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On Explosive Northern Front, Hezbollah Lurks; IDF Conducts Precise Defense

UN peacekeepers (UNIFIL) patrol in the village of Khiam, near the border with Israel, in southern Lebanon, July 12, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Aziz Taher

JNS.orgAs Israel prepares for the strong possibility of a resumption of war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces is also currently in a heightened state of alert and preparedness along the border with Lebanon, responding to the continuous threats posed by Hezbollah.

Since Oct. 7, the IDF has deployed significant military resources, including artillery, tanks and engineering corps, along the Lebanese border, striking Hezbollah anti-tank missile squads and other terrorists whenever they are detected, either after an attack or preparing for one.

This low-intensity conflict when compared to Gaza has resulted in some 90 casualties for Hezbollah and nine Israeli casualties—six military personnel and three civilians.

Several Israeli homes and military bases have sustained heavy damage from Hezbollah strikes since Oct. 7, and tens of thousands of Israeli residents from areas near the border with Lebanon remain evacuated, displaced from their homes by the threat of the Radwan Hezbollah elite terrorist unit.

In response, the IDF has employed a defensive-responsive posture aimed at protecting Israeli territory from Hezbollah’s aggression but not escalating the situation into a full-scale war front at this time.

Its approach is characterized by a reactive rather than proactive stance. Operations are tailored to respond to specific threats and attacks from Hezbollah, avoiding initiating aggression. This goal remains to protect civilian lives and property, as well as to make sure that Hezbollah cannot surprise the north as Hamas did the south. Still, the decision of any expanded war efforts in Lebanon remains up to the war cabinet.

Hezbollah’s tactics, meanwhile, involve embedding its operations within Lebanese civilian areas; using southern Shi’ite villages as bases of attack; firing anti-tank missiles at Israeli northern homes and military positions; and continuing to pose a serious and persistent threat.

The question of whether the Radwan unit, which has murder and kidnap squads much like Hamas’s Nukhba unit, could breach the Israeli border and conduct attacks has no clear answer at this time, although the IDF is present at the border in large numbers and has proven effective at detecting Radwan unit movements in real-time.

Hezbollah’s terror tactics not only endanger Lebanese civilians but are designed to complicate the IDF’s response—a familiar use of human shielding that Hamas employs as well in Gaza.

In this explosive situation, the IDF currently exercises restraint in its counterstrikes, relying on precise intelligence to target terrorist threats while minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage.

UNIFIL ineffective in curbing provocation

The role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in challenging Hezbollah’s flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans Hezbollah from operating in Southern Lebanon, is nonexistent.

Worse yet, Hezbollah has been actively using UNIFIL as human shields, launching attacks on Israel in some cases from tens of meters from UNIFIL positions.

UNIFIL’s ineffectiveness in curbing Hezbollah’s activities is self-evident, highlighting the limitations of international peacekeeping forces in such scenarios.

Despite this, the IDF continues to remain in contact with UNIFIL and has been transmitting its concern over Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities with no tangible results.

So far, Israel’s policy on the Lebanon border is a delicate balance between essential defense and cautious restraint. But it remains unclear how long this can continue since northern residents will not return to a persistent Hezbollah threat to their lives in the new, post-Oct. 7 reality, and the IDF cannot remain fully deployed in the north indefinitely.

The result is a paradox that appears to suggest difficult decisions in the future by the Israeli war cabinet if the north is to be sustainable and its residents granted a new sense of security.

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Preparing for the Next ICJ Debacle

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgIn the theater of the absurd commonly known as the International Court of Justice, judges are again preparing to ignore history and facts. Having weaponized the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Jewish state, the judges are now preparing to hear oral arguments on the next oxymoron: The “legal consequences” of the “Israeli occupation” of “Palestinian territory.”

The glaring problem with this is that there is no such entity as the “Palestinian territories.” The term is an invented one used to define areas allocated by the international community to the Jewish state, which were then illegally invaded by Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Any discussion anchored on this false terminology should immediately be ignored and scorned.

In December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly, prompted by the Palestinian Authority, adopted a resolution to request from the ICJ an advisory opinion on the following question:

“Considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council, and the advisory opinion of the Court of July 9, 2004:

“a) What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character, and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?

“b) How do the policies and practices of Israel referred to in paragraph 18 (a) above affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”

Following the request, the ICJ set a July 25, 2023 deadline for initial written statements to be submitted, with responses to be submitted by Oct. 25, 2023 and oral arguments to be made starting Feb. 19, 2024.

The underlying assumption of this debacle is that Israel is in some way “occupying” “Palestinian territory.” But is that really the case?

In reality, never in history has an independent country called “Palestine” ever existed.

In reality, the area the UNGA claims and has asked the ICJ to consider as “Palestinian territory” was controlled for 400 years by the Ottoman Empire.

In reality, after World War I, the international community repeatedly allocated the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Lebanon to the Red Sea, for the sole purpose of reconstituting the Jewish homeland.

In reality, the 1923 division of the geographical area called “Palestine” into two separate areas, one to be called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the other remaining Jewish Palestine, was the real “two-state solution.”

