Israel At War FAQs

On October 7 the internationally proscribed Islamist terror organisation Hamas perpetrated the most horrific attack on Jews since the Holocaust, massacring over 1,200 people in southern Israel in the most barbaric manner imaginable: torturing families, mutilating children and adults, raping hundreds of Jewish girls and women of all ages, setting fire to people and desecrating bodies after the orgy of killing. Over 4,000 people were wounded and over 240 people: Israeli Jews, Israeli Muslims and Israeli Christians, guest workers and visitors, aged from 9 months to over 80 years, were abducted to Gaza. Currently, over 100 are still being held hostage by Hamas (included a 1 year old infant and an 86 year old man), and many of these are believed to be dead.

Map of the October 7 massacres

What happened at Kibbutz Be’eri

American journalist describes the footage he saw of Hamas’ atrocities

Israel is still fighting this war against Hamas to free the hostages and bring them home, to eliminate Hamas and to restore Israeli security by removing the threat outlined by Hamas deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad on October 24, that Hamas will repeat October 7,  “again and again until Israel is ‘annihilated”.

This statement was completely in line with Hamas’ charter, which states its genocidal intent: to eradicate the Jewish state and kill every Jew on the planet. The Charter states: “Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it”…; “the Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims kill the Jews”; “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours”.

Similarly, Israel is fighting to eliminate the threat posed by other Iranian proxy armies including Islamic Jihad from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon. Hezbollah, which has attacked Israelis for years, is continuing almost daily rocket barrages into the north of Israel causing the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israelis.

Israel and most Western governments regard this war as parallel to the wars against ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other Islamist terror organisations.

Mohammad Kabiya, an Arab citizen of Israel, described the situation in an interview with BBC Arabic on October 14.

The principle of proportionality is a core concept of international law applicable to armed conflicts . It applies to both the overall military response to a threat and to the individual actions forming part of that response.

The threat
According to international law, when a country faces a threat to its people, it may lawfully (and must morally) take all reasonable measures to protect them. What constitutes a ‘reasonable’ and ‘proportionate’ response can only be assessed in relation to the severity of the consequences if it does not take action. A state is justified to use proportional military force to terminate the threat, protect its population, and restore its security. The response should be proportionate to the credibility of the threat and the extent of the threat.

A proportional response does not mean an equal or identical response. It does not mean an equal number of casualties on both sides, or actions of a similar type. The number of dead and wounded is no measure of morality – many times more German civilians were killed in WW2, but that does not imbue the Nazi side with the moral high ground in that conflict. In the war against ISIS/Islamic State, it is estimated that almost 10,000 civilians were killed by the multi-national Western forces. Again, there is no argument that ISIS was an enemy which had to be defeated by any means and at any cost.

In the current case, Hamas has made its genocidal threat abundantly clear. Its Charter explicitly sets out its aim to destroy Israel and eradicate the Jews. Its genocidal intent has been evident in all its rhetoric and actions since its founding in 1987, most recently the barbaric massacre and assaults and abductions that took place on October 7. And it has vowed to repeat that day over and over again

The responses
The protection of civilians in armed conflict is governed by the principles of distinction and proportionality. That is: distinction between civilian and military people and objects, and incidental civilian damage being proportionate to the military objects to be achieved.

Enemy combatants and civilians directly participating in hostilities are not covered by the proportionality principle, nor is civilian infrastructure used in conjunction with participating in hostilities, for example for weapons storage, attack and defence positions, rocket launching sites, military command and operations bases and movement between places of conflict. Hamas has deliberately embedded its military assets and activities within heavily populated areas and civilian infrastructure, and used the civilian population as human shields, all gross violations of international humanitarian law.

The proportionality principle requires a balancing of the foreseeable civilian harm and the expected military advantage based on the knowledge available to the military commander at the time prior to the initiation of an attack, rather than on hindsight.

The deaths of Gazan civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure are extremely regrettable, but an unfortunate consequence of Israel fighting an enemy in an urban environment using civilian infrastructure for attacks and defence and that uses civilians as human shields. John Spencer (Chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, USA) has commented: “In my long career studying and advising on urban warfare for the U.S. military, I’ve never known an army to take such measures to attend to the enemy’s civilian population, especially while simultaneously combating the enemy in the very same buildings. In fact, by my analysis, Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history—above and beyond what international law requires and more than the U.S. did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”. Spencer and retired British colonel Richard Kemp have both have both observed that, with an estimated ratio of 1.5 civilians for every one combatant killed, Israel has achieved a lower total of civilians killed in war than any other army in world history.

