Friday, January 26, 2024

01/26 Links Pt1: ICJ rejects South African bid to halt war against Hamas; U.S. halts UNRWA funding over staffers’ involvement with Oct. 7 terror attacks

From Ian:

Top UN court rejects South African bid to halt war against Hamas
The International Court of Justice, the main judicial arm of the United Nations, rejected a request on Friday from South Africa to order a halt to Israel’s defensive war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In its provisional ruling, the high court insisted that the Jewish state take all necessary means to prevent actions that could lead to genocide, and it dismissed South Africa’s demand that residents of the northern Gaza Strip be allowed to return to the area immediately.

A final decision from the court could take years. Friday’s ruling is binding according to international law, yet the court lacks an enforcement mechanism.

The court, which is based in The Hague, ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to prevent the commission of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, to ensure that Israel Defense Forces troops do not commit acts of genocide and to punish alleged public incitement to genocide.

The ruling also called on Jerusalem to “take effective measures to preserve evidence” of military actions that might fall under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and submit a report to the court within a month.

Israel must also take “immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently-needed, basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians” in the enclave, which is controlled by the Hamas terror group.

‘Mark of disgrace’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the court “rightly rejected the outrageous demand to deny” Israel the right to defend itself against terrorism.

“The very claim that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians is not just false, it is outrageous, and the court’s willingness to discuss it at all is a mark of disgrace that will not be erased for generations,” he added.

Netanyahu vowed to continue the war against Hamas until “absolute victory,” and until all 136 hostages are returned and Gazans no longer pose a threat to Israel.
Ruth Wisse: Kafka at the International Court of Justice
“Are you reminded of Kafka’s The Trial?” a reporter asks me, echoing cries of “insane” and “Kafkaesque” that I’ve been hearing from many of my fellow Jews about proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide for defending itself against the explicitly genocidal attacks of Hamas. But no, the case before the ICJ is not like the work Kafka wrote in German in Prague during the First World War. Der Process was angst; this is evil.

Kafka’s classic novel opens on a mystery we expect the rest of the book to solve: “Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.” A regular legal case reveals who is leveling the accusation and provides relevant details of the alleged crime. But Joseph K. never learns what he stands accused of, by whom, or under what authority. In this state of indeterminacy, no man can prove his innocence. Unable to figure out the system that has put him on trial, he is ultimately killed. “It was as if the shame of it must outlive him.”

Joseph K.—the deracinated Jew with a truncated identity who stands politically and metaphysically at the mercy of forces he no longer understands—became a universal symbol of modern man’s fate at the hands of the very institutions he looks to for guidance. But Kafka himself came to realize the implications of what he had written, and by the time of his death in 1924 he was studying Hebrew with the intention of moving to Palestine. Several members of his Zionist circle did move to Jerusalem, and one brought with him Kafka’s archive, where it now rests in the National Library of Israel.

By the time Kafka’s sisters were murdered in Auschwitz, several waves of Jews had established the infrastructure for statehood in the land of Israel that had been under foreign occupation for 2,000 years. That return of the Jews to political sovereignty is one of the great chapters in human history. Had the Arabs, their fellow Semites, accepted the principle of coexistence, the Middle East—numbering one Jewish state among more than 20 Arab neighbors—would have flourished in peace and prosperity. Instead, Arab and Muslim factions still compete over who can best whom at destroying the Jews.

Hamas recently beat the competition with a demonstration of savagery unlike the earlier improvised pogroms in Europe to which it has been compared. October’s slaughters were plotted with crucial input from Gazans employed in Israeli homes they had scouted and mapped for the purpose, making this the first military campaign designed to culminate in acts of beheading, torture, and rape of predetermined victims. As attempts to destroy Israel through conventional warfare had only made Israel militarily stronger, the new tactics aimed at destroying the Jews’ will to remain among antagonists sworn never to leave them in peace. More than to intimidate, these attacks were made to demoralize.

Survivor-witnesses describe new refinements of psychological warfare. Hamas murdered parents and children in each other’s presence so as to sharpen the survivors’ agony. They took hostages—not, as others do, for eventual exchange—but to taunt the country with images of prisoners’ suffering, and fear that many would never be returned. Every Jewish value—respect for women, honoring the human being who was made in the image of God—was gleefully defiled.

As for the Jews living in nearby Gaza, many of them self-described Jewish “peaceniks,” they had prided themselves on the medical help and hospitality they extended to their Gazan neighbors, persuaded that cooperation was obviously to everyone’s benefit. The terrorists exploited the Jews’ desire for peace as a means of entrapment and further opportunity for torment. By attacking on a Jewish holiday and a secular festival, they intended to destroy the Israelis’ joy in life. Anyone reading Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s exhilarating book about the collective strengths that constitute The Genius of Israel will recognize how Hamas turned precisely those virtues into weapons of torture to tear the Jewish people apart.
Alan Dershowitz: This ICJ compromise means Israel will continue its honourable quest for justice
The ICJ’s decision was written by one of its real judges — an independent jurist who does not take orders from the nation that appointed her. Other judges on the court are simply pawns in their countries foreign policy. It’s surprising therefore that this compromise decision, despite its lecturing tone, was rendered by a court that includes a Hezbollah-appointed judge from Lebanon.

