This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Jan. 18, 2024. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum/POOL.
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Netanyahu lays out conditions for ending war against Hamas
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"I don't need help navigating our relationship with the U.S.," said the Israeli premier, after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir criticized Biden's handling of the war.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday set out the country's core demands for ending the war against Hamas in Gaza.

"The essential goal is, first of all, the elimination of Hamas. To achieve this goal, three things are needed," Netanyahu told journalists ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv.

"The first requirement is the collapse of Hamas's battalions. To date, we have leveled 17 out of 24 battalions. Most of the remaining battalions are in the southern Gaza Strip and Rafah—we will also take care of those," he said.

After the battalions are destroyed, the Israeli military will have to carry out clearance operations to prevent Hamas from rebuilding its terrorist army, "as our forces are doing with determination in very aggressive raids in the north and center of the Strip," Netanyahu continued.

Finally, Netanyahu said, Israel will need to complete "the neutralization of the underground [tunnels], as our forces are systematically doing in Khan Yunis and in all parts of the Strip, and this requires more time."

The Israel Defense Forces will not withdraw from Gaza before it achieves the goals of eliminating Hamas, returning all 136 hostages and ensuring that the coastal enclave never again constitutes a threat to the Jewish state, Netanyahu reiterated.

Netanyahu also called to replace the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA with other aid organizations "not tainted by support for terrorism."

In an interview published by The Wall Street Journal earlier on Sunday, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir leveled criticism at U.S. President Joe Biden, saying Donald Trump would have been better for Israel during the current war.

"Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel [to Gaza], which goes to Hamas," charged Ben-Gvir. "If Trump was in power, the U.S. conduct would be completely different."

Ronen Bar, head of the Israeli Security Agency, or Shin Bet, has said Hamas diverts at least 60% of the aid entering the Strip for its own purposes, Channel 12 reported on Jan. 31. Nevertheless, Washington continues to pressure Israel to allow food, fuel and medicine into Gaza.

"I don't need help navigating our relationship with the U.S. and the international community while standing firm on our national interests. Thank God, I've been doing this for several years," Netanyahu said on Sunday, in an apparent swipe at his right-wing coalition partner.

"Israel is a sovereign state. We greatly appreciate the support we have received from the Biden administration since the outbreak of the war.... This does not mean that we do not have differences of opinion, but so far we have managed to overcome them with determined and weighed decisions," he noted.

On Jan. 8, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told The New York Times that Israel had shifted to a new and less intense phase of its war against Hamas, that would involve fewer ground troops and airstrikes.

The move followed repeated demands from Washington for Israel to lower the intensity of combat in the enclave.

Exactly one week later, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called a press conference to signal the impending end to heavy combat in Gaza. "The intensive maneuvering phase in the north of the Gaza Strip has ended, and in the south, it will also end soon," stated Gallant.

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While a senior United Nations aid official said on Tuesday that a quarter of the Gazan population is one step away from famine, Israel and the United States laid blame at the feet of the United Nations and Hamas, respectively.

The U.N. Security Council met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss food insecurity in Gaza. Much of the enclave's agricultural and food production infrastructure has been severely impacted by the war between Israel and Hamas.

But Robert Wood, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that ultimately, Hamas is responsible for the suffering in Gaza.

“It lies with Hamas, because Hamas started this on Oct. 7 in its invasion,” said Wood. “Now we have to deal with the aftermath of that. And the important thing, as we've said over and over again, is getting assistance scaled up.”

But Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told the council that, "Very little will be possible while hostilities continue and while there is a risk that they will spread into the overcrowded areas in the south of Gaza. We therefore reiterate our call for a ceasefire."

Israel, though, claimed the main barrier to scaled-up aid is the United Nations itself.

Jonathan Miller, Israel’s U.N. deputy ambassador, told the Security Council that his delegation is fully committed to ramping up the flow and delivery of humanitarian assistance in Gaza, including the easing of the entry of aid at the Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings. 

He also said that the opening of additional border crossings are under discussion—something Washington is pushing for, according to Wood.

"Simply put, Israel must do more," Wood told the council. "We continue to call on Israel to improve deconfliction procedures to ensure aid can move safely and securely."

Miller pushed back on assertions by U.N. officials and some member states that Israel is choking off the food supply to Gazans, describing them as attempts to spread Hamas lies and shift the blame onto Israel for inefficient distribution methods. 

