Wednesday, May 08, 2024

From Ian:

Sinister Hamas deal would let it keep most hostages, win the war, inflame the West Bank
On Tuesday night, more than a day after Hamas claimed to have approved what it said was the Egyptian and Qatari mediators’ proposal “regarding a ceasefire agreement,” the US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller finally declared publicly, “That is not what they did.”

Rather, said Miller, “They responded with amendments or a counterproposal.” The US, he said, was “working through the details of that now.”

In fact, close examination of the Hamas document, as issued (Arabic) by the terror group itself, shows that far from containing “amendments” or a remotely viable counterproposal, it is constructed with incendiary sophistication to ensure that Hamas survives the war and regains control over the entire Gaza Strip. (Quotations from the Hamas text in this piece are from a translation by the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera website.)

But that’s far from all.

It is also calculated to ensure that Hamas secures further key, immensely far-reaching goals without having to meet the prime Israeli requirement for a deal: the release of all the hostages. In fact, Hamas can abrogate the deal, with all of its key goals achieved and then some, while continuing to hold almost all of the hostages.

Among those goals is one of the most central Hamas objectives since it invaded Israel on October 7 — seeing its declared war of destruction against the Jewish state expand to the West Bank. By extension, the terms of the document are also designed to destroy US President Joe Biden’s grand vision of Saudi normalization and a wider Middle East coalition against Iran.

A stream of ominous changes
Much has been made of the fact that, whereas Israel has repeatedly insisted it will not end the war as a condition for the release of the hostages, Hamas, in the opening paragraphs of its own sinister alternate proposal, specifies that one “aim” of the deal is “a return to a sustainable calm that leads to a permanent ceasefire.” But relatively speaking, that’s splitting hairs: The proposal conveyed by the mediators to Hamas late last month, and described by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as an “extraordinarily generous” Israeli offer, reportedly provides for an “arrangement to restore sustainable calm” — which sounds like a near-euphemism for a permanent ceasefire.

Much has correctly been made of the fact, however, that, in the Hamas document, Israel is to cease military operations in the first six-week stage of the three-stage deal, in which 33 hostages are to be freed, and that the IDF must “withdraw completely” from Gaza and a “permanent cessation of military operations” must take effect before any more hostages are freed in the second stage.

Less widely appreciated is that the Hamas proposal states that, in the first stage, “internally displaced people in Gaza shall return to their areas of residence” and that “all residents of Gaza shall be allowed freedom of movement in all parts of the Strip,” with all Israeli “aviation (military and reconnaissance)” in Gaza to cease for much of each day.

Combined with a partial withdrawal of IDF troops as further specified for this first stage, the effect of these demands would be to enable Hamas’s gunmen and officials to retake control of the entire Gaza Strip. The Hamas proposal does use the word “unarmed” in one clause to describe the displaced persons who would be allowed to return to their areas of residence, but the accompanying demands and provisions mean that Israel would have no right and no means under the proposal to impose any such limitation.

Even more significant, and largely unrecognized, however, is the radical reconfiguration in the Hamas document of the terms and process for the release of Israeli hostages.

Many of the relatives of the 128 Israelis still held in Gaza since October 7, alive and dead, have pleaded, desperately and understandably, for a deal at any or almost any price, including an end to the war, in return for the release of all, most, or even many of the hostages.

But the Hamas proposal is structured to enable it to release very few of the hostages in return not only for an end to the IDF’s campaign in Gaza and its survival and resumption of full control there, but also for a planned surge in support for Hamas in the West Bank, the further neutering of the Palestinian Authority, and the potential major escalation of violence against Israel in and from the West Bank.

How so?
Gadi Taub: The Gantz Megillah
In the eyes of the Biden administration Hamas is the smaller problem. The bigger problem is Benjamin Netanyahu. The U.S. is willing to live with Iran’s proxies everywhere, as part of its “regional integration” policy—i.e., appeasing Iran. But they are unwilling to live with Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. The stubborn Netanyahu clearly does not want to learn from his would-be tutors like U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken how to “share the neighborhood” with genocidaires in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, and Tehran, whom his electorate understands to be bent on murdering them.

If the Netanyahu problem is too big to contain, then it follows that it must be solved. And it seems that the Biden administration has zeroed in on what Tony Badran has called a Herodian solution: finding a local proxy who will impose the U.S. agenda on a reluctant Israeli electorate.

King Herod the Great won his throne because the Roman Empire stepped in and helped him defeat his Israelite adversaries. The American empire wants to help install Benny Gantz as Israel’s next prime minister for the same reason: The plan is for the administration to help him defeat Netanyahu, then for him to assemble a dovish coalition that will return Israel to the two-state track negotiations—which, though unlikely to produce two states, would nevertheless help “de-escalate” in Gaza, the last hot spot in the region where Iran’s power is actually challenged.

Since the whole Democratic Party’s Middle East policy is at stake, the pressure on Israel has been relentless. Never before has an American administration worked so systematically to undermine Israeli democracy and sovereignty, an effort that is especially shocking in the context of an existential war for survival following a heinous, large-scale terrorist murder spree. Wars provide opportunities, and it seems clear that the opportunity that the Biden administration saw in the Oct. 7 attacks had less to do with ensuring Israel’s security than it did with stifling any remaining resistance to Washington’s pro-Iran regional integration policy.