Israel has attempted to minimize civilian casualties by giving general and specific warnings through leaflet drops, direct telephone calls, text messages and pre-recorded voicemails, offering and directing safe passage, conducting daily pauses in hostilities to allow evacuations, and using information that is as accurate and timely as is practicable.

The proportionality of Israeli military operations are examined by the IDF’s Military Advocate General’sOffice, Israel’s Attorney-General’s Office and the relevant commanders on the Ground. Israel’s Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to exercise judicial oversight, including during hostilities.

The media have reported casualty figures based on information supplied by the Gaza Ministry for Health and the Government Media Office, both Hamas controlled organisations. These figures have been challenged by many analysts. In May 2024, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reduced its figures for the number of women and children killed by approximately 40% from the Hamas figures: for children more than 14,500 reduced to 7,797, and for women more than 9,500 reduced to 4,959.

Footnotes

Article 51(5)(b) of Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts of 8 June 1977 provides that belligerents must refrain from attacks ‘which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated’.

Article 18 and 19 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 explicitly affords hospitals special protected status, but that they lose that status if they are used for military purposes. See also, Article 8(2) of the Rome Statute and Article 52(2) of the above Protocol.

 

This war could be ended, and a permanent ceasefire effected immediately, if Hamas released the remaining hostages and surrendered.

Since it ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, Israel has had to fight multiple wars against Hamas, including in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021. Through all those years, every time Israel has agreed to a ceasefire, it has been broken by Hamas – at least 16 times.

The horrific attack by Hamas on October 7 was carried out by Hamas during the ceasefire following the 2021 conflict.

Hamas has never respected ceasefires but has rather used them to regroup. So, while the appeal of a ceasefire is understandable, a ceasefire will not bring peace for Israelis or Palestinians.

Israel’s fight against Hamas will continue until all the remaining hostages are found, liberated and returned home alive or dead, and until the capability of Hamas to perpetrate even one more attack against Israel and its people is destroyed.

Hamas continues to refuse to release the hostages until its demands have been met including a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza; in essence an Israeli surrender.

Hamas’ so-called ceasefire “acceptance” is just spin to pressure Israel – AIJAC

Israel is targeting Hamas, not civilians. However Hamas has a long, well-documented and self-proclaimed history of using civilians as human shields.

Doing this and placing fighters, command centres and military headquarters in civilian areas including hospitals and schools turns those areas into legitimate military targets. This is a war crime and the EU has condemned Hamas for this practice.

Since the beginning of this war Israel has instructed Palestinians to evacuate for their own safety and has opened humanitarian corridors in Gaza so that they can. Hamas has blocked escape routes and even shot its own people as they try escape.

Every Hamas rocket attack against Israeli civilians is a war crime. Its abduction of civilians from over 40 nationalities from Southern Israel on October 7 is a crime against humanity, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The IDF continues to conduct the war against Hamas in keeping with international law, while making every effort to avoid the civilian casualties that Hamas intends. Here, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya explains why the blood of its own citizens is ‘necessary’.

All the sexual crimes committed by Hamas and their accomplices on and since October 7 against Israeli women, and the sexual violence now being documented as having been committed against Israeli men, are war crimes. Here the UN outlines Rape as a War Crime.

Screams Before Silence documentary about the rape used as a weapon of war on Oct 7th

New York Times -‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7

Overview of International Law and Operation Swords of Iron

The latest regarding the International Court of Justice case of Genocide against Israel filed by South Africa. 

Unjust Arrest warrants against Israeli leaders including PM Netanyahu

The responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza lies squarely with Hamas, as stated by Kuwaiti researcher Dr. Fahd Al-Shelaimi: “All the blood, all the dead children, and demolished homes are on Haniyeh and his entourage.”

After Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, Gazans elected Hamas to lead them in 2006. But Hamas does not lead in a manner familiar to people in the West or in almost any other part of the world.  As  Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Eissa said on October 18, “Hamas considers Palestinian lives cheap.”

On October 27 in an interview on Russian RT TV, Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau was asked why Hamas has used its resources (including billions in foreign aid) to build tunnels for its fighters and not infrastructure or shelters for its people. He declared, incredibly, that since the majority of Gazans are ‘refugees’, the responsibility for their safety lies with the UN.

