Tuesday, November 28, 2023

From Ian:

John Podhoretz: Heartbreak in Tel Aviv
I’m in Tel Aviv and have only been here for about 24 hours, so my impressions are just that—impressions. But walking the streets on Monday night and Tuesday morning and afternoon, the overwhelming feeling is one of heartbreak. Not mine—no, it’s as though the emotion of heartbreak is somehow present in the air of this usually vibrant, often chaotic-seeming city. And that seems to be the case even though Israelis, as far as I can tell, are finding a measure of relief in the release of the hostages that began a few days ago, which they have not experienced since October 7.

Ask people here how things have been since that day and they say the feeling is unlike any they’ve ever known. What does that mean exactly? I think it means very different things to different people, but the common thread seems to be that everyone is experiencing what might be called a personal crisis of national confidence.

The story of Israel, despite the wars and the strife, is a story of building and creation. A hundred years ago, Tel Aviv was a town of 15,000 people. That town is now home to 435,000, and sits in the midst of a metropolitan area 4 million strong. Through decades rife with political maelstroms and economic reversals and ideological spats, Israel has simply gotten bigger and more competent and stronger and become a more desirable and prosperous place to live. My sense is Israelis, no matter how slightingly they have spoken of the economy’s inequalities and the disgracefulness of its politicians, nonetheless swell with pride at their own place as a living and breathing element inside one of the world’s most purposeful countries—a place they hold in part because so many of them serve in the military as their first acts of adulthood.

Because security is a paramount concern, and because security is so much a part of Israel’s national identity, the collapse of that sense of security on October 7—and the collapse of the security itself—has been devastating. Blame it on whomever you choose. There’s Bibi, because he’s been the person in charge since January (and was in charge from 2009 to 2021). There are the political leaders that preceded him in government in 2021 and 2022, who also failed to pick up the signals that Hamas was planning something very big and very clever. There’s the active military, which apparently thought a chain-link fence would suffice as a border. There are the officials in the chain of command who dismissed the eyewitness warnings literally sent to them from the soldiers—women, mostly—who served in the watchtowers overseeing Gaza over the course of 2023 that there was mischief afoot. There are the once-vaunted and legendary intelligence services, which almost certainly were being fed false info by fake spies that lulled the government into a false sense of complacency.
Seth Mandel: Israel, Hamas, and the Spirit of 1948
On Oct. 6, Eilat was a town of 50,000 residents. Less than two months later it is currently at about 110,000, unofficially. The resort town in Israel’s south has become an absorption center for Israelis all over the country whose own towns were evacuated in the wake of the attacks.

Some of those were “routine” evacuations—towns in the north in range of Hezbollah rockets. (As strange as it is to consider such an evacuation “routine.”) But others are as far from normal as Israelis have ever dealt with. Sderot, a community of 30,000 near Gaza that has become synonymous with living under the threat of rocket fire, is a ghost town. Because the threat isn’t “just” rockets anymore.

Nir Oz, the kibbutz that lost nearly a quarter of its residents to Hamas’s bloodlust on Oct. 7, has existed in one form or another for almost as long as the state of Israel has. Kfar Azza is even older than Nir Oz. Be’eri was founded in 1946 to enable Israelis to repel an Egyptian invasion. These places represent the ideal of the chalutzim—Jews, often fleeing nearby Arab states, willing to move to Israel’s sentry towns.

And now they are empty.

This occurred in the state’s early years too. Occasionally a community would be forced to relocate temporarily for its own safety. But soon that stopped happening.

Until it happened again on Oct. 7, 2023.

This is crucial to understanding Israel’s stated resolve to fight this war until it is won. The current conflict isn’t just a more-intense version of, say, the 2014 outbreak of violence in and around Gaza. The difference isn’t one of degree; it is one of kind.

This is obvious to Israelis, even as Westerners are largely oblivious to it. “It was a shocking moment because it felt like it was a scene from 1948,” Einat Barzilai, a writer, told the Times of Israel two days after the attack.
JPost Editorial: Finish the job
While there are questions about how many hostages Hamas can actually produce – dozens, if not more, are reportedly being held by other terrorist groups and perhaps even private individuals in Gaza – so long as the group is indeed able to hand over hostages, Israel should keep this arrangement going, provided it does not impair the IDF’s ability to continue the military campaign once the pause ends.

Israel launched this campaign with two stated goals: toppling Hamas and bringing the hostages home. Military leaders had been supportive of the initial four-day pause in hostilities, saying that not only would it not undermine the army’s ability to continue its efforts against Hamas – it would actually facilitate them. This appears to hold true for the additional two days, as well.

Israel must finish the job
In Israel’s understanding, its two goals are mutually reinforcing: it is the military campaign against Hamas that applied the pressure necessary to force the group to start freeing the hostages – and it is the release of the hostages and the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza in the context of the deal that will enable the campaign against Hamas to continue once the pause concludes.

Our message is simple: Israel should finish the job: Both jobs.

Israel should continue to do whatever is necessary – and within the bounds of what its military leaders determine is bearable – to free the hostages so long as the pause continues, and it should be prepared to immediately relaunch its military effort to eradicate Hamas’s capacity to carry out a massacre like October 7 ever again.

In so doing, Israel’s leaders will fulfill their commitment to the people of the Jewish state and bring this painful episode to its natural conclusion.
At the end of the Gaza War’s first half, Israel’s position is strong
Israel negotiated from strength
While all Israelis want the hostages back, not all support the dangerous trade. Yet the War Cabinet, the full Cabinet and the Knesset all backed the deal. While opponents of the deal claim that Israel negotiated from a position of weakness, the exact opposite is true. Israel negotiated the hostage deal from a position of great strength.