Previous decisions on the court have been entirely political and deserving of no respect. This decision deserves the respect of a thoughtful law review article written by a distinguished professor of international law, but because of the makeup of the so-called court, it does not deserve the respect accorded independent judicial authorities.

Wearing robes does not turn politicians and diplomats into judges. To be a real judge, a lawyer must be completely independent of the government that appointed her or him. The ICJ can never be a real court, as long as the appointment and removal process of its judges remain in the hands of individual countries. The International Criminal Court is somewhat better in this regard, because its judges are not answerable — at least in theory — to their countries of origin. But in practice, many of its judges are in fact beholden to their countries.

International law, and especially the law of war, is largely an academic enterprise. Enforced mechanisms are entirely political and not deserving of the respect accorded real judges.

So let Israel continue in its honourable quest for justice regarding the past atrocities committed by Hamas, and the prevention of future atrocities promised by Hamas leaders. When Israel next reports to the court in 30 days, hopefully the war will be winding down and fewer civilians will be killed. Already the number of civilian deaths has decreased dramatically, but the best way to reduce any further would be for the international community to enforce international law that prohibits the use by Hamas of human shields. Unless the ICJ addresses the Hamas war crimes, it will deserve no respect.

ICJ badmouths Israel for 35 minutes, then Israel wins
For 35 minutes, the International Court of Justice bad-mouthed Israel, but then it surprised the Jewish state by not issuing any practical orders against the IDF.

There was no order to cease the war and there was no order for the IDF to withdraw from Gaza.

The most troubling practical item in the ruling for Israel is the need to report back to the ICJ in one month, something which leaves the door open to a more serious order at that time.

All of the other measures that the ICJ ordered are items that Israel says it agrees with in general: don't commit genocide, facilitate humanitarian aid, preserve evidence for probes of alleged war crimes, and prosecute Israelis who engage in illegal incitement against Palestinians.

To understand the complex ICJ decision and why this was a big win for Israel, one needs to understand the difference between declarative and operative law.

Declarative law is basically asking or advising a party to do something but with no teeth.

Only operative law has teeth and punishments.

No definitive action against Israel taken
Israel's critics hoped there would be an order to end the war and withdraw the IDF. They had every right to expect such a result after ICJ declared Israel's West Bank security barrier illegal in 2004 and ordered Israel to remove it.

This would have put Israel in the uncomfortable position of either giving up on its national security to comply or being a public offender of the ICJ's decisions.

This would also have put Israel's allies in a much harder position and possibly led some of them to penalize Israel diplomatically and even economically.

All of this would have had a real-world impact on Israel and the war effort.

Instead, the ICJ heavily criticized Israel for killing Palestinian civilians and causing destruction but avoided any immediate conflagration with Israel.

The one-month time period could also work with US and EU ally positions that the intensity of the war must wind down.

This would not mean that in one month the IDF withdraws or would stop seeking out terrorists.

But Israel could at some point declare that the formal war was over, and that officially IDF activities in Gaza have shifted to more of a law enforcement paradigm closer to what goes on in the West Bank, emphasizing arresting terrorists, and firing on them only in self-defense.

Failure to throw out genocide claims a ‘mark of disgrace’ on ICJ, Netanyahu declares
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the International Court of Justice on Friday after it declined to throw out the genocide charges brought against Israel by South Africa, instead issuing an interim ruling that Jerusalem must take measures to prevent the commital of genocidal acts against Palestinians.

“Like every country, Israel has the basic right to self-defense. The Hague Tribunal rightly rejected the outrageous demand to deprive us of this right,” he said.

The court rejected South Africa’s demand that it order an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“But the very claim that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians is not just false, it is outrageous,” Netanyahu stated — arguing that the “the court’s willingness to discuss this at all is a mark of disgrace that will not be erased for generations.”

Responding to a South African motion accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, the court on Friday declined to order Israel to halt its military operation but did issue a series of provisional measures. These include saying Israel must prevent the killing or injuring of Gazan innoncents, must prevent conditions calculated to wholly or partly destroy Gaza’s populace, and must prevent conditions intended to prevent births among Gazans.

“We are fighting a just war, and we will continue it until complete victory — until we defeat Hamas, return all our abductees and ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu declared.

In a separate English-language statement, Netanyahu added that “Israel’s commitment to international law is unwavering” and promised that because Israel’s war is against “terrorists, not against Palestinian civilians,” his government would “continue to facilitate humanitarian assistance, and to do our utmost to keep civilians out of harm’s way.”

“On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I again pledge as prime minister of Israel — Never Again,” he added, promising to “continue to do what is necessary to defend our country and defend our people.”

Irwin Cotler: 12 ways South Africa weaponized the Genocide Convention against Israel
Saturday January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where we mark the 75th anniversary of the death camp Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century — of remembrance and reminder of genocidal horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, and in the aftermath of which the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention.

As it happens, the International Court of Justice will issue its judgment on Friday, January 26th on South Africa’s request for provisional measures – including ordering Israel to end its military action – the whole anchored in South Africa’s indictment of Israel as intent upon, and engaged in, acts of genocide.

