Thursday, April 18, 2024

From Ian:

Elliott Abrams: How Israel Can Win in Gaza - and Deter Iran
In the wake of Iran's attack on Israel with hundreds of drones and missiles last weekend, Israel must decide how to calibrate its response. One part of Israel's response must be to stay the course in Gaza, despite tremendous pressure from the U.S. and others to retreat. That means entering the southern Gaza city of Rafah and eliminating the Hamas brigades and leaders based there.

In 2006, Hizbullah attacked Israel, and the George W. Bush administration, in which I was serving at the time, gave the Israelis strong support - but only for a couple of weeks, after which Washington pressured Israel to end the war by extending assurances that have never been met and never seemed likely to be.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006 included an end to arms transfers by any state to Hizbullah and total Lebanese army control of Lebanon's south. Neither stipulation has ever been enforced - a testament to the dangers of relying on a paper peace rather than conditions on the ground. That is why Israel is resisting international pressure, especially from Washington, for a ceasefire that would leave Hamas in control.

Israelis across the ideological spectrum agree that Hamas must be crushed because they see the fight as an existential conflict. All of Israel's enemies are watching to see whether Israel can fully recover from the Oct. 7 attack. If they conclude that it cannot, the Jewish state will find itself in mortal peril. Israel gained Arab partners in the region through demonstrations of strength, not acts of restraint.

Polls make it clear that both Israelis and Palestinians are highly unenthusiastic about and wary of the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gallup polls found that 65% of Israelis opposed the two-state solution and only 25% supported it. Among Palestinians, polls that Gallup conducted before Oct. 7 found that 72% of Palestinians opposed the two-state solution and only 24% supported it.

Moreover, the PA lacks the ability to lead a Palestinian state that would be free and democratic, have a decent and effective government, and build a prosperous economy. Palestinian nationalism still seems to be more about destroying the Jewish state than about building a Palestinian one. In addition, an independent Palestine would represent yet another route through which Iran would seek to attack Israel.

In last weekend's mammoth Iranian aerial assault, the Islamic Republic deployed hundreds of drones and rockets against Israel. Israelis understand that their country's long-term survival depends on reasserting deterrence by striking back: displaying resilience, determination, and military prowess.
Caroline Glick: What happens when children seize the wheel
Since Saturday night, U.S. officials and supportive commentators have played up the “international coalition” that came together to prevent Iran’s missiles from causing harm to Israel. This ad hoc group, which included Jordan and Saudi Arabia, it is said, are proof that Israel can depend on America and that if Israel follows Washington’s directives, it will enjoy peace and security even as Iran grows in power, and its proxies prevail, thanks to America’s protection.

But the truth is far different. The Saudis and the Jordanians are directly threatened by Iran. Unlike the children running U.S. policies, the Jordanians and Saudis were aghast at Iran’s assault, which they rightly understood was not a tit for tat, but an unprecedented escalation of Iran’s war. They realized that the attack was a sign that Iran believes that thanks to the Biden administration, it is now immune from counterattack, to the point where it dares to attack Israel directly. Their intervention wasn’t on Israel’s behalf, per se. It was self-defense, as officials from both countries have stated.

The U.S. posture in this war has rattled Israel and the U.S.’s Sunni allies to their core. Like Nasrallah, all of them now understand that while the United States is the most powerful actor in the region, it is also delusional. It fails to understand the reality of what is happening. Washington’s policies for contending with the war that Biden and his top officials refuse to acknowledge are just making things worse.

If Israel fails to defeat Hamas in Gaza, then there will no longer be any restraints on Iranian and Iranian-proxy aggression against Israel. And there will also be no restraints on Iran’s efforts to overthrow the regimes of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. If the United States successfully forces Israel to stand down in the face of Iran’s shocking attack, then that attack will be the baseline for future assaults—conventional and unconventional—against Israel and the Sunni Arab states.

Iran itself is so certain that this is the case that its top officials are now speaking openly about using nuclear weapons. As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported, on April 7, Iranian nuclear scientist Mahmoud Reza Aghamiri said in an interview with Iranian television that Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei can change his religious ruling forbidding the production of an atomic bomb whenever he wishes. Aghamiri said that Iran’s nuclear capabilities “are high,” and that once a country has nuclear capabilities, making a nuclear bomb “is not complicated.”

The administration’s refusal to recognize the existential nature of the war Iran and its proxies are now waging against Israel places Israel in an existential dilemma.

Israel today is compelled to decide between two options. It can fight the war to win it, in Iran and Gaza, first and foremost, and risk a rupture of relations with the United States.

Or, it can lose the war and accept the position of a U.S. protectorate, with the full knowledge that the United States will not permit its protectorates to challenge Iranian hegemony.

In other words, if Israel fails to risk a rupture in relations with the United States, it will accept a position that will lead to its destruction.
Matthew Continetti: Biden's Bad Advice for Israel—And America
In statecraft, defense without retaliation is exceedingly dangerous. It leads to a false sense of security. It emboldens the aggressor. This isn't academic international relations theory. This is Hamas 2024.

For over a decade, Israel believed it could disengage from the Gaza Strip by relying on its layered missile defenses and periodic "mowing the grass" air campaigns to degrade terrorist capabilities. The two-pronged strategy would hold Hamas in check. The promise of economic integration, with Palestinian workers crossing from Gaza into Israel, might even promote reform within the Strip.

Such was the logic behind the "Conceptzia" that governed Israeli policy toward Hamas.

The Conceptzia died on October 7. Land-based missile defenses such as the Iron Dome and David's Sling are remarkably effective. They have saved lives. But they haven't changed the nature, aims, and objectives of Hamas. They changed its tactics.

To protect its personnel and weapons from the Israeli air force, Hamas built a submerged state of tunnels and spider holes. Meanwhile, Hamas's leadership planned the surprise land, air, and sea attack that killed 1,300 Israelis, wounded thousands, and took hundreds captive.

You can shield your population from harm, but threats will remain until the source of the attacks is neutralized. That was the lesson of October 7. It should be the takeaway from April 13.

If Iran's attack goes unanswered, a new precedent will be set in the region. Fire whatever you want toward Israel, and so long as we intercept the projectiles, you won't pay a big price. Such an outcome would be a disaster. No sovereign state should be forced to accept such vulnerability. Yet that is precisely what will happen if Israel takes the "win" as President Biden suggests.

A real win would reestablish deterrence against Israel's and America's enemies. It would make Iran think twice before launching any more drones in Israel's direction. And the way to reestablish deterrence is to ignore the arms of the octopus and go straight for its head.

Take away something Iran's leaders hold dear—their nuclear program. By destroying Iran's nuclear infrastructure, you not only exact a heavy cost for the regime's malign behavior. You guarantee Israel's security.

After all, why did America come to Israel's defense but not to Ukraine's? Both nations are under assault. The difference is Israel's assailant has no nuclear weapons. Ukraine's enemy has thousands.

Would America coordinate a similar operation to defend Israel if Iran had nukes? Maybe a future president would do that. This president would not.

I understand Netanyahu's position. A superpower is not easily dismissed. Especially when that superpower—despite counterproductive rhetoric and diplomatic incoherence—continues to deliver unconditional military aid for operations against Hamas. Especially when that superpower helped Israel fend off the Iranian attack. Israel wants to keep America on its side, where America belongs.

Yet lines must be drawn. Leaving Iran to fight another day, and leaving Hamas intact in Rafah, weaken the state of Israel and diminish the future of the Jewish people. Talk all you want, Mr. President. But if you call this a win, God help us if we lose.

