Monday, February 12, 2024

From Ian:

John Spencer: Memo to the 'Experts': Stop Comparing Israel's War in Gaza to Anything. It Has No Precedent
Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza has inevitably drawn comparisons to other battles or wars, both modern and from the past. These comparisons are mostly used to make the case that Israel's operations in Gaza are the most destructive in history, or the deadliest in history.

Yet while the use of historical analogy may be tempting for armchair pundits, in the case of Israel's current war, the comparisons are often poorly cited, the data used inaccurate, and crucial context left out. Given the scale and context of an enemy purposely entrenched in densely populated urban areas, as well as the presence of tunnels, hostages, rockets, attackers that follow the laws of war while defenders purposely do not, and proximity between the frontlines and the home front, there is basically no historical comparison for this war.

Let's start with the context: After Hamas crossed into Israel on Oct. 7, murdering over 1,200 Israelis in brutal ways that included mutilation and sexually assaults as well as taking over 200 hostages back into Gaza, Israel formally declared a defensive war against Hamas in Gaza in accordance with international law and the United Nations charter. Since, the IDF estimates it has killed 10,000 Hamas operatives, while Hamas claims that the total number of casualties is 24,000 (Hamas does not distinguish civilian deaths from militant deaths).

The truth is that Israel has painstakingly followed the laws of armed conflict and implemented many steps to prevent civilian casualties, despite enormous challenges. Israel's military faced over 30,000 Hamas militants in over 400 miles of defensive and offensive tunnels embedded in and under civilian areas, populations and protected sites such as hospitals, mosques, schools, and United Nations facilities across multiple cities.

Hamas tunnels
Hamas' strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields, because their goal is not to defeat Israel's military or to hold terrain; it is far more sinister and medieval—to use the death and suffering of Palestinian civilians to rally international support to their cause and demand that Israel halt their war.

Meanwhile, Israel's war aims were more traditional: returning Israeli hostages, dismantling Hamas military capability, and securing their border to prevent another October 7 attack.

These goals required not one major urban battle but multiple. While Gaza is not the densest populated urban region on earth as many claim, it features over 20 densely-populated cities. And while the Israeli Defense Forces are engaged in fighting, Hamas has continued to launch over 12,000 rockets on nearly every day of the war from the combat area toward civilian-populated areas in Israel, literally over the heads of the attacking IDF, who it bears mentioning are fighting just a few miles from their homeland and the homes of their soldiers.

Put all of this together, this war is simply without precedent. Certainly, it cannot be compared to the host of other wars that have been used for comparison sake to paint Israel in an unflattering light.
The Red Cross Still Hates the Jews
Even now, after an agreement was brokered between Israel and Hamas by Qatar to deliver medication to the hostages in Gaza, via France to Qatar and then through Egypt, the ICRC refuses to touch the medicines and has said that it wants nothing to do with them.

"We know that the medications effectively entered into Gaza. The modalities of their transfer to the hostages were dealt with under Qatar's mediation. We now expect to receive verifiable proof that the medications have reached their beneficiaries." — Unnamed French official, Times of Israel, February 6, 2024.

On social media, the ICRC has made no secret of its anti-Israel bias and its complete lack of care for the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. "77% [of the tweets] were focused on criticizing Israel, expressly or by implication. Only 7% of the tweets criticized Hamas... No statement was made speaking directly about the massacre of October 7th... it is evident that the ICRC has dedicated large amounts of resources to interviewing doctors and victims in Gaza.... Comparatively little to no attention was paid to Israeli victims." — UN Watch, December 11, 2023.

As if to confirm the ICRC's coverup for Hamas, the newly appointed head of the ICRC is Pierre Krähenbühl, who was the head of UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees from 2014 until 2019, when he was forced to resign after a damning internal ethics probe. UNRWA is effectively embedded with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

This is not the first time the ICRC ignored the plight of Jewish victims. During the Holocaust, the ICRC did nothing to help any of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and instead wrote a "favorable report of the good treatment of Jews in German camps."
IDF rescues 2 hostages from south Gaza’s Rafah in daring nighttime operation
In a complex overnight operation, Israeli special forces rescued two hostages from Hamas captivity in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Monday, marking the first successful extraction of captives held by the terror group in months.

