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Israel Update 9.5.24

HAMAS “CEASEFIRE PROPOSAL”

 

Last weekend, the Egyptians gave the Hamas delegation in Cairo a new (ceasefire) proposal without coordinating with Israel. So when Hamas announced on Monday that it accepted a ceasefire proposal given to it by Egypt and Qatar, three Israeli officials said the Hamas announcement surprised the Israeli government and that Israel didn’t receive the text of the response until an hour after Hamas’ announcement.
When the Israelis read Hamas’ response, they were surprised to see it contained “many new elements” that were not part of the proposal that Israel had agreed on that had been presented to Hamas ten days ago. “It looked like a whole new proposal,” according to one official.
Two senior Israeli officials claimed that CIA director Bill Burns and other Biden administration officials knew about the new proposal but didn’t tell Israel. Report here

 

 

Close examination of the Hamas document shows that far from containing “amendments” or a remotely viable counterproposal, it is constructed with incendiary sophistication to ensure that Hamas survives the war and regains control over the entire Gaza Strip… It is also calculated to ensure that Hamas secures further key, immensely far-reaching goals without having to meet the prime Israeli requirement for a deal: the release of all the hostages. Hamas can abrogate the deal, with all of its key goals achieved, while continuing to hold almost all of the hostages. Report here

 

 

Hamas did not “accept” a ceasefire deal so much as make a counteroffer to the proposal on the table previously accepted by the U.S. and Israel – a counteroffer that was not itself deemed acceptable. Israel said the terms of Hamas’ ceasefire proposal remained “far from” meeting its “requirements.” A senior Israeli and a senior U.S. official said that Hamas’ proposal diverges from the one Israel had helped craft with Egypt.Reports here and here

 

 

According to a CNN report Hamas says it will only free 18 hostages unless Israel agrees to end the war. The report said Hamas refused to release only live hostages in the first phase of the deal. It also demanded that Israel would not be able to oppose the freeing of any prisoner from its jails, and that Palestinians released by Israel would be allowed to remain in the West Bank and not be exiled to Gaza.
Hamas wants 30 Palestinians freed – up from 20 – for every Israeli hostage released and 50 – up from 40 – for every female soldier. Israel said Hamas has put forth a radical proposal, which it was turning down. Report here

 

ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS

 

 

On Sunday, Hamas terrorists fired 10 rockets from Rafah targeting the Kerem Shalom  border crossing which is the main entry point for aid into Gaza. Four IDF soldiers were killed and at least three others were seriously wounded. Subsequently Israel closed the crossing.(reopening it after a couple of days) Report hereand here

 

 

On Wednesday, Hamas fired mortar shells in two separate attacks at the area of the floating pier built to receive aid shipments. Also following the re-opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for humanitarian aid, missiles were launched from Rafah towards the crossing injuring a soldier.Report here

 

 On Sunday a Hamas command and control centre located in a complex run by UNRWA was targeted in an airstrike. The site was used by Hamas to direct attacks against Israeli troops and against humanitarian aid deliveries. An IDF statement said “Hamas intentionally positioned the command-and-control position within the vicinity of an active UNRWA location, jeopardizing the Gazan civilians taking refuge there,” Report hereand here.

 

 

Israel took control of the Rafah crossing linking Gaza to Egypt on Tuesday after it warned civilians in the eastern part of Rafah to evacuate to zones in the west. The IDF said a “vast amount of people” had heeded its call to evacuate eastern Rafah ahead of the operation. During the operation, 20 militants were killed, tunnel shafts were discovered, and an explosive-laden car driving toward Israeli troops was struck.  A military analyst said “The Philadelphi Corridor is important because Hamas has been resupplying itself and reinforcing itself mainly from the Sinai desert.”