48 Countries Condemn Iranian Attack on Israel
The representatives of 48 countries issued a joint statement on Wednesday condemning Iran's attack on Israel. "We unequivocally condemn the April 13 attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its militant partners on the State of Israel, which involved launching several hundred ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and attack drones against multiple targets, and note this large-scale attack could have caused significant damage and loss of life."

"The weapons launched at Israel violated the airspace of several regional states, putting at risk the lives of innocent people in those countries, and appeared to traverse airspace near holy sites in Jerusalem....Iran's escalatory attack is the latest in a pattern of dangerous and destabilizing actions by Iran and its militant partners that pose a grave threat to international peace and security."

The joint statement was issued by the U.S., Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and the UK.

Noah Rothman: The Only Interpretation of Iran's Attack that Matters Is Israel's
Iran's direct attack on Israel over the weekend was not "designed to fail" or an elaborately telegraphed de-escalatory overture. It was a radical and audacious assault on Israel, and its aim was to kill as many Israelis as possible. Over 300 munitions were expended in a coordinated assault on Israel by both the Islamic Republic and the constellation of terrorist groups it controls. It was an unprecedented event. It was intended to overwhelm Israeli air defenses and culminate in mass casualties. There can be no doubt that Iran's intent was the worst-case scenario.

By any rational interpretation of the laws of armed conflict, a state of war today exists between Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Israel is obliged to respond to this attack in more than equal measure. Israel cannot afford to allow periodic direct Iranian attacks on its territory to become the background soundtrack to daily life. It certainly cannot establish a precedent whereby its allies have a veto over its ability to defend itself. The notion that Israel can simply absorb this attack so we can de-escalate and be done is fanciful to the point of delusion.

While the vast majority of the ordnance Iran launched at Israel didn't make it into Israeli airspace, ballistic missiles most certainly did. If any of those missiles were armed with nuclear warheads, Israel would face a genuinely existential disaster. From Jerusalem's perspective, there can be no living with an undeterred millenarian outfit like the Islamic Republic.
Jonathan Spyer: Why Israel must hit Iran
The Iranian drone and ballistic missile attack on Israel on April 13 was intended to deter Israel from punishing not only Iranian proxies for violent attacks on Israel, but also going after their Iranian masters.

For four decades, the mullahs have gathered, trained and armed proxy Islamist militias and used them as tools to advance Tehran's interests. As a result, Iran now effectively controls the entire land space between the Iraq-Iran border and the Mediterranean Sea. It has the capacity to paralyze shipping in the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, on one of the world's key maritime trade routes.

The killing of Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and six other Revolutionary Guard commanders in Damascus on April 1 was an indication that Israel, since Oct. 7, had begun to act to truly challenge the Iranian strategy. The polite practice of response against proxies alone was being dispensed with. Action against the patron was beginning.

Air defense, even of the most effective kind, cannot substitute for a forward strategy to counter a project of aggression. Passivity and reaction will not suffice against the Iranian project for regional domination, and for the destruction of Israel.
Stephen Daisley: Thwarting Iran's Attack Was Not a "Win" for Israel
Biden told Netanyahu to be satisfied with the Iranian attack being fended off and count it as a victory.

Dodging a bullet is a highly desirable outcome when being shot at but it is not a victory, not if you aren't allowed to disarm the gunman.

The Americans and the British want to avert an Israeli retaliation because they fear it could destabilize the region. Yet much of the instability in the region can be traced back to Iran.

For Israel, as for any country threatened on multiple fronts, the only way to win is to win.

Yet its allies don't want it to hit Iran and they object to how it goes about hitting Hamas.

US Hits Iran With Sanctions After Attack on Israel
The United States on Thursday announced new sanctions on Iran targeting its unarmed aerial vehicle production after its attack on Israel, and President Joe Biden said G7 leaders were committed to acting together to increase economic pressure on Tehran.

Biden said the United States and its allies had helped Israel beat back the April 13 missile and drone strike and were now holding Iran accountable with the new sanctions and export controls.

"The sanctions target leaders and entities connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Defense Ministry, and the Iranian government’s missile and drone program that enabled this brazen assault," Biden said in a statement.

"And our allies and partners have or will issue additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilizing military programs," Biden said.

A Treasury Department statement said the U.S. measures targeted 16 individuals and two entities enabling Iran’s UAV production, including engine types that power Iran’s Shahed variant UAVs, which were used in the April 13 attack.

Treasury said it was also designating five companies in multiple jurisdictions providing component materials for steel production to Iran’s Khuzestan Steel Company (KSC), one of Iran’s largest steel producers, or purchasing KSC’s finished steel products.

Also targeted were three subsidiaries of Iranian automaker Bahman Group, which it said had materially supported Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The statement said the Commerce Department was also imposing new controls to restrict Iran’s access to technologies, such as basic commercial grade microelectronics.
Biden Admin Under Pressure To Freeze UN Funding as International Body Boosts Iran
The Biden administration is under pressure from a coalition of outside advocacy groups to cut American funding to the United Nations over the international organization's appointment of Iran to several leadership positions.

"Following Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel, it is reckless for the United States to continue funding the United Nations while Iran abuses its position on several UN committees, conferences, and forums," a group of 20 foreign policy experts and think tanks wrote to the White House on Thursday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Led by former vice president Mike Pence's Advancing American Freedom (AAF) advocacy group, the organizations argue that it is well past time to freeze more than $18 billion the United States provides to the United Nations each year.

In the days since Iran unleashed an unprecedented missile attack on the Jewish state, the United Nations has forwarded several measures blaming Israel for the violence and accusing the country of withholding humanitarian aid from the embattled Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been caught stealing much of the aid.

Iran, Hamas's chief patron, sits at the head of several key U.N. committees, even as its terror proxies conduct lethal operations against the United States and other Western nations operating in the region. Advancing American Freedom and its allies said the international organization should not be working alongside Iran at a time when the Islamic Republic is fomenting chaos in the Middle East.

Iran chairs the U.N. Conference on Disarmament and the U.N. Human Rights Council Social Forum and was elected as the rapporteur for the U.N. Committee on Disarmament and International Security—an appointment that came as Tehran marches closer to a nuclear weapon and blocks international inspectors from monitoring its enrichment work.

"In 2022, the U.S. was the largest donor to the UN, accounting for $18 billion and approximately one-third of the organization's budget," the advocacy groups write. "Withholding all funds to the UN would send an unmistakable message to the rest of the world that the U.S. stands with Israel and supports peace across the globe."

FLASHBACK: Bob Casey Said the Iran Deal Would ‘Enhance’ Israeli Security. Critics Say It Funded Tehran’s Drone Strike.
When Sen. Bob Casey cast a deciding vote for the Iran nuclear deal, the Pennsylvania Democrat insisted it would "enhance" Israeli and American national security. Instead, the Obama-era agreement unlocked billions of dollars that helped Tehran fund its "unprecedented" drone attack against Israel last week.

In 2015, Casey and fellow Democrat Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) were on the fence about whether to support the deal, which relaxed sanctions against Iran. Supporters claimed loosening sanctions would deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

But critics said the deal would free up money for Iran to use in other weapons programs and fund terrorist proxies including Hamas and Hezbollah. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the plan a "colossal mistake" that would provide a "cash bonanza" for Tehran.

Casey ultimately sided with the Obama-Biden administration in supporting the deal and touted it as a boon for American and Israeli national security. "I believe the agreement enhances our national security and also enhances the security of Israel and the region," Casey told PBS on Sept. 1, 2015.

