Today, November 7th was a day of mourning in Israel, marking the “shaloshim” – one month since the Oct 7 massacres.
I write these lines after spending time with the families of some of the 240 people kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. The hostages now held in Gaza include Jewish Israelis, Muslim Israelis and foreign citizens of different ethnicities. In all my years of public life, the meetings with these families were the most difficult I’ve ever held.
I’ve also spoken with families of some of the more than 1,400 of my people who were killed that day, many of them murdered in their living rooms and kitchens or dancing at a music festival. When I returned from one kibbutz devastated in the attack, I had to wash the blood off my shoes. Tragedy is part of Israeli life, but none of us imagined a tragedy like this.
Against our will, we in Israel find ourselves at a tipping point for the Middle East and for the world. This is not a battle between Jews and Muslims. It is between those who adhere to norms of humanity and those practicing a barbarism that has no place in the modern world.
Almost as disturbing for me is the realization that many in the world, including in the West, are willing to rationalize these actions or even support them outright. In the capitals of Europe, we’ve seen rallies supporting the total destruction of Israel. Professors and students at American colleges make speeches and sign statements justifying terrorism, even glorifying it. It would have been unthinkable to hear such moral confusion uttered after the Sept. 11 attacks or after bombings in London, Barcelona and Baghdad.
The terrorist ideology threatens all decent people, not only Jews. History has taught us that foul ideologies often find the Jewish people first – but tend not to stop there. We find ourselves on the front lines of this battle, but all nations face this threat, and they must understand that they could be next.
Palestinian civilian casualties are encouraged by Hamas in order to draw global sympathy and blunt Israel’s response. But anyone who thinks the cynical exploitation of civilian suffering will tie our hands and save Hamas this time is wrong. For us and for the Palestinians, the suffering will end only with the removal of Hamas. Anyone trying to tie our hands is, intentionally or not, undermining not only Israel’s defence but also any hope for a world where these atrocities cannot happen. Full essay here (possible paywall)
A Border Police officer, Sgt. Rose Elisheva Lubin, 20 was fatally stabbed and another officer was injured in a terrorist attack Monday morning near the Herod’s Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. The 16 year old Palestinian assailant was shot dead by other Border Police officers.Report here
After ten days of operations within Gaza, the IDF said Sunday it had fully surrounded Gaza City and had effectively split the Gaza Strip in two. The IDF reported 30 soldiers had been killed and 300 wounded. The IDF Spokesperson said Sunday: “Essentially today there is a northern Gaza and a southern Gaza….We continue to allow for a corridor for the residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City to move southward. This is a one-way corridor to the south.” Report here
The IDF published a video showing dozens of rocket launchers and more than 50 rockets found inside a building used by the Palestinian Scout Association. Another video showed a number of empty underground rocket launchers adjacent to a mosque, with the launchers’ electrical wiring running inside the mosque, from which they are activated. Report here
Israeli forces have prioritized the evacuation of Palestinian civilians above other operational missions in the Gaza war, according to the IDF spokesperson.
He said his office carried out close to six million phone calls warning Gaza residents to evacuate before strikes and showed photo evidence of Hamas rocket launchpads adjacent to hospitals across Gaza, with the knowledge the IDF could not strike the launchpads due to collateral damage to the hospital.
In a recorded conversation verified by the U.S., a Gazan official close to Hamas was heard saying, “They say there is a fuel shortage in Gaza, they are liars, liars. There is no shortage of fuel in Gaza. It is in the hands of Hamas.” Report here
Hundreds of Gazan civilians were seen waving white flags as they passed through an IDF humanitarian corridor set up on Tuesday morning. Israel has for weeks urged Gaza civilians to leave the northern and central areas of the territory and seek refuge in the south, away from the subsequent bombing campaign and the ground war. Report here
On Sunday, the IDF revealed new intelligence providing further evidence that the Hamas terror group is using medical facilities in the Gaza Strip for terror purposes including video footage of Hamas gunmen emerging from a tunnel under Sheikh Hamad Hospital, as well firing at Israelis forces from within the building itself. The IDF has intelligence of a tunnel network under the so-called Indonesian Hospital, as well as aerial imagery showing rocket launchers a few dozen metres from the complex.Report here
The IDF has found rocket launchers next to a children’s playground in Gaza, further proof of “Hamas’s ceaseless use of the civilian population as a human shield for terrorist purposes”Report here
An Israeli aircraft struck an ambulance in Gaza which was being used by a Hamas unit closely positioned to the combat zone, the IDF spokesperson’s unit said Friday. Several Hamas terrorists were killed in the attack. The IDF has information that Hamas used the ambulance for transporting terrorists and weaponry.Report here
A senior U.S. official said Hamas tried to sneak its fighters out of Gaza in ambulances. Hamas had provided a list of those seriously wounded that it wanted to evacuate, along with the thousands of foreign nationals looking to leave.
