English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For November 18/2023
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
Jesus casts out an evil spirit Into Capernaum
Mark 01/21-28/They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes. Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, saying, “Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on November 17-18/2023
Israeli airstrikes destroy Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus
Who is army chief candidate on whom parties have agreed?
Reports: Hezbollah not opposed to appointment of new army chief
Borrell stresses resolution for Palestine amid rising violence, calls for Israeli control of violence
Geagea: Gebran Bassil's behavior makes him a privileged disgrace to Lebanese politics
Mikati to present Aman Program loan proposal to Parliament
Lebanon's BDL issues Circular 682, allowing depositors to benefit from Circular 158
Specter of war paralyzes Lebanon’s hospitality sector
Israel-Hezbollah border skirmishes: Latest developments
Ibrahim says Hezbollah doesn't want wider war, warns of inadvertent escalation
Hashem: Things may slip into war if Israel imposes a war on us
Mikati to present Aman Program loan proposal to Parliament
Berri rejects attacks on al-Rahi as Hezbollah visits Bkirki
Tenenti: UNIFIL continues to demand accountability for the killing of Private Rooney
Beirut Port blast case: Judicial Police obligated to deliver summons issued by Judge Bitar
Who is the Lebanese prime minister?

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 17-18/2023
10 Things to Know About the UN and Hamas
Iran says won't let Israel defeat Hamas, stops short of promising to enter conflict
Aid to Gaza halted with communications down for second day
Families dig to retrieve thousands of bodies buried in rubble in Gaza, often by hand
Gaza loses communications, Israel signals forces may move south
Seven killed by Israeli forces in West Bank
Biden signs bill averting govt. shutdown for now, Israel and Ukraine aid still stalled
Ukraine says 'heavy' fighting on Russia-held bank of Dnipro river
Erdogan to visit Germany as differences over Israel-Hamas war widen
Over 170 attacks on health care in West Bank since October 7th, reveals WHO

Titles For The Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 17-18/2023
Indoctrinated to Hate/Raymond Ibrahim/Coptic Solidarity/November 17/2023
Turkey’s ‘Aid’ Organization Is a Front for Supporting Terrorism/Sinan Ciddi/Townhall/November 17/2023
Urgently Needed: An Economic and National Security 'War Cabinet'/Pete Hoekstra/Gatestone Institute/November 17, 2023
Who Is Committing Genocide?/Carl Gershman/The Tablet/November 17/2023
Pariah or Not Pariah?/Michael Young/Carnegie/November 17, 2023
Question: “What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving?”/GotQuestions.org/November 17, 2023
Israel’s Palestinian strategy was a grave miscalculation/Opinion by Hussein Ibish/CNN/November 17, 2023

Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on November 17-18/2023
Israeli airstrikes destroy Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus
Agence France Presse/November 17/2023
Israeli air strikes killed two pro-Iranian fighters near the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday during raids targeting a Hezbollah arms depot and other sites near Syria's capital, a war monitor said. Israel has hit targets in Syria several times in the past weeks as regional tensions rise over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.Citing a military source, Syria's state news agency SANA earlier reported "material damage" from the strikes. "At around 2:25 am (1125 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights targeting several positions in the vicinity of Damascus," SANA said. The military source did not provide details on the targets but added that Syria's air defense intercepted some of the Israeli missiles.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said "two foreign fighters" from pro-Iran groups were killed.
Several others were wounded, it added. The strikes "destroyed an arms depot belonging to Hezbollah," the Iran-backed Lebanese group fighting alongside Syria's regime, the Observatory said, adding the bombardment occurred along the road to Damascus airport.
The Observatory added that "sites linked to Hezbollah and pro-Iran militias" near the airport were also targeted. Israeli strikes last month put Syria's two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo out of service several times over two weeks, and the Damascus terminal remains out of operation. On November 8, Israeli air strikes killed three pro-Iran fighters as they hit sites belonging to Hezbollah near Damascus, the Observatory reported at the time. Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, when the Iran-backed Hamas fighters stormed out of the Gaza Strip, Hamas ally Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have exchanged fire with Israeli forces across Lebanon's southern border. During the decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions. While Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out in Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to extend its footprint there. The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, escalating into a conflict involving foreign powers and global jihadist groups.
More than half a million people have been killed, and around half of Syria's pre-war population forced from their homes.

Who is army chief candidate on whom parties have agreed?
Naharnet/November 17/2023
There are currently three candidates for the army chief post but one of them has the highest chances, a media report said on Friday. “His appointment has been settled in principle and he enjoys the acceptance of all political parties and has close ties to foreign forces,” the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper quoted informed sources as saying.“A meeting was held Wednesday evening between parties concerned with the file and an agreement was reached on naming an army commander instead of postponing the retirement of the incumbent chief,” the daily added, citing “credible reports.”
“The candidate has been informed of the decision and he has met with (Speaker Nabih) Berri and a number of officials, who put him in the picture of their deliberations,” the newspaper said. The candidate was also “one of the military figures who were visited by a U.S. delegation that discussed the situation of the military institution,” Nidaa al-Watan added.Al-Akhbar newspaper meanwhile said that the Free Patriotic Movement has three candidate for the army chief post: Intelligence Directorate chief Tony Qahwaji, Elie Akl and Maroun Qbayati.

Reports: Hezbollah not opposed to appointment of new army chief

Naharnet/November 17/2023
Hezbollah has become more inclined to accept the choice of naming a new army commander, a move that the Free Patriotic Movement is insisting on, the pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday. Hezbollah “is not opposed to the appointment of a new army chief should there be consensus over the name,” the daily added. The Nidaa al-Watan newspaper meanwhile reported that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have informed caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati that the two parties are not opposed to any of the two choices: naming a new chief or extending the term of the incumbent commander, General Joseph Aoun. “They have asked Mikati to wait for some time, because the consultations have been renewed with (FPM chief Jebran) Bassil to convince him to drop the condition of (having the) signatures (of all 24 ministers on the decree) if he wants the appointment of a new commander,” the daily said. “Some reports have confirmed that a preliminary agreement has been reached under which a new commander would be named, after Bassil gave up the condition of the 24 ministers’ signatures,” the newspaper added. Also under the agreement, “defense Minister Maurice Slim would submit a basket of suggestions for the military appointments,” Nidaa al-Watan said. Mikati is meanwhile trying to explore the stance of the Americans regarding such a choice, the daily added.

Beirut Port blast case: Judicial Police obligated to deliver summons issued by Judge Bitar

LBCI/November 17/2023
Based on Judge Carl Irani’s report, the State Shura Council, headed by Judge Fadi Elias, annulled the decision of the Caretaker Minister of Interior, Bassam Mawlawi, to refrain from notifying politicians of the interrogation sessions in the Beirut Port blast file.
Consequently, the Judicial Police are now obliged to deliver the summonses issued by Judge Tarek Bitar.

Borrell stresses resolution for Palestine amid rising violence, calls for Israeli control of violence
LBCI/November 17/2023
The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said on Friday that the Gaza war affirms the necessity of resolving the Palestinian Issue, with increasing settler violence in the West Bank.He added: “We emphasized to the Israeli side the need to control the violence.”

Geagea: Gebran Bassil's behavior makes him a privileged disgrace to Lebanese politics
LBCI/November 17/2023
The leader of the Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, expressed concern over the current regional situation, particularly the ongoing attacks in Gaza and Hezbollah's border activities, which could lead to unforeseen consequences. He stated, "At the same time, the Lebanese people are grappling with economic hardships and dire financial conditions. There is also concern about the Lebanese army getting involved in political disputes for personal interests, potentially jeopardizing the country's stability." Geagea accused MP Gebran Bassil of engaging in actions beyond established constitutional and customary boundaries. According to Geagea, Bassil is relentlessly working to appoint a new Army Commander to eliminate General Joseph Aoun from leading the army for opportunistic personal reasons. He denounced Bassil's efforts to appoint a new Army Commander, disregarding previous statements and insisting on certain appointment conditions in the president's absence. Geagea emphasized the importance of the president's role in signing decrees, requiring 24 ministers' signatures in light of the presidential vacancy. He argued that the Christian majority should have a significant say in Christian appointments. "In this context, what MP Bassil is doing is a disgrace to the country, to the people, to the Presidency of the Republic, to the leadership of the army, and Christians, and this shame is added to his behavior, which makes him a privileged disgrace to Lebanese politics."Geagea underscored the importance of upholding the presidency's authority, especially in matters related to the appointment of the army commander, emphasizing that such decisions should be made in consultation with the Christian majority. He accused Bassil of undermining the presidency and the rights of Christians for personal and political gain. He added, "With the direction taken by MP Bassil for personal calculations and self-interest, the myth of bidding for the rights of Christians falls for the thousandth time. It strikes one of the privileges of the President, which, according to tradition, after the Taif Agreement, everyone agrees should grant the President the upper hand in appointing the army commander. Attempting to appoint a new commander in the absence of the President is a major blow directed at the position of the presidency. How many crimes are committed in the name of the rights of Christians!"

Mikati to present Aman Program loan proposal to Parliament
LBCI/November 17/2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed with the Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, the loan related to the Aman program on Friday. According to Hajjar, Mikati affirmed that he would refer the loan agreement project presented by the World Bank of additional financing for the Aman program to the Parliament within a week. In addition, Mikati and Hajjar discussed the importance of announcing the approval of the national social protection strategy, the issue of the Chinese grant, and the necessity of finding solutions to the struggles of care institutions.

Lebanon's BDL issues Circular 682, allowing depositors to benefit from Circular 158

LBCI/November 17/2023
The Banque du Liban (BDL) issued Circular 682, granting access to accounts closed or transferred between banks after October 31, 2019, and did not benefit from Circular 158. The latter circular outlined exceptional measures related to cash withdrawals from foreign currency bank accounts.

