Friday, June 14, 2024

From Ian:

No Haven for Hamas
Hamas isn't a state worthy of recognition. It's a terrorist entity governing a population through fear, terror, and zealotry. Which is why Americans deal not with Hamas but with Hamas's intermediaries in Egypt and Qatar. We still have some scruples, after all. And if a terror organization does not deserve our direct contact, then it does not deserve our rescue.

Nor is Hamas interested in bringing the Gaza war to a close. As the secretary of state was engaged in another round of shuffle diplomacy, desultorily flying from capital to capital with nothing to show for it, the Wall Street Journal published a blockbuster story confirming what some of us already knew: Hamas's psychopathic terror leader, Yahya Sinwar, follows Vladimir Lenin's dictum of "the worse, the better." The greater the number of Palestinian casualties, the greater the devastation to Gaza's infrastructure, the further isolated the Jewish state becomes, and the more anti-Semitism intensifies around the globe.

Most people are horrified at what Hamas unleashed on October 7. Not Sinwar. He thinks he's winning. No surprise, then, that Hamas responded to the Biden ceasefire proposal with what Blinken described as "numerous changes." Revisions, it should be said, that are too much even for Blinken. Thus Hamas gives every indication of rejecting this latest ceasefire plan—just as it rejected the four previous ceasefire plans that have been floated since November 2023.

Yet the Biden administration continues to act as if Hamas's mass murderer in chief has a conscience. In a June 13 interview with Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today Show, Blinken said that while Sinwar hides underground, "the people that he purports to represent, they're suffering every day. So if he has their interests at heart, he will come to a conclusion to bring this to a conclusion."

Represent? This isn't the Grand Forks City Council we're talking about. It's Hamas. And Yahya Sinwar isn't James Madison. He's a little Hitler. He doesn't give a whit about suffering. Nor does he have anyone's "interests at heart." He has no heart! He's a kidnapper and a torturer and a killer. How on earth can Blinken say these words with a straight face?

Something has gone wrong when a senior U.S. official persists in the delusion that a terrorist shares his sense of morality, sympathy, and personal responsibility. Something has gone wrong when an administration that responded admirably to the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust now tries to tie Israel's hands, slow Israel down, undermine Israel's elected leadership, and freeze the current multifront war against Israel in place in a misguided and counterproductive effort to quiet the gross pro-Hamas anti-Semites within the Democratic Party. And something has gone wrong, terribly wrong, when the administration's response to the heroic and triumphal rescue of four Israeli hostages from Hamas and their civilian accomplices is to double down on a plan that increases Hamas's leverage.

"I don't think the deal is blown up," Secretary Blinken told Guthrie. "I think it's still—it's still possible. But at the end of the day, this has to come to a point where it's either yes or no." That came long ago—on October 7, in fact.

The war in Gaza won't end with another ceasefire or food package or humanitarian pier. The war will end when Israel completes its task of destroying Hamas as a military force and rescues the surviving men, women, and children, including five Americans, who were taken from their homes and spirited away to Palestinian captivity. America's role in this task is to help our ally Israel by supplying military aid and assistance, by providing diplomatic cover in a world where Hamas sympathizers have captured the institutions of global governance, and by enforcing the rule of law against the Hamas supporters on our college campuses, in our city streets, and in our public squares. The closer America is with Israel, the stronger our support, and the better we articulate Israel's right to exist and right to self-defense, the faster Israel will achieve her military aims.

Enough with the ceasefires. Put the plans back in the briefcase, Mr. Secretary. Let Israel win.
When it comes to Israel, brains go out the window
THIS HAS long been Hamas’s strategy: civilians are killed in Gaza, and the terrorist organization knows that no one is going to bother to ask why it embeds itself in civilian infrastructure, why it keeps hostages in apartments, or why it shoots rockets from children’s bedrooms. Instead, Sinwar knows that people will blame Israel and Israel alone.

The problem is that when Borrell and Albanese do this, they are emboldening Hamas, putting Israel – as Sinwar himself wrote, according to the WSJ report – “right where we want them” when it comes to the question of who is winning the war. When Sinwar sees that Israel rescues hostages and comes under fierce international criticism, does that make him feel motivated to release hostages in a deal or to hold on to them for longer? Why wouldn’t he feel emboldened when Israel is slammed every time it attacks Gaza?

What these Western politicians fail to understand is that their response is actually prolonging the war. Just look at Hamas’s reaction to President Biden’s proposed ceasefire deal. Why would Hamas say yes when it knows that the world will nonetheless blame Israel and push its government into a corner to accept a version that does not do enough to ensure the Jewish state’s security?

For the war to end, Hamas needs to feel that it has something to lose. Because it does not care about human life, appealing to some moral or humanitarian interest will not work. What stands the chance of getting Hamas to agree to a deal that will return the hostages and potentially end the war is for Hamas to feel that Israel is not restricted, that there is no ticking clock that has been placed in front of Jerusalem, and that the US will continue and even accelerate the delivery of strategic weapons to Israel.

If Hamas leaders in Doha were expelled or arrested, and if Sinwar felt that Israel was not right where he wanted it to be, then maybe he would agree to release the hostages and accept the US-proposed ceasefire.

And if that doesn’t happen? At the very least, the West will have stood on the right side of history. That should also count for something.
Forever the victim: Even if Hamas is defeated, Palestinians will blame external powers
In 2023 and 2024 anti-Israel activists believed that victory against Israel had never been closer. In the hours after the October 7 massacre, anti-Israel activists took to social media to proclaim that the attack would be celebrated as a future Palestinian national holiday, signifying the supposed weakness and crumbling of Zionism.

At the May 24 Detroit People’s Conference for Palestine, speakers bragged how Hamas was supposedly humiliating the IDF on the battlefield, transforming Gaza into “the graveyard of the Merkava tank, the Namer troop carrier, the D9 bulldozer, and the occupation.” The infamous chant “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free” has been regularly altered to “from the river to the sea, Palestine is almost free.”

WHEN HAMAS loses the war, and the full cost of the war is appreciated, anti-Israel activists will once again explain the discrepancy between their propaganda and the loss on the battlefield by appealing to the tired theory of foreigners rigging the outcome. Since the beginning of the war, anti-Israel operatives in the West have laser-focused on the complicity of the US and other countries by arming Israel.

They have pushed for arms embargoes and boycotts because they believe that if they disconnect the US from Israel, then Palestinians will finally be able to achieve the victory that has been repeatedly stolen from them. The Israeli war machine being unable to conduct its campaign without US support has been a regular refrain at protests and in speeches at the Detroit conference. Israel is an illegitimate, settler-colonial state, therefore its people couldn’t possibly have the will to match Hamas freedom fighters without US aid.

Everyone and everything but Palestinian intransigence will be to blame for the inevitable defeat of Hamas. Lost in stories of foreign powers or Israeli brutality taking advantage of Palestinian vulnerability, there will be no reflection on how Hamas shouldn’t have slaughtered and raped its way through southern Israel, or shouldn’t have taken hostages, or ignored the opportunity available every day for eight months to surrender and release its captives.

The path of compromise, of peace, of accepting that there is no Palestinian future in which Israel does not exist alongside them, will never be considered, nor will be the consequences to be found on the path of violence be considered. Their suffering in the wake of a war Hamas began is not a consequence of its action, but one more bout of unfair victimization inflicted on them by Israel and the US – and so they will continue to endure them.

