May 5, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Says Hamas Seized First Aid Shipment that Entered Northern Gaza via New Crossing - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    Hamas seized a major shipment of humanitarian aid that was delivered to Gaza from Jordan last week, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Thursday.
    The supplies were shipped through the renovated Erez border crossing with Israel, which was largely destroyed by Hamas during its Oct. 7 terror onslaught.
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken viewed the aid on Tuesday just before it departed from Amman, bound for Gaza.
    "The UN is either in the process or has by now recovered that aid, but it was an unacceptable act by Hamas to divert this aid to begin with," Miller said.

Colombia Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Israel but Its Military Relies on Israeli Equipment - Astrid Suarez (AP-Washington Post)
    Colombia announced it will break diplomatic relations with Israel over its military campaign in Gaza, effective Thursday, but its decision could affect Colombia's military, which uses Israeli planes and machine guns to fight drug cartels and rebel groups.
    Colombia's more than 20 Kfir fighter jets are all Israeli-built. The fleet, purchased in the late 1980s, is aging and requires maintenance, which can only be carried out by an Israeli firm.
    Colombia's military uses Galil rifles, which were designed in Israel. Israel also assists the country with its cybersecurity needs.
    Israel said in October that it would halt security exports to Colombia after President Gustavo Petro refused to condemn Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel and compared Israel's actions in Gaza to those of Nazi Germany.

Report: Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Online Defamation of Israel (i24News)
    Saudi authorities have initiated a series of arrests targeting individuals who have been inciting against Israel on social media platforms, Bloomberg reports.
    The Saudi authorities are reportedly intensifying efforts to curb incitement against Israel as they express concerns about potential domestic unrest fueled by anti-Israel sentiments.
    American officials have suggested that these Saudi actions are linked to broader negotiations between Riyadh and Washington.

The College Frat that Protected the American Flag from an Anti-Israel Mob - Miri Weissman (Israel Hayom)
    The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is being celebrated for safeguarding the American flag from an anti-Israel mob intent on raising the Palestinian colors.
    The campus was targeted by a pro-Palestinian student mob on Tuesday. Three dozen anti-Israel protesters were arrested by police.
    The protesters attempted to raise the Palestinian flag during a confrontation with counter-protesters on campus.
    That's when the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers stepped in to protect the flag.
    In the aftermath, a GoFundMe page launched for the Pi Kappa Phi students has raised over $320,000 from over 10,000 donations as of May 2 for their heroic stand.

Plan to Bring Gazan Refugees to U.S. Is National Security Insanity - Editorial (New York Post)
    The White House is reportedly considering opening the U.S. to refugees from Gaza.
    These would be people fleeing a war that will soon end: Israel's active operations will wind down once the IDF goes into Rafah and eliminates the remaining Hamas cadre there.
    Refugees almost always want to go home when they can; enticing them to start putting down roots nearly 6,000 miles away is the worst kind of "help."
    In addition, with antisemitism soaring, this would import migrants from a populace that's been indoctrinated with Jew-hatred since childhood. We don't need to import more hate.

Iran Is Strengthening Military Cooperation in Latin America - Arturo McFields Yescas (The Hill)
    The dictatorships of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have redoubled their political, technological and military alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Bolivia signed a military agreement with Iran nine months ago.
    Patricia Bullrich, Argentina's security minister, said that Bolivia has received more than 700 members of Iran's Quds Force, part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
    The Bolivian regime has also created a school for the armed forces which has military experts from Iran, Cuba and Russia.
    Venezuela and Tehran have signed 25 bilateral agreements in sectors such as petrochemicals, transport and mining.
    Cuba and Tehran have signed six agreements. In the last decade, Iran granted a line of credit to Cuba, ranging between $200 and $500 million a year.
    Iran and Nicaragua have signed three agreements.
    The situation in America's backyard requires early, preventive, and comprehensive attention.
    The writer is a former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Boycotting Israel Is an Attack on Science - Leor S. Weinberger (Wall Street Journal)
    I'm a professor who leads a research lab in San Francisco that develops medicines to treat viruses and cancers.
    During a recent visit to Israel, academic deans showed me critiques of papers submitted to journals that assailed Israel's military actions instead of weighing the article's scientific merits.
    At a cancer research seminar in Barcelona, colleagues grilled an Israeli professor not about his findings but about Israel's war against Hamas.
    Sidelining scientists and their innovations is everyone's loss. Israel has contributed hundreds of innovations to the world.
    The country's scientists are credited with inventing drip irrigation (alleviating global-food crises), reverse osmosis (enabling desalinization for drinking water), and the leading cancer therapy for resistant lymphoma (which has treated more than 27,000 patients in the U.S. alone).
    The writer is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.