This CNN report covers many of the issues relating to Hamas’ attitude to the suffering of Palestinians during this war.

The official spokesman of ISIS issued a statement in early 2024, Abu Hudhayfa Al-Ansarir, issued a statement condemning Hamas for sacrificing the Palestinian people on the altar of “Iran’s regional project”.

Gaza is not occupied by either Israel or Egypt. Hamas has governed Gaza since it won the legislative elections in January 2006.
Before 1948, Britain controlled the Gaza Strip as part of the British Mandate for Palestine established by the League of Nations after the first world war.

Between 1948 and 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip having taken it during the Arab-Israeli War in 1948-49.

Between 1967 and 2005, Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, having captured it and the entire Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 “Six Day War”.

In 1982 Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in a “land for peace” deal, but Egypt refused to take back the Gaza Strip at the time, apparently not wanting responsibility for the Palestinians living there. Egypt now maintains a short land border along the southern border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula at the Rafah Crossing, and extending to the Mediterranean Sea. This crossing serves as a key entry and exit point for people and goods.

So from 1967 until 2005 the Gaza Strip was occupied by Israel. During this period there was some economic development in the Gaza Strip and there were relationships between Israelis and Gazan Palestinians, some of them warm. But there was also conflict and a military occupation that cost both Palestinian and Israeli lives.

In 2005 the Israeli government took the decision to unilaterally withdraw all its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, in the hope that they could live in peace alongside a new self-governed Palestinian entity. The end of occupation in Gaza was also a test case for the potential end of occupation of most of the West Bank.

What it proved was that ending the occupation would not bring peace – in fact the opposite. In 2006 the Islamist terror group Hamas was elected to govern Gaza. Hamas is no partner for peace, and has no interest in a two-state solution or any solution other than an Islamic Caliphate ethnically cleansed of every last Jew Hamas’ Charter states that “Israel will exist until Islam obliterates it” and that “so-called peaceful solutions, and international conferences” to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Hamas.

In 2007 in a bloody coup, Hamas ousted the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority from Gaza, killing all internal opponents, and embarking on a campaign of terror incursions and rocket fire against Israel that continues to this day.

As a result of Hamas’ aggression and after intercepting Iranian arms shipments being brought into Gaza by land and sea, both Israel and Egypt imposed blockades on Gaza in an effort to stop the smuggling of weapons. As early as 2009 Egypt began work on a steel wall deep into the earth to stop the smuggling of weapons, drugs and people.

Both Egypt and Israel have long recognised the threat posed by the genocidal jihadist government of the Gaza Strip which sits between their two countries. Both Egypt and Israel have imposed a partial blockade on Gaza in defence of their people and have cooperated to fight the same Islamic extremism posed by ISIS in the Sinai. The aim of the blockade was to prevent weapons and other material that could be used to threaten or kill from entering Gaza. 

Before October 7 Israel had never blocked the flow of foodstuffs, medical supplies, other items for everyday use, and humanitarian aid; most passed through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, which has been open 24/7. Egypt also allowed the passage of similar goods through the Rafah Crossing. Until October 6, 2023, every weekday approximately 17,000 Palestinian workers and business people from Gaza were also moving in and out of Israel through its Erez crossing. Evidence has since been uncovered that many of those workers were in fact collecting intelligence which was used in the October 7 attack.

The blockade of Gaza has always been a joint activity by Egypt and Israel. Each has maintained the blockade for the same reasons – the protection of their citizens in the light of historical and threatened terrorist violence from Hamas. As with so much of the conflict with Hamas the blockade could end if Hamas sought peace rather than violence.

There is pervasive misinformation circulating that alleges Israel is targeting medical facilities and ambulances in an illegal and indiscriminate fashion. Here are the facts.

November 12 Interrogation of Hamas operative 1 apprehended by Israel 

November 12 Interrogation of Hamas operative 2 apprehended by Israel 

One of the classic antisemitic tropes is the blood libel – that Jews are bloodthirsty killers of non-Jewish children (and adults).  Read more about the history of this libel here. In modern times this form of antisemitism has been expressed through false and repeated claims that Israel targets Palestinian children, harvests the organs of Palestinian prisoners and commits genocide against the Palestinian people as a whole. As with all antisemitism, there is neither truth nor any logic this claim.

The Macquarie dictionary defines genocide as the “extermination of a national or racial group as a planned move” [Macquarie Dictionary]. The phrase was coined by Dr Raphael Lemkin in 1944 to describe the systematic murder of Jews by the Nazis, known as the Holocaust or Shoa.

