June 9, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Intelligence Helped Israel Rescue Four Hostages in Gaza - Julian E. Barnes (New York Times)
    A team of American hostage recovery officials stationed in Israel assisted the Israeli military's successful effort to rescue four captives on Saturday by providing intelligence and other logistical support, according to American and Israeli officials.
    The Pentagon and the CIA have been providing information collected from drone flights over Gaza, communications intercepts, and other sources about the potential location of hostages.
    While Israel has its own intelligence, the U.S. and Britain have been able to provide intelligence from the air and cyberspace that Israel cannot collect on its own, an Israeli official said.
    American officials said their intelligence support for Israel is focused on the location of hostages and information about Hamas's top leadership.
    They believe the best way to persuade Israel to end the war is to get back its hostages and capture or kill top Hamas leaders.

Emirati-Palestinian Shouting Match Blew Up Blinken Meeting - Barak Ravid (Axios)
    A meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a group of Arab officials on April 29 in Riyadh saw an unusual shouting match between UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Palestinian minister Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior adviser to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, according to five sources.
    The heated spat reflects skepticism over the Palestinian Authority's planned reforms and disputes among Arab leaders.
    During the meeting, al-Sheikh said the PA is conducting reforms and created a new government as the U.S. and Arab countries asked.
    The Emirati foreign minister pushed back and said he hasn't seen any significant reform inside the PA.
    Then he called the Palestinian leadership "Ali Baba and the forty thieves."
    "Why would the UAE give assistance to the Palestinian Authority without real reforms?" he asked before he left the room.

Proportion of Women and Children Killed in Gaza War Declines Sharply - Josef Federman (AP-Washington Post)
    The proportion of Palestinian women and children being killed in the Israel-Hamas war appears to have declined sharply, an Associated Press analysis of Gaza Health Ministry data has found, a trend that coincides with Israel's changing battlefield tactics.
    In April, women and children made up 38% of the identified deaths, the Health Ministry's most recent data shows.

The UN Code of Silence in Gaza - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    In Gaza, there has been a systematic decision by NGOs and UN staff working there to never mention Hamas and not monitor facilities for the presence of Hamas.
    When hundreds of men come into a building and take over part of it, if the men don't wear uniforms, they are not even called an "armed group."
    Thus, the UN has failed to protect Gaza civilians from the presence of Hamas.

British Bank Accused of Helping to Fund Terrorists - Andy Verity (BBC News)
    Documents filed in a New York court on May 31 claim that thousands of transactions worth more than $100 billion were carried out by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), one of the UK's largest banks, from 2008 to 2013 in breach of sanctions against Iran.
    An independent expert has identified $9.6 billion of foreign exchange transactions with individuals and companies designated by the U.S. government as funding "terror groups," including Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.
    David Scantling, an expert with decades of experience with counter-terrorist financing, including at the U.S. Department of Defense, stated that the spreadsheets containing records of more than half a million separate transactions were "cloaked" and were not immediately visible, but could be extracted through a simple technique well-known to analysts in his field.
    For example, SCB facilitated 73 transactions for a Gambian front company owned by a key Hizbullah financier, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi.

