Thursday, May 16, 2024

From Ian:

Clifford D. May: Biden turns on Israel
Two days later, Hamas fired more missiles at Kerem Shalom — from a civilian shelter in Gaza. Hamas missiles were fired at the crossing again on May 8, 10, 11 and 12. Israeli military officials assured impatient reporters that the crossing would be reopened as quickly as possible.

If this does not strike you as grotesque, there is no point in reading the rest of this column.

On May 7, President Biden gave a moving speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, recalling the Nazi genocide of the Jewish communities of Europe and vowing “never again.”

The next day, in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Mr. Biden lent encouragement to Hamas leaders, whose goal is to follow the Nazi example by exterminating the only surviving and thriving Jewish community remaining in the Middle East. The atrocities of Oct. 7, they’ve vowed, were merely a foretaste.

For months, Mr. Biden and other Democrats had slammed Republicans — quite rightly — for not passing a bill providing arms to Ukraine and Israel, democratic nations and friends of America under attack by enemies of America. Thanks to House Speaker Mike Johnson, the bill finally passed — with overwhelming bipartisan support.

But Mr. Biden told Ms. Burnett that he was holding up the delivery of munitions to Israel and would block further security assistance if Israel launched a major assault on Hamas in Rafah.

“We’re not walking away from Israel’s security,” Mr. Biden equivocated. “We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas.”

Wars cannot be won on defense alone. Boxers don’t win fights just by blocking punches. “Deterrence by denial” not coupled with “deterrence by punishment” invites enemies to try, try again.

If Israelis must fight terrorists without American support, they will do so. They’ve done it before. Israel exists so that never again will Jews lack the means to stand up to those determined to slaughter their children.

But Israeli leaders can’t focus all their attention — or all their remaining ammunition — on Gaza. Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran like Hamas, continues to fire missiles from Lebanon. Some 80,000 Israelis have been forced from their homes in the north for more than seven months.

And last month, for the first time, Iran’s rulers launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel from Iranian soil. This time, those rockets were prevented from reaching their intended targets. But there will be a next time. The regime’s nuclear weapons program has progressed significantly since Mr. Biden moved into the White House and eased economic sanctions on Tehran.

Israeli leaders must prioritize and sequence as best they can. They agree that neutralizing Hamas’ military capabilities is imperative — and that sooner is better than later.

I can’t imagine them allowing Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, to emerge from the tunnels and declare himself the victor — the jihadi who beat the accursed Jews, the mujahid who humiliated the cowardly Palestinian Authority and the Arab Zionists who joined the hated Abraham Accords.

What I can imagine: The IDF bringing an end to this conflict without a “full-scale offensive” or “major military operation” — terms Biden administration officials have used to describe the military actions they adamantly oppose.
The Gaza Health Ministry Flimflam
Many of the ministry’s advocates in the West defend its figures by arguing that they are, if anything, an undercount. “Doctors say Gaza death toll could be higher than reported,” reads the title of a Washington Post video from earlier this month. An NPR headline from February reported that the death toll had passed 30,000, but “it’s an incomplete count.” Last November, the head of the State Department’s Middle East bureau said the same thing. The common thread in all these arguments is that there are likely numerous bodies trapped under the rubble in Gaza. While it’s impossible to know how many, when the ministry made its admission regarding incomplete data, it also shared information that provides significant insight into the number of missing people.

Gaza’s Government Media Office, which is separate from the Ministry of Health, has consistently reported since late November that there are 7,000 residents of Gaza “missing under the rubble,” of whom nearly 70 percent are women and children. The Media Office has never identified the basis for this estimate, nor has it explained why the number has remained constant for so long. Meanwhile, in January, the ministry introduced a system that enables residents to report the death of their relatives in cases where the body “remained under the rubble or was buried without reaching a hospital.” Relatives can file the reports in person or online.

Initially, the ministry’s statistical digests presented the number of reports filed by relatives as a category of fatalities separate from the main death toll. But on April 1, the ministry revealed that reports filed by relatives are part of the main toll. In effect, the ministry has already adjusted its total to account for missing persons. Spagat writes, “We should dismiss the common claim that, because many of the dead are trapped under rubble or are missing for other reasons, the announced totals are undercounts.” Whereas the Media Office continues to claim 7,000 are missing, relatives have filed 3,160 reports as of April 24. Of those reports, 1,762, or 55.8 percent, are for men ages 18–59, a figure at odds with the contention that nearly 70 percent are women and children.

Another potential adjustment to the ministry’s numbers concerns the number of Palestinian lives lost to rocket fire by Hamas and its allies. The ministry consistently describes its figure as “the cumulative number of martyrs since the beginning of the [Israeli] aggression,” language that could either include or exclude the victims of Palestinian munitions. From the incident at al-Ahli Hospital, we know that one errant rocket can claim scores or even hundreds of lives, even if the ministry exaggerated the number. In November, the IDF estimated that Palestinians had fired 9,500 rockets at Israel during the first month of the war, of which 12 percent, or more than 1,100, “failed and fell short, inside the Gaza Strip”—a rate comparable to that of previous conflicts.

Finally, there is the question of underage fighters, which Hamas has employed in the past. Among casualties under age 18, there is a disproportionate number of males, suggesting involvement in combat. For example, if one sorts the entries from the health ministry’s list of fatalities, there are 225 17-year-old males, compared with 132 females of that age. Among 16-year-olds, there are 226 males to 127 females. The imbalance becomes progressively smaller as age diminishes, with more girls than boys in some age brackets—an outcome consistent with the expectation that teenagers may fight, but younger children rarely will. All together, these data suggest there may be a few hundred underage fighters among the dead, which is enough to raise concerns about the exploitation of children but not enough to have a significant impact on the overall demographics of the casualties.
How Hamas Saved Egypt
Egypt, the self-proclaimed “Umm al-Dunia,” or “Mother of the World,” is increasingly irritated by its diminishing influence in the region. Its officials resent the Gulf’s growing economic and widely perceived political importance in Middle Eastern affairs. Its annoyance is particularly evident at the mere mention of mega-rich Qatar, the Gulf sheikhdom of 2.6 million people, only 300,000 of whom are of Arab origin. Yet Qatar, which hosts Hamas’ political leaders and supports the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Gaza, increasingly claims to be the leading negotiator between Israel and Hamas. The UAE, which championed the Abraham Accords recognition of Israel, has also jeopardized Egypt’s role as the Arabs’ main interlocutor with Jerusalem. Egyptians, who take pride in their country’s history and heritage, bristle at the loss of their nation’s diplomatic clout. By reviving its regional profile, Oct. 7 has bestowed another gift on Egypt.