"Israel has been clear in its policies. There is absolutely no limit, and I repeat, there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid that can be sent to the civilian population of Gaza,” said Miller, adding that Israel approves most aid requests.

“These are the facts. No one can claim otherwise,” said Miller, pointing to some 20 bakeries in Gaza that he said are currently producing more than two million pita breads a day.

Miller was adamant that Israel is not the entity holding up the lines of trucks waiting at Gaza's borders with Egypt and Israel, pointing to the U.N.’s inefficiencies in routing the deliveries and the diversion of aid into the hands of Hamas.

Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s U.N. envoy, told the Security Council that “it is high time” to impose sanctions on Israel for obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid. 

Nebenzia also blasted a U.S.-circulated draft resolution calling for a ceasefire once a diplomatic agreement is reached, and in tandem with the release of hostages held in Gaza.

According to Nebenzia, the text provides “another ‘license to kill’ Palestinian civilians, which the United States intends to issue to Israel under UNSC authority.”

Wood countered that Russia is in a poor position to speak while its assault on Ukraine continues. Wood told reporters that the U.S. mission is holding discussions about the feedback it has received from council members on its draft resolution, and that there is no time frame for bringing it up for a vote.

“We're going to work to find some common language that everyone can support,” said Wood, who, with the U.S. mission, has vetoed three Security Council resolutions which would have imposed a ceasefire on Israel.

In response to a question from JNS, Slovenia’s U.N. ambassador said that while he would leave discussions on specific areas of disagreement for the council chambers, there are “a few areas” where he thinks the council will “need to have additional work on the technical” aspects of the U.S. draft resolution. 

“Of course, everything starts with a ceasefire. And, of course, we hope that the efforts on the ground will give results so that we have hostages released and we have a ceasefire,” said Boštjan Malovrh. “But no matter what happens on the ground, I think we need to try once again before the beginning of Ramadan to pass a resolution.”

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Once a minor force in Israeli politics, the electoral success of the religious Zionist movement and its role in the coalition government mean that it is now frequently discussed in the halls of power in Washington. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of one of the two religious Zionist parties, and other conservatives in the Israeli government could cause Israel to lose global support.

“Israel has had the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations,” Biden said during an interview in New York with comedian Seth Meyers. “If it keeps this up with this incredibly conservative government they have, and Ben-Gvir and others—I’ve known every major foreign policy leader in Israel since Golda Meir—they’re going to lose support from around the world.”

In a sit-down interview with JNS on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in National Harbor, Md., Simcha Rothman, a Knesset member in the Religious Zionist Party and one of the architects of the coalition's judicial reform effort, described a very different picture than the one painted by the U.S. president. 

The Biden administration’s decision on Friday to label “settlements” as “inconsistent with international law” was no way to treat an ally in a time of war, the Knesset member said.

“You can say, ‘We don’t like it.’ You can say, ‘It’s against our policy.’ But once you abuse the term ‘legal,’ when suddenly the guy who has his house there, suddenly his house is ‘illegal’ because you said so, that’s not not the way law works, not international, not local,” said Rothman.

The leader of Rothman’s party, Bezalel Smotrich, Israel's finance minister, announced the approval of housing units on Friday in response to a deadly terror attack near Ma’ale Adumim. The announcement was “an appropriate Zionist response” to the attack, he said.

Rothman explained that responding to terror attacks by constructing housing undermines the logic of those who seek Israel’s destruction.

“We know that terror comes from the hope of kicking us out of the land of Israel,” he told JNS. “If they try to force you out, you dig deeper in. That’s the appropriate answer, because then it shows that we’re here to stay.”

“The fact that people are trying to intimidate Jews for living in their ancient homeland, whether it be with terror attacks, with sanctions, with U.N. declarations or other declarations just makes us stronger in understanding that we need to connect to our land and live there and stay there,” he said.

‘Deeply flawed’

Rothman entered politics in 2013 when he founded the Movement for Governability and Democracy, a nonprofit devoted to carrying out judicial reform in Israel. Rothman, who is frequently described as the architect of the judicial reform movement, was first elected to the Knesset in 2021.

“I saw that the system is deeply flawed and in need of reform and in need of respect for the choice of the people of Israel,” he told JNS.

Previously a member of Likud, Rothman said that the difference between the Religious Zionist Party, Likud and the other coalition parties on the right arguably has more to do with social emphases than ideological differences.

