Tuesday, February 13, 2024

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Israel’s Deterrence Is Aimed at Hamas’s Patrons
The deterrence factor is aimed at the countries who enabled Hamas to become the threat that it was before the war. As previously mentioned, the ground underneath Rafah has long been used to connect Gaza to the Egyptian Sinai. In recent years, those tunnels have mostly been used by smugglers and Hamas terrorists. Ever since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, Egypt has progressively slackened in its efforts to police the tunnel crossings, or to destroy the tunnels completely. The only way to force a change in Egypt’s posture is for the IDF to go into Rafah, all the more so because Cairo doesn’t want it to. Deterrence is about costs.

Israel is also hoping to deter Qatar, whose many millions of dollars of investment into Hamas must be shown to be wasteful. If you are going to help the Palestinians in the Strip after Hamas is gone, do not allow your aid to be used to build underground prison cities.

Iran must be deterred as well, because Tehran cannot be made to believe it is cost-free to maintain a regional spoiler in Gaza. Hamas should be defeated and removed, and the U.S. should make it a point to redirect any efforts it would have made in appeasing Iran over its nuclear program toward strengthening the growing Sunni alliance. The most significant step would be prioritizing an expansion of the Abraham Accords and Israel-Saudi normalization.

Last, the ongoing humiliation of the United Nations in Gaza, which has now been shown to have effectively merged with Hamas, must continue. Every account of UNRWA corruption must be broadcast to the world, and that can only be done if Hamas is first swept out of the Strip.

Hamas doesn’t need to be deterred, it needs to be destroyed. As it’s destroyed, hopefully Hamas’s enablers will have earned the deterrence they so richly deserve.
JPost Editorial: Despite global slander and complicity, the IDF will continue to bring home hostages
In a meticulously planned and executed operation, Israeli forces rescued hostages from Rafah on the Egyptian border in southern Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and Yaman, the special forces of the police, brought home Louis Har and Fernando Marman, abducted on October 7 from Nir Yitzhak. This essential operation fills our hearts with pride for Israel and increases our determination to bring the remaining 134 hostages home.

The operation shows how dedication and determination have paid off in this war against a vicious genocidal terrorist organization. Hamas spent more than 16 years robbing the people of Gaza so that it could fill Gaza with tunnels and weapons and turn it into the world’s largest concentration of terrorist infrastructure. It was into this world of horror and terror that hostages were taken on October 7.

It is tough to rescue them because Hamas has embedded itself in the civilian areas of Gaza. In Rafah, as elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has surrounded itself with more than one million human shields. It bases forces near hospitals, builds terror centers under UNRWA facilities and everywhere there is a civilian site Hamas often tries to burrow beneath it. he moment the rescued hostages are reunited with their loved ones after their dramatic rescue from Hamas captivity by Israeli special forces. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

We know this because of the testimony of other hostages and evidence of how they were kept in Khan Yunis or held in private homes. For instance, hostages were held in private homes near Shifa Hospital and transported to Shifa and the Indonesian hospital.

To free the two hostages in Rafah took long preparation and precise timing. “This was a complex rescue operation under fire in the heart of Rafah, based on valuable intelligence from the Intelligence Directorate and the Israel Security Agency,” IDF spokesperson, R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari, said.

“We have prepared for this operation for some time, and with the necessary preparations made we waited for conditions that would allow its implementation,” he added.

Even as it was taking place, Hamas and the pro-Hamas media in the region and online were accusing Israel of attacking civilians in Gaza, and spreading rumors about IDF losses. It is essential to understand the lengths Hamas has gone to prevent an IDF operation like this. It organized supporters abroad, many active and on social media, and it spread false narratives about Rafah.
NYTs: How Hamas Uses Gaza's Hospitals
Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is Gaza's largest medical facility. Israel claims that Hamas leaders operated a command-and-control center beneath it. Hamas and hospital staff, meanwhile, insisted it was only a medical center. But evidence examined by the New York Times suggests Hamas used the hospital for cover, stored weapons inside it and maintained a hardened tunnel beneath the complex that was supplied with water, power and air-conditioning.

Classified Israeli intelligence documents reviewed by the Times indicate that the tunnel is at least 700 feet long, extends beyond the hospital, and likely connects to Hamas' larger underground network. According to classified images reviewed by the Times, Israeli soldiers found underground bunkers, living quarters and a room wired for computers and communications equipment along a part of the tunnel beyond the hospital.

American officials have said their own intelligence backs up the Israeli case, including evidence that Hamas used Al-Shifa to hold at least a few hostages. American intelligence also indicates that Hamas fighters evacuated the complex days before Israeli forces moved into Al-Shifa, destroying documents and electronics as they left.

Secret Peace Talks Are Underway for Israelis and Palestinians. Here's What's on the Table
Under the proposed framework, Saudi Arabia and other holdout countries would become full partners and agree to normalize relations with Israel upfront. In exchange, Israel would agree upfront to recognize in principle a demilitarized Palestine, whose borders would constitute an area equivalent in size to the West Bank and Gaza.

Of course, Israelis are jittery about handing over territory, after their worst fears were realized in Gaza. Israel pulled out in 2005, removing all settlers and soldiers. The result was a takeover by violent jihadis. Zionists should yearn for a partition, because otherwise Israel will lose its Jewish majority—but there are real security concerns.

This is why the proposal does not call for an immediate pullout but a phased one, and it stipulates that the Palestinian state will be fully demilitarized and will not have rogue militias, and that this security arrangement will be overseen for a time by outside powers, including an Arab force.

The framework lays out three bedrock principles. It starts with mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine; it involves regional and international actors in key aspects of the agreement to incentivize, ensure accountability, and facilitate implementation; and it demands front-loading the process to seize the momentum created by the current crisis, while taking into consideration the need for phased though enforceable implementation.

Importantly, the framework also makes provisions to allow some settlers living far from the pre-1967 borders to remain in Palestine if they so wish, under Palestinian sovereignty.

The pre-requisite for an end to Palestinian terrorism and militias is also key: Israel will not have paid the price of Oct. 7 in vain. It will also no longer feel alone in dealing with the potential danger from the Palestinian areas; its interests will be, at last, aligned with those of the moderate Arab world.

On Jerusalem, at an advanced stage of the process, the proposal calls for a special regime in the Old City, the nut past efforts found the hardest to crack because of the primary holy sites there. But the Old City will remain contiguous with Israel and accessible to all believers of all faiths.