But while Egyptians are disturbed by the Israeli-Hamas war and the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, the country seems increasingly focused on its grave domestic challenges. “Egypt obviously cares about the region, but our priority is building our country,” said Abdel Monem Said Aly, an influential Egyptian analyst.

Whether Egypt will be able to reform the militarized state capitalism that has battered the private sector and redistributed income from the beleaguered middle class to the army remains to be seen. “Sissi will do this because he knows he must,” said one non-American diplomat. “This is Egypt’s last shot to get it right.” But many financial analysts doubt that Sissi has the desire or ability to reign in his fellow generals upon whom his continued rule of Egypt depends.

Sissi may not have to face that choice. With 110 million people living on less than 10% of the land along the Nile, Egypt may well be, as Egyptians repeatedly told me, too big to fail. The reaction of the West and the Gulf Arab states following Oct. 7 gives the Egyptians every reason to believe it’s true.

Michael Oren: Is America Still Israel's Ally?
Wading through the flood of information about the Biden administration’s opposition to a large-scale Israel incursion into Rafah, readers might have missed the tsunami. In a lengthy dispatch on the crisis, The Washington Post noted—almost in passing—that in return for not invading Rafah, the U.S. was offering Israel “sensitive intelligence to help. . . pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels.”

In other words, the White House apparently knows where these leaders are hiding but hasn’t told its ally—and won’t—unless Israel forgoes a military operation viewed by many Israelis as the only means of defeating Hamas and securing the hostages’ release. And since Hamas leaders shield themselves with hostages, it’s logical to conclude that the U.S. is also keeping the captives’ location secret from Israel.

If the report is true, it signifies a violation of trust even more egregious than the administration’s curtailing of crucial munition supplies to Israel. By withholding arms, the Biden administration helped to relieve the pressure on Hamas to release at least some of the hostages. Instead, they rejected what Secretary of State Blinken called “Israel’s extraordinarily generous offer.” The policy of withholding lifesaving information from Israel, more treacherously, aids Hamas’s war effort and further dims the hope of freeing hostages.

In light of this news, one could reasonably ask, “Is America still Israel’s ally?”
Should Israel Break Free? Amb. Michael Oren's Inside View of US-Israel Diplomacy
The United States’ support for Israel was considered, to use a phrase of President Biden, ironclad. But that has been thrown into question by the US administration’s historic decision to suspend a delivery of weapons to Israel in order to pressure it not to wage a major offensive against Hamas in Rafah. The announcement sounded alarm bells about the nature of the US-Israel alliance. About Israel’s strategic dependence on Washington and what Israel needs to do to maintain its military independence.

Michael Oren was Israel’s ambassador to Washington in 2009-2013, before a stint in the Knesset as a deputy minister in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. He is an acclaimed historian, and author of New York Times bestselling books about the history of America’s involvement in the Middle East and the Six-Day War. As an American-born Israeli, he straddles both worlds looking to find productive ways to move the alliance ever forward.

This episode was recorded before the Biden Administration’s bombshell announcement, but that only makes our discussion more timely.

Enough Mediating. America Should Deploy Its Might Against Hamas
On Oct. 7, Hamas murdered more than 40 Americans, and five Americans are still being held captive more than 200 days later. Since then, the Biden administration has tried to get the hostages home by playing the role of mediator. This approach fundamentally misunderstands the conflict, as well as the tools required to free captive Americans. It is time to jettison this approach and deploy U.S. might instead.

For more than seven months, U.S. officials have treated the Gaza war as if it were a conflict between state actors, employing shuttle diplomacy and negotiating with both sides. They have indulged in the conceit that you can negotiate with a terrorist organization by treating it as an equal party. Yet the mediator approach has applied equal, if not more, pressure on U.S. ally Israel to make concessions than it has on Hamas, the original aggressors.

U.S. mediation has achieved little. It is long overdue for the U.S. to shift the paradigm. Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has developed an array of intelligence, economic, and military tools and techniques that can pressure and destroy terrorist networks. They should be deployed against Hamas.

For starters, the Treasury Department should aggressively target sanctions on entities that fund and fuel Hamas. At the top of the list should be the Central Bank of Iran. The same should be done for Qatari and Turkish entities that support and aid the terrorist organization. We should also unleash our military and intelligence community's world-class targeting and strike capability. Shifting to a more aggressive stance would also send a powerful signal to Hamas' leadership that the U.S. will hold Hamas directly responsible for how it treats American citizens.
WSJ Editorial: The Arguments for Blocking Israel's Operation Against Hamas in Rafah Don't Stand Up to Scrutiny
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Israel's taking Rafah won't achieve anything. "Israel is on the trajectory potentially to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy, and probably refilled by Hamas." This is defeatism.

What remains of Hamas could attempt an insurgency, but that's a lower risk than leaving Hamas' four military battalions and leadership to survive in Rafah. The only way Israel can fill a "vacuum" with a day-after plan is if it reaches the day after by defeating Hamas in Rafah. Any plan to replace Hamas depends on victory in its last Gaza stronghold. The truth is that the war isn't over, and Hamas will win if it keeps control of Rafah and its people.

Israel has already evacuated some 400,000 Gazans and won much of eastern Rafah while keeping civilian casualties low. Advancing only a few neighborhoods at a time, Israel has been faster and more effective at getting civilians to safety than the U.S. expected.
America's dangerous game with Israeli security
Sullivan's demand during his visit to Israel to cease operations in Rafah and the Philadelphia Corridor, citing potential dangers to civilians crowded in the area, is an example of a double standard. Hamas initiated the massacre, kidnapping, and rape on October 7 and has been using Gaza civilians as human shields, explicitly against US laws. Still, the American pressure is applied only to Israel.

The pressure includes absurd threats of halting weapon shipments to its only ally in the Middle East, currently amidst a multi-front war that will define Israel's future in the region (although, so far, these have been mostly threats and possibly a single shipment delay, but the rhetoric is very problematic).

The re-emphasis of the misguided idea of a US-Israel defense pact, especially in conjunction with the normalization "carrot," could send a misleading message to Israel nearby and distant enemies, that Israel does not believe in its ability to defend itself independently. Even when the treaty is limited to use against existential threats only, merely bringing it up for discussion causes significant damage.

The defense pact will not prevent Iran from continuing its aggressive behavior, and it could become a double-edged sword, including a potentially severe impact on Israeli deterrence and freedom of action.