First, the IDF is one of the world’s strongest militaries. It is absolutely destroying Hamas, with only a portion of its military might. Israel and Hamas both understand well that a four-day pause does little to change Israel’s overall strategic advantage on the battlefield, even if Hamas manages to regroup and rearm.

Israel’s moral superiority
Second, in placing such a high value on retrieving its hostages, Israel has once again demonstrated its moral superiority. While Hamas values martyrdom and a culture of death, Israel values life, and will risk life and limb to save one of its own. That is a message being heard loud and clear inside Gaza, where civilians recognize that Hamas has invited death and destruction into the Strip, and does little to protect its residents.

It is a message that is reverberating around the world as well. The return of Israeli hostages to the headlines reminds the international community that Israel was severely victimized on Oct. 7 by a brutal terror organization.

That Hamas has been essentially forced to give up 50-70 of its bargaining chips for only 4-6 days of pause in the fighting demonstrates how desperate a situation Hamas is actually in.

Netanyahu shames Hamas in Gaza
Adding insult to injury for Hamas was a surprise visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the strip on Sunday, where he held situational assessments and met with IDF soldiers that continue to hold their positions.

Netanyahu’s visit sent clear messages both in Israel and Gaza. First, Netanyahu has not-so-subtly signaled that as the head of the strongest military force in Gaza, he is now the Strip’s sovereign leader. From this point forward, it is Netanyahu who will determine the fate of Gaza, not Hamas.

The visit is a terrible embarrassment to Hamas, and this is the reason they have not openly commented on it. The visit would have gone viral globally and been more difficult to ignore had Netanyahu opted to record statements in English, in addition to the statements he made in Hebrew while with the Israeli soldiers.

IDF pressure campaign to resume
Second, as Netanyahu repeatedly told the soldiers, as did Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Gaza the day before, the military campaign will resume as soon as Hamas is no longer able to deliver hostages. Gallant has repeatedly insisted that it was IDF pressure that forced Hamas to negotiate the return of hostages, and he continues to insist that further IDF pressure will lead to the release of additional hostages in the days and weeks to come. The defense minister has stated that fighting in Gaza is expected to continue for months yet. Netanyahu and Gallant have no choice but to beat Hamas at its own game.

Understanding Hamas’s strategy
On Oct. 7, Hamas intentionally launched an attack so heinous that Israel would have no choice but to retaliate on an unprecedented scale. And it is obvious that the IDF, as one of the world’s strongest and battle-ready militaries, has enough might to defeat a terror entity with fewer soldiers and inferior weapons.

Hamas understood from the outset that it could never defeat Israel on the physical battlefield. Instead, it sought to use the physical war to defeat Israel on the psychological battlefield, and in the realm of public opinion.

An Extended Ceasefire Would Help Hamas but Hurt Israelis and Gazans Alike
The Biden administration, which in both personnel and Middle Eastern strategy is a sequel to the Obama White House, understands this: It never instituted humanitarian pauses in its defeats of ISIS during the assaults that captured, and mostly destroyed, Mosul and Raqqa.

If it is not being done for its spoken objectives, there remain two possible motivations. The more optimistic option is that it is being done to make certain that plans for post-war Gaza are in place. America’s experience in Iraq demonstrated how vital the first days after the presiding government’s fall can be. Civil services must be restored as quickly as possible to Gaza after the war is ended, and there must be a plan in place for the transfer of authority.

The more likely explanation is that it is directed at influential domestic blocs and organizations which are militating against support for Israel. Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has labelled Qatar as America’s “best partner in the region,” joined the euphemistic game by calling for a “short cessation of hostilities” after releasing a confused statement that asserted the necessity to destroy Hamas while demanding that Israel “shift to a more deliberate and proportional counterterrorism campaign.”

While it is tempting to blame this on an ignorance of the realities of urban combat or a susceptibility to the kind of anti-Israel messaging illustrated by the al-Ahli hospital case, the true cause is likely the increasing protests from influential voting blocs and organizations. Not only have there been open letters from staff at places like the USAID and the State Department, but a recent poll indicates Democratic voters are significantly opposed to Israel’s actions, with only a slim — and likely shrinking — majority supporting continued military aid.

Biden has, so far, admirably held out against pressure for an open-ended ceasefire from vocal fringe groups that have so influenced Democratic and Republican policy in recent years. He has done so by resisting an alteration in policy while offering rhetorical olive branches and — as in the U.S. abstention from a UN Security Council resolution demanding humanitarian pauses — symbolic gestures.

As harmful to all as a pause would be, excepting Hamas, the greater danger is that domestic pressure will push the Biden White House into a repetition of Obama’s prestidigitation for the Iran Nuclear Deal in the face of what it knew would be public and congressional disapproval. In other words, they may believe they can manipulate the information sphere enough to rhetorically condemn a ceasefire while effectively demanding it by utilizing a different term or declaring “mission accomplished” prematurely. This is, after all, the same president who delivered a string of lies after delivering Afghans back to the tyranny of the Taliban.

This development would lead to the most harmful outcome: a ceasefire without the removal of Hamas.

For security purposes, the two most important outcomes of the current war are that Israel’s deterrence is secured and that the U.S. exhibits the interest and the will to oppose an expansionary Iran. Both objectives are necessary to slow — though not halt — Iranian aggression, ensure continued Israeli-Arab normalization, and reaffirm the signal which Biden’s support for Ukraine has delivered to Europe and Asia: that Washington’s decade-long strategic experiment in sacrificing our allies’ interests for the sake of our rivals’ is over.

