July 21, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

How Israel Hit the Houthis in Yemen - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    The Israel Air Force attack in Yemen was carried out by 20 fighter jets, some of which were refueled in mid-air, and at a distance of more than 1,700 km. (1,000 miles) from Israel - 200 km. farther than Tehran.
    A security source said the decision to strike was made despite Israel's understanding that such an action would lead to prolonged exchanges of blows.
    This was because the assessment was that not responding to the UAV attack in Tel Aviv would be more severe - in terms of deterrence against Iran, Hizbullah, and the Houthis.

More Details of Israel's Strike on Houthi Port - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    According to several sources, the IDF attacked 10 targets in the maritime port area of Hodeidah in western Yemen.
    A security official said, "A capability developed over years, equivalent to striking Iran's furthest eastern point, was realized in a daylight operation, possibly not for the last time."
    "We insisted before our U.S. partners in the region that the IDF would carry out the operation alone, despite prior coordination."
    In addition to the drone that struck Tel Aviv on Friday, the Houthis also launched a cruise missile toward Israel, which landed in Jordan.

The Significance of the Attack on the Houthis in Yemen - Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
    Israel's attack on the Hodeidah Port in Yemen will not deter or stop the Houthi attacks or cut off the smuggling route from Iran to the Houthis.
    The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the U.S., which for the past nine months has been leading an international coalition in the Red Sea that is trying to deal with the Houthi attacks.
    The message is that "containment" had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder.
    Israel will have difficulty mobilizing the countries of the region to publicly stand up against the Houthis, even though some of them, especially Egypt, have been hurt by their attacks on the international trade route in the Red Sea even more than Israel.
    Yoel Guzansky is a senior researcher at INSS, where Ilan Zalayat is a research associate.

Iranian Proxies Attack U.S. Base in Iraq for First Time in Months - Noah Robertson (Military Times)
    An Iran-backed militant group attacked a U.S. base in Iraq Tuesday in the first such attack since April, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.
    Two armed drones flew toward Al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq. American forces shot one down, and the other one hit the base with "minimal damage."

Washington Post Deletes Tweet about How Hostage's Parents Don't Talk about Gaza - Lauren Markoe (Forward)
    The Washington Post deleted a tweet Friday that appeared to insult the parents of Omer Neutra, an Israeli American held hostage in Gaza, who spoke before the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.
    The tweet referred to Neutra as "missing" as opposed to a hostage, and complained that his parents don't speak publicly "about Israel's assault on Gaza that has killed over 38,000 Palestinians."
    The American Jewish Committee responded, "Shame on @WashingtonPost for calling the Neutras' morality into question."
    Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) tweeted, "That the Washington Post would shame the parents of Omer Neutra for keeping their focus on the captivity of their son is beneath contempt."