The US is currently wrapping up the normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia and the signing of the defense pact with US, with the cessation of fighting in Gaza, Palestinian concessions, and nuclear concessions to Saudi Arabia. It is important to emphasize that the US needs Israel to pass their standalone agreement with Saudi Arabia in Congress (it's illogical for Saudi Arabia to settle for only a presidential decision, but that might be the chosen path eventually).

Normalization and signing a defense pact could undermine support for issues in which the US has assisted Israel for years, under the claim that the pact renders them redundant or that they can be minimized/weaken. Issues such as a comprehensive and longer Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), an expanded Qualitative Military Edge (QME) agreement, an advance repositioning of American weapons systems and ammunition in a broad scope, expanded cooperation in research and development and technology, and more.

The normalization currently proposed is weaker than it was before the war, and the concessions demanded from Israel (except perhaps in one Saudi important nuclear matters) are much greater. It is crucial that Israel clearly and loudly communicates to Sullivan the drawbacks of the proposed normalization and the defense pact and does not rush into signing, especially not when it is tied to concessions in Gaza war and on the Palestinian issue.

In the future, a trilateral deal involving the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Israel could be reached, taking calculated risks that could open doors to joint action against the Iranian nuclear program, but only after a successful and complete end to the war in Gaza, the return of all the hostages, and the secure return of Israeli residents to the north.
FDD: Biden Blocks Arms to Israel While Promising Future Support
Latest Developments
The Biden administration notified Congress on May 14 of a future $1 billion arms package for Israel. That package reportedly includes “$700 million in tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar rounds,” according to The Wall Street Journal. However, there is no timetable for when such weapons will get to Israel and the notification does not lift the administration’s previous hold on weapons that are ready to ship.

On May 7, the administration announced that it was pausing weapons shipments to Israel over Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. Those weapons — which reportedly include Mk82 500-pound bombs, Mk84 2,000-pound bombs, and Joint Direct Attack Munitions — are ready for shipment but are being delayed for “political reasons,” according to reports.

Expert Analysis
“In deliberately delaying weapons deliveries for Israel, the Biden administration has made a major strategic mistake. American allies and adversaries around the world are taking notes and asking what other ‘ironclad’ U.S. commitments might actually be squishy when the going gets tough. Hezbollah is taking notes on what worked in Gaza and Washington, DC, and is almost certainly sprinting to install more of its terror facilities under civilian homes in Lebanon at this very hour.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“What good is a promise for a future transfer when the president is currently refusing to transfer weapons that were already approved and are ready to ship?” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“That Congress recently approved supplemental funding crucial for Israel to dismantle Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza — only to have the Biden administration undercut that effort by withholding armaments that are critically important to it — merits a strong congressional response. Congress must intervene and act if the administration fails to fulfill its obligation and swiftly deliver these vital resources. Congress must also develop additional legislative measures to ensure that it does not happen again.” — Matthew Zweig, Senior Director of Policy at FDD Action

Backlash in the House of Representatives
On May 10, twenty-six Democrats, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Jared Golden (D-ME), sent a letter to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urging the administration to fulfill Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel. “With democracy under assault around the world, we cannot undermine our ally Israel, especially in her greatest hour of need,” the letter states. “America’s commitments must always be ironclad.”

The same day, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, introduced legislation that prohibits the Biden administration from withholding, halting, reversing, or otherwise canceling “the delivery of defense articles and defense services from the United States to Israel.” The Israeli Security Assistance Support Act also withholds funding for the offices of the secretary of defense and secretary of state until weapons deliveries resume.

Backlash in the Senate
On May 9, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and 11 other Republican senators introduced a resolution condemning the Biden administration’s arms embargo and demanding that weapons shipments resume. Every Republican senator except Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) cosponsored the resolution.

“The last thing we want to do is to reward terrorists — who violate international norms by weaponizing hospitals, mosques and schools — by blaming the victim of the terrorist attack, not the terrorists,” Graham said in a statement. “If this policy holds, terrorists will get the message loud and clear that if they exploit civilians in this manner, terrorists will get a pass and their victims will be punished.”

Republican demands new special counsel to investigate Biden withholding Israel aid
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) is requesting that the Justice Department appoint a special counsel to investigate President Joe Biden for withholding military aid to Israel as House Republicans continue to criticize the president for weakening U.S. support for the Jewish state.

Tenney sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday asking him to appoint a special counsel to review Biden’s decision to withhold an arms transfer that included 3,500 bombs over concerns regarding the growing Israeli offensive in Rafah.

The New York Republican pointed to the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which Biden signed into law last month, that allocated $26.38 billion to support Israel, including $4 billion to replenish the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems and additional humanitarian aid for Gaza.

“This bill appropriated funds in support of Israel’s military operations against Hamas,” Tenney wrote. “Congressional intent with this legislation is clear: this aid is urgently needed and must be delivered as expeditiously as possible.”

“However, instead of following the law, the Biden administration has delayed the delivery of this essential aid that has already been obligated,” Tenney continued, accusing Biden of undermining the “principles of separation of powers” given to Congress.

She said the possible violation of the statute and “dangerous failure to comply with Constitutional precedent” warrants a special counsel investigation. She gave Garland until May 22 to respond to her letter.
Biden's Campaign Has Miscalculated on Israel
President Biden's re-election campaign has fundamentally miscalculated on Israel. In Michigan, Biden lost 101,000 uncommitted votes in the Democratic primary, but Trump lost nearly 300,000 votes to Nikki Haley in the Michigan Republican primary. These people are in the moderate center, and many of them could be persuaded to vote for Biden if he fine-tuned his message to bring them in. The same math applies to Pennsylvania, where 158,000 people voted for Haley instead of Trump in the Republican primary, even though she dropped out seven weeks earlier. Biden is pushing the Haley vote to Trump.

Those Haley voters are strong defense voters who would back our ally Israel unreservedly and, I believe, want to see a president who would put maximum pressure on Hamas to release hostages. 84% of Independents surveyed said they supported Israel more than Hamas in the conflict, and 63% said they believed a ceasefire should occur only after the hostages have been released. The more Biden has softened his support of Israel, the weaker he looks, and the more his foreign policy ratings have declined.

Rather than pull decisively away from Israel, Biden should instead find a plan that enables Israel to go into Rafah and that has enough
The American Administration Is Guilty of Wishful Thinking
The American administration sees the war in Gaza as an opportunity to build a regional defense architecture against Iran. In its view, Saudi Arabia, after signing a defense treaty with the U.S., will develop the military capability to stand up to Iran and will join the Abraham Accords. For its part, Israel will have to commit to a path to a Palestinian state, while the Palestinians will have to undertake major political reforms. Unfortunately, some of the assumptions behind this American plan are misplaced.