The Hamas charter calls for the elimination of Israel and the killing of Jews. It is explicitly genocidal in its language and intent.

None of the features of the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza come within the definition.

Yes, many tens of thousands of people have been killed, and many of those have been Hamas soldiers and combatants, including teenage combatants. This is an unfortunate consequence of this war. But it bears absolutely no indication of genocide.

The application of the term “genocide” to the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza is a perversion of the term. It seeks to equate lawful military action by representatives of the Jewish state that arose from the ashes the Holocaust and out of the attempted extermination that gave rise to the term with that very attempt! That equation should be repugnant to all thinking people and yes, it is antisemitic as it seeks to demonise the actions of Israel without regard to the facts, and to apply a double standard against Israel, as the only Jewish state.

The allegations against Israel of genocide, apartheid, ethnic cleansing etc are typical of the hyperbole used to attack Israel. They are inversions of the meanings of the words intended to create an emotional response that overrides any factual analysis. 

Charging Jews with genocide

If everything is about genocide, nothing is genocide

Israel is one of the most technologically, militarily and medically advanced nations on earth, and if it wished to commit a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza would be able to do so easily.

The facts about Palestinian population growth reveal the exact opposite: In 1967 Israel conquered the Gaza Strip and all of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the Six Day War, a defensive war prompted by the genocidal threats against Israelis from Egypt’s President Nasser. When Israel first occupied Gaza after that war (because at the Khartoum Conference in August the Arab states refused to accept back the territories of Sinai, Gaza and parts of the West Bank in exchange for peace), the Palestinian population there was around 442,100, according to the UN.

By the time Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, it was 1,299,000. So, under Israeli occupation, the Palestinian population increased 194%. The population is now estimated at 2,098,389 (CIA world fact book), which represents another 61.5% increase in population.

If Israel has been attempting a genocide in Gaza it has failed miserably.

Incidentally, Gaza once had a sizable Jewish community with a history going back 3,000 years. Most of the Jews living in Gaza fled during the 1929 Palestine Riots, which took the form of murderous attacks by Arabs on Jews and the destruction of Jewish property. By 1945 there were only 80 Jews left in the city.

After 1967 Jews returned and established thriving agricultural and other businesses, all of which were abandoned when Israel pulled out all 8,000 of its people and its soldiers in 2005. After 2005 there were no Jews in Gaza.

Read about the latest regarding the International Court of Justice case of Genocide against Israel filed by South Africa. 

Unjust Arrest warrants against Israeli leaders including PM Netanyahu

There is overwhelming evidence from multiple sources – first and foremost video taken by the perpetrators and admissions made by the Hamas terrorists captured by Israel – that women and girls were targeted for rape, sexual mutilation, and sexual violence by Hamas and its accomplices on October 7.

Despite all the evidence having been made available, it took seven weeks for UN Women to acknowledge the sexual violence committed against Jewish and Israeli women and girls on 7 October, and finally on 11 March 2024 the UN Security Council released meeting notes relating to the report by Pramila Patten of the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict dated 4 March that concluded that: “Based on the information gathered by the mission team from multiple and independent sources, there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred during the 7 October attacks in multiple locations across Gaza periphery, including rape and gang rape.”

The meeting notes include: “What I witnessed in Israel were scenes of unspeakable violence perpetrated with shocking brutality,” Ms. Patten recalled. Detailing her methodology, she said that her team met with families of hostages and members of communities displaced from several kibbutzim.  It conducted confidential interviews with 34 individuals, including survivors and witnesses of the 7 October attacks, released hostages, first responders and health and service providers.  It visited four attack sites — as well as the morgue to which the bodies of victims were transferred — and reviewed over 5,000 photographic images and some 50 hours of footage of the attacks.

“It was a catalogue of the most extreme and inhumane forms of killing, torture and other horrors,” including sexual violence, she stated.  The team also found convincing information that sexual violence was committed against hostages, and has reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may still be ongoing against those in captivity.” The full report is available here https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/

In addition, the crimes have been detailed in multiple reports including:

Israeli women who spoke out about sex abuse in Gaza are being mocked online

Screams Before Silence documentary about the rape used as a weapon of war on Oct 7th

New York Times -‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7

Trigger Warning: First Hamas fighters raped her. Then they shot her in the head.