Specter of war paralyzes Lebanon’s hospitality sector
The Daily Star/November 17/2023
In the coastal city of Byblos, Lebanon, Richard Alam, a young bartender, faces a stark decline in business at his pub, a result of heightened tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border during the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Alam, 19, illustrates the downturn by noting a whiskey bottle opened two weeks prior still remains unfinished, a stark contrast to the pub’s previous rate of consumption. Lebanon’s economic crisis, already dire after four years, worsens as the hospitality industry grapples with the impact of the ongoing conflict. The Gaza-based Hamas group’s attacks on southern Israel, followed by Israeli retaliation and ground operations in Gaza, have escalated hostilities, particularly along Lebanon’s southern frontier, involving Israel and Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas. This escalation has had far-reaching effects. Western and Arab nations have advised their citizens to evacuate Lebanon due to fears of a broader conflict. Byblos, reliant on tourism and located on Lebanon’s northern coast, has seen a dramatic drop in patronage. Alam, donning a bow tie and suit, notes a reduction from 40-50 tables daily to a mere seven at most.
Similarly, Mona Mujahed’s souvenir shop, once a hub for tourists and locals, now sits quiet, with unsold items lining the shelves. Mujahed, 60, laments the lack of business and income. The hospitality sector in Lebanon, already battered by a severe financial crisis since 2019, has suffered immensely. Tony Ramy, head of an industry syndicate, highlights that half of the nation’s restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs have closed due to the economic downturn. The industry was just beginning to see a resurgence with the return of expatriate visitors following the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating Beirut port explosion in 2020. However, the recent conflict has shattered this recovery, causing client numbers to plummet significantly. Cross-border skirmishes have resulted in numerous casualties in Lebanon, predominantly Hezbollah combatants, but also civilians, as well as casualties in northern Israel. The conflict has also impacted air travel, with Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines (MEA) cutting flights and reporting a significant drop in passenger numbers from the region and Europe. In Beirut’s Hamra district, the four-star Hotel Cavalier experiences a surge in cancellations. Ayman Nasser El Dine, the hotel manager, describes the dire situation in the empty hotel lobby, noting a drastic reduction in room occupancy and future reservations. Despite the grim situation, Pierre Ashkar, head of the hotel owners’ syndicate, remains hopeful. Drawing on Lebanon’s history of resilience through past conflicts, including the civil war and the 2006 war with Israel, he believes the sector will recover once stability returns, though he anticipates a delay before travel advisories are revised and business normalizes.

Israel-Hezbollah border skirmishes: Latest developments
Naharnet/November 17/2023
Israeli warplanes and artillery bombed Friday the outskirts of the Lebanese border towns of al-Jebbayn, al-Labbouneh, Aitaroun, Yarine, Dhaira, Mays al-Jabal, Blida Houla, Tayr Harfa, Aita al-Shaab, Rab Tlatine, al-Taybe, Rmeish, and Wadi Mozlem. Israel had shelled overnight with heavy and flare shells al-Naqoura, Blida, al-Khiam, Borj al-Moulouk, Kfarshouba, and Kfarhamam. Hezbollah for its part targeted a group of Israeli soldiers near al-Taihat and other groups of soldiers near al-Marj post, the Ramim Barracks, al-Dhaira, and Yir'on, "inflicting casualties." It also targeted the Malkia post.

Ibrahim says Hezbollah doesn't want wider war, warns of inadvertent escalation
Associated Press/November 17/2023
Former top Lebanese security official Abbas Ibrahim who has served as a conduit between the United States and Hezbollah has said that at this stage the Lebanese militant group is not interested in widening its limited cross-border conflict with Israel. Ibrahim, the former head of Lebanon’s General Security, said that as long as Hamas is able to confront the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, “the situation will remain at the current level of tension” on the Lebanese front. Hezbollah and Israeli forces have regularly exchanged missiles and shelling but have largely avoided killing civilians or taking other actions that would provoke a major response from the other side. However, the situation could escalate inadvertently, he said. “If we continue with this degree of tension it will certainly lead to bad calculations and a war will happen.” Ibrahim said that U.S. officials had passed messages through him to Hezbollah urging it “not to drag Lebanon into this war,” including during a visit to Beirut last week by Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden. Hezbollah has not sent messages of its own to the U.S. in response, Ibrahim said. Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war six weeks ago, Ibrahim has also been involved in talks on evacuating dual nationals from Gaza and on the issue of emergency humanitarian truces and the exchange of civilian hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Hashem: Things may slip into war if Israel imposes a war on us
LBCI/November 17/2023
Member of the Development and Liberation Bloc, Kassem Hashem, affirmed that all Israeli leaders have stated that they have a maximum of two weeks to settle military operations in Gaza. International and public demands constitute pressure to end these operations swiftly. Speaking on LBCI's "Nharkom Said" TV show, Hashem considered that Britain should bear the responsibility of the Balfour Declaration, the stage of establishing the Israeli entity. He emphasized that Egypt is aware that the deportation of Palestinians to Sinai is an act of displacement. It has taken a firm decision, publicly and privately, to reject this despite the financial offers presented since the first day of the war. Regarding the expulsion of Palestinian military leaders to Lebanon, Hashem pointed out that Lebanon rejected this previously and will continue to reject it. "Acceptance is a conspiracy against the Palestinians," he added. He said, "Lebanon previously refrained from placing any boundary in the Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfarchouba, considering them Lebanese occupied territory. But now, within a specific framework, a fence has been placed, and if we can return this fence, we consider it a liberation of the land, even if it's just a part."Hashem considered that there would be no stability in the region without giving the Palestinian people their rights and that the issue of Israel or Hamas accepting the establishment of two states is premature. He explained that the development of the war in Gaza - the change in the rules of engagement - allowed some Palestinians in Lebanon to launch attacks. "Circumstances impose a new reality."He stated that Lebanon does not want war, and there is wisdom in dealing with the situation. However, facing a "reckless enemy," Lebanon's actions are reactive. Things could escalate into war "if the Israeli army imposes it on us."
He said, "Israel's failure to achieve victory in Gaza may lead to another direction, namely, the shift to the Lebanese front."As for the issue of extending the term of the army commander, he confirmed that the goal is to preserve the military institution. The Development and Liberation Bloc rejects a vacuum and has not definitively raised the issue with Hezbollah. Yet, Hezbollah will inevitably follow the same approach, avoiding a vacuum.

Mikati to present Aman Program loan proposal to Parliament

LBCI/November 17/2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed with the Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, the loan related to the Aman program on Friday. According to Hajjar, Mikati affirmed that he would refer the loan agreement project presented by the World Bank of additional financing for the Aman program to the Parliament within a week. In addition, Mikati and Hajjar discussed the importance of announcing the approval of the national social protection strategy, the issue of the Chinese grant, and the necessity of finding solutions to the struggles of care institutions.

Berri rejects attacks on al-Rahi as Hezbollah visits Bkirki

Naharnet/November 17/2023
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Friday said he rejects “the unjust campaigns against His Eminence, Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, over his honest calls for supporting the displaced Lebanese.”“His Eminence’s call for supporting the displaced expresses a unifying national stance,” Berri said in a statement. “As I laud His Eminence’s call in this regard, we condemn the campaign that targeted him out of a mere misunderstanding,” the Speaker added. MTV meanwhile reported that a meeting was held between Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad and Hezbollah officials Mustafa al-Hajj Ali and Mohammed Saeed al-Khansa following the social media attacks against al-Rahi. “We do not accept insults against any Christian figure or religious leader,” Khansa told OTV, noting that “Hezbollah is only responsible for what is voiced in its media outlets, not through social networking websites.”“The responsibility for any remarks on social media exclusively falls on those who voice them,” Khansa added. Al-Rahi had on Wednesday said: “Our people in the South are leaving their homes and this means further poverty, that’s why we have asked our parishioners to offer sums of money and to present Sundays’ trays (of donations) to our people who are coming from the southern towns.”Since October 8, thousands of residents have fled the southern border towns amid daily clashes between Israel and Hezbollah against the backdrop of the war in Gaza. Al-Rahi’s remarks infuriated some pro-Hezbollah activists, including al-Manar reporter Ali Shoaib and al-Mayadeen reporter Ali Murtada, who launched vehement attacks and insults against al-Rahi on their social media accounts.

Tenenti: UNIFIL continues to demand accountability for the killing of Private Rooney
NNA/November 17/2023
UNIFIL Spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said today that “The Lebanese Military Court has informed us that the indicted individual detained in the attack that killed UNFIL Peacekeeper Private Seán Rooney on 14 December 2022 and injured 3 others has been released on bail due to his deteriorating health. He remains required to appear before the Court at the next hearing scheduled on 15 December 2023.”He added, “UNIFIL continues to demand accountability for the killing of Private Rooney, which – like all attacks on peacekeepers – is a crime under both international and Lebanese law.”“Other individuals charged in the 14 December attack remain at large. We continue to urge Lebanese authorities to bring them to justice and ensure all who contributed to the death of Private Rooney are held accountable for their crimes,” stressed Tenenti.

Beirut Port blast case: Judicial Police obligated to deliver summons issued by Judge Bitar
LBCI/November 17/2023
Based on Judge Carl Irani’s report, the State Shura Council, headed by Judge Fadi Elias, annulled the decision of the Caretaker Minister of Interior, Bassam Mawlawi, to refrain from notifying politicians of the interrogation sessions in the Beirut Port blast file. Consequently, the Judicial Police are now obliged to deliver the summonses issued by Judge Tarek Bitar.

Who is the Lebanese prime minister?
The Daily Star/November 17/2023
The Central Role of the Lebanese Prime Minister
The Lebanese Prime Minister plays a crucial role in the country’s unique political system. This position, pivotal in the Lebanese government, entails leading the executive branch and steering the nation’s policies. The Prime Minister’s role is vital for maintaining political stability and fostering national development in Lebanon.
Historical Background of the Position
Lebanon’s political system, shaped by its diverse religious and cultural landscape, has always placed significant importance on the role of the Prime Minister. The office, established in the early 20th century, has evolved over time, mirroring the nation’s tumultuous political history.
Current Lebanese Prime Minister: Najib Mikati
As of my last update in April 2023, Najib Mikati holds the office of the Lebanese Prime Minister. A prominent figure in Lebanese politics, Mikati’s tenure is marked by his efforts to navigate Lebanon through complex political and economic challenges.
Najib Mikati: Political Career and Ideology
Najib Mikati’s political career is characterized by extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. His approach to governance is influenced by his background in business and economics, focusing on economic recovery, political stability, and international relations.
Key Challenges and Achievements
The Lebanese Prime Minister faces significant challenges, including economic crises, political divisions, and regional conflicts. Mikati’s administration has been focused on addressing these issues, with varying degrees of success. His achievements and challenges offer insights into Lebanon’s current political and economic climate.
Mikati’s Economic Policies and Reforms
Under Najib Mikati’s leadership, Lebanon has embarked on critical economic reforms. These reforms aim to stabilize the economy, address public debt, and restore international confidence. Mikati’s economic strategies are crucial for Lebanon’s recovery and future growth.
Lebanon’s Political Landscape and the Prime Minister’s Role
The role of the Lebanese Prime Minister is deeply intertwined with the nation’s complex political landscape. This landscape, marked by sectarian divisions and external influences, requires astute political maneuvering and consensus-building, areas where Mikati’s experience plays a significant role.
International Relations and Diplomatic Endeavors
The Lebanese Prime Minister is instrumental in shaping the country’s foreign policy. Mikati’s diplomatic efforts are focused on maintaining Lebanon’s sovereignty while navigating regional tensions and fostering relationships with international allies.
Looking Forward: The Future of Lebanon under the Prime Minister’s Leadership
The future of Lebanon under Najib Mikati’s leadership remains a subject of great interest and speculation. The direction taken by the Prime Minister will have profound implications for Lebanon’s stability, prosperity, and role in the regional and international arena.

Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 17-18/2023
10 Things to Know About the UN and Hamas
FDD/November 17/2023
The United Nations (UN) is generating pressure on Israel to stop defending itself against the terrorist organization Hamas following the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust on October 7, 2023. UN staff and bodies excuse Hamas’s actions, draw false moral equivalences between Hamas and Israel, and criticize Israel even when it makes clear and deliberate efforts to avoid civilian casualties.
1. Top UN officials make excuses for Hamas
“Today’s violence must be put in context,” specifically the “aggression” Israel perpetrated in the form of “almost six decades of hostile military rule over an entire civilian population,” wrote UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur on Palestine Francesca Albanese on October 7. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on October 24 that “Nothing can justify” Hamas butchering civilians, but he then presented a long and one-sided account of Palestinian grievances, saying the Hamas attacks “did not happen in a vacuum.”
2. The UN General Assembly refuses to condemn Hamas
On October 27, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) failed to pass a resolution that would have unequivocally rejected and condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas. Instead, the assembly approved a resolution expressing concern over all violence since October 7 — without mentioning Hamas or explaining that Hamas had initiated the violence. The UNGA-approved resolution calls for establishing a mechanism to protect the Palestinian civilian population without asking the same for Israelis. It also calls for an immediate ceasefire, which would enable Hamas to survive, rearm, and carry out future attacks on Israel, something its leaders have pledged to do.
3. The UN equates Hamas’s slaughter with Israeli attempts at self-defense
While condemning violence in principle, many UN statements focus exclusively on Palestinian suffering. Others equate Hamas’s deliberate slaughter of Israeli civilians with the collateral loss of Palestinian lives caused by Israel firing on Hamas militants embedded in dense urban terrain. For example, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “concerns that the principles of distinction and proportionality are not being respected by both sides.” UN Women condemned both sides’ “attacks on civilians.” Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) criticized the harm being inflicted on both sides. In all these cases, the UN erased the distinction between Hamas’s deliberate, criminal targeting of civilians and the tragic cost of Israel defending itself from an enemy that uses civilians as human shields.
4. The UN nurtures Palestinian grievances rather than resolving conflict
The UN maintains numerous bodies that prolong and exacerbate tensions rather than resolve the long-running conflict. Whereas all other refugees in the world fall under the jurisdiction of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN has a Palestinian-specific refugee agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). By conferring refugee status on descendants of actual refugees, something not done for any other population, UNRWA has increased the population under its care from 700,000 in 1948 to 5.9 million today. This figure includes more than 2.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, counted as refugees despite living in lands Palestinians claim for a future state. By promoting a fictitious Palestinian right to claim land in Israel and not offering resettlement as an option, UNRWA helps make the “refugee” issue intractable.
5. The UN does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization
The UN does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist group despite decades of suicide bombings, thousands of rockets launched indiscriminately at Israeli cities, and the barbaric actions of October 7. In addition, the UN body formerly known as the 1267 Committee, now known as the ISIL (Dae’sh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, does not view Hamas (or any other Iranian proxy) as a terrorist group. In line with this view, no UN condemnation of Hamas’s brutal attack labeled the group as a terrorist organization. Moreover, UNRWA employs members of Hamas, supports Hamas’s public relations efforts, such as erasing social media posts insulting to Hamas, and teaches Palestinians to hate Israelis. Relatedly, several UNRWA staffers praised Hamas for the October 7 massacres.
6. The UN spreads false information
UN bodies and officials quickly spread Hamas’s false narrative blaming Israel for the October 17 blast at Gaza’s al-Ahli Hospital, which instead was hit by an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. Nine of the UN’s special rapporteurs for human rights falsely claimed that Israel had said “an attack on the hospital was imminent if people inside were not evacuated.” In fact, Israel had issued a broad call to evacuate northern Gaza, including hospitals for the safety of the patients. Going further, the nine UN rapporteurs said there is “a risk of genocide against the Palestinian people.”
7. The WHO ignores Hamas’s use of human shields
The World Health Organization criticizes Israel for attacking Palestinian ambulances but makes no mention of Hamas reportedly using those vehicles to ferry terrorists. The WHO is also silent regarding Hamas deliberately disabling Israeli ambulances on October 7 and murdering medical first responders to prevent Israelis from receiving life-saving care. The WHO has also not addressed Hamas’s use of Shifa Hospital and other healthcare facilities as command centers. Relatedly, the WHO holds Israel to an antisemitic double standard by maintaining an agenda item at its annual gatherings dedicated to scrutinizing Israel, something no other country faces. During the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO dedicated an entire day of an eight-day conference to examining Israel’s alleged violations of Palestinian health rights.
8. UN calls for a ceasefire play into Hamas’s hands
Hamas has a two-fold strategy: kill as many Israelis as possible and ensure Palestinian casualties to win international support. To do so, Hamas places its terrorists and weapons within population centers, using civilians as human shields. Rather than criticize Hamas for using human shields or supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against an enemy using human shields, the UN has pushed for a ceasefire, pointing to the high Palestinian death toll without linking it to Hamas’s human shields strategy. A ceasefire would grant Hamas impunity for the crimes of October 7 and preserve its ability to carry out future massacres. By pressuring Israel to halt its maneuvers against Hamas, the UN demonstrates the effectiveness of Hamas’s human shields strategy.
9. The UN criticizes Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties
Israel warned Palestinians for weeks to evacuate the warzone in northern Gaza in order to protect them from military action to remove Hamas. Instead of encouraging this effort to minimize civilian casualties, the commissioner-general of UNRWA described Israel’s efforts to relocate the Gaza population as “horrendous.” The October 27 UNGA resolution framed it as the “forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population.” Secretary-General Guterres’ spokesperson called for the order to be “rescinded.” In fact, Israeli warnings are consistent with international law.
10. The U.S. must demand much-needed UN reforms
The UN’s Orwellian focus on Israel has undermined the basic functions of the multilateral body and reforms are desperately needed. Some recommendations for the United States include:
Requiring the overhaul of UNRWA to ensure an accountable and transparent organization. Any further U.S. funding should include specific contingencies.
Demanding the UN Security Council add Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations to its list of sanctioned entities and individuals.
Dismantling bodies that serve as Palestinian propaganda vehicles. Any agency dealing with the Palestinian cause should prioritize counter-radicalization and co-existence.
Encouraging the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as the standard for all UN bodies.
Reforming the selection process at the Human Rights Council to block the worst violators of human rights.

Iran says won't let Israel defeat Hamas, stops short of promising to enter conflict
Associated Press/November 17/2023
Iran will not allow Israel to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the head of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force wrote in a message to the commander of the Hamas military wing. However, Gen. Esmail Qaani stopped short of saying that Tehran will join the battle in order to rescue Hamas. In six weeks since the war was triggered by Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, Israel has largely taken control of the northern Gaza Strip, seen as the Hamas power base, while pushing most of the civilian population to the southern part. Israel has vowed to keep fighting until Hamas is crushed.
Qaani’s letter was addressed to Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of the Hamas military wing in Gaza and was published by Iran’s state news agency IRNA. He said Iran, the main Hamas sponsor, and its allies “will carry out all our duties in this historic battle” and will not allow Israel to “reach its dirty goals” of defeating Hamas. Iran-backed groups in the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, have attacked Israel with drones and missiles in recent weeks. Iraq’s militants have claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. Qaani praised the Oct. 7 attack, saying it showed Israel was “weaker than a spider’s web.” He said Israel retaliated with an “unprecedented brutal war crimes” against civilians.

Aid to Gaza halted with communications down for second day

Associated Press/November 17/2023
Communications systems in the Gaza Strip were down for a second day Friday with no fuel to power the internet and phone networks, causing aid agencies to halt cross-border deliveries of humanitarian supplies even as they warned people may soon face starvation. Israel has been pushing deeper into Gaza City, and its troops have been searching Gaza's biggest hospital, Shifa, for traces of a Hamas command center the military alleges was located under the building. They have shown what they said were a tunnel entrance and weapons found in a truck inside the compound but not yet any evidence of the command center, which Hamas and Shifa staff deny existed. The war, now in its sixth week, was triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, in which the militants killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured some 240 men, women and children. Gaza is now receiving only 10% of its needed food supplies daily, and dehydration and malnutrition are growing with nearly all of the 2.3 million people in the territory needing food, said Abeer Etefa, a Mideast regional spokeswoman for the United Nations' World Food Program. "People are facing the immediate possibility of starvation," she said from Cairo. With few trucks entering Gaza and no fuel to distribute the food "there is no way to meet the current hunger needs," she said Thursday. "The existing food systems in Gaza are basically collapsing."The breakdown of the communications network, which is crucial for coordinating aid deliveries, meant a further worsening of the situation. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, said no aid deliveries would be able to enter southern Gaza from Egypt on Friday. "We have seen fuel and food and water and humanitarian assistance being used as a weapon of war," said agency spokeswoman Juliette Touma.
Fuel is needed for generators that run emergency communication systems, hospitals, desalination plants and other critical infrastructure in Gaza. Israel has barred fuel shipments into Gaza since the beginning of the war, but permitted a limited shipment to UNRWA earlier this week for trucks delivering food after the agency's fuel reservoir ran dry. Touma said that is "outrageous that humanitarian agencies are reduced to begging for fuel." Following the surprise attack by Hamas, Israel responded with a weekslong air campaign and a ground invasion of northern Gaza, vowing to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities. On Friday, the military said it had found the body of another hostage taken by Hamas, identifying her as a soldier, Cpl. Noa Marciano. Like the body of another hostage found Thursday, 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, Marciano's corpse was recovered in a building adjacent to Shifa, the military said. Four hostages taken in the initial Hamas attack have now been confirmed dead, while four others have been freed and one rescued. More than 11,470 Palestinians have been killed, two-thirds of them women and minors, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing, believed buried under rubble. The official count does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths, and Israel says it has killed thousands of militants.
Israel's troops stormed into Shifa on Wednesday, and have been searching the complex. The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the troops searched underground levels of the hospital Thursday and detained technicians who run its equipment.
Israel faces pressure to prove its claim that Hamas set up its main command center in and under the hospital, which has multiple buildings over an area of several city blocks. So far, it has mainly shown photos and video of weapons caches which it says its soldiers found in the hospital. On Thursday, the military released video of a hole in the hospital courtyard it said was a tunnel entrance. It also showed several assault rifles and RPGs, grenades, ammunition clips and utility vests laid out on a blanket that it said were found in a pickup truck in the courtyard. The Associated Press could not independently verify the Israeli claims. For years, Israel has depicted the hospital as the site of a major Hamas headquarters, and in recent weeks it released satellite maps that specified particular buildings as a command center or as housing underground complexes. It released a computer animation portraying a subterranean network of passageways and rooms filled with weapons and fuel barrels. The U.S. has said it has intelligence to support Israeli claims. The allegations are part of Israel's broader accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields across the Gaza Strip, which Israeli officials say is the reason for the large numbers of civilian casualties during weeks of bombardment. U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have expressed their support for a continued Israeli offensive, despite mounting international calls for a cease-fire, while calling for everything possible to be done to protect civilians.
Israeli forces continued operating overnight into Friday in the northern Gaza Strip, and has said it is now consolidating its control of the area. "We are close to dismantling the military system that was present in the northern Gaza Strip," Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi said Thursday. He added that while "there remains work to be completed" in the north, more and more places would be targeted in the fight against Hamas, "systematically eliminating commanding officers and eliminating operatives, and eradicating the infrastructure." Israeli forces dropped leaflets Wednesday afternoon telling Palestinians in areas east of the southern town of Khan Younis to evacuate. Similar leaflets were dropped over northern Gaza for weeks ahead of the ground invasion. Most of Gaza's population is crowded into southern Gaza, including hundreds of thousands who heeded Israel's calls to evacuate to the north to get out of the way of its ground offensive. Some 1.5 million people driven from their homes have packed into U.N. shelters or houses with other families. If the assault moves into the south, it is not clear where refugees would go, as Egypt refuses to allow a mass transfer onto its soil. The Israeli military has called on people to move to a "safe zone" in Mawasi, a town on the Mediterranean coast a few square kilometers (square miles) in size, where humanitarian aid could be delivered. The heads of 18 U.N. agencies and international charities on Thursday rejected the proposed safe zone, saying that concentrating civilians in one area while hostilities continue was too dangerous. They called for a cease-fire and unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid and fuel for Gaza's population.