Quietly and Deep Underground, Israelis Are Preparing for Another War - Carrie Keller-Lynn (Wall Street Journal)
    Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa has set up four operating rooms, a maternity ward and a dialysis center three levels down in its underground parking garage, part of its plan to keep functioning in an all-out conflict with Hizbullah.
    Homeowners associations across Israel are clearing out dusty shelters in apartment buildings, fixing plumbing and stockpiling water and supplies to be ready for long stays underground.
    Some in Tel Aviv keep go-bags of essentials packed by the door.
    Emergency crews are being beefed up, and supplies of necessities such as blood are being secured.
    Magen David Adom, which manages Israel's emergency medical response, has been stockpiling field dressings, syringes and medications for the past few months in an underground facility.
    At the warehouse, the parking bay is packed with some of the 200 ambulances Magen David Adom has added to its fleet since the war in Gaza began.
    Magen David Adom also manages Israel's national blood bank, which moved underground in October. Israel's strategic blood reserve is guarded in a chilled vault three floors underground.
    Israel's Fire and Rescue Services is training more than 150 civilian response teams in communities within 18 miles of Israel's border with Lebanon.
    Haifa has created more than 100 new public shelters, outfitting them with generators and internet access.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • After Houthi Attack in Tel Aviv, Israel Responds in Yemen - Aaron Boxerman
    Israeli airstrikes targeted a power station as well as gas and oil depots at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah in Yemen on Saturday in retaliation for the deadly Houthi drone attack in Tel Aviv on Friday. IDF Spokesperson R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari called the port a major supply stop for Iran to funnel weapons to its Houthi allies in Yemen, who have fired over 200 missiles and drones at Israel over the past several months. In addition, the Houthis have menaced ships passing through the Red Sea to try to blockade the Israeli port of Eilat.
        The U.S. was not involved in the strikes on Saturday, nor did it coordinate or assist Israel with the strikes, the National Security Council said. "We fully recognize and acknowledge Israel's right to self-defense," it said. (New York Times)
        See also Israel Responds to Houthi Attack on Tel Aviv - Maya Gur Arieh
    The IDF on Saturday struck Houthi military targets and energy infrastructure at the port of Hodeidah in western Yemen. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel's action was in response to the Houthi drone attack that killed Yevgeny Ferder, 50, in Tel Aviv early Friday. "The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear," Gallant said. "The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them."
        Chairman of the National Unity Party Benny Gantz said, "We are always willing to do the work to protect the citizens of Israel ourselves. It was so in the past and will be in the future, in front of everyone who hurts us, on every front." Opposition leader and Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said, "The attack in Yemen is justified and accurate. Congratulations to the Air Force, the IDF, and the security forces for a perfect performance."
        IDF Spokesperson R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari said, "Our pilots attacked the port of Hodeidah, a supply route for the transfer of Iranian weapons. We also attacked energy infrastructure." Israel updated its allies before carrying out the strike. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Launches Effort to Stop Russia from Arming Houthis with Antiship Missiles - Michael R. Gordon
    U.S. intelligence agencies are warning that Russia might arm Houthi militants in Yemen with advanced antiship missiles in retaliation for the Biden administration's support for Ukrainian strikes inside Russia with U.S. weapons. The White House has launched a confidential push to try to stop Moscow from delivering the missiles to the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have been attacking shipping in the Red Sea for eight months.
        Meanwhile, Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, recently advised in a classified letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that military operations in the region are "failing" to deter Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and that a broader approach is needed, according to U.S. officials. "If you tell the military to re-establish freedom of navigation and then you tell them to only be defensive, it isn't going to work," said one U.S. official. "It is all about protecting ships without affecting the root cause."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • International Court of Justice Says Israel's Presence in Judea, Samaria, and Eastern Jerusalem Is Illegal and Should End - Mike Corder
    The International Court of Justice in The Hague issued a nonbinding opinion on Friday that Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem is unlawful and called on it to end. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, "The Jewish people are not conquerors in their own land - not in our eternal capital Jerusalem and not in the land of our ancestors in Judea and Samaria. No false decision in The Hague will distort this historical truth and, likewise, the legality of Israeli settlement in all the territories of our homeland cannot be contested."
        Two decades ago, the ICJ ruled that Israel's West Bank separation barrier was "contrary to international law." Israel says the barrier is a security measure. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also The Next International Court of Justice Debacle - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also At International Court of Justice, U.S. Argued Against Declaring Israeli West Bank Rule Illegal - Jeremy Sharon (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 1 Dead in Houthi Drone Attack on Tel Aviv - Yael Ciechanover
    Yevgeny Ferder, 50, was killed, and ten others were injured from shrapnel and shock after an Iranian drone launched from Yemen hit central Tel Aviv, not far from the former U.S. Embassy, early Friday.
        IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said, "The UAV threat is one we are actively confronting. So far, dozens of them have been launched from Yemen and intercepted by the U.S. Task Force and our Air Force. We are investigating why this particular UAV was not identified as a threat." The drone was detected by the military but was not shot down due to human error. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Intercepts Missile Fired from Yemen on Sunday - Yoav Zitun
    At 6 a.m. on Sunday, the IDF intercepted a missile that approached Israeli territory from Yemen using the Arrow 3 Aerial Defense System. (Ynet News)
  • Netanyahu: Israeli Presence along Egypt-Gaza Border Is Essential - Tovah Lazaroff
    It's essential for Israel to hold onto the strategic buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza known as the Philadelphi Corridor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday during a visit there. "The understanding that our possession of the Philadelphi Corridor and the Rafah crossing are essential only grew stronger" during his visit, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The International Court of Justice Ruling Against Israel

