May 12, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

UN Halves Its Estimate of Women and Children Killed in Gaza (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revised its child fatality figure from the Gaza war sharply downward, reporting more than 14,500 deaths on May 6 but 7,797 on May 8.
    OCHA also revised downward its figure for women fatalities from more than 9,500 deaths to 4,959 deaths.
    The Gaza Ministry of Health admitted it did not have names for more than 10,000 of the individuals it claimed to be deceased.
    "While the UN's belated decision to rectify the casualty figures is welcome, it may come too late to undo the harm already caused," said Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD.

Israel Receives Top Points from 14 Countries in Eurovision Public Televote (Times of Israel-Washington Post)
    Israel's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, on Saturday received top points in the popular vote from over a dozen countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, UK, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal.
    Israeli singer Eden Golan performed the song "Hurricane." The song was originally titled "October Rain," with references to the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
    Eurovision organizers said it violated the ban on politicized lyrics, so Israel changed the title and some of the lyrics in order to compete.
    Overall, Israel finished in fifth place, while coming in second in the televote.
    Even the Irish public gave Israel 10 points (12 is max).
    See also Video: Israel's Eurovision Entry - "Hurricane" (Eurovision Song Contest)

U.S. Distancing Hostage Deal by Tying Israel's Hands over Rafah - Avi Issacharoff (Ynet News)
    President Joe Biden's confirmation on Wednesday about delaying the shipment of munitions for the IDF, amid the administration's opposition to an offensive on Rafah, is likely to hinder any progress or breakthrough in negotiations with Hamas for a ceasefire.
    Hamas leaders understand that Israel's hands are tied due to American pressure, leading Hamas to insist on its outrageous demands in talks for the release of captives.
    In northern Israel, which has been emptied of its residents, Hizbullah has said it will continue to attack Israel as long as the fighting in Gaza continues.
    In other words, by restraining Israel in Gaza, the White House is hampering any possibility of calm in the north.
    The writer, a veteran Israeli journalist focusing on Palestinian affairs, is one of the creators of the TV series "Fauda."

Hamas Is Retaking Unattended Parts of Gaza - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    While the eyes of the world are focused on Rafah, where the IDF has begun a limited and targeted ground operation, Hamas is retaking sections of Gaza left unattended.
    The IDF has recently completed the construction of four large outposts along the Netzarim Corridor, a 3-km. strip of land dividing northern and southern Gaza, for hundreds of soldiers, including those responsible for securing the new port constructed by the U.S. military.
    To the south of the corridor, the IDF has identified a build-up of hundreds of Hamas operatives. There is almost daily mortar fire toward IDF forces in the corridor.
    Thousands of Hamas operatives have returned in recent weeks to impose their control over the population that returned to Khan Yunis.

Hamas Urges Halt to Aid Airdrops after Two Killed in Gaza Parachute Failure (Times of Israel)
    Hamas on Thursday called for an end to airdrops of aid after two Palestinians were killed in northern Gaza when an aid pallet crashed into a warehouse after its parachute failed to open.
    At least 21 people have been killed in Gaza from airdrops of aid gone wrong, Hamas authorities said.

What "Palestinian Genocide"? - Frida Ghitis (CNN)
    Claims that Israel has been committing a genocide of Palestinians date to long before Oct. 7.
    Yet the population of Gaza was estimated to be less than 400,000 when Israel captured the territory from Egypt in a war against multiple Arab countries in 1967. It's now estimated at 2 million.
    Population growth of almost 600% would make it the most inept genocide in the history of the world.

Six Months Out: The U.S. Presidential Election and America's Jews - Steven Windmueller, PhD (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Since the mid-1980s, Israel has not been a central factor for most Jewish voters.
    In 2024, we note a higher degree of concern and attention to matters related to Israel's security and U.S. political and military support for the Jewish state.
    But for many American Jews, the Israel card will not necessarily define their voter preferences, as there are today an array of domestic and foreign considerations driving Jewish voting concerns for this fall's election.
    Jews vote in exceedingly high numbers; somewhere between 72% to 85% of Jewish voters live in "purple states" (states neither "red" nor "blue") where the 2024 contest for the control of the Office of the President, the Senate, and the House will be determined.
    In several critical states (Pennsylvania and Arizona, and to a lesser degree, Georgia), the "Jewish vote" might be particularly significant in determining the outcomes.
    The writer, Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center.

