Friday, November 24, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The infernal choice behind the hostage deal
It is the Biden administration that forced Israel to make the deal with the hostages. It is the Biden administration that is now pressuring Israel not to continue its war in the south of Gaza where it intends to finish off Hamas.

America is giving to Israel with one hand and twisting the knife into it with the other. Certainly, it’s providing Israel with a steady resupply of weapons without which the Jewish state would be powerless.

But this is the minimum America must do to prevent Israel being destroyed on its watch, which the American people would never tolerate.

Yes, the Biden administration dispatched two aircraft carrier groups and a submarine to the region “to deter Iran.” But it has not used this force to stop the Hezbollah rockets being fired into northern Israel from Lebanon. Nor has it responded adequately to the dozens of Iranian attacks on its own forces in Iraq—although, given the inevitable escalation in such attacks, America may be further drawn into this conflict despite itself.

Instead, America has been leveraging its military support for Israel to force it to run the war in accordance with the Biden administration’s aims: to continue to appease Iran and to create a state of Palestine. Both those aims pose a mortal threat to Israel’s security and existence.

If most of the hostages are returned through this deal and Hamas is beaten, then those who took this fateful decision will be vindicated.

If, however, it enables Hamas to rise again from the ashes of Gaza, the hundreds of Israelis who have lost their lives in the attempt to stop it forever will have made the ultimate sacrifice for nothing; more Israeli innocents will die; and Iran will steadily unleash further death and violence against the West.

Israel’s terrible dilemma over the hostages is reminiscent of the unspeakable choices forced upon the Jewish councils who administered the ghettos of Europe during the Holocaust, and whom the Nazis forced to provide lists of people to deport to the death camps or risk the murder of everyone in the ghetto.

This infernal choice has been forced upon Israel by a ring of pressure formed by Yahya Sinwar, the Iranian regime and—sickeningly—the Biden administration.

If America’s stricken Jewish community wants to know how best to help Israel at this terrible time, it should be alerting its fellow Americans to what the Biden administration is doing to Israel in their name.
Who are the Israeli hostages released by Hamas on Friday?
These are the identities of the 13 Israelis who were released from Hamas captivity on Friday.

Adina Moshe
Adina Moshe was the first Israeli hostage identified to be released by Hamas on Friday.

Moshe, 72, was kidnapped to Gaza on October 7 from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, after the terrorists murdered her husband Said, Moshe.

She is the mother of four children: Maya, Yael, Sashon, and Amos. She will be back with her family and able to continue raising some of her grandchildren who live in the kibbutz and will return to her hobbies: cooking, growing plants, and reading books.

"We are happy to announce that Adina has returned to us from Hamas captivity. We are all excited and crying with happiness, and are waiting for the return of all the other abductees home," said Adina's family.

The Asher family
Aviv Katz Asher (2), Raz Katz Asher (5), and their mother Doron Katz Asher were also released. They were taken Doron's mother, Efrat Katz (69), was killed by Hamas. Doron's husband, Yoni Asher, last contacted them when Doron informed him that terrorists had entered the house they were in and that Gadi Moses, Efrat's partner, had been taken by the terrorists.

Asher tracked Doron's phone to a location in Gaza and discovered a video showing the family members being driven into Gaza on a pickup truck. Asher, who has been trying to leverage his family's German citizenship, called it "the battle of his life" and sought international involvement, including reaching out to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for help.
Israeli hostage reported as dead while with Islamic Jihad returned alive
Hannah Katzir was one of 13 Israeli hostages returned to Israel from Hamas on Friday evening.

The only surprise: She had been reported dead earlier this week, having allegedly died due to an Israel Air Force airstrike while being held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The report about her apparently untrue demise claimed that she had "medical complications" that resulted in her death.

She was identified as alive a couple of hours after the hostages had been transferred to the Red Cross, which then brought them to Egypt, where they were transferred in turn to Israeli forces.

Two weeks prior to the false announcement of Katzir's death, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad released a video of her where she said, "I am in a place that is not mine. I miss home, my children, my husband Rami, and my whole, dear, beloved family.

"I send you my warm greetings," she concluded. "I love you and I hope I will be able to see you next week. I hope everyone is safe and sound."

She had been one of two potential hostages that were set to be released then; hence the message about seeing family.

