June 2, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

73 Percent of Israelis Say Military Response to Hamas Was Correct or Not Strong Enough - Laura Silver (Pew Research Center)
    In a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday, 39% of Israelis say Israel's military response against Hamas in Gaza has been about right, while 34% say it has not gone far enough and 19% think it has gone too far.
    According to the survey, conducted in March and early April, 2/3 of Israelis are confident that Israel will either probably (27%) or definitely (40%) achieve its goals in the war against Hamas.
    After the war, 40% think Israel should govern Gaza.
    26% think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully - down from 35% in 2023, prior to the war, and half the number when the question was first asked in 2013.
    Among Israeli Jews, 19% think peaceful coexistence is possible.

Israel's Mossad: Iran Promoting Terror in Europe ahead of Olympics - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Iran is increasing its support of terror in Europe through proxy criminal groups in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics, the Mossad revealed on Thursday.
    Two criminal groups - Foxtrot and Rumba - were "directly responsible for violent activity and the promotion of terrorism in Sweden and throughout Europe," and received funds and direction from Iran.
    Iran was behind the grenade attack against Israel's Embassy in Belgium on May 24 and the gunshots near the embassy in Sweden on May 17.

How Israel Avoided Biden's Red Line in Rafah - Michael R. Gordon (Wall Street Journal)
    Israel overhauled its military plans in Rafah following intensive discussion with American officials to avoid crossing the Biden administration's red lines, U.S. and Israeli officials said.
    Instead of a two-division sweep through Rafah, Israel has opted for a military campaign that focuses on sealing the border between Gaza and Egypt as well as raids into the city.

Israel and Hamas: The Viewpoint of American Jewry - Irwin J. Mansdorf, PhD (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    A survey of 511 American Jews, conducted between May 9-11, 2024, found a strong sense of concern for their personal and family future as American Jews, with over 90% expressing at least "some" concern and more than half expressing considerable concern.
    Overall, support for Israel remains strong, but much of the support is conditional. Only about a quarter indicated "unconditional" support, with another quarter stating that the support was for Israel "but not the current Israeli government."
    A minority supported the Palestinians "unconditionally" (11.5%), and another 7.8% supported the Palestinians "but not Hamas."
    Close to 90% believed that "ordinary" Palestinian citizens support Hamas and their tactics and goals to at least some degree.
    52% disagreed with the accusation that Israel was guilty of genocide, while 30% agreed.
    52% agreed with President Biden's decision to withhold arms shipments to Israel if Israel invades Rafah, while 23% disagreed.
    About 90% felt that President Biden takes the Jewish vote "for granted" to some degree.
    The writer is a clinical psychologist and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center specializing in political psychology.

Israel, Jews and Peace in Schoolbooks Used in UNRWA Schools - Dr. Arnon Groiss (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    The Palestinian Authority textbooks used by UNRWA schools de-legitimize the existence of the State of Israel and the very presence of its 7 million Jewish citizens, whose history and holy places are denied.
    These books call for a violent struggle for liberation which is given a religious character, is not limited by the 1967 lines, and in which terror plays a central part.
    UNRWA's s use of such schoolbooks makes it a full accomplice in the PA's bellicose, antisemitic indoctrination.
    This kind of "education" should stop immediately and the donor states should have a say in this matter.

Mainstream Media Twists the Truth - Aliza Pilichowski (Jerusalem Post)
    On March 30, a group of NGOs who claim to protect human rights began tweeting that armed Israelis in the West Bank had come to local Bedouins and stolen their livestock.
    The story began to spread and even reached the White House.
    That night, the livestock was found, but not with Israelis. They had been stolen by other Bedouins.