“There are three major values that we need to push forward, which are the land of Israel, the nation of Israel and the Torah—the religious part of Israel,” he said. 

“The ‘regular’ right can say, ‘I am very nationalist, but it’s not connected to my religious views.’ The ultra-Orthodox would say, ‘We’re very religious, and we might be nationalists, but it’s not connected. We can be very religious and left-wing, or think that Israel should not be in Judea and Samaria, it doesn’t matter.’”

“The connection between those three is the religious Zionist ideology, which created a social group, which created a party,” he said. “It’s more thinking about the religious aspect of Jewish life in Israel that is the religious Zionist ideology.”

Knesset member Simcha Rothman at a panel discussing the Law of Return, in Tel Aviv, April 24, 2023. Credit: Courtesy of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Hostages

The Religious Zionist Party has faced criticism in Israel in recent weeks after Smotrich said that he would prioritize destroying Hamas over securing the release of hostages.

On Sunday, Smotrich said he would vote against the latest ceasefire-for-hostages proposal as it was outlined in Israeli media reports on Saturday.

Rothman had not seen those new details when he spoke with JNS on Friday and didn’t know if he would support a new hostage deal. But he explained why he was likely to oppose a new deal with Hamas, as he opposed the previous one.

“The only paper I want them to sign is their unconditional surrender or death certificate,” he told JNS.

“We need to eliminate them, and once we are moving forward to eliminate them, that will bring the most hostages back,” he said. “Either with the IDF releasing them, as happened, or by people surrendering with the hostages they are holding because they don’t want to die.”

Gaza’s past, future

Biden administration officials have repeatedly insisted that Gaza is Palestinian land and that Gazan civilians should not be permanently resettled in other countries.

“We have been clear, consistent and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller wrote in a statement in January.

Simcha Rothman
Simcha Rothman (third from left), a member of Knesset and one of the judicial reform architects, speaks at CPAC on Feb. 22, 2024 in National Harbor, Md. Photo by Andrew Bernard.

Ben-Gvir and Smotrich have rejected that notion, suggesting that Palestinians could voluntarily leave the Strip. Ben-Gvir went further, saying that a resettlement of Palestinians could open the way for Israeli civilians to return to Gaza, after Israel disengaged from the Strip in 2005.

“Really appreciate the United States, but with all due respect, we’re not another star on the American flag,” Ben-Gvir wrote, in Hebrew, in January. “The United States is our best friend, but first and foremost we will do what is best for the State of Israel. The migration of hundreds of thousands from Gaza will allow the [Jewish] residents of the enclave to return home and live in security.”

Rothman said that he thinks the 2005 disengagement produced a “terrible outcome” in the Oct. 7 attacks, but said it was premature to be talking about a renewed Israeli civilian presence in Gaza.

“Displacing Jews from Gaza was a terrible act,” he told JNS. “I think this, for lack of a better name, ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the State of Israel of its own people was immoral and illegitimate.”

However, he continued, "Is this the right time to speak about returning to Gaza? I’m not sure, because I feel that before we talk about it, we need to eliminate Hamas."

He noted that many residents of southern Israel were still not back in their homes.

"Before we talk about it [resettlement of Gaza], we need to make sure that the surroundings of Gaza, like the people of Sderot, can go back to their homes. That the people in the north can go back to their homes. That more recent crisis needs to be addressed,” he said.

Rothman believes Jews have a right to live anywhere in the land of Israel, including Gaza. Jews should have a right to live anywhere in the world, he said.

“If people said Jews cannot live in the Upper East Side—it’s not the land of Israel—if people said Jews cannot live in Texas, we wouldn’t accept it,” he said. “Why would we accept the idea that Jews cannot live in Gaza?”

“The anti-Israel, and some would say antisemitic, way of thinking is so deep in our system that we think it’s legitimate to say that Jews cannot live in their ancient homeland because it’s a war crime,” he added.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night hit back at U.S. President Joe Biden for claiming that the Jewish state's "incredibly conservative government" risked losing it international support.

"Since the start of the war, I have been leading a diplomatic campaign to block pressure designed to end the war prematurely and to secure strong support for Israel," said Netanyahu in a video message.

"We have had considerable success. Today, a Harvard-Harris poll was published which shows that 82% of the American public supports Israel, meaning that four out of five U.S. citizens support Israel and not Hamas," he continued.

