June 13, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

IDF Eliminates Senior Hizbullah Commander (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF on Wednesday killed senior Hizbullah commander Sami Taleb Abdullah in a strike on a command and control center in southern Lebanon.
    "For many years, [Abdullah] planned, advanced, and carried out a large number of terror attacks against Israeli civilians," the IDF stated.
    Abdullah served as commander of the Nader Brigade since 2016 and was responsible for all forces in the eastern sector of Lebanon.

Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah Realizes the IDF Can Kill Him - Shaked Sadeh (Jerusalem Post)
    For the past 20 years, Hizbullah Brig.-Gen. Sami Taleb Abdullah, who was eliminated in a targeted killing on Wednesday, led rocket fire toward Kiryat Shmona, the Galilee panhandle, and the Golan Heights.
    He is the highest-ranking Hizbullah commander to be killed so far in the war.
    "The operation indicates that Hizbullah's field security is not airtight and that the organization's intelligence system has been penetrated to such an extent that we were able to eliminate such an important sector commander," said Prof. Amatzia Baram, professor emeritus of Middle East history at the University of Haifa.
    Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan "Nasrallah realizes that the IDF has the ability to kill him whenever it wants, and I believe this worries him quite a bit."
    "Contrary to popular belief, Nasrallah is not a suicidal Shiite yearning for death. He understands that he would be next in line to die if a full-scale war breaks out. This poses a significant danger for him."
    "Additionally...it leads to great concern among the commanders, who know they could be next."

Video: Anti-Israel Activists Take Over NYC Subway Car (New York Post)
    Masked demonstrators took over a packed New York City subway car on June 10 and demanded to know if there were any "Zionists" on the train.
    See also Pro-Palestinian Protesters Target NY Subway (YouTube)

Celebrating the Nova Massacre in New York City - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    On Monday, anti-Israel protesters wouldn't let a tribute to Israelis murdered at the Nova Music Festival on Oct. 7 be held in peace.
    Hamas massacred 260 people, mostly young, at that festival. Women were raped and their bodies mutilated before they were killed.
    The butchery and sadism were the point, inflicted out of hatred because the victims were Jews.
    "Long live Intifada," the crowd cheered, waving flares outside the exhibit. Young American adults waved Hamas and Hizbullah flags.
    New York Mayor Eric Adams called the spectacle "pure antisemitism," and he's right.
    On Tuesday night, protesters vandalized the homes of Brooklyn Museum Jewish board members and the building of the museum director.
    The vandals marked their doors with upside down red triangles, a symbol used by Hamas's al-Qassam brigades to identify targets. These families now need protection from the New York Police Department.
    America has an antisemitism problem that is growing in its extremism.