That the demands for a ceasefire are fueled by sentimentality and animus against Israel is best illustrated by the ceasefire camp’s refusal to offer any substantive vision for post-war political stability and security. Their moral and intellectual concern ceases the moment the IDF stands down. No concern is given for Gazans' continued oppression by Hamas, for the vulnerability of Israel, or the far-reaching cost of allowing Tehran to declare victory. Their frequent failure to even mention the hostages also demonstrates their willingness to withhold moral agency from Hamas — and the people of Gaza. This implicit dehumanization is a traditional tactic of moral rationalization: If Israel is the only moral agent in the conflict, it becomes reasonable to demand that the defending force cease its counterattack rather than the aggressor release its hostages, cease killing its own civilians, and share its stolen resources.

The dangerous undercurrent to the growing demands for a ceasefire is their fatalism. They operate on the same inertial logic that has led Israel, the U.S., and the Arab world since the Second Intifada: Nothing we do can make a difference.

It is a logic that must be discarded if anything positive is to come from this conflict.

This, in turn, will largely be decided by how quickly Washington’s attention shifts from Oct. 7, 2023, to Nov. 5, 2024.
Israel Needs Time, Ammunition, and Continued U.S. Support to Win Its War with Hamas
Israel's most pressing need is time. Israeli leaders believe their campaign to destroy Hamas is going well, proceeding faster and incurring fewer IDF casualties than visiting American generals expected.

But the IDF needs time to maintain its meticulous pace of rooting out Hamas terrorists hiding behind civilians and below ground in the dense urban Gazan environment. If the IDF went faster, it could risk more IDF and Palestinian casualties.

Israel also needs a great deal of ammunition, to maintain its campaign against Hamas and be ready should Hizbullah in Lebanon increase the severity of its daily attacks. Israeli officials are very appreciative of the steady American supply of weapons, but they need more to maximize battlefield effectiveness and limit collateral damage.

The IDF must destroy Hamas so Israelis can again feel safe to live in their towns near the Gaza border (over 100,000 have been evacuated since the Oct. 7 massacre). This will include the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone a few kilometers deep within Gaza to help ensure the border is secure.

The IDF must restore deterrence. Iran and many other Islamists have long believed Israel is in decline and will eventually disappear. Israel's fierce retaliation has created immense destruction in Gaza. That has damaged Israel's international position and triggered antisemitic attacks in the West, but it must give pause to Hizbullah as it ponders what would happen if it attacked Israel.

Former Israeli national security advisor IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror insists Israel could not survive in the Middle East if Israel did not make a clear example of Hamas - that any actor who conducts an attack on the order of Oct. 7 against Israel will be completely annihilated militarily.
Caroline Glick: Biden is the primary obstacle to Israeli victory
Securing aid from America
Until Monday, it appeared the reason that Israel had accepted the deal it is currently operating under owed to its inability to locate the hostages. The London-based Daily Express reported on Monday that the real reason Israel is not rescuing the hostages—and instead agreed to the current deal with all of its tactical and strategic costs—is related to the Biden administration’s directive not to harm Palestinian civilians.

Based on Israeli sources, the British Daily Express reported that Israel knows where many of the hostages are located. It has opted not to rescue them because Hamas is holding the hostages among civilians. Rescuing them would involve collateral damage to those Palestinians and risk U.S. resupply, which Israel cannot fight without.

Here it is important to note that the number of actual civilians that have died as a result of Israel’s bombings remains unknown. On Oct. 25, Biden acknowledged that the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on civilian casualties lacks credibility in light of the fact that the Health Ministry is simply an organ of Hamas and reports the numbers it is told to report by Hamas’s terror masters. That data counts every dead terrorist as a dead civilian.

Israelis were thrilled with Biden’s statement. But the next day, he apologized for it. According to Fox News, in a meeting with Muslim American leaders on Oct. 26, Biden apologized for telling the truth.

“I’m sorry. I’m disappointed with myself,” he said.

Since Oct. 26, the administration has embraced as fact Hamas’s casualty counts and uses them as the basis for its demand that Israel minimize Palestinian casualties. The administration’s willingness to ignore the fallacies at the heart of those data indicates that its policy is based on something other than concern for Palestinian civilians, and therefore is not a tactical challenge that Israel may be capable of contending with and still win.

To be sure, Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have all expressed their solidarity with Israel, as well as their revulsion at Hamas’s actions and desire to see the genocidal jihadist terror group defeated. And to be sure, Biden has taken steps to resupply Israel—requesting $14.3 billion in military supplies to Israel (although the assistance has yet to be approved by Congress or signed into law by Biden). These positions and at least partial actions lend credence to Brick’s assessment, shared by the IDF and the government, that the challenge the Biden administration’s position on civilian casualties in Gaza is an operational or tactical challenge and not a strategic conundrum.

Dealing with Fatah and the P.A.
But there are additional indications that Biden doesn’t want Israel to win. First, there is the issue of Egypt. Due to the U.S. decision to support Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s determination to prevent Gazans from fleeing to Egypt or to a third country through Egypt, the million or so Gazans who evacuated the northern end of the Strip during the fighting are now concentrated in the south. Among them are the bulk of Hamas’s forces, which Israel must destroy to win the war. Facing the U.S.-backed Egyptian refusal to permit these civilians to leave Gaza on the one hand and the U.S. directive to keep civilian casualties close to zero on the other, Israel is facing an impossible operational challenge. Brick may be right that a low-key, slow offensive would be capable of achieving the goal. But he may be wrong. Certainly, a more conventional operation would have a much higher chance of succeeding.

