June 25, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

The Truth about U.S. Weapons Shipments to Israel - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    In the ongoing dispute over weapons shipments from the U.S. to Israel, the Americans are obscuring the truth.
    Multiple shipments of various types of ammunition to Israel have been delayed since February - for four months. This far exceeds the single weapons shipment President Joe Biden mentioned.
    The delayed shipments include artillery, tank and air combat ammunition - weapons Israel has already paid for - as well as thousands of JDAM kits that convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
    Netanyahu accurately described the situation. He released a video criticizing Washington after months of quiet diplomacy failed to resolve the issue, which effectively froze weapons deliveries.
    The actual delays stem from State Department officials who are not processing the required export permits for these shipments to Israel.

Hizbullah: Our Real War Is with America, Not Israel (MEMRI-TV)
    Hizbullah foreign relations chief Khalil Rizk told Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV on June 17, 2024, "Is this war now with Israel? My answer is that this is not a war with Israel. Israel is merely a tool. The main war, the real war, is with America."

There Is No Famine in Gaza - Jake Wallis Simons (Telegraph-UK)
    A UN body, the Famine Review Committee, has debunked the allegation of mass starvation in Gaza.
    It "does not find the [famine prediction] analysis plausible given the uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence."
    It turned out that officials who predicted famine had ignored the private food lorries that had been sent into Gaza, as well as deliveries to bakeries by the World Food Program.
    In Tel Aviv last week, I met a paratrooper officer who had been fighting in Gaza the previous day. Palestinians had surrendered while strapped with explosives, he said, and children had fired on his men.
    In almost every abandoned house he had found an Arabic copy of Mein Kampf, common as dictionaries.
    The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle-UK.

Israel Is Not Very Good at Apartheid or Genocide - David Suissa (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
    You can really feel the dishonesty of the apartheid lie when you see Muslims in religious garb strolling leisurely through Jerusalem, including shopping at the Mamilla Mall. You won't see any fear on their faces of being among Jews.
    At the King David Hotel, an Arab maitre'd recognized me from many years ago. He's been working there for 47 years. Ask him about apartheid.
    As for the lie of genocide, between 1950 and 2024, the Arab population of both Israel and the Palestinian territories has grown from 944,807 to 5,494,964.
    In Gaza, the population has grown from 265,800 in 1960 to 2.1 million in 2023. Some genocide.