Ex-U.S. Army Chief Defends Israel's Oct. 7 Response (Times of Israel)
    Gen. (ret.) Mark Milley, former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza at a national security panel in Washington on May 7.
    "Israel has a right to defend itself. They were the ones who were attacked, brutally, on the 7th of October. 1200 people were slaughtered - not just killed in the conduct of war, they were slaughtered, beheaded, butchered, raped in front of their husbands."
    "It was stuff that was not even a hair's breadth removed from what the Nazis did. And if you take the math and do 1,200 and apply it to the United States, that'd be 50,000-100,000 people dead in a morning. Can you imagine what we would do?"
    "If there's any morality at all, you need to get into it, achieve your political objectives, get it done, get it done fast, and get it over with."

Hillary Clinton Slams Anti-Israel Protesters - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protest movement at American colleges in an interview Thursday on MSNBC.
    "I have had many conversations with a lot of young people over the last many months. They don't know very much at all about the history of the Middle East," she said.
    Clinton, a professor of public affairs at Columbia University, said students were ignorant of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process spearheaded by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, which collapsed in 2000 when an unprecedented land-for-peace offer was rejected by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
    She said much of the student protesters' knowledge of the conflict came from "willfully false... incredibly slanted, pro-Hamas, anti-Israel" propaganda.

IDF Operates Unmanned D9 Bulldozers in Gaza - Israel Wolman (Ynet News)
    The IDF reported Thursday that it is employing unmanned D9 "Panda" bulldozers in Gaza.
    The robotic bulldozers, converted by Elta Systems, part of Israel Aerospace Industries, execute complex and lengthy engineering tasks without human involvement.
    These include excavation, path opening in rough terrain, obstacle removal, setting up dirt barriers and tank firing positions, and even building demolition - all without risking human lives and in any weather condition and visibility.

Israeli Startups Raised over $1 Billion in April (Globes)
    Despite the war, Israeli startups raised over $1 billion in April 2024.
    Israeli tech companies raised $6.9 billion in 2023. In the first four months of 2024, Israeli startups have raised $2.6 billion.

We wish our readers a Happy Israel Independence Day!
Daily Alert will not appear on Tuesday, May 14

