Tuesday, May 28, 2024

From Ian:

In Knesset speech, Netanyahu decries false accusations, vows victory
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday responded to attacks against the Israel Defense Forces operation in Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza.

“In Rafah, we have evacuated about one million civilians. Tragically, despite our immense efforts to avoid harming non-combatants, an incident occurred yesterday,” Netanyahu said in reference to a mass-casualty event in the city that caused international outcry.

“For us, any noncombatant hurt is a tragedy; for Hamas, it is a strategy. That is the core difference,” he added, during a speech from the Knesset rostrum.

Israeli officials have told the Biden administration that shrapnel from the strike in Rafah may have ignited a fuel tank, starting a fire that engulfed tents housing displaced Gazans and leading to dozens of noncombatant deaths.

The targets of the strike were named as Yassin Rabia, head of Hamas’s Judea and Samaria headquarters, and Khaled Nagar, a senior official in the terrorist group’s Judea and Samaria wing.

The IDF spokesperson said earlier that the strike, based on intelligence and executed using precision weaponry, was carried out in accordance with international law.

In his speech, Netanyahu also pushed back against allegations that he is preventing a deal that would see the return to Israel of the 125 Israeli and other nationals—dead and alive—in exchange for a pause in fighting.

“The repeated false claims that we are the obstacle are not only harmful to the families—that much is obvious, and I sympathize with them,” he said. “But it goes beyond that: It delays the release of the hostages and undermines negotiations. Instead of focusing pressure on [Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar, who holds the hostages in his dungeons, the pressure is misdirected at the Israeli government.”

Netanyahu continued, “Israel is constantly asked to make concession after concession. So why would Sinwar feel any pressure? He sits in his bunker, rubbing his hands in satisfaction, delighted that others are doing the work for him.”
Seth Frantzman: All eyes are focused on Rafah as IDF moves forward
Rafah itself is divided into several areas. There is a refugee camp and another densely built-up area in Rafah city itself which is kind of fans out from the border. That means that as the IDF proceeds it gets close to the center of this fan, and beyond the center it will then face the dense Rafah camp area and only after that the less densely populated area closer to the sea. All eyes are on the IDF now because it is in a complex urban area, possibly at the height of the battle for the city.

The airstrike on May 26 that led to a fire that killed Gazans in Tell Sultan took place northwest of Rafah city and overlooks the Mediterranean. It consists of several planned neighborhoods. The area closest to the sea was built over formerly Jewish communities that were evacuated in the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza.

Rafiah Yam existed near the sea on the Egyptian border. Most of the area is now used to shelter displaced people, adjoining the Mawasi safe zone where Israel has encouraged people in Gaza to relocate throughout the war.

As the IDF advances along the frontier area it will secure most of the Gaza-Egypt border. This will cut off Hamas which has used the Rafah border to control and steal humanitarian aid reaching Gaza from Egypt.

When the battle began, Hamas was thought to have four battalions of fighters in Rafah, but it appears that many have dispersed to Khan Yunis or have retreated slightly from the border.

All eyes are on this area now. The deaths of civilians on May 26 and a clash which killed an Egyptian soldier on May 27 have increased concern about what may come next. The defeat of Hamas is key. However, even when the corridor is taken, there will be a lot more areas in Rafah that may need to be cleared.

Because the IDF is focusing on the corridor itself, and some urban areas, it is conducting an operation similar to the 2003 operation. The built-up areas of Rafah city and Rafah camp are both difficult to fight in and Hamas has likely festooned homes with threats.

In Rafah the border challenge is hard enough because of the matrix of tunnels and rocket launchers. Hamas had installed the rockets fired at Tel Aviv on Sunday a while ago, and launched them apparently because the IDF had reached a few hundred meters from the launch site.
IDF vows full probe into Rafah strike, shows evidence it was not in designated safe zone
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, in an English-language press conference, says the military is investigating the possibility that Hamas munitions stored in the area of a strike in southern Gaza’s Rafah on Sunday night caused a fire to spread and kill civilians.

“On Sunday, we eliminated senior Hamas terrorists in a targeted strike, on a compound used by Hamas in Rafah. The strike was based on precise intelligence that indicated that these terrorists, who were responsible for orchestrating and executing terror attacks against Israelis, were meeting inside this structure we targeted,” Hagari says.

“Sadly, following the strike, due to unforeseen circumstances, a fire ignited, taking the lives of Gazan civilians nearby. Despite our efforts to minimize civilian casualties during the strike, the fire that broke out was unexpected and unintended,” he continues.

Hagari says the deaths of the civilians in the strike is a “devastating incident, which we did not expect.” According to health authorities in Gaza, 45 people were killed.

“We are investigating what caused the fire that resulted in this tragic loss of life. An investigation is ongoing,” he says.

Showing imagery from the site, Hagari says the IDF “targeted a closed structure away from the tent area. There are no tents in the immediate vicinity.”

Is the genocide accusation antisemitic? Yes
Any factual examination of the war between Israel and Hamas would quickly and definitively show that Israel is not fighting to exterminate the residents of Gaza and is going to great lengths to keep civilians safe. Israel has given up enormous military advantages in order to warn civilians to leave before combat starts, most recently evacuating about a million people from Rafah before launching an operation to crush the last Hamas stronghold. Israel has allowed tens of thousands of trucks carrying food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid into Gaza over the course of the war and has worked with other countries and humanitarian organizations to increase the amount of aid that goes in.

And despite Hamas’s strategy of deliberately using human shields to protect its weapons and its fighters, Israel has achieved a civilian to combat death ratio of 1:1.5, possibly even 1.1, a historic achievement in the protection of civilians in modern warfare, where on average nine civilians are killed for every combatant death.