The Israel Defense Forces said that Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70, were in good condition after being rescued, following an operation that involved battles with Hamas terrorists and massive Israeli airstrikes in Rafah. Both were later reunited with their families in an Israeli hospital and were said to be in good condition.

The pair had been abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on the morning of October 7, when Hamas-led terrorists killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in a murderous rampage in southern Israel.

It was only the second such successful operation of its kind since October 7. The first was the rescue of soldier Ori Megidish in late October. In early December, the IDF attempted to rescue another hostage, but he was killed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the operation “among the most successful rescue operations” in Israel’s history.

The joint operation by the police’s elite Yamam counterterrorism unit, the Shin Bet security agency, and IDF began at around 1 a.m. in Rafah, an area that Israeli forces had not yet maneuvered into during their ground offensive against the Hamas terror group.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Yamam officers “carried out a very complex action on the premises and the second floor where the hostages were held.” A military helicopter arrives at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan with two hostages rescued from Gaza in a military operation, February 12, 2024 (IDF)

“Reaching the target in the heart of Rafah was very complex,” Hagari said.

He said the forces breached the apartment with explosives at 1:49 a.m., killing the three terrorists guarding the hostages and “hugged and protected Louis and Fernando with their bodies.”

“The troops pulled Louis and Fernando out of the apartment and rescued them under fire, until they reached the safe zone,” Hagari said.

The IDF later released footage from the air showing the rescuers entering a building and strikes hitting the area.

Netanyahu: Bringing hostages home and defeating Hamas are ‘not mutually exclusive’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells ‘Fox News Sunday’ that Hamas would ‘reestablish itself’ if not completely destroyed.

Netanyahu Smacks Down ABC News For Promoting Hamas Propaganda
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at an ABC News journalist during an interview over the weekend after the journalist promoted Hamas terrorist propaganda.

Netanyahu made the remarks during a Sunday interview with ABC News’s Jonathan Karl on “This Week” while discussing Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, which came as a response to Hamas murdering 1,200 people in Israel and wounding thousands more in an unprecedented terrorist attack last year.

Netanyahu was asked to respond to President Joe Biden calling Israel’s military campaign “over the top,” remarks that Biden made during a press conference last week about his mental fitness for office where he repeatedly made mental fumbles.

“I appreciate President Biden’s support for Israel since the beginning of the war. I don’t know exactly what he meant by that, but put yourself in Israel’s shoes,” Netanyahu said. “We were attacked. unprovoked attack, murderous attack, on October 7th, the worst attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust. And let me tell you, I think we’ve responded in a way that goes after the terrorists and tries to minimize the civilian population in which the terrorists embed themselves and use them as human shields.”

Netanyahu highlighted the extensive measures that Israel took to mitigate the loss of innocent life during its military operation, including dropping hundreds of thousands of fliers, calling and urging Palestinians to leave their homes, giving them safe corridors and zones to leave, and more.

Karl then promoted Hamas propaganda from the Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, claiming that Israel has killed 28,000 people.

“I think that any civilian loss, any civilian casualty is a tragedy, and it’s a tragedy that is forced upon us by Hamas,” Netanyahu responded. “But let me tell you something. I’d be cautious with the Hamas statistics. And I can tell you that, according to these urban warfare experts and other commentators, we’ve brought down the civilian-to-terrorist casualties, the ratio, down below 1-1, which is considerably less than in any other theater of similar warfare. And we’re going to do more.”

“We have killed — we’ve killed and wounded over 20,000 Hamas terrorists, out of that about 12,000 — 12,000 fighters,” he continued. “And we’re doing everything we can to minimize civilian casualties and continue to do so. But one thing we’re not going to do is we’re not going to let Hamas emerge victorious. And if we leave, it will be a tremendous victory for the Iran terror axis. It’s bad for everyone.”

Biden called Netanyahu ‘asshole’ in private amid frustration over Gaza policy – report
Amid reports of growing frustration in the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, NBC News reports that US President Joe Biden has been expressing his exasperation in private conversations, but is not about to make any major change in policy.