To this must be added the Biden administration’s demands for a post-war settlement. Israel’s goal is not only to defeat Hamas now but to prevent it from rebuilding and to prevent other terror groups from emerging in a post-war Gaza. To this end, at a minimum, Israel will be required to take two actions. First, it must retain permanent military control over all of Gaza. Second, Israel must seize a buffer zone several kilometers wide on the Gaza side of the border to protect civilian communities and military bases from a repeat of Oct. 7.

Biden and his advisers oppose both of these goals. Not only do they completely oppose Israeli military control over Gaza and the establishment of buffer zones inside Gaza, they demand that in a post-war settlement, Israel end its maritime blockade of the Gaza coast, and permit everything and anything to enter Gaza from the sea. In other words, the U.S. position is to permit terrorist forces whether they call themselves Hamas or anything else—to rebuild their capabilities unfettered in post-war Gaza.

Even worse, the administration’s position is that Gaza must be ruled by the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority after the war has ended, and that Gaza be united with Judea and Samaria in a post-war era, and together receive full sovereignty. In other words, the administration’s war goal is to establish a Fatah-dominated Palestinian state in these areas. On its own, this position is antithetical not only to an Israeli victory in the war. It represents an existential threat to Israel’s continued existence. Fatah—and the P.A. it runs—is a terrorist organization and regime. The P.A.’s U.S.-armed and funded security forces are Hamas’s junior partners in terror. As Eugene Kontorovich and Itamar Marcus reported in The Wall Street Journal this week, P.A.-controlled Fatah terrorists from Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group posted videos of its members in Gaza participating in Hamas’s Oct. 7 slaughter. Fatah terrorists killed, tortured and kidnapped Israelis, and took videos of their actions.
Iran’s Implausible Deniability
The Biden administration came into office with the pledge to take the U.S. off a “war footing” with Iran, which the incoming team said had characterized the term of its predecessor. “De-escalation,” as the administration called it, is the way we would achieve peace in the region. Tehran would not be held to account for its malign activities, whether they were conducted directly or through its extensive regional network of proxies. If anything, the Biden team telegraphed, Iran would be rewarded.

As recently as September, the administration was congratulating itself on its approach: “the Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan famously declared. The slaughter of at least 1,200 Israelis, and more than 30 Americans, at the hands of Iranian proxies has not made a dent in the administration’s worldview. On the contrary, the White House’s overriding concern over the last month has been to artificially distance Iran from the Oct. 7 massacre and the subsequent attacks on U.S. bases and personnel in the region.

The separation is absurd on its face. This year alone, before and after Oct. 7, there have been dozens of meetings, in Lebanon and Iran, between Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Iranian command. These groups, in addition to the Houthis in Yemen, and a host of Iraqi Shiite militias all belong to what they call the “axis of resistance.” The axis is an Iranian creation: ideologically, financially, operationally, and strategically. Iran is the state power that undergirds this network of armed groups, providing them with funds, weapons, and guidance in the service of Iranian geopolitical interests. Tehran does not merely back these militias. To a huge degree, it controls them.

And yet, the administration has been at pains to deny Iran’s involvement in the Oct. 7 massacre, pushing back against a series of media reports that highlighted Iran’s role in the planning, training, and timing of the attack. The reports make clear that coordination between Iran and its so-called “joint operations room” in Lebanon (which includes Hamas, Hezbollah and PIJ) was constant, a fact made evident by the frequent visits to Beirut by top Iranian officials, especially Esmail Qaani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s (IRGC) Quds Force, in the months and weeks before Oct. 7. Hamas and PIJ leaders like Saleh al-Arouri and Ziad Nakhaleh, both of whom are based in Lebanon under Hezbollah’s protection, held regular meetings in Beirut and in Tehran with Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranian leadership.

Since then, Tehran’s direct involvement has been even more visible. Qaani has been in Lebanon almost continuously since Oct. 8, overseeing the joint operations room. But none of that matters to the Biden administration. When asked about Iranian communication with Hezbollah during the ongoing attacks on Israel from south Lebanon, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he wasn’t “aware of anything overt.” Apparently, the commander of the Quds Force camping out in Lebanon for the past month doesn’t count.
Thirty years ago Israel deported Hamas, Clinton made Israel take it back
“Deporting The Hope For Peace?” Newsweek asked. The hope for peace was Hamas.

The year was 1992. The Clinton administration was trying to get Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat to sign on the dotted line of the Oslo Accords to create a terror state inside Israel. In the name of peace. Unfortunately Hamas kept killing Israelis.

15-year-old Helena Rapp had been stabbed to death at a bus stop on the way to school. A few days later, Rabbi Shimon Biran, a father of four, was similarly murdered by an Islamic terrorist.

Fed up with the latest killings, Prime Minister Rabin put 417 Islamists terrorists on buses and dumped them in Lebanon. The monsters he deported included top Hamas terror leaders.

On the six buses were current Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh, Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, who would vow, “by Allah, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine”, Abu Osama, who helped draft the Hamas charter calling for the extermination of the Jews, Hamas co-founders Mohammed Taha, Hammad Al-Hasanat, and Mahmoud Zahar, who threatened “They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people”, Hamad Al-Bitawi, who proclaimed that “Jihad is a collective duty” along with Abdullah al-Shami, the head of Islamic Jihad, and many other present and future Islamic terror leaders deported to Lebanon.

The New York Timesheadlined its coverage, “Ousted Arabs Shiver and Wait in Lebanese Limbo”. Newsweek also sympathetically described how the Hamas terrorists were “shivering in the cold.” The Washington Post lingered on their handcuff “welts”. The Associated Press provided detailed coverage of their cases of diarrhea turning the bowel movements of Islamist terrorists into an item worthy of international coverage.

