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Israel Update 28.3.24


Hamas rejected a U.S. compromise deal for a Gaza truce and the release of Israeli hostages on Monday.Report here


Amit Soussana, 40, an Israeli lawyer, was abducted from her home in Kibbutz Kfar Azza on Oct. 7, beaten and dragged into Gaza by at least 10 men, some armed. She was held alone in a child’s bedroom, chained by her left ankle. In a recent interview  she provided extensive details of sexual and other violence she suffered during a 55-day ordeal. Her account of her experience is consistent with what she told two doctors and a social worker less than 24 hours after she was freed on Nov. 30. She said she had decided to speak out now to raise awareness about the plight of the hostages still in Gaza. (paywall)Article here



In an interview, rescued Gaza hostage Luis Har said he was “treated like a dog not a human being” by Hamas while being held captive for 129 days . Report here




The IDF has announced that it is establishing a field medical aid centre to provide medical treatment and humanitarian aid to wounded Gazans and medical teams in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City who have been evacuated due to the ongoing military operation. Medical equipment brought in included ten thousand units of medications, hundreds of pain relievers, over a hundred packages of bandages and infusions, and dozens of advanced monitoring devices. Report here



A Gazan writer has said that the high prices are not due to a lack of goods. “The Rafah crossing is operating well, and aid enters in a very large amount, and there is never a shortage.”..”However, the distribution of aid is in the hands of Hamas, which means it does not reach all the displaced people.”.. “There is no solution except by [Israel] entering Rafah and pressing the fighting until there is great pressure on Hamas. Many Gazans hope that Israel will end the war and eliminate Hamas quickly.” Article here

Israel has recently provided data refuting accusations it was deliberately causing hunger in Gaza. According to official numbers, Israel has been providing humanitarian aid including food, water, shelter and medicine through two border crossings, in amounts that exceed the delivery from humanitarian groups.
Israeli officials say distribution of the aid that is delivered is hampered by an inability of human rights organizations in Gaza to organize orderly provisions in some areas due to the ongoing fighting. They also point to Hamas taking over the aid for their fighters or selling it to vendors at exorbitant prices. Report here


After British Foreign Secretary David Cameron accused Israel of hindering the flow of aid into Gaza, COGAT, the Israeli body governing civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, rejected his accusations and invited him to come and learn about the extent of Israel’s humanitarian operations in Gaza. It added that Israel is able to inspect “44 trucks an hour.” Report here



Israel inspects aid deliveries much faster than the ability of international organizations to distribute it. There were days in which 300 trucks carrying food and humanitarian aid waited on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing after having gone through Israeli inspection – yet no one took them in.Report here






Rockets were fired toward Ashdod for the first time since January on Monday. Eight rockets were fired from a humanitarian zone in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. Three were intercepted by the Iron Dome. Later, rockets were fired toward Ashkelon as well. Report here


Shifa Hospital operation


The IDF and ISA conducted additional raids into Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Friday and Saturday, eliminating dozens of terrorists. Over the course of the current operation, more than 170 terrorists in the hospital and surrounding area were eliminated, hundreds of terrorist suspects arrested and numerous weapons located. Report here



The IDF spokesman  on Monday said  “Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists are barricading themselves inside Shifa hospital wards… Hamas is firing from inside the emergency room and maternity ward and throwing explosive devices from the burns ward. Terrorists hiding around the hospital fired mortars at our forces, causing extensive damage to the hospital buildings.”
International law stipulates that while a medical facility is a protected site in conflict, it loses that status if it is used for military activity. The number of confirmed members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad captured at Shifa had risen to 500, including senior Hamas and PIJ commanders. Report here



Captured terrorists told interrogators that some 600 to 1,000 Hamas operatives had been hiding in the hospital and gave details about the weapons stored inside Shifa . One said The fighters are in every building, spread out in every area.”Report hereand here






An economist, a biomathematician and an international law expert have critically analysed Hamas casualty figures concerning women and children and concluded that these are statistically impossible. The widely reported figure of 70% womens’ and childrens’ deaths is contradicted by the statistics that the Gazan Ministry of Health itself provides in its own reports. The BBC “factcheckers” and other Western media could easily have determined this for themselves, using publicly available information.  Article here



For example, according to the media reports methodology, only 1,192 men had been killed in northern and central Gaza as of March 18, despite four and a half months of heavy ground fighting. Five days later, that number inexplicably decreased to 1,170—a feat that would have required 22 men to somehow come back to life by March 23 in order to reconcile the central collection system data with the overall claim. In contrast Israeli authorities estimate  that 13,000 militants have been killed.Article here





Zaher Bishara from the Druze village of Ein Qiniyyeh in the northern Golan Heights, was killed in a rocket barrage fired at northern Israel from Lebanon on Wednesday. (paywall) Report here


A barrage of at least 40  Hizbullah rockets targeted northern Israel on Tuesday. Report here


