Monday, June 10, 2024

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: The Hostage Rescue and the Truth About This War
After the hostage rescue, plenty of Palestinian partisans lodged specious complaints about the death toll caused when Hamas tried to execute the hostages and their rescuers on their way out of Nuseirat. But so did a few figures who represent institutions on which mainstream media confer a special legitimacy. One was Ben Saul—the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism and a professor of international law in Australia.

Professor Saul had this to say: “Israel’s rescue of four hostages in Gaza: (1) may have been illegally launched in anticipation that civilian casualties would be excessive, and (2) reportedly involved the additional war crime of perfidy — disguising some forces as protected civilians.”

Ah yes, the war crime of perfidy. If the Israelis aren’t stopped soon, we may see an escalation to chicanery. There’s no telling what skullduggery awaits the people of Gaza.

This is one of my favorite rules of international conflict. The full rule is defined thus: “Rule 65. Killing, injuring or capturing an adversary by resort to perfidy is prohibited.” In case that isn’t clear enough for you, the International Criminal Court explains that the crime, specifically, involves “killing or wounding treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army.”

The idea seems to be that Israel committed treacherously perfidious wounding in its mission. And there’s a compelling case against them: Instead of shooting their way in to the apartments holding hostages, they lied about being locals.

Of course, the silliness of “you can’t trick the enemy in war” aside, the Israelis were not on a kill mission but a rescue mission. And, yes, they fired back when Hamas terrorists tried to kill the civilians they were rescuing.

Lesson: The global class of “UN international law experts” is a figment.
John Podhoretz: Heroism and the Biden Brainless Trust
It was a clarifying weekend both in the Middle East and in Washington. Clarifying in the first place because Israel got some of its mojo back in the staggering rescue of the four hostages in broad daylight from separate buildings in the Nuseirat refugee camp—which is technically under UN control, let us not forget. And one of those buildings was an UN refugee school. In other words, the UN was being used as a hostage prison. So we had four Israelis being used as slaves and household workers in territory controlled by the the world’s “peacekeepers.”

Those of us who have long advocated literally blowing up the UN buildings in Turtle Bay in Manhattan—one of the first covers of the long-defunct magazine Insight, which I edited beginning in 1985, depicted the UN tower being dismantled, so that’s how long ago this idea has been percolating—now have renewed reason to press our case. The UN pays no taxes. Tear it down and there’s a huge development site in the most desirable spot in the city that could return billions in lost revenue. Meanwhile, the UN could be relocated to someplace that could use its commerce and doesn’t mind how it sheds blood and treasure in the name of Israel-hatred, like Lagos or South Sudan, and where there are no boutiques for the wives of monstrous dictators to buy stuff marked up especially for them. Rid my city of this organization that employs out-and-out neo-Nazis like UN “special rapporteur” Francesca Albanese, a person (I hesitate even to call her a person) whose views on Israel might cause Josef Goebbels to say, “Well, now you go a little far.” Not to mention one of the world’s greatest villains at the moment, UN General Secretary Guterres, a man who demonstrates the way in which a lifelong commitment to socialism now practically requires all-but-open Jew-hatred to maintain its purity as an ideological calling.

So that was Clarifying Moment #1. Clarifying Moment #2 was Israel getting itself off its back foot after a series of weeks (months) in which its people were losing heart, patience, trust, and the ability to see that the goal of destroying Hamas could ever be achieved. Part of the expression of this loss of drive was the default return to Israel’s own lousy politics, which saw its apotheosis in the decision of the dummkopf of the Israeli middle, Benny Gantz, fulfilling his pledge to exit the war cabinet and government (obviously at the behest of the Americans who began the drumbeat for Bibi Netanyahu’s ouster, like Chuck Schumer, who now cannot appear before a Jewish audience without being rightly and deservedly booed for his declaration of “Am Yisrael Naw Dog” on the Senate floor a few weeks ago).

Gantz is, to be charitable, not the sharpest stick in the drawer—indeed, Ted Baxter of the Mary Tyler Moore Show would beat him on The Price Is Right— but quitting ON THE DAY OF THE HOSTAGE RELEASE rather than waiting another 36 hours or something so that the country could at least have a few minutes to celebrate shows off the parlous political skills that will likely see him failing yet again whenever elections do actually take place.

Forget Gantz’s narischkeit, and the dumbfounding New York Times headline that read “Israel’s Euphoria Over Hostage Release May Be Fleeting”—a clear case of the wish being father to the thought, since the New York Times doesn’t want Israel to experience any euphoria, ever, unless perhaps it were to support “gender-affirming surgery” for two month-olds. Israel has had a moment here to see that it hasn’t lost the spirit of Entebbe, and it came just when it needed to come, and they will have their euphoria even if the NYT’s Joe Kahn would rather they sit shiva for his corrupted and contaminated news desk.
When Hostages Come Home
It’s hard to describe what it is like to be Israeli after October 7.

Around the world we are condemned for a war we did not start and did not seek. Even the rescue mission is spun in the press as Israeli overreaction, and one BBC commentator asked an IDF spokesperson whether the Israeli military should have warned the neighborhood in advance of. . . a sting operation.

Meantime, at home, we are uncertain. Uncertain about how this ever could have happened—and about the leaders who allowed it to. Especially our prime minister, who has refused to take responsibility for the massive failure that occurred that terrible day. It was stark, then, on Saturday, when Netanyahu showed up to be embraced by the success of the rescue mission but has not reached out to any of the families of the dozens of hostages who were killed in captivity.