The actions by South Africa — in its Orwellian inversion of fact and law and weaponization of the Genocide Convention — constitute a repudiation of South Africa’s proud legacy. Nelson Mandela endured 27 years in a South African prison and emerged not only to preside over the dismantling of South African apartheid, but to become the Founding Father of a democratic, independent, non-racial South Africa. Moreover, as Mandela put it, his proudest legacy was the establishment of an independent Constitutional Court – with Arthur Chaskelson, with whom I worked closely over the years, as its first president; the enactment of a comprehensive South African bill of rights; and a compelling Constitutional rights-based equality-anchored jurisprudence.

Regrettably, South Africa’s application before the Court is not only “meritless,” but it is fatally flawed – tainted at the core – and entirely unfounded.

What follows are 12 illustrations of South Africa’s weaponization of the Genocide Convention and its accompanying inversion of fact, law, and justice.

1 – South Africa purports to be representing and affirming our common humanity, which would presuppose Israel’s legitimacy as a state with an inherent right to self-defense under the UN Charter. Yet South Africa’s Application impugns Israel’s legitimacy – characterizes its founding as an “apartheid state” – while engaging in delegitimizing and demonizing tropes. South Africa’s Application appears more as a proxy for Hamas than an Applicant on behalf of our common humanity.

2 – The International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction presupposes the existence of a dispute under the Genocide Convention between the Applicant South Africa and Respondent Israel. For there to be a “dispute,” the Convention requires that the Respondent, Israel, be engaged in the matter of the “dispute” – that it be given a right of reply – before proceedings are instituted. Yet as the record shows, Israel was not engaged as a party to the dispute, not given a right to reply, and was effectively denied “due process” and the “right to a hearing” as mandated by the Genocide Convention itself. Indeed, South Africa not only deprived Israel of a hearing to determine whether a “dispute” existed, but it falsely misrepresented this absence to the Court. In a word, in the absence of a “dispute” which South Africa misrepresented as existing, the International Court of Justice lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate to begin with. This alone warrants the case to be dismissed.

3 – The exercise of jurisdiction in the matter of the Genocide Convention presupposes not only a finding of Israeli “acts of Genocide” but the requisite “intent to commit Genocide”. In the absence of such intent, there is no case to proceed with, and no case to answer. In South Africa’s Application before the Court, it not only ignores the overriding evidence of Hamas’s genocidal intent, not only ignores even Hamas’s genocidal acts, but imputes such genocidal intent – and genocidal acts – to Israel, yet another illustration of many of turning fact and law on its head.
Israeli Judge Dissents: ICJ 'Sought to Impute the Crime of Cain to Abel'
Former Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak dissented from the preliminary ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Friday on whether Israel is committing “genocide” Friday, saying the court “has wrongly sought to impute the crime of Cain to Abel.”

As Breitbart News reported, the ICJ issued a blistering anti-Israel ruling in which it failed to condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas that launched the war October 7. But in the end, all it did was order Israel to obey international law and write a report.

Barak, 84, a left-wing judge who launched Israel’s constitutional “revolution” in the 1990s, is a revered figure internationally — and somewhat reviled domestically, at least in conservative circles. But while opposing Barak’s judicial legacy in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him to be the customary ad hoc judge for Israel on the ICJ, and Barak accepted the role.

While not representing Israel, Barak articulated the Israeli point of view in his dissent, noting that the ICJ had allowed Israel to be accused of genocide when, in fact, it was the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas that had attacked Israel with genocidal intent.

Barak dissented from most of the ICJ’s decision, except for two admonitions that Israel obey the Genocide Convention and punish incitement to genocide. He said that in supporting those parts of the ruling, he hoped to remind Israel of its treaty obligations and to “discourage damaging rhetoric,” though he added that “there is no plausibility of genocide” in even some offensive statements by Israeli officials, and said it was “regretful” that the ICJ did not order South Africa to pressure Hamas to free Israeli hostages.

Hungarian FM to 'Post': Genocide claim at ICJ is nonsense, we back Israel
Warning that the Gaza and Ukrainian conflicts could spark a third world war, and arguing that genocide charges against the Jewish state are “nonsense,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is one of Israel’s stalwart friends on the European continent.

The tall politician, who is not afraid to hold controversial opinions and buck the tide of international sentiments, is part of a small number of politicians who fully back Israel in Europe and at the United Nations, including its International Court of Justice at The Hague.

“We stand by Israel, no question,” Szijjarto said as he sat down for an interview with The Jerusalem Post during his solidarity visit to Israel last week.

Much like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he has linked the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza with the global battle against terrorism.

As he sat in an armchair in Jerusalem flanked by a flag of Israel and that of his own country, he explained that he is puzzled by the international amnesia regarding how the war began.

“Unfortunately, my experience is that when the issue of the conflict here is being discussed in the international political arena, somehow [people have] forgotten how it started,” Szijjarto said.