Not only is the genocide accusation an easily disproved lie, but those who created it are in fact projecting their own genocidal desires onto Israel. The purpose of the accusation has never been to protect civilians, but to protect Hamas and provide to support for Hamas’s openly genocidal goals.

It is no coincidence that at these antisemitic demonstrations where Israel is accused of genocide there is so much support for Hamas and even praise for the massacre of 1,200 people.

It is no surprise at all that these supposedly anti-genocide protests so often feature open calls for genocide, including “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free,” signs calling for a “Final Solution,” and threats of “10,000” October 7s, to name just a tiny fraction of the threats of mass murder that dominate these demonstrations.

The goal is to leave Israel defenseless so Hamas can continue to massacre its population with impunity into all the Jews are dead and gone. This is also the goal of South Africa’s attempt to charge Israel with genocide at the International Court of Justice, to protect the South African government’s friends in Hamas so they can be free to murder again.

There is nothing noble about these protests or South Africa’s legal case, whatever sheen of respectability the media attempts to give them. They are displays of hate masquerading as humanitarianism, and their leaders would cheer an actual genocide, like the Columbia student protest leader who said “Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

This week, law professor Alan Dershowitz called the anti-Israel student protesters “Hitler youth.” It is an apt comparison, given the goals of the Nazi and anti-Israel movements are so identical.

The history of antisemitism shows that hate based on ignorance is still hate. For students at Ivy League and elite universities, there is no excuse for such ignorance.

When you join with Nazi-like, pro-genocide marches and causes, you are an antisemite. There is no grey area, because whether it is the year 1144, 1944, or 2024, those who believe and act on antisemitic lies are antisemites through and through.
Seth Mandel: Hostage Deals and Israel’s Criminal-Justice System
The first takeaway here is the obvious one: the danger in releasing terrorists, who most of the time can be expected to return to their old ways. This is the subject of ongoing debate in Israel, where the imperative of redeeming captives must be weighed against the odds that future captives or victims will be part of the price of the deal.

But there is a secondary debate here, and Limor hints at it while some of the responses to her tweet say it outright. For a 2018 piece in an international law journal, Shelly Aviv Yeini studied the societal effects of the prisoner exchanges and found that they had begun to corrode public faith in the criminal-justice system. Yeini and others note that this distrust is at least partially behind various attempts over the years to reintroduce the death penalty. (Israel technically allows for capital punishment, but it is essentially a dead letter.)

Writes Yeini: “There is a sentiment among people that justice is not being achieved, since a perpetrator who is brought to trial and convicted may not need to complete his time in prison as they might be released the next day through an exchange. When people lose trust in the system, they tend to seek their own means of justice. This is a dangerous phenomenon that harms the very core of democracy.”

Put simply, often when terrorists are jailed for heinous crimes, neither they nor the public believe they’ll serve their full time. And the process that leads to their early release may put additional lives in danger. Israel is highly unlikely to reintroduce the death penalty but, like any state, it relies on public legitimacy to curtail vigilantism and provide stability in governance. Najjar’s taunting of his victims’ families at his sentencing is also a reminder that Israelis aren’t the only ones who have noticed the pattern.

Bassam Tawil: Guess Which 'Moderate' Palestinian Terrorist Group Participated In the October 7 Massacre
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah faction headed by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, participated in the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel. Many in the West consider Fatah, which dominates the PA, to be a "moderate" party that wants to live in peace and harmony with Israel. We have been told many times by Palestinian officials that Fatah's armed wing was dismantled.

In a video message published earlier this month, Abu Mohammed, the official spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said: "On October 7, our heroes in the brave unit participated in the invasion of the colonies surrounding Gaza and the [Israeli military] bases known as the Gaza Division, and together with our brothers in the Palestinian struggle organizations captured many Zionists. Some of them were transferred to us and some are still in our hands."

Abu Mohammed disclosed that members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are currently participating in the fighting against the Israeli army in Gaza and have carried out more than 470 "military missions" since Oct. 7.

In November 2023, Fatah released a video showing Fatah terrorists firing Kalashnikov rifles at an Israeli kibbutz. A Fatah terrorist then presents captured Israeli military equipment and says: "We have plundered from them....Today we broke into the military post Nahal Oz [a civilian kibbutz] and we hit what we hit, we took as plunder what we took, and we killed soldiers and stepped on their heads."

The video is clear evidence that Abbas's Fatah loyalists have been working in coordination with Hamas. Their participation shows that there is little distinction between Fatah and Hamas. This is why, after Hamas is removed from power, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority cannot be trusted to rule Gaza. Both Fatah and Hamas are outspokenly proud of their attacks on Jews. They seem to be competing to prove to the Palestinians who can carry out more attacks against Israel.
The flawed notion of a 'renewed Palestinian Authority'
The U.S. is failing in its attempt to transform the Palestinian Authority and establish what American envoys call a "renewed Palestinian Authority," as a prelude to what will eventually become a Palestinian state. However, what suits the U.S. does not necessarily suit Israel.

A Palestinian state, particularly now, is a security threat to Israel. It also directly rewards the murderers and perpetrators of the Oct. 7 massacre and could embolden Palestinians in the West Bank to replicate such an event against Israel's population centers.

Yet, it is gradually becoming apparent to the Biden administration as well, though it does not admit it, that there is no truly "renewed" Palestinian Authority. This is evident from the high number of incidents in which PA officers and security personnel are involved in terrorist activities or firing on Israel Defense Forces operating against terrorism.

Since 2021, more than 120 members of the Palestinian security forces have been killed while attempting to carry out attacks. In 2023-2024, over 150 attacks and attempted attacks can be attributed to Palestinian police officers and members of the PA security apparatus.