Hamas supporters will forever hold onto the fleeting moment of October 7, and, as always, promise themselves that next time victory will be theirs, if only it wasn’t for those meddling kids in the White House.

How the ICC twisted the lessons of the Nuremberg, Tokyo trials
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established as part of the Rome Statutes in 1998 and entered into force in July 2002. It was set up to try individuals for committing the gravest crimes against humanity such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. It is meant to be a court of last resort where individuals committing the above crimes are not facing the possibility of being prosecuted in their own countries. At present, 124 countries are party to the ICC. Israel and the United States are not parties to the ICC.

In the case of the current conflict with Hamas, all the lessons of the trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo have been cast aside and turned upside down. A new protected species called “innocent civilians” has suddenly emerged in Gaza as the essence of the new morality of mankind. Every terrorist who hides his weapon is instantly transformed into an innocent civilian. The UN and the EU are in agreement that Israel should not be allowed to win the war.

In complete contradiction to everything that happened at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, Karim Kahn, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, decided that he wants the court to issue arrest warrants against Israel’s prime minister and the defense minister, and three leaders of Hamas. By doing this, he is equating the genocidal leaders of a terrorist group that initiated a war of monstrous barbaric proportions with the actions of the leadership of a democratic country in trying to defend itself. This takes double standards to a completely new level.

Since 1979, the leaders of Iran have called for death to Israel, death to America, and have killed thousands of their own citizens. Iran has financed, trained, and promoted proxies all across the Middle East to attack Israel and recently fired over 300 rockets, missiles, and armed drones at Israel. None of these actions have resulted in any arrest warrants being issued by the ICC. The double standards of the ICC reek of hypocrisy and antisemitism.

Israel is a democracy that has an independent Supreme Court that has consistently held people accountable for their actions and misdeeds. The recent actions of the chief prosecutor of the ICC to want to issue arrest warrants against two leaders of Israel are against the very foundational principles of the mandate of the ICC. The leaders of the country that was attacked are being portrayed as having committed crimes against humanity, and the initiators of terrorism find themselves acclaimed as heroes across the world. The fact that Hamas has promised to continue to attack Israel again and again does not seem to bother the West or the ICC. Rewarding a terrorist organization that has a genocidal policy of destroying its neighbor and aims to kill all Jews around the world should be unthinkable. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is now being contemplated. A more insane situation is hard to imagine.

The decision of the chief prosecutor of the ICC has undermined the very credibility of the court itself. It is a strategic misjudgment of the greatest significance. Instead of helping to eradicate terrorism, it will lead to greater lawlessness and a tsunami of chaos and destruction throughout the world.

Let us conclude by looking at some quotes from president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech after the attack on Pearl Harbor:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

“We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”

“There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.”

“With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.”

In the case of the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas of October 7, there should be no doubt that Israel has the moral, ethical, and legal right to defend itself as stated by Roosevelt.

FDD: Is Israeli-Saudi normalization end or means?
The Biden administration seems oblivious of Middle East reality and more focused on its domestic constituency, especially in a presidential election year. Washington has doubled down on an Israeli ceasefire with Hamas and coupled it with a two-state peace deal with the PA – even though the two schemes clash, given that Hamas vehemently opposes recognition of and peace with Israel.

With its plan going around in circles, Washington declared that its bilateral defense treaty with Saudi Arabia was ready – perhaps reasoning that such news would incentivize Israel to accept both a ceasefire and a two-state.

But why would an American-Saudi defense treaty motivate Israel? And why should Israel expend political capital in Washington to help pass a treaty that does not solve its problem with the Palestinians – especially considering that 74 percent of Israelis oppose a Palestinian state in the absence of a reliable Palestinian peace partner. Biden’s diplomacy looks counterintuitive.

A more effective approach would have been for Saudi Arabia to sign a peace treaty with Israel unconditionally and build a strong alliance. Once they are allies, the Israelis and the Saudis can work together on solving the various issues, including the stabilization of Gaza, post-Hamas, countering regional troublemaker Iran, and on strengthening Saudi ties with the US in ways that distance Riyadh from Beijing. Through this alliance, the Saudis can help groom a reliable Palestinian partner than can talk peace with Israel.

Biden’s diplomacy is delaying Saudi normalization with Israel until after the region is fixed, making peace the end game. Instead, Washington should treat Israeli-Saudi peace as a means that can help counter the Iran-led warring camp in the region and help defuse a century old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Top Hamas official: Nobody has any clue how many hostages still alive
Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan says nobody knows how many of the 116 remaining hostages kidnapped on October 7 are still alive.

“I don’t have any idea about that,” the Beirut-based terror official tells CNN. “No one has an idea about this.”

He also blames Israel for the mental state of four hostages recently rescued, after a doctor said they were subject to constant physical and emotional abuse while in captivity.

“I believe if they have mental problem, this is because of what Israel have done in Gaza,” he says, adding the wild claim that the abductees looked better coming out of Gaza than when they were kidnapped.

Hamdan defends the group’s rejection of truce terms, saying Israel needs to agree to a full ceasefire before any negotiations on freeing hostages.

Hamas needs “a clear position from Israel to accept the ceasefire, a complete withdrawal from Gaza, and let the Palestinians to determine their future by themselves, the reconstruction, the (lifting) of the siege … and we are ready to talk about a fair deal about the prisoners exchange,” he is quoted saying.
CNN asks Hamas official why group hasn't agreed to US-backed ceasefire proposal
In a rare interview, CNN’s Ben Wedeman questioned senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan in Beirut, Lebanon. The interview comes amid increasingly distant hopes of reaching a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel.

US providing Israel with unprecedented amount of intelligence, but with restrictions - WaPo
The US has provided Israel with intelligence capabilities never before seen prior to October 7, a senior official told The Washington Post on Friday.

A notable example of such capabilities was Israel’s recent hostage rescue operation, the official said.

According to the Post, citing current and former US and Israeli intelligence sources since the October 7 massacre, the US has increased intelligence gathering on Hamas.

As such, the US is reportedly sharing an extraordinary amount of drone footage, satellite imagery, communications intercepts, and data analysis using advanced software, some powered by artificial intelligence.

The unique intelligence capabilities provided by the US
The report cited Israeli officials who said Israel is grateful for the American aid, which in some cases provided unique capabilities that it lacked before Hamas’s attack.

However, according to the US daily, the Biden administration prohibited Israel from using any intelligence provided by the US to target "regular" Hamas terrorists in military operations and that the intelligence was only intended to locate hostages as well as the terrorist organization's senior leadership - including Yahya Sinwar, who planned the events of October 7, and Mohammad Deif, chief of Hamas’s military wing.

A senior official in the US security establishment told the Post, “If we managed to unilaterally get information that we could act on, and we thought we could actually get US people out alive, we could act, but there was genuinely very little information specifically about US hostages.”
Report: US intel for hostage rescue was secondary to Israeli information gathered in Gaza before operation
Intelligence provided by the United States that helped plan last week’s successful rescue of four hostages held by Hamas in Gaza was secondary to information gathered by Israeli operatives in Gaza before the raid, the Washington Post reports.

The US provided overhead imagery to help Israel plan the daring daylight rescue, according to American and Israeli officials quoted in the report.

