News Digest — 1/11/24

Netanyahu: Israel Has No Intention Of Permanently Occupying Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening (10th) released a video statement in which he stressed that Israel is fully complying with international law in the war against Hamas in Gaza.

“I want to make a few points absolutely clear.  Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population,” he stated.

“Israel is fighting Hamas terrorists, not the Palestinian population, and we are doing so in full compliance with international law.  The IDF is doing its utmost to minimize civilian casualties, while Hamas is doing its utmost to maximize them by using Palestinian civilians as human shields,” added Netanyahu.

“The IDF urges Palestinian civilians to leave war zones by disseminating leaflets, making phone calls, and providing safe passage corridors, while Hamas prevents Palestinians from leaving at gunpoint and often, with gunfire,” said the Prime Minister.

“Our goal is to rid Gaza of Hamas terrorists and free our hostages.  Once this is achieved, Gaza can be demilitarized and deradicalized, thereby creating a possibility for a better future for Israel and Palestinians alike,” he concluded.

The video statement came a day before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is scheduled to convene to hear South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

The South African government announced on Tuesday (9th) that its delegation will be joined by senior political figures “from progressive political parties and movements across the globe,” including former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has been selected as the Israeli-appointed judge to sit on the panel of judges at the hearing.



Al Jazeera ‘Journalists’ in Gaza Were Terrorists: IDF Presents Evidence

IDF Chief Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari on Wednesday night (10th) presented evidence to prove that two Gazan journalists killed by the IDF on Sunday (7th) were terrorists.

Regarding Hamza Al-Dahdouh, the son of Al-Jazeera’s chief correspondent in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh,  Hagari said that Israeli forces had found Islamic Jihad internal documents in their various command centers in Gaza proving he was part of their terror ranks.

The IDF presented a copy of the document in Arabic, which it said listed Hamza as a dual-hat terrorist-journalist for Islamic Jihad, who worked for the terror group’s electric engineering unit.

Documents also said that Hamza had previously served as a terrorist battalion leader for the Zeitoun area of northern Gaza and that he was currently responsible for firing Islamic Jihad rockets in that area.

Hagari said that similar documents were found by Israeli forces in Hamas command centers linking the other journalist, Mustafa Thuraya, to Hamas.

He said the documents said that Thuraya was a deputy chief of a terror cell.

Further, Hagari said that both had been involved in activating drones which caused danger to Israeli forces and which led to the airstrike against them.

Al Jazeera has denied that the two were terrorists and accused the IDF of illegally targeting Palestinian journalists, but have not responded to the latest more specific IDF proof of terrorism by the two as of press time.



UN Watch:Telegram Group With 3,000 UNRWA Teachers Praises October 7 Attacks

A Telegram channel consisting of 3,000 UNRWA teachers in Gaza filled with posts expressing support for the Hamas massacre that took place on October 7, was exposed by a UN Watch report on Wednesday (10th).

Shortly after the infiltration into Israel began, members of the group praised the perpetrators as “heroes,” lauded the education received by the terrorists, shared images of the dead or captured Israelis, and called for the execution of the hostages.

The chat group contains numerous files containing UNRWA staff names, ID numbers, schedules, and curriculum materials.  Despite its intended purpose of supporting UNRWA’s teachers, the group frequently shares videos, photos, and messages that encourage jihadi terrorism and openly celebrate the Hamas massacre and the rape of civilians.

One example from the report is UNRWA teacher Abdullah Mehjez, who urged Gazan civilians not to heed warnings to move out of harm’s way and instead to serve as human shields.  Before UNRWA, Abdullah worked for the BBC.

Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based, non-governmental organization monitoring the United Nations, described the Telegram group as a hub for UNRWA teachers’ incitement to jihadi terrorism.

“This is the motherlode of UNRWA teachers’ incitement to jihadi terrorism,” he stated.

Hillel Neuer has taken to X, urging the UN and its member states to take action in a Wednesday (10th) thread – documenting numerous examples of the thousands of inflammatory posts within the group.



South Africa’s Genocide Accusation Against Israel Is A Cynical Abuse Of The ICJ – Amb. Alan Baker

The very term “genocide” was coined in 1944 by a Jewish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, to describe the Nazi atrocities against the Jews during the Holocaust in Europe.  This term was ultimately co-opted into international law in 1948 in the adoption of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The present armed conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out as a result of a repeated and declared intention, as well as a distinct series of actions, by Hamas to annihilate not only Israel and its population, but to direct its murderous designs against Jews wherever they are.

Why has no country or international organization sought to apply the criteria inherent in the genocide allegation to the designs and actions of the Palestinian leadership, including Hamas, both of whom are formally committed to “armed resistance against Israel and to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel’s place?”

The criminal component of the Genocide Convention is based entirely on one very central tenet requiring a distinct intention to commit genocide.  The South African complaint attributes to Israel a broad and clearly false 75-year genocidal intention to destroy the Palestinians.