In counterterrorism and arrest operations, not only Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives are being neutralized or arrested, but also hundreds of Fatah members. More and more joint terrorist networks of rival groups such as Fatah, Hamas, PIJ, and the PFLP are being exposed.
UNRWA Is in Trouble
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is in trouble. Recent Israeli reports that certain personnel were deeply involved in Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel; that more than 450 employees are "military operatives" within Hamas and other terrorist organizations; and that numerous UNRWA institutions were used as cover for Hamas arsenals, warehouses, military installations, and computer servers, have triggered unprecedented anger toward UNRWA.

For decades, UNRWA has declined to make meaningful reforms with regard to prohibiting the employment of or provision of services to members and supporters of terrorist organizations. Donor nations should demand - on threat of suspension of financial support - that UNRWA immediately implement a system to vet all current area staff and initiate a vetting process to ensure that terrorists, their supporters, and their immediate families do not receive UNRWA benefits.

UNRWA applies a unique definition of "refugees" - different from every other refugee context globally - based on patrilineal lineage to persons displaced from their homes in the 1947-49 war, regardless of their current citizenship. The result is that UNRWA's 5.9 million registered refugees include millions of beneficiaries who would not merit inclusion based on the universally recognized definition of refugees.

Donor countries should demand that continued financial aid to UNRWA be contingent on aligning the agency's definition of "refugee" with the language in the UN Convention on Refugees. The move would strike millions from UNRWA rolls and allow huge savings in the agency's operations.

UNRWA schools continue to expose students to antisemitic, anti-peace, jihadist, and other inflammatory or unbalanced material. All expressions of antisemitism and other content incompatible with UN principles should be removed from educational materials employed in UNRWA schools. Donor nations should insist that continued funding of UNRWA schools and their personnel is contingent on vetting all resources used in schools by a team of independent experts.

Yet even the most robust reform process will not fix what ails UNRWA in Gaza if the territory remains under the influence of Hamas and other terrorist groups. For this reason, Israel's success in achieving its principal war aim - dismantling Hamas's military capacity and political governance - is essential for ending the group's regime of fear imposed on the people of Gaza, and is a prerequisite for any serious effort at UNRWA reform there.
Diplomats say UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting after deadly Rafah strike
The UN Security Council has convened an emergency meeting for Tuesday, diplomats tell AFP, after an Israeli strike targeting two senior Hamas figures also reportedly killed dozens of Palestinians at a displaced persons camp in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The closed-door meeting was requested by Algeria, which is currently a non-permanent member of the council, diplomats say.

IDF tanks roll into central Rafah in unprecedented thrust into city
The tanks were spotted near Al-Awda mosque, a central Rafah landmark, the witnesses said.

The Jerusalem Post contacted the IDF, but the Israeli military declined to comment on the development, choosing instead to defer the Reuters report.

This report comes as IDF troops continued to operate in the Rafah area overnight. IDF soldiers operated along the Philadelphi Corridor while conducting precise operations based on intelligence indicating terror targets.

Four IDF brigades operate in Rafah
KAN reported that four IDF brigades operated in Rafah in the past day and began expanding the ground maneuver into new areas, including central Rafah. These include the 401st Armored Brigade, the Nahal Brigade, the 12th Brigade, and the Bislach Brigade that entered Rafah overnight.

This news follows extensive reports that the IDF succeeded in evacuating around 950,000 Palestinian civilians in only two weeks since May 6.

Around 30-40% of Rafah is now under IDF control, not merely a small portion of the eastern sector, and about 60-70% of Rafah has been completely evacuated.

Evacuees from northern Israel demand elimination of Hezbollah threat
Evacuees from Israel’s north set up a tent encampment on Tuesday outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem to protest their ongoing displacement due to daily attacks by the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“We’ve been unable to return to our homes for more than seven months. We won’t go back until we know we’re safe,” Raphael Salve, co-founder of Lobby 1701, a group representing displaced people from northern towns and villages, told JNS.

Lobby 1701 is named after the U.N. Security Council Resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War and mandated that Hezbollah terrorists remain north of the Litani River, around 18 miles from the Israeli border.

The Lebanese Shi’ite group has since entrenched itself along the frontier, violating the resolution.

“We don’t want there to be an agreement with Hezbollah. We want a full-fledged operation and intense military pressure,” said Salve, who has relocated from Kiryat Shmona to Jerusalem with his wife and five children.

Over 60,000 residents from more than 40 northern communities located within 6.2 miles of the Lebanon border have been internally displaced since Hezbollah joined Hamas’s war against the Jewish state following the Gaza-based terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre.

Hezbollah attacks have killed more than 20 Israelis and led to extensive damage to property.

Israel Investigates Civilian Casualties Following Strike on Hamas Officials in Rafah
Latest Developments
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) opened an inquiry on May 26 into an IDF strike on Hamas in western Rafah the night before that resulted in the reported deaths of Gaza civilians via a blaze triggered at a nearby tent camp. Israel’s top military lawyer, Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi described the incident as “very grave” and said that the IDF is “committed to conducting [an investigation into the incident] to the fullest extent.” The IDF said the strike had killed two top Hamas officials — Yassin Rabia, the commander of Hamas in the West Bank, and Khaled Nagar, another senior member of the same unit — who were responsible for planning, funding, and carrying out terrorist attacks throughout the West Bank and Israel.

The IDF said that the western Rafah strike was conducted outside of a designated humanitarian area nearby and was based on intelligence that a senior Hamas terrorist was present at the site of the strike. A military source told the Times of Israel that two missiles whose warheads were adapted and “reduced in size” were used in the IDF strike. In a statement to the media, the IDF said it took steps to reduce harm to civilians, including “aerial surveillance, the use of precision munitions, and additional intelligence information.”

