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

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Bible Quotations For today
The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.
Luke 10/01-07: “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!”And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on October 17-18/2023
Five Hezbollah fighters killed in south Lebanon amid ceaseless clashes
Israeli army chief says Hezbollah will be 'annihilated' if it makes a 'mistake'
Israel shells south Lebanon after Hezbollah missiles wound 3
Berri urges new president as opposition rejects implicating Lebanon in war
Turkish FM in Beirut in bid to stop war from spreading to Lebanon
Reuters demands 'swift' Israeli probe into Issam Abdallah's killing
SWISS scraps flights to Lebanon over Israel border unrest
Lebanon's Hezbollah denounces Gaza hospital strike, protests in Beirut
French FM says Lebanon must stay out of Israel-Hamas war
'Shaken beliefs': Israelis evacuate from tense Lebanon border
Turkey in touch with Hamas over hostages it holds in Gaza
Protesters breach security at US embassy in Awkar, raising Palestinian flags
Hezbollah: Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be an unprecedented day of anger against the enemy and its crimes
PM Mikati announces Wednesday as a national day of mourning after the targeting of Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza
Jumblatt after meeting Mikati: We will remain by PM's side in all his efforts, hope not to be dragged into war
Islamic Resistance mourns four of its martyrs. Here are the details
The Lebanese Journey: Rediscovering Our Shared History and Small Beginnings"/Edmond El-Chidiac/October 17/2023
France Warns against Lebanon Travel, Joining Western States
Israel Says it Killed 4 People who Tried to Infiltrate from Lebanon
Senior Iranian, Hamas, And Palestinian Islamic Jihad Officials Link Hamas Attack On Israel To Thwarting U.S.-Saudi-Israel Normalization Initiative
Will Hezbollah and Iran Expand War to Israel's North?/Yair Golan, Hanin Ghaddar, David Schenker, Farzin Nadimi//The Washington Institute/October 17, 2023
Gaza Has Created a Dilemma for Hezbollah/Mohanad Hagi Ali/Carnegie/October 17, 2023

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 17-18/2023
Iran warns of 'pre-emptive action' against Israel
Biden heads to Israel and Jordan as concerns mount that conflict could spread
Israeli bombings kill dozens in besieged Gaza as efforts persist to get aid
Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza hospital
Macron says 'intense' talks on to free hostages held by Hamas
Iran says 'no one can stop resistance' if Israel keeps bombing Gaza
Palestinian medics in Gaza struggle to save lives under Israeli siege, bombardment
Iran’s Khamenei threatens US as Pentagon readies 2,000 troops for region
Israeli Official Sees US ‘Involvement’ If Gaza War Spreads
Biden offers 'deepest condolences' for Gaza hospital explosion victims: White House
France strongly condemns the bombing of a hospital in Gaza
Biden will ask Congress for funds for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the immigration crisis
Israel’s Gaza Evacuation Order Could Breach International Law, Says UN
US Officials: Netanyahu Suggested Plan to Establish Palestinian State in Sinai
Jordan's King Abdullah Says ‘Whole Region is on the Brink’
WHO Says It Needs Urgent Access to Gaza to Deliver Aid, Medical Supplies
Egypt to Host Int’l Summit to Discuss Palestinian Developments
Report: Iraqi Pro-Iran Factions Establish Operations Room with Hamas
No place is safe in Gaza after Israel targets areas where civilians seek refuge, Palestinians say
As Biden Heads to Israel and Jordan, Aid Is Held up for a Gaza on the Verge of Total Collapse

Titles For The Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 17-18/2023
Iran May Exploit Israel’s War To Sprint To Nuclear Weapons/Andrea Stricker/1945 site/October 17/ 2023
10 Things to Know about Hamas/FDD/October 17/ 2023
On the Gaza Border, Chaos and a Question: How Will Israel Defeat Hamas?/Seth J. Frantzman/The Messenger/October 16/2023
Arab world has opportunity to take responsibility for Gaza’s future after Hamas attacks/David Adesnik/New york Post/Published October/17/2023
The Bloody Shirt Of Palestine/Alberto M. Fernandez/IN-1776 site/October 17/2023
Archival: The Hamas Charter – A Religious Antisemitic Document That Calls For Uncompromising Jihad Against The Jews/MEMRI/October 17, 2023
The Biden Administration Tries to Hide What It Knew About an Impending Massacre, While Leaving U.S. Backing for Iran Untouched/Lee Smith/The Tablet/October 17/2023
Iran's Direct Help to Hamas's October 7 War on Israel ...The West Must Stand United Against Both Hamas and Iran/Con Coughlin/Gatestone Institute/October 17, 2023
The Marriage of Convenience Between Iran and Israel/Nadim Koteich/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Is the Regional War Imminent?/Amal Abdulaziz al-Hazzani/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Israel’s War Aims and the Principles of a Post-Hamas Administration in Gaza/Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, David Makovsky/The Washington Institute/October 17, 2023

Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on October 17-18/2023
Five Hezbollah fighters killed in south Lebanon amid ceaseless clashes
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Hezbollah said Tuesday that five of its fighters have been killed in south Lebanon, bringing to nine the number of Hezbollah's members killed in intensifying border skirmishes with Israel. In statements, Hezbollah said five of its fighters had been killed "performing jihad", just hours after Israel said it killed four militants who attempted to infiltrate the border from Lebanon, as war rages between Israel and Hezbollah ally Hamas in Gaza. Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian militants in Lebanon on a near-daily basis since October 8, the day after Hezbollah's Palestinian ally Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people. The Israeli army, whose reprisal strikes on Gaza have killed more than 2,700 people, mostly civilians, said its forces opened fire on militants who had attempted to cross the northern border with Lebanon in the morning. "Observation troops spotted a terrorist squad attempting to infiltrate the security fence with Lebanon and plant an explosive device," the army said in a statement, adding "four terrorists were killed". Later, anti-tank missiles targeted Israeli forces in two locations, with Israeli tanks and artillery retaliating against the "origins of the fire" and Hezbollah military posts, the army said. Shots "fired from a light weapon" also targeted several Israeli military positions near Lebanon, it added. Hezbollah said in a statement afterwards that its fighters had targeted "a Zionist tank in the Ramim barracks" at noon. Two Israeli military reservists and a civilian were wounded in one of the attacks, the Israeli army said. The Lebanese Red Cross said in a statement that it was en route to collect four bodies killed in Israeli strikes over the southern border town of Alma al-Shaab. Hezbollah later targeted several Israeli posts with guided missiles, claiming to have killed and wounded Israeli soldiers. Israel had targeted Hezbollah with overnight air strikes on southern Lebanon. Since the start of the war, clashes on the Israel-Lebanon border have left more than 10 people dead on the Lebanese side.
Most of the dead have been combatants, but they also include a Reuters journalist and two civilians. On the Israeli side, at least three people have been killed.
'Grave mistake' -
Lebanon's state-owned National News Agency said areas along the western section of the border had come under "continuous" bombardment overnight. Homes in the village of Dhayra were hit, resulting in casualties, NNA reported, without elaborating on how many villagers had been wounded or whether any had been killed. "The enemy (Israel) used phosphorus bombs and targeted civilians," the news agency said. The Israeli army denied it had been using the incendiary weapon white phosphorus in either Gaza or south Lebanon, after Human Rights Watch accused it of doing so last week. The international community fears the opening of a second front in the conflict, with Hezbollah joining Hamas in the fight against Israel. Israel has begun evacuating thousands of residents from 28 locations in the north. In remarks Tuesday morning, the Israeli army's chief spokesman said a new front with Hezbollah would harm Lebanon.
"We're very alert and vigilant in the north, if Hezbollah makes a grave mistake, we'll respond with huge force," Daniel Hagari said. "Lebanon should ask itself if it wants to risk its country for ISIS (Islamic State group) terrorists in Gaza."

Israeli army chief says Hezbollah will be 'annihilated' if it makes a 'mistake'
Associated Press/October 17/2023
Israel's military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has threatened aggressive retaliation if Lebanon's Hezbollah escalates tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border. “This is a war on the home,” Halvey said after meeting with Israeli troops near the northern border. “If Hezbollah makes a mistake, it will be annihilated.”
Clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli troops along the tense border have escalated in recent days but remain largely controlled and limited to several border towns.

Israel shells south Lebanon after Hezbollah missiles wound 3
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Israel shelled Tuesday border areas in south Lebanon after three anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon, causing casualties on the Israeli side.
Three Israelis were injured, one of them critically wounded, Israeli reports said, as Israel shelled with artillery al-Khiam, Hamames, Kfarkela, Rmeish, Markaba, Aitaroun, and al-Bustan's outskirts. The first anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon landed in the town of Metula in northern Israel, injuring three people, according to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed. Two more anti-tank missiles were fired at the Yiftah kibbutz in northern Israel without any casualties, the Israeli army said, adding that it had shelled Hezbollah positions in response. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the two attacks, mentioning casualties on the Israeli side. The Israeli army said it targeted a number of militants in south Lebanon with an airstrike and called on Israeli residents to evacuate the settlements near the border. Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli troops killed four militants attempting to infiltrate from Lebanon with an explosive device, as tensions run high along the border between the two countries. "A short while ago, IDF (Israeli army) observation troops spotted a terrorist squad attempting to infiltrate the security fence with Lebanon and plant an explosive device," the army said in a statement. "Four terrorists were killed."
A video from a reconnaissance drone the Israeli army shared showed the militants near the separation wall before they were targeted, causing an explosion.
No group in Lebanon claimed immediately claimed responsibility. Last week, militants from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in southern Lebanon crossed the border and clashed with Israeli troops, killing 3 and wounding several others. The militants were killed, and the Palestinian group held funerals for two of them.
Israel had carried out strikes overnight on "Hezbollah targets" inside Lebanon. Since the start of the war triggered by the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, clashes on the Israel-Lebanon border have left around 10 people dead on the Lebanese side, mostly combatants but also a Reuters journalist and two civilians.On the Israeli side, at least two people have been killed. Lebanon's state-owned National News Agency (NNA) reported that areas along the western section of the border came under "continuous" bombardment overnight. Homes in the village of Dhayra were hit, resulting in casualties, NNA reported, without elaborating on how many villagers had been wounded or whether any had been killed. "The enemy (Israel) used phosphorus bombs and targeted civilians," the news agency said.The Israeli army denied it had been using the incendiary weapon white phosphorus in either Gaza or south Lebanon, after Human Rights War accused it of doing so last week. It did not immediately comment on Tuesday's NNA report. The international community fears the opening of a second front in the conflict, with Hezbollah joining its Hamas ally in the fight against Israel.
Israel has begun evacuating thousands of residents from 28 locations in the north.

Berri urges new president as opposition rejects implicating Lebanon in war

Naharnet/October 17/2023
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Tuesday called on the country’s political forces to elect a new president to confront the rapid developments in the region and Lebanon. “In the face of what is happening in the region and the escalation of the Israeli aggression against Palestine, Gaza and Lebanon, we are before a chance to elect a president, so shall we seize it?” Berru said, as parliament convened to elect two secretaries, three commissioners and the members of the parliamentary committees. The opposition meanwhile issued a statement calling for “protecting Lebanon and its people during one of the most dangerous crises that is facing the region and is on the verge of reaching the entire country.” The opposition also lamented that some forces are “still rejecting the election of a president” and that the caretaker government “has openly admitted that the decisions of peace of war are not in its hands.” And in an apparent jab at Iran, the opposition criticized “repeated statements by the officials of a regional country that wants to turn Lebanon into a conflict and confrontation arena to negotiate at its expense and at the expense of its people.”Accordingly, the opposition said it categorically rejects “dragging Lebanon into a war whose price will be very costly for Lebanon, which has paid dearly and is still paying for the sake of the Palestinian cause, but rejects to be fuel for the fire of the interests of another country.”