Families dig to retrieve thousands of bodies buried in rubble in Gaza, often by hand
Associated Press/November 17/2023
The wreckage goes on for block after devastated block. The smell is sickening. Every day, hundreds of people claw through tons of rubble with shovels and iron bars and their bare hands. They are looking for the bodies of their children. Their parents. Their neighbors. All of them killed in Israeli missile strikes. The corpses are there, somewhere in the endless acres of destruction. More than five weeks into Israel's war against Hamas, some streets are now more like graveyards. Officials in Gaza say they don't have the equipment, manpower or fuel to search properly for the living, let alone the dead. Hamas, the militant group behind the deadly Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people in Israel, has many of its bases within Gaza's crowded neighborhoods. Israel is targeting those strongholds. But the victims are often everyday Palestinians, many of whom have yet to be found. Omar al-Darawi and his neighbors have spent weeks searching the ruins of a pair of four-story houses in central Gaza. Forty-five people lived in the homes; 32 were killed. In the first days after the attack, 27 bodies were recovered. The five still missing were al-Darawi's cousins. They include Amani, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom who died with her husband and their four children. There's Aliaa, 28, who was taking care of her aging parents. There's another Amani, who died with her 14-year-old daughter. Her husband and their five sons survived. "The situation has become worse every day," said the 23-year-old, who was once a college journalism student. The smell has become unbearable. "We can't stop," he said. "We just want to find and bury them" before their bodies are lost in the rubble forever. More than 11,400 Palestinians have been killed, two-thirds of them women and minors, according to Palestinian health authorities. The U.N. humanitarian affairs office estimates that about 2,700 people, including 1,500 children, are missing and believed buried in the ruins. The missing have added layers of pain to Gaza's families, who are overwhelmingly Muslim. Islam calls for the dead to be buried quickly — within 24 hours if possible — with the shrouded bodies turned to face the holy city of Mecca. Traditionally, the body is washed by family members with soap and scented water, and prayers for forgiveness are said at the gravesite. The search is particularly difficult in northern Gaza, including Gaza City, where Israeli ground forces are battling Hamas militants. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled southward, terrified by the combat and pushed by Israeli warnings to evacuate. But even in the south, continued Israeli airstrikes and shelling mean nowhere is safe in the tiny territory. The Palestinian Civil Defense department, Gaza's primary search-and-rescue force, has had more than two dozen workers killed and over 100 injured since the war began, said Mahmoud Bassal, the department spokesman. More than half of its vehicles are now either without fuel or have been damaged by strikes, he said. In central Gaza, outside the northern combat zone, the area's civil defense director has no working heavy equipment at all, including bulldozers and cranes. "We actually don't have fuel to keep the sole bulldozer we have operating," said Rami Ali al-Aidei. At least five large bulldozers are needed just to search a series of collapsed high-rise buildings in the coastal town of Deir al-Balah, he said.
This means that bodies, and the desperate people searching for them, are not the focus. "We're prioritizing areas where we think we will find survivors," said Bassal.
As a result, the search for bodies often falls to relatives, or to volunteers like Bilal Abu Sama, a former freelance journalist. He ticks off a handful of Deir al-Balah's victims: 10 corpses still lost in what is left of the al-Salam Mosque; two dozen bodies missing in a destroyed home; 10 missing in another mosque attack. "Will those bodies remain under the rubble until the war ends? OK, when will the war end?" said Abu Sama, 30, describing how families dig through the wreckage without any tools. "The bodies will be decomposed. Many of them have already decomposed."On Tuesday, 28 days after an airstrike flattened his home, Izzel-Din al-Moghari found his cousin's body. Twenty-four people from his extended family lived in the home, in the Bureij refugee camp. All but three were killed. Eight are still missing. A civil defense bulldozer came three days after the strike to clear the road, then left quickly for another collapsed building. The bulldozer came again Tuesday and helped find al-Moghari's cousin. After finding his cousin, al-Moghari went back into the wreckage in search of his father and other relatives. "I am stunned," he said. "What we lived through is indescribable." Gaza has become a place where many families are denied even the comfort of a funeral. Al-Darawi, the man searching for his cousins, understands that. "Those who found their dead are lucky," he said.

Gaza loses communications, Israel signals forces may move south
Associated Press/November 17/2023
A dire lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip shut down all internet and phone networks Thursday, the main Palestinian telecom provider said, effectively cutting off the besieged territory from the outside world. In a signal that Israel’s ground invasion could soon expand to the south, Palestinians in parts of southern Gaza said they received evacuation notices Thursday. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are crowded into the south, including hundreds of thousands who heeded Israel’s calls to evacuate the north to get out of the way of its offensive. Nearly every single person in the Gaza Strip doesn’t have enough food, and more than two out of every three people don’t have clean drinking water, the United Nations said Thursday. Residents say bread is scarce and supermarket shelves are bare. Central electricity and running water have been out for weeks. At least 11,470 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and minors — have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health authorities, which do not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 people are reported missing. Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas after the militant group launched its Oct. 7 incursion. Some 1,200 people have died in Israel, mostly during the initial attack, and around 240 were taken captive by militants. Waterborne infectious diseases like cholera and typhoid will soon start spreading through Gaza because people don’t have access to clean water, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. Israel imposed a siege on Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, severing the crowded strip’s access to water, power and fuel. A limited amount of water now comes in through Israel and Egypt but most people must drink from the local water supply — 96% of which is “unfit for human consumption,” according to the U.N.
“The lack of clean water is resulting in ‘grave concerns’ by public health experts of an imminent infectious disease outbreak in Gaza,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement. The New York-based group called on Israel to immediately end its blockade of Gaza.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed “grave concern” over the collapse of internet and phone networks in Gaza and called on Egypt and Israel to allow fuel to enter the besieged territory. The New York-based media freedom organization said in a statement that the communications blackout caused by the lack of fuel in Gaza poses “an extreme risk to the lives of journalists reporting in Gaza and their coverage.”“By withholding fuel from Gaza, the Israeli government is preventing journalists in Gaza from providing the world with updates on the war, leaving the international community vulnerable to deadly propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

Seven killed by Israeli forces in West Bank
Agence France Presse/November 17/2023
Israel's army said Friday it killed at least seven militants in two separate confrontations in the West Bank, as Hamas admitted a number of its fighters were slain amid growing violence wracking the occupied territory. Since the October 7 Hamas attacks on southern Israel, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of clashes in the West Bank, where the Israeli army has stepped up incursions targeting militant groups. Israeli forces carried out an operation overnight Thursday-Friday in a refugee camp in Jenin, a city in the northern West Bank long considered a centre of militant activity.
"In total, at least five terrorists were killed," an army statement said. Elsewhere, in the south of the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said two people were killed "by Israeli army bullets" at the entrance to the flashpoint city of Hebron. The Israeli army said "two assailants arrived in a vehicle at a junction adjacent to Hebron and fired at the soldiers who were operating in the area"."The soldiers responded with fire and killed the assailants" before seizing a weapon, a statement said, adding there were no Israeli casualties. In Jenin, Hamas said three of its fighters had been killed in the raid -- the third major Israeli incursion in the area in as many weeks. On Friday morning, AFP journalists saw a funeral procession for three people, trailed by dozens of mourners and militants firing into the air. The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah also said three people had been killed in the Jenin raid and 15 wounded, four of them critically.
Exchange of fire -
The Israeli army said "an armed terrorist cell that fired at Israeli security forces was struck by a (military) aircraft". "Terrorists who fired and hurled explosive devices at the security forces were neutralised," a statement added. The military said "terrorists and gunmen fled the area in vehicles and ambulances toward the area of the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin in order to hide there", and that a vehicle was stopped at the hospital entrance. It released footage which appeared to show weapons being removed from a vehicle outside a hospital. Israel consistently says Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip are using hospitals as a base for their attacks, a charge the Islamist group routinely denies. Hamas gunmen nearly six weeks ago surged out of Gaza and killed 1,200 people -- mostly civilians -- and seized around 240 hostages, according to Israel.In retaliation for the attacks, Israel launched bombardments and a ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza, which authorities in the Hamas-run territory says have killed at least 11,500 people, mostly civilians. An incursion last week in Jenin resulted in 14 Palestinian deaths -- according to the health ministry -- in the deadliest single raid in the West Bank since at least 2005, according to United Nations data.

Biden signs bill averting govt. shutdown for now, Israel and Ukraine aid still stalled
Associated Press/November 17/2023
President Joe Biden signed a temporary spending bill a day before a potential government shutdown, pushing a fight with congressional Republicans over the federal budget into the new year, as wartime aid for Ukraine and Israel remains stalled. The measure passed the House and Senate by wide bipartisan margins this week, ensuring the government remains open until after the holiday season, and potentially giving lawmakers more time to sort out their considerable differences over government spending levels for the current budget year. Biden signed the bill Thursday in San Francisco, where he was hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. News of the signing came late at night. The president signed the bill at the Legion of Honor Museum, where he held a dinner for APEC members. The spending package keeps government funding at current levels for roughly two more months while a long-term package is negotiated. It splits the deadlines for passing full-year appropriations bills into two dates: Jan. 19 for some federal agencies and Feb. 2 for others, creating two dates when there will be a risk of a partial government shutdown. The two-step approach was championed by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and was not favored by many in the Senate, though all but one Democrat and 10 Republicans supported it because it ensured the government would not shut down for now. Johnson has vowed that he will not support any further stopgap funding measures, known as continuing resolutions. He portrayed the temporary funding bill as setting the ground for a spending "fight" with the Senate next year. The spending bill does not include the White House's nearly $106 billion request for wartime aid for Israel and Ukraine. Nor does it provide humanitarian funding for Palestinians and other supplemental requests, including money for border security. Lawmakers are likely to turn their attention more fully to that request after the Thanksgiving holiday in hopes of negotiating a deal.