Vancouver Comics Festival Bans Jewish Artist over Past IDF Service - Sam Margolis (Canadian Jewish News)
    The Vancouver Comics Arts Festival has banned artist Miriam Libicki from appearing in the event because of her previous service in the Israeli military.
    Her autobiographical comic series, Jobnik!, published in 2008, looks at her service in the Israeli army during the Second Intifada.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • President Biden Announces Roadmap for an Enduring Gaza Ceasefire
    President Biden said Friday: "For the past several months, my negotiators of foreign policy, intelligence community, and the like have been relentlessly focused [on] a durable end to this war - one that brings all the hostages home, ensures Israel's security, creates a better 'day after' in Gaza without Hamas in power, and sets the stage for a political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike."
        "Israel has now offered a comprehensive new proposal. It's a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages. This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas."
        "The first phase would last for six weeks....It would include: a full and complete ceasefire; a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza; a release of a number of hostages - including women, the elderly, the wounded - in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners."
        "Hamas needs to take the deal. For months, people all over the world have called for a ceasefire. Now it's time to raise your voices and to demand that Hamas come to the table, agrees to this deal, and ends this war that they began....It's time for this war to end and for the day after to begin."  (White House)
        See also Senior Administration Official Discusses President Biden's Roadmap for Gaza Deal (White House)
  • Biden's Ceasefire Push in Gaza Faces Obstacles - Marcus Walker
    President Biden outlined a previously nonpublic Israeli proposal for a ceasefire and exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. But disagreements on the details will likely remain hard to overcome because they reflect wide gaps between Israel's and Hamas's war aims and political interests, negotiators involved in the talks say.
        Hamas's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar would back a deal to end the war if it secures the survival of Hamas as a military and political force in Gaza and puts Hamas at the head of the Palestinian national cause. Sinwar believes time is on his side, according to messages relayed to mediators from Arab states.
        Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Saturday, "Israel's conditions for ending the war haven't changed: The destruction of Hamas's military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages, and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel." A majority of the Israeli public, still reeling from the shock of Oct. 7, also supports continuing the war until Hamas is crushed.
        Netanyahu's office on Friday suggested that Biden didn't fully capture Israel's negotiating position. "The precise framework presented by Israel" would allow Israel to uphold its goal of destroying Hamas, it said. Biden said Hamas's military had already been severely degraded. But that doesn't go far enough for Israel's government or its military. An early end to the fighting would allow Hamas to regenerate itself as the dominant force in Gaza. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Accepts Invitation to Address U.S. Congress - Annie Grayer
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted an invitation from U.S. congressional leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress, his office said Saturday. "I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress and to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us to the representatives of the American people and the entire world," Netanyahu said.
        The top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate - House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - formally invited Netanyahu on Friday. A congressional aide said that Sen. Schumer's office coordinated with the White House on the matter.
        The invitation said, "The horrific attacks of October 7th shocked the world and forced your nation into a fight for its very existence. We join the State of Israel in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive and its leaders jeopardize regional stability."  (CNN-Times of Israel)
  • IDF Strike in Rafah Did Not Cause Fire in Refugee Camp
    CNN defense analysts have now determined that the Israeli airstrike on May 26 against a Hamas compound in western Rafah, which was believed to have caused a fire which resulted in the death of 35-45 Palestinians, could not have been "completely caused" by the Israeli airstrike due to the size of the explosion.
        Shrapnel and parts discovered in the rubble of the Hamas compound, which was roughly 200 meters from the UNRWA refugee camp, suggest that the strike was carried out using 2 GBU-39 small diameter bombs. These bombs would not have been nearly powerful enough to have caused any kind of "splash damage" to the camp.
        What Israeli defense officials have suggested is likely true, which is that Hamas munitions which were hidden between the compound and camp were detonated by shrapnel from the airstrike, causing the explosion of fuel tanks at the camp and the eventual fire. (Open Source Intelligence Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hizbullah Fires Dozens of Rockets into Northern Israel - Yoav Zitun
    Hizbullah launched dozens of rockets from Lebanon toward northern Israeli communities Friday evening, hitting areas in the western Galilee that were not evacuated during the war. The Iron Dome air defense system intercepted multiple rockets. Earlier, a drone launched from Lebanon was shot down over the city of Acre. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Intercepts Cruise Missile Fired from Iraq - Yoav Zitun