Turkish FM in Beirut in bid to stop war from spreading to Lebanon
Associated Press/Turkey’s foreign minister, Hakkan Fidan, who arrived in Beirut Tuesday, told reporters after meeting with his Lebanese counterpart that the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas “might lead to greater wars.” “We are doing all we can so that the war does not spread to Lebanon and other countries," Fidan said at a news conference in Beirut, alongside his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib. Fidan also said that his country had been in touch with Hamas over some 200 Israeli and foreign captives it is holding in Gaza, following requests from several governments. There are fears that Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups in the region may escalate the fight with Israel to support Hamas in case of a ground incursion into Gaza. So far, artillery exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel have been limited to several towns along the border. Israel has threatened that if Hezbollah opens a new front, all of Lebanon will suffer the consequences. The escalating rhetoric between Hezbollah and Israel has led to a scramble of diplomacy aimed at heading off a larger conflict. Fidan also met with Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the two discussed the situation in the south and in Gaza.

Reuters demands 'swift' Israeli probe into Issam Abdallah's killing
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Reuters has called on Israel to conduct a quick and comprehensive investigation into cross-border fire that killed one of its journalists and wounded other reporters in Lebanon last week. Video journalist Issam Abdallah died and six other journalists were injured -- including two from AFP -- in firing near the village of Alma al-Shaab in southern Lebanon on Friday. The journalists believe they were hit by fire coming from the Israeli side of the border. "I am reiterating my call to the Israeli authorities, who have said they are investigating, to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent probe into what happened," Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. "By transparent, I mean an investigation with clear evidence and explanation, and I also reiterate my call to the Israeli Defense Forces for clarity regarding the terms of engagement in this conflict," she added. The Israeli-Lebanese border has been rocked by violence since Palestinian Islamist group Hamas killed over 1,400 people in its October 7 attack on Israel, sparking retaliatory bombing of Gaza, during which Israel killed over 2,750 people there. Clashes have left more than 10 people dead on the Lebanese side, including the Reuters journalist and two civilians. On the Israeli side, at least two people have been killed. Israel's military announced on Saturday that it was "looking into" the circumstances of the fatal strike that killed Abdallah, without taking responsibility. The Lebanese army said in a statement his death was caused by a rocket shell fired by Israel. Lebanon's foreign ministry also blamed Israel, labelling the strike a "deliberate killing"."I also ask Lebanon, which has said that it has gathered evidence on the attack, and any other authority with information to provide it," said Galloni. "I urge all parties in this conflict to respect and work with all media to ensure the safety of journalists reporting in the region," she added. Galloni paid tribute to Abdallah, calling him an "experienced, talented and passionate journalist" who was "just doing his job" when he was killed. AFP has urged both Israeli and Lebanese authorities to conduct "an in-depth investigation and provide well-documented, clear, and transparent answers" to the strike.

SWISS scraps flights to Lebanon over Israel border unrest
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Swiss International Air Lines is suspending flights between Switzerland and Beirut initially until October 28 due to unrest on the border between Lebanon and Israel. "SWISS places top priority on the safety of its passengers and crew," the flag carrier said in a statement. "We have decided to suspend our return connections between Switzerland and Beirut, as an extension of the conflict cannot be ruled out at this time." Four flights would be affected, the airline said. Repeated fire in recent days has claimed lives on both sides of the U.N.-patrolled border between Lebanon and Israel, which remain technically at war. If Israel does invade the Palestinian enclave of Gaza in its war on Hamas, Hezbollah has warned it may escalate its military involvement. SWISS has cancelled its scheduled flights between Zurich and Tel Aviv, and has now suspended its special repatriation flights too, citing the expected Israeli ground offensive. Around 880 people had returned to Switzerland on four such flights.

Lebanon's Hezbollah denounces Gaza hospital strike, protests in Beirut
(Reuters)/Tue, October 17, 2023
Lebanon's Hezbollah denounced what the group said was Israel's deadly attack on a Gaza hospital and called for "a day of unprecedented anger" on Wednesday, as protests erupted outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut just hours after the incident. Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, made the call for the day pf protest in Beirut in a statement late on Tuesday, after Palestinian officials said hundreds of people were killed in the strike on the hospital. Israel's military denied responsibility for the bombing, saying military intelligence suggested the hospital was hit by a failed rocket launch by the enclave's Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group. Islamic Jihad denied that any of its rockets were involved in the hospital blast. Hundreds of Lebanese protesters, some waving Palestinian flags, gathered late into Tuesday night outside the U.S. embassy in response to the incident. Others gathered outside the French embassy in Beirut. Tear gas was fired at protesters near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon. In denouncing what the group said was a strike by Israel, Hezbollah said in its statement: "The attack reveals the true criminal face of this entity and its sponsor ... the United States, which bears direct and complete responsibility for this massacre."

French FM says Lebanon must stay out of Israel-Hamas war
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Lebanese authorities should take all necessary measures to avert a war with Israel, France's foreign minister said in Beirut, following repeated exchanges of fire along the shared frontier. Catherine Colonna spoke on Monday hours after Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement again traded cross-border fire, adding to tensions and fears of a wider war, 10 days into fighting between Gaza-based Hamas and Israel. Tit-for-tat fire in recent days between Hezbollah and its allied Palestinian factions on the one side and Israel on the other have killed at least 11 people in southern Lebanon and two in Israel. "Lebanese officials have a responsibility... to do everything possible to prevent Lebanon from being dragged into a spiral," Catherine Colonna told a press conference, adding that, no group "should take advantage" of the situation. The United Nations patrols the border between Lebanon and Israel, which remain technically at war. Tensions have risen since October 7 when militants from Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,400 people. Israel declared war, vowing to destroy Hamas, which along with Hezbollah is backed by Iran. A bombing campaign on Gaza has killed more than 2,700 people and stoked fury across the Arab world. We must "continue to avoid a conflagration which could threaten the entire region", Colonna said following stops in Israel and Cairo. Earlier on Monday, she met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati who said: "We are working for peace, but the decision to go to war is in Israel's hands."
Mikati leads a caretaker government in a country whose political paralysis has left it without a president for almost a year, during a four-year economic meltdown. "There is no benefit to anyone... in opening a front with south Lebanon, because the Lebanese cannot cope with this," Mikati said in a statement. Colonna also met with Speaker Nabih Berri, and army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun. She said the tense situation along the Lebanon-Israel border is “worrying and dangerous” and urged restraint. Lebanon's army said Monday it found and dismantled "20 rocket launchers", four of which were loaded, near the towns of Qlaileh and Shaaytiyeh, south of the coastal city of Tyre. It provided no information on the origin of the launchers. Israel's army said Monday it was evacuating residents living along its northern border with Lebanon. The move affects thousands of people living in 28 communities.