The IDF's Waze-Style Navigation App - Seth J. Frantzman (Breaking Defense)
    Israeli soldiers who went to war in Gaza carried a new, Israeli-made 3D navigation device called the Orion, designed to allow soldiers to "see" friendly units and to maneuver in an imagery-fed 3D visualized environment in real time - what the IDF in March compared to a military version of the popular Waze traffic app.
    While the system has been in use with the IDF for six years, "this is the first large-scale war" for the system, said David Harel, CEO of Asio, which made the device.
    The concept is to provide soldiers with updated maps in the palm of their hand, knitted together with recent aerial photos, enabling real-time navigation and situational awareness.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden: No Place for Antisemitism in America
    President Joe Biden said Thursday: "Peaceful protest is in the best tradition of how Americans respond to consequential issues....Violent protest is not protected; peaceful protest is. It's against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It's against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations - none of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It's against the law."
        "There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students. There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind."  (White House)
  • Israel Briefs Aid Agencies on Rafah Military Operation - Bryan Pietsch
    Israel's Defense Ministry briefed more than ten humanitarian groups last week to discuss the planned IDF operation in Rafah. Yotam Shefer, the head of foreign relations at COGAT, the defense ministry's agency for coordinating relief in Gaza, pointed relief groups toward an expanded "safe zone" in Mawasi, five miles north of Rafah, where humanitarian workers and displaced people are expected to relocate. He said aid groups would receive 48 hours' notice to evacuate certain areas in southern Gaza.
        "It was not a question of if, but when it is going to happen," an aid official who attended the meeting said of Israel's military operation. (Washington Post)
        See also Report: Israel Gives Hamas a Week to Strike a Deal or Rafah Offensive Will Begin - Summer Said
    Israel has given Hamas a week to agree to a ceasefire deal or it will go ahead with its military operation in Rafah, Egyptian officials briefed on the matter said Friday, as the militant group holds out for better terms that would ensure its survival. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel over War in Gaza - Firat Kozok
    Turkey confirmed that it had paused all trade with Israel on Thursday, saying it was due to the "humanitarian tragedy" in Gaza. "Export and import transactions related to Israel have been suspended to cover all products," the Trade Ministry said. Israel's imports from Turkey totaled $4.6 billion in 2023 and included steel, machinery, minerals and fuels as well as fresh produce and food products.
        The move came a day after Turkey announced plans to join South Africa's case at the UN's highest court as a plaintiff accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Erdogan called Hamas militants "freedom fighters" and hosted Hamas' political leader in Istanbul on April 20.
        Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded on X, "This is the behavior of a dictator who tramples the interests of the Turkish people and business community, while ignoring international trade agreements." The Israeli government will work to create immediate alternatives by increasing local manufacturing and finding other suppliers, he said. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel's National Security Adviser: Rafah Operation Is a Sure Thing
    Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel's Channel 12 on Saturday that "it is a fact" that Israel has decided to carry out its planned operation in the Gaza city of Rafah. He said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken knows Israel will soon move into Rafah, since he drove past the tanks during his visit to Israel on Wednesday. "He won't be surprised." Hanegbi explained that the Rafah operation is necessary to cut Hamas off from the Egyptian border - its "oxygen" for arms supplies.
        Hanegbi said discussion of governance in Gaza on "the day after" the war was "important but virtual" at this stage. "Did the Americans, when they were fighting the Nazis for four years, establish what would happen the day after? They first had to defeat the Nazis....No Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian or Fatah official will go in and take control of Gaza so long as Hamas is there."
        He added that Israel must maintain overall security control of Gaza because "nobody but us will fight to destroy the remainder of Hamas."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Outlines Plan for Gaza's Future - Yuval Barnea
    Documents from the Prime Minister's Office were published online on Friday showing Israel's plan for returning Gaza to self-governance. The first step is planned to last 12 months and will focus on humanitarian aid. Israel will create safe areas free of Hamas control, starting in the north and slowly spreading south. A coalition of Arab countries will supervise humanitarian aid in the safe areas, while Gazan Palestinians will run the safe zones under the supervision of the Arab states.
        In the second stage, the Arab coalition will create a Gaza Rehabilitation Authority to oversee reconstruction efforts and manage Gaza's finances. The authority will be run by Gazan Palestinians and will take responsibility for managing the safe areas. This will be done in coordination with the implementation of a "Marshall Plan" and a deradicalization program.
        In the final stage, power would slowly be transferred to either a local Gaza government or a unified Palestinian government, contingent on the successful deradicalization and demilitarization of Gaza and subject to agreement by all parties. Israel would retain the right to act against "security threats." At the end of the final stage, the Palestinians would fully manage Gaza independently and join the Abraham Accords. (Jerusalem Post)
  • October 7 Victims Sue Students for Justice in Palestine, American Muslims for Palestine for Serving as Hamas Propaganda Arm - Michael Starr