Expert Analysis
“In the wake of the tragic incident, the IDF immediately took responsibility for the strike, offered regrets for harm to noncombatants, and opened an investigation. The IDF’s mechanisms of accountability present a stark contrast to the Hamas terror regime, which continues to relentlessly target Israeli civilians while intentionally and repeatedly peddling disinformation to the media.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Loss of innocent life in war is tragic, and Israel took significant steps to avoid civilian casualties in this incident. The use of human shields is a war crime that cannot be normalized or legitimized. Hamas cannot use this continuous war crime as a veto over Israel’s inherent right to self-defense. The United States should put forward a Security Council resolution imposing United Nations sanctions on Hamas for being a terrorist group that targets civilians and uses human shields to defend itself. Washington should also consider Shields Act sanctions for UNRWA and others helping Hamas use human shields.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Hamas Continues Sending Rocket Barrages Toward Israel From Rafah

The IDF carried out the strike in Rafah hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at central Israel from the southern Gaza city on May 26, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis into bomb shelters. On May 5, Hamas attacked Israel’s Kerem Shalom humanitarian crossing, killing four soldiers. Hamas also targeted the Kerem Shalom crossing on May 8 and May 23.

Netanyahu Calls Incident a ‘Tragic Accident’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a speech to the Knesset on May 27 that “despite our supreme effort not to harm uninvolved civilians, a tragic accident occurred to our regret last night.” Netanyahu also vowed that Israel would continue fighting in Gaza until “every goal has been achieved.”

“Those who say they are not ready to stand up to the pressure raise the flag of defeat. I won’t raise any such flag. I will keep fighting until the flag of victory is raised,” he added.
IDF says it used small munitions in Rafah strike, believes ammo sparked secondary explosion
The Israeli military suspects munitions or some other combustible substance it was unaware of caused a secondary explosion and a fire to spread in a complex housing displaced Gazans in southern Gaza’s Rafah, killing Palestinian civilians, following an airstrike on two top Hamas terrorists in the area.

The military says it had been tracking Hamas commanders Yassin Rabia and Khaled Najjar ahead of the strike on a compound they were in on Sunday night, in the Tel Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah. According to the IDF’s intelligence, the area had been used for Hamas activity, with a rocket launcher just a few dozen meters away from where the two commanders were killed.

The military says the strike did not take place in the designated “humanitarian zone” in the al-Mawasi region on the coast, where the military has called Palestinians to evacuate to. The targeted Hamas compound is more than a kilometer away from the humanitarian zone.

According to the IDF, the strike was not intended to harm any civilians and it had carried out steps ahead of the attack to ensure that no women or children were in the Hamas compound.

Israeli fighter jets also used two small munitions in the strike, each with a 17-kilogram warhead (37-pound), in an attempt to prevent any civilian casualties, given the close proximity to the camp for displaced Palestinians.

Still, following the strike, a fire spread in the adjacent complex where Palestinian civilians were sheltering. According to Hamas health authorities in Gaza, 45 people were killed and dozens more were wounded.

The two small missiles on their own would not have been enough to spark the fire, according to the IDF’s initial probe.
IDF source: Rafah fire may have been caused by Hamas munitions
The Israeli military is investigating the possibility that the deadly fire that broke out in Rafah on Sunday night following an Israeli airstrike may have been caused by the secondary detonation of Hamas munitions, a military official said on Tuesday.

Two of the smallest type of munition that can be loaded onto fighter jets, each carrying 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds) of explosives, were used in the strike, the official said. This type of munition has been used hundreds of times by the IAF over the course of the war, he added.

“We are looking into the possibility that weapons stored in the compound next to our target may have ignited the fire,” the official said.

“It should be noted Hamas has been operating from this area since October 7,” he added, noting that a Hamas rocket launcher was located 47 meters away from the compound targeted on Sunday night.

The attack, which targeted a structure in Tal as-Sultan in northwest Rafah, was based on intelligence indicating the presence there of Yassin Rabia, the commander of leadership in Judea and Samaria, and Khaled Nagar, a senior official in Hamas’s Judea and Samaria headquarters.

The military official emphasized on Tuesday that the strike occurred 1.5 kilometers away from the humanitarian evacuation zone established by the IDF.

Calls to murder Jews after explosion in Rafah
Palestinian Arab media is accusing Israel of a "massacre" at the temporary camp north of Rafah, after according to them eight missiles were launched at the site, causing 30 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

A Telegram Channel affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group published calls for revenge against Israel for the "massacre" in Rafah.

"The solution now is to be armed. The solution now is bloodshed. The solution now is to die for Allah," read one message.

"The solution now is to answer the call to enlist by Abu Khaled (Mohamed Deif, the commander of the Hamas militant wing) on October 7th. The solution now is not a strike or a march. The solution is war."

Another message stated: "You sons of al-Karmi, A'biyat, Ayash, Tawalbeh, Jaradat, Barghouti, al-Hunud, and Ayat (Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad officials who Israel eliminated), you sons of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the inside (within 1967 Israel), you who carry weapons: kill them (the Jews) every place you find them."

Inside the clandestine IDF unit that rendered Hamas' 'game-changing' weapon useless
A long row of explosives was lined up at our feet. A few days after Oct. 7, chaos engulfed the Julis base. In a large warehouse stood the combat equipment used by Nukhba terrorists in the Gaza periphery massacre, including RPG launchers, Kalashnikov rifles, and grenades as well as the explosives Hamas had hoped to use by having terrorists run toward IDF armored fighting vehicles, attach explosive devices, and then flee. But their plan failed.