By the end of the weekend, Benny Gantz and his party withdrew from the wartime coalition government and called for early elections. “Netanyahu prevents us from getting a real victory,” he said. “This is why we are leaving the government with a heavy heart but a full heart.”

All of this is happening as the unofficial war at Israel’s northern border heats up with constant rocket barrages fired by Hezbollah. Every young mother in my apartment building—I am one of them—has a husband who will most likely get called up to serve, again, against an enemy far mightier than the one we’ve faced in Gaza. When will that happen? We don’t know. We cannot sleep from the worry.

But if there is one thing we are certain of, it is this: we live in a country of heroes. We live in a country in which strangers feel like family. A country in which other men and women will sacrifice their lives to liberate us, to bring us home.

In this case, it took 246 days.

Noa Argmani’s mother has terminal brain cancer. Her dying wish was to see her daughter, who arrived at her hospital bedside that very afternoon. Almog Meir Jan’s father died hours before Almog was liberated, apparently of a broken heart. Arnon Zamora was buried on Sunday in Jerusalem, and thousands lined the streets. At the funeral, Aviram Meir, the uncle of rescued hostage Almog Meir Jan, addressed the Zamora family: “The blood of your children is mixed with ours. This is an unbreakable bond.”

One hundred and twenty hostages remain captive in Gaza.

Andrew Fox: Beyond satire
This time, Hamas’ claims were so demonstrably false that it should have been the moment international news media sat up and took notice of the extent to which they have been duped on a weekly basis since 7th October. Hamas were claiming 200 dead before even the last IDF helicopter was wheels up from the mission. Any credible war correspondent should have known that this level of body counting is impossible in such a short time. Yet seemingly, they did not.

The videos of injured Gazans in a hospital were clearly rushed by the Hamas PR teams: one “injured” boy’s head wound is plainly hastily-applied make up. In another video, an “injured” man lifts his head from a pool of “blood”, grins, and rolls away to drier ground. In a third video, a woman’s IV line sits quite obviously on her knuckle and not in a vein in her hand. Crass and patently fake, even by Pallywood’s standards. Any credible war journalist, or an analyst with the slightest medical knowledge, should have spotted this immediately. Yet seemingly, they did not.

Images and video from the scene of the alleged massacre also do not match Hamas’ story. If, as they allege, 200 people were killed and 400 wounded, one would expect the scene of the massacre to still show the signs of war the next day. It does not. Not a blood stain, not a scar of war of any magnitude: an ordinary street in Gaza with life carrying on as normal. Any decent journalist should know that the immediate aftermath of massacre sites comes with evidence of the massacre that took place there. Yet seemingly, they did not.

International media are duped, and duped, and duped again to the point where benefit of the doubt must be suspended and one must consider seriously whether this is malice over incompetence. From reporting unquestioningly Hamas’ 37,000+ dead statistics, which stand up to not the slightest of scrutiny; to sharing faked casualty videos; to quoting seriously the histrionic “genocide” claims that bear no reality in what is actually happening in Gaza: international media are now Hamas’ accomplices.

As I have written here, Hamas’ entire strategy is to degrade Israel’s international standing through media operations, to provoke international pressure to force the IDF to stop their operations in Gaza. There is now such a comprehensive and overwhelming body of evidence that Hamas lies, and lies, and lies, that even the most anti-Israel journalist ought to question their stance.

There is no other genocidal terror group in history who have commanded such credibility from the international media with such flimsy evidence to back up their position. There is only one conclusion: these journalists parroting Hamas’ lines to take are either grossly incompetent or actively malign.
Blinken in Israel to push Gaza ceasefire deal
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Monday night amid the Biden administration’s efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and avoid a wider war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Shortly after touching down at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The meeting also included Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Derek Chollet, a counselor to the U.S. Department of State.

According to a U.S. readout, Blinken “reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza.”

Blinken was said to have emphasized the importance of preventing the conflict from expanding further, claiming that the proposed deal with Hamas “would unlock the possibility of calm along Israel’s northern border and further integration with countries in the region”

The Secretary updated Netanyahu on plans for the “post-conflict period, emphasizing the importance of those efforts to providing long-term peace, security, and stability to Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Washington’s top diplomat also underscored the Biden administration’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, including through ensuring October 7 can never be repeated,” according to the readout.
Israelis on Front Lines Say Biden's Peace Plan Is Forcing Them To Fight Forever War
President Joe Biden has admonished Israelis to stop waging "indefinite war" and embrace his plan for Middle East peace.

But more than half a dozen war-weary Israeli reserve soldiers from across the country told the Washington Free Beacon that Biden’s diplomacy is actually dragging out the Gaza war he is pressing Israel to bring to an end. By restraining Israel, they said, Biden is preventing the Jewish state from defeating or deterring its genocidal enemies.

"It's very frustrating," said Snir Tal, 24, a reservist in an elite Israel Defense Forces commando unit. Tal saw two of his best friends killed during six months of service in the war in the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinian terror group Hamas started with a massacre and mass abduction in southern Israel on Oct. 7. "It feels like all our work and all our losses were for nothing."

"I don't think Biden really understands this neighborhood," said Emil Grishpun, 40, a Finance Ministry official and infantry reservist who volunteered on Oct. 7 and served four and a half months in the West Bank. "We're here doing the job, so let us finish the job. Otherwise, it will be like this until the end of time."

"The U.S. is really strong-arming us and not letting us have the military might that we need to win," said Etay Inbar, 34, a principal at a Tel Aviv venture capital fund and military intelligence reservist who has been involved in the search for the Israeli hostages. "What we need to do is come to a conclusion quickly, but we need to come to a positive conclusion for us so we don't face the same thing a decade from now."

