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In Gaza, Israel Helped Civilians During Hospital Raid, and Is Not Responsible for Famine

November 2023: An Israeli soldier helps to provide incubators to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Photo: Screenshot

Over the past month, fighting inside Gaza has continued as described in previous reports: low intensity guerrilla warfare. Hamas and other groups conduct small-scale raids or ambushes against Israeli units and Israeli forces reciprocate. Israel has withdrawn almost all its forces from the Gaza Strip, including those in the Khan Yunis area. At present, the only permanent Israeli presence is along a line separating the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City from the rest of the Gaza Strip. Instead of establishing a permanent presence, Israeli forces have launched a number of large raids into areas they had previously vacated. The most important and successful of these was conducted at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Acting on information that a group of terrorists had returned to Shifa Hospital to use its facilities, an Israeli force returned to the location and surrounded it. There were reportedly about 6,500 civilians in the hospital grounds, and at least 600 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, including several high-ranking officials from the political, administrative ,and military organs of those organizations.

To facilitate the operation, the IDF opened an exit route for the civilians, which included a filtration passage that enabled the detection of terrorists as they attempted to use it to escape. Along the route, leading south from Gaza City along the coast, the IDF placed food and water supplies at a series of locations for civilians to take as they passed. Especially important, given the hot weather (above average for this time of year), was the water.

The Israeli forces operating in the hospital cleared a few buildings (special forces teams combed the buildings room by room) and then brought in medical equipment (respirators, surgical equipment, etc.) and supplies, as well as Israeli doctors and medical staff. They then helped the Palestinian medical staff transfer their patients from other buildings into the cleared ones, and combed the evacuated buildings as well. In two of the buildings fighting intensified as most of the terrorists inside conducted a defensive battle. They were armed with assault rifles, light machine guns, hand grenades and explosive charges, and used hospital machines and other medical equipment to build barricades. These are the two buildings that are shown as severely damaged in media reports.

Meanwhile, other forces from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad assembled from across their hideouts in Gaza City and attempted unsuccessfully to break through the Israeli cordon to reach the hospital.

The battle ended when the last terrorist inside the hospital had been killed or surrendered. All together, inside and outside the hospital about 210 terrorists (including a few suicide bombers) were killed and about 555 surrendered (another approximately 365 individuals were detained and released after it was clarified they were ordinary civilians). As noted, some of those arrested were high-ranking members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. No civilians were killed in the fighting. Large stockpiles of weapons were captured, as well as the equivalent of about $3.25 million in Israeli shekels, Jordanian dinars and American dollars. Three Israeli soldiers were killed, and a few dozen wounded during this battle.

The fact that so many terrorists, senior commanders and officials had congregated in the hospital suggests (as some of them admitted in video recordings of their interrogations) that they felt safe there and were completely surprised by the Israeli action.

Simultaneously with the hospital operation, a similar operation was conducted by Israeli forces in Khan Yunis. A neighborhood that had been taken, cleared and evacuated by Israeli forces was raided again, netting dozens of killed or captured terrorists who had returned to the evacuated area.

Also, over the past week Israeli forces have increased their raids into the Nuseyrat area in central Gaza, between Khan Yunis and Gaza City. To date, Israeli forces have not attempted to conduct a full-scale operation in this area, conducting only limited ground raids and air strikes. Since the last report more than six weeks ago, 15 Israeli soldiers were killed and approximately 1,000 Hamas and other armed groups’ terrorists were killed.

Over the past couple of months, there have been escalating reports of famine in Gaza. The United Nations Secretary General even claimed it to be the worst such situation in his jurisdiction. This is a ridiculous exaggeration. Perhaps he should take a less propagandistic tone and compare the situation in Gaza to actual starvation situations in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

The problem in Gaza is not a lack of supplies entering it but the deliberate misdistribution of the supplies. Some of that misdistribution is the product of simple incompetence and some is deliberate. Supplies are standing undistributed in UN compounds, or are taken over by Hamas and distributed according to its own priorities. Some are sold instead of distributed, stolen en route by various factions, or deliberately withheld to create a propaganda show for the purpose of vilifying Israel.

A partial solution has been to parachute aid. This, as noted in a previous report, has its own complications: at least 30 people have been reported killed by parachuted supplies landing on them or in fights over access to the supplies. Twelve people were reported to have drowned trying to retrieve supplies that were accidentally dropped into the sea. These numbers have to be treated with caution — as usual, they are controlled by Hamas itself or by pro-Hamas reporters (especially the local branch of the Qatari Al Jazeera news/propaganda network).

