Thursday, May 09, 2024

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: I witnessed Israel choosing life as it fights against a 'death cult'
Adapted from Douglas Murray‘s speech Monday as The Post columnist accepted the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton Award.

I think, finally, of the extraordinary evening in November last year.

I was at the Schneider Children’s Hospital when the helicopters came returning the first hostages, the first children who Hamas had stolen from their homes in the south.

But when the helicopters emerged in the night sky, the people of Tel Aviv realized what was happening, and every car stopped.

And I noticed there was applause from the citizens, the Tel Avivians, and then there was singing, all the way through the streets of Tel Aviv.

They were singing “Haveynu shalom aleichem”: We brought you peace.

Now there’s millions of stories like this across Israel.

The country rings with them, it resounds with them.

The thing is, perhaps it does require life to become serious again.

Perhaps the students that we see at these destroyed universities, perhaps they just need a dose of reality someday.

I always pray that that day never comes to them because it’ll be the biggest wake-up call anyone has ever had.

But all I would say is that any country should be so lucky as to have a young generation like that in Israel.

They were weighed in the balance since October the 7th, and they’ve been found to be magnificent.

What Israel has been up against is not just a people of death, but a cult of death, a cult, which wishes to annihilate an entire race, and which after dealing with that race has made very clear what it wants to do with Christians, everyone in Britain, everyone in America.

I want to dedicate my acceptance of this award to the people of Israel who in the face of death, choose life.
John Podhoretz: Biden’s Shameful Betrayal
Joe Biden deserves nothing but condemnation, censure, and withering contempt for his announcement tonight that he will withhold significant amounts of the recently approved aid to Israel should the government begin a full-on siege of the last Hamas redoubt in, around, and under Rafah.

For seven months now, I have defended Joe Biden. On our podcast and on this website, I have repeatedly said that while the president may have felt—wrongly, in my view—that he needed to maintain some rhetorical space from Israel because of the imagined need to keep young people and Arab-Americans in his electoral camp, the actual policies and support he was offering and providing the Jewish state were consistent and solid. For months, for example, he pushed for a significant aid package even as he criticized tactics and strategies employed by the IDF to fight in Gaza. And he supplied important logistical support to protect Israel—first by deploying ships to the Lebanese coast to deter Hezbollah and then in the air campaign that rendered the direct Iranian attack all but harmless.

That was then, this is now. That aid package he fought for? He’s now blocking much of it himself—and is promising to do worse in days to come. That support for Israel? He is now pursuing policies that are designed to keep Hamas alive. This long-time friend of Israel? At an incredibly critical moment, he is giving Barack Obama a run for his money as a singularly destructive American “ally.” We’re told the decision to act this way came last week but that Biden wanted to keep it quiet until he delivered his speech commemorating the Holocaust.

That disgraceful and two-faced effort to earn emotional plaudits from speaking strongly about the greatest historical tragedy of the Jewish people even as he was working to cripple the Jewish state suggests Biden possesses a level of chutzpah that would make even the man who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court for being an orphan say “Now you’ve gone too far.”
WSJ Editorial: Biden Withholds Bombs to Spare Hamas in Rafah
The Biden Administration confirmed this week it is blocking the delivery of weapons to its main ally in the Middle East.

The message from the White House is that Israel shouldn't have large bombs or small bombs, dumb bombs or smart bombs, and let it do without tank shells and artillery shells too.

Now isn't a good time to send the weapons, you see, because Israel would use them.

U.S. officials explain that the goal of the embargo is to prevent a wider Israeli attack on the Hamas stronghold of Rafah, home to Hamas leaders, hostages and four military battalions.

If Israel can't complete its invasion of Rafah, Hamas wins.

No matter how fiercely the President trumpets his "ironclad" support for Israel, his denial of weapons now puts the Jewish state in danger.

Israel is at war, assaulted on multiple fronts. Denying it U.S. arms is an invitation to its enemies to take advantage, in hostage talks and on the battlefield.

It hasn't been four weeks since Iran attacked Israel directly, in the largest drone attack in history, plus 150 ballistic and cruise missiles, while Hizbullah fires dozens of rockets each day, depopulating the north of Israel for seven months and counting.

Israel needs to be ready now, and its enemies need to know the U.S. stands behind it. That's why Congress approved military aid to Israel in April, 79-18 in the Senate and 366-58 in the House.

Biden Says He Will Stop Sending Bombs and Artillery Shells to Israel If It Launches Major Invasion of Rafah
President Joe Biden told CNN on Wednesday that he would halt some shipments of American weapons to Israel if it launches a major invasion of the city of Rafah. "Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers," referring to 2,000-pound bombs that Biden paused shipments of last week.