The nascent Palestinian state will have to develop and reform its institutions over a transitional period of up to five years. This will supersede and absorb other Palestinian entities such as the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Capitalizing on the extensive Arab involvement from Egypt and Qatar in the current crisis, an efficient international-regional mechanism of monitoring and implementation would be established to oversee steps toward a two-state reality and normalization between Israel and additional Arab states.

The framework introduces a coalition, led by the United States and the European Union, in collaboration with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab partners. Critically, the plan addresses the specific challenges in Gaza, proposing a detailed reconstruction and redevelopment plan including a dedicated regional and international fund.

In the broader sense, the European Union and the United States would lead regional and international economic initiatives, anchoring the peace process in tangible prosperity and stability.
Gadi Taub: Sorry, but There Is No Two-State Solution
I embraced the two-state solution for many years. Our own Declaration of Independence says that "It is the natural right of the Jewish peoples to be, like all peoples, masters of their own fate, in their own sovereign state." But, compelling as it is, the two-state solution is, sadly, no solution at all. Rather, it would doom the Zionist project, not save it, while producing much greater misery and more bloodshed for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

We now know exactly what our would-be neighbors have in mind for us. We see that a majority of Palestinians support Hamas and are well pleased by its massacres. Most of us therefore believe that turning Judea and Samaria into another Hamastan to satisfy those who see the massacre as an inspiration and its perpetrators as role models would be suicidal.

If one is determined to feel overwhelming sympathy for one of the many stateless peoples of the world, why not start with the Kurds, or the Catalans, or the Basques, or the Rohingya, or the Baluchis, or any of dozens of subnational groups - none of whom seem likely to attain their longed-for goals of statehood anytime soon. If the Palestinians are determined to kill us on the road to replacing us, then they can wait, too.

The two-state solution was a noble dream. But it always was just that - a dream. What enabled those who clung to it through the wrecks of exploding buses, the bodies of slain civilians, the constant wild calls for violence against us, the massive efforts to build terror infrastructures under our noses and on our borders, was our own tendency to imagine Palestinians in our own image. We find it hard to imagine a people that is not like ourselves.

Palestinian identity is structured as a rejection of the two-state solution, and denies the legitimacy of any form of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Land of Israel. The Palestinian leadership has manipulated their Israeli counterparts, as well as all mediators (including American mediators), with fake negotiations intended to extract temporary benefits, and to buy time, in preparation for the larger goal of eradicating all traces of Jewish sovereignty between the river and the sea.

If you bring your children from kindergarten to stage plays where they pretend to kill Jews, you cannot also tell them to hold back forever on acting them out once they've grown up. The tree of Palestinian identity, it seems, must be constantly watered with the blood of Jews to sustain it through the many sacrifices required for a nonproductive life of permanent victimhood.

Call Me Back PodCast: Jerusalem – Rafah – Washington – with Nadav Eyal
Hosted by Dan Senor
Are we witnessing a dramatic change in the Biden administration’s approach to Israel’s defensive war against Hamas? Are these changes just rhetorical to mollify either US domestic political constituencies or Middle East regional actors (or both)? Or do they represent meaningful policy changes?

Should Israeli leaders be concerned that the US-Israel relationship is entering a new phase?

To help us understand what’s going on, 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. We also have an update from Nadav on the heroic hostage rescue in Rafah.
Biden's sanctions set ominous precedent for the settlement enterprise
The order is American, but its reach is international and immediate. The way the international financial system operates, and specifically the primacy of the US dollar, creates a situation where, in effect, the US has enforcement authority over almost every financial institution in the world. This is not a theoretical matter. Due to economic and political interests, American enforcement authorities routinely exercise this power and impose exorbitant fines on financial institutions they believe have contravened US sanctions. They hold the ultimate stick: the ability to cut off a financial institution from clearing US dollar transactions, effectively paralyzing it.

In addition, US sanctions will likely have a “chilling effect” on the willingness of financial institutions to operate in the West Bank out of fear that they will be cast in a negative light by Washington under this executive order.

Therefore, any financial institution – in America, Israel, or anywhere else in the world – is sure to take strict measures to avoid the risk of any action that might violate the US sanctions. Freezing the bank accounts of the individuals singled out by Biden’s pen is just the initial step; it is bound to be followed by each institution’s implementation of a policy to scrutinize every transaction that has any connection to Judea and Samaria or to economic activity originating there. Not every such activity will be stopped, but they will all be placed under a profoundly limiting cloud of suspicion. It is likely that risk-averse banks worldwide will steer clear.

For these reasons, Biden’s executive order sets an ominous precedent for the settlement enterprise. Canada has already announced that it will follow suit (making an outrageous comparison between the settlers and Hamas), and the fear that European countries will do so is not unfounded.

It is reasonable to think that Biden’s order stems, in part, from domestic political calculations – his desire to give a wink and nod to progressive voters who take a critical view of his unwavering support for Israel in its war against Hamas. But there can be no doubt that it is also a burning poker in the eye of the Israeli government and an expression of great displeasure with its composition, its policies, the public statements of its ministers, and its enforcement policy in the West Bank.

The settlers should complain to the extremists among them and to their leadership, whose defiant, provocative, and violent conduct contributed greatly to this situation. It deserves unequivocal Israeli condemnation. But the executive order has been signed, and therefore, Israel must act with determination and in every way possible to counter the weight of the decree and mitigate its damage.
The U.S. Knows Full Well that in Judea and Samaria It Is the Jewish Residents Who Are Under Threat
Palestinian pollster Dr. Khalil Shikaki found that 80% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support Hamas and the Oct. 7 massacre it committed. Some within the Israeli security establishment who found these results difficult to believe commissioned their own poll. The results were identical.

The position of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria was also examined and it was found that only a tiny fragment of a percent supports Jewish terrorism. But for the U.S., in an extreme display of a total loss of proportion, there is nothing more urgent than to impose sanctions on four Jews, who are alleged to have attacked Palestinians, even though Washington is fully aware that Israel deals with them or those similar to them with extreme severity.

This same line of thinking led the Americans to demand and obtain an Israeli commitment that the thousands of M16 assault rifles purchased in the U.S. will not be handed over to the rapid response squads in the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. The U.S. knows full well that it is the Jewish residents who are under threat, and that the rapid response squads have a purely defensive function. It also knows that the chance of the rapid response squad members going and attacking Palestinians is next to nonexistent.