Every defense alliance is based on the deterrent capability and willingness of the lead member of the alliance to employ military force. As we have seen, the U.S., despite its strength, has failed to deter Iran from operating its proxies against American forces in Syria and Iraq. The Houthis, an additional Iranian proxy, opened fire on ships in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, an important international waterway, and were not deterred by limited American strikes. In addition, the American policy shift aimed at holding Israel back and preventing it from defeating Hamas does nothing to shore up the fragile trust that the moderate Arab countries - who wish to see an Israeli victory - have in the U.S.

Moreover, despite a warning from the U.S. president, Iran launched a direct missile and drone attack on Israel. Without American willingness to confront Iran militarily - a necessary component of deterrence - the Arab states will not be convinced that the U.S. will come to their defense in the event of Iranian aggression.

Nor does the American obsession with a Palestinian state serve its alliance-building. Hamas, an Iranian ally, has a good chance of taking over the state that the Americans are eager to establish. This state would be a Trojan horse. Moreover, the chances of a fundamental change in Palestinian politics are minimal. Such a Palestinian state would not be much different from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, or Yemen. In addition, the assumption that the Saudis, who until now have bought their influence with their riches, will now become fierce fighters, is problematic.
ICJ kicks off hearings on Israel’s Rafah offensive
The International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday is taking up a request by South Africa to press Israel to halt its military operations in Rafah in southern Gaza, where IDF ground forces have been active since May 6.

Judges at the U.N.’s top court will listen to arguments over the next two days on Pretoria’s fourth petition to the ICJ since the Hamas-led invasion of Israel of Oct. 7.

In its latest request, South Africa said that the court’s previous measures “are not capable of fully address[ing] the changed circumstances and new facts on which [its] Request is founded.”

It said Israel’s attack on Rafah poses “extreme risk” to humanitarian services and supplies, the Gaza medical system and the survival of Arabs in Gaza, and causes “irreparable harm to the rights” of Gazans, according to a press release on the ICJ website.

Pretoria is asking the court to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah; take measures to ensure U.N. officials, humanitarian organizations and journalists have full access to Gaza; and report back within one week on how it is meeting those demands.

Israel has been carrying out limited operations in the city of Rafah, located in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip and the last bastion of Hamas’s remaining battalions. Jerusalem maintains that conquering Rafah is essential to defeating Hamas, which has vowed multiple repeats of the Oct. 7 massacre.

Egypt on Sunday announced it would formally support South Africa’s suit. Cairo has opposed Israel’s seizure of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing to Sinai.

Alan Dershowitz: Just How Many of Gaza's Civilians Are Entirely "Innocent"?
Gaza's adult "civilians" include those who wear civilian clothing and work in civilian jobs by day but fire rockets by night. There are also those who aren't part of Hamas but who took part in the terrorism of Oct. 7. There are those who harbor and directly assist terrorists in their murderous activities, as well as those that help them hide hostages.

They include the thousands who built the terror tunnels, and those who allow their homes, hospitals, schools and mosques to be used to store rockets and ammunition, or to accommodate entrances and exits to the tunnels. Finally, there are those who brought Hamas to power and who keep it there.

The truth is that no country in modern history has made more efforts, and has been more successful, in avoiding civilian casualties than Israel. Yet, no nation in modern history has been condemned so irrationally for civilian deaths - which are largely the fault of those who started the war. There is no moral, political, diplomatic or legal equivalence between terrorists who deliberately murder and rape, and democracies that seek to protect their citizens and take precautions to reduce civilian deaths.
No Point Talking about a "Post-Hamas" Era until We Actually Finish the Job
Any force attempting to enter Gaza while Hamas still holds sway would face grim consequences - execution by hanging, being thrown from roofs, or a bullet to the head.

No one will fight our battles for us, and no one will sacrifice themselves or their families for our cause.

This is why Israel was established - to defend ourselves, by ourselves.

No one will enter Gaza, and certainly not manage it, until Israel dismantles Hamas.

An enemy that sent 3,000 terrorists to slaughter, rape, and abduct civilians cannot be left standing.

We have no choice. The costs are, and will continue to be, very high.

Every Israeli longs for the day when the bleeding in Gaza stops, the northern front calms down, and life returns to normal. But the mission isn't over. Giving up is not an option.

Enemies and potential allies are watching our every move, and failure could cost us even more than we are paying now.

EU warns Israel continuing Rafah offensive will put ‘heavy strain’ on ties
The European Union on Wednesday urged Israel to end its military operation in Gaza’s Rafah “immediately,” warning that failure to do so would undermine ties with the bloc.

“Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU’s relationship with Israel,” said a statement issued in the EU’s name by its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“The European Union urges Israel to end its military operation in Rafah immediately,” the statement said, warning it was “further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering.”

The IDF began sending troops into the southern Gaza border city of Rafah last week in what it has described as a “precise” operation, with soldiers currently holding a relatively small area southeast of the city. However, Israel has for months vowed a major offensive in the city as part of its war on Hamas, which began with the Palestinian terror group’s devastating October 7 attack on the country.

The EU bloc of 27 countries — the main aid donor for the Palestinian territories and Israel’s biggest trading partner — said more than a million people in and around Rafah had been ordered by Israel to flee the area to other zones the UN says cannot be considered safe.

“While the EU recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel must do so in line with International Humanitarian Law and provide safety to civilians,” it said.

The law requires Israel to allow in humanitarian aid, the statement stressed. It called on Israel “to refrain from further exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and reopen the crossing point of Rafah.”

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Kuperwasser: IDF Rafah Operation Critical to Defeat Hamas
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Director of National Security and Middle East Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division, said in an interview:

"If we want to defeat Hamas, we have to defeat Hamas in Rafah, just like we did in the rest of Gaza. As long as they control it, they can bring in all kinds of weapons or any kind of other equipment that they need."

"Militarily speaking, Hamas had plenty of time to improve their defensive posture in Rafah."

In addition, "we should probably expect more terror attacks from the Houthis, Hizbullah, more challenges coming from the Iraqi militias that are subordinate to Iran, and more challenges from Iran directly."
Five IDF soldiers mistakenly killed by tank fire in Jabalia
Five Israeli soldiers were killed by friendly fire in Jabalia in northern Gaza on Wednesday.

A platoon commander and four soldiers from Battalion 202 of the Paratroopers Brigade died and eight additional soldiers were wounded by IDF tank fire, three seriously. The rest of the wounded soldiers were evacuated to hospital in moderate and light condition.