The U.S. is holding Israel on a leash by rationing the American-made ammunition on which the war effort depends; it has forced us to supply our enemies with “humanitarian aid” which Hamas controls and which sustains its ability to fight; the U.S. is building a port to subvert our control of the flow of goods into Gaza; it refrained from vetoing an anti-Israel decision at the U.N. Security Council at the end of March; it leaked its intention to recognize a Palestinian state unilaterally; it allowed Iran to attack us directly with a barrage of over 300 rockets and drones without paying any price whatsoever; and then told us that Israel’s successful defense against that strike (which was mostly stopped by a combination of superior Israeli tech and faulty Iranian missiles that crashed all over the Middle East, and to some extent by U.S. interceptors) should be considered “victory”; it consistently protects Hezbollah from a full-fledged Israeli attack; it did all it can to prevent the ground invasion of Rafah, which is necessary for winning the war; it is trying to stop the war with a hostage deal that would ensure Hamas’ survival.

The U.S. is not protecting Israel from the kangaroo courts in The Hague which now threaten to issue arrest warrants against Netanyahu and others. Instead, it is goosing those warrants, in part by itself threatening to impose sanctions on a unit of the IDF, thus subverting the chain of command and pressuring IDF units to comply with American demands rather than with orders from their superiors. At one point, Secretary of State Blinken outrageously asked for a one-on-one meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (he was refused), treating the commander of Israel’s armed forces as if he was answerable to a delegate of a foreign power.

Meanwhile, the entire Democratic Party apparatus from Joe Biden on down has continued directly attacking Netanyahu in the harshest, most personal and demeaning terms, publicly proclaiming their contempt for Israel’s wartime leader. Biden called Israel’s elected prime minister “a bad fucking guy,” while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer went so far as to explain to Israelis they made the wrong choice in their elections. Senior Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler went Schumer one step better, proclaiming Netanyahu to be the worst Jewish leader in “2,000 years”—i.e., in the period since Herod.
Jonathan Tobin: Biden’s double game on Hamas should fool no one
Preserving Hamas in Rafah
But once the IDF had backed Hamas into the last enclave it held in Gaza, Biden stopped talking out of both sides of his mouth and made it clear that he opposed Israel going into Rafah and destroying the last operational Hamas military forces that had retreated there.

He’s gone to great lengths and expense to support humanitarian aid for civilians in Hamas-held portions of the Strip and blamed Israel for interrupting the flow of supplies there, including the building of a U.S. floating harbor to assist in the distribution of food and fuel. That has happened even though it’s long been obvious that if there is any real privation there, it is solely because Hamas is stealing the aid that arrives and reserving it for its own use.

Just as troubling, he’s put the full force of American influence behind an effort to broker a ceasefire deal with Hamas that will essentially hand the terror group a victory in the war it started.

The terms of the proposed deals that Washington has backed are appalling. They call for the release of some hostages, but only a percentage of those Hamas is still holding under who knows what horrible conditions. And the pressure that Washington has exerted on Netanyahu to take a deal on virtually any terms and conditions—along with the way it has coordinated this with Hamas’s ally, Qatar—has given the terrorists all the leverage. That’s why Hamas continues to turn down even the most lopsided of agreements; its leaders are convinced that Biden will not let them be defeated. That means they think they can hold out for a deal that will end the war and return the situation to the pre-Oct. 7 status quo in Gaza and still not give up all the hostages, let alone be held accountable for mass murder.

Even when it comes to the surge in antisemitism in the United States, the gap between Biden’s Holocaust speech rhetoric and the reality of his policies grows wider every day. He may have chided the pro-Hamas protests for their violence, rule-breaking and antisemitism. But the only people trying to hold the universities accountable are his Republican opponents. There is no sign that the administration is willing to take any action to withhold funds from these schools.

Moreover, even though the protesters won’t forgive him for his pro-Israel statements and have labeled him “genocide Joe,” Biden has refused to break with openly antisemitic members of his party like Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Just as telling was his administration’s invitation to the anti-Zionist IfNotNow group that has spread antisemitic blood libels to a meeting about antisemitism and its inclusion of the pro-Hamas Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) among those who were allowed to give input on an antisemitism initiative that was nothing but virtue-signaling anyway.

Actions speak louder
So, while Biden’s Holocaust speech soothed the feelings of American Jews who are reeling from an unprecedented spike in antisemitism, especially at educational institutions where Jews have thought they were welcome, his actions speak much louder than those words.

An administration that is using every tactic it can think of to prevent Israel from eliminating Hamas can’t claim that it has not forgotten Oct. 7. Stopping Israel from going into Rafah isn’t about saving Palestinian lives; Hamas is all too happy to sacrifice as many of its people as necessary if that advances their goal of isolating and smearing Israel. It’s about an effort to convince American leftists and Hamas supporters that Biden isn’t as pro-Israel as he sometimes wants to pretend to be.

Having allegedly run for president in 2020 because of his supposed concerns about the hate on display from neo-Nazis at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi march in

Charlottesville, Va., he is now trying to hold onto office by intermittently appeasing left-wing antisemites and undermining Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Hamas from committing more atrocities on Israeli soil. The only calculus to judge Biden’s touting of the Holocaust or Oct. 7—or to determine if he truly cares about preserving Israel’s security—is whether he will let Hamas be destroyed. If not, all of his rhetoric about those subjects is nothing more than hypocrisy and hot air.

IDF lookout Noa Marciano killed by doctor at Shifa Hospital
IDF Cpl. Noa Marciano’s parents revealed on Wednesday that a doctor at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City murdered their daughter.

“They chose to murder her instead of taking care of her. It was a doctor who did it, in a hospital. She was injured by air force bombings and was taken to Shifa,” her parents.

Marciano, 19, was abducted on Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas attack, from the Nahal Oz Base, where she served as a lookout. Dozens of IDF soldiers were killed in the attack, most of them lookouts.