Ukraine says 'heavy' fighting on Russia-held bank of Dnipro river

Agence France Presse/November 17/2023
Ukraine's military said Friday its troops were engaged in fierce fighting with Russian forces on the eastern bank of the Dnipro river, which has been controlled by Russian forces for months. "Heavy fighting continues," the military said in a statement, adding it had pushed back Russian forces to gain a foothold across the river in the Kherson region. "Sabotage, raiding and reconnaissance operations are underway," it added. Russia's defense ministry said it was inflicting heavy losses on Ukrainian troops at the Dnipro river, after Kyiv said it had successfully established a foothold on the Russian-controlled eastern bank. "The enemy is on the right (western) bank of the Dnipro and during attempts to land on islands lost more than 460 servicemen, killed and wounded, two tanks and 17 vehicles," Moscow's defense ministry said.

Erdogan to visit Germany as differences over Israel-Hamas war widen
Associated Press/November 17/2023
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected in Berlin on Friday on a short visit to Germany as the two countries' stances on the war between Israel and Hamas are poles apart. Erdogan is due to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany's largely ceremonial president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Scholz invited Erdogan to visit in May following his re-election. Turkey is viewed as an awkward but essential partner in Germany, which is home to more than 3 million people with Turkish roots. It's a NATO ally that also is important in efforts to control the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe, but there have been tensions in recent years over a variety of issues. This visit is overshadowed by a growing chasm between the two countries' stance on events following Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Germany is a staunch ally of Israel and has opposed calls for a cease-fire, while pushing for aid to civilians in Gaza, advocating "humanitarian pauses" and seeking to keep open channels of communication with other countries in the region to prevent the conflict from spreading. Erdogan has taken an increasingly strident stance against Israel. On Wednesday, he called it a "terrorist state" intent on destroying Gaza along with all of its residents. He described Hamas militants as "resistance fighters" trying to protect their lands and people. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and European Union. Those and similar comments have appalled politicians across the spectrum in Germany. Asked earlier this week about Erdogan's comments, Scholz didn't mention the Turkish leader by name but said "the accusations that are being made there against Israel are absurd."On Wednesday, Scholz told parliament that his talks with Erdogan will include a discussion of "differing views — in this question, it is very important that there is clarity and that we make our own position very clear."Israel recalled its diplomats from Turkey last month after Erdogan accused Israel of committing war crimes. Turkey later also recalled its ambassador from Israel.

Over 170 attacks on health care in West Bank since October 7th, reveals WHO

LBCI/November 17/2023
The World Health Organization (WHO) office in the occupied Palestinian territory expressed concern about the persistent escalation of attacks on health care in the West Bank. It revealed on Friday that "at least six paramedics made to exit Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, after which they were searched and detained. Three ambulances were also searched."It added that more than 170 attacks targeted health care in the West Bank since October 7th. While emphasizing that health care is "not a target," WHO urged the protection of health workers and health facilities.
.@WHO is concerned about the continued escalation of attacks on health care in the West Bank. Today, at least paramedics made to exit Ibn Sina Hospital in📍Jenin, after which they were searched and detained. ambulances were also searched.
There have been over 170 attacks

Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 17-18/2023
Indoctrinated to Hate

Raymond Ibrahim/Coptic Solidarity/November 17/2023
Discussing how a decade after curriculum reforms had supposedly been implemented, a recent report titled “Egypt’s Schools Still Teach Division and Discrimination” underscores the seriousness of the situation. Relevant excerpts follow:
[T]eachings can be found in religious education, Arabic language classes, and social studies, which promote conservative Islamic values at the expense of religious pluralism and other faiths. …
First, all programs—regardless of the classes and grades—include some Quranic verses and hadiths, and students of different religions are made to study and memorize them and sit for exams using these lessons. Some of the textbooks have passages that conflict with the beliefs of non-Muslims. One such instance can be found in an Arabic language lesson for the third preparatory level, as this Quranic verse is taught: “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’”
Meanwhile, the education program is devoid of any lesson, text, or mention of other faiths or religions, with a total omission of Egyptian Christian or Jewish historical figures, or major non-Muslim religious holidays. ….
The second characteristic of the educational content is the emphasis that Islam is the only source of virtues and positive values in such a way that depicts other faiths as inciting wrongdoing, or at least not upholding the same values. ….
The school curricula and programs used in schools adopt the idea that Islam is the basis of human values and community relations—not citizenship or human bonding. The danger of that lies in having an education system fostering the ideology upheld by certain extremist groups that do not believe in equality and citizenship, claiming that rights are closely linked to the religious view one holds, instead of the constitution or the international human rights treaties.
The third feature of educational content is discrimination on the basis of religion and incitement against others. For instance, the Islamic religious education textbook for the fifth primary grade titled “Jund Allah,” or the soldier of God, praises the use of religion to justify the sense of patriotism, glorifying the 1973 October war which positioned Egypt and Arab states against Israel, to take back the Sinai. The lesson also discussed the Jewish community’s religious and historical heritage during the life of the Prophet, and how they were forced out of Medina, stressing their “treacherous nature.” The homework for this lesson includes assignments such as writing an essay on how “Yesterday’s Jews are today’s Jews,” looking for verses that talk about the Jewish community’s supposed treachery….
There are also several practices in schools that could encourage religious discrimination, such as the recitation of Quranic verses in the morning assembly at the beginning of the school day. During Islamic religious classes, Christian students are forced to leave the classroom to the school yard, where they gather for their religious classes and are not allotted a classroom.
The findings of this recent report are not limited to Egypt. Reports concerning the radical indoctrination of schoolchildren in Muslim-run schools—both in and out of the Muslim world—are common.
For instance, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a statement saying that it “is disappointed to find inflammatory content in Saudi textbooks that was previously thought to have been removed.” The commission “uncovered content promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others,” often in connection to the Islamic doctrine of “loyalty and enmity,” which, based on the Koran (e.g., 60:4), requires Muslims to love what Allah loves and hate what Allah hates—which includes “infidels,” non-Muslims.
A separate report published by Human Rights Watch touched on the indoctrination process: “As early as first grade, students in Saudi schools are being taught hatred toward all those perceived to be of a different faith or school of thought… The lessons in hate are reinforced with each following year.”
Public schools in Qatar, a close U.S. “friend and ally,” also continue to promote extremist thinking. According to one report,
[A] review of 314 textbooks for the calendar years 2016–2020 determined that the Qatari curriculum did not yet meet international standards…. Textbooks … echoed antisemitic canards and reinforced the Qatari regime’s support for Islamist militant groups. While the curriculum emphasized nationalist identities over tribal affiliations, it was also influenced by pan-Islamic and pan-Arab nationalism as well as elements of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood… [One] lesson teaches that a woman’s fundamental purpose is to raise children to sacrifice their lives, in what is understood to be violent jihad, rather than to be productive and faithful Muslims…. A passage condemns Christianity and Judaism as religions which “have been corrupted”, and that polytheistic elements “have been inserted into them”; polytheism, meanwhile, is treated as a form of “ignorance” which is “false”. While this is a part of Islamic dogma, using this strongly negative language in a school textbook cultivates feelings of religious supremacy and deep intolerance of people with differing religious beliefs.
Needless to say, schools in Pakistan—where rampaging Muslim mobs recently torched 25 churches—also continue to “teach their children to hate Christians and other religious minorities,” one report found:
[I]nstead of minimizing hate materials and discouraging religious extremism [as the government had vowed to do after a particularly lethal Islamic terror attack on a school killed 132 students in 2014], the opposite seems to be occurring with a growing trend toward a more biased curriculum and more religious extremism being taught in Pakistan’s public schools.
Speaking in 2019, a Pakistani Christian leader said that religious “minorities are considered infidels and they are depicted negatively in textbooks, which promote prejudices against minorities.” Because of this:
Many minorities give their children Islamic names so they will not be singled out as Christians and become potential targets for discrimination in primary or secondary schools or at the college level…. In many cases, minority students do suffer abuse in public schools.
According to a 2022 report,
The 12th grade religious course book used in public schools in Turkey promotes armed jihad, ignoring the abuse of the jihad concept by violent terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The textbook reflects the prevailing ideology of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been governing the NATO member country for the last 20 years.
School textbooks in Turkey also demonize non-Muslims. Speaking of her experiences, a former Muslim woman who converted to Christianity explained how “her opinion of Christians was very low because of the things she and others were taught to believe about Christians in a Muslim society.” According to the convert, who now lives in the U.S. and goes by the pseudonym Derya Little, “An anti-Christian attitude is a big part of the national identity, so anyone or anything that promotes Christianity is automatically suspicious.”
School textbooks taught her that “it was the Christians who wanted to plunder the lands and the riches of the Muslim world” and Turks merely responded by “defend[ing] what was rightfully theirs.” (In reality, modern day Turkey consists of territory that was Christian for more than a millennium before being conquered in the name of jihad.) “Everything is used to make the Christians look like villains,” she said, adding, “It’s the same all through Muslim countries.”
To be clear: until such time that public schools throughout the Muslim world—where the worldview of young Muslims are first formed and molded—stop teaching hostility for and discrimination against non-Muslims, all talk about “combatting extremism” is doomed to failure.