Citing “five people directly familiar with his comments,” the report says that Biden expressed frustration to people, including campaign donors, over his “inability to persuade Israel to change its military tactics in Gaza.”

The US president also called Netanyahu an “asshole” in at least three recent instances, according to three of the anonymous sources.

“He just feels like this is enough,” one of the sources tells NBC. “It has to stop.”

Biden is also flummoxed by Netanyahu’s rejection of deals that the US president thinks are a win for Israel, like Saudi normalization in exchange for a political pathway toward a Palestinian state.

The US president reportedly also says he is trying to get Israel to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas, but Netanyahu is “giving him hell.”

Netanyahu hails ‘one of the most successful’ ops in Israeli history
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday thanked special forces operators who freed two hostages from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip in “one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel.”

Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Norberto Louis Har, 70, both kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 while visiting Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, were rescued in an overnight operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

The Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Police worked together to free the Israeli-Argentine nationals. The Shin Bet’s operational unit managed the operation, which was carried out by it and the Israel Police’s Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit.

“I am proud of you, the ISA and the IDF. You worked like a well-oiled machine. You are simply the best fighters there are. I came here to tell you this and to salute you on behalf of all citizens of Israel. You are the best in the world,” Netanyahu told the fighters during a visit together with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“At 1.40 a.m. this morning, I saw you placing the [explosive] charge, and seconds later, I heard, ‘We have the hostages.’ You eliminated the kidnappers, the terrorists, and made your way back without injury—a successful operation, a perfect operation,” the premier said.

“I would like to tell you that the freeing of Louis and Fernando was one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the State of Israel,” added Netanyahu.

FDD Morning Brief | feat. Mannie Fabian (Feb. 12)
FDD Senior Vice President Jon Schanzer delivers timely situational updates and analysis, followed by a conversation with Mannie Fabian, military correspondent at the Times of Israel, for the latest on the IDF operation that freed two hostages from Rafah over the weekend.

Argentina thanks Israel for hostages' rescue
As the world woke up Monday morning to the news of the dramatic rescue by Israeli special forces of two of the hostages held by Hamas, the Office of the Argentinian President thanked the IDF and the Special Forces who conducted the operation.

"The Office of the President thanks the Israeli Defense Forces, the Shabak [Israel Security Agency] and the Israeli Police for having successfully completed the rescue of the Argentines Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Luis Har (70), who had been kidnapped since last October 7 by the terrorist group Hamas," the office's official X account stated in a post. "During his visit to the State of Israel, President Javier Milei reiterated to President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the request for the release of each of the Argentine hostages, and continues to firmly maintain his condemnation of Hamas terrorism," the statement continued.

Hamas's al-Qassam Brigades claims three hostages killed in Israeli airstrikes
Hamas's armed wing claimed on Monday that three of eight Israeli hostages who were seriously injured following Israeli airstrikes had died from their wounds.

"The al-Qassam Brigades announce the killing of three of the eight Zionist detainees who we announced yesterday were seriously injured in the barbaric Zionist raids on the Gaza Strip," the Al Qassam Brigades said on Hamas's Telegram channel. "We will postpone announcing the names and photos of the dead for days to come until the fate of the rest of the wounded becomes clear."

Information shared by Hamas on the hostages is generally considered to be unreliable and a part of Hamas's psychological warfare. In the past, Hamas has claimed the death of a hostage who was later released as part of a ceasefire agreement.

Hamas claimed that Hannah Katzir had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, but she was released two weeks later from captivity.

While Hamas has falsely claimed the deaths of hostages before, the IDF has also confirmed the possibility that hostages had mistakenly died during airstrikes. Yossi Sharabi was, unbeknownst to the IDF, being held by Hamas in an adjacent building to a structure targeted by the IAF, resulting in his death.

Announcement made after two hostages rescued
Hamas's announcement came less than a day after the IDF successfully rescued two hostages being kept in Rafah.

"The Nazi occupation army's attack on the city of Rafah last night, and its horrific massacres against defenseless civilians and helpless children, women, and elderly who have so far lost their lives over a hundred times, is considered a continuation of the people's genocide and forced displacement attempts... being carried out against our Palestinian people," Hamas wrote in a statement in response to the rescue.