'Shaken beliefs': Israelis evacuate from tense Lebanon border
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Israel has been bombing Gaza since Palestinian militants launched their attack but tensions have also flared on the northern border with Lebanon, the base of another sworn enemy, Hezbollah. Hundreds of Israelis have left villages and kibbutzim near the tense, U.N.-patrolled frontier with Lebanon following cross-border fire that has become more deadly as tensions have heightened. While thousands of people have died in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip since Hamas' October 7 attacks, recent violence in the north has also claimed lives -- two in Israel and at least 11 in Lebanon. Since the Hamas attacks, "everything has changed," said evacuated kibbutz member Lea Raivitz, 68, still stunned by the onslaught that killed 1,400 in Israel and sparked the fifth Gaza war in 15 years, during which Israel killed at least 2,750 in the enclave. One day after the shock attack, her kibbutz Bar'am, located right by the Lebanese border, moved out with all its people -- from newborns to those aged in their 90s -- in only its second evacuation since it was founded in 1949. "It's shaken all of our beliefs," Raivitz told AFP, speaking at their temporary new home, a hotel in Tiberias on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. Tensions have smouldered across Israel's north following a string of skirmishes, rocket attacks and a military build-up that cast a dark shadow even as much of the country's attention remained focused on Gaza. Columns of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and rows of cars driven by reservists lined the roads across the hilly northern borderlands. As anxieties simmered, communities along Israel's northern frontier with Lebanon were evacuated on Monday. The Israeli army announced "the implementation of a plan to evacuate residents of northern Israel who live in the area up to two kilometers from the Lebanese border to state-funded guesthouses".
'We're all traumatized' -
The Israel-Lebanon border area has remained largely at peace since a devastating war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah. The recent spike in violence in the north, and Israeli warnings it is ready to invade Gaza, have stoked fears of a renewed all-out war with Hezbollah. Residents of kibbutz Bar'am who have lived there for decades say that unrest over the years has come in cycles, and are used to seeing Hezbollah posts and flags from their homes on the other side of the border. But some told AFP that their sense of security had been all but shattered following the October 7 rampage by Hamas, the worst attack in the country's history. "We're all traumatized, we're all scared," said kibbutz resident Angela Yantian, 67. "I didn't think that sort of thing could have ever happened." While columns of mechanised steel have massed near Gaza, Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday that his country has "no interest in a war in the north, we don't want to escalate the situation". "If Hezbollah chooses the path of war, it will pay a very heavy price," he said. "But if it restrains itself, we'll respect the situation and keep things the way they are". Some kibbutzniks said Israel's sacrifice and the fight ahead are worth it if they bring greater security for Israel in the future. "Every terror organization needs to know that we will deal with them when the time is right for us," said Tsachi Shaked, 51.
"If the right time is now, then we will need to do it now."

Turkey in touch with Hamas over hostages it holds in Gaza
Agence France Presse/October 17/2023
Turkey's top diplomat said Tuesday that his country had been in touch with Hamas over some 200 Israeli and foreign hostages it is holding in Gaza, following requests from several governments."So far, we have received requests from various countries for the release of their citizens. As a result, we started to discuss these issues, especially with the political wing of Hamas," Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told a news conference in Beirut, alongside his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib.

Protesters breach security at US embassy in Awkar, raising Palestinian flags
LBCI/October 17/2023
Protesters gathered outside the US embassy and breached the initial barbed wire barrier as they attempted to dismantle the fortified iron fencing. The Palestinian flag, the Islamic Jihad flag, and the Hamas flag are raised at the entrance to the US embassy in Awkar.

Hezbollah: Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be an unprecedented day of anger against the enemy and its crimes
LBCI/October 17/2023
Hezbollah has strongly condemned the bombing of Al-Maamadani Baptist Hospital in Gaza, describing it as a heinous and savage crime committed by Zionist gangs that led to the tragic martyrdom of hundreds of innocent lives. Hezbollah affirmed that this massacre is a continuation of a series of atrocities that have taken place since the inception of this criminal and usurping entity, referring to past massacres in Deir Yassin, Hula, Sabra, and Shatila. Hezbollah further stated, "Continuing through the Qana massacres and others over the years of the odious occupation, which reveal the true criminal nature of this entity and its patron, the great Satan, and the United States, which bears direct and full responsibility for this massacre and all the crimes committed by the Zionist enemy." Hezbollah called on the Arab and Islamic nations to take immediate action by taking to the streets and squares to express their deep anger and exert pressure on governments and countries wherever they may be. It also urged international and regional organizations to act swiftly against massacres and genocide against the oppressed Palestinian people, who are subjected to forced displacement under the weight of massacres, terrorism, and murder. Hezbollah emphasized, "Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be an unprecedented day of anger against the enemy and its crimes, against Biden's visit to the Zionist entity to cover and protect this criminal entity. The message should be clear that this is a day without turning back on the path of resistance, victory, and retribution for the oppressed against the oppressor."

PM Mikati announces Wednesday as a national day of mourning after the targeting of Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza
LBCI/October 17/2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that Wednesday, October 18, 2023, will be a national day of mourning for the martyrs and victims who have fallen as a result of the massacres and attacks committed by the Israeli enemy, including the recent massacre that targeted innocent civilians at Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza, which "has left a stain on humanity."