    Nine American and Israeli survivors and victims of the Oct. 7 massacre on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, against American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP), alleging that they collaborated with Hamas to legitimize the Hamas attacks and provide public relations services for the terrorist organization. The victims said, "We want to go on record to expose these groups for the terrorists they are and make certain that they are stopped from operating in the United States and other countries they infiltrate."
        "NSJP has effectively become the U.S. campus arm of Hamas, directly aiding and abetting the terror group at American colleges, and facilitating the conditions necessary for Hamas to continue carrying out acts of terror and the holding of hostages, including American nationals," said Attorney Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of The International Legal Forum. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • U.S. Warnings to Israel Likely Extend the Gaza Conflict - Robert Satloff
    The U.S. continues to caution Israel against any substantial incursion without adequate precautions to protect civilians. Hamas must love this. America's "don't do it" is music to [Gaza Hamas leader] Sinwar's ears. The current U.S. position on Gaza is backwards. It has the unintended effect of keeping the hostages in captivity. It likely extends the Gaza conflict.
        What would a different approach look like? Publicly, the U.S. should urge Israel to complete the main battle operations in Gaza - i.e., the Rafah operation - as swiftly and efficiently as possible. We should be assisting with the humanitarian side of this and helping coordinate with Egypt to ensure their cooperation.
        Our goal should be to get to a satisfactory end of the war as soon as possible. U.S. embrace of the final main battle operation in Gaza has a greater chance to secure the release of the hostages, produce a ceasefire that relieves the terrible situation of civilians in Gaza, and allow for the U.S.-Israel-Saudi deal than the current position of effectively no real pressure on Hamas' leadership.
        The writer is Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  (X)
  • Hamas Plays Westerners for Fools - Again - Bassam Tawil
    After slaughtering 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping 240 others on Oct. 7, 2023, the Iran-backed Hamas terror group is again trying to dupe gullible Westerners, including the Biden administration and the EU, into believing that it has accepted the "two-state solution" that envisages the creation of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state next to Israel.
        AP reported on April 25 that "a top Hamas political official" said "the Islamic militant group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders." The Hamas official would not have dared to utter similar nonsense to an Arab media outlet.
        The claim that Hamas will convert into a political party is laughable. Hamas will never abandon its weapons or dismantle its armed group, especially after the establishment of a Palestinian state. It is committed to continuing the Jihad (holy war) against Israel.
        It is high time to remind AP and the rest of the world that Hamas had full and exclusive control of Gaza - as well as a ceasefire - when thousands of its members invaded Israel seven months ago. There had been no Jews inside Gaza since 2005. Gaza was, in fact, an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. But that did not stop Hamas from launching its Oct. 7 massacre against Israelis, because it wants to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Iran-backed Islamist terror state.
        If Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are given a state next to Israel, they will absolutely continue to pursue their goal of killing Jews and obliterating Israel. Hamas is well aware of the gullibility of the international community. It knows that it can engage in all forms of propaganda and win friends in the West. It also knows that the best vehicle to advance its goal of killing Jews and destroying Israel is a "two-state solution."  (Gatestone Institute)
  • U.S. Policy in Gaza Plays into Hamas' Hands - Dr. Omer Dostri
    U.S. policy has undergone a significant transformation since the onset of the war in Gaza, increasingly favoring engagement with Hamas at Israel's national security expense. The current American policy in Gaza contradicts Israel's war objectives, which the American government initially agreed upon. This policy also goes against American national interests. It appears that the Biden administration is prioritizing the dangerous idea of establishing a Palestinian terrorist state in the heart of Israel, while placing Israel at great risk of continued terrorist attacks.
        The pressure exerted by the U.S. on Israel to scale back its military actions in Gaza and avoid a ground offensive in Rafah to eradicate remaining Hamas forces allows Hamas to survive and strengthens its refusal to release the hostages, including six American citizens. There is no reason for Hamas to show flexibility when it sees the American government playing into its hands. Current U.S. policy in Gaza is also at odds with the fundamental American principle of the global war on terrorism.
        The writer is a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. (Ynet News)
  • Are Hamas Terrorists Modern-Day Nazis? - Nadav Shragai
    While esteemed Holocaust scholars advise against drawing comparisons between the atrocities committed by Hamas and the Holocaust, evidence has emerged to support such parallels. Precise instructions for constructing a cyanide gas dispersal device were found on eliminated Hamas terrorists - the same gas used in Nazi gas chambers.
        The terrorists took the amphetamine-like drug captagon, which was given to Nazi soldiers in World War II and to senior Reich officials, for stimulation. Copies of virulently antisemitic texts authored by Hamas leaders were discovered in Gaza, such as The End of the Jews, as well as Hitler's Mein Kampf.
        Recently, a video surfaced on social media of a Palestinian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, praising martyrdom and expressing the goal of returning Jews to confinement in death camps. While the scale of the Holocaust remains unique, the principles and motivations guiding Hamas bear striking similarities to Nazi ideology and animosities. (Israel Hayom)