It’s true that nearly four months have passed since the Gaza war started, which “is a long period of time, but it should not be long enough to make all of us forget” the Hamas massacre on October 7, he said. During the terrorist infiltration into southern Israel over 1,200 civilians were killed and another 253 seized as hostages, including dual Israeli-Hungarian citizens.
Charles Cooke: The International Court of Justice Isn’t a Thing
Others here will undoubtedly weigh in more substantively on the case against Israel that was heard by The International Court of Justice this week, but, before they do, I just wanted to remind everyone that The International Court of Justice is not actually a thing. It’s a fiction, a parody, a forgery. Courts consider law, and there is no law here to speak of — at least not in the way that we’d conceive of law in the United States and other useful places. In the coverage of this case, I keep seeing familiar words: “standing,” “ruling,” etc. None of them mean anything. For a court to be a court, it must be able to enforce its rulings. The International Court of Justice cannot. Those opinions, by their very nature, are just that: opinions. They are advisory, theoretical, abstract. Israel has not consented to be bound by them, either directly or indirectly, and, as a result, they carry about as much practical consequence as a panel debate on MSNBC. There is, no doubt, a certain propaganda value to whatever results the body produces, but there is no legal value whatsoever. Those reading about the judgment ought to proceed accordingly.

In psychological terror, Hamas shows signs of life for three Gaza hostages
Hamas published a video showing three of the 132 hostages who remain kidnapped in Gaza, 112 days into the IDF's war on Hamas.

The video shows Karina Ariev (19) and Daniela Gilboa (19), who were both kidnapped from an IDF base in Nahal Oz on October 7. The video also shows Doron Steinbrecher (31), kidnapped from her home in Kfar Aza, according to Israeli media reports.

It appears to have been filmed five days ago, on Sunday, as the hostages were filmed talking about being in captivity for "107 days". Who are the three hostages shown by Hamas?

Ariev and Giloba were two of the four hostages featured on the British paper Daily Mail's front page earlier this month, which showed shocking images of the bloodstained and terrified hostages, claimed to have been taken during their captivity in Gaza.

Orly Gilboa, the mother of 19-year-old Daniela, implored parents worldwide to imagine the horror of their children in such circumstances.

The parents of Doron Steinbrecher, who needs medication she takes daily, met with representatives of the Red Cross last month, only to be sat down and reprimanded by the representatives.

El Al cancels direct flights to South Africa
Israeli flag-carrier El Al announced on Friday that it will discontinue its Tel Aviv to Johannesburg route amid South Africa’s ongoing genocide case against Israel in the Hague.

The airline attributed its decision to a steep decline in demand by Israeli travellers since the war with Hamas as well as Pretoria’s case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The change will come into effect at the end of March with the final flight from Tel Aviv to Johannesburg set to depart on 27 March, according to the airline’s website.

“Israelis don’t want to fly to South Africa,” an El Al spokesperson told The Times of Israel. “They are cancelling flights and planes are pretty empty… We understand it’s the situation because it was different before.”

“The fact that the Israelis don’t want to go to South Africa but do want to go to other places helps us decide that we’re pausing that route,” the spokesperson said.

Air travel both to and from Israel has diminished significantly since October 7, as numerous major airlines cancelled dozens of flights in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Due to ongoing tensions, Virgin Atlantic announced last week that all flights to and from Tel Aviv will be cancelled until 31 March, and Wizz Air, British Airways and Ryanair have also suspended or partially suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv.
ANC’s history of trading foreign policy for cash
The Citizen recently ran a headline asking whether South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party was being funded by Iran, and whether such funding might have influenced the country’s decision to bring a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

South African readers will be only too aware of the precedent of the 2007 to 2017 “state-capture” era in which ANC officials essentially sold government institutions to corrupt partners.

What they may be less aware of is that the practice of doing so with regard to South Africa’s foreign policy platforms pre-dates the state-capture era by almost 20 years.

In his biography, General Bantu Holomisa recalls a visit to London where Nelson Mandela asked then Prime Minister John Major “for a sum of R10 million [for the ANC]”. Holomisa writes that “when Major ignored the funding request and changed the subject, Madiba wrote me a note in isiXhosa saying, ‘We will get nothing from this man, let’s go.’ The London trip continued to Ireland where, as Holomisa tells it, the same request was put to the Irish Prime Minister who acceded “without demur”.

This was a pattern repeated across the world. But while in Western capitals such requests had mixed results given that most leaders were constrained from simply handing over large sums of cash, it was a different matter when it came to monarchies and dictatorships in the developing world, where such leaders could more easily dip into their state treasuries.

Among the large donations that were reportedly solicited and received by the ANC in the early-to-mid-1990s included from Muammar Gadhafi of Libya ($50 million); Sani Abacha of Nigeria ($50m); Muhammad Suharto of Indonesia ($60m); King Fahd of Saudi Arabia ($50m); and Taiwan ($10m). Many of these donations were simply handed over to the ANC in wads of cash and flown back into the country in briefcases.

Mandela and the ANC were quite open about having received many – though not all – of these donations. The party’s treasurer general acknowledged in a 1997 report that given that “our members’ contributions were and are negligible”, the ANC had “largely depended on friendly countries and institutions for its funds. Most of these donors were in foreign lands.”

UN Agency in Gaza Alleged To Have ‘Blood on Its Hands’ in Aftermath of October 7 Massacre of Israelis
The United Nations is struggling to defend its largest operation in Gaza, even as evidence emerges from the fog of war that some agency members were supportive of the October 7 massacre of Israelis and even, some allege, has “blood on its hands.”