Israelis are overwhelmingly grateful for U.S. military and diplomatic support, and officials are generally loath to criticize the country's most important ally. But, more than eight months into the Gaza war, IDF reservists's frustration with the Biden administration reflects growing awareness in Israel of a conflict between Washington's imagined Middle East and the brutal reality. It’s a shift that could complicate U.S. efforts to turn Israelis against their own government in the name of peace.
Does Biden’s framework pave path to ‘Hezbollah model’ in Gaza?
Ultimately, Hamas’s end goal, in line with its Muslim Brotherhood ideology, is to establish an Islamic caliphate on Israel’s ruins, and it is flexible on how to reach that vision.

President Biden’s presented his three-point proposal as a means to stabilize the Strip and alleviate civilian suffering, but it could also enable a framework in which Hamas can step back from overt governance without disarming or dissolving its terror army.

Hamas’s interest in this kind of model is not new.

Professor Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem and a former deputy director general and head of the Palestinian desk at the Ministry for Strategic Affairs, already noted in March this year, in a paper published at the Institute for National Security Studies, that Hamas has expressed willingness to let a technocratic government handle Gaza’s administrative functions. He noted that this sentiment was echoed by senior Hamas leader Abu Marzouk, who suggested that Hamas could agree to such an arrangement.

The risks of this approach are clear. For Israel and its allies, a Hezbollah-like Hamas entrenched in Gaza represents the resurgence of a massive security threat to the Israeli south and the entire country.

Hamas could initiate attacks or escalate conflicts far more frequently while allowing an empty shell of an administration to take responsibility for civilians’ welfare. The international community, under this scenario, would likely condemn any significant Israeli action to neutralize Hamas threats with the claim that this would destabilize the civilian government, which would become a fig leaf for Hamas.

As such, the international community, including the United States, must consider the long-term implications of facilitating a scenario where Hamas retains significant power behind a civilian facade. Such an outcome would boost and embolden the entire Iranian-led jihadist axis.

Israel, for its part, will likely be on guard so as to able to pre-empt Hamas’s potential strategy to replicate the devastating Lebanese model in Gaza.

Ensuring that Hamas’s terror army cannot resurface, and that any future civilian government in Gaza is free from Hamas’s influence is therefore paramount in preventing the rise of the “Hezbollah model” in Gaza.

If the model is allowed to gradually take shape, Hamas could in the future attempt to re-enact its 2007 coup and take full political power as well, as part of the goal of turning Gaza, once again, into an Iranian-backed terror fortress.
Israel not invited to Gaza aid summit in Jordan
Israel was not invited to Tuesday’s Gaza aid conference in Jordan, an official in Jerusalem’s Foreign Ministry told reporters on Monday.

The conference on the humanitarian response to the Hamas war is being hosted by Jordan, Egypt and the United Nations at a venue on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, a few miles from the Israeli border.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to attend the summit as part of his regional tour, which included previous stops in Egypt and Israel.

Other confirmed participants include U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Representatives of Australia, Cyprus, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Pakistan are also expected to attend.

According to Jordan’s Royal Court, the summit aims to “identify ways to bolster the international community’s response to the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip” and seeks “commitment for a collective, coordinated response to address the humanitarian situation.”
US Gaza ceasefire resolution draft nearly finalized
Washington on Sunday put its U.N. Security Council draft resolution on the Israel-Hamas war “in blue,” after announcing that Israel had accepted the text.

(A UNSC draft resolution being printed in blue means negotiations regarding the text are approaching their final stage.)

There were several notable changes from the previous text. Among them is that the draft now explicitly states that Israel has accepted the multi-phased ceasefire deal announced on May 31 by U.S. President Joe Biden. (Previous texts said that Israel found the deal “acceptable.”)

The “blue” text stipulates that a ceasefire will continue even if phase-one negotiations take longer than six weeks, for as long as talks are continuing. Phase one of the deal calls for “an immediate, full and complete ceasefire with the release of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed” along with the release of Palestinian security prisoners, withdrawal of IDF forces from populated areas of Gaza, the return of Gazan civilians to their homes throughout the Strip and the scaling up of aid delivery.

The question of how long the ceasefire is expected to hold should Israel feel it is being strung along in bad-faith negotiations has been a major sticking point in discussions, and a question left unanswered by Biden administration officials.

Another significant change includes removal of the mention of “buffer zones” in a section rejecting territorial changes in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces has been creating buffer zones along the Israel-Gaza border to provide an extra layer of security, with plans to expand them. The removal of the term appears to be a direct concession to Israel, despite stated U.S. opposition to the creation of the zones.

The Arab Group had proposed a provision that would see Israel and Hamas treated as equal signatories to the deal, with both bearing equal responsibility for its implementation. A Russian amendment would have called for an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire. Both were rejected in discussions, according to JNS diplomatic sources.

The Israeli mission to the United Nations reportedly voiced opposition to an earlier form of the resolution last week, due to its explicit call for a ceasefire and its laying out of the three-phased plan, which in phase two would bring about a permanent ceasefire in exchange for the release of all remaining hostages and a full withdrawal of IDF forces from Gaza and, in phase three, the start of a major Gaza reconstruction plan and the return of the remains of any killed hostages still in Gaza.

The “blue” resolution also calls for the Palestinian Authority to resume governance over Gaza—an idea explicitly rejected by the Israeli government.

