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Israel Update 2.5.24

This Update is not covering the terms of ceasefire/hostage negotiations as current reports are based on unofficial sources. HRG

 

SHARAKA DELEGATION VISIT

 

Sharaka, (the Arabic word for “Partnership”) is a non-profit founded following the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, promoting people-to-people contacts between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. A 10-member delegation from various countries recently spent 5 days in Israel.

The intensive programme included a visit to the Gaza Envelope and the site of the October 7 Supernova festival massacre.

One participant Moroccan Errachid Montassir said “The thing that struck me the most was realizing the propaganda and the fake news that the media spread in Muslim countries, that make us think that Israelis are the killers,” adding “We visited a kibbutz [assaulted by Hamas on October 7] and met with families who witnessed their kids dying in front of them. It shocked me deeply.”

Report here

 

 

SHERYL SANDBERG’S DOCUMENTARY “SCREAMS BEFORE SILENCE”

The documentary is about sexual violence committed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 and beyond.

A two minute trailer and the one hour documentary are available on YouTube (graphic content)

Ruth Marcus: The world that assails Israel for its conduct of the war in Gaza should be speaking out about Hamas’ concerted assault on women. The terrorist group can deny this all it wants, but any repudiations are belied by the facts: The sexual violence was not isolated but repeated and methodical.
The filmmakers deemed some of the most searing evidence too gruesome and too intrusive to be shown. “It’s actually worse than you are able to show,” Sandberg said, her eyes filling with tears. “Much worse.”  Article here (paywall)

Bret Stephens: To watch “Screams Before Silence” is to be disabused of any lingering doubts about what Hamas did. The personal testimonies of victims, survivors and witnesses are clear and overpowering, as is the photographic evidence Sandberg was shown. Article here (paywall)

GAZA

 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Hamas on Monday to swiftly accept Israel’s latest and “extraordinarily generous” proposal for a Gaza truce to secure a release of hostages, amid a diplomatic drive to halt the Israel-Hamas war. Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron also described the Israeli proposal as “generous.”Report here

 

Israel has expedited the flow of aid into Gaza this month. Israel’s efforts have been acknowledged by the Biden administration and international aid officials. More aid trucks are arriving while the scale and efficiency of flour deliveries into northern Gaza have increased, with four bakeries reopening in Gaza City this month. The UN shared a video that showed bags of flour piled high in bakery storerooms. (paywall) Report here

 

ATTACKS FROM LEBANON ON NORTHERN ISRAEL CONTINUE

 

Sharif Suad, a resident of the Bedouin town of Sallama, was killed in a Hizbullah anti-tank missile attack last Thursday night. He had been driving a truck as part of infrastructure work for the IDF to improve border defences. Report here

Hezbollah launched a barrage of  30 rockets at northern Israel on Friday night.

On Saturday an Israeli soldier was lightly injured by a Hezbollah missile. Also Saturday, Hezbollah fired a barrage of at least 26 rockets across the border with Israel.

Both Hezbollah and Hamas are targeting northern Israeli communities. Hamas terrorists in Lebanon launched 20 rockets at northern Israel on Monday. Most were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while the others struck open areas near Kiryat Shmona, the IDF said. Later Monday, another barrage of at least 15 rockets was launched by Hizbullah at the Upper Galilee

Two houses in Shtula, Israel’s north, were hit and severely damaged  by anti-tank missiles on Wednesday.  Reports hereherehere and here

At the Galilee Medical Centre in Nahariya, for the past 6 months nearly all of the hospital’s staff members and patients have gone underground as strikes from Lebanon by Hizbullah, just 6 miles to the north, have intensified.   The hospital is one of the most striking examples of how life in northern Israel has been upended since Hizbullah began launching near-daily attacks against Israel in October in solidarity with Hamas. Tens of thousands of Israelis have evacuated towns, villages and schools, and factories and businesses have been forced to close. (paywall)Report here

TERRORIST ATTACKS

 

 

An Israeli woman, 19, was seriously wounded in  Ramle in a terror stabbing on Friday. The attacker, Saed Abu Ghanem was chased by friends and relatives of the victim to a second location where he attempted to stab another woman. He was then shot dead by one of those pursuing him.Report here

 

A Border Police officer was injured Tuesday in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. The terrorist, a tourist from Turkey, was shot.Report here

 