Jumblatt after meeting Mikati: We will remain by PM's side in all his efforts, hope not to be dragged into war
LBCI/October 17/2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati received on Tuesday evening at his residence former deputy Walid Jumblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party Taymour Jumblatt, and deputy Wael Abou Faour. After the meeting, Walid Jumblatt stated that "the PM is working hard in his own way, as we are, to try to keep Lebanon away from war through his Arab and international contacts.""We are humbly working on the same path, but there is no doubt that the efforts of the PM are tremendous, hoping that they will bear fruit and also rebuild the internal front because some people on the internal front seem to be in another world," he added. On another note, he said that he hoped this situation would lead to the election of a president for the republic and "the elections of parliamentary committees without boycotts, etc…""It seems that some people are in another world. We will remain by the PM's side in all his efforts, hoping not to be dragged into war," Jumblatt concluded.

Islamic Resistance mourns four of its martyrs. Here are the details
LBCI/October 17/2023
The Islamic Resistance mourned Hussein Abbas Fasaei, "Sajid Karbala," from the town of Kunin in South Lebanon, Mahmoud Ahmed Beez, "Kazem," from the town of Machgharah in the Western Bekaa, Hussein Hani Tawil, "Rabih," from the town of Khirbet Selm in South Lebanon, and Mahdi Mohammed Atoui, "Amir Karbala," from the town of Kunin in South Lebanon."

The Lebanese Journey: Rediscovering Our Shared History and Small Beginnings"
Edmond El-Chidiac/October 17/2023

In the intricate tapestry of Lebanese history, a rich blend of collective thought and experience has, unfortunately, been relegated to the margins of obscurity for many decades.
This oversight might be attributed to our preoccupation with incessant political bickering, which constantly diverts our attention. It could also be due to the prevalence of simplistic narratives that offer quick answers, devoid of the intricate and creative nuances that define our heritage.
Furthermore, we often find ourselves seeking traces of backwardness and prejudice in our past, rather than acknowledging the creativity that binds us together as a society.
Perhaps it's about our shared experiences, which have shaped us in a common geography and a history we've crafted ourselves, despite our physical distance and separateness, much like the pillars of a temple, bestowing upon us a shared identity that we, regrettably, fail to recognize or embrace.
Every component of the Lebanese mosaic, originating from different parts of Lebanon's history, has embarked on its unique journey in various times, places, and environments. Nevertheless, it is geography and history that unite us as Lebanese, transcending the differences that set us apart. What we lack is the resolve to coexist through a collective decision.
To truly see the bright side of ourselves, we must cast aside our limitations and seek the truth with unwavering conviction.
The first step towards this enlightenment is to explore the annals of our history and the thoughts of our people, to understand not just our own past but that of our fellow citizens. This exploration is the key to forming a renewed, unburdened, and genuine sense of unity among us, a people with a profound shared experience. Even in our physical distance, we must build a barrier against the seeds of external conspiracies and the darkness and hostility that may lurk among us.
Some might argue that our history is marred by conflicts and seeds of division. Yet, it is worth remembering that fire does not ignite without the friction of interaction and the heat of engagement. Civilization and progress arise from such sparks.
Ultimately, the choice is ours – to either be burnt by the flames of our history due to ignorance or to harness its warmth with knowledge, understanding, readiness, and acceptance. We must utilize this warmth to combat the prevailing cold of division in our present and illuminate our future and the future of our children.
With 1400 years of interaction and shared history, we have all the elements to transcend the constraints of petty differences and start sculpting a grand narrative - the narrative of the Lebanese nation.
This nation, a proud and independent entity, should define itself, unaffected by external influences. It should represent the aspirations of all its people. The question that remains is, do we, as Lebanese, have the courage to embark on this journey?

France Warns against Lebanon Travel, Joining Western States
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
France on Tuesday joined several Western countries in warning its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon as the security situation remains tense and as some airlines suspended flights. Since Hamas attacked on October 7 triggering war between Israel and the Gaza-based militants, the Lebanese-Israel border has seen near daily tit-for-tat incidents involving Lebanon's Hezbollah or Palestinian groups including Hamas. At least 18 have been killed on the Lebanese side, including a Reuters journalist and two other civilians, while on the Israeli side, at least three people have been killed. "Given security tensions in the region and particularly on Lebanon's southern border, French travelers planning a trip to Lebanon are not advised to go there," the French foreign ministry said in a statement on its website. France on Monday warned Lebanese officials to avert war with Israel, and the United States has urged Hezbollah to stay out of the conflict. Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, has so far limited its cross-border attacks but analysts say the Iran-backed group with a powerful arsenal could open a front with Israel if it invades the Gaza Strip. Swiss International Air Lines said Monday it was suspending flights between Switzerland and Beirut initially until October 28 due to unrest on the border.
Germany's Lufthansa has suspended flights until October 22, the airline's website says.
Middle East Airlines, Lebanon's national carrier, relocated five of its 24 planes to the Istanbul airport as a temporary "pre-emptive step" in light of regional developments, it said Monday. During a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel knocked out Beirut airport, Lebanon's only international facility. "Events in Lebanon are fast moving. The situation has potential to deteriorate quickly and with no warning," Britain said in its travel advice, last updated on Monday. "The British Embassy has temporarily withdrawn family members of staff," the government website said, advising "against all travel to some parts of Lebanon" including border areas and "against all but essential travel to the rest of Lebanon".The United States on October 9 issued a broad "regional security alert" warning citizens to "take caution".Canada has warned its citizens to "avoid non-essential travel to Lebanon", citing "an unpredictable security situation" and the "armed conflict with Israel".
Spain has also advised against non-essential travel.
Germany on Sunday urged its nationals not to travel to Lebanon because of "an escalation of violence" following the Hamas attacks on Israel. The travel warning is at the highest level given by the German government. Australia has advised its citizens: "'Reconsider your need to travel' to Lebanon due to the security environment"."If you wish to leave... you should consider the first available option," it said on the Australian government's Smartraveller website.