In reality, in 1947, the United Nations offered the Arabs an opportunity to create another Arab country to the west of the Jordan River alongside Israel, but the Arabs refused. Instead, five Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state with the stated and express goal of throwing the Jews into the sea.

From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria, which it renamed “The West Bank.” During that time, no U.N. resolution of the General Assembly or the Security Council demanded that Egypt and Jordan retreat and desist from occupying those areas. No such request was made of Jordan since Jordan saw Palestine as an integral part of Jordan.

In reality, even U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, from November 1967, does not mention, even once, the notion of occupied “Palestinian” territory.

In fact, the idea that a State of Palestine ever existed and that Israel is occupying “Palestinian territory” seems to prove the billboard advertisement that “Palestine” is the only country in the world that did not exist before it was “occupied.”

Sadly, as the judges demonstrated with their shameful decision on the false claim of South Africa against Israel when it comes to the Jewish state, history, facts and the truth are just not relevant.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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The Other White Supremacists

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrives for a memorial service for late Social Democratic senior politician Egon Bahr at St. Mary’s Church in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 17, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

JNS.orgOn Jan. 25, Temple Emanu-El in New York City held a memorial service for Henry Kissinger. This was unacceptable to leftist millennials. Hundreds gathered across the street to cheer on the diplomat’s death, holding signs that read “F*** Kissinger” and “Death to U.S. Imperialism.”

But that wasn’t enough for a group of white millennials. Six surrounded an elderly couple as they were leaving the service, shouting: “You’ll burn in hell forever!” “You f***in’ piece of s***!” “We will burn your homes too!” The leader of the pack, a tall redhead, mocked the couple and threw water in their faces.

The synagogue on the Upper East Side was the first Reform congregation in New York City and is now one of the largest shuls in the United States. It is also fairly close to where I live. But that’s not what made the scene so disturbing. As my teenage son said when I showed him a video of the assault: “Who does that to an elderly couple?”

Who indeed? Anti-Israel protests have brought to the fore a contingent that would please both Hitler and Stalin: They’re white, neo-Marxist, ignorant and despise Jews. They are the new white supremacists, who in both their ignorance and abhorrence of Jews might share some laughs with the old white supremacists.

New Yorkers are all too familiar with this group. As “teachers,” they screamed at our sons for being male and tried to indoctrinate them with every aspect of leftist orthodoxy. At “protests,” they savage both the American and Israeli flags with glee. Their European and Australian counterparts have taken to chanting “Gas the Jews” while offering up a sieg heil.

While there was no shortage of violence and incivility in the Antifa protests of recent years, this contingent of leftists consider Jews a far bigger menace than neo-Nazis. Indeed, the new white supremacists came to their antisemitism the old-fashioned way: scapegoating us. Their great-grandfathers were no doubt part of the gangs who beat up our great-grandfathers on the Lower East Side. Those who went to college were taught that Jews, less than 2% of the world’s population and the most persecuted minority in history, are hyper-privileged oppressors and neo-colonizers.

Indeed, the explosion of antisemitism in academia would never have been able to gain ground without the aid of white professors and administrators. They glommed on to neo-Marxism and Islamism as vehicles for their hatred, but neither ideology created that hatred.

This hatred became the answer to their own intersectional dilemmas: If “whites” are the root of all evil, how can they absolve their own white guilt? By spitting, literally or figuratively, on Jews. Never mind that we are an ethnicity that hails directly from the Middle East, multi-hued only because of the rapes and forced conversions we endured after being exiled from our homeland.

Leftists’ self-anointed supremacism was another way out. Why listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.? Essentializing race and calling for re-segregation allows the anointed ones to maintain control while fending off questions about their own oppressor status. Why make the schools in Harlem better? That would give blacks agency. Leftists’ bigotry of low expectations—that is, blatant racism—is necessary to both their own hyper-privilege and longed-for path to power.

And then their trump card: The “cause” of Arabs who identify as “Palestinian.” Not only could the new white supremacists fabricate the most vile and ahistorical lies about the world’s only Jewish state, but all Jews—leftist or not—could now be harassed and abused for the sin of being Jewish.

Jewish students have been forced to stand in the corners of classrooms, walk across stages with their heads down and verbally self-mutilate. Leftist professors could barely contain their glee. They finally had us where they and their brethren wanted us: lined up for the guillotine.

Except their final solution missed a key element: These were not the poor, persecuted Jews that their great-grandfathers beat up. These Jews are Zionists—Maccabees. These Jews are proud; they fight back. Not by using lies and violence. But by using precisely what white leftists fear the most: our brains.

Bill Ackman, who took the fight to Harvard University’s antisemites, represents the new Maccabean Jew. He’s currently giving leftists nightmares. As for the white millennials attacking elderly Jewish couples in New York City, I’ll just quote my Israeli neighbor who told me, “The one benefit of social media: We know who they are.”

Originally published by Jewish Journal.