The casualties were identified by the IDF on Thursday morning as Capt. Roy Beit Ya’akov, 22, from Eli; Staff Sgt. Gilad Arye Boim, 22, from Karnei Shomron in Samaria; Sgt. Daniel Chemu, 20, from Tiberias; Sgt. Ilan Cohen, 20, from Carmiel; and Staff Sgt. Betzalel David Shashuah, 21, from Tel Aviv.

The incident brings the Gaza death toll since the start of the ground invasion on Oct. 27 to 273 and to 621 on all fronts since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

Beit Ya’akov is the son of Hadas and Avidan, the chairman of Eli.

“The family, the town of Eli—whose residents and alumni are on the front lines of the war—and the entire Binyamin Region, are in great pain,” said Binyamin Regional Council head and Yesha Council chairman Israel Ganz.

“How great is the pain involved in the nation of Israel’s renewal in its Land. How many heroes do we have, who sacrifice their lives so that we will win and live here, in the Land of Israel, with peace and security. In their merit, we will win,” he added.
Ilan made aliyah from Argentina; Gilad was planning to study medicine: Stories of the fallen soldiers
Five soldiers were killed and seven others wounded, three critically, in a friendly fire incident during fighting in northern Gaza on Thursday, the IDF said in a statement.

The troops from the 202nd Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade were mistakenly struck by tank fire in the Jabaliya area, according to the statement.

Those killed were identified as Cpt. Roy Beit Yaakov, 22, from Eli; Staff Sgt. Gilad Arye Boim, 22, from Karnei Shomron; Sgt. Daniel Chemu, 20, from Tiberias; Sgt. Ilan Cohen, 20, from Karmiel; and Staff Sgt. Betzlel David Shashuah, 21, from Tel Aviv.

Cpt. Roy Beit Yaakov
Yaakov is the 21st fatality from the pre-military academy in Eli.

Head of the Binyamin Regional Council and Chairman of the Yesha Council Yisrael Gantz said, "Immense pain for the family, for the community of Eli whose residents and graduates are at the spearhead of the battle, and for all of Benjamin. How much sorrow is involved in the resurrection of the people of Israel in its land. How many heroes do we have who risk their lives so that we can prevail and live here in the land of Israel in peace and security. Thanks to them we will prevail."

Yaakov's funeral will take place at 3:00 p.m. at the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl.

The IDF Is Not Just Reactive Against Hizbullah in Lebanon
Day after day, the IDF targets terror hubs in southern Lebanon including Hizbullah command centers, weapon storage facilities and hideouts. The army isn't waiting to see what will come of diplomatic efforts to deal with Hizbullah; they are training to achieve security through firepower and the spirit of their fighters. Everyone I meet at the 91st Division's headquarters on the Lebanon border declares that above all, they want to restore security and bring back the tens of thousands of northern residents to their homes and communities from which they were uprooted over seven months ago.

Lt. R, 22, heads the Target Team. She lives in Kibbutz Dan near the Lebanon border, and was evacuated along with her family and relatives in the surrounding communities in October. She said the IDF is not just attacking in response to Hizbullah fire.

"We are not waiting to be hit first. There are days when they haven't fired anything at us, and we attacked 12 targets. We have response targets and strategic targets, and we act according to the situation and evolving needs. We create targets in real-time. It's no secret there was a large number of Radwan operatives sitting on the fence. Now they hide 23 hours and 40 minutes a day. Then they come out for 20 minutes, shoot and go into hiding again. The operatives left on the front are a trickle compared to what was here in routine times."

"If an anti-tank missile hits Metula and a house is slightly damaged or burned, houses on the other side are on the receiving end of our bombs. If you look at [the Lebanese village of] looks much worse than how Metula looks today. On their side, many more houses have been hit by the battalions on the front line. They won't regain normalcy anytime soon."
IDF: 40 rockets launched from Lebanon a short while ago; Israel said to retaliate with strikes
Some 40 rockets were launched from Lebanon in two barrages at the Golan Heights a short while ago, according to the military.

Meanwhile, Lebanese media report Israeli airstrikes in southern Lebanon’s Ayta ash-Shab.

The latest exchange of fire comes following IDF strikes on Hezbollah targets deep in Lebanon after the terror group fired an explosive drone at a sensitive military facility in northern Israel, which came after a top Hezbollah field commander was killed in a drone strike.

Gallant: Rafah is about cutting off Hamas's faucet to weapons; Op. will get much larger
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, speaking to IDF forces in Rafah on Thursday, said that their operation there was about making sure "the faucet to Hamas is closed" from being able to rearm.

He said, "many tunnels have already been destroyed and many more will be destroyed soon," which would finally end the terror group's major cross-border capability to resupply itself with weapons.

Next, he said that "the operation will continue with additional forces which will invade ... this operation will continue and intensify."

"Hamas is an organization with no future. It has no capability to manufacture weapons, no supply, no munitions," saying that the IDF is taking it apart as a military organization.

Despite Gallant's claims, IDF sources were still unclear about how many Hamas cross-border tunnels there were into Egypt, and it was also unclear how long it would take for the IDF to locate and destroy them all.

Further, despite IDF's progress in Rafah, Hamas has managed to fire more rockets and mortars on Israeli forces and southern Israel since the invasion of Rafah started than it had for most of the last month.

IDF soldier wounded in terror stabbing near Nablus
A terrorist stabbed an Israeli soldier on Thursday morning as he sat in his car at the Yitzhar Junction, close to Huwara and Nablus in Samaria.

The victim was evacuated in moderate condition to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

The assailant fled the scene on foot.

Israeli forces launched a manhunt and set up roadblocks in the area, and a suspect was subsequently apprehended in the nearby Arab town of Awarta.

Overnight Wednesday, a knife-wielding terrorist attempted to stab Border Police officers near the Shalem police station and Herod’s Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City.

Security camera footage showed a man being questioned by three police officers before drawing a knife and lunging at one of them.

In response, the guards shot and killed the assailant.

No officers were hurt in the attack.

Egypt rejects Israeli proposal to reopen Rafah Crossing
Egypt has rejected an Israeli proposal to work together with Israel to reopen the Rafah Crossing into the Gaza Strip and manage its operation jointly, two security sources in Cairo told Reuters on Thursday.

The Egyptian government demands the crossing be managed only by Palestinians, the sources said, adding that Jerusalem had offered a mechanism for how to manage the crossing after its forces withdraw.

Officials from the Israel Security Agency presented the plan during a visit to Cairo on Wednesday, amid rising tension between the two countries following Israel’s military advance last week into Rafah, believed to be the final Hamas terrorist stronghold in the enclave.