"As early as 2019, we began hearing about these explosives and developing a plan to counteract them," said Lt. Col. (res.) A., commander of the technological theater field teams within the Research Division of the Military Intelligence Directorate. "We identified the threat and devised a straightforward solution, which we kept secret for years. On Oct. 7, the terrorists employed these explosives on vehicles, destroying them and their occupants. We realized this was our moment of truth and started equipping hundreds of tanks with new armor, which proved effective – Hamas' supposed game-changer collapsed at the critical moment due to our simple, yet effective, solution."

Back to the beginning
This unit is small and specialized, consisting of only 8-10 soldiers, both in regular and reserve service. Some of them are former combatants, operating in an extremely classified manner. It is unique not only because its members physically go into the field to examine combat equipment but also because they focus on deciphering the enemy's equipment rather than addressing failures of our own.

During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the unit made history by acquiring a Russian Kornet anti-tank missile launcher and its missiles for the first time in the West. Since then, they have operated in the field to understand the enemy's capabilities and enable the IDF to strike effectively.

I met the commanders of the field teams in the Gaza periphery, in a massive staging area where tanks awaited orders to move eastward toward Gaza. A. guided us among the tanks, explaining the unit's capabilities as much as possible, with a soldier nearby to ensure no classified information was revealed.

"We are essentially a technological unit whose mission is to learn about the equipment, explosives, and ammunition from the battlefield," explained Maj. B., head of the explosives department in the ground munitions testing branch. "We collaborate with all units, receiving a lot of equipment from which we learn extensively."

A. emphasized, "We were not surprised by the combat equipment on October 7. We knew everything they had. However, there are always new lessons to be learned. For example, we discovered the terrorists' use of 3D printers for field equipment. We found a clamp they used to attach a rocket to a drone. While we were aware of the drone threat since 2018, we are continually learning new things."
IDF is using unmanned M113s in Gaza - report
A report posted on social media claimed to show an unmanned Israeli M113 armored personnel carrier moving around in an area near Rafah. A video and accompanying photos showed the M113, which is considered an obsolete and old armored vehicle platform vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and RPGS, moving slowly in semi-urban terrain.

Other comments on social media said that the M113, which is also known as a “Zelda” in Hebrew, claimed the vehicle was unmanned and that this new technology had been used since the war began. Discussion on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, say these unmanned armored personnel carriers (APCs) have played a key role in the battle for the Philadelphi corridor in Rafah, the area that runs for seven miles along the border of Gaza and Egypt. The unmanned APCs have been used to move further west along the corridor, extending operations towards the sea.

The IDF has been trying to find ways to repurpose the M113s for years. After 2014, it was decided to replace the aging system, which was first introduced in the 1960s. The vehicles are small, slow, and vulnerable to anti-armor weapons. However, they can be used in all types of auxiliary roles. For instance, they can be used in rear areas.

They can transport people. Israel has hundreds of active M113s and thousands in army depots that it can use, but the platforms are aging. Finding ways to make them relevant, rather than just let them collect dust, has been a challenge. One role for them was to put mortars on them so they could be used for firing 120 mm. mortars. Israel isn’t the only country trying to upgrade M113s. A report at Israel Defense earlier this year said Greece was turning to Israel to upgrade its own fleet of around 600 M113s.
IDF downs 2 drones targeting Eilat in attack claimed by Iran-backed Iraqi militia
Two explosive-laden drones heading toward Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat from the eastern direction — apparently originating in Iraq — were downed by air defenses, the military said.

According to the IDF, the two drones were intercepted by a fighter jet and ground-based air defense systems.

Both projectiles did not enter Israeli airspace, it added.

Video footage shared on social media showed an interceptor missile downing a suspected drone, resulting in an explosion.

The attack, which set off air raid sirens in Eilat, was claimed by the Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

In a statement, the militia claimed it launched three drones at IDF positions in Eilat in an attack it said was in support of Palestinians in Gaza. It also released a video purporting to show the launch of the drones used in the strike.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq — a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, itself a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces — has claimed dozens of drone attacks on Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, with the IDF reporting downing many of them. Many of the militia’s claims have been exaggerated, but in one case it managed to hit an Israeli Navy base in Eilat, causing damage.

Last week, it took credit for drone attacks that it said targeted Eilat and Haifa, all of which were thwarted, though part on an interceptor missile impacted in the northern city of Safed, sparking a fire. The IDF said it was investigating the incident, in which no one was injured.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad publishes propaganda video of hostage Sasha Trufanov
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video showing hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov in the Gaza Strip.

The nearly 30-second-long video was not dated, and no further information indicated when it could have been filmed.

In the clip, Trufanov identifies himself and says that in the coming days, he will speak about what happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

On October 7, thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst across the border into Israel, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages. About half of them remain captive in Gaza.

Trufanov’s relatives said they were happy to see a sign of life and desperate for him to return home.

“To see him today on television is very happy, but also heartbreaking because he is still in captivity,” said his mother, Yelena. “I call on all decision-makers, please do everything to bring him and all the hostages home now.”

Sasha’s girlfriend, Sapir Cohen, said: “We are waiting for you to come home already, and we’re doing everything we can for it to happen soon.”

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, an NGO that represents most families of hostages, issued a statement saying “the sign of life from Alex Trufanov is further and clear proof that the Israeli government should give a significant mandate to the negotiating team, which could lead to a deal for the return of all the abducted, the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for burial.”

The War Against Israel in the Courts Is a Danger to Britain's Armed Forces, Too
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, announced he is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's prime minister and defense minister - potentially the first ever arrest warrant to be issued against the leader of a democratic Western nation.

In the perverse otherworld view of the ICC, it is Israel's leaders who are seeking "extermination," "intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population" and "starving" civilians. No impartial observer could reasonably conclude that Israeli leaders are committing such heinous crimes. On the contrary, Israel has made extensive efforts to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza's civilian population, totaling more than 550,000 tons since Oct. 7.

