Monday, April 01, 2024

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Analysis of the Human Rights Watch/Oxfam Allegations of "Israeli Forces' Conduct in Gaza"
As seen in the following report, the joint HRW-Oxfam document “Israeli Forces’ Conduct in Gaza – March 19, 2024” (formally, a submission under National Security Memorandum 20, regarding compliance with requirements on the use of US military assistance) reflects a fundamental and consistent lack of rigor, credibility and verifiability.1 Under the thin facade of analysis, HRW and Oxfam have published a prosecutorial diatribe that dispenses with the practice of presenting and weighing information from and perspectives of all the main actors and sources before reaching a conclusion.

Many of the claims of Israeli violations are ostensibly substantiated by “evidence” sourced to these same NGOs – 18 or 37 footnotes are self-references to previous HRW and Oxfam statements. These and the other references quote from the Gaza Health Ministry (GHM – controlled by Hamas); UN agencies including UNRWA, OCHA and the World Health Organization (WHO), which themselves lack credibility and which reference the same sources; unverifiable claims by anonymous “eyewitnesses” in Gaza; journalists and media platforms, such as Al Jazeera and CNN, which also cite UN agencies and anonymous “eyewitnesses”; and amorphous technical analyses. On this basis, HRW and Oxfam repeatedly claim to have “verified” various allegations regarding IDF responses to the October 7 atrocities, when in fact, no credible verification took place or was even possible. Contrasting and often more credible evidence is systematically erased, further highlighting the ideological and partisan objectives of this publication, in contrast to accurate and credible fact-finding.

Two of the central accusations in this document are the allegations that 1) Israel is deliberately and unjustifiably hampering the delivery of humanitarian and medical aid to Gaza – which HRW and Oxfam falsely declare to be an “unnecessarily complex inspection process” (Items 6 to 11 in appendix), thereby constituting “collective punishment,”2 and 2) that the IDF’s military actions in Gaza hospitals are arbitrary and unjustified. Notably, the “evidence” to support these allegations explicitly ignores numerous sources and facts constituting actual and monstrous war crimes committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians that do not fit this narrative – in particular, the massive diversion of aid, including for the construction of hundreds of kilometers of massive fortifications below schools, residences, medical facilities, etc,; the large-scale exploitation of hospitals for terror; and the manufacture and use of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles that target Israeli civilians. 3

In addition, assertions using the language of international humanitarian law (IHL) consist primarily of the authors’ political opinions. In a number of instances, they “conclude” that a particular IDF strike took place for which they did not discern a military purpose, repeating the fiction that NGO staffers have access to the real-time battlefield information available to Israeli military commanders, as well as the ability to ascertain their decision making processes. Similarly, the use by NGO political advocates of terms such as “disproportionate force” is entirely subjective and lacking in consistent criteria.4

In examining this document, as well as previous reports and the record of partisan political advocacy activities of HRW and Oxfam, it becomes clear that the objective of this document is to impede and disrupt cooperation between the US and Israel in counter-terrorism operations, particularly the brutal atrocities of October 7. Any citations from and references that give credibility to the allegations vilifying Israel, including in government documents, media platforms, and academic publications, would reinforce the unvirtuous circle of using unverifiable and politically motivated NGO claims as “evidence” to further defame and disrupt IDF responses to terror atrocities.
Will Arabists finally kill the US-Israel relationship?
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his merry band of Arabists must feel like they’re on the cusp of Nirvana as they prod President Joe Biden to ignore his instinct to protect Israel and destroy the special relationship nurtured over the last 75 years. In the tradition of the Arab world, they have played the long game, never giving up the hope that, Inshallah, the partition could be reversed.

Loy Henderson failed. George Marshall failed. John Foster Dulles failed. Wouldn’t you know that it would be Blinken, a Jew, who could be responsible for the unraveling of an alliance rooted in shared values and interests? The Arabists (who also inhabit other departments and include National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan) are trotting out all the shopworn arguments that proved erroneous in the past but are now finding acceptance in the lynch-mob atmosphere. They insist that our relationship with Israel is undermining our national interest, damaging relations with the Arabs, allowing the Soviets (I mean, Russians) to gain strength, impeding peace, provoking terrorist attacks on our troops, and only they know what is best for Israel.

Their case is as spurious today as it ever was. As President Dwight Eisenhower learned after listening too long to Dulles, forcing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai and pinning his hopes on Saudi Arabia for defending American interests in the region, only Israel shares our interests (though they are not always perfectly aligned) and will act on them.

