Tuesday, December 19, 2023

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Why Israel’s Allies Are Pretending To Be Impatient
Foreign policy is still subject to domestic politics, no matter how far away the theater of battle is.

That is a pretty reliable rule, and it explains much of what people are finding inexplicable: the insistence that the Biden administration is giving Israel “tough love” in private conversations while publicly supporting the IDF’s mission in Gaza. “Netanyahu’s war bluster exposes growing rift with Biden,” reports The Hill, putting a slightly more dramatic gloss on a version of the same story you can read today in the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s trip to Israel yesterday, reports the Times, “was part of a full-court press by the Biden administration to urge Israeli officials to wrap up the ‘high-intensity’ phase of the war and begin carrying out more targeted, intelligence-driven missions to find and kill Hamas leaders, destroy the tunnels used by the militant group and rescue the people taken hostage on Oct. 7.”

Not to put too much into the metaphor here, but in my glory days of yeshiva league high-school basketball I never faced a full-court press with so much breathing room. The only evidence that there is pressure behind closed doors is the insistence by top officials that there is pressure behind closed doors.

How much time will Austin give the Israelis to get this done? “This is Israel’s operation, and I’m not here to dictate timelines or terms,” he said. But rest assured, in private he told the Israelis to be, in the Times’ own wording, “as precise and disciplined as possible as they dismantle Hamas and its infrastructure.”

What is happening here? The answer is that it’s like a movie scene where the protagonist notices he’s being followed but doesn’t want to break his cover and run, so he walks more briskly, which only makes his pursuer walk faster, until the two of them seem to be locked in a powerwalking contest. President Biden is being pursued, but not quite chased, by fellow Democrats who don’t want to crack open a public fight with the president.
Multinational force in Gaza will fail if history is any guide, report says
The report also provides examples outside the Israel-Arab conflict. Particularly disturbing was the behavior of international peacekeepers during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. “As U.N. peacekeepers stood on the sidelines, more than eight hundred thousand Rwandans were killed in just three months,” the report notes.

As if telegraphing its own view of the likely success of a multinational mission in Gaza, the U.S. on Nov. 1 announced that no American troops would be put on the ground there as part of any peacekeeping force post-conflict, “now or in the future.”

Washington and Jerusalem are closer to agreement on civilian affairs in Gaza after the war. Both have floated the idea of a multinational group to manage non-security issues and help in reconstruction. (Although the U.S. initially envisioned an international coalition handling “interim security measures” as well, the White House has since conceded that Israel will need to keep security in hand for an initial period.)

However, Israel may face resistance in gaining help to rebuild the Strip. The United Arab Emirates, one of the countries whose support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will “harness” for reconstruction efforts, balked at stepping in without the agreed-upon end goal being a Palestinian state.

“The message is going to be very clear: We need to see a viable two-state solution plan, a road map that is serious before we talk about the next day and rebuilding the infrastructure of Gaza,” UAE Ambassador to the U.N. Lana Nusseibeh told The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 12.

“The road map is: the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority and a grouping of countries that have leverage on the both of them sitting around the table and saying, ‘That’s the endgame we’re going to work to. The work starts here. This is the timeline, and it starts now,’” she said.

That would be a “double whammy” against Israeli interests, in which a multinational force transitions to Palestinian Authority control, said Kontorovich. “All the P.A. needs to do is pressure the countries to leave early, which is very likely what they’ll do. If they can simply abscond, then the P.A. is left to fill in. And history shows these groups have very little perseverance under adversity.”

As the report says, “History, and especially Israel’s experience, shows that foreign troops or personnel, even with countries or institutions who have expertise in peacekeeping, cannot be trusted to provide security for Israel.

“This is true even in straightforward contexts like policing a demilitarized zone or guarding a jail, and would be all the more true for the daunting task of rebuilding Gaza without Iranian, Islamist or other hostile influence,” the report concludes.
Col Kemp: UK’s former defence secretary has played right into Hamas’s hands
Well intentioned though he may be, former defence secretary Ben Wallace, in an article in the Telegraph, gets much wrong about the Gaza conflict and risks stoking antisemitic hate. He supports the eradication of Hamas but says Israel is doing it all wrong. He doesn’t explain in any detail how they should do it differently. What he does offer are lessons from Northern Ireland. But Wallace doesn’t seem to recognise that Gaza is nothing like Northern Ireland. Not only that, he draws the wrong conclusions about how the IRA terrorist campaign ended. He seems to think it was because the Nationalist population “recognised that the IRA didn’t have its wellbeing and economic interests at heart”, which it was not. He seems to imply from this misunderstanding that Israel should be prioritising winning the hearts and minds of the civilian population over destroying Hamas.

