May 30, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 64 Percent of Israelis Oppose Establishment of Palestinian State in Return for Saudi Deal (Jerusalem Post)
    64% of the Israeli public stands against establishing a Palestinian state as part of the normalization process with Saudi Arabia, according to a survey by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in collaboration with the Panels Politics research institute.
    The Biden administration's stance that a Palestinian state is the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict faces unprecedented opposition from the Knesset and Israeli leadership.
    Dr. Dan Diker, president of the JCPA, said, "The Israeli government and Knesset have rejected the idea of a Palestinian state as a solution, especially as a reward for Palestinian terror or as a post-Hamas solution."
    "Public opinion polls now reflect the Israeli public's understanding of the issue's significance after October 7."
    The survey revealed that the Oct. 7 massacre caused a third of respondents who previously believed a Palestinian state could be established under certain conditions, to change their mind - now opposing it entirely.

Danish Parliament Rejects Proposal to Recognize Palestinian State - Louise Rasmussen (Reuters)
    Denmark's parliament rejected a proposal to recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday, backing the government's view that the necessary conditions were not in place.
    Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had previously said the Danish government could not recognize a Palestinian state because it did not have a single functioning authority or control over its own territory.

Israel Under Fire - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The compilation - "Israel Under Fire" - addresses the various legal aspects surrounding the Oct. 7 massacre, the legal dilemmas arising from the ensuing war, and the motivating factors that gave rise to the massacre and the war.
    The first completed studies in this project include:
    Robert L. Mayer - "The Attempt to Deny the Foundational Legal, Historical, and National Rights of the Jewish People"
    Anne Bayefsky - "Anatomy of a UN Crime against Humanity"
    Lt.-Col. (ret.) Maurice Hirsch - "Detention, Prosecution, Punishment, and the October 7 Massacre"
    Nicholas Rostow - "Israel's Survival: Little Room to Maneuver"

Foreign Volunteer Doctor: Hamas Leaders Take Shelter at Hospitals (Rudaw-Kurdistan)
    Dr. Baxtiyar Baram, a Kurdish physician who spent weeks treating the wounded in two hospitals in Gaza, said Tuesday that "I have seen it with my eyes that the hospitals have been used for hiding Hamas leaders. Yes, yes, we saw them and even spoke with them."
    Dr. Baram, who works with the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), was in Gaza from April 28 to May 22.
    He said Hamas does not enjoy support among the people of Gaza, believing only 10% of the population follows them.
    He added that "Hamas and all Gazans hate Kurds," due partly to Gazans' love for the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, accused of massacring thousands of Kurds decades ago.

During a Visit to Israel, Nikki Haley Signs an Artillery Shell: "Finish Them" - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said during a visit to Israel on Tuesday: "I reassure you: America stands with Israel."
    "These words are aimed at the Israelis but also at the Americans. We need a strong Israel, and the only way Israel will be strong is when the US supports Israel completely, unapologetically."
    Haley visited the Gaza border area on Monday and said, "We will always be friends of Israel. Be strong, stay full of hope and keep the faith - and let's continue to be partners together."
    On a tour in northern Israel, she visited an IDF artillery battery, where she signed a shell with the words "Finish Them."
    Haley said, "All eyes should be on Lebanon. We are talking about Gaza, but in the north Israel has to repel attacks from Lebanon every day."
    "60,000 people were driven from their homes because the region is not safe for them. Israel needs to take care of not only Hamas, but also Hizbullah."
    "No war is good, but who started it? Hamas started it. Iran finances it. Where is the world? Israel needs to do what it needs to defend itself....Israel needs to defeat her enemies."
    See also Nikki Haley: "A Win for Israel Is a Win for America" (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday:
    "The majority of Americans stand with Israel....A win for Israel is a win for America. Israel is fighting America's enemies."
    "Any country that is free and believes in democracy needs to be standing with you."