Newsweek: Hamas Is Reportedly Using Rape as Warfare. Where Are the Feminists?

CNN: Israel investigates sexual violence committed by Hamas as part of October 7 horror and video ‘Not just killed, cruelly mutilated’: Witness describes assault of women on Oct. 7

Boston Globe: Israeli women and girls were raped during Hamas attack. Where’s the outcry?

The long absence of empathy with, condemnation of and even adequate mention of the specific, deliberately targeted crimes against Jews and Israelis has been  deeply traumatic for Jewish women everywhere.  

As one Australian Jewish feminist has written, “They have colluded in the silence around these atrocities and in this way, like bystanders, have compounded the trauma. Feminist organizations have replicated the structures of patriarchal oppression in their approach to what happened to Jewish women on 7 October by:

• Silencing and erasure

• Disbelief and asking for proof of rape (failure to believe a victim is regarded as a patriarchal tactic to discredit women and erase their experiences, but added to that implying that Jewish women are liars / cannot be believed / have fabricated these accounts as ‘Zionist propaganda’)

• Refusing to name and acknowledge the atrocities (because they are regarded as part of the Palestinian liberation struggle and so the acts are ‘acceptable, and not-so-bad-really’ – the ‘end justifies the means’. The violation of Jewish women’s bodies is a means to a more important end.)

• Demonizing and dehumanizing Jewish/Israeli women, as not belonging to the family of women (their ‘womanness’ and their desecrated female bodies have been erased because of their Jewishness and association with a reviled Israel. The women are seen as part of the supposed patriarchal oppressive colonial state of Israel and its powerful IDF – falling prey to the very ideas they refute, which is that women are not owned or do not belong to men or male power structures and that one aspect of identity ie being Jewish, erases or trumps others, such as being a woman).

International women’s organizations have exposed a George Orwellian hypocrisy (all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others):  they condemn sexual violence against women, as long as they are not Jewish/Israeli women.”

In an attempt to fight back against this silence, Israel launched a campaign titled #MeTooUnlessUrAJew.

On October 7 the internationally proscribed Islamist terror organisation Hamas perpetrated the most horrific attack on Jews since the Holocaust, massacring over 1,200 people in southern Israel in the most barbaric manner imaginable: torturing families, mutilating children and adults, raping hundreds of Jewish girls and women of all ages, setting fire to people and desecrating bodies after the orgy of killing. Over 4,000 people were wounded and over 240 people: Israeli Jews, Israeli Muslims and Israeli Christians, guest workers and visitors, aged from 9 months to over 80 years, were abducted to Gaza. Since then:

• the temporary ceasefire agreement in November saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity in six groups, mainly women and children, including 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals, and one Filipino. In return Israel released 240 prisoners from Israeli jails.
• on 12 February the IDF rescued two males, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, both are dual Israeli-Argentinian citizens.
• on 25 March 2024, Hamas rejected an Israeli offer to release 800 prisoners from Israeli jails (100 of whom are serving life sentences for killing Israelis) in exchange for 40 hostages.
• Currently, Hamas is still holding over 100 hostages (including 1-year old infant, Kfir Bibas, and 86 year old Arye Zalmanovich), and many of these are believed to be dead.

There is no equivalence between the hostages held by Hamas and the prisoners released or to be released from Israeli jails. The hostages were taken and are held in violation of international law and all any common decency; the released prisoners have been convicted by Israeli courts of offences including murder and terrorism, or have been held pending trial.

Israel’s fight against Hamas will continue until all of the hostages are found, liberated and returned home and until the capability of Hamas to perpetrate even one more attack against Israel and its people is destroyed.

Survived to Tell Testimony Project

October 7 Survivor Stories

Mothers speak about the hostages and the murdered 

“I went through hell”: What the released hostages say about their captivity

Humanitarian aid including only food, water, medical supplies and shelter equipment is routed to Egypt and then forwarded to undergo Israeli security screening at either Nitzana or Kerem Shalom Crossings. From there, UN aid is sent to the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom in Israel, and the rest is sent to Gaza via the Rafah crossing in Egypt.