Hizbullah fired 50 rockets at Israel from Lebanon on Saturday. Some rockets were intercepted, while others fell in open areas.Report here


In Metula, 130 out of 650 homes have been hit, some with entire floors destroyed and entrances covered in glass and rubble Some 43 other northern Israeli communities have been reduced to “ghost towns”. Report here


More than 60,000 Israelis have in recent months been ordered from their homes along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon as the result of an intensifying conflict with Hizbullah, in the first mass evacuation of the area in Israeli history…Israel’s Iron Dome system can intercept many types of rockets, which fly in high arcs, but Hizbullah also fires rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, which fly low to the ground and hit targets in seconds and without warning… allowing no time  to run to a shelter. Report here (paywall)


Although the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza has captured the world’s attention, there is a serious risk of war between Israel and Hezbollah.  Since October 7, 2023, there have been over 4,400 rocket, missile, and other stand-off attacks by Israel and Hezbollah combined. Hezbollah has also repeatedly violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by deploying forces and firing anti-tank guided missiles and other stand-off weapons against Israel from the zone between the Blue Line and the Litani River…
Hezbollah is probably the most heavily armed non-state group in the world and is larger, better armed, and more experienced than in the 2006 conflict with Israel partly a result of its experience fighting in Syria. It is designed to fight a campaign aimed at targeting Israeli soldiers and civilians at a steady rate through rockets, long-range missiles. anti-tank guided missiles, and drone attacks. Article here




A terrorist wearing a military uniform fired at a school bus and several other vehicles on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley near the town of Al-Auja early Thursday, injuring at least three people.
The wounded included a 30-year-old man, a 21-year-old man, and a 13-year-old boy. Two armored bullet-proof buses carrying students were hit.  Report here



A Palestinian terrorist opened fire at an Israeli vehicle in the West Bank early Friday morning, wounding seven people, one critically. The gunman was killed in a helicopter strike. Report here





The IDF has captured a significant amount of advanced arms from Iran that were smuggled into the West Bank, including fragmentation bombs, anti-tank landmines, grenade launchers, 15 kg. of C4 explosives, 10 kg. of Semtex plastic explosives, shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles, RPG launchers, RPG rockets and propellant, hand grenades, assault rifles and handguns. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Iran is working to increase the severity of attacks in Israel by smuggling in many “high-quality” weapons for use in attacks against Israeli targets.. Report here


 Israeli Police and IDF troops arrested a terrorist intending to carry out a suicide attack and eliminated three more terrorists during an exchange of fire in the Jordan Valley last Thursday. Report here


Two terrorists who crossed into Israel from Jordan armed with AK-47s were arrested  on Friday night.  Report here






(Lord) Andrew Roberts: Have we really forgotten so quickly the monstrous events of Oct. 7 that we genuinely want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza before Hamas has been utterly destroyed as a military force and government there? As we watched the British ambassador to the UN raise her hand at the Security Council meeting this week to vote for a ceasefire, alongside the Chinese and Russians, do we not feel embarrassed, even ashamed? I know I do.
How proud I would have felt if we had actually had the guts to veto a resolution that is designed to prevent Israel from genuinely exercising her right to self-defence. Israel’s “right to self-defence” is utterly worthless if its forces are stopped from entering Rafah and annihilating the Hamas leadership there. Hamas has already stated that it is committed to repeating Oct. 7-style massacres as soon as it gets another chance.
Wars are not won by ceasefires, so the British Government should stop calling for one until victory is won. Article here (paywall)

Natasha Hausdorff:  British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron’s latest demands of Israel reveal a concerning detachment from reality. The allegation that Israel is stopping food from entering is false…The IDF’s capacity to inspect aid trucks far exceeds current international provision. On Sunday, 142 aid trucks were still waiting to be picked up by the UN on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom crossing.
The failure of Lord Cameron to call upon Egypt to comply with its international law obligations is also unforgivable. Egypt acceded in 1980 to the 1969 African Union Refugee Convention, which requires it to use its “best endeavours” to receive refugees fleeing “civil disorder.” Egypt has an obligation to every Palestinian civilian presenting themselves on the Egyptian border. Egypt’s failure to adhere to its obligations under the Convention is the real breach of international law.
Has Lord Cameron demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross access the Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity for 169 days? No. He has, however, demanded that the Red Cross be admitted to visit terrorist detainees, including those who committed atrocities on Oct. 7, a demand that has no basis in international law. Having engaged in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war, Hamas terrorists are not protected by the Geneva Conventions and there is therefore no mandated access to terrorists in detention.
…The Foreign Secretary’s echoing of Hamas propaganda perpetuates the war by encouraging Hamas to keep fighting in the hope that mounting international pressure will hand the terrorists a victory. Article here (paywall)