Just as the Arabists wrongly predicted relations with the Arabs would deteriorate as ties with Israel grew more robust, the opposite occurred. Even now, the Abraham Accords are holding firm. Putting their interests ahead of the national interest, the Arabists are trying to sabotage normalization with the Saudis by linking it to a two-state solution that the Israelis, Palestinians, and certainly, the Saudis (and the Jordanians) don’t want. They will never admit that their vision of a Palestinian state is not only unwanted but untenable.

Outside of Syria, where it has a naval base, Russia has made no inroads with the Arab states. What it has done is strengthen ties to Iran thanks to the U.S. State Department’s appeasement of the mullahs. The Arabists want to blame Israel for attacks on U.S. forces by Iran-backed militias because they will never accept that radical Islamists don’t care about Israel; they want to destroy the West to build a global caliphate. Iranians were chanting “Death to America” long before Oct. 7. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the other jihadis would attack us if Israel disappeared.

Biden is holding the relationship together by his fingernails, as evidenced by his moving from vetoing egregious U.N. resolutions to abstaining from them. Supporting the next one will be one sign that the Arabists have won. Others will be cutting or conditioning aid to Israel while funding the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and making more concessions to Iran.
The Abraham Accords will probably survive
Six months into the Gaza war and world opinion – widely in support of Israel’s initial onslaught on Hamas following the horrendous events of October 7 – has steadily hardened and turned.

Appeals for a pause in the fighting have grown ever more strident, culminating in the resolution passed on March 25 by the UN Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The resolution, while also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held by Hamas, did not link the ceasefire call to the hostage release. In short, the UN is instructing Israel to stop fighting Hamas, giving it time to revive and regroup and leaving it free to continue bombarding Israel with rockets and drones.

Security Council members knew, of course, that demanding Hamas release all its hostages was simply virtue signaling, since it is quite unenforceable. Hamas is a terrorist organization, unbeholden to the UN or anyone else.

Arab street opinion and the self-interest of Arab sovereign states rarely coincide. The Abraham Accords were initially sold to a skeptical Arab public on the grounds that they would give rich Arab countries unprecedented financial leverage on Israel, and would eventually improve conditions for the Palestinians.

Months into a conflict that has cost thousands of lives, polls of Arab opinion indicate overwhelming support for Hamas. Regardless, Abraham Accord regimes, convinced that the benefits from the accords override other considerations, are sidelining public opinion.

Netanyahu: Whole world is ganging up on us. It’s a combination of ignorance and antisemitism
In the final minutes of his press conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to an earlier partial question put to him about why it is that the world is apparently siding against Israel.

“What has happened in the past few months was that the terrible massacre” of October 7 “was quickly forgotten,” he says, “and the whole world is ganging up on us. And there are people here and abroad who say maybe there’s something to this; maybe we’re really not ok.”

He says the criticism, including international and US criticism, focuses on the claim that Israel and the IDF are “not doing enough to minimize civilian casualties. That’s simply not so,” he insists. “And it’s not just me saying this.”

He cites world-renowned experts in urban war like David Petraeus and John Spencer who, he says, argue that “there is no army in the world that has done and does what the IDF has done to minimize the number of casualties and achieve achievements no other army has managed.”

Speaking more passionately than hitherto, he asks how it can be that “good people” in the world are teaming up against Israel, that there are major demonstrations in world capitals, and yet “not a word was said about the millions massacred or uprooted from their homes in the Syrian civil war, or in Yemen’s internal war and elsewhere? And on the much smaller number — every dead civilian, every such loss is, of course, a tragedy, but it can’t be compared; we are talking about very small numbers, compared to the massacre of millions… how can it be that the worst things are believed: genocide, those claims against the state of Israel?”

He says, “I once asked that question of my father, a world-renowned historian who dealt at length with antisemitism. I asked him, How can it have been that they believed, in ancient times, 500 years before Christianity, the worst against the Jews; in the Middle Ages, that we used the blood of Christian babies to bake matzah; and in the modern era, what the Nazi disseminated? How can it be that millions around the world believed this? It must be ignorance, I said.”

His father, says Netanyahu, answered: “Not only ignorance.”

“Ignorance can’t explain why a great French philosopher like Voltaire believed the antisemitic allegations,” Netanyahu recalls his father saying, “or a great Russian writer like Dostoevsky believed the antisemitic lies.”

“There is a virus that has accompanied us for millennia now,” says the prime minister, “a virus of antisemitism” that changes shape but abides. “The question is what do we do about it.”