Turkey’s ‘Aid’ Organization Is a Front for Supporting Terrorism
Sinan Ciddi/Townhall/November 17/2023
Turkey’s premier aid organization, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms (IHH), with strong links to the government, actively supports terrorist causes and should be designated as a Foreign (FTO) Terrorist Organization by the United States.
For some “it’s a humanitarian organization,” while for others, it is has been referred to as a “one-stop shopping spot for terrorism.” In actuality, it is a confluence of both. Established in 1992, IHH has built a reputation that provides humanitarian relief to primarily Muslim countries. Since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to come in 2003, the organization has become intertwined with his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). Many members of the IHH’s governing body are also AKP officials. This includes Ankara’s current ambassador to Washington, Murat Mercan, who in 2010, wanted to sail on an ‘humanitarian aid’ mission to Gaza, but was ultimately talked down by the Turkish foreign ministry. By itself, there is nothing wrong with this, as Erdogan has used IHH as a means to display Turkey’s growing soft power influence in the world. IHH has provided disaster relief in many parts of the world to include Haiti, Yemen and Darfur.
The picture becomes more sinister however, when one takes a closer look at IHH’s relationship with Jihadist entities. This is most visible in IHH’s relationship with Hamas, and significant as Ankara is keen on using IHH to deliver ‘humanitarian aid’ to Palestinians caught up in the present conflict. Israel is rightfully suspicious, and for good reasons. Jerusalem designated IHH as a terrorist entity in 2008, mainly owing to its membership of the ‘Union of Good’—a Muslim Brotherhood coalition of Muslim charities, known to raise funds for Hamas and sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury. Any potential aid going to Gaza with IHH labels is likely to be heavily inspected by Israeli authorities to ensure that no dual use goods fall into the hands of Hamas terrorists.
In 2010, IHH was the organization that sponsored the ‘aid flotilla’ from Turkey to Gaza. The attempt to deliver humanitarian aid became famous, after Israeli special forces boarded the Mavi Marmara-the lead ship in the flotilla, in order to prevent the ships from breaching Israel’s blockade of Gaza. While the Turkish government tried to cry foul and accuse Israel of being a cruel state for preventing aid from reaching desperate Gazan’s, it conveniently forgets that the supposed aid workers were armed with weapons, opened fire on Israeli troops, while calling for “jihad, martyrdom and violence.”
IHH’s activities should also be concerning for the Biden administration. It’s leader Bulent Yildirim makes no secret of his anti-American and anti-Israeli opinions. Following the October 7 massacres in Israel, Yıldırım has spoken at a number of pro-Hamas rallies, often asking for the world to put an end to “the fascist, racist, apartheidd [Israeli] regime.” His comments are part of a long campaign to undermine the United States’ and Israel’s security. During the Iraq war, IHH was identified as having representatives on the ground in Fallujah (2004), which at the time was controlled by al-Qaeda forces. In 2001, French magistrate Bruguiere testified in U.S. District Court, pointing out that IHH played “[a]n important role” in the al-Qaeda millennium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport.”
Special consideration should be given to IHH’s links to the Islamic State (ISIS). According to testimonies given by former ISIS members in 2014, IHH attempted to ship weapons to ISIS from Turkey to Syria, which IHH officials denied. The incident raised eyebrows in Western capitals, and came to be known as the “MIT truck” incident, implicating Turkey’s state intelligence service and IHH with providing material support to ISIS. Such activities increased pressure on the Obama administration to designate IHH as a foreign terrorist organization, but the initiative never materialized due to hesitation on part of the U.S. government. It is clear that IHH intends to continue its support of jihadist entities in the region, which is now laser focused on aiding Hamas’ which seeks to carry out further atrocities in Israel. What is not clear, is that given the history of IHH’s ties to radical extremist entities, and its proven track record in supporting terrorism, why then does the United States and the European Union still shy away from designating this entity as a terrorist organization? Attacks against Israeli civilians are now being compounded by attacks against U.S. forces, and all carried out by Iranian-backed proxies. Designating IHH as an FTO should be low hanging fruit for the Biden administration, so that risk to the lives of U.S. forces and our Israeli allies is minimized to the greatest extent possible.
**Sinan Ciddi is a non-resident senior fellow at FDD and an expert on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy.

Urgently Needed: An Economic and National Security 'War Cabinet'

Pete Hoekstra/Gatestone Institute/November 17, 2023
In World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill formed a wartime cabinet to unify the UK to fight the threats the country faced.
In 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a war cabinet to confront and defeat Hamas.
In light of the recent, stark warnings given by the Five Eyes security leaders on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and so many others, it is time for the U.S. to propose an economic and national security "war" cabinet to coordinate, strategize, and implement plans to address the China challenge as well as the national debt's impact on our ability to confront it.
In World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill formed a wartime cabinet to unify the UK to fight the threats the country faced. In light of the recent, stark warnings given by the Five Eyes security leaders on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and so many others, it is time for the U.S. to propose an economic and national security "war" cabinet.
Voters in a small Michigan township ousted their entire township board over the board's support for building a Michigan-taxpayer subsidized, Chinese battery manufacturing plant in their midst. History might not remember them as among the first Americans to take a stand against the creeping Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence growing in the United States, but their vote should serve as a historic and valiant wake-up call for all Americans and their leaders.
How then should their leaders respond to the valid concerns over the threat posed by the CCP's efforts in America?
The Israeli government's political response to the barbaric Hamas terrorist attack on October 7 shows one potential avenue of response to Communist China's rapidly increasing national security threat – critically, before a crisis or an attack forces a response.
Later on the day of the attack, leaders of four of Israel's opposition parties issued a joint statement in which they said, "In times like these, there is no opposition and coalition in Israel." The statement reinforced the unity of nearly all political parties in Israel to defeat the existential threat posed to Israel by Hamas and Iran. On October 11, a war cabinet was formed. There was a unity of purpose to protect the Israel today and in the future.
While China has not launched a direct military attack against the United States, it has become conventional wisdom that China poses the greatest geostrategic threat to the U.S. and the West. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CCP, "represents both the leading and most consequential threat to U.S. national security and leadership globally." The U.S. National Defense Strategy also lists China as the top threat, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stating:
"The [People's Republic of China] is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, a power to do so."
The U.S. and its "Five Eyes" national security partners—composed of the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—warned of an existential threat from the Chinese Communist Party that cannot be ignored. In an unprecedented series of meetings in Silicon Valley and with media, the senior officials representing the Five Eyes issued a sharp call to their governments, businesses, and the public about the threat from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the CCP. This is the first time in the more than 80-year existence of the Five Eyes partnership that its leaders have met to share publicly concerns they have. Summing up the unified message from the Five Eyes partners, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated:
"The People's Republic of China represents the defining threat of this generation this era. There is no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our - our innovation, our economic security, and ultimately our national security."
The head of Australia's security service, Mike Burgess, added:
"All countries seek strategic advantage. But the [PRC's] behavior we're talking about here goes well beyond traditional espionage. This scale of theft is unprecedented in human history."
In the same interview, the Five Eyes officials noted, "Chinese companies are overseen by the Communist Party, and for many, espionage is a sideline on behalf of the PRC." They also raised alarms about the building of industrial sites in Five Eye countries that actually might be covers for Chinese spying, with Wray confirming that the FBI sees economic projects in the U.S. by Chinese companies that clearly raise national security concerns. He added:
"We have seen over and over again [China's] efforts to really stop at almost nothing to intimidate people who would have the audacity here in the United States where we have freedom of speech to express criticism of the [Chinese] regime."
The threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party is further magnified by the massive U.S. national debt that exceeds $33 trillion and counting. There are multiple reasons why excessively high national debt may be dangerous, including the interest on the national debt that now exceeds $1 trillion a year – before we pay any other expense. Not only could this force cutbacks in key programs; the most significant reason the national debt is a strategic problem is that if China attacks the U.S. or U.S. interests abroad, it will make responding more difficult due to fiscal constraints.
In World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill formed a wartime cabinet to unify the UK to fight the threats the country faced.
In 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a war cabinet to confront and defeat Hamas.
In light of the recent, stark warnings given by the Five Eyes security leaders on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and so many others, it is time for the U.S. to propose an economic and national security "war" cabinet to coordinate, strategize, and implement plans to address the China challenge as well as the national debt's impact on our ability to confront it.
**Peter Hoekstra is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. He was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He also served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Second District of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.
© 2023 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Who Is Committing Genocide?
Carl Gershman/The Tablet/November 17/2023
Hamas’ barbaric attack on Oct. 7, when the terrorist group gruesomely slaughtered 1,200 Israelis and seized over 200 hostages, most of them civilians, has brought the issue of genocide to the forefront of global attention. The attack, which was the largest massacre of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust, summoned all the old traumas of anti-Jewish hatred and pogroms. President Biden spoke of the “sheer evil” of the Hamas butchery, which included the beheading of infants and small children, the murder of entire families in their homes, the rape and murder of women, and the mowing down of hundreds of young people as they ran screaming from a music festival. At a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly called Hamas “the new Nazis” and compared Israeli children trying to escape Hamas gunmen to Anne Frank and other young Jews who “hid in attics” during the Holocaust.
Shockingly, though, and almost incomprehensibly, there’s been a global eruption of protests charging that it is Israel, not Hamas, that’s guilty of committing genocide. Demonstrations across the United States were organized by a campaign called Stop the Gaza Genocide, and there was even a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol organized by a leftist group shamefully named the Jewish Voice for Peace where the signs read “Jews say stop the genocide of Palestinians.” The U.N. human rights official Craig Mokhiber, known for repeatedly charging Israel with genocide, said he was resigning his position because the U.N. was “once again” showing itself powerless to stop genocide in Gaza, while the congressional “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib attacked President Biden for supporting “the genocide of the Palestinian people.”
The accusation of genocide against Israel serves a number of purposes for Israel’s opponents. Gerard Baker said that what is “especially malignant” about the use of the term genocide against Israel is that those propagating it know full well “its resonance in the history of the Jewish people, and they use it deliberately to equate what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Nazis with a military action today that is justified in self-defense.” He called this a form of Holocaust denial since it is “explicitly reducing the Holocaust to the level of a regrettable byproduct of a legitimate military campaign.” Accusing Israel of genocide is a way to delegitimize that military campaign, thereby denying Israel the right of self-defense.
But most important, turning the charge of genocide against Israel also hides the fact that it is Hamas and not Israel that indisputably stands in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The convention defines as genocide “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” (emphasis added). Israel has repeatedly made clear that its intent is to destroy Hamas, not Palestinian civilians. It has called upon civilians to leave the war zone, repeatedly paused its offensive, and opened “humanitarian corridors” that have allowed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza to flee south. It’s true, of course, that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war, but that is because Hamas has embedded itself deeply into the civilian infrastructure, using civilians as human shields and firing rockets from schools and hospitals. The Al-Shifa Hospital is the most egregious example of a hospital that doubles as a command center sitting atop fuel reserves, and an important part of the vast tunnel network that is used to store weapons and move fighters and resources. The Geneva Conventions regulating the conduct of armed conflict are quite clear that hospitals lose their legal protection if they’re used for military purposes. International law distinguishes between war and war crimes, and it is Hamas that is committing war crimes in ruthlessly using civilians to protect its fighters.
It is also Hamas that demonstrated genocidal intent in the atrocities committed during the slaughter on Oct. 7, which Yossi Klein Halevi has called “a pre-enactment of Hamas’s genocidal vision.” If the jubilation Hamas terrorists displayed in videos of their savage acts that they proudly posted online were not sufficient proof of genocidal intent, the organization’s founding charter (adopted in 1988) stands as the most unequivocal expression of genocidal intent of any government, institution, or political movement in the world.
The Hamas Charter says that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it,” that Hamas “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine,” and that unceasing holy war (or jihad) is the only way to attain that objective. It declares that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The charter embraces the most odious antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories, in particular The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous early-20th-century Russian forgery alleging that Jews have a secret plan to control the world. Article 22 of the charter declares that with their money, the Jews took control of the world media and, using that power, “were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution,” imperialism and colonialism, as well as “World War I when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate” and “World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state.” Article 32 states that “the Zionist plan is limitless,” and that “after Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates” and pursue “further expansion after that.” The Hamas Charter is not only a crazed call for genocide but is itself a violation of the Genocide Convention, which says in Article III that acts punishable under the convention include incitement to commit genocide, which is precisely what the Hamas Charter proclaims.
The Geneva Conventions regulating the conduct of armed conflict are quite clear that hospitals lose their legal protection if they’re used for military purposes.
Israel’s opponents have shown no interest whatsoever in the issue of genocide as such, since for them genocide is little more than a term of abuse in the political war against Israel. But genocide is in fact a gravely serious international problem that urgently needs to be addressed. Israel’s accusers, for example, have been conspicuously silent on the genocide that China has been carrying out against the Uyghurs, a Muslim people no less. Unlike Hamas, which fervently broadcasts its genocidal intent, China has rejected as “slanderous” criticism of its treatment of Uyghurs. But the U.S. government and the parliaments of the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and Lithuania, along with the special Uyghur Tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, the British barrister, have said that Beijing’s persecution of the Uyghur people constitutes genocide under the convention, which designates as genocidal not just killing members of a group but also “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction” by “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” or “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Numerous reports, among them one by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, have documented acts committed by the Chinese government that are punishable under the Genocide Convention, among them forced sterilization and abortion, the suppression of Uyghur religious practices, the destruction of more than 16,000 mosques since 2017, taking children from their parents and sending them to state orphanages where they are forcibly assimilated, massive internment in state-sponsored concentration camps, forced labor, and repressive practices targeting women that are focused on preventing births.
A report in The Wall Street Journal in 2019 noted that while the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called an assault on Uyghurs in Urumqi a genocide a decade earlier, he and other Muslim leaders, who claim to oppose “Israeli genocide,” remained silent when Beijing stepped up its repression in 2017, interning up to 3 million Uyghurs in “counter-extremism centers” and reeducation camps. The shift, the Journal noted, isn’t hard to explain, since “China is simply too central an actor in the Muslim world … for the cause of the Uyghurs to matter much.”
Muslim leaders have not only failed to speak out against the crackdown on Uyghurs but have actually defended it, as Mohammed bin Salman did during a visit to China in 2019 when he endorsed what he called Beijing’s right to undertake “anti-terrorism” and “de-extremism” measures against the Uyghurs. In addition, Turkey and other Muslim countries, among them Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, have arrested Uyghur refugees, often on trumped-up terrorism charges, and sent them back to China, where they face harsh punishment. With very few exceptions, governments in Islamic countries remained silent on the Uyghur genocide.
Russia is also committing genocide against the people of Ukraine, and unlike China it has been very blunt and explicit in proclaiming its intentions. In a lecture delivered in October 2022, eight months after Russia launched its invasion, Yale historian Timothy Snyder carefully laid out acts Russia had committed that violate the Genocide Convention, among them the deportation of 10% of Ukraine’s population (the equivalent, he said, of deporting the entire population of New England, New York, and Pennsylvania), the systematic bombing of civilian targets, the destruction of entire cities, and the transfer of 700,000 Ukrainian children to Russia, where they are to be forcibly Russified. He demonstrated genocidal intent by detailing the many arguments the Russians have made to justify their invasion, including the denial that Ukraine has ever existed as a real country or nation and the dehumanizing portrait of Ukrainians as deracinated people detached from the soil and representing an alien threat to Russia’s identity and redemptive mission. Since Russian propagandists regularly make clear that the government’s war aims are exterminationist, Snyder was able to cite the following straightforward examples of genocidal speech drawn from broadcasts on Russian state TV in just “the last few days” (Snyder was speaking on Oct. 28, 2022):
They should not exist at all. We should execute them by firing squad. We will kill one million. We will kill five million. We will obliterate them all. We will drown the children in the raging river. We will throw the children into burning wood huts.
Russia’s crimes against humanity are also ignored by those marching against Israeli “genocide.”
The fact that China, Russia, and Iran are all committing or aspiring to commit genocide—Iran, of course, through the agency of Hamas—shows how far the world’s most powerful and aggressive dictatorships are prepared to go to achieve their objectives, and to what extent they’ve already brutalized and degraded the international system. Shortly before Oct. 7, Walter Russell Mead wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “the rules-based international order has not been this imperiled since the 1930s.” It became far more imperiled after Oct. 7, which unleashed a global wave of antisemitism that is toxic to democratic civilization. Speaking to a gathering in the U.S. Congress on Oct. 24, the Canadian human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler called antisemitism “the bloody canary in the mineshaft of global evil,” and warned that it threatens not just Israel and Jews but “our shared humanity and the rule of law as we know it.” This threat comes at a time when the United States remains debilitated by crippling political divisions and rising isolationism. May the stirrings of alarm provoked by the horrible events of Oct. 7 awaken us before it’s too late to respond to the sobering challenges that lie ahead.
*Carl Gershman is a Senior Fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights. Previously, he was the founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy (1984-2021) and the Senior Counselor to Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and the Alternate Representative to the U.N. Security Council (1981-84).