INSS: Hamas Following Operation “Arnon”—From Embarrassment to Toughening Its Position
Assessing the daring rescue of four hostages yesterday, Tamir Hayman offers some straightforward insights, and cautions against excessive optimism. He observes, most importantly, that—contrary to what many in the West seem to believe—prosecuting the war can help get the hostages out, rather than hinder efforts. Moreover, for the first time since the war began, the assumption “that time is working in Hamas’s favor is being undermined.”

Kobi Michael elaborates, explaining that the operation
has posed a serious dilemma for Hamas, exposing all its vulnerabilities in terms of intelligence penetration, operational capability, the ability to protect its most important assets, and especially the cynical and cruel use it makes of its people as human shields.

[W]ith most of its military and intelligence capabilities dismantled, and as it’s busy preserving and protecting its organizational remnants in the wake of a severe war as the IDF continues to besiege it and as the chain of command no longer functions regularly, the organization will find it difficult to conduct processes of drawing fundamental lessons as it did in the past. This means that the organization will be left vulnerable and exposed, and it’s likely that this insight is permeating the consciousness of its leaders who are hiding from the long arm of the IDF.

While this is good news, Michael writes, it also means that Hamas, pushed further into a corner, will likely employ “psychological and emotional blackmail” about the condition of the remaining hostages to put further pressure Israel

For the time being, however, Israelis are experiencing joy and relief. Indeed, the reaction of Israeli society explains much about the entire war. Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs describes the scene she saw on Saturday:
On midday Saturday in Tel Aviv, my husband and I were sitting on the beach with our two-year-old son when the lifeguard’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “Attention, citizens of Tel Aviv! We are thrilled to announce that four hostages have been rescued by the Israel Defense Forces alive! Noa Argamani, Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan, and Shlomi Ziv! Am Yisrael Ḥai!”

The cheers were immediate and ecstatic. People threw their children into the air. Strangers hugged strangers. Many openly wept. The clapping and singing and dancing spread all the way down the beach.

Because it was Saturday, secular Israelis posted handwritten notes with the announcement and the names of the rescued hostages around religious neighborhoods to update their neighbors who observe the Sabbath and wouldn’t have been checking their phones or watching TV.
The world doesn't get to choose how Israel rescues its hostages
Some 44 years ago, Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) carried out a daring rescue operation to free some 20 hostages being held at the Iranian embassy in London. Twelve years ago, the British Special Boat Service, supported by members of the Nigerian army, attempted a rescue mission to free a British and Italian contractor kidnapped by al-Qaeda terrorists in Nigeria. That raid failed, and the two hostages were killed.

If BBC anchor Helena Humphrey had been presenting the news on either of those days, she might have asked a British government spokesperson why they did not give a warning before launching what proved to be deadly raids since that was the staggering question she asked former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus about the hostage raid that freed four Israelis from Hamas captivity on Saturday.

This question rivaled for audacity one that Sky News presenter Kay Burley asked former government spokesman Eylon Levy in November – one that prompted a Levy eyebrow raise that went viral and was seen around the world – about whether the fact that Israel was willing to trade hundreds of terrorists for each Israeli hostage was not proof that Israel thinks “Palestinian lives are not valued as highly as Israeli lives.” Criticizing Israel and its rescue operation

Humphrey, citing Palestinian civilian casualties during Saturday’s rescue operation, implied in her question that Israel should have warned of the raid in advance to reduce civilian casualties.

Questioning Conricus’s assertion that hundreds and thousands of Palestinian civilians in the area where the hostages were held knew of their captivity and were therefore complicit with Hamas, Humphrey rejoined:

“We do not know for sure that they were necessarily complicit with Hamas, all of the casualties that were incurred, there were reports of women and children who were among the dead, it is appearing to be a high civilian death toll – were there to have been a warning to those civilians to get out on time?”

In other words, why didn’t Israel drop leaflets and tell the Palestinians that it was about to conduct a hostage rescue operation?

Without missing a beat or raising an eyebrow, Conricus replied: “Of course, we cannot anticipate Israel to be warning ahead of a raid to extract or to save hostages because then what the terrorists would do is to kill the hostages and that would defeat the purpose.”

That exchange was an illustration of the degree to which Israel and some of the rest of the world – including some of the elite media, some Western diplomats, and many of Israel’s immediate neighbors – live in parallel universes.
How Yamam rescued the hostages under heavy enemy fire
The Israel Police on Monday published body camera footage of Yamam fighters raiding the apartment where Gaza hostages Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, and Almog Meir Jan were being held captive and rescuing them on Monday.

In the video, Yamam soldiers engaged in numerous firefights before entering the building. Once inside, they asked the three hostages to identify themselves by name.

Afterward, another soldier exclaims to the hostages, “We’ve come to save you,” and gives Jan a fist bump to relax them.

The video ends with footage of Yamam soldiers providing cover fire while the hostages flee on foot.

The police provided the following statement along with the video:

“Yamam and Shin Bet operatives worked simultaneously at two locations to rescue the four hostages, engaging in fierce combat with the terrorists.

Attached is footage from helmet cameras capturing the moments of the rescue, where Yamam officers and Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) operatives storm the locations holding the hostages. The dramatic rescue amidst fighting and neutralization of the terrorists in the area is clearly visible.

IDF pilot speaks to 'Post': How Noa Argamani was rescued from Gaza
The IDF’s operation to rescue four hostages from the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip took a “turning point” and required last-minute maneuvering by aerial forces, an air force pilot who took part in the rescue of Noa Argamani told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Four hostages, including 26-year-old Argamani, were rescued from two separate nearby locations in the daring joint operation carried out by the IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and the police’s National Counterterrorism Unit Yamam in broad daylight.