In reality the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists had been equipped by Israel with raincoats, blankets, food and $50 each: more than enough to buy whatever they needed in Lebanon.

“We are thirsty, cold and hungry,” said Dr. Abdul-Aziz Rantisi,” is how the Times began its story. It mentioned that Rantisi was planning a hunger strike, not that he was a terrorist leader.
Ten Israeli hostages freed as Hamas breaks ceasefire in Gaza
Hamas released 10 Israeli hostages from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the first of two days of the extended ceasefire-for-hostages agreement, mere hours after the terror group attacked Israeli troops in northern Gaza in violation of the deal.

The Israeli hostages, all women and one minor, were handed over by Hamas terrorists to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza and were on their way to Israeli territory.

In addition to the 10 Israelis, Hamas released two hostages with Thai citizenship, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

“The Israeli government embraces the twelve hostages—ten of our citizens and two Thai citizens—who returned to Israeli territory today. Their families were informed by officials that they are back in Israel,” said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Jerusalem named the Israelis freed on Sunday as Ditza Heiman, 84; Tamar Metzger, 78; Noralin Agojo, 60; Ada Sagi, 75; Meirav Tal, 54; Rimon Kirsht, 36; Ofelia Roitman, 77; Clara Marman, 62; and Gabriela Leimberg, 59, and her 17-year-old daughter Mia.

Mia Leimberg was released together with her dog, a Shih Tzu named Bella, according to photos shared on Arab social media.

“The Israeli government is committed to the return of all hostages and missing persons. The government, together with all the security forces, will accompany them and their families,” Netanyahu stated.

On Tuesday afternoon, the IDF charged that “three explosive devices were detonated adjacent to IDF troops in two different locations in northern Gaza,” in violation of the ceasefire agreement.

Israeli forces were also fired on by Hamas terrorists, according to the IDF. Soldiers returned fire while staying within the ceasefire directives.
Egypt putting heavy pressure on Sinwar to release Israeli hostages

Ahed Tamimi headlines new list of Palestinian prisoners slated for release

CIA, Mossad heads land in Qatar to urge release of all Gaza hostages

Released child hostages share heartwarming reunion with family dog

Bibas family relative pleads for their release, including baby Kfir

Hamas refuses to release it's youngest hostage - instead handing 10-month-old to a separate Palestine terror group expected to be obliterated by IDF when ceasefire ends - as Israel welcomes 11 captives home

Women held hostage by Hamas in Gaza kept in cages - report
Women who were abducted from Israeli territory and held hostage by Hamas in Gaza were kept in cages, according to a report by Israeli media, citing a statement from a member of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

This claim is not the first of its kind: In the days immediately following the October 7 attacks, videos from Hamas's Telegram channel showed child hostages being kept in cages for the majority of their time in captivity.

Hamas distributed a letter on Monday allegedly written by Danielle Aloni, who was kidnapped alongside her 5-year-old daughter Emilia and held in captivity. In the letter, written in Hebrew and translated into Arabic, she reportedly thanked Hamas for the "extraordinary humanity" provided to her daughter, who "felt like a queen."

The letter also read, "I will forever be a prisoner of love because [Emilia] did not leave here with psychological trauma forever." The Aloni family has not confirmed this letter nor the statements made in it, though it has been widely distributed on social media by the Hamas terror organization.

This letter is one of many that hostages were forced to write, according to Israeli media reports.

Survivors reported being provided with limited food while being held hostage, without clear reports of physical abuse or torture. Of the small rations they received – sometimes only rice and pita at best – the hostages were often left to cook the food for themselves and for the children held with them. They also said how their final two weeks had seen supplies running low.

Supplies running low
Merav Mor Munder, the cousin of Keren Munder who was released on Friday, told N12 "There were days when there were no supplies, so they only ate pita bread. They were not tortured, but there were days when they barely had any food, in the last few days they only ate very little rice."

She relates how one of the hostages, Hannah Katzir, who was also released, learned of her son’s murder on one of the few occasions they would be permitted to listen to Israeli radio. It was upon her own release that she found out that her husband had also been kidnapped and remains in Gaza.

Some of the hostages spoke of their worry about last-minute attempts by Hamas or Gazans – who had thrown stones at the vehicles taking them to Egypt – to attack them before they got home. "Until the last moment we weren't sure," a hostage said: "We thought they would lynch us on the way to Israel."
Aunt says Hamas forced 12-year-old hostage to watch videos of atrocities, aimed gun at him when he cried
The aunt of Eitan Yahalomi, 12, who was released from Gaza captivity last night, tells French TV that terrorists forced him to watch videos of the atrocities they carried out on October 7.

She also says that any time a child in captivity cried “they threatened them with rifles to shut them up.”

Speaking to BFM, Devora Cohen says that “the Hamas terrorists forced him to watch films of the horrors, the kind that no one wants to see, they forced him to watch them.”

She says the Hamas members were “monsters.”

“When he arrived in Gaza, all the residents, everyone, beat him. He is a 12-year-old child,” she says.

Yahalomi, who is a dual Israeli-French citizen, was initially taken captive with his mother and two sisters, but they managed to escape and ran away, returning to Israel, as Eitan was carried into Gaza on a moped.

Separately, Eitan’s father, Ohad, who was shot in a gun battle with the Hamas terrorists, was also apparently taken captive to Gaza, where he remains.

9-year-old Emily Hand's father: 'She'd been conditioned not to make any noise'

‘Terrible ordeal’: Mother of Hamas hostage recalls ‘terrible footage’ of son's kidnapping
Hamas has begun freeing women and children but the mother of a hostage, Idit Ohel is calling for her 22-year-old son to be released.

