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Israel Update 27 June 2024

 

HIZBULLAH’S WAR ON ISRAEL

 

Daily attacks on northern Israeli communities continue.

 

Hezbollah terrorists launched several explosive-laden drones at northern Israel on Sunday, seriously wounding a soldier as the IDF said it shot down an unmanned aerial aircraft heading toward the country from Iraq. Sunday’s drone launches came amid fears of a wider conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed group in Lebanon, which has ramped up its attacks in recent months. Report here

 

 

A Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile attack launched from Lebanon late Sunday wounded two members of the security team of the northern community of Metula, one of them seriously.Report here

 

 

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah stated last week that militant leaders from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries have offered to send tens of thousands of fighters to help Hizbullah, but he said the group already has more than 100,000 fighters. Thousands of Iran-backed fighters from around the region are already deployed in Syria. Eran Etzion, former head of policy planning for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Thursday that there could be intervention by the Houthis and Iraqi militias and a “massive flow of jihadists from (places) including Afghanistan, Pakistan” into Lebanon and into Syrian areas bordering Israel. Report here (paywall)

 

 

A tour of Beirut airport arranged for journalists and ambassadors on Monday to prove that Hezbollah is not using it to store weapons was interrupted as reporters and cameramen were prevented from entering a cargo-handling area. Lebanese authorities banned media coverage from inside a building on the premises of the capital’s International Airport.Report here

 

 

GAZA

 

 

Two IDF reservists were killed in a Hamas mortar attack in Gaza Strip last Thursday. Another three soldiers were seriously wounded in the incident.An Israeli soldier was killed Saturday during fighting in Gaza.Report hereReport here

 

 

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket expert, named by Doctors Without Borders as a staffer, was killed in an Israeli drone strike in Gaza City on Tuesday, The IDF said he was also a “source of knowledge” within the Islamic Jihad, in the fields of electronics and chemistry.Report here

 

The IDF disputes UN figures of the scope of destruction in Gaza. Figures revealed today, based on digital mapping and daily visual evidence from advanced drones and satellite imagery, claim only 16% of buildings in the Strip were destroyed between the start of the war and May 31 , as opposed to 50% according to UN figures and 70% in foreign media reports. The IDF said it had destroyed 36% of temporary structures located in agricultural fields, such as sheds and tents, used by the terrorists. Report here

 

 

Israel has rejected a report issued on June 19 by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) accusing it of having “systematically violated” key principles of the laws of armed conflict” during the war against Hamas in Gaza.  The Israeli response, noted that the OHCHR based its claims on the outcomes of attacks instead of assessing the decision-making process behind them, as is required when assessing the legality of an attack. Israel pointed out that Hamas’s comprehensive use of civilian infrastructure in Gaza had turned a multitude of previously civilian sites into military ones, meaning that broad swathes of urban Gaza had become legitimate military targets.
Moreover, Israel observed that Hamas’s list of fatalities includes male combatants who are listed as women, minors who have been identified as combatants, and men who have been identified as combatants. Hamas’s fatality list also includes deaths caused by Hamas and other terror groups, including by misfired munitions and explosives placed in areas populated by civilians.Report here

 

 

 NO GAZA FAMINE

 

 

There is currently no famine in Gaza, a new report by the key Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) organization has found, despite the IPC having predicted in March that a full-blown famine would break out in the territory between March and July 2024. The study  states that assumptions the previous projection had made about the amount of food that would enter the territory turned out to be wrong, and that the supply of food to Gaza has increased instead of decreased during recent months.Report here

And see Comment & Opinion below

 

CHINA IN GAZA

 

 

Massive amounts of recently acquired advanced Chinese military equipment and weapons technology were found in Gaza by the IDF, according to Guermantes Lailari, a scholar at National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a retired U.S. Air Force officer. He said that two tunnel engineers from China’s People’s Liberation Army were captured by the IDF, meaning that China helped Hamas significantly in its construction of the massive tunnel networks under Gaza. The two PLA engineers were returned to China.Article here

 

 

EASTERN FRONT

 

 

An IDF officer was killed early Thursday during a counter-terror operation in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp when two bombs buried deep below ground at the camp’s entrance exploded. 16 IDF soldiers were injured in the blasts.Report here

 

 

ARAB-ISRAELI COMMUNITY

 

 

51.6% of Arab Israelis feel that the prolonged war against Hamas in Gaza has given rise to a sense of “shared destiny” between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel, according to a recent Tel Aviv University survey. Further ” a significant part of the survey’s respondents believe that local elements in Gaza, and not Hamas, should govern life in Gaza after the war, and another third say that a non-Palestinian body should do this.” Only 15% said Hamas should run Gaza.Report here

 

 

INDIA

 

 

India has been providing significant military assistance to Israel. Indian media reported in February that India was supplying Israel with advanced Hermes 900 drones manufactured in Hyderabad in a factory established by Israel to supply these drones to the Indian military.
Twenty drones were converted specifically for the IDF due to the shortage created during the war. India has also supplied Israel with artillery shells and other weapons since the start of the war.Report here