U.S. and Egyptian officials found that a third of the names were Hamas fighters.(paywall) Report here
Hamas in Lebanon fired 12 rockets at the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on Thursday, wounding two people and causing widespread damage. The IDF responded with several rounds of strikes on Hizbullah positions. The city, as well as 42 border communities, were evacuated last month amid repeated attacks. Report here
In the space of an hour on Monday some 30 rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel. The launches triggered warning sirens in Nahariya, Acre, and several nearby towns in the Western and Upper Galilee. Hamas claimed responsibility for 16 projectiles. Report here
An Israeli civilian was killed in an anti-tank missile attack near Kibbutz Yiftach on the Lebanese border on Sunday. The missile struck his car as he was leaving an IDF outpost to which he had transported water. Report here
Limited fighting continued along Israel’s border with Lebanon Tuesday, as the military struck cells of gunmen near the border and took down a drone approaching its airspace. Report here
While siren alerts of incoming rockets continued to be sounded in central Israel, including Tel Aviv, the South continues to bear the brunt of daily rocket fire,
Just a couple of examples from today Tuesday, sirens warning of incoming rockets sounded in the southern communities of Mivtahim, Talmei Eliyahu, Amioz, Sde Nitzan, Zohar, and Ohad, near the Gaza border. Report here
Rocket sirens sounded in Ashdod and nearby communities, as TV footage showed a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza. Report here
The U.S. military is flying surveillance drones over Gaza to aid in hostage recovery efforts. Pentagon officials said MQ-9 Reapers operated by U.S. Special Operations forces have been active in the area since the days after the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel by Hamas. Report here (paywall)
American farmhands and cowboys from Arkansas and Montana have arrived to help farmers in Israel. Many farm workers were murdered on Oct 7, while others have been called up to the IDF reserves.Picture here
There have been multiple attacks against several US bases in Syria and Iraq. At least 46 US soldiers have been injured according to the Pentagon. Report here
IDF intelligence has unleashed precision might with over 12,000 Gaza terror targets identified. Military intelligence has tripled its target bank since the war started, feeding real time intel to all arms of the military. Report here
Ben Binyamin, 29, and Gali Segal, 26, a couple who were at the music festival in Kibbutz Re’im that was attacked by Hamas, didn’t think they would make it out alive. They were running to protected areas when they were seriously injured by a grenade. Both had to have their right legs amputated.
During their hospitalization, Gali and Ben stayed in beds next to each other in the ward. On Sunday they moved on together to rehabilitation at Sheba Medical Center.Article here
Joseph Braude: Earlier this year, the Centre for Peace Communications released a series of testimonies called “Whispered in Gaza,” interviewing Palestinians about their travails and aspirations. Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, we reconnected with these and other Gazans to understand their reaction to the Hamas assault and their views of the developing war, in a new series called “Voices from Gaza.”
One resident of Gaza City notes that “When Hamas distributes the aid, only Hamas members get the aid.” The same applies to Gaza’s healthcare system, where “Hamas loyalists are treated first.”
One woman said, “My older brother was murdered by Hamas in front of our eyes. Fifty-four gunshots all over his body, his blood spilling in front of his children….Ending Hamas is the demand of young and old alike in Gaza.” Ashraf, 28, saw his brother murdered by Hamas as well. Both had been involved in peaceful demonstrations against Hamas. “We welcome any change that will save us from this indignation called Hamas,” Ashraf says. Read more here
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser:
We hear repeatedly from Western leaders including President Biden that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. I beg to differ. There’s a big part of the Palestinian people that consider Hamas their representative, not only in Gaza but even in Judea and Samaria. Hamas represents a very important part of the Palestinian people. Many Gazan civilians followed Hamas operatives into Israel to loot and murder.
Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, has avoided elections for the last 18 years, since Hamas is likely to be victorious. Since the October 7 massacre, Hamas’ support has grown in the West Bank from 44% to 58%. As evident on Arabic social media, the massacre was seen as an historic victory for Islam. Hatred for Israel and the Jews has kept Hamas popular.