Ms Ohel sat down with Sky News Australia host Sharri Markson and revealed the exact moment she found out her son, Alon Ohel, was kidnapped.

“I have not heard anything, nobody tells me anything, we don’t know anything,” she told Ms Markson.

“There’s footage of him being taken from Hamas – terrible footage.

“Two of his friends were killed, murdered that day.

“One friend survived to tell us about it … it’s a terrible ordeal.”

Israeli troops in northern Gaza targeted with bombs, in apparent breach of truce

After backlash over silence, UN Women tweets, then deletes, statement condemning Hamas attack in Israel
Nearly 50 days after Hamas’ attack on Israel left 1,200 dead, and after weeks of criticism over its silence about allegations of sexual violence during the attack, the women’s rights group UN Women issued a statement condemning the terror group on Friday.

Then it deleted the post.

“We condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7 and continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” read the initial statement, posted on UN Women’s instagram page. It was soon replaced with a statement that dropped the condemnation of Hamas and only called for the release of the hostages.

Word spread quickly among Jewish women activists and Israelis, reigniting their contention that UN Women — an official arm of the United Nations focused on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment — holds a double standard when it comes to gender-based violence against Israeli women. Some of the critics — including Sheryl Sandberg, a former top Meta executive — have lobbied openly on the topic. Many have used the hashtag “#MeToo_UNless_UR_A_Jew.”

Reached for comment, UN Women told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Instagram post had been scheduled in advance and was deleted because the message in it no longer reflected where the organization wanted to put its main focus.

“In any social media team managing multiple campaigns and during a very busy time like the one we are now with 16 Days of Activism, mistakes can occur,” a representative for UN Women said in a statement sent to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In particular, said the media specialist, the release of some hostages over the weekend as part of a temporary truce changed the organization’s priorities.

“UN Women social media team had pre-planned days in advance [of] this particular post, but then the news broke on the release of hostages and we really wanted to focus on that,” she said. “UN Women has condemned the attacks by Hamas and the deaths of Israeli civilians from the beginning as well as called for the release of hostages, and we will continue doing so until the conflict ends. We have also called for all allegations of gender-based violence to be rigorously investigated, prioritizing the rights, needs, and safety of those affected.”

Israeli man missing since Hamas Oct. 7 attack declared dead

In growing European trend, Germany freezes UNRWA Gaza aid
Germany moved to freeze its funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees’ Gaza operations indefinitely, marking a trend in Europe away from aid to the Palestinians.

The German Development Ministry announced last week that Gaza would be excluded from its continued contributions to UNRWA, “due to the current situation.”

Berlin contributed close to $1 billion in the last five years, making it UNRWA’s largest donor. The U.N. agency, which also considers descendants born after the 1948 war to still be refugees, has distributed materials to students encouraging antisemitism and inciting violence against Jews and Israelis and hired teachers who do the same.

IMPACT-se, an Israeli organization analyzing educational materials in the Middle East, published two reports following the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel finding that over 100 Hamas terrorists who murdered Israelis are graduates of UNRWA schools, and that at least 14 teachers and staff members of UNRWA schools celebrated the massacre on social media, including one post describing the assault as “an unforgettable glorious morning.” Palestinian Authority schools in the West Bank were also found to engage in glorification of the Oct. 7 terrorists.

Criticism of UNRWA has come from both the German left and right. Social Democratic Party MP Falko Drossman called for “a new initiative” and said that “there cannot be a status quo ante with UNRWA,” while Christian Democrat Union human rights policy spokesman Michael Brand said that UNRWA “failed” in that it provided “too little help” and allowed for “too much terror.”

Hamas ‘playing for time’ to stop Israel from fighting: IDF Spokesperson
IDF Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus says Hamas is “playing for time” to “stop” Israel from fighting in the Gaza Strip as the truce is extended for an extra 48 hours.

The US, Qatar and Hamas are saying the truce has been extended for an additional two days, but this extension has not been officially confirmed by Israel.

Hamas has released 50 Israeli hostages since Friday as part of the initial deal for a four-day ceasefire in Gaza and the release of three Palestinian prisoners for each Israeli hostage.

“What the main risks are, I think, some of them are military, but I think that at the end of the day, the military ones aren’t really the ones that we are troubled by because whatever Hamas would have had the capability to do against Israel, they would have done by now,” Mr Conricus told Sky News Australia.

“And now, perhaps, a bit more time to rearrange, but not really a big deal.

“I think Hamas is playing for time, international pressure and to stop us from fighting.

“That is not going to work. We are going to continue whenever we get the green light from the government, we are going to fight and dismantle Hamas and to make sure that October the 7th never happens again.”

'This war will end with the end of Hamas': Israeli government spokesperson
Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy says the current war "will end with the end of Hamas".

“We know that the scenes on our screens are very difficult and we're doing everything we can to minimise civilian casualties,” he told Sky News Australia host Piers Morgan.

“But everyone in Israel understands the consequences of inaction would be too great to bear because we cannot leave Hamas in power and our hostages in Gaza.

“We cannot leave Hamas emboldened to continue attacking our people, to launch another murderous campaign like it did on October 7th.

“We simply cannot go back to 6am on October 7th, that will not happen.

“That massacre was the straw that broke the back of a very strong camel, and this war is going to end with the end of Hamas.”