Capt. “R.,” a pilot in the Israel Air Force’s 124th Squadron who flew the Blackhawk helicopter that carried Noa to safety, spoke to the Post on the successful rescue mission, his sense of pride in doing something “invaluable” and the pitfalls expertly navigated by Israeli forces. Israeli rescue pilot: Operation was 'diligent, precise'

The operation, which had been planned for “several months,” was carried out “in a diligent, precise manner,” the pilot said, praising the cooperation between Israeli forces of the IDF, Shin Bet, and Yamam.

As per R., the operation had to be kept completely under wraps as “any instance of data security leaks could have impacted the execution of the plan. We only told those who had to know.”

R. spoke on the initial moments of the rescue mission’s launch, describing the silent tension as ground forces began raiding the Nuseirat camp in the heart of Gaza.

“We began our final briefing as the ground forces already began operating,” R. told the Post.

“In the moment, you are focused and completely fixated on your mission. Every part of you is thinking about how to carry out your tasks in the most professional manner.

“You cannot be distracted by everything going on around you,” he said.

Hamas operatives holding hostages have ‘standing orders’ to kill them if they think IDF is coming — NYT
Hamas terrorist leaders have given “standing orders” to operatives who are holding hostages “that if they think Israeli forces are coming, the first thing they should do is shoot the captives,” Israeli officials tell the New York Times.

In a report two days after the IDF’s rescue of four hostages from Nuseirat in central Gaza, the newspaper writes that if other hostages were killed on Saturday, as Hamas has claimed, “it might have been at the hand of the militants, not because of an Israeli airstrike.” It also notes that the IDF has directly denied a Hamas claim that three hostages were killed by Israeli airstrikes.

The Times report also says that the US military has flown surveillance drones over Gaza to help in hostage-rescue efforts since almost immediately after the October 7 Hamas invasion and slaughter in southern Israel. “At least six MQ-9 Reapers controlled by Special Operations forces have been involved in flying missions to monitor for signs of life,” it reports, citing US officials.

British and US drones have provided information that Israeli drones do not collect, the Times reports, with the “sheer numbers of American aircraft” involved enabling more territory to be surveilled “more frequently and for longer periods of time.”

While Israel is using ground-based sensors to map out the vast Hamas tunnel network, something the drones cannot do, the drones’ infrared radar “can detect the heat signatures of fighters or other people going into or out of tunnel entrances on the surface,” the report says, citing officials.

Intelligence sharing between the US and Israel has expanded beyond hostage-recovery efforts, it cites current and former US officials saying. Overall, the US and the UK “are part of the largest intelligence effort ever conducted in Israel, and probably ever,” Avi Kalo, a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves tells the paper.

A “small group of hostages” are believed to be held near Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, serving as human shields and making it harder for Israel to target him, the Times reports.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Israel Triumphs as Hamastan Comes to D.C.
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
The contrast could not have been starker: Israel rescues hostages while demonstrators defile the park across from the White House and chant “death to America”—in Washington, D.C. Hello, Joe Robinette McFly? Anybody home? Give a listen.

NYPost Editorial: If you love life, celebrate Israel’s amazing hostage rescue
Israel, it turns out, can’t even rescue innocents without Hamas’ cheerleaders and useful idiots in the West erupting in outrage.

The war against Hamas, prompted by the horrors of Oct. 7, has seen much darkness. But finally, a ray of light broke through.

A daring rescue mission took back four hostages whom the Islamist killers had seized at the Nova music festival: Noa Argamani, Almog Meir, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv.

The raid showed the hallmarks for which Israeli military and intelligence actions are deservedly famous: unthinkable bravery, unfathomable skill, bone-deep resolution.

And as with Yoni Netanyahu in the equally heroic and daring rescue of Israeli hostages at Entebbe airport in 1976, the leader of this mission sacrificed his own life for those of his fellow citizens — Arnon Zamora, may his memory be a blessing.

In a sane world, the rescue would have been cause for global celebration: the deliverance of captives from the hands of monstrous Islamist killers.


Outrage from United Nations and European Union functionaries that Israel dared to act at all — because Palestinians died in the course of the rescue.

Gaza’s Health Ministry, a proven fount of lies, claims 274 deaths, but there’s ample reason to distrust these figures.

Yet pro-Hamas journalists at the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the BBC and elsewhere took the Jewish state to task in their headlines and reporting, implying that Jewish lives aren’t quite worth enough to command the last full measure of devotion from their fellow countrymen.

Seth Frantzman: What are the implications of Hamas holding hostages in Gaza civilian homes?
THE ROLE of civilians in backing up this Hamas network requires more investigation. However, it is clear that Hamas has been able to easily exploit the civilian environment for its own ends. Why do civilians agree to imprison hostages in their homes? Is it because they are affiliates of Hamas, are they being paid, or is there some other type of understanding?

Anyone who has seen films about the mafia understands that a mafia or cartel usually operates in civilian areas and that it is embedded in the civilian environment. Anyone who saw The Godfather: Part II recalls that scene where a young mafia member asks a man to hide some pistols for him; later they steal a carpet together.

This is the “gateway” for the civilian to enter the mafia world. How many civilians in Gaza have gone through this gateway? Many civilian homes in the Strip have tunnel shafts, munitions or weapons hidden in them. This is how Hamas has entrenched itself in the civilian environment.

This criminal activity of Hamas requires more study by international organizations and human rights groups. It’s important to document how the terrorist group has unlawfully exploited and endangered civilian areas through holding hostages in them and putting weapons in civilian homes.