The IDF announced it had recovered Marciano’s body in November. Troops found the corpse in a building adjacent to Shifa and returned it to Israel for identification.

The military said Marciano was injured and had been transferred by her captors to Shifa Hospital for treatment.

On Nov. 20, Hamas released a video of Marciano, blaming her death on an Israeli Air Force bombing raid. However, the IDF said at the time, “After analyzing the footage, experts suggest that her injuries do not align with those typically sustained in airstrikes.

“The observed wounds appear more consistent with bullet injuries, and there is also an indication that she may have suffered from injuries related to a fall from a height.”

IDF Spokesman Rear-Ad. Daniel Hagari said at the time, “According to the medical findings, Noa was kidnapped to a hiding place near Shifa, and during IDF attacks on the area, the Hamas terrorist who was holding her was killed. Noa was injured, but not a life-threatening injury.
Explaining arms hold up, US defense chief says Israel must account for Rafah civilians
US President Joe Biden’s decision to hold up delivery of high payload munitions to Israel was taken in the context of Israel’s plans to carry out an offensive in Rafah that Washington opposes without new civilian safeguards, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

The Biden administration on Tuesday night confirmed reports that it had recently held up a large shipment of 2,000- and 500-pound bombs that it feared Israel might use in a major ground operation in the densely populated southern Gaza city of Rafah.

This is the first time since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war that the US has held up a weapons shipment for the IDF, which it has been supplying on a near-constant basis since October 7.

“We’ve been very clear… from the very beginning that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battle space,” Austin told the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Wednesday. “And again, as we have assessed the situation, we have paused one shipment of high payload munitions.”

However, he added, “We’ve not made a final determination on how to proceed with that shipment.”

Austin was berated by Republicans on the committee for the administration’s decision.

“If we stop weapons necessary to destroy the enemies of the State of Israel at a time of great peril, we will pay a price,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need,” Graham said, adding it wasn’t for Washington to second-guess how Israel fought a war against Hamas militants bent on Israel’s destruction.

Caroline Glick: BREAKING Israel Invades Rafah As Biden Holds Back Weapons
After failed hostage negotiations with Hamas, Israel finally begins its Rafah operation; the Biden administration illegally seems to half ammunition transfer and how this Holocaust Memorial Day should change who American Jewry thinks of as is allies.

IDF spokesman plays down US arms shipment holdup, says disagreements resolved privately
The Israel Defense Forces appeared Wednesday to minimize the seemingly unprecedented holdup of an arms shipment by a US administration concerned by the prospect of a major Israeli operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, saying the allies resolve any disagreements “behind closed doors.”

Asked about the issue at a Tel Aviv conference hosted by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari described coordination between Israel and the United States as reaching “a scope without precedent, I think, in Israel’s history.”

Pressed about the stalled delivery of heavy bombs, Hagari said, “We are responsible for the security interests of Israel and we pay attention to the US interests in the arena.”

He lauded the scale of cooperation between IDF headquarters and the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) during the war, saying “there is something more important than security assistance and that is operational support.”

The Biden administration on Tuesday confirmed reports that it had recently held up a large shipment of 2,000- and 500-pound bombs that it feared Israel might use in a looming major ground operation in the densely populated southern Gaza city of Rafah.

It is the first time since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war that the US has held up a weapons shipment for the IDF, which it has been supplying on a near-constant basis since October 7.

Washington adamantly opposes a major offensive in Rafah, convinced that there is no way Israel could conduct one while ensuring the safety of the million-plus Palestinians sheltering there.
Biden Iran envoy put classified documents on hacked personal email, phone: GOP lawmakers
Republicans lawmakers have uncovered “troubling allegations” that President Biden’s suspended special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, stored classified material on his personal email account and cellphone — which was later accessed by a “hostile cyber actor.”

The top Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committee on Monday asked the State Department to confirm the allegations against Malley, who was quietly placed on unpaid leave last June and had his security clearance suspended amid a State Department investigation reportedly centered on his potential mishandling of classified information.

The State Department has refused to reveal the exact nature of the allegations against Malley, leading Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member James Risch (R-Idaho) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) to launch their own investigation into Biden’s top diplomat for Iran.

“Due to the Department’s evasiveness and lack of transparency, we have worked to glean information from other sources,” Risch and McCaul wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, obtained by the Washington Post. “Our own investigations have uncovered the following information and troubling allegations. We ask that you confirm the information we have learned.”

“Specifically, we understand that Mr. Malley’s security clearance was suspended because he allegedly transferred classified documents to his personal email account and downloaded these documents to his personal cell phone,” Risch and McCaul wrote.

“It is unclear to whom he intended to provide these documents, but it is believed that a hostile cyber actor was able to gain access to his email and/or phone and obtain the downloaded information,” they added.

The lawmakers asked Blinken to provide more information about the amount of documents Malley allegedly had on personal devices and their level of classification.

They also wanted to know whether Malley tried to send the classified material to anyone without a security clearance and whether Iran was responsible for the alleged hack, among several other queries related to the State Department and FBI’s ongoing investigation into the matter.

“The allegations we have been privy to are extremely troubling and demand immediate answers,” Risch and McCaul wrote.

“These allegations have substantial impact on our national security and people should be held accountable swiftly and strongly,” they added.

China is "guiding" Iran's deadly new drones, MoD scientists say
IRAN’s newest kamikaze drones contain Chinese guidance systems, MoD scientists have found.

It follows extensive examination of an Iranian Arash-2 kamikaze drone which was recovered in the Negev desert after Tehran attacked Israel three weeks ago.

