As of 5:00 p.m. EST | Thursday, November 30, 2023
- 250,000+ Israelis are currently displaced after being forced to flee their homes due to ongoing rocket fire in Israel’s south from Hamas, and Israel’s north from Hezbollah.
- 1,200+ people murdered, including 300+ foreign nationals and 350+ fallen soldiers.
- 40+ babies murdered.
- 8,500+ people wounded and hospitalized.
- Citizens of the US, the UK, France, Germany, Ukraine and multiple other countries murdered and kidnapped.
- 240 people kidnapped by Hamas. Israel has secured agreements to bring many of them home. Hostages taken on October 7 include:
- 34+ children under the age of 18
- 10+ children under the age of 5
- 18+ elderly people over the age of 75
- 137 hostages still in captivity in Gaza
- 31+ US citizens murdered, with 13+ kidnapped or missing.
- 10,500+ rockets launched into Israel from Gaza, with more from Lebanon and Syria.
- 1,300+ rockets misfired and fell short into Gaza.
- 900,000+ Gazan civilians safely evacuated to south of Gaza Strip.
- 1,353+ aid trucks entered Gaza since October 21.
- 200+ aid trucks entered Gaza on November 24, as part of the hostage deal.
- Hamas claimed responsibility for a terror shooting in Jerusalem today (Thurs, Nov 30) in which three Israeli civilians were murdered while waiting at a bus stop. This makes it clearer than ever that they are not interested in a ceasefire. Hamas is the obstacle to peace in the area and must be eliminated.
- Bittersweet. We’re obviously thrilled to start bringing our women and children back, but there is so much work left to be done, and so many families still waiting for their loved ones.
- Deal comes from IDF pressure. Deal is a direct result of IDF ground operations in Gaza, which put the pressure on Hamas that brought them to the negotiating table in the first place.
- Deal is not a distraction. Deal is fully aligned with our top objectives: eliminating Hamas, returning all the hostages and ensuring there are no more threats to Israel from Gaza.
- Deal does not end operations. Deal will not get in the way of our war effort, and will not stop the war. We will fight Hamas until it is eliminated.
- Deal has consensus. All of our security and government agencies as well as our partners in the US government support the deal and see it as a strategic success.
- Deal is NOT a prisoner exchange. Israel is trying to bring home tiny babies, young children and innocent women whose only crime was being Jewish. Hamas is getting back convicted terrorists, including women and minors. There is no parity here, and Israel is unfortunately being forced to pay a heavy price simply to bring home its kids.
- Certain Palestinian prisoners being released in the deal haven’t yet been convicted of crimes, which has drawn scrutiny. But in in many cases, that’s because they in the middle of legal proceedings.
- Some have only been detained for a couple of weeks, and are right at the beginning of their trials. Expecting fast convictions is strange and unrealistic.
- Hamas’s agreement to accept these prisoners as part of the agreement shows that they feel pressure to accept a deal on any terms, and aren’t insisting on long-term, high-level criminals because they know they’re not in a position to bargain.
- Wherever they are in their legal proceedings, these prisoners aren’t “kids,” as media has suggested – they’re terrorists and violent offenders.
- There is no comparison and no moral equivalency between teenage terrorists and Israeli baby hostages.
- Hamas terrorists barbarically raped scores of Israeli women on October 7. International silence in the face of these unspeakable war crimes is deafening. Using rape as an act of war is indefensible, and in the words of former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, “We must denounce these rapes in every conversation, at every rally, and on signs held on every street corner.”
- Top-Level. Al-Shifa is symbolic of this whole war. Israel didn’t want any of this. We would never have entered the hospital if we weren’t being shot at from the compound, and if we didn’t have evidence our hostages were being held there. Similarly, Israel didn’t want this war. But when Hamas invaded on October 7, killed over 1,000 Israelis and took 240+ hostage, they gave Israel no choice but to respond and bring the hostages home.
- Discoveries at Al-Shifa. IDF troops exposed a 150-ft-long, 30-ft-deep terror tunnel under Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, further corroborating the longtime position of American and Israeli intelligence that the hospital complex has long served as a base of operations for Hamas’s terror activities. The tunnel features military defenses including a blast-proof door and a firing hole, and was uncovered in the area of the hospital underneath a shed next to a vehicle containing RPGs, grenades and Kalashnikov rifles. As of this writing, IDF troops are continuing to uncover the route of the tunnel.
- These discoveries follow confirmation from the White House and the Pentagon that Hamas has long used Al-Shifa to “store weapons … and to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages.” The IDF entered the Al-Shifa compound to search for and neutralize embedded terrorist infrastructure of exactly this sort.
- Takeaway: These horrifying discoveries prove yet again that Hamas used Al-Shifa hospital as a military base with the goal of using its own most vulnerable citizens as human shields. This is evil and a war crime.
