June 20, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Recent Increase in Enrichment Capacity at Fordow Could Make Weapon-Grade Uranium for 9 Nukes in 2 Months - David Albright (Institute for Science and International Security)
    Once Iran completes its new plans, Fordow could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for three nuclear weapons within 10 days.
    By the end of the first month, it could produce enough for five nuclear weapons.
    By the end of the second month, it could produce enough for nine nuclear weapons.
    Iran has reached a point where it can not only produce nuclear weapons on-demand but produce large quantities of weapon-grade uranium quickly in a very hard-to-destroy enrichment plant.
    The writer, a former UN weapons inspector, is founder and president of the ISIS in Washington.
    See also Newsflash: Iran Wants a Bomb - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    Evidence keeps accumulating that Tehran is fast pressing ahead with its nuclear ambitions.
    U.S. and Israeli officials reportedly believe Iran may be developing computer models necessary to build a bomb.
    New intelligence suggests Tehran is starting work on the missiles necessary to deliver the atomic bombs.

White House Cancels Security Meeting in Protest over Netanyahu Video - Barak Ravid (Axios)
    The White House canceled a high-level U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue on Iran scheduled for Thursday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday claiming the U.S. was withholding military aid, two U.S. officials said.
    See also Netanyahu Tells Visiting Congressmen He Hopes Munitions Issue Will Be Resolved Soon (Prime Minister's Office)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday in Jerusalem with a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation led by former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
    The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the bipartisan support for Israel and said he hopes that the munitions issue will be resolved soon.
    See also Netanyahu: U.S. Promised to Lift Hold on Ammunition, Weapons - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    "U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew told Prime Minister Netanyahu Tuesday that the ammunition and weapons that the PM referred to are in the process of being delivered to Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said he expects this to happen," the Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday on X.

Hizbullah Threatens Galilee Invasion - Lior Ben Ari (Ynet News)
    Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday that "an invasion of the Galilee remains on the table if the confrontation [with Israel] escalates."

Shipping Industry Urges Red Sea Action as Houthis Sink Second Vessel - Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
    Urgent action must be taken in the Red Sea to stop attacks on merchant shipping by Yemen's Houthis, the world's top shipping associations said on Wednesday, after the sinking of a second ship.
    The Greek-owned Tutor coal carrier attacked by the Houthis in the Red Sea last week has sunk, salvagers confirmed on Wednesday. The vessel was struck with missiles and an explosive-laden remote-controlled boat.
    "Attack drone boats are harder to defend against and potentially more lethal as they strike the waterline," one industry source said. "Missiles have - to date - mainly caused deck and superstructure damage."
    There have been 10 Houthi strikes so far in June compared with five in May, said Munro Anderson, head of operations at marine war risk and insurance specialist Vessel Protect.
    "The first successful use of an unmanned surface vessel represents a new challenge for commercial shipping."
    Insurance industry sources said that with a second ship sinking, rates are likely to firm up, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to every voyage.

Former Israeli Hostage and Peace Activist: "I Understand Hamas Doesn't Want Peace" - Hafsa Khalil (BBC News)
    Ada Sagi, 75, an Israeli peace activist who was seized from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 and held hostage for 53 days in Gaza, told Britain's Radio 4 on Wednesday how her ordeal destroyed her belief that peace is possible between Palestinians and Israelis.
    "I don't believe in peace, no. I don't believe, sorry," the Arabic and Hebrew teacher said. "I understand Hamas don't want it."

Hamas Desperate for Manpower, Enlists 16-Year-Olds - Shachar Kleiman (Israel Hayom)
    Hamas is struggling to fill its ranks with new recruits, after nearly half of its members, more than 14,000, have been eliminated so far.
    The number of new Hamas recruits is estimated by Israel at hundreds in the past two months.
    Its control over the territory is deteriorating, with local clans seizing control of humanitarian aid distribution.
    Yoni Ben Menachem, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said, "most of the recruits are teenagers aged 16 and above, whom Hamas' military wing is recruiting in exchange for payment....These youngsters know the terrain well and run fast."
    At this stage, Hamas is still in the "twilight phase" - the transition from a military force with near-absolute rule to a guerrilla organization with limited capabilities.