The reluctance of many human rights groups and international groups to tackle the Hamas crimes in Gaza has enabled it to continue exploiting schools, hospitals and other locations. The recent raid that freed hostages in Nuseirat is evidence of how Hamas has brought ruin on Gaza. Many people were killed in the raid because Hamas has purposely embedded its criminal empire in densely populated areas, such as Nuseirat.

Call Me Back PodCast: OPERATION ARNON – with Nadav Eyal
Hosted by Dan Senor
We have just witnessed one of the most extraordinary 48-hour periods in Israel since October 7th, as we learned news of an extremely complex military, intelligence and hostage rescue operation.

We are seeing — and many of us are experiencing — the impact that this development is having on Israeli society, and on the Jewish people worldwide.

This operation has been renamed OPERATION ARNON, after Colonel Arnon Zamora, who was the chief inspector of the Israeli Police’s special commando Counterterrorosim Unit. He was the only Israeli to have fallen in this operation. May Arnon’s memory be a blessing. To learn more about Arnon’s life, you can read here: ‘Hero of Israel’: Thousands pay last respects to officer killed in hostage rescue op

In this episode, NADAV EYAL provides a comprehensive picture and analysis of what actually happened in this operation. Nadav is a columnist for Yediot. He has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news.

Rescued hostages suffering from malnutrition, possibly Stockholm syndrome
The four hostages who were rescued on Saturday from Gaza are in a worse physical and psychological state than initially believed, according to Hebrew media reports on Sunday.

Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan, and Andrey Kozlov were found to be malnourished during initial medical tests at Sheba Medical Center on Saturday, but the mental influence of their captivity had yet to be established.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday evening that after initial conversations with the four, medical professionals believed they were exhibiting signs of Stockholm syndrome, as the rescued hostages spoke about awful experiences they had been subjected to in captivity while also saying that their captors cared about their wellbeing.

Jan said that as a “cynical” gesture, his captors made him a cake for his birthday.

Staff at the hospital told the media that the four rescued hostages did not sleep on Saturday night, their first night back in Israel after their resuce, and instead stayed up talking to their families and among themselves.

The doctors also told Kan that the four were constantly seeking each other out, indicating their continued need to lean on each other for support.

The rescued hostages have begun to talk about their experiences, according to various reports.

Channel 13 reported on Sunday that Ziv said he had learned Arabic from Al-Jazeera broadcasts he watched in captivity and that their captors made them read the Quran and pray every day.

Argamani has also begun to share some of what she went through, telling her family that she narrowly avoided death four times in captivity, according to Channel 12 news.

According to a Monday Ynet report, Argamani learned Arabic while she was in captivity and used it to become a spokesperson for other female hostages she was held with before they were released in November during a weeklong truce. Before they were separated, Argamani would use the Arabic she learned to get things the hostages needed for them.

She said she had been held in four different apartments during her eight months in captivity and that in the last location, the family made her wash their dishes. Ynet reported that she also cooked at times with basic ingredients she was provided with.

Describing the rescue on Saturday, Argamani said she was washing the dishes when she heard a shout from the living room and saw people with their faces covered who told her they were from the IDF.
Cousin describes hostage’s condition after ‘miraculous’ rescue
“It’s a miracle,” Liat Ariel told JNS on Monday.

Ariel’s cousin Shlomi Ziv, along with Noa Argamani, Almog Meir and Andrey Kozlov, was rescued by Israeli forces in a daring daylight raid on Saturday after spending 246 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza.

Border Police Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora was mortally wounded during the rescue mission.

“We are still digesting the news. We don’t really quite understand what happened to us. Suddenly, Shlomi is back,” Ariel said.

“We are so happy and a bit nervous. We want to make sure that he is fine. He looks alright physically but mentally we don’t know yet. We have to wait a few more days,” she added.

Ziv, 40, was a member of the security team at the Supernova music festival where Hamas terrorists and other Gazans murdered 364 people.

During the Oct. 7 invasion, he stayed to fend off Palestinian terrorists and evacuate people from the site. He was kidnapped along with more than three dozen others.

Ariel said her dream had been for Ziv to return to spend the Shavuot festival, which begins Tuesday evening and marks the Jewish people receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, with the family in Nahariya.

“Every year, Shlomi’s mother, Rosita, prepares a Georgian feast for everyone. On Saturday, before we received the news that he had been rescued, we were having a conversation on whether or not we should get together for the first time in months,” Ariel recalled.

“Five minutes later, we saw Shlomi’s face on Telegram. That’s how we realized he was free,” she continued. “We’ve postponed our Shavuot celebrations to next week when Shlomi is back home. Meanwhile, he will stay in the hospital and celebrate the holiday there with his parents, his sister and his wife, Miren.

“Shlomi cannot wait to be home. Yesterday, at the hospital, he said that he felt cooped up. He wants to be outside, breathe fresh air and just be free. Freedom is something we often undervalue and take for granted. Now, we see it,” Ariel said.

Rescued hostage’s mom says her son’s connection with fellow captive ‘strengthened them’
At a press conference at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Orit Meir shares details of her son Almog Meir Jan’s eight-month captivity by Hamas in Gaza, and of his condition as he undergoes rehabilitation at the hospital.

Meir speaks two days after Israeli forces rescued her son, along with fellow hostages Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv and Noa Argamani, in a heroic mission.

According to Meir, the close connection her son established with Kozlov and Ziv sustained him.

“They were held together for more than half a year [of the eight months they were hostages]… The connection they had with each other strengthened them. They did not give up hope until the moment they were rescued. They kept each other’s spirits up. Almog never gave up his belief that he would make it through the experience of captivity,” Meir says.