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Ayatollah Khamenei's Letter to American College Students (Khamenei-Iran)
    Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote an open letter to American college students on May 25, 2024:
    "I am writing this letter to the young people whose awakened conscience has moved them to defend the oppressed women and children of Gaza."
    "You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government's ruthless pressure."
    "The greater Resistance Front, which shares the same understandings and feelings that you have today, has been engaged in the same struggle for many years in a place far from you."
    "The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development."
    "I, too, am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance."
    "The Resistance Front advances...and will attain victory with the permission of God. My advice to you is to become familiar with the Quran."

Saudi Arabia Reduces Antisemitism in Textbooks - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    A new study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) in London found that the Saudi Education Ministry made significant changes to remove anti-Israeli content from textbooks.
    "Students no longer learn content which defined Zionism as a 'racist' European movement that aims to expel Palestinians, or that Zionism's 'fundamental goal' is to expand its borders and take over Arab lands, oil wells and Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem."
    Israel is still not recognized on maps, but in some maps, Palestine, which featured across the entirety of Israeli territory, has been systematically removed.
    IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said, "It is particularly encouraging that Saudi curriculum designers have made additional changes that present Israel in a more positive light. These changes are good news for the future of the entire region."

U.S. Military Pier Temporarily Removed from Gaza Coast for Repairs (Reuters)
    A U.S. military-built pier off Gaza's coast is being temporarily removed after a part of the structure broke off, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday.
    Singh said a portion of the pier had separated due to bad weather and that the pier would be towed over the next 48 hours to Ashdod port in Israel for repairs.
    The pier would take over a week to repair and then returned to its place off the coast of Gaza.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Gains Control of Gaza Border with Egypt as Rafah Offensive Advances - Dov Lieber
    Israeli officials say the IDF has secured control of Gaza's 9-mile border with Egypt, known as the Philadelphi Corridor. This will allow Israel to prevent Hamas from rearming by smuggling weapons through tunnels that reach into Egypt. Israel had relinquished control of the area in 2005. An Israeli military official said Israel had so far found 20 cross-border tunnels and had informed Egypt about them. Israel has said it hoped to work with Egypt to prevent future smuggling.
        Israeli forces in Rafah have largely been focused on taking control of the border area, which isn't as densely populated as other parts of Rafah. John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said Israel's "movements along the corridor did not come as a surprise to us and was in keeping with what we understood their plan to be, to go after Hamas in a targeted, limited way, not in a concentrated way. When they briefed us on their plans for Rafah, it did include moving along that corridor."
        Israeli officials and analysts said Israel has avoided crossing Washington's red lines in Rafah by gradually deploying limited numbers of troops, forcing a rapid evacuation of the city, and refraining from a full-scale ground assault. They note that Washington's concern that it would take months for the over one million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah to evacuate hasn't come to pass. The result has been a Rafah that has far fewer civilians. Israeli officials insist their operations in Rafah aren't tailored to suit Washington's needs, but are carried out according to their own operational and ethical guidelines. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also IDF Takes Control of Philadelphi Corridor on Gaza-Egypt Border - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF announced Wednesday it has taken full control over the Philadelphi corridor along the Gaza-Egypt border and can now "cut off Hamas's lifeline for supplies coming in from Sinai." At least 20 tunnels and 82 tunnel shafts have been found. The IDF has also found dozens of loaded rocket launchers only meters away from the Egyptian border. (Ynet News)
  • U.S. Officials Say Rafah Airstrike Did Not Cross Biden's Red Line - Zolan Kanno-Youngs
    U.S. officials said on Tuesday that the Israeli strike in Rafah that was followed by a fire that killed dozens of Palestinians was a tragedy but that it did not violate President Biden's red line for withholding weapons shipments to Israel. John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, said Israeli tanks were on the outskirts of the city "to try to put pressure on Hamas." "Everything that we can see tells us that they are not moving in in a major ground operation in population centers in the city of Rafah."
        State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, "Israel has said that it might have been that there was a Hamas ammo dump near the area where they took the strike." Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli jets had fired the "smallest munitions" that they could use and that "our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size."  (New York Times)
        See also Pentagon: Israel's Rafah Operation Still "of Limited Scope"
    "Right now it is still our assessment that what is happening in Rafah, what the (Israel Defense Forces) are doing, it is limited in scope," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Tuesday, following a blaze in a camp for displaced people. Israel said Tuesday its munitions alone could not have caused the deadly blaze. (AFP)
        See also Video: IDF Investigates Rafah Tent Fire - IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari
    On Sunday night, we eliminated senior Hamas terrorists in a targeted strike on a compound used by Hamas in Rafah. These terrorists, responsible for orchestrating and executing terror attacks against Israelis, were meeting inside a specific closed structure away from the tent area. Their deaths saved lives.
        Sadly, following the strike, due to unforeseen circumstances, a fire ignited, taking the lives of Gazan civilians nearby. As you can see from aerial photos, there are no tents in the immediate vicinity of the structure that we targeted. Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size. We are looking into the option that weapons stored in a compound next to our target, which we did not know of, may have ignited as a result of the strike.