"The Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the United Nations Security Council have called for urgent and serious action to stop the Zionist aggression and the ongoing crimes of genocide against defenseless civilians in the Gaza Strip," Hamas continued.

Seth Mandel: How the U.S. Can Punish the UN for Its Role in Oct. 7
That last part is an important detail. Like oil-for-food, the UNRWA scandal implicates the agency’s top officials. The higher up the UNRWA food chain you are, the more likely you are to have aided a terrorist group that massacred 1,200 people, raped untold victims, murdered children, and took hundreds hostage.

What does that mean specifically for American policy? First and foremost, the temporary suspension of aid to UNRWA should be made permanent. It’s not clear it would even be legal to do otherwise. In response to the oil-for-food scandal, U.S. law enforcement agencies and congressional committees investigated American companies for trade violations and other transgressions in helping Hussein circumvent sanctions through corrupt arrangements. Regarding UNRWA, Congress should investigate in as detailed a way as possible how American money to the UN was spent. Violations of anti-terrorism laws as well as international agreements should also be investigated and prosecuted. The UN’s Turtle Bay headquarters should be stripped of its extraterritoriality and treated as being fully under U.S. jurisdiction to enable a proper investigation. And if the secretary-general doesn’t like it he can move the headquarters to Canada, where it belongs, at his earliest convenience.

Americans were killed and taken hostage in the October 7 attacks and, in the aftermath, Americans were killed by Hamas’s patrons. Nothing about this is theoretical.

Finally, there needs to be a stronger mechanism for probing the UN. The organization does appoint “independent” investigators occasionally, but the chairman of the independent inquiry in the oil-for-food scandal was Paul Volcker, who had been director of the United Nations Association in the U.S.—hardly an impartial observer.

The United States is the largest donor to the United Nations, accounting for about a fifth of its overall budget. The UN was complicit in an attack that killed three-dozen Americans. Let a tidal wave of consequences wash away the rot and the corruption that have been left to fester for too long.
Time to end U.N. Relief and Works Agency
The bottom line: UNRWA is beyond redemption. Disbanding the organization is the only solution.

If humanitarian operations in Gaza are to continue, they must be shifted to a different, trusted organization that operates with transparency and accountability. There are a number of other vetted organizations with the capacity to surge their operations. UNRWA needs to end.

A new organization should be established to support vulnerable Palestinians while ensuring funds do not promote extremism. It should be open to comprehensive financial audits conducted by a third party deemed acceptable by both Israel and the Palestinians to ensure independence and fiscal integrity.

At the same time, donors should require increased vetting of all organization employees operating in the region to ensure they do not have ties to a foreign terrorist organization, have not advocated or engaged in any terrorist activity, and have not supported anti-Israel or antisemitic rhetoric.

Donors should also have the opportunity to evaluate textbook content before it is shared in schools rather than after allegations of biased material that incites violence and spreads hate emerge. Further, third-party monitors should be able to conduct unannounced visits to monitor activities in schools and facilities.

These are all reasonable expectations for U.S. taxpayer dollars. It’s past time we stop allowing the outrageous use of our money to fund or incite terrorism. This process must start now, not after the Gaza war. The sooner the international community pivots away from UNRWA, the better off Palestinians and Israelis will be.
Israel to issue ban on UN official who blamed country for October 7
Responding to French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment at a ceremony on Wednesday honoring the 42 French Israelis murdered on October 7, where he referred to the Hamas invasion as “the greatest antisemitic massacre of our century,” Albanese tweeted:

“The ‘greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century’? No, Mr. @EmmanuelMacron. The victims of 10/7 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression. France & the international community did nothing to prevent it. My respects to the victims.”

Katz on Sunday rebuked Albanese for her comments, calling them “deeply troubling” and demanded her dismissal.

“I call on Secretary-General Guterres to fire @FranceskAlbs immediately. The time of Jewish silence in the face of such misrepresentations has passed. We must stand strong and vocal against such narratives,” Katz tweeted.

Albanese has frequently courted controversy among Israel supporters for singling out Israel for blame in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has made frequent comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.

When JNS asked Albanese in December whether Hamas was justified in invading Israel and killing Israeli security personnel, she said, “Why is this so unbelievable? You seem to be puzzled by this. What is the right to resist?”

