A difficult Israel Update to compile this week.
Coverage of the atrocities committed against Israeli civilians and soldiers has been extensive. I will therefore limit this Update to other relevant news items plus extracts from several opinion articles.
Additionally, I wish to emphasize that the IDF operation in Gaza is not “retaliation” which implies gratuitous revenge, as it is incorrectly described in much of the media. The Israeli government’s expressed objectives are to rescue the hostages and remove Hamas to prevent future atrocities.
In this vein, the Israeli government’s objective of cutting off electricity and water to Gaza is strategic, designed to disrupt Hamas communication and make it difficult for the terrorists to operate,and not intended as “collective punishment”. HRG
P.M. Netanyahu and National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz reached an agreement for Gantz and his party’s 12 MKs to join an emergency unity government. Gantz immediately joined Netanyahu and Defence Minister Gallant in a special war cabinet, to oversee Israel’s response to Hamas’s deadly surprise attack. Gantz’s party colleague and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot will attend the war cabinet as an observer, as will Ron Dermer of the Likud.
National Unity Party MKs Gideon Saar, Chili Tropper and Yifat Shasha-Biton will be appointed ministers and will join the wider security cabinet. Read more here
James Cleverly, UK Foreign Secretary, arrived in Israel in a show of solidarity on Wednesday, the first senior foreign diplomat to do so. He had to take cover during a visit to Ofakim, a town in the south of Israel , when a warning siren sounded.
Interview on BBC Radio 4 Today programme 10/10/23 at 2 hours 20 minute 40 seconds Listen here
Rachel Reeves, the UK Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a BBC Radio 4 interview on Monday stated (inter alia) “Gaza is not occupied by Israel” and “Israel has every right to defend itself”.
Sir Ed Davey Leader of the LibDems and MP for Kingston & Surbiton on Monday addressed a vigil outside Downing Street in support of Israel.
He tweeted: “Deeply moved to attend the Jewish community vigil in London this afternoon with @libdemdaisy
Terrorism and hatred will never win. Liberal Democrats stand with the Jewish community in Israel, in the UK and around the world.”
King Charles III telephoned President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday to express his condolences and “deep shock” at the actions of the “barbaric” Hamas attack against Israeli citizens. Read more here
The BBC is “taking sides” with Hamas by calling the organisation militants rather than terrorists, four leading barristers have said. Lord Polak KC, honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar KC, a former minister of justice, Lord Pannick KC, a high-profile barrister who acted against the government over Brexit, and Jeremy Brier KC have written to Ofcom, the regulator. Read more here paywall
There has been a sharp spike in antisemitic incidents in Britain, with many couching hate speech in pro-Palestinian rhetoric in the wake of the Hamas terror group’s devastating attack on Israel. The Community Security Trust said it had logged 89 incidents in the four days of October 7-10. Read more here
The official text of US President Joe Biden’s October 10, 2023, speech pledging support for Israel in the wake of Hamas’s October 7 atrocities. Read it here
International support in this short (1 minute 10 secs) video: View here
Landmarks across the world were illuminated in blue and white:See photos here
(However the Wembley Arch will not be illuminated when England play Australia tomorrow. The arch had been lit up in blue and yellow in solidarity for Ukraine in February last year when Russia invaded) Read more here
Bono, the frontman of U2, paid a moving tribute Sunday night at his Las Vegas show to “those beautiful kids at that music festival,” speaking and singing about the hundreds of dead, missing and captured participants in the Supernova music event near Re’im.Read more here
Former professional boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is using his private jet to deliver food and other supplies to Israel. The aircraft, called Air Mayweather, will also transport bulletproof vests for IDF soldiers. The equipment onboard will be handed over by his pilots, who include US Army and US Air Force veterans. Read more here
Inbar Lieberman, 25, the security coordinator of Kibbutz Nir Am, heard sounds that were different from the usual rocket attacks and coordinated the response of the local 12-member security team amid the unfolding attack.
She placed her squad in strategic positions across the community and set up ambushes that caught the gunmen off guard.
