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Israel Update 29.2.24

GAZA CROWD CRUSH

 

At 4 a.m. today Thursday, 30 trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrived at the coast of Gaza City. Thousands of Palestinians rushed the trucks after they passed an IDF checkpoint, leading to a stampede in which dozens of Palestinians were wounded and killed, some after being run over by the trucks. Some of the trucks managed to continue further north, where armed men reportedly opened fire at the convoy and looted it.
Dozens of Palestinians who rushed the last truck in the convoy began to move toward an IDF tank and troops stationed at a checkpoint. An officer in the area ordered to fire warning shots in the air as the Palestinians were within a few dozen metres, as well as gunfire at the legs of those who continued to move toward the troops.Report here

Note: Hamas and P.A. false claims of “ massacre” are being widely circulated by the international  media

TERROR ATTACKS 

 

An Israeli man was killed and 11 others were wounded in a shooting attack carried out by three Palestinian terrorists  in a traffic jam near Ma’ale Adumim last  Thursday. A pregnant woman was listed in serious condition. Report here

 

Two Israelis were murdered during a terror shooting attack near the settlement of Eli today, Thursday.Report here

ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS

 

 

Hamas has again rejected ceasefire proposals aimed at freeing the remaining hostages. 130 hostages remain in Gaza of whom Israel estimates that around a quarter are dead. (paywall) Report here

 

 

THE IDF continues to target terrorists throughout Gaza and is discovering more tunnel networks and destroying them. One 10 km tunnel passed below both the Turkish hospital in central Gaza and the Israa University in Gaza City. Report here and here

 

 

Close to 50 trucks carrying food have entered northern Gaza over the past three days, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said Wednesday, adding that “there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid for the civilians in Gaza.” Israel reports that hundreds of trucks filled with aid sit idle on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Report here

 

 

 

The IDF on Sunday presented to the War Cabinet its plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians from Rafah and to militarily destroy some of the last Hamas battalions in the area of Gaza near the Egyptian border. In addition, the Cabinet approved a plan to provide “humanitarian assistance to Gaza in a manner that will prevent the looting that has occurred,” Report here

 

 

The IDF has met a group of Palestinian community leaders to establish a local Palestinian body to take charge of aid distribution as an alternative to Hamas in a Gaza City neighbourhood.  Reportedly, the biggest challenge would be securing the area “to prevent Hamas from interfering”. Report here

 

 

 Israel’s proposed plan to manage post-war Gaza includes the running of civil  affairs by “local officials” who have “administrative experience” and who aren’t tied to “countries or entities that support terrorism.” The IDF will maintain freedom to operate throughout Gaza to prevent the resurgence of terror activity.  More details here

 

 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sharply criticized pro-Palestinian protesters at American universities. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, she expressed her dismay over the students at countless institutions of higher education, including Columbia University where she teaches, who began rallying against Israel in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.Report here

 

 

HAMAS AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM

 

On Oct 7 terrorists targeted farmland, livestock, plants and infrastructure as tacross the western Negev, which produces 70% of the country’s vegetables, 20% of its fruit and 6% of its milk.

At Kibbutz Alumim, 2 miles from the Gaza border, 300,000 chickens died. Three coops were burned to the ground. Terrorists also destroyed the automated food and water dispensers for the remaining five structures housing the flock. After the attack, no one was around to tend to the chickens and the birds died of hunger and thirst.

Hamas killed 30 milking cows at Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Those that survived went unmilked for nine days. Many developed a painful condition that contaminated their milk and killed 70 of the herd. Some that have recovered still aren’t producing milk…

 

In 2005 Gazan looters damaged roughly 900 of the 3,000 greenhouses Israelis left behind after they withdrew from Gaza.

Attacks on Israel’s environment and natural resources aren’t new. In 2018 terrorists launched more than 800 incendiary balloons from Gaza, setting fire to 6,100 acres of agricultural land in the Negev. Raids on Israel’s northern farms and arson in its forests have been regular occurrences. (paywall) Article here

 

 

HAMAS CHALLENGED

 

 

There is growing popular resentment against Hamas and its leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza after 4 1/2 months of fighting, as more footage of Gazans calling for the downfall of Hamas continues to surface. Report here

 

 

 A group known as Gaza’s Liberators has recently begun to openly challenge Hamas’ rule, as living conditions in the territory continue to worsen.Report here

 

 

 

Hamas has been diverting part of the humanitarian aid meant for Gaza and selling it to traders instead of distributing it for free. Large crowds burned tyres and forced merchants out of a market in the city of Rafah on Wednesday to protest about soaring food prices Report here

UNWRA

 

 

Last week Israel’s security services produced an updated report indicating that 440 UNRWA workers in Gaza are active in the military arm of Hamas.
2,000 other employees are registered Hamas operatives. An additional 7,000 UNRWA employees have a first-degree relative who is a Hamas terrorist.
Out of 12,000 employees, close to 9,500 are connected to Hamas. Report here

 

 

A new arrangement will allow for a massive American shipment of flour for Gazan civilians to be distributed by the World Food Programme rather than UNRWA. Report here

 

 

 

NORTHERN FRONT

 

 

Northern Israel is subjected to daily missile attacks by both Hezbollah & Hamas in Lebanon, which go largely unreported outside Israel.