 

The Rafah crossing is the primary source of income for Hamas, which charges $5,000 for each adult Gazan seeking to cross into Egypt, and $2,500 for each child. Imports used to produce weapons and equipment to dig underground tunnels also pass through the crossing.  Report here (paywall)Report hereand here

 

The IDF’s new Eitan armoured personnel carrier deployed in Gaza can carry 12 soldiers, reach speeds of 100 km/h and can provide life-saving medical care for injured personnel. Report here

Documents from the Prime Minister’s Office were published online on Friday showing Israel’s plan for returning Gaza to self-governance.Report here

 

 

HUMANITARIAN AID

 

 

Hamas seized a major shipment of humanitarian aid that was delivered to Gaza from Jordan last week, according to the U.S. State Department.Report here

 

Senior UNRWA staff are stealing aid and selling it for profit, while those who report it face reprisals, according to numerous reports published by Palestinians in an UNRWA-related chatroom.Report here

 

Israel’s Defence Ministry briefed more than ten humanitarian groups last week to discuss the planned IDF operation in Rafah. Yotam Shefer, the head of foreign relations at COGAT, the defense ministry’s agency for coordinating relief in Gaza, pointed relief groups toward an expanded “safe zone” in Mawasi, five miles north of Rafah, where humanitarian workers and displaced people are expected to relocate. He said aid groups would receive 48 hours’ notice to evacuate certain areas in southern Gaza. Report here (paywall)

FORMER HOSTAGE

 

In an emotional event held Wednesday at Soroka hospital, Kibbutz Nahal Oz resident Elma Avraham, 85, who was abducted to Gaza on October 7 and returned to Israel in critical condition after 51 days in Hamas captivity, was discharged after five months. Report here

MARKING YOM HASHOAH 7 MONTHS AFTER THE DEADLIEST DAY FOR JEWS SINCE THE HOLOCAUST

 

6 Holocaust survivors, Michael Bar-On, Raisa Brodsky, Arie Eitani , Allegra Gutta  , Pnina Hefer  and Izi Kabilio  lit torches  on Sunday evening, May 5, at the Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Their stories are here:Article here

THE USA

 

President Joe Biden told CNN on Wednesday that he would halt some shipments of American weapons to Israel if it launches a major invasion of the city of Rafah.Report here.

 

Biden is facing unusually harsh criticism from some Democratic lawmakers for pausing shipments of weapons to Israel. Rep. Ritchie Torres said the move “makes a mockery of our credibility as an ally.” Sen. John Fetterman  said: “I strenuously disagree….We have to stand with our key ally throughout all of this.” Rep. Lois Frankel said that Israel is “surrounded by danger, they need the tools to defend themselves.” Rep. Jared Moskowitz said, “Hamas is also getting the message…and that means the war is going to go on.” Report here

 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul  and House Armed Services Chair Rep. Mike Rogers  said Wednesday they were “appalled that the administration paused crucial arms shipments to Israel.” Sen. Jerry Moran  asked Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, “Does this not send the wrong message to our ally Israel and embolden Iran and Iranian-backed groups? We should not be signalling to [our] enemies that our support is conditional.” Sen. Joni Ernst said on Tuesday, “It seems everyone is pushing against Israel when we should be pushing against Hamas. We should not be using our support, our ammunition, our weapons platforms, to leverage against Israel.” Article here

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham  on Wednesday expressed his frustration with the administration’s decision to pause a military aid transfer to Israel during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “If we stop weapons necessary to destroy the enemies of the state of Israel at a time of great peril, we will pay a price. This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war they can’t afford to lose.”he said “That is a strategic mistake for the ages. It makes terrorists more likely to keep fighting. It puts Israel at a very big disadvantage.”Report here

 

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Thursday that President Biden’s decision to withhold weapons shipments gives hope to Israel’s enemies… “If Israel is restricted from entering such an important and central area such as Rafah, where thousands of terrorists, hostages and the leaders of Hamas are still present, how exactly is the goal of destroying Hamas supposed to be achieved?”Article here

 

Nine American and Israeli survivors and victims of the Oct. 7 massacre on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, against American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP), alleging that they collaborated with Hamas to legitimize the Hamas attacks and provide public relations services for the terrorist organization. The victims said, “We want to go on record to expose these groups for the terrorists they are and make certain that they are stopped from operating in the United States and other countries they infiltrate.” Article here

HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS ON NORTHERN ISRAEL FROM LEBANON

Two IDF reserve soldiers were killed in a Hizbullah drone attack against an army position in northern Israel on Monday.

