May 26, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Captured Hamas Terrorist: "Father Raped Israeli Woman, then I Did, then My Cousin Did, then Father Killed Her" - Nick Pisa (Daily Mail-UK)
    Jamal Hussein Ahmad Radi, 47, and his son Abdallah, 18, were captured by IDF forces in Gaza and revealed how they took part in the Hamas invasion of Israel on Oct. 7.
    During his interrogation, Abdallah described how his father, a member of the Hamas Security Service, broke into Kibbutz Nir Oz.
    In one house where there was an Israeli woman, "My father raped her, then I did, and then my cousin did, and then we left but my father killed the woman after we finished raping her."
    "Before this woman, we had raped another girl as well. I killed two people, I raped two people, and I broke into five houses."
    An IDF spokesperson said: "Over the past months, we've seen countless evidence of the brutal violence used by Hamas on Oct. 7, including harrowing acts of gender-based and sexual violence."

New Study Finds Food Supply to Gaza More than Sufficient for Population's Needs - Jerermy Sharon (Times of Israel)
    A group of Israeli academics and public health officials conducted a study on the amount of food entering Gaza during the war and concluded that the supply from January through April is sufficient for the population's daily energy and protein needs.
    They found that the mean energy availability in the food delivered to Gaza across four months was 3,163 kcal per person, per day. This significantly exceeds the widely accepted standard of 2,100 kcals per person, per day.
    The authors concluded that "the amount of food delivered per capita should be sufficient for the entire Gazan population."
    They also found that the amount of food entering Gaza was "significantly greater" in the January-April period than in the pre-Oct. 7 period.
    See also Nutritional Assessment of Food Aid Delivered to Gaza via Israel during the Gaza War - Naomi Fliss Isakov et al. (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
    See also Video: Market Scenes in Rafah on Saturday, May 25 (IDF)

Security Camera Captures Palestinian Killer Lurking for Next Victim - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    A security camera captured terrorist Ahmed Dawabsha, 21, brandishing a knife, prowling the entrance to the Malachei Hashalom Farm in the West Bank, looking for another victim, after he murdered Binyamin Achimeir, 14, on April 12.

How to Fight Back Against the ICC's Lawfare - Stephen Daisley (Spectator-UK)
    The application for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is an act of lawfare.
    In seeking the detention of Israel's political and military leadership during its war against Hamas, Karim Ahmad Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is inviting that body to intervene in the conflict.
    Khan is proposing, in effect, that the ICC prevent the democratically elected government of a sovereign state from defending itself against the terrorist regime that invaded its territory, murdered 1,100 people, raped women and took 250 hostages.
    The ICC has contributed little to the upholding of the Fourth Geneva Convention in its two decades of existence and has evolved into a thoroughly political organization.
    It should be wound up and, if possible, a more suitable institution found to fulfill its purpose.

Electronic Media as a Weapon of Political War: The Hamas Strategy - Dr. Joel Fishman (Ynet News)
    General Vo Nguyen Giap, who led the forces of North Vietnam to victory in the Vietnam War, said:
    "In 1968 I realized that I could not defeat 500,000 American troops who were deployed in Vietnam...but I could bring pictures home to the Americans which would cause them to want to stop the war."
    Fed by television news from Vietnam, the war became a major domestic issue which destabilized the American government.
    In the 2024 Gaza war, it is easy to recognize how the enemies of Israel and the U.S. are using the same strategy.
    In fact, with internet and social media, it has become more sophisticated.
    The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a historian and former editor of the Jewish Political Studies Review.