Intelligence provided by the US can only be used for locating Israeli hostages held by terror groups in Gaza since October 7, including eight Americans, along with the Hamas leadership, according to an agreement with the Biden administration. The Iran-backed group is designated a terror organization by the US.

The report also quotes American officials as saying that members of the US elite operations force JSOC, which has “deep experience in hostage rescues,” have been working closely with counterparts in Israel since Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,200 people and kidnapped 251 to Gaza, mostly civilians, on October 7.

The officials are quoted as saying that back in October, plans were made — but ultimately not executed — for JSOC forces to deploy in Gaza to rescue US citizens held by Hamas.

“If we managed to unilaterally get information that we could act on, and we thought we could actually get US people out alive, we could act, but there was genuinely very little information specifically about US hostages,” says one of the US officials quoted by the Washington Post.

The report points to the importance — and dearth — of human intelligence from within Gaza, which is gradually increasing as the war continues, including from interrogating detained Hamas operatives and scouring documents and digital files discovered during ongoing maneuvers in the Strip.

Intelligence gleaned from these sources was used in Saturday’s hostage rescue operation, along with in previous operations to recover the bodies of hostages, the Washington Post reports.
Sec. Austin: Israel has made changes but civilian casualty rates have been far too high
While Hamas continues to use "despicable tactics" like using civilians as human shields, Israel has to do everything it can to minimize the number of civilian casualties in the battlespace, United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Friday afternoon after meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

Austin acknowledged that Israel has made changes over time, however casualty rates have been "far too high."

Austin, who has spoken with his Israeli counterpart Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at least once per week since October 7, said he's "encouraged them to be more precise."

"You've also heard me say that accomplishing your goals and objectives, and protecting civilians in a battle space, are not mutually exclusive," Austin said. "Both can be done and should be done."
Biden Fears Israel ‘Rushing to War’ in Lebanon — Even Though Hezbollah Has Been Attacking for Eight Months
Briefing reporters on Thursday, an administration official traveling with Mr. Biden to Italy said that since October Washington has been talking to “Israel and Lebanon” — in reality, Hezbollah — “to keep this from developing into a full-out war that could have implications” elsewhere in the region.

Yet, an increasing number of Israelis have grown leery of the Biden administration’s diplomacy. Israel quietly made significant concessions to Hamas in the hope of freeing hostages held in Gaza. Mr. Biden then detailed a version of Jerusalem’s plan in a White House speech that later evolved into a United Nations Security Council resolution. After two weeks of silence, Hamas gave its answer on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, it was “not the yes that we were looking for,” Secretary Blinken told NBC Thursday. The only hindrance to a deal, he added, is Hamas’s Gaza commander, Yehya Sinwar. Gazans are “suffering every day,” the secretary said, “so if he has their interests at heart, he will come to a conclusion to bring this to a conclusion.”

Mr. Blinken vowed to continue pushing the deal and made no deadline for Hamas to reply, likely leading Sinwar to conclude that time is on his side. “W/great respect to US diplomats, appealing to #Sinwar’s humanitarian instincts will have no impact,” a veteran Mideast observer, the Washington Institute’s Robert Satloff, writes on X.

“Far better to make clear that failure to endorse ceasefire, without further haggling, will result in accelerated delivery of U.S. weapons to #Israel, offer for U.S. Corps of Engineers to join in technical efforts to cut all underground connections between #Gaza and #Sinai and arrest/extradition of #Hamas external leaders to stand trial in Israel,” Mr. Satloff writes.

Israelis who say that diplomacy, rather than the military, will end the crisis in the north are increasingly discouraged by Washington’s failure to use American leverage in its diplomatic efforts to end the Gaza war.
Blinken, Pentagon slammed for ‘Al Jazeera,’ Hezbollah-linked outlet interviews
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Defense are being criticized widely for interviews with terrorism-tied outlets over the Shavuot holiday.

On Wednesday, Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, fielded a question during a briefing about tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border from Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese outlet with ties to Hezbollah. She also took a follow-up question from the publication.

“The Pentagon is answering questions put to it directly by Al Mayadeen, a Hezbollah propaganda outlet. What the hell is any U.S. government spokesperson doing talking to Hezbollah?” wrote Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of its Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East.

“Why is a Pentagon spokeswoman giving an interview to pro-Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, Al Mayadeen?” wrote Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran. “Would be useful to get clarification from the Department of Defense on this matter.”

Also on Wednesday, Blinken sat down for an interview with Jalal Chahda, of Al Jazeera, at Old Doha Airport in Qatar. He did so several days after it was revealed that a Palestinian man with ties to Hamas and Al Jazeera had held Israeli hostages.

“Al Jazeera is a Hamas mouthpiece that literally employs terrorists and has openly violated the Department of Justice’s order to register as a foreign agent of Qatar. So naturally, Blinken spoke to the outlet earlier today,” wrote Eitan Fischberger, a Middle East analyst based in Israel.

“The gentleman who interviewed him, Jalal Chahda,” has posted on social media that Israel’s “paper tiger” Iron Dome is “weaker than a spider’s web, a failure and helpless against the rockets of the honorable resistance that defends the honor of the ummah,” Fischberger wrote, citing the Middle East Media Research Institute.

UN Watch: UN Inquiry Blames Israel for October 7th, UN Watch Submits Response
Following the release of the Pillay Commission of Inquiry’s new report to the Human Rights Council, Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch today submitted a legal analysis to the Commission and is awaiting its reply. The submission completely rejects the findings of the report, which assigned blame to Israel both for causing Hamas’ October 7th attack, and for failing to protect its civilians against it.

UN Watch noted the irony of the Pillay Commission’s criticism of Israel’s October 7th failures, given that the Council’s previous Commission of Inquiry in 2019 criticized Israel for responding to the March of Return riots with “disproportionate force” and effectively called on Israel to stand down. At the time, Col. Richard Kemp, speaking at an official UN side event organized by UN Watch, correctly warned that Hamas’s intention had been “to get through the border fence … to send people in very large numbers into Israel with the intention of getting into the Israeli communities – places like Nahal Oz which is a few hundred meters from the border – and slaughtering Israeli civilians and abducting Israeli civilians and torturing them.”

UN Watch had also warned then that the March of Return Commission’s approach would lead to “the death of innocent Israelis,” and now the Pillay Commission places the blame on Israel itself.

In addition to scrutinizing the report’s assignment of blame for October 7th, UN Watch also found that the report made conclusions based on old data and misinformation. Also, UN Watch found that the report makes one-sided assertions against Israel, such as the absurd accusation that any alleged sexual crimes committed by IDF soldiers were “ordered” and “condoned” by its leadership while those committed Hamas militants were not.

Inquiry Chair Navi Pillay Lobbied Countries to “Sanction Israeli Apartheid”

“The UN deliberately appointed three commissioners with records of extreme bias against Israel,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

In July 2021, Ms. Pillay accepted to chair the Pakistani-sponsored UN commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes and racism, with a mandate that, almost uniquely at the UN, has no end date.

“Prior to accepting the post, Pillay had already pronounced herself in extreme terms on the very issues that her inquiry is mandated to investigate,” said Neuer.

In June 2020, she signed a manifesto calling on governments to “Sanction Apartheid Israel.”

In June 2021, a month before heading the inquiry, Pillay wrote a letter to President Biden calling to punish Israel for the May 2021 war with Hamas. She also made many more prior prejudicial pronouncements. UN Watch documented her bias in a legal request that she recuse herself, but this was ignored.