Canada Lists Iran's Revolutionary Guards as Terrorist Group - Ashley Burke (CBC-Canada)
    The Canadian government is listing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization under Canada's Criminal Code after years of mounting pressure, federal ministers said Wednesday.
    "This action sends a strong message that Canada will use all of the tools at its disposal to combat the terrorist entity of the IRGC," Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said.
    The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian armed forces that answers directly to Iran's supreme leader.
    The IRGC shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 above Tehran in January 2020, killing 175 passengers, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

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Wikipedia Labels Top Jewish Civil Rights Group as Unreliable - David Goldman (CNN)
    Wikipedia's volunteer moderators voted last week to label the Anti-Defamation League as a "generally unreliable" source on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in a stunning rebuke to one of the world's preeminent authorities on anti-Jewish hate and a significant advocate for the rights and causes of American Jews.
    An ADL spokesman said, "It is deeply disturbing that the many editors who flagged the severe flaws and inaccuracies in both the reasoning and sources being used in this campaign to delegitimize ADL are being ignored."
    "They have provided point-by-point refutations, grounded in factual citations, to every claim made, but apparently facts no longer matter."

Northern Cyprus Has Become a Terror Safe-Haven - Michael Rubin (1945)
    50 years ago, Turkish troops poured into Cyprus and seized one-third of the island in a naked land grab, no different than Russia invading Ukraine. This was followed by settlers from Turkey pouring into the occupied zone.
    Northern Cyprus has now become a terror safe-haven and money laundering hub that presents a grave and growing threat to U.S. and European security.
    In March 2024, Turkish President Erdogan lamented that had the Turkish Army gone further in its invasion, all of Cyprus would be a Turkish state today.
    School teachers in northern Cyprus report that half their students today speak nothing but Arabic or Persian.
    Cypriot intelligence has already disrupted a number of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps plots aimed at Israel and Jewish interests in Cyprus.
    Refusing to call Cyprus occupied is stupid. The U.S. and Europe should calibrate their policy to reality rather than wishful thinking.
    They should shut down all so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) offices, and they should deny their airspace to any airline that serves airports in the occupied zone.
    The U.S. should calibrate any assistance to Turkey to its withdrawal of forces and settlers from Cyprus. President Biden's provision of F-16s to Turkey is a legacy-defining mistake.
    The writer is director of policy analysis at the Middle East Forum and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Signals a Major Boost in Nuclear Program at Key Site - Joby Warrick
    International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have confirmed a major expansion underway inside the Fordow enrichment plant, Iran's most heavily protected nuclear facility, that could soon triple the site's production of enriched uranium and give Tehran new options for quickly assembling a nuclear arsenal, according to confidential documents and analysis by weapons experts. Iran also disclosed plans for expanding production at its main enrichment plant near the city of Natanz.
        At Fordow alone, the expansion could allow Iran to accumulate several bombs' worth of nuclear fuel every month. Iran already possesses a stockpile of about 300 pounds of highly enriched uranium that could be further refined into weapons-grade fuel for nuclear bombs within weeks, or perhaps days, U.S. intelligence officials say. (Washington Post)
  • Biden Administration Delaying Sale of 50 F-15 Fighter Jets to Israel - Jared Malsin
    Two top congressional Democratic leaders on May 22 removed a hold they had placed on the sale of 50 F-15 jet fighters to Israel, but the administration hasn't yet formally notified lawmakers of the sale, according to administration and congressional officials.
        "There is no policy guidance to slow down transfers to Israel," a State Department official said. "We are looking tactically at the timing. It is not a question of whether; it is a question of when." If the sale is formally approved, the F-15s would likely be delivered in about five years, congressional officials said.
        Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in an English-language video on Tuesday: "It's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel."
        The U.S. has sent Israel tens of thousands of bombs, tank and artillery ammunition, precision weapons and air-defense equipment since the war began, often drawing on weapons transfers that have been previously approved by Congress. The Biden administration in May paused a shipment of weapons that included bombs as the White House was urging Israel to pull back from a full-scale assault on Rafah in southern Gaza. U.S. officials said Israel has adjusted its tactics in response to White House concerns. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also U.S. Officials: It Will Be Easier to Release Suspended Arms Shipment Once Israel Ends Its Military Operation in Rafah - Barak Ravid (Axios)