She also accused Israel and American evangelical Christians of weaponizing antisemitism to silence her and other critics of Israel.

“Israel occupies the Palestinian territory illegally, continuing to colonize the land, to brutalize the people, to let its armed settlers go around and terrorize everyone,” Albanese told JNS. “The Palestinians have no recourse to justice, because the Israeli army is not there to protect the Palestinians. It is there to protect the settlers, who are illegal.”

Earlier this week, the International Legal Forum, a global network of over 4,000 lawyers, called for her dismissal in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The letter accuses Albanese of “justifying the mass-murder, rape, torture and abduction of Israelis, including women and children” in an “abhorrent, unconscionable, and inexcusable” remark.
Israeli minister: Remove UNRWA's offices from Israeli territory
The Minister of Construction and Housing, Yitzchak Goldknopf, has issued an immediate directive for the eviction of UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) offices from Israeli territories. Goldknopf (United Torah Judaism), following revelations by the IDF about UNRWA's collaboration with Hamas is spearheading efforts to terminate the organization's lease agreements with the Israel Land Authority across Israel.

In light of the IDF's revelations regarding the partnership between UNRWA and Hamas, Goldknopf, who also controls the Israel Land Authority Council, made a decisive request to Yanky Quint, the CEO of the authority.

He demanded an immediate cessation of all contractual engagements with UNRWA, instructing for their eviction from both leased and utilized lands within Israel. Goldknopf's directive specifically targets the discontinuation of UNRWA's office operations in Jerusalem's Ma'alot Dafna neighborhood and in Kfar Aqab, along with halting further lease agreements.

This move comes weeks after a report revealed the Israel Land Authority's call to vacate an unauthorized UNRWA facility in Kfar Aqab, situated in northern Jerusalem and operating on Israeli state land.

Hamas, UNRWA both embedded in fabric of Gaza, org head admits
In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner general, said, “Our employees are part of the social fabric in Gaza and its ecosystem. And as part of the social fabric in Gaza, you also have Hamas,” alluding to the organizations' connections to terror group Hamas.

This interview occurred against the backdrop of the exposure of UNRWA’s Hamas ties after the October 7 massacre and the Hamas tunnels revealed underneath the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza.

The Times revealed that ten years ago when a senior UN legal officer in Gaza began investigating whether several of its employees were members of Hamas, he began receiving death threats, culminating in a live grenade sent to his office. This officer was evacuated from the region. Several of these instances occurred and remained unreported.

Although UNRWA says that it has taken reports that its employees were also members of Hamas seriously, Israel says that UNRWA has not gone far enough to root out Hamas in the organization and was unwilling to clean up the issue systematically, the Times reported.

UNRWA officials say that those who were revealed to have ties to Hamas were fired or left the agency. However, this issue was not dealt with systematically but rather on a case-by-case basis and in private.

Israel argues that UNRWA is completely infiltrated by Hamas, saying that one in ten UNRWA employees in Gaza are Hamas members. Furthermore, although there is no shaft that leads to the tunnel from UNRWA facilities, the IDF argues that the tunnel was close enough to the surface that the UNRWA workers should have been able to hear its construction. The IDF also pointed out wires that led to the underground compound from a room inside UNRWA offices.

Lazzarini said that he did not have the “expertise” to “monitor what is underneath the city.”
Guterres: UNRWA vital in ability to underpay Gazans
UNRWA is an oddity among U.N. agencies in its structure and the manner in which it carries out its mandates, largely due to its political nature and the length of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A 1949 U.N. General Assembly resolution directs the UNRWA commissioner-general to “select and appoint his staff in accordance with general arrangements made in agreement with the secretary-general,” rather than under normal U.N. staff rules. That has meant UNRWA could create a distinct system of rules and regulations for its staff.

The International Civil Service Commission, an independent body which the U.N. General Assembly created in 1974, typically sets the salaries of international U.N. staff. Most U.N. agencies have a limited number of locally-based workers, or “area staff,” but UNRWA, uniquely in the U.N. suite of agencies, has some 13,000 Palestinian works in Gaza and limited international staff.