In September 2022, after learning of these disturbing facts, the Mayor of Berlin withdrew her support for a Town Hall event set to honor Navi Pillay, and the award was canceled.

Israel follows international humanitarian law; now it needs to speak like it
The issue, on the other hand, is, of course, that the ICC fails to recognize that the reason for the high civilian casualty rate is that the Hamas terrorist organization is hiding hostages, weapons, and senior members in civilian areas; in other words, they are using human shields.

Nevertheless, ICC probes are inevitable in operations such as this one.

They can lead to international arrest warrants for Israeli military and political leaders, such as that which is currently on the table for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant; complicating Israel’s diplomatic relations, like the challenges we are facing with some long-time allies who are now criticizing Israel’s methods in Gaza; and restricting travel, like the challenges Netanyahu would face should an arrest warrant be pushed forward.

Excessive civilian casualties or apparent disregard for IHL could erode crucial support. This is particularly pertinent in multilateral forums, such as the United Nations, where international opinion can significantly impact diplomatic outcomes and sanctions.

On the subject of IHL, Israel, as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, is obligated to uphold the principles of protecting civilians and limiting the destruction of civilian infrastructure.

We could spend another seven years justifying every single destroyed building, school, or hospital in Gaza, but the truth is that the IDF has left destruction in its wake, and one day, we will wake up to find all fingers pointed at us.

In IHL, the principle of proportionality, or jus in bello, requires that any military advantage gained is not outweighed by the harm inflicted on civilians and civilian property.

Adhering to these rules is not just about avoiding ICC and ICJ scrutiny; it is about maintaining a moral high ground and demonstrating a commitment to international norms and humanitarian principles.
Israel was trying to reduce violations prior to being put on UN ‘list of shame’
Gamba carries a U.N. Security Council mandate to monitor, prevent and report on such violations. The annual report was sent to Security Council members on Tuesday.

The senior official who briefed reporters told JNS that Gamba has had many past engagements with Israeli government officials and entities, and in late 2022, the Israeli government sent a letter saying it had agreed to commence the action plan process.

“So, there is an active engagement,” the senior official said. “It’s never been like a break in the engagement.”

The senior U.N. official said that on May 28, an Israeli official, whose name the senior official could not recall, sent a letter to Gamba “with a written commitment that they wish to explore this development of the plan with us.”

The senior official said that Israel’s U.N. mission also sent a letter on June 3 “saying that they would be very interested in pursuing what would look like a framework for such an arrangement.”

Since Erdan’s leaked recording, “there’s been silence,” the senior official said. “I don’t know if these offers continue to stand or not.”

The senior official said that Guterres “always recognizes as progress by parties to conflict whether they are listed” in the report or “if there are overtures of this nature.”

The senior official told JNS that the only way for the Jewish state to be removed from the list is to agree with the United Nations on an action plan and then demonstrate a verifiable decrease in the violations for which Israel was placed on the list.

“You have to show, quarter by quarter, a significant decrease that can prove that the measures that were decided are being put in place,” the senior official said. “So, the sum of the political commitment, plus the significant decrease in the right direction, can be considered by the secretary-general for the listing possibility.”

The senior official said that last year, Guterres made a decision, which is noted in the 2022 Children And Armed Conflict report, to strengthen and broaden the working group covering the Palestinian-controlled territories to better include violations against Israeli children.

“For many years, there seemed to be less interest in Israeli children cases. They were still reported, they were verified, but there was less information about them,” the official said.

In the months before Oct. 7, the monitoring team in the region was expanded with one Hebrew speaker added as a result of Guterres’s 2022 mandate.

The 2023 Children And Armed Conflict report includes a figure of some 3,900 Israel children harmed on Oct. 7. The senior official said that the figure has yet to be verified.

Human rights groups push for UK to ban weapon sales to Israel
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been allowed by a UK court to intervene in a legal challenge which seeks to prevent the UK’s transfer of weapons to Israel, HRW said on their website on Thursday.

The legal challenge was first brought to the courts by Al-Haq and the Global Legal Action Network. Accusations against Israel

Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, said “We welcome the Court’s decision to allow Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to intervene in this critical case.

“In the face of Israel’s ongoing crimes in Gaza, the UK Government presents the farcical argument that it is lawful to continue sending arms to Israel on that basis that Israel is committed to complying with international law. Our evidence shows the exact opposite.

“Time and again, Israel’s official statements, policies and practice are in direct contradiction with international law and the results are clear to see: children in Gaza are dying of starvation and starvation-related illnesses. It is critical that the Government’s justification for arming Israel is properly scrutinized by the UK Courts.

“The law is very clear, arms should be suspended when there is a clear risk that arms and military equipment might be used to facilitate or commit serious violations of international law. As Israel continues to carry out widespread serious violations, including war crimes, the UK should immediately suspend arms licenses to avoid breaching its own laws and being complicit in these grave abuses.”

The group added that while they welcome the court’s decision, “We shouldn’t have to drag ministers in front of judges to have them comply with their own laws.”

UN reconstruction coordinator says she is moving to Gaza Strip
Sigrid Kaag, the U.N.’s senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for the Gaza Strip, plans to move her residence and offices to the war-torn coastal enclave later this month, the diplomat told the Netherlands’ NOS public broadcaster in an interview from Jordan.

“I believe you should always work from the field. You can’t just come up with good ideas from New York or the region,” Kaag, who previously served as the Dutch deputy prime minister, said on Tuesday.

According to the U.N. official, Gaza has become “the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers” amid the war against Hamas.

It was not immediately clear where Kaag intends to rent an apartment in the Gaza Strip, though the move is slated for mid-June, NOS said.

According to a poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on Wednesday, only 12% of Palestinians are satisfied with the U.N.’s role in the conflict. Meanwhile, some two-thirds of the Palestinian public continues to support Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

While the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire and the release of the 120 hostages held by Hamas has the potential to provide a “new perspective” for aid delivery, the current situation in Gaza can be described as “hell on earth,” she said, adding that “people cannot wait.

“It is very tough. Ultimately, I am a visitor. I have the right to leave. But the people who live there, the children, the widows, those who are surviving with the minimum, they have no chance of leaving,” she said.

Regarding talks with the Israeli War Cabinet, Kaag stated: “We discuss the difficult issues and also look at where progress has been made.”

Why Jerusalem Remains Relatively Quiet during the Gaza War
One of Hamas’s most notable failures since October 7 is that it has not succeeded in inspiring a violent uprising either among the Palestinians of the West Bank or the Arab citizens of Israel. The latter seem horrified by Hamas’s actions and tend to sympathize with their own country. In the former case, quiet has been maintained by the IDF and Shin Bet, which have carried out a steady stream of arrests, raids, and even airstrikes.

But there is a third category of Arab living in Israel, namely the Arabs of Jerusalem, whose intermediate legal status gives them access to Israeli social services and the right to vote in municipal elections. They may also apply for Israeli citizenship if they so desire, although most do not.

On Wednesday, off-duty Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem shot at a Palestinian who, it seems, was attempting to attack them. But this incident is a rare exception to the quiet that has prevailed in Arab Jerusalem since the war began. Eytan Laub asked a friend in an Arab neighborhood why:

Listen, he said, we . . . have much to lose. We already fear that any confrontation would have consequences. Making trouble may put our residence rights at risk. Furthermore, he added, not a few in the neighborhood, including his own family, have applied for Israeli citizenship and participating in disturbances would hardly help with that.