A humanitarian aid delivery channel via Jordan is operational, and additional delivery channels are in the planning process. The volume of humanitarian aid is determined, among other factors, by the ability of humanitarian organizations within the Gaza Strip to absorb the aid.
Some statistics:

• since the beginning of the war 18,508 trucks carrying 345,470 tonnes of supplies have been sent in to Gaza;
• on 24 March 2024, 103 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the UN in the Gaza Strip; only 28 trucks were distributed within Gaza by UN aid agencies; 22 private sector food aid trucks were coordinated to the northern Gaza Strip; 24 aid trucks were transferred to Gaza via the Jordanian route; and 88 packages (1 ton each) of humanitarian aid were airdropped over northern Gaza;
• since the beginning of March, an average of 126 food trucks entered Gaza daily; this is 80% more food trucks entering compared to before Oct. 7 when an average of only 70 trucks entered;
• 21 bakeries are operational in Gaza, providing over 2 million breads, rolls, and pita breads a day for the local population;
• on 15 March 2024 a ship carrying 115 tons of aid from @WCKitchen, donated by the UAE, arrived in Gaza’s maritime space, in accordance with the Israeli government’s decision; 12 WCK trucks distributed the aid to the northern Gaza Strip.

COGAT (Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories) is the official Israeli unit tasked with the coordination and facilitation of said humanitarian initiatives and is doing so in coordination with Egypt, the United States, and the UN. The coordination includes a joint coordination room with the international community, daily assessments, a quad meeting, J5 meetings as well as a designated task force. This coordination enables planning of aid and humanitarian response in accordance with the needs of the population and of the international organizations operating in Gaza.

In addition, Israel is facilitating the supply of water directly from Israel, the establishment of field hospitals in Gaza, assisting with evacuation of patients for medical treatment out of Gaza, and more. It has delivered medical supplies directly to Shifa Hospital and the other hospitals during the engagements there.

The IDF is enabling tactical pauses for humanitarian purposes. These pauses take place between 10:00 to 14:00. In specific areas and allow the civilians of Gaza to replenish stocks such as food and water. Israel has also designated a ‘humanitarian zone’ in southern Gaza, intended for use by international organizations to distribute aid.

The UN and aid agencies are responsible for the distribution of aid in Gaza. Unfortunately, there have been incidences of trucks being commandeered by Hamas and its affiliates.

Reuters has reported recently that armed and masked men from an array of clans and factions in Gaza have begun providing security to aid convoys. It is likely that these supplies end up controlled by Hamas.

For more information, including daily updates follow COGAT on X and here.

Iran

Iran has funded, armed, trained, and provided intelligence to Hamas for decades. Today, US and Israeli officials estimate that Iran provides Hamas at least $70m-$100m a year. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh claimed in a 2022 interview with Al Jazeera that his group receives $70 million a year from Iran.

It is unclear whether Iran played any direct role in the 7 October massacre and hostage taking. Citing a Hamas source, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran helped plot the attack and that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp gave it the go-ahead at a meeting in Beirut. Another Journal report claims that in the weeks leading up to the assault, hundreds of Hamas and other Islamist militants received specialized training in Iran.

In an example of Iranian support, on March 5, 2014, the Israeli Navy intercepted the Klos-C, a commercial ship flying a Panamanian flag, in the Red Sea off the Eritrean coast. The cargo included a variety of weapons, including: 40 M-302 surface to surface rockets manufactured in Syria, with a range of 90-200 km; 181 122mm mortar shells; and 400,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition.

Tensions between Israel and Iran reached new heights in mid-April. The two arch-enemies exchanged blows, pushing the already volatile region closer to a broader conflict.

The Israeli killing of a senior Iranian officer, Zahedi, in the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who was overseeing arming Iran’s proxies in the region and initiating attacks within Israel in Damascus on 1 April led to a massive Iranian airborne attack on Israel 12 days later, culminating on 19 April with an Israeli strike on an Iranian military facility.

Fuming, Iran complained that the Israeli bombing violated international law when hitting a “diplomatic” building near Iran’s consulate in the Syrian capital. Trapped by its own bellicose rhetoric, Iranian leaders promised painful revenge against Israel.

On April 13, Iran launched a significant attack on Israel, using swarms of armed drones, cruise, and ballistic missiles from its own soil and neighboring countries. Over 330 unmanned weapons with 60 tonnes of explosives were involved. Despite the scale, Israel remained largely unharmed due to its advanced defense systems and intelligence-sharing with the US and regional allies. Only a few missiles breached Israel’s defenses, causing minor damage and one injury. The coordinated response by Israel, the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan successfully intercepted most threats, highlighting the strength of their regional alliance and marking a major setback for Iran.