BBC Accused of Not Disclosing that Killed Palestinian Journalists Were Hamas Supporters - Patrick Sawer (Telegraph-UK)
    The BBC was too quick to describe Palestinian militants and activists killed in the Gaza war as journalists.
    The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) said that 55 out of 69 Gazans and Lebanese described as journalists in a BBC Arabic article about media workers killed since Oct 7 had either voiced support for the killing of Israelis or had worked for outlets which did.
    Additionally, Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that more than half the journalists that the Hamas media office says were killed in Gaza between Oct. 7, 2023, and Feb. 18, 2024, were affiliated with terrorist organizations, including 44 from Hamas and 19 from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Are Proving Why Israel Is Needed - Mijal Bitton (CNN)
    The virulence of college demonstrators is only intensifying the fear Americans Jews are feeling.
    The more the protesters demonize Israel, the more they reawaken Jewish identity and strengthen Zionism.
    We have found out that too many of our allies here at home refuse to speak up when Israelis are murdered or when American Jews who care about Israel are excluded from polite society.
    Last week, protesters in Lower Manhattan targeted an exhibit dedicated to the memory of the hundreds of young Israelis murdered or kidnapped from the Nova music festival. They unfurled a banner proclaiming "Long Live October 7" and held signs declaring that Zionists "are not Jews and not human."
    Days earlier, crowds chanted "kill another Zionist now" across from the White House in Washington.
    But paradoxically, every day since Oct. 7, I have also seen how this rise in antisemitism and anti-Zionist rhetoric is inspiring Jewish pride and solidarity with Israel among so many young Jews.
    These young Jews share the life-altering experience of deep disillusionment with previous professional or social homes.
    Nearly every young person I know has had a (former) friend express sympathy for Hamas, been the recipient of antisemitic comments on social media or seen overt antisemitism in their neighborhood.
    Multiple Jewish university students are rediscovering that they belong to a rich history of Jews who experienced othering and expulsions but whose greatest strength was in each other.
    They are rediscovering the millennia-old Jewish rituals and community structures that nourish belonging. And they are rediscovering Zionism.
    This is not surprising. The Zionist dreamers of the 1800s and 1900s were motivated to build a Jewish state by the realization that their neighbors in an "enlightened" Europe were incubating a hatred so dangerous it could lead to their genocide.
    For most of us American Jews, Zionism is the belief that Jews have a right to self-determination in their historical homeland.
    At the heart of Zionism is the security in having at least one place in the world that never closes its doors to displaced and oppressed Jews.
    The latest Pew study on Jewish Americans shows that for 82%, caring about Israel is an important or essential part of what being Jewish means to them.
    The protests unleashed a relentless antisemitic wave in America, but they also have awakened Zionism in the hearts of American Jews who now understand that Israel is at least one place on Earth that can truly guarantee that Jews will always be welcome.
    The writer is the spiritual leader of the Downtown Minyan in New York City and a sociologist of American Jews.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israelis Blame Hamas for Gazans' Suffering - Isabel Kershner
    Michael Zigdon, who operates a small food shack in Netivot, 10 miles from the Gaza border, and had employed two men from Gaza until the Oct. 7 attack, said, "Who wants this war and who doesn't? It wasn't us who attacked them on Oct. 7." Like many Israelis, he blamed Hamas for embedding itself in residential areas, endangering Gaza's civilians. Armed groups from Gaza have fired barrages of rockets toward the city over the years. One struck Netivot on Oct. 7 and killed a 12-year-old boy, his father and grandfather.
        Rachel Riemer, 72, a longtime resident of Kibbutz Urim, 10 miles from the Gaza border, recalled that, during a previous round of fighting, she had donated money for blankets for Gazan children. "This time, I don't have a place in my heart to pity them," she said of Gaza's civilians. "Emotionally, I can't."
        Many Israelis see Gaza's civilians as complicit, at least ideologically, in the atrocities of Oct. 7, saying that they brought Hamas to power in the first place, in Palestinian elections in 2006, and that they had not expressed much remorse.
        Avi Shilon, an Israeli historian based in Tel Aviv, explained that the Oct. 7 assault - when attackers killed people in their homes, at a music rave, in roadside bomb shelters and at army bases - was broadly seen by the Israeli public as being "just about killing Jews," turning the ensuing war into a visceral battle: "Either us or them."
        The Hebrew news media is still filled with stories of loss and courage from Oct. 7. Israelis have watched gruesome video clips of the Oct. 7 atrocities filmed by Hamas gunmen as well as hostage videos released by the armed groups holding them. A few survivors said they recognized Gazans they had previously employed among the infiltrators. Many Israelis say they were also galled by images of Gazans flocking to the beach while the Israeli hostages remained in the dark. (New York Times)
  • Yemen's Houthis Undeterred by U.S. Campaign to Halt Red Sea Attacks - Susannah George
    Despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes against Yemen's Houthi fighters, they have continued to draw from an arsenal of increasingly advanced weapons to attack vessels in and around the Red Sea. Just this month, Houthi militants sank one ship and set another ablaze. They have launched swarms of drones at U.S. warships and deployed a remote-controlled boat packed with explosives, tactics and weapons associated with the group's patron, Iran.
        Referring to the faltering U.S. efforts to halt Houthi operations and protect global shipping, Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen who is now a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, noted, "Their ability to replace whatever we destroy is unimpeded and our ability to interdict materiel coming into the country negligible."
        Since November, the Pentagon has recorded more than 190 attacks on either U.S. military vessels or commercial shipping off the coast of Yemen, including nearly 100 since U.S. airstrikes began in January. (Washington Post)
        See also below Commentary: How to Stop the Houthi Attacks at Sea - Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Our Enemies Are Watching, U.S. and Israel Need to Resolve Our Differences - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Monday, "The eyes of both our enemies and our friends are on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. We must resolve the differences between us quickly and stand together - this is how we will achieve our goals and weaken our enemies." He spoke amid a public dispute between the two countries over the flow of arms to Israel for its wars against Iranian proxy groups. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Pushes On in Rafah - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF said Sunday that troops were continuing intelligence-based, targeted operations in the Rafah area and that weaponry, tunnel shafts and underground terrorist infrastructure was found. Palestinians told Reuters that IDF tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp northwest of Rafah amid fierce fighting with Hamas. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Sees Significant Progress in Destroying Hamas Rafah Brigade
    IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi said Sunday, "We are clearly approaching the point where we will say we dismantled the [Hamas] Rafah Brigade....It has a lot of casualties."  (i24News)
  • Two IDF Soldiers Wounded by Hizbullah Anti-Tank Rocket near Metula
    Two IDF reservists were wounded, one seriously, by an anti-tank rocket fired by Hizbullah near Metula on Sunday night, the IDF announced on Monday. The IDF responded with strikes on Hizbullah targets in southern Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • Elliott Abrams: U.S. Should Never Stop Transferring Arms to America's Closest Ally - Ariel Kahana
    Elliott Abrams, former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor who supervised policy in the Middle East for the White House, opposes delays in U.S. arms shipments to Israel. "I don't know what and how much has been held up, but it shouldn't have happened. The level of delay should be zero," Abrams told Israel Hayom. "America's closest friend in the Middle East suffered a terrible attack, so we should never stop transferring weapons to her."
        "For the last hundred years, the U.S. has viewed keeping the Red Sea shipping lanes open and safe as one of its most important missions, and the Houthis have pretty much managed to end that. The Suez Canal is almost completely closed, as is the Red Sea. The U.S. is currently in a defensive posture. We're intercepting the Houthis' missiles, but we've come to terms with them doing what they're doing. In my opinion, the U.S. needs to punish the Houthis and Iran for this."  (Israel Hayom)
  • The U.S. and Israel's Common Fight - Naftali Bennett
    Even in turbulent times, the American-Israeli alliance endures because it is a partnership between two peoples with a common national ethos characterized by freedom and opportunity. Leaders change. But the values Israel and the U.S. represent are eternal.
        The death cult of Hamas is the antithesis of life and liberty. Nothing could be more alien to the American way than using women and children as human shields, hospitals to hide hostages, schools to launch rockets and a music festival as the target for a massacre.
        Across the Middle East, Ayatollah Khamenei and his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps decide who fights and when. They have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Lebanese, Yemenis and Iranians on their hands and millions more in their sights. While Israel is in Iran's crosshairs today, it is only one battleground in a global war between the forces of freedom and those that would extinguish it. In this battle, Israel's fight is America's fight.
        The writer served as Israel's prime minister. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Hizbullah