The Dispatch Podcast: Gaza Changed Urban Warfare | Interview: John Spencer
Jamie is joined by John Spencer, an author, former colonel in the California State Guard, and urban warfare expert with 25 years of experience in the Army, to examine Israel’s tactics in Gaza and weigh in on allegations the IDF is committing genocide and/or war crimes.

The Agenda:
—Joe Rogan accuses Israel of genocide
—John’s experience in Gaza
—War is not quantitative
—How to determine proportionality
—"High threshold of civilian death"
—We are at war with ignorance
—H.R. McMaster’s “zero-dark-thirty fallacy”
—Reception of his expertise in Ukraine vs. Gaza

Show Notes:
—John: Israel Has Created a New Standard for Urban Warfare. Why Will No One Admit It?

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Why the Delay on Rafah?
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti Today Jonathan Schanzer joins the podcast to talk about what’s been going on in public and behind the scenes between American and Israeli officials regarding a ground operation in Rafah. How much longer can Israel afford to wait? And what can we learn from the drone attack on an Israeli naval base over the weekend? But first we discuss the White House’s declaring Easter Sunday Transgender Day of Visibility.
Call Me Back PodCast - with Dan Senor: Lessons from Gaza for war against Hezbollah? – with Haviv Rettig Gur

Vivian Bercovici PodCast: S2 E20. Sunday Special with Jonathan Conricus: Bringing Hostages Home, Winning, Rebuilding
Late-breaking circumstances made it impossible for Ya’akov to do his weekly gig with State of Tel Aviv today but we were fortunate to find the amazing Lt. Col. (res) Jonathan Conricus in Israel and available. Conricus is just back from yet another whirlwind speaking tour in the U.S. and his commentary is always appreciated by our listeners – and major media around the world. Always clear, measured and articulate, he has a way of stripping the most complicated issues down to their essence. Today, we discuss the ongoing war in Gaza, the ongoing captivity of the hostages, and the building tension in the country that really cannot be contained any longer. The good news is that Conricus is a realist but unyielding optimist. He is determined and certain that we will find our way through this period of constant crisis.

Drone attack from Iraq damages building in Eilat
A building in the southern Israeli city of Eilat was lightly damaged by a drone attack overnight Sunday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The UAV was launched from Iraq and entered Israeli territory from Jordan, Ynet reported.

Sirens sounded in the area of the Red Sea resort town around 1:30 a.m.

"IDF soldiers identified a suspicious aerial target that crossed from the east toward Israeli territory. The target fell in the area of the Gulf of Eilat. No injuries were reported and there was light damage caused to a building," according to the IDF.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq took responsibility for the attack, claiming it struck a "vital target" in Israel.

The umbrella group of Iranian-backed radical Shi’ite militias in Iraq and Syria is composed of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhadaa.

The Erbil-based, Kurdish news website Rudaw describes the Islamic Resistance in Iraq as “a network of shadow Iraqi militia groups” associated with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

They have attempted other attacks on Israeli territory in recent months, including launching two drones from Syria at northern Israel in early January, which were shot down by Israeli Air Force fighter jets. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq said the attacks were “in support of Gaza.”

This is how Israel's navy seals took over al Shifa Hospital
Shayetet 13 was the first to enter the Shifa area, nailing down and isolating the area in a mere 15 minutes at the start of the operation. The same forces were then the first, after the IDF’s much larger divisional forces reinforced the siege zone, to penetrate the specific hospital buildings where the most Hamas terrorists were expected to be.

According to the IDF, Hamas not only fired mortars at the IDF, in disregard of the harm to the hospital buildings, but also used patients and doctors as human shields.

The IDF said that Shayetet 13’s special training could be credited for the successful evacuation of the patients and doctors without them being harmed, even as they fought off the Hamas terrorists.

These patients and doctors were moved to a pre-setup field hospital.

Moreover, the IDF said that those terrorists who did not surrender fought very hard, and several of them exploded themselves with grenades to try to kill nearby IDF troops.

Although this killed no Shayetet 13 soldiers, there were six wounded naval commandos, and these tactics also wounded two more Nahal soldiers.

There were also some deaths among regular infantry in the fighting in areas near Shifa.

The IDF believes that despite the terrorists’ return to Shifa after the first IDF takeover in November, this recent operation was the most single damaging operation to Hamas of the war and will prevent them from taking the risk of returning to Shifa a third time in any significant numbers.