The reality is that the vast majority of the Nationalist community never supported IRA violence but were largely powerless to do anything about it. On the other hand the people of Gaza, as well as the people of Judea and Samaria — the West Bank — are overwhelmingly behind Hamas’s violence. Nothing like the level of visceral hatred for Israel and the Jews that exists in these territories was ever present against the British in Northern Ireland. It is virtually bred into Palestinians almost from birth. Despite what Wallace suggests, nothing can change that, at least for generations.

The IRA was in fact beaten by British military and police action and almost total intelligence penetration of their terrorist networks, not by some kind of popular uprising against them. Likewise, Hamas can only be defeated by overwhelming force. It was never necessary to use the same level of violence against the IRA as it is against Hamas, because their very nature, and the environments of the two conflicts, were utterly different. Northern Ireland, where I did seven operational tours of duty, was and remains a part of the UK, with a constant level of policing and security. Gaza on the other hand is effectively a separate country, and has been totally controlled in all aspects by Hamas.

Security Council set for Gaza ceasefire vote after delay to seek text US won’t veto
The UN Security Council delayed until Tuesday morning a vote on an Arab-sponsored resolution calling for a halt to hostilities in Gaza that would allow for urgently needed aid deliveries to reach a massive number of civilians as members intensified negotiations to try to avoid another veto by the United States.

The council said Monday’s vote, which had been scheduled for 5 p.m., would not take place, and diplomats said negotiations were taking place to get the United States, Israel’s closest ally, to abstain or vote “yes” on the resolution.

The draft on the table Monday morning called for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities” for humanitarian access to deliver aid. But this language is expected to be watered down to a “suspension” of hostilities or something possibly weaker to satisfy the Americans, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private.

The US vetoed a Security Council resolution on December 8 that was backed by almost all council members and dozens of other nations demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The 193-member General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a similar resolution on December 12 by a vote of 153-10, with 23 abstentions.

The importance of a Security Council resolution is that it is legally binding, but in practice, many parties choose to ignore the council’s requests for action. General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they are a significant barometer of world opinion.

A key issue is how to implement and sustain a desperately needed aid operation. Human Rights Watch accused Israel on Monday of deliberately starving Gaza’s population by blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, a method of warfare that it described as a war crime. Israel responded by describing HRW as having “no moral basis to talk about what’s going on in Gaza” as the rights group did not condemn the massacre by the Hamas terror group that provoked the current war.

The United Nations’ food agency reported on December 14 that 56 percent of Gaza’s households were experiencing “severe levels of hunger,” up from 38% two weeks earlier. People stand on the edge of a crater caused by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 19, 2023. (Mahmud HAMS / AFP)

The draft resolution that was being considered by the 15 council members on Monday recognizes that civilians in Gaza don’t have access to sufficient food, water, sanitation, electricity, telecommunications, and medical services “essential for their survival.” Also, it would express the council’s “strong concern for the disproportionate effect that the conflict is having on the lives and well-being of children, women, and other civilians in vulnerable situations.”

After a Devastating Terrorist Attack, Israelis Are Disenchanted of the Prospects for Peace
A growing number of Israeli citizens are eschewing ideas that include promoting peace talks with the Palestinians and supporting a two-state solution since Oct. 7, when Hamas gunmen crossed into Israel in a surprise attack and killed 1,200 people. Since that day, a consensus has emerged that Israel needs to take a harder line with the Palestinians. Activist groups in Israel's peace camp say many members have abandoned the cause. Many longtime Israeli peace activists said they could no longer support the movement.

"The trauma of what happened on Oct. 7 shifted Israeli society. It made them question the most basic tenets of whether they were safe in their homes," said Tal Schneider, a political columnist for the Times of Israel. "They are calling now for more military, more protection....Nobody in this country wants to talk about peace right now." A poll in November by Tel Aviv University found the share of Israelis in favor of a two-state solution had fallen to below one-third.

Before Oct. 7, Larry Butler, 73, a resident of Nir Oz, had been a member of Peace Now. Now, displaced in a hotel in Eilat, Butler has questioned his beliefs. "I guess I'm somewhere in the middle," he said, "but I'm definitely not left." Maya Mizrachi, 25, had also protested for peace. After Oct. 7, she discovered that a high school friend was among those killed at the music festival. "The irony is that she was the biggest peace activist I knew," Mizrachi said. "She was the one who got me involved in the movement to begin with."