And the same sophisticated systems are “most likely” being used to assist Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, sources added last night.

The discovery is beieved to have contributed to last week's imposition of new US sanctions on Chinese firms accused of supporting Russia’s war machine

Now Britain and the US have embarked on a joint project to counter these guidance systems.

The state-of-the-art Arsah-2 usually disintegrates upon impact. That it was found intact suggests that it ran out of fuel and that its warhead may have malfunctioned.

Little was known about it in the West other than Iranian claims that it possesses a loitering range of 1,300 miles- enabling it to comfortably hit Israeli targets - and carries a large warhead.

Scientists at the MoD’s top secret Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, Wiltshire, have spent the last two weeks poring over every inch of the captured 4.5 meter long killing machine.

Their task has been to establish where its crucial components are from, and whether its design contains vulnerabilities which can allow it to be shut down in flight.

Both objectives have now been achieved,
Call Me Back PodCast: The Rise and Fall of a Hostage Deal – with Nadav Eyal
Hosted by Dan Senor
What exactly unfolded in Israel over the past 72 hours? Details are still emerging, but at one point it appeared that all sides may have been close to reaching a hostage/temporary ceasefire deal. Except that we now know that Israel had made major concessions in one deal, while Hamas was agreeing to an entirely different — and new — deal, so there wasn’t actually any kind of agreement to speak of. All against the backdrop of the IDF commencing its operation in Rafah. And, what is Israel doing at the Rafah border with Egypt and what are the implications for Israel-Egypt relations?

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

MEMRI: The Profound Differences Between The Egyptian Proposal For An Israel-Hamas Agreement And The Proposal Submitted By Hamas
On May 6, 2024, Hamas announced that it had accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, on the backdrop of the negotiations for the release of the 132 Israeli hostages held in Gaza. However, an examination of the version of the agreement accepted by Hamas reveals that the movement made fundamental changes to the agreement's goals and to its content, modifying the conditions of the deal in favor of Hamas and against Israel.

The Lebanese Al-Akhbar daily, which is affiliated with Hizbullah which has been fighting alongside Hamas against Israel, published on May 1 the full text of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, and on May 6 it published the text of the agreement that Hamas claimed to have accepted. A comparison of the two texts exposes the fundamental changes made by Hamas.

In Hamas's version of the text, Israel must in the first phase release all the Palestinian prisoners that Hamas views as key figures, while Hamas will hand over only 33 Israeli hostages – which it terms "detainees" – regardless of whether they are dead or alive. This is meant to limit Israel's negotiating power in future phases of the deal and allows Hamas to hold on to its own trump cards.

In Hamas' version of the text, the movement is not required to provide full and clear details about the identity or status of any of the Israeli hostages, and can release fewer living hostages than specified in the original proposal while receiving in exchange a greater number of Palestinian prisoners (including prisoners who are serving prolonged sentences). It can also determine the identity of the Palestinian prisoners to be released, while Israel is not entitled to veto them.

In addition, the Hamas text dictates an end to the war, as Hamas has demanded since the beginning of the negotiations. It also designates Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the reconstruction of the Strip as goals of the agreement, alongside the goals outlined in the Egyptian proposal, namely the release of Israeli civilians and soldiers captured "at any period of time" and the attainment of "sustainable calm." Furthermore, the Hamas text demands full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip before the second phase of the prisoner exchange, which will include Israeli men – both civilians and soldiers – who are still alive.

Furthermore, the text of the agreement to which Hamas agreed omitted all limitations and qualifications that were in the Egyptian proposal aimed at preventing Hamas from resurging militarily. Hamas deleted that agreement's ban on rebuilding its military infrastructure along with the ban on bringing military equipment into the Gaza Strip. Likewise, in its text, Hamas seeks unlimited freedom of movement and a return to homes that is not limited to civilians only as was stated in the Egyptian text.

Moreover, the Hamas text omitted all the restrictions and reservations included in the Egyptian proposal that were meant to prevent Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities. It removed language specifying that only "unarmed civilians" would be allowed to return to their homes in Gaza, as well as language restricting freedom of movement for armed operatives and banning Hamas from rebuilding its military infrastructure or bringing military equipment into the Gaza Strip.

Families of Oct. 7 Victims Rally at U.S. Embassy to ‘Let Israel Win’
Families of victims of the October 7 terror attack, and fallen Israeli soldiers, rallied Tuesday at the Tel Aviv branch office of the U.S. embassy in Israel to demand the Biden administration allow Israel to win the war against Hamas.

Biblical scholar Dr. Sarah Schwartz, whose son, Sgt. Major David Schwartz, fell in battle in Gaza, said: “You should support us … not only with ammunition, with the ideas of destroying the Hamas.”

Israelis broadly support the ongoing attack on Hamas’s last stronghold in Rafah, in southern Gaza, which the Biden administration has vigorously opposed.

Reports also emerged Tuesday that the Biden administration went behind Israel’s back to encourage Hamas to say it agreed to a ceasefire — on Hamas’s terms — as a way of dissuading Israel from entering Rafah. The U.S. has also been withholding some ammunition from Israel as a form of pressure.

The protest recalled an earlier demonstration in February, when thousands of Israelis marched in Jerusalem to demand that their government continue the fight against Hamas until victory.

Such protests typically receive less attention than protests to strike a deal to release the hostages, or to call new elections, but often represent a broader segment of Israeli public opinion.

There have been protests recently in Israel on both sides of the issue — with some demonstrators blocking roads in Tel Aviv to demand a hostage deal, and some blocking roads in Jerusalem to demand that Hamas be destroyed.

