June 16, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

2/3 of Palestinians Still Think Hamas's Oct. 7 Attack on Israel Was Correct Because It "Revived International Attention" to the Conflict - Dr. Khalil Shikaki (PSR-PA)
    73% of Gazans and 57% of West Bank Palestinians still think Hamas's decision to launch its offensive against Israel on Oct. 7 was correct, according to a poll conducted on May 26-June 1, 2024, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and Gaza. The total for both areas was 67%.
    They saw that the attack has "revived international attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that it could lead to increased recognition of Palestinian statehood."
    76% said that, based on their personal experience, the fairness of aid distribution to displaced residents was discriminatory, while only 24% said it was fair.
    63% blame Israel for the current suffering of Gazans in the war, while 22% blame the U.S., 8% blame Hamas, and 4% blame the PA.
    97% think Israel has committed war crimes during the current war, while only 9% think Hamas committed such crimes.
    Overall, 67% expect Hamas to win the war, including 48% in Gaza and 79% in the West Bank. 25% of Gazans, but only 2% in the West Bank, expect Israel to win.
    56% think Hamas will be in control of Gaza after the war, including 46% of Gazans and 62% in the West Bank.
    75% of Palestinians said they were satisfied with Hamas's performance in the current war (82% in the West Bank and 64% in Gaza). 65% were satisfied with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar (76% in the West Bank and 50% in Gaza).
    94% in the West Bank and 83% in Gaza want Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resign.
    65% oppose the idea of a two-state solution. 68% believe the chances for establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the next five years are slim or nonextant.
    63% supported a return to confrontations and armed intifada, up from 55% three months ago.

What Might Break Through Hamas's Popularity? - Bassem Eid (Newsweek)
    For me, as a Palestinian human rights activist, one of the most disappointing phenomena of the ongoing war is the enduring support for Hamas among sectors of the Palestinian general public.
    Support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank - misgoverned by Hamas's archrivals - which rule the Palestinian Authority (PA).
    Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people.
    Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians.
    Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with antisemitic and jihadi content.
    Moreover, the leadership's tactics, such as the glorification and financial reward of acts of violence, commonly referred to as "pay-for-slay" payments, only serve to entrench a culture of violence.
    What is needed now is a concerted effort from the world community to demand a transformation within Palestinian leadership towards moderation and practicality, including ceasing incitement, ending financial incentives for violence, and promoting political and economic stability.
    The writer is a Palestinian peace advocate, political analyst, and human rights pioneer who founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in 1996.

Would BBC Have Wanted Churchill to Warn Germany about Normandy? - Angela Epstein (Daily Express-UK)
    After Israel's daring rescue mission to free four hostages carried into Gaza by Hamas monsters on Oct. 7, the focus has been on the number of Palestinians killed when a sovereign nation rescued its citizens.
    On June 6, 1944, 80 years ago, World War II took a critical turn towards liberating Nazi-occupied Europe with the D-Day landings. Some 20,000 civilians lost their lives during the allied campaign.
    However, the suffering of those caught in the crossfire is swallowed as the necessary price for achieving the greater good.
    Unfortunately, it appears that the mathematics of war don't occur where Israel is concerned.
    Would we have expected the allies to warn Germany before launching their Normandy landings?
    Is Israel the only country in the world which is expected to defend its people without regrettable but inevitable civilian cost?