        Hamas has been operating from this area since Oct. 7. This satellite image shows that 43 meters from the structure we targeted, you can see Hamas rocket launchers. Hamas fired rockets from these launchers at Israel during their massacre on Oct. 7. Footage documented by Gazans on the night of the strike, posted on social media, appeared to show secondary explosions, indicating that there may have been weapons in the area.
        Our signal intelligence intercepted phone calls that raise the possibility that weapons stored in a nearby compound caught fire. As the Hamas terrorists sat in a meeting, the Palestinian speaker said, "they had ammunition, because all of the ammunition that started exploding. Bags of money were flying in the air. Yes, this is an ammunition warehouse. I tell you it exploded. I mean the Jewish bombing wasn't strong. It was a small missile, because it didn't create a large hole. And afterwards a lot of secondary explosions."  (IDF Spokesperson)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two IDF Soldiers Killed in Palestinian Car Ramming Attack in Samaria - Emanuel Fabian
    Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a Palestinian car-ramming attack near the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday night. The troops at a checkpoint had been performing random spot checks on Palestinian cars leaving Nablus when a vehicle further back in line went around the queue and sped at the two troops at the front of the line, hitting them.
        The incident unfolded in a matter of seconds and the soldiers did not have time to open fire to attempt to stop the attack. The car then made a U-turn and sped back toward Nablus, where the driver reportedly turned himself in to Palestinian authorities. (Times of Israel)
  • Video: Hamas Terrorists in Palestinian Authority Open Fire on Israeli Community
    Hamas terrorists fired at the Israeli community of Bat Hefer, east of Netanya, from the Tulkarm area in the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. On Tuesday, terrorists from Tulkarm also fired at the community and published footage of the shooting. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Shots Fired from West Bank at Israeli Communities in Gilboa Region - Israel Moskovitz
    Shots were fired from the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday toward the Israeli town of Gan Ner in the Gilboa region. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Says Hamas Robbed Gaza Banks - Amir Bohbot
    IDF spokesman in Arabic, Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee, revealed on Wednesday a Hamas document which shows how the organization planned to rob bank safes in Gaza. A month later, over NIS 400 million was stolen from bank branches in Gaza by Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • Do We Still Understand How Wars Are Won? - Bret Stephens
    In World War II, Allied bombers killed 10,000 civilians in the Netherlands, 60,000 in France, 60,000 in Italy, and hundreds of thousands of Germans. All this was part of a declared Anglo-American policy to undermine "the morale of the German people to the point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened." We pursued an identical policy against Japan, where bombardment killed nearly one million civilians.
        Franklin Roosevelt's portrait hangs in the Oval Office. The bravery of the American bomber crews is celebrated in shows like Apple TV+'s "Masters of the Air." Nations tend to canonize leaders who, faced with the awful choice of evils that every war presents, nonetheless chose morally compromised victories over morally pure defeats.
        Today, Israel is engaged in the same kind of existential war. Hamas, Hizbullah and their patrons in Iran openly call for Israel to be wiped off the map. In response, it wants to fight aggressively, with the view that it can achieve security only by destroying its enemies' capability and will to wage war. In a war, either you're on the way to victory or on the way to defeat.
        Right now, the Biden administration is trying to restrain Israel, asking it to fight its war in roughly the same way that the U.S. has fought its own wars in recent decades - with limited means, a limited stomach for what it takes to win, and an eye on the possibility of a negotiated settlement. In the short run, the Biden approach may help relieve humanitarian distress and allay angry constituencies. In the long run, it's a recipe for compelling our allies to lose.
        A cease-fire with Hamas that leaves the group in control of Gaza means it will inevitably start another war, just as it has five times before. It also vindicates the strategy of using civilian populations as human shields - something Hizbullah will be sure to copy in its next full-scale war with Israel. The least we can do for the Israelis is understand that they have no choice to fight except in the way we once did - back when we knew what it takes to win. (New York Times)
  • How "Ironclad" Are Promises to Israel from Allies? - Douglas J. Feith and Ze'ev Jabotinsky
    Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements and membership in multilateral organizations. But one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never "ironclad."
        When Hamas started this war on Oct. 7, President Biden declared: "We stand with Israel." He promised U.S. arms for Israel "to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens." His commitment to Israel, Biden said, is "ironclad." Yet later he began withholding delivery of munitions. He now emphasizes stopping the fighting and protecting Gazan civilians rather than destroying Hamas's remaining military and governing capabilities. This is emboldening Israel's enemies, which increases the danger to Israeli civilians.
        International commitments are only as strong as the interests of the people who make them. In no event are they enforceable, even if written down or called "legally binding." There is a State of Israel now because Zionists grasped that no other country in the world would or could assign top priority to the safety of the Jewish people. That was true when the other country was Britain, and it's true even when it is the U.S. This is not because of antisemitism but human nature. Sovereign states take care, first and foremost, of their own people. And sometimes they do not succeed in rightly identifying and protecting their own national interests.
        For 2,000 years, Jews had no choice but to depend on others for refuge, tolerance and security. As a result, they suffered centuries of maltreatment, including murders and massacres, expropriation and expulsion. Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the U.S. and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate. That people's survival is a top priority in only one country because the Jews are the majority in only one country.
        Alliances can be useful, but history warns that when life-and-death issues are at stake, endangered countries should rely no more than is necessary on foreigners.
        Douglas J. Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as Undersecretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the grandson of Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940), served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force.  (JNS)