Lieberman killed five terrorists by herself, while the others gunned down 20 more over four hours as they turned Nir Am into an impenetrable fortress – while nearby kibbutzim suffered heavy losses. Read more here
Rachel and David from Ofakim have described how they survived being held captive for 15 hours in their home by Gaza terrorists who constantly threatened to execute them. Rachel said “I could see they were angry…I asked them if they were hungry. I prepared them coffee and cookies.”One of the terrorists held a hand grenade over Rachel’s head, having removed the pin. Rachel said the terrorists were heavily armed, including with a LAW anti-tank missile. She also said she bandaged the hand of one of the injured terrorists, trying to comfort him, and engaged in conversation with the others to keep them preoccupied. Eventually police stormed their apartment and freed the captives. Read more here
An elderly Israel couple Moshe and Diana Rosen recounted how they were abducted by a gang of terrorists during Hamas’s murderous onslaught but then refused to be taken hostage in Gaza, with their captors eventually giving up and telling them to go home. read more here
Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Noam Tibon, 62, raced from Tel Aviv to rescue his son and his family, who were hiding in their home near the Gaza border as Hamas terrorists destroyed Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Read more here
On October 9, the Central Committee of Fatah, the faction headed by P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, praised the Palestinian fighters involved in “attacking the enemy” in the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere.
The Committee called on the Palestinian public to “answer the calls to confront” Israel and escalate the situation on the ground “in every conflict area” in order to aid the Palestinians in Gaza. Read more here
Following the attack on Israel by Hamas, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said, “We will now review our entire engagement for the Palestinian territories.”
“All of Europe, all 27 states, must now say: we need a new start and we will no longer finance terrorists,” said Armin Laschet, chancellor candidate for the conservatives at the last federal election.read more here
Tom Gross Interview on Turkish TV : (correcting his interviewer)
“There are not hostages on both sides. There are convicted Palestinian terrorists, members of Hamas…in Israeli prisons. On the other side 175 people that Hamas have taken including elderly Holocaust survivors, disabled people, babies, children…from many countries not just Israel (also) some Israeli Bedouins.”
Danny Cohen (former Director of BBC TV): With the notable exception of Hamas sympathisers who are willing to act as apologists for terrorism, there is a great deal of sympathy being expressed for Israel and the Jewish community this week…
But tougher times are ahead and the true measure of the world’s sympathy and solidarity will only be understood when Israel begins to fight back in earnest.
This is not a war that Israel has sought. Nor is it one that it wants to fight. Israelis know that many more of its citizens will die in the battle that lies ahead. But they also know that it is a war that has to be fought.
What is crucial now is the international community continues to back Israel as it fights for its survival.
War has always been messy. Horrible things happen. Military plans go wrong.
The pictures that will emerge from Gaza will be upsetting for everyone who cares about human life.
If and when this happens, it is vital that Israel’s supporters remain steadfast and keep at the very front of their minds the reasons why Israel has gone to war. They must remain loyal in the dark days ahead and remember that war is ugly and that peace can only be achieved at a high cost to all sides.
This means that as with Isis just a few years ago, the enemy has to be defeated at all costs and with relentless force. Sorrowfully, it means casualties amongst the innocent, just as was the case when the Allied forces set out to end the terrorist government of the Islamic State.
What complicates this further is that the leadership of Hamas has been proven to care as little for Palestinian lives as they do for Jewish ones. For many years, Hamas has hidden its military arsenal in hospitals and schools. In doing so, it has turned children and the sick into human shields, easily dispensable commodities in their war of terror.
Israeli hostages now face the same fate. They will be used, like Palestinian children, to protect the armoury of terror in a war that Hamas fights utterly beyond the norms of both conventional military engagement and human empathy.
In both cases, the blood of the innocent will be solely on the hands of Hamas. An enemy that is as savage as Hamas, that does not care for its own people, is a very difficult enemy to defeat. But Israel will do so. The international community must stand steadfastly by its side in the difficult weeks and months of war to come.
Read more here (paywall)
Mitchell Bard: You’ll soon see the scoreboard of Palestinian versus Israeli casualties. The media will repeat whatever fictitious number the Hamas health authorities give them, making no distinction between the terrorists and their human shields. Israel will be accused of using “disproportionate force,” as if the world would prefer that Israel engage in a proportional response by butchering Palestinians and taking their women and children hostage. Read more here
Natan Sharansky: World leaders have denounced Hamas’ barbarism and affirmed the legitimacy of Israel’s right to self-defence. But what about tomorrow? What will happen as the Palestinian death toll rises? Hamas has a powerful unconventional weapon: Palestinian civilians, used as human shields. The more Palestinians who die because Hamas terrorists cynically hide behind them, the more the free world will turn against Israel.
It is only a matter of weeks, or days, or even hours, until articles will appear in major publications depicting the Israeli government as indiscriminately targeting innocent Palestinians, and the UN will pass resolutions demanding that we cease our war of self-defence.
I was a member of Israel’s security cabinet when we made crucial decisions about how to fight terror during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, at a time when hundreds of Israeli civilians were targeted and killed simply for living in the Jewish state. In light of these experiences, I know with certainty that Israel expends more effort than any other country during wartime in trying to minimize harm to innocent civilians on the enemy side.