UNRWA pegs salaries for its Palestinian works, as it does for those in Judea and Samaria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, to local markets. That means that an UNRWA health worker in Gaza would have a similar salary to a Gazan health worker who doesn’t work for the United Nations, rather than to that of a U.N. international staff health worker in Africa.

If an “area” UNRWA teacher was paid an international staff-level salary, “it would kill the local market for teachers,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman to the U.N. secretary-general, told JNS. “Everyone would apply to be an UNRWA teacher.”

UNRWA staff have cited other considerations, beyond economic and budgets ones.

“Under a political solution, it was hoped that UNRWA staff would transition into Palestinian public institutions,” Phillipe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of UNRWA, said in April 2023. (There are U.S. and international calls for Lazzarini to resign as well.)

The UNRWA head’s view, it seems, would make UNRWA a kind-of jobs bank to fill responsibilities of Palestinian governing authorities, including education, health and social services.

Avi Abraham Benlolo, founding chairman and CEO of the Abraham Global Peace Initiative, a Toronto nonprofit, accused UNRWA of exploiting its staff with the 66%-lower salaries for Gazans. “How bad can a single agency be?” he wrote.

IS ISRAEL WINNING the war against Hamas? - The Rosenberg Report
Joel poses the question "Are we winning the war against Hamas?" to Israeli Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan Conricus on TBN's The Rosenberg Report - episode 72, aired Jan 25, 2024.

IDF catches 20 Hamas terrorists hiding in hospital in Gaza's Khan Yunis
The IDF caught and arrested 20 Hamas terrorists hiding in the Al Amal Hospital without disrupting the continued operation of the hospital, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said Sunday evening.

The search in the hospital was conducted with prior coordination with the hospital staff, and the forces searched the hospital carefully without opening fire and without harming patients or staff.

"IDF soldiers were briefed in advance on the importance of preventing harm to patients, medical teams, civilians, and medical equipment, in accordance with international law," said the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. "This activity once again proves the cynical pattern of operation of the terrorist organization Hamas, which uses hospitals and the civilian population as a disguise for the purposes of hiding terrorists."

IDF delivers medical equipment to Al Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis
After the arrests were completed, the IDF facilitated the delivery of dozens of oxygen tanks to the hospital.

The IDF confirmed that it facilitated the delivery of over 20 oxygen tanks and additional medical equipment to the hospital

This operation, coordinated by officers of the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, involved collaboration with the hospital and various international aid organizations.

Two more soldiers killed in Gaza, raising death toll to 229
Tributes have been paid to two soldiers, who were killed during fighting in Gaza’s Khan Younis, on Sunday.

The Israel Defense Forces announced the deaths on Monday. The deaths of the two soldiers brings the death toll of those fighting Hamas in Gaza to 229.

The soldiers were named as Sgt. First Class Adi Eldor, 21, of the Commando Brigade’s Maglan unit, from Haifa. And Sgt. First Class (res.) Alon Kleinman, 21, of the Commando Brigade’s Maglan unit, from Tel Aviv.

Eldor, from Haifa, was the son of Dr. Liron Eldor, a senior plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Rambam.

Rambam’s director-general Prof. Michael Halbertal said: “The horrible news of Adi’s falling is heartbreaking.”

Eldor was also the grandson of gynecologist Prof. Yosef Itzkowitz-Eldor of Rambam and the Technion, who was a pioneer in the fields of fertility medicine and stem cell research in Israel.

Wolfson Medical Center paid tribute to Kleinman, who was the son of the head of the hospital’s ophthalmology department.

The hospital said in a statement: “Alon, may his memory be a blessing, was killed while fighting valiantly in heavy battles in Khan Younis to defend the State of Israel and its inhabitants.

“The entire Wolfson community mourns together with Prof. Kleinman and extends condolences to the whole family.”

Israeli drone targets senior Hezbollah official in Lebanon
An Israeli drone strike targeted a senior Hezbollah official in Bint Jbeil in Southern Lebanon, according to Arab media reports.