The Americans know that members of the Palestinian Authority security forces are heavily involved in acts of terrorism. The beating heart of the PA is Fatah. Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades operate in joint cells together with terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Fatah recently published a mourning notice in memory of three young men - "heroic martyrs" from Idna near Hebron, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - who were killed while trying to infiltrate and attack the nearby Jewish community of Adura.

France sanctions 28 ‘extremist Israeli settlers’
France banned 28 Israelis from entering the European country, accusing them of attacking Arabs in Judea and Samaria, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday.‘

One day earlier, the U.K. announced similar measures.

The statement did not name the 28 individuals who allegedly carried out acts of violence against Palestinians, but urged Israeli authorities to “put an end to it and prosecute its perpetrators.

“These measures come at a time when violence perpetrated by settlers against the Palestinian population has been increasing in recent months. France reaffirms its strong condemnation of this unacceptable violence,” said the ministry.

“Settlement activity is illegal under international law and must stop. Its continuation is incompatible with the creation of a viable Palestinian State,” the statement added.

Paris was working with like-minded European Union member states to adopt Continent-wide sanctions against “violent settlers,” Tuesday’s statement noted, confirming reports that Brussels is seriously considering taking broad action against “extremist” Israelis living in Judea and Samaria.

The European measures under discussion could involve travel bans, asset freezes and a ban on import of products made by Israeli businesses located beyond the 1949 lines, Bloomberg reported last year.
Israeli delegation in Cairo for hostage talks
An Israeli delegation left for Cairo on Tuesday carrying a new draft of the terms of a hostage deal Jerusalem is willing to accept.v

Led by David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, the Israelis will sit down with American, Egyptian and Qatari mediators in an attempt to secure the release of the 134 hostages remaining in the hands of Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Israel crafted a new draft of its position on a potential agreement that would also see a pause in fighting. Sources told Kan in a report that aired on Monday evening that the new draft has “a certain flexibility” on Jerusalem’s part.

U.S. President Joe Biden said alongside Jordanian King Abdullah II at the White House on Monday that the deal under discussion would include six weeks of an “immediate and sustained period of calm” in Gaza, which could then lead to “something more enduring.”

A senior Egyptian official and a Western diplomat confirmed to the Associated Press on Tuesday that a six-week ceasefire is on the table, with the Egyptian official saying that the summit will focus on “crafting a final draft” of the proposal, with guarantees of further negotiations toward a permanent ceasefire.

The Western diplomat cautioned that more work is necessary to reach an agreement, saying that the Tuesday meeting was critical to bridging gaps between the sides, while the Egyptian official commented that “relatively significant” progress had already been made.

Defund, dismantle, and do over the UN
UN WOMEN (the UN entity charged with working for gender equality and the empowerment of women) waited nearly two months to announce an investigation into “gender-based atrocities” despite ample evidence of rapes and systematic sexual violence committed against Israeli civilians during the October 7 massacre. Finally, they condemned the attack, but only due to massive pressure.

From day one, the entire world saw a woman with blood-stained sweatpants being yanked by her hair onto a Hamas truck, but by the time UN Women publicly acknowledged the raping of Israeli women and girls, they had repeatedly advocated only on behalf of Palestinian women in Gaza.

It seems there is no Israeli action too small for the UN to censure, and no atrocity against Israelis brutal enough for them to acknowledge and investigate.

This extreme anti-Israel bias and willful inaction against true agents of terror didn’t start on October 7. The UN has been enabling Israeli hate and failing to condemn atrocities against Israel for decades. At best, the UN was negligent and enabled its resources to be used by Hamas, and at worst, it empowered – or even partnered with – a terrorist organization.

UNRWA has received $344 million in US funding, representing half of its total budget. Since Israel shared intelligence tying staffers to the October 7 attack, the US and over a dozen other countries have suspended funding to the UNRWA, but this is not enough.

The US contributes billions to the UN and is its largest donor in the world, responsible for about 20% of the UN’s budget. Yet rather than promoting peace, we now know the UN has knowingly – and US taxpayers have unknowingly – funded terrorism and promoted the perpetuation of hatred and hostility against Israel, the US, and the free world.

The UN’s striking departure from its mission is not just an Israel issue. Anyone who believes in basic human rights and the need for peace should be appalled. For decades, the UN has refused to sanction bad actors. And neither the complete dysfunction at the UN nor the fissures of hatred within the organization will end with a handful of UNRWA terminations.

To be clear: The idea of the UN remains relevant and incredibly important. There is a tremendous global need for an organization devoted to world peace, protecting human rights, and delivering humanitarian aid where needed. However, the UN as it exists today is not that.

There is zero reason for us to continue to trust the UN to do a job it hasn’t been doing for years. It is time to defund, dismantle, and do it over with the hope of restoring its original purpose.

The free world should not partake in, let alone fund, the UN as it exists today.
It’s Time for the West to Leave the United Nations, and Form a League of Democracies
Is it any wonder that a growing number of world leaders have lost faith in the U.N.? It’s not only a shell of its former self, but it’s reached a point where it can’t be salvaged.

That’s why I and others have been occasionally calling on western nations to leave the U.N. and start a League of Democracies.

The original concept can be found in a May 22, 2004, Washington Post op-ed written by Ivo Daalder (currently president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs) and James Lindsay (currently senior vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations). They proposed an Alliance of Democratic States, which would “unite nations with entrenched democratic traditions ... where democracy is so rooted that reversion to autocratic rule is unthinkable.” The alliance’s purpose “would be to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism, curtail weapons proliferation, cure infectious diseases and curb global warming.” It would also “work vigorously to advance the values that its members see as fundamental to their security and well-being — democratic government, respect for human rights, a market-based economy.”

Daalder and Lindsay’s important idea has been studied and expanded over the years. Similar concepts like Federation of Democracies and Concert of Democracies have been proposed, too.

My preference has always been for a League of Democracies.

It would harken back to the time when the League of Nations was formed on Jan. 10, 1920, at the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. This fledgling organization stood for concepts like global peace, collective security, rule of law and economic stabilization. It helped shape the fabric of our modern world.

The old League of Nations’ legacy could therefore serve as inspiration for freedom-loving countries to abandon the disgraced United Nations and build a new League of Democracies to defend our policies, ideas, and values. It’s time to do it.
UNRWA chief should resign. He let Hamas infiltrate his organization
The 1949 UN General Assembly resolution that established UNRWA called for the alleviation of distress among Palestine refugees and stated, crucially, that: “constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief.”