    A cruise missile fired at Israel from the east, probably by pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, was intercepted by the IDF before it reached the Golan Heights on Thursday. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Says 1,858 Trucks Carrying Humanitarian Aid Entered Gaza over Past Week - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF says 1,858 trucks carrying food, water, medical equipment, and shelter equipment entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south and the Erez West crossing in the north in the past week. The numbers include 764 trucks from Egypt. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Who Can Declare Victory If a Ceasefire Would Leave Hamas in Power? - Seth J. Frantzman
    President Biden's ceasefire proposal is a plan to keep Hamas in power. The result will be that Hamas will return to running most of Gaza in the coming years. If Hamas is permitted to remain it will declare victory and will seek to take over the West Bank in coming years.
        It's plausible that if Israel's enemies sense they have won, there will be more provocations in the future. Hizbullah and Hamas have learned that rocket fire can now get Israel to evacuate the borders of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Must Uproot All Ideas of Repeat of Oct. 7 in Judea and Samaria - Meir Ben Shabbat
    The recent ramming attack near Nablus that claimed the lives of two IDF soldiers, as well as the shooting incidents and drone flights toward Israeli towns from the Palestinian Authority, continue to be a source of concern. The potential for Palestinian terror has been somewhat restrained due to concerns that, following Oct. 7, there are fears that Israel might unleash its wrath over the horrific massacre on anyone who provokes it.
        The worsening economic situation of the Palestinians due to the ongoing closure is an additional element. In addition, there is intensive activity by Israeli security forces, leading to thousands of arrests, thwarting numerous attacks, and dismantling parts of the terrorist infrastructure.
        Against this backdrop, terrorist elements in Judea and Samaria have begun adopting an approach of initiating attacks against communities, apparently inspired by Hamas's Oct. 7 onslaught. This intention must be viewed with utmost seriousness. The basic perception among Israel's enemies is that their ultimate weapon is steadfastness over time. As Secretary-General of Hizbullah Hassan Nasrallah has said, Israel is weary of wars and lacks the resilience and fortitude to withstand a bloody struggle and sustain casualties.
        Yet after eight months of war, despite internal and external challenges, Israel persists in resolutely striving to achieve all its objectives. The American proposal for a new regional order meets the authentic yearning for an organizing idea, but Israel cannot afford the accompanying price tag.
        The writer, a former Israeli national security advisor, is chairman of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians' Strategic Choices Have Led to the Devastation of Their Way of Life - Dr. Michael Milshtein
    The Palestinian inclination toward victimhood, complete dependency on the international community, and evasion of responsibility and self-criticism have replaced a coherent and actionable national strategy. Palestinians describe a tragic historical cycle imposed upon them, yet they avoid acknowledging that this cycle results from strategic choices made by both the public and their leaders. Palestinians avoid introspection and adopt passivity and fatalism in the face of disasters resulting from national decisions.
        While there exists a Palestinian national identity, a significant question lingers regarding the existence of a Palestinian civil society. Palestinian public opinion polls support the Oct. 7 attack, back Hamas, and glorify violent attacks, often cloaking them in heroic terms of "resistance" and "steadfastness." Within the Palestinian public, only faint questions have arisen regarding who is responsible for the devastation of their way of life that existed until Oct. 7.
        The writer is Director of the Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center. (Ynet News)
  • The Palestinian Failed State Solution - Liat Collins
    Congratulations to Norway, Ireland, and Spain on recognizing the failed State of Palestine. It took no moral courage, but a lack of a moral compass to officially declare recognition for a state that has no defined borders, no democracy, and an economy so bad that last week the World Bank warned that the Palestinian Authority faces "fiscal collapse."
        They ignored the PA's "Pay-for-slay" policy, supporting the families of murderous terrorists, while the Hamas regime in Gaza continues to persuade the world that it needs ever greater quantities of "humanitarian aid." Rockets from Gaza were launched again last week at Israeli civilians. These were war crimes.
        If the vast majority of UN members acknowledge the existence of a Palestinian state, why do the Palestinians need to maintain their UN-granted "perpetual refugee" status and massive funding? How can the Palestinians be considered refugees if they have their own state - particularly those living in that state? Those unilaterally recognizing a State of Palestine are rewarding terrorism and living in a state of denial. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israelis: The Heroes of Our Time - Nils A. Haug
    The people of Israel are peace-loving. They do not eagerly seek to join battles, they do not desire to destroy and kill. Even so, they once again find themselves forced to defend their homeland, their faith, and their right to live in peace. They are besieged by those who deny their right to exist.
        Notwithstanding their unprecedented commitment not to endanger anyone's life unnecessarily, Israeli soldiers defend not only their ancestral place but also the core freedoms and the right to a home that frames Western civilization itself. At this time, however, Israelis seem to be alone in their task, and are continually faced with obstacles their so-called allies place in the way of swift victory.
        The citizens of Israel are sacrificing their lives. The least we can do is get out of the way and be of help. They are heroes. They deserve our gratitude and support. (Gatestone Institute)