It was unclear whether Muhammad Abd al-Rasoul Alawiyah, the Iranian terrorist proxy member in charge of the Maroun al-Ras region, survived the targeted killing attempt, which slew several people.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that the military attacked a vehicle carrying Hezbollah operatives in the Maroun al-Ras area. The IDF also updated that terrorist infrastructure was destroyed in the areas of Al-Adisa and Al-Khyam and that two “military” buildings and a “military” site were attacked in the areas of Tir Harfa al Jabin and Maroun al-Ras.

Images shared by Arab media appeared to show a heavily damaged vehicle following the alleged attack, which occurred next to a government hospital.

Blasts near Aleppo airport
Explosions were heard near Aleppo International Airport in Syria on Monday, according to the Sabereen news agency, which is affiliated with pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.

This follows Syrian military claims that Israeli airstrikes hit several sites on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday.

“Nearly at 1.05 a.m. on Saturday, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some sites in Damascus countryside,” a military source told the SANA news agency.

The military source said that air defenses downed incoming several missiles, which caused material damage.

Ghost Town on the Gaza Border
There was life once in the little kibbutz of Nir Oz in Israel. Men and women grew wheat and potatoes. Gaza is visible from the outer ring of the kibbutz. There were 150 houses in Nir Oz, including those that were burned down, and every one is empty now, its residents dead, kidnapped or living elsewhere as "internally displaced persons." Only four houses remain undamaged. Flowers bloom alongside charred houses. Abandoned tricycles and strollers tell of a place that was full of children.

Also dead is the two-state solution - the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, which would give sovereignty to the people from whose midst came those who laid waste to this kibbutz on Oct. 7. For eight hours they hunted down the kibbutzniks, murdering 46 people and abducting 71, making Nir Oz proportionately the hardest-hit of the kibbutzim that Hamas invaded. No Israeli politician of consequence speaks today of a Palestinian state, except to dismiss the idea as insane.

Amit Siman Tov, 40, who walked me around her ghostly quiet kibbutz, like her neighbors, wished the Gazans well. She recalls farmhands from Gaza working the fields with her father. "He was their good friend. They used to have coffee in our house. The relationship was positive." Before Oct. 7, she would point to Gaza during bike rides and tell her kids: "There are children and women living there, just like me and you." She wouldn't say that now. "Our trust has gone. Completely gone."

She escaped with her life on Oct. 7, barricaded in their safe room, though the terrorists set the house on fire. She and her husband and four children laid down urine-soaked sweatshirts at the foot of the door to stop smoke from seeping in. The terrorists killed her mother, brother, sister-in-law, 5-year-old twin nieces, and 2-year-old nephew.

Like many Israelis, a senior academic who has served as a policy adviser to several Israeli prime ministers scoffs at complaints of a "disproportionate" Israeli response to Hamas' atrocities. He would tell Gaza that "if you do to me something that I cannot tolerate, I will do something that you cannot tolerate, but at a much higher level of violence."

Few Israelis disagree. They reject the view that Israel must forswear force if civilians might be hurt. That would give barbarians immunity, allowing them to destroy civilization because it is civilized.
Yoni Asher shares how he found out his wife and daughters had been kidnapped to Khan Younis
Asher’s wife, Doron, and two daughters went to visit her mother for Simchat Torah on October 6. On that Black Shabbat morning, Yoni felt helpless as he wrote messages back and forth with his wife, until the moment she no longer answered.

The weapon of media in the Israel-Hamas war
The eyes of the world are increasingly riveted on Israel and the Middle East, the Epicenter of momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future.

The Israel Guys: Israel is About to Launch LAST OFFENSIVE Against Hamas in Gaza
As the world pressures Israel to go easy on Hamas, Israel’s Prime Minister just notified the IDF to prepare a plan to take the stronghold of Rafah in the South of Gaza where there are still four battalions of Hamas terrorists fortified. This could be the last major offensive of the war in Gaza and could be the last straw that seriously cripples Hamas. Also, we have some new stats regarding Israel’s population increase from 2023!

Penny Wong has ‘blundered again’ and shown her ‘naivety’ on the Middle East conflict
Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has “blundered again”, says Sky News host Sharri Markson.

Ms Markson said the minister has once more shown her “naivety on the Middle East and Israel”.

“She came out and said Israel moving into Rafah during its war against Hamas could have devastating consequences,” Ms Markson said.