To summarize: there are definitely insufficient supplies of food in some areas inside the Gaza Strip, but not because of Israel. There are areas where food is sufficient, even plentiful. The problem is internal distribution, which is plagued by a mixture of incompetence, corruption and deliberate actions by Hamas.

Dr. Eado Hecht, a senior research fellow at the BESA Center, is a military analyst focusing mainly on the relationship between military theory, military doctrine, and military practice. He teaches courses on military theory and military history at Bar-Ilan University, Haifa University, and Reichman University and in a variety of courses in the Israel Defense Forces. A version of this article was originally published by The BESA Center.

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Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

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‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know

Anti-Israel protesters outside Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City, April 22, 2024. Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

When producers from the New York Times podcast “The Daily” posted on social media looking for “Jewish students who represent a range of feelings and experiences, from being enthusiastically pro Palestinian to enthusiastically pro Israel, and everything in between,” I replied, “This is a trap! They’ll use the ‘pro-Palestinian’ (the polite term they use for the ones who want to wipe Israel off the map) ones to make it sound like the Jewish community is divided and give listeners the illusion that the anti-Israel protests aren’t antisemitic.”

Sure enough, the Times podcast episode that finally aired, headlined, “The Campus Protesters Explain Themselves,” included three students.

Mustafa Yowell, of Irving, Texas, said his mother was from “Nablus, Palestine” and described himself as a Palestinian Arab. He’s a student at the University of Texas, Austin who complained to the Times that “two IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers had infiltrated the campus.” By “IDF soldiers” he meant Israeli students at the university who had, like many Israelis, served in the army before college.

The second student interviewed, Elisha Baker, a student at Columbia University, described himself as a proud Zionist and a graduate of Jewish day school.

And the third student, Jasmine Jolly, a student at Cal Poly Humboldt, described herself as the daughter of a Catholic father and “of Ashkenazi descent on my mom’s side.” Jolly showed up at protests with a sign that said “in honor of my Jewish ancestors, I stand with Palestine.” Jolly also chanted “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

“There’s nothing that has come across to me as antisemitic if you are able to pause and remember that Israel is not Jewish people and Zionism is not Jewish people,” Jolly explained to the Times audience.

Jolly read an email from her Jewish grandfather claiming, “Israel is an increasingly apartheid state.”

This is just such a misleading view of reality on campus and in American Jewish life. Even polls like Pew that use an expansive definition of who is Jewish find overwhelming Jewish support for Israel and negligible support for Hamas, including among younger Jews 18 to 34.

In reality, a lot of the anti-Israel protesters aren’t even Palestinians; they are European or Asian students or white or black Americans who either have been brainwashed by their professors or who have underlying, pre-existing antisemitic attitudes. Few of them have been to the Middle East and many of them are ignorant about basic facts about it — remember the Wall Street Journal piece, “From Which River to Which Sea?

“The Daily” episode made it crisply concrete, with the Times representing Jews as being split 50-50, with one normative Jew and one Jew chanting “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.” That’s ridiculous, yet a similar approach contaminates other Times coverage of the Jewish community, misleadlingly portraying American Jewry as deeply divided rather than unified around the goals of getting the hostages back, eliminating the threat of Hamas, and making American college campuses safe for Jewish students.

The Times was at this game well before Oct. 7, 2023, proclaiming “the unraveling of American Zionism” and trotting out old chestnuts such as the Reform movement’s Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 and the New York Times‘ favorite Jew, Peter Beinart.

I find myself rolling my eyes at such depictions, but there is clearly some audience for them among the Times readership and top editorial ranks. The Times executive editor, Joe Kahn, told Semafor’s Ben Smith in a May interview, “I’m not an active Jew.” Maybe the New York Times can sell sweatshirts: “Inactive Jew.” Who, exactly, is supposed to find that distinction between “active” and “inactive” Jews reassuring? Maybe they can put it on top of the front page in place of “All the News That’s Fit to Print”: “Edited by someone who wants the public to know he’s not an active Jew.”

Of all the moments to choose to distance oneself publicly from the Jewish people, this is sure quite one to choose.

This “Daily” episode seems calculated to appeal to the inactive Jews, and to others who want justification to believe it’s not antisemitic to set up on Passover and falsely accuse Israel of genocide. It’s nice for the Times to include a Zionist voice on the program, but he wound up sandwiched in between a Palestinian and an “only one solution, intifada revolution” person. It’s fairly typical for the New York Times these days, but it isn’t pretty.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here. He also writes at

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