Now, the nuclear deal—and Casey’s vote—is coming under fresh scrutiny in light of Iran’s launch of 300 drones against Israel. Tehran launched the attack in retaliation for Israel’s bombing of its embassy in Damascus, which killed senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi. The White House condemned Iran’s "unprecedented air attack" and sanctioned the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iranian defense ministry, and its missile and drone program.

While Casey said the United States "must continue to stand with Israel," his political opponents have linked his deciding vote on the Iran deal to the current turmoil.

House Measure Would Bar Biden Admin From Funding Gaza Reconstruction
A measure circulating in the Republican-controlled House would block the Biden administration from spending taxpayer cash to rebuild the war-torn Gaza Strip amid mounting concerns this cash will empower Hamas to reestablish its network of tunnels beneath the territory.

The measure is set to be introduced on Thursday by Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and will be offered as an amendment to the foreign supplemental funding bill currently working its way through Congress, sources told the Washington Free Beacon. The funding bill includes emergency aid for Israel and Ukraine, and is a must-pass piece of legislation for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.).

Mast’s measure, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon, would ensure that "[n]o federal funds are authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to build or rebuild the Gaza strip." It comes as the Biden administration pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into Gaza-based humanitarian projects, including a massive pier off the territory’s coast that the U.S. military is using to funnel aid to the Palestinian people.

Mast’s amendment comes amid mounting concerns that U.S. aid dollars and humanitarian goods are bolstering Hamas as Israel’s military is on the cusp of eradicating the Iran-backed terror group. The lawmaker, like many Republicans, is worried that American aid will help Hamas reestablish its network of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip that were used to infiltrate Israel on Oct. 7 and carry out the worst terror attack in the country’s history.

"Our priority should be supporting our ally Israel as it faces unprecedented attacks by Iran and works to free the 133 hostages still held by Hamas," Mast said in a statement provided to the Free Beacon. "Not one penny of American tax dollars should be used to fund hare-brained infrastructure schemes by Joe Biden and Antony Blinken that will only be used as staging grounds by Hamas for attacks on Israel."

The Gaza reconstruction effort is estimated to cost somewhere around $20 billion, and the Biden administration has pledged to be a key source of revenue for these projects.
Lahav Harkov: Why Jordan helped repel the Iranian missile attack on Israel
Jordan's part in intercepting drones Iran launched at Israel marked a point where Amman was working in its own interest, which overlapped with Jerusalem's, rather than Jordan jumping to Israel's rescue, experts said. Iran has long worked to gain a foothold in Jordan and undermine the stability of its monarchy. Israel's 300 km.-border with Jordan is its longest frontier, and a stronger Iranian or Iran-backed presence in the country would pose a serious threat to Israel.

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, "Iran would like to replace [Jordan's monarchy] with any of their proxies or create a proxy inside Jordan." A week before the attack on Israel, Iranian media reported that Hizbullah is ready to arm 12,000 "Islamist resistance" fighters in Jordan to overthrow the monarchy. "This is about Jordan itself before it's about Israel. The sovereignty of Jordan is at stake....This means any kind of infringement on their sovereignty, big or small, will be fought."
MEMRI: Jordan: The Peace Treaty With Israel Is A Strategic Choice And Source Of Strength For Us; It Is The Palestinians Who Would Lose The Most If We Revoked It
There have recently been increasing calls in Jordan to revoke the peace agreement with Israel and completely sever the relations with it, and some even accused the Jordanian regime of treason for maintaining this agreement. These voices were heard at demonstrations and protests against the Gaza war that have been held in Jordan in the last few weeks, especially by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood movement.[1] They were also heard after Jordan helped thwart Iran's April 14 missile- and drone-attack on Israel by intercepting some of these threats, which passed through its airspace.[2]

Following the Iranian attack, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi addressed the calls to revoke the peace treaty with Israel, saying that the treaty is a source of strength for Jordan, especially because it enables the kingdom to help the Palestinians and advance their cause and to protect Jerusalem and its holy places. Revoking this agreement, he emphasized, will not only fail to benefit the Palestinians, but will hurt them by preventing Jordan from supporting them. Other Jordanian officials likewise stressed that the peace treaty with Israel is "a strategic choice" of Jordan's that benefits the Palestinians. They also noted that Jordan signed this agreement with Israel only after the Palestinians themselves signed the Oslo Accords with it in 1993.

Similar arguments were made by Jordanian journalist Alaa Al-Qarala in his March 31 column in the state daily Al-Rai, in which he came out against the "populist" calls to cancel the peace treaty with Israel. He stated that the treaty benefits the Palestinians much more than it benefits the Jordanians, and that, were it not for this treaty, the Palestinian cause would have perished decades ago.

The following are translated excerpts from the statements by the Jordanian officials and from Al-Qarala's column.

Senior Jordanian Officials: Revoking The Peace Treaty With Israel Would Harm The Palestinians And Their Cause
In statements to Jordan's official news channel Al-Mamlaka on April 14, the day after Iran's attack on Israel, which Jordan helped to thwart, Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi referred to the calls to revoke Jordan's peace treaty with Israel, saying: "The treaty actualized all our rights and served our interests. Revoking it would not be in Jordan's or the Palestinians' interest. If we thought even for a moment that revoking it would be in the interest of Jordan or of the Palestinians, we would have done so without hesitation... In actual fact, this would harm both Jordan and Palestine and greatly limit our ability to continue fulfilling our main and primary role in providing aid to the Palestinian people… The peace treaty is a source of strength for us and allows us to continue our role of aiding the Palestinian people while protecting our interests… The kingdom signed the peace treaty after the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords with Israel and the entire Arab world was [involved] in negotiations towards a comprehensive and lasting peace."

Referring to the calls in Jordan to cancel the peace treaty with Israel, Al-Safadi stated that "we respect Jordanian public opinion," and added: "Back in 1994, when [the treaty] was signed, it protected our interests. We regained all our occupied lands, and the treaty enshrined Jordan's special role in administrating the places holy to Islam and to Christianity in Jerusalem. Were it not for this role, there would have been a vacuum, and Israel would have exploited this to impose its own sovereignty and administration on the holy places rather than granting them to the Palestinians." Al-Safadi contended that Israeli extremists, among them ministers in the Israeli government, "want to cancel the peace treaty, which would take us back to square one and the issue of the borders and the conflict, and cause us to lose our ability to fulfill our role…"[3]

Other senior Jordanian officials also expressed Jordan's commitment to the peace agreement with Israel in light of the calls in the kingdom to revoke it. In a March 29, 2024 interview with Sky News Arabia, Jordan's government spokesman Muhannad Mubaidin accused Hamas' leaders of populism and of inciting the Jordanian people against their leadership. These figures, he said, are trying "to force Jordan to choose different options," but "peace is our strategic choice and the peace treaty [with Israel] is what allows us to fulfill our role of easing the pressures on the people in the West Bank."[4]

In an April 3, 2024 interview with the Al-Mashhad television channel and digital platform, Jordanian Senate President Faisal Al-Fayez said that, after the signing of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, Jordan's monarch at the time, King Hussein, was pressured to sign a similar agreement with Israel, but "he did not succumb to this pressure. Only after the Palestinian Authority signed the [Oslo] Accords with Israel did the king sign the Jordanian-Israeli [peace] treaty. So don't brandish populist slogans based on our position…"[5]
MEMRI: Senior Saudi Journalist: Iran's Attack On Israel Reaffirms That Allowing It To Become A Nuclear Power Would Be A Fatal Mistake For Which The Entire World Would Pay A Price
Against the backdrop of Iran's April 14, 2024 missile and drone attack against Israel, senior Saudi journalist Tariq Al-Homayed, the former editor of the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote that the attack was a strategic mistake by Iran and proved that this country is its own worst enemy. With this ineffectual attack, he wrote, Iran proved that it is a hostile actor that cannot be trusted even today, when it does not possess nuclear weapons, so imagine what would happen if it did possess them. Moreover, Iran showed that, contrary to its widespread image, it is not a patient and calculating country but a reckless and impatient one that cares more about its image than about its interests or the Palestinian cause it purports to defend.