Malmo, Sweden - A Hotbed of Antisemitism - Suzan Quitaz (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in the Swedish city of Malmo to protest against Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
    Following Hamas's Oct. 7 massacres, Swedish cities, especially Malmo, have seen a vast storm of vile hatred against Israel and against the Jews of Sweden.
    On Nov. 20, 2023, a survey by the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities found that 63% of Sweden's Jews were scared of falling victim to antisemitic crimes, while 82% are afraid to be openly Jewish.
    The writer is a Kurdish-Iraqi journalist.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • International Court of Justice Issues Ruling on Israeli Military Offensive in Rafah - Gaya Gupta
    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday ordered Israel to "immediately" halt its military offensive in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza "which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." The Israeli government responded that its military "has not and will not" take actions that would lead to the partial or complete destruction of the Palestinian population of Rafah. In effect, it said that the court's decision has no bearing on Israel's offensive because the prohibited acts are not occurring.
        Israel's deputy attorney general for international law, Gilad Noam, called the case brought by South Africa an "inversion of reality." Noam called Israel's incursion into Rafah "limited and localized operations prefaced with evacuation efforts and support for humanitarian activities." Israeli officials have vowed to operate in Rafah to dismantle Hamas's rule there. The court has few effective means of enforcing its order, and it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire in Gaza. (New York Times)
        See also UK Says World Court Order to Israel over Rafah Will Strengthen Hamas
    The British government has criticized the International Court of Justice for ordering Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, saying the ruling would strengthen Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. "The reason there isn't a pause in the fighting is because Hamas turned down a very generous hostage deal from Israel. The intervention of these courts - including the ICJ today - will strengthen the view of Hamas that they can hold on to hostages and stay in Gaza," a UK Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday. (Reuters)
  • Egypt Agrees to Resume Aid to Gaza through Israel after U.S. Pressure - Sam Mednick
    Egypt said Friday it has agreed to send UN humanitarian aid trucks through Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza after Egypt refused to keep the Rafah crossing open after Israel took control of the Gaza side of the crossing. Egypt demanded that Palestinians be put back in charge of the facility. In a phone call with U.S. President Biden on Friday, Egyptian President el-Sissi agreed to allow trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel to go to the Kerem Shalom crossing until a solution is found for the Rafah crossing, el-Sissi's office said. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Presses Ahead with Rafah Offensive - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli troops on Saturday engaged in clashes with Palestinian gunmen across Gaza, including in Rafah. Israeli officials said they consider the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Friday to allow room for some operations in Rafah, rejecting interpretations that the court ruling required Israel to halt the offensive altogether.
        "What they are asking us is not to commit genocide in Rafah. We did not commit genocide and we will not commit genocide," Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel's Channel 12. "According to international law, we have the right to defend ourselves and the evidence is that the court is not preventing us from continuing to defend ourselves."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel "Operating Carefully and Precisely" in Rafah - Matthew Mpoke Bigg
    Israel's military battled deeper into Rafah on Thursday, expanding its offensive into the city. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesman, said on Thursday that Israeli forces were "refining our operations so that there is minimal harm to the Gazan civilians Hamas is hiding behind." He added, "We're not smashing into Rafah, we're operating carefully and precisely."
        The Israeli military has been moving in studied advances into Rafah since May 6, without the heavy bombardment it used against other parts of Gaza, after telling people to evacuate parts of the city. (New York Times)
  • World Narrative on ICJ Ruling on Rafah Is Wrong, Officials Say - Itamar Eichner
    Despite initial headlines declaring that the UN's International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately halt its offensive in Rafah, the ruling, when examined, is quite different. Israeli officials said Saturday that the judges issued a very carefully worded ruling that does not compel the fighting in Rafah to stop, nor does it prevent Israel from defending itself.
        The officials do not view the ruling as preventing the IDF's offensive, as long as all measures to prevent harm to civilians are taken, and after Israel's National Security Council and Foreign Ministry have stated that Israel has not and will not create conditions that could bring about the destruction of the civilian Palestinian population in part or in full.
        An Israeli official said, "What country would invest so many resources to bring in humanitarian aid, call off attacks and the like, if it intends to commit genocide? We are already doing and will continue to do what the ruling has called for....There is a false narrative that the ICJ ordered a halt to the fighting in Rafah and that is not the case."
        "This is the fourth time South Africa has asked for a complete halt to the war. The wording of the ruling is not accidental," the official said. "When we read the ruling, we see...South Africa's demands are not answered, for the fourth time."  (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Jets Down Three Drones Launched at Israel by Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia - Emanuel Fabian
    Three drones launched at Israel by the Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq militia were shot down by Israeli fighter jets on Thursday and early Friday. Two drones were downed that were heading toward Eilat and another was shot down approaching northern Israel. None entered Israeli airspace. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Depth of Palestinians' Trauma from the Hamas-Triggered War Will Define a Generation - Ghaith al-Omari