"This will help us continue the campaign until total victory," added the premier.

Speaking with Seth Meyer on NBC's "Late Night on Monday," Biden noted that the Israel Defense Forces campaign against Hamas in Gaza has so far "had the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations."

However, "if it keeps this up without [changing]—this incredibly conservative government they have, and [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir and others, most—I've known every major foreign policy leader in Israel since Golda Meir—they're going to lose support from around the world. And that is not in Israel's interest," said Biden.

The American president also signaled that a ceasefire in Gaza could be imminent, claiming that Israel had agreed to pause its military offensive during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early March.

"There's a process underway that I think if we get that—that temporary ceasefire, we're going to be able to move in a direction where we can change the dynamic and not have a two-state solution immediately, but a process to get to a two-state solution, a process to guarantee Israel's security and the independence of the Palestinians," stated Biden.

However, Israel's Ynet quoted senior Israeli officials on Tuesday morning as saying that they do not understand "what the American president's optimism is based on."

A spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that there has been no breakthrough in the negotiations, while Doha is "optimistic" that a deal can be reached even though gaps remain between the sides.

The Hamas terrorist group also weighed in on Biden's comments, with a source telling Reuters that the statement was premature and did not align with the situation on the ground.

Disagreements over the war against Hamas are driving Biden towards a "breach" with Netanyahu, who he believes can no longer be "influenced even in private," The Washington Post reported earlier this month, citing insiders in Washington.

Quoting "19 senior administration officials and outside advisers," the newspaper said that Biden's mounting frustration with Netanyahu has led some White House aides to suggest that the president ramp up public criticism of the IDF operation in Gaza.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 1 that Biden is frustrated over the number of casualties in Gaza, the displacement of civilians from their homes "and the lack of a road map for ending the fighting."

On Feb. 11, a senior Biden administration official told NBC News that "there is a growing divide between the U.S. and Israel," specifically over the looming IDF offensive in Rafah.

Politico has reported that Biden is "deeply suspicious" of Israel's leader and had said privately that Netanyahu was a "bad f–ing guy."

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Bringing them all together!

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Israel has significantly reduced the scope of aid distributed through UNRWA, and now most of the supplies entering Gaza are handled by other organizations.

According to data from Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories obtained by Israel Hayom, 52% of the food entering the Strip is delivered to the "U.N. World Food Programme (WFP),” 34% to UNRWA, and the rest to other aid organizations.

A security source told Israel Hayom that the shift is not coincidental and reflects Israel's desire to reduce UNRWA's role in managing civilian life in the Gaza Strip as much as possible. The move comes against the backdrop of mounting evidence showing UNRWA employees were active participants in the Oct. 7 atrocities and glorified the acts afterward. 

The call to replace UNRWA was heard by dozens of public figures and experts at a special conference convened near U.N. headquarters in Geneva, under the title "International Summit for a Future Beyond UNRWA." The special gathering was initiated by UN Watch, a watchdog that monitors U.N. activity and documents its bias against Israel. 

The hardest moment of the conference was when a grieving Israeli mother, Ayelet Samerano, showed footage of a UNRWA employee brutally dragging her son Yonatan's body and abducting it to Gaza. 

Samerano tearfully appealed to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres:

"Mr. Guterres, look me in the eyes and answer me now, where is my son? Bring him back home. You are next door. You have the opportunity to speak with me and tell me what happened to my son. I'm not an investigator and cannot answer these questions. I'm just a mother who lost the most precious thing in the world. 

“That is why I am standing here before you today and demanding answers about my son. We already have proof that at least 42 UNRWA employees took part in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack. For me, there is only one decision: UNRWA has no reason to exist. U.N., clean your house!”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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U.S. President Joe Biden raised eyebrows on Monday when he said that he hoped for a ceasefire deal by the end of next weekend. The remark puzzled senior Israeli officials, who were unaware of the cause for such expedited optimism.

Reporters wondered the same during the U.S. State Department press briefing on Tuesday.

"Can you give us any more details on what’s underpinning the president’s optimism given that partners in the region have kind of thrown cold water on the notion that this could be accomplished in the coming days?" a reporter asked.

"What’s underpinning the president’s optimism is looking at the broad outlines of a deal that we have put in place through negotiations last week and negotiations that are continuing through this week," said Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman.