Such an attitude reflects a general trend since the end of the second intifada:

In recent years, the numbers of [Arab] Jerusalemites applying for Israeli citizenship has risen, as the social stigma of becoming Israeli has begun to erode and despite an Israeli naturalization process that can take years and result in denial (because of the requirement to show Jerusalem residence or the need to pass a Hebrew language test). The number of east Jerusalemites granted citizenship has also risen, from 827 in 2009 to over 1,600 in 2020.

Oddly enough, Laub goes on to argue, the construction of the West Bank separation fence in the early 2000s, which cuts through the Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem, has helped to encouraged better relations.
FDD: The West Bank: A 3-year crisis led by Palestinian terrorist groups
For three years, violence in the West Bank has persisted with no signs of abatement, fueled mainly by Iran-backed terrorist groups. While Israeli forces conduct near-daily counterterrorism raids, attacks on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and civilian targets continue. Branches belonging to Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Hamas, and other armed groups not only continue to be operational but are expanding their presence in the West Bank.

The FDD’s Long War Journal “Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank” project breaks down attacks carried out by armed groups between March 31, 2022, and June 13, 2024. Additionally, the project breaks down data to show attacks pre- and post-October 7, 2023.

Notable figures from the tally reveal that Katibat Jenin, the Islamic Jihad’s Jenin branch, has been responsible for the majority of attacks against Israeli targets. The Lions’ Den has also conducted a significant number of attacks. However, that group has since ceased its activities following repeated Israeli counterterrorism raids against its leadership and members. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades’ Tulkarm Battalion has also demonstrated a capacity to launch a substantial number of attacks, with a total of 132 recorded incidents.

Separately, LWJ’s mapped data highlight a concerning issue regarding the presence of numerous terrorist groups operating in the West Bank. While the infographic identifies 15 groups, many linked to known terrorist organizations, additional factions are also active. The data illustrate a marked rise in the number of armed cells, indicating a substantial uptick in terrorist activity in comparison to previous years when only a few militant groups were active in the West Bank.

A significant development the infographic does not highlight is the substantial increase in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against Israeli troops. Initially, Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank relied on automatic weapons, pipe bombs, and crudely rigged fire extinguishers. However, as the violence in the West Bank evolved, armed groups have grown in capability. For example, IED manufacturing labs have been established, creating more sophisticated and powerful explosives capable of causing significant damage to thinly armored Israeli military vehicles.

Two notable examples of this trend are attacks in January and May of this year. On January 7, an Israel Border Police officer succumbed to injuries sustained in a roadside bomb explosion, which was claimed by Islamic Jihad’s Jenin branch. On May 5, a car bomb detonated against an Israeli bulldozer, with Islamic Jihad’s Tubas branch taking responsibility for the attack.

These incidents demonstrate the evolving tactics of Palestinian terrorist groups and the growing sophistication of their explosive devices.

IDF discovers Hamas tunnels for passage between civilian houses in Rafah
IDF troops from the Nahal Brigade had located and destroyed several tunnel shafts and weapons caches throughout Rafah operations, the IDF announced on Friday.

Troops from Nahal Brigade's combat teams operating in Rafah killed terrorists who were using tunnels and weapons caches stored in residential homes.

Soldiers uncovered large stockpiles of weapons hidden in residential buildings in Rafah, including but not limited to AK-47s, ammunition, missiles, explosives, and grenades. Inter-domicile tunnels

During reconnaissance work by troops from the Nahal Brigade, they uncovered a number of passages through the walls of homes in the neighborhood, which had been built by Hamas to allow them to move unseen through houses in the densely packed neighborhoods.

The IDF has been continuing to operate in Rafah as part of moves to put military pressure on Hamas to accept a ceasefire deal.

The moves come less than a week after a daring hostage rescue mission that liberated four hostages who had been held since October 7, including Noa Argamani.

Gallant rejects Macron’s proposed trilateral task force to defuse Hezbollah tensions
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant rules out joining an initiative promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron in which France, the United States and Israel would form a contact group to work on defusing escalating tensions with Hezbollah on the northern border.

“As we fight a just war, defending our people, France has adopted hostile policies against Israel,” Gallant says in a statement. “In doing so, France ignores the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli children, women and men.”

“Israel will not be a party to the trilateral framework proposed by France,” he writes.

His statement comes after Macron yesterday announced that the three countries had agreed to work together to step up efforts to push forward a roadmap presented by Paris earlier this year to de-escalate the conflict, which has been building since Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel.

Amid growing calls to limit arms sales to the IDF and divest from Israeli defense companies on the backdrop of the ongoing war in Gaza, French authorities last month banned Israeli defense firms from exhibiting at one of the world’s largest defense fairs.

'Nasrallah now realizes the IDF can kill him,' Middle East expert says
Approximately 250 rockets were launched on Wednesday towards northern Israel, disrupting the holiday calm with successive alerts. Rockets that exploded in open areas caused fires. In the city of Tiberias, a siren was activated for the first time since October.

These launches come after the assassination of senior Hezbollah official Sami Taleb Abdullah, whose rank was equivalent to a brigadier general in the IDF.

For the past 20 years, Abdullah had led rocket fire toward Kiryat Shmona, the Galilee panhandle, and the Golan Heights. He is the highest-ranking Hezbollah commander to have been killed so far in the war.

Abdullah was also active during the Second Lebanon War, serving as a brigade commander and developing rockets in the region.

Yesterday, following attacks on Kfar Blum and after recent intelligence gathering on him, the IDF precisely assassinated Taleb using a fighter jet. The operation was led by the Northern Command chief in collaboration with the Intelligence Directorate and the Air Force.

"The powerful elimination worries Hezbollah members. They now understand that the IDF knows much more about them than we do. Additionally, the operation indicates that Hezbollah's field security is not airtight and that the organization's intelligence system has been penetrated to such an extent that we were able to eliminate such an important sector commander. The IDF managed to infiltrate their networks and systems and identify the right people for elimination," says Professor Amatzia Baram, suggesting that this also impacts the leader of the terrorist organization.

US sanctions far-right Israeli group behind attacks on aid convoys bound for Gaza
The Biden administration on Friday announced sanctions against a far-right Israeli group that has been behind attacks on humanitarian aid convoys en route to the Gaza Strip.

The sanctions target Tsav 9, a group with ties to Israeli army reservists and Israeli settlers, over activities including blocking, harassing and damaging aid shipments.

The financial sanctions will be imposed under an executive order on West Bank violence Biden signed in February, which was previously used to impose financial on violent settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians and Israeli peace activists. The sanctions announced Friday were the fourth batch issued under the executive order.

“We’re using the authority to sanction an ever-broadening selection of actors, targeting individuals and entities that threaten the peace, security and stability of the West Bank regardless of religion, ethnicity or location,” Aaron Forsberg, director of the State Department’s office of sanctions policy and implementation, told Reuters.