        See also below Commentary: Northern Flare-Up Heightens Importance of Stalled U.S. Arms Flow - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Says Rafah Attack near Completion - Steve Hendrix
    Six weeks after it defied its allies and attacked Rafah, Israel is close to achieving its goals in the Gaza city it says was Hamas's final stronghold, according to Israeli officials and analysts. This raises the possibility that months of major military operations might soon give way to a new, less-intense phase of the conflict.
        A complete end to the war is not in sight. Hamas still holds Israeli hostages. The Israel Defense Forces said it has destroyed most of Hamas's 24 battalions, but lone fighters and small groups are still launching rockets into Israel and targeting troops in areas of Gaza under Israel's control.
        What comes next is a slower-tempo, targeted campaign of raids to keep Hamas from regrouping. Those mop-up operations will be carried out by a smaller number of Israeli troops, according to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry. "They are getting closer and closer to finishing major operations, and then we move to Phase 3," Kuperwasser said. "Rafah was critical. Things are going to change. But it's not the end of the war."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Experts: ICC, UN Blamed Israel for a Famine that Never Happened in Gaza - Seth J. Frantzman
    Columbia University Professors Awi Federgruen and Ran Kivetz have analyzed available data and their "findings demonstrate that sufficient amounts of food are being supplied into Gaza." They note that it is "a myth that Israel is responsible for famine in Gaza" and that the International Criminal Court and UN have joined Hamas in blaming Israel for a "famine that never was, hoping to stop the war."
        Federgruen is Chair of Columbia University Business School's Decision, Risk and Operations Division and an expert in supply chains, logistics, and data science. Ran Kivetz is a Professor at Columbia University Business School and an expert on the intersection between behavioral economics and political science.
        "We found that the food supply entering Gaza is more than sufficient to feed all 2.2 million Gazans according to what is considered a normal diet in North America....We can say with a high degree of professional confidence that if there was a famine somewhere in Gaza, it was not instigated by Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • In Rafah, "There Is Almost No Home without a Tunnel" - Tovah Lazaroff
    Nahal Brigade Commander Col. Yair Zuckerman spoke Tuesday on the 41st day of the battle for Rafah about the extent to which Hamas has integrated itself into the civilian area. "Rafah is filled with tunnels," he said. "During the last days alone, I found 17 tunnels. There is almost no home without a tunnel."
        Homes are boobytrapped with wired explosives that can be detonated at a distance. Last week four soldiers were killed when a bomb was set off in a home. Soldiers have found caches of weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and long-range rockets. Zuckerman described a situation in which a myriad of small successes would ultimately lead to complete victory. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also In Rafah, IDF Focuses on Hamas Tunnels - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S. Military Assistance to Israel

  • Northern Flare-Up Heightens Importance of Stalled U.S. Arms Flow - Herb Keinon
    U.S. agreement to go ahead with a massive arms deal that includes F-15 fighter jets, air-to-air missiles, and JDAM kits that turn "dumb" bombs into precision-guided ones would send a strong signal to Hizbullah and Iran of continued U.S. military support for Israel, despite disagreements over how the war is being waged in Gaza. The knowledge that the U.S. is resupplying Israel may convince those in Lebanon with Hizbullah ties that reaching a diplomatic solution is preferable to escalating hostilities.
        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he raised the subject with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his recent visit, adding that Blinken "assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that's the case. It should be the case. Israel, America's closest ally, [is] fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies."
        Israel's enemies are watching to see if America is slowing down its supply of arms, something that could lead to a fatal miscalculation on their part. A perception that the U.S. does not militarily have Israel's back may very well lead Hizbullah and Iran to a degree of adventurism they would not embark on were they certain that the security relationship between the two countries has not been adversely affected.
        Netanyahu's urgent plea to the U.S. also has to do with the recent escalation in the North and the need for Israel to have its weapons stockpiles refilled in case it needs to turn from the war in Gaza to a major military campaign in Lebanon. Netanyahu said in his video: "During World War II, Churchill told the United States, 'Give us the tools; we'll do the job.' And I say, give us the tools and we'll finish the job a lot faster." Israel is not asking for the U.S. to fight on its behalf, but only for the wherewithal to do so itself. (Jerusalem Post)