Still, the IDF said that the war is far from over and that it will need to continue to actively pursue Hamas in a variety of areas once the terror organization regroups.
IDF Operation at Shifa: A Recap
Hamas chooses death over life. Nowhere is that more obvious than at Shifa, where they chose to turn a maternity ward into a terrorist compound.

This is what we did about it:

World Health Organization silent over Hamas’ use of Gaza hospital as terror HQ
As the Israeli military continues its week-long operation battling hundreds of terrorists holed up inside Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical center in Gaza, the United Nations agency charged with promoting — and protecting — access to health care worldwide has stayed silent, refraining from condemning the cynical use of a hospital by Palestinian terror groups.

Repeated requests for a comment from the World Health Organization by Fox News Digital were ignored this week, even as the Israel Defense Forces continued to engage with fighters from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both U.S.-designated terror organization, who barricaded themselves inside the hospital’s maternity ward and emergency room and other places in the expansive center in Gaza City.

"Hamas itself has admitted to using almost every hospital in Gaza, including Shifa Hospital," Itamar Yaar, a former deputy head of Israel’s National Security Council, told Fox News Digital. "This information has been on the table for a long time."

Yaar, who serves as the CEO of Commanders for Israeli Security, an organization of some 550 ex-senior security people, said Hamas specifically utilizes hospitals for its military activity "because they believe that Israel will not dare to send its troops into these sites."

Early on in its war against the Iranian-backed terrorist groups, Israel drew sharp international criticism for allowing its troops to enter Al-Shifa Hospital as they searched for terrorists and underground bunkers used by the Hamas fighters. In November, Israel revealed a subterranean system concealed beneath the hospital, including a command and control center and rooms where the army said hostages kidnapped from Israel during the Oct. 7 mass terror attack had been held.

Israeli forces subsequently withdrew from the area but left the medical campus, which includes multiple health care clinics and offices, largely intact and able to function, allowing it to serve the thousands of Gazan civilians who remained inside the war zone despite Israeli calls for them to evacuate the area.

"When the IDF went into that site for the first time, the information they had about the facilities was limited. But after being there for a few weeks, they [got]more information," Yaar said, adding Israel most likely left behind surveillance equipment that informed it of Hamas’ return to the area and about it setting up terror operating cells inside the hospital.

IDF accused of telling troops to spare Qatar-funded buildings
A group of parents with children serving in an elite Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip are saying that troops are being told to avoid damage to structures funded by Qatar, Channel 12 News reported on Sunday.

“The boys are forced to perform surgical operations instead of aggressively crushing [the enemy], at the expense of their safety,” 100 parents of Egoz commandos allege in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

The parents’ missive, titled “The Lives of Our Sons,” alleges that “more than once have we been told of incredibly tough situations in which it appeared that the lives of our soldier sons are not a top priority.”

For instance, buildings funded by the State of Qatar, a key financial backer of Hamas terrorism, are granted immunity from IDF operations, with the army going as far as officially instructing soldiers to minimize damage to these structures, they say, according to Channel 12.

“Can you vouch that our sons’ lives are more important to you than public relations against the United States and the world?” asks the letter.

Hamas document reveals it hides casualties, blames failed rocket launches on Israel - IDF
The IDF spokesperson in Arabic exposed close cooperation between terror groups in concealing information and choosing launch areas far from houses of Hamas leadership, not Gazan citizens.

Avichai Adraee, the IDF spokesperson in Arabic, revealed on Saturday an official Hamas document recovered by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, which openly refers to Gazan casualties as a result of failed rocket launches, hiding this information from their constituency and blaming the deaths on Israel instead.

The revealed documents date back to 2020 and Operation Breaking Dawn (2022), and they were issued by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades and signed by high-ranking members of the militia. The findings showcase Hamas attempting to persuade members of other militias in the Gaza Strip, namely the al-Quds Brigades belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), to take responsibility for the disastrous outcomes of failed rocket launches (referred to euphemistically as ‘local rockets’). The PIJ responded by requesting to conceal these failed launches and their repercussions to “support the image of the resistance.”

Another document showed a recommendation by Hamas to deny PIJ launching rockets specifically in the vicinity of houses belonging to the Hamas leadership fearing repetition of such events, yet no mention of preventing firing rockets near other Gazan residents’ houses was mentioned.

Lastly, Hamas reports were exposed featuring names of Gazan casualties as a result of failed launches, which were then recycled by Hamas in their outward reports of casualties, alleging they stemmed from Israeli airstrikes. In other words, Hamas counted casualties from PIJ failed rockets as casualties from Israeli attacks, proving yet again the lack of accuracy of their propaganda reporting.