What other country is expected to support and sustain those trying to destroy it? But Israel rightly does all this despite the knowledge that Hamas misappropriates much of this aid and despite the presence of terrorists within UN aid facilities in Gaza.

The ICC's move is a grotesque overreach. It will have profound implications for the UK and other democratic nations in an increasingly dangerous world. Lawfare and the politicization of armed conflict puts Britain's own Armed Forces at great risk.

Terrorist groups and their sympathizers - in tandem with disruptive state actors - are exploiting the very international bodies set up to counter them. South Africa's vexatious case at the International Court of Justice is another alarming example.

The ICC move is illegitimate, immoral and beyond the limits of its competence. It violates the Court's charter and integrity. Sadly, we in the West will all be dealing with its consequences for years to come.
Caroline Glick: The ICC Ruling Against Israel is a Moral Atrocity
The ICC immorally and illegally decided that Hamas and Israel are the same, leftist Israelis once again misread the Israeli public and a reservist soldier is arrested for wanting victory.

It Ain’t What You Say, It’s The Way That You Say It
Now that the International Court of Justice has issued its latest ruling on the Israel/Hamas war, world media spanning the spectrum from the BBC to Al Jazeera (yes, I know) are trumpeting that it has ordered Israel to stop fighting in Rafah. As readers here will know, the Israeli government interprets the ruling differently, saying that it only requires them not to do anything genocidal, which isn’t a problem because they haven’t and won’t.

Israel’s reading isn’t just the desperate and far-fetched pleading of a convicted felon, it’s supported by several of the Court’s own judges. Of the five who have added their own commentary to the ruling, four (one of whom is Israel’s own, temporary member, Aharon Barak) have said they interpret it the same way. The only one out of the other eleven to state that the ruling is an absolute ban is the South African judge, Dire Tladi, who has no more of a claim to impartiality than Barak does.

All of this is the result of the Court’s strangely Delphic pronouncement. The crucial part is a single, one-sentence paragraph in the Conclusions:
50. The Court considers that, in conformity with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, Israel must immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

But why is it so opaque? A clearer statement would also have been easier to draft and they could have simply said that Israel must stop. Had they even chosen merely to leave out one or other of the two commas, the paragraph would say what the BBC claims it does. But they didn’t.

The Times of Israel has an interesting analysis of the decision in which the author points out that it’s not unusual for judges to finesse words to produce a document that all of them, or as many as possible, can sign on to. I think that’s probably right in this case too, but I think there’s also something else.

I don’t believe the ICJ actually could have ordered Israel to stop, without either producing new, definitive evidence of genocide—which, if they had it, they would have presented (and been both duty-bound and happy to do so)—or prejudicing their own, ongoing investigation into exactly that question. The Court has no powers to simply order fighting to cease, let alone for one side to surrender, in the absence of war crimes. The whole premise of the laws of armed conflict, after all, is that war is fixture of the human condition, can’t be effectively banished and is indeed sometimes justified. All the law aims to do is tame the worst excesses. I’m happy to admit that international law is not my strongest suit, but I don’t think they can say “You must stop because you could commit genocide” either. To whom does that not apply? In view of that, the Israeli government’s (and Ghanaian, German, Romanian and Israeli judges’) interpretation has to be the correct one: If Israel’s not committing genocide, it’s free to fight on.

The question still remains of why Paragraph 50 is so ambiguous. Why not simply say what I just did, in more impressive legal language? In fact, you’d think clarity on that of all points, the core issue before them, would have been imperative if their whole concern was for the protection of innocents. Were they not capable of better prose? Clearly they are; the rest of their ruling may be turgid, but it’s clear enough. So then it’s obscure by choice. Why? If there’s an alternative explanation to this, I’m not seeing it: Too many of the judges were not willing to say outright “Israel can conduct its war in Rafah if it’s sufficiently careful.” The corollary to which is that they wanted to say what they knew they could not: “Israel must stop fighting.” Whatever else they are, the judges are not naive. They can’t not have known that Israel’s enemies would leap on their peculiar formulation and present it as a clear command to Israel. Whether out of tender concern for Palestinian innocents or animus toward Israel, Their Excellencies get to have their cake and eat it: Israel will be pilloried for flouting the court’s ruling and pressured to halt, but their own hands remain (relatively) clean.

Nothing Justifies the Taking of Hostages
Taking innocent civilians and locking them away without a trace is unacceptable, especially in the case of women and children.

Rule 96 of the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages is very clear: "The taking of hostages is prohibited."

Hostages are not prisoners. They are not charged with any crime. There is no due process.

America experienced this barbaric act with the taking of hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979.

Regardless of politics, the reality of hostage-taking is cruel and unthinkable, no matter why or where.
“Ocean’s Eleven” May Yet Become “From the River to the Sea”
Middle East heat indices aside, the truest hot spot on the planet is, always, wherever the Israeli Defense Forces happens to be killing Muslims, no matter the reason.

Jews taking the lives of Arabs always commands the world’s attention. Muslims killing Muslims—such as the savage sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis, with a body count in the millions—is never newsworthy.

A cause of death brought about by Jews, however, is of special interest to the “human rights” community. Jews fighting for their survival after the Holocaust, Israelis facing unambiguous existential threats—that’s precisely when the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court all awake from their naps. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International re-enact the Maytag Repairman TV commercial—watchdogs over Jews alone, even before Israel has the chance to retaliate.

Remember how words like “de-escalate” and “ceasefire” entered the public discourse almost instantly after the October 7 massacre?