Both Hamas and Fatah share the same narrative: the denial of a Jewish identity and an opposition to Zionism – Jewish sovereignty. Yet the West and the international community share a wilful blindness in recognizing that Hamas represents a large part of the Palestinian population, and that Fatah’s ideology is similar to that of Hamas.
Admitting this would mean the West must accept Israel’s claims about the difficulty of making peace with the Palestinians.
Without demanding that the Palestinians change the Israel-negative narrative, not much will come out of Israel’s expected victory in Gaza politically. Yet changing a narrative takes many years, at least a generation. Article here
Alan Dershowitz :
Hamas death tolls hide the relevant truth: How many of those killed by Israeli fire are really totally innocent civilians? How many were active Hamas terrorists? How many were vocal supporters of Hamas terrorism?
How many 14-, 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds, who Hamas counts as “children,” were in fact combatants or accessories? How many women were Hamas accessories? How many were killed by misfiring terrorist rockets?
Israel is at war with Hamas, which controls Gaza politically and militarily. It is comparable to when America was at war with Germany and Japan in the 1940s. Civilians pay a price when their country attacks another country, as Hamas attacked Israel.
Even when it is only a group within a country, such as al-Qaeda or ISIS, civilians die, as many did in Afghanistan and Iraq when the U.S. battled terrorists thousands of miles away from our homeland. Israel is fighting mass murderers just across its borders.
When Hamas decided to invade Israel and murder and kidnap its civilians, it knew that Israel would have to respond militarily and that Palestinian civilians would inevitably become collateral victims.
Jake Wallis Simons: For decades, the West has been funnelling billions into Gaza, despite the opacity of its expenditure.
In fact, much of the expenditure is far from opaque. Since 2014, Hamas has been building terror tunnels under its civilians worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with command centres beneath hospitals.
As we signed cheque after cheque, how much vetting work was being done to ensure Hamas couldn’t take advantage to fund their rockets?
In our hubris, the international community gambled that economic security would win peace. This proved to be a devastating foreign policy miscalculation.
Hamas has been hiding in plain sight. In fact, it hasn’t even been hiding. It has made no secret of its genocidal intentions. We have been propping up this system. Article here (paywall)
Amb. Daniel Taub: The allegation that Israel’s actions to defend itself from murderous attacks constitute collective punishment of the people of Gaza is wrong in law and dangerous in practice. Israel seeks to prevent the Oct. 7 massacre from ever happening again. Israel isn’t losing soldiers every day in Gaza to punish the people there, but to hunt down Hamas terrorists.
Weighing the likelihood of civilian harm against the imperative of defeating a terrorist machine is an agonizing process that Israel grapples with every day, both internally and in discussions with its closest allies.
There is indeed collective punishment of the people of Gaza, but it is perpetrated by Hamas. Laying the blame for Hamas’ abuse of civilians at Israel’s door only rewards its inhuman tactics and ensures that they will be copycatted by terrorist groups in other places. Genuine humanitarian concern must look this reality in the face and place the blame for the suffering of Gaza squarely where it belongs.
(paywall) Article here
Editorial D.Tel: The full, murderous horror of Oct. 7 continues to emerge, in accounts of genocidal savagery that are almost beyond imagining. Yet facing what happened, in all its monstrosity, is the only way to see Hamas for what it is, and why it must be destroyed…An ideology committed to abominable cruelty in the name of territorial conquest and genocide cannot be reasoned with. As with Japan and Nazi Germany in World War II, it simply needs to be defeated.
(paywall) Article here
Gershon Baskin: I have negotiated with Hamas, on and off, since 2006… Hamas has (now) forfeited its right to exist as a government of any territory and especially the territory next to Israel. Hamas behaved like ISIS in their attack against Israel, and Hamas now fully deserves the determination of Israel to eliminate them as the political and military body that controls Gaza. Article here
Matthew Continetti. Not only should these calls (for a ceasefire) be ignored. They should be denounced. Why? Because calls for a ceasefire reward barbarism.
Hamas terrorists spent years planning the murder of more than 1,400 Jews on Oct. 7, and Hamas terrorists continue to hold hundreds of captives, including Americans, while shelling Israel with indiscriminate rocket fire. Yet it is somehow Israel’s responsibility to exercise self-restraint. Hamas, not Israel, is the aggressor. Hamas, not Israel, rejects international law. Article here
Lawrence J. Haas: Israelis deserve to live without fear of rocket attack, infiltration, and slaughter from across their border. Gaza’s Palestinians also deserve peace as well as the prospect of a better life – both of which remain elusive because they live under Hamas. Article here