  • Israel Will Act to Restore Security in the North - Amb. Michael Oren
    With the start of Hamas's invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, Iranian-backed Hizbullah in Lebanon launched an utterly unprovoked assault on the Galilee. Rockets have rained on Israeli towns and villages, tens of thousands have been displaced, dozens killed, and vast swaths of territory set ablaze. Eight months later, entire cities stand abandoned and countless acres of farmland uncultivated or burnt. If left unchecked, Hizbullah soon could render half the country uninhabitable.
        Israeli counterstrikes have killed hundreds of Hizbullah terrorists and destroyed many of their emplacements, but such actions will have little effect on an organization that unflinchingly lost thousands fighting in the Syrian civil war.
        A full-scale war in the north will differ profoundly from Gaza. Among Hizbullah's 150,000 rockets and missiles are those that can hit any target - airfields, military bases, oil refineries, the Dimona nuclear reactor, even Israel's southernmost port of Eilat. Hizbullah has all of Lebanon in which to maneuver, and logistical lines stretching across Syria.
        Moreover, any war with Hizbullah is likely to involve rocket fire on Israel from Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Yemen, as well as missile onslaughts similar to that launched against Israel on April 13 from Iran. Israel can't be expected to respond passively, firing at the incoming rockets until its Iron Dome interceptors run out.
        The anguish of northern Galilee is simply unsustainable and must be ended, even at an exorbitant price. In the previous conflict with Hizbullah in 2006, Israel distinguished between Hizbullah and Lebanon. Today, though, Israel regards Hizbullah and Lebanon as one and war will be on both.
        The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and Deputy Minister for Diplomacy.  (New York Post)
  • Hizbullah Isn't Getting the Message - Editorial
    While Americans see the war in the Middle East winding down, Israelis worry it is only beginning. Hizbullah has been escalating its strikes on Israel, and the Iranian proxy militia could provoke a larger war unless the U.S. gives it a good reason not to. Washington is too fixated on restraining Israel to notice.
        The latest misfire is Sunday's comments by Gen. C.Q. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said the U.S. won't likely be able to help Israel defend itself against a broader Hizbullah war as well as it helped Israel fight off an Iranian barrage of missiles and drones in April. He warned Israel that the Iranians could join the fray directly and give greater support to their proxy, "particularly if they felt that Hizbullah was being significantly threatened."
        That's a calculated red light to Israel - don't count on U.S. help. But what message is the general sending to Hizbullah? To its leader Hassan Nasrallah, it probably sounds like: "Go ahead. You can get away with more."
        The other half of this administration policy is the withholding of armaments, slowing their flow to Israel over the past four months with bureaucratic delays. This gives the President plausible deniability, even though the delays and extended reviews were absent when the Administration wanted them to be.
        The White House goal is to discourage a larger war, but a policy of weakening Israel has the opposite effect. It emboldens Hizbullah to keep shooting and extend its range. Unprovoked, Hizbullah has already fired nearly 5,000 rockets, missiles and mortars at northern Israel since Oct. 7, depopulating the region. Hizbullah has no reason to quiet its rocket fire and remove its fighters from the buffer zone in southern Lebanon if it thinks it can keep firing away and be protected from the consequences. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Other Issues