The Israel Defense Forces took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt on the morning of May 7.

A day earlier, Israel’s War Cabinet decided unanimously to “continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war.”

Jerusalem wants to allow humanitarian aid through Rafah but is unable to do so without Egyptian cooperation. Cairo’s refusal to coordinate with Israel is preventing aid trucks from passing through the border, even as Egyptian President Abdel al-Fatah al-Sisi blames the Jewish state.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has reportedly also rebuffed an Israeli offer to help manage the border crossing, local media reported earlier this week, citing U.S. government officials.

A survivor of human trafficking is speaking out for survivors of the Hamas massacre
On the surface, Brook Parker-Bello has little in common with the hostages kidnapped from Israel and held in Gaza since Oct. 7.

She is an actor, author and activist from Los Angeles who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Obama White House for her work fighting sex trafficking.

But Parker-Bello felt a deep connection with those who experienced the Oct. 7 terror attacks firsthand. As a teenager, she was kidnapped and trafficked for years between Nevada, California and New York until a police sting ended her abuse.

“I know what it’s like to be in mental anguish and psychologically distraught, dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety and challenges that are really hard to understand, and that sometimes rear their heads later,” Parker-Bello told JI in an interview following her recent visit to Israel.

Now, she is working on a documentary, with Rova Media, set to be released later this year that captures the essence of her trip set in the context of her own life experiences.

Parker-Bello, founder and CEO of More Too Life, an organization that advocates and supports victims of human trafficking and sexual violence, told JI that only by visiting Israel in person, can “you begin to understand what is really taking place there and you see stuff that you might not hear or see in the media.”

“When you’re meeting individuals face-to-face, you can also encourage them,” said the author and entrepreneur, who is also creating an online mental health support platform for victims of human trafficking and sexual violence, explaining the impetus for her trip to Israel.

Parker-Bello, who refers to Israel as a “small-big nation,” told JI that she had spent a lot of time in the Jewish state previously and that she was not only “in tears” following the brutal Oct. 7 terror attack, but was also confused and frustrated by the reaction of organizations and activists who usually stand up for women’s rights.

October 7 survivor stuns Cannes in 'Bring them Home' dress decorated with the hostages's faces
Laura Blajman-Kadar, a survivor of the October 7 massacre, walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival wearing a bright yellow dress decorated with the faces of hostages and a sash saying " BRING THEM HOME", according to French media.

Blajman-Kadar was at the Nova music festival on the day of the massacre and managed to hide with her husband and seven friends as they heard gunshots and killing all around them.

She has been campaigning to raise awareness of the massacre in France and released a book describing her experiences of that day called "Croire en la vie [Believing in Life]."

Shortly after arriving on the red carpet, she was asked by several security guards not to stay too long.

The characteristic yellow of hostage release campaigns helped to draw attention in an area filled with the traditional black suits of upscale events.

The faces on the dress are some of the hostages still being held in Gaza, including several of her friends.

Call Me Back PodCast: Israeli Independence – with Dr. Tal Becker
Hosted by Dan Senor
HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The first “Call Me Back” Live Event will take place on Monday June 3 at 6:00 pm at the Comedy Cellar in New York City. At the event — which will ultimately be posted as an episode — we will be talking to Michael Rapaport about the crisis of antisemitism in America and what it means for Israel and for American Jews. Partial proceeds for the event will go to Lev Echad (“One Heart”), an Israeli non-profit organization that has been doing indispensable work, especially since 10/07. To RSVP, please go to, click the lineups button on the top left and select June 3. (There will also be an opportunity for audience questions and discussion following the formal conversation, and an extended smaller private event afterwards for those interested.)

TODAY’S EPISODE: As Independence Day was winding down in Israel, I sat down for a conversation with Tal Becker in Jerusalem to discuss the deep uncertainty in Israeli society: we don’t know when or if the hostages will return home, we don’t when or if Hamas will be defeated, or even when or if the 100,000 displaced Israelis will return to their homes in the South and in the North. We don’t know if a war with Hezbollah is next, and we certainly don’t know if and what could be a long term solution for the Palestinian conflict with Israel or Iran’s conflict with Israel.

Dr. Tal Becker serves as a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and was the former Legal Adviser of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is a veteran member of successive Israeli peace negotiation teams and, most recently, represented Israel before the International Court of Justice and played an instrumental role in negotiating and drafting the historic peace and normalization agreements (the “Abraham Accords”). Dr. Becker earned his doctorate from Columbia University in New York City, and is the recipient of numerous scholarly awards, including the Rabin Peace Prize, and the Guggenheim Prize for best international law book for his book “Terrorism and the State”.
Eylon Levy: Israel’s ‘whole public diplomacy’ is ‘improvised’
Two of Israel’s highest-profile spokespeople since Oct. 7 – former government spokesman Eylon Levy and Lt. Col. (Res.) Jonathan Conricus – lamented the state of Israel’s public diplomacy on Wednesday in a webinar for the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy.

“The whole public diplomacy operation…was improvised and set up on the fly,” Levy, who recently departed his government role amid reports of political infighting, said. “The fact that I was able to become a government spokesman tells you the best and worst about Israel. The best is that Israel knows, in times of emergency, to be flexible and agile and creative and give young people responsibility. The worst, because this is not the way it should work.”

Levy, whom Israeli media said in January was being targeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, over his participation in the pre-Oct. 7 protest movement, pointed out that when the war began, Netanyahu did not have a spokesman for foreign media. He added that the department that handles media relations “is still largely improvised.” He became the government spokesman after joining a volunteer effort to organize a daily press briefing about the war, which was eventually adopted by the government’s Public Diplomacy Directorate.

“The IDF spokesperson’s unit is a veritable empire when you consider the number of people it was able to bring into reserves, but the civilian effort doesn’t have that,” Levy said. “The incredible mobilization we’ve seen in recent months needs to be formalized and institutionalized and made official. It’s not too late to do it in this war.”

Levy said that while IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari “is wonderful,” there are bad optics associated with having no civilian address for the public and the media to get information.

Conricus, the former IDF spokesperson to foreign media and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also said that the military taking the lead in communications “is not how it’s supposed to be. It should be driven by men and women, preferably women, in suits who do not represent the military… I’m propagating for women of color.”

Conricus said the IDF has improved in its communications with the international media in this war, prioritizing it more than in past crises.