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Report on Gaza Arms Accountability Criticizes and Clears Israel - Toluse Olorunnipa
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday in a report to Congress that it was "reasonable to assess" that U.S. defense articles "have been used by Israeli security forces since October 7 in instances inconsistent" with its international humanitarian law obligations in its military campaign in Gaza, but found there was insufficient information to draw a firm conclusion in any specific instances, meaning American military aid could continue to flow to the country. The convoluted 46-page report concluded that assurances provided by Israel that it is not violating U.S. or international law were credible.
        The report also noted that Israel "has had to confront an extraordinary military challenge" and that Hamas has used the civilian population "as human shields." Friday's decision amounts to a stamp of approval on the legality of Israeli actions in Gaza. Moreover, the report summary says that the U.S. does not "currently assess that the Israeli government is prohibiting or otherwise restricting the transport or delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance."  (Washington Post)
        See also Text: Report on Safeguards and Accountability with Respect to Transferred Defense Articles (U.S. State Department)
  • Israel: Arms Embargo on Israel "Emboldens" Hamas - Benjamin Weinthal
    Former IDF International Spokesman Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan Conricus told Fox News on Saturday, "When administration officials attacked or berated Israel publicly previously during the war, Hamas hardened its demands in return for releasing hostages, in fact delaying and minimizing the chances of success of the delicate negotiation. When Israel's enemies detect tension between the U.S. and its most loyal and steadfast ally in the region, Israel, it emboldens them to attack Israel more and continue with their tactics of using human shields, since they understand that the U.S. will eventually punish Israel for defending itself, regardless of Hamas and Hizbullah's actions."
        "In the short term, these American statements will lead to enhanced violence and fighting, since they embolden Israel's enemies. In the long term, they may push another American Middle Eastern ally away from the U.S. sphere of influence, and reinforce concerns harbored by many U.S. partners about the quality and steadfastness of U.S. support when needed the most."  (Fox News)
  • UN General Assembly Backs Palestinian Membership Bid - Richard Roth
    The UN General Assembly voted on Friday to grant new privileges to the Palestinian Authority in its current capacity as a non-member observer state. The vote was 143 in favor, 9 against, with 25 abstentions.
        Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the "absurd decision" that highlights "the structural bias of the UN." "The message that the UN is sending to our suffering region: violence pays off," he said. "The decision to upgrade the status of Palestinians in the UN is a prize for Hamas terrorists after they committed the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust."
        The General Assembly vote cannot confer UN membership, which is the prerogative of the Security Council. Only member states can vote, but the Palestinian Authority can now be seated among member states; submit and introduce proposals and amendments; and co-sponsor proposals and amendments. It can also request proposals to be put to a vote and request items to be put on the UNGA's provisional agenda. The U.S. vetoed a Palestinian membership request in April.
        U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood described the resolution as "unproductive," saying, "it remains the U.S. view that the most expeditious path toward statehood and UN membership for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."  (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Optimistic U.S. Will Deliver Delayed Bombs - Itamar Eichner
    Israeli sources told Ynet that Washington is seeking a resolution to the impasse over delayed weapon deliveries. Israeli officials anticipate that the U.S. will eventually supply the bombs that it blocked but will restrict their use in Rafah.
        Meanwhile, the IDF announced on Saturday that 300,000 Gazans had been evacuated from Rafah in the past six days. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians Fire Rockets at Beersheba from Rafah in Gaza
    Palestinians fired 14 rockets from Rafah at Beersheba on Friday. In response, IDF soldiers destroyed the launch sites. Secondary explosions were detected, testifying to the presence of additional weapons stored at the sites. Shrapnel from the rockets fell in a playground in the city, injuring a woman. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Gaza Rocket Strikes Ashkelon Home - Matan Tzuri
    A rocket launched from Gaza struck an unoccupied apartment in Ashkelon early Sunday, causing significant damage and wounding three. Air defense systems successfully intercepted another rocket. (Ynet News)
        See also Rockets from Rafah Again Target Key Gaza Crossing on Wednesday
    The Kerem Shalom crossing, which has been key to Gaza aid operations, was again targeted on Wednesday by Palestinian rocket fire that injured one IDF soldier. "Eight launches were identified crossing from the area of Rafah into the area of Kerem Shalom," the IDF said. (AFP)
  • IDF Continues Operations in Rafah - Amir Bohbot
    The IDF Spokesman in Arabic, Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee, published a message on Saturday calling on the residents of additional neighborhoods in eastern Rafah to evacuate to sheltered areas near Khan Yunis. During the fighting in eastern Rafah, offensive tunnels were found that were built heading towards the Israeli border. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • Israelis Respond to Biden's Threat to Withhold Arms to Defeat Hamas in Rafah - Benjamin Weinthal
    President Biden's critics argue he is now backpedaling from his ironclad commitment to the Jewish state by delaying deliveries of vital precision weapons to Jerusalem. Israeli academic Richard Landes said, "Intentionally or not, the U.S. is pursuing a course dictated by Hamas. This is a massive cognitive war victory for Hamas, and it could not have happened without the media's compliance with the Palestinian media protocols' demand that they manipulate Western compassion's addiction to Palestinian suffering."
        Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said, "The Biden administration is punishing Israel by publicly threatening to cut off arms and ammunition, vital to Israel's self-defense against this Iranian regime-backed jihadi Hamas-Palestinian axis of terror. [This] is actually undermining the United States' vital interests in the region." He said the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas are "competing to assault the United States" via their "support for campus extremism and radicalism."  (Fox News)
  • President Biden Just Made His Biggest Blunder - Bret Stephens
    If not soon reversed, the consequences of President Biden's decision to pause delivery of 3,500 bombs to Israel will be the opposite of what he intends.
        The tragedy in Gaza is fundamentally the result of Hamas' decisions: to start the war in the most brutal way possible; to fight it behind and beneath civilians; to attack the border crossings through which humanitarian aid is delivered; and to hold on cruelly to Israel's 132 remaining hostages, living or dead.
        The arms cutoff is both a propaganda coup and a tactical victory for Hamas that validates its decision to treat its own people as human shields. It emboldens Hamas to continue playing for time - especially in the hostage negotiations - with the idea that the longer it holds out, the likelier it is to survive.
        No Israeli government is going to leave Gaza with Hamas still in control of any part of the territory. If the Biden administration has ideas about how to do that without dislodging it from Rafah, we have yet to hear of them. That means that, one way or the other, Israel is going in. Other than putting Israeli troops at greater risk, does the Biden administration really think the toll for Palestinians will be less after weeks of house-to-house combat?
        Israeli doubts about America's reliability as an ally won't lead to Israeli pliancy. Instead, it will strengthen its determination to become far more independent of Washington's influence. (New York Times)
  • Betrayal of Allies: U.S. Pauses Munitions, while Threatening Israel's Security - Editorial
    The U.S. administration's decision to delay a crucial shipment of munitions to Israel is a major erosion of trust between allies. The decision strikes at the heart of the operational readiness of the IDF and sends a worrying signal about the U.S.' resolve to stand by its ally.
        The timing and reasoning behind this pause are particularly troubling. It came during a critical phase of Israel's operations against Hamas. Allies depend on consistent and reliable support in times of crisis; however, this decision suggests a wavering U.S. commitment, raising questions about its reliability as a strategic partner.
        Allowing Hamas a respite not only potentially prolongs the conflict but risks increasing the civilian casualties the U.S. wants to prevent, undermining the intended ethical stance of the U.S.
        Israel's need to maintain pressure on Hamas cannot be overstated. Rafah is a critical node in the network of tunnels and supply lines that Hamas uses to fortify its positions and launch attacks. The strategic need to control or neutralize this area is vital. (Jerusalem Post)