Al-Homayed added that, without any help from its adversaries, Iran undercut all the arguments of those in the West, and especially in the U.S., who seek to defend it, and sparked concern and calls for restraint not just in the region and the West but even from its allies China and Russia. Most importantly, it "reminded the region that we must strive for peace and conclude defense agreements, and it has reaffirmed that allowing Iran to become a nuclear power would be a fatal mistake for which the entire world would pay a price."

"The Iranian regime’s comical retaliation against Israel was a costly strategic mistake that cannot be easily or quickly corrected. Tehran launched about 300 drones and a few missiles without inflicting significant damage. Its strategic mistake was to focus more on safeguarding its image than its political interests, thereby dealing itself a blow that none of its adversaries had managed to land since the Khomeini revolution.

"Iran’s retaliation to Israel's attacks on its consulate in Damascus, which led to the deaths of the Quds Force’s deputy commander and five others, showed the world that Iran is a malevolent actor that should not be trusted, even without nuclear weapons, let alone if it does! The regime affirmed this itself, not its adversaries.

"What Tehran did was reckless. It went against all the talk of strategic patience and carpet weaving, which promoted a narrative that Iranian politicians could remain patient for years and fight the urge to achieve swift results. Indeed, the feeble response showed that, despite the fact that the median age of its decision-makers is high, the Iranians are extremely anxious. The recklessness of the elderly is politically dangerous. “Beware of the old man in a hurry,” as the saying goes. Politically, it means that the senior leader no longer trusts his country’s institutions and its project, and that he seeks swift results and is willing to polish the regime's image at the expense of strategic goals.
'Revitalized' Palestinian Authority Boasts of Rewarding Attacks on Israel With Biden Funds
Days after the Biden administration gave its blessing to a newly formed Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank, the PA handed out dozens of bonus payments for security forces who were involved in attacks on Israelis.

According to the PA's official news outlets, the Palestinian General Intelligence Service on April 4 provided a grant to 36 families of agency officials who died or were imprisoned as a result of their involvement in anti-Israel security crimes. The reports did not identify the recipients of the grant or its amount, but the purpose was clear.

"Service Director in Jenin Adnan Abu Aisheh said that the message of the service, under the instructions of its leader, Majed Faraj, is to emphasize what President Mahmoud Abbas has said again and again—that if we are left with one penny, it will be paid to the families of the martyrs and the prisoners," reported the PA's WAFA news agency and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily.

The grant is the latest blow to President Joe Biden's nascent peace plan, which involves empowering a "revitalized" PA to govern a future Palestinian state that can coexist alongside Israel. Officials in the Biden administration have demanded that the PA be reformed and then given administrative control over Gaza following Israel's war against Hamas, the rival Palestinian faction that rules the territory.

But since Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attack, which sparked the Gaza war, the PA has avoided condemning the atrocities of that day and has doubled down on its longstanding policy of paying generous salaries to terrorists and their families. The PA has committed to expanding the "pay for slay" annual budget by tens of millions of dollars to cover Palestinians who were killed or captured while carrying out Oct. 7 atrocities and the resulting war.

At least two ministers in the new U.S.-approved PA government have advocated terrorism against Jews, and a Palestinian official who oversees "pay for slay" has explicitly rejected Biden officials' claims that the authority is poised to significantly reform the program.

"The United States is undermining its own goals by funding the PA," Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli watchdog group that flagged the grant, told the Washington Free Beacon. "And when you look at the security services, you see the perfect example."

State Department: US to vote no on PA membership resolution at UN
A spokesperson for the State Department said the US will be voting no during Thursday's vote on approving the Palestinian Authority as a member state of the United Nations.

The State Department has been clear that sustainable peace in the region can only be achieved through a two-state solution with Israel's security guaranteed, Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said.

"It remains the department's view that the most expeditious path towards statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the support of the United States and other partners who share this goal," Patel said. "Premature actions in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people."

Patel also said there was not unanimity among the committee members as to whether the applicant meets the criteria of membership set forth in Article Four of the UN charter.

Specifically, Patel said there are unresolved questions as to whether the applicant can meet criteria to be considered as a state.

Hamas is a key obstacle
Patel noted that Hamas, a terrorist organization, is currently exerting power and influence in Gaza, which would be an integral part of the envisioned state in this resolution.

"And for that reason, the United States is voting no on this proposed Security Council resolution," Patel said.

Israeli envoy, UNRWA head trade blame at UN Security Council
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, and Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, pointed the finger at one another at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.

Lazzarini, whose agency’s staff is accused of having close ties to Palestinian terror organizations, said on Wednesday that the Jewish state launched an “insidious campaign” to end the global body’s Palestinian-only aid and social services agency.

Erdan countered that UNRWA is “one of the weapons” used to “destroy the Jewish state.”

The U.N. Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss the plight of UNRWA, which is in disarray due to the war in Gaza and accusations from Israel that a dozen staffers took part in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. Some 16 donor countries suspended funding to UNRWA.

Some of UNRWA’s donors have returned, as others await the outcome of a pending investigation. UNRWA’s largest financial supporter, the United States won’t refund the agency until March 2024 at earliest, per a bill that U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law last month.

Erdan told the Security Council on Wednesday that UNRWA is “the U.N.’s single biggest obstacle to a solution,” stressing that the agency “is creating a sea of Palestinian refugees—millions of them—indoctrinated to believe that Israel belongs to them.”

UNRWA uniquely affords refugee status not only to those who fled war, but to all of their descendants in perpetuity until a “just solution” emerges regarding their status.

Critics say the goal is to artificially create mass numbers of “refugees” in order to permanently allow for a Palestinian majority in Israel, should those “refugees” be allowed to return to Israel upon a political settlement.

Israel’s superior defense technology gives country a badly needed boost
Over the past three decades, Israel has raced to develop its aerial-defense platforms, creating a multilayered system that features three different types of missile interceptor systems and fighter jets, including the $1 billion Oron, which uses thousands of advanced AI sensors reportedly with the ability to scan vast swaths of territory and gather large amounts of information at a considerable distance from multiple targets.

While the army would not confirm whether the Oron, which Israel unveiled at last year’s Paris Air Show, was deployed during Sunday’s operation, some media reported that it – and similar planes – were present, flying at high altitude and providing vital information to the defense batteries and fighter pilots on the incoming UAVs, rockets, and missiles.

The defense systems that were deployed – and which the IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has commended for their efforts – included the long-utilized Iron Dome, which offers protection against drones and short-range surface-to-surface rockets; David’s Sling, which can intercept short-to-medium and medium-to-long-range surface-to-surface missiles fired from 100 km to 200 km (62 to 124 miles) away; and the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems, which were developed with the Iranian threat in mind and can intercept longer-range ballistic missiles outside the earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s a multilayered defense system,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Nimrod Sheffer, a former air force deputy commander and the former CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, a state-owned company that was involved in developing and producing the Arrow system.