For the entirety of Israel’s brief history, it has been forced to defend itself against Arab armies and Islamic terrorists—in Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973; against Palestinians murdering random Israelis during the First and Second Intifada in 1987 and 2000, respectively; against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006; and Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2021 and 2023.

Each campaign was waged in self-defense. Not once was Israel the aggressor. Peace treaties were eventually negotiated with Egypt and Jordan—but Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and, of course, Iran have never retired the language denying Israel’s existence and promising its elimination.

And, yet, that’s not how Israel’s existential vulnerability gets reported. The public ignorance about the genocidal maniacs who are Israel’s next-door neighbors is truly astounding. Decade after decade and hundreds of thousands of rockets launched, indiscriminately, not at Israel’s army but its civilian population centers.

Why do you think the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems, and roadside bunkers and bomb shelters, became a national priority? Suicide bombings, car ramming, knife-wielding assassins—that’s the reason for the shared-border security barriers and checkpoints.

Irish government rewards Palestinian terrorism with a state
Today is a sad day for Ireland-Israel relations and for the nation of Ireland, as almost eight months after the horrors of the October 7 massacre, our political leaders have rewarded Palestinian terrorism with the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

Following the worst loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, Ireland’s new Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Simon Harris, has started as he means to go on - rewarding Palestinian terrorism.

The Ireland Israel Alliance, which I founded six years ago, opposes the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, as do many others in Ireland, including the vast majority of Ireland’s beleaguered Jewish community. We believe that such a move rewards terrorism and that rather than bringing a peaceful resolution to this tragic conflict, it will only further inflame tensions. Already, Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland, Dana Erlich, has been recalled to Israel for consultations.

Only last month, the Irish government parties stated that the diplomatic representative of the Jewish State was not welcome at their party conferences, while Taoiseach Simon Harris and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin sought to lead the charge on Ireland’s recognition, while lobbying other EU member states to follow suit.

The message from our political class is clear: the reward for Hamas terrorism and the punishment for Israel’s self-defense is a Palestinian State. Indeed, the Taoiseach could not even afford a full sentence from his remarks at a recent Party conference to the innocents still being brutally held captive in Gaza. Not to mention the lame lip service the new Fine Gael leader offered to the families of the Israeli hostages still held in Gaza by Hamas.

Following a recent security incident targeting the embassy in Ireland, the Irish government decided to fan the flames and cross the picket line to join the voices of hate and violence in our society. This marks a persistent pattern in the Irish political response to October 7 - from UNWRA’s links with Hamas, to saying Irish-Israeli citizen Emily Hand had been ‘lost and found’, to ongoing efforts by the IDF to rescue the hostages, to demonizing Israel and denying Palestinian responsibility for their terrorism. This latest escalation is not the end. There will undoubtedly be further provocations to come – until sense returns, or until the cord linking Dublin and Jerusalem is finally severed.
Ireland's "Progressive" Elite Has Fallen for a Lie
Ireland has taken its Israelophobic fetish to a new level.

On Wednesday - seven months after the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust - it joined Norway and Spain in unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state.

While the prime minister, Simon Harris, insisted that "Hamas is not the Palestinian people," the terror group enjoys majority Palestinian support.

In truth, without a credible plan for Israeli security, the two-state solution is currently simply a staging-post for the final solution.

Given the absence of a single meaningful democracy in the Arab world, the chances of a democratic State of Palestine are not good.

If a future Palestinian state turned into an Iranian-sponsored terroristan - a second Gaza - would Ireland's leader accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide (until the Jews succumbed to ethnic cleansing and genocide themselves)?

In the 1940s, during the movement for Israeli independence, Ireland supported the Jewish insurgency in Palestine, viewing it as a struggle for indigenous self-determination against imperial Britain.

In the late sixties, however, the rise of radical academics forcibly reinvented the identity of the Jews of Israel, replacing a persecuted, non-Caucasian people rooted in the Middle East with a fantasy of Aryan imperialist invaders.

Such obvious bunkum is credible only in a world of Israelophobia.
Ireland joins Spain, Norway in recognizing Palestinian state
Ireland joined Spain and Norway on Tuesday in officially recognizing a “sovereign and independent” Palestinian state, agreeing to “establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.”

According to the Irish government, “An Ambassador of Ireland to the State of Palestine will be appointed along with a full Embassy of Ireland in Ramallah.”

Dublin also reiterated its call “for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Israeli hostages and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”

Ireland’s announcement came on the heels of Spain’s formal recognition of a “State of Palestine” within the 1967 lines, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital and including the Gaza Strip.

“With this decision, Spain joins the more than 140 countries that already recognize Palestine,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at an event marking the announcement. “This is a historic decision that has a single goal: to contribute to achieving peace between Israelis and [Palestinians].”

For the Palestinian state to be viable, he continued, Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip must be connected via a corridor; eastern Jerusalem must be its capital; and it must be unified under the “legitimate government” of the Palestinian Authority.

Oslo also announced its formal recognition of Palestine on Tuesday.

“For more than 30 years, Norway has been one of the strongest advocates for a Palestinian state,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide ahead of the move.
Irish PM: 'If Palestine isn't recognized now, later may be too late'
The unilateral recognition of Palestine by Ireland, Spain, and Norway formally took effect on Wednesday amid calls by the three governments for other Western countries to follow suit.

“The viability of the Palestinian state” is “hanging by a thread,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris told his country’s lower parliament on Tuesday.

“If [other] countries do not now take this formal step to recognize Palestine, I fear there may not be the opportunity in the future. Now is the time to act. The [pre-]1967 borders have slowly been eaten away. And this cannot continue,” he stated.

