Tuesday, November 28, 2023

From Ian:

10 Israeli and 2 Thai hostages arrive back in Israel after 53 days in Gaza captivity
Nine Israeli women and a 17-year-old girl were released by Hamas on Tuesday night after 53 days in captivity in Gaza, amid an extended truce deal with the Palestinian terror group that is expected to last at least until Wednesday, when another group of about 10 hostages is expected to be freed.

Hamas on Tuesday also released two foreign nationals from Thailand as part of a separate agreement.

The release of eight Israeli women, six of them elderly, and one mother and her teen daughter on Tuesday came hours after an apparent violation of the temporary halt in fighting, now in its fifth day, when Israeli troops were targeted in northern Gaza by Hamas explosives and gunfire. A number of soldiers sustained light injuries.

All the hostages were handed over by Hamas and terror ally Palestinian Islamic Jihad to the Red Cross in Gaza Tuesday night, then arrived in Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing — sidestepping a transfer in Egypt — in a process that was also observed for the past two days of hostage transfers.

They were being brought to hospitals in Israel for further treatment and monitoring, before being reunited with their families.

Hamas released footage of the handover in which the women can be seen walking, flanked by armed, masked terrorists. One of the hostages, Ditza Heiman, 84, was in a wheelchair and was helped into the Red Cross ambulance by medical staff. The handover, brightly lit and filmed by multiple cameras, was stage-managed by the terrorists in front of a large crowd.

Teen hostage Mia Leimberg, 17, was seen in initial clips of the release from inside the Gaza Strip holding her dog Bella, which was thought to have been killed in the October 7 onslaught. That day, thousands of Hamas-led terrorists killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took some 240 hostages including about 40 children.

The youngest among the nine remaining child hostages is Kfir Bibas, who was just nine months old when he was captured along with his parents and four-year-old brother from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. The baby’s aunt Ofri Bibas pleaded Tuesday for the family’s release as soon as possible.

The IDF said Monday that the Bibas family had been transferred by Hamas to another Palestinian terror group in Gaza, dampening hopes of their release during the current truce.
The doctor leading freed hostages from darkness to light
Dr. Hagai Levine worries about four-year-old Abigail Edan, who saw her parents murdered by Hamas terrorists before she was kidnapped to Gaza on October 7 and released on November 26.

He worries about 84-year-old Alma Avraham, deprived of essential medication for the seven weeks she was captive in Gaza.

He worries about each of the remaining approximately 160 hostages, from the youngest baby to the oldest octogenarian.

But Levine isn’t just sitting around fretting.

While national leaders are working out the difficult details of getting hostages released back to Israel, Levine is working out the difficult details of their medical care.

Levine, chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, volunteered to head the medical team of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum established by the families of the approximately 240 abductees less than 24 hours after the deadly Hamas attacks and kidnappings of October 7.

“This is an unprecedented event,” says Levine.

“Hostages ranging from a nine-month-old baby to an 85-year-old woman with dementia and Parkinson’s were taken and held underground in inhumane conditions. Hamas did not allow them access to the Red Cross or connection with their families,” he says.

“Very early on, we established a medical and resilience team with the aim of bringing them home now, safely, and protecting the health of the hostages and their families.”

The doctor leading freed hostages from darkness to light
Hostage Eitan Yahalomi is reunited with his mother on his return on Nov. 27, at the Kerem Shalom meeting point. Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson.

Levine and the forum worked with the Health Ministry to innovate new guidelines for treating released hostages.

“We are writing a textbook that wasn’t written before because nothing like this has ever happened before,” adds Orna Dotan, head of the forum’s resilience team comprising hundreds of mental-health professionals.
We must never forget that Israel is not a luxury — it is a necessity
The Jewish homeland has been a constant throughout our history. In exile we yearned to return. Then, as the state was granted independence, a partnership across the diaspora brought those dreams to life. When Jews needed to flee persecution, Israel wasn’t just ready and waiting, it orchestrated their escape. It has been a relationship of existential necessity.

And then, October 7, in an instant, Israel stopped feeling like a safe haven. Worse, it felt like its existence was under threat. Those of us too young to remember 1948, 1967 or 1973 had taken Israel for granted. Even with every lesson from our history, we still took Israel for granted.