"I made it clear that if they go into Rafah - they haven't gone in Rafah yet - if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities - that deal with that problem....I've made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet: They're not going to get our support, if in fact they go on these population centers."

The president's announcement that he was prepared to condition American weaponry on Israel's actions amounts to a turning point in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Until now, the president had strongly supported Israel's efforts to go after Hamas.

"We're not walking away from Israel's security. We're walking away from Israel's ability to wage war in those areas," Biden said. "We're going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently. But...we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells."

Israeli officials privately expressed to U.S. officials "deep frustration" on the pause in shipments as well as the U.S. media briefings on the decision.

Biden Hid Israeli Weapons Stoppage Until After Holocaust Speech
President Joe Biden last week signed off on a pause in the supply of U.S. weapons for Israel's assault on Rafah, but he kept the decision out of the public eye until after his speech on Tuesday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Biden on Wednesday announced the United States would not supply weapons that Israel could use to carry out its planned operation in Rafah, which Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said is necessary for the Israel Defense Forces to enter as it is the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

U.S. officials told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity that the president had already signed off last week on pausing a shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs to Israel, but he didn't reveal the decision partly in order to deliver a speech on the Holocaust before the news broke.

"The White House National Security Council sought to keep the decision out of the public eye for several days until it had a better understanding of the scope of Israel’s intensified military operations in Rafah and until Biden could deliver a long-planned speech on Tuesday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day," the Associated Press reported.
Gerald Steinberg: Biden's 'Grand Bargain' illusion starts at Rafah
The problem (and it is a very big one) is that the entire scenario is built on a foundation of wishful thinking, not history and political realism. Similarly, the triumphant 1993 Oslo “peace” plan was based on the same illusions, and ended in the disaster known as the Second Intifada, in which over 1000 Israelis were murdered in mass bombings, and thousands more died on the Palestinian side. It turned out that Yasser Arafat and the PLO, as well as Hamas leaders never bought into the “shared interests” that were taken for granted by the optimistic Israelis and the Clinton administration.

For Hamas, the freezing of weapons deliveries, the wider conflict between Washington and Jerusalem, and demands for a ceasefire on their terms are a huge gift, including continuing to use every last brutalized Israeli hostage to squeeze out more concessions. Their propagandists, including the campus groups, interpret the Biden freeze as a great victory, encouraging these activists to continue and escalate the campaign of chaos and hate.

Watching closely, Iran and its proxies also see these developments as weakening the IDF’s capability to use its military superiority offensively. And as long as Hezbollah’s terror squads remain in southern Lebanon, the 50,000 or so Israeli civilians that were evacuated from their homes after October 7 will continue to be “displaced.” In Tehran, regime leaders draw strength from the very visible American constraints placed on Israel, including after the Iranian missile attack on the night of April 13. Thus, instead of encouraging restraint and cooperation, as the dream scenario envisions, greater instability and violence are far more likely. As with Oslo, when this happens, Biden, Blinken and the others will be gone.

Most Israelis understand the massive gap between optimistic dream scenarios and political realism. With one notable exception, every Israel territorial withdrawal - West Bank cities in 1994; southern Lebanon in 2000; and Gaza in 2005 - has ended with mass terror and slaughter. The exception is the 1979 peace between Israel’s Menachem Begin and Egypt’s Sadat, based on the “land for peace” tradeoff that has held fast for 45 years. But unlike Hamas or most of the “moderates” headed by Mahmoud Abbas, Sadat’s objectives ended with the return of the territory lost in the 1967 war.

Israelis, including Netanyahu’s most vocal critics, know that withholding munitions to prevent the IDF from entering Rafah and recognizing a virtual Palestinian state will not end 76 years of Palestinian rejectionism. More likely, the determination to attack Israel will increase, accompanied by Iranian support. The addition of a Saudi-Israeli peace package will not change this reality.

For all these reasons, successful diplomacy must be based on realism, in contrast to wishful thinking and illusions of a “grand bargain.” Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will only come when the expectations overlap with political realism. Until then, Israel, under Netanyahu and whoever comes next, will do what is necessary to defend its citizens.

Does Biden’s arms freeze imply a real shift in US posture?
According to Rothman, the American public understands the mistake Biden is making. The administration’s moves “call into question Biden’s statements that he has not forgotten Oct. 7,” he added.

All the while, Hamas has consistently upped its demands for a hostage deal, signaling that it feels the pressure is on Israel, not itself.