He explained that since the mid-1980s, Israel has been developing those various systems, with the most sophisticated layer being “the Arrow family of missiles, which aim to defend Israel against long-range ballistic missiles,” followed by David’s Sling and the Iron Dome.

Each system, Sheffer told JI, has evolved and each has several different variations. Over the years, the systems have been tested both operationally and in the field, most notably the Iron Dome, which has intercepted thousands of rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon.

“In the current conflict, we also saw the Arrow system and the David Sling system working against threats coming mainly from the south, from the Houthis in Yemen, but also from Hezbollah in the north,” he said. “We saw that each one worked very well as a stand-alone system.”

Sheffer said that the Iranian attack brought together all the systems to create a “system of systems,” and that it worked better than he ever expected.

“When I hear the IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari saying that 99% of the threats were intercepted on the way and never hit any target, that is an unprecedented number,” he said, adding, “It is something that none of us could have ever dreamt about – not even me, despite knowing the technology very well as the CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries.”

Sheffer also noted that the success of Sunday’s defensive operation — which the army has named “Iron Shield” – was not only due to the innovative and effective intercepting systems that he had a hand in developing, but also due to the “command and control, which was orchestrated together perfectly.”

As for what might come next, Sheffer said that each generation of the system is improved, building on the previous round of fighting.

“It’s a defensive war game,” he said. “You develop something, then your enemy develops the answer, then you develop something that is a little bit better and gives a good answer to the enemy’s answer – this [is the] cycle that you always find yourself in.”

According to a report this week in Reuters, Israel’s interception systems cost between tens of thousands and millions of dollars to shoot down incoming threats. Israel is developing a laser-based system to neutralize enemy rockets and drones at an estimated cost of just $2 per interception.
Iranian Attack on Israel Intended to Cause Major Damage
Iran says it gave its Arab neighbors prior notice of the attack and even specified the time it would take place. These claims must be viewed with great skepticism.

"I find it hard to believe that they gave prior notice," says Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nimrod Sheffer, a former air force deputy commander and former head of the IDF Planning Directorate.

"Considering the scale of the Iranian attack, they clearly intended to cause major damage."

"They carried out a combined attack with a variety of weaponry - an attack that was calculated and synchronized in terms of the times the weapons would hit their targets. So, they clearly aimed to inflict vast damage on Israel and this was not just for show."

Iran fired 110 ballistic missiles with a 500-kg. warhead that can cause enormous damage if they strike their target.

The Iranian drones that carry warheads ranging from 40 to 100 kg. can also cause serious damage if they score a direct hit on buildings or runways.
‘NYT’: Israel underestmated Iranian counterattack
Israel “badly miscalculated” the extent of the Iranian reaction to the alleged targeted killing of an Iranian general in Damascus on April 1, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing anonymous U.S. officials.

“Even after it became clear that Iran would retaliate, U.S. and Israeli officials initially thought the scale of the response would be fairly limited, before scrambling to revise their assessment again and again,” the Times reported.

Iran, with the help of allies in the region, ultimately launched around 500 explosive drones and missiles at the Jewish state, 99% of which were intercepted by Israel’s and its allies’ defenses.

The Times cited internal Israeli defense records that it had viewed from March 22 approving the targeted killing of Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force.

The records discussed the possible Iranian responses to the attack, which included small-scale proxy attacks, and even a small-scale attack directly from Iran.

“None of the assessments predicted the ferocity of the Iranian response that actually occurred,” the Times said.

“The Israelis later acknowledged that they had badly misjudged the consequences of the strike, U.S. officials and an Israeli official said,” according to the paper.

In the lead-up to the attack, intermediaries relayed Iranian messages to the U.S. and Israel that it planned to hit military, and not civilian, targets, and would moderate its attack “so as not to elicit an Israeli counterstrike.”

In reality, Iran was building out its attack plans with the goal of penetrating Israeli defenses, Israeli officials said.
What Iran's Attack on Israel Revealed about Its Weapons Arsenal
Iran's first direct attack on Israel on Saturday night demonstrated the country's military might and the advances of its domestic weapons program, analysts said, while also revealing the limitations of its arsenal. With more than 300 drones and missiles launched in a layered onslaught, it was Iran's largest-ever conventional show of force.

"Iran basically threw everything it had that could reach Israel's territory," said John Krzyzaniak, who studies Iran's missile programs at the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. Tehran "used some of every system they have." The firing of over 100 ballistic missiles in the space of a few minutes suggests Iran has at least 100 launchers, he added. "This shows that Iran has really faced no limitation in domestically producing missiles and launchers."

Iran's most significant previous use of ballistic missiles was in 2020, after a U.S. drone attack killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq. There were no fatalities, but dozens of U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries. Iran also used ballistic missiles in strikes this year on Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.
Emboldened Iran Is Making a Dangerous Gamble on Open Confrontation
For two decades, Iran stayed in the shadows and relied on militias that it funded in its deadly fight with Israel. Its direct attack on Israel last weekend marked a strategic shift, and a major gamble. Iran's massive drone and missile strike on Israel marked a dramatic illustration of Tehran's shift away from accommodation with the West and toward open confrontation with the U.S. and its allies.

Iranian hard-liners has been calling for tougher action against Israel, as it inflicted heavy damage on Tehran's network of militias. "We have decided to create a new equation," said Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. "From now on if the Zionist regime attacks our interests, assets, figures and citizens anywhere, we will reciprocally attack it from the origin of Iran," he told state television Sunday.

The shift bears enormous risks for Tehran, handing Israel an opportunity to change the conversation away from the war in Gaza and presenting a test for Iran's military capabilities that it may not be up for.
White House Defends $10 Billion Sanctions Waiver to Iran Following Attack
Expert Analysis
“Money is fungible. This money is budget support to the regime in Tehran, plain and simple. The relevant question is not whether this is sanctions relief — it is — but rather why the White House is so desperate to keep it going after October 7, three dead Americans in Jordan, and now Saturday night’s attack on Israel.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Joe Biden is Ali Khamenei’s Iron Dome. By not enforcing the sanctions and by offering Tehran unprecedented access to its currency reserve and export revenue, Biden is funding Ali Khamenei’s oppression at home and aggression abroad while he pressures U.S. allies not to retaliate against Tehran.” — Saeed Ghasseminejad, FDD Senior Iran and Financial Economics Advisor

Every Dollar Goes to ‘Violent Activity’
On April 9, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo testified in Congress about the Islamic Republic’s spending. “What we’ve seen time and time from the Iranian regime is that they fail to feed their people, and they put the IRGC first,” Adeyemo said. “Any dollar they have will go towards violent activity before they deal with their people.” He added that “almost none of the humanitarian money has been used for humanitarian purposes because they don’t care about getting drugs and food for their people.” Yet Adeyemo claimed that the money covered by the waiver will never go directly to Iran.

Sanction Waivers Different Than Those of Trump Administration
The United States first issued the sanctions waiver in July, giving Iran access to funds that were in escrow in Iraq. Since then, the Biden administration has reissued the waivers in November and March — approximately a month and a half after Iran-backed Iraqi militias killed three U.S. servicemembers in Jordan. The State Department claims that the waiver allows Baghdad to continue purchasing electricity from Iran.

