News Digest — 10/18/23

As World United To Defeat Nazis, It Must Unite Against Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a joint statement to the media Tuesday evening (17th) in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu compared the savagery of Hamas to the genocide of the Jewish people during the Nazi Holocaust.  “Hamas is the new Nazis.  Hamas is ISIS, and in some instances, they are worse than ISIS.  Just as the world united to defeat the Nazis, just as the world united to defeat ISIS, the world has to stand united behind Israel to defeat Hamas, Netanyahu told Scholz.

Noting how Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran, the prime minister said that “they would have killed every last one of us, murdered every last one of us, if they could; they just don’t have the capacity.  But they murdered an extraordinary 1,400 civilians, which in American terms, is like many, many, many 9/11s.  So obviously, we must take action to defeat Hamas, and to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Scholz replied: “As I said last week in the Bundestag, in hard times, Germany has only one place, and it is alongside Israel.”

“It is very important to say this today, here, during these difficult times in Israel: Germany’s history and the responsibility it had for the Holocaust, requires us to help maintain the security and existence of Israel,” he added.

Scholz was the first among several Western leaders to make a solidarity visit to Israel as Israel fights a war against Gaza terrorists, with US President Joe Biden set to come Wednesday (18th).  Reports are that the French President and the British Prime MInister could also arrive soon.



IDF Confirms Islamic Jihad Failed Rocket Destroyed Gaza Hospital

The IDF said that an operative analysis found that a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist movement appeared to have caused the explosion at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City in which dozens of people were reported killed by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

The explosion was reported at the same time that Islamic Jihad announced that it had launched a barrage of rockets from the Strip toward Israel.

“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Officials in Gaza issued contradictory statements about casualty numbers, ranging between dozens to hundreds, with video footage reportedly from the scene showing a number of cars on fire near the hospital.

The explosion was reported at the same time that heavy rocket barrages were fired from Gaza toward central Israel.

Hamas and other Palestinian factions fire rockets from within residential areas in the Gaza Strip, with rocket storage houses often placed inside or near hospitals, schools, and mosques.  Rockets launched by the factions often fall short and hit buildings in Gaza, with multiple deaths reported in such incidents in past rounds of conflict.  During Operation Breaking Dawn in 2022, two people were killed after a rocket fired from Gaza fell next to a clinic.

In May, four Palestinians were killed after an Islamic Jihad rocket fell short.  The IDF released footage showing the failed launches in that incident.

Hamas accused Israel on Tuesday (17th) of being responsible for the deaths, stating “We call on the international community and the Arab and Islamic countries to assume their responsibilities and intervene immediately now to stop the arrogance of the occupation and its fascist army.”

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated shortly after the incident that the IDF was looking into what happened, noting that while there are many strikes being conducted throughout Gaza, there are also many failed launches and many false reports from Hamas.



PRESS BRIEFING – IDF Spokesperson Hagari Explains: This Is What Happened At Gaza Hospital

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari gave a press briefing on the matter of the Islamic Jihad terror organization’s failed rocket launch, in which Hamas said Israeli forces hit a hospital in Gaza, killing dozens.

In the briefing, Hagari presented to the foreign media a conversation between terrorists in Gaza about the explosion in the hospital, in which they admit that it was a failed missile launch.

He also presented Hamas operator communications which showed that Hamas operators discussed plans for bombing the hospital.

The Following is the full briefing by IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari:

The IDF has concluded an After Action Review and can confirm that the Islamic Jihad was responsible for the strike on the hospital in Gaza City.  We did an immediate review with all relevant branches of the IDF.  

This is what took place on October 17th:

At 6:15PM, a barrage of rockets was fired by Hamas at Israel.

At 6:59PM a barrage of around 10 rockets was fired by Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery.

It was at this time, 6:59PM, when there were reports of an explosion at the hospital in Gaza City.

According to our intelligence, Hamas checked the reports, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired — and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened.  They went as far as inflating the number of casualties.

They understood, with absolute certainty, that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad —- that damaged the hospital.

Analysis of our aerial footage confirms that there was no direct hit of the hospital itself.  The only location damaged is outside the hospital in the parking lot where we can see signs of burning, no cratering and no structural damage to nearby buildings – as opposed to the damage caused by any aerial munition which would have been of a different nature : We would have seen craters and structural damage to buildings, both of which haven’t been identified in this incident.

The size of the damage we see here is due to the warhead of the Islamic Jihad rocket, but most of the rocket propellant is still evident due to the short flight of the rocket (because the launch failed).

The following visual evidence shows infra-red imagery of the parking lot.  You can see central locations of fires and some debris on the rooftops.  No craters can be identified.  And all walls of the surrounding buildings are intact.  We also have examples of what air-to-ground munition craters look like.  As you can see, they do not exist in this instance.  Many media outlets immediately reported the unidentified claims by Hamas.  Those were lies spread by Hamas.    

I want to make something clear:

It is impossible to know what happened as quickly as Hamas claimed they knew.  That should have been an initial warning sign for many.  Unlike Hamas, the IDF launched an immediate examination, which was overseen at the very highest levels of command.

This professional review was based on intelligence operational systems, and aerial footage, all of which we cross-checked.

The evidence —which we are sharing with you all — confirms that the explosion at the hospital in Gaza was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired.