- The precise and targeted operation included medical professionals and Arabic speakers who underwent specified training to prepare for complex and sensitive environments like this.
- The operations follows weeks of public and private IDF warnings to civilians, hospital staff and Hamas itself that the terror group’s continued abuse of hospitals as military bases jeopardizes their protected status under international law. The IDF has also regularly facilitated wide-scale evacuations of the hospital and maintained constant dialogue with hospital authorities.
- Takeaway: As always, the inclusion of these specialists and the sending of these messages underscores the IDF’s overarching goal of reducing harm to civilians being used by Hamas as human shields.
March for Israel
- On November 14, over 290,000 Americans of all backgrounds, faiths and political affiliations together to stand with Israel, against antisemitism and for the immediate return of all the hostages kidnapped by Hamas, as per organizers. Over 250,000 people tuned in online as well. This was the biggest pro-Israel gathering in American history, and likely the largest gathering of Jewish people in American history as well.
- Speakers included relatives of the hostages, bipartisan leaders of both houses of Congress, other elected officials, Jewish community leaders and leaders of other faith communities. Particularly noteworthy was the massive turnout by young Jews, including college students in an age of rising antisemitism across US college campuses. The event’s takeaway was clear: America stands with Israel.
Other Key Points
- Calls for ceasefire. Remember, there was a ceasefire on October 6 before Hamas decided to invade Israel, massacre 1,400 people and take over 200 hostages.
- The pictures we’re seeing from Gaza are indeed tragic. But Hamas knowingly brought this upon the people of Gaza, and have openly stated that they would do the massacres of October 7 again and again if given the chance. There is no such thing as a ceasefire with this barbaric Jihadist group, the only way to protect both the people of Israel and the people of Gaza is to ensure that Hamas ceases to exist.
- Day after. PM Netanyahu’s noted that Israel will have temporary security involvement in Gaza after Hamas is eliminated. This is vital in ensuring Hamas cannot rearm, as the terror group endangers not just Israeli civilians but Palestinian civilians as well, and has demonstrated a complete disregard for their lives and well-being. Hamas leaders live in luxury overseas while plunging Gazans into poverty and using them as human shields at home. It is for the mutual benefit of all our civilians that we will need to ensure Gaza does not fall back into the hands of Hamas or another terror group when this campaign is over.
- Hamas = ISIS. And worse. Hamas’s war crimes are some of the worst the world has ever seen. Babies were burned. More than 40 babies were murdered. Women were raped. Elderly people, including Holocaust survivors, were murdered or taken captive. We need to respond the same way the world respond to ISIS.
- Just as the US and allies eliminated ISIS with full global support – while facing similarly difficult tactical challenges – Israel can and will do the same to Hamas.
- Hamas is an enemy of the entire civilized world. Citizens of the US and other countries were killed and kidnapped (see numbers above). We are defending the whole world against Hamas. These things may start with the Jews, but they never “end” with the Jews.
- Hamas’s terror is not “resistance.” Opposing Hamas has nothing to do with your stance on Israel. It’s just being human.
- Humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Hamas has been in full control of Gaza since 2007. It is fully responsible for everything that happens there. Every conceivable material that enters Gaza is taken by Hamas to kill Israelis. For example, Hamas redirects vital fuel supplies to power rockets, and digs up water pipes to make into rockets.
- Aid shipments. Israel has no legal or moral obligation to provide electricity or other goods to an enemy that initiated a savage war against us. Nevertheless, Israel has authorized 1,353+ fully-inspected aid trucks to enter Gaza, carrying water, medicine, and food supplies to the southern Gaza Strip, with many more on the way. Israel has also opened two water pipes to the south of the Gaza Strip that provide over 28 million liters of drinking water every day. This reinforces the fact that Israel is dedicated to the welfare of Gazan civilians, and is working with international bodies to support a safe zone for all Gazans in the southern Gaza strip.
- Fuel. Hamas has stockpiled approximately 500,000 liters of fuel, mostly for use in its terror tunnels. To the extent that there are claims regarding fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip, all claimants should contact Hamas and demand it return the fuel it stole from the residents of the Gaza Strip.
- Warnings. Israel has preemptively warned civilians in Gaza to evacuate areas where it is planning operations. It has provided specific instructions and safe zones to Gazans to flee safely, and extended evacuation time windows in light of humanitarian concerns. Let’s not forget that these are NOT courtesies extended to 1,400 Israelis brutally murdered by Hamas monsters.
- Hamas obstruction. Hamas, meanwhile, has instructed those civilians to remain in place and blockaded those trying to leave. It told civilians that the warning was “fake,” and ordered them to “blend in with the resistance” – meaning to serve as human shields. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the northern Gaza strip’s residents – over 900,000 – have taken advantage of the IDF’s safe evacuation window and traveled to safe zones in the south of the territory.