Meir reports that her son learned Arabic while in Gaza and picked up a bit of news by occasionally being able to listen to, but not watch, Al Jazeera. He returned without a full picture of the war or information about the hostages, and his family and hospital staff are slowly filling him in on the details.

“He also learned Russian because Andrey speaks the language. The three of them had a lot of time to talk among themselves. They are talking together in the hospital and appear to have developed their own language with particular signs,” Meir says.

US in unilateral talks with Hamas on release of American hostages from Gaza
The Biden administration has considered negotiating directly with Hamas on the release of the American hostages detained in Gaza captivity, according to an NBC report on Monday citing four US officials.

Negotiations would be held via Qatar
According to the report, the negotiations would be held via Qatari mediators and would not include Israel.

The report also cited the officials as being unsure of what the US would give to Hamas in exchange.

Five hostages with American citizenship are currently being held in Gaza.

Following the report, Rachel Goldberg-Polin and Jon Polin, parents of 23-year-old Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who has been held in Hamas captivity since October 7, stated, “We have seen the reports that the US administration is considering negotiating directly with Hamas on freeing US citizens from captivity in Gaza.

"We welcome any negotiations that will lead to the return home of our loved ones who have been in captivity for over 8 months. We pray that every family with hostages will be reunited with their loved ones imminently," they concluded.

Kamala Harris mourns ‘innocent’ Palestinians killed amid hostage rescue
Speaking at a Michigan Democratic Party fundraiser, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday that she mourns the Palestinians killed during Israel’s raid that freed four hostages.

“Before I begin, I just say a few words about the morning which I know weighs heavily on all of our hearts,” Harris said, per Fox News.

“On Oct. 7, Hamas committed a brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent people and abducted 250 hostages,” she said. “Thankfully, four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight. And we mourn all of the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today.”

A state with a large Muslim population, Michigan is reportedly a concern for the Biden campaign in the upcoming election.

In the hours after Israel freed the four hostages, it was revealed that civilians, including a reporter who had worked for Al Jazeera and Palestine Chronicle, held the Israeli hostages as prisoners in their homes. Israeli forces also sustained heavy fire from terrorists as they sought to evacuate the hostages.

“Hamas-run authorities in Gaza claim over 270 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, though they make no distinction between militants and innocents,” Fox News reported. “Israeli forces claim the number was fewer than 100.”

“Kamala Harris mourns the terrorist hostage takers,” wrote the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The Republican Jewish Coalition asked, “Why is it so hard for the Biden administration to stand with Israel in its fight to defeat Hamas terrorists and rescue the remaining hostages?”

FDD: Hamas ‘Reporter’ Doubles as Captor
Latest Developments
A Hamas-affiliated Palestinian journalist held captive three of the four Israeli hostages recently rescued from Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet revealed on June 9. On June 8, Israeli forces extricated Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv from the family home of Abdallah Aljamal, a former Hamas government spokesman and contributor to the Palestine Chronicle. That publication reported on June 9 that Aljamal was killed during the Israeli special forces operation in Nuseirat that freed Jan, Kozlov, and Ziv in addition to a fourth hostage, Noa Argamani, from a nearby residential building. The IDF said that Aljamal’s complicity was “further evidence of the deliberate use of civilian homes and buildings by the Hamas terrorist organization to hold Israeli hostages captive in the Gaza Strip.”

Expert Analysis
“Israel’s critics deplore the scores of journalists killed in this war — while seldom pausing to ask how Gaza could have had so many involved in supporting terrorism. Since the fighting began, it has become abundantly clear that many of these people were basically word processor-savvy proxies for Hamas, and a couple of them even doubled as gunmen. And now, a new low has been reached: a journalist who was also a captor of the hostages.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“This is an in-your-face demonstration that ‘civilians’ are oftentimes not civilians in this conflict. ‘Journalists’ can be terrorists. ‘Doctors’ can be terrorists. The armed mobs of people rushing to lynch IDF soldiers in Black Hawk Down fashion were not ‘civilians.’ No one should be amplifying unverifiable information from Gaza-based sources.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor
MEMRI: Al-Jazeera Journalists By Day, Hamas Commanders By Night
Since the October 7 attack, Hamas's leaders have been managing the war from Doha, Qatar, and conveying their messages mostly via the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera TV channel. The network has been operating as a propaganda outlet in the service of Hamas 24/7, with hardly any coverage of other topics. It expresses unreserved support for Hamas, justifying the deadly attack, showing footage from it obtained from the terrorists' bodycams, and celebrating it as a victory that has brought pride and honor to the Islamic nation.[1]

It therefore comes as no surprise that it was in the home of Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah Al-Jamal, in Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip, that three Israeli hostages were held captive.

Some Al-Jazeera journalists have recently been "outed" as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters. A Palestinian journalist working for Al-Jazeera, Muhammad Wishah, appears to have also been a commander in the military wing of Hamas, according to documents on a laptop found by the Israeli army in a Hamas base in northern Gaza. Wishah, from Al-Buriej in the central Gaza Strip, has featured in Al-Jazeera broadcasts in recent months, with the station identifying him as one of their journalists. According to Israeli military sources, however, Wishah is a prominent commander in Hamas's anti-tank missile unit, who in late 2022 began working in R&D for the terror group's air unit. A photo that emerged of Wishah together with Yahya Sinwar suggests warm relations between the two.

Another Al-Jazeera correspondent, Ismail Abu Omar, who participated in the October 7 attack and who documented it from within the Gaza Envelope, was airlifted to Doha for medical treatment on February 19 after being wounded in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah a week earlier. He has been identified as a Hamas platoon deputy commander.