Jonny Gould’s Jewish State: 127: Talk TV Special: “How To Make Peace In The Middle East”
Aside from producing 🎙️Jonny Gould’s Jewish State, I’m also a host at TalkTV and I was delighted to be asked to produce and present a Special: “How to solve the Middle East conflict”. This was a wonderful opportunity to bring podcast guests to the attention of a mass worldwide audience in English. And so joining me for this high level three-hour show are Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Dr Einat Wilf, leading Zionist thinker and writer and former member of the Knesset, Ruth Wasserman Lande, advisor to late President Shimon Peres, Loay Al Shareef, prominent voice from the UAE, Egyptian journalist, dissident and Hebrew speaker, Moataz Khalil, Dr. Youssef Choueiri, a pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist and Jonathan Paris, who’s consulted for the White House as an expert on Iran and the Arab world. I’ll never forget the goodwill from our viewers and listeners, some of instant on social media for the expertise of peace and understanding from these outstanding world class guests and I thank them all for joining me on the show and to TalkTV, who couldn’t have been more supportive in efforts to make this show 🙏

Senior adviser to Israeli PM on the decision behind which Palestinian prisoners are being released
Benjamin Netanyahu's Senior Adviser Mark Regev has discussed Israel's decision behind which Palestinian prisoners they have released.

“So it’s part of the agreement that was negotiated because they have decided to release women and children – we are releasing women and minors who were involved in security and terrorist actions,” he told Sky News Australia.

"For example if there’s a teenager 15 or 16 who the terrorist convinced to pick up a knife and to stab people, that sort of person is being released now," he said.

“There’s obviously a risk when you release someone involved in violence –there’s always a chance they will return to violence.

“But to get our people out, to save our people who are in these Hamas tunnels in Gaza … we think it’s a calculated risk, a risk worth taking.”

Hamas founder's son calls for Israel to kill his father if hostages not

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: The Feeling Inside Israel
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
On today’s podcast, I provide the first of my impressions on a weeklong trip to Israel and what it feels like to be in a country at war—even during this strange period when the rocket fire has stopped and the hostages are being dribbled out by Hamas. The podcast crew joins me in wondering how stiff the spines of Joe Biden and the Israelis can and will remain as Hamas continues to play the hostage card. Give a listen.
Caroline Glick: "Bibi Swore He Would Destroy Hamas" An Interview with Father of Fallen Soldier
On November 9, Maj Moshe Yedidya Leiter, a commander in the IDF's special forces was killed in Gaza along with three of his men when they discovered an opening to a Hamas tunnel that was booby-trapped. Caroline's guest this week was her old friend, colleague, political commentator and Moshe's Father Yechiel Leiter, Yechiel discussed his son's life, and his loss and he placed both in the context of the larger war for Israel's survival and the role of the Jewish state as the first line in the war for human freedom.

Kemi Badenoch praises Israel for keeping to international law during its war with Hamas in Gaza

Ben Shapiro: Will Israel’s Hostage Deal Help Hamas?
In the wake of the hostage trade-off in the Middle East, the media are pushing the argument that Israel trading terrorists for innocent civilians means that terrorists and innocent civilians are essentially the same thing. This idea makes zero sense.

Megyn Kelly: Hostages Finally Being Released... and President Biden is Taking Credit? With Victor Davis Hanson
Megyn Kelly is joined by Victor Davis Hanson, author of "The Dying Citizen," to discuss President Joe Biden taking credit for the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas, how the Biden administration is trying to argue it can reason with Hamas terrorists, the response from the left and media, and more.

Megyn Kelly: The Real Reason the Media is Spinning Palestinian Criminals Being Released, with Victor Davis Hanson
Megyn Kelly is joined by Victor Davis Hanson, author of "The Dying Citizen," to discuss the media's ridiculous spin about the criminal Palestinians being released in the hostage exchange, the left's nonstop focus on DEI as demographics change the West, how universities driving anti-Israel sentiment in America, and more.

Over 600 Australian leaders unite against 482% rise in

600 ‘high profile leaders’ sign joint letter calling out rise of Australian anti-Semitism
Sky News host Andrew Bolt says the “explosion of Jew hatred” has shamed Australia as an open letter signed by 600 high profile leaders have condemned the rise of anti-Semitism.

“This explosion of Jew hatred, it’s shamed us,” Mr Bolt said.

“At least today, more than 600 high profile leaders … have published in our newspapers one of those rare joint letters that I think are worth something.

“Calling out this anti-Semitism very directly.”

Mr Bolt sat down with Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.

The Israel Guys: The Israeli Hostages in GAZA Have Been Released! Here’s the Story. . .
Israel went into a four-day ceasefire with the terrorist organization of Hamas, and so far 40 Israeli hostages have been released. Although Hamas has been trying to delay the release of hostages, Israel is having none of it and has responded in no uncertain terms of what they will do should Hamas violate the agreement. Also, Prime Minister Netanyahu made history yesterday when he became the first Israeli Prime Minister in 20 years to visit the Gaza Strip.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the now owner of Twitter has landed in Israel just today for a visit.

Young woke progressives ‘sucking up all the oxygen’ on Israel-Hamas war
Sky News contributor Kristin Tate says United States President Joe Biden has gotten into a “pickle” needing to appeal to moderate Democrats and young woke progressives.

“This is just pathetic, but look Biden has gotten himself into a pickle politically speaking,” Ms Tate told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“He needs to appeal to the more moderate Democrats who tend to be pro-Israel but the radical progressives in his party are the ones sucking up all the oxygen in the room.

“The pro-Hamas sentiment has really taken hold with the young woke progressives.

Ms Tate sat down with Mr Kenny to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.