An Israeli tank shell on Wednesday hit a Khan Younes shelter, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens, according to the agency. The shelter was run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. “We deplore” the attack, a Department of State spokesman, Vedant Patel, said.

While the IDF declined to address the incident immediately, it contended that it is dismantling Hamas command and control facilities in a densely populated area. Even before the fog of war is lifted on the tragic incident, it put a spotlight on Unrwa, which according to Israeli officials and others has since 2007 too often been colluding with the Strip’s oppressive ruler, Hamas.

“As in many places where we operate in, places where there are de-facto authorities, right, that are just, by fact, are in charge, we deal with them on an operational level,” the UN secretary-general’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Tuesday.

As Israel Defense Forces fight Hamas inside the Strip, it is discovering ties between the terrorist group and Unrwa that seem more extensive than mere “operational level” arrangements. The IDF has documented several cases of card-carrying Unrwa employees also being Hamas commanders.

“Every Unrwa school we entered had Hamas weapons in it. Each one was a place for Hamas to hide in and fight from,” a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Jonathan Conricus, who until recently served as an IDF spokesman, tells the Sun.
U.S. halts UNRWA funding over staffers’ involvement with Oct. 7 terror attacks
The United States on Friday suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the humanitarian body that works with Palestinians, in light of allegations that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel.

The announcement from the U.S. State Department came after UNRWA announced that it had terminated several employees in light of new information that Israel provided to the agency detailing the connections of those UNRWA employees to the attacks.

“Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner-general, said in a Friday press release.

The Biden administration, a strong supporter of UNRWA, said on Friday it is taking the allegations seriously.

“The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. “The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”

Secretary of State Tony Blinken addressed the allegations on Thursday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Miller said. The State Department briefed members of Congress on the matter and reached out to Israel to learn more about the allegations.

“UNRWA plays a critical role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, medicine, shelter, and other vital humanitarian support,” said Miller. “Their work has saved lives, and it is important that UNRWA address these allegations and take any appropriate corrective measures, including reviewing its existing policies and procedures.”

The news also raised alarms among some members of Congress. Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) on Friday argued that the U.S. should cease its funding to UNRWA until further notice.

“This rot is deep and the U.S. should immediately pause all funding to UNRWA until an independent investigation is carried out,” Waltz wrote on X.

Biden Admin Reverses Funding of UNRWA After 12 Employees Accused of Participation in Oct. 7
Lazzarini did not disclose the number of employees allegedly involved in the attacks, nor the nature of their alleged involvement. He said, however, that "any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror" would be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.

A spokesperson for UNRWA would not provide further detail on the situation.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has been briefed about the allegations, his spokesperson said.

"The Secretary-General is horrified by this news," said spokesperson Stรฉphane Dujarric.

Dujarric added that the U.N. chief had asked Lazzarini to conduct a probe to ensure that any UNRWA employee shown to have participated or abetted the Oct. 7 attacks be terminated immediately and referred for potential criminal prosecution.

"An urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted," Dujarric added.

The Biden administration in 2021 restored funding to the UNRWA after it was cut off during the Trump administration, which called the agency "irredeemably flawed." The Biden administration has funneled more than $730 million to the UNRWA since restoring funding, the New York Post reported in October.

UNRWA, established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, provides services including schooling, primary health care, and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

The agency has for years faced accusations that its employees have promoted radicalism and aided terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank.

Teachers and other staff members for UNRWA celebrated the Oct. 7 massacre, which killed roughly 1,200 Israelis, and one UNRWA teacher reportedly held an Israeli hostage captive in an attic.

The State Department in 2022 found that UNRWA facilities have been used to store terrorist weaponry. Textbooks and education materials used in the UNRWA's schools have also routinely been found to promote anti-Semitism and calls for Israel's destruction.

Seth Mandel: Gaza Lunacy at CDC and WHO
We’re used to stories about the politicization of international organizations, but the effects of that politicization are still genuinely shocking. So get this: Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been in “discussions”—keep that word in mind—since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks with the World Health Organization. The topic of these discussions: When can extremely knowledgeable infectious disease experts from America join others in Egypt to monitor and counter outbreaks and public health crises in Gaza?

Now, you might think: What’s there to discuss? The U.S. wants to offer its resources to save the lives of civilians at risk of disease. But you’re not thinking like a global citizen. To the international community, there is something more important than saving lives, and that’s being mad at America.

And so, actual toddlers in Gaza are in danger because overgrown toddlers at the WHO are living down to their reputation, according to four officials who spoke to the Washington Post:
“The CDC, which has a long history of collaborating with WHO, had reached out to the international health organization to offer support in October, about two weeks after the Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war and bombardment of Gaza, according to a CDC official. But WHO officials raised concerns that the international community would view the U.N. agency as taking sides if U.S. government experts were assigned to WHO’s regional office in Cairo because of the United States’ military aid to Israel, according to WHO and CDC officials.”

What they were worried about, according to Rick Brennan, the emergency director of WHO in Cairo, was “a perception of a lack of neutrality from WHO if we got support from CDC.”

But don’t worry, agency employees here in the states appear to have found a Jew to blame. That’s CDC Director Mandy Cohen, who had sent an initial agency-wide email after the Hamas attacks deploring the loss of life—but didn’t mention Gaza. Cohen, we are told, “speaks frequently about the importance of her Jewish faith.”