  • The Gaza War

  • Hamas Is to Blame for Israel's Rafah Operation - Bassem Eid
    The IDF operation in Rafah is not merely a response to aggression but a crucial rescue mission aimed at freeing hostages, including U.S. citizens. The responsibility for this escalation lies squarely with the terrorist group Hamas, which has continuously rejected multiple ceasefire proposals. Contrary to the portrayals of indiscriminate military aggression, the IDF's operation in Rafah is a targeted effort to dismantle Hamas' terror infrastructure and rescue hostages.
        There is a troubling tendency in international media and some political circles to equate the actions of the IDF with those of Hamas. This false equivalence distorts the reality on the ground. It is crucial to differentiate between a sovereign nation's right to defend its citizens and terrorist acts that target innocent civilians.
        Under Hamas' misrule in Gaza, enforcement of modesty codes and the legal protection of killings are just surface manifestations of the more profound societal control imposed by Hamas. The Hamas education system pushes horrific misogynistic and antisemitic content, indoctrinating children from childhood that the only role of women is to bear children to wage "holy war" against Jews. LGBTQ+ individuals face the threat of torture and execution.
        It is essential to hold Hamas accountable for its actions. Only by addressing the real provocateur can we hope to achieve a lasting peace that benefits both Palestinians and Israelis. As a Palestinian dedicated to human rights, I urge the international community to recognize the necessity of Israel's operation in Rafah, not as an act of aggression, but as a defense against terrorism and a step towards freeing innocent people from the tyranny of Hamas.
        The writer is a Palestinian peace advocate, political analyst, and human rights pioneer who founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in 1996. (Newsweek)

  • Iran

  • From an Iranian and Sunni Arab Perspective, the Americans Are Working to Strengthen the Iranian Regime at the Expense of Israel - Dr. Harold Rhode
    Iranian leaders constantly worry about a "Grand Conspiracy" against their country. After the attack on Iran's senior IRGC leaders in Damascus on December 25, 2023, which many attribute to Israel, the Iranians asked: How did Israel know precisely when and where to eliminate Iran's senior IRGC leadership in Syria and Lebanon?
        They concluded that it was their erstwhile Alawite allies in Syria who run the country, namely, President Assad. How does Iran know this? Because the Alawites, though an offshoot of Shiism, aren't truly allies because, while they both share the belief in the centrality of Muhammad's cousin Ali as the central figure of their respective religions, Alawites see Ali as a god, which is anathema to Shiism. So, no matter how close they are as allies against the Sunnis, the Shiites have long suspected Alawites as unreliable.
        In the 1930s and early '40s, Alawite leaders often saw the Jews in Palestine as an ally against the Sunnis, who then ruled Syria. Assad's great-grandfather was one of seven Alawite leaders who signed a letter to the French rulers of Syria, citing the way the Sunnis were treating the Jews in Palestine as the way the Sunnis treated the Alawites in Syria. This supposedly "proves" the Alawite-Jewish/Israel connection.
        On April 13, 2024, Israel shot down 99% of the missiles, drones, and rockets that Iran launched against Israel. Israel's fantastic success deeply humiliated the Iranian government. We are now hearng from many people in the Arab world and Iranians that there are now two opposing alliances in the Middle East: the American administration and their ally - the Iranian government, and the Arab Sunni regimes (minus Qatar) and Israel.
        More and more Middle Easterners believe this because the Americans are putting massive pressure on Israel not to attack Iran's allies - i.e., not to go into Rafah in Gaza and destroy Iran's Hamas ally, not to go after Hizbullah, the Iranians' fifth column in Lebanon, and, of course, not to attack Iran.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center, served as an adviser on the Islamic world for the U.S. Department of Defense for 28 years. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Anti-Israel Protests

