Israel is still reeling from a massive and depraved Hamas killing spree – current estimates place 700 Israelis dead with over 2,200 wounded and an estimated 100 kidnapped. This would mark Israel’s greatest loss of life since its reestablishment in 1948, and the murder of more Jews in one day since the Holocaust. Additionally, at least nine Americans have been killed, and according to Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Hamas has captured Americans as well.
Some key developments are below.
Abraham Accords Partners Distancing from Israel, to the Pleasure of Palestinians and Iran
Hamas is believed to instigate the attack to quash prospects of a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Even US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conceded that “it wouldn’t be a surprise.”
Israel’s environmental minister was slated to visit Riyadh, the third of Israel’s ministers to do so in recent weeks.
The Wall Street Journal had also recently reported that Saudi Arabia was offering to increase oil output in exchange for a defense agreement with and more arms from the United States.
The attack has achieved its goal of putting normalization on ice, at least in the short term. America’s allies, some of whom have condemned Hamas in the past, have issued statements that are tepid at best. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry called on all sides to respect international law. The UAE called for an immediate ceasefire, although who its asking to do so is unclear from the statement. Morocco opposed targeting civilians “from any side.” Kuwait and Indonesia, once prospects for joining the Abraham Accords under the Trump administration, blamed Israel.
Iran Directed Attack
Despite Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that the State Department did not have information of Iran coordinating the attack, an article in the Wall Street Journal stated that yes, Iran had been planning this attack for weeks.
Further, a Hamas spokesman admitted that Iran directly supported the attack. And a spokesman from the Izzuddin Al-Qassam Brigades has also thanked Iran for its material support. Additionally, a senior Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IGRC) member said that “we support this operation…until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Palestinian Authority Supports Attack
Fatah supported the attack, calling it “a morning of victory, joy [and] pride.”
And the Palestinian Authority helped to incite violence against Israel immediately preceding the attacks. A Fatah spokesman stated on PA TV that “the only way to liberate Palestine is the rifle.”
President Abbas’ religious advisor called for Palestinians “to resist the occupation by all means.”
Fatah posted on one of its Facebook pages that Palestinians “will not avoid sacrificing the best of its sons for freedom and independence.”
Hamas Has, May Have Used US Weapons
Some analysts are referencing a June report from an “ Israeli commander” that American weapons left during the retreat from Afghanistan ended up in the hands of Hamas. American weapons ending up in the hands of Hamas and being used against Israel, if true, would represent a further setback for American foreign policy in the region and a confined abandonment of our Allies by the Biden administration.
While too early to tell lasting impacts, Hamas has scored a short term victory by putting the Abraham Accords on ice. It is becoming clear that Iran helped coordinate the attack, which was in turn enabled by inflammatory rhetoric from the PA. The Biden administration should at the very least cease funding the PA, and withdraw from negotiations with Iran.
Good Riddance to UNRWA as it Supports Hamas
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The head of UNRWA recently accused Israel of waging an “expanded, concerted campaign” to destroy the UN agency. The leader of UNRWA does have a cause for concern, as Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that UNRWA has “lost legitimacy and can no longer function as a UN body.” UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer stated that “The rot is systemic, and that’s why we’re holding a conference…to replace UNRWA.” And now Congressional Republicans are probing the Biden administration’s decision to restore US funding to UNRWA in 2021, following the Trump administration’s suspension of that funding in 2018.
Good riddance to UNRWA if it ends up folding under pressure; UNRWA and the UN are Hamas apologists at best, and facilitators at worst. For example, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator actually insisted that “Hamas is not a terrorist group for us,” but merely a “political movement.” And the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, in a rejoinder to the French president calling the October 7 attack “the largest anti-Semitic massacre of our century,” stated that “No, Mr. Macron. The victims of [the October 7 attack] were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression.”
UNRWA Employees Provide Material Support to Hamas, PIJ
Israeli Defense Minister Galant has named 12 specific UNRWA employees who “actively participated” in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, and also stated that Israel has “significant indications based on intelligence” that implicates “over 30” additional UNRWA employees. Gallant stated that of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff in Gaza, “1,468 workers are known to be active in Hamas and PIJ, 185 UNRWA workers are active in the military branches of Hamas and 51 are active in the PIJ military branch.”
Additional to those numbers are the 30 UNRWA teachers known to have celebrated the October 7 attacks on a UNRWA Telegram group that had 3,000 members.
Hamas’ “Data Center” Found Underneath UNRWA Headquarters
Israel also found a Hamas “data center” under UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza, equipped with an electrical room, computer servers and rooms where Hamas operatives could work and sleep, and that there were power lines connecting UNRWA’s headquarters to this data center. And surprise, some of the equipment found was made in Iran and China. Interestingly, while the Hamas “data center” contained electronics, a server room in the above-ground UNRWA headquarters had most of its electronics missing, which appears to be indicative of “actions of someone who knew the army was coming and wanted to hide the evidence,” according to Col. Benny Aharon of Israel’s 401st Armored Brigade. After the head of UNRWA denied that UNRWA knew of this data center ahead of time, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) tweeted “Oh, you knew,” and stated that Israel had warned UN officials about the data center but those officials chose to ignore those warnings.
Additional Evidence of Strong UNRWA/Hamas Partnership
Additionally, UN Watch cited instances of UNRWA/Hamas synergy, including that Israel found:
- At the UNRWA headquarters above ground, weapons and “documents that indicated that the same offices were also used by Hamas”;
- UNRWA aid bags in Yahya Sinwar’s bunker;
- UNRWA concrete in Hamas’ tunnels that housed hostages;
- Missiles and rockets under UNRWA equipment;
- That Hamas stashed ammunition, explosives, and weapons in UNRWA bags, and that Hamas also had UN vests;
- That Hamas stored weapons in and fired weapons from a UNRWA school; and
- That Hamas’ “Ministry of Health” stole 24,000 gallons of fuel from UNRWA.
And to further emphasize the scope of how seriously UNRWA is compromised by Hamas, every single UNRWA “site, school, mosque, [and] kindergarten” that Israel has inspected had weapons, according to Israel’s commander of the 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade.
Calls to preserve UNRWA merely deflect away from the “systemic” “rot” found in the organization. Israel should make sure that UNRWA does not operate in any post-war Gaza, as the organization compromises the security of the Jewish state.
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