  • The Gaza War

  • U.S. Officials Don't See Clear Path to Ending War in Gaza as Ceasefire Talks Stall - Erin Banco
    Biden administration officials increasingly doubt that Israel and Hamas will reach a comprehensive ceasefire deal under the current framework proposed by President Biden, according to four U.S. officials. Hamas wants Israel to agree to a full withdrawal from Gaza. But Israeli officials have said they will not agree until its forces have fully dismantled Hamas.
        "I think this is going to go on until at least the end of 2024," one Biden official said. Top Biden administration officials are now publicly blaming Hamas for creating obstacles to peace. (Politico)
  • The Devastating Reframing of Israel's Just War Against Hamas - Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed
    Since the inception of the Israel/Hamas war, the world has witnessed the remarkable, rapid, and deeply persistent denial by millions around the world of the Hamas atrocities. Global leaders have almost universally condemned Israel for its actions in Gaza, largely granting Hamas a pass, often lionizing Hamas with privileged victimhood status, and erasing Hamas from the war it intentionally launched.
        As an observing Muslim who has protested Islamism, the vicious imposter masquerading as my great religion, I traveled to Israel in mid-October to see the outcomes of the actions of Hamas in person.
        As a physician, I saw firsthand the bodies of the dead, their charred, mutilated remains, their X-rays and CT scans, their incinerated teeth and vertebrae, their ashes. I immersed myself in the findings of pathologists, forensic scientists and anthropologists, taking notes, photographs, videos and pouring over medical images.
        Many vilify Israel, and many more remain silent on the Hamas atrocities. This silence is perhaps the most powerful weapon in Hamas's arsenal. It has fundamentally ruptured the sense that the lives of Jews and all Israelis, including Druze, Muslims and Christians, matter.
        The writer, a British-American Muslim, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York and an Honorary Fellow at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. (Times of Israel)