“Then, just a short while later, news emerged that Israel had actually rescued two hostages in Rafah, a 60-year-old and a 70-year-old.

“Even after this, Anthony Albanese still attacked Israel for going into Rafah on Radio this afternoon.”

‘It’s now dire’: Sharri Markson calls for leaders to stand up against anti-Semitism
Sky News host Sharri Markson has called for community leaders to stand up against a “new wave” of anti-Semitism coming from the left.

It follows anti-Israeli activists doxxing almost 600 people within a WhatsApp group chat.

Victoria Police have already confirmed it was investigating potential criminal breaches relating to the WhatsApp group chat.

“This is incredibly distressing. That terror attacks would spark a global wave of anti-Semitism and that it would take hold in Australia with lists of Jews being compiled and shared, and shared proudly by the way, by racist social media activists,” Ms Markson said.

“The last time lists of Jews circulated was in the 1930s in Nazi Germany. When Nazis used paper records to identify Jews to round them up and kill them during the Holocaust.”

Anti-Israeli activists dox almost 600 Jewish people’s personal details from WhatsApp chat
Anti-Israeli activists have doxxed almost 600 Jewish people’s personal details, such as names and images from a WhatsApp group chat.

Victoria Police have already confirmed it was investigating potential criminal breaches relating to the WhatsApp group chat.

Journalist Julie Szego joined Sky News host Rita Panahi to discuss being one of the many victims doxxed.

“Look, yes, my name was on the list, and my God, I had never thought that I’d have to be speaking about lists of Jews being drawn up and released in Australia in 2024,” Ms Szego said.

“Yes, I was a member of the group, not a particularly active member of the group – I’m not speaking on their behalf here now.

“I myself was, to be honest, proud to be on the list of Jews who are doing nothing but coming together and sharing our grief and our trauma about October 7th and the awful sort of resurgence, the outbreak of anti-Semitism that came almost immediately after the massacre.

“But obviously, there are people who have suffered very greatly as a result of this doxxing.”

‘Sickening’ level of anti-Semitism in Australia ‘off the charts’
Sky News host Chris Kenny has slammed the “sickening” and “deeply worrying” level of anti-Semitism being seen in Australia.

It follows anti-Israeli activists doxxing almost 600 people within a WhatsApp group chat.

Victoria Police have already confirmed it was investigating potential criminal breaches relating to the WhatsApp group chat.

“The silence in defence of Jewish people is chilling and if you are silent you are complicit,” Mr Kenny said.

“And no one should speak more loudly than the prime minister, and his cabinet colleagues. They need to be stronger.”

‘This doxxing is a new low’: Liberal MP calling for ‘serious consequences’ for offenders
Liberal MP Julian Lesser says he cannot remember a time since the events of October 7 where almost every day there is a “new incident of intimidation against Jewish Australians”.

“Australia has been a wonderful country for people, it’s been a particularly wonderful country for Jewish Australians … but this doxxing is a new low,” Mr Lesser told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“It is designed to intimidate Jewish people from participating in the public life.

“The idea of releasing people’s personal details, where they live, where their children go to school, is just appalling.

“We need to amend the Criminal Code Act to ensure that this can’t happen again and that if it does happen again there are serious consequences.”

Artists blasted for Palestine posts about resistance by ‘any means necessary’
Sky News host Andrew Bolt questions why you shouldn’t “second-guess” artists who are borderline calling for violence as recent social media posts about Palestine’s calls for resistance by any means necessary.

“We always get these arguments, don’t we,” Mr Bolt said.

“Well, you can’t interfere with the freedom of speech.

“Particularly with the arts, you can’t second-guess the artists.

“Why should I pay artists like this?”

Nova Peris slams Palestinian protesters on January 26 for ‘hijacking’ Australia Day
Former Labor senator Nova Peris slams the Indigenous and Palestinian protesters who “hijacked” the streets on January 26.

“Truth is fundamental to progress in this country,” Ms Markson said.

“I have never in my time seen a January 26 march where Palestinian people have somehow joined in the cause – it is a new trend; they hijacked our day.”

A high turnout of Palestinian supporters at rallies across the country occurred on Australia Day.

Ms Peris previously criticised the display and defended the Jewish community in a social media video post.

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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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