Kassy Akiva: UN Official Duped By Fake Rabbi’s Invite To Speak On ‘Morality Of Intifada’ At Anti-Israel Protest
A United Nations official was duped by an invitation and honorarium offer from the satirical “Chief Rabbi of Gaza” to speak to anti-Israel protesters at Columbia University about the “Morality of Intifada.”

The parody X account “Rabbi Linda Goldstein,” known for using progressive anti-Israel talking points to mock them, emailed an invitation to Francesca Albanese, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

“On behalf of the Gaza solidarity encampment at Columbia University, we wish to invite Special Rapporteur Albanese to deliver a keynote address at her convenience to the thousands of students gathered at the camp,” Goldstein wrote. “Many anti-Zionist Jews like myself have taken a leading role, and we would be honored to have you. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Email correspondences shared with The Daily Wire indicate that Albanese was willing to participate. Albanese’s research assistant, Eleonora De Martin, responded to the inquiry, asking for more details on the topic and the length. “In full solidarity with what you are doing, Ms Albanese would like to know some more details on her intervention,” De Martin replied.

Albanese is an outspoken critic of Israel who was barred from Israel in February after she contended that French President Emanuel Macron was wrong for labeling the October 7 terrorist attack the “biggest anti-Semitic massacre of our century.” She instead said the attack was “launched as a way to break the occupation against apartheid.”

In February, Albanese spoke to Harvard University students that Israel did not have a right to defend itself from Hamas terrorists who were raping, murdering, and burning homes and people.

“It didn’t have the right to act in self-defense, meaning waging a war because it couldn’t wage a war against the people it maintains under occupation,” she said. “What Israel had to do was to repel the attack on its own territory, arrest and detain and treat humanely the people who had been arrested and ensure justice.”

Her assistant maintained interest, even after being told it was a speech defending “intifada.”

“[W]e want to hear about the ‘Morality of the Intifada,’ which Zionists have co-opted and turned into a dirty word,” Goldstein wrote. “There is also a small honorarium available.”

In seizing Rafah Crossing, Israel turns tables on Hamas’s stalling tactics
The decision by Israel’s War Cabinet to order the Israel Defense Forces to seize Rafah Crossing is strategically significant, as it will negatively impact Hamas’s ability to smuggle weapons and people back and forth from neighboring Sinai.

The crossing is part of the wider Philadelphi Corridor running along the Gaza-Egypt border, which has for years been a central supply line for Hamas smuggling.

The IDF’s entry into Rafah also puts pressure on Hamas’s leadership in the tunnels under the city, demonstrating that Israel is not deterred from entering this last Hamas stronghold despite the significant international pressure on Jerusalem.

As such, the move dramatically challenges Hamas’s months-long stalling tactics.

Hamas’s terrorist leadership has been using Gaza’s civilians and the Israeli hostages still in its hands, as well as international pressure and condemnation of Israel, to play for time and pressure Israel into an agreement that would amount to a devastating Israeli surrender. This would pave the path to Hamas’s retaking of Gaza and rebuilding of its terror army, turning the clock back to Oct. 6, 2023.

Instead, time is now running out for Hamas’s leadership, as Israel strips away the terror group’s human shields by evacuating them to several humanitarian zones (100,000 being evacuated from eastern Rafah to the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone in the first phase, starting Monday).

At the same time, the IDF’s 162nd Division conducted a targeted operation against Hamas assets in the city, sending in armored units from the 401st Brigade together with Givati Brigade troops to take over the Rafah Crossing on the Gaza side, in eastern Rafah.

Hamas terrorists have been using this precise site to launch attacks, including Sunday’s deadly mortar barrage on Kerem Shalom, which killed four IDF soldiers and injured others.

The Israeli Air Force and the IDF Artillery Corps’ 215st Brigade preceded the ground assault with intensive strikes targeting Hamas military buildings, underground infrastructure and other locations, killing some 20 terrorists.

Ground forces have so far also found three operational tunnel entrances in the area.

IAF airstrike takes out Hamas naval commander in central Gaza
An airstrike in Gaza City by the Israeli Air Force killed a commander in Hamas’s terrorist naval force, the Israel Defense Forces announced Wednesday.

Ahmed Ali was responsible for “attacks on Israeli territory and against IDF ground troops operating in Gaza,” the IDF said. He was eliminated in a joint operation with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

In the past weeks, he masterminded attacks that targeted IDF soldiers operating in the central Netzarim Corridor that splits the Strip.

“In his position, Ali in recent years has been involved in managing projects of the naval force of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Strip,” added the military.

Hamas’s naval division is believed to be one of its most classified and compartmentalized units. According to some assessments, it is the most important unit in its terrorist apparatus. Hamas began forming the unit more than a decade ago, upon the conclusion of the 2008 Gaza war.

While the organization has always sought to carry out terrorist acts via the sea, Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades realized that a highly trained and well-armed naval force would greatly contribute to its attack capabilities. Such a unit could also help smuggle weapons into Gaza.

Israeli president's wife hosts the Israeli premiere of documentary Screams Before Silence
Many of the diplomats who will be at the President’s Residence next week for the traditional Independence Day reception for the diplomatic community, were there on Wednesday for the Israeli premiere of Sheryl Sandberg’s widely publicized documentary Screams Before Silence, hosted by the president’s wife.

Some may have already seen it, as it was released on YouTube last week, while others could watch it from the comfort of their homes and offices instead of taking the trip to Jerusalem.

