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Israel Must Carry Out Its Mission, and Ignore Biden and Sullivan

An armored personnel carrier (APC) maneuvers near the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Israel, March 10, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan thinks Israel is making a major error.

“A major ground operation [in Rafah by Israel against Hamas] would be a mistake,” he said at a White press briefing on March 18. “It would lead to more innocent civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis, deepen the anarchy in Gaza, and isolate Israel internationally. More importantly, the key goals Israel wants to achieve in Rafah can be done by other means.”

According to Sullivan, President Joe Biden reassured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “I am for the defeat of Hamas… At the same time, I believe that to get to that, you need a strategy that works. And that strategy should not involve a major military operation…”

Sullivan’s war aims for Israel appear to be preventing Palestinian civilian deaths, feeding people, restoring government functions, and protecting Israel’s international political standing. Both he and the president seem to think they know better than Israel how to achieve them.

Instead, the team that brought you the deadly, disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan should recalibrate.

After the horrific attack by Hamas on Israel — maiming, raping, burning alive, and otherwise killing 1,200 people and dragging 240 others, including corpses and babies, into Gaza — the Israeli cabinet issued a set of war aims to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They are:

toppling the Hamas regime and destroying its military and governmental capabilities,
removing the terrorist threat from the Gaza Strip,
creating conditions for the return of the hostages,
defending the borders of the state and its citizens while removing the security threat from Gaza,
leaving the IDF full freedom of action without restrictions on the use of force.

The Israeli government’s aims are military, they are achievable, and success would ensure the security of the citizens of Israel as well as rescuing the Palestinian people from the brutality of a Hamas occupation designed to kill them.

Sullivan and President Biden should stand firmly behind those aims.

In 2021, Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy, gave an interview to inFOCUS Quarterly magazine of the Jewish Policy Center. He defined Hamas’ strategy of locating its military under the civilian population — in order to ensure as many Palestinian casualties as possible in the event of a future war — as “ironic and perverse.”

“No party to a war has ever… as an element of its strategy, purposefully arranged to maximize civilian deaths on its own side,” said Feith. “… So, Hamas is doing something that is really innovative, morally horrific and… even worse than the war crime of using civilians as human shields.”

“The purpose of using human shields in war is to protect what the human shields are shielding,” he said. “… But what Hamas is doing is purposefully maximizing Palestinian civilian casualties. It wants to force Israel to have to kill Palestinian civilians…”

On the other hand, there is Israel.

Professor John Spencer, chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, served for 25 years as an infantry soldier. In January, he wrote, “Israel has taken more measures to avoid needless civilian harm than virtually any other nation that’s fought an urban war… Israel has taken precautionary measures even the United States did not do during its recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Spencer pointed to mechanisms for minimizing civilian casualties, including providing warning and evacuating urban areas. “This tactic is unpopular for obvious reasons: It alerts the enemy defender and provides them the military advantage to prepare for the attack.”

He noted that the IDF air-dropped more than half-a-million flyers, made nearly 20,000 real phone calls, and sent 64,000 text messages and almost 6 million pre-recorded phone calls to civilians in Gaza — along with radio and social media messages with instructions for evacuation. “The IDF also conducted daily four-hour pauses over multiple consecutive days of the war to allow civilians to leave active combat areas,” he wrote.

This week, Spencer updated his thoughts. “Calls for a ceasefire are simply calls for Israel to surrender and let October 7 happen repeatedly. If the U.S. was in such a situation, it would respond more aggressively. Hamas exceeds ISIS in its desire to slaughter civilians. They’re unique in wanting many of their own people to die. Despite this, the fighter: civilian casualty ratio is 1:1 in Gaza vs a 1:9 global average – the lowest rate by far for similar urban conflicts.”

The IDF, Spencer concludes, “Is successfully achieving its goal of neutralizing Hamas in a uniquely difficult urban environment, with an enemy determined to increase civilian tragedies.”

Military victory first.

The author is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center. A version of this article was previously published by The Daily Caller.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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