Some reports: here and here

Video footage showed Hezbollah rockets exploding close to motorists in northern Israel. View here (50 seconds)

 

 

Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar secured a commitment from Hizbullah before the Oct. 7 terrorist attack to launch a joint assault on Israel, according to documents discovered by the IDF in Khan Yunis. Report here

 

 

Lebanon’s former president Michel Aoun has been openly critical of Hizbullah’s decision to intervene on Hamas’ side in the Gaza conflict. Report here

 

 

The IDF intercepted a surface-to-air missile launched by Hizbullah and then  attacked deep inside Lebanon on Monday for the first time in the war. Report here

 

Hizbullah is using UAVs for suicide attacks which sometimes deceive Israel’s detection and defence systems.    As a result, there are occasional infiltrations of UAVs into strategic sites and military bases.Recently, two UAVs infiltrated Israel and unexpectedly hit civilian targets without having been detected. Report here

 

 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote to the UN Security Council on Thursday that Iran has accelerated its shipments of weapons to Hizbullah through Syria since the war in Gaza began. He stressed that Israel has an “inherent right…to defend its territory and its citizens.”Article here

 

 

SOUTHERN FRONT

 

 

The IDF intercepted a missile over the Red Sea last Thursday fired towards Eilat. Rocket warning sirens were sounded in the city.Report here

 

THE ARAB WORLD

 

 

 In private, Arab states are rooting for Israel to destroy Hamas. One senior Arab official said, “Israel is fighting for us in Gaza, and if it wins, it will succeed in defeating an Iranian proxy for the first time in forty years.” Article here

 

Israel’s Economy Minister Nir Barkat said Tuesday that trade relations with Arab states had not been affected by the Gaza war. Article here

Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, served as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly 40 years. He recently stated  that despite public support for Palestinian rights, in truth nearly every Arab state has long viewed the Palestinians with “fear and loathing.” He said “What’s noteworthy in this entire conflict since Oct. 7 has been the lack of reaction or response from the Arab world. Saudi Arabia continues to hold the door open for a peace agreement with Israel. The UAE, Morocco and Bahrain didn’t even withdraw ambassadors…”   Article here

 

 

THE BBC

 

 

The BBC is “institutionally anti-Semitic” and its reporting of the Israel-Hamas war has contributed to attacks on British Jews, former attorney general Sir Michael Ellis told MPs during a Westminster Hall debate… “the relentless bias of BBC News coverage has contributed to the record levels of intimidation and attacks on British Jews.”
He said some of the BBC’s reporting of the conflict suggested “moral equivalence between a democratic state whose leaders are elected by their people…and a genocidal terrorist group that oppresses its people and murders children and civilians.”
He also cited the BBC’s reluctance to refer to Hamas as a terror organization; coverage of pro-Palestinian marches in the UK, which display “an extraordinary disconnect from reality by repeatedly stressing that they are ‘mostly peaceful'”; and following Hamas’ “cynical” policy of not distinguishing between civilian and combatant casualties in Gaza when giving updates on the number of dead and injured. (paywall) Report here

HOSTILE NORWAY

 

 

Norway’s Foreign Minister prevented King Harald from sending a letter of condolence to Israel after Oct.7. He (the FM) was the only Western FM at an international summit in October who condemned Israel and failed to call fort he release oft he hostages.Norway supported the genocide lawsuit against Israel in The Hague and refuses to recognise Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Report here

 

 

SPORT

 

Israeli tennis player Lina Glushko won the singles and doubles titles at the WIPHOLD International tournament in Pretoria. Report here

 

Israel’s archers won 2 individual gold medals, a team gold medal and 3 silver medals at the European Indoor Archery Championships. Report here

 

Israel’s team of four young fencers won the Team Cadet European Championships in foil. Results here

Gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won the silver medal in the floor event at the World Cup event in Germany.Report here

Israel’s U17 women’s football team defeated Albania 3-1 in a Euro qualifier. Result here

The manager of a Turkish football team which sacked its star Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel for his solidarity tribute to hostages held in Gaza admitted that his team were playing poorly since the Israeli’s departure and faced a crisis in the Turkish League. Article here