  • How to Stop the Houthi Attacks at Sea - Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis
    For more than eight months, the Houthis - an Iranian-backed proxy group based in Yemen - have bedeviled the global shipping industry. These attacks have sunk at least two ships and killed several seafarers. They have also deliberately targeted warships from the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf region, nearly hitting several with either land-based ballistic missiles, airborne drones, or sea-skimming unmanned craft packed with explosives.
        The majority of world shipping suppliers, including both container ships and bulk oil carriers, are routing traffic away from the Red Sea and Suez canal. This is adding expensive additional days at sea to most routes flowing between Asia, Europe and North America. Kinks are developing in the global supply chains.
        Thus far, the Western response has been anemic, indecisive, and mostly defensive. I commanded NATO's counter-piracy mission for four years in the Red Sea and off the Horn of Africa as Supreme Allied Commander. Over time, we learned that playing defense was necessary but not sufficient. What we learned was that to defeat pirates operating from bases ashore you need to go ashore and neutralize the attacks before they successfully get out to sea.
        Once the pirates or their weapons - missiles, drones, unmanned high-speed boats - are in the open seaway, the challenges multiply. When we began to strike the pirate bases ashore, capture or kill the pirates and destroy their equipment, the threat gradually reduced. While the Houthis are far better trained, equipped and organized thanks to their masters in Tehran, the same principle applies: Go ashore.
        A campaign plan against the Houthis must include severing their supply chain back to Iran. Iran is providing not only intelligence but also hardware. This may require striking Iranian assets directly, to include their intelligence-gathering ships in the Red Sea and North Arabian Sea; offshore Iranian intelligence-gathering platforms outside the Arabian Gulf; and Iranian logistic vessels moving weapons and components to Yemen.
        Some may find direct strikes against Iranian sovereign assets too provocative. I'd invite anyone to reflect on the direct attacks thus far - now numbering in the dozens - of ballistic missiles and drones shot down (fortunately) by U.S. warships. If one of those ballistic missiles were to get through and strike a U.S. destroyer with a tightly packed crew of 350 sailors, we would be very close to a war with Iran. Better to send a strong signal now than to have to react with overwhelming firepower against Tehran after U.S. casualties.
        With the right campaign plan, we can inflict sufficient damage to the Houthis to cause them to cease and desist. We need the will to do so.
        The writer is former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. (Bloomberg)
  • Israel's War Is for Its Very Existence - Alfred H. Moses
    If there was ever a just war, it is bound up in Israel's stated goal to dismantle Hamas's military capability, a legitimate response to the wanton slaughter of more than 1,200 Israeli and other civilians by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023.
        The Palestinian Arabs have rejected a two-state solution at every turn, beginning with the partition plan proposed by the UN in 1947, a year before the creation of the State of Israel. Their mantra has been and still is "From the River to the Sea," in other words, goodbye to the State of Israel and its seven million Jews. Israel's battle is existential if it loses to those who proclaim this. There will be no more Israel and possibly in time no more Jewish people.
        The writer is a former American ambassador, special Presidential envoy for President Bill Clinton, and senior advisor and special counsel to President Jimmy Carter. (Ynet News)
  • Pro-Palestinian Protests Imply that Massacres of Israeli Jews Would Be OK - Alan Levenson
    It is a bitter irony that student socialist clubs declare themselves pro-Palestinian, although on Oct. 7 Hamas murdered and kidnapped Thai agricultural workers on visas and - the Nova music concert aside - committed their worst atrocities in kibbutzim, actual socialist enclaves.
        Calling for the dismantlement of Israel is not a call for peaceful action: It is only "pro-Palestinian" in the sick sense that massacres of Israeli Jews would be OK. These protests possess only an anti-Israel agenda, not a pro-Palestinian one.
        The writer is Chair of Jewish History at the University of Oklahoma. (Oklahoman)