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RAF Flies 250 Surveillance Flights near Gaza in Six Months - George Allison (UK Defence Journal)
    The Royal Air Force has conducted over 250 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sorties near Gaza since December 3, 2023, according to Steffan Watkins, a Canadian research consultant who tracks planes.
    The RAF uses Shadow R.1 ISTAR aircraft to locate hostages, including British nationals.
    The RAF website says, "The Shadow's high-definition electro-optical and electronic sensors complements other platforms and capabilities, helping analysts prepare comprehensive intelligence products."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Blinken: Hamas Will Not Be Allowed to Decide the Future for This Region
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday in Doha, Qatar: "A deal was on the table....Hamas could have answered with a single word: yes. Instead, Hamas waited nearly two weeks and then proposed more changes, a number of which go beyond positions it had previously taken and accepted. As a result...the war that Hamas started on October 7th, with its barbaric attack on Israel and on Israeli civilians, will go on. More people will suffer....Hamas cannot and will not be allowed to decide the future for this region and its people."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also U.S. Accuses Hamas of Prolonging Gaza War - John Hudson (Washington Post)
        See also Israel Deems Hamas's Ceasefire Response "a Rejection of the Agreement" - Itamar Eichner
    Israeli officials described Hamas's reply to U.S. President Joe Biden's ceasefire proposal as a "non-starter," dubbing it "one of the most extreme possible." "From the Israeli side, Hamas's response is a rejection of the agreement," sources told Ynet. (Ynet News)
  • White House: Pro-Palestinian Protest outside New York Exhibit for Oct. 7 Victims "Horrifying" - Alex Gangitano
    White House spokesperson Andrew Bates on Tuesday condemned the pro-Palestinian protest Monday outside the Nova exhibit in New York, which honors the victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. "Profane banners of terrorist organizations should not be flown anywhere, especially not on American streets. Antisemitism has no place in the United States. This horrifying behavior is all the more reason for Americans to stand united against antisemitism and hate in all its forms."  (The Hill)
        See also below Observations: Draft International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Antisemitism - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hizbullah Fires over 200 Rockets at Israel's North - Adi Hashmonai
    Hizbullah launched extensive rocket barrages towards northern Israel on Wednesday, with the IDF reporting over 215 rockets fired, and sirens sounded as far south as Tiberias and Safed, staring fires in towns in the Upper Galilee region. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Responds to UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry Report
    Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday: The June 12, 2024, report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Human Rights Council was published in Geneva: another example of the cynical political theater called the UN, and another example of the low point the organization has reached under UN Secretary-General Guterres.
        The report was prepared by an entity born in sin, which violates the standards of the UN itself - this is the only commission of inquiry that does not have an expiration date - and whose three leaders are all biased and tainted by a distinct anti-Israeli agenda which they expressed in public statements prior to their appointment.
        The report describes an alternate reality in which decades of terrorist attacks have been erased, there are no continuous missile attacks on Israeli citizens, and there isn't a democratic state defending itself against a terrorist assault. To add insult to injury, the report is full of false accusations and blood libels against IDF soldiers. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The U.S.-Backed Ceasefire Plan Ensures Hamas's Survival - Bret Stephens
    In 1977, Ronald Reagan shared his thoughts on the Cold War: "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win, and they lose." What is Joe Biden's theory of victory?
        His style of governance is to manage threats, not defeat them. He believes Israel has a right to protect itself. But his previous insistence that Hamas has to be defeated has given way to a U.S.-backed ceasefire resolution that effectively ensures Hamas's survival.
        He has vowed that Iran will never get nuclear weapons. But in the face of Iran's refusal to give international inspectors access to its nuclear facilities, the U.S. worked to soften a diplomatic censure.
        Biden needs some wins - real, not cosmetic, ones. The Gaza ceasefire isn't it. It merely punts a problem that needs to be solved: Hamas's continued grip over the territory. It begins with a six-week pause in the fighting that might lead to the release of some Israeli hostages in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
        But it risks falling apart because no Israeli government will retreat from all of Gaza while Hamas retains power, and Hamas won't release all the hostages or meet the deal's other terms while Israeli forces remain in the territory. (New York Times)
  • Israelis on Front Lines Say Biden's Peace Plan Is Forcing Them to Fight Forever War - Andrew Tobin
    Israeli reserve soldiers told the Washington Free Beacon that Biden's diplomacy is actually dragging out the Gaza war he is pressing Israel to bring to an end. By restraining Israel, they said, Biden is preventing the Jewish state from defeating or deterring its genocidal enemies.
        "We're here doing the job, so let us finish the job. Otherwise, it will be like this until the end of time," said Emil Grishpun, 40, an infantry reservist. "What we need to do is come to a conclusion quickly, but we need to come to a positive conclusion for us so we don't face the same thing a decade from now," said Etay Inbar, 34, a military intelligence reservist.
        Israelis are overwhelmingly grateful for U.S. military and diplomatic support. But more than eight months into the Gaza war, IDF reservists' frustration with the Biden administration reflects growing awareness in Israel of a conflict between Washington's imagined Middle East and the brutal reality.