Hostage Crisis – General
- Goals. Israel will do everything it takes to free hostages kidnapped by Hamas to the Gaza Strip. These hostages include multiple foreign citizens, and this should be a global fight.
- The IDF recently rescued a kidnapped soldier, Pvt. Ori Megidish, from Gaza. This exemplifies Israel’s unrelenting effort to bring home every single hostage, and we will not stop until all are returned safely.
- The best way to bring home the hostages is to continue rescue operations and to increase military operations to keep on pressure on Hamas.
- Psychological warfare. Everything Hamas has done relating to hostages thus far has been psychological warfare. This includes releasing two elderly female hostages but keeping their husbands kidnapped in Gaza, releasing video of hostages to torment their families and making sham offers of hostage deals to undermine Israel’s military campaign.
- Releases. It is obvious to Israel and the world that anything other than the immediate release of all hostages – including cynical and cruel selections based on citizenship or other factors – is inhumane and a war crime. This is especially the case as Hamas continues to hold young children, elderly people and people with special needs and medical conditions.
- Medical emergencies. Many of the hostages are sick, elderly, have special needs and require urgent medical attention and medication. By denying them this care, Hamas is violating international law and placing their lives in extreme danger. Israel demands that the Red Cross be permitted to visit and treat the hostages, a bare minimum requirement.
Bipartisan Congressional Support
- House. The House passed a resolution “Standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists” and “reaffirming Israel’s right to self-defense.” It also “condemns Hamas’ brutal war against Israel” and calls on the U.S.-designated terrorist group “to immediately cease these violent attacks and safely release all living hostages and return the bodies of deceased hostages.”
- It was passed by a vote of 412-10 with six voting present.
- Senate. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution stating: “The Senate stands with Israel as it defends itself, including Israeli efforts to diminish the threat posed by Hamas; reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and is committed to helping Israel safeguard its people from future aggression. The Senate reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and is committed to helping Israel safeguard its people from future aggression; and calls on all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas’ war on Israel, including Hamas’ intentional targeting of, and attacks against, civilians.”
- It was passed unanimously, 97-0 with three Senators missing the vote.
- Global threat. Hamas is openly calling for genocide against Jewish people everywhere following its October 7 pogrom. It goes without saying that attacking Jews is never politically justified but is simply vile antisemitism. Justification for Hamas’s terrorism inevitably leads to more pogroms against Jews around the world.
- Antisemitism is never acceptable – in Russian airports, on US college campuses or anywhere else. These attacks on Jews across the world are a far cry from legitimate protest, and prove yet again that anti-Zionism has always been a thinly-veiled cover for vicious antisemitism. People who excuse Hamas’s massacres are paving the way for more antisemitic violence.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed the obvious to Congress: Hamas’s attacks are causing an explosion of antisemitism around the globe as Jew-haters feel emboldened by the brutal terror attack.
- In his words. “We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve an inspiration, the likes of which we have not since ISIS launched the start of its called start of its “caliphate” several years ago. In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the US in the last five years. ISIS urged its followers to attack Jewish communities in the US and Europe. Hezbollah has publicly expressed its support for Hamas, and threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. And we’ve seen an increase in attacks on US military bases overseas carried out by militia groups backed by Iran.”
- Disengagement. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, voluntarily pulling out thousands of citizens from their homes and soldiers from their posts, granting Palestinians self-rule in the territory and dearly hoping it would be a successful experiment that would lead to further territorial withdrawals and a two-state solution. Instead, Gazans swiftly elected Hamas – already recognized by the US and others as a terrorist group – and turned the territory into a launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
- Crossings. Gaza shares borders with Israel and Egypt. In 2007, Israel and Egypt began limiting access for supplies that Hamas was using to turn against Israel. For example, Hamas turned concrete earmarked for schools and hospitals to build attack tunnels that crossed into Israel, intended for raids on Israeli border towns. Hamas also used internationally-donated water pipes to make rockets, and UN-sponsored fuel as rocket propellant.
- Services. Prior to Hamas’s brutal invasion, Israel provided fuel, water, electricity and other services to Gaza, despite endemic failure to pay for those services. Israel never was obligated to do this, but did so as a humanitarian gesture.
- Aid. While sieges are indeed legitimate methods of warfare under international law, Israel and Egypt’s restrictions do not constitute a siege. As noted above, Israel has continued to allows shipments of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, including food, water and medicine. However, Israel is not obligated under international law to provide, or even allow, fuel and electricity into Gaza. Hamas, as the territory’s governing body, is responsible for providing these services, but is withholding them from Gazan homes and hospitals to use in its tunnels and weaponry instead. Again, despite Israel’s best efforts, Hamas is stealing even the most basic of necessities from Gazans to put toward its war against Israel.
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