Israeli U.N. envoy Gilad Erdan told KAN radio that while he attributed no bad intentions to Biden, “I think it’s quite clear that any pressure on Israel, any restrictions imposed on Israel, even if they are from close allies who want our best interests, are interpreted by our enemies—and that could be Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah—as something that gives them hope.”

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted on Thursday in response to Biden’s announcement that “Hamas loves Biden.”

According to Yonatan Freeman, an international relations expert at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Biden’s move does not necessarily imply a break or even a real shift in U.S.-Israel relations.

“Just like Netanyahu has internal political pressure, [Biden] has as well….I think this issue is blown out of proportion and could be a way to silence or quiet protests,” he said.

Biden’s arms freeze aside, “I have never seen this type of American support for Israel since the Yom Kippur War,” he said, reiterating that there is “no break in relations.”

Freeman’s remarks echo those of IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, who also downplayed the administration’s move.

Speaking at the Ynet and Yediot Ahronot “People of the State” conference at Expo Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Hagari said that the coordination between the United States and Israel since Oct. 7 has been of “a scope without precedent, I think, in Israel’s history.”

Noting the integration of Israel the U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), he emphasized that operational cooperation was more important than security assistance.

The two countries resolve their differences “behind closed doors,” he added.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Thursday blamed Netanyahu for failing to keep a lid on the disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem.

The “failure of this becoming a public disagreement during wartime is entirely on the [Netanyahu] government,” he said.

Irrespective of which side of the equation one is on, it would seem that Israel should consider lessening its dependence on the United States for vital ammunition.
Biden’s Israel threat slammed by pro-Israel lawmakers, mainstream Jewish groups
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), speaking to JI moments after the Biden interview, emphasized that funding appropriated by Congress for Israel legally “has to be spent, has to be obligated, has to go.”

Sherman said the administration has latitude to “slow things down for a while,” but emphasized, “[Biden] came to this Congress and he said pass legislation… you can’t come to members and get them to vote for your bill, your package, and then throw away part of the package.”

Sherman said he’s ultimately “sure” that Biden will “follow the law and honor the package that he got people to vote for.”

He added, “Biden seems to be communicating his displeasure, and I regard these statements as a communicative act, rather than a strategic act.”

Sherman said he found the administration’s delays in sending the guided munitions and guided munitions kits, known as JDAMs, particularly concerning.

“How in the hell do you criticize Israel for being imprecise in its bombing and then refuse to deliver them what they’re willing to pay for to make the bombs precise?” Sherman said. “I mean, my god.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) called Biden’s threat “terrible.”

“I support Israel’s desire to destroy Hamas in Gaza. They attacked brutally on 7 October, and Hamas has to be destroyed in Gaza to the best that they can,” Bacon said. “To stand in front of that, that means President Biden wants Hamas to continue to exist in Gaza, which is a continuous threat to Israel. It’s wrong.”

He also alluded to former President Donald Trump’s impeachment over his decision to withhold arms sales to Ukraine, demanding that Ukraine investigate Biden for Trump’s political benefit.

“We passed the bill, and they should deliver the stuff immediately,” Bacon said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned while questioning Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman C.Q. Brown that any efforts to block military aid to Israel would come with consequences for the United States.

“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,” Graham told Brown and Austin after asking if they would have supported the U.S. in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. “This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war they can’t afford to lose. This is Hiroshima and Nagasaki on steroids.”

Graham also plans to introduce a resolution on Thursday condemning the Biden administration’s moves, with Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS). A few other GOP senators are considering joining the group but have not yet confirmed that they’ll cosponsor the resolution or participate in the subsequent press conference.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday condemning his administration for the holds and demanding answers on the reviews being conducted.

The Republican leaders alleged in the letter that they only learned “that ‘a review of a specific weapons shipment’ was underway” as a result of “public press reports and subsequent engagement by our offices” with Biden’s staff. This was “despite regular engagement on security assistance to Israel, and repeated assurances from the most senior officials over the past several months.”

With Democrats in control of the White House and Senate and Republicans only in control of the House, it remains unlikely that the GOP can force Biden’s hand without members of the president’s party joining the effort.

“There’s not really much we can do beyond raising hell,” one senior GOP senator who serves on McConnell’s leadership team told JI. “We have more than sufficient numbers to pass a bill that would compel the president to be sympathetic to Israel, but Democrats are not willing to weigh in on that. They’re dealing with a real political challenge here. On the one hand, if something bad happens with Israel, it’s on them. On the other hand, they’re worried about Michigan.”