Pariah or Not Pariah?
Michael Young/Carnegie/November 17, 2023
In the absence of a political horizon for Palestinians, Israel may opt for the most terrible alternative of all.
October 7 was many things for Israel, but above all it was a confirmation that the ambitions of the country’s present leadership are at an impasse. Hamas’s attack against Israeli towns and military bases showed that the idea of circumventing the Palestinians to make deals with Arab countries was an illusion. The problem in and around Israel remains the same: Without a political horizon for Palestinians, Israel will remain a state build on a foundation of structural oppression, in which Palestinians are permanently subjugated, disregarded, and humiliated. As Israelis come to realize that this situation is unsustainable, they will be left with one of two choices: either to conclude a durable peace agreement with the Palestinians, or to find a way of transferring by force Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (and conceivably, those inside the 1948 borders) to neighboring Arab countries.
While peace is the better route, Israelis are more likely to prefer its alternative: ethnic cleansing. What we are seeing today across the Israeli political spectrum is an apparent consensus that October 7 showed that coexistence between Jews and Palestinians was an impossibility. Therefore, the only solution left is to get rid of as many Palestinians in Israel’s vicinity as possible.
The notion of an Arab “transfer” out of Palestine has always been present in the Israeli discussion, and was a centerpiece of Zionist thinking, as the historian Nur Masalha showed in his groundbreaking book Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882–1948. The demographics today only make Israeli deliberation along these lines more acute. We have lately seen Israeli leaders, as well as present and former policymakers, discussing openly the idea of transferring Palestinians out of Gaza, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking European leaders to put pressure on Egypt to accept Gaza’s Palestinians, who would be pushed into the Sinai by Israel.
Since the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is, according to its own description, one of the organizations most involved in “humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence,” and “takes action in response to emergencies [promoting] respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law,” it would be useful to begin with its definition of ethnic cleansing. The ICRC defines it as “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”
Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence has prepared what the authorities have downplayed as a “concept paper,” providing options for what to do with the Palestinians in Gaza. It proposes that Israel “evacuate the Gazan population to Sinai” and “create a sterile zone of several kilometers inside Egypt and not allow the population to return to activity or residence near the Israeli border.” Under the ICRC definition, the ministry’s proposals, and evidently Netanyahu’s actions, are unequivocally steps in what is a project to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians living in Gaza.
When there was pushback against the Ministry of Intelligence’s paper, some Israelis tried another approach. Two Israeli politicians, Danny Danon of the Likud party and Ram Ben-Barak of the more centrist Yesh Atid Party, published an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal in which they called on countries around the world to take in what they called “limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate.” On the face of it, this appeared to be a humane gesture favoring Palestinians, but the reality was quite different. Given that Israel has destroyed large swathes of Gaza, making them uninhabitable, we can assume that quite a few Gazans would probably choose to leave the territory if given the opportunity to do so. In other words, what the authors disingenuously chose to portray as a plan affecting limited numbers of Palestinians is one that would more likely end up appealing to a far larger number of people whose lives have been ruined.
Not surprisingly, this softcore ethnic cleansing tactic was endorsed by more extremist elements of Israel’s political establishment, with Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the far-right National Religious Party—Religious Zionism, approving of the proposal. Smotrich had himself presented a so-called “Decisive Plan” in 2017 in which he called for a massive expansion of settlements in the occupied territories, so that “the Arab dream of a state in Judea and Samaria is no longer viable.” This would leave Palestinians with two possibilities: “Those who wish to forego their national aspirations can stay here and live as individuals in the Jewish State,” or “those who choose not to let go of their national ambitions will receive aid to emigrate to one of the many countries where Arabs realize their national ambitions, or to any other destination in the world.” One can hear echoes of Smotrich in Danon’s and Ben-Barak’s article,which appears to reflect mainstream views.
Let’s examine one possibility. Assuming Palestinians surrender their national aspirations and choose to live in a Jewish state, what actually awaits them? If the past is prologue, then Palestinians who remain in Israel and the occupied territories would very probably be fated to accept a permanent secondary status under a legal system that treats Jews and Palestinians unequally, the legal definition of apartheid.
Saying such a thing apparently constitutes an example of antisemitism, according to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, adopting the controversial definition of the term by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The only problem, however, is that an increasing number of Israelis appear to agree with the term. This includes the Israeli Law Professors’ Forum for Democracy, an ad hoc and voluntary group of Israeli legal experts, in a report it published in March 2023. The report examines how the civil administration in the occupied West Bank has, through a government power-sharing agreement, been subordinated to the additional minister in Israel’s Ministry Defense, meaning Belazel Smotrich. This represents a break with the past, when the occupied West Bank was ruled by the Israeli military under belligerent occupation, not by Israel’s government.
According to the law professors, the agreement, by placing management of the West Bank in the hands of a cabinet minister, “deepens the differences that already exist between Israelis residing in the West Bank and Palestinians residing there, insofar as concerns the legal frameworks and applicable law governing them, and intensifies the discrimination between these populations. The agreement is an overt and formal measure that validates claims that Israel practices apartheid, which is prohibited under international law.” Others have concluded the same thing, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967.
Gaza has taught the Israelis several lessons when it comes to dealing with the Palestinian population in its midst. The first is that when Israel is perceived as a victim, the international community has no hesitation in allowing it to violate international law, in this case the perpetration of war crimes, including collective punishment. Second, humanitarian actions can easily act as camouflage for more sinister objectives. Had Egypt acquiesced to a humanitarian corridor to allow Palestinians to seek refuge in Sinai, this would have potentially given Israel an opportunity to close the door and bar their return to the territory. That is why the Egyptians, from the beginning, rejected the idea of a humanitarian corridor.
And third, October 7 was perceived by many Israelis as posing an existential threat to their state (which its enemies never denied), making them more determined to deal with the presence of the Palestinians through radical, violent measures. The fact that there has been little outcry against five weeks of bombing in Gaza in which perhaps as many as 15,000–20,000 people have been killed, many of them children, shows just how far fear can push people to approve of the reprehensible.
It is only natural that Israel should think in these terms. The rightward shift of the Israeli electorate, the extremism of the Netanyahu government, and the United States’ facilitation of Israel’s most contentious policies, have led Israelis into a wall. In refusing to consider a Palestinian state, in undermining the Palestinian Authority, in backing the illegal activities of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories, in suffocating Gaza, in pushing Palestinians into ever smaller enclaves in the West Bank, and now Gaza, Israel has become a state whose primary aim, it seems, is to deny rights to the millions of Palestinians under its control.
In other words, Israelis, as they contemplate whether to embrace the path of ethnic cleansing or simply retain an apartheid system, must consider whether they want to consolidate what a rising number of people around the world view as a pariah state. The answer may be yes, but what security lies in this, and for how long? In recent decades, Israel’s enemies have improved their weapons and strategies, while the United States, Israel’s strongest ally, has found itself more isolated. The refusal of Israeli leaders to give Palestinians a state—even one that is mangled and garrisoned by an abusive military, where Israel controls all access points, all resources, all lives—is no longer tolerable to a rising generation of young people worldwide.
Israelis must feel besieged and many are facing a rising tide of antisemitism. Given the significant numbers of Jews in Israel and outside who reject the pitiless logic of Israel’s occupation, antisemitism is not only an odious reaction to what Israel is doing, it is also an especially stupid one. As Israel stands before the two alternatives of a just peace with the Palestinians or ethnic cleansing, they have to be persuaded to select the first. There are those in Israel, many of them in power, who reject peace, which is precisely why those in the Arab world and elsewhere who want a settlement must find common cause with Jews all over who seek the same thing.
When the reactions to October 7 finally die down, many will realize what should be obvious by now. Jews and Arabs have no choice but to coexist since neither people will ever manage to get rid of the other, even as striving to do so diminishes each.
**Carnegie does not take institutional positions on public policy issues; the views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Carnegie, its staff, or its trustees.