As it evolved, as the skyscrapers rose and the military grew in power, Israel became an insurance policy to cash in, as and when needed. Israel was there for us. Yet, as a result of our complacency, we could not always say the same.

The immediate response to October 7 has been everything you would expect and more. People who have not given for years have dug deep. The insurance premium is being paid in full — for now. But what happens next? The relationship between Israel and the diaspora had stagnated. As we come out of this trauma we need to press the reset button and, together, re-establish what it means to be the Jewish homeland and to be a Jew outside its borders. The starting point must be a focus on that which brings us together as opposed to the things that drive us apart.

On peoplehood, on a shared history and a desire for a better Israel without demanding a perfect Israel. Too many had made their support for and relationship with Israel conditional. We looked over our shoulder to determine when, how and even if we should state our Zionist credentials, as we sought to avoid the political or social wrath of those who would hold Israel to a higher standard.

Israel is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Never has this been more apparent than when it is seemingly at its most vulnerable.

As people take to the UK’s streets in their hundreds of thousands, some calling for the dismantling of Israel, others for jihad and a number even glorifying the murder of babies, it would be naive not to ask, again, “What if?” What if the baying mob gets its wish? What if it becomes too dangerous to send our kids to Jewish schools?

What if university campuses become no-go areas for Jewish students? Just pick up the suitcase and get on the next flight to Israel? What if there were no Israel to turn to? What if that insurance policy suddenly got cancelled when we needed it most?

And as I look at Britain and look to Israel, struggling to work out how any of this has happened I ask myself, where do we go from here?
Jake Wallis Simons: The Jewish State Is Determined to Defeat the Enemy, Whatever the Price
On Oct. 7, in the sleepy kibbutz of Kfar Aza near the Gaza border, Aviv and Livnat Kutz were hoping to spend the afternoon with their three teenage children and other likeminded locals flying kites near the fence as a gesture of peace towards their Palestinian neighbors. The corpses of the murdered Kutz family were later found huddled together in the same bed.

Looking back, the complacency that prevailed in Israel regarding the threat from Gaza was not only remarkable but agonizingly naive. In the conventional Israeli security picture, the Gazan militias were dwarfed by the threat of Hizbullah in Lebanon and Iran, which was on the threshold of nuclearization. Indeed, as one defense source told me: "If Iran had directed the attacks, Mossad would have known about it."

What Hamas has always missed is the fact that Israel is not a colonial power like France in Algeria. The Israelis have no other country to which to withdraw. And such is the alchemy of Israeli society, whose conscription culture creates deep bonds of social responsibility and national pride, that turning up the volume of agony on its public produces an equal and opposite reaction of solidarity and grit. The Jewish state is determined to defeat the enemy, whatever the price.

On the Israeli side, everything changed on Oct. 7. In butchering the innocent with such savagery, Hamas had changed the security calculation. Israel's policy of containment was torn up.

By way of spectacular success, Hamas had signed its own death warrant. If an effective deterrent is to be re-established, Hamas must be dispatched unequivocally, as costly as this will prove in terms of blood, treasure and international standing.

Last week, an old Palestinian colleague called me from the grounds of the hospital in Khan Yunis in Gaza. Hamas was facing a groundswell of repressed rage from its own people, he confided in hushed tones.

Brendan O'Neill: The moral cowardice of the managerial elites
Is it just me or does the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar seem to fear his own citizens more than he does the murderous theocrats of Hamas? Compare the comment he made when hundreds of louts rioted on O’Connell Street last week with the weird tweet he put out when Emily Hand, the nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl, was finally freed from Hamas’s racist clutches. He damned the Dublin looters as a mob ‘filled with hate’, people who ‘love violence’. And Hamas? What did he say about this medieval terror group that violently abducted an Irish girl from her loving family? Well, nothing.

He didn’t mention them in his tweet. He didn’t say what they did. He didn’t comment on their love of violence. Instead, he coyly said ‘an innocent child who was lost has now been found’. You’d think Emily had wandered off in a shopping mall. ‘Where was she “lost”, Leo? Down the back of the sofa?’, teased Graham Linehan. It is properly disturbing that the PM of the nation of which Emily is a citizen failed to mention that this poor girl was seized from a sleepover with her friend during the worst anti-Semitic pogrom of modern times and then held against her will for 50 days. Why didn’t he tell this truth?