 

 

 

THE US,  ISRAEL & GAZA

 

State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday: “We are working every day to try to get a ceasefire. It’s why we were so disappointed that Hamas rejected the ceasefire proposal that was on the table that the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world endorsed….[Hamas] gave us a written response that rejected the proposal that…President Biden had outlined.” Briefing here

 

 

At the beginning of the Gaza war, the US adopted emergency procedures to fast-track weapons to Israel. However, in recent months, the Biden administration has removed these procedures, according to an American official.  Report here

 

 

According to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Biden administration stopped fast tracking weapons to Israel in January after pressure from Democratic lawmakers who oppose American support for Israel’s war to eradicate Hamas.  He said the administration has not sent an assortment of promised weapons, prolonging Israel’s war and endangering its soldiers at a time when both Hamas and Hizbullah continue to rearm, regroup, and coordinate attacks on Israeli civilians. “Your administration has…[been] withholding…formal notification to Congress of approved weapons sales, including F-15s, tactical vehicles, 120-mm mortars, 120-mm tank rounds, joint direct attack munitions, and small diameter bombs. Your administration can then claim that the weapons are ‘in process’ while never delivering them.”
“Any delays to military support to Israel blatantly disregard Congress’s bipartisan mandate to supply Israel with all it needs to defeat the Hamas terrorists and other Iranian-backed groups. Our ally is under sustained threat, and we must use all available resources to expedite military aid.” He said that if Congress must intervene to fast track any outstanding weapons, it will do so.Report here

 

 

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant reported “significant progress” in advancing shipments of arms from the U.S. to Israel following his meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington on Wednesday. Gallant said “obstacles were removed and bottlenecks were opened to advance the procurement and armament we need for the State of Israel.” Report here (paywall)

 

And see Comment & Opinion articles below.

 

 

BIRTH RATE

 

Israel’s birth rate remains the highest among countries in the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to a recently released OECD report. Israel’s fertility rate is 2.9 children per woman (almost twice the OECD average of 1.5) followed by Mexico and France with 1.8 children. Report here

 

 

SPORT

 

Anastasia Gorbenko won her fourth gold medal of the 2024 European Championships Saturday in Belgrade with Leah Polonsky finishing second behind her for an Israeli 1-2. Reports hereand here

 

Israel came 8th in the medals table out of 26 competing nations and above Italy & France. Table here

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

The US & Israel

 

WSJ Editorial: While Americans see the war in the Middle East winding down, Israelis worry it is only beginning. Hizbullah has been escalating its strikes on Israel, and the Iranian proxy militia could provoke a larger war unless the U.S. gives it a good reason not to. Washington is too fixated on restraining Israel to notice…
The other half of this administration policy is the withholding of armaments, slowing their flow to Israel over the past four months with bureaucratic delays. This gives the President plausible deniability, even though the delays and extended reviews were absent when the Administration wanted them to be.
The White House goal is to discourage a larger war, but a policy of weakening Israel has the opposite effect. It emboldens Hizbullah to keep shooting and extend its range. Unprovoked, Hizbullah has already fired nearly 5,000 rockets, missiles and mortars at northern Israel since Oct. 7, depopulating the region. Hizbullah has no reason to quiet its rocket fire and remove its fighters from the buffer zone in southern Lebanon if it thinks it can keep firing away and be protected from the consequences. Editorial here (paywall)

 

 

Michael Doran: Secretary of State Blinken said the Biden administration is withholding one single shipment of 2,000-pound bombs, out of fear that they might be used in densely populated Gaza, and that “everything else is moving as it normally would move.”
But on May 15, Politico reported that an order by Israel for JDAM converter kits that turn “dumb” bombs into “smart” bombs “came up for license in December 2023, and the administration has been sitting on it ever since.” The JDAMs, Politico reported, are but one of “multiple” sales that the State Department “is reviewing.”
Some military sales to Israel have proceeded without delay; some have slowed but not stopped; still others have been halted altogether. This policy began last December, months before Israel’s Rafah campaign became an issue…Hizbullah represents the most formidable direct military threat that Israel faces. A full-scale conflict with it will burn up an enormous amount of equipment and ammunition in a very short period, and it risks drawing Iran more directly into the war. Article here

 

 

Nadav Shragai; Multiple shipments of various types of ammunition to Israel have been delayed since February…The delayed shipments include artillery, tank and air combat ammunition,weapons Israel has already paid for…as well as thousands of JDAM kits that convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions…The actual delays stem from State Department officials who are not processing the required export permits for these shipments to Israel.Article here

 

 

Hizbollah’s war against Israel

 

