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Israel Update 4.7.24

 

THE UK

 

 

Britain has challenged the right of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Yoav Gallant, its defence minister, whom its chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has accused of war crimes. The UK claims the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the Israeli nationals. The ICC will now consider the British challenge – and that will delay the decisions on whether to issue the warrants until at least the end of July…The Foreign Office says the Palestinian authorities have no jurisdiction over Israeli nationals under the Oslo accords. This means they cannot transfer jurisdiction to the ICC.Report here (paywall)

Judges at the International Criminal Court have allowed the UK until July 12th to file short written observations  on “whether the court can exercise jurisdiction over Israeli nationals in circumstances where Palestine cannot exercise criminal jurisdiction over Israeli nationals under the Oslo accords.  order here

 

 

HIZBULLAH’S WAR ON ISRAEL

 

18 Israeli soldiers were wounded, including one seriously, in a Hizbullah drone attack in the northern Golan Heights on Sunday.Report here

 

A senior Hizbullah commander was killed in a precision Israeli drone strike on his car in Tyre in south Lebanon on Wednesday, along with a second fighter. Hizbullah  fired 100 rockets at Israel. Report here (paywall)

 

 

Hizbullah rocket and drone barrages continued across northern Israel today Thursday morning firing 200 rockets and missiles and launching over 20 drones in its largest attack against Israel since Oct. 7. Major (Res.) Itay Galea, aged 38  was killed in the Hezbollah attack. The massive barrage caused major brushfires all along the north. Some 25 firefighting teams and 9 aircraft participated in the efforts to extinguish the fires prompting the police to close down major highways. Reports here  and here

 

 

Hizbullah began firing into northern Israel on Oct. 8 in “solidarity” with Hamas and to draw Israeli military forces away from Gaza. Attempts to negotiate a deal that would include Hizbullah pulling back from the border have not succeeded…Hizbullah’s attacks on northern Israel have killed more than two dozen soldiers and civilians and displaced about 60,000 people. A senior Israeli military official said that “this isn’t a buffer zone. We just want Hizbullah pushed back….We have to ‘clean out’ the area of Hizbullah’s presence. They pose a direct threat to Israeli homes via sniper fire, anti-tank guided missiles, cross-border attack and other means. This is a tactical need to provide security for Israeli residents.” Israel said it exclusively targets Hizbullah positions. “Every third home in south Lebanon is used by Hizbullah for weapons storage, training, firing positions and meeting points for a possible cross-border attack.”Report here (paywall)

 

 

GAZA WAR

 

Last Thursday, Israel ordered people in Shajaiye to evacuate as  the IDF was conducting a ground operation to root out Hamas based on intelligence that the armed group had begun to resume control of the neighbourhood. Shajaiye was home to one of Hamas’s strongest battalions. It is unclear how big a presence Hamas now has there. Report here (paywall)

 

 

Dozens of Hamas terrorists have been killed since last Friday when the IDF surprised Hamas forces as it re-entered the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shejaiya. In only 40 minutes, the IDF succeeded in penetrating a new makeshift headquarters established inside a school and a pharmacy, preventing most of the Hamas terrorists from escaping. Report here

 

20 rockets were fired at Israeli towns on Monday from Khan Yunis. In response, the IDF carried out a wave of airstrikes in Khan Yunis Monday night after ordering Gaza civilians to leave the area. Report here

 

Israeli Defence Minister Gallant said Sunday “We are effectively closing off Hamas’s air supply, including the Rafah crossing and the tunnels. The result is clear: they have no way to arm themselves, no way to re-supply, no way to bring in reinforcements, and no way to treat their casualties… Contrary to the stories circulating from those in the tunnels or hotels in Qatar and the media noise they create, in practice, Hamas is being worn down by the actions we are taking here. We are destroying the tunnels, the weapons, and reaching places they never dreamed we would, deep underground and above ground.”Article here

 

 

In the past six weeks, the IDF has killed over 1,000 terrorists in Rafah whose names the IDF knows, not including those buried under the ruins of buildings or underground. Article here