Top US, Israeli defense officials move arms deal forward
Top US and Israeli defense officials met in Washington DC on Thursday to move forward a variety of defense deals between the countries, the Defense Ministry announced.

In September, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant submitted an official Letter of Request (LOR) to the US and to Lockheed Martin for the purchase of a third squadron of 25 F-35 aircraft, which will eventually bring Israel’s total complement to 75 aircraft.

On Thursday, Channel 12 reported, and the Jerusalem Post confirmed, that the next step in the deal, the US's Letter of Acceptance, had been issued.

The aircraft are still not expected before 2026-2027, but moving that deal and others, including the F-15 EX fighters, Apache helicopters, and a variety of weapons and munitions, is important to the ministry at this point in the war, when there are pressures on the US-Israeli alliance.

FDD: Israel: Hamas Terrorists Base Operations from Southern Gaza Hospitals
Expert Analysis
“Hamas is using hospitals in Khan Younis to shield its activities as it tries to avoid defeat in the southern Gaza city. Hamas has systematically exploited civilian areas in Gaza to hide munitions, dig tunnels, and build up terrorist infrastructure. It is essential that the international community hold Hamas accountable for its exploitation and abuse of health facilities in Gaza.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“To ensure their survival, terrorist groups such as Hamas have strategically placed their military infrastructure within populated areas of Gaza to avoid Israeli strikes. As a result, terrorists will continue to carry out their activities from hospitals and other civilian areas. This strategy puts innocent lives at risk, making it a challenging situation for Israel to navigate.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Speaks With Medical Staff in Gaza
Israeli forces are liaising with hospital directors and medical staff, the IDF said on January 26. This comes as the IDF continues to encircle Hamas in Khan Younis. By speaking with the hospitals, the IDF said that it is ensuring “that the hospitals can remain operational and accessible. The IDF communicated that there is no obligation to evacuate the hospitals.”

A corridor has been established for people to evacuate from areas near the hospital and head west toward a humanitarian zone. “The IDF has been communicating this information in Arabic via media channels, distributing flyers in Arabic in the area, as well as through Arabic-speaking IDF soldiers who are deployed on the ground in Gaza in order to liaise with the local population,” the IDF said. It also said that it has made sure that the hospitals have fuel and supplies to continue to function. Israel said it released these details to confront “blatant misinformation” claiming that the hospitals in Khan Younis are under siege.

How Hamas Manipulates Gaza Fatality Numbers: Examining the Male Undercount and Other Problems
Download PDF International media and NGOs have repeated the group's figures without caveats, giving credence to suspicions of Israeli misconduct and fueling accusations of war crimes and even genocide. The Hamas-Israel war has produced undeniable devastation across the Gaza Strip. But since the terrorist group carried out its attack on October 7, questions have emerged about the reliability of fatality numbers reported by the Hamas-run Ministry of Health and associated entities. Principal concerns include the group’s failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants, its apparent understatement of fatalities for fighting-age men, and an associated overemphasis on women and children’s deaths. Hamas has extraordinary incentives to skew the numbers in this way, and international media and NGOs have repeated its figures without caveats, giving credence to suspicions of Israeli misconduct and fueling accusations of war crimes and even genocide. In this Policy Note, Gabriel Epstein tracks Gaza fatality reporting since the war began to reveal how Hamas statistics are inconsistent, imprecise, and systematically manipulated to downplay the number of men and militants killed. He makes clear that without a better sense of the breakdown of Gaza fatalities—whatever the total number—one cannot issue definitive judgments about the character of Israel’s military campaign.

Israel Advocacy Movement: ITV uses altered footage to vilify Israel
ITV accused Israel of shooting a Palestinian holding a white flag.

After careful analysis of their footage, we explain how Hamas were more likely to have fired this shot.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Israel officials estimate Hamas running out of rockets
The Hamas rocket arsenal in the Gaza Strip has been significantly depleted and may have been reduced to a mere few hundred rockets, security officials estimate, according to an Israel Hayom report.

The officials estimate that at the start of the fighting Hamas had about 20,000 rockets and mortar shells of varying ranges, most of them short-range. In the first four hours of the Oct. 7 attack, Hamas fired about 3,000 rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory. In total, about 9,000 rockets have reached Israeli territory.

For comparison, 4,400 rockets were fired at Israel during the 34 days of the Second Lebanon War against Hezbollah in 2006. And during the 51 days of “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas in 2014 about 4,500 rockets were fired toward Israel. According to the estimates, a large proportion of the rockets fired in the current war landed within the Strip, so the actual number of rockets fired is higher than 9,000.

The rocket hunting operations conducted by the Israel Defense Forces, which managed to destroy many rockets from the air and the ground, have also significantly reduced the rocket arsenal in the Strip. Rocket hunting continued in recent days throughout Gaza, even in the northern Strip from which most forces have withdrawn, and the IDF continues to eliminate rockets and launchers.

The IDF reported that this week troops located an area with rocket launchers that had been directed at Israeli border communities. The army also found a rocket launcher ready to fire in an olive grove in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central area of the Strip.

