News Digest — 11/16/23

Shooting Attack In Gush Etzion, 6 Injured

Israeli security forces foiled a shooting attack on Route 60 just south of Jerusalem Thursday morning (16th).  Six people were reported injured, one critically.

Three terrorists were neutralized by security forces, according to Israeli Police, as Border Police forces and the IDF are currently scanning the area.

According to the police report, six people were injured and have been evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment.

Magen David Adom paramedics who were at the scene stated: “We quickly arrived at the scene and saw four wounded people lying there with gunshot wounds – one of them a young man, about 20-years-old was unconscious with gunshot wounds to his upper body. We gave him medical treatment and urgently evacuated him to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

“Three others who were wounded were treated at the same time including a 20-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man suffering gunshot wounds to their limbs.  They were fully conscious and their condition was defined as moderate.  We evacuated two more wounded in minor condition.  In addition we also treated several anxiety victims.”



Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh’s Gaza Residence Hit In Airstrike

The residence of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, which was used as terrorist infrastructure, was hit by an airstrike on Wednesday night (15th) as IDF troops continue to operate in the Gaza Strip, the IDF revealed.

Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, is based in Qatar but his residence often served as a meeting point for Hamas’ senior leadership to direct terror attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

The Israeli military also announced that during the battle to control the Shati refugee camp, IDF troops located and destroyed a Hamas naval forces weapons cache, containing diving gear, explosive devices, and weapons.

IDF troops also struck terrorists and located weapons including explosive belts, explosive barrels, RPGs, anti-tank missiles, comms equipment, and intelligence documents.

The IDF also announced two fallen officers on Thursday morning (16th).  Captain Asaf Master and Captain Kfir Itzhak Franco were named by the IDF as having fallen in battle in Gaza.



Netanyahu: ‘They Told Us Not To Enter Shifa – We Did, Hamas Has No Place To Hide

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday (15th) visited the IDF Home Front Command training base for the Rescue and Instruction Brigade at Zikim, where he was briefed on the heroic battle that occurred in several locations simultaneously on Saturday, October 7th, 

The prime minister was briefed by Brigade commander Col. Elad Edri, training base commander Lt.-Col. Dan Harush and the Brigade’s fighting men and women on the heroism of the soldiers, including the seven who fell in combat.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was also briefed on the activity of the Brigade, both in routine times and during the Swords of Iron War.

“I am here at the Zikim base with the staff instructors and the recruits who fought heroically here against terrorists who came to murder them on Oct.7, and they did fantastic work here.  One recruit, Ron kept her cool even though she took a bullet to the head, but all is well thank God.  The commanders who led the battle here, unfortunately, several of their comrades fell, but they did the work and saved many – by mobilizing, reading the battle, and storming the terrorists.  A great action took place here,” the prime minister told the soldiers.

“This reflects our spirit, our soldiers – not only in the battle to stop them but also in the ground assault now taking place in Gaza,” he continued. 

Netanyahu proclaimed: “Do you remember that they told us not to advance into Gaza?  We advanced.  They told us not to reach the outskirts of Gaza City.  We reached them.  They told us not to enter Shifa – we entered it.  It is in this spirit that we say something simple.  There is no place in Gaza that we cannot reach.  There are no hideouts.  There is no shelter or refuge for the Hamas murderers.  We will reach and eliminate Hamas, and will bring back our hostages.  These are our two sacred missions.

The prime Minister concluded: “Yesterday evening, I spoke again with US President Biden.  We will not let up.  We will eliminate Hamas, achieve total victory, and bring back our hostages with your help and that of God.”



Hamas Horror Film Stuns British Parliament Members

British Parliament members were left stunned and with tears in their eyes after watching a film documenting the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7.  “The horror cannot be described in words – but it will stay with me for the rest of my life,” senior Labor Party lawmaker Preet Gill said after viewing the film on Wednesday (15th).

The event, with the participation of more than 70 members of parliament from both houses [though the House of Commons has 650 members and the House of Lords even more], was organized at the initiative of the Israeli Embassy in London and in cooperation with the Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group (APPG).  In addition to many members of parliament from the Conservative party, senior officials from the Labor party, the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, the leader of the Scottish SNP party and others attended the screening.

At the end of the screening, many parliament members remained in their seats.  “It’s horrible to witness what happened.  ‘The barbarism, the cruelty, the attempt to kill as many people as possible.  The screening actually brought home to us the cruelty of Hamas in this terrible attack,” said Conservative party member Bob Blackman.

“The burned bodies, and also those who were burned alive – this is real terrorism.  We must make sure that this evidence is available and presented to anyone who tries to deny what happened.  This was a real attempt to eliminate the Jewish population in southern Israel,” he added.