“I think they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too, and I don’t think it’s going to end well,” the senator said.
Day Before Biden Admin Announced It Would Withhold Weapons From Israel, It Issued Sanctions Waiver To Allow Arms Sales to Qatar and Lebanon
Less than a day before the Biden administration announced its intent to cut off U.S. arms sales to Israel, it issued a sanctions waiver to bypass congressional prohibitions on arms sales to a host of Arab nations that boycott the Jewish state, including Hamas ally Qatar and Iran-controlled Lebanon, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

On Tuesday—just a day before President Joe Biden threatened to withhold key weapons deliveries from Israel if the country moves forward with an incursion in the Gaza Strip's Rafah neighborhood—the State Department informed Congress that it intends to bypass laws that bar the United States from selling weapons to nations that boycott Israel, according to a copy of the notification obtained by the Free Beacon.

The Biden administration, which has waived these sanctions in the past, said in the notification that it intends to extend the waiver through April 30, 2025, allowing weapons to be sent to a host of nations that work closely with the Hamas terror group and other Iran-backed terror proxies.

While the administration determined that these countries engage in Israel boycotts, a condition that triggers American anti-boycott laws, bypassing these restrictions remains "in the U.S. national interest" to maintain regional stability, according to the waiver. But this justification is drawing scrutiny on Capitol Hill as the Biden administration threatens key arms shipments to Israel in a bid to force it into abandoning its campaign to eradicate Hamas.

"The Biden administration's policy toward Israel and around the world is to punish our allies and boost our enemies," Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon after reviewing the sanctions waiver. "They have sanctioned Israel and imposed an arms embargo. Meanwhile they've spent hundreds of millions pouring aid into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, dismantled sanctions on Iran, and now are suspending congressional restrictions to send weapons to Israel's enemies such as Qatar and Lebanon."

In the section related to Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group continues to attack Israel, the Biden administration admits the nation remains committed to a full-scale boycott of Israel.

But the administration justified waiving sanctions on arms sales because "it facilitates U.S. support for Lebanese stability, sovereignty, and efforts to undermine violent extremist influences," according to the May 7 notification letter.

U.S. Jewish Organizations Blast Biden's Decision to Halt Military Aid to Israel
After President Joe Biden announced his administration would halt military aid to Israel should the IDF launch a military operation in Rafah, American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch wrote, "It is Hamas that started this conflict."

"It is Hamas that continues to endanger Israeli and Palestinian lives. President Biden should not take steps that could impair Israel's ability to prevent Hamas from attacking it again and again."

"The U.S. knows that defeating Hamas is critical to Israel's long-term security and to defeating the global threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies."

The Democratic Majority for Israel, which supported and funded Biden's election campaign, wrote, "We are deeply concerned about the Administration's decision to withhold weapons now and potentially impose further restrictions."

"A strong U.S.-Israel alliance...plays a central role in preventing more war and making the path to eventual peace possible. Calling the strength of that alliance into question is dangerous."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee wrote, "It is dangerous and counter to American interests to deny our ally the weapons necessary to remove Hamas from power and prevent it from ever attacking Israel again."
Israel: Biden's Pause of Arms Encourages Our Enemies
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Thursday that President Biden's decision to withhold weapons shipments gives hope to Israel's enemies.

"I think it's quite clear that any pressure on Israel, any restrictions imposed on Israel, even if they are from close allies who want our best interests, are interpreted by our enemies - and that could be Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah - as something that gives them hope to succeed in their goals."

"If Israel is restricted from entering such an important and central area such as Rafah, where thousands of terrorists, hostages and the leaders of Hamas are still present, how exactly is the goal of destroying Hamas supposed to be achieved?"
Seth Frantzman: Hezbollah may be emboldened by US arms decision
So far, Israeli officials have played down the pause in munitions shipments. The Biden administration is now speaking in one voice on this issue, however, and it is hard to ignore. Israel’s enemies can read the reports and watch US President Joe Biden on CNN and watch US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in his comments to a US Senate subcommittee discussing the pause in munitions shipments. And the pause could grow worse over the Rafah operation, setting Israel and the US on a collision course.

This is music to Hezbollah’s ears and the Iranian axis in general. On October 7, the US turned around an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean to deter Hezbollah. US CENTCOM has also been trying to keep the Red Sea open to ship traffic against the Iranian-backed Houthis. The US also helped intercept drones and missiles during the April 13-14 Iranian attack on Israel. Hezbollah has watched this all carefully.

There are other pieces of evidence that Hezbollah may feel more secure now. Israeli website Mako reported that Hezbollah had rejected a French proposal about Hezbollah withdrawing its Redwan Force from the border, letting UNIFIL increase its presence, and allowing the Lebanese Army to have observation posts.