The world would benefit immeasurably if Saturday’s attack were to prompt free nations, together with leading human rights organizations, to finally unite completely in the fight against terrorism – and in the belief that every state, Jewish or not, has the right to defend itself against the indiscriminate murder of its citizens. Read more here paywall
Elliot Kaufman: A perverse alternative reality was constructed (in Western democracies) in which every Israeli response to the threat from Hamas was illegal, immoral and disproportionate, a war crime. The terrorists themselves – the ones live-streaming their slaughter and mutilation of defenceless Jewish civilians to shouts of “Allahu akbar” – were politely termed “militants.” Israel was even condemned for using force to stop Hamas’ previous attempts to rush the border. Gullible Western media described those would-be infiltrators as “protesters.” Read more here (paywall)
President Isaac Herzog: the international community also has a duty to fulfil here. For too long, when Israel has faced incursions or rockets from Gaza, elements of the international community have called for restraint or sought to justify Hamas’s actions, swallowing their lies as they killed their own people and blamed Israel, while hiding rockets in hospitals, schools, and mosques.
The world can no longer turn a blind eye. Any justification or attempts to rationalize this terrible attack will only encourage them further.
It is important to remember that Israel has no presence in Gaza. For months the border has been ostensibly peaceful. Instead of seeking a brighter future, Hamas has brought havoc on its own people. Tens of thousands of Gazans would cross each day into Israel to work and support their families, working alongside peace-loving Israelis…
Wall Street Journal Editorial: Israel is on the front lines, but all of the democratic world is a target.
One myth busted is that Palestinians will live in peace with Israel if they get a state of their own. Not as long as Hamas and Islamic Jihad can terrorize and dominate Palestinians. Israel ceded Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, but Hamas took over in 2007 and assassinates anyone in the territory who challenges its goal of expelling the Jews from all of Israel.
And please no more condemnation of Israel’s “blockade” or “occupation.” Israel has been allowing 17,000 Gazans to work in Israel each day and would like to allow more. No Israeli government can afford to give up control of more territory that could become a launching point for Hamas attacks.
The temptation at the White House will be to give Israel a week or so to respond with a free hand, and then lean on the Netanyahu government to stand down. That is always the U.S. pattern, but it shouldn’t be this time.
The attacks on Israel, horrible as they are, at least provide some moral clarity about the stakes in the Middle East. One side seeks the destruction of Israel and the Jews. The other arms itself to protect its citizens and state from that destruction.
Read more here(paywall)
Amb. Dror Eydar:The war in Israel is the free world’s war…Israel’s enemies are closely monitoring the democratic West to determine whether it supports Israel – namely, does it understand that this is also a war over its future? The spirit of Nazi Germany has risen from the dead and it threatens all of us. During World War II, the Allies did not send money and equipment to the citizens of Nazi Germany. This approach should apply today…What happened in Israel is a wake-up call for the entire free world.
JPost Editorial: ISIS supporters were identified throughout the world, and they were deported from their countries of residence; in many cases, they were stripped of their citizenship. Bank accounts associated with ISIS were shut down, and their funding sources were choked off.
That is precisely what must happen to Hamas, the Palestinian ISIS, now.
While Israel is leading the military charge against Hamas, it must receive full and unequivocal support from its allies in the West, including military aid and assistance, if necessary. Those who express support for Hamas must be arrested, prosecuted, and, if necessary, deported from their countries of residence. Any entity found to be providing material support to Hamas must be shut down, and the organization’s sources of funding must be eliminated.
This is a war against a cruel and relentless enemy driven by bloodlust and hate. Hamas cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be contained. It must be resolutely defeated, and that defeat must be crushing and unforgiving.
That is Israel’s task in the days and weeks ahead. The world must have Israel’s back – if not for Israel’s sake then for its own.
Gregg Roman: It must be emphasized that Hamas does not operate in a vacuum, nor do its funds appear from thin air. Hamas’s rule is underwritten to a large extent by Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich sheikhdom in the Persian Gulf, among others. Beginning in 2018, Qatar delivered funds in cash to Gaza to the tune of $30 million a month. Per an arrangement reached in May 2021, after a conflict between Israel and Hamas, Qatar began to send fuel (valued at between $7-$10 million per month) to Gaza via Egypt, freeing funds for Hamas from the proceeds of resale…. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader, resides in Doha, Qatar’s capital. So, too, does Khaled Mashal, who preceded Haniyeh as the terrorist organization’s leader and now serves as his second-in-command. Khalil al-Hayyah, who had served as the deputy of Yahya Sinwar (Hamas’s leader in Gaza), also decamped to Doha along with other leading Hamas officials. read more here