Michael Oren: Eight months later, (in Northern Israel) entire cities stand abandoned and countless acres of farmland uncultivated or burnt. If left unchecked, Hizbullah soon could render half the country uninhabitable…
A full-scale war in the north will differ profoundly from Gaza. Among Hizbullah’s 150,000 rockets and missiles are those that can hit any target – airfields, military bases, oil refineries, the Dimona nuclear reactor, even Israel’s southernmost port of Eilat. Hizbullah has all of Lebanon in which to manoeuver, and logistical lines stretching across Syria.
Moreover, any war with Hizbullah is likely to involve rocket fire on Israel from Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Yemen, as well as missile onslaughts similar to that launched against Israel on April 13 from Iran…The anguish of northern Galilee is simply unsustainable and must be ended, even at an exorbitant price.Article here

 

Gaza

 

Jake Wallis Simons: In Tel Aviv last week, I met a paratrooper officer who had been fighting in Gaza the previous day. Palestinians had surrendered while strapped with explosives, he said, and children had fired on his men. In almost every abandoned house he had found an Arabic copy of Mein Kampf. Article here (paywall)

 

 

Danny Cohen: If people cared so much about innocent Palestinians caught up in the fighting, why are there not tens of thousands on the streets of London every Saturday demanding that Hamas accept the ceasefire, or university campus protests demanding that the terrorists agree to end the war?…It is a terrible shame they do not realize that the best way to protect the civilians of Gaza is to pressure Hamas to stop the war. The world feels upside down. Why is it that a democratic state that was the victim of the worst massacre in its history faces all the protests, but the terrorist organization which started it faces none? Article here (paywall)

 

 

Jonathan S. Tobin: Reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post in recent months have routinely claimed that Palestinians are starving…On the strength of these allegations, the International Criminal Court has requested warrants for the arrest of Israeli PM Netanyahu and Defence Minister Gallant, largely because of the claim that they are committing war crimes by deliberately starving the Palestinians.

But the UN’s own Famine Review Committee admitted in a June 4 report that the claims about not enough food being sent into Gaza were untrue…The amount of items being shipped into Gaza from Israel is, as studies show, clearly sufficient to feed the people of Gaza.

Israel’s efforts to keep aid flowing into Gaza are unprecedented in the history of armed conflict. It is a given that warring powers are not responsible for feeding their enemies, especially people under the control of hostile combatants. Even the U.S. has acknowledged that few of the supplies that had entered Gaza via the floating pier had reached their intended recipients.

In wartime, food distribution networks are inevitably disrupted. But if Palestinians are suffering, then it’s nothing short of libellous to blame Israel for it. From the start of the war, armed Hamas operatives have hijacked most of the deliveries. In addition, gangs of smugglers – most of which are likely affiliated with the various terrorist movements – have also commandeered aid shipments.

Then why are so many media outlets, international organizations and the Biden administration still talking about starvation and putting the onus on Israel for this largely fictional catastrophe? Inflating the predicament of Palestinians in Gaza into a famine must be seen as the latest in a long list of falsehoods that have been flung at the Jewish state since Oct. 7 by the anti-Israel media chorus that has faithfully repeated every lie spread by the Hamas propaganda machine.

Every death and all of the privations suffered by Palestinian Arabs since Oct. 7 is the responsibility of the Hamas terrorists who started this war.Article here

 

Also see Rachel Lester: I read the new “Gaza famine Report” …and here are my findings. Article here

 

Extracts from interview with US Maj John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point:

Israel was condemned for the use of a 2,000-pound bomb in an urban area. The U.S. used over 15,000 in the first Gulf War, because it’s a very standard military munition to hit an enemy in a bunker underground. When Israel is following every rule that’s ever been thought of, and implementing ones that nobody’s tried, it then gets told that, well, you’ve got to find a different way…

Israel waited over three weeks after October 7th to allow civilians to leave. And the world said, well, you can’t do that. You can’t evacuate a million people out of northern Gaza and into southern Gaza, into the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone. Israel did this for over 850,000, which is 85% of the population. Israel handed out maps of safe areas to help evacuate the civilians. No military in the world has ever handed out maps. This also telegraphed the IDF’s moves to Hamas. They also used advanced technologies, flying drones with speakers, using cell phone presence to know where the civilian presence was and then not going into those areas until they’ve been evacuated.

I’m a researcher, and what the case studies show is that failing to do this (use overwhelming immediate force) will result in a protracted war and increased suffering. All of these groups who want to limit the suffering of war have in this case increased the suffering, not because of Israel, but because of Hamas and international pressure. The way Israel was forced to execute this campaign has caused hostages to stay in captivity longer. This way has caused civilians to die. This way has caused civilian suffering. Video and transcript here

 

Max Boot: Numerous analysts have noted how traumatized Israelis remain by the horrific Hamas attack of Oct. 7… In such a small country, it seems everyone has a connection to this tragedy. Despite Israel’s travails, few international observers extend much sympathy to the Jewish state. The world’s focus is almost entirely on the undoubted suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, with Hamas getting a pass for hiding behind civilians in violation of the laws of war. As one former Israeli government official said, “If you defend yourself, you’ll be a pariah, and if you don’t defend yourself, you’ll disappear.”  Article here (paywall)