On May 13, members of Tsav 9 looted and then set fire to two aid trucks near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Tsav 9 — Hebrew for Order 9, a reference to call-up orders for Israeli military reservists — said after the May 13 incident it acted to stop supplies from reaching Hamas and accused the Israeli government of giving “gifts” to the terror group.
US military considering taking down Gaza aid pier amid weather concerns — report
The US military is reportedly considering temporarily dismantling its floating pier off the coast of Gaza amid concerns over sea conditions, weeks after it was damaged by bad weather.

CNN cites US officials as saying a decision on whether to move the pier to the Israeli port of Ashdod will be made today.

The US military-built pier, designed to carry aid into Gaza by boat amid the ongoing war, was reconnected to the beach in the Strip last week after it broke apart in storms and rough seas.

The section that connects to the beach in Gaza, the causeway, was rebuilt nearly two weeks after heavy storms damaged it and abruptly halted what had already been a troubled delivery route.

They Criticized the Entebbe Rescue, Too
The Organization of African Unity, consisting of several dozen African countries, accused Israel of “wanton aggression” and demanded reparations for damage to the airport. The Soviet and Chinese governments denounced what they called “the Zionist aggression.”

United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim charged that Israel had committed a “serious violation of the sovereignty” of Uganda. A few years later, Waldheim’s past as a Nazi war criminal was exposed. (However, that did not prevent his election as president of Austria in 1986.)

The Mexican government criticized Israel’s “flagrant violation” of Ugandan sovereignty, and declared its “firm rejection of the use of armed force by any state as a means of trying to solve conflicts.”

The Mexican position was especially surprising because just months earlier, it had explicitly promised to refrain from anti-Israel policies. That promise was made in order to secure an end to the boycott of Mexico announced by Jewish organizations following its support of the infamous Zionism-is-racism resolution at the U.N. in 1975.

The French government’s response to the Entebbe rescue was particularly troubling, given the fact that it was a French plane that was hijacked, and French crew members who were held hostage. The French Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement which expressed satisfaction at the rescue, but emphasized its condemnation of the casualties, almost all of whom were the terrorists or the soldiers who assisted them.

A spokesperson for the Air France crew read a statement hailing President Amin for his “constant care to ensure our safety, our material comfort and even our health.” The statement appeared to have been dictated by French officials.

The U.S. government publicly praised the Israeli rescue mission, but it also introduced an “even-handed” resolution at the U.N. Security Council. While condemning the hijacking, the resolution also affirmed “the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States.” The resolution did not secure enough votes to pass, so it was withdrawn.

At the same time — according to declassified documents — Secretary of State Henry Kissinger informed Israel’s ambassador in Washington that because the Israelis had used US equipment in the raid, “we will have to put a temporary freeze on military shipments.”

Ambassador Simcha Dinitz replied: “You are kidding me.” Kissinger was not kidding. “You know you have no right to do this without prior consultation,” he admonished the ambassador. Dinitz argued that the relevant U.S. law applied to “only weaponry, not equipment.” But Kissinger insisted that the U.S.-made C-130 transport planes were a “military version” of that aircraft and therefore could not be used outside Israel’s borders. Kissinger could have looked the other way; instead, his response was to penalize Israel following its miraculous rescue of the hostages.

Israel’s prime minister in those days was Yitzhak Rabin, and the government was ruled by the Labor Party — a reminder that whether Israel’s government is from the political left or the right, and whether its leader is named Rabin or Netanyahu, there will always be those who complain when Israel takes action to defend the lives of its citizens.
In the heart of Nuseirat: IDF Paratroopers protect hostages under fire during Operation Arnon
The IDF released new footage from the Paratroopers Brigade's operational activity during Operation Arnon, which led to the rescue of four hostages, Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan, and Andrey Kozlov, last week.

The footage, captured from soldiers' helmet cameras, shows them in the heart of the Nuseirat camp in Gaza as they arrive, transfer the hostages from YAMAM and Shin Bet vehicles, and secure their exit.

In the video, the soldiers can be heard giving commands: "Action, action, moving to attack, first magazine, step forward quickly," as they advance through Nuseirat amid the sound of gunfire.

During the advance, a radio message states, "Soon we will have two UAVs to secure the area."

Meeting up with the rescue team
Upon joining the YAMAM operatives, they report, "We are currently joining a military force." Immediately afterward, they break down an iron door and enter a building, moving from room to room.

Finally, they return to the armored vehicles and complete the rescue.

How Hamas keeps hostages in the heart of Gaza
Abdel Rahman al-Jamal, a 63-year-old veteran member of the Gaza legislative council, is deeply entrenched in Hamas’s apparatus and has played a central role in the recent hostage crisis.

In his book “Lexicon of the Hamas Movement,” Guy Aviad, an expert on Palestinian terrorist organizations and Israel’s military history, says al-Jamal was born in the Nuseirat refugee camp. He began as a student of Islamic law before earning a doctorate and eventually serving as the dean of religious studies at Gaza’s Islamic College.

While not an official member of Hamas’s “military” wing, al-Jamal stands accused of coordinating terrorist attacks by the wing against Egyptian forces in Sinai after meeting with the movement’s leader Khaled Mashaal, according to an Egyptian indictment.

His extended family, closely tied to the Hamas regime, is a wealthy clan owning several properties in Nuseirat, including the home where three of the four Israeli hostages rescued last Saturday were held captive for months.

The al-Jamal family’s civilian hideout
One of the homes belonging to al-Jamal’s clan became the place of captivity for Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv. The house is owned by a relative, Abdullah Talib al-Jamal, a former journalist for the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Now news agency who had an article published in Al Jazeera.

Abdullah’s 74-year-old father, Ahmed Youssef, previously served as a senior adviser to former Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and maintains ties to the current leadership, illustrating the family’s prestige and connections within the regime.

For half a year, Hamas terrorists took over the upper floor of this spacious al-Jamal family home in Nuseirat, holding the three hostages under armed guard.
Gazan who held Israeli hostages in home had ties to ex-Provisional IRA man
Further evidence is emerging of the wide-reaching activities of the late Abdullah al-Jamal (his name is sometimes spelled Abdallah Aljamal), the Palestinian journalist who in his spare time served also as the host/jailer for three of the four kidnapped Israeli hostages freed in an Israeli special forces operation in Gaza last week.

Al-Jamal, along with his wife, Fatima, and father, Ahmed, was killed when Israeli forces entered their apartment, where the hostages were being held, in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza. The three rescued hostages held by the al-Jamals were Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv.

In addition to his service assisting the Hamas authorities in Gaza in the incarceration of civilian abductees, al-Jamal was employed as a spokesman for the Gaza Labor Ministry. He also found time in his busy schedule to work as a journalist, penning a long list of articles for the U.S.-based Palestine Chronicle newspaper, as well as a co-authored piece for Al Jazeera.

But al-Jamal’s activities don’t appear to have stopped there. Evidence has also emerged, ironically, that in addition to holding (Israeli) prisoners, he was also an activist for the rights of Palestinians incarcerated for terrorist offences. This element of his activities brought al-Jamal into contact with internationally known figures.

For example, a look at al-Jamal’s Facebook page reveals an entry dated May 23, 2023, which shows him taking part in what he describes as “an international meeting via Zoom, which brought together freed Palestinian prisoners with Irish freed prisoners and activists, most notably the freed prisoner Danny Morrison, one of the most prominent leaders of the Irish experience in hunger strikes during the occupation.”

The Gazan journalist/activist continues that the meeting was held to “galvanize the issue of the hunger strike, and expose the occupation’s crimes against prisoners.”