However, Israel has, throughout its history, consistently sought to achieve peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, including the Palestinians.  This is borne out by the many agreements reached, including the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1991-1993 Madrid process that led to the 1995 Oslo Accords.

South Africa is in fact cynically ignoring Israel’s inherent and legally justified prerogative and international right to defend itself and its population against terror through removing Hamas’ terror capabilities, weaponry, fortifications, and ammunition.  To claim that Israel’s actions to combat terror constitute the crime of genocide is clearly absurd to the point of being frivolous.  No logical and serious analysis of the conflict could indicate any genocidal intention on the part of Israel.

The writer, former legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, has been involved in issues relating to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.  He heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.



The Dissonance Of Being Israeli – Herb Keinon

Tuesday morning (9th) the country woke up to the crushing news of more fallen soldiers in Gaza.  Nine soldiers were killed in one horrible day. As if that weren’t enough, the British Daily Mail published “before and after” photos of four Israeli teenaged girls in Hamas captivity.  Their bloody beaten faces taken from a Hamas propaganda video filmed a few hours after they were kidnapped on October 7.  At the same time, more rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel with the intent to murder and maim.

On Thursday (11th), Israel will be dragged to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, accused of committing genocide, but not Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that has the destruction of Israel as the cardinal tenet of its founding charter and which started the war by attacking us, killing 1,200 people and destroying entire communities.

Therein lies the dissonance between what Israelis are feeling and the perspective from the outside.  Israelis, traumatized and embattled, feel that they are fighting a quintessential war of no choice, one of – if not the most – just and justifiable wars the country has ever fought.  It’s as if part of the world’s moral compass has gone haywire, as if we live in parallel universes.

This dissonance would, indeed, be unbearable were it not for the sense of justice that most Israelis feel in their country’s waging this war, and the way it is waging this war, regardless of what judges at the ICJ from those beacons-of-light countries such as Russia, China, Somalia, Lebanon, and South Africa may determine.



South African Christian Leaders Oppose ICJ Charge: Cannot Keep Silent

Christians throughout South Africa have risen against the government’s decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges that it committed genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

“The African National Congress government and their allies’ decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice has brought us to the place where, like the time of Queen Esther in the Bible, we cannot keep silent,” said Tshego Motaung, head of the Healing of the Nations prayer movement in an article published on the South African Christian website Gateway News.  “We cannot keep silent when a government that has failed on its domestic mandate wants to rise as a hero in the global political arena.”

Her article, published on Tuesday (9th) came on the heels of an open letter by dozens of faith-based organizations in opposition to the case.

“We, the South African Christian leaders, strongly oppose the decision by the South African government to launch the case against Israel and demand it be rescinded immediately,” the letter read.

“We had hoped and prayed that our government would use its influence as a peacemaker to bring about a meaningful and lasting peace in the Middle East,” the letter continued.  “Regrettably, it has elected not to do so and instead has chosen sides.  We, as Christians, deplore the loss of innocent lives, be it Jews, Palestinians, Christians, or any other people, but are strongly opposed to the decision.”

The organizations, which include the South African Christian Leaders Forum, Christian View Network,  Bridges for Peace, International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, and about two dozen others, called the decision “fundamentally flawed” after Hamas entered Israel on October 7 and raped, mutilated, burned and murdered innocent Israelis.

“This was a deliberate genocide attempt and is supported by Hamas’ charter calling for the total destruction of israel,” the Christians wrote.  “Israel does not seek to wipe out Gaza or the Palestinians off the face of the map.  It seeks to defend itself.  This is a case of victim blaming by our government.”

“Such actions could be interpreted as direct support for Hamas tactics, including using civilians as human shields and diverting aid for military purposes and the building of tunnels, rather than humanitarian relief sent to the Palestinian people, which Hamas intercepted,” the letter continued.

In addition, the letter said that the slogan :from the river to the sea” means Israel must become Palestine and Jews must be destroyed.  Aside from denying the Jews a right to a homeland in the aftermath of the Holocaust, where does this leave us Christians?

“The South African government has prejudiced the interests of its own people to achieve the political and religious objectives of others.  The government is also aware that the one-sided approach it has adopted has placed its Jewish citizens at risk by inciting anti-Semitism as well as eroding the freedom of religion of Christians in South Africa,” the letter read.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post  from South Africa, Motaung said the nation is not involved in South African foreign policy.  She noted that although the people vote for those in power, “there is a serious disconnect with the majority.” 

The Christian community in South Africa “has been standing with Israel for years,” Motaung noted.  But she said that the recent Israeli-Hamas war and rising anti-Israel sentiment have led local Christians to be even more vocal.

“Christians are standing with Israel because we believe in the Bible,” Motaung told the Post.

Motaung added in her Gateway News article: “History has recorded over many generations, kings and kingdoms who rose against Israel and the Jewish people, seeking to wipe them out.”

“Israel still exists because none of those attempts succeeded,” she concluded.  “Perhaps this decision to be an accuser of Israel may just be what is needed to hasten the judgment of God against the ANC government and deliver the people of South Africa from their corruption.”