An IDF soldier was killed by a mortar shell fired from Lebanon on Wednesday. Another soldier received minor injuries from shrapnel. Report here and here

 

The Hezbollah terror group launched more than 60 rockets at northern Israel on Sunday, injuring one man and causing damage to homes vehicles, and infrastructure in Kiryat Shmona.Report here

 

 

Two Israelis were hurt by an explosive-laden drone launched by the Hezbollah terror group from Lebanon at northern Israel on Monday. Also on Monday a barrage of some 30 rockets was launched from Lebanon at the Golan Heights. Report here

 

Northern Israel was targeted multiple times from Lebanon on Tuesday with rockets and “suspicious aerial targets” — believed to be explosive-laden drones launched by Hezbollah.Report here

 

Iran is training Hizbullah fighters to carry out drone attacks on Israel at a rapidly-expanding top secret base. The drone facility, once a small airport for crop-spraying planes,  has gone from a runway of 500 meters in 2007 to 1,500 meters in 2020, allowing for bigger, long-range drones such as those used in Iran’s aerial assault on Israel on April 13. The base serves as a drone pilot training centre for Lebanese Hizbullah.Report here (paywall)

EASTERN FRONT

 

A senior Border Police officer, critically injured during a battle with Palestinian gunmen over the weekend succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday. Five Palestinian gunmen, members of a Hamas cell responsible for the murder of an Israeli and the injury of others in recent terror attacks in the West Bank, were killed in  the raid. The terror cell was planning additional attacks including bombings.Report here

 

SAUDI ARABIA

 

Saudi authorities have initiated a series of arrests targeting individuals who have been inciting against Israel on social media platforms. The Saudi authorities are reportedly intensifying efforts to curb incitement against Israel as they express concerns about potential domestic unrest fuelled by anti-Israel sentiments.Report here

TURKEY

 

Turkey confirmed that it had stopped all trade with Israel last Thursday. The move came a day after Turkey announced plans to join South Africa’s case at the UN’s highest court as a plaintiff accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded, “This is the behaviour of a dictator who tramples the interests of the Turkish people and business community, while ignoring international trade agreements.” The Israeli government will work to create immediate alternatives by increasing local manufacturing and finding other suppliers, he said. Report here

LATIN AMERICA

 

Colombia has broken diplomatic relations with Israel, but its decision could affect Colombia’s military, which uses Israeli planes and machine guns to fight drug cartels and rebel groups. Colombia’s more than 20 Kfir fighter jets are aging and require maintenance, which can only be carried out by an Israeli firm.Colombia’s military uses Galil rifles, designed in Israel while Israel also assisted the country with its cybersecurity needs.Report here (paywall)

 

The dictatorships of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have redoubled their political, technological and military alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Bolivia signed a military agreement with Iran nine months ago and has received more than 700 members of Iran’s Quds Force, part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Venezuela and Tehran have signed 25 bilateral agreements in sectors such as petrochemicals, transport and mining. Cuba and Tehran have signed six agreements. Iran and Nicaragua have signed three agreements.Article here

US-BASED GAZAN PEACE ACTIVIST

 

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib has long advocated for Palestinians to abandon their armed resistance narrative and adopt a pragmatic approach for their cause. Article here

CHRISTIANITY

 

Marking Orthodox Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulcre on Saturday, worshippers spread the flame they believe has miraculous origins during the ancient ceremony of the Holy Fire. Report here

SPORT

 

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team won gold at the European Cup in Baku.

Hoops routine 2’38”View here

3 ribbons and 2 balls routine 2’39”View here

 

Mountain bike rider Naama Noyman won silver in the Spanish Cup. photo here

 

In Austria, Israel’s junior climbers won medals: Gold to Or Mark and Silver to Elysaf Lanel.  photo here

 

Israel’s squash team won promotion to the top division in Europe after winning bronze at the European Squash Championship.Photo here

 

Israel’s men’s curling team on won silver at the European Curling Championships C-Division. photo here

 

Go karter Guy Albag, brother of hostage Liri Albag won the CEE championship in Slovakia while fellow Israeli Yam Pinto finishesd third. Both went up to the podium to receive their medals  displaying Liri’s photo. photo here

 

Source: Follow Team Israel here

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

The US & Israel

 