Detention, Prosecution, and Punishment following the October 7 Massacre - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    What are the legal frameworks and the complexities associated with detaining, prosecuting, and punishing terrorists in Israel?
    This is an overview of the relevant provisions of Israeli law, the law applicable in Judea and Samaria, and where necessary, references to international law.
    Israeli law has four frameworks of detention: arrest for investigation, administrative detention - focused on determining criminal responsibility for past acts - and administrative detention, detention of unlawful combatants, and the holding of prisoners of war - which are all preventive in nature.
    The writer served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Video: The Israeli Hostages Were Held and Jailed by Palestinian Civilians - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan Conricus
    Following Saturday's hostage rescue, former IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan Conricus told BBC that there are still 120 Israeli hostages in Gaza, "we still have Iranian proxies all around us aiming to kill Israelis and to kill Jews, and we still have a lot of work to do in order to return to safety and security in Israel....There is still a lot of fighting left for us to be safe in our homeland."
        "The whole civilian issue here really needs to be analyzed impartially and understood....The Israeli hostages were held and jailed by Palestinian civilians in a Palestinian civilian area....What was the role of the surrounding community and the hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians who, for sure, were aware of the fact that the Israeli hostages were being held in their midst?"
        Q: Would there have been a warning to those civilians to get out on time?
        Conricus: "For sure, we cannot anticipate for Israel to be warning ahead of a raid to save hostages, because then, what the terrorists would do is to kill the hostages and that would defeat the purpose, so of course we cannot expect that."
        "There was a significant firefight. According to testimony of Israeli soldiers, there were RPGs, rockets, heavy machine gun fire, grenades being thrown, and I think we cannot rule out that at least some of the alleged Palestinian casualties were the result of reckless Palestinian fire."
        "The bottom line here...is that, again, just like we saw in Rafah three months ago, Israeli civilians were held hostage by Palestinian civilians.... We have the complicity of Palestinian civilians."
        "A ceasefire is not an aim to aspire to, but victory is what Israel aspires to; victory in order to defend Israeli civilians; in order to allow them back home; victory in order to get the hostages back. A ceasefire, in my humble opinion, is defeat for Israel and a victory for Hamas, and as such it is not what Israelis aspire to do because a ceasefire would mean an existing Hamas and it would mean further attacks against Israel just months or perhaps a year from now."  (BBC News)
  • U.S. Commends Israeli Hostage Rescue Operation
    U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Saturday: "Today, Israeli security forces conducted a successful operation to rescue four hostages from the grips of Hamas in Gaza....We commend the work of the Israeli security services that conducted this daring operation."  (White House)
  • Hamas Political Leader Demands Full End to Gaza War in Blow to Biden Plan - Nidal Al-Mughrabi
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday his group would demand a permanent end to the war in Gaza and Israeli withdrawal as part of a ceasefire plan, dealing an apparent blow to a truce proposal touted last week by U.S. President Joe Biden. Israel said there would be no halt to fighting during ceasefire talks. (Reuters)
        See also Hamas Gaza Leader Sinwar Insists on Permanent Ceasefire - Summer Said
    Hamas's leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar told Arab negotiators Thursday that he would accept a peace deal only if Israel commits to a permanent ceasefire, in his first response to a proposal by President Biden to end the war. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Netanyahu to Address Congress on July 24 - Annie Karni
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will address a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, it was announced Thursday. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader, said the speech would offer Mr. Netanyahu the opportunity to "share the Israeli government's vision for defending their democracy, combating terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region."
        Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the majority leader, said he joined the request for Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress because "America's relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister."
        Accepting the invitation, Mr. Netanyahu said, "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."  (New York Times)
  • U.S. Seeks to Up Pressure on Houthis in Yemen - Sam Dagher
    The U.S. and its allies are raising the stakes in their struggle to curb ship attacks by Houthi militants in the Red Sea by increasingly blocking their revenue sources. Washington has told parties to a peace deal intended to end an almost decade-long war in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia, that key elements of the UN-led plan, committed to in December, can't go ahead unless the Iran-backed group ends its seven-month hostile maritime campaign. That would have included the disbursal of at least $1.5 billion in civil-servant salaries by Riyadh to Houthi-controlled territories. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Rescues Four Hostages from Hamas Captivity in Gaza
    Four Israeli hostages in Gaza were rescued by Israel on Saturday. Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir (21), Andrey Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40) were kidnapped by Hamas to Gaza from the Nova party on Oct. 7. They had been held in two locations in Nuseirat in central Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Details of the Hostage Rescue - Yoav Zitun
    The hostages were held in civilian areas, above ground. Noa Argamani was held on the first floor of one building, while Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv and Almog Meir Jan were held on the third floor of another building, hundreds of yards apart, alongside Gazan families. Hamas frequently moved the four hostages from one apartment to another. (Ynet News)
        See also Gaza Hostage Rescue: Minute-by-Minute - Yoav Zitun
    Two main strike teams, disguised as Arabs, moved from several directions toward Nuseirat near the coast in broad daylight, unnoticed by thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of local Hamas operatives. The two ground teams stormed the two buildings simultaneously.
        Dozens of terrorists gathered around the building where three of the hostages were held, with hundreds more armed with RPGs, PK machine guns, and AK-47 rifles approaching from all directions. The forces attempted to escape in the rescue vehicle, but it was hit by heavy fire and began to falter. In response, the IDF activated a pre-planned extraction strategy.