  • Israel's Demand for the Right to Settle in Our Land Is Legal - Prof. Talia Einhorn
    International law recognizes the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel as the basis for re-establishing our national home. In a 2012 report, Supreme Court Justice (retired) Edmund Levy, Judge (retired) Tchia Shapira, and Amb. Alan Baker, former legal adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed Israel's position that the territories of Mandatory Israel are not "occupied territories" but "disputed territories." Israel has superior rights to these areas, and Israeli citizens are allowed to settle there.
        The term "occupation" in international law has a precise definition. For a territory to be considered "occupied," Israel would have had to take it from a foreign sovereign, but no such sovereign existed. The Jewish people are the only ones who have viewed the Land of Israel as their homeland throughout the generations. When the Muslims ruled Jerusalem, they did not make it their capital. Jerusalem had a Jewish majority as early as the 19th century.
        When the British Mandate for Palestine was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922, it explicitly stated that it was based on the international recognition given "to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." The Mandate did not refer to Arab national rights, as its purpose was to renew the political connection between the Jewish people and their land. The Jewish people's rights under the Mandate were reaffirmed in Article 80 of the UN Charter.
        The writer is a professor of law at Ariel University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Anti-Israel Lawfare Has Reached a Dangerous New Low - Natasha Hausdorff
    The virulently anti-Israel advisory opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday, arguing that Israel's "policies and practices" have breached international law, does not have legally binding status. The value of that opinion is ultimately undermined by the weakness of its reasoning, the misapplication of international law and the false factual basis upon which it is predicated.
        The Court has called for the "evacuation" of Jews - read ethnic cleansing - from Judea and Samaria and Israel's capital Jerusalem. The majority of judges signed onto patent falsehoods, claiming that "no information has been provided to the Court to substantiate [Israel's] claims" concerning the legal status of the territory. Yet this information was provided by multiple states and international organizations.
        The opinion is driven by a clear political agenda from the Court's President Nawaf Salam, who twice ran to be Lebanon's prime minister and has a virulently anti-Israel track record. By pursuing this pseudo-legal campaign at the ICJ, the Palestinian Authority has engaged in a further flagrant violation of the Oslo Accords, the very international agreement which created it in 1994.
        The writer is a barrister and legal director at UK Lawyers for Israel Charitable Trust. (Telegraph-UK)