Miller added that Biden "believes and we believe one was in—one is within reach. That said, to be clear, we don’t have one yet."

"Hamas will need to agree to one, but we do think it’s possible and we’re going to continue to push for it, and we want to see it happen as soon as possible," he said.

"Certainly, we’d welcome getting one by this weekend," he added. "We are trying to push this deal over the finish line."

Asked about the timing of the deal around the Muslim month of Ramadan, Miller said that "if we got a temporary ceasefire as soon as this weekend or as soon as early next week, just looking at logically how that would proceed, that would extend over the course of Ramadan."

"If we were able to reach over Ramadan—or before Ramadan, that would extend through Ramadan and would provide an outcome that I think would help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and, as I said, get hostages out," he added.

A reporter pointed out that Israel has said it will dismantle Hamas, and that the terrorist organization is currently holed up in Rafah.

"Let’s start by saying no one here can predict the future, and we ought to be—all ought to be humble in trying to predict how the future will unfold, especially in such a volatile situation," Miller said.

A "number of variables" would be in play after a temporary ceasefire, according to Miller.

"Yes, we agree with the government of Israel that the persistence of Hamas battalions in Rafah or wherever else they might be, or Hamas fighters wherever else they might be in Gaza, does represent a legitimate security threat to the state of Israel that they have a right to address," he said. "That may be addressing through a military campaign."

"But as we’ve heard us say before, Hamas could make all this easier by laying down their arms and forswearing further threats against the government of Israel," Miller added. "I know whenever I say that, people say, 'Oh, Hamas will never do that.' But again, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t if they want to see this war end."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7d2G1VkpCQ
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  • Words count:
    417 words
  • Type of content:
    Update Desk
  • Publication Date:
    February 27, 2024

The Houthis have carried out at least 48 attacks on commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea since Nov. 19, Dan Shapiro, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, testified on Tuesday.

Shapiro, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, addressed a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism on "Yemen and Red Sea security issues."

"Despite the Houthis’ claims, these attacks are almost entirely unrelated to Israel and Israeli-affiliated shipping," Shapiro testified. "And to be clear, any such attacks would be entirely illegitimate anyway."

Timothy Lenderking, U.S. special envoy for Yemen at the State Department, agreed.

"These attacks on commercial vessels are acts of terrorism. The Houthis are not even adhering to their stated goals. They are mostly hitting ships with no connection whatsoever to Israel, with over 55 countries affected to date, and driving up the difficulty and cost of delivering humanitarian aid to people around the world—including, of course, to Yemenis themselves," Lenderking testified.

The Houthis' "indiscriminate" attacks have "threatened the free flow of commerce through the Red Sea—a bedrock of the global economy," Shapiro testified.

"The Houthis have also fired missiles against Israel that have threatened or caused damage to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia," he said.

Shapiro testified that Iran doesn't control the Houthis, as it does other aligned groups in Iraq and Syria, "but it certainly has the choice to provide or withhold support to the Houthis, without which the Houthis would struggle to effectively track and strike vessels navigating shipping lanes through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden."

"We have made it clear to Iran that we hold it accountable for attacks by its partners and proxies, and believe Iranian leaders are aware of the consequences should these attacks result in U.S. casualties," he said.

Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman, also spoke about the Houthi attacks during a press briefing on Tuesday.

"It’s the latest in a long string of reckless attacks by the Houthis on entities and interests that have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza," Miller said. "Just as when we saw the Houthis attack ships that were bringing food to the people of Yemen, these attacks are on entities that do nothing to help Palestinians who are suffering, are in no way connected to the conflict in Gaza and they should stop immediately."

"We will continue to hold them accountable for the attacks," he said.

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  • Words count:
    641 words
  • Type of content:
    News
  • Byline:
  • Publication Date:
    February 27, 2024
  • Media:
    2 files

Gabriel Boxer of Long Island, N.Y., never expected that a joke would result in his spending a day in Khan Yunis this month in the central Gaza Strip.

The 43-year-old had made several trips to Israel to bring in supplies since the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7. In his capacity working with the American Friends of Judea and Samaria raising funds for surveillance drones, he was talking to Yigal Dilmoni, CEO of the Yesha Council.

“As a joke, I said: ‘You should bring someone in to see how everything is working to raise money for more of them,’” he told JNS.