From 2018 to 2023, the State Department issued temporary sanctions waivers that allowed Iraq to import electricity from Iran on the condition that all payments remained in an escrow account in Baghdad, thereby denying Iran access to the revenue. Last summer, the Biden administration changed that waiver to allow Iraq to transfer $10 billion to Iran and to deposit future payments into Iranian bank accounts in Oman. The new policy also allowed Iran to convert the money from Iraqi dinars to euros and then process euro-based transactions for imports and debt payments out of those accounts.
Report: Israel shelved Iran strike plans due to US pressure
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backtracked on a pre-approved military response to Iran’s massive drone and missile attack due to pressure by U.S. President Joe Biden, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.

Biden reportedly told Netanyahu during a phone call on Saturday that Washington would not participate in nor support an Israeli retaliatory attack.

According to the report, Netanyahu thereafter shelved a series of options that had already been approved by the Cabinet.

“The response won’t be what was planned, diplomatic sensitivities won out,” the report quoted a senior Israeli source as saying. Nevertheless, the source stressed that there would be some form of action against Iranian interests.

A U.S. official told ABC News on Wednesday that the Israeli response could now come after the Passover holiday, which begins Monday evening and ends April 30.

The ABC report cited Israeli officials as saying that Jerusalem on two occasions this week dropped imminent plans to strike Iran.

Overnight Saturday, Iran launched more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel. The IDF said it and its military allies intercepted some 99% of the projectiles.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu said that Israel would make its own decision on how to respond to Tehran’s unprecedented attack.

“I thank our friends for supporting Israel’s defense—support both in words and in deeds,” Netanyahu said ahead of a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“They also have all kinds of suggestions and advice. I appreciate those, but I want to make it clear: We will make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself,” he added.
Cairo Ignored Israeli Warnings about Gaza Arms Smuggling
For years, we ignored the weakness of the government in Egypt, the corruption of the country's military elite, and the refusal to see how that enabled the arming of Hamas. In my decades of service in the Mossad and Military Intelligence, I visited Cairo hundreds of times for meetings at General Intelligence Service headquarters. We warned dozens of times about arms being brought into Gaza and that it will eventually lead to a war that will harm Israel and also endanger Egypt.

Since the beginning of the current war, countless antitank missiles have been fired at our forces, causing considerable casualties. These missiles came from Egypt. The government in Cairo is chiefly responsible for building up Hamas' military power. Egypt is not in control of Sinai. There are Egyptian policemen but their wages are low and they are bought with bribes. For $100, or less, they'll turn a blind eye to anything. The heads of the Egyptian military also benefit personally from the bribery.

Sinai is ruled by Bedouin gangs that transport weapons to Gaza by land and from the sea, at El-Arish. Egyptian intelligence officials knew about the arms smuggling and about the Hamas members who left Gaza to train abroad, but they thought that if they did not confront Hamas, they would buy peace cheaply. Big mistake.

If we want to solve the problem of Gaza, we must demand that the Egyptian government seal the tunnels under the border at Rafah and deal with the smuggling routes. Israel withdrew from Sinai on condition that it not become a territory that would threaten the existence of the state. That is the basis of the peace treaty. Egypt is not meeting this condition. Its inaction allowed Hamas to ready its attack against Israel.

Israel Arrests Terrorists Hiding in School in Northern Gaza
Expert Analysis
“The IDF continues to carry out precision raids and operations in northern and central Gaza in order to eliminate remaining Hamas terror threats. Hamas has attempted to return to northern Gaza and revive its terrorist networks and terrorist infrastructure. The IDF raids into areas such as Beit Hanoun are essential to keeping Hamas and other terror groups defeated and unable to pose a new threat to Israel.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“While the apprehension of terrorists hiding in a hospital may not appear to be a significant military victory, there is a possibility that Israeli intelligence can glean valuable information from those captured. This information can then be instrumental in conducting extensive and more impactful operations, such as locating high-ranking members of Hamas or rescuing hostages held by terrorist groups.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Senior Hamas Intelligence Officer Targeted
The IDF eliminated a senior Hamas intelligence officer in an airstrike, the IDF said on April 18. “The terrorist killed, Yussef Rafik Ahmed Shabat, served as a security officer in the military intelligence wing of Hamas’s Beit Hanoun Battalion. Shabat was responsible for investigations in Hamas’s Beit Hanoun Internal Security Department,” The Jerusalem Post reported. The strike on Shabat capped several days of operations in northern and central Gaza. An Israeli commando was wounded in the clashes in Beit Hanoun, The Times of Israel reported on April 17.

The IDF also said it eliminated 10 terrorists in another operation and struck a terrorist rocket launcher in the Rimal neighborhood. The clashes in central and northern Gaza come amid continued Israeli discussion about when the Jewish state may launch an offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which Hamas still controls.
IAF strike kills Hamas intel chief in Beit Hanoun
An Israeli Air Force attack this week killed a senior Hamas terrorist responsible for intelligence gathering in the Beit Hanoun area of northeastern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday.

Yussef Rafik Ahmed Shabat also served in the terrorist group’s Beit Hanoun Internal Security Department, the military added.

IDF troops, including the 162nd Armored Division’s 215th Artillery Brigade, working alongside Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) officers, directed the attack that killed Shabat. Nine other terrorists were also killed in the precision strike.

Following the IDF’s April 7 withdrawal of almost all ground forces from Gaza, the army shifted to a new phase in the war in which troops have carried out targeted raids into terrorist hotspots in the coastal enclave.

Earlier this week, the IDF announced the call-up of two reserve brigades to reinforce troops pursuing Hamas terrorists.

On Wednesday, Israeli fighter jets, acting on intelligence provided by the IDF Southern Command’s Fire Center, targeted a terrorist position in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, the IDF said, noting that terrorists there had fired mortar shells at soldiers of the 162nd Division, also known as the Steel Formation.

IDF thwarts terror stabbing in Samaria
Israel Defense Forces soldiers thwarted a Palestinian terror attack on Thursday outside Brukhin, located some four miles west of Ariel near the Samaria security barrier.

“A short time ago, IDF forces near the community of Brukhin in the Ephraim Brigade arrested a terrorist with a knife who was planning to carry out an attack,” the military announced on social media.

No casualties were reported in the incident and the suspect was detained for questioning, the IDF said.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli authorities announced the arrest of a Palestinian man with ties to the Islamic State terror group who was planning to carry out a terrorist attack in the near future.

The suspect attempted to evade capture and grab a border police officer’s weapon before being detained in the town of Beitunia, located near Ramallah.
Israeli wounded in Hezbollah attack still in critical condition
One of the Israelis wounded during Hezbollah’s missile and drone attack on Arab al-Aramshe continues to fight for his life after undergoing surgery, Galilee Medical Center said on Thursday.

In total, 19 victims are undergoing treatment in the Nahariya hospital, including three in serious but stable condition.

“We performed five surgeries overnight on severe and medium injuries, and there is no fear for their lives,” said Dr. Zvi Sheleg, the hospital’s deputy director. “Most of the injuries are shrapnel wounds and blast injuries; several of the injured have head wounds.”

At least 14 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and four civilians were among those wounded on Wednesday, according to a Channel 12 report.

The Hezbollah assault involved a two-pronged attack. First, two anti-tank-guided missiles were fired at the Bedouin town’s community center. When rescue workers arrived, Hezbollah launched a suicide drone towards the building.
Seth Frantzman: Hezbollah’s drones and missiles may become increasingly effective
Notably, the Ababil-type Kamikaze drone, sometimes called the Ababil-2 or Ababil-T, is similar to the type being used by Hezbollah. The same type of drone design was exported by Iran to other proxies and allies. Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, and Palestinian terrorists also have them. The drone is easy to make and that’s what makes building it simple via blueprints and designs.

