July 9, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Hamas in Rafah Is "Weary and Demoralized" - Avi Ashkenazi (Jerusalem Post)
    Lt. Oriel Mashiach, a battalion commander in the Givati Brigade, told Maariv on Sunday that "Rafah is devoid of civilians" and "We encounter a weary and demoralized enemy."
    "We have full control of the area and it seems the enemy struggles to fight. We face individuals who move independently. They operate on their own, tired and exhausted; some surrender upon seeing us, while others engage in suicidal actions."

IDF Finds Maze of Multi-Level Tunnels on Gaza-Egypt Border - Shirit Avitan Cohen (Israel Hayom)
    The Israel Defense Forces have uncovered an extensive network of multi-level tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border.
    Recent IDF operations have exposed dozens of tunnels crossing from Gaza into Egypt. Several were found to have up to three underground levels.

Druze IDF Officer Killed in Rafah (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF on Sunday announced the death of Major Jalaa Ibrahem, 25, a company commander in the Combat Engineering Battalion from Israel's Druze community, who was killed by an anti-tank missile in Rafah in southern Gaza.
    Three of his brothers serve as officers in the combat engineers.
    Ibrahem was previously interviewed by Israel's Channel 11 about his role in Gaza.
    "We do quite a lot, and what we do is significant. In the end we want to destroy Hamas, we didn't enter Gaza to teach it a lesson. We need to make sure it doesn't exist after that, and stay inside until we finish the job. We're far from finished."
    "War has heavy costs, but the importance of what we do inside wins everything. It's hard inside [Gaza], but the spirit of the soldiers is stronger."

Why Are Arabs Whitewashing Iran-Backed Hizbullah? - Bassam Tawil (Gatestone Institute)
    In 2016, the Arab League declared Hizbullah a terrorist organization - a week after a similar move by Arab Gulf states.
    On June 29, the Arab League announced that it no longer classifies Iran-backed Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.
    The decision sends a message to Iran and its terror proxies that they have a green light to pursue their terrorist attacks not only against Israel, but also against some Arab countries, especially the Gulf states.
    The Lebanese army, which has long been backed by the U.S., has done virtually nothing to disarm Hizbullah or prevent it from using Lebanese territory to attack Israel.
    Every child in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East knows that the Lebanese army, along with UNIFIL forces, have failed to prevent Hizbullah terrorists and their Palestinian allies from firing thousands of rockets, exploding drones and mortars towards Israel since Oct. 2023.

Iranian Naval Destroyer Sinks during Repairs (AP)
    The Iranian naval destroyer Sahand has sunk while it was being repaired in a port near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported Sunday.
    The vessel, launched in 2018, was equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft batteries, and sophisticated radar and radar-evading capabilities.

Five Gazan Laborers Were Murdered in Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7 (Times of Israel)
    Israel is holding the bodies of five Palestinian laborers from Gaza who were killed by Hamas terrorists along with their Bedouin Israeli driver during the Oct. 7 massacre, while two others who were in the same van remain unaccounted for, Ha'aretz reported Monday.
    The men - residents of the Gazan city of Beit Lahiya and members of the same extended family - were employed in Kibbutz Nir Am's agricultural fields, and entered Israel legally in September, staying in the Bedouin city of Rahat.
    When they were driven to their place of work on Oct. 7, their van came under fire from terrorists and security footage showed the vehicle riddled with bullets.

Hamas's Systematic Use of UN Sites - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    On Monday, the IDF said that UNRWA headquarters was among the sites targeted in its new operation in Gaza City.
    Hamas has systematically used UN facilities throughout the war in Gaza. Its forces have hidden in them and used tunnels underneath them.
    Its armed terrorists have been present at schools, shelters, warehouses, and other UN sites.
    Hamas has always exploited international organizations and the UN in Gaza. It knows that UN compounds and schools are sites that would normally be protected during a war. Therefore, it views these areas as a priority to use as command and control nodes.
    Hamas also knows that when it hides at UN-run schools, any airstrike on the site can be used for propaganda, with most reports stating that the IDF struck a school rather than a Hamas site.