They Criticized the Entebbe Rescue, Too - Dr. Rafael Medoff (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
    UN officials and Western media have criticized Israel's rescue of four hostages from Gaza. But in 1976, there was criticism of Israel's rescue of hostages from Entebbe, too.
    The Organization of African Unity accused Israel of "wanton aggression" and demanded reparations for damage to the airport in Uganda.
    The Soviet and Chinese governments denounced "Zionist aggression."
    UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim charged that Israel had committed a "serious violation of the sovereignty" of Uganda.
    U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger informed Israel's ambassador in Washington that because the Israelis had used U.S. equipment in the raid, "we will have to put a temporary freeze on military shipments."
    Kissinger insisted that the U.S.-made C-130 transport planes could not be used outside Israel's borders "without prior consultation."
    Israel's prime minister in those days was Yitzhak Rabin, and the government was ruled by the Labor Party - a reminder that whether its leader is named Rabin or Netanyahu, there will always be those who complain when Israel takes action to defend the lives of its citizens.
    The writer is founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Lebanese Journalist: Shiites of South Lebanon Will Welcome Israeli Forces that Rid Them of Hizbullah (MEMRI-TV)
    Lebanese journalist Tony Abi Najem told LBC TV (Lebanon) on June 3, 2024, that Israeli forces would be welcomed in Lebanon if there were an Israeli military operation against Hizbullah.
    He recalled that the Shiites threw rice on the Israeli forces after they got rid of the Fatah presence in South Lebanon in 1982.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In the Search for Hostages, the U.S. Is Israel's Key Intelligence Partner - Shane Harris
    The daring hostage rescue that Israeli military forces mounted in Gaza on June 8 relied on a massive intelligence-gathering operation in which the U.S. has been Israel's most important partner.
        Since the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7, the U.S. has ramped up intelligence collection on the group in Gaza and is sharing an extraordinary amount of drone footage, satellite imagery, communications intercepts and data analysis using advanced software, some of it powered by artificial intelligence, according to U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials.
        Israeli officials said they were grateful for the U.S. assistance, which in some cases has given the Israelis unique capabilities they lacked. But they also insisted that the U.S. was, for the most part, not giving them anything they couldn't obtain themselves.
        The Biden administration has forbidden Israel from using any U.S.-supplied intelligence to target regular Hamas fighters in military operations. The intelligence is only to be used for locating the hostages as well as the top leadership of Hamas.
        The U.S. provided some of the intelligence used to locate and eventually rescue the four Israeli hostages. The information, which included overhead imagery, appears to have been secondary to what Israel collected on its own ahead of the operation. Before the Oct. 7 attacks, the U.S. intelligence community did not consider Hamas a priority target. That changed almost immediately following Oct. 7.
        In the first weeks of the war, Israeli officials in charge of locating the hostages requested specific information from the U.S., as well as technologies and expertise for analyzing large volumes of imagery and overlaying different images to create more detailed pictures, including in three dimensions, of the terrain in Gaza. They provided some "capabilities to us that we never had before Oct. 7," said one Israeli official. A second Israeli official indicated that the U.S. provided highly detailed satellite imagery that Israel lacks.
        U.S. analysts have helped mine the servers, computers, cellphones, notebooks and other documents recovered from Hamas hideouts or command posts for clues about hostage whereabouts. (Washington Post)
  • As War Drags On, Gazans More Willing to Speak Out Against Hamas - Raja Abdulrahim
    Hamas leaders have said they wanted to ignite a permanent state of war with Israel on all fronts as a way to revive the Palestinian cause, However, in interviews with Gaza residents, a number of them said they held Hamas responsible for starting the war and helping to bring death and destruction upon them.
        Gaza photojournalist Motaz Azaiza wrote after he left Gaza: "Cursed be everyone who trafficked in our blood, burned our hearts and homes, and ruined our lives." Obada Shtaya, a Palestinian and a founder of the Institute for Social and Economic Progress, said, "When you realize six months in or seven months in that Gaza is completely destroyed, your life as a Gazan is completely destroyed, that's where people are coming from when they are not supportive of [Hamas leaders] Sinwar or Haniyeh."
        When Hamas attacked Israel, most Gazans supported that "form of resistance," said a lawyer from Gaza. "But what we don't support is them continuing with this war when they have not accomplished any of the goals they set out to accomplish. This isn't resistance. This is insanity."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 8 IDF Soldiers Killed in Gaza when Anti-Tank Missile Strikes Armored Vehicle
    Eight IDF combat engineering soldiers were killed when their armored personnel carrier was struck by an anti-tank missile near Rafah in southern Gaza on Saturday. (Ynet News)
        See also 2 IDF Soldiers Killed in Tank Explosion in Northern Gaza - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Two IDF reserve soldiers were killed on Saturday in an IED explosion in Gaza City. Two other soldiers in the tank were seriously injured. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Announces Daily "Tactical-Humanitarian Pause" in Rafah-Area Fighting - Elisha Ben Kimon
    The IDF announced Sunday it will hold a daily "tactical-humanitarian pause" in military activity on a specific route in southern Gaza from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. to allow humanitarian convoys to pass. The IDF clarified that "there is no cessation of hostilities in southern Gaza and the hostilities in Rafah continue."  (Ynet News)
  • Discrepancies in Data on UN Aid to Gaza