        Air Force fighter jets and helicopters fired dozens of munitions at the terrorists to isolate the area. Hundreds of IDF reinforcements, mobilized as backup, deployed on foot, in tanks and APCs into Nuseirat, with Navy vessels providing cover from the west. IDF troops maintained engagement with terrorists on the operation's perimeter, eliminating dozens. (Ynet News)
        See also Video: Noa Argamani Rescued by IDF Helicopter  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Anti-Terror Unit Soldier Killed in Hostage Rescue Operation - Emanuel Fabian
    Border Police counter-terrorism Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, 36, was fatally wounded by Hamas fire on Saturday while breaching a building where three of the four Israeli hostages were being held. The IDF said Zamora "led the force that rescued the four abductees." He is survived by his wife and two children.
        On Oct. 7, he led a battle against Hamas near Yad Mordechai, killing dozens of terrorists and preventing them from infiltrating the kibbutz. Later, he was involved in fighting at the Nahal Oz base and in Kibbutz Be'eri. (Times of Israel-Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Identifies Nine Terrorists Eliminated at UNRWA School - Yael Ciechanover
    The IDF disclosed the identities of nine terrorists eliminated Thursday at an UNRWA school in Nuseirat in central Gaza, after Palestinian claims that scores of civilians were killed in the incident. Military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that the IDF is continuing efforts to identify additional terrorists killed in the attack and condemned global media for echoing Hamas's claims of civilian casualties "before checking the facts."
        "Our Air Force used precise munitions to target the three specific classrooms that the terrorists were hiding in....We stopped a ticking time bomb. We delayed our strike twice because we identified civilians in the area....We conducted the strike once our intelligence and surveillance indicated that there were no women or children inside the Hamas compound, inside those classrooms." He added the attack targeted "Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, some from the Nukhba force. Terrorists with blood on their hands....Some of them took part in the brutal massacre of October 7."  (Ynet News)
  • 3 Palestinian Terrorists Eliminated while Attempting to Infiltrate from Gaza - Yoav Zitun
    Palestinian terrorists approached the border fence near Rafah on Thursday in an attempt to infiltrate into Israel, and opened fire on IDF forces in the area. Three of the terrorists were killed, and a fourth escaped back to Gaza. The terrorists did not cross the barrier along the border. IDF Warrant Officer Zeed Mazarib, 34, a Bedouin tracker, was killed in the gun battle. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Locates Hamas Weapons Factory in Rafah - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF on Thursday announced it discovered a weapons factory in Rafah with dozens of weapons ready for use. In addition, nearby the IDF used a drone to find a boobytrapped house which contained dozens of mortars. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • We Must Back Israel's Efforts to Rescue Hostages - Editorial
    Last October, Noa Argamani became the face of the Nova music festival when footage of her kidnapping - pleading for her life from the back of a motorcycle - was shared around the world. Today, the image of her reunion with her family following a successful rescue operation is a timely reminder of what Israel is fighting for, and the fundamental justice of its cause. She had been held captive for 245 days.
        The ultimate success of her rescue alongside three other hostages is a stunning triumph for the Israel Defense Forces, and a stinging rebuke to the country's critics. Had calls for a unilateral end to Israeli military operations been heeded, it is frighteningly plausible that these four people would never have been freed.
        Israel's dogged commitment to rescuing the hostages and destroying Hamas stand in marked contrast to the weakness of the West in supporting its efforts. All too often, the libels spread by Hamas have been allowed to pass effectively unchallenged, while Israel's military operations have been subjected to a level of scrutiny that is all but impossible to satisfy. (Telegraph-UK)
  • The Realization of Qassem Soleimani's "Ring of Fire" Strategy - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    For the first time since its creation in 1948, Israel is facing seven active combat fronts choreographed by their Iranian patron and meant to annihilate Israel as a Jewish Zionist state: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen. This unity of fronts meant to suffocate Israel was the "Circle of Fire" vision of Qassem Suleimani, the slain commander of the Quds Force in the IRGC.
        Today it has emerged as a united coalition whose aim is to support Hamas in its war effort against Israel by waging a war of attrition and dragging Israel into an endless war. Both Hamas and Hizbullah, who were believed by Israel to be "deterred," spent their time preparing themselves for military confrontation with Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Northern Israel Is on Fire - Matti Friedman
    Along the entire length of the Israeli-Lebanon border, 70,000 civilians have been evacuated under fire from Hizbullah in Lebanon. Legendary frontier kibbutzim where pioneers set Israel's border eight decades ago, like Hanita and Manara, have been empty for eight months. The town of Kiryat Shmona is deserted. Metula, a community established by Jews in 1896, is a battered ghost town. Fires ignited by Hizbullah rockets rage in forests and fields across the north.
        Hizbullah has successfully moved Israel's northern border a few miles south. Israel's military has been picking off Hizbullah fighters and commanders with air strikes, but no one knows when Israelis who live in the north will be able to return home. (Free Press)
  • An Antisemitic Mass Movement Has Arisen in America - Benjamin Kerstein
    American Jews are reeling from the terrible realization that, contrary to their expectations, no Jewish community is ever immune to history. What has emerged since the Oct. 7 massacre has been rather remarkable: A self-declared "antiracist" movement that embraces antisemitism. An unholy alliance between a totalitarian theocratic movement and ostensibly secular progressives. Institutions of higher education that happily tolerate the most brazen violations of their own codes of conduct. Politicians who preach morality while calling for genocide.
        The first antisemitic mass movement in American history has arisen. There have been antisemitic movements in America before, but never have they been this large, politically influential, violent, and explicitly opposed to the fundamental principles of their own society. Moreover, it has become trendy to hate Israel and the Jews.
        Rarely have we seen a protest movement so brazenly hurl all morality to the winds. To them - and we know this because they say so - murdering, raping, kidnapping and torturing innocent people is a good thing. These protesters are not just morally bankrupt. They are morality's adversary. (JNS)