American IDF Soldier Who Fought in Gaza Now Fights for Truth on U.S. Campuses - Rebecca Szlechter (Jerusalem Post)
    Sam Fried, originally from Queens, NY, joined the Israel Defense Forces in 2020 and served in the paratroopers until 2022, when he returned to the U.S. to start a career in finance.
    After Oct. 7, Fried said, "I felt it was my obligation to be one of the fighting Jews in history. Here I am with history reaching its hand out to me and saying, 'This is your chance to defend your people.'...History is giving me this opportunity, so obviously, I had to take it."
    Fried rejoined the same combat team he had been with during his active service, now in reserves, as a sharpshooter, spending two months in Gaza, and came back to America after his team was released. He began going to debates, visiting protest encampments, and trying to engage in dialogue.
    At Queens College, there was a mob of over 200 people threatening and cursing at him.
    When asked about the hostility he faces, Fried answered, "It's very simple. We are speaking the truth. We are on the right side of history. These people are lying, conflating truths, and revising history. We cannot let them."
    "The most common misconception about the IDF is that we want war. We are a defense force."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Gaza Destruction Likely Helped Push Hamas to Soften Ceasefire Demands - Jon Gambrell
    Several officials in the Middle East and the U.S. believe the level of devastation in Gaza caused by a nine-month Israeli offensive likely has helped push Hamas to soften its demands for a ceasefire agreement. Hamas over the weekend appeared to drop its demand that Israel promise to end the war as part of any ceasefire deal.
        In recent internal communications seen by AP, messages signed by several senior Hamas figures in Gaza urged the group's exiled political leadership to accept the ceasefire proposal pitched by President Biden. The messages described the heavy losses Hamas has suffered and the dire conditions in the war-ravaged territory. The messages indicate a readiness among top militants to reach a deal quickly, even if Hamas's top official in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, may not be in a rush. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Satellite Photos Show Iran Expanding Missile Production - Jonathan Landay
    Recent satellite imagery shows major expansions at two key Iranian ballistic missile facilities for boosting missile production. The enlargement of the sites follows an October 2022 deal in which Iran agreed to provide missiles to Russia, which has been seeking them for its war against Ukraine. Tehran also supplies missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels and the Lebanese militia Hizbullah.
        Images taken by commercial satellite firm Planet Labs of the Modarres military base in March and the Khojir missile production complex in April show more than 30 new buildings at the two sites, both located near Tehran. Iran's arsenal is already the largest in the Middle East, estimated at more than 3,000 missiles.
        Three Iranian officials confirmed that Modarres and Khojir are being expanded to boost production of conventional ballistic missiles. One official said some of the new buildings would also allow a doubling of drone manufacturing. (Reuters)
  • Columbia University Removes 3 Deans over Texts Deriding Concerns of Campus Antisemitism - Luke Tress
    Three Columbia University administrators have "been permanently removed from their positions" after sending a series of derisive text messages during a panel on campus Jewish life in May, the university's provost, Angela V. Olinto, announced Monday.
        Columbia President Minouche Shafik said, "This incident revealed behavior and sentiments that were not only unprofessional, but also, disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes. These sentiments are unacceptable and deeply upsetting, conveying a lack of seriousness about the concerns and the experiences of members of our Jewish community."
        The three deans include Susan Chang-Kim, vice dean and chief administrative officer; Cristen Kromm, dean of undergraduate student life; and Matthew Patashnick, associate vice dean for student and family support. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Sets Red Lines for Ceasefire Negotiations - Yuval Karmi
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday issued a public statement emphasizing the principles which govern Israel's stance in the ceasefire-hostage negotiations. 1) Any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of the objectives of the war have been achieved. 2) There will be no smuggling of weapons to Hamas from Egypt to the Gaza border. 3) There will be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to northern Gaza. 4) Israel will maximize the number of living hostages who will be released from Hamas captivity. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Eliminates Hamas Terrorists throughout Gaza - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF reinvaded Gaza City on Monday, accompanied by tanks and air strikes. In Shajaia, near Gaza City, troops eliminated dozens of Hamas terrorists. Earlier on Monday, the IDF said its troops killed over 30 terrorists in the Rafah area in the past day. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Ramps Up Pressure on Hamas in Gaza - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The Israeli military is intensifying its offensive operations in northern Gaza to increase pressure on Hamas to become more flexible in negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages. Both the defense and political establishments in Israel clearly understand that the intensified offensive operations, particularly in Rafah and northern Gaza, are Israel's main leverage regarding the hostages. (Ynet News)