        Shilo Marom, 33, in a reserve tank unit that spearheaded the IDF incursion into the Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis, said, "The people of Israel want to defeat Hamas, want to bring back the hostages, and want to go all in. But for some reason we're dragging our feet in the sand in Gaza. The only explanation I have is that Biden is holding us back."
        Kobi Michael, a former head of Palestinian affairs at Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, now a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said the Americans "are normalizing Hamas and keeping Hamas as the sovereign power in Gaza. This will give encouragement to the Iranian axis and create huge challenges for Israel on all the other fronts."
        Michael argued that no Israeli leader could leave Hamas in control of Gaza. U.S. pressure "doesn't mean Israel won't successfully end the war in Gaza, but it means the war will be much more complicated and difficult."  (Washington Free Beacon)
  • The International Community Must Back Israel's Objectives in Gaza - Elie Kirshenbaum
    Last week, the Biden administration, along with 16 other countries, called for Israel to end the war in Gaza without completing its objectives and effectively to enter into a ceasefire agreement with Hamas that would pave the way to a Palestinian state, which would be the ultimate award for the horrific war crimes committed by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.
        The joint statement not only insults Israel and undermines its efforts to achieve victory against Hamas in Gaza, but also emboldens the other enemies of Israel and the Western world who are watching what Israel does to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas. Ending the war with Hamas still governing Gaza would send the message that the crimes of Oct. 7 are allowed to go unpunished.
        The U.S.-led Marshall Plan to rehabilitate Western Europe after WWII was conditioned on the total de-radicalization of German and Italian society. The international community should expect no less of Gaza.
        The statement makes a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. It calls "on the leaders of Israel as well as Hamas to make whatever final compromises are necessary to close this deal." In other words, Israel and Hamas are fighting senselessly like two schoolboys in the playground. This is not a democratic ally of the West fighting a just war against a barbaric terrorist organization. It's just hotheads who are going at it and need to be held back by the cooler heads in the neighborhood.
        This attitude by countries who are supposed to be Israel's friends and allies can only encourage Iran and its proxies to continue to pursue their policy of aggression against Israel and Israeli targets in the West.
        The writer, a lawyer in New York and Israel, is a member of the research division of the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF).  (Ynet News)
  • Andrey Kozlov's Parents Discuss His Ordeal in Hamas Captivity - Dan Raban
    Following the heroic rescue of their son, Andrey Kozlov, his parents, Evgeniia and Mikhail, shared some details about his ordeal in captivity. Andrey was abducted on Oct. 7 from the Nova music festival in Kibbutz Re'im, where he worked as a security guard. He was rescued Saturday, after 246 days in Hamas captivity.
        Evgeniia said, "I felt real pain from one of the sentences Andrey said: 'We experienced things that I will never tell you.' He told us that for two months, they were tied up by their hands and feet. In the first weeks, their hands were tied behind their backs, and after they started tying their hands in front, they joked it was a gift from the terrorists."
        "June 8 has become a day of celebration. All Israelis want to share in our happiness, as if we've become part of them, part of their family. They are all so happy for us. When we're on the street and Andrey is with us, people shout from their cars, 'We're so glad you're back! We're so happy for you!' They shout this to him, to us. It's amazing."
        "We want to show how grateful we are to the IDF and all the security forces who conducted this heroic operation....[Andrey] said that when he held onto the soldiers' uniforms or hands, he felt he was beside true heroes. For him, they are superheroes who fear nothing."
        "I also want to extend my condolences to the family of Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, who fell in the line of duty. To his mother and father, his wife and his young children - I am not one to cry often, but when I learned that Andrey was saved and the next day found out that Arnon had fallen in battle, I cried deeply....Their son is a superhero; his profession was to be a hero, and I have never known people like them, but they are the reason Israel stands. They are the national pride of Israel."  (Ynet News)

  • The widespread outbreak of antisemitism throughout Europe and North America is no longer the covert, under-the-surface, and passive antisemitism that has always existed.
  • Perhaps the most severe and worrying aspect of this phenomenon is that it has now become acceptable and even fashionable to express antisemitic sentiments openly and to call for the boycotting and annihilation of the Jews.
  • The international community has never considered criminalizing antisemitism as an international crime in a manner similar to the criminalization of such acts as genocide, racial discrimination, piracy, hostage-taking, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and terror.
  • To correct what is a vast, long-standing international injustice, this document is intended to universally criminalize antisemitism within the world community in the form of an "International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Antisemitism."
  • The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs first proposed this in 2015. Regrettably, for fear of reactions by Muslim groups and out of a misplaced sense of "political correctness," it was not taken up.
  • In light of the present and most dangerous renaissance of antisemitism, this updated and revised draft convention should be reconsidered at the highest levels, with a view to its urgent adoption by the international community.

    The writer, Director of the Institute for Diplomatic Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, served as Legal Adviser and Deputy Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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