    International bodies and the media rely on UN data on humanitarian aid in Gaza as the source of truth. However, there are significant gaps between the data presented on the UN dashboard and the data collected and published by COGAT-the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. After an in-depth review, it is clear that the UN data presents an incomplete picture of aid going into Gaza, and there is significant underreporting.
        The UN figures not only inconsistently record humanitarian trucks from the private sector and other NGO trucks, but is also missing data on UN aid entering Gaza. These gaps have become extreme in April and May 2024. We have identified underreporting of over 8,000 trucks since Oct. 7, 2023, with 4,880 "missing" trucks in May 2024 alone.
        Historically and according to the UN mandate, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the professional body that should be collecting this data. However, since Oct. 7, the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA has taken over data collection and reporting.
        UNRWA does not have the capabilities to be collecting and presenting the aid data. Their methodology is deeply flawed and their data is missing significant humanitarian aid. This contributes to a distortion between the reality on the ground and the widely accepted reports. (IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • How Hamas Is Trying to Shape the "Day After" in Gaza - Ehud Yaari
    Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in Gaza. Both the Hamas Executive Committee (based in Qatar) and Yahya al-Sinwar's circle of military leaders (in Gaza) have apparently come to realize that the group cannot continue ruling Gaza on its own and must therefore look for partners.
        In particular, they fear that no foreign reconstruction funding will be forthcoming unless they help install a different type of administration nominally led by other Palestinian players. However, they insist that security issues not be part of this government's authority.
        They are confident that they can deter Arab states and other foreign powers from sending forces to Gaza, and have threatened to fight any non-Palestinian presence deployed to police or manage the Strip. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.
        With thousands of its fighters still alive, Hamas is feverishly searching for new ways to stay in charge once a ceasefire is in place. It has offered to relinquish civilian control - but only for the sake of refreshing its military arsenal, rebuilding its tunnel networks, and recruiting fresh manpower.
        Hamas has already gleaned around $120-200 million from taxing humanitarian convoys during the current war.
        In the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, the idea of Hamas playing a role in Gaza's governance is intolerable. To prevent the implementation of this Hamas plan for the "day after," the U.S. and other Western nations could advise Arab states, the PA, and other Palestinian actors not to lend a hand to the group's political resurrection.
        Egyptian President al-Sisi should be put on notice that there will be a price to pay (e.g., regarding congressional oversight of annual U.S. military assistance) if his intelligence services and army personnel keep facilitating weapons smuggling to Hamas through Rafah's cross-border tunnels.
        The writer, a Fellow at the Washington Institute, is a Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 12. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Hamas Terrorists Are Playing the West for Fools - Con Coughlin
    Ending the suffering endured by Palestinian civilians seems to be foremost in the minds of those seeking to implement a ceasefire in Gaza. It is now becoming increasingly evident that it is the fanaticism of Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas terrorist mastermind behind the Oct. 7 atrocities, that is thwarting peace efforts. Sinwar once boasted of strangling one suspected Palestinian collaborator to death with his bare hands.
        Sinwar's sole ambition has been to ensure that Hamas survives in Gaza once hostilities have ended. This explains why, every time the likes of U.S. Secretary of State Blinken arrive in the region bearing new ceasefire offers, the Hamas leadership immediately resorts to its maximalist demand that Israel agree to a complete military withdrawal from Gaza.
        Any ceasefire deal that enables Hamas to maintain any vestige of control in Gaza would be seen as rewarding its leaders for committing gross acts of terrorism. Western policymakers should understand that Hamas, not Israel, is the real obstacle to achieving a lasting peace in Gaza.
        The writer is defense and foreign affairs editor of the Telegraph. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Focus on Hamas War Crimes - Jennifer Rubin
    The Israel Defense Forces' daring operation that rescued four Israeli hostages held for more than eight months provided new context for the war. Hamas committed war crimes on Oct. 7 by killing, raping and abducting civilians. It has continued to commit war crimes by holding civilians hostage and, again, by treating them inhumanely. And in making military targets of civilian homes by turning them into hostage cells, Hamas has again committed war crimes. Any civilian death is regrettable, but in this scenario, Hamas is solely responsible for the casualties resulting from the rescue mission.
        To the extent civilians become participants - including hostage-holding - they lose the protection of international law. Hamas has committed a grave legal and moral wrong in erasing the line between civilians and combatants. Hamas wants more civilians to die. It's incumbent on Israel's harshest critics to dissociate themselves from Hamas enablers and antisemites. If not, they have no claim to the moral high ground. (Washington Post)
  • After Hamas's Latest Ceasefire Rejection - Jason Willick
    Israel has a political and strategic need to finish off Hamas as a fighting force in Gaza. Hamas has an existential need to survive to fight another day. The Biden administration appears to have been laboring for months on the assumption that this contradiction can be papered over with sufficiently elaborate diplomacy. The result has been a predictably failed cycle of ceasefire back and forths.
        It's time for President Biden to stop trying to bridge unbridgeable gaps. His anguished diplomatic straddling has reached the end of the line. Biden can make a hostage deal come sooner if he stops dangling the possibility of increasingly favorable terms for the terrorist group. (Washington Post)