It was not clear if this report is accurate, and it could not be confirmed as of press time. The US had shown interest in the idea of the Lebanese Army building watchtowers along the border, Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar reported. The article also discussed financing for projects with the Lebanese Army and said France or Qatar could be involved. Qatar also hosts Hamas.

The overall perception is that Hezbollah may escalate its attacks now that it feels Israel is in a weaker position. Hezbollah already escalated when the Rafah operation began to go forward. This is likely at the behest of Iran, which wants to aid Hamas in Gaza.

Iran has sought to create a “perfect storm” to confront Israel with proxies in the region. The US decision to reduce munitions deliveries could be part of that storm.

Lawmakers Criticize Pause in Arms Shipment to Israel
President Biden's move to pause a shipment of arms to Israel has drawn criticism in Congress. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and House Armed Services Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said Wednesday they were "appalled that the administration paused crucial arms shipments to Israel." Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, "Does this not send the wrong message to our ally Israel and embolden Iran and Iranian-backed groups? We should not be signaling to [our] enemies that our support is conditional."

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told Fox News on Tuesday, "It seems everyone is pushing against Israel when we should be pushing against Hamas. We should not be using our support, our ammunition, our weapons platforms, to leverage against Israel."

Ruthie Blum: Lindsey Graham lets Lloyd Austin have it
At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the 2025 Defense Department budget, Graham let loose on the defense secretary. Asking whether, in hindsight, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII had been warranted, the Pentagon chief squirmed.

“Well, you know, I think the leadership was interested in curtailing…”—he trailed off, before being interrupted by Graham’s return fire.

“What’s Israel interested in?” the senior senator from South Carolina bellowed. “Do you believe Iran really wants to kill all the Jews if they could? The Iranian regime. Do you believe Hamas is serious when they say we’ll keep doing it over and over again? Do you agree that they will if they can?”

Sheepishly, Austin answered, “I do.”

“OK. Alright,” Graham continued. “Do you believe that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization also bent on the destruction of the Jewish state?”

Leaving out the bit about the Jewish state, Austin retorted, “Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.” Graham responded with a one-two punch.

“OK, so Israel’s been hit in the last few weeks by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, dedicated to their destruction,” he said. “And you’re telling me you’re going to tell them how to fight the war, and what they can and can’t use when everybody around them wants to kill all the Jews? And you’re telling me that if we withhold weapons in this fight—the existential fight for the life of the Jewish state—it won’t send the wrong signal?”

Graham concluded his diatribe by declaring, “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. This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war. They can’t afford to lose. This is Hiroshima and Nagasaki on steroids.”

Sen. Graham: "Give Israel What They Need to Fight the War They Can't Afford to Lose"
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday expressed his frustration with the administration's decision to pause a military aid transfer to Israel during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "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. This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war they can't afford to lose." Graham told Fox News on Tuesday, "That is a strategic mistake for the ages. It makes terrorists more likely to keep fighting. It puts Israel at a very big disadvantage."

Israeli leaders have maintained that they need to go into Rafah to ensure the lasting defeat of Hamas. The Israelis had delayed their planned operations in Rafah at the behest of the U.S.

Bassem Eid: Hamas Is to Blame for Israel's Rafah Operation
Contrary to the portrayals of indiscriminate military aggression, the IDF's operation in Rafah is a targeted effort to dismantle Hamas's terror infrastructure and rescue hostages. It's essential to recognize this operation as a response to direct provocations by Hamas, including the horrific atrocities they perpetrated on Oct. 7, massacring over 1,200 individuals, many of whom they first raped and genitally mutilated—actions that underscore Hamas's contempt for human life.

The recent takeover by the IDF of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was a strategic move to cut off Hamas's access to crucial supply routes used to perpetuate violence. The precision strikes conducted by the IDF, particularly in East Rafah, have been aimed at military targets, ensuring minimal civilian casualties despite the challenging urban combat environment.

There is a troubling tendency in international media and some political circles to equate the actions of the IDF with those of Hamas. This false equivalence not only distorts the reality on the ground but also undermines the legitimate security concerns of both Israel and the ordinary Palestinians who reject terrorism. It is crucial to differentiate between a sovereign nation's right to defend its citizens and terrorist acts that target innocent civilians.

Hamas's misrule in Gaza has had devastating effects on its population. The enforcement of modesty codes and the legal protection of killings are just surface manifestations of the more profound societal control imposed by Hamas. The statistics are grim: 29 percent of women in Gaza were married by the age of 18, and 13.4 percent by the age of 15. The Hamas education system pushes horrific misogynistic and antisemitic content, indoctrinating children from childhood that the only role of women is to bear children to wage "holy war" against Jews. LGBTQ+ individuals face the threat of torture and execution.