EASTERN FRONT

 

How the Israel Security Agency and IDF dismantled a terrorist cell, funded from abroad (including Iran) in Qalqilya, less than 7 km. from Kfar Saba. Article here

 

DEFENCE

Only two out of eight U.S. interceptors succeeded in hitting Iranian missiles during the drone and missile attack that targeted Israel on April 13.
Over 90% of Israeli interceptors hit their targets.Report here

Israel’s Air Force is in the process of replacing its Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system with the David’s Sling system, an Israeli product very close to the PAC-3 level, the most advanced interceptor of the Patriot series but significantly cheaper. While each PAC-3 interceptor costs $6 million, David’s Sling interceptors cost $700,000. Report here

GERMANY

The International Court of Justice has rejected a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military and other aid to Israel and renew funding to the UN aid agency in Gaza… However, the judges declined to throw out the case altogether, as Germany had requested. The court will still hear arguments from both sides on the merits of Nicaragua’s case.(paywall) Report here

The German Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Oliver Owcza, faced a violent attack during his visit to the West Bank on Tuesday.Palestinian students at Birzeit University near Ramallah targeted the diplomat, hurling stones, damaging his vehicle, and forcing him to flee the scene.Report here

IRAN

In a resolution recently adopted by 357-20, the European Parliament (the EP) strongly condemned the April 13 Iranian attack on Israel and called for further sanctions against Iran. MEPs reiterated their full support for the security of the State of Israel and its citizens and condemned the simultaneous rocket launches by Iran’s proxies Hizbullah in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The EP expressed deep concerns over the destabilizing role that the Iranian regime and its network of non-state actors play in the Middle East. It welcomed the EU’s decision to expand its current sanctions regime against Iran. The resolution also reiterated the EP’s long-standing call to include Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as Hizbullah in its entirety, on the EU list of terrorist organizations. Report here

 

Despite  severe and comprehensive economic sanctions, the Iranian regime shows higher growth rates (11.5%) than the U.S. (7.3%), per IMF data for the years 2023 to 2025, thanks to ties with China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Turkey and the UAE, countries that do not see themselves bound by the sanctions regime…The statistical evidence clearly underscores the profound failure of sanctions. There is considerable doubt that the recent announcements of additional U.S. and European sanctions will change the situation. Report here

 

Udi Levy, former head of the Mossad’s financial division, spent decades researching the money flows that allow the survival of terrorist groups and regimes hostile towards Israel, chiefly Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran. He said …The Iranians built an unbelievable infrastructure to circumvent sanctions and be able to move money around the world to continue to finance all the terrorist infrastructure in all the Middle East – and their nuclear project.”
Sanctions against Iran have largely been ineffective because they remained on the declarative level but were often not implemented.Report here

 

 

Shiraz University in Iran says it will offer scholarships to students from universities in the United States and Europe who have been expelled during the ongoing student protests connected to the crisis in the Middle East.  Report here

 

 

MEDICAL RESEARCH

 

 

A new study by a team of researchers at Ben-Gurion University shows how they used a nanosized polymer to deliver a chemotherapy drug to safely and effectively eliminate colorectal cancer metastases in the liver. They also presented evidence of how they used a polymer, a large chain molecule, to minimize metastasis of melanoma to the lung. Report here

 

 

SPORT

 

 

Israeli Judoka Raz Hershko has won her first European Championships gold medal in Zagreb. She dedicated her medal to Yonatan Goutin, a member of the Israeli judo team, who was killed on October 7 while fighting Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri. Israel’s team ranked 4th in the championship, winning four medals. Report here

 

Israeli racing driver Ariel Elkin won first place in the 2nd round of the Formula 4 USF Juniors Championship held in Alabama. He is a brand ambassador for Lee Cooper. Report here

 

Yarin Shriki, an Israeli jiu-jitsu practitioner and Nova music festival survivor, won gold at the Paris Jiu Jitsu 2024. He dedicated the win to his best friend, Yohai Ben Zechariah, who was killed on October 7. Report here

 

Ran Levy with his dog Tor have won the Mondioring world Championships in Italy. (Mondioring is a complex sport that aims to show the skill of the handler, the training of the dog, the dog’s intelligence and the natural abilities the dog possesses)Result here  Explanation here Photo here

 

European Traditional Karate Federation Championship in Macedonia:

Nofar Hoshmand, Mika Svidowski and Aya Kazakov won 1st place in group kataResults here Photos here

Sela Elmaliah won all 4 of his events  (black belt 14-15 year Kumite, Fogo, Fukugo & Kata)Photo here

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

US university campuses

 

Hamza Howidy: At U.S. college campuses, students are occupying campus spaces in the name of Palestinian rights…As a Palestinian from Gaza, I cannot be silent about what I am seeing. The manner in which many gather to voice their support for Palestinians does more to hurt our cause than help it.
You know what would help the Palestinians in Gaza? Condemning Hamas’ atrocities. Instead, the protesters routinely chant their desire to “Globalize the Intifada.” They should be speaking up for the innocent victims of Hamas – both Palestinian and Israeli. Instead, they endorse Hamas’ ideology, effectively glorifying Hamas’ Al-Qassam brigades.
I saw the LGBTQ flag frequently flown among people chanting lines from Hamas’ charter, and I wanted to warn them that the group they are honouring would most likely toss them from the top of a building. Hamas harasses women who don’t cover their heads. Hamas tortures those who demonstrate against their authoritarian rule, as they did me when I protested.
Hamas has held 2 million Gazans captive for more than 17 years. Why didn’t the protesters speak out about the fact that Hamas led Gazans into this conflict? Where were they when Hamas’ failed missiles claimed the lives of hundreds of Gazans, or when Hamas murdered people in order to steal aid and resell it to Gazans at massively inflated prices? They are not concerned with protecting Palestinians. They are out in their tents because of a hatred of Jews and Israelis.Article here

 

 

Jonathan Pidluzny: U.S. universities should stop letting foreign entities shape campus intellectual life.
Centres dedicated to the study of the Middle East, many receiving lavish foreign financial support, do more to promote anti-Zionist and pro-Hamas narratives than virtually any other force on campus..
An AMCHA Initiative study of anti-Zionist and BDS-supporting faculty found that 70% are associated with ethnic, gender, or Middle East studies departments.
(These departments sponsor almost 90% of events containing anti-Zionist or pro-BDS rhetoric.)
Through their research, teaching, and the speakers they host, the centres demonize Israel and make anti-Semitic attitudes seem permissible, even respectable. The presence of anti-Zionist faculty, in turn, is associated with significantly higher levels of student-on-student harassment involving Jews.Article here

 

 

From NGO Monitor: In the wake of Oct. 7…, the exponential rise in antisemitic violence, incitement, intimidation, and harassment on U.S. campuses is not the product of spontaneous protests of individuals. Rather, they are tightly coordinated and well-funded by a network of radical and often antisemitic NGOs that have supported and justified the Oct. 7 massacre, including Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Within Our Lifetime, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Samidoun.
Under the guise of human rights and justice, these NGOs work to undermine economic and military ties between the U.S. and Israel, and to besiege and divide the U.S. Jewish community.
Many of the NGOs are directly linked to U.S.-designated Palestinian terror organizations.Article here

Bassam Tawil: While protesters at Columbia University and Yale celebrate Hamas and its “resistance” (a euphemism for violence and terrorism), (some) Arabs have been ridiculing the “pro-Palestinian” demonstrators on American college campuses. For these Arabs, including some Palestinians, there is nothing “pro-Palestinian” about supporting Iran-backed Hamas.
Loay Al-Shareef from the UAE wrote on social media: “Dear White Americans and Gen Zs who support or tolerate Hamas supporters on U.S. campuses, a gentle reminder from a credible Arab Muslim voice from the Middle East.”
“You are supporting a terror group with the same Islamist/ Muslim Brotherhood pathological creed that brought down the twin towers in Manhattan in 2001.”
“You would not survive a day in Gaza under Hamas, which demands that ‘infidels’ live with dignity only if they are subordinate to Islamists.” Article here

 

 

Israel’s war against Hamas

 