Israel Says it Killed 4 People who Tried to Infiltrate from Lebanon
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Israel's military said it killed four people who had tried to cross the fence bordering Lebanon and plant an explosive device on Tuesday. An Israeli army statement did not say where the incident took place. As Israel plans an expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip to root out Hamas, cross border clashes have intensified with Hezbollah on a second front on Israel's northern border with Lebanon. Israel ordered the evacuation on Monday of 28 of its villages in a 2-km-deep zone near the Lebanese border.
Israel fought a vicious monthlong war with Hezbollah in 2006 that ended in a stalemate and a tense detente between the two sides. The Israeli military said Tuesday it received a report of "shooting toward the town of Metula", without providing further details.
A security source in Lebanon reported an exchange of fire across the border near Metula.

Senior Iranian, Hamas, And Palestinian Islamic Jihad Officials Link Hamas Attack On Israel To Thwarting U.S.-Saudi-Israel Normalization Initiative
MEMRI/October 17, 2023
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10882
On October 10, 2023, three days after the Hamas attack on southern Israel, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei set out Iran's official position – i.e. that Iran had no hand in the attack.
However, statements by some senior Iranian officials and leaders of the Palestinian resistance groups indicate that one of the aims of the attack was to thwart the U.S.-Saudi-Israel initiative to expand Saudi-Israeli normalization, implement the Saudi solution to the Palestinian issue, and grant legitimacy to a Saudi nuclear program. This is because this joint initiative would cause strategic damage to Iran and to the resistance axis that it leads.
This rationale for the attack, as presented by senior Iranian officials and by officials from the Iranian proxy groups Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), strengthen the claim that Iran had a hand in the October 7 attack against Israel and that its proxies are operating on its behalf in order to advance its interests and its goal of destroying Israel.
The following are acknowledgements by Iranian regime officials and by leaders of Palestinian groups belonging to the Iran-backed resistance axis that one of the aims of the Hamas attack was to thwart the U.S.-Saudi-Israel normalization initiative.
Khamenei Advisor Velayati: The Palestinians' "Victorious Operation... Has Assured The Imminent Destruction Of The [Zionist] Regime"; We Welcome This Great Strategic Victory, Which Constitutes A Serious Warning To All [Countries] In The Region [That Seek] To Normalize Relations" With Israel
Ali Akhbar Velayati, international affairs advisor to Khamenei, sent letters on October 7, 2023 to PIJ leader Ziyad Al-Nakhalah and Hamas Political Bureau head Isma'il Haniyeh praising the resistance of the Palestinian people and Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, which he said "assured the imminent destruction of this [Zionist] regime." He also warned the countries that seek to normalize relations with Israel not to do so. The following are excerpts from his letter:
"Peace and the blessings of God upon the oppressed and strong Palestine and on the fighters who march on God's path and continue to fight, to sacrifice [their lives], and to show their strength more proudly than in the past. The pictures that were published today [October 7, 2023] from the Palestinian resistance operation against the criminal Zionist regime – [an operation] that destroyed the hegemony of this regime – are a great victory that will lead to fear and amazement among the enemies and to joy and gladness among the Muslims worldwide, particularly in Western Asia [i.e. the Middle East].
"The era of the terrorist Zionist regime's control and tyranny has ended, and what is happening today in the occupied territories is [but] a small manifestation of the growing might and authority of the Islamic resistance front in Palestine. The Al-Aqsa Storm operation, which is a response to the Zionist regime's ongoing crimes in the occupied territories, has fundamentally changed the power relations in occupied Palestine, and will place the Zionist regime in a position of even greater weakness. This victorious operation, that will certainly facilitate and hasten the collapse of the Zionist regime, has assured the imminent destruction of this regime.
"We welcome this great strategic victory, which constitutes a serious warning to all [the countries] in the region [that seek] to normalize relations [with this regime]. [We congratulate] the Muslim nation, the zealous Palestinian nation, the commanders and fighters of the Islamic resistance groups, and the families of the martyrs and the wounded, and we believe that these increasing victories will continue until this criminal regime is destroyed."[1]
Ali Akhbar Velayati, international affairs advisor to Khamenei (Source: Tasnim, Iran, October 7, 2023)
Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian To Hamas Deputy Leader Al-Arouri And PIJ Deputy Leader Nakhalah: "The Palestinian Issue Will Not End With The Normalization Of Relations Between Some Countries And The Zionist Regime"
At an October 13, 2023 meeting in Beirut with senior Hamas and PIJ officials, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian said that "the resistance is the unquestionable right of the Palestinian people against the occupation."
He added that the Palestinian officials who participated in the meeting "see Operation Al-Aqsa Flood as a natural resistance response on the part of the Palestinian people to the daily and continuous crimes of the Zionist regime, and particularly the extremist Netanyahu government, against the Palestinian people, and to the repeated attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They said: 'Despite the war crimes carried out by the plundering Zionist regime against the oppressed people of Gaza, the Palestinian resistance groups are confronting the regime's aggression with force and they have the capabilities, motivation, and very high morale to continue on the path of resistance.'"
Left to right, in the center row: PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhalah; Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian; Hamas Political Council deputy chief Salah Al-Arouri, and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mujtaba Amani. Source: Mehr (Iran), October 13, 2023.
During the meeting, Abdollahian referred to "resistance as the unquestionable right of the Palestinian people against the occupation." Saying that "several elements in the West have acknowledged that Operation Al-Aqsa Flood proves that Palestine is alive and that contrary to some delusions, the Palestinian issue will not end with the normalization of relations between some countries and the Zionist regime," he added: "Iran will continue its efforts" to bring an end to the war crimes of the Zionist regime against the people of Gaza.[2]
Hamas Representative In Tehran Khaled Qaddoumi: "The Normalization With The Zionist Regime Must Be Stopped, And The Path Of Resistance Must Be Strengthened"; "We Will Witness The Liberation Of The Dear Homeland Of The Palestinian People From The River To The Sea, As Well As The Destruction Of The Zionist Regime"