IDF announces 600th soldier killed in action since October 7
On Monday the IDF announced the death of the 600th soldier in the “Swords of Iron” war that began after the Hamas attacks on October 7.

Staff Sgt. Nadav Cohen, 20, from Haifa, a member of the 7th Armored Brigade’s 77th Battalion, was killed by an anti-tank missile in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, becoming the 256th military fatality in the coastal enclave since the start of the ground offensive on 27 October.

The announcement of Cohen’s death comes a day after the IDF published the name of another soldier who was killed in action in southern Gaza during the current operation against Hamas: Sgt. First Class Sivan Wail, 20, from Ra’anana, who was a member of the Egoz guerrilla warfare commando unit.

Nearly 20 per cent of IDF fatalities since the ground invasion in Gaza began have been the result of friendly fire or accidents according to IDF press releases.

Some Israeli soldiers have been killed in airstrikes by the IDF and shrapnel from their own explosives, and some have been run over by Israeli armoured vehicles or were mistakenly identified and hit by tank fire, shelling and guns, according to a report released by the IDF in January. At the time of the report, such fatalities accounted for 36 of the 188 soldiers who were killed during the ground invasion, which experts say is one of the highest proportions in recent military history.

"There's really no limit to the procedural steps that you can take to minimise those kinds of casualties,” retired US Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland told NPR. “And even with that, there are going to be breakdowns, miscommunication and tragic outcomes as a result.”

FDD: Terrorists Connected to Palestinian Security Forces Carry Out Third Attack Within a Month
Latest Developments
The terrorist who opened fire on Israeli school buses and other vehicles on March 28 turned himself in on March 31. The suspect, Abu Rida al-Saadi, is reported to be a member of the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces. An Israeli man and teen were injured in the terror attack, which was partially captured on dashcam footage from the vehicles that came under fire.

The attack followed a February 29 terror assault in which a junior officer of the PA security forces opened fire with an M-16 at a man refueling his car near the Israeli community of Eli. The motorist, in his late 50s, was killed along with a young man in the vehicle. A reservist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) eating lunch nearby shot dead the terrorist, who had previously been imprisoned in Israel for security offenses and was released in 2019.

Further, on March 22 a former member of the PA, Mujahid Barakat Mansour, killed an Israeli soldier and wounded seven others by mounting an attack on the road between the Israeli communities of Dolev and Talmon.

Expert Analysis
“As the legitimacy of the government in Ramallah continues to deteriorate, so has the discipline of the Palestinian security forces. Mahmoud Abbas has lost control of pockets of territory of the West Bank, which have devolved into hotbeds of terror, and alarming numbers of his own security forces have turned their weapons on Israelis.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Recent attacks by Palestinian Authority security forces are not an isolated incident but rather a disturbing trend that has been slowly unfolding since the surge in violence in the West Bank in 2021. These incidents not only highlight the escalating turmoil in the region but also underscore the erosion of the Palestinian Authority’s control over both the northern West Bank and its security forces.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Dozens of PA Security Forces Involved in Terror Against Israelis
Since 2020, dozens of PA security force members have committed terrorist attacks against Israelis. According to a report released by Israeli NGO Regavim in February, Fatah — the ruling party in the West Bank led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas — claimed that Israeli forces “martyred” 41 members of the Palestinian security forces for their role in terror attacks. Israel arrested an additional 25 members of the security forces.

Another organization, Palestinian Media Watch, released a report in January highlighting how PA security force members moonlight as terrorists, with the PA and Fatah promoting their members’ participation in terrorism against Israel. The report documented dozens of attacks by PA security force members on Israeli troops and civilians in recent years. “The terror involvement is not presented by the PA and Fatah as unfortunate exceptions, but rather as the heroic norm. The officers involved are not ostracized, but rather are honored and given military funerals,” the report stated.

Three Israelis wounded in Gan Yavne terror stabbing
Three men were seriously wounded on Sunday night in a terror attack at a mall in the southern city of Gan Yavne.

Magen David Adom medics treated the victims, ages 25, 20 and 17, for multiple stab wounds before evacuating them to Assuta Hospital in Ashdod.

The two adult victims, who suffered serious head wounds, were transferred from Assuta to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) in Tel Aviv and Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva, and were scheduled to undergo neurosurgery. The remaining victim, who was in moderate and stable condition, was scheduled for surgery at Assuta in the morning.

Security forces responding to the attack shot and killed the terrorist, who was identified as a 19-year-old Palestinian from Dura, located near Hebron in Judea.