Fundamentally, Hamas violated a longstanding ceasefire on Oct. 7, with their invasion and atrocities, and it has prolonged the conflict by refusing to release the civilian captives, who we know are being raped continuously in Gaza, according to both freed hostages and the United Nations. Hamas' continuous rocket attacks and its history of using civilians as human shields also bear significant responsibility for the ongoing violence.

The narrative that the IDF's actions in Rafah are unprovoked is not only inaccurate but dangerously misleading. As we strive for peace and justice, it is essential to hold Hamas accountable for its actions, which have directly led to the escalation of this conflict. Only by addressing the real provocateur can we hope to achieve a lasting peace that benefits both Palestinians and Israelis. As a Palestinian dedicated to human rights, I urge the international community to recognize the necessity of Israel's operation in Rafah, not as an act of aggression, but as a defense against terrorism and a step towards freeing innocent people from the tyranny of Hamas.
Acosta Practically Begs IDF Spox To Give Up Fight Against Hamas
Lerner began his response by mourning, “The price of the civilians, Israelis and Palestinians, are paying for this war are both horrific and tragic. There is no magic prescription to wish Hamas away. There is no magic wand that will make them miraculously disappear. If that could happen, that would be the chosen way of operations.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, for us to achieve our goals of changing the security reality for Israelis and Palestinians alike, there is only one way that Hamas goes and is through the military action, you don't see them raising a white flag. You see them conducting a counteroffer to a deal that Israel, a generous deal—”

Acosta then interrupted, “The civilians are saying the civilians—the civilians, folks at the World Food Program, members of Congress here in Washington, have essentially been pleading with you to please change these tactics because the cost of the civilian population is too high and Hamas is not coming out waving the white flag, but you are hearing—”

As Acosta was repeating his argumentum ad populum, Lerner asked, “So, are you suggesting—are you suggesting Israel surrenders to Hamas?”

Ignoring that critical question, Acosta rolled on, “You’re hearing from around the world that suffering is at a point that, that has just become too much.”

Lerner then repeated his own question, “The suffering on both sides is terrible, the suffering, the reality on both sides is terrible and indeed we wish for a peaceful resolution, but unfortunately, our enemies that are bent on our destruction have no intention on living side-by-side in peace with Israel so what should we do? Surrender to Hamas and hope they don’t do it again when they promised that they will do it again and again and again given the chance?”

Neither Acosta nor any of the groups he cited as a good answer to that. They have no knowledge, let alone, expertise, in military matters, but feel they get to lecture Israel on precisely that. They claim Hamas shouldn’t rule Gaza and then demand Israel stop its war on Hamas. They add that the suffering has gone on for too long and then demand Israel adopt policies that would prolong the war and hence, the suffering. It’s enough to drive a lesser man than Lerner insane.

Israel: State of a Nation with Eylon Levy: Fighting Under a Microscope | IDF's Tactical Precision Redefines Urban Warfare with Yaakov Katz
The battles in Gaza are defined by dense urban warfare, against a terrorist enemy that deliberately embeds itself in protected facilities, like schools and hospitals. The eyes of the world are on Gaza, and everyone is taking notes. Terrorists are taking notes, whether hiding in the basement of a hospital will give them immunity. And Israel’s Western allies are taking notes, learning how Israel is setting new standards in urban warfare.

Israel is not only applying the rules of international law, in conditions that they have never been applied, it is applying those rules in conditions they were never written to apply.

While media narratives focus on destruction and accuse Israel of atrocities, those who understand military tactics recognise the significance of what the IDF is managing to achieve in this environment. Utilising precision strikes in a place where the military landscape is defined not only above ground but below it.

My guest today brings to bear decades of experience on the field as a military correspondent, Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, author, and now fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. Yaakov has literally written the book on Israeli military tactics not once, but three times. With more yet to come. He joins me in the studio to take us through the innovations of the IDF operations in Gaza and how, as he puts it, this war represents an “unprecedented battlefield”.

Gallant: IDF has pushed Hezbollah back to ‘significant distances’
The Israeli military has pushed back Hezbollah to “significant distances” from the border with Lebanon, Defense Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday, amid an ongoing low-intensity conflict with the Iranian-backed terrorist group in the north.

“The defensive battle is a complex one—it is a battle in which you are constantly anticipating the enemy’s actions while remaining alert and active. The [91st] Division is carrying out its missions in an excellent fashion— we have pushed Hezbollah to significant distances,” said Gallant following a situation assessment held at the division, aka the Galilee Formation.

“In order to safely return [to their homes] the residents of Israel’s northern communities, we require either a process that will lead to an agreement or an operational process. It is the military’s duty to prepare the operational process, which also serves as an anchor for additional processes. I am determined to return these communities to their homes and to rebuild that which was destroyed,” added the minister.