In an October 8, 2023 interview with the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency, Hamas representative in Tehran Khaled Qaddoumi called for a halt to all talks for advancing normalization with Israel. He said:
"Yesterday [October 7], a strategic and historic event took place in the holy land of Palestine. Yesterday, the Islamic resistance of Palestine and [Hamas's] Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades announced that together, under the flag of Jerusalem, we will begin the Al-Aqsa Flood battle to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea, in order to expel the Zionist regime that is massacring children from this holy land.
"Jerusalem is the first qibla [direction of prayer] for the Muslims worldwide. The siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza, the [Israeli] security operations in the West Bank, the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the desecration of the Christian holy sites, the policy of racial discrimination, and more are the actions being carried out by the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian people, and the people can no longer bear them. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood began with the goal of liberating Palestine and honoring the Muslims and free men in Palestine. We emphasize that this battle has changed the equation of confrontation with the Zionist regime.
Hamas's representative in Tehran Khaled Qaddoumi. Source: Fars News Agency (Iran), October 8, 2023.
"Yesterday [October 7], elements in the Palestinian Islamic resistance front crossed the Gaza border, entered the Zionist settlements, made it to 25 strategic locations in these settlements, and raised the flag of honor and freedom.
"The Islamic nation awakened yesterday to support the Palestinian nation. The dear citizens of Iran have also arrived on the scene in the various cities to support the oppressed Palestinian people. This movement itself encourages the Palestinian people to become stronger on the path to liberating Jerusalem. We thank the people of Iran and the freedom-seekers in the world for the support of the oppressed Palestinian people, and we say to the governments that have sought to normalize relations with the Zionist regime that with that [normalization] operation, they are in fact stabbing Palestinian children in the back. Normalization with the Zionist regime must be stopped, and the path of resistance must be strengthened, and with God's help, we will witness the liberation of the dear homeland of the Palestinian people from the river to the sea, as well as the destruction of the Zionist regime."[3]
Mahfouz Munawwar, PIJ Foreign Relations Chief In Beirut: The Hamas Attack's Goal – "To Support Al-Aqsa And Free The Prisoners"; "The Videos Recorded And Circulated By The Resistance During The Operations Show That The Occupying Regime Has Collapsed"; We Hope The Fighters' Spirit Will Ultimately Bring About The Liberation Of All The Occupied Territories
In an October 9 interview with the Iranian news agency ISNA, Mahfouz Munawwar, the PIJ foreign relations chief in Beirut, enumerated the goals of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. They included freeing the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and sending a warning to the Muslim countries that are pursuing normalization with Israel. He said:
"...The importance of this operation is not just that there was an attack or that we took over Israeli bases. [The aim is] to put an end to the issue of the [Palestinian] prisoners. This issue is sensitive and very important for the Palestinian people, and we hope for progress in this matter.
"This operation was launched, [first of all], in response to all the crimes Israel has perpetrated, on the human level and also against the holy places. In my opinion, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was a success in this sense, and has achieved [its goal of] creating the necessary deterrence, so that if the [Israeli] regime wants to repeat such crimes in the future, it will think twice about the implications.
"The second goal, and the future achievement of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, is to free our prisoners. The number of Israeli prisoners held by the resistance is sufficient to free our prisoners from the jails of the occupying regime. [Thus,] we can already promise our [Palestinian] captives [in Israeli prisons] that they are about to be released, although it may take some time.
"The third goal and message of this operation is addressed to the countries that seek to normalize with the regime that is occupying Jerusalem [i.e. Israel]. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood sent the message that this regime and its army, which are not [even] able to defend themselves and their so-called citizens, will not be able to support and defend the regimes of other countries – and that [these regimes] should therefore return to the fold of their peoples. It is the people who can defend the Islamic countries and all the rights of the Muslims and the Arab nations – not Israel and not any other hegemonial regime [i.e. the U.S.].
"The circulation of the videos and photos [from the Hamas attack] is also part of the military action. The videos that were recorded and circulated by the resistance during the operations show that the occupation regime has collapsed. This operation started at 05:00 [sic] AM, and the enemy did not even notice it. Its first cabinet meeting was held [only] at 13:00, which shows that it was not even prepared for calling an emergency meeting.
"Indeed, not only did these videos and photos break the morale of the settlers [i.e. the Israelis], but they also weakened and shattered the morale of the soldiers, officers, and commanders of this regime's fragmented army. At the same time, the morale of the resistance fighters rose. They are carrying out their operations in high spirits, and we hope that this spirit will ultimately bring about the liberation of all the occupied territories from Zionist regime control.
"Our assessment in the current circumstances is that this operation, despite its small scale, has outlined great goals, from the political and the spiritual perspectives. As I noted in the beginning, the goal of this operation was to support Al-Aqsa and free the prisoners, who have been waiting too long for their freedom. We have spoken of this often, but the international bodies and courts, and the governments that purport [to champion human rights], have done nothing and will do nothing about this. Therefore, the practical way to address this involves the resistance and the capture of soldiers of the occupation regime.
"This operation has so far been a great achievement in this area. We are not talking about two or three prisoners – but about dozens and even hundreds, including high-ranking military officers. This means that Israel has no choice but to free our prisoners.
"Moreover, all the gear [and personnel] required for this operation, including the ground forces, the rocket [units] and the artillery [units], were on full alert, and each managed to achieve the desired goals in its own way with the equipment at its disposal. The operation continued to over 20 different locations in various communities. The resistance will continue to fight until it achieves its goals."[4]
Mahfouz Munawwar, PIJ foreign relations chief in Beirut.
[1] Tasnimnews.com/fa/news, October 7, 2023.
[2] Mehr (Iran), October 13, 2023.
[3] Fars News Agency (Iran), October 8, 2023.
[4] ISNA (Iran), October 9, 2023.