  • In Our Name: Jewish Students at Columbia University Say "We Are Proud to Be Zionists"
    We are Jewish students at Columbia University who are deeply engaged with our culture and history. We would like to speak in our name. Most of us did not choose to be political activists. We do not bang on drums and chant catchy slogans. Those who demonize us under the cloak of anti-Zionism forced us into our activism and to publicly defend our Jewish identities.
        We proudly believe in the Jewish People's right to self-determination in our historic homeland as a fundamental tenet of our Jewish identity. Contrary to what many have tried to sell you - no, Judaism cannot be separated from Israel. Our religious texts are replete with references to Israel, Zion, and Jerusalem. The Land of Israel is filled with archaeological remnants of a Jewish presence spanning centuries. Despite generations of living in exile, the Jewish People never ceased dreaming of returning to our homeland.
        Many of us are not religiously observant, yet Zionism remains a pillar of our Jewish identities. We connect to Israel as the only place in the modern world where Jews can safely take ownership of their own destiny. Our experiences at Columbia in the last six months are a poignant reminder of just that.
        In every generation, the Jewish People are blamed and scapegoated as responsible for the societal evil of the time. In Europe, we were the victims of genocide because we were not European enough. Today, we face the accusation of being too European, painted as colonizers and oppressors.
        We are proud of Israel. The only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is home to millions of Mizrachi Jews (Jews of Middle Eastern descent), Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of Central and Eastern European descent), and Ethiopian Jews, as well as millions of Arab Israelis, over one million Muslims, and hundreds of thousands of Christians and Druze. (Forward)

  • Israel in the Media

  • The Western Press Ignores Two Billion Muslims to Focus on Six Million Jews - Matti Friedman
    The story in the Middle East in our times is the rise of violent and conflicting strains of Islam and the move of these ideologies and their adherents into the West. The Islamic Resistance Movement (known by the Arabic acronym Hamas) and Islamic Jihad among Palestinians, and the more formidable Party of God militia (Hizbullah) in Lebanon, all allied to some extent with the Islamic Republic of Iran, are all working to forge a new Islamic order, and all are explicitly dedicated to erasing the unbearable pocket of Jewish sovereignty on 0.2% of the land of the Arab world.
        During my time in the press, we were expected to tiptoe politely around Islam's two billion adherents and pretend the region's key story was a group of six million Jews oppressing a minority, the Palestinians, who only wanted a peaceful state beside Israel. Because this was mostly fictional, my colleagues and I were forced into increasingly ludicrous contortions as we built emotional superstructures over events that had never happened and buried much of what was actually happening.
        We were instructed not to cover Israel's rejected peace offer of late 2008, or the way Hamas followed Israel's withdrawal from Gaza by methodically wiring the territory like a suicide bomber, building a system of tunnels under the entire civilian landscape and condemning vast numbers to death in the holy war they promised was coming.
        The writer was an Associated Press reporter in Jerusalem between 2006 and 2011.  (Jewish Review of Books)
  • The Mainstream Media Is Biased Against Israel. I Know, I Was Part of It - Josh Levs
    For decades, many news organizations have framed their coverage of the Middle East with an anti-Israel bias. Many even have rules to enforce this bias. I know because as a journalist at NPR and CNN, I saw these rules in action.
        Take the term "occupation." As the CIA World Factbook explains, there are numerous "occupied" territories around the world. Meanwhile, Israel left Gaza in 2005. And the Palestinian Authority wrote to the UN last year that the "Israeli occupation" period ended in 1994. Yet news organizations still describe Gaza and the West Bank as "the occupied territories." In that phrase, the word "the" indicates that there is one, and only one, "occupation" on Earth to be concerned about.
        For years, many news organizations have refused to call Palestinian terrorists what they are: terrorists. Yet they freely use the term "terror" in reporting on similar attacks literally everywhere else in the world, except when groups like Hamas attack Jews. Try searching the words "terrorist group" at npr.org. You'll see the term used freely, but avoided like the proverbial plague when it comes to Israel.
        News agencies have insisted in dozens of reports that, until the Trump administration, the U.S. consistently considered any and all settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law. But in making this claim, they ignored the fact that President Ronald Reagan said the exact opposite - and no presidential administration contradicted him for decades until 2016.
        This is the kind of bias that today's young people were raised on. They have been inundated with anti-Israel messaging throughout their lives and have soaked it up while in college. As "mainstream" news outlets seek the sources of this violent radicalization endangering our country, it's time for them to look inward. (Newsweek)