Who is Hannah Katzir?
Katzir is described by friends and family as being a woman with a "whole heart" who will always "give to others."

Katzir worked as a nanny for many years in the kibbutz and her acquaintances described her and her murdered husband Rami as "a dynamic duo, an inseparable couple."

She has three children and six grandchildren.

JPost Editorial: Israel-Hamas war: Ceasefire, hostage deal were necessary moves
Addressing the nation later in the day alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister-without-portfolio Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called the hostage release a “sacred” duty.

“Citizens of Israel, as prime minister of Israel, I frequently face tough decisions, between a difficult choice and an even more difficult choice,” Netanyahu said. “It is especially so on the issue of the hostages. The effort to bring all of them home is ongoing, and at this time, we can achieve the release of infants and children, mothers and women, who have swords at their necks. This is the precept of redeeming captives, which we have a moral obligation to carry out.”

Gallant said he was filled with sadness and joy, pain and relief.

“I am happy that, God willing, over the next several days, we will bring hostages home,” he said. “But I also think of those we won’t be able to bring home within this framework. We will continue to increase the pressure on Hamas, to exhaust them until we bring back everyone who has been kidnapped – the young men and women, the soldiers, Holocaust survivors, the elderly – everyone.”

For his part, Gantz said the return of the hostages is “a moral imperative and part of the resilience that enables us to win wars.”

In contrast, Ben-Gvir warned that it was creating a dangerous precedent. “This decision will cause us great harm for generations,” he said.

Although Religious Zionist Party ministers ended up supporting the deal in the cabinet vote, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the party’s leader, voiced concern that Hamas would seek to extend a ceasefire, enraging Gantz.

“Do you trust [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar more than us?” Gantz reportedly retorted.

The importance of a deal with Hamas to free the hostages
Trust is the crux of the matter. No one trusts Hamas or its leaders. They are evil terrorists whose massacre on October 7 will never be forgotten or forgiven. While all our leaders will have to face the music after the war, it is crucial at this point to present a united front and trust that they are doing their best to do the right thing.

The Talmud calls pidyon shvuyim (the redemption of captives) a supreme commandment, because captivity is viewed as worse than starvation and death. Maimonides wrote: “There is no greater mitzvah than redeeming captives, for the problems of the captive include being hungry, thirsty, unclothed, and they are in danger of their lives too.”

We all understand the need to return all the hostages as soon as possible. This deal is a necessary first step toward that goal.

“We’ll win this together” has become the Israeli slogan for this war against Hamas. At this challenging moment, it’s incumbent on us to stand together and exhibit an attitude of gratitude – toward our leadership, the security forces, and those who helped mediate the deal for the gradual release of hostages, which is set to begin today.

Gazans deserve ‘better future’ with Hamas eliminated
American Jewish Committee Director Lt Col (Res) Avital Leibovich says people in Gaza deserve a “better future” as Israel continues with its efforts to eliminate Hamas.

The former IDF soldier warned Gaza is the most underground fortified place in the world.

“I’m afraid Israel cannot go back to the situation that changed on October 7,” she told Sky News Australia.

“We have to take Hamas out, we have to change the leadership in Gaza, we have to eliminate every terroristic option that Hamas has.”

The Israeli cabinet agreed to a deal with the terror group to secure the release of captives after tense negotiations extended into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Qatari-mediated ceasefire agreement will see the release of about 30 kidnapped children, eight mothers and 12 more women being held in Gaza by Hamas.

Caroline Glick: Nobel Prize Winner: The Israel/Hamas Hostage Deal Shows Weakness
Caroline Glick sat down with Prof. Yisrael Aumman, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics and a pioneer to discuss the hostage deal with Hamas. Prof. Aumann and Caroline also discussed the nature of Hamas's war doctrine and what Israel must accomplish to be recognized as the winner in the war.

Did Israel's Netanyahu agree to a ceasefire & hostage deal with Hamas under pressure?
Has Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu crumbled under pressure and agreed to a temporary ceasefire? Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has described the hostage deal to be a 'disaster', and has slammed the Netanyahu government for taking an amoral decision.

Netanyahu has been accused of having rejected the deal several days ago. But has now agreed to it. As the family members of the hostages have been staging protests against the Israeli government's lack clarity in getting the hostages back.