He’s had a furious backlash. Emily wasn’t ‘lost’ and ‘found’, tweeters have reminded the Taoiseach: she was kidnapped and liberated. He even suffered the indignity of having a Community Note attached to his tweet on ‘X’ to add some flesh of truth to the bones of his cowardly comment. ‘Emily wasn’t lost. She was abducted by terrorists from Hamas’, it says. He tried to settle the storm by tweeting out his entire statement on Emily’s release. It made things worse. Yes, it says she was ‘snatched’ (finally), but it makes no mention of Hamas. Who snatched her, Leo? Maybe it was those thugs of O’Connell Street who ‘love violence’. It’s a mystery.

Varadkar apologists rushed in to say he was clearly alluding to a passage from the Bible and only idiots didn’t get it. He was referencing Luke 15:32, they insist, which says ‘this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’. Come off it. Let’s leave to one side the fact that Varadkar is hardly the kind of politician who goes about quoting the Bible. More to the point, Luke 15 tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the young fella who squanders his parents’ money on whores before slinking home for forgiveness. If Varadkar really was speaking of sweet, innocent Emily in the same breath as a man who fucked away his parents’ fortune, then his tweet was even madder than we thought.

A diplomatic storm has ensued. ‘Mr prime minister, it seems you have lost your moral compass and need a reality check!’, said Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen. Israeli president Isaac Herzog nailed it when he told the Taoiseach, ‘Emily was not out for a walk and lost her way… [she] was kidnapped and held at gunpoint by monstrous and despicable murderers’. The Israeli foreign ministry has called in Ireland’s ambassador to Israel for a dressing down. As well it might. Any nation would be rightfully ticked off if the brutal kidnap of one of their citizens by racist ideologues was downplayed by a foreign dignitary. What’s weird here is that the dignitary is the leader of the nation in which the kidnap victim enjoys dual citizenship. What was he thinking?

To my mind, Varadkar’s screw-up on the Emily Hand release tells us a larger story about the deracinated state of politics right now. It speaks to the moral cowardice of the managerial elites. To the reluctance, the flat-out unwillingness, of our technocratic establishments to issue any firm moral comment on the events of our era. Unless, of course, the event involves one’s own problematic native population, with their supposedly bovine views and violent ways. This is why Varadkar is far more comfortable with condemning the tracksuit-wearing masses of fiery Dublin than he is with making a full-throated denunciation of the racist Islamists who violated the innocence of an Irish child – because the only ‘morality’ that matters to the new elites is their right to morally distinguish themselves from their own rowdy, ignorant populaces. Outside of such narrow exercises in self-bloating moralism, morality never gets a look-in with the stiff, overeducated, bean-counting class that now wields so much power in the EU and across the post-moral West.

Leo Varadkar never posted about "Emily Hand" before Nov26
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His Oct7 post
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Only condemned Hamas for rockets.
"loss of life in fighting" you mean the murdered babies were fighting?
"impact on people going about their daily lives" by removing their heads?

Why Israel has no imminent plans to wind down its war on Hamas
The policy establishment in Israel is apprehensive similarly about what or who would fill the vacuum in Gaza if and when the IDF should depart the area. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, often touted as the natural candidate for this role, is in severe disarray and uninspiring confidence in its abilities to assert dominion over the Gaza Strip, from which it was expelled forcibly by Hamas in 2007. Israel’s experience with multinational teams—supposing that countries can be found to volunteer for that task—raises cause for distress that foreign contingents would be similarly ineffective. Meanwhile, a ceasefire would impose constraints on Israeli measures against Hamas, heightening the vulnerability of Israel to renewed acts of terrorism.

There is no desire in Israel to play into Hamas’s hands by granting them the enduring ceasefire that they crave. Such a truce—as was in place effectively until Hamas decided to violate its terms unilaterally on October 7—would relieve pressure on the embattled organization and allow its forces to regroup. In this context, the preference of Hamas for dragging out the upcoming hostage release over four days—while also dangling the potential for subsequent exchanges—is perceived by Israel as extortion designed to complicate the resumption of full IDF operations in Gaza.

All told, the reality of a ceasefire, by Israel’s logic, would be critically unstable. It would be detrimental to Israeli deterrence and be destined inevitably to degrade into an even more lethal round of hostilities that could expand like wildfire to other neighboring theaters.