  • Gazan Anti-Hamas Activist Critically Injured in Attack
    In Gaza on Monday, 20 masked men with clubs and knives, claiming to be from Hamas internal security, attacked Amin Abed, 35, as he was walking home, after he criticized Hamas on social media. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • Experts: Hamas's "Complete Defeat" Is Necessary to Achieve a Sustainable "Day After" in Gaza - Zina Rakhamilova
    Nine months into the Gaza war, Hamas has been significantly weakened to the point where experts say it cannot repeat Oct. 7 again and, according to Nadav Eyal in Yediot Ahronot, over 95% of Hamas's rockets are gone. Still, if Israel stopped the war today, Hamas would likely recruit more terrorists and replenish its arms.
        Dr. Netta Barak-Corren, a Professor of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Law, Ethics, and Public Policy Fellow at Princeton's University Center for Human Values, has worked with a number of her colleagues on suggestions for the "day after" in Gaza. The group of professionals looked into the successes and failures of rebuilding and transforming nations that were once consumed by authoritarian, ideologically extremist, and murderous regimes.
        The experts reiterate that Hamas's "complete defeat" is necessary to achieve a sustainable strategy. The first component of "complete defeat" would mean Hamas losing sovereignty over the territory in Gaza. The second component must be a complete loss of control to avoid a situation like Lebanon where Hizbullah doesn't technically govern but maintains control in almost every element of Lebanese life. Lastly, public trials, similar to the Nuremberg trials, must be administered to senior Hamas perpetrators.
        Hamas is fighting to maintain sovereignty and control of Gaza, knowing the moment it loses that, it has nothing. They are hoping that an "end date" is set, the way it was in Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to take back control.
        It is impossible to defeat ideas such as hatred and racism - they will always be there, but we can defeat how much space they take up in society. We have to be responsible, patient, and careful when we plan a future for Gaza and must ensure that the new governance structure promotes peace and stability, preventing the resurgence of extremist ideologies. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • Palestinian Terrorism and Surging Illegal Construction in Judea and Samaria - David M. Weinberg
    The real sources of instability in Judea and Samaria stem from escalating Palestinian terrorism, surging illegal Palestinian construction in zones of strategic importance to Israel, and numerous arson attacks. Attacks on Palestinian property and individuals committed by a few extremists at the fringes of the Israeli community are fewer than the level of violence by Israelis against Israelis in Tel Aviv.
        While attacks of all types on Palestinians total about 1,100 incidences a year, mostly harassment and vandalism, this pales in comparison to more than 5,000 Palestinian bomb, car-ramming, knifing, and shooting attacks a year aimed at killing Israeli civilians. And this super-pales in comparison to the 1,200 Israelis slaughtered by Hamas on Oct. 7 or the 20,000 rockets and missiles fired by Hamas into Israeli civilian population centers over the past half year.
        There are about 4,000 Israeli "structures" (mobile homes) considered unapproved or illegal in Judea and Samaria. This includes homes for which final residence permits are pending or homes where a garage or additional room was built without permits. But 85% of these "structures" are inside the municipal boundaries of recognized Jewish communities. That leaves only some 500 structures that critics say are "changing the footprint of Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria."
        Compare this to at least 90,000 Palestinian homes that have cropped-up illegally in Area C of the West Bank in recent years, purposefully placing Palestinians in areas that never before had an Arab presence.
        Moreover, firefighters have battled well over 1,000 fires in Judea and Samaria, many of them adjacent to Jewish towns and Israeli army bases, almost all of them caused by arson.
        The writer is a senior fellow at Misgav: The Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy.  (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Authority Police Let Off Terrorists Who Kill Israelis - Naomi Linder Kahn
    On May 29, Abeed Shtayyeh struck and killed two Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint outside Nablus - Sgts. Eliya Hilel and Diego Shvisha Harsaj. After the IDF launched a manhunt, Shtayyeh turned himself in to the Palestinian police. Under the Oslo Accords, the PA Security Forces, which receive training and funding from the U.S., should have handed over Shtayyeh to Israel to stand trial. But, like hundreds of terrorists before him over the past 30 years, he remained in PA custody for only a few hours.
        In March, the Israeli think tank Regavim identified nearly 80 officers of the PA Security Forces who have been killed or arrested while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis in the past three years alone. The PA and its security forces aren't partners in the fight against terrorism. The PA has never been a moderating force. The idea of empowering the PA in Gaza and handing it a sovereign state is the same one that has been killing Israelis for decades.
        The writer is director of the international division of Regavim. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Other Issues