BBC staff 'lost for words' after comedian Guz Khan is announced as host of Have I Got News For You after weeks of calling Israel 'genocidal' on social media

Babylon Bee: Hamas Awarded Nobel Peace Prize For Releasing A Few Of The Children They Kidnapped (satire)
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced the recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be Hamas, for their valiant efforts to release a few kidnapped children in exchange for several terrorists.

"The humanity, compassion, and kindness of this act are inspiring to us all," said a Nobel Committee Spokesperson Ingrid Haugen while presenting the award to a Hamas fighter wearing a vest strapped with c4 and ball bearings. "Hamas didn't need to release these orphaned Israeli child colonizers after slaughtering their parents in front of them, but they did. We could use more tender goodwill like this in our world today."

Human rights groups around the world were quick to praise the genocidal terrorist organization after they released 17 of their 250 hostages in exchange for a long enough ceasefire for them to hide all their weapons in a new children's hospital. "We live in dark times," said Haugen, "but the brave mujahideen of Hamas have restored our faith in humanity."

Hamas took home the coveted award after receiving more votes than runner-up nominee Florian Mibbs, a Portland college student who tore down posters of kidnapped Israeli children on her campus.

At publishing time, Hamas had also been nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work in converting water treatment pipes into rockets.

Daniel Greenfield: Pro-Hamas Rallies Have Twice Targeted LA Holocaust Museums

Dem Rep. Schneider: Pro-Hamas Groups Should Lose Tax Perks over ‘River to the Sea’ Chants Calling for Murder of Jews

‘Extraordinary’ London rally against anti-Semitism in ‘stark contrast’ to pro-Palestine protests
Broadcaster and commentator Emily Carver says the rally against anti-Semitism in London on Sunday was “extraordinary” after a “shocking rise” in anti-Semitic incidents across the country.

Reportedly, 50,000 demonstrators rallied in London against anti-Semitism on Sunday, decrying the surge in hate crimes against Jews following the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7 and Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza.

The march took place a day after the latest demonstration in London by pro-Palestinian protestors calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which police say 45,000 attended.

“It was a stark contrast from what we saw on the day before, which was Saturday,” Ms Carver told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

“Over four, five weeks, we’ve had every single Saturday in Central London, hundreds of thousands of people coming out in pro-Palestine protest, anti-Israel protests.

“We have seen, unfortunately, people clambering over our war memorials, we’ve seen Jihadi groups, or at least those who sympathise with Jihadi groups, we’ve seen Islamist flags in Central London, which really has been a disgrace.”

‘Peaceful pro-Israel' protester ‘targeted’ by police during pro-Palestinian rally
Sky News host Rita Panahi says “peaceful pro-Israel protester” Adam Kahlberg was “targeted” by police during a pro-Palestinian rally.

Ms Panahi said Mr Kahlberg, along with three of his friends, went to the Victorian School Strike for Palestine, where “hundreds of Victorian students skipped classes to join a bunch of activists in an anti-Israel demonstration in the Melbourne CBD”.

“Students taking part in the school strike gathered on the steps of Flinders Street station … where they were chanting things like ‘From the river to the sea Palestine would be free’,” she said.

“Victoria Police seemed entirely comfortable with the sort of anti-Semitic slurs and intimidation.

“What sparked them into action … was a peaceful pro-Israel protester, Adam Kahlberg, and three of his friends were at the protest to counter the anti-Israeli sentiment.

“But after being accosted by pro-Palestinian protesters at various points, he was then targeted by police who accused him of breaching the peace.”

Ms Panahi was joined by Adam Kahlberg to discuss the protest.

‘Pure anti-Semitism’: Teachers union applauds pro-Palestinian activism in class
Sky News host Sharri Markson reveals the NSW Teachers Federation is supporting a move for school teachers to wear the Palestinian Keffiyeh into public school classrooms in a show of support with Palestinians.

The Teachers and School Staff for Palestine Group wrote just two days ago: “From today, teachers can proudly and safely wear Keffiyeh to work with backing of the NSW Teachers Federation. Our week of action has been extended for a week, please take photos at work teachers wearing Keffiyeh or with signs calling to end the siege and bombing of Gaza and send to us. If any principal tries to stop you, get the NSWTF to speak to your principal.”

The post also talks about amendments to a motion that was passed at the Teachers Federation State Council.

Ms Markson blasted the support as “pure anti-Semitism” from public school teachers.

“It would unquestionably make Jewish children in public classrooms feel unsafe, threatened, alienated and bullied,” she said.

“This is disgusting bullying from teachers; this is racism from teachers against Jewish students.

“Those teachers can believe or think whatever they like, they can protest in their private time to their heart's content, but they have no right to bring it into the classroom and make the classroom an unsafe place for Jewish students.”

It's understood the Department of Education has reminded staff of their obligations to remain politically neutral and that any teacher found to be in breach of the code of conduct would be subject to appropriate action.

The department says they don't endorse the activity of the Teachers For Palestine group.

'There's no place for that sort of hatred': Vandals behind antisemitic stickers on Civic gelato store could face legal action

Two women arrested in NYC attack on Jewish victim who confronted them for tearing down hostage posters: cops

Anti-Israel Protesters Plan to Interrupt Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony These actors may be proud of themselves for wearing the keffiyeh in protest against 'genocidal' Israel - but these sick stunts will be the death of left-wing cultural institutions when paying crowds take their money elsewhere

Sydney Theatre Company facing backlash as actors protest for Palestine after show

Why the "trans liberation depends on Palestinian liberation" banner at UBC made zero sense
A huge banner hoisted on top of the AMS Student Nest building at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus was a real head-scratcher for those who understand which groups persecute LGBTQ people in the Middle East.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs

Blog Archive