More in line with Israeli thinking is what Joe Biden administration officials have called “tactical humanitarian pauses” for the limited purposes of enabling non-combatants to exit battle zones, increasing the flow of aid provisions, and facilitating the release of hostages. (According to Netanyahu, it has been only through the application of “relentless military pressure” and supplementary “diplomatic pressure” that the latest releases were achieved.) In these circumstances, the IDF would stay deployed in forward field locations, from where it would continue to collect vital intelligence, expose and destroy Hamas arsenals, command posts, and launch sites, and stand by to quickly remobilize positioned assets for the next phase of its war on Hamas.

Motivation in Israel, where the trauma of October 7 is still palpable, remains high to persist until the eradication of Hamas and its capability to inflict harm on Israeli targets. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has inferred openly that IDF troops will soon be operating in the southern Gaza Strip as well.

Although the White House has pushed back vigorously against critics and not wavered in its public support for Israel’s war aims—”as long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not peace,” President Biden wrote in the Washington Post on November 18—prevailing uncertainties about Israel’s endgame are threatening to gnaw away at the legitimacy of a protracted campaign in Gaza. Israeli policymakers will certainly look to lock down as many tangible gains as possible before time might, eventually, run out.
As If Israel Simply Woke Up One Morning and Chose to Attack Gaza
On Nov. 4, four weeks after Hamas' barbaric, murderous assault on Israel, the Irish Times published a grotesque, fact-free letter by 620 Irish academics accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocidal violence. Any uninformed person reading the letter would have assumed Israel had simply woken up one morning and chosen to attack Gaza.

The 620 regarded the entirety of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territory and called on "all universities in Ireland to immediately sever any existing partnerships or affiliations with Israeli institutions." Put simply, over 600 of Ireland's academics and scholars proposed that all engagements between Irish and Israeli universities end until Israel ceases to exist and then they can be revived, which is something of an oxymoron.

Their call was fully aligned with the objectives of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iran. But in Ireland, outside of a few critical letters, no one cared. It seems the academics' perspective coincided with that of many Irish journalists and too many of Ireland's politicians and general public.

Hamas' obsessive commitment to Israel's extermination and its consistent violent opposition to any permanent peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has brought nothing but disaster to both Israelis and Palestinians. A more intellectually rigorous approach by the 620 would have been a call on Hamas to stop the rockets, release the hostages, and surrender to prosecution for their egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Brandeis Center files lawsuit against UC Berkeley for hostile campus environment
Citing claims of a “longstanding, unchecked spread of antisemitism” on the University of California, Berkeley’s campus, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law filed a complaint on behalf of Jewish students on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the campus is a “hotbed of anti-Jewish hostility and harassment,” Jewish Insider has learned.

The lawsuit, which names the University of California (UC) Regents, UC President Michael Drake, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and other officials as defendants, claims that since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel, antisemitism has been exacerbated at the school — citing several on-campus incidents of intimidation, harassment and physical violence against Jewish students.

UC Berkeley Jewish students wrote in the complaint that the school does so little to protect Jewish students, it feels as if the school is condoning antisemitism. They added that officials at the university display a “general disregard” for Jewish students.

“The concerns of Jewish students are not being taken seriously and incidents that are affecting Jewish students are not being treated the same as incidents that would affect another targeted minority on campus,” Hannah Schlacter, an MBA student at the school, told JI.

The complaint, a copy of which was obtained by JI, details a pro-Palestinian rally following Oct. 7 in which a Jewish undergraduate who was draped in an Israeli flag was attacked by two protesters who struck him in the head with a metal water bottle.

It further cites that Jewish students and Jewish faculty are receiving hate mail calling for their gassing and murder, and claims that many Jewish students report feeling afraid to go to class. Pro-Palestinian protesters, the suit continues, disrupted a prayer gathering by Jewish students and blocked the main entrance to campus, and a faculty member went on an 18-minute anti-Israel rant in front of roughly 1,000 freshmen in his lecture class.