    Since Hamas's attack against Israel on Oct. 7, the common wisdom has been that Hamas cannot be eradicated since ideologies cannot be defeated militarily. While military action may not fully eliminate an ideology, it can definitely deny it the tools to be effective and render it irrelevant. Moreover, ideologies and organizations (including Hamas) can be sufficiently defeated so as to turn them from major threats to marginal irritants, albeit dangerous ones.
        It is also true that, no matter what Palestinians and Arabs may feel about Israel, none would want a repeat of the tragedy of this war. Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision. The depth of their trauma will define a generation.
        Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor.
        There will always be those who support Hamas or something ideologically akin. Islamists are a feature of Arab politics. Just ask all those Arab countries that spent the last century trying to root out the Muslim Brotherhood. This necessitates constant security, intelligence and (in extreme cases) military action. An achievable objective is to turn Hamas into a marginal phenomenon capable only of inflicting occasional violence.
        The writer is a Senior Fellow in The Washington Institute.  (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • It's Not Just Netanyahu, the ICC Wants to Prosecute U.S. Lawmakers Too - Marc A. Thiessen
    If you want to see just how out of control the International Criminal Court's prosecutor is, consider this: Not only is Karim Khan seeking charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his conduct of the war in Gaza, he is threatening to prosecute members of Congress who push back on the ICC's unlawful efforts to indict the Israeli leader.
        On April 24, a group of senators led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter warning Khan that Congress would interpret an arrest warrant for Netanyahu "not only as a threat to Israel's sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States" that would result in "severe sanctions against you and your institution."
        Khan's office responded in a statement saying that when "individuals threaten to retaliate against the Court or against Court personnel...such threats, even when not acted upon, may also constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Art. 70 of the Rome Statute." Think about that: Khan not only suggests he has the right to indict Netanyahu, but also Cotton, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other members of Congress seeking new sanctions on ICC officials who investigate U.S. citizens or allies.
        Khan has no jurisdiction to prosecute members of Congress - or any Americans - because the U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC. And the fact that he dares to threaten U.S. legislators shows why his rogue tribunal needs to be brought to heel.
        In 2000, my former boss, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), warned in Ha'aretz that Israel should not join the ICC because the court "will have an independent prosecutor answerable to no state or institution for his or her actions" who could one day issue "criminal indictments against Israeli soldiers, military commanders and government officials all the way up to the prime minister himself."
        To address this danger, Helms introduced the American Servicemembers' Protection Act, a law designed to punish the court for any efforts to prosecute U.S. citizens or allies. The Senate approved the measure by 75-19 and it was signed into law in 2002. Congress explicitly authorized the president to use "all means necessary" to shield U.S. citizens and allies from ICC prosecution. (Washington Post)
  • Another Anti-Israel Ruling in The Hague - Editorial
    On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel "must immediately halt its military offensive" in Rafah. Since the invasion of the city began nearly three weeks ago, Israel has expertly evacuated about a million Gazans. Like most rulings from The Hague, this one will be ignored. Israel rightly says it is already in compliance with the court's wishes - its Rafah offensive isn't genocidal, so it need not be halted. No state in Israel's place could do otherwise.
        The inversion of international law is something to behold: Hamas slaughters Israeli civilians and hides behind its own so that Israel stands accused. The ICJ's presiding judge is Lebanon's Nawaf Salam, who has denounced Israel for decades. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Dangerous Fantasy of "International Law" - Kyle Orton
    There is little point delving into the International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against Israel as legal or factual matters because they were arrived at using neither law nor fact.
        The political nature of "international law" is easier to see with the UN's own International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Israel is currently fending off disgraceful proceedings accusing it of "genocide." The UN has been openly hostile to Israel for decades, and the "charges" are being brought by South Africa, run by the African National Congress (ANC).
        The ANC invited Sudan's Umar al-Bashir onto its territory while he was under an ICC indictment for genocide and the ANC recently announced it would refuse to implement an ICC arrest warrant for Russia's Vladimir Putin if he landed in South Africa. This has made it difficult for anyone of good faith to take the ICJ case seriously as a "legal" matter.
        As with so many things that start as problems for Jews, "international law" of the modern kind, embodied in the ICC and the ICJ, is a problem for us all. The ICC has claimed the right to remove and imprison the leaders of democracies if the ICC does not agree with their national security policies. Granting the ICC such powers is absurd in theory, and gruesome in practice. Only the law-governed states will be affected by this. Putin and other tyrannical rulers who genuinely offend against international norms are entirely unaffected by the whims of the ICC.
        It is not incidental that "international law" functions to restrain the West and arbitrarily single out Israel: anti-Westernism and antisemitism are the core political commitments commanding a majority in the international system. A clear, collective response from the West rejecting the ICC's actions against Israel can avert the worst of the damage in the short-term. Over the longer term, the solution lies in formulating policies that roll back the bloated infrastructure of "international law" that allows anti-Western forces to interfere with Western policy and persecute Western citizens. (It Can Always Get Worse)