Douglas J. Feith and Lewis Libby: In its Oct. 7 war plan, Hamas calculated it could survive a war against a superior Israeli force and energize enemies of Israel around the world. The key was arranging for grievous Palestinian civilian losses. To this end, Hamas worked for a decade and a half to put military assets in and near schools, hospitals, mosques, and residences – and to build a dense network of tunnels underneath Gaza’s cities.
Someone who uses human shields is usually hoping to deter enemy attack, not to kill the shields. Hamas is employing a human-sacrifice strategy, intentionally increasing civilian casualties among its own people to fuel international demands for Israel to halt its offensive prematurely.
Hamas’ hiding among civilians is a war crime against the people of Gaza. Perpetrators of such immorality would under normal circumstances be widely condemned. In Gaza, however, people speaking in the name of humanitarianism are working to reward Hamas for this crime… America, if provoked as horribly as Israel has been, would not stop its war against a terror group on its border until it completely destroyed the group. It is in the interests of America and the civilized world to reject Hamas’ scheme of ensuring civilian suffering in Gaza and then taking advantage of that suffering. Allowing Hamas to remain in power would reward the gravest of war crimes. Article here

 

 

Zoe Strimpel: The IDF… is currently trying to dismantle probably the most extensive, cunning terrorist infrastructure ever known, one that is highly likely to have been built with the help of hundreds of millions of Western taxpayer money, UN and other “aid” funds. Israel uses a great deal of precision technology to limit the bloodshed. But it’s difficult. Hamas’ whole strategy revolves around using civilian shields. Yet, journalists and Twitter armies lap up the idea that Israel is going after “women and children.”
Despite this near-impossible battlefield, the IDF seems to have managed to keep its ratio of civilians to combatants killed lower than almost any other army ever has. In this war, Israel has sacrificed some of its objectives in order to limit civilian deaths. The IDF operates in a manner light years away from that of all the terror groups and militias that hate Israel, currently being cheered on college campuses. (paywall) Article here

 

 

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig: Sudan is undergoing a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions, starting a year ago. Airstrikes have hit civilian centres on an ongoing basis. In many regions, hospitals and health services hardly function. Thousands of civilians have been killed, including massacres that are clear war crimes. The UN reports that 3,000,000 Sudanese children are malnourished. World Food Programme trucks have been blocked, hijacked, attacked, and looted. Yet not a peep is heard from Westerners.
In Myanmar, an estimated 50,000 have been killed since the military coup in 2021, and over two million displaced. Most of this is due to the military junta’s blanket use of air strikes and shelling of mostly civilian targets. Here, too, one would be hard pressed to find any protests.
Since 2000, the Ethiopian conflict has led to 350,000 civilian fatalities. According to the UN, close to 30,000,000 people now require emergency food aid. Have you seen any protests at Harvard or Columbia regarding such mind-boggling suffering?
When one realizes the disparity between the number of Gazan fatalities (a bit over 30,000 if the Hamas-based numbers can be believed – not to mention that at least 10,000 of these are terrorists) and the humongous numbers around the globe, it becomes clear that selective racism is certainly a factor in singling out Israel when the devastation and humanitarian crises are far worse elsewhere. Article here

 

 

 

International Criminal Court (ICC)

 

Amb. Alan Baker: The ICC’s reported intention to issue warrants for the arrest of Israel’s senior governmental and security personnel shows that the international judicial body has been simply hijacked, politicized, abused and, to all intents and purposes, ruined. Despite the clear and basic requirement that only sovereign states may be party to the 1998 Rome Treaty which defines the aims and purposes of the ICC, the UN Secretary General accepted the Palestinian request to be recognized as a “state party” to the ICC. Thus, a non-existing, terror-oriented state was granted full party status in the ICC, although its sole purpose was not to advance the cause of international justice but to undermine the legitimacy of Israel.

People like myself who were heavily involved in negotiating, drafting and creating the ICC and who are intimately familiar with its original aims and purposes cannot but shudder in fear at the unbelievable abuse of that Statute and of the noble aims and intentions of its founding fathers.Article here

 

 

WSJ Editorial: The Israeli media is flush with reports of imminent ICC arrest warrants for Israel’s political and military leaders…The Israeli high command has prosecuted a limited war in self-defence against a genocidal terrorist group. Israel has a civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio that compares favourably with other urban conflicts. Israel takes extraordinary measures to spare civilians…The ICC prosecutor is supposed to investigate before indicting a world leader, not the other way around. An indictment now would be highly irregular and revealing of bias or great-power pressure. The ICC is supposed to complement national legal systems, intervening only when they are unable to investigate. Is that really the issue with Israel’s Supreme Court – famous for its judicial activism and antigovernment tilt? (paywall)  Editorial here