Micah Halpern: the hypocrisy and holier-than-thou attitude of the U.S. toward Israel is truly infuriating. The U.S., too, kills civilians in war. The death of civilians is, unfortunately, a part of the cost of war. According to a report in the Guardian, the U.S. is responsible for the killing of at least 22,000 civilians – perhaps as many as 48,000 – since 9/11.
The U.S. knows full well that, sometimes, innocent civilians are hurt in war. But the U.S. is refusing to extend that same understanding to Israel – the country that has, by all other accounts, set the gold standard for civilian death ratios. The constant haranguing of Israel by the U.S. over the accidental deaths of innocents, the unavoidable deaths of innocents during wartime, constitutes an immoral attack against an ethical army that is doing its best to prevent civilian casualties, even to the point of often endangering its own forces.Article here

 

WSJ Editorial: The battle for Rafah in Gaza is an essential part of Israel’s war of self-defence against Hamas. The terrorist group’s leaders have dragged out negotiations for a ceasefire for months.…(It is) impossible for Israel to allow Hamas to control territory, remain in power and plan the next massacre, as the terrorists pledge.
Mr. Biden’s decision to set himself against any move on Rafah is hard to understand. Since there was no other way Israel could achieve its objectives, it put the President on the side of Israeli defeat and Hamas victory…Despite media reports, Hamas hadn’t “accepted” a genuine ceasefire-for-hostages deal. It made its own offer that Israel end the war, which means accepting defeat. Editorial here (paywall)

 

Dr. Omer Dostri: U.S. policy has undergone a significant transformation since the onset of the war in Gaza, increasingly favouring engagement with Hamas at Israel’s national security expense. The current American policy in Gaza contradicts Israel’s war objectives, which the American government initially agreed upon… The pressure exerted by the U.S. on Israel to scale back its military actions in Gaza and avoid a ground offensive in Rafah to eradicate remaining Hamas forces allows Hamas to survive and strengthens its refusal to release the hostages…. There is no reason for Hamas to show flexibility when it sees the American government playing into its hands. Current U.S. policy in Gaza is also at odds with the fundamental American principle of the global war on terrorism.Article here

 

WSJ Editorial: The Administration is squeezing Israel hard to abandon its plan to take Hamas’ last Gaza stronghold in the city of Rafah…Israel’s government can’t end the war with Hamas’ military brigades intact, and that means going into Rafah, as difficult as it may be.
The U.S. should be putting pressure on Hamas to surrender and release the hostages.
The more Hamas thinks it might be saved by U.S. pressure on Israel, the less likely Hamas is to agree to a ceasefire. That’s a recipe for extending the war…
Mr. Biden was in a stronger position, politically and strategically, when he spoke with moral clarity about Hamas and in support of Israel after Oct. 7.
The fastest way to end the war is with an Israeli victory, and withholding weapons is exactly the wrong message to send an ally under siege. Editorial here (paywall)

 

 

WSJ Editorial:  If Israel can’t complete its invasion of Rafah, Hamas wins.
No matter how fiercely the President trumpets his “ironclad” support for Israel, his denial of weapons now puts the Jewish state in danger.
Israel is at war, assaulted on multiple fronts. Denying it U.S. arms is an invitation to its enemies to take advantage, in hostage talks and on the battlefield.
It hasn’t been four weeks since Iran attacked Israel directly, in the largest drone attack in history, plus 150 ballistic and cruise missiles, while Hizbullah fires dozens of rockets each day, depopulating the north of Israel for seven months and counting.
Israel needs to be ready now, and its enemies need to know the U.S. stands behind it. That’s why Congress approved military aid to Israel in April, 79-18 in the Senate and 366-58 in the House. Editorial here (paywall)

 

Robert Satloff: US Warnings to Israel Likely to Extend the Gaza Conflict

America’s “don’t do it” is music to [Gaza Hamas leader] Sinwar’s ears. The current U.S. position on Gaza is backwards. It has the unintended effect of keeping the hostages in captivity. It likely extends the Gaza conflict. Article here

Hamas “ceasefire proposal”

 

N.Y.Post Editorial: Hamas announced (on Monday) with great fanfare that it had accepted a ceasefire proposal. There were celebrations in Gaza, and the White House said it was “reviewing” the deal.

Except: The Israelis knew nothing about it.