  • The Gaza War - Legal Aspects

  • IDF's Rafah Operation Unaffected by ICJ, ICC - Yaakov Lappin
    Recent moves by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court at The Hague are having no tangible effect on the Israel Defense Forces' ongoing Gaza operation, aimed at dismantling Hamas's remaining battalions in Rafah. While the courts have signaled a disturbing willingness to cooperate to varying degrees with "lawfare" initiatives against Israeli military actions to defend the country against a genocidal terrorist group, this has had no obvious influence on how the Israeli military - which in any case closely follows the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) - is operating.
        Almost a million Palestinian civilians have complied with the IDF's mass evacuation calls. Israel's approach, moving neighborhood by neighborhood instead of advancing in parallel across multiple sectors, is aimed at effectively targeting Hamas infrastructure while minimizing civilian casualties.
        A crucial element of the IDF's goal in southern Gaza is gaining and maintaining control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a narrow strip along the Gaza-Egypt border notorious for arms smuggling both above and below ground. According to Israeli estimates, there are 50 cross-border tunnels linking Rafah to Sinai in Egypt. By holding this area, the IDF aims to prevent the flow of weapons into Gaza, thereby weakening Hamas's ability to rebuild its capabilities. (JNS)
  • Justice Aharon Barak Criticizes ICJ Order on IDF Operation in Rafah - Suzie Navot
    Former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, who served on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, wrote a dissenting opinion on its ruling against Israel. The court did not order Israel to cease all military activity in Gaza, as South Africa requested, but ordered a halt to Israel's operation in Rafah if it is likely to lead to a violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.
        Barak wrote: "I do not see how Israel's conduct could even plausibly amount to a pattern that provides the basis for inferring the specific intent required by the Genocide Convention. Why would a state that has the intention to destroy a group provide tents, humanitarian aid, and field hospitals? Why would they issue warnings and build humanitarian zones?" In none of South Africa's requests has there been evidence "that would substantiate a plausible existence of genocidal intent."
        "The Court is in a difficult position and facing great pressure....The urge to 'do something' is understandable....But this cannot be sufficient." The ICJ "should not have sacrificed the integrity of the Genocide Convention and overstepped the limits of its jurisdiction in response to public pressure."
        "The Court relies primarily on statements made by United Nations officials on social media and press releases...without even inquiring into what kind of evidence they draw upon....I fail to see how the Court's approach here is compatible with its previous decisions to exclude elements of United Nations reports which rely only on second-hand sources."
        Barak found that there has been no substantial change in circumstances that would require the issuing of new orders. The operation in Rafah "is not a new military campaign. It forms part of Israel's ongoing military operation throughout Gaza which began in October 2023. It is an integral part of its overall effort to prevent and repel ongoing threats and attacks by Hamas and free the hostages in captivity."
        The writer, an expert in constitutional law, is vice president for research at the Israel Democracy Institute. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, Hamas and the Law of War - David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
    As it defends itself against Hamas in Gaza, Israel has come under sustained political, media and legal attack for supposedly violating international law. These criticisms are based on a distorted view of the law of war and threaten the ability of all law-abiding nations to defend themselves. The law of war is in no way intended to level the playing field in favor of the weaker party.
        A critical aspect of the laws of war is that each party to a conflict is primarily responsible for protecting its own civilian population by moving them away from military targets and taking other measures to shield them. Hamas not only fails to meet these obligations, it uses civilians as human shields and invites casualties for propaganda purposes.
        Based on currently available credible evidence, there is no reasonable case that Israel has violated the laws of war. Hamas, by contrast, indisputably commits war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians, brutalizing Israeli women and children, taking hostages, systematically locating military facilities in or near civilian installations, and using Palestinian civilians as human shields.
        The writers served at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel's Office in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.  (Wall Street Journal)