Will Hezbollah and Iran Expand War to Israel's North?
Yair Golan, Hanin Ghaddar, David Schenker, Farzin Nadimi//The Washington Institute/October 17, 2023
On October 12, The Washington Institute held a virtual Policy Forum with Yair Golan, Hanin Ghaddar, David Schenker, and Farzin Nadimi. Maj. Gen. Golan (Res.) is former deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and commander of the northern front. Ghaddar is the Institute’s Friedmann Senior Fellow and coauthor of its 2018 study “Iran’s Precision Missile Project Moves to Lebanon.” Schenker is the Institute’s Taube Senior Fellow and director of its Rubin Program on Arab Politics. Nadimi is a senior fellow at the Institute and author of its recent study “The Next Generation of Iranian Ballistic Missiles.” The following is a rapporteur’s summary of their remarks.
Yair Golan
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the future actions of Iran and its proxies. Tehran is carefully and continuously assessing the situation on the ground, and a critical part of these calculations is the potential endangerment of Hezbollah and its state-capture project in Lebanon. Hezbollah serves as a powerful Iranian proxy and deterrent in the region. The value of this proxy, the strength of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and the potential for U.S. involvement will all influence Tehran’s decision on whether or not to open a front in Lebanon.
After the massive surprise attack by Hamas, Israel has mobilized the IDF to secure its northern border. Reserve units have been called up, and troop deployments to the north are in their final stages. Israel is prepared for any developments on its borders, so the Iranians would be wise to stay on the sidelines of this war. Yet only time will tell if they will keep out of the fray. Three scenarios might prompt a direct military response from Hezbollah. One, if Israel launches a large operation inside Gaza and Hezbollah concludes that the north is more vulnerable to attack. Two, if Israel launches a preemptive strike against Hezbollah in anticipation of a major attack from the north. Three, if Iran involves itself by launching missiles from its own territory or from Iraq, Syria, or Yemen. These scenarios would in turn shape U.S. involvement.
Decisionmakers must therefore factor in all the possibilities and trajectories. And if Israel decides to consider a preemptive strike, it must coordinate with the United States. Although tension between Washington and Jerusalem was relatively high before the war, their foreign policy will presumably be more in line going forward, especially regarding Iran.
Hanin Ghaddar
Hezbollah is walking a fine line. Although Israel’s continued engagement in the north may not lead to full-scale war, the group is concerned by this possibility. The families of Hezbollah officials have already been evacuated from border communities along with local residents. Yet cities further from the border have not been evacuated, indicating that the group is gearing up for continued provocations rather than full-scale war. Of course, this apparent strategy could change at any moment.
Hezbollah’s decisionmaking is inextricably linked to Iran’s. The group’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, has been surprisingly silent so far, in contrast to his loquacious commentary during the 2006 Lebanon war, suggesting that Tehran does not yet have a final strategy. Instead, the Iranians may be content to sit on the sideline for now while calculating the risk vs. reward of direct Hezbollah involvement. The militia has gained leverage over the years by stockpiling and producing more advanced weapons with Iran’s assistance, and they do not want to lose this advantage. Moreover, Tehran has already accomplished its main objectives in the war: regaining some regional leverage, freezing Israel-Saudi normalization, and isolating Israel from its neighbors.
It is important to remember that Hezbollah is not Lebanon. The group attracted supporters in the past with its “resistance” narrative, but after the 2019 Beirut port explosion, most of the public came to realize that Hezbollah’s primary domestic goal is to protect the status quo. The Gaza war is a perfect opportunity for the group to rebrand and reignite the resistance narrative. Whether or not the people support this narrative, however, Hezbollah likely does not want to go to war. The group’s leaders seem to realize that now is not the time to drag the country or the ill-prepared Lebanese Armed Forces into a major conflict—one whose aftermath would destroy what little stability and infrastructure Lebanon has left.
David Schenker
In the days since the Hamas attack in southern Israel, Hezbollah has launched various provocations along the northern border, and the IDF has responded with similarly limited action. Yet the frontier is volatile, and miscalculation of the sort that sparked the 2006 war is a real danger. History suggests escalation is possible if not probable. How is Washington addressing this risk? On October 10, President Biden delivered an extraordinary speech mapping out the U.S. response to Hamas’s unprecedented attack and warning other state and nonstate actors against getting involved. Additionally, he dispatched the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the East Mediterranean—a deployment intended not only as a deterrent to Iran and its proxies, but also as a response to a terrorist operation and hostage situation that involves American citizens. It is unclear how much of a deterrent this will be, however. On October 11, Hezbollah’s al-Manar satellite television channel claimed that the carrier deployment shows Israel’s weakness.
Whether or not the United States joins the fight, the carrier group can augment Israel’s response capabilities if the conflict widens, for instance by providing an enhanced air picture that enables better defense against long-range missiles. Washington has also provided Israel with more ammunition, is in the process of replenishing its Iron Dome receptors, and has sent a second carrier strike group, the USS Eisenhower, to the region.
Iranian proxies such as Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Houthis have warned the United States against military involvement, and while these threats are nothing new, they raise the potential for horizontal escalation. Such a development would stretch U.S. resources between Ukraine, Israel, and readiness in other regions. Russia and China are eager to see the United States distracted and deeply involved in this conflict, so Washington must be proactive in dealing with Iran and its proxies.
Farzin Nadimi
Through foreign proxies and steady development of its own long-range conventional forces, Tehran has established a threatening footprint in the region. Both tools have served as deterrents to military action against Iran, allowing the regime to take a defensive posture while using its proxies for depth operations.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah has not only procured a large stockpile of Iranian weapons, but also developed its own underground arms industry with Tehran’s help. Armed with long-range missiles and suicide drones, the group could pose a real threat to U.S. intervention in the East Mediterranean, much like it did during the 2006 war, when Iranian-supplied missiles damaged an Israeli missile corvette. According to current assessments, Hezbollah has nearly doubled the range of its antiship missiles since 2006, a fact that U.S. planners should keep in mind as they establish a cautious perimeter. They should also keep an eye on the naval exercises Iran has been conducting in the Persian Gulf to bolster its defensive position.
Tehran is happy to maintain a defensive posture while allowing Hezbollah to continue its border provