Tuesday, June 18, 2024

From Ian:

Why Israel Will Never Back Down
Hamas terrorists murdered 61 of the 950 residents of Kibbutz Kfar Aza and kidnapped 19. Kfar Aza is just 60 miles from the center of Israel. The implications of this fact seem to be lost on those in the West who are bewildered by Israel's refusal to end its war against Hamas.

Israel's founders understood that Jewish powerlessness was no longer viable. After nearly 2,000 years of exile and persecution, Israel promised to radically alter the Jewish condition: Jews could now defend themselves; they would determine their own destiny.

As Israeli philosopher Micah Goodman has written, the horrors of the Oct. 7 massacre awakened Israelis to "the fragility of Israel's existence." While much of the world has moved on from the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, Israelis have not. When, post-Oct. 7, Israelis describe Hamas as an intolerable threat, they mean it. Israelis understand that their ability to defeat Hamas will determine whether or not Israel has a future in the region.

The Jewish state can secure its existence in the Middle East only if the forces that wish to destroy it are deterred. But if Israel loses the war in Gaza, Goodman explained, "the Middle East loses its fear" of Israel. In other words, "if there is no victory, there is no survival." And no amount of international pressure or outrage can convince Israelis to sacrifice their very existence.

If Israelis feel they are being forced to choose between international opprobrium and death, they'll choose the former without thinking twice. Perhaps more than any other nation, Israelis understand that nobody else can be trusted to secure the Jewish state's existence. Israelis have learned to believe their enemies' threats, and not to rely on their friends' promises.

In 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush promised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that should Israel pull out of Gaza, "the United States will lead efforts...[to] prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat." That promise was not kept.
Seth Frantzman: Experts: ICC, UN blamed Israel for a famine that never happened in Gaza
The experts say they followed the data closely since the beginning of the war. “We do that professionally. We don’t rely on stories. The hard data on food supplies are not difficult to obtain. Our analysis is based on data from COGAT, as well as reports and data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report.

These data display a totally different picture from what the ICC and UN are trying to paint, and directly refute the baseless claims that Israel is causing a famine or using starvation as a method of war.” COGAT is the IDF coordination unit that is responsible for dealing with aid entering Gaza. It also publishes information on the amount of aid entering.

Aid that enters Gaza enters through Israel, especially after Egypt closed the Rafah crossing on May 8. “The first part of that food supply chain is in Israel’s hands because Israel is the major force that controls what comes into Gaza. Once the food enters Gaza, however, the supply chain is no longer under Israel’s control, as the food is taken over by NGOs, the UN, and interventions by Hamas,” the academics note.

“We found that the food supply entering Gaza is more than sufficient to feed all 2.2 million Gazans according to what is considered a normal diet in North America. This is because if just 250 truckloads enter Gaza every day (more actually enter), and assuming the food is adequately distributed, every Gazan would receive the amount of food that the average individual consumes in North America. This is in addition to the food that Gazans continue to produce themselves.”

They note that their calculation is based on each truckload carrying 20 tons of food. This means that 250 truckloads provide five million kilograms, about 2.25 kilograms per person in Gaza. “This is almost identical to the 2.36 kg of food per day that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the average individual consumes in North America.”

The professors note that “our findings have been recently independently corroborated by a working paper written by researchers from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University, Shaare Zedek, and The Israeli Ministry of Health. The conclusion of that paper is that every Gazan was provided 3,374 Kcal a day, while only 2,100 Kcal is needed.”

While enough aid is entering Gaza, they note that it may not always be distributed to people due to other factors, such as war and Hamas control. “We can say with a high degree of professional confidence that if there was a famine somewhere in Gaza, it was not instigated by Israel. To the contrary, Israel is engaged in a variety of efforts to ensure that sufficient food enters Gaza through land crossings,” they state.

The examination of the data by the professors joins a growing body of evidence pushing back on the claims of famine in Gaza. However, the chaos of the war in Gaza and other factors mean that Israel will continue to be blamed for what is occurring in Gaza, even if Israel is not to blame for the failed distribution of food.

Hamas not only appears to hijack aid trucks but it also benefits from claims of famine because Hamas can then try to leverage these claims to pressure Israel to stop the fighting.
The International Criminal Court Betrays the Legacy of Nuremberg
The mandate of the International Criminal Court is "the continuation of the Nuremberg trials," according to its first president, Philippe Kirsch. President Harry Truman credited the Nuremberg trials with "the blazing of a new trail in international justice" that "will be long remembered" for serving "faithfully and well the cause of civilization and world peace." The actions of today's ICC are the exact opposite and threaten to undo Nuremberg's legacy.

The ICC's arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas military leader in Gaza, equate the attacker and defender in the context of war. This fallacy was itself highlighted at Nuremberg in the Einsatzgruppen Trial of the Nazis' paramilitary death squads. One defendant at that trial, a commander named Otto Ohlendorf, insisted that the murder, under his supervision, of tens of thousands of innocent Jews was no different from the death of civilians from Allied bombs.

The judges rejected the argument: "A city is bombed for tactical purposes....It inevitably happens that nonmilitary persons are killed...an unavoidable corollary of battle action...that is entirely different, both in fact and in law, from an armed force...dragging out the men, women and children and shooting them."

The Nazis committed their acts so that millions would die; the Allies killed the people they did so that millions more wouldn't die. The opposite purposes of the Nazis and the Allies are clear.

Today, unaccountable terrorists - the new death squads - can massacre and kidnap babies, women and the elderly and hide behind innocents, and accountable governments are powerless to defend against such tactics without taking steps that inflict unwanted casualties. Legal strategies that erase the distinction between the two sides invert Nuremberg's accomplishment. It isn't just the legacy of Nuremberg that is at stake; it is the defense of civilization.

The Cost of Kindness to the Cruel in Gaza
We need reminding that the liberal who shows compassion to evildoers ends up doing evil to the merciful and good. Hamas's leader, Yahya Sinwar, spent 22 years in Israeli prisons for planning the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers and the murder of four Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. While in prison he was diagnosed with and treated for a brain tumor. He was released in the 2011 exchange of 1,027 Palestinian criminals for one Israeli hostage.

A political culture of accommodation has made Jews the most liberal and most easily targeted people in the Middle East. The more Israel has tried to encourage Palestinian self-governance, including by withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, the more Palestinian leaders have fomented violence, culminating in Hamas's cruelties.

When a peace-loving civilization indulges its would-be destroyers, it creates a moral imbalance that must end in its own destruction. Israel is learning at too high a cost that the hardest part of protecting liberal democracy is stopping the wicked before they massacre the pure and the good.

For two centuries, from fascism in Germany to Islamism in Iran, the war against liberal democracy has been waged through wars against the Jews. Israel most resembles the U.S. in its foundational values and entrepreneurial grit, making it America's useful proxy target. Behind every "death to Israel" comes the threat to America.

The protesters are responsible for the aggression they endorse, which includes murder, rape and beheading in the service of obliterating the only gateway to democracy in the region. Faculty members and administrators who fail to prosecute those who have broken the law by harassing Jewish students are accomplices to this evil.
Israel Gave Work Permits, While Palestinians Planned Oct. 7 Massacre
Prior to the October 7 massacre, more than 170,000 Palestinians were working in Israel, constituting an important source of income for the Palestinian economy.... The Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who were permitted to work in Israel received many of the same rights as Israeli workers, including health insurance and pension plans.

"I will be able to earn about $120 dollars a day [in Israel], while I cannot even earn $250 dollars a month in Gaza. Due to the difficult political and economic conditions, the people of the Gaza Strip suffer greatly from poverty and are unable to build a future for their children like their parents." — Mohammed Kamal, a 38-year-old father of four from the Gaza Strip, newarab.com, March 24, 2022.

It appears that the murderers and rapists from the Gaza Strip saw Israel's goodwill gestures as an indication of Israel's weakness. In addition, they apparently saw the controversy in Israel surrounding the Israeli government's judicial reform plan as a sign that Israel had become extremely weak, especially when anti-government protesters threatened to boycott military reserve service.

The October 7 atrocities serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians or strengthening their economy. Instead, the conflict is about the desire of the majority of Palestinians to slaughter Jews and destroy Israel.

Pre-and post-October 7 public opinion polls have consistently demonstrated that the majority of Palestinians back Hamas and believe that the atrocities committed on that day were "correct."

Now, Palestinians can blame Hamas not only for dragging them into a disastrous war with Israel, but also for having left tens of thousands of families jobless in the wake of their loss of permits to work in Israel.

Instead of brainwashing and indoctrinating their people against Israel and Jews, Palestinian leaders need to be required to focus on creating job opportunities and boosting the Palestinian economy, which the flow of international handouts have relieved them from doing.

The Palestinians would also greatly benefit if they would realize that there are actually dire repercussions when they "bite the hand that feeds them."

After the October 7 atrocities, it would be absurd to assume that Israel will once more welcome tens of thousands of laborers from the Gaza Strip. Many of those workers to whom Israel opened its doors were apparently working in Israel by day, and by night returning to Gaza and providing Hamas with highly detailed maps and drawings of every house in Israel's border communities, and reports about everyone in them, including the pet dogs.

A massacre was not the outcome many had expected after the Israelis' willingness to help to improve the lives of their Palestinian neighbors.

"Black-and-white depictions of Gaza before the war are not only inaccurate but fail to capture the color-rich realities that existed, in which the potential for coexistence and peace was present in daily occurrences; human-to-human connections between Palestinian workers and Israelis were a window of what the future could look like." — Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, former resident of the Gaza Strip, x.com, June 16, 2024.

Israelis Couldn't Care Less About Saudi Normalization If It Means Hamas Endures
The Biden administration has put potential normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia at the center of its campaign to pressure the Jewish state to end the war in Gaza.

In a speech late last month, President Joe Biden pitched Saudi normalization as a reason for Israelis to back a plan for a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, the dominant Iran-backed Palestinian terror group in Gaza. Instead of choosing "indefinite war" and "isolation in the world," Biden said, "Israel could become more deeply integrated into the region, including—it's no surprise to you all—a potential historic normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia. Israel could be part of a regional security network to counter the threat posed by Iran."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in testimony before Congress the previous week that the Saudis had all but agreed to normalization with Israel as part of would-be mega-deal with the United States. Israel just needs to stop fighting Hamas and commit to a "credible pathway to a Palestinian state," Blinken said. "Israel will have to decide whether it wants to proceed and take advantage of the opportunity to achieve something that it has sought from its founding."

"What do you want more—Rafah or Riyadh?" New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote in April, channeling the Biden administration. "Do you want to mount a full-scale invasion of Rafah to try to finish off Hamas—if that is even possible[?] … Or do you want normalization with Saudi Arabia, an Arab peacekeeping force for Gaza and a U.S.-led security alliance against Iran?"

"This is one of the most fateful choices Israel has ever had to make," continued Friedman. "And what I find both disturbing and depressing is that there is no major Israeli leader today in the ruling coalition, the opposition or the military who is consistently helping Israelis understand that choice—a global pariah or a Middle East partner—or explaining why it should choose the second."

Nearly two months after Friedman's lament, Israelis have remained overwhelmingly uninterested in Saudi or regional normalization if it means trading that normalization for what they consider a premature end to the Gaza war that leaves Hamas intact.

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, an Israeli Foreign Ministry special envoy and activist for Israeli-Gulf cooperation, told the Washington Free Beacon that most Israelis would like normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, which could have economic as well as security benefits. But "the question is," Hassan-Nahoum said, "what price do we have to pay?" Hassan-Nahoum noted that the question of Saudi normalization rarely even comes up in the wartime national conversation.

"There's so much going on that, honestly, Saudi normalization is a bulletin in the news now and again, but it's not the item on the news," she said. "Nobody in Israel is really talking about normalization when the price is bending over backward and accepting genocidal terrorists on our borders for the rest of time."
JPost Editorial: Sanctioning Tzav 9 Shows Biden Administration's Detachment from Reality
Targets of U.S. sanctions include Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Syria - and Tzav 9? ("Order 9" - IDF reservists are called up in emergencies with a Tzav 8.) The Biden Administration imposed sanctions on Friday on this obscure group of activists for attacking humanitarian aid convoys destined for Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Tzav 9 says the aid should be stopped because it ends up in the hands of Hamas - a view shared by a majority of Israelis.

The group defended itself, saying, "The effort to prevent a rightful democratic nonviolent protest in order to keep supplying Hamas with aid during the war goes against any American and liberal values. Much of the aid transferred to Gaza falls directly into the hands of the terrorist organization Hamas, which massacred, murdered, and raped hundreds of women, elderly, and children (including American citizens), rather than going to the Gazan civilians."

Over the months, hostages' relatives have also appeared at the border crossings into Gaza in attempts to block humanitarian aid from entering in an attempt to protest against the failure to secure the release of their loved ones and the lack of aid reaching them. The sanctioning of Israeli groups protesting any help given to Hamas while Israelis remain in captivity shows the detachment from reality in the Biden administration.

Nobody should be higher up on the U.S. list of groups exacerbating humanitarian crises right now than Hamas or Hizbullah. Certainly not Tzav 9. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has criticized Tzav 9 for "completely and utterly unacceptable behavior." After nearly nine months of innocent Israeli citizens being held hostage in the apartments of Gazan civilians and nine months of Israel's North suffering daily bombardment from Hizbullah terrorists, Israel has a different definition of what is "completely and utterly unacceptable behavior."
Spiked: The West is falling for Hamas propaganda
Jake Wallis Simons, Tom Slater and Fraser Myers discuss the left’s apologism for anti-Semitic terror and how Hamas uses innocent Palestinians as human shields.

Netanyahu Slams Biden Admin's 'Inconceivable' Move To Withhold Weapons in Fight Against Hamas
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday slammed the Biden administration for withholding munitions from Israel, calling it "inconceivable."

In a video statement recounting his meeting last week with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Netanyahu said he told Blinken, "I deeply appreciat[e] the support the U.S. has given Israel since the beginning of the war." But, Netanyahu added, "It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel."

Netanyahu was referencing the decision by the Biden administration to pause munitions shipments to Israel over concerns that they would be used in Rafah. "I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem," Biden said in a May interview.

Israeli soldiers on the front lines have expressed frustration about the decision to condition weapons shipments, saying it hamstrings the war effort, one that Netanyahu says is a "fight for [Israel’s] life."

Netanyahu also said Blinken made assurances that the Biden administration is "working day and night to remove" the barriers stopping weapons shipments. "I certainly hope that's the case. It should be the case," Netanyahu added.

The video statement from Netanyahu comes a week after Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal backed by the United States, Israel, and the U.N. Security Council. The Israeli war cabinet was also dissolved over the weekend.

Two congressional Democrats who had been a roadblock to a major arms deal for Israel signed off on the package recently, the Washington Post reported on Monday. House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) approved the sale to Israel, which will include 50 F-15 fighter jets.

Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on July 24 to discuss the war effort and the future of the U.S.-Israeli alliance.

As Gaza war winds down, US to resume arms transfers to Israel—report
Blinken promised Netanyahu on June 10 that the Biden administration would resume all arms shipments to the Jewish state “in the coming days,” according to reports in Hebrew media on Tuesday morning.

The news comes as intense combat operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip are winding down with most of the terror group’s battalions dismantled.

Netanyahu told Blinken during their meeting in Jerusalem last week that Washington had effectively suspended all military aid to the IDF amid the war in Gaza and the looming escalation with Hezbollah on the northern border, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

Last month, administration officials confirmed a decision to withhold the delivery of thousands of bombs to Israel amid U.S. concerns that the Israel Defense Forces would use them in the Hamas stronghold of Rafah.

The announcement came as U.S. President Joe Biden told CNN that he would be halting the shipment of offensive weapons if Jerusalem went ahead with its counterterrorism operation in Gaza’s southernmost city.

“If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem,” Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett in an interview.

Netanyahu reportedly told Blinken during their meeting that while Israel would continue to fight without U.S. support, the arms embargo gave Iranian-backed Hamas and Hezbollah a strategic edge, raising the chances of a prolonged war on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

On May 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to try and force the White House to provide the delayed military aid.

The act would cut off funding for the U.S. State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council if Biden did not release the shipment or withhold any future shipment of arms to Israel.

The White House had said the president would veto the legislation if it came across his desk, stating, “This bill could raise serious concerns about infringement on the president’s authorities under Article II of the Constitution, including his duties as commander-in-chief and chief executive and his power to conduct foreign relations.”
'Today’s Israel is in existential danger’: Thomas Friedman slams American
“The Israel we knew is gone, and today’s Israel is in existential danger,” warned Thomas Friedman, a prominent opinion columnist for The New York Times, in his latest op-ed. He sharply criticized both Israeli leadership and American political figures for their handling of the current crisis.

In his column, Friedman, an American Jew, argued that Israel was in greater danger than ever, facing a multifaceted threat from Iran and its regional allies and proxies, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq. According to Friedman, Israel's military and diplomatic options were currently inadequate to address these threats.

He warned of the possibility of a war on three fronts—Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank—with Hezbollah's precision missiles posing a particularly dire risk to Israel's infrastructure. "Hezbollah in Lebanon, unlike Hamas, is armed with precision missiles that could destroy vast swaths of Israel’s infrastructure," he stated.

Friedman sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of prioritizing personal survival over national security due to his ongoing corruption charges. “Netanyahu has to stay in power to avoid potentially being sent to prison,” Friedman stated. He claimed that Netanyahu's alliance with far-right extremists had exacerbated the situation, leading to a fractious government incapable of formulating a coherent strategy for ending the conflict in Gaza.

Direct criticism of Netanyahu's handling of government and war "Netanyahu sold his soul to form a government with far-right Jewish extremists," Friedman asserted, highlighting the prime minister's controversial political maneuvers.

Furthermore, Friedman condemned American political leaders, including President Biden, AIPAC, and members of Congress, for their failure to recognize and address the radicalism of the current Israeli government. “Not President Biden, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, nor many in Congress have come to terms with just how radical this government is,” he wrote. He highlighted the recent decision by House Speaker Mike Johnson and his Republican colleagues to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress on July 24, a move Friedman suggested was intended to sow division among Democrats and sway American Jewish voters towards Donald Trump.

“Pushed into a corner, the top Democrats in the Senate and the House signed on to the invitation,” Friedman noted, criticizing the political maneuvering behind the invitation.

“They have done so much damage already,” he wrote, lamenting the lack of accountability and awareness among American leaders.

Seth Frantzman: Terrorist groups in Gaza seek to compete with Hamas to carry out attacks
Hamas is continuing its attacks on the IDF in Gaza eight and a half months into the war. Increasingly, a number of other terrorist groups in Gaza are also seeking to carry out daily attacks on Israeli forces.

This is clear from claims made by the groups to pro-Iranian media. For instance, on Tuesday, an article published by Beirut-based Al Mayadeen news channel listed six terrorist groups in addition to Hamas that had carried out attacks over the past day.

Hamas is increasingly competing for space in these reports, even though its attacks are listed first. For instance, Hamas claimed Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, its so-called military wing, had carried out an attack using Yassin-105 shells against the IDF in Tal al-Sultan. It also claimed to have used mortars. Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades also claimed to have carried out an attack in Rafah. In addition, the same PIJ units said they had used a drone to target IDF forces near Kerem Shalom.

In the same Al Mayadeen article, the Mujahideen Brigades, which are part of the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement, said they had fired rockets toward Re’im in the Gaza periphery.

“The Mujahideen Brigades broadcast footage of monitoring and targeting gatherings and the route of the Israeli occupation forces south of the Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza with Type 107 missiles,” the pro-Iranian media outlet reported.

Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said it had carried out an attack against the Netzarim corridor. The Martyr Omar Al-Qasim unit, which is part of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said it had used an RPG to target an IDF armored personnel carrier in Rafah.

The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it had used 60-mm. mortars in an attack in the Zaytoun neighborhood near Gaza City. It said it had cooperated with the DFLP.

Islamic Jihad sniper cell commander eliminated in IDF airstrike
An IDF fighter jet, operating at the direction of troops on the ground, eliminated the commander of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad sniper cell, the IDF said on Tuesday morning.

Ground troops also identified and eliminated a terrorist cell advancing on their position.

Operational activities
Separately, in the Rafah area, IDF soldiers continued operational activities, eliminating terrorists in several close-quarters engagements, the IDF added.

In one such encounter, the military reported that Israeli troops identified two terrorists with an explosive device. An aircraft subsequently targeted and killed the insurgents.

In Tel al-Sultan, fighters of the 401st Brigade's combat team encountered three armed terrorists. After liaising with the Israeli Air Force, a jet successfully struck the terrorists and eliminated them, the IDF added.

Immediately after, the forces entered the buildings the terrorists had come from and cleared them.

Separately, fighters eliminated terrorists who fired rockets and mortar bombs at the troops, and discovered an arsenal of grenades, weapons and short-range anti-tank missiles in the area.

Seth Frantzman: The ‘Swedish Village’ in Gaza is microcosm of the tragedy of the war
ONE CAN see the Swedish village as a microcosm of the conflict. Built with the support of Swedish troops who were here during the era of the Egyptian occupation, it then survived under Israeli rule from 1967 to 2005. It saw Israeli communities come and go and then Hamas rise.

One of the articles about the village in 2005 conveyed a speech by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s leader.

His rule was short and the people had no chance to enjoy any real freedom after 2005. Instead, they were plunged into new wars inflicted by Hamas. Apparently, Hamas also exploited this poorest of poor areas for terrorist purposes.

This is a symbol of what Hamas did. These people needed proper sewage and running water. They needed education programs and health care.

However, Hamas was allowed to run Gaza for fifteen years while providing nothing. The international community pretended to pick up the slack, but clearly, money that was intended for places like this was diverted to Hamas. It was stolen.

Today, the aid going to Gaza is still being diverted and stolen. Hamas did not care about these poor people. It exploited them and then disappeared and their village was destroyed due to the war. Now it is believed that the village may be paved over to make way for a road extension of the Rashid road, which runs along the coast.

When one looks at Gaza, one understands that areas like this were abandoned and betrayed by the international community. Hamas was allowed to take over and destroy Gaza, then plunge it into a war.

These people in the Swedish village never stood a chance. They had no choice over their own future, no elections, and were rapidly abandoned by the international community, which has appeared to prefer Hamas rule to a normal one that helps people and provides sewage treatment, roads, and schools.
Stabbing attack thwarted in Gush Etzion
Israel Defense Forces soldiers thwarted an attempted stabbing attack near the Migdal Oz intersection of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, according to Hebrew media reports.

The terrorist was stopped, according to reports. No injuries have been reported.
Blinken reiterates push for ceasefire as road to diplomacy in Northern Israel
Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated calls for diplomacy between Israel and Hezbollah during a White House press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday as the United States continues attempting to tamp down Israeli desire to attack Hezbollah.

Sixty-two percent of Jewish Israelis support an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon with “full force,” a Jewish People Policy Institute survey released Monday revealed, with 36% of those responded supporting an immediate attack.

However, Blinken said he doesn't believe Israel or Hezbollah wants to see the conflict spread.

"Lebanon certainly doesn't, it would suffer the most," Blinken said. "I don't believe that Iran does and yet you have momentum potentially in that direction."

With the back and forth going on every day, Blinken said there's the possibility of miscalculating and not fully seeing what the other side is doing.

Blinken thinks the sheer number of Israelis who have been displaced from their homes in the North is reason for Israel to avoid war.
In open threat, Hezbollah publishes drone footage of sites in northern Israel
The Hezbollah terror group published footage on Tuesday from what it said was one of its reconnaissance drones flying over northern Israel, including the Haifa port, as Israel said it struck down more suspected drones over the Western Galilee.

It was unclear when the roughly 10 minutes of footage released by Hezbollah were captured, and the Israel Defense Forces did not immediately comment on the video.

In November, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the terror group had been sending surveillance drones over Haifa. In recent months, the group has increasingly launched drones, including explosive-laden ones, at northern Israel.

The footage of Haifa’s coastline, some 27 kilometers (17 miles) away from the Lebanese border, appeared to include a portion of an Israeli Navy base, as well as several warships and infrastructure said to belong to the Navy’s submarine unit, Shayetet 7.

In addition to the Haifa port, the footage included shots of what Hezbollah said were strategic military locations across northern Israel, including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling air defense systems, as well as footage of a residential neighborhood in nearby Kiryat Yam.

Hezbollah claimed that the drone returned to Lebanon unimpeded.

Shortly after the footage was published, the IDF said it had shot down three suspected drones, over the Western Galilee.

Israeli Defense Industries Working on Anti-Drone Defense
More than 150 hostile drone aircraft have been intercepted by Israel's air defense forces since the beginning of the war, but many others managed to hit their target - causing heavy damage and casualties. The Defense Ministry is working on a better technological operational solution for intercepting these aircraft.

Improvements have been introduced in Iron Dome, which is already operating in the area, that enable additional detection capabilities to identify suspicious aerial targets in Israeli skies. But using Iron Dome is expensive.

To defend the Galilee, the IDF is looking to deploy advanced cannons with new means of detection. Israel believes Hizbullah has thousands of UAVs, as do Iran and Iraqi militias.

Gaza conflict has caused major environmental damage, UN says
The conflict in Gaza has created unprecedented soil, water and air pollution in the region, destroying sanitation systems and leaving tons of debris from explosive devices, a United Nations report on the environmental impact of the war says.

The war between Israel and Hamas has swiftly reversed limited progress in improving the region’s water desalination and wastewater treatment facilities, restoring the Wadi Gaza coastal wetland, and investments in solar power installations, according to a preliminary assessment from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Explosive weapons have generated some 39 million tons of debris, the report says. Each square meter of the Gaza Strip is now littered with more than 107 kilograms of debris. That is more than five times the debris generated during the battle for Mosul, Iraq, in 2017, the report says.

“All of this is deeply harming people’s health, food security and Gaza’s resilience,” says UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

Aid Trucks Pile Up Inside Gaza Despite Pause in Fighting
More than 1,000 truckloads of aid were piled up at the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom Israeli border crossing on Monday, a day after Israel implemented a humanitarian pause in fighting to help increase the flow of aid into Gaza. UN officials say that people are looting trucks when they reach Gaza, making it unsafe for their employees to deliver aid.

Israel says it isn't keeping aid from flowing into Gaza and has alleged that the UN hasn't increased its capacity enough to be able to distribute the aid. The Kerem Shalom crossing has become the key conduit for aid into Gaza after Israel took control of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza in May. Since then, Egypt has prohibited the use of the Rafah crossing until the border is returned to Palestinian control, despite U.S. efforts to negotiate its reopening.

Israel: Dozens of hostages held in Gaza remain alive
Many of the 120 hostages who remain in Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip are believed to be alive, a senior Israeli official involved in ongoing negotiations with the terrorist organization said on Tuesday.

“Dozens are alive with certainty,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to not being authorized to speak to the press, told AFP. He claimed the vast majority of the captives are being held by Hamas, and not by other terror groups in the coastal enclave.

The official told the wire agency that Israel cannot end the conflict with Hamas before a hostage deal is reached because the terror group could “breach their commitment … and drag out the negotiations for 10 years” or more.

“We cannot leave them there for a long time; they will die,” he said, adding that Hamas’s persistent demand that the Israel Defense Forces leave Gaza as a precondition for a deal remains unacceptable to Jerusalem.

The reason for this is that “during the first phase, there’s a clause that we hold negotiations about the second phase. The second phase is the release of the men and male soldier hostages,” the official explained.

The official said the Israeli government had green-lit U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed deal, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed does not call for a permanent end to the war.

“We expect, and are waiting for, Hamas to say ‘yes,'” he said, warning that the IDF would continue to fight the terror group in Gaza in a “different” but “no less intense fashion” if it again rejects a truce deal.

On Monday, an official in Jerusalem told Ynet that Israel will not commit to ending the war until Hamas releases all of the captives.
Rachel and Jon Goldberg-Polin to meet with senators, CEOs on hostage-release efforts
Rachel and Jon Goldberg-Polin are meeting with a bipartisan group of senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to advocate for the release of the remaining eight American hostages in Gaza — including their son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin — five of whom are believed to still be alive.

Former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, who was in Washington this week for a White House event focused on sexual violence in wartime, helped to arrange the bipartisan convening, an individual with knowledge of the meeting told JI. Among those attending are Palantir CEO Alex Karp, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

The trip marks the Goldberg-Polins’ 11th trip to Washington since Oct. 7.
Hen Mazzig: Where is the Red Cross hiding?
During the current conflict, the ICRC has also proved
to be incapable of delivering medications promised to the hostages. This failure even spurred Israeli officials to bypass the group with help from Qatar to arrange a shipment into Gaza of medicines for dozens of Israeli hostages with chronic illnesses.

Compounding the issue, the ICRC recently scolded the families of hostages for their advocacy on behalf of their loved ones, urging them to consider the Palestinians’ plight. While we can all have compassion for innocents on both sides of the conflict, Israeli hostages have been — and continue to be — held by civilians in their homes in the Nuseirat refugee camp and throughout Gaza. Considering the circumstances, the plight of those in captivity should be the premier priority.

