 2 million Gazans in relative safety, with temporary accommodation, supplies and field hospitals. But the UN and other aid agencies refused to establish this safe zone, which could have saved many lives.
    The defeat of Hamas may well reduce the need for a major war in Lebanon if Hizbullah is deterred by the destruction of its fellow Iranian proxies in Gaza - for the time being at least.
    A victory for Hamas in Gaza will certainly energize the global jihadist threat, another reason our countries should give their full backing to Israel's operation in Rafah.
    The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA.

The Israeli-Palestinian "Two State Solution" - Michel Calvo (Gatestone Institute)
    Radical Islam does not tolerate the existence of a sovereign non-Islamic entity (such as Israel) on land that once was conquered by Muslims.
    As most Palestinians have been creditably straightforward about, there is no place for an Israeli state.
    Palestinian Islamists and the Islamic Republic of Iran are engaged in a jihadist conflict with Israel's Jews.
    The Palestinians would have a hard time renouncing their aim of displacing Israel, of changing an education of hatred, and accepting the obligations contained in the UN Charter.
    They would be called traitors, and that is a death sentence, as it was for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat who, in 1979, signed a peace agreement with Israel.
    How can Israeli Jews trust Palestinian leaders who pay people to murder Jews with the "Pay for Slay" program?
    The writer, an expert in international law, was a member of the International Court of Arbitration representing Israel.

27 Die in Sunni Militant Attacks on Iran Security Forces (Reuters)
    Sunni Muslim Jaish al-Adl militants of the ethnic Baluchi minority killed at least 11 Iranian security force members and suffered 16 fatalities in attacks on Iran's Revolutionary Guards headquarters in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Iranian media said Thursday.

Israeli Doctors Describe Their Service during the War - Lior Ohana (Ynet News)
    Dr. R., 53, is a senior surgeon at Soroka Medical Center by day and a combat doctor in the Search and Rescue Unit reserves by night, treating the wounded under fire.
    Here are the stories of Israeli IDF reserve doctors in the Gaza war.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Hopes to Avoid a Rupture with Israel - Peter Baker
    During President Biden's phone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday, he outlined several specific commitments he wanted Israel to make to avoid losing his support for the war against Hamas. According to people informed about the call, Netanyahu promised he would announce more humanitarian aid for Gaza within hours and signaled that he would respond to Biden's other demands in days to come.
        The Israeli government followed through later that night, authorizing the opening of a key port and another land crossing for food and other supplies. Israel is expected to soon issue new military procedures to avoid killing civilians and relief workers. The Israelis "have moved on some of the very specific requests that the president made," said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.
        Administration officials insisted that the president was "very strident" in making his points to Netanyahu. At the same time, officials said, Biden did not specifically threaten to limit or cut off U.S. arms supplies during the call, nor did he set a deadline for Israeli action. (New York Times)
        See also Israel's Cabinet Approves Increased Gaza Aid after Biden Threats - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Security Cabinet on Thursday authorized increased aid for Gaza after U.S. President Joe Biden threatened to change his supportive policies. "This increased aid will prevent a humanitarian crisis and is necessary to ensure the continuation of the fighting and to achieve the goals of the war," the Prime Minister's Office said.
        Israel will temporarily allow goods for Gaza to land at Ashdod port and temporarily open the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, close to Ashdod, for the entry of humanitarian assistance. In addition, more Jordanian aid will enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The move followed a half-hour phone call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan: Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood Acting to Foment Chaos in Kingdom in Service of Iran
    Since Hamas' Oct. 7 terror attack and the war in Gaza, Jordan has seen a surge in popular support for Hamas and hostility towards Israel, which are expressed in many anti-Israel demonstrations and in explicit calls to confront it and wage jihad against it. Recently there has been an increase in the size and intensity of these demonstrations, which are organized primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood.
        One of the main protest sites is around the Israeli embassy in Amman, where thousands of young men gather every evening after the iftar (Ramadan end-of-fast meal) to "besiege the embassy building." The masses call to revoke the peace agreement with Israel, sever relations with it, and open the border crossings between the two countries "in order to let the young Jordanians help their brethren in Palestine."
        The protesters also express support for Hamas, praise its military commanders Muhammad Deif, Yahya Sinwar and Abu Obeida, extol the Oct. 7 attack and the armed struggle against Israel, and call to expel the American ambassador from Jordan. Calls of rebellion against the king have been heard as well.
        The recent escalation of protests in Jordan coincides with calls addressed to the Jordanian people by Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood officials in Jordan who urged Jordanians to escalate their protests and join the fight against Israel in order to "mingle their blood with that of the Palestinians," as Hamas' leader Khaled Mash'al put it.