  • A Palestinian State?

  • More Nations Roll Out the Red Carpet to Hamas - Aviva Klompas
    Welcome to the State of Denial - an alternative reality where terrorists have become heroes valiantly battling oppressors, genocidal slogans are triumphant calls for freedom, and the natural response to a terror group that slaughtered 1,200 people and took another 250 hostages is to offer them a state.
        Earlier this month, a majority of UN members passed a resolution granting new "rights and privileges" to the Palestinians, while more than 100 hostages are still languishing in Hamas's torture tunnels. This sends a clear message that there is no need for Hamas to negotiate the release of the hostages.
        Spain, Norway, and Ireland then announced plans to formally recognize a Palestinian state, even though Spain and Ireland had seen their citizens murdered or kidnapped by Hamas. The European nations rallying to proclaim a State of Palestine don't worry themselves about the peaceful character, stability, viability, or democratic aspirations of a new state. They aren't concerned that a future State of Palestine would become yet another forward-operating base for Iran.
        There are two contenders to lead a newly founded State of Palestine. There's Hamas, an internationally designated terror organization that pledges to destroy Israel and hunt down every Jew. Or there's the Palestinian Authority, which 87% of Palestinians believe is corrupt and which hasn't held an election in the West Bank in nearly 20 years. If they were to hold an election, Hamas would probably win.
        The writer is former Director of Speechwriting for Israel's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.  (Newsweek)
  • Ireland Recognizes Palestine. Who'll Be Its Dublin Envoy - Yahya Sinwar? - Editorial
    Just eight months after terrorists brutally attacked Israel, committing horrific acts of execution, torture, beheading, rape, and burning children and adults alive, Norway, Ireland, and Spain have outrageously decided to officially recognize Palestine as a state.
        This shabby, shameful, shameless decision is simply an endorsement of medieval terrorism, made in the middle of a brutal war where Israel is fighting for its very survival on seven different fronts. It displays cold contempt for the families of the 125 hostages who have been living a nightmare since Oct. 7, as well as for the survivors of the massacre. Innocent children, women, the ill, and the elderly are still languishing in Gaza's dungeons.
        How on earth can these countries recognize a state while Hamas is still active and more popular than ever? This reckless and disgraceful move spits in the face of all those suffering from Hamas's reign of untold terror. This recognition is a grotesque reward for the most evil people on earth, who dream of committing atrocities like those of Oct. 7 over and over again. It is an indefensible insult to the memory of the 1,200 people who were massacred in the most barbaric ways imaginable. (Jewish News-UK)
  • Hamas Must Be Destroyed Before Any Peace Talks Take Place - Con Coughlin
    The announcement by Ireland, Norway and Spain that they are to recognize a Palestinian state only highlights a breathtaking naivety about the fundamental reality of the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Their decision pre-emptively recognizes a Palestinian state before the direct negotiations that the Israelis and Palestinians agreed upon to resolve the conflict have even begun.
        In fact, the announcement is likely to extend the violent conflict currently taking place in Gaza: it sends a clear message to terrorist groups such as Hamas that carrying out brutal attacks against innocent Israeli civilians will be rewarded by supporting their demand for statehood.
        Do these countries not see how appeasing terrorists anywhere only emboldens the militants in Europe? Last month, in Germany, more than 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets demanding that Germany become a Caliphate with sharia law.
        Is Spain ready to grant the Catalans, who for years have been fighting for their independence, a State of Catalonia? In Ireland, even at its most violent, there were never calls to take over Scotland, England and Wales to displace the British.
        The willingness of Western governments and international institutions to indulge in such dangerous virtue-signaling also reveals a deliberate misinterpretation of the root causes of the conflict, in which the constant refusal of successive generations of Palestinian leaders to renounce terrorism as the primary means of achieving their political objectives has made the concept of a lasting peace impossible.
        Any future attempt to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians is doomed to failure so long as Hamas, the Islamist terrorist movement which helped destroy the Oslo Accords, remains in power. Israel's declared ambition of removing Hamas is entirely justified, especially if there is to be any realistic prospect of lasting peace in the region.
        The writer is defense and foreign affairs editor of the Telegraph-UK. (Gatestone Institute)