In other words, the new agency’s mission was intended to be temporary, as the refugees under its wing were resettled.

By 2024, the “temporary” UNRWA had been transformed into a bloated international bureaucracy with a staff in excess of 30,000 and an annual budget of around $2.2 billion. As for the number of Palestinians registered by UNRWA as refugees, that had mushroomed from around 750,000 to 5.9 million as a result of its decision to bestow refugee status in perpetuity upon “descendants of Palestine refugees” – children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The growth in UNRWA’s client base was therefore exponential year on year, justifying an ever-expanding staff and an ever-increasing budget. No resettlement policy was instituted, and the temporary refugee camps became permanent.

While the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the UN agency dealing with all the other refugees in the world, concentrates on resettling refugees, facilitating their voluntary repatriation or their local integration and resettlement, UNRWA maintains an ever-expanding client base of millions in their refugee status decade after decade.

“We have been warning for years,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz: “UNRWA perpetuates the refugee issue, obstructs peace, and serves as a civilian arm of Hamas in Gaza.”

THAT FINAL charge is substantiated by a recent in-depth investigation into UNRWA’s educational program. According to the report by IMPACT-se, issued in November 2023, educational textbooks used by UNRWA continue to glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis, and incite antisemitism – despite promises to remove such content.

The report identified 133 UNRWA educators and staff found to promote hate and violence on social media, and an additional 82 UNRWA teachers and other staff involved in drafting, supervising, approving, printing, and distributing hateful content to students.

When the organization you are leading is found to have been infiltrated by a terrorist organization, to have become its instrument of propaganda, to have actually been used as a base for a most horrific massacre of innocent civilians, then the honorable course is to take responsibility for the failures.

UNRWA’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, should resign.
UNRWA chief deplores 'short-sighted' calls to dismantle Gaza agency
Lazzarini has held extensive consultations with donors, including a trip to Gulf countries and Brussels, in recent days in a bid to plug UNRWA's funding shortfall of some $440 million.

Some donors, such as the United States and Britain, have indicated they will not resume support until the UN's internal investigation into the allegations ends. A preliminary report is due to be published in the next several weeks.

"We will keep closely in touch with the progress of that investigation, and that will inform our decision," Leo Docherty, a British junior foreign office minister, told Britain's parliament on Tuesday.

A French diplomatic source said Paris was trying to get European Union partners to reverse their decisions to suspend funding, saying there was no alternative to UNRWA.

"We have full confidence in this United Nations agency which for us plays a crucial role for the Palestinian populations, but we will also be extremely serious in the examination which will be carried out by UNRWA itself of the situation of the agents who were implicated," French foreign ministry deputy spokesperson Christophe Lemoine said.

UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma said that so far donors had not reversed their decision to pause funding, which might force difficult decisions in late February.

"The loss is as it was - half of our operational budget. So the question is where will we be in a couple of weeks and what decisions are we forced to make - what will we have to close, what will we have to shut down?" she said.

FM Katz accuses Borrell of helping Hamas with call to halt arms to Israel
Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell of helping Hamas by calling for Israel’s allies, primarily the United States, to halt or limit its flow of arms to the IDF as it battles to oust the Palestinian terror group from the Gaza Strip.

“Calls to limit Israel's defense only strengthen Hamas. Rest assured, Israel is resolute in its mission to dismantle Hamas,” Katz wrote in a post on X on Tuesday, above a story about Borrell’s statements.

“Israel adheres strictly to international laws of war, ensuring the safe movement of civilians in Gaza,” Katz explained in the post. “In stark contrast, Hamas prevents their safe passage. Our commitment to the lives of Gazan civilians is greater than Hamas’s,” Katz stated.

At a press conference in Brussels on Monday, Borrell said that countries who believe the Israeli army has killed too many Palestinian civilians in its military campaign against Hamas should put muscle behind that stance by halting or constraining arms sales to Israel.

“If the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe they have to think about the provision of arms,” Borrell said.

Rescued Hostages a Blow to Biden’s Effort to Thwart Israel
What Biden hopes is that he can convince Israel to swallow a tremendously one-sided hostage deal that would involve Israel releasing many times more Hamas prisoners and agreeing to a cease-fire of several months, with the aim of making it permanent. Israel has made significant progress in dismantling Hamas’s grip on Gaza, but the frenzied negotiations are happening as Israel is preparing to take Rafah, the last major stronghold of the terrorist group.

The Biden administration claimed at the beginning of the war that it supported Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas, but now Biden and his team are trying to kneecap Israel before the job is done. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that an Israeli operation in Rafah would be a “disaster” and “not something we would support.” Biden just yesterday told Netanyahu, according to a White House–supplied readout, that “a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there.”

While Biden has reportedly been complaining that a stubborn Netanyahu is an obstacle, the war against Hamas has wide support in Israel, and Benny Gantz — a member of the war cabinet who will be the leading rival to Netanyahu in the next election — reiterated that “there is no question about the need to act in any place in which there is terror. Broad action in Rafah, as we said in the past, is not in question.”

The fact that Israel was able to rescue two hostages by going into Rafah will only reinforce public resolve to press on — even in the face of Biden’s opposition.
New Details from IDF's Daring Hostage Rescue Mission in Gaza
New details have emerged on the successful rescue of two Israeli hostages in Rafah on Sunday night. The police counterterrorism unit and Israel Security Agency operatives caught the terrorists off guard in the house where the hostages were being held and eliminated them within seconds. As soon as the troops' presence was detected, they came under fire from nearby buildings and many more terrorists were killed in the ensuing firefight.

To ensure a safe retreat back to Israeli lines, heavy bombardments were directed at Hamas military sites, command centers and police facilities. When the terrorists tried to regroup and called for backup, a vehicle used by the terrorists to pursue the Israeli forces was attacked from the air. Intelligence collected during the war facilitated the successful extraction of the hostages.
IDF Lieutenant Colonel on current operations in Gaza
There is growing international pressure on Israel to stop its planned ground offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah.

It comes as Israel carried out a wave of strikes as it rescued two hostages held in Rafah.

IDF Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner has discussed Israel's current operations in Gaza.

"Our goal is to dismantle and destroy Hamas, to seek out wherever they are, to restore, bring home and rescue the hostages," he told Sky News Australia.