        This incitement of the Jordanian public by Hamas has enraged the Jordanian establishment. Jordan, it appears, perceives that the incitement is carried out in the service of Iran, which seeks to overthrow the Jordanian regime and open up another front against Israel in Jordan. In recent months, there have been growing concerns in Jordan regarding subversive Iranian action within the kingdom. Articles in the Jordanian press stated that the protests in Jordan are the product of a plot by Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood against the kingdom. (MEMRI)
        See also Iran and Hamas Are Seeking to Destabilize the Jordanian Government - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affair)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Army Says Series of Mistakes Led to Killing of World Central Kitchen Workers in Gaza - Anshel Pfeffer
    The IDF drone operators who caused the deaths of seven workers of the World Central Kitchen on Monday gave the orders to fire under the impression that the vehicles they were tracking had been commandeered by gunmen. One of the vehicle's occupants was misidentified as a gunman. There was a breakdown in communications between different levels of the Israeli military, meaning details of the convoy were unknown to the drone operators. The repeated missile strikes on the second and third vehicles were against operational procedures.
        The WCK delegation was working in full coordination with the Israeli military. However, for reasons that were not entirely clear, the full details of the WCK convoy operating that night were not known to the command center of the Nahal Brigade, which was directing the drone surveillance of the area.
        IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari pointed out that army orders prohibit opening fire at armed persons who approach humanitarian aid vehicles. While the vehicles targeted had large WCK logos on their roofs, the IDF said these were not visible at night on the infrared cameras used by the drones.
        A colonel and major involved in the attack were fired from their positions as they could have refrained from attacking based on a general concern that aid workers were involved. A source of complexity was the Toyota pickup trucks involved, which are usually a characteristic of Hamas and were not typically used by aid workers. (Ha'aretz-Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Israelis Wounded in Shooting Attack in Samaria - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Two Israelis were wounded in a shooting attack on a bus and another vehicle near Nabi Elias Junction in the northern West Bank on Sunday morning. According to eyewitnesses, a single assailant dressed in black carried out the shooting. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Hits Hizbullah Air Defenses after Terror Group Downs Drone - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF said Sunday it struck Hizbullah air defense sites in Baalbek in northeastern Lebanon after the terror group shot down an Israeli military drone. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel: Hamas Leader Sinwar Does Not Want a Hostage Deal - Jacob Magid
    Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar "is dragging his feet and does not want a deal, despite Israel's tremendous flexibility," a senior Israeli official told the Times of Israel on Friday. "No pressure [on Hamas] is being jointly applied by the Qatar-led mediators. Qatar has refrained from deporting the Hamas leaders it hosts, nor has it closed their bank accounts, which hold hundreds of millions of dollars used for terrorism. Sinwar does not want a deal. He is not interested in the suffering of his people in Gaza. He is waiting for tensions to increase and for there to be further escalation."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Actually Believed It Would Conquer Israel - Shlomi Eldar
    I flew to Cairo to meet Gazans who fled from the war, some of them old friends. Sufyan Abu Zaydeh, 64, former minister of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian Authority, had been living in Jabalya. He said that when he saw a military jeep go by his home, carrying a woman abducted from Israel, and saw how dozens of jubilant local residents surrounded it, "I knew that Gaza was finished....I told my wife that the Israelis were going to run over us with tanks and that they would destroy everything....They will level all of Gaza."
        "There were many statements by Hamas before Oct. 7, and we in Fatah would laugh. For example, someone from Hamas wrote on Facebook: 'Remember, in another few months the al-Qassam men will get to Ashkelon, enter the jail and free all the prisoners.' That was the atmosphere. It was hard for us to grasp that they believed that with 3,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 armed militants they would conquer Israel. That's insane. But when you believe that God is sending you to do his bidding, there's no one to argue with. The signs were out there the whole time."
        For the past two years, the Hamas leadership had been talking about implementing "the last promise" - a divine promise regarding the end of days, when all human beings will accept Islam. But outside the hard core of the Hamas leadership, talk of an apocalyptic showdown was considered no more than a pipe dream, intended to serve the PR purposes of Sinwar in order to divert public discussion away from the distress of Gazans. Only a few realized that these were not just fantasies but a concrete plan.