But these chose to accept Michal Herzog’s invitation, as did members of the Foreign Ministry, a large contingent of the Diplomatic Spouses Club, ZAKA representatives, legal and medical experts, Israel Police, human rights activists, representatives of philanthropic organizations, journalists, and many of the people associated with the film, including Eytan Schwartz, who initiated the project, director Anat Stalinsky, and some of the people who gave testimony.

Both Herzog and Sandberg have made it a mission to promote global awareness of the sexual violence, murders, kidnapping, and other atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on and since October 7, 2023.

The mission became extremely urgent as international women’s organizations remained silent, even when documented evidence was presented on global media by reporters who were neither Israeli nor Jewish.

Herzog herself has written and spoken extensively on the subject and has castigated those women’s organizations that took so long to react.
Hostages Forum asks ICRC to press Hamas for access to captives
The Hostages and Missing Families Forum sent a letter on Tuesday to Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Kate Forbes, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to raise awareness of the 132 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

The letter calls on Red Cross leaders to cancel commemorations of World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day and urges them to advocate for the immediate release of the hostages held in Gaza.

“After seven months of Hamas denying the ICRC access to the hostages and after having heard the testimonies of those who came back, we believe it’s time for the ICRC to speak up publicly against Hamas,” Yehonatan Sabban, a former ICRC spokesman in Israel who works as the media relations coordinator for the forum, told JNS on Wednesday.

“It is not the time to celebrate this day. It’s time for the ICRC to issue a statement and explain that Hamas’s actions are violations of International Humanitarian Law. We hope they will,” he added.

“We are writing to you with heavy hearts and deep concern regarding the upcoming commemoration of World Red Cross Day on May 8,” the letter begins.

“As we approach this significant day, it is evident that there is no room for celebration when 132 Israeli and non-Israeli individuals, including 19 women, a baby and a toddler, have been held as hostages in Gaza for seven months,” it adds.

“Canceling the commemorations of World Red Cross Day this year would send a powerful message of empathy and compassion to the hostages and their families and reaffirm your unwavering commitment to upholding humanitarian principles in the face of adversity,” the letter continues.

Presumed hostage Lior Rudaeff confirmed dead
Israeli Lior Rudaeff was declared dead on Tuesday night, exactly seven months after he was presumed to have been abducted by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 massacre.

A statement from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak did not provide additional details.

Rudaeff, an ambulance driver and volunteer medic, fought alongside the kibbutz’s security team during the Hamas invasion.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum said that Rudaeff was killed on Oct. 7 and his body is being held in the Gaza Strip, without clarifying how this determination was made.

Rudaeff is survived by his wife Yaffa and four children.

Two more Israeli victims of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre were declared dead late last week—Elyakim Libman, 23, a security guard at the Nova music festival presumed to have been taken hostage but whose body was found in Israeli territory, and Dror Or, 49, who was kidnapped to Gaza from Kibbutz Be’eri.

The Israel Defense Forces announced the discovery of Libman’s remains on May 3. According to Israeli media reports, they were accidentally buried along with those of other Nova victims. The military said that his death was determined based on “findings that were identified following a complex investigation” carried out by the Israel Defense Forces, the Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Israeli Health Ministry.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Biden Withholds
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
The news that the Biden administration has deliberately chosen to withhold certain armaments from Israel despite the passage of the aid bill last month is a landmark moment not only in the peculiar behavior of the White House toward the Jewish state since October 7 but also in the annals of American warfare. We don’t try to win wars any longer; are we now committed to ensuring that other nations can’t win wars either?
Sam Harris PodCast: Urban Warfare 2.0 A Conversation with John Spencer
Sam Harris speaks with John Spencer about the reality of urban warfare and Israel's conduct in the war in Gaza. They discuss the nature of the Hamas attacks on October 7th, what was most surprising about the Hamas videos, the difficulty in distinguishing Hamas from the rest of the population, combatants as a reflection of a society's values, how many people have been killed in Gaza, the proportion of combatants and noncombatants, the double standards to which the IDF is held, the worst criticism that can be made of Israel and the IDF, intentions vs results, what is unique about the war in Gaza, Hamas's use of human shields, what it would mean to defeat Hamas, what the IDF has accomplished so far, the destruction of the Gaza tunnel system, the details of underground warfare, the rescue of hostages, how noncombatants become combatants, how difficult it is to interpret videos of combat, what victory would look like, the likely aftermath of the war, war with Hezbollah, Iran's attack on Israel, what to do about Iran, and other topics.

John Spencer is an award-winning scholar, professor, author, and combat veteran. He currently serves as the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast. He is also a founding member of the International Working Group on Subterranean Warfare. John served 25 years in the U.S. Army, having held ranks from Private to Sergeant First Class and Second Lieutenant to Major. He was an active duty Army officer during two combat tours in Iraq.

His research focuses on military operations in dense urban areas, megacities, and urban and subterranean warfare. Spencer holds a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University, and his writings have appeared in the Time magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many other publications. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on urban warfare and has served as an advisor to everyone from top four-star generals to world leaders. He is the coauthor of Understanding Urban Warfare.

Jon Lovitz slams ‘self-loathing Jew’ Bernie Sanders, says Trump has ‘done more for Israel than any president’
Actor and legendary comedian Jon Lovitz took aim at Democrats over their pivot against Israel and their handling of the growing antisemitism in the US since Oct. 7.