Mohammed Saleh speaks with Isreali Prime Minister Netanyahu's former Foreign Policy Advisor Caroline Glick for more.

HAPPENING NOW: Caroline Glick gives a war update to the BBC

Call Me Back Podcast: The hostage deal: a new phase in the war – with Amos Harel Amos Harel has been the military correspondent and defense analyst for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper for over a decade. He is among the most well-sourced and thoughtful journalists and analysts covering Israeli security affairs inside Israel. Prior to his current position, Amos spent four years as night editor for the Haaretz Hebrew print edition, and from 1999-2005 he was the anchor on a weekly Army Radio program about defense issues.

Along with frequent “Call Me Back” guest and Fauda co-creator Avi Issacharoff, Amos co-wrote a book about the Second Intifada, called “The Seventh War: How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians”, which was published in 2004 and translated into several languages, including Arabic.

Amos and Avi also co-wrote “34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah and the War in Lebanon”, about the war of 2006, which was published in 2008.

How to find Amos’s book: ”34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah, and the War in Lebanon”

Sky News host blasts Hamas leader for ‘completely untrue’ claims in fiery clash
Sky News host Laura Jayes has blasted Hamas’s head of international relations Basem Naim over the terrorist group’s treatment of innocent civilians and its attempt to blame Israel for the October 7 attack.

Ms Jayes called out the Hamas leader for putting innocent civilians’ lives at risk by building tunnels and storing weapons under hospitals in Gaza.

The pair broke out in an argument after Mr Naim accused the Sky News host of being “misinformed” as he claimed there was no proof of the hospital bunkers.

“There is Western journalists who have gone into Gaza with the IDF, and they have seen these tunnels, these weapons, these storage of munitions with their own eyes,” Ms Jayes said.

“I don’t know what other proof we can get.”

The Hamas leader went on to claim the IDF was responsible for the deaths of 1,400 innocent civilians on October 7.

“That is completely untrue,” Ms Jayes replied.

Hamas' senior leaders 'very clear' they want to 'eradicate Israel'
IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus says Hamas' senior leaders are clear they want to "eradicate Israel" with the terrorist organisation not distinguishing between military and civilians.

Mr Conricus said Hamas "are an organisation of liars, and cowards, and corrupt hateful people".

He discussed the upcoming ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as well as the ongoing situation relating to Israeli hostages and their possible release.

"I don't trust their[Hamas] word for anything they say," Mr Conricus told Sky News Australia.

"Or anything that they claim that they're going to do or have done in the past.

"It's all lies through and through.

"So, we are cautiously optimistic that this agreement will be honoured."

Israel summons Spain, Belgium envoys over Gaza ceasefire comments

IDF elite intel officer warned about Hamas attacks, ignored - report

Israel-Hamas war: Understanding the psyche of the October 7 masterminds - opinion

Baby names Be’eri, Nir, Nova surge after Hamas attacks

Douglas Murray brands Norman Finkelstein a ‘psychopath’
Author Douglas Murray has condemned American political scientist and activist Norman Finklestein for likening Gaza to a “concentration camp.”

Mr Finklestein called the October 7 attacks by Hamas “heroic” in a social media post hours after they first took place.

“He’s produced a type of sociopath and psychopath, I do think that Norman Finkelstein is just such a person,” he told Sky News Australia host Piers Morgan.

“If I can give just one example, he repeatedly in that interview referred to Gaza as a concentration camp, Gaza is no such thing as a concentration camp, and Norman Finkelstein knows that very, very well.

“Do you Piers know anybody who got out of a concentration camp in 1945, and proceeded to go next door and behead and rape everyone they could find? I don’t.

“Only Norman Finkelstein finds these comparisons to make and makes them wilfully.”

“They Hate ISRAEL Defending Itself” | Douglas Murray Slams Pro-Palestine Protesters
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman has warned against teachers running “divisive” political campaigns within schools, amid concern over pupils attending pro-Palestinian demonstrations during the school day.

Ms Spielman told a media briefing on the day of Ofsted’s annual report that it was “very important” to ensure that political activity from children attending School Strike for Palestine rallies “doesn’t wash back into schools”, adding that such rallies were not “school-organised”.

Journalist Douglas Murray slams pro-Palestinian protesters for marching across the UK every weekend.

"They don't actually care about the Palestinians; what they hate is Israel defending itself."