Qatar

Qatar has enabled Hamas politically and financially for decades.

  • Qatar has pumped an estimated US$1.8billion dollars into Hamas-run Gaza since 2007, and pledged US$360 million of annual support to the enclave in January 2021.
  • Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas’s political bureau, resides in Qatar, as do Khalil al-Hayya, head of Hamas’s communications office, and Khaled Mashal, Hamas’s former political chief and current head of the group’s diaspora office.
  • The Al Jazeera news organisation is owned by the Qatari government and effectively operates as a mouthpiece for Hamas.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on the Gulf nation because of Qatar’s support for terrorism, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that gave rise to Hamas, and the Houthi forces in Yemen.

However, despite its support for Hamas, Qatar has been named by the United States as a major non-NATO ally, with the country serving as a strategic hub for U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf region through the Al-Udeid Air Force Base, located 18 miles southwest of Doha.

Qatar played a key role in establishing dialogue between Israel and Hamas in November 2023, resulting in the ceasefire and the release of Israeli civilian hostages in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners held for committing terrorism and other crimes.

Egypt

Egypt manages its border along the southern end of Gaza. It is responsible for the flow of people and goods through the Rafah Crossing.

Both Egypt and Israel have long recognised the threat posed by the genocidal jihadist government of the Gaza Strip which sits between their two countries. Both Egypt and Israel have imposed a partial blockade on Gaza in defence of their people and have cooperated to fight the same Islamic extremism posed by ISIS in the Sinai. The aim of the blockade was to prevent weapons and other material that could be used to threaten or kill from entering Gaza.  Egypt has worked co-operatively with Israel in maintaining the previous blockade of Gaza and currently in connection with the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Hezbollah

Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim political party and militant group based in Lebanon, where its extensive security apparatus, political organization, and social services network have fostered its reputation as “a state within a state.” Founded in the chaos of the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-backed group is driven by its opposition to Israel and its resistance to Western influence in the Middle East. Hezbollah is thought to be the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, with a large and diverse stockpile of unguided artillery rockets, as well as ballistic, antiair, antitank, and antiship missiles. It has been designated a terrorist group by the USA, Australia, UK  Germany and other countries.

Since shortly after the 7 October massacres and kidnappings, there has been an almost daily barrage of rocket and other military firings from Hezbollah into northern Israel “in solidarity with” Hamas. Although some of these attacks have targeted Israeli military installations, most have been aimed at civilian towns and centres. Israel has successfully intercepted many of these attacks with minimal consequences, although one civilian was recently killed in a building collapse following an attack. Israel has responded to these attacks with its own military firings.

Hezbollah is in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by locating its forces in the approximately 29 kilometre zone between the Litani River in Lebanon and the northern Israeli frontier, known as the Blue line. The UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL appears to have no impact on Hezbollah’s operations in this area.

Approximately 60,000 Israelis have been evacuated from northern Israel in response to the fighting there.

Houthi

The Houthi are a large clan originating from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province. They practice a form of Shiite Islam and are closely linked with Iran. Zaydis make up around 35 percent of Yemen’s population.

There is currently a truce in its long running war with Yemen’s Sunni-majority Saudi and Western-backed government. The Houthis currently control much of Yemen, including the capital Sana’a, which accounts for around 70% of the population. In November 2020, before the current truce, the UN considered a staggering 80 per cent of the country’s population – over 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, including more than 12 million children.  The Houthis have previously launched missile and drone attacks against oil and military installations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and oil tankers at sea.

The current Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea are as much about supporting Hamas in its war with Israel, as domestically shoring up its political position against internal opposition. The Houthi are considered unlikely to be deterred by Western airstrikes because they survived many years of similar actions during the civil war, because they have achieved a level of “quasi-legitimacy” domestically, and because they have tapped in to the wider region’s hostility to Israel, particularly in connection with its war with Hamas, and Western support for Israel. 

What is Anti-Zionism?

Anti-Zionism refers to opposition to Zionism, denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. This opposition can be motivated by politics, religion, or ignorance and often perpetuates antisemitism by invoking historic antisemitic tropes. Anti-Zionism manifests in calls to destroy Israel or strip it of its Jewish character, malicious claims about Israel and its people, and holding Israel to unreasonable standards compared to other nations.

What is Antisemitism (Jew Hatred)?

Anti-semitism is rooted in centuries-old antisemitic myths. Jews faced accusations like deicide and blood libel in ancient and medieval times, evolving into allegations of global control. These myths have led to persecution and violence against Jews.