"The reality on the ground is one that throughout this war in the last four months, we’ve said we will go wherever Hamas is hiding.

“We’ve made it clear that Hamas have not got immunity because they’re operating from within the civilian arena."

Family members of rescued Gaza hostages speak out
Family members of the two hostages rescued early Monday morning in Rafah, Gaza Strip expressed grave concern how their loved ones, Luis Har and Fernando Marman, were treated while in captivity - especially after having lived it themselves.

Rinat Har Shelag, the daughter of rescued hostage Louis Har, 70, told Israeli media about the condition of her family members while held captive in Gaza.

Both Luis Har and Fernando Marman, 60, arrived from captivity in stable condition, according to Israeli media. "They are very weak but their condition is stable. They are clear-headed, we hope they will recover quickly and they will stay here for a few days for observation," Har's daughter said. Hospital taken by surprise, family says

"They said that it was a complete surprise, of course there was no preparation beforehand and we are still digesting. My father is in shock. They thought they were going to die from the shelling and that they would be hurt. They tried to hold on to the Argentinian identity But it didn't really help. I can't detail what was there but they were on unconditional terms," she told Israeli media.

She added that her relatives were not held in tunnels but somewhere else. They ate minimal rations of food like pita and white cheese, with days of not eating.

In addition to expressing private matters at home, she discussed how the reunion felt.

"It took me a moment to even digest I was talking to my father," Har Shelag told Israeli media.

The two rescued hostages said that they received medication while in captivity, but a medical team estimates they did not receive the specific medicine they needed, N12 reported, contrary to the agreement for the transfer of medication brokered by Qatar and France.

Daniel Greenfield: Media Worried About Hamas Terrorists Who Died in Israeli Hostage Rescue
The media defies satire.
Palestinians in Rafah Describe ‘Night Full of Horror’ During Israeli Hostage Rescue – New York Times
Dozens reported dead in Rafah strikes as Israel rescues two hostages – Washington Post
Israeli military says it’s rescued 2 hostages during Rafah raid; Palestinian officials say dozens of Palestinians killed – CBS News
Israel frees two hostages in Rafah under cover of air strikes, Gaza health officials say 67 killed – Reuters

How bizarre is this coverage? Here’s what normal coverage of a hostage rescue looks like.
How Israeli commandos blasted their way into Rafah apartment to rescue hostages – The Telegraph

But the media has stopped pretending that its concerns are anything other than the lives of Hamas terrorists. Except that it refuses to actually say the words. Instead, in keeping with the same distorted framing we hear from the likes of AOC or Bernie Sanders, no distinction is made between Hamas and “Palestinians” or “Gazans”.

Hot on Sinwar's heels: Israel recovers video of Hamas leader in Khan Yunis tunnel
Israel has recovered a video from the last few days of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar seen in a tunnel under Gaza's Khan Yunis, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

Walla, citing Channel 13's Or Heller, noted that Sinwar was captured on film by a camera installed by Hamas. The IDF has reportedly been operating in that tunnel over the previous days.

According to Maariv, the video shows Sinwar surrounded by his family and children.

Sinwar's first appearance since October 7
The video reportedly marks the Hamas leader's first appearance since the start of the war on October 7. In December, the IDF released a video of Sinwar's brother driving through a tunnel in Gaza.

Maariv further noted that the video reveals that Sinwar is in good physical condition, without injuries.

N12 reported that the video shows the Hamas head carrying a bag and wearing Adidas flip-flops.

Israel to buy 200 armored vehicles for civilian security squads
The Israeli Defense Ministry has approved the purchase of more than 200 armored vehicles for civilian security squads in parts of the country facing increased security risk, including Judea and Samaria, the Gaza envelope and the Lebanon border.

The purchase is estimated to be worth around 150 million shekels ($41 million), the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The project is “intended to strengthen the resilience of the localities and the standby units” and provide a “quick response during a security incident,” the announcement added.

Standby squads are made up of locals, usually former military, who train together and serve as first-response teams, holding down the fort until regular troops arrive.

At least two kibbutzim in Israel’s western Negev were saved during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre because of such squads.

“Ordering the security vehicles is another step in the large-scale procurement we are undertaking for the standby squads, which also includes weapons and protective equipment,” said Avi Mashiach, the ministry’s deputy director for ground forces acquisitions.

The vehicles will be purchased from two Israeli companies and will be delivered to local security teams in the “coming months.”
Bedouin ambush unarmed Jewish man, beating him with clubs
A resident of the "Noda Biyehuda" hilltop near Maaleh Amos in Gush Etzion on Monday morning noticed suspicious activity on the road leading to his neighborhood.

When he neared the scene, intending to investigate the matter, the man realized that he had fallen victim to a planned ambush: Five masked Bedouin from the Rashaida tribe attacked the Jew, who was unarmed, and began beating him repeatedly with clubs.

The Bedouin attackers also snatched the Jewish man's cellular phone, which he was using to attempt to film the attack, and smashed his glasses.

The resident, who is around 30 years old and has been identified as "Yonatan," recalled, "Five Bedouin jumped on me and began beating me with clubs, without warning. They came prepared for attack. They laid me on the ground and struck me again and again, on my back, legs, and chest."

"It was only by miracle that I managed to escape. When they saw that I had managed to run off they escaped the scene back to the nearby tent encampments."

IDF forces called to the scene began searching for the suspects, but thus far no arrests have been reported.

The victim was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, suffering a fracture to his arm and injuries to his back and limbs.

Top Hamas terrorist captured in Jenin raid; 2 soldiers wounded
Israeli security forces arrested a senior Hamas terrorist in Jenin on Tuesday.

Two Israel Border Police officers were lightly wounded by shrapnel during an exchange of fire with a gunman during the operation, which resulted in the capture of Omar Fayed, one of the heads of the Hamas military infrastructure in the city.

Fayed was recently involved in several shooting attacks on Israeli forces and planned to carry out additional attacks.

The Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and police conducted the joint operation.

The two wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital.

18 terror suspects nabbed across Judea and Samaria

Israeli security forces arrested 18 wanted terrorism suspects during counterterror raids in Judea and Samaria on Monday night, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday.

Soldiers operating in the Jenin refugee camp discovered tunnel shafts booby-trapped with explosives. Three wanted Palestinians were arrested during the operation, and troops seized illegal weapons.

In Qalqilya, where seven Palestinians were arrested, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who tried to run them over.