Seth Frantzman: Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah vows to continue fight against US
The US on Wednesday carried out airstrikes against Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah, which says it will continue to fight until the US leaves Iraq, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported.

The Iraqi Shi’ite terrorist group was once headed by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The US killed Muhandis and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike in January 2020.

Hezbollah's fight against US troops continues
“Our jihad operations against the American invaders will continue until their last soldier leaves Iraq,” Kataib Hezbollah was quoted as saying.

Kataib Hezbollah officials slammed the US for attacks on its bases. It targeted the US on January 20 and has long sought to attack US forces and Israel.

Several years ago, Kataib Hezbollah established a headquarters in Albukamal, Syria, on the Iraqi border. It is a key part of the Iranian nexus of groups that includes Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

The threats against US forces are not new. Iranian-backed militias such as Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq have long sought to remove the US from Iraq.

They also have targeted US forces in Syria and have threatened Israel.
Seth Frantzman: Moscow seeks to exploit Houthi attacks - report
Russian state media on Wednesday highlighted Houthi attacks on the US, and it seems that Moscow is seeking to exploit the tensions in the Red Sea.

The Houthis have carried out attacks for months on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. In response, the US and its allies have carried out airstrikes on the Houthis. It now appears that Russia wants to exploit the Iranian-backed Houthi attacks.

Russian media highlights Houthi attacks
TASS media highlighted the Houthi attacks on Wednesday evening.

“Houthi rebels from Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement announced a military operation against US warships in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the movement’s military spokesman Yahya Saria said on Telegram,” TASS wrote.

"Today [on Wednesday], a clash with several destroyers and US warships, who tried to protect two US commercial vessels, occurred in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The result was a direct hit of a US warship.

“Houthi rebels from Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement announced a military operation against US warships in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the movement’s military spokesman Yahya Saria said on Telegram,” Russian News Agency TASS reported.

Moscow is clearly seeking to piggyback on these attacks to exploit them.

Caroline Glick: TRAGIC: Father of October 7th Fallen Hero : I Have No Regrets
This week, Caroline Glick interviews Haim Bernstein, one of the founders of the Yitzhar settlement, son of Olim, and serving in the reserves even though he is beyond the age that he is obligated. His son Yohonatan Zur was the commander of the Nahal Recon Unit and was killed on Oct. 7. Bernstein talks about his son, what his death means and why he still serves in the army.

This is an inside look into the "settler" mentality, what drives them and what one family will give to the country they love.

The story of Shirel Gabbay, who survived October 7 in the shielter of death
"In this bomb shelter, I felt as if I was in the Nazi gas chambers” This is the chilling story of Shirel Gabbay, who bravely survived the Hamas massacre on October 7. By: @-yosephhaddad9088

After Netanyahu criticism, US touts Qatar’s ‘irreplaceable’ role in hostage talks
The US State Department defends Qatar as a mediator in negotiations between Israel and Hamas, after a recording of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing the Gulf state’s role as “problematic.”

During the daily press briefing, deputy spokesman Vedant Patel is asked if Netanyahu’s remarks set back talks on a new hostage release deal, after Qatar said it was “appalled” by them.

“I don’t have any assessment to offer on those comments or some of the audio that’s been circulating,” Patel says. “What I can just say — and I spoke a little bit about this yesterday — is that Qatar has been an integral, irreplaceable, key regional partner, not just as it relates to this current ongoing conflict, but other priorities that the United States has had in the region.”

“We’ll look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership with them and work with them on a number of key issues,” he adds.

Douglas Murray discusses 'problems' with two-state solution
Author Douglas Murray points out the problems with the idea of a two-state solution, saying it’s “very strange” foreign statesmen have been calling for it in recent months.

“In Israel, the two-state solution question has been arguably sort of settled for some years,” Mr Murray told Sky News host Liz Storer.

“In that, it’s perfectly obvious as what happened on October 7th that Israel cannot live – the Israeli people cannot live beside a terror group that wishes to annihilate them.

"Because sometimes that terror groups will get lucky and actually have a go.

"What’s strange is in that same period, seeing foreign statesmen and others come into Israel and say, ‘this is why you need to double down on the two-state solution’.”

Sky News apologises for comparing situation in Gaza to the Holocaust
Sky News has issued an apology after presenter Belle Donati compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust.

During a live interview with Israeli Knesset member Danny Danon after the ICJ’s initial ruling on Friday afternoon, Donati pressed Danon on his previous statements about the voluntary immigration of Palestinians from Gaza, which she compared to “the sort of voluntary relocation of many Jewish people during the Holocaust.”

In a televised apology several hours later, Sky News acknowledged “the complete inappropriateness of this comparison” and apologised “unreservedly” for any offense caused by the comment by Donati.

Donati, who has previously written for Al Jazeera, has been a news anchor for Sky News since 2021.

Jonathan Levy, Managing Director and Executive Editor of Sky News UK, said in an email to staff: “This afternoon, Belle Donati made an inappropriate, unnecessary and offensive on-air comparison to the Holocaust when interviewing Danny Danon, a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations.

“Sky News has apologised on air for the comparison made during Belle’s interview and will be apologising personally and directly to Mr.Danon for the comments.

“It does not need to be restated that this is a significant and sensitive story. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that it is essential that our coverage is impartial, balanced, and fact based.”