Question: “What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving?”
GotQuestions.org/November 17, 2023
Answer: The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.
These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Native Americans in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Native Americans in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 Native Americans (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.
From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.
Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).
Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

Opinion: Israel’s Palestinian strategy was a grave miscalculation
Opinion by Hussein Ibish/CNN/November 17, 2023
Editor’s Note: Hussein Ibish is a Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. His most recent book is “What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more CNN Opinion. The most important factor in determining the political outcome of Israel’s current war will not take place in Gaza — but will instead unfold in the West Bank.
That’s because if Israel really wants to deliver a serious long-term blow to Hamas as a potent political movement among the Palestinian people, it’s going to be essential to seriously rethink its attitude towards the Islamist extremist group’s archrivals: the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on the international stage.
Without strengthening these Palestinian groups, which still represent the mainstream of the national movement, Hamas and even more extreme groups will almost certainly continue to grow and thrive among the Palestinian people.
If Israel is now serious about decimating Hamas’s military and political power, that cannot be done only or even mainly by killing the group’s leaders and members and blowing up its equipment and infrastructure. New people can and will fill the void and insurgencies can successfully operate on a shoestring and under extremely onerous conditions.
Because the Palestinian people, their cause and their national movement are not going to disappear, the only way to really marginalize Hamas in the long run is to abandon the policy of simultaneously strengthening and weakening both Palestinian factions to keep them at odds with each other and therefore ineffective as a national movement.
Hamas, the early years
In one of the most reckless and self-defeating policies in its young history, Israel, from the outset, sought to bolster and use Hamas to split and thereby cripple the Palestinian national movement. Hamas was formed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza during the firmament of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) against Israeli occupation in 1987. Israeli occupation authorities immediately believed they had stumbled upon a marvelous opportunity to divide Palestinians between secular nationalists and Islamists just as they began to rise up on the ground in the occupied territories.
Hamas was given considerable leeway to organize and form itself, with Israel turning a blind eye to the organization’s early efforts to structure and found itself — activities that would have been ruthlessly suppressed if pursued by either Fatah-dominated organizations or the local grassroots committees that led the first uprising in its initial months. For a brief period during the Oslo negotiations and the initial implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements that led to the formation of the small self-administered Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank and most of Gaza in the 1990s, this deeply misguided strategy of divide and rule was essentially set aside in favor of serious negotiations with the PLO and a significant degree of cooperation with the PA.
However, after the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000 and the subsequent outbreak of the far more violent second intifada in the fall of that year, the Israeli right resumed power. Under Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli right has dominated national politics for the vast majority of subsequent years, and it eagerly resumed a divide and rule approach.
This seemed to reach a successful crescendo in 2007, when a year of divided government among Palestinians — with a Fatah presidency under Mahmoud Abbas and a Hamas-dominated legislature — collapsed into open conflict and Hamas violently expelled Fatah and the PA from Gaza.
Israel’s ‘divide and rule’ approach
For Netanyahu and his colleagues, this split was ideal. Hamas’ unwavering commitment to armed struggle and violence allowed the Israeli right to paint the entire Palestinian national movement as hopelessly extreme.
And the split between Gaza and the West Bank provided Israelis who wanted no part in any additional negotiations with the Palestinians which could result in a two-state solution with a perfect excuse not to sit down with the PLO, by claiming that they do not represent the entirety of the Palestinian people.
For almost 20 years, Israel’s policy was to keep Hamas in power in Gaza, albeit besieged and contained, and periodically and literally cut down to size through wars cynically described as “mowing the grass,” while at the same time ensuring that the PA continued to control the self-administered enclaves in the West Bank, albeit with extreme institutional and political weakness.
Above all, the core goal appeared to be to ensure that the Palestinian division prevented any additional movement towards the creation of a Palestinian state or the development of any further restrictions on Israeli settlement activity and the now openly-declared national policy goal of eventual additional major annexation in the West Bank.
In March 2019, Netanyahu told a private meeting of Likud party Knesset members that “whoever is against a Palestinian state should be for” transferring funds to Hamas in Gaza, according to the Jerusalem Post. He reportedly said that this was part of Israel’s strategy — to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank. This articulated policies that the Israeli right had been diligently following for many years. And it led, inexorably and predictably, to the October 7 massacres.
What Hamas did next
Israelis, including the national security establishment, were taken aback by the Hamas attack of October 7 because they had wrongly concluded that both Palestinian groups were content to rule their separate fiefdoms and persist in a relative stalemate for dominance of the national movement that played perfectly into Israel’s hands.
What the Israelis had not appreciated is that since Hamas’ founding in 1987, its prime directive has been to maneuver to take over the Palestinian national movement and, eventually, the PLO with its invaluable international diplomatic presence, including nonmember observer state status at the UN and over 100 embassies around the world.
It was instantly obvious after the October 7 killing spree that the increasingly unpopular Hamas was seeking to use violence assert its dominance of the national movement. Indeed, it’s clear that Hamas expected an overwhelming military response from Israel on the ground in Gaza, and that it hopes to provoke a long-term Israeli security presence against which it can, sooner rather than later, organize a sustained and increasingly powerful insurgency.
The obvious goal is to contrast this armed resistance, not just now, but especially in coming years, with PA security cooperation with Israel and the PLO’s unwavering commitment to securing independence through a two-state agreement with Israel.
The only rational choice left for Israel in the wake of October 7 is to finally choose to deal seriously and constructively with the Palestinians who are committed to talking to Israelis, as opposed to bolstering those who want to kill Israelis.
It may go against all the instincts of many Israeli extremists in the current government, including Netanyahu, but if they do not begin to deal seriously, constructively and cooperatively with the PA and the PLO, Hamas and even more extreme groups will continue to thrive.
This means taking any number of obvious measures to strengthen the PA institutionally and politically, including by expanding its authority in the West Bank.
And it means reengaging with the PLO at the negotiating table to seriously discuss a viable accommodation that meets the needs of both peoples.
Beyond Mahmoud Abbas
Many Israelis may find it hard to imagine suddenly taking Mahmoud Abbas, who is both the PA president and the PLO chairman, seriously, both because they are used to thinking of him as a spent force and ineffective leader, and because he has lashed out in frustration with language that has been highly offensive, including regarding the Holocaust.
There is no doubt that Abbas is, in almost every imaginable way, long past his sell-by date. But the old, infirm and chain-smoking politician, who at least has time and again proven his unwavering rejection of violence as a Palestinian national strategy, represents exactly this trend among Palestinians. And when he passes, sooner rather than later, from the scene, he will be replaced by others from the same tendency.
Israelis cannot approach this decisive strategic and political inflection point by focusing on the personality, failures or foibles of Abbas. In many ways, Israel’s consistently hostile policies were the single biggest factor in shaping him into the highly flawed figure he has become.
This is the Palestinian leader who, after all, resigned as Yasser Arafat’s Prime Minister during the second intifada and voluntarily went into an open-ended sojourn in the political wilderness, precisely because he categorically rejected the use of violence.
Moreover, it’s not about Abbas or his inner circle as personalities. It must be about strengthening the hands of Palestinians who sincerely seek an accommodation with Jewish Israelis and represent the primary obstacle to Hamas finally achieving political dominance among Palestinians.
It’s a no-brainer, but Netanyahu and his government show no signs of understanding the necessity of such a radical policy shift. The Biden administration appears to understand the challenge in theory, but how much they can or will do to implement such a revised policy towards the Palestinian political scene is uncertain at best.
Given the profound governance, security and intelligence failures revealed by the October 7 attack — which was “successful” beyond Hamas’s wildest fantasies —Israelis should certainly be seeking new leadership. If and when they at last turn their backs on Netanyahu and the coterie of Jewish supremacists surrounding him, it’s essential that the next phase of Israeli strategic thinking reflects at least some understanding of the Palestinian political scene and what Israel’s real options are.
It’s not too late to choose to deal seriously, respectfully and constructively with Palestinians who are sincere about a negotiated agreement for peaceful coexistence. The alternative was on full display on October 7.
No amount of death and destruction in Gaza or elsewhere is going to provide Israel with lasting security. A negotiated agreement with the Palestinian factions who, despite everything, still want to reach a peace deal with Israel — for good or ill, currently led by Abbas — can bring that about. It’s the only thing that can bring Israelis peace and genuine security.