These types of drones in Yemen were seen as being part of the Qasef model, and they were often used against Saudi Arabia. They can be detected by radar and shot down by warplanes. However, they have a relatively small radar cross signature which may make them difficult to detect in some terrains.

It is not entirely clear how the Ababil’s guidance system works. Some versions of the Houthi drones have used gyroscopes. In essence, this made these drones not altogether more complex than the German V-1 rocket of World War II.

However, the drones have become more advanced and more precise in recent years. This makes them a deadly weapon system. Hezbollah has indeed demonstrated in the last two days that it can put these drones to use when targeting specific areas.

Hezbollah took responsibility for the attack on April 17 and claimed it targeted the IDF in the Arab region of al-Aramshe. This illustrates that the drones are being used in combination with Hezbollah’s latest information that it gathers, and also in combination with rockets and missiles in other attacks. Hezbollah is very careful in choosing targets and it often claims to be responding to Israeli attacks.

The range of the drones likely makes them a problematic weapon system even if Hezbollah does withdraw from the border. However, the Burkan heavy rocket that Hezbollah also uses has only a short range of up to 10km., and that means that if Hezbollah withdraws, it will not be able to use the Burkan or anti-tank guided missiles as effectively as before.

Hamas Obstructs Hostage Negotiations
Expert Analysis
“Hamas faces no pressure at this moment to make any concessions. That will only change when it’s forced to stare down its end.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“It should come as no surprise that Hamas has hardened its stance in the hostage negotiations. Hamas recognizes that international pressure, chiefly from Israel’s principal ally, the United States, is taking a toll on the Jewish state. The pressure on Israel has given Hamas and its partners in the Gaza Strip a new breath of life and an opportunity to try to end the war on their terms.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Turns Down Five Ceasefire Offers
Hamas previously rejected ceasefire proposals in December and January. In February, the White House expressed hope that Hamas had scaled back its demands, but the terrorist group continued to dig in its heels. In late March, Israel agreed to pause its counteroffensive in Gaza for six weeks and release approximately 700 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 Israeli hostages. Hamas rejected that offer on March 26. Hamas rejected another ceasefire proposal on April 4, refusing to compromise on its maximalist position. “We are committed to our demands,” Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said. Those demands include a permanent ceasefire, Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of Palestinians displaced from northern Gaza, and an “honorable prisoner exchange deal,” Haniyeh said. Jerusalem has repeatedly made clear that any deal that leaves Hamas intact is unacceptable.

129 Hostages Remain in Gaza
Hamas released 81 Israeli hostages during a week-long pause in November in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners. Additionally, Hamas released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow. The pause collapsed on December 1, when Hamas refused to provide a list of the remaining women and children in captivity and resumed launching rockets at Israel. Israeli special forces rescued two hostages on February 12 and, on April 6, recovered the body of an Israeli hostage murdered by his captors in Gaza. Approximately 129 hostages remain in captivity, 33 of whom Israel believes are no longer alive.

Eve Barlow: Better the devil you know
I’m going to keep going. Further to what I mentioned in the video above, yes I predicted in this newsletter on Saturday that within a few days all the silent humanitarians who had nothing to say when the Islamic Republic of Iran declared war on Israel suddenly resumed status quo in the past day or two, and began to post all their Hamas propaganda again. I noticed this on a story of a typical fake feminist, who shared an obscene infographic from the UN Women account.

I will be transparent. This is evil.

Three days after the Islamic Republic of Iran sent 350+ ballistic missiles and drones and declared war on Israel, this is a despicable statement to make. No: the war on Gaza is NOT a war on women. The war declared by Hamas on October 7 is a war on women; a war that deployed sexual violence against women and children and used rape as a weapon of war – something that UN Women have failed to adequately recognize. The war on women is the fact that 134 hostages remain in Gaza, 19 of which are women and girls. The war on women is the war being waged by the head of the snake that controls Hamas - the Islamic Republic of Iran – who are the perpetrators of the war in Gaza, and whose Sharia Law currently prevents women from basic freedoms and human rights in Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran intend to deny women freedoms in a city near you under a global caliphate should their war on Western democracies continue to gather pace. UN Women and all those who declare themselves “feminists” in support of this, I have to tell you something: you are a hypocritical stain on the notion of feminism, equality and the liberation of women worldwide. Shame on all of you.

We are living in a world of double-think, and I am trying to tell those who have the mind virus before it’s too late, despite the levels to which they seem to enjoy gaslighting people like me. Why? Well it’s better coming from me, an annoying Jew who won’t shut up, than it is being shoved down their throats by the Mullahs who have every intention of taking their dumb asses for a ride in the near future.

Hezbollah attacked Israel TODAY. The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to escalate the conflict in the Middle East via its proxies, and that is merely where they’re getting started. And yet all any of the loudest idiots can say is FREE PALESTINE. Or “Gaza is a feminist issue”. Or “Ceasefire Now”. They’re lethally stupid.

Times are not tough - they are maddening. Yesterday, the ADL released their 2023 report which revealed the largest annual rise in antisemitic incidents since records began in 1979. There were 8,873 incidents of antisemitic assault, harassment and vandalism, up 140% on the previous year and nearly 900% in a decade. It is, according to the head of the ADL Jonathan Greenblatt, an issue of national emergency.

Being a proud Jew is a radical act of resistance. It is punk. It’s counter cultural. It’s righteous as hell. It’s revolutionary. The popular stance is to hate Israel and the Jewish people because FREE PALESTINE. How boring to be a sheep following the brainless herd. We’re the thinkers of our time. We’re the intellects. We’re the brave and defiant. We’re fighting for us, and for them, too. If only that had that kind of courage to stand up in a historic moment against the crowd. I am so proud to be one of us.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Israelis Need to Watch ‘The Godfather’
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
That’s the advice of podcast guest Liel Leibovitz, zooming in from Tel Aviv to discuss the Columbia hearings before the House yesterday and how the anti-Semitism revealed there has unmistakable echoes of past horrors—and threatens future horrors.

‘Anti-Zionist sentiment’: Global leftist parties calling for sanctions against Israel
Australia is being urged to pursue more than a two-state solution to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

According to Sky News host Rita Panahi, the left is now calling for sanctions against Israel to punish them for what’s happening in Gaza.

“There is a definite anti-Israel, anti-Zionist sentiment in leftist parties in the West,” Ms Panahi said.

“In the UK, the US, right here in Australia.”

Ms Panahi was joined by ‘Together – Vouch for Each Other’ Association’s Yoseph Haddad to discuss the Australian government’s response to the war in the Middle East.

The Israel Guys: Massive Drone Strike in Israel Injures 14 Israelis, and Turkey Joins Hamas
A massive drone explodes in Israel injuring 14 Israelis, did Joe Biden green light the Iran attack on Israel? And Turkey joins Hamas. This is a packed out show so make sure to watch until the end.

The Obnoxious "Genocide Joe" Protesters
Progressive activists met Saturday in Chicago to discuss their plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in August.

While they were meeting, Hatem Abudayyeh, national chairman for the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, announced that Iran had just launched its attack on Israel. The crowd cheered.

So much for the idea that the protests taking place across America are antiwar.

These people cheer drones and missiles directed at Israel, chant "Death to America," and never blame Tehran or Hamas for anything.

They don't even try to appeal to the hearts and minds of their fellow Americans.

Instead, they choose the most obnoxious way to push their message: menacing Jewish students on college campuses, interrupting congressional hearings, targeting a Christmas tree lighting.

Since Oct. 7, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), a true-blue progressive, has emerged as one of Israel's most stalwart and forceful defenders.