  • As a basic principle of the international law of armed conflict - as well as basic humanity - attacks against civilian sites are prohibited, unless those civilian sites are used for military purposes. Hospitals have a special level of protection under international law, given that they are places of sanctuary. That is also why international law specifically requires that hospitals not be used to shield military objectives from attack.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense law of war manual states that if a hospital is used for "interference, direct or indirect, in military operations, such as the use of a hospital as a shelter for able-bodied combatants or fugitives, as an arms or ammunition store, as a military observation post, or as a center for liaison with combat forces," such uses can lead to a hospital losing its protected status.
  • Because of all the special protections surrounding hospitals, they have increasingly been used for military purposes by combatants such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State, and Hamas, who historically do not follow the laws of war and intentionally shield themselves behind protected objects and groups. As a result, the U.S. and many other countries have recently had to conduct operations against enemy forces in hospitals.
  • In almost every hospital the IDF has arrived at in Gaza, it has uncovered (and published) military use by Hamas. The terrorist group purposefully and systematically developed a strategy to use Gaza's hospitals for military purposes. It exploits the laws of war and public sensitivity to hamper the IDF's actions and invite international condemnation. Israel has documented Hamas use of Al-Shifa Hospital, Sheikh Hamad Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, the Indonesian Hospital, Al-Rantisi Hospital, Kamal Adwan Hospital and Al-Nasser Hospital.
  • When interacting with hospitals, the IDF has provided warning before acting, facilitated evacuation of patients and hospital staff, provided its own supplies to the hospital, and helped provide alternative medical facilities. It has sent doctors, Arabic speakers, and other specially trained staff to assist hospital staff and patients. Most importantly, Israel has refrained from attacking hospitals from the air, even where it would be lawful to do so.
  • It is telling that the International Committee of the Red Cross, World Health Organization, and UN have made public statements condemning Israel for searching hospitals and never condemn Hamas for using the hospitals in the first place. This sends a message to all terrorists that the use of hospitals is an effective, albeit illegal, military strategy.

    The writer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Daily Alert is published on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.