In the village of Silwad, near Ramallah, soldiers arrested two wanted men and confiscated thousands of shekels earmarked for terrorist activity.

IDF announces the names of three soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday
The IDF announced the names of three soldiers who were killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday, which include two officers and a reservist.

The soldiers' families have been notified.

The names of the soldiers
Lt.-Cmdr. Yair Cohen, 30, from Ramat Gan, served in the 630th Battalion in the Southern Brigade and was killed in battle in the southern Gaza Strip. He was promoted to Lt.-Commander after his death. His funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the military cemetery in Kiryat Shaul.

Sgt.-Maj. Ziv Chen, 27, from Kfar Saba, was a reservist who served in the 630th Battalion in the Southern Brigade and was killed in battle in the southern Gaza Strip. His funeral will be on Tuesday at 12 p.m. at the military cemetery in Kfar Saba.

Lt.-Col. Netanel Yaacov Elkouby, 36, from Haifa, served in the 630th Battalion in the Southern Brigade and was killed in battle in the southern Gaza Strip.

Elkouby leaves behind a wife and five children. His funeral will be at a military cemetery in Haifa at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday. In 2019, he was a Captain (res.). He enlisted in 2006 in the Givati ​​Brigade, where he moved through several positions until receiving the position of sergeant.

Otzma Yehudit MK Yitzhak Kreuzer, who knew Elkouby, said, "I received with great sadness the news of the death of my dear friend, Elkouby, who fell heroically in the battles in the Gaza Strip in defense of our homeland. I had the privilege of knowing a fierce man and a hero with a gentle soul. My head refuses to believe, and my heart is broken. I salute you. Nati, rest in peace," Maariv quoted him as saying.

The three IDF soldiers were killed, along with around 10 wounded, in Gaza on Monday either by a Hamas improvised explosive or by an anti-tank missile attack.

The Hamas attacker either activated the explosive or fired the missile on the structure where the soldiers were basing themselves at the time.

Though the IDF announced the deaths on Monday evening, the names were not released for publication until early Tuesday.

Egypt pushes back on reports it will cancel peace with Israel over Gaza war
Egypt’s foreign minister dampened speculation that the country’s peace treaty with Israel would be at risk if Israel invaded Rafah, a city on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

In recent days, Israeli officials have said they plan to send ground troops into Rafah as the next stage in their war against Hamas. More than a million Palestinians, the majority of Gaza’s population, have been sheltering in the city.

Over the weekend, the Associated Press quoted two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat saying that a mass influx of Palestinians into Egypt could endanger the treaty. And on Saturday, Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign policy chief, said an Israeli invasion of Rafah would “lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt.”

But on Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denied the AP report and said that Egypt would uphold the its accord with Israel, which the countries signed in 1979.

“A peace agreement between Egypt and Israel already exists, which has been in effect for the past forty years, and we will continue it,” Shoukry said at a press conference in Slovenia, where he is on an official visit.
Fmr. Obama Official: Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Due to Inaction by Arab World, Biden Admin.’s Typical Weak Posture
On Monday’s broadcast of NewsNation’s “On Balance,” Brett Bruen, who served as Director of Global Engagement under President Barack Obama, stated that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza “comes down to Sisi not opening his borders so that Palestinians can take refuge, so that there can be an organized process of providing humanitarian aid.” And the Biden administration hasn’t adequately pushed the Arab world to do enough to provide humanitarian assistance and “restrain Hamas” because of “the negotiation tactics that the Biden administration uses, whether it’s on Venezuela, whether it’s on China, whether it’s on some of these other countries, where they seem to cede half of the territory before they’ve even begun to press them.”

Host Leland Vittert asked, “I’m wondering why there is not more pressure by the United States on the Arab world, particularly on Abdullah, on el-Sisi in Egypt, to force Hamas’ hand.”

Bruen responded, “Yeah, and I was going to particularly point out el-Sisi, because he holds the keys to the gates to Gaza. So, this whole humanitarian crisis that we have built up over several months and certainly what we’re currently facing in Rafah comes down to Sisi not opening his borders so that Palestinians can take refuge, so that there can be an organized process of providing humanitarian aid. And, yes, Israel needs to take every step imaginable to prevent civilian casualties, but el-Sisi, as well as the Jordanians, as well as the Emiratis and the Saudis, have to do more, one, to restrain Hamas, and two, to provide that kind of assistance.”

Nasrallah warns Israel: Hezbollah will not stop until Gaza war is over
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah will not stop attacking Israel until the war in Gaza is ended, rejecting efforts by the international community to prevent an expansion of the conflict in the region during a speech on Tuesday afternoon.

"The front in southern Lebanon is a front of support, assistance, solidarity, and participation in weakening the Israeli enemy until it reaches the point where it is convinced that it must stop its aggression. This front will only stop when the aggression against Gaza stops within an agreement with the Palestinian resistance."

Nasrallah also rejected threats by Israeli officials of a large-scale war if Hezbollah refuses to stop its assaults, saying, "If Israel had been able [to launch such a war], it would have done so on the second or third day.

"The enemy is not in the position of imposing conditions on Lebanon, as he is weak and in crisis, and he is the one who spent four months unable to complete the battle in Gaza."

The Hezbollah leader insisted that his movement's decision to launch attacks on Israel "stabilized the balance of deterrence and proved that Lebanon has a real deterrent power."

Hezbollah: Preventing an Israeli victory in Gaza 'a national interest'
Nasrallah stated that Hezbollah began attacking Israel after October 7 "primarily to prevent an Israeli victory," stressing that this "constitutes a national interest" for Lebanon.

"The origin of the establishment of Israel in the region is a disaster for all the countries and peoples of the region," said Nasrallah. "A strong Israel is a danger to the region, and a weak, deterred, and fearful Israel constitutes a less harmful and catastrophic situation for the countries and peoples of the region. In Lebanon, a strong Israel is a danger to Lebanon, and a deterred Israel is the one whose danger to Lebanon can be reduced."
Hezbollah rocket wounds mother and son in Kiryat Shmona
Two Israeli civilians were seriously wounded on Tuesday in a Hezbollah rocket attack on Kiryat Shmona, close to the border with Lebanon.

The victims, a 16-year-old boy and a 47-year-old woman, were conscious, Magen Adom emergency rescue personnel said.

Both were evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

“We received two injured, a mother and a son, the son a 16-year-old, both with serious injuries but no life-threatening injuries,” Rambam trauma chief Dr. Hani Bachus told reporters.