  • Anti-Israel Protests

  • What I Saw at Columbia's Demonstration - Peggy Noonan
    Young people like to be part of something big and passionate. They want to care. It's romantic to be a revolutionary. However, a characteristic of the recent campus demonstrators was the covering of their faces, the hiding of their identities. This struck me as sinister. The 1960s antiwar protesters didn't hide who they were, they didn't wear masks. Students in the past two weeks did, to make observers feel menaced - some big, faceless force is enraged, occupying, and marching toward you.
        I was at Columbia hours before the police came in and liberated Hamilton Hall from its occupiers. Unlike protesters of the past, who were usually eager to share with others what they thought and why, these demonstrators would generally not speak or make eye contact with members of the press. They weren't a compassionate group. They weren't for anything, they were against something: the Israeli state, which they'd like to see disappear, and those who support it.
        A friend who counsels students at Columbia said these students don't believe the terrorist organization Hamas was unjustified in its actions on Oct. 7. They are "totally on board with neo-Marxist oppressor-oppressed ideology." They don't have compassion for Gaza and its people "any more than they've had compassion for Ukraine." They are driven by an anti-Israeli animus that is also and inextricably an anti-American animus.
        The people of my liberal town were relieved to see the NYPD come in, drag the protesters away, restore order, and let people clean things up. (Wall Street Journal)
  • My Friends Wish I Was Dead - Phoebe Stern
    To be a Zionist on a college campus today is to be an outcast. Classmates think that you are supporting a genocidal, apartheid state. They don't care enough to hear your story. They don't care that you lost dear friends and are mourning the pre-Oct. 7 Israel. They turn a blind eye to facts and choose to look only at social media posts that support their antisemitic narrative. What's the point of arguing with such people? I am reminded of Golda Meir's line, "You cannot negotiate peace with someone who has come to kill you."
        Now they have come for me. The antisemitic posts began on Oct. 7, and swung into a higher gear after I spent a week volunteering in Israel over spring break in February. My fellow students apparently wish me dead. One post from a Bates classmate advocated that "Hitler should've finished off the job."
        People who have been some of my closest friends over the past four years now refuse to make eye contact. Friends tell me that they need to reevaluate their relationship with me because I support Israel. A college campus that claims to be so "woke" and open to everyone turns their backs on the Jews. I cannot wrap my head around it.
        The writer is a senior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. (Tablet)