The supposed agreement wasn’t even on the table. Hamas had changed the terms of a previous treaty to one more favourable to the terror group. To take just one horrific alteration: Rather than turn over hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, Hamas would surrender dead bodies of the hostages it had killed.
That Hamas would try to pull this ruse, with the help of negotiators in Egypt and Qatar, is typical. It wants to pretend that Israel was the one “rejecting” a ceasefire it never knew about. Anti-Israel protesters in the US and a compliant media would eat it up, and they did.
But there’s a shameful twist. Axios reports that the US was aware of the Hamas deal but did not brief Israeli officials. “Two Israeli officials said the feeling is that ‘Israel got played’ by the U.S. and the mediators who drafted ‘a new deal’ and weren’t transparent about it,”.Editorial here

 

 

Richard Kemp: Hamas’ agreement on Monday to a ceasefire deal that was never on the table was yet another ruse to buy time and build international pressure to halt a major IDF operation in Rafah. An IDF move into the terrorists’ final stronghold in Rafah has been delayed far too long – the result of months of fruitless negotiations over release of hostages. Yet Israel had little option other than to play along while even the smallest glimmer of hope existed. The delay was also brought about by pressure from the U.S. and other Israeli allies.
Israel is going to have to deal with Hamas by an offensive in Rafah if it is to achieve its goal of dismantling the terrorist threat to its citizens. Israel must push on with its plans and not buckle to international pressure, no matter how great. Failure to do so would amount to nothing less than strategic defeat. Article here (paywall)

 

 

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel: Israel has presented a generous and expanded proposal to the mediators, far beyond what is necessary. The shameful, loose, and destructive behaviour of the mediators, led by the U.S., which reportedly offered Hamas guarantees without Israeli approval that the current deal would eventually lead to the end of the war, helps Hamas harden its stance. After seven months, the time has undoubtedly come to stop talking and waiting for the Hamas murderers and to move towards actions.. As long as Hamas is under the impression that it almost gets everything it wants without a deal, they will have no interest in reaching one. Unfortunately, all the mediators helped Hamas reach this conclusion. Article here

Anti-Israel campus campaigns

 

A Message from Jewish students at Columbia best read in full Read here

 

 

David Horowitz: The aggression against Israel and Jews would not be tolerated if aimed at any other minority; its defenders are unforgivably prioritizing free speech above the intended deadly consequences. The underlying goal of the encampments and marches at Columbia, Yale, NYU and the other campuses is to render Israel indefensible. Article here

 

Shimon Sherman: Who is paying for the American Campus Protests? There has been an undeniable influx of money from overseas into prestigious US universities. Article here

 

 

Peggy Noonan: A friend who counsels students at Columbia said these students don’t believe the terrorist organization Hamas was unjustified in its actions on Oct. 7…They don’t have compassion for Gaza and its people “any more than they’ve had compassion for Ukraine.” They are driven by an anti-Israeli animus that is also and inextricably an anti-American animus…The people of my liberal town were relieved to see the NYPD come in, drag the protesters away, restore order, and let people clean things up. Article here (paywall)

 

Phoebe Stern: To be a Zionist on a college campus today is to be an outcast…  People who have been some of my closest friends over the past four years now refuse to make eye contact. Friends tell me that they need to reevaluate their relationship with me because I support Israel. A college campus that claims to be so “woke” and open to everyone turns their backs on the Jews.Article here

 

Leor S. Weinberger: I’m a professor who leads a research lab developing medicines to treat viruses and cancers.
During a recent visit to Israel, academic deans showed me critiques of papers submitted to journals that assailed Israel’s military actions instead of weighing the article’s scientific merits…Sidelining scientists and their innovations is everyone’s loss. Israel has contributed hundreds of innovations to the world including inventing drip irrigation (alleviating global-food crises), reverse osmosis (enabling desalinization for drinking water), and the leading cancer therapy for resistant lymphoma (which has treated more than 27,000 patients in the U.S. alone). Article here (paywall)

 

Michael A Cohen: Comparison between student protests in 1968 and 2024 are all wrong:  Article here

OTHER ARTICLES:

Robert Williams: Israel’s Newest Security Threat – China.Article here

 

Melanie Phillips: A Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoa) like no other.Article here

 

Yossi Klein Halevi: The War Against the Jewish Story. Article here