  • The Israeli Spirit Is Unmatched Anywhere - Amichai Attali
    On Oct. 7, Capt. Elchanan Kalmanson, his brother Menahem, and nephew Shlomi headed south, rescuing one family after another from burning homes in Kibbutz Be'eri before Elchanan was killed by Hamas terrorists. Capt. Adir Portugal was on a post-army trip on Oct. 7. He moved heaven and earth to return, joined a regular battalion, and fell in combat in Gaza. While people worldwide flee disaster zones, countless Israelis caught abroad at the outbreak of the war returned on chartered planes to enlist.
        Adir, Elchanan and others like them are why we stay here. Not because we sanctify death, but because this is the human material that lives here and whom we want to be alongside. So many put everything aside, ready to sacrifice their businesses, livelihoods, family lives, vacations and holidays. They are willing to sacrifice their lives without hesitation for everyone else.
        Israel isn't a perfect place, but no other place has such raw material. It is this pure Israeli spirit that jumps in unconditionally, without asking questions, and does everything to lend a hand - to take this enormous blow and turn it into a mission of rebuilding will be the foundation of our lives in the coming years. We will rebuild Israel as a nation of living heroes. (Ynet News)
  • Muslim Bedouin IDF Commander Recalls Oct. 7 - Amir Bohbot
    Lt.-Col. Nader Eyadat, 39, a member of the Bedouin community from Beit Zarzir, enlisted in the IDF in 2005 and joined the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, which operates around Gaza. He was at home on Oct. 7 when reports of rocket launches against Gaza border communities began - and immediately drove south.
        "We organized very quickly as an initial force," he said. "We had the mission to retake control of part of Route 232 and clear it of terrorists....My fighters and I know the sector like the back of our hands, we trained on infiltration scenarios [of] one, two, three terrorists. Who would have thought that thousands of terrorists would infiltrate?"
        Since Oct. 7, members of the reconnaissance battalion have participated in a large number of additional operations. On June 6, three terrorists who were trying to infiltrate into Israel under cover of fog were killed by battalion fighters.
        Eyadat said, "We have been shoulder to shoulder in the IDF since 1948. We have 30 fallen soldiers in the unit who were not killed in vain. Then everyone saw what happened here on Oct. 7. Hamas did not differentiate between anyone: It killed Bedouins and Jews all the same. This is a terrorist organization that wants the destruction of the country. The veteran fighters of the reconnaissance battalion came here without anyone asking them and rushed here from anywhere in the country without questions. They told me that it is impossible to sit at home when such events take place."
        Eyadat added, "There is a video where you see a Bedouin father begging for his life and he is holding a small child. They [Hamas] tell him: 'You are a traitor' and killed him in front of his son. This is a very difficult video. You see the hate in the videos. Also of the citizens of Gaza. They hide behind religion and educate to hate. They murdered and kidnapped Bedouins."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Inside Israel's Emergency Call Center on Oct. 7 - Noam Barkan
    The calls to the Magen David Adom emergency call center came in a deluge on Oct. 7. Desperate, pleading, screaming, chilling. They poured in from open fields, groves and farms, from locked closets and safe rooms, from shelters, from bullet-riddled vehicles, from injured first-responder teams, from military bases, from bushes, from ditches, under relentless gunfire, deep within the flames. They also came from parents frantic with worry, from children orphaned in an instant, from a mother during her abduction, from people fleeing death until it finally caught up with them.
        MDA data shows that on Oct. 7, 315 emergency medical technicians and paramedics answered 26,627 emergency calls, saving many lives. These calls represent an enormous repository of real-time documentation of the atrocities. On that Saturday morning, moment by moment, the calls become more difficult and frightening.
        "We all received unusual calls," says dispatcher Yael Hadad. "I looked to my right and left, we looked each other in the eyes and understood that we were all receiving calls that were beyond comprehension." Jarring sounds of screams, pain, gunfire, explosions, panic. Whispers, final gasps, silences, and shouts in Arabic are heard in some of the calls.