“Hagari speaks in English and really puts international media front and center. We’ve seen multiple cases where international media has been given access to breaking news that Israeli media, the vaunted military correspondents, are not getting access to,” he pointed out. “That is part of an understanding that I think is correct…that communicating well with the world…is a very important enabler for the IDF to continue to operate. If we don’t do it right, we are shooting ourselves in the foot and we are limiting our freedom of action to operate and pursue our strategic goals.”

Still, Conricus argued, “even if we were 10 times better, I think Israel would face a very hostile and difficult media environment. That doesn’t mean we are relieved and don’t have to be much, much better. … We are scrutinized more than any other country, as a democracy fighting to defend its civilians.”

The Common Denominator: The Psychology of War with Maj. Andrew Fox (Ret.)
“Never again is now, we don’t stand for Jews being killed freely anymore, that stays in the 1940s where it belongs.”

Andrew Fox served as an officer in the British Army from 2005-2021, leaving with the rank of Major. He completed 3 tours of Afghanistan, including one attached to US Army Special Forces. He also served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. He studied Law as an undergraduate, and completed a Master’s in History & War Studies whilst serving. He now studies Psychology of disinformation at Master’s level and is halfway through a PhD on the US Reconstruction. He has been a lecturer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and is a researcher and commentator on the Middle East.

We, the people of Israel, and not our government of whom so much has been said, we are the buffer between civilization and the enemies of freedom who seek at every moment to tear down the pillars of the west.

Israelis know this because we live it.

We are raw and stinging from the fight, from pushing back against this tidal wave of murderous hate.

Andrew is uniquely positioned to comment on much of what Israelis are experiencing right at this moment having studied the politics of the Middle East, the psychology of humankind, and lived the experience of fighting for it. He understands the context intimately and more to the point - which questions to ask.

October 7 and the celebrations that followed on UK streets stirred our deepest demons
If the only thing that had happened after October 7 was a bunch of demonstrations supporting the Palestinians and condemning Israel, I wouldn’t be writing about it in a book about antisemitism. Instead, “Free Palestine” became the cri de guerre for antisemites, a rhetorical weapon used to strike fear into Jews in Western cities; the left-wing equivalent of “Heil Hitler”, in this specific usage. It shouldn’t be this way: “Free Palestine” is just a phrase, an aspiration for freedom, that needn’t intimidate anyone. But this was the slogan spraypainted onto the walls and windows of the Jewish student accommodation at Leeds University, as it was onto synagogues in Porto and Madrid, and the railway bridges that sit atop Golders Green, the best-known Jewish neighbourhood in Britain. In the UK, over 10 per cent of all antisemitic hate incidents in 2023 involved “Free Palestine” being shouted, tweeted or scrawled at or on Jewish people, buildings or synagogues, just because they were Jewish. In one case a teenage schoolboy in London was put up against a wall, punched in the face and told to say “Free Palestine”.

There was even a staff member at a trampolining centre who shouted “Free Palestine” over the Tannoy because a bunch of Jewish kids were bouncing around having fun, and she seemingly couldn’t cope with the sight of ordinary Jews doing ordinary things.

This, more than anything, is where any conflation between anti-Israel speech and antisemitism resides. I suppose it would be surprising if a global movement to condemn the world’s only Jewish state as a unique transgressor of all moral and human values didn’t attract at least some people who dislike Jews. I’m sure a lot of the people on those huge demonstrations just want the war to end. But for others, this isn’t about improving the lives of Palestinians but about saving humanity from the fearsome, malevolent Jewish power that antisemites have always fantasised about. This doesn’t do the Palestinian cause any favours. The people shouting “Free Palestine” at Jewish kids in London aren’t going to free a single Palestinian from Israel, but then that isn’t the point. “Our cause is not to establish a Palestinian state, but to dismantle Israel,” tweeted Professor David Miller in 2023. I wish it were not so. I desperately want to believe there can be a movement for Palestinian rights that does not bring with it these waves of antisemitism, but that would require effort and restraint on the part of the people leading it, and so far that seems to be absent.

Whatever the reason, it’s obvious that the anti-Israel movement has an antisemitism problem, even though most of the people in it fervently believe they are opposing racism.

Vandals attack, break glass of Jewish-owned businesses in Manhattan overnight
Three Jewish-owned businesses in close proximity to one another on Manhattan’s Upper East Side were broken into early Wednesday morning, their glass doors smashed, Jewish Insider has learned.

The Level 78 barber shop on 78th Street and Third Avenue, kosher restaurant Rothschild TLV on Lexington Avenue and 79th Street and The Nuts Factory candy shop on Third Avenue and 74th Street all had their glass windows or doors shattered at around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, the night of Israel’s Independence Day. The stores are all within blocks of the Moise Safra Center on Lexington and 82nd, which has attracted a number of kosher restaurants since it opened.

“The NYPD is aware of a series of incidents that took place at several businesses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and is investigating. We are also aware that many of these sites are visibly Jewish-run businesses, and we understand how unsettling this news may be for a community that is already on edge,” a City Hall spokesperson told JI.

“As part of the investigation, the NYPD is looking into whether these were biased attacks, and if found to be true, will not hesitate to arrest and charge the individuals responsible accordingly.”

Rami “Richie” Yagudayev, owner of Level 78, told JI that he received a call in the middle of the night from a client who lives in the neighborhood. While walking his dog, the client noticed that the shop’s glass front door had been smashed and called the police.

Yagudayev, who is from Israel and has owned the barber shop for 10 years, said that a phone that the store used to play music was stolen, but no money was taken from the register.

“I think all the blessings saved my shop,” Yagudayev told JI, pointing to the mezuzah on the front door and photos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, scattered throughout the store. The incident was captured on a store surveillance camera. Yagudayev described the culprit as “an Asian man with his face covered by a mask.”

Pro-Palestinian activist bites police officer on the arm as four are arrested when demo shuts down military factory in Glasgow
Six police officers were injured during the demonstration outside the Thales defence firm on Linthhouse Road, Govan, Glasgow on Wednesday morning.

Two officers were rushed to hospital, with one remaining there for further assessment, while another was discharged, Police Scotland said.

The force said it was met with 'an unacceptable level of hostility and resistance' as officers arrested and charged four people, including three men aged 18, 28 and 29, along with a 21-year-old woman during the protests.

Violence erupted after as many as 50 activists formed human chains to block the entrance to the building and police officers tried to break the line.

Activists brandished banners bearing messages including 'This factory arms genocide' and 'Stop arming Israel' during the demonstration.

Jewish groups condemn Labor
Foreign Minister Penny Wong said this week that Australia’s vote for a UN General Assembly resolution that boosts the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations aims to shore up efforts for a two-state solution that would see a reformed Palestinian Authority that disavows violence.