Video: How Will the Israel-Hamas Urban War Influence Future Wars? - Maj. John Spencer interviewed by Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Statements from political leaders saying "the correct number of civilian casualties is zero" would mean don't fight a war. This is the first war I've ever observed where not only did people believe there could be a daily civilian casualty count, but they took the word of a terrorist organization on what it would be and just started parroting a terrorist organization's numbers, which is the exact strategy that they want, in order to get the world, the UN, and U.S. to force Israel to be defeated.
  • Israel was condemned for the use of a 2,000-pound bomb in an urban area. The U.S. used over 15,000 in the first Gulf War, because it's a very standard military munition to hit an enemy in a bunker underground. When Israel is following every rule that's ever been thought of, and implementing ones that nobody's tried, it then gets told that, well, you've got to find a different way.
  • If you ban the use of bombs in urban combat, then you're going to see a lot more urban combat around the world, because a weaker force will say, look, all I have to do is get into the urban area and you can't touch me unless you come in here, and I turn it into a meat grinder where you lose tens of thousands of soldiers and I achieve my political goals. This double, triple standard that Israel is being held to will come back to bite the world in the future.
  • Israel waited over three weeks after October 7th to allow civilians to leave. And the world said, well, you can't do that. You can't evacuate a million people out of northern Gaza and into southern Gaza, into the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone. Israel did this for over 850,000, which is 85% of the population. Israel handed out maps of safe areas to help evacuate the civilians. No military in the world has ever handed out maps. This also telegraphed the IDF's moves to Hamas. They also used advanced technologies, flying drones with speakers, using cell phone presence to know where the civilian presence was and then not going into those areas until they've been evacuated.
  • Everybody gave Israel advice on the way to bring the hostages home. Don't launch a ground invasion. Just use raids. Look, I know it'll take you a few years to get your hostages home, but just use raids and strategic strikes to take out Hamas leadership. That's anti-historical, it has never happened. No military has ever been successful in doing something like that. Hamas spent years developing an environment with the sole purpose to get civilians killed if Israel ever entered that environment.
  • What would America have done in the same situation? Gen. Mark Milley, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, We would have used overwhelming military force to achieve our objectives of bringing our people home and securing our borders and protecting our nation as quickly as possible. Step one would be ensuring not a single rocket emanated out of enemy territory, headed towards our civilian areas like Los Angeles. Gen. Milley has been very vocal, saying we would have used overwhelming force, immediate force.
  • I'm a researcher, and what the case studies show is that failing to do this will result in a protracted war and increased suffering. All of these groups who want to limit the suffering of war have in this case increased the suffering, not because of Israel, but because of Hamas and international pressure. The way Israel was forced to execute this campaign has caused hostages to stay in captivity longer. This way has caused civilians to die. This way has caused civilian suffering.

    The speaker is Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point. This is from a Jerusalem Center War Room Briefing on June 24, 2024.

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