Morrison, a former member of the terrorist Provisional IRA, was director of publicity for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the movement, in the 1980s. Belfast-born, Morrison served as the spokesman for the jailed IRA hunger strikers in 1981.
‘Irresponsible speculation’: Relatives knock Gantz’s comments on Bibas hostage family
Relatives of the Bibas family, held hostage in Gaza since October 7, pushed back Friday after National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz said he believed that Israeli authorities know the fate of the family.

“I believe so,” said Gantz, when asked if Israel knows the fate of the family during a Kan TV interview on Thursday night, adding that the public would learn about it “when things come to fruition.”

The Bibas family — parents Shiri and Yarden, and their sons Ariel, 4, and Kfir, who turned 1 year old in January — have become among the most resonant of the hostages still held captive since Hamas’s October 7 attack, when thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel from Gaza, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 251 hostages.

“We are in continuous daily contact with intelligence sources, and we believe wholeheartedly that we will hear good news,” representatives of the Bibas family told Kan.

“We ask of elected officials who choose to express themselves on the issue that they do not engage in irresponsible speculation,” they said. “We emphasize that there is no certain

information regarding Shiri, the children, or Yarden.”
I thought Israeli rescuers had come to kill me, says hostage ‘brainwashed’ by Hamas
Mr Kozlov had moved on his own to Rishon LeZion, a coastal town south of Tel Aviv, a year and a half ago. He had been working as a security guard at the Nova festival when he was abducted.

Because of the distance between them, the first conversation between mother and son was on a video call.

“He was shouting, ‘mummy, I survived twice, and I am home, I am home!’ We couldn’t really speak. We were both shouting and crying and smiling and it was full of happiness, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I was really excited and wanted to come and hug him physically,” said Ms Kozlov.

She was initially apprehensive about how his ordeal may have changed him but “then I saw my son and despite this horrific experience, I could feel that this is my boy,” she said.

“The first sentence he said to me is that he always knew he would be back. That is the reason he never said goodbye on Oct 7, he never sent a message with some sad news.”

He had remained strong by writing a diary, trying to keep his mind busy and exercising in the confined space.

“He said it actually brought him energy to fight and to have this hope to know that he will be back home,” said Ms Kozlov.

Other media reports say the three hostages taught each other Hebrew and Russian and forged a strong bond that helped them endure the tough conditions.

But Dr Itai Pessach, a member of the team at Sheba Medical Centre who treated the hostages, told the Wall Street Journal their initial healthy appearance was in part due to the adrenaline and jubilation they experienced during their escape.

He revealed that closer examination showed signs of muscle atrophy and malnutrition and that their weight had likely fluctuated due to fear and maltreatment.

As elated as Ms Kozlov and her family were at Andrey’s release, she said they also felt guilty in front of families who had lost loved ones in the Oct 7 attack or who were waiting for news about hostages who were still being held in Gaza.

“The story is not finished. We have 120 more people, we have to fight for them and bring them in any way possible – if it is a deal or another operation,” she said.

“Every day someone can lose their life.”

She thanked everyone involved in her son’s rescue and paid tribute to Mr Zmora, the officer who lost his life.

“I was destroyed physically and mentally when I knew that this soldier was killed during the operation. I have no words to describe what I feel regarding this situation. I feel that I owe my life and my kid’s life to this guy, and it is terrible.”

Mr Kozlov’s father, Mikhail, said when he wrote on social media that he was devastated about Mr Zmora, someone replied to say: “Now Andrey knows the name to choose for his son in the future.”
Mother of captive soldier: Noa Argamani told us female hostages were held as slaves in luxury villa
The mother of Liri Albag, a 19-year-old female soldier abducted on October 7, shares information about her daughter that she received from Noa Argamani, who was rescued from captivity in Gaza last week.

“Noa said that they were slaves, and so were the [female soldiers], including Liri,” Shira Albag says in a statement. “They cleaned the yard, did dishes and prepared food that they were not allowed to eat.”

She says her daughter was held in a luxury villa and was only allowed to shower after a month in captivity. After 40 days, according to Shira Albag, Liri was moved into Hamas’s network of underground tunnels.

“There it’s much worse, there’s no fresh water, and not much food,” she says, adding that the hostages have no clean clothes and no way to wash and dry their garments, “not even underwear.”

She says that hostages released in November in a weeklong truce had said the female hostages “cried on the 50th day that they miss their mothers.”

“I don’t want to imagine what they’re going through now,” she adds.

A video taken by Hamas terrorists’ body cameras of the abduction of five female soldiers from the Nahal Oz base on October 7, including Albag, was released by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum last month.

All five are still held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas's birthday cake: Bella Hadid shares post of 'benign' treatment of hostages
Bella Hadid shared a post on her Instagram story on Wednesday, which read, “Released Israeli captive revealed that Hamas made him a birthday cake during captivity,” with the photo of 21-year-old rescued hostage Almog Meir Jan.

The post was subsequently deleted by the original account that shared it.

Following the rescue of the four hostages, Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir (21), Andrey Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40), a clinical nutritionist at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer Meital Binyamin stated in an interview with Walla that the four suffered from serious malnutrition.

The medic further stated the hostages ate only a quarter or a tenth of the amount they were supposed to eat and lost severe muscle mass while in captivity.

Hadid shared a separate post on Wednesday that purported to show that Hamas treats Israeli hostages better than Israel treats Palestinian detainees.

Israeli hostage artwork defaced in Mexico
When an American Jewish family vacationing in Mexico this winter saw a plethora of street art championing the Palestinian cause at a popular tourist quarter, they were determined to act and balance the message.

What they did not expect was that the street art they commissioned on behalf of the Israeli hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza would be vandalized and ripped down.

It had been placed among the pro-Palestinian art this spring in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, known for its indigenous peoples and culture and a world away from the conflict whose ricochets have spread to the U.S. and Europe.

“It really is disturbing,” Bruce Brumberg of Newton, Mass., told JNS in an interview. “We respected their opportunity to have a voice and they aren’t doing the same for us.

“It feels quite unfair,” added his son Gregory.
'Absolutely overwhelming': Dr. Phil visits site of Nova music festival massacre
TV personality Dr. Phil posted a clip from a primetime exclusive episode of his hit show, "Dr. Phil Primetime," to X, formerly Twitter, on Friday in which he visited the site of the Nova music festival massacre.

Dr. Phil visited the site during his trip to Israel last month.

The site of the music festival was overrun by terrorists during Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, resulting in the death of 364 people, along with the kidnapping of attendees into Hamas captivity as hostages.

In Dr. Phil's post on X, formerly known as Twitter, regarding the release of the episode, he explained that during his visit to the massacre site, he spoke to a first responder to understand the events that occurred properly.

"Walking amongst the images of the people that were killed or taken hostage here. It was absolutely overwhelming," Dr. Phil wrote.

The video included in the post included a preview of the episode in which Dr. Phil can be seen walking past pictures of the victims of the massacre at the Nova site as he listened to a survivor recount her story of survival.

Dr. Phil's additional interviews during his visit to Israel
A previous episode from Dr. Phil's trip to Israel on the "Dr. Phil Primetime" show included an exclusive interview with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The interview was notably one hour long and unedited. In it, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a number of issues regarding the Israel-Hamas war, including his relations with US President Joe Biden, the situation in the Middle East, the October 7 failures on the part of Israel, and pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses throughout America.