  • Other Issues

  • Vilifying Israel's Use of 2,000-Pound Bombs Only Ends Up Costing More Lives - John Spencer
    Last week, Israel very likely killed the long-time head of Hamas's military, Mohammed Deif, with multiple 2,000-pound bombs. President Joe Biden has been blocking shipments of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel, saying, "They cannot be used in Gaza or any other populated area without causing great human tragedy and damage."
        To be sure, the war in Gaza has been incredibly destructive, and thousands of Palestinians have tragically been killed. The numbers are as high as they are because Hamas has cynically dug itself in beneath densely populated areas. Israel has used its 2,000-pound bombs against military targets in bunkers and tunnels, even while knowing that there would be unavoidable civilian casualties - just as the U.S. has done in its past wars.
        Some claim that the U.S. has rarely used 2,000-pound bombs. That's simply not true. During the first Gulf war, the U.S. dropped more than 16,000 2,000-pound bombs on Iraqi targets. During the opening month of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it dropped more than 5,000 of these bombs in Baghdad, a city of over 5 million residents. The U.S. dropped four of the bombs on one building in a residential neighborhood after receiving intelligence reports that senior Iraqi officials, possibly including Saddam Hussein and his two sons, were there.
        A human rights advocacy coalition has sought to have all bombs, missiles, artillery, and mortars banned from use in any urban area, even if a military was able to evacuate all the civilians from the area. As a scholar of urban warfare, I have concluded and presented to the UN that banning bombs and artillery in urban warfare would perversely result in more destruction, not less.
        Restrictions on the use of bombs in cities sucks the fight into cities from rural areas. If the attacking army is deprived of those weapons, defenders engage in protracted block-by-block street fights that lead to mass destruction and thousands of lost lives. Without bombs or artillery, urban battles become bloody sieges that drag out the war.
        In the 1945 Battle of Manila, Gen. Douglas MacArthur banned the U.S. Army from using bombs for fear of destroying the city and killing civilians. Nevertheless, 100,000 civilians perished and most of the city was destroyed to defeat a Japanese force not even half the size of Hamas in Gaza.
        The writer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point. (Newsweek)
  • The Netherlands' Unrighteous Gentiles - Tunku Varadarajan
    Annemiek Gringold is a Dutch Jew and the principal curator of the National Holocaust Museum, which opened in Amsterdam in March. Some 140,000 Jews lived in the Netherlands before World War II; 102,000 (3/4) perished. After the war, Jewish survivors were ostracized out of fear that they would reclaim property that many Dutch Christians had appropriated. The Jews were a searing reminder that the postwar national self-image - of a plucky, upright folk that had resisted the Nazis to the best of their abilities - was in many cases bogus.
        Young Dutch people aren't sufficiently taught in schools of the extent to which the country's people collaborated with Nazi occupiers. Too many older citizens still subscribe to the convenient myth that the deportation of their Jewish compatriots to Auschwitz were crimes in which the Dutch didn't participate. When the museum opened on March 10, anti-Israel protesters outside - many of them white and Dutch - called for the chief guest, Israel's President Isaac Herzog, to be tried for genocide.
        A section in the museum is the "corridor of collaborators," where a third of all portraits depict Dutch people. They were Jew hunters, who got a bounty for turning people in, and volunteer guards. The persecution of Jews in the Netherlands took place in plain view. "We didn't have brick walls and barbed wire and ghettos in the Netherlands," Gringold says. The isolation of Jews was done by laws and regulations, enforced by Dutch civil servants. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Judging the Netherlands - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

How Israel Turned the Tide in Rafah - Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz interviewed by Elliot Kaufman (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that for months Western powers pressured Israel to end the war in Gaza. They called for an "immediate cease-fire," which would leave Hamas victorious. "The main reason that this murderer, [Hamas leader] Sinwar, didn't do the hostage deal is because he expected the world to stop Israel without it. He expected the ICJ, the ICC, the Security Council, maybe...the United Nations...and the EU" - surely one of them would force Israel to capitulate.
  • Katz was on the receiving end of many lectures from Western officials. "I sat with foreign ministers, and they told me, 'Don't go to Rafah, don't go to Rafah. It'll be a mess.'" The Rafah operation was delayed by months as the White House withheld weapons from Israel. On May 6, Israel invaded Rafah anyway.
  • "And we were right. Everyone knows it now, even the U.S....They said that it would take four months to evacuate the population. It took only days." More than a million Gazans quickly evacuated Rafah to designated safe zones. No critics recanted, but the pressure on Israel quietly diminished.
  • "There will be a deal only if Sinwar will understand that he doesn't have any other choice. The people that deal with the negotiations are telling us now: 'Don't stop, continue'" - push Hamas even harder.
  • "You will sit there, in the fjords in Norway, and decide that there will be a Palestinian state? It will not happen. We want peace more than you do." It's suicide that Israelis object to.
  • "We don't ask anyone to fight instead of our soldiers. It's a principle for us." But "we need you to back us, and to let our enemies know that you back us. This is not a regular war. Iran and Hizbullah, Hamas and the Houthis and the Shiite militias - they want to eliminate Israel. To destroy Israel. It's not a game. We don't have another homeland, OK?"
  • "It's not like the Holocaust. I'm a son of Holocaust survivors...but it's the same intent. If they would have the power to do the same thing, they would do it."

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