Mustafa Thuraya, an independent journalist who worked with Al-Jazeera TV and Agence France-Press, was, according to documents found by the Israeli army in Gaza, an operative in the Al-Qassam Brigades' Gaza City Brigade, and he specialized in developing drones. Hamza Al-Dahdouh, another Al-Jazeera journalist and photojournalist, was a member of the electronic engineering unit of the PIJ's Northern Gaza Brigade.
MEMRI: Senior Al-Jazeera Presenter: Moral Hamas Did Not Booby-Trap The Hostages
Following the June 8, 2024 operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza, in which Israeli special forces rescued four hostages who had been taken captive by Hamas on October 7, 2023, various reports in the Qatari media and responses by Qatari media figures echoed Hamas's narratives, further demonstrating Qatar's solidarity with the Hamas terror group despite its role as a mediator in Hamas' negotiations with Israel.[1]

A prominent example are tweets shared by Jamal Rayyan, a senior presenter for Qatar's Al-Jazeera Network, who praised Hamas, writing: "The morality of the resistance prevented it from booby-trapping the prisoners." Another prominent Qatari journalist, Jabel Al-Harmi, the editor-in-chief of the Al-Sharq daily, likewise praised Hamas for not killing the hostages during the rescue operation.

These expressions of praise come alongside reports in Qatari journals that presented the hostage rescue operation as a "barbaric massacre" in the refugee camp, sometimes entirely omitting the fact that its objective was to rescue hostages.

It should be noted that Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said in a recent press conference: "Qatar's commitment to the negotiation efforts will continue as long as it is possible to end the crisis and suffering of the civilians, to return them to their homes and to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip, in a manner that will meet the demands of the Palestinian people." Al-Ansari too neglected to mention the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. It should further be noted that in 2021, after the round of fighting between Israel and Hamas that took place in May of that year, Al-Ansari himself published an article praising Hamas for having fired "3000 rockets in 10 days" and for defeating the "Zionist enemy."[2]

This report will present examples of Qatari media reports about the Israeli hostage rescue operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
'Journalist' Killed by IDF Held 3 Israeli Hostages in His Home, Wrote for US-Based Nonprofit
In the wake of the Israel Defense Forces' successful operation to rescue four hostages from captivity in Gaza we're learning more about the conditions in which the hostages lived and who housed them, and once again we're seeing that the native "journalists" covering the conflict are anything but neutral observers.

As we noted in numerous stories about Israel's rescue mission, the four hostages rescued were not held in tunnels or prisons; they were held in the homes of alleged civilians in residential areas in Nuseirat. I say "alleged civilians" because if these people were holding Israeli hostages for eight months they're absolutely part of Hamas and are combatants, not civilians.

One of those alleged civilians, it's now confirmed, was Abdullah Al Jamal, who bills himself as a journalist and who most recently wrote for a United States-based 501(c)(3) NGO, The Palestine Chronicle. He also wrote at least one piece for Al Jazeera. The Israeli government confirmed Sunday that Al Jamal, who was neutralized by IDF rescuers, held three hostages captive in his family home:

Debating Israel | Internet sensation Destiny on how the conflict takes shape online
Hamas is waging two wars against Israel. There is a physical war and there is an information war, which is no less important. Because Hamas has been waging a brutal psyops campaign against Israel, spreading lie by lie to poison global public opinion against Israel. And that information war is designed to make Israel’s friends turn against it, fracture its alliances, and leave it weaker and more isolated on the global stage. And with misinformation running rampant across the internet, now is more important than ever to nail down the facts.

Steven Bonnell II, better known as Destiny, is an online professional gamer turned political commentator. A man who has leveraged his following and passion for research into a career debating politics on the internet. He is here in Israel for the first time, here to learn, here to be challenged, and in this episode we sit down for a fast-paced conversation about why it’s so easy for Hamas to game public opinion.

Leftists around the world left ‘heartbroken’ after four Israelis were rescued from Gaza
Leftists around the world were left “heartbroken” after four Israeli hostages were rescued from Hamas in Gaza over the weekend, according to Sky News host James Macpherson.

“While Israel celebrated the rescue of its citizens from the clutches of maniacal terrorists, many around the Western world were upset, even appalled,” he said.

“It’s simply insane that people are mad at Israel for rescuing the hostages rather than being mad at Hamas for taking hostages in the first place.

“We live in a world in which black is white, up is down, and moral clarity is nowhere to be seen.”

Mohamed Hadid alleges US special forces used aid pier to massacre Gazans in rescue op.
Real estate Mogul Mohamed Hadid claimed on Sunday that US special forces engaged in a massacre of Palestinians in Nuseirat during the Saturday hostage rescue and that the Israeli operation utilized the American humanitarian pier.

"US special forces went to Palestine and killed 250 innocent people, used the pier that they claimed it’s for humanitarian reasons yet used it to kill more Palestinian [sic]," Hadid said on Instagram. "35,000 Palestinian [sic] killed is not enough. Now they have to disguise themselves as humanitarians coming to feed the hungry. Thank you, [US President Joe] Biden. To hell you will go."

Hadid argued that the Israeli military had no capabilities without the aid of American special forces, as Zionists are "cowards" with an "army of children without a cause or training."

"The only thing they know is bombing all and kill all Arabs, Muslims, and Christians in the holy land," said Hadid. It’s a playbook of [Nazi leader Adolf] Hitler, and you know what happened to him."

Alana Hadid also remarks on the rescue
Hadid's daughter Alana also claimed on Instagram that the US had sent US soldiers to "aid in Palestinian slaughter."

"The audacity of my own country to build a pier for aid and never give us aid but only use it to aid in murdering us," said the model.

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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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