The son suffered chest trauma, while the mother suffered stomach and orthopedic injuries, he added.

New testimony reveals grim details of Hamas sexual violence against hostages
A former hostage half of the girls she spoke to during her time in Hamas captivity suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of their captors in new video testimony.

During the three-minute clip, teenager Agam Goldstein-Almog said that said that several hostages confided in her that they had been sexually assaulted whilst held captive in Gaza, and she relayed the story of an unnamed woman who said she had been raped by a Hamas guard.

“He told her on the last day she was being moved to a different place,” said Goldstein-Almog. “She was staying in an apartment with one guard. He told her that they had to move: ‘Go get ready, wash yourself in the sink.’ She went into the bathroom and washed her armpits, and then he came into the bathroom and held a gun to her head.

“He started kissing her and she started crying. She told me, ‘You know how when you cry your mouth is like this? This is what it was like, but he wouldn’t stop kissing me.’ He took off all of her clothes and touched her all over her body. He asked her to touch his genitals in different ways and he also touched hers. She told me that she couldn’t stop crying and that he wouldn’t stop what he was doing. He enjoyed it.

“For 30 minutes, the gun was pointed at her head. She had no choice. I asked her, ‘did you do it? Did you do what he asked you to do?’ and she said ‘what do you mean? Of course. I had no other option,’” Goldstein-Almog said.

“And then he told her ‘Go get dressed,’ and left the bathroom. They went back to the living room and she told me that her ears were ringing and she couldn’t stop crying, she was in shock. Then they moved her to a different place, and she never saw him again. He told her not to tell anyone.”

Goldstein-Almog also learned through conversations with several other female hostages that some had been held captive alone, even though Hamas terrorists told them girls were always kept in pairs.

Malcolm Hoenlein: Arab States Want Israel to FINISH Hamas and...So Should the US | JLMinute
Tension is growing between the US and Israel about the timeline of the war in Gaza and the push for a two-state outcome. Are the two allies heading for crisis? Is Biden willing to have Israel fight, but not win? What role can the American Jewish community play during a time of rising antisemitism and wavering support for Israel?

To discuss these questions and more, JNS CEO Alex Traiman interviews Vice Chair Emeritus of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein.

Will Hamas Be Held Accountable for the Crime of Genocide? | The Quad
The Quad discusses the push for the two-state solution by the Biden administration and the international community. Is this a good or even possible solution to the problem? Is there a peace partner on the other side? Is this rewarding terrorism? And is this even a question we should be asking right now?

The Quad is also joined by barrister in London and a Director of UK Lawyers for Israel Natasha Hausdorff to discuss if Hamas can and will be held accountable by the international community for its crimes against Israel.

And, of course, the Scumbags and Heroes of the Week with special guest author and speaker Alyssa Rosenheck.

Greens are ‘fuelling’ hatred of Jewish people in Australia: Steve Price
Sky News host Steve Price has called for the Prime Minister to “get tougher” with the Greens amid rising anti-Semitism in the country.

This comes as anti-Israeli activists doxxed almost 600 people within a WhatsApp group chat.

“A lot of those seats ... they’re held by Greens politicians who are fuelling this hatred of Jewish people,” Mr Price told Sky News host Sharri Markson.

“They are making public comments about Palestine and about Gaza that are agitating these people to do what they are doing.

“Get tougher on the Greens as well, call them out for God’s sake.”

Lefties losing it: Anti-Israel protesters have ‘no fear’ of police
Sky News host Rita Panahi reacts to “anti-Israel” protesters causing major disruptions in London.

Protesters were pictured carrying Palestinian flags and protest banners reading “ceasefire now” and “stop the genocide”.

Ms Panahi criticised the police officers managing the protest for doing nothing to prevent the disruptions.

“These mobs seem to have no fear of police. Police force allows them to cause major disruptions,” she said.

“Closing down major roads, stopping people going to work, going to hospital, going about their business, just so they can protest the only Jewish state in the world.”

Online attacks of Jewish people referred to as a form of ‘digital terrorism’
Former deputy prime minister John Anderson says the continually increasing amount of online attacks on Jewish people are now starting to be referred to as a form of “digital terrorism”.

Mr Anderson joined Sky News host Peta Credlin to discuss the increase in anti-Semitism in Australia following the October 7 attacks in Israel.

“Well it says something about the curriculum, doesn’t it – in our schools, that’s the first point,” he said.

“If we understood the 1930s we might remember that some of the giants of that age, Roosevelt and Menzies used to say that their four freedoms were critical if people were to live in safety and security.

“One of them was freedom from fear – if you are fearful, you cannot be free, you cannot reach your potential, you cannot make your maximum potential contribution to your society.”

I’m Jewish. I’m a creative. I was doxxed. How could this happen in Australia?
On October 9 I had a call from my youngest grandchild. The eight-year-old had heard the horrible news from Israel. She asked me if this was the start of another Holocaust.

It was a heartbreaking, important question. I reassured her it was not. This time Jews have Israel which can defend its citizens. And in Australia we are a long way from the violence.

But that same day, at Sydney Opera House, some pro-Palestine supporters celebrated Hamas’ October 7 killing, rape and abduction of civilian hostages – this was before any defensive action by Israel. How could anyone who supports an Australian government-listed terrorist entity take to our streets with impunity? I felt nervous.

Jewish schoolchildren went to school in civvies fearing they would be identified as Jewish on the tram. A group of flag-waving pro-Palestinian supporters swarmed through our local area on November 10, claiming a firebombing at a local restaurant owned by a pro-Palestinian activist was the work of Jews. Police have confirmed it was not.

I noticed a drop-off in responses to my social media posts when I shared the best writing on the war. Those who in the past admired my work went quiet. Old friends stopped calling me.

On October 21, literary journal Overland published an open letter addressed to the prime minister and the arts minister describing the October 7 events as needing to be contextualised. In other words, the slaughter could be justified. It was signed by over 1000 people. When a friend asked me to sign an open letter partly in response to Overland’s, I agreed and joined the WhatsApp group set up to provide support to fellow Jewish creatives in their workplaces.

The group became a place where we could reassure those who were feeling the intimidation from anti-Jewish colleagues, groups, and cultural organisations making one-sided public statements about a far-off war. Jewish board members across such organisations including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art felt so unwelcome that they resigned. The group shared experiences, articles, and reports, much like any other group of people with a common experience.