Writing in this week’s AJN, Wong told the Jewish community, “We see no role for Hamas … A Palestinian state cannot be in a position to threaten Israel’s security.”

Australia joined 142 other nations last Friday in a non-binding vote calling on the Palestinian Authority to become a full UN member and for the UN Security Council to “reconsider the matter favourably”. Nine countries voted against and 25 abstained.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has reportedly told the Labor caucus that he personally took the decision to vote yes.

Member for Macnamara Josh Burns, who is Jewish, publicly opposed his own government on the issue, describing Australia’s vote as a “miscalculation” and saying we should have abstained.

He said if his opposition to the government’s stance means he is a lone voice inside the ALP, then so be it.

“I don’t believe it’s in the community’s interest to throw a tantrum. I think it’s in the community’s interest for me to be a strong voice and to ensure that there are people inside government representing the views of the community and that’s what I will continue to do,” he said.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, also Jewish, said the resolution did not recognise a Palestinian state, nor did it give the Palestinian delegation membership of the UN or voting rights at the General Assembly.
NSW premier demotes Labor MP following criticism of police's treatment of Palestinian demonstration
New South Wales Premier Chris Minns has sacked Labor MP Anthony D'Adam from his parliamentary secretary roles, following his criticism of police tactics during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in March.

In a speech to the upper house late last night, Mr D'Adam, said the behaviour of the riot squad had "made a liar' out of Police Commissioner Karen Webb, who had previously said police adhered to ethical principles.

"It used fear and intimidation as a means of obtaining compliance," he said.

"We will not be intimidated, especially when we are trying to stop a genocide."

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the premier said he had informed Mr D'Adam his parliamentary secretary roles would be revoked.

Mr Minns said he had asked Mr D'Adam to withdraw his comments but he refused.

"Mr D'Adam did not raise his criticisms about NSW Police with me, the police minister or with NSW Police. The first we heard about it was his speech in parliament," the premier said.

"Mr D'Adam's comments do not represent the views of the NSW government.

"I have formed the view that his actions and criticisms of the NSW Police, without at any time speaking with colleagues to convey his concerns in relation to this matter, are incompatible with his position as parliamentary secretary."

The premier said earlier today that Mr D'Adam should not have made the speech.
Labor Senator Fatima Payman breaks ranks on Gaza
Federal Labor MP Fatima Payman has labelled Israel’s actions against Hamas in Gaza a genocide.

The hijab wearing Muslim Senator from Western Australia, who was born in Afghanistan, told journalists on Wednesday, “Instead of advocating for justice, I see our leaders performatively gesture defending the oppressor’s right to oppress, while gaslighting the global community about the rights of self-defence. My conscience has been uneasy for far too long and I must call this out for what it is.”

She ended her remarks by repeating the slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be a free”, a call for the destruction of Israel.

Payman was subsequently criticised by her own Prime Minister, with Anthony Albanese saying it’s not appropriate for her to use the slogan.

He said, “What’s appropriate is a two-state solution, where both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in security, in peace and in prosperity. It is not in the interests of either Israelis or Palestinians to advocate there just be one state.”

Other senior Labor people are reportedly also distancing themselves from her remarks.

Paymans’ comments come as the federal Senate voted 56 – 12 to condemn the use of the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

Labor supported a Coalition motion which stated that the slogan opposes Israel’s right to exist and is used by people who seek to intimidate Jewish Australians.

The Greens and independent Victorian Senator Lydia Thorpe voted against the motion. Senator Payman was not in the chamber for the vote.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin welcomed the Senate motion.

“The Greens stand in shame but that’s nothing new. But it is sad that motions setting the record straight on racist, annihilationist and violent slogans are even needed,” he said.
'Total lack of leadership': Labor slammed as 'Jew hatred takes hold'
Sky News host Andrew Bolt slams Labor’s “total lack of leadership” as hatred of Israel, and with it Jew hatred, “takes hold in Australia like never before”.

This comes after Labor senator Fatima Payman yesterday claimed Israel is committing genocide – before repeating the “from the river to the sea” chant.

"It is astonishing that an elected politician in the Australian parliament would wish the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world, the tiny country just a third of the size of Tasmania, he said.

Major parties back motion opposing use of the term ‘from the river to the sea’
Both major parties have backed a motion in the senate opposing the use of the pro-Palestinian phrase ‘from the river to the sea’.

This all comes in response to the phrase being used by Western Australia Labor Senator Fatima Payman.

Ms Payman accused Israel of committing a genocide in Gaza.

“The phrase from the river to the sea is not consistent with a two-state solution and it is that solution which is needed for peace and security of Palestinians and Israelis alike,” said Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

"We use our voice to advocate for a humanitarian ceasefire, for the release of hostages, for a two-state solution including by using our vote at the United Nations to add international momentum for a two-state solution."

Greens ‘causing harm, division, hatred’
Jewish leaders have condemned a call by the Australian Greens for Israel’s ambassador Amir Maimon (pictured) to be expelled after the IDF intensified its preparations to target Hamas strongholds in Rafah.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “must expel the Israeli ambassador while their government breaks international law and ignores the international community. Australia has a legal responsibility to make Israel comply with international law, including by taking steps like expelling the ambassador.”

Bandt called for the expulsion of Maimon for as long as Israel, in his view, breaches International Court of Justice provisions regarding aid. It followed Albanese’s letter to the Israeli government to reiterate Canberra’s concern about Rafah’s civilians, for which Israel stated it has provided a humanitarian zone.

On Gazan civilians, Albanese stated in his letter that “it’s not clear where they are supposed to go, given the destruction that’s occurred to housing in other parts of Gaza. We are very concerned about that. And my government’s position is very clear … we support a two-state solution.” But claiming the government did not go far enough, Bandt accused it of “inexcusable cowardice”.

Since October 7, the Greens have made numerous anti-Israel statements, and staged a walkout from the Senate in November, led by Senator Mehreen Faruqi wearing a keffiyeh and chanting, “Free, free Palestine”. In February, NSW state Greens MP Jenny Leong apologised after referring to “tentacles” of the “Jewish lobby”.

Maimon posted, “Lately, certain politicians are calling [for] the Australian government to expel the Israeli ambassador … Before I start packing I once again wish to invite those politicians to set aside 42 minutes in their schedules next week in Canberra to watch the raw footage, proudly recorded by Hamas terrorists on 7 October, when they put their genocidal antisemitic ideology into action – attempting to ethnically cleanse Israel of Jews, massacring and kidnapping Israeli women and children, and committing unspeakable crimes against humanity.”

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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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