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Thursday morning the death of Staff Sgt. Haim Sabach, 20, who was killed the previous day by a Hezbollah missile at a military post near Kibbutz Malkia. Sabah, from Holon, was a member of the Border Defense Corps’ 869th Combat Intelligence Collection Unit.

Another soldier was lightly wounded in the attack.

Why Did a Group of U.S. Journalism Professors Attack the New York Times' Story on Hamas Sexual Violence? By Laurel Leff
Originally from Haaretz

Along with raw speculation, missing logic, and over-the-top belief in a single New York Times story's ability to inflame the Israelis or dissuade the international community from taking tougher action, another issue hovers: Just what do these professors think The Times published that was so wrong and so potent that it helped precipitate "genocide"?

The letter writers never actually say. They cite two previous examples of Times investigations of its own reporting. Both times it was clear the newspaper had misled its readers; the inquiries were about how and why. In the lead up to the Iraq war, The Times told readers that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when he didn't. In the scandal involving reporter Jayson Blair, The Times said Blair was places he wasn't, seeing things he didn't, and quoting people he didn't talk to.

So what did The Times get wrong in "`Screams Without Words'?" That it said sexual violence took place when it didn't? The letter signers can't possibly mean that especially after the United Nations reported "reasonable grounds to believe" that it had.

That the sexual violence that took place wasn't as significant or as systematic as The Times claimed? Perhaps, but that seems to be more of a judgment call than the kind of cataclysmic institutional failure at The Times that led to either the Iraq coverage or the Jayson Blair scandal. Moreover, could overemphasizing the systematic nature of the violence, rather than recounting the sheer brutality, have had the impact the professors claim and use to justify their call for an investigation?

I'm all for criticizing news organizations, including The Times (in fact I wrote an entire book doing just that), and I would encourage professors and news outlets to continue examining "`Screams Without Words'.'' As the letter points out, the absence of public editors to respond to complaints at The Times (and elsewhere) has left a serious accountability gap.

But not every consequential story deserves an independent investigation. In this case, the gist of the story has held up; no clear evidence of journalistic wrongdoing has emerged, and The Times has exhibited some willingness to respond to criticisms. The professors calling for an investigation therefore seem more interested in joining an ongoing propaganda war, than in righting a journalistic wrong. That's no place for a journalism professor to be.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: We Have to Talk About Biden
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
Taking the measure of Biden’s decision to impose a kind of arms embargo on Israel when he sought the arms in the first place is our task today. Our answers are not complimentary.
Col Kemp Calls out China + Comments on Rafah with Andrew Bolt on Sky News
Col Richard Kemp is touring Australia with the Australian Jewish Association.

He spoke with Andrew Bolt on Sky News about Chinese aggression and the Israeli war against Hamas, particularly in Rafah.

The Israel Guys: ISRAEL Finally Invades RAFAH
The IDF has finally entered the last remaining Hamas terrorist stronghold in Gaza, the southern city of Rafah after Hamas rejected, rewrote and then accepted a ceasefire deal.

Justin breaks it all down for you here on the show.

Former British Home Secretary Suella Braverman Calls for Support for Israel to "Finish the Job" in Gaza
Former British Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Tuesday backed an Israeli invasion of Rafah to ensure it "finishes the job to eliminate Hamas from Gaza."

"We all want peace. We all want to see the end of civilian fatalities. But sometimes countries must fight for peace," she told MPs in the House of Commons.

"Israel has a right to defend herself and a duty to protect her people from the brutal terrorist cult of Hamas."

Foxx orders anti-Israel Code Pink activist off members-only Capitol elevator
Two viral videos circulating on social media show pro-Israel members of Congress turning the tables on antisemitic, far-left Code Pink activists.

Medea Benjamin, a Code Pink founder, approaches Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) in the Capitol in one video. “Don’t even think about it,” says Foxx, who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “I’ve got things to do.”

As Benjamin demands to know why Foxx has probed antisemitism on campuses but not Islamophobia, another Code Pink activist tries to enter the elevator with the 80-year-old congresswoman.

“You’re not welcome on this elevator,” Foxx says. “It’s members only.”

“Off the elevator,” she adds, when the activist doesn’t leave. “I have work to do.” She then summoned a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

In another video, Benjamin targets Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) for his support of Israel. “Now that Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire, do you think Israel should agree to a ceasefire?” she asks.

“I think that Israel should go in there and kick the [expletive] out of them. Just absolutely destroy them, their infrastructure, level anything that they touch,” says the congressman and veteran, who lost both of his legs serving in Afghanistan. “Clear enough?”