Police said the terrorist had entered Israel illegally via a hole in the security fence, and authorities were investigating whether he was employed illegally at the mall.

The IDF said that it operated overnight in the home of the terrorist in Dura, questioning suspects and carrying out searches in the area. Israeli forces arrested nine wanted persons in total in raids throughout Judea and Samaria.

Israeli forces arrest sister of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh
Israeli security forces arrested the sister of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Tel Sheva on suspicion of having ties to Hamas and engaging in incitement and support for terror, Israeli media and the Israel Police reported on Monday morning.

The police statement identified the detained suspect as a close relative of a senior member of Hamas. Media reports noted that the relative was 57-year-old Zebah Abdel Salem Haniyeh.

The operation, dubbed “Early Dawn,” was conducted via a multi-department effort. The police-Shin Bet joint operation culminated in the arrest of Haniyeh in an early morning raid carried out by police, border police, IDF, and the Israel Police aerial unit.

During the raid of Haniyeh’s home compound, security forces reportedly found documents, media, phones, and other evidence indicating her participation in serious security offenses.

Alleged Israeli strike kills Iranian Quds Force leader in Syria
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force responsible for Syria and Lebanon, was killed in an alleged Israeli strike on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus on Monday, Reuters reported.

Zahedi is the most senior regime official to be killed since the death of leading Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran in an assassination attributed to Israel four years ago.

A former commander of the IRGC’s terrorist ground forces, Zahedi had been sanctioned by the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Monday’s attack on the building in Damascus’s upscale Mezzeh area also killed at least five other people, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

Among the casualties was Gen. Haji Rahimi, who served as Zahedi’s deputy, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency confirmed.

The structure reportedly targeted by the Israeli Air Force was said to house the Iranian consulate and the ambassador’s official residence.

According to Syrian state media agency SANA, the attack caused “major destruction to the building, as well as damage to neighboring buildings.” The outlet claimed that air defenses responded to the strike.

Israel has evidence that Gazans killed in February aid disaster died from overcrowding - report
Israel has evidence from Hamas confirming that the Gazans killed in the Gaza aid delivery disaster on February 29 died as a result of overcrowding and not from IDF fire, i24NEWS reported on Monday.

According to the report, the security establishment held internal correspondence belonging to members of the terrorist organization concerning the incident of the looting of humanitarian aid on February 29, in which over a hundred Palestinians were killed, from which it appears that the latter died from overcrowding and pressure and not from IDF fire.

The Southern Command Commander, Major General (Maj.-Gen.) Yaron Finkelman presented earlier this month to the IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, the investigation findings regarding the sequence of events that took place during the humanitarian operation to bring supplies into the northern Gaza Strip.

Investigation findings
The command investigation revealed that IDF troops did not fire at the humanitarian convoy itself but at several suspects who approached the nearby forces and who posed a threat to them.

According to the investigation, while the trucks were traveling towards the distribution centers, a violent gathering of about 12,000 Gazans developed around them, who looted the equipment they were transporting.

In the course of the looting, civilians were harmed due to overcrowding and trucks running them over. In addition, during the gathering, dozens of Gaza residents came within a few meters of the IDF troops and thereby posed a real threat to the force.

At this point, the forces fired accurately to drive away several suspects. As the suspects continued to approach, the forces fired to remove the threat.

MLB’s first Israeli coach brings attention to hostages
An Israeli baseball coach is going to bat for his countrymen held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza for nearly six months.

Alon Leichman is an assistant pitching coach for Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati, Ohio, franchise, the Reds; stitched onto his new glove for the 2024 season are the words “Bring Them Home Now!”

The glove was spotted by Cincinnati news channel WCPO-TV last week—one day before the season opener game on March 28 against the visiting Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park, a game won by the Reds in an 8-2 thumping.

Leichman also has the Israeli flag featured on his glove.

The 34-year-old grew up in Kibbutz Gezer, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. His journey to becoming the first Israeli coach in MLB history began with Team Israel as a coach and pitcher. He threw a perfect inning against Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Quad: "A Punch to the Gut": The US Failure to Defend Israel in the UN
The Quad discuss the repercussions of the US abstaining from the UN Ceasefire Resolution. Is the US/Israel relationship at risk? Will this invite more diplomatic attacks on Israel? Additionally, why is the US stopping Israel from entering Rafah?

They interview VP of NGO Monitor Olga Deutsch to talk about international aid and so-called human rights organizations that are vilifying Israel and the Jewish community. What can be done in this impossible political landscape in which Israel is being made a pariah?