Daniel Greenfield: The Biden Admin is Pushing for an Israel-Hezbollah Deal

JPost Editorial: The Houthis attacks are a wakeup call
These attacks illustrate how the international community has not done enough to deter Iran and the groups it backs. Hezbollah’s violations of UN Resolution 1701 are now making a mockery of the resolution and the UN. Many countries at the UN have called for a ceasefire in Gaza. However, it is important to note the hypocrisy here.

Where are the calls for Hezbollah to cease fire and stop violating the resolution? Hezbollah’s actions are the kind that lead to expanded conflict.

The Hezbollah problem is also reflected in the lack of action to deter the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. These attacks continued to target ships this week. Many shipping companies are beginning to announce they are pausing transits via the Red Sea, which has serious economic ramifications globally.

More than 20,000 ships use the Red Sea each year, meaning dozens of ships are transiting every day and are being threatened by the Houthis. Now is the time for a maritime task force to confront the Yemen-based Islamic movement. Backed by Iran, they have learned from Hezbollah that they can continue to carry out attacks with impunity. This is all part of the wider Iranian plan, which is to expand the fighting from Gaza and to create more fronts against Israel.

There is an opportunity now for the West to do the right thing and stand by Israel. Austin’s visit, along with the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, gives them a chance to see the region today and understand Iran’s destabilizing influence. As they take in their assessment from Israel’s leadership, they will understand that the time to stop further conflicts is now. Israel must be allowed to defeat Hamas and bring the hostages home without Hezbollah or the Houthis creating more wars and conflict.

This week now represents a turning point in this regard. The Houthis and Hezbollah have dramatically ramped up attacks. Casualties in northern Israel are mounting, Israeli forces continue to be targeted, and ships in the Red Sea are at risk.

With these different threats coming together, Israel’s leadership has the opportunity to express our deep concern with the rising tide of attacks.

US-led coalition of 10 nations to counter Houthi attacks on vessels in Red Sea

Netanyahu, Modi agree Houthis threaten

Report: Biden Administration Spying on Israel to Determine War Crimes

Hamas said to be ignoring Israeli hostage proposal
Hamas has ignored feelers put out by Israel to restart negotiations for a prisoner exchange, the London-based newspaper Al-Araby Al Jadeed, or The New Arab, reported on Tuesday.

“The leadership of the Hamas movement refused to respond to a proposal put forward by Tel Aviv regarding the possibility of completing a prisoner exchange deal that includes female soldiers and some elderly people as a first stage, followed by other stages,” an unnamed Egyptian source told the Qatari-owned Arabic language paper.

Hamas leadership won’t accept any proposals that don’t include a ceasefire as a “good faith gesture,” the Egyptian source added.

Israel’s offer included the release of prominent Hamas prisoners who had been in jail for long periods, said the source, who according to the paper was briefed on recent meetings between Egyptian officials and Hamas terror representatives in Doha.

However, Hamas views the offer with suspicion, seeing it as an Israeli tactic to sow division among the various terror groups operating in Gaza, and so insists that “any future negotiations will not be limited to leadership prisoners from Hamas, but will include the leaders of all Palestinian resistance factions,” the source said.

The involvement of CIA Director William Burns is a sign that the United States and Israel are eager for a deal and that the Biden administration “believes that it is possible to reach a new agreement similar to the previous agreement, if Egypt and Qatar exert pressure,” he added.

Mossad Director David Barnea met in Warsaw on Monday with Qatar’s prime minister and Burns to discuss renewing negotiations for the release of hostages.

Hamas uses hospitals for terror purposes, Gaza hospital director admits
Kamaal Aduan Hospital head Ahmad Kahlot of Jabliya in Gaza has confessed to the Shin Bet that Hamas took over his hospital as a military operations center, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Kahlot told his interrogators that he joined Hamas in 2010 at the equivalent rank of a brigadier-general.

Next, he said that many of the hospital staff doubled as members of Hamas’s az-al-adin al-Qasam brigades. These include doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other staff.

More specifically, he said that the hospital had 16 staff members who doubled as terror operatives for Hamas.

Kahlot was arrested on December 12 and since then has explained in detail how Hamas concealed its weapons and wove its operations into the workings of the hospital. Hostage IDF soldier held in hospital

In addition, he confessed that Hamas brought one of the IDF soldier hostages to the hospital and used ambulances to move around Israeli hostages’ bodies.

Further, he described Hamas as having its own separate offices, ambulances, and equipment with different colors and signs.

The IDF has put out general evidence of Hamas abusing nearly all of its 20-plus hospitals and specific evidence of more extensive abuse of a few hospitals, such as Shifa and Rantisi.