  • Other Issues

  • If the UN Grants Palestine "Statehood Status" - Eugene Kontorovich
    Under the UN charter, the Security Council must authorize any new UN member-states, and it vetoed the Palestinian Authority's membership bid again just a few weeks ago. Yet, the UN may be about to bestow a diplomatic gift on the PA by conferring on it the "rights and privileges" of member states in UN forums - to make "Palestine" a UN member in all but name.
        Congress passed two laws in the early 1990s that ban any funding to the UN or its affiliated agencies if they give the PA member-state status. The U.S. is by far the UN's biggest contributor, paying a third of the budget. The least American taxpayers should get in return is preventing the UN's thugs and dictators from handing the privileges of UN membership to a terrorist entity that doesn't even meet the criteria for statehood.
        The writer is a professor at George Mason University Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum. (New York Post)
  • Jews Are Becoming More, Not Less, Zionist - Gil Troy
    A few, marginalized, anti-Zionist Jews snare massive headlines, as the overwhelming majority of pro-Israel Jews abandon their delusions that Jew-hatred had ended. Accusing Israel of "colonial land theft" negates Jews' 3,500-year-old indigenous roots. Charging "ethnic cleansing" overlooks the UN's 1947 partition plan and every other compromise Palestinians rejected. And crying "genocide" perverts the word's meaning - eliminating another nation: the Palestinian population has quintupled since 1948.
        Most Jews had a Zionist awakening on Oct. 7, because they saw what victory looks like to the anti-Zionists - and what happens if we don't protect ourselves. In their bones, Jews recognized the sadistic Jew-hating glee motivating the Hamas terrorists - followed by waves of Gazans - raping, kidnapping, maiming, murdering. On April 13, the Iranians and their proxies launched 320 lethal reminders that thousands more would die without Israel's vigilant army.
        The Jewish - and Zionist - lesson is: First defend yourselves - survive! - then heal the world. Hillel the elder understood that too, saying, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" Zionists understand that Jews are a people, not just a religion, with millennia-old ties to one particular homeland, and the right to build a state in that homeland.
        The writer, a Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University, is a Senior Fellow in Zionist Thought at the Jewish People Policy Institute. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

Biden's "Grand Bargain" Illusion Starts at Rafah - Gerald M. Steinberg (Jerusalem Post)
  • Many Israelis, as well as American politicians and Jewish leaders, denounced President Biden for going back on his emphatic pledges to do everything necessary to help Israel defend itself, defeat Hamas and return the hostages. A look at the details suggests this was part of a carefully planned U.S. strategy, under the heading of a Grand Bargain for the Middle East.
  • This dream scenario has been in the background of Administration policies for months. The essential elements include an "irrevocable commitment" to Palestinian statehood, a large-scale Israeli withdrawal on the West Bank, and a formal Saudi-Israeli peace agreement echoing the Abraham Accords. It begins in Rafah, through orchestrating a stalemate and ceasefire that prevents Israel from totally defeating and uprooting Hamas.
  • The problem is that the entire scenario is built on a foundation of wishful thinking, not history and political realism. The 1993 Oslo "peace" plan was based on the same illusions, and ended in the Second Intifada, in which over 1,000 Israelis were murdered in mass bombings, and thousands more died on the Palestinian side.
  • For Hamas, the freezing of weapons deliveries, the wider conflict between Washington and Jerusalem, and demands for a ceasefire on their terms are a huge gift. Their propagandists, including the campus groups, interpret the Biden freeze as a great victory, encouraging these activists to continue and escalate the campaign of chaos and hate. In Tehran, regime leaders draw strength from the very visible American constraints placed on Israel, including after the Iranian missile attack on Israel on April 13.
  • Most Israelis understand the massive gap between optimistic dream scenarios and political realism. Israeli territorial withdrawals from West Bank cities in 1994, southern Lebanon in 2000, and Gaza in 2005 have ended with mass terror and slaughter. Withholding munitions to prevent the IDF from entering Rafah will lead to increased Palestinian determination to attack Israel.

    The writer, emeritus professor of political studies at Bar Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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