Nothing Is Ever the Palestinians' Fault - Mike Cote (National Review)
  • The Palestinian cause has one defining feature: the refusal of its champions to accept any responsibility for the situation they've made for themselves. In the pro-Palestinian narrative, things simply happen to the Palestinian people, entirely caused by outside forces. Everyone else, but particularly Israel and the Jewish people writ large, is to blame for the woes of the Palestinian people. In reality, however, the self-abnegation of their agency is a tactic meant to camouflage consistently poor choices and overwhelming hatred of Jews.
  • In their telling, the disaster of 1948, which they call the "nakba," simply befell the Palestinian people. Yet in the historical record, it is clear that these events were driven primarily by the Palestinian Arabs themselves. The UN Partition Plan, which would have created a Jewish state alongside an Arab one in British Mandatory Palestine, was accepted by the Jewish population. The Palestinian Arabs, however, refused the partition and launched a war of extermination against the nascent State of Israel.
  • The Palestinian people, en masse, have embraced a near-religious devotion to the idea that they will be able to recapture the prewar status quo from before 1948, returning to their homes and undoing the State of Israel. Today, the refugee camps are not tent cities but large-scale, concrete apartment blocks that look no different from any other residential neighborhoods of the region. And they're paid for by international relief dollars.
  • The enormous flow of funds through the UN and its NGO partners enriches the Palestinian leadership, provides jobs for large swaths of Palestinian society, and funds the terrorism meant to destroy Israel. It pays the families of terrorists, provides construction dollars for building tunnel networks, and funds salaries for Hamas cadres. No wonder the refugee issue hasn't been resolved; it's entirely within Palestinian interests to keep the scam going indefinitely.
  • The failure of Palestinians to achieve statehood is depicted as being stymied by Israel. This flies in the face of reality. Every time statehood has been offered to the Palestinian leadership, it has been rejected. Instead of choosing the arduous task of state-building and governance, Palestinian leadership has chosen terrorism, eliminationism, and statelessness - a choice that has been repeatedly ratified by the people they lead.
  • Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza precisely because it is a terror organization. It was not expected to govern but to carry out terror attacks against Israel. In this, it seems as though the Palestinians care less about gaining their own state than they do about destroying someone else's.
  • Sovereignty entails responsibility. Palestinians need to learn that their choices are their own and have consequences that they must live with. Blaming everything on external forces outside of their control has created a version of learned helplessness among the Palestinian population, one that speaks poorly of their ability to run a successful nation-state.

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