He told CNN on Sunday that Mr. Biden shouldn't "capitulate to the fringe."
NYPost Editorial: Adults vanquish Hamas-loving protesters at Google in win for sanity
Google’s response to the latest thuggery from pro-Hamas leftists suggests the adults are back in charge.

The search giant — a key player in the wokification of Big Tech — for years had a reputation as an early adopter of the pernicious DEI principles wreaking havoc on American society.

But when a clique of terror-loving Googlers staged a mega-tantrum in the company’s New York and California offices over work their employer does for — gasp! — Israel, the company responded swiftly and correctly by firing almost 30 staffers involved.

“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers. Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened,” said the company’s vice president of global security.

Darn right, and good for Google for taking action.

But in spirit, they’re no different from Hamasniks blocking the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday: striving to frighten and hinder people just trying to go about their day, all to cheer on a murderous cadre of Islamists.

Sure, the Google thugs used the usual canned language about “apartheid” and “genocide.”

These are the now-standard blood libels hurled by the global left against the Jewish state.

But as is always the case, “protests” like this are simple displays of power: Do what we say, or else!
Google fires 28 employees involved in sit-in protest over $1.2B Israel contract
Google has fired 28 employees over their participation in a 10-hour sit-in at the search giant’s offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, to protest the company’s business ties with the Israel government, The Post has learned.

The pro-Palestinian staffers — who wore traditional Arab headscarves as they stormed and occupied the office of a top executive in California on Tuesday — were terminated late Wednesday after an internal investigation, Google vice president of global security Chris Rackow said in a companywide memo.

“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers,” Rackow wrote in the memo obtained by The Post. “Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened.”

In New York, protesters had occupied the 10th floor of Google’s offices in the Chelsea section of Manhattan as part of a protest that also extended to the company’s offices in Seattle for what it called “No Tech for Genocide Day of Action.”

“Behavior like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it,” Rackow wrote. “It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to — including our code of conduct and policy on harassment, discrimination, retaliation, standards of conduct, and workplace concerns.”

Rackow added that the company “takes this extremely seriously, and we will continue to apply our longstanding policies to take action against disruptive behavior — up to and including termination.”

The fired staffers are affiliated with a group called No Tech For Apartheid, which has been critical of Google’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

The group had posted several videos and livestreams of the protests on its X account — including the exact moment that employees were issued final warnings and arrested by local police for trespassing.

The protesters have demanded that Google pull out of a $1.2 billion “Project Nimbus” contract — in which Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services provide cloud-computing and artificial intelligence services for the Israeli government and military.

Toronto MP calls for action against rising hate
Rebel News reporter Alexa Lavoie speaks with Independent member of Parliament Kevin Vuong.

London Marathon boss urges pro-Palestine and Israel protesters to skip event as 50,000 runners set to descend on capital
London Marathon director, Hugh Brasher, has urged potential Pro-Palestine and Israel protesters not to disrupt the event this weekend.

More than 50,000 adult runners are expected to finish the annual race this Sunday, with more than 500,000 young people taking part in the Mini London marathon.

Mr Brasher has confirmed multiple security measures are in place to protect runners and spectators, but said he hoped the focus would be on 'coexistence and togetherness'.

He said: 'What we've always tried to do is bring people together. Coexistence and togetherness is what the London Marathon is all about,' according to the Evening Standard.

'And we hope that message will resonate with anyone who thinks it is a good thing to disrupt the race, because it isn't.'

He confirmed there are people running for both Palestinians and Israelis that have been affected by the Hamas attack on October 7 and the subsequent conflict in Gaza.

The London Marathon has been threatened by protesters before, including the supporters of the Tamil Tigers back in 2009 and Just Stop Oil in 2022.

Ilhan Omar’s daughter, Isra Hirsi, suspended from Barnard College for her involvement in anti-Israel protests
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s daughter, Isra Hirsi, revealed Thursday she has been suspended from Barnard College over her involvement in anti-Israel protests on Columbia University’s campus.

“I’m an organizer with CU Apartheid Divest @ColumbiaSJP, in my 3 years at @BarnardCollege I have never been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings,” the 21-year-old wrote on X.

“I just received notice that I am 1 of 3 students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide.”

Hirsi and the two other students – identified as Maryam Iqbal and Soph Dinu — received notice of their suspension from Barnard Dean, Leslie Grinage, first thing Thursday morning, the Apartheid Divest said in a statement.

“This decision is based on information received from Columbia University Public Safety that you have been involved in an unauthorized encampment on the Columbia University campus and you have not ceased participation in this unauthorized encampment despite repeated requests from Barnard and Columbia on April 17, 2024 that you do so,” the dean’s email read, according to the student group.

Hirsi’s suspension comes after at least three people were arrested overnight in connection with the ongoing tent protest on the Ivy League school’s Morningside campus.

Columbia Suspends, Arrests Anti-Israel Student Protesters
Columbia University on Thursday arrested and suspended anti-Israel students, one of them the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), in connection to a protest encampment on the university's lawn.

New York City police on Thursday morning arrested five student protesters demonstrating as part of the "Gaza Solidarity Encampment," according to videos posted on X. The encampment started at around 5 a.m. Wednesday, with hundreds of Columbia students demanding the university divest from Israel. The protesters set up tents on a campus lawn and shouted anti-Israel slogans such as "Israel bombs, Columbia pays," "free, free Palestine," and "death to the Zionist state." Video taken Thursday afternoon showed police arresting more demonstrators on the campus lawn.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that organized the encampment, said Thursday in a video post on Instagram that "a Columbia SJP organizer has been suspended and evicted alongside 2 other Barnard students for the Gaza Solidarity Encampment." Barnard College is a sister school and an official college of Columbia.

Columbia president Minouche Shafik issued a statement Thursday saying she "authorized the New York Police Department to begin clearing the encampment."

"The individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies," Shafik said. "We updated our protest policy to allow demonstrations on very short notice and in prime locations in the middle of campus while still allowing students to get to class, and labs and libraries to operate. The current encampment violates all of the new policies, severely disrupts campus life, and creates a harassing and intimidating environment for many of our students."

PreOccupiedTerritory: Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Israeli Sabotage To Preempt Palestine Protesters Blocking Traffic There (satire)
Investigators have determined that the likeliest explanation for the collision that destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Maryland involves not negligence or mere technical malfunction, but an Israeli plot to prevent the thoroughfare becoming the site of an anti-Israel demonstration, similar to the ones this week that snarled travel in several major metropolitan areas around the county, an FBI spokeswoman disclosed today.

Initial reports had blamed technical malfunctions on the boat that hit one of the bridge’s supports for the disaster on March 26.

“Nothing is conclusive,” cautioned Special Agent Pearl Clutching at a press conference this morning. “However, our most promising leads point to a sabotage operation of foreign provenance that, based on intelligence that Iran-backed agitators would block traffic in key cities nationwide, sought to forestall such developments by various means. In the case of the bridge collapse in Baltimore, agents have uncovered evidence that the failure to maintain the cargo ship’s steering and power systems only appeared externally as a failure, when in fact operatives were remotely piloting the craft into the bridge support the entire time.”

Agent Clutching noted that Israel has experience with hacking that disguises a system’s activities while it operates destructively. “We all remember Stuxnet,” she stated, referring to an Israeli operation that compromised the internal monitoring mechanism of numerous centrifuges used in Iran’s nuclear program, such that the data sent to the control room showed normal activity, when in fact the centrifuges had been spinning too fast for their own good, and many broke down.

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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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