        At 7:32 a.m., the MDA dispatcher Avi answers a call. A young woman says, "They're shooting at us. We're near Gaza. There are many wounded here. Send lots of ambulances....They're shooting at us all the time!" Her terrified words mingle with the gunfire and screams in Arabic. "Ahhh," a flash of surprised pain is heard on the phone. "Ahhh." Her quick, frightened, sobbing breaths turn into three final gasps, followed by one weak one, and then silence. At least this young woman wasn't completely alone. There was someone who accompanied her until her last breath. (Israel Hayom)
  • The Time to Stay Silent Was Over - Maria Munoz
    I am a Native American, born in Colombia, a U.S. citizen and a practicing Christian. I'm also a fierce defender of Israel. I have traveled the world, and although I've experienced wonderful hospitality in many places, Israel is the only place that felt like a second home. The first time I went to Israel, in May 2023, I experienced the strong community between Israelis, something that I felt was missing in the U.S. During that visit, I stopped at Kibbutz Kfar Aza near Gaza. The residents showed us the missile that had been launched at their kibbutz earlier that week.
        On Oct. 7 I heard that Israel had been attacked. I had no idea about the magnitude of the attack until I heard the news that Kfar Aza had been razed to the ground. I was devastated. To my horror, in the following weeks I was caught on the streets of Washington amid demonstration after demonstration against Israel.
        I felt too scared for weeks to speak up, as I was worried about facing backlash for saying anything. However, something inside kept telling me that what I was seeing on the media was not lining up with what actually happened. So I returned to Israel in January 2024. As soon as I posted what I saw on my social media, I lost my friend group, was isolated from college organizations, and received hateful messages online. But I have absolutely no regrets.
        When I went back to Kfar Aza, the bright, flourishing community I once knew was now in ruins. Seeing the burned rubble of family homes was the first time I fully understood the fate of the kibbutz residents. Their voices had been stolen by the self-proclaimed activists of social media who were telling the world that the stories of Israeli victims did not deserve to be heard because their deaths were "justified." I knew this sentiment was wrong. People who were antiwar were now openly celebrating the deaths of innocent civilians.
        It made me realize people were not using this movement to stand up for human rights. They were using it to ignite hate against Jews - again. If my former friends had seen the atrocious evidence of the attacks like I did, they would also be shouting to the world that Hamas is a genocidal regime, not a revolutionary "freedom fighting" group. I consider Israel the most successful decolonization project of all time. I unapologetically support Israel and the Jewish people. People have tried to call me a Zionist as an insult, but I wear the badge proudly. (Tablet)

Reading the Situation in Gaza - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel may be getting closer to a ceasefire and hostage deal mainly due to the success of the heavy military activity in Rafah and southern Gaza, in parallel with IDF activities in northern and central Gaza.
  • The continuous military pressure leads to a desperate desire for a ceasefire and a deal at any cost by most of the remaining Hamas forces. There is no doubt that this desperate desire for a deal reaches the ears of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
  • If there is a chance to reach a deal that Israel can accept, it is only by increasing the military pressure. As long as Sinwar is convinced that he will achieve his full goals without concessions, and unfortunately, many around the world are helping him reach this conclusion, there will be no deal that Israel can agree to.
  • Israel's main demand must be the full release of all the hostages and bodies at the outset.
  • Israel must not relinquish control of the Philadelphi corridor until all the crossing tunnels between Rafah and Egypt are exposed and destroyed.
  • Israel must retain the capability to have full security control in Gaza and full freedom of action, entering and staying deep in the territory to immediately deal with any terror threats and attempts to rebuild Hamas's capabilities that will threaten Israeli communities.
  • Israel must concentrate on completing its mission in Gaza and maybe reach a deal that will bring the hostages back home, but not at any price.

    The writer served as National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu and as acting head of Israel's National Security Council.

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