Douglas Murray ‘not surprised but shocked’ by pro-Palestine student strikes
Author Douglas Murray says he is “not surprised but very much shocked” by the rise of student-led pro-Palestinian protests seen in Sydney and Melbourne.

More than a thousand Victorian high school students walked out of classrooms to protest in support of Palestine on Thursday, November 23.

Similarly, hundreds of students skipped school today to protest in support of Palestine at Town Hall in Sydney.

“I hope these young people never get what they actually think they want,” Mr Murray told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

“If they want a two-state solution, they should say so – but that’s not what they are saying.”

'Sickness in the left': Journalist union backs Israel 'scepticism'
Journalists, editors and senior figures from ABC, the Guardian and Nine media have signed an open letter calling for journalists to apply the same "professional scepticism" to information from the Israeli government as it applies to Hamas.

Former Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger has slammed journalists and media figures over signing the open letter.

“This is like saying a generation ago we treat the British and America and the allies' commentary on World War 2 the same way we treat information coming out from Gestapo," Mr Kroger told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

" This is really a sickness in the left in the Australian media that is extremely concerning.

Nine's editorial leadership team has banned any reporters who sign the letter from reporting on the conflict.

The Israel Guys: Why A Ceasefire With HAMAS Is A TRAGIC MISTAKE | EPISODE #2
The past several weeks we’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of protestors marching to slogans like “Free Palestine” and “Ceasefire Now”. Videos abound of people ripping down posters of Israelis being held captive in Gaza by Hamas. Some rioters even went so far as to leave their paint soaked bloody handprints on the gates of the White House in Washington DC.

The loud protesters demand Israel halt its efforts to eradicate Hamas, due to the high cost of civilian casualties and suffering. Some are calling for a 3-5 day long pause, so that civilians can move to safer areas where needed food, water and medical supplies can be brought in. Many others want a deescalation and indefinite end to Israel’s operations in Gaza. But do they understand what a ceasefire would mean for Israel and Gaza? Do they realize that ceasefires allow Hamas to reposition and rearm, meaning more conflict and more loss of life?

Did you know there WAS a ceasefire in effect which Hamas deliberately broke when they invaded Israel on October 7th, with the goal of massacring and abducting as many civilians as possible? Instead of calling for Israel to stop defending themselves by agreeing to a ceasefire, the world SHOULD be calling for Hamas to surrender and release the 240 hostages currently being held in Gaza.

It’s time to call it out for what it is. THIS is the lie of the ceasefire.

Iranian ‘puppets’ attacking US forces in the Middle East
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran has discussed the recent attacks by Iranian “puppets” on US and coalition forces based in Iraq.

A US military AC-130J Ghostrider attacked an Iran-backed militant group after using a ballistic missile to attack the US on Al-Asad Airbase, according to the US Department of Defence.

Since October 17, US forces have been attacked 66 times in both Iraq and Syria, said Singh.

“They are under the direct command and control of Iran and the administration has no doubt about that,” Mr Doran told Sky News host James Morrow.

“The administration is not responding aggressively to Iran because it’s afraid of widening the war, it wants to narrow down the conflict just to Israel and Hamas.”

Israel-Hamas war has ‘really hurt’ Joe Biden
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney claims the war between Israel and Hamas has “really hurt” President Joe Biden in a couple of different ways.

The White House has stated President Joe Biden was “personally involved” in the deal to secure the release of about 50 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas.

Mr Mulvaney noted that the people who appreciate what he is doing for Israel are not going to vote for him anyway, while pro-Palestinians are angry at the President’s response.

“He is almost getting it from both ends, he is not gaining any friends, but he is losing some friends that he has,” he told Sky News host James Morrow.

“You put that together with everything else – his age, his abilities and so forth, it has been a rough six months for Joe Biden, and it doesn’t look to be getting better anytime soon.”

Elon Musk expected to visit Israel next week - report

Anti-Israel Mob Attacks Rihanna for Partnering with Israel Football Association-Tied PUMA

The Thin Line Between Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: Unraveling the Protests

Anti-Israel Activists Throw Smoke Bombs and Red Paint At Home of AIPAC President

The terrifying rise of Gen Z Hamas sympathisers
It’s historically always been the youth to come out in support of the underdog in global conflicts. So it’s no surprise that Gen Z are standing in solidarity with Palestine in this latest Israel-Hamas war.