Here are the four main parts of our examination process:

  1. First, we confirmed that there was no IDF fire – by land, sea or air – that hit the hospital.
  2. Second, our radar systems tracked rockets fired by terrorists from within Gaza at the time of the explosion.  The trajectory analysis from the barrage of rockets, confirms that the rockets were fired in close proximity to the hospital.
  3. Three, there are two independent videos which showed the failure of the rocket launch and the continuation of the rocket flight towards the ground, within the Gaza Strip – falling in the hospital compound.
  4. Four, we have intelligence —- some that will be shared here —- of communication between terrorists talking about the rocket misfiring.  The terrorists realized that a rocket had misfired and made specific references to the hospital.

We have cross-checked this intercept with other intelligence sources to confirm its accuracy.

It is common for rockets that are fired at Israel, to land short and fall inside Gaza.

These rockets fall short of Israel and have caused Palestinian casualties.  During this war, we have counted approximately 450 rockets that misfired and fell inside Gaza.  Palestinian civilians pay the price.

We are also sharing this information with our partners, first and foremost the United States.  We want maximum transparency, because we take any incident involving civilians very seriously.

Unfortunately, many in the media — immediately reported the statements coming out of Hamas-controlled Gaza, which blamed Israel.

Instead of waiting for the examination of credible information from the IDF, some media outlets ran with Hamas’ lies.  Some of those headlines are still up and have not been corrected.

I understand the desire to break news, but I hope you will all agree that accuracy and credible information comes before speed.

The IDF acts in accordance with international law.

In conclusion, this incident shows how allegations — in this case, false and baseless ones, made by terrorists —against Israel, can spread and inflame tensions in the region.



Israel Eliminates Top Hamas Commander, 14 Said Killed As Haniyeh’s Home Bombed

An Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip Tuesday afternoon (17th) killed the head of Hamas’ Central Gaza Brigade, a senior commander in the terror organization, the military and Hamas said, as Israel’s defense minister warned members of the terror group to choose between surrender and death, and rockets from the Strip continued to target Israeli communities.

Also Tuesday (17th), reports from Gaza indicated that 14 people had been killed in a strike on a home belonging to the family of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, including his brother and nephew.  Haniyeh himself lives in Qatar.

The slain Hamas commander, Ayman Nofal, was also a member of the organization’s General Military Council. He was killed in a strike in the Bureij refugee camp,  The IDF said the airstrike was carried out following intelligence efforts by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

According to the IDF, Nofal, as part of his role, carried out “numerous attacks against Israel and security forces.”

The IDF said that Nofal was also previously involved in the production and development of weapons and had been involved in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

The military added that Nofal was “one of the most dominant senior officials in the organization and was close to Mohammad Deif,” Hamas’ military leader.

The Israel Defense Forces has in recent days assassinated several Hamas commanders, including a number of individuals who led attacks inside Israel on Oct. 7, when thousands of terrorists burst through the border and ravaged Israel’s southern communities, killing over 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and abducting another 200 at least.



What Hamas Wants – Yair Rosenberg

In October 2014, Vanity Fair published an investigative report on a sophisticated plot by the Islamist terror group Hamas to kill and kidnap Israelis on the Gaza border using underground tunnels to infiltrate nearby civilian enclaves on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

The operation had two goals: “First, get in and massacre people in a village.  Pull off something they could show on television.  Second, the ability to kidnap soldiers and civilians using the tunnels would give them a great bargaining chip.”  But the tunnels were gradually detected and blocked.  

On Oct. 7, Hamas executed something quite like the attack on the Gaza border that it had planned all those years ago.

Successive Israeli governments and security officials spent recent years lifting economic restrictions on Gaza, granting thousands of work permits for Gazans, and transferred hundreds of millions of Qatari dollars to Hamas in exchange – they thought – for relative quiet.  But it turned out that Hamas wasn’t being pacified; it was preparing.  The group was less committed to national liberation than to Jewish elimination.  What Hamas did was the explicit fulfillment of its long-stated objectives.

The question is not why Hamas did what it did, but why so many people were surprised.  Journalists like me failed to take Hamas’ overt anti-Jewish ethos as seriously as we should have.  Many got Hamas wrong.  But they shouldn’t have.  Again and again, people say they intend to murder Jews.  And yet, century after century, the world produces new, tortuous justifications for why anti-Jewish bigots don’t really mean what they say – even though they do.  (Atlantic)



Hamas and Israel: What’s Next? – Amir Taheri

On October 7 (10/7), Israel experienced its version of America’s 9/11.  However, Israel’s 10/7 is worse than 9/11 in the U.S.  The al-Qaeda attack claimed 3,000 lives while Israel mourns over 1,300 lives lost.  Adjusted for population, Israel lost the equivalent of 48,000 U.S. citizens in one day.  10/7 has ended the status quo that  had taken shape between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas has long-been in a position to totally ignore the needs of the people living in Gaza.  Essential needs such as food, education and health care are covered by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian “refugees” in the Near East (UNRWA).  And over 100 NGOs from some 30 countries, and frequent donations from many other countries all wishing to show solidarity with Palestinians, provide help.  In some cases, foreign donors even pay the salaries of the personnel in the local administration.  Thanks to “gifts” from “certain friendly powers,” Hamas and its partner Palestinian Islamic Jihad don’t even have to buy their arms.

Hamas doesn’t want just territory, because Israel had already evacuated Gaza in 2005.  Hamas, as its charter clearly states, is not in the business of nation-building: what it seeks is the elimination of Israel, something that Israelis are unlikely to offer.  The latest Hamas attack restores the old image of Palestinians as terrorists and hostage-takers. 

The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.  (Gatestone Institute)