I’m sure you have your own WhatsApp groups too, including advocates and activists in the mix as this one does. It’s part of living in a democracy. In a democratic society we accept all lawful civic activities. Intimidating all members of the group by publishing their photos and other details has no place in modern Australia.

But it’s as if I am in a different Australia. Antisemitic stickers are pasted on shopfronts, reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s urging a boycott of Jewish stores. I saw a young woman in Chapel Street tearing down a poster of an abducted baby hostage and found it hard to reconcile this with my country, my community, my experience of living here all my life as an Australian Jew.
‘No sympathy’ for anti-Israel activists who doxxed almost 600 Jewish people
The Spectator Australia’s Australiana Podcast Host Will Kingston says he has no sympathy for the anti-Israel activists who doxxed almost 600 people in a WhatsApp group chat.

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

“I’m always delicate when it comes to matters of free speech but we also need to recognize this is one of the situations where there is a legitimate limit on free speech,” he told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“That is where it does infringe on the privacy or the safety of Jewish people in what is at the moment a highly sensitive time for the Jewish community.

“Now this is also unfortunately where our protections on privacy don’t go far enough as a society.”

Activists using 'lawfare' to attack Dr David Adler's professional career
Australian Jewish Association President Dr David Adler says the attacks he has received towards his professional career is “symptomatic” of a broader problem relating to the harassment of Jews in Australia.

Since the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, at least 10 complaints have been lodged to the Health Care Complaints Authority about Dr Adler.

The complaints relate to his role in the Jewish community and claim he has been using his platform to "spread hatred against innocent people who are based in Australia and Palestine."

The complaints link to various social media posts by Dr Adler and the AJA about the atrocities committed against Israelis.

The Health Care Complaints Commission has written to him saying it's assessed the complaints about his comments on the Middle East conflict and, in consultation with the Medical Council of NSW, it has decided to take no further action.

“We need to give some thought to the fact that they are exploiting government facilities, they are exploiting government processes, in this example, without consequence,” Mr Adler told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“There’s a term for it – it’s called lawfare – and it is being used by the haters.”

Harvard is hosting UN Special Rapporteur who was BANNED by Israel for justifying Hamas' slaughter on October 7 - just one month after Claudine Gay was forced to resign over failure to tackle anti-Semitism
Harvard University is set to host a UN Special Rapporteur who has been banned from entering Israel after she justified Hamas' slaughter on October 7.

The contentious Ivy League, who has already been embroiled in its own antisemitism row thanks to its former president Claudine Gay, is hosting an online seminar to hear Francesca Albanese's opinions on the current situation in the Gaza.

Italy-born Albanese, 47, posted this month saying that the 1,200 Israelis who were massacred by terrorists were 'not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel's oppression.'

She is now a featured speaker for Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy session, named 'A Conversation with Francesca Albanese.' It will be hosted online at 4pm, and will also feature the center's Faculty Director Mathias Risse.

The event description on Harvard's website reads: 'Join us for a virtual conversation with UN Special Rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, as she discusses her perspective on the current situation in the Gaza area as well as her experiences working on the protection of Palestinian refugees and migrants.'

According to the Times of Israel, Francesca Albanese is officially banned from entering the country. The Interior Ministry refused to issue her a visa.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said in a statement: 'The era of Jews being silent is over.

'If the UN wants to return to being a relevant body, its leaders must publicly disavow the anti-Semitic words of the ‘Special Envoy’ – and fire her permanently.

'Preventing her from entering Israel might remind her of the real reason why Hamas slaughtered babies, women and adult.'

Israel Responds to Chris Van Hollen’s ‘War Crime’ Claim: ‘In Conflict with the Dry Facts’
Levy said that there were “no restrictions — zero” on food, medicine, water, and other forms of aid entering Gaza, once it had been inspected by Israeli authorities. He noted that seven times as much aid was crossing from Israel directly to Gaza through the Keren Shalom crossing point as through Rafah on the Egyptian border. “The problem is that UNRWA is struggling to distribute that aid at the pace Israel is allowing it in.”

He noted that so much aid was entering via Keren Shalom that it had to be closed on Saturdays to allow international agencies to catch up with the pace of delivery. Countries that wanted the Palestinians to receive more aid “should simply send it — we’re ready to receive it.”

UNRWA, he said, should be replaced with “the UN’s agencies that have tried and treated experience … that are not already riddled with Hamas.”

“Any allegations that Israel is somehow restricting the delivery of aid is simply in conflict with the dry facts,” he said.

Van Hollen also used a misquote of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reference to the Bibical “Amalek” — a misquote that has been used by anti-Israel activists and by South African lawyers at The Hague, and that dates to Nazi propagandists in the Second World War.

Anti-Israel protesters who wore paraglider images found guilty of terror offence
Three people have been found guilty of a terror offence after they displayed images of paragliders at an anti-Israel march in central London on October 14 last year.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court found the three women guilty of supporting Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation, at the protest, just a week after Hamas attacked Israel, killing upwards of 1200 people.

Pauline Ankunda, 26, Heba Alhayek, 29, were seen on footage at the demonstration with images of paragliders attached to their backs. A third woman, Noimotu Taiwo, 27, was also seen with the pair carrying a sign with an image of a paraglider affixed to it.

Paragliders were used by Hamas terrorists to breach the border and break into southern Israel on October 7, where they massacred over 1,200 people and took over 230 hostage, mostly civilians.

The first images of the trio – dubbed 'the Paraglider Girls' by police – were captured around Piccadilly Circus before the march continued into Whitehall where they were seen on further footage. Videos and photos of the trio wearing and carrying images of paragliders were uploaded to X/Twitter).

After the Metropolitan Police made a public appeal for information to identify the trio, Ankunda and Alhayek gave themselves in at Croydon police station on October 30, while Taiwo was arrested on November 8.

Upon charge, Ankunda and Alhayek accepted they had placed the images on their backs while Taiwo said she had taken possession of the sign and had seen an image attached to it.

By displaying these images, a week after paragliders were used by Hamas to carry out their deadly attack, the prosecution said there was a reasonable suspicion that the women were celebrating the Hamas attack, and therefore supporting that proscribed organisation.

During the trial, lawyers for the trio claimed the images of paragliders were actually a “cartoon parachute” used as a “symbol of peace”.

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Elder of Ziyon - 丨賭賰賭賷賭賲 氐賭賴賭賷賭賵賳

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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