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

David Powell: Israel has been under severe external pressure to halt its war against Hamas and not to pursue the leaders of the group into their last stronghold Rafah…    Israel’s war cabinet…, appears adamant that the army cannot leave Hamas and its leader Yahya Sinwar intact in Rafah, as to do so would be a strategic defeat for Israel. Hamas would rightly claim victory simply by having survived and Hizbullah would be emboldened to step up its attacks across Israel’s northern border.
The trauma of Oct. 7 remains strong in Israel, where most people have personal experience of relatives or acquaintances killed or kidnapped or called up to fight in Gaza. For the outside world, those events have been largely eclipsed by the suffering of Gazan civilians. But, for most Israelis, the war, while not one they sought, needs to be fought to the end so that the existential threat that Hamas poses is finally removed.  Article here

 

 

Brendan O’Neill: Thousands have died in the Myanmar civil war. More than two million have been displaced. Hundreds of thousands have perished in the Saudi-Yemen conflict since 2014. Then there’s Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine… The cultural elite is displaying a frankly feverish obsession with the Gaza war…No “pro-Palestine” activist or tweeter or commentator has ever given a satisfactory response to the question of why Israeli militarism horrifies them more than other kinds of militarism, and why Palestinian suffering wounds them more deeply than other people’s suffering. (paywall)
Article here

 

 

Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser:

The Palestinian Authority, in its current form, has failed the Palestinians and has failed the peace process. Nonetheless, in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre and the ensuing war against Hamas, U.S. President Joe Biden wrote in the Washington Post that “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited…under a revitalized Palestinian Authority.”

Even before reforming its endemic corruption, the PA must stop promoting Jew hatred and accept Israel’s existence.

(The authors go on to outline how they see a “revitalised” P.A.) Article here

 

 

Angela Epstein on last week’s debacle in the UK’s House of Commons:

There’s something arrogant and vaingloriously colonial in believing that a country under enemy attack from a terrorist death cult should pay any heed to what politicians thousands of miles away might have to say on the subject. Indeed, all the childish party politics have achieved is to inflame community tensions further and give succour to the dangerous rise of radicalized Islamic protest. Article here

 

 

Niall Ferguson: Two democracies are under attack by a sworn foe of Western civilization. One is in Eastern Europe; the other in the Middle East. One is vast; the other tiny. Both have recently seen unarmed civilians, including children, brutally slaughtered, tortured and kidnapped by their enemies. Both are sending their sons, husbands and fathers into brutal battles.

Yet, despite all these resemblances, these two fighting democracies are treated much differently by the world. One is praised for its heroism; the other is condemned – even accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

How can we explain the fact that Ukraine is lionized and Israel reviled?

The Palestinian Authority is an oxymoron; Palestinians despise it, and it has no authority. A large majority of the inhabitants of Gaza, to say nothing of the Palestinians of the West Bank, prefer Hamas. The nature of Hamas was laid bare on Oct. 7, which should be regarded as an event disqualifying the Palestinians from self-government, not entitling them to it. Article here

 

 

 

D.Tel Editorial: In the case of Israel, the West is rapidly losing the moral courage to stand for what is right. In the days after Oct. 7, it was widely accepted that, in order to prevent such an evil occurring again, Hamas had to be utterly defeated. Yet before the Israelis had even embarked on ground operations, the criticism and hand-wringing had already begun.

It is disturbing just how quickly the actual cause of this conflict – the pogrom of Oct. 7 – appears to be being forgotten. It speaks to the limited attention spans of Western societies, as well as the power of the hard-Left to shape the political and broadcast media narrative. Israel did not start this war. It deserves, and was promised, our support. The West cannot go back on its word now, and should remember why we gave it in the first place. It is long past time that the democratic world rediscovered its moral centre.(paywall)Article here

 

 

Caroline Glick: The goal of the war – embraced by more than 90% of Israelis – is total victory over the enemy that did this. Victory for Israelis means no Palestinian state. This isn’t a vengeful or emotional determination. It is a rational understanding that Oct. 7 was the outcome of Palestinian statehood.

Gaza has been an independent Palestinian state since Israel withdrew all of its civilians and military forces in 2005. They have been fully sovereign for more than 18 years. The Palestinians in Gaza, freely chose to be ruled by Hamas, which they overwhelmingly support.

If Israelis are intent on preventing a recurrence of Oct. 7, then they have no choice other than to oppose the re-establishment of the Palestinian state in Gaza..This is a rational response to a brutally clarifying event. Article here

 

 

Zoe Strimpel: Israel was only ever going to be given two, three weeks tops after the Oct. 7 massacres, after which the great and the good would lose patience, demand that Israel lay down arms, let Hamas regroup and win, and continually and falsely accuse the Israeli military of being trigger-happy where Palestinian lives are concerned.
The thousands who turn out on the streets every weekend to demonize Israel have no clue about the concept of waging a just war and why doing so is different from committing genocide. Outside Parliament, a mob was busy beaming “from the river to the sea” onto Big Ben. No one was beaming: “release the hostages.”
It is as if the actual events of Oct. 7 are simply ceasing to exist outside of Israel – as if Hamas’ actions have now been almost totally forgotten. Hamas knew all along that, because of the power of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, the world would end up siding with it.(paywall) Article here