“Frankly, I’m not sure why a Jewish student would come to [Berkeley] law school,” UCB professor Steven Davidoff Solomon, who teaches an undergraduate class on antisemitism in the law, told JI. “There’s a group of students who feel free to say the nastiest slurs as long as they substitute Zionist for Jew and they repeatedly do that while the administration refuses to take steps to condemn it, to conduct training, to take measures they would take if it was discrimination against other minorities, and it’s disappointing,” he said, calling the lawsuit a “last resort.”
UC Berkeley Faces Lawsuit For 'Longstanding, Unchecked Spread of Anti-Semitism'

House committee calls Harvard, UPenn, MIT presidents to answer for campus antisemitism

University drops Amir Khan’s Gaza event after JC exposes preacher who defended Hamas terror

PreOccupiedTerritory: Even Total Extermination Insufficient To Convince Man Jews Don’t Control Everything (satire)

CPJ’s misleading tally of journalist deaths is clickbait for Israel haters





Toronto Star Columnist Rick Salutin Claims Hamas Commits Terrorism Out Of “Despair”

Model Gigi Hadid pushes blood libel

Anti-Israel Protesters Demonstrate Outside Memorial Service for Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Hamas senior official invites Elon Musk to visit Gaza

Progressive Senate Dems push to condition aid to Israel

She Praised Islamic Terror Groups. Then the Biden Admin Tapped Her To Address 'Hate and Threats of Violence.'

Anti-Israel chants at vigil for Vermont shooting of 3 men of Palestinian descent

Veterans Affairs Investigates Employee Who Mocked Israel’s Efforts to Secure Hostages

Marxist Colorado State Rep. Replaces U.S. Flag on His Desk with Palestinian Flag

Oakland City Council Votes 8-0 for Gaza Ceasefire; Rejects Condemning Hamas

Barcelona cuts ties with Israel amid war with Hamas

WATCH: Former South African Minister Ronnie Kasrils Praises Hamas Terror Attack on Civilians: ‘Damned Good! I Was So Pleased’

Saudi Arabia Envisions Gaza without Hamas
In discussions on the post-war reality in Gaza, senior Saudi officials say everyone agrees that the murderous Hamas regime will not stay in Gaza. Saudi Arabia is working on a diplomatic process involving all Gulf states along with Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. The emerging solution is based on a demilitarized Palestinian state under international and Arab supervision.

The reconstruction of Gaza will be led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, alongside other countries, and in the three years following the war, there will be an international and Arab mandate over Gaza. Saudi sources promise that they will address incitement and all related issues pertaining to an atmosphere of reconciliation and laying the groundwork for a tolerant and accepting environment based on true Islam, without distortions from Hamas and Iran.

MEMRI: California Imam Dr. Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini: The Jews Killed Their Prophets, Are Entitled Liars; The Enemies Of Gaza Are The Enemies Of Mankind, Humanity

MEMRI: Board Chairman Of Egyptian State Daily Al-Ahram: The U.S. Is 'The Arab World's No. 1 Enemy'; 'It Is More Nazi Than Hitler'; Arabs Should Sever Their Ties With It

700 Pro-Iranian Fighters Deployed in Syria near Golan Heights
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 700 pro-Iranian fighters of "Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and other nationalities," trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah, have been deployed in Syria's Quneitra Province immediately adjacent to the Golan Heights.

Syrian journalist Samer al-Ahmad of the Middle East Institute reported that "some groups were trained on how to carry out drone and rocket attacks, while other groups were taught security operations and information-gathering techniques."

Multiple elements of a pro-Iran regional alliance are now engaged against Israel and the U.S. on a near daily basis: from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the West Bank, as well as from Gaza.

IDF shells targets in southern Lebanon

IDF releases names of three soldiers killed in Hamas captivity

PMW: Israel stole organs from the corpses in Gaza, is newest PA libel

PMW: Was Hamas’ massacre in Israel the PA’s dream come true? Abbas’ advisor: “The US is using Israel as a pawn… to weaken Arab/Islamic region”

Abbas’ advisor: Oct. 7 massacre served Israel as “an opportunity” to “uproot the Palestinian people”

Abbas’ advisor: America decides what happens in the war, not Israel

Top Fatah official supports Hamas, urges all factions to “unite in battle” against Israel

Media Lamely Nod Along as Limelight-Loving Doctor Spouts Wild Israel Conspiracies

Antony Blinken, Iranian Tool

After 80 years, music made in Auschwitz is performed in London

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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.


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