And, of course, Scumbags and Heroes of the Week!

Uncomfortable Conversations with Josh Szeps: Douglas Murray LIVE: The Final Show
For the first Uncomfortable Conversations live tour, Douglas Murray joined Josh in conversation on a sold-out five-city tour. This is the audio of the final show, in Melbourne.

Whether you agree or disagree with him, Douglas is one of the most important public intellectuals today. A journalist and bestselling author, he tackles controversial issues head on like nobody else.

Two of the live shows will be posted on YouTube (you won't hear those here to avoid duplication, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel). Enjoy the intellectual rumble.

Sen. Merkley invokes Easter to condemn 'indiscriminate bombing of Gaza,’ drawing condemnations
A range of Jewish and pro-Israel figures, including Israel’s antisemitism envoy, accused Sen. Jeff Merkley of advancing a “blood libel” for linking Easter to what he called Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza.

Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, had already marked Easter Sunday on X with a generic wish for a “blessed holiday.” He followed up with a post citing the holiday in his call to cut arms shipments to Israel and to pressure the country to facilitate the entry of more humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

“On this Easter, let’s ponder [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, which has killed more than 20,000 women and children, and his restriction of humanitarian aid, which has pushed Palestinians to the brink of famine,” Merkley said in a three-post thread on X, formerly Twitter. Israel disputes the numbers of women and children killed, saying it is lower, and says it is doing everything possible to let aid into Gaza.

“But we must also recognize that America is complicit in this tragedy by resupplying Israel with bombs and failing to use America’s leverage to increase aid delivered into Gaza,” Merkley added. “Reflecting on the admonition to feed the hungry and assist the stranger, and ‘blessed are the peacemakers,’ let’s push Team Biden to do better. More aid. No bombs.”

The phrase, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” is from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, and is sometimes cited in Easter sermons.

Australian Museum under fire over lecturer’s ‘clearly offensive’ comments
The Australian Museum has come under fire after inviting a renowned Egyptian archaeologist to deliver a lecture, despite the person making “clearly offensive comments”, says Sky News host Sharri Markson.

Dr Zahi Hawass is set to give a lecture as part of the current Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition.

“Dr Hawass has previously said that ‘Israel is the Zionist enemy, I gave this enemy a strong slap in the face’,” Ms Markson said.

A spokesperson from the Australian Museum has defended Dr Hawass, releasing a statement which said, “he has fully rejected the characterization of these views”.

Ms Markson is joined by former defence intelligence analyst Paul Monk to discuss the controversy.

Lefties losing it: ‘Social justice warrior’ streamer urged by fan to ‘boycott’ Coke Zero
Sky News host Rita Panahi reacts to a “social justice warrior streamer” who attended a pro-Palestine rally in Australia.

In a video shared on X, one fan was seen sprinting up to streamer Hasan Piker and begging him not to drink Coke Zero.

The fan said there is a “boycott” on the product, encouraging him to drink it off-stream instead.

Piker joked saying he will put the drink in a glass before asking if Pepsi is okay.

“I didn’t know it was like that,” he said.

MEMRI: Al-Jazeera's Gaza Script Sabotaged By Their Ally Hamas
One way of telling the difference between a credible news outlet and a propaganda source is the subservience of news coverage to an ideological narrative. Given the dynamic nature of news, coverage would flow in all sorts of directions, a propaganda narrative only flows in one direction. In a normal, free media environment, the misdeeds of the offspring of the powerful are an irresistible topic. And yet in 2020 (and beyond) we saw the dominant news media outlets and social media companies in the United States intentionally suppress reporting on Democratic candidate Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The "Biden Laptop" scandal is a signal example of the triumph of narrative over journalism, the narrative in this case being Joe Biden's rise to the presidency.

Narrative beating out journalism used to be a staple of foreign authoritarian regimes, and it still is. It now often flourishes in the West. But nowhere has narrative reigned over journalism more completely – propaganda over actual news – than in the Middle East, especially in Arabic-language media. Almost all outlets do it, but if there was a champion in the narrative business, it would be Qatar's Al-Jazeera Arabic Satellite Channel. This makes sense because everything Al-Jazeera disseminates or produces is seen through an ideological framework, an Islamist lens, and serves Islamist causes, including the agenda of terrorist groups like Hamas.[1]

On March 23, 2024, Al-Jazeera ran a report alleging that Israeli soldiers had raped Palestinian women during an Israeli attack on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fighters holed up at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The report ran for more than 24 hours before it unraveled. The network then quietly deleted the content with no explanation given.[2]