The ICRC has rebuffed criticisms of its attention to Israeli hostages, claiming it needs a ceasefire in order to do its job. But this simply doesn’t add up. The absence of a ceasefire hasn’t stopped it from intervening on behalf of hostages in past active armed conflicts. The organisation also acknowledges that taking hostages violates international law, yet has not made any serious demands of Hamas nor the United Nations to gain access to them. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to refuse any ceasefire deal.

The ICRC is not the “impartial” humanitarian agency it claims to be. From looking the other way during the Holocaust to prioritising the plight of terrorists to, infamously, refusing to accept Magen David Adom (the Israeli-Jewish version of the Red Cross) as a member for 58 years while accepting the Red Crescent Muslim version, the group has a long track record of violating neutrality and rubber-stamping anti-Jewish racism.

An organisation whose primary purpose is to care for all victims of war has suddenly become incapable of doing so when those victims are Israeli. While the hostages should never have been abducted in the first place, they deserve better. The world must demand that they receive it.

Hen Mazzig is an Israeli author, former IDF Humanitarian Officer and a Senior Fellow at The Tel Aviv Institute, TLVI.org
‘We cannot look away and we will not be silent’: Harris addresses Hamas sexual violence
Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at a White House event on Monday, emphasized the need for continued attention to the plight of victims of sexual violence by Hamas on and since Oct. 7, including those still being held hostage.

“These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released,” Harris said. “We cannot look away and we will not be silent. My heart breaks for all these survivors and their families, and for all the pain and suffering from the past eight months in Israel and Gaza.”

In her speech, Harris also highlighted instances of sexual violence by Russia and ISIS, as well as by malign actors in Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A fact sheet released by the White House in connection with the event highlighted several of the same hot spots, but did not mention Israel, Hamas or Oct. 7. A spokesperson for Harris declined to comment when asked about the fact sheet.

Harris said in her speech that “we are deeply concerned by all reports of sexual violence and degredation, and we mourn every innocent life lost in this conflict.” She urged Hamas to accept the cease-fire deal that has been presented. She met shortly before her remarks with Amit Soussana, a former hostage who has recounted being sexually assaulted while she was held in Gaza.

Soussana herself also addressed the audience of feminist, Jewish and other leaders.

“I don’t see myself as a victim. I am a strong, independent woman, and no one can change that,” Soussana said. “The sexual assault I experienced should never happen to anyone under any circumstances. No one should ever be sexually violated. And there are no justifying circumstances for these crimes.”

Soussana said she was lucky to have been freed in a previous hostage deal. She said she feels she cannot stay silent about her experiences, and that she feels a responsibility to speak up for those who are still being held.

“My wounds cannot even begin to heal as long as their suffering continues,” she said. She said that President Joe Biden’s recent speech outlining a possible cease-fire deal gave her hope that the remaining hostages can be released soon.

“I remember telling myself that no matter what happens to me, if I will come out of it alive I would grow stronger from it and not let what happened define me,” Soussana continued. “It will always be a part of my story, but with time the trauma will subside and these difficult events will empower me.”

After Harris’ remarks, the White House screened a portion of the documentary “Screams Before Silence,” which features interviews by former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg. The vice president commended Sandberg for “all your work to bring to light the horrors of this issue.”

Israeli Woman Awes White House in Chilling Hamas Testimony
A White House conference on sexual assault and rape during conflict hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris featured Amit Soussana, a former captive released from Hamas captivity, as a key speaker.

The Israeli woman, who was released during the November 2023 hostage deal with Hamas after sh was taken from her home during the Oct. 7 atrocities, took the stage to share her harrowing experience. In her opening remarks, she poignantly stated, "It is difficult for me to speak about what I endured, but remaining silent is even more challenging. The sexual abuse I suffered should never happen to anyone; there is no justification for it."

Soussana's testimony after her release from captivity was a gut-punch for all. In an exclusive interview with The New York Times, she described the severe abuse she endured during her 55-day captivity by Hamas, from the moment of her abduction in Gaza until her release on November 30, 2023.

Despite the immense difficulty, Soussana courageously continued, "I told myself that if I survived, I would not allow this experience to define me. Being held captive means having no control over your soul, body, or spirit. You have virtually no control over what happens to you." She emphasized, "I cannot heal as long as the captives there continue to suffer. I promised to fight for my brothers who are still held captive."

Reflecting on her ordeal, she said, "If you had told me a few months ago, when I was in captivity, that I would be here and meet the vice president, I would have said you had lost your mind. I am not a victim; I am a strong, independent woman, and I will not let them take that away from me. No woman should have to endure the sexual assault I experienced in captivity. At the time, I had no choice, but now I can speak about the horrific things that women and men still endure there."

During her interview with the Times, she recounted being beaten and dragged by ten armed men during her documented abduction. The captor who guarded her, who called himself Muhammad, slept outside the bedroom where she was held. After a few days in captivity, he began inquiring about her sexual life while she was alone in a child's bedroom, shackled at the ankle. According to her account, the guard would enter, sit beside her, lift her shirt, and touch her.

She described a harrowing sexual assault, stating that one day, the captor unchained her left ankle and left her alone in the bathroom. As she showered, the captor entered, stood by the door with a gun pointed at her. Sosnah recounted how quickly Muhammad approached her, pressed the gun to her forehead, forced her to remove her towel, and then began touching her.