  • Iran

  • U.S. Policy Has Fed the Islamic Republic's Campaign of Terror - Brian Hook
    Iran's oil exports hit a six-year high last month. The regime in Tehran is a violent theocracy under U.S. and international sanctions. The energy sanctions reimposed on Iran in 2018 remain in effect, but the Biden administration is failing to enforce them, which has created a financial windfall for Iranian terrorism.
        Iran's oil revenue underwrites a war machine that is tearing apart the Middle East, financing militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen that target and kill American citizens. Hizbullah receives $700 million a year from Tehran. Iran's oil supported the Hamas death squads that carried out the Oct. 7 massacre, where at least 32 American citizens were murdered. The regime's oil revenue also funds its nuclear program and missile arsenal.
        Iran is now exporting 1.56 million barrels a day of crude oil, most of it to China. This is netting the regime up to $35 billion annually. That's more than $100 billion in revenue since Mr. Biden took office in January 2021. Buoyed by these exports, Iran's economic growth surpassed that of the U.S. in 2023; the International Monetary Fund expects that to happen again in 2024.
        The previous administration successfully reduced Iran's exports to a low of 70,000 barrels a day in April 2020. This denied Tehran access to as much as $50 billion in annual revenue. I monitored the sanctions' efficacy daily. Teams from across the federal government worked to track Iran's illicit oil transfers and disrupt them in every region. Countries took notice and heeded our warnings. Today, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has spare oil capacity. That gives President Biden ample room to enforce the oil sanctions vigorously.
        Skeptics have said our sanctions had little effect. That would be news to Iran's then-President Hassan Rouhani, who complained in late 2019 that U.S. sanctions cost the regime as much as $200 billion. That year, Iran cut its military spending by 28%. Iran-backed militias across the Middle East told reporters that Tehran's handouts had dried up.
        Restoring deterrence starts with enforcing the existing sanctions with the goal of zero oil exports for the top financier of terrorism in the Middle East.
        The writer was director of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, 2017-18, and served as U.S. special representative for Iran, 2018-20. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Six Holocaust survivors will light torches on Sunday evening, May 5, at the Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Here are their stories:
  • Michael Bar-On was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1932. In 1941, the family was incarcerated in the Krakow ghetto before they were transferred to Miedzyrzec Podlaski, where his parents died of typhus. Michael fled with his brother and sister almost 200 km. on foot to Hungary, and from there fled to Romania. They were imprisoned but released thanks to a bribe paid by a local Jew. They were able to sail to Istanbul and reached Eretz Israel in 1944. Michael served in the IDF for 25 years and retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
  • Raisa Brodsky was born in 1937 in Sharhorod, Ukraine. Nazi Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 and then passed control of the town to the Romanians, who established a ghetto. Her father, Zamvel, organized underground meetings in his house, and together with his Jewish and Ukrainian resistance comrades, they smuggled food, clothes, equipment, and medicine to the partisans. The Red Army liberated Sharhorod in March 1944. After the USSR permitted immigration to Israel in 1989, Raisa and her family moved to Israel, where she became a mathematics teacher.
  • Arie Eitani was born in Milan, Italy, in 1927, the only child of Hungarian immigrants. On the eve of World War II, Jews with foreign citizenship were forced to leave Italy and the family returned to Hungary. In May 1944, Arie and his family were incarcerated in the Eger ghetto. One month later, they were deported to Auschwitz, and the entire family except for Arie was murdered in the gas chambers. He survived a death march and reached the Allach camp, where he contracted typhus and became a living skeleton. When U.S. Army soldiers liberated the camp, Arie was too weak to stand up. He reached Eretz Israel in 1947, enlisted in the Haganah, and fought in the War of Independence. He was captured by the Syrians in June 1948 and was tortured, returning to Israel after 13 months.
  • Allegra Gutta was born in 1928 in Benghazi, Libya. In 1941 the British retreated from Benghazi and the Italian army arrived. In early 1942, the Italians deported most of Benghazi's 3,000 Jews to the Giado concentration camp, 1,000 km. to the west in the Libyan Desert. Her father and two sisters succumbed to typhus at Giado, before the British liberated the camp in 1943. In September 1948, the family escaped to Tripoli in the dead of night and reached Naples, Italy, with the help of the Jewish Agency, eventually reaching Israel.
  • Pnina Hefer was born in Nusfalau, Romania. In 1940, Hungary gained control of the area. The Germans entered Hungary in March 1944 and the Jews were rounded up and sent to the Szilagysomlo ghetto. Three weeks later, Pnina and her family were deported to Auschwitz. Most of her family were murdered in the gas chambers. In late 1944, Pnina and her sister Bluma were transferred to Bergen-Belsen. They were liberated by U.S. soldiers on April 14, 1945. They eventually reached Israel in 1947.
  • Izi Kabilio was born in 1928 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The Germans occupied Yugoslavia in April 1941. One of his father's factory employees, a German mechanic named Josip Eberhardt, befriended him, even though Eberhardt was recruited by the Gestapo. Eberhardt hid Izi and his parents in the cellar of his house, obtained forged papers for them, and helped them escape. They were eventually caught and in 1942 were sent to a concentration camp on Rab Island. After Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, anti-Nazi partisans raided the island and liberated the Jews. The family immigrated to Israel in 1948, where Izi enlisted in the IDF and fought in a combat unit.

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