  • Other Issues

  • U.S. Needs to Fully Back Israel's Response to Hizbullah - Amb. Michael Oren interviewed by Hannah Sarisohn
    Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said in an interview on Wednesday: "The United States believes in a country called Lebanon with an army. We believe there's a country called Hizbullah." Oren said the U.S. needs to give Israel full backing to "do what it needs to do" to neutralize the Hizbullah threat. The administration is pressing Israel not to respond to Hizbullah in a more robust fashion.
        "But the situation is simply intolerable," Oren said. "What's happening is that Hizbullah is realizing Israel's worst nightmare which is a war of creeping attrition, where every day the rocket fires are advancing southward, but Hizbullah is not giving us a clear trigger that we can respond to....We cannot play by Hizbullah's rules here, we have to break out of this. It would be extremely important if we had America's backing."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • From the Iranian Mullah State to American Campuses: The Woke's Failed History Lesson - Tirza Shorr
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Hizbullah's "Number Two" Sheikh Naim Qassem recently made statements supporting the student protests around the world and noting their importance for backing Hamas's war against Israel.
        Islamism's appeal to the West in modern times can be traced to Osama Bin Laden's "Letter to America" of 2002, which harshly criticized Western imperialism and hegemony. It also includes appeals to Westerners to familiarize themselves with Islam.
        Twentieth-century Western intellectuals from Foucault to Said and their twenty-first-century students have justified Islamists and excused their repression, extremism, and murder of innocents.
        The Iranian Revolution itself contains a lesson for modern progressives: once Islamist leaders gained power, they brutally repressed and killed thousands of their Iranian Marxist co-revolutionaries in their quest for authoritarian theocracy.
        "There's a common misconception that Khomeini was lying and got people to believe him," said Chahla Chafiq, an Iranian leftist writer and sociologist in exile. "But we must take responsibility....We lied to ourselves....I started to ask, 'How could we not have known that it would be like this?'"
        The writer is a senior researcher and program coordinator at the Jerusalem Center.  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affair)
  • When Protests Cross into Antisemitism, It Hurts the Palestinian Cause - Jo-Ann Mort
    On June 10, protesters unfurled a banner in Union Square in Manhattan that read "Long Live October 7th" - long live a day of death, destruction, rage and abduction aimed almost solely at civilians, including numerous women and children and people in their 70s and 80s who were burned alive in their kibbutz homes.
        The demonstrations that day at the Nova exhibit on Wall Street, the subway system, and some museums were orchestrated by a rejectionist Islamic fundamentalist movement that stands against every tenet of American progressivism.
        The pronounced antisemitism in these protests is a profoundly unsettling phenomenon. If these voices are the ones on the frontline, it is not only hard to see this ending well, but difficult to imagine them delivering a ceasefire or state to the Palestinian people. (Guardian-UK)

New Details from Israel's Gaza Hostage Rescue - Elon Perry (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • On May 12, Israel received intelligence about the location of four hostages in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza. A team of undercover agents who assumed Arab identities were sent in to gather intelligence. After 19 days, Israel had compiled solid and accurate information about the location of the hostages.
  • At the beginning of June, the IDF and the Israel Security Agency were asked to present a rescue plan, and preparations and training for the operation began. Another team of undercover soldiers (including several women dressed in hijabs and long black dresses) was sent into Nuseirat. Pretending to be two Gazan families looking for a large house, they arrived in two old cars loaded with domestic items characteristic of displaced families, with mattresses and clothing identical to those of the locals.
  • They rented a house in the area, paying three times the going rate for rent. After settling into the house and getting to know the area, including shopping at the local market, they did not arouse suspicion. They spoke fluent Arabic with a perfect Gazan accent. To confirm their information on the hostages, part of the team consisted of four female soldiers dressed as Arab women (one feigning being pregnant). Behind them walked four undercover men armed to give them backup.
  • 28 fighters from the Yamam commando unit that specializes in rescuing hostages began training on two specially built models that replicated the two buildings where the hostages were held.
  • On June 8, the Yamam commandos began making their way towards the two buildings in two trucks. The Israeli soldiers eliminated the terrorists guarding Noa Argamani, and within six minutes had rescued her and took her to a waiting helicopter.
  • To rescue the other three hostages on the third floor of the second building became complicated. Some of the commandos used a ladder to enter directly into the room where the three hostages were held, as the rest of the force came up the stairs. Commander Arnon Zamora's team, which broke into the apartment, encountered massive fire from around thirty Hamas terrorists in the apartment They fired machine guns, threw grenades, and some even fired rocket-propelled grenades. The presence of 30 terrorists in the apartment had not been known to the undercover teams.
  • After a 45-minute face-to-face battle, the Israelis managed to eliminate all the terrorists in the apartment, but Arnon Zamora was hit. Three medics and a doctor worked on him, under heavy fire, trying to save his life. Meanwhile, dozens of terrorists emerged from the tunnels around the building and began to fire at the Israeli fighters. Their rescue vehicle was hit by two RPG missiles.
  • The IDF then activated "Plan B," the rescue plan that had been prepared in advance, with supporting fire from ground, sea and air. With the help of tanks, hundreds of soldiers charged on foot into the refugee camp, while navy ships covered them from the west and air force helicopters from the east. Fire from the air hit the terrorists just ten meters from the Israeli soldiers.
  • The IDF says that 104 Palestinians were killed or wounded - all of whom were Hamas terrorists or armed civilians who collaborated with Hamas.

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