“You should vote for whoever you like, okay? But if you’re Jewish — they passed a bill about condemning antisemitism, which is condemning hate and violence toward Jewish people. Seventy Democrats voted against it,” Lovitz said in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“And you’ve got Chuck Schumer, who’s Jewish, saying we should have elections in Israel now. And the reason [former] President [Donald] Trump and other people got mad is you’re not supposed to interfere — ironically, Trump — interfere in another country’s elections and in the middle of a war!” Lovitz exclaimed. “And Bernie Sanders, he’s always been, you know … I said it before, and I’ll say it again, he’s a self-loathing Jew. And there’s a lot of them. ‘Why do you say that?’ I go, well, it’s clear as a bell, he’s not for Israel. ‘They have to stop this war.’ Why isn’t he condemning Hamas for starting it? What about that?”

“And whatever you think of Trump, the fact is that he’s done more for Israel than any president in the history of this country,” Lovitz added.

The “SNL” alum defended Trump, who was recently accused by liberals of being antisemitic for comments he made knocking Jewish voters who vote Democrat despite the party’s straining relationship with Israel.

Lindsey Graham: Democrats are afraid of the Hamas wing of the party

Time for police intervention against 'disruptive' protests
IPA Executive Director Daniel Wild slammed the disruptive anti-Israel protests taking place across the country.

This comes amid shocking footage of children screaming anti-Israel chants in a protest in the Melbourne CBD.

“Yes, you have a right to protest – make your point. But you do not have a right to disrupt people’s lives, day after day, week after week,” Mr Wild told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

“I think its time that local police start cleaning up these protests.

“People can just get on with their lives.”

Conservative MP calls for judicial inquiry into anti-Semitism on university campuses
Liberal MP Julian Leeser says a judicial inquiry is important when there is a “major cultural issue in organisations”.

Mr Leeser has called for a judicial inquiry into anti-Semitism on university campuses across the country.

“Even before the 7th of October, anti-Semitism was growing on our campuses.

“And university authorities were failing to deal with it.

“What we’re seeing now on campuses since the 7th of October has been an escalation in anti-Semitic activity.”

Sadiq Khan blasted for saying actions of Hamas and Israel in Gaza should be 'equally' condemned as London mayor demands ceasefire amid assault on Rafah

Why Are the Anti-Israel Chants So Dull?
This is a question worth pondering. After all, the student demonstrators of the 1960s had much better reason to be consumed by such emotions (and some were) than those today. The government they were protesting against was sending them to fight, and possibly to die, in a war they considered immoral and unjust. What comparable threat does Israel, however immoral or unjust it may strike them as being, pose to students on American campuses now? What is all the screaming at it about?

The stock answer given by Israel’s supporters is: anti-Semitism. It’s hard to argue with that. When a Jewish state is vilified by mobs of students for supposed atrocities the likes of which leave them indifferent when committed by other nations, an antipathy toward Jews clearly has something to do with it.

But rampant anti-Semitism, as we know, does not spring from nowhere. It’s always an expression of some deep fear or resentment that the anti-Semite projects onto the Jew. What are today’s student demonstrators projecting that students in the 1960s were not?

Possibly, the loss of hope.

The demonstrators of the 60s were, like all rebellious young people since at least the time of the American and French Revolutions, a hopeful lot. They believed, however naively, in their power to make a better world than the one they were born into. They may have been the last generation in human history to do so. They were certainly the last in a chain going back two centuries or more, since what young person today honestly thinks life might get better in his lifetime? At most, it might be kept from not getting too much worse: too much hotter, too much more spun out of control by blind, unstoppable forces, too much more stripped of its human face by technology and artificial intelligence. The young generation’s task as the world passes into its hands will be to fight a holding action to stave off disaster, not to try creating something freer, more loving, and more joyous. If it doesn’t already know this, it surely feels it in its bones.

I would be full of anger, too, if such a world were passed on to me. Projecting such anger on a traditionally American-backed Israel that has almost nothing to do with the overall state of things is a tempting way to vent it. The more intelligent of today’s demonstrators will one day look back with embarrassment at the slogans they shouted. They will understand that they were shouting about something else.
Voters demand crackdown on pro-Palestinian protests with expulsions and financial penalties to restore order to US campuses, Daily Mail poll shows
Our survey suggests that, for the public, college officials should not spare the rod.

Fully 58 percent said students who made anti-Semitic protests should be expelled.

Another 25 percent said they should not be kicked off their courses, and 17 percent said they were not sure.

Older respondents, men, white people and Republicans were more in favor of expulsions, the poll showed.

There was also widespread support for barring student protestors from loan forgiveness schemes.

Fully 45 percent of respondents said protestors should lose out on debt relief programs, compared to 34 percent who said they should not.

Another 21 percent said they were not sure.

Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton this week introduced a bill to stop student rioters from having loans forgiven.

It would apply to those convicted of such an offense.

'It's innately un-American for taxpayers to be paying off their federal student loan debts when they have caused chaos and committed crimes on college campuses because they support Hamas terrorists,' Cruz said.

But the Biden administration's education chief Miguel Cardona, a Democrat, refused to commit to any such plan.

For many, however, the troubles on campuses are the result of a liberal that's reshaped America's colleges in recent decades.

Fully 60 percent of respondents said rampant antisemitism was a sign that schools had 'become overly woke,' while 21 percent said it was not.

Another 19 percent said they were not sure.

Public anger over the protests has been at times directed to the leaders of elite schools.
Underground resistance ‘Deeply disturbing’ anti-Israel ads plague NYC subway trains as MTA takes heat for failing to remove them fast enough
Disturbing anti-Israel ads are continuing to pop up on city subway trains, leaving red-faced MTA officials fuming, The Post has learned.

“Free Palestine. The US spends your tax money on a genocide in Gaza,” one professional-looking poster spotted on an F train this week reads. “Read up. Get Organized. Fight back.”

A QR code on the ad links to a Spotify interview with controversial Palestinian organizer and activist Yara Shoufani.