Col. Richard Kemp:  Multiple reports, first-hand accounts and video evidence show that the blockage (of aid)  is not on the Israeli side but lies with an inadequate UN distribution system as well as extensive hijacking by Hamas strongmen who divert much of the aid for their own use and sell the rest of it off at inflated prices.
Now Cameron seems to be on the verge of making a grand gesture by cutting off British weapons supplies to Israel in the midst of war, threatening betrayal of one of Britain’s most important allies…Yet a reciprocal move against Britain would be operationally more significant. Arms imports from Israel represent 2.7% of the UK total, including some extremely important systems, notably UAVs, anti-tank missiles and armoured vehicle defences..
…This is a time when the civilized world should be putting its energies into demoralizing Hamas, not giving them hope that Israel will be pressured into halting at the final stages of its offensive against them.    Article here


Daniel Finkelstein: My experience has reinforced the feeling that quite a lot of the protest rhetoric is dishonest. The protest is not against Israel’s actions, it is simply against Israel. There is nothing that Israel can do that will satisfy the demands the protesters are making. They do not actually want a dialogue. Article here






David Horowitz: Our people are widely resilient, competent, wise and patriotic. We rebuilt our ancient homeland in spectacularly unpromising circumstances, focused innovation and inspiration to make it thrive, and have been fighting as one to defend it and restore its security through six hellish months. 3/4 of the terrorist army that Hamas established next door, and which Hamas believed Israel would never have the guts to confront, has been dismantled. The IDF is battling Hamas gunmen in their death-trap tunnels.
Israel has to dismantle the Hamas army so that we, as victors, get to write the history of this war, and to emphasize that Israel destroyed a terrorist army widely supported by the Gaza populace, in a conflict murderously imposed upon it by the government of a territory from which Israel had withdrawn. Somehow, this remarkable people of ours, hundreds of thousands of whom constitute its army, has managed to both fight the war and maintain some semblance of what used to be normality.Article here

Ruth Marks Eglash: Regional nations in the past have offered refuge to civilians escaping wars in Syria, Iraq and Sudan. But they refuse to address people in Gaza… Egypt, which shares a direct border and land crossing with Gaza, has claimed that opening its doors to Palestinian refugees, even temporarily, would constitute a threat to the country’s national security… An Egyptian analyst said the only way to explain the indifference of Arab countries to the suffering of Palestinian civilians is that “Arab leaders do not really want to carry the burden of rescuing them…..I am sad to say that it is in the best interest of Arab leaders right now for the war to keep going and for the Palestinian civilians to keep suffering, so they have a tool to distract their own people from their failures in running state affairs.” Article here



Atar Porat: The U.S. assumes that at the end of the day, Hamas cares about the well-being of the Palestinians. However, Hamas is using the most powerful weapon in its arsenal, which is to create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza in order to generate international pressure. The fact that the U.S. has fallen for this Hamas tactic is shocking. It only reinforces Hamas’ incentive to use the civilian population as a human shield since this strategy works. Article here

 David Brooks: Hamas’ strategy is to maximize the number of Palestinians who die and in that way build international pressure until Israel is forced to end the war before Hamas is wiped out. Hamas’ survival depends on support in the court of international opinion and on making this war as bloody as possible for civilians, until Israel relents.

John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, told me that Israel has done far more to protect civilians than the U.S. did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel’s measures to warn civilians when and where it is about to begin operations “have prolonged the war, to be honest.”

As the leaders of Hamas watch Washington grow more critical of Jerusalem, they must know their strategy is working. Yet if this war ends with a large chunk of Hamas in place, it would be a long-term disaster for the region. Article here(paywall)


John Spencer: In its operation at Shifa hospital in Gaza to root out Hamas terrorists, the IDF took unique precautions to protect the innocent. Doctors accompanied the forces to help Palestinian patients if needed. The IDF also brought in food, water and medical supplies for the civilians inside.
I’ve never known an army to take such measures to attend to the enemy’s civilian population, especially while simultaneously combating the enemy in the very same buildings. In fact, Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history – above and beyond what international law requires and more than the U.S. did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The writer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point.Article here




Josh Feldman: Inexplicably, the world is denying Palestinians one of the most fundamental human rights, that of being allowed to flee war zones – one that’s enshrined in multiple UN conventions – when they need it most. The most logical places of refuge for Gazans are surrounding Arab and Muslim countries, many of which have no shortage of Palestinian inhabitants. The brutal truth is that from Egypt, to Jordan, the Gulf states, Turkey, or Iran, none of these nations care enough to absorb significant numbers of refugees from Gaza.Article here


Yaara Segal: The only time that the Israeli hostages are mentioned in Western media is almost always within the context of a possible “prisoner exchange” between Israel and Hamas. This term is offensive. It is an attempt to equate the innocent Israeli civilians kidnapped barefoot in their pyjamas from their bedrooms by a terror group with Palestinian terrorists serving time in Israeli prison for killing Jews.

Now, almost six months after the most horrific massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, the story in the media is one that is no longer capable of differentiating between the villain and the victim. The media has kept the spotlight off the terrorists and continues to all but physically arm Hamas and its patrons by delegitimizing Israel with irresponsible headlines. Article here