 

 

Israel will create “humanitarian enclaves” for civilians who are not linked to Hamas in Gaza as part of a pilot scheme for how the territory could be ruled after the terror group is defeated. The test is set to begin in Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia and Atatra in northern Gaza, where local Palestinians will slowly take over responsibility for distributing aid – a job currently left to humanitarian groups under the supervision of Hamas. However, “locals are still reluctant to take over from Hamas unless they realize Hamas is no longer a threat to them,” an intelligence source explained.Report here (paywall)

 

 

IDF Reservists rescued a puppy from a burning building and now he is in need of a new and loving home. Article here

 

 

AID TO GAZA

 

 

Israel blamed the UN for the lack of humanitarian aid being distributed inside Gaza saying that UN agencies including UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees, are responsible for the bottlenecks, and claimed that “non-UN aid agencies have been able to deliver aid successfully….Stop blaming Israel. We must stop this halo around the UN of their being a force for good. Unfortunately, in many, many cases, they are not a force for good.” Report here (paywall)

 

 

Thousands of tons of food, medicines and other aid piled up on a beach in Gaza is not reaching those in need because of a dire security situation and a “general sense of lawlessness,” said Doug Stropes, with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Truck drivers are getting caught in the crossfire or have their cargo seized by marauding gangs.
Since June 25, ships have delivered almost 7,000 metric tons of humanitarian assistance from Cyprus to Gaza via the U.S.-built pier, but only 1,000 metric tons have so far reached Palestinians. The rest is being stored on the beach by the pier. Looting has become “more organized and systemic,” undermining aid efforts, Stropes said. Article here

 

And see Jake Wallis Simons article in Comment & Opinion  below under heading “Gaza Food Supplies”

 

EASTERN FRONT

 

More weapons and explosives are being manufactured in the West Bank and  the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which runs parts of the West Bank, is losing ground to the more radical Palestinian factions, which are gaining more support from Iran in the form of cash and weapons smuggled into the territory. The PA and police no longer control these refugee camps, where the militants threaten to shoot officers if they try to enter. Article here (paywall)

 

 

An IDF aircraft targeted a Palestinian terror cell as it was planting explosives  near Tulkarm in the West Bank on Tuesday night.Article here

 

 

THE US & ISRAEL

 

 

 

Rep. Michael McCaul (Republican) chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the Biden administration has held up transfers of seven weapon systems to Israel. “What is most disturbing to me is that we’re withholding weapon systems that I have signed off on and Congress has appropriated with the intent of sending those weapons to Israel…”
Robert Greenway, director of the Allison Centre for National Security at the Heritage Foundation, wrote on X that while “Iran is rushing military gear to Hizbullah…Team Biden delays delivery of seven critical munitions appropriated by Congress to Israel.” Report here

 

 

The owner of an Israeli company specializing in the import of military equipment said that there is indeed a halt in the supply of military equipment from the U.S. to Israel. “The Americans claim there is no policy of delaying shipments, but the U.S. Department of Defence has been delaying export licenses for military equipment to Israel for months. I have licenses that have been delayed for six months, some not even for the IDF but for the police.”Report here

 

 

Visiting U.S. Senator John Fetterman (Democrat)) recently dismissed as absurd the charges of genocide levelled against Israel for its war in Gaza, noting that if this were the case, the IDF would not have allowed over a million people to flee Rafah ahead of its military campaign…It was appalling, he said, that European countries such as Ireland, Spain, and Norway unilaterally recognized Palestine as a state in the middle of the Gaza war. “Why would you give Hamas that kind of a reward when you have Israeli citizens still being held hostage?…What’s wrong with you?…He added that he would oppose any deal with Hamas that ended the Gaza war and left the terror group in power.Reports here and here

 

 

On June 24, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, cautioned that in any full-scale war between Israel and Hizbullah, it would be “harder for us to be able to support them [Israel] in the same way we did back in April,” referring to Iran’s April 14 missile and drone attack on Israel.   Report here