Benjamin claimed that “the world” is calling for a ceasefire.

“You know what? If there’s an American held or somebody else being held, there should be every expectation that Americans come and kill them as well,” Mast said. “If there is an American being held, we should go kill the person holding them.”

DeSantis on chaotic anti-Israel campus protests: ‘Not happening in Florida’
Leaders in the Sunshine State have again asserted a determination to protect the safety of Jewish students at the state’s universities as demonstrations against Israel’s war to defeat Hamas continue to intensify around the country.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Ben Sasse, president of the University of Florida, spoke on Wednesday at the campus in Gainesville, Fla.

In his speech, DeSantis noted that anti-Israel protesters are also targeting American symbols and even burning American flags. At George Washington University, said the governor, they “desecrated a statue of the father of our country.”

He said, “We’ve seen a lot of failures of leadership, we’ve seen some of these schools get overrun, that is not happening here in the state of Florida. You are going to behave appropriately or, if not, you’re going to be shown the door.”

Sasse organized his short speech into “four simple messages”: following the law; praising school police; warning student protesters that those who engage in “prohibited actions will face the consequences”; and calling for the safety of Jewish students.

Anti-Israel protesters demonstrated during the two leaders’ speeches, chanting “free Palestine.”

‘Morally lost’: Douglas Murray on ‘ignorant kids’ at pro-Palestine protests at universities
Author Douglas Murray has blasted the “disgusting and ignorant kids” participating in pro-Palestine protests at American universities as “morally lost”.

Mr Murray wrote a piece in the New York Post earlier this month called, ‘College idiots calling for ‘Intifada’ have no idea how many innocents have died from that word’.

“I mentioned, in that piece, the 2001 bombing of the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv where a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated by a group of young women trying to get into the club,” Mr Murray told Sky News host Rita Panahi.

“These women were the same age as these women chanting for Intifada now at Columbia, and in LA, and in other reprehensible educational institutions in the US.

“I wonder if these disgusting and ignorant kids at American universities have any idea that that’s what they’re calling for.

“If they do, then they are morally lost to an extent that they probably could never come back from.

“If they’re just ignorant, which I really, really hope they are, I hope that – to steal one of the phrases they’re so keen on using themselves – they do the work and realise what the words they chant actually mean.”

Australia facing a ‘massive problem’ with university campus protests
Shadow Education Minister Sarah Henderson says the situation on university campuses has become “intolerable”.

The Coalition wants to establish a Senate inquiry into anti-Semitism on university campuses as students ramp up pro-Palestine protests around the nation.

It will put forward a motion in the Senate next week.

“We must strongly support free speech and academic freedom and that’s not in question,” Ms Henderson said.

“But when speech crosses the line and it becomes incitement and hate speech and breaches university guidelines ... and when the universities are not upholding their own guidelines, we have a massive problem in this country.”

Harvard has ‘threatened to suspend’ students continuing pro-Palestine encampments
Sky News host Sharri Markson says Harvard's interim president Alan Garber has “threatened to suspend” students who continue to occupy its yard in the pro-Palestinian encampment.

Ms Markson said protests are “still erupting” on campuses in the United States and Australia.

“Staff at La Trobe University have been told not to intervene with protesters when they disrupt classrooms and to let them share the information they wish to," she said.

“For a full five minutes, that’s extraordinary to have to sit through that in class.

“At Monash University in Victoria, Israelis are being intimidated by Palestinian protesters.”

Pro-Palestine uni students caught doing Nazi salute on Zoom call
The Australian National University leadership is investigating allegations pro-Palestinian students performed the Nazi salute and gestures impersonating Hitler last night.

Sky News host Sharri Markson said activists have been caught on camera making what appears to be Hitler impersonations in a meeting where Jewish students were fighting for their safety on campus.

“This comes as police were today called to universities in Queensland and Melbourne as pro-Palestinian activities grew violent and abusive,” she said.

“The anti-Semitism and hatred is infecting most major universities in Australia, with students also caught on film saying that zionists aren't welcome on campus.

“We can tonight show you exclusive videos from the student AGM at the ANU last night.”

ANU investigating alleged Nazi salute and Hitler impersonation in student meeting
Australian National University to take “swift action” over alleged Nazi salute and Hitler impersonation in student AGM meeting, Sky News host Sharri Markson says.

“The Australian National University is now investigating an incident that allegedly occurred at one of the student AGM meetings last night,” Ms Markson said.

“In the meeting one student appears to be seen performing the Nazi salute.

“In another a student appears to impersonate a Hitler moustache.

“This is highly concerning.”

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

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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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