  • Western analysts are asking why the IDF is repeatedly going into areas they have already cleared and conducting further operations. These critics are looking at IDF tactics through the lens of counterinsurgency doctrine that U.S. and European militaries applied in the failed campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Western tactics were to seize a chunk of territory and clear it of enemies through military force, then hold the territory and try to conduct alternative governance while providing security. The system required forward operating bases, which meant that our enemies, embedded in the local civilian population, always knew where we were and what routes we were likely to use. They could mortar, rocket, and IED us at will. It was a recipe for endless violence and huge numbers of casualties.
  • In the case of the 2023-24 Gaza war, Western critics have almost comically misunderstood what the Israeli military is trying to do. The IDF has absolutely no intention of using the West's clear-hold-build tactics. These were an unmitigated disaster in Afghanistan and Iraq, with both ending in humiliating defeats at the hands of technologically inferior armies. Such tactics are time-consuming and costly, requiring huge troop levels to "hold" ground, for years, if not indefinitely.
  • Israel has a safe base nearby on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, and can enjoy the luxury of only committing to intelligence-led operations at times and on ground of their choosing - advantages that the West did not have in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • Hamas will not be destroyed, which means rendered totally combat ineffective. Hamas is too numerous and too entrenched within Gaza - where every male of fighting age is a potential future Hamas fighter. But they are mainly backing away from a fight in Gaza, relying on booby traps, IEDs, and small arms before melting away from decisive engagements.
  • What is possible, however, is defeating Hamas. In Western doctrinal terms, "defeating" an enemy means reducing it to 50%-69% of its fighting strength. Will defeating Hamas be accomplished through a political solution? Definitely not. No one on the international stage has expressed any interest in helping with governance in Gaza. With no ability to impose a political arrangement in Gaza, and a Gazan desire for continued Hamas rule, the IDF answer is: Let them have Hamas. But the version of Hamas that Gazans will get is one heavily degraded militarily, with vast swaths of their tunnels and civilian-embedded infrastructure destroyed.
  • As things stand, the operational end state looks like significant Hamas infrastructure is destroyed, its fighting capability severely degraded, and the border secured with a 1-km. buffer zone to prevent a repeat of Oct. 7, with the IDF retaining the capability to strike into Gaza at will. What we are seeing in Gaza is not a failure. It's a quite brilliant IDF operational design, within the bounds of what is realistically possible.

    The writer served in the British Army from 2005-21, including three tours in Afghanistan, one attached to U.S. Army Special Forces. He is a lecturer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

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