        Another friend whom I met in Cairo is 60, a former high-ranking figure in Fatah, who left Gaza a month ago to save his family. He said the entire Hamas leadership had been taken captive by the Sinwar group's deranged idea of an all-out battle. "So strongly did they believe in the idea that Allah was with them, and that they were going to bring Israel down, that they started dividing Israel into cantons, for the day after the conquest. One day, a well-known Hamas figure calls and tells me with pride and joy that they are preparing a full list of committee heads for the cantons that will be created in Palestine. He offers me the chairmanship of the Zarnuqa committee, where my family lived before 1948."  (Ha'aretz)
  • When U.S. Troops Kill Aid Workers, It's "Friendly Fire." When Israel Does, It's a "War Crime." - Richard Littlejohn
    In March 2003, my old friend ITN correspondent Terry Lloyd was killed in Iraq. A subsequent inquest ruled that Terry had been unlawfully killed by American troops. But no one at the time demanded that the American-led Coalition - which included 46,000 British military personnel - withdraw immediately from Iraq, allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power. An estimated 300,000 Iraqi civilians were killed after the 2003 Anglo-American invasion, but I don't recall anyone credibly accusing the British or U.S. governments of committing "genocide."
        In 2011, a NATO-led bombing campaign in Libya, enthusiastically endorsed by then Prime Minister David Cameron, claimed countless innocent lives. Yet today, Lord Cameron is condemning Israel over its actions in Gaza.
        When British or U.S. troops accidentally kill innocent civilians, journalists or aid workers, it's "friendly fire" in the heat of battle. When Israel does likewise, it's a deliberate war crime. The double-standards are nauseating.
        Shifa hospital, used as a base by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the groups behind the Oct. 7 massacre, lies in ruins after two weeks of intense fighting. But who the hell does anyone think the Israelis have been fighting - cancer patients? Maternity ward orderlies? It's as if Hamas has been written out of the script entirely.
        Israel is fighting for its very existence against a fanatical Islamist death cult. It can do without posturing, point-scoring Western politicians, lawyers and activists inserting themselves into the narrative. This isn't about them. It's about the very survival of a people and a democratic nation.
        Hamas are our enemies, too, the kissing cousins of the nutjobs who blew up Manchester Arena, the London Transport network, and have committed countless other terrorist atrocities in Europe. The courageous aid workers killed in Gaza would still be alive had it not been for the slaughter of 1,200 innocents on Oct. 7. Israel is being blamed, but Hamas has their blood on its hands. (Daily Mail-UK)
  • Biden Exploits a Tragic Israeli Mistake - Editorial
    Israel did the right thing this week by immediately investigating, taking responsibility and apologizing for its missile strike on Monday that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen in Gaza. "It shouldn't have happened," Israel's top military officer said. "It was a mistake that followed a misidentification." Israel's Prime Minister, President and Defense Minister have also apologized and announced steps to try to prevent it from happening again.
        Many people who know better seem to have forgotten that errors are a tragic and inevitable part of war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened, "If we don't see the changes we need to see" from Israel, "there will be a change in our policy."
        The message Hamas will take away is clear: Keep rejecting hostage deals, do whatever you can to worsen the humanitarian catastrophe, and watch Mr. Biden blame and pressure Israel to compromise on its war aims. Rather than hold Hamas accountable and demand at every opportunity that it release the hostages, including five Americans, Mr. Biden places the full burden on Israel. He puts Israel on trial each day from Washington lecterns, undermining support for its war effort. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Truth about Israel's "Friendly Fire" - Brendan O'Neill
    Vast numbers of civilians have been killed by accident by the U.S. in recent years. Terrible accidents happen in war. If you hate the war in Gaza, as you should, then you should aim your ire at Hamas, the virulently anti-Semitic terror group that started this war with its pogrom against the people of Israel on Oct. 7. The seven decent souls of World Central Kitchen would be alive today had Hamas not taken the decision to visit its racist barbarism on the Jewish State.
        For once war starts, error becomes unavoidable. There are few wars in history - none, perhaps - in which innocents have not perished in the violent maelstrom. What is striking about Israel's mistake is that it is not being treated as "friendly fire" at all. Instead it is held up as proof of Israel's evil, evidence of its malevolence.
        Across social media, the cry goes up: Israel did this on purpose. It seems Israel is the only state not allowed to make mistakes. Where us decent Westerners kill friends in error, Israel does it intentionally, with malice at its heart. The double standards are staggering. It is hypocritical and ridiculous for the citizens of nations that have accidentally killed far more people than Israel to now lecture Israel about its wayward bombs. It smacks of bigotry, too. We make mistakes, they commit crimes. We err, they murder. We should be forgiven, they should not. (Spectator-UK)
  • If the West Abandons Israel, We All Lose - Mick Hume
    Since anti-Semitic terrorists massacred more than 1,200 Jews and kidnapped more than 200 on Oct. 7, it has been clear that supporting Israel in its war to destroy Hamas is vital for the future of democracy and freedom not only in the Middle East, but also in the West. Yet, almost six months later, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) still advancing in Gaza, our Western political elites are close to full retreat in the face of the Islamist threat.