  • Iran

  • Israel Must Adopt a New Approach to Block Iranian Nuclear Weapons - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei continues his ultimate strategy to achieve an atomic weapon of mass destruction. Israel should make a substantial switch in its working priorities to prevent Iran from reaching its goal. For more than two decades, Israel has concentrated on Iran's enrichment of uranium.
        The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60% - which is 98% of the way to weapons-grade material. Thus, Iran's decision not to enrich uranium now to 90% is meaningless. Tehran now has enough enriched uranium to create weapons-grade material for seven nuclear weapons within a month, according to experts' analyses.
        Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on Iran's weaponization actions, and weakening the regime, hoping it will lead to its replacement. Nuclear scientists in Teheran have revived the weaponization program, focusing on special materials, simulation, fast detonators, computerized models, and many other related areas. American and Israeli intelligence should focus on the Iranian weaponization development threat and build all necessary capabilities to strike the program's components.
        The biggest danger threatening Israel's existence remains Iran's nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.
        The writer, a professor at the Technion, served as Israeli National Security Advisor and as acting head of the National Security Council. (Ynet News)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • A Palestinian State Will Lead to War Against the U.S. - Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf
    Despite Iranian strategists currently focusing mainly on Israel, Tehran will inevitably turn its attention and resources back to America. Peace, in the Western sense, is not what Iran and its Islamist allies seek. By supporting a Palestinian state, they psychologically manipulate Western naivety and promote their interests based on Islamist values. A Palestinian state is only the first step in the plan to establish Iranian "proxy states" that will serve as its diplomatic soldiers in the next war.
        The writer is a senior fellow and analyst in political psychology at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a member of the emergency division of the IDF Home Front Command. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Shooting Attacks from PA on Israeli Towns - Moshe Phillips
    For the third time in two weeks, Hamas terrorists standing within the municipal boundaries of Tulkarm in the Palestinian Authority unleashed a barrage of gunfire aimed at the nearby Israeli town of Bat Hefer. Then they posted a video of the shooting on social media. There have been similar attacks targeting Kibbutz Meirav, near the PA city of Jenin.
        These incidents lay bare the flaws in the ongoing crusade to establish a Palestinian state. Statehood proponents use soothing terms such as "security guarantees" and "demilitarization," but those words are worthless. No Arab regime has ever been demilitarized, and nobody can "guarantee" Israel's security - because no other government will ever have the political will to forcibly demilitarize or guarantee anything.
        The PA has a huge police and security force. Why didn't they arrest the shooters? When the PA signed the Oslo Accords back in 1993-1995, it explicitly undertook to act against terrorists. The PA's original 12,000-man police force that the Accords authorized have illegally ballooned into a 60,000-man de-facto army - making it the sixth-largest per-capita security force in the world.
        If Jenin and Tulkarm are filled with terrorists now, just imagine how much worse it would be if the PA's fourth-largest and sixth-largest cities were part of a State of Palestine? All sorts of weapons would flow freely into these cities. Who is going to stop that? Israel's critics say that Israelis can trust that a Palestinian state will be peaceful. These latest shootings are a reminder that the exact opposite is true. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Gave Work Permits, While Palestinians Planned Oct. 7 Massacre - Bassam Tawil
    On the eve of Hamas's Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel, Israeli authorities had issued permits to work in Israel to 18,500 Palestinians from Gaza. The Palestinians from Gaza received many of the same rights as Israeli workers, including health insurance and pension plans. The workers had far higher earnings in Israel than in Gaza. The Israeli authorities were discussing increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians in Gaza.
        Oct. 7 forced Israel to revoke the work permits for security reasons, while work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank were also suspended. More than 170,000 Palestinians had been working in Israel, constituting an important source of income for the Palestinian economy.
        The Oct. 7 atrocities serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians or strengthening their economy. Instead, the conflict is about the desire of the majority of Palestinians to slaughter Jews and destroy Israel. A massacre was not the outcome many had expected after the Israelis' willingness to help improve the lives of their Palestinian neighbors. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • Is Hamas Bound by International Law? - Amanda Taub
    Since the attacks of Oct. 7, every legal expert I have asked has concluded: Hamas's attacks on civilians that day, including killing, torture, and hostage-taking, were war crimes. And because many hostages are still being held, that crime remains ongoing. Tom Dannenbaum, a Tufts University professor, told me there was "no question" Hamas's attack had involved multiple war crimes. "Those are not close calls," he said.
        Even though Hamas is not a state government, it is still bound by the laws of war. "The applicability of the law is triggered by the existence of an armed conflict," said Janina Dill, co-director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict. Once conflict begins, every organized armed group participating is bound by international humanitarian law.
        Those laws are universal. No military cause is so just that it allows its proponents to violate international humanitarian law in order to achieve it. "All parties have the same obligations regardless of how just their overall cause is, and regardless of whatever legitimacy or alleged illegitimacy of that entity," said Marko Milanovic, a professor of public international law at the University of Reading in England. In addition, all individuals are subject to international criminal law regardless of whether they are affiliated with a government or nonstate armed group.
        Given the broad consensus that Hamas committed war crimes, the inability of the international legal system to address those acts immediately can make it seem like an ineffective or even futile institution. If states do not voluntarily carry out arrest warrants or abide by the judgments of international courts, there is no central authority to force them to comply.