Boxer, who also blogs online as the “Kosher Guru,” was surprised that he subsequently got permission to embed with the Israel Defense Forces—a highly unusual, if not unprecedented, arrangement for a civilian.

“It took over a month and a half to get final approval,” he told JNS. “I heard there was a lot of back and forth behind the scenes.”

He figures a sticking point was how bad it would look if a U.S. civilian was harmed.

“I was told not to leave the side of the commander because I was not dressed as an Israeli soldier, and if I didn’t follow that, they would not be responsible if anything happened,” he told JNS.

In fact, during the more than five hours he went through Khan Younis on a Humvee, Boxer told JNS that there were some tense moments, including when Israeli soldiers ahead of him fired at four Hamas terrorists.

“I heard gunfire a lot of the time,” he told JNS.

Gabriel Boxer in Tunnel
Boxer in a Hamas terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip, February 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

‘Wasn’t thinking about it’

A husband and father, Boxer told JNS that he didn’t sleep much a few nights before his trip.

“I told my wife and children what was going to happen, but I didn’t tell my parents until after. I didn’t want them to worry,” he said. “I was definitely concerned.”

Boxer had faith that God would protect him while he was there. “I wasn’t thinking about it so much,” he said. “I was thinking about the bravery of the Israeli soldiers and how it is tragic that things have to be this way because of Hamas.”

An Orthodox Jew who wears a yarmulke, Boxer told JNS that Israeli soldiers showed him photographs from a school in Gaza where painted images show an exploding Israeli Egged bus.

“When we saw video and read about Oct. 7, we wondered how human beings could do such things,” Boxer said. “Part of it is the indoctrination in schools where, from a young age, there are years of radicalization.”

“This has to be addressed if there is any future hope for peace,” he said.

Wardrobe mishap

In Gaza, Boxer wore a helmet and bulletproof vest. But there was a miscommunication on his attire with Dilmoni.

“Before I went, I asked what I should wear, and he said to wear black,” Boxer said. “So, I wore jeans and a black shirt. He said I looked like Hamas. So, he said I should stay close to him.”

Generally, only certain journalists for top news organizations are given permission to embed with the Israeli army. When asked how unusual it was for a person like Boxer to do so, an IDF media representative told JNS that it frequently gives journalists a chance to embed, though did not elaborate on civilians.

Boxer told JNS that he thinks the IDF needed donations of drones to quickly avoid bureaucratic red tape.

His sense after spending time on the ground is that Israeli soldiers are up to the task, although the fighting is intricate and difficult.

“The morale is high,” he said. “The feeling is we are winning. But it isn’t easy.”

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  • Words count:
    285 words
  • Type of content:
    Update Desk
  • Publication Date:
    February 27, 2024
  • Media:
    1 file

Hamas said in a statement that Biden “bears full responsibility for the death of U.S. Army pilot Aaron Bushnell due to its policy that supported the Nazi-Zionist entity in its war of extermination against our Palestinian people.”

Hamas said Bushnell gave his life “to shed light on the Zionist massacres and ethnic cleansing against our people in the Gaza Strip.”

Cornel West, the far-left independent 2024 presidential candidate, similarly offered praise, writing on X: “Let us never forget the extraordinary courage and commitment of brother Aaron Bushnell who died for truth and justice! I pray for his precious loved ones! Let us rededicate ourselves to genuine solidarity with Palestinians undergoing genocidal attacks in real time!”

https://twitter.com/cornelwest/status/1762218781299122653

Dr. Jill Stein, a presidential candidate for the far-left Green Party, wrote on X: “Rest in power Aaron Bushnell” and “May his sacrifice deepen our commitment to stop genocide now.”

Antisemitic rock artist Roger Waters posted a video of Bushnell killing himself as the Pink Floyd song “The Gunners Dream” played in the background. Waters wrote that Bushnell was an “All American Hero.”

A friend has described Bushnell as an anarchist. Unverified postings on Reddit also suggest staunch anti-Israel views. In a posting responding to someone describing the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on civilians and tourists, Acebush1—an account identified as Bushnell’s that has since been wiped—wrote: “There are no Israeli ‘civilians’ or tourists who have no part in the oppression of Palestine.”

The user claimed that since he was not Palestinian, he was “in no position to endorse or condemn Hamas’ actions,” that “there are no Israelis without the genocide of the Palestinian people” and that “Israel is a settler colonialist apartheid state.”

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