        Why should we object to calls for an immediate ceasefire? Surely everybody wants peace? Well, Hamas does not. Hamas leaders have openly sworn to repeat the Oct. 7 pogrom "again and again." Calling for an immediate ceasefire is effectively demanding that Israel must surrender and commit suicide. Hamas is not fighting for an independent Palestinian homeland, as the West's naive talk of a "two-state solution" suggests. It wants to destroy the State of Israel as part of its jihad to create a global Islamist caliphate.
        The chant, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," is a call for Israel to be wiped off the map, and for the Jews of Israel to be driven into the Mediterranean. The only genocidal force in this conflict is Hamas, whose terrorists butchered and brutalized Jews for being Jews on Oct. 7. They are not only genocidal, but gleeful with it, too.
        The Israelis are guilty only of waging war against genocide. The impending abandonment of Israel really does matter here in the UK, Europe and the West. This remains a fundamental struggle between civilization and barbarism. Not a "fight over territory." It is an existential battle about the survival of the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East - and the ability of Western society to defend its values against Islamist and allied barbarians.
        Anybody who wants to defend our democratic civilization needs to stand foursquare with the Israeli people, and to remind the world of who they are fighting against and what they are fighting for. As spineless Western leaders risk losing the life-and-death war over there, and the struggle for democratic values at home, our message needs to be: No Surrender. (Spiked-UK)
  • Is Israel Really Alone, When It Counts? - Jim Geraghty
    The Israel Defense Forces strike that killed seven employees of the World Central Kitchen on Monday may cause the Israelis more friction with the U.S. government than all previous military actions combined. A lot of people want you to believe that President Biden has turned his back on the Israelis.
        But in the ways that Israel needs the U.S. to help it continue its war effort in Gaza, the Biden administration has quietly signed off and nodded in agreement. In late March, the administration authorized the transfer of more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs. Between October and early March, the Biden administration authorized the sale of "thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms and other lethal aid."
        President Biden may be raging about Netanyahu, but he is not actually willing to take a step that would directly harm the ongoing Israeli campaign against Hamas. It's in the anti-Israel movement's interest to act as if Biden is more opposed to Israel than he really is, because that makes it appear like they are winning the argument, and that the movement is powerful and influential.
        Each week and month since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, world opinion has shifted against the Israelis more and more. The victims of Hamas have been quickly forgotten, as have the remaining hostages whom Hamas refuses to release, and whom Hamas men are almost certainly still abusing in the most horrific ways.
        Funny thing is, as widely and furiously denounced as Israel has been over the past half year, the Israel Defense Forces' effort against Hamas just continues. Sometimes they have good days. Sometimes they have bad days. And sometimes they have extremely bad days like when the erroneous strike killed the workers from World Central Kitchen. But the IDF keeps going, no matter how much the rest of the world denounces them. (National Review)

It Would Be Insane for Britain to Ban Arms Sales to Israel - Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Daily Mail-UK)
  • If you want an example of the death wish of Western civilization, I give you the current proposal from members of the British establishment that this country should ban arms sales to Israel. We are being asked to mount a total moral repudiation of Israel - when that country recently suffered the biggest and most horrifying massacre of Jewish people since World War II; and when 130 hostages, including, for heaven's sake, a baby, are being kept in dungeons in Gaza by their jihadi captors.
  • What has come over us? We are willing the military defeat of Israel and the victory of Hamas. So let's just remind ourselves what this war is about, and why Israel has been forced to act. Israel has no choice but to defend itself because the charter and aim of Hamas is to destroy Israel, and indeed to liquidate the entire Jewish people.
  • Hamas is actively using the death and suffering of their own citizens to rally international opinion against Israel - and we are falling for it. I do not for one minute deny the immense suffering of the people of Gaza. I just ask you to consider who is really to blame for it.
  • In all our grief about what is happening on the ground in Gaza, we should not forget the essential moral difference between Hamas and Israel. Israel is sending warnings of its attacks. Israel is trying to use precision munitions. Israel is trying to winkle out the Hamas terrorists, while doing its best to spare the surrounding population. Israel is trying to minimize casualties. Hamas is trying to maximize them - including on their own side.
  • They think they can succeed in their objective: to deprive Israel of Western support and make it impossible for the Israelis to complete their mission. If Britain and the U.S. crumble, then the Israelis will be prevented from getting into Rafah and achieving their objective: of finishing Hamas as a military force in Gaza. Above all, the rest of the world will see that we did not have the guts or the strategic patience to stick up for a democracy; and that we were willing to let the jihadis win.
  • Is that really what you want, all you legal experts who say that Israel's actions now necessitate an arms embargo? Do you want to hand victory to a bunch of murderers and rapists? That is insane. That is shameful.

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