Shifa Hospital’s Director Muhammad Abu Salmiya was arrested by the Shin Bet on November 23 and his detention was extended for 45 days by a videoconference court hearing on November 27.

IDF retaliates against Syrian army position after rocket attacks

IDF shells terror sites in Lebanon in response to rocket fire

Hezbollah death toll rises to 114 as assaults on northern Israel continue

Gaza war: Palestinian terrorist groups dispatch suicide bombers against Israeli troops

Soldiers find bomb in Shejaia medical clinic, seize weapons, 'UN' vest - IDF

IDF forces destroy ‘Palestine Square’ amid intense battles in Gaza

IDF kills top Hamas financier in Gaza airstrike

IDF completes dismantling of Hamas in Gaza's Jabalya

Hamas rockets target Tel Aviv area for first time in a week

"Shurat HaDin Exposes UNICEF's Motto: For Every Child, Except in Israel"
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF) is responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, according to its website. The organization’s motto is “For every child” unless you are an Israeli child.

The Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center offers proof of the United Nations’ double standard for Israelis with a recording of phone calls to the organization by people saying they want to donate via the agency to assist children in Israel who are refugees from the October 7th war launched by Hamas.

Real-time calls were made to UNICEF offices in the United States, the UK and Australia.

UNICEF UK: “Thank you for calling UNICEF UK. My name is Luka. Please note all calls are recorded.”

Caller: I’m anxious to give some money. Presumably you have a fund for this terrible Middle Eastern war.”

UNICEF UK: “Oh, yes, so there is a Children of Gaza Appeal.”

Caller: I want to earmark my money specifically for the children in Israel, so can I just be clear that my money will go to the children in Israel?”

UNICEF UK: “Okay, let’s see what we’ve got then here. So we’ve got Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, obviously the Gaza, Libya, Lebanon, Jordan … not an Israel; I mean, obviously Gaza is in Israel.”

Caller: “Sorry, Gaza is in Israel?”

UNICEF UK: “Well, yeah it belongs to Israel, yeah.”

Caller: “I’m not giving to Gaza unless you’re able to very specifically tell me that my money will go to help some of the Israeli children. Are you able to give that specific confirmation?”

Training Rifles and UNICEF Donations Found in Gaza Elementary School

Families of American hostages to Jen Psaki: 'We cannot be patient anymore'

Released hostage shares her 'nightmare' experience in Gaza

An Israeli Hostage Speaks of Her 7 Weeks in Hamas Captivity

Ben Shapiro: The Most Disturbing Poll In Recent Memory
A new Harvard/Harris poll shows heavy sympathy among young Americans for anti-white and anti-Semitic hatred; Joe Biden considers what to do about Yemeni pirates; and a Senate staffer does gay porn in the Capitol.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Poll Vault
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
Today’s podcast examines polling on Joe Biden, polling on American youth and Gaza, polling on Nikki Haley, polling on Donald Trump, polling on abortion, and reckons that everything is very, very confusing. We try to clear up that confusion.

‘Gaza could be paradise’: Avram Grant calls for Hamas to be removed from region
Israeli football manager Avram Grant claims Gaza could be a “paradise” as he calls for Hamas to be removed from the region.

Mr Grant opened up on the “tragedy” of the war in the Middle East and the effect it is having on innocent Israelis and Palestinians.

“If they put the weapons down, if they release the hostages, if they put all their efforts instead to make tunnels, instead to make missiles to the quality of the people – Gaza could be paradise,” he told Sky News Australia host Piers Morgan.

The Israeli football manager added that the civilians deserve a leader who will take care of their quality of life.

“They need a leader that their target is not to hate – their target is to build something, their target is do something, not to hate others.”

Israel rejects accusation IDF killed two Christian women, targeted Catholic compound in Gaza
After reviewing the situation, the Israeli army has officially denied allegations made by Roman Catholic leaders of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem that an IDF sniper “murdered two women” on the grounds of a Catholic Church in Gaza City on Saturday.

Following inquiries by ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, the IDF released a statement on Sunday night.

“Yesterday (Saturday), a letter from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was received describing a tragic incident that took place in the Holy Family Parish which is located in the Rimal area in the Gaza Strip. Yesterday morning (Saturday), representatives of the church contacted the IDF regarding explosions that were heard near the church.”

“During the dialogue between the IDF and representatives of the community, no reports of a hit on the church, nor civilians being injured or killed, were raised. A review of the IDF’s operational findings support this.”

However, the IDF added that an incident did occur in another area of Gaza City near a church located in Shejaiya, where some of the most intense fighting is taking place.