        Nor does Hamas appear to believe that support from ordinary Palestinians depends on demonstrating compliance with international law. Its fighters filmed themselves carrying out the Oct. 7 attacks and Hamas posted some of the material publicly, which suggests it may have anticipated gaining legitimacy as a result of the violence. (New York Times)
  • Al Jazeera - Feeding the Muslim Brotherhood's Political Agenda to the Arab World - Suzan Quitaz
    On May 5, 2024, the Israeli government accused Al Jazeera (AJ) of being a threat to its national security and a "mouthpiece for Hamas," closing the channel in Israel for 45 days.
        The broadcaster has a long track record of being barred from operating in several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco, for similar charges.
        U.S. State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said on May 7, 2024, "We think Al Jazeera ought to be able to operate in Israel." Yet in 2016, America ordered the closure of AJ America.
        AJ is a well-known brand with enormous viewership. It understands how to target or manipulate its target audience. Its Arabic output is catered to appeal to the Arab Street mindset. The reportage is often emotionally charged, containing images of raw and brutal violence and bloodshed, displaying seriously injured and distressed civilians and even showing dead people.
        A second important factor to AJ's massive success is that it does not need to make a profit like other media outlets. Since its establishment in 1996, it has received billions of dollars from the rulers of Qatar.
        Iraqi journalist Sufian Al-Samarrai, Chairman of the Baghdad Post, calls Al Jazeera "nothing more than a platform of armed political Islamist gangs, and their ferocity and terrorism are promoted as a legitimate resistance." Its goal is "to overthrow the current secular-conservative Arab regimes...paving the way for political Islam, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, to take over the region."
        The writer is a Kurdish-Iraqi journalist. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Time to Quash the Palestinian Lies about Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    The Palestinian media are again recycling the false claim that "the Jews have no ties with the Western Wall" in Jerusalem. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that "the Muslims own the exclusive religious, historical and legal rights to the Western Wall, which is part of Al-Aqsa." The Palestinian Authority even claimed that there is no documented record that the Jews designated the Western Wall as a site for ritual worship at any time, only doing so after the Balfour Declaration in 1917. In this way, the Palestinians are essentially turning history upside down, falsifying it and rewriting it.
        The Western Wall became the Jews' principal place of prayer in 1546, following the earthquake that rocked Jerusalem in that year that caused the buildings adjacent to the Western Wall to collapse. It enabled the Turks to respond to the Jews' request and to allocate them an extremely narrow alleyway to be used for prayers.
        Moreover, historical testimony shows that after the Muslim conquest of the land allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem more than one thousand years ago (after the Christians had forced them out of the city), they prayed alongside the Western Wall, much of which was free of Muslim construction. Jews prayed at the southern corner of the Western Wall as well as along its northern parts: in the vicinity of the Cotton Merchants' Gate, the Iron Gate and the Council Gate.
        Until Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099, a synagogue known as the "Cave" operated in an underground space beneath Warren's Gate in the Western Wall. The "Cave" was located exactly opposite where the Holy of Holies was believed to have stood. The Cairo Geniza, which was discovered some 160 years ago in the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, also contained documentation of Jewish prayers at the Western Wall dating back to the ninth and ten centuries.
        A long list of Muslim sources and clerics have for 1,350 years identified the Temple Mount as the site of the Jewish Temple. Persian historian Abu Ja'far al-Tabari (838-923), one of the first, most prominent and renowned commentators on the Qu'ran and the Muslim tradition, wrote that the Temple Mount "was built by Solomon, the son of David."
        The Muslim claim that the Western Wall was actually one of the walls of Al-Aqsa only took root following 1967, after the Muslims expanded the definition of Al-Aqsa from the southern mosque alone and applied it to the entire compound and its surrounding walls. (Israel Hayom)
  • Where Is the Red Cross? - Hen Mazzig
    In 1997, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) treated 72 hostages being held at the Japanese Ambassador's home in Peru for nearly 80 days, eventually securing their release. One year prior, aid workers provided care to 26 members of a World Wildlife Fund research mission after they were captured in Indonesia. All but two hostages survived. It has provided aid to hostages and prisoners of war in countless other conflicts over the past century and a half.
        When it comes to Jews and Israelis, however, the supposed "impartial" humanitarian agency has proved to be an abject failure. The ICRC collaborated with the Nazis by covering up their crimes against humanity during the Holocaust, and in 1997 its then director of archives George Willemin acknowledged the organization's "moral failure." Yet here we are, 27 years later, and the ICRC is failing Israel and the international Jewish community once again.
        It's been over eight months since Hamas's capture of over 200 innocent civilians. And the international aid group has yet to fulfil its most basic tenet, to check on and provide care for the hostages held by Hamas. I witnessed this double standard play out during my military service with the IDF. As a humanitarian officer stationed in the West Bank and Gaza, I helped coordinate visits by ICRC workers with members of Hamas and their families to ensure they received care.
        The absence of a ceasefire hasn't stopped the ICRC from intervening on behalf of hostages in past active armed conflicts. Yet it has not made any serious demands of Hamas nor the UN to gain access to the Israeli hostages. An organization whose primary purpose is to care for all victims of war has suddenly become incapable of doing so when those victims are Israeli. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
        See also Israel Seeks to Replace Red Cross for Palestinian Prisoner Visits - Jeremy Sharon
    The Israeli government has told the High Court of Justice it is devising a new mechanism to provide visitation rights and legal representation for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, as an alternative to visits by the Red Cross. The government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been highly critical of the Red Cross during the war, in particular its failure to gain access to the Israeli hostages held by Hamas and deliver them medicine. (Times of Israel)