However, what is terrifying to some commentators is the rise of anti-semitism and strong support for the Hamas terrorist group from these young people.

Sky News All Stars Rita Panahi, James Morrow and Douglas Murray expose the terrifying rise of Hamas sympathisers amongst young people.

Anti-Israel mob stages furious protest outside New York Times' headquarters hours after pro-Palestinian demonstrators targeted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Disturbing detail spotted in photo of Greens senator at student protest for Palestine

Chaos on Australian streets as students skip school for Pro-Palestine protests
More than a thousand Victorian high school students walked out of classrooms to protest in support of Palestine on Thursday, November 23.

Students were heard chanting “Allahu Akbar” as well as the anti-Semitic phrase “from the river to the sea” as they demanded an “end to the war on Gaza”.

Speakers at the protest claimed the October 7 terror attack by Hamas against Israel was “not unprecedented”.

The rally has been heavily criticized by both Labor and Liberal politicians, but the Greens declared students “should be encouraged to exercise their democratic right to protest".

Sky News host Sharri Markson denounced the protest during her Thursday evening editorial, accusing the organisers of “grooming a new generation to hate jews”.

'Go and get an education’: Chris Minns on students attending pro-Palestine protest
NSW Premier Chris Minns has condemned a pro-Palestine rally that erupted in Sydney’s CBD on Friday.

Hundreds of school students gathered at Town Hall in Sydney for the protest, ignoring warnings from politicians to stay at school.

Mr Minns called the protest inappropriate.

“I would prefer kids stay in school. At the end of the day, if you want to change the world, go and get an education,” Mr Minns told Sky News host Erin Molan.

"Certainly, anyone that left school today to take part in that protest will be marked down as per a normal, unexplained absence in a New South Wales public school."

Kids skipped school to become ‘useful idiots’ for activists: Rita Panahi
Students in Sydney marched out in droves today to protest the “only real democracy” in the Middle East, says Sky News host Rita Panahi.

“High school and university students were marching against a nation defending itself against the barbarity of Hamas,” Ms Panahi said.

A man attempting to enter the student demonstration holding an Israeli flag was arrested by police to prevent a “breach of the peace”.

Ms Panahi says “disturbing and sometimes comically clueless antics” were also seen at the pro-Palestine protest in Melbourne on Thursday.

“This is why I wrote this week that Premier Jacinta Allan failed a test of leadership on this issue.

“The Victorian Premier should have been clear in stating that students should not be taking part in divisive, ill-advised political rallies during school hours.

“Children shouldn’t be skipping school to become the useful idiots of political activists.

“Good leadership requires strength and moral clarity, and on this issue, Premier Jacinta Allan has displayed neither.”

The Project slammed over interview spreading ‘misinformation’ about Israel-Hamas war
Sky News Digital Editor Jack Houghton takes aim at The Project after an interview with a student who helped organise the pro-Palestinian school strike helped spread “clear misinformation” about Australia funding a genocide.

“Australia is not funding the Israeli war. That's patently false. In fact, we happen to be giving millions and millions of dollars to human rights groups to specifically help the Palestinian people,” Mr Houghton said.

“Secondly, it isn't a genocide. There are hundreds of hostages that no one seems to care about anymore and I promise you the moment they are all released and Hamas surrenders is the moment this war ends.”

Mr Houghton questioned how a 16-year-old child would understand the complexities and nuances of the situation.

“It is the single most complex geo-political issue of our time and the discussion is betrayed by cheap slogans of protesters and attempts for clickbait sound bites by journalists.

“They should publish a correction immediately and think twice before our youth are used as a weapon to push radical left-wing talking points.”

Man with Israel flag arrested at student pro-Palestine rally
A man attempting to enter a pro-Palestine student rally in Sydney holding an Israeli flag was arrested by police to prevent a “breach of the peace”, says Sky News Senior Reporter Cameron Reddin.

The man has since been released and there are no charges currently.

The incident was caught on video, showing the man being pulled away from the protest by policemen as he shouted, “do not touch me”.

Hundreds of students skipped school today to protest in support of Palestine at Town Hall in Sydney.

Students chanted the anti-Semitic phrase “from the river to the sea” as they demanded an end to the war on Gaza.

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