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There Is No Resuscitating the Oslo Delusion

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on, as U.S. President Joe Biden (not pictured) speaks about the conflict in Israel, after Hamas launched its biggest attack in decades, while making a statement about the crisis, at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

JNS.orgU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken again visited a handful of Middle Eastern countries this week, including Israel, in an attempt to help calm regional unrest and work for the release of about 105 hostages still being held captive since the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. While in Jerusalem, in hand was an offer to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu from Hamas for a ceasefire.

According to an Axios report, what Hamas offered would have come in three stages: In the first 45 days, in return for 1,500 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, including those who have been convicted of murder, the Israel Defense Forces would have to leave Gaza, completely. In exchange, the Palestinians would release Israeli women, the elderly and all those under 18. The second phase would release Israeli males of fighting age. The final phase would involve giving Israel the remains of the dead. (It is a sobering reality, but 31 of the remaining hostages were declared deceased earlier this week by Israeli authorities.)

The Oslo Accords were also a phased plan whereby trust was supposed to have been developed with each new stage. Initially, the negotiations were drafted behind closed doors by Yossi Beilin, who held a number of governmental positions in the Labor Party; Ahmed Qurei, a Palestinian politician and negotiator; and Terge Larsen, a Norwegian sociologist. On Sept. 13, 1993, PLO chief Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin (with U.S. President Bill Clinton acting as facilitator) signed the Declaration of Principles and shook hands on the White House lawn. Likewise, Palestinian statehood was to have been earned, not automatically bequeathed on a silver platter.

There had been a slight pause in hostilities, and by May 10, 1994, Arafat spoke at a mosque in Johannesburg calling for a “jihad to liberate all of Jerusalem.” “Peace-loving” spin doctors from the left dubbed Arafat’s declaration of death an “internal struggle.”

So much for “pauses” to guarantee trust. We know that a 135-day pause only amounts to a victory for Hamas, which will only use this time to regroup and try to retake control of the areas in the Gaza Strip.

Let’s remember the sadistic reality that was Oct. 7—the mass murder of approximately 1,200 Israelis, plus rape, torture, mutilation of bodies, the butchering and burning of babies in front of their parents, and approximately 240 men, women and children who were dragged off to Gaza, kept in cages and tunnels to this day.

For some peculiar reason, there seems to be no agency for the attacking party: Hamas operatives, joined by Palestinian residents from Gaza, who engaged in the most sadistic sort of actions against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Everyone, of course, is praying for the release of all of the hostages. Looking at their omnipresent photos and those of their families is like wrenching out one chamber of our collective hearts, as Jews.

However, before the United States cajoles Israel into anything, it is important to ask: Did anyone cajole the United States into a ceasefire with the Nazis? And can anyone deny that the horrific events of Oct. 7 were Nazi-like?

There is a quite familiar dance that those of us who have been observers of the Middle East for decades have been watching: Israel tries to reach out to its neighbors in peace; its overtures are rejected; Israel is violently attacked; Israel (and Israel alone) is asked to bow its knees and make “painful compromises” for peace.

According to a Jan. 31 report by Barak Ravid, the U.S. State Department has been reviewing policy options for a Palestinian state. The options include bilaterally accepting a Palestinian state; not using its veto power in the United Nations to block admitting Palestine as a full voting member state; and encouraging other nations to recognize Palestine.

Why is this dastardly behavior on the part of Hamas being rewarded by the two-state delusion, once again?

Think back to attempt solutions to the Israeli-Arab conflict: 2002 and the Road Map for Peace; to 1993 and the signing of the Oslo Accords; to 1967 and the Khartoum Conference; to 1947 and the U.N. Partition Plan; to 1937 and the Peel Commission. The Washington foreign-policy establishment always returns to the same old failed paradigm. All of this seems to represent a supreme failure of the imagination.

According to the highly-respected Palestinian Center for Survey and Research, in a recent poll, fully 82% of the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), are in support of the atrocities of Oct. 7.

How could Israel be expected to live in long-term peace and security with such neighbors? What guarantee is there that the reward of a Palestinian state to Israel’s enemies would result in a peace that would endure for generations, let alone years?

And speaking of that recent poll of Palestinians, support for 88-year-old Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority has dropped significantly. When asked who would rule Gaza after the war, only 7% said the P.A. with Abbas in control.

Yet the State Department is talking about a “revived P.A.” Why? Because their covenant, which has never been revoked, talks about a “phased plan” to attack Israel from any area that is evacuated. As opposed to Hamas, which would do it all on the very first day.

It is the P.A., not Hamas, that has established the curriculum of vile antisemitism and the goal of replacing all of Israel with Palestine. It is the P.A. that uses UNRWA schools in the Middle East to incite Arab youth against Jews, with hatred spewed in textbooks. These are the teachings that helped launch the events of Oct. 7.

I recently returned from Israel, and beneath the moral resolve to survive is an almost palpable existential despair. Israelis are willing to fight and die for the right of their people to live within defensible borders. Most no longer believe that two states are the answer—and that Palestinians will suddenly and magically be willing to live in peace and security side by side with Israel.

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