How Hamas Orchestrates Images to Manipulate Our Feelings - Herta Muller (Truth of the Middle East)
  • The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when Palestinian Hamas terrorists committed an unimaginable massacre in Israel, killing 1,200 people. They filmed themselves as heroes and celebrated their bloodbath. The terrorists dragged severely abused hostages back home to Gaza, and presented them as spoils of war to the jubilant Palestinian population.
  • This massacre by Hamas is a total derailment from civilization. There is an archaic horror in this bloodlust that I no longer thought possible in this day and age. The destruction of the Jews and the destruction of Israel remain the goal and desire of Hamas. This is exactly the same as in Iran, where the destruction of the Jews has been state doctrine since 1979.
  • In Gaza, you cannot separate the civilian from the military. The Israeli army was forced to defend itself and to make itself guilty by destroying the infrastructure with all the civilian victims. It is precisely this inevitability that Hamas wanted and is exploiting. It has been directing the news that goes out to the world. Hamas controls the selection of images and orchestrates our feelings. Our feelings are their strongest weapon against Israel.
  • Since Oct. 7, I have been thinking about a book about the Nazi era, Quite Normal Men (Ganz normale Manner), by Christopher R. Browning. He describes the annihilation of Jewish villages in Poland by Reserve Police Battalion 110, when the large gas chambers and crematoria in Auschwitz did not yet exist. It was like the bloodlust of the Hamas terrorists at the music festival and in the kibbutzim.
  • In just one day in July 1942, the 1,500 Jewish inhabitants of the village of Jozefow were slaughtered. Children and infants were shot in the street in front of their houses, the old and sick in their beds. All the others were driven into the forest, where they had to strip naked and crawl on the ground. They were tortured, then shot and left lying in a bloody forest. This reserve police battalion did not consist of SS men or Wehrmacht soldiers, but of civilians who were no longer considered suitable for military service because they were too old.
  • I lived in a dictatorship for over thirty years. I am appalled that young people, students in the West, have apparently lost the ability to distinguish between democracy and dictatorship. It is outrageous when Israel's war in Gaza is portrayed as an arbitrary war of conquest and annihilation by a colonial power.
  • It is absurd that homosexuals and queer people demonstrate for Hamas as they did in Berlin on Nov. 4. It is no secret that not only Hamas, but the entire Palestinian culture, despises and punishes LGBTQ people. As blogger David Leatherwood wrote on X: Demonstrating for Palestine as a queer person is like demonstrating for Kentucky Fried Chicken as a chicken.

    The writer, a Romanian-German novelist, is a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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