Additional detail on the incident came from an interesting source – Jordanian journalist Yasser Abu Hilaleh, who had been Al-Jazeera Arabic's general manager from 2014 to 2018 and before that had served as the channel's bureau chief in Amman for many years. Abu Hilaleh noted on Twitter in Arabic (in a tweet with almost two million views) that the news was fabricated, according to an investigation conducted by Hamas.[3]

Abu Hilaleh, a veteran journalist who is also a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and opponent of Israel, explained that "the woman who spoke about rape justified her exaggeration and incorrect talk by saying that the goal was to arouse the nation's fervor and brotherhood!"[4]

Of course, Al-Jazeera has circulated false or exaggerated information before, information that has served an ideological agenda. It has continued to serve up propaganda throughout this entire Hamas-Israel War as both the channel and Qatar who funds it play a key role in the war as banker, host and propagandist for Hamas.[5] Early on in the war both Al-Jazeera and much of the world's press (including the BBC and the New York Times) promoted and amplified a lie, that Israel had intentional struck a hospital in Gaza and killed hundreds of people.[6] It turned out that not only had Israel not struck the building, a PIJ rocket struck nearby, but hundreds had not been killed in the blast.

In this particular case, an accusation of rape is powerful because it would have served as a perfect riposte to multiple claims by Israeli eyewitnesses and victims of rape and sexual assault carried out by Hamas both on October 7 and afterward against female Israeli hostages. It would have served the narrative by, at the very least, "muddying the waters" by implying that either both sides do such things, or that the side – Israel – complaining vociferously about rapes, was actually the real rapist.
Netanyahu revives moves to shut Qatar's Al Jazeera TV in Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived moves on Monday to shutter Qatari satellite television station Al Jazeera in Israel, pledging to take "immediate action" to close the station's local office while the war in Gaza continues.

Hours after his party spokesperson said parliament would be convened to ratify the necessary law, the Knesset approved the bill allowing the temporary closure in Israel of foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security.

The law approved on Monday would allow Netanyahu and the security cabinet to shut the station for a period of 45 days, which would be renewable, and would stay in force until the end of July or until the end of major military operations in Gaza.

Neither the station's main office in Israel nor the Qatari government in Doha immediately responded to a request for comment. Al Jazeera, which has been fiercely critical of Israel's military operation in Gaza, has previously accused Israel of systematically targeting its offices and personnel.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karai accused Al Jazeera of encouraging hostilities against Israel. "It is impossible to tolerate a media outlet, with press credentials from the government press office and with offices in Israel, acting from within against us, certainly in wartime," he said.

Israeli officials have long complained about Al Jazeera's coverage, but stopped short of taking action, mindful of Qatar's bankrolling of Palestinian construction projects in the Gaza Strip - seen by all sides as a means of staving off conflict.

Swastikas must ‘be taken into context,’ London police officer says
The Metropolitan Police responded to Schrader. “This video clip is a short excerpt of what was a 10-minute conversation with an officer,” it stated. “During the full conversation, the officer establishes that the person the woman was concerned about had already been arrested for a public order offense in relation to a placard.”

“The officer then offered to arrange for other officers to attend and accompany the woman to identify any other persons she was concerned about amongst the protestors,” the Met Police added, “but after turning to speak to his supervisor, she had unfortunately left.”

“Even if the person was already arrested, multiple officers said whether or not it’s illegal ‘depends on context’ and refused to assist her claiming he ‘can’t leave his post,'” Schrader replied. “If there’s a 10-minute exchange, by all means share it.”

On Monday, Schrader added that she spoke to the woman involved in addition to other witnesses.

“I can confirm the Met Police’s claim is not factual and that even in the video shared, the officer repeatedly refuses to state a swastika is illegal at an anti-Israel march and refuses to ‘leave his post’ after another officer directed the woman to him,” Schrader wrote. “I again urge them to release the ’10 minute exchange’ they claim took place.”

“The swastika was used to rouse and galvanize Nazi followers during the Holocaust; it terrified both the Nazis’ victims and the innocent bystanders of the world,” Yad Vashem wrote in response to Schrader’s post. “The swastika is a symbol of evil, cruelty and death.”

“Holding swastikas up on signs with slogans directed against Jews is antisemitic. Branding and taunting Jews with the symbol of those who mass-murdered Jews is vile hatred. Period,” wrote the Combat Antisemitism Movement. “But according to one Metropolitan Police officer in London, it apparently ‘depends on context.'”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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