“When reviewing incidents that may have taken place in the vicinity of churches in Gaza, it was found that an incident took place during yesterday afternoon (Saturday) in another area in Gaza, near the Latin Church in the Shejayia area.”

“An initial review suggests that IDF troops, who were operating against Hamas terrorists in the area, operated against a threat that they identified in the area of the church. The IDF is conducting a thorough review of the incident.”

The Israeli stressed that it takes such claims “with the utmost seriousness — especially churches — considering that Christian communities are a minority group in the Middle East.”

“The IDF only targets terrorists and terror infrastructure and does not target civilians, no matter their religion. The IDF takes vast measures to avoid harm to uninvolved civilians, while fighting against a terrorist organization which does everything to put civilians at risk — including by using civilians and holy sites as human shields for its terror activities.”
'You're stretching my credulity': Piers Morgan grills Israeli official on Gaza church killing
Sky News host Australia Piers Morgan grills Israeli official Mark Regev on reports of Israeli military sniper shots killing two women inside a Gaza church.

According to reports from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a mother and her daughter were killed inside a church in Gaza by Israel Defence Forces sniper fire on Saturday.

The incident comes as the IDF confirmed reports on Saturday that they killed three hostages who they "mistakenly identified as a threat".

When questioned if he could confirm reports that the Israeli military was responsible for the woman's death inside the Gaza church, Mr Regev responded that the incident was being looked into.

"It's still been looked into and I’m sure we will be putting out a report – I can’t pre-judge the IDF report," Mr Regev said.

“You’ve already pre-judged the killing of the three hostages and said you know for a fact that you did that. Why do you not know for a fact that you’ve killed these two women or not?" Mr Morgan said.

"Sorry, but you are stretching my credulity to try and make me think that you don’t know the answer after all this time given how clear you have been about the other incident," he said.

People of Israel felt ‘very let down’ by Australia voting for a ceasefire in UN
Liberal MP Zoe McKenzie says the people of Israel felt “very let down” by Australia voting for a Gaza ceasefire.

Ms McKenzie joined Sky News Australia and recounted her experiences in travelling to Tel Aviv as well as locations under Palestinian authority such as Ramallah.

“There had been an earlier statement in the day with Canada and New Zealand that had recognised the devastation caused by Hamas and the need to eradicate the terrorist threat,” she said.

“But the UN vote itself didn’t have any of those caveats in it.

“So obviously there was some disappointment in that, … but it would have been better had we actually been much clearer in relation to that UN vote and either abstained, or insured that the resolution had the notification about Hamas and it had done, and the need to eradicate Hamas as a political and military force in Gaza.”

Poll Showing Young American Support for Hamas is "Not Surprising" - Malcolm Hoenlein
JNS Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alex Traiman sits down with Vice Chairman Emeritus of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein to talk about the latest Harvard poll that shows that young Americans are becoming less and less pro-Israel and more supportive of Hamas. How did this happen? What does this mean for the future of US/Israel relations? and What can be done about it?

Israel at War: Tragedy on the Battlefield
On this week's Jerusalem Minute, cohosts Alex Traiman and Lidar Gravé-Lazi break down all the news of Week 10 of the war against Hamas starting with the tragedy of the 3 hostages accidentally killed by Israeli troops. Should the IDF reassess where the hostages are? Will and should this change the way the army operates within these areas?

They also delve into
- Israel's defiance of US and International pressure to end the war shortly through diplomatic means.
- Interview with Malcolm Hoenlein about the future of US/Israel relations
- The continued attacks by the Houthis
- Palestinian Poll showing wide support in both Judea/Samaria and Gaza for Hamas and much, much more!

The Israel Guys: 3 ISRAELI HOSTAGES Were Just Shot in Gaza by the IDF, What Really Happened?
After weeks and weeks of fighting, 3 Israeli hostages were just shot, not by Hamas, but by the IDF. This is a terrible tragedy, but are there more details most networks are overlooking?

San Francisco begins prosecuting dozens who blocked bridge in Gaza ceasefire protest

Anti-Israel Protesters in S.F. Delayed Organs from Reaching Transplant Patients

'As long as there is Israel in the Middle East, there will be no peace': Montreal Hamas supporter
Alexa Lavoie hears from protesters at an anti-Israel demonstration in Montreal, where some supporters, like one individual she spoke to, feel that there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as Israel exists.

Israel Advocacy Movement: They're boycotting Zara?
Anti-Israel protesters tried to shut down Zara in Reading.

We asked them why and they didn't know

‘Pro-Palestine’ Rioters Disrupt Travel in New York City at Grand Central, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Penn Station

NYC police tell Elisha Wiesel to put away Israeli flag at anti-Israel protest

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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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