Sharansky Sees the Return of Marxism - Natan Sharansky interviewed by Ariel Whitman (Globes)
  • Natan Sharansky is a symbol of Jewish national pride. Sharansky, born in Donetsk, Ukraine, was the spokesman for the human rights movement, a prisoner of Zion, and a leader of the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel. He served nine years in the Gulag.
  • Asked about Oct. 7, he said, "We were deeply invested in incorrect concepts. For me, it all started back with Oslo. I said then that the idea of our bringing a dictator [Arafat] to the Palestinians who would make peace with us - because we would make him a dictator by giving him a lot of money - did not make sense. It's just the reverse: the dictator would need us as enemies, and therefore would not make peace with us."
  • "The Jews feel they are part of the liberal world, and the liberal world thinks the progressives are their partners. For years, I wrote...that one day, the liberals would realize they were not partners."
  • "The whole post-modern ideology that divides the world into oppressed and oppressor is neo-Marxism in its most primitive form. In the studies of critical race theories - which have become the Koran of the progressives - if you replace race with class, you get the ideology of the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union."
  • "There, too, the whole war is between one good side and one bad side, between the proletariat and the capitalists. The capitalists are always wrong and should not be given freedom of speech - aside from those who are considered politically correct. And the capitalist world should be destroyed completely, and a just world will be built on this. It is very sad that Marxism has come back after such a huge failure."

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