During his visit, Dr. Phil also interviewed Rachel and Jon Goldberg-Polin, the parents of Israeli hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who is currently held in Hamas captivity.

PodCast: What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: The weakness of international law
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World. This week, host deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur.

On Tuesday, the United Nations published an annual report on children in armed conflict, which for the first time added the Israeli military, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to its list of worst offenders. The decision to add the IDF to what has become known as “the list of shame” was due to what the report said was its killing and maiming of children and attacking schools and hospitals. Israel asserts that it operates according to international law, taking steps to avoid civilian casualties.

And on Wednesday, a UN inquiry alleged both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in the early stages of the Gaza war, saying Israel’s actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses, and that they included acts of “extermination.”

This week, we discuss the use of international bodies to delegitimize Israel and how international law — developed in part by Jews — no longer protects the little guys.

So this week, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, What Matters Now?
Israel the 'only country’ criticised for rescuing its own people
Former Intelligence Officer Michael Pregent says Israel is the “only country” that will be criticised for rescuing its own people from a terrorist organisation.

The daytime rescue operation is believed to have involved hundreds of Israeli military personnel and weeks of planning.

“We cannot discount that Hamas killed a bunch of Palestinians ... and yes, the IDF did as well,” Mr Pregent said.

“But those Palestinian are again, those men with weapons."

The Israel Guys: This Settler is Fighting for the Brave Pioneers in Judea and Samaria | Israel Summit
Nati Rom is on the tip of the spear when it comes to developing the heartland of Israel and defending the brave pioneers who live there through legal action. Join Nati for a brief segment of his amazing talk at our Israel Summit last May.

Biden draws praise, calls for action after noting ‘abhorrent’ Jew-hatred
U.S. President Joe Biden is drawing praise from American Jewish groups and criticism from the pro-Israel community after he commented on social media about “abhorrent” and “horrific acts of antisemitism this week—including a demonstration celebrating the Oct. 7 attack, vandalism targeting Jewish homes, attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses and harassment of subway riders.”

“Antisemitism doesn’t just threaten Jewish Americans,” he said. “It threatens all Americans and our fundamental democratic values.”

Ofir Akunis, the Israeli consul general in New York, wrote, “As I always say—it’s not just about Israel or the Jewish people, it’s a threat to all of you—it’s a threat to the entire world.”

The American Jewish Committee thanked Biden for his “strong condemnation of antisemitism.”

“Antisemitism is distinctly un-American. It is an existential threat to our democracy,” the AJC said. “The full weight of the government and the American people must counter it.”

The Anti-Defamation League also thanked the U.S. president, as did the Democratic Majority for Israel and Jeremy Burton, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called Biden’s comments “important.”

NYPost Editorial: NY needs to outlaw masking at protests NOW before more antisemitic goons run wild
New York needs to restore its “No masked demonstrations” law now — not dawdle while antisemitic goons run wild.

And state Attorney General Tish James, who led the drive to repeal the state’s longtime mask ban amid the COVID pandemic, should be leading the charge to revive it.

Before state lawmakers went home for the year, Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-SI) pushed for the Legislature to join 16 other states in banning “deceptive” masks or other face coverings, but the Democrats who dominate in Albany didn’t care to discuss it.

Goonish masking has become routine at “pro-Palestine” protests, as keffiyeh wearers turn a fashion statement into identity concealment, imitating the Antifa veterans who’ve rushed to join this latest far-left cause.

Maybe the Legislature’s leaders told themselves the issue would fade as college kids went home, but the local protests have only grown worse — more threatening, as in that “Zionists need to leave” subway outrage, and the even more openly antisemitic “I wish Hitler was still here” guy at the “Long live October 7th” rally.

Masking emboldens the “demonstrators” and intimidates everyone else; that’s why the Ku Klux Klan adopted its masks and why so many states banned masks in response.

And today’s masked protesters are every bit as odious as the Klan.

Some claim the mask-wearing is to prevent “doxxing” over their activism, but there’s no free-speech right to protest anonymously.

No, it’s all about bullying — a license to threaten, and even commit violence.

Disgusting act The moment masked anti-Israel protesters set fire to American flags outside Israeli consulate
Disturbing images and video captured the moment three masked anti-Israel protesters ignited a pair of American flags and an Israeli flag outside the Jewish State’s consulate Wednesday.

The American flags were nearly invisible beneath the flames as the firebirds — one of whom has racked up several arrests in the last two months — stood outside the building at Second Avenue and East 42nd Street.

One man wearing a keffiyeh and “Gaza” shirt held a burning American flag as he stood in the bike lane directly in front of an NYPD booth, whose glass reflected the bright yellow flames.

Another disguised man ignited an Israeli flag that immediately wilted and fell from the flagpole, video shows.

According to the NYPD, one of the three firebugs was arrested.

Jahki Lodgson-McCray, 20, of New Jersey was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree menacing, disorderly conduct and failure to use a sidewalk.

It’s not clear whether he was one of the two men holding an American flag or was the third wielding an Israeli flag.
Australian War Memorial sprayed with pro-Palestine graffiti: Police launch urgent search for suspect
Police are investigating after a man sprayed pro-Palestine graffiti at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra overnight.

Officers said the man graffitied three areas at the Canberra monument at about 1am on Friday with pro-Palestine slogans.

He was pictured on CCTV wearing a black jumper, face covering and khaki pants with dark knee patches.

Acting Inspector Lisa Broomhall said criminal damage at a national institution would not be tolerated.

'Police are very disappointed this morning to see a national institution which holds a special significance to many being vandalised,' she said.

'We would like to remind the community that while peaceful protest is part of healthy democracy, criminal acts will not be tolerated.

'Police will be investigating this matter thoroughly in an effort to ensure those involved are brought before the courts.'

Monuments to Australia's wartime endeavours and colonial-era figures have been the subject of pro-Palestine action since the war in Gaza began.

Police arrest London man for pro-Hamas posts
British counter-terrorism police arrested a man from west London on Wednesday after he was suspected of supporting Hamas due to a post he placed to social media.

The 43-year-old man was reported to the Counter Terrorism Policing unit on June 4 for posts that allegedly showed support for Hamas. After investigating the matter, officers arrested the man at his home.

Britain’s home secretary designated Hamas as a proscribed terrorist organization under the Terrorism Act (2000) in March 2001.

Cmdr. Dominic Murphy, the head of Metro Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said in a statement: “Ever since the terrible attacks in Israel last October, and the subsequent conflict, there has been a significant increase in the amount of extremist and terrorist material being referred to us by the public.”

Murphy stressed that the police take each referral seriously.

“Each and every referral gets assessed by specialist officers and anything that is considered a potential terrorism offense here in the U.K. will get passed on for further investigation. From that investigation, if and where we find evidence of a crime being committed, then we’ll look to identify, arrest and bring the person responsible to justice.”

The suspect was released on bail and given a court date for September, according to the statement.

The U.K. extended Hamas’s proscription as a terrorist organization in 2021. Posting support for it online, or for any of the other 81 proscribed terrorist organizations, is a criminal offense.

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Elder of Ziyon - ุญู€ูƒู€ูŠู€ู… ุตู€ู‡ู€ูŠู€ูˆู†

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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