Modern Manifestations:

Today, antisemitic tropes persist, often linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terms like “Zionist” are used as euphemisms for Jews, shifting focus to modern political contexts. Diaspora Jews face pressure to renounce Zionism or criticize Israel to be accepted in societal discussions.

Why Anti-Zionism is Antisemitic:

  1. Denial of Self-Defense: Anti-Zionists criticize Israel’s security measures while justifying Palestinian violence. This undermines Israel’s right to protect its citizens and denies Jews self-determination.

  2. Historical Denial: Anti-Zionists deny the Jewish historical connection to Israel, spreading misinformation and fostering distrust.

  3. False Accusations: Anti-Zionists perpetuate age-old antisemitic tropes, accusing Jews of global conspiracies, leading to distrust and skepticism.

  4. Ignoring Antisemitism: Anti-Zionists claim their critiques are only against Israeli policies, yet they generalize and antagonize the global Jewish community.

The Anti-Zionist Obsession with Jewish Physical Features

Anti-Zionists are fixated on the physical appearance of Jews, particularly Israeli Jews, under the guise of advocating for Palestinians. This mirrors historical antisemitism. A common conspiracy claims Israel has the highest skin cancer rate in the Middle East, allegedly proving Israelis are not native to the region. This is false; Lebanon has the highest rate.

Anti-Zionists often label Israelis as “white,” ignoring that most Israeli Jews come from Middle Eastern and North African communities. Israel is multiethnic, including a significant Arab/Palestinian minority, Ethiopian Jews, Druze, and others. Genetic and historical evidence shows Ashkenazi Jews are of Middle Eastern descent, closely related to Palestinians.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about race or skin color, and framing it as such relies on antisemitic stereotypes.

Violence and Demonization:

Accusations of genocide and comparisons to Nazi Germany against Israel incite violence against Jews. These claims trivialize the Holocaust and perpetuate cycles of hate and attacks.

Distinguishing Legitimate Criticism:

Criticizing Israeli government policies is not inherently anti-Zionist. Most Jews support Israel’s existence while holding diverse views on its actions. Open, respectful debate is essential, avoiding hate and misinformation.

Conclusion

Anti-Zionism, when entwined with antisemitic tropes, denies Jewish rights and perpetuates violence. Constructive dialogue should distinguish between legitimate criticism and harmful rhetoric.

The above is based on the definition of the World Jewish Congress and article by Debbie Lechtman.

What is Settler-Colonialism?

Colonialism: A practice where a country imposes control over other territories, imposing its culture, language, and economic systems, often exploiting the colonized for economic gain.

Zionism as Settler-Colonialism

Fayez Sayegh, a member of a fascist party, claimed Zionism was settler-colonialism. His study contained many falsehoods, such as the claim that Jews only saw themselves as a nation due to 19th-century European colonialism. This is incorrect, as Jews have identified as the “Nation of Israel” for 3,000 years.

Sayegh also incorrectly stated that Palestinian nationalism predates Zionism. In fact, Palestinian nationalism emerged in 1920, while Zionist militias formed in response to Arab violence. Sayegh admitted Zionism differed from colonialism but concluded that Zionists were uniquely racist, which is not accurate.

Purpose of Zionism

Sayegh argued Zionism aimed to displace Palestinians, but the displacement in 1948 occurred because Palestinians and their allies started a war they lost. The goal of Zionism was to establish a home for the Jewish people in Israel. Zionists purchased land and avoided displacing Arab farmers.

Misconstruing Language

Terms like “colonization” historically referred to migration and settlement, not colonialism. For instance, the Jewish Colonisation Association provided homes for persecuted Jews without intending to create a Jewish state.

Jewish Right to Self-Determination

Jewish national identity dates back to the Kingdom of Israel in 1047 BCE. Self-determination is a legal right for all nations, including Jews. Denying Jews this right is antisemitic.

Legacy

The false portrayal of Zionism as settler-colonialism leads to dehumanization and rejection of dialogue. Anti-Zionists view Israel as illegitimate and justify extreme actions against Israelis. This perspective perpetuates conflict and ignores the reality that Jews have no other homeland.

Vietnamese general Võ Nguyên Giáp noted that, unlike colonial powers that could return home, Jews have no other place to go. Expelling Jews from Israel would only continue the cycle of conflict.


The above is based on the article by Debbie Lechtman.