“What I saw was extremely difficult.  People were busy with their personal affairs, when suddenly they were slaughtered and murdered in cold blood in front of their families.  I can’t describe in words the horrors I saw, but it will stay with me for the rest of my life.  Also the glorification of the murder – and the celebrations following it – were very difficult to watch,” said Preet Gill (Labor party).

It is worth noting that the participation of the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in the screening is an important “achievement” – given the fact that these parties usually lead a very critical line toward Israel.

Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Great Britain Oren Marmorstein, who was present at the event, concluded: “When we witness the denial of the horrible events of October 7, it is our duty to all testify about the brutal crimes committed by the terrorist organization Hamas.  This is not a war for land, this is a war for humanity.”



France Probes Damaged Jewish Headstones Amid Countrywide Anti-Semitism Uptick

French authorities said on Wednesday (15th) that they were investigating damage done to Jewish graves in a German World War I military cemetery, as anti-Semitic acts multiply across the country.

In the cemetery, situated in the Oise region north of Paris, 10 Jewish gravestones were discovered damaged, the local prefecture said.

Prosecutors said they immediately launched an investigation into the incident, with a racist or religious motive a possibility, they said.

More than 1,500 anti-Semitic acts and comments have been recorded in France since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war following the Palestinian terror group’s October 7 slaughter, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday (14th).

There have been growing tensions in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim communities, as war rages in the Gaza Strip.

The German cemetery in memory of World War I (!914-18) contains 1,903 German soldiers, both Christian and Jewish.

Speaking on a visit to the Swiss capital Bern, President Emmanuel Macron said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the damage done to the graves.

The president affirmed his “personal commitment” to “fight implacably and tirelessly against all forms of anti-Semitism.”

The Oise prefect, Catherine Seguin, called the defacing of the headstones “despicable.” 

On Sunday (12th), more than 182,000 people marched against anti-Semitism across France, including 105,000 in Paris alone.



The Hatred That Begins With Anti-Semitism Threatens The Whole World – Elisha Wiesel

After bearing witness to the horrors of Auschwitz, my father demanded that the world fight evil.  He warned that hatred which begins with anti-Semitism inevitably threatens the whole world.  But my father’s protests were ignored.  The UN did nothing in 1948 when the Arab Middle East violently rejected Israel’s existence.  17 years later, it equated Zionism with racism.

“This is not the first time the enemy has accused us of its own crimes,” my father wrote of Israel’s trial in the court of world opinion.  “Our possessions were taken from us, and we were called misers; our children were massacred, and we were accused of ritual murder.”

Last week, the UN adopted eight resolutions which condemned Israel.  One of the resolutions was drafted and co-sponsored by Syria, whose dictator, Bashar Al-Assad, has murdered 300,000 of his own citizens.

So many of us have woken up since Oct.7 to a nightmare where we are told that we must accept terror attacks as the price for living in our ancient homeland.  We are told that we may not destroy enemies that are trying to destroy us.

We will likely not convince the skeptics that we deserve the same rights as every other people: to secure our borders and defend our citizens.  Neither Israel nor Gazan civilians can afford this to be anything other than the last battle.  This war can only end with the complete destruction of Hamas.

The writer is the son of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.  (The Hill)



I’m Arab And I Don’t Understand Why The World Can’t Acknowledge Jewish Pain – Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Many years ago, I learned Hebrew in a bid to penetrate into a world that I once thought was evil and conspiring against the Arabs and Muslims.  Once in, I was surprised how wrong I was, how wrong almost every Arab and Muslim around me was.  Israel was not on a mission to kill us all.  Israel wanted to live and let live.  In the Middle East, it’s we, the Arabs, who never seem to let live.

These days, Israelis are suffering immense pain over the 1,200 people who Hamas killed in cold blood on Oct. 7.  Survivors are struggling with PTSD.  All of Israel is living in anxiety over the fate of 240 hostages Hamas took.  Tears of the victims of Oct. 7 are now mixed with tears over fallen soldiers fighting in Gaza.

The world does not feel Israeli pain.  It only sees and hears Palestinian pain.  The world likes to take the side of the underdog, even when the underdog is guilty.  One billion Muslims have a much louder voice than 16 million Jews.  So the world blames Israel, even when Palestinians started the carnage.

The Jews understood a long time ago that the world is not a fair place.  This is exactly why the Jews went out of their way to create Jewish sovereignty, to establish a state that can protect Jews.  Many Jews died to earn that Israeli sovereignty, and they continue to die for it even now.

The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Newsweek)