Call Me Back PodCast: Can a Sunni-Israeli alliance win the war?
Al Jazeera is constantly blasting a steady stream of stories and images to the Arab world about ‘tens of thousands of Palestinians dead,’ according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health. Condemnations against Israel are issued all over the place, with charges of Israeli genocide leveled on U.S. college campuses to the International Court of Justice. And, yet, those Sunni Arab countries that have already integrated with Israel have not reversed course, and those countries not yet integrated (i.e. Saudi Arabia), seem to be pushing ahead.

The Sunni Gulf seems to have ambitions that necessitate continued and deeper cooperation with Israel. The question, though, is what do we make of the Saudi requirement for some kind of Palestinian state, however defined? What would it take for Israel to meet that requirement (or check the box) for the Saudis? And how far will the Sunni Gulf go in working with Israel to pacify Gaza?

Our guest today is NADAV EYAL, who returns to the podcast. He is a columnist for Yediiot. Eyal is one of Israel’s leading journalists, and a winner of the Sokolov Prize, Israel’s most prestigious journalism award. Eyal has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news. He received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Essay discussed in this episode: “Israel is still winning the political war. From the West to Saudi Arabia, its days of isolation are over,” by Dr. Edward Luttwak in UnHerd.

Jamaal Bowman Accused Israel of Genocide. Now, Vandals Are Defacing Jewish Businesses in His District With the Same Message.
Jewish-owned businesses in Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman's New York district were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti that read, "Genocide supporter," an accusation Bowman himself hurled at Israel following Hamas's Oct. 7 attack.

Local police discovered the graffiti early Thursday morning at two stores in the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Plaza, which is located across from the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester. Both stores display "We stand with Israel" signs in their windows, and both are Jewish-owned. Police are investigating the vandalism as possible hate crimes.

In a Thursday statement, Bowman condemned the vandals for "stoking divisions and hatred" and called the graffiti "unacceptable." Omitted from that statement, however, was any mention of Bowman's own rhetoric disparaging the Jewish state. Bowman in November attended a "ceasefire now" protest outside of the White House, which saw him deliver a fiery speech accusing Israel of "mass murder," "genocide," and "ethnic cleansing."

"We demand a permanent ceasefire," Bowman said. "And the reason is simple: We are against mass murder, we are against genocide, we are against ethnic cleansing, we are against the continued slaughter of civilians, we are against the mass murder of children."

"We have all read about genocides," Bowman continued. "I cannot believe I'm living through one. And I cannot believe I'm living through one, and the U.S. government is condoning it and being complicit! Shame!"

It's unclear if Bowman believes those comments stoked "divisions and hatred." The congressman did not return a request for comment.

Surprising support for Deport Hamas billboard truck in Toronto
David Menzies tours the Rebel News Deport Hamas billboard truck in Toronto, where, even in the woke city, he heard how Canadians are concerned about refugees with anti-Western ideologies being imported into the country.

Journalist 'Beaten' After Greta Thunberg Palestine Protest
A journalist was followed and “brutally attacked” after a pro-Palestine protest addressed by climate wunderkind Greta Thunberg, reports state.

Greta Thunberg made a surprise appearance at a pro-Palestine protest in Leipzig, Germany, on Wednesday, speaking in support of Palestine and criticising Israel, another demonstration that the already-veteran child climate campaigner is speaking out on other left-wing issues. Yet the demonstration has made headlines for violence, with a journalist covering events attacked.

According to a statement by local television station Sachsen Fernsehen which had commissioned a freelance video journalist to cover the event the reporter and his assistant were “massively harassed by stewards and demonstrators from the anti-Israel demonstration” and then followed after the event as they tried to leave. Pursued to a tram stop, the pair were “first verbally attacked by three demonstrators, including a steward, and then brutally beaten”.

Per the statement, the beating continued even after the journalist had already fallen to the ground, with the attackers kicking him. Both of the men were hospitalised by the attack with injuries to the head. The perpetrators were said to be wearing “a Palestine scarf around their necks, and a black/white/green flag is said to have been visible”, and despite police responding by the time they arrived the attackers had already fled.

Police are investigating but no arrests have been made. The director of the television station made a statement on the attack, saying: “We condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms… Violence against journalists is absolutely unacceptable and threatens the fundamental values ​​of press freedom. We wish our reporter and his companion a speedy recovery from their injuries”. The media union also condemned the attack.

German newspaper Die Welt reports recorded fragments of Thunberg’s pro-Gaza speech in Leipzig, given to an audience of “dozens” of listeners have surfaced. She is reported to have said that no one can remain silent “when a genocide is underway and people are being deprived of the most basic human needs.”

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Storm Angela Rayner's Fundraiser
Last night’s Labour fundraiser in Stockport, starring Deputy Leader Angela Rayner as the keynote speaker, was kiboshed by some Pro-Palestinian protesters who posed as members of the audience. The protestors shouted she was “no feminist” for allowing female Gazan civilians to die and not call for a ceasefire in Gaza, followed by angry cries of “shame on you Angela!” Rayner seemed to take it rather well, her response being to profusely repeat “thank you“. Labour is ripping itself apart over Palestine, but the government’s mess is distracting the lobby…

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