Israel has sharply criticized the recognition claiming that it rewards Hamas for its October 7 invasion of Israel, in which over 1,200 people were killed and another 252 were seized as hostages and taken to Gaza.

Last week Israel recalled its envoys from those three countries for consultations and it summoned the Irish, Spanish, and Norwegian Ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry to watch a video of five of the hostages taken at the moment of their capture by Hamas.

Harris charged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s was the “most right-wing” government in the country’s history, noting that it has said it “will never accept a Palestinian state.”

Harris stressed that he was “disappointed” by Israel’s reactions and its treatment of the Irish, Spanish, and Norwegian ambassadors.
HHS secretary Becerra ‘misspoke’ at World Health Assembly when seeming to recognize ‘Palestine’
Xavier Becerra, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, did not mean to reflect a change in American policy when he referred during a speech at the 77th World Health Assembly to “Israel and Palestine,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told JNS.

During his remarks in Geneva, Switzerland, Becerra appeared to recognize “Palestine” as a formal entity and referred to a “cycle” of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The health and security of each nation is irrevocably connected to the health and security of people everywhere,” the former California attorney general said at the gathering of the body which is part of the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency.

“That is why the tragic, avoidable loss of life and cycle of destruction and dislocation between Israel and Palestine must stop immediately,” he added. “We need a ceasefire agreement that leads to the release of hostages, a surge in humanitarian assistance into Gaza, and the road to a two-state solution.”

“Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live safely, with dignity and in peace,” he said.

“There is no change in policy. Secretary Becerra misspoke and was not recognizing Palestine as an independent state,” a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told JNS.

After JNS sought comment from the department, an official transcript on the U.S. department’s website now has “Israel and Palestine” crossed out and replaced with “Israelis and Palestinians.”

The department spokesperson also told JNS that the secretary was referring not to a “cycle” of violence between a close U.S. ally and a terror organization that Washington has designated for nearly 30 years.
Hamas’s Claims of Moderation Are an Old Ploy
While Hamas watches international institutions accuse Israel of imaginary war crimes and world opinion condemn Israel for a successful strike on Hamas operatives, some of its spokesmen are suggesting that it is considering moderating its goals. Neomi Neumann and Matthew Levitt explain that such rhetoric is entirely disingenuous:
Within a month of the [October 7] attack, the Hamas Shura Council member Khalil al-Hayya . . . floated the idea of a truce with Israel that could last five years or more based on the pre-1967 ceasefire lines, envisioning a unified Palestinian government that includes Hamas and governs both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Last month, the senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh proposed restructuring the PLO to include all Palestinian factions.

Yet, Neumann and Levitt argue, these statements don’t really contradict other statements by Hamas leaders that it will “repeat the October 7 attacks, time and again, until Israel is annihilated.”

Hamas has a long history of hinting at moderation as a means of gaining international support so it can continue “resistance” through political means.

Hamas was and will remain a “liberation” movement with a cohesive identity, which includes a national component that defines its goal (a state) and a religious component that defines both its borders (“between the river and the sea”) and character (Islamist). . . . Hamas’s post-October 7 situation will not change its policy, which is a function of the group’s fundamental identity and purpose and thus inflexible. Hamas’s statements about a Palestinian state are an attempt to demonstrate pragmatism without changing its basic conceptual framework.

ABC described Hamas rocket attack on Tel Aviv as a ‘show of resilience’
Sky News host Sharri Markson says the ABC has described Hamas rocket attacks on Tel Aviv as “show of resilience”.

Ms Markson said the post describes the “terrorist group” Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Israeli MP Sharren Haskel has joined Sky News host Sharri Markson to discuss the ABC’s post.

The Israel Guys: BREAKING: Egypt Opens Fire on Israel and the ICC Requests Arrest Warrant for Bibi Netanyahu
The International Criminal court is seeking to issue an arrest warrant for Bibi Netanyahu for Crimes against humanity, Germany is saying they will honor it. Also a full update on Israel’s continued war with Gaza, and Egypt opens fire on Israel.

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

*Correction: In the show I say that the ICC issued arrest warrants, I meant to say the applied to issue the warrants.

Jonny Gould's Jewish State: Iran's War on Israel News Bulletin with Jonny Gould
Iran's war against Israel emerges from behind its terror proxies across the Middle East.

Since Iran's unprecedented direct attack on Israel, Jonny compiles and hosts a regular news bulletin rounding up major stories as the Middle East conflict is being realised as the Iran-Israel War.

These regular bulletins expose the Iran Octopus as the prime mover in the Middle East conflict.

The top stories in this bulletin.

Norway, Spain and Ireland join the European chorus in proposing to recognise a Palestinian statehood, which Israel calls a reward for the brutal terrorism of October 7th.

As Hamas takes its last stand in Rafah, Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas take a fresh barrage of rocket fire from the south of Gaza.

The IDF complete a 40-hour counter terror strike on Jenin and Iraq continues to emerge as a drone and missile threat to Israel's east.

We hear from Jason Greenblatt, Emily Schrader and Imshin AKA Jacqui Peleg.

The Quad: Survivor: Hamas Terrorist Attacked Me with a Machete
This week, the Quad interviews Tal Hartuv (formerly known as Kay Wilson) the survivor of a brutal machete attack at the hands of Palestinian terrorists that left her friend dead and left her with multiple stab wounds and broken bones. She tells the harrowing tale of how she survived, what she learned and how she is using her experience to help document and heal Oct. 7th survivors.

The Quad also discusses the International Criminal Court's (ICC) application for arrest warrants for Hamas terrorists and the Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu in the same breath. The same upside-down morality saw the honoring of Iranian President Raisi, the butcher of Tehran, in the UN. Together, they ask if we are witnessing the end of Western civilization?

And, of course, Scumbags and Heroes!

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




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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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