Gerard Felitti, a lawyer with the pro-Israeli group #EndJewHatred, accused the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of not doing enough to get rid of the offensive signs.

“The Jewish community is fed up,” Felitti told The Post on Wednesday.

“[The MTA] are dragging their feet. It’s just as bad as when we initially complained about it,” he said, referring to other anti-Israel ads — including one reading “Israel Bombs. USA Pays. How many kids did you kill today?” — that the group flagged to the transit agency months ago.

“They have a legal responsibility not to harass or discriminate against Jews,” Felitti said, noting those behind the rogue ads are “not targeting the Russians for genocide. They’re not targeting the Chinese. It’s just Israel.”

One troubled X user called the phony ads “deeply disturbing.”

“These posters not only misrepresent facts but also [incite] violence against the Jewish community,” she wrote. “The content is designed to manipulate public opinion with misleading information, fostering an environment of hate, antisemitism, and tension between communities.”

Portland PD Investigating Anarchist Group That Says It Torched Police Vehicles in Solidarity With Palestinian Protesters
Police are investigating an online post in which an anonymous group took responsibility for setting 17 Portland, Ore., police vehicles ablaze last week in honor of "all the brutalized student protesters" and "Palestinian martyrs," the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

A blog post published Monday on a site called Rose City Counter-Info, an "Anarchist counter-info platform" based out of the Portland area, took responsibility for breaking into a Portland Police Bureau training facility during the early morning hours of May 2 and subsequently setting "ten fires," adding that the arsonists were "happy it grew to burn fifteen cars!"

Portland police spokesman Mike Benner told Free Beacon that the bureau's subsequent investigation found 17 vehicles with varying degrees of damage. "We are aware of a social media post where a group claims responsibility for the destruction. That post is part of the open and ongoing investigation," Benner said.

The blog post called the attack "preemptive," noting that after watching police sweep the campuses of Columbia, UCLA, and others to quell unlawful anti-Israel encampments, the anarchist protesters knew that nearby Portland State University would face a similar fate. "We knew the occupation at PSU would be swept violently and wanted to attack [the Portland Police Bureau] before," the blog post, signed by "Rachel Corrie's Ghost Brigade," stated. "We did it for all the brutalized student protesters. Above all we did it for the Palestinian martyrs!"

The apparent arson came amid a wave of police action last week against unsanctioned anti-Israel encampments at several U.S. universities. At Portland State University, protesters occupied the school's campus library before police arrested 30 people. The arrests followed hundreds of others at schools across the nation, including in New York City, where city officials indicated that nearly half of the protesters detained at Columbia and the City College of New York were non-student agitators.

Israeli singer representing Luxembourg through to Eurovision final
Israeli singer Tali Golergant is through to the Eurovision final, representing Luxembourg.

Jerusalem-born Golergant will represent the small European country in the 68th Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night with the song, “Fighter.”

She is the first Luxembourgish act to place in the Eurovision final for 31 years. The country first participated in the competition in 1956 and has won five times but last appeared in 1993.

During the first semi-final on Tuesday evening in Malmö, Sweden, 23-year-old Golergant beat seven other performers via a public and jury vote.

Golergant’s family moved from Israel to South America before settling in Luxembourg, where the singer lived for 10 years. She has been a professional singer for seven years and recently studied and worked in New York as a singer and vocal coach.

Eurovision’s big five - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - automatically placed in the final together with host country Sweden. As well as Luxembourg, Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Croatia and Ireland also moved on to the next round after Tuesday’s semi-finals. Poland, Australia, Iceland, Moldova and Azerbaijan are out of the competition.

Sixteen countries will feature in the second semi-final on Thursday, including Israel, Austria, Denmark and Greece.
Eurovision Pans Palestinian Singer Wearing Keffiyeh at Song Contest, Who Calls Rebuke ‘Racism’
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a statement saying it “regretted” that a performer at the first semi-final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday wore a Palestinian keffiyeh on his arm, saying the garment served to “compromise the non-political nature of the event.”

Swedish singer Eric Saade, whose father is of Palestinian descent, was one of several performers at Tuesday’s contest. He is not a participant but, as Sweden is hosting the contest this year, the EBU traditionally welcomes former competitors to reprise their entries to celebrating the host country.

Saade performed his 2011 competing song “Popular” and reportedly did not verbalize any political statements, only wearing the Palestinian scarf on his arm. The keffiyeh has long been associated with anti-Israel sentiment and has become a popular item at recent protests opposing Israel’s self-defense operations against the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. Reports indicate that Saade did not wear the keffiyeh during rehearsals, so the EBU was not expecting its presence.

“All performers are made aware of the rules of the contest,” the EBU said in a statement to the Times of Israel. “We regret that Eric Saade chose to compromise the non-political nature of the event.”

The EBU had issued statements prior to the contest emphasizing that the only flags allowed at the contest were those of countries participating and the “rainbow” LGBT community flags, specifying that Palestinian flags have never been allowed at the event.

The EBU’s rules do not explicitly ban keffiyehs, but EBU communications head Michelle Roverelli reiterated prior to the semifinal that organizers reserve the right to “remove any other flags or symbols, clothing, items and banners being used for the likely purpose of instrumentalizing the TV shows.” At least one competitor on Tuesday, Irish performer “Bambie Thug,” said organizers banned body writings in an ancient Irish language reading “freedom for Palestine” from the performance. Bambie Thug identifies as “non-binary” and waved a transgender flag following the performance.

Saade responded to the criticism on Instagram, explaining that he received the keffiyeh from his father and calling the EBU racist.

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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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