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Border Bungles and Smashing Anti-Semitism
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
Danielle Pletka joins us today to discuss her landmark article, “The Anti-Semitism Money and Power Network—and How to Smash It,” from the July-August issue of COMMENTARY. But before we do, we discuss the politically confusing decision by Joe Biden to grant amnesty to 1 million illegals a week after he tried to look like Mr. Tough Guy on the border. What on earth?

Danielle Pletka: The Anti-Semitism Money and Power Network—and How to Smash It

The Israel Guys: ISRAEL Talks of Moving Jews BACK TO GAZA
Israel is making moves to promote the return of Jewish Settlement back to the Gaza Strip in order to pressure Hamas to release the hostages while promoting peace and security for the region. The question is, did Hamas forfeit their chance to successfully rule in the Gaza Strip? And is bringing back Jewish presence in Gaza the best way to move forward? Josiah covers all of that on today’s show.

Also, Josiah shows some crazy videos from Israel’s North illustrating just how close Israel is to a full-scale war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israel Guys: Israeli Official Claims DOZENS of Hostages Still Alive (also, most Palestinians support Hamas)
While much of the world has thought that the majority of the remaining 120 hostages who are still in Gaza are dead, an anonymous senior Israeli official just made a bombshell announcement. He said that dozens of Israeli hostages are still alive, and that negotiations to release them are ongoing.

To nobody’s surprise, a new poll conducted inside Gaza and the West Bank has found that support for Hamas is rising, whilst support for Fatah has been steadily dropping. Across the board, the majority of Palestinian-Arabs support Hamas’ actions on October 7th, but interestingly, more Arabs in Judea and Samaria support the murders and kidnappings eight months ago than Arabs inside Gaza.

We also have details on Israel’s brilliant plan to punish those nations who have had the audacity to recognize a Palestinian state, as well as new information on the intelligence failures of October 7th.

Paris court reverses ban on Israeli defense firms at arms show
The Tribunal de commerce de Paris, or Commercial Court of Paris, on Tuesday reversed a ban imposed on Israeli defense companies to prevent them from exhibiting at this year’s Eurosatory, a biennial weapons trade show.

The court also ruled as discriminatory a separate decision that had barred all Israeli citizens from visiting the show unless they signed a waiver declaring they weren’t there in any official capacity.

The France-Israel Chamber of Commerce brought the appeal. French attorney Patrick Klugman, who helped represent Israel at the hearing, posted the decision to his X account.

While celebrating the decision, Julien Roitman, chairman of the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce—the sister organization of the group bringing the appeal—expressed his ongoing concerns to Israel technology news site CTech:

“It sets a precedent,” he said. “France is supposed to be a friend, not just an ally, of Israel. If an ally decides to boycott Israel and throw them out, imagine countries who are not friends or allies?”

It’s unclear if the reversal comes in time for Israeli companies to recoup their losses. The fair ends on Friday.

Seventy-four Israeli firms were set to exhibit. Ten were to display weapons.

Bill Maher Makes Guest Go Silent by Explaining the the Left’s Hypocrisy
Dave Rubin of “The Rubin Report” shares a DM clip of "Real Time with Bill Maher” host Bill Maher and guest Joel Stein pointing out the hypocrisy of the Left on the anti-Semitic college campus protests to Ana Navarro from “The View”.

Miami mayor helps remove anti-Israel graffiti from kosher bagel shop
Surveillance camera footage showed a man in a dark hoodie and shorts spray-painting “free Palestine” in red multiple times on the windows and door of Holy Bagels & Pizzeria, a kosher restaurant in Miami, as well as tearing down an Israeli flag.

The anti-Israel vandalism on Sunday was the fourth time one of Josh Nodel’s restaurants has been vandalized, WSVN reported. Previously, his kosher Miami Beach shop, Bagel Time Cafe, was targeted.

Nodel told the television station that the graffiti was “devastating” and “disgusting,” but that it would not deter his support for the Jewish state.

“We won’t go to the gas chambers like happened in the Holocaust,” he told WSVN.

Nodel told the television station that he plans to fight anti-Israel fire with pro-Israel fire. “When they hurt us, we put more—we put two more flags, three more flags, five flags,” he said. “We stand behind the war, we’re not going to stop. We’ve got to do what the mission is, to get the hostages back home.”

WSVN reported on Monday that Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, was one of several city officials who helped clean up the graffiti.

“Graffiti is not acceptable anywhere. It’s against the law, but in particular when it’s hateful and meant to offend a particular community, one that is a big part of our city,” he told the television station. “I just felt it was my responsibility to come here and do this as quickly as possible.”

Roy Altman, a U.S. district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also pitched in.

“I decided to come out here because my grandparents lived through the Holocaust. This is how it started in the 1930s, with spray-painting and targeting of Jewish businesses, Jewish homes and Jewish families,” he told WSVN. “We will never allow it to happen again in our country.”

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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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