 

 

President Biden’s aides, citing examples of the president’s alertness and coherence where critical national security issues were on the line, described the Situation Room the night that Iran hurled a barrage of missiles and drones at Israel. Aides present portrayed a president lecturing Prime Minister Netanyahu by phone to avoid a retaliatory escalation. “Let me be crystal clear,” Biden said. “If you launch a big attack on Iran, you’re on your own.” Netanyahu pushed back, citing the need to respond in kind to deter future attacks. “You do this and I’m out,” Biden said forcefully. Ultimately, the aides noted, Netanyahu scaled back Israel’s response.  Report here (paywall)

 

 

MEDIA

 

 

Throughout the Israel-Hamas war, CNN has given a prominent platform to news reports by Gaza freelance journalist Abdel Qader Sabbah, who has also worked for AP.  After media watchdog HonestReporting found that Sabbah photographed himself with a senior Hamas leader, served in a Hamas-run body, praised terrorists, and shared anti-Israeli propaganda online, CNN announced Wednesday that it would no longer use his services. Report here

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

Hezbollah’s War Against Israel

 

Herb Keinon: More than 60,000 Israelis were forced to flee their homes in northern Israel due to Hizbullah attacks. 1,023 homes, public buildings and infrastructure facilities have been hit by rockets, drones and missiles from LebanonMore than 130 communities have been affected.
Why isn’t the world blasting Hizbullah for this unprovoked act of war? Why does the world accept as normal a situation where an attack of one UN country is taking place continuously from another? Why isn’t this an issue in the world’s media? Why isn’t the international community slapping economic sanctions on Hizbullah and its supporters – first and foremost Iran – to discourage attacks?
Beyond urging Israel to refrain from launching a full-scale military action against Hizbullah, the Biden administration does not seem to have any other plans or strategies to help Israel deal with the issue and regain its sovereignty in the northern part of its own country. The slow-walking of weapons shipments to Israel – weapons that will be needed if a major operation is to take place in Lebanon – only hampers Israel if it takes the decision to restore its lost sovereignty through military means.  Article here

 

 

Dr. Fiamma Nirenstein: After the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, UN Security Council Resolution 1701 demanded that Hizbullah withdraw from the Israeli border area to the Litani River, its presence to be replaced by the Lebanese army and the peacekeeping force UNIFIL. Hizbullah ignored the resolution and the world did nothing as it (Hizbullah) built dense networks of tunnels and placed missile launchers in numerous civilian areas. Israel cannot continue to tolerate the current situation. There are tens of thousands of evacuees. Cities like Kiryat Shmona have been abandoned. Kibbutzim and numerous villages stand empty…Local agriculture is in ruins. Israel is in existential danger from a monster far worse than Hamas. Article here

 

 

The Gaza War

 

Elliot Kaufman: The story the West tells itself is that after the massacre, Israel had the world’s sympathy and support. But Israel went too far, and the world turned against it. The truth is darker. Most of the world didn’t condemn Oct. 7 or repudiate Hamas. Qatar and Egypt, the mediators, both blamed Israel on Oct. 7. On Oct. 8, China called on Israel to “immediately end the hostilities.” Russia still hosts Hamas delegations. None of Hamas’s patrons have abandoned it.

The big human-rights groups equivocated on Oct. 7 about “civilians on both sides.” Ever since, they have pretended the war began on Oct. 8, representing the Israeli effort as pure malevolence.

U.S. support for Israel has been essential, but it has strings attached. At every stage of the war, President Biden has worked to slow and scale down Israel’s military response…By January, the Biden administration was pressing hard for a Palestinian state. Never mind that polls show 2/3 of Palestinians support the Oct. 7 attack. Article here (paywall)

 

 

 

Hamza Howidy: Since the start of the current war between Israel and Hamas, Hamas has committed countless atrocities against its own people in Gaza. Yet, somehow, these crimes are never reported by Arabic media or Western media, nor by global human rights organizations.
The sad truth is, when Israelis aren’t involved, no one is interested in advocating for the Palestinian rights they claim to care about so deeply.
Many Gazans have raised concerns about the brutality of the Hamas regime, which they have witnessed first-hand.
In 2019 and in 2023, the people of Gaza held peaceful marches against Hamas; for this crime, we were brutally assaulted by Hamas militants. Hamas imprisoned over 1,300 protestors at each protest.
I was one of them. I was imprisoned by Hamas and tortured twice, because I participated in these protests.
Since Oct. 7, hundreds of Gazans have been killed by Hamas’s failing rockets.
Hamas has confiscated the food, fuel, and medicine sent to Gaza.    Article here

 

 

 

Bassam Tawil: If you think that the Palestinian Authority (PA) or any Arab state would agree to take control of Gaza as long as the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas has not been totally destroyed and removed from power, you would be wrong. Removing the military and governing capabilities of Hamas, however, cannot be achieved as long as the Biden administration and Western countries keep exerting pressure on Israel to halt the war.

According to reports from Gaza, Hamas has murdered a number of Palestinians who it believed had indicated willingness to be part of a new government that would replace Hamas after the war.

Because Hamas has reportedly been stealing most of the food and medicine from humanitarian aid for its own members, it opposes other Palestinians engaging in aid distribution. Several Palestinians, as well as aid workers, who defied Hamas and took part in the distribution of food and medicine were murdered or wounded by the group.

Hamas seeks to prolong and aggravate the suffering of the Palestinians and create a “famine” so it can place the blame on Israel.

In reality, those advocating for a “ceasefire” are asking for Hamas to be allowed to continue ruling Gaza, rearming, and gearing up to attack Israel – in their words – “again and again.” Article here

 

 

Itay Ilnai: quoting Dr. Ido Zelkovitz,”The younger generation in Gaza has grown up all their lives under a regime that promotes ideas that present the Jew in a dehumanized way, as an inferior creature….In Hamas, they learned religious rulings that allow them to harm any Jew, since even a child and an elderly person were or will be soldiers. Hamas commanders gave orders on Oct. 7, while quoting verses from the Quran and highlighting cases from Islamic history where famous commanders beheaded and dismembered during battle.”
“When you talk about killing and abusing Jews as a commandment that promises you reward in the afterlife, it has a significant impact. Even an ordinary Gazan citizen who enters Israel doesn’t feel that he’s acting for something material, but performing these actions – murder, rape, looting – for the sake of a religious war. It’s no coincidence that in the terrorists’ GoPro videos, you can see them singing songs of praise and glory to the Prophet Muhammad and Allah, and not talking about liberating Palestine. The idea of a religious struggle is what accompanies them, not the idea of national liberation”.Article here

 

 

Gaza Food Supplies

 

Jake Wallis Simons: According to the UN, only 3% of the residents of Rafah, in Gaza, were poorly fed in May. In Khan Yunis and Deir al Balah, that figure was 6%.
In 2022, 14% of the population in Gaza faced hunger, according to the World Food Programme. So it appears that provisions are better now than before the war…I recently spoke to a friend in Gaza living in a tent in Deir al-Balah.
He told me, “Food is available, everything is available. Meat, chicken, vegetables. It is not aid.”
“It is coming from Israel, brought in by private people through the Kerem Shalom crossing and sold to us as a business. The prices are much better, just a little bit higher than before the war.”    Article here (paywall)

 

 

The UN

 

Alan Baker: Threats to annihilate Israel emanate daily from the Iranian political and military leadership. The Charter of the United Nations in its preambular paragraphs calls on all its members “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours.” Above all, member states commit to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shamefully ignores Iran’s blatant violations of the UN Charter. While Guterres and his staff regularly demonstrate alarming alacrity, enthusiasm, and efficiency in rushing to condemn Israel, even by relying on false, inaccurate, and questionable data provided by UN bodies openly hostile to Israel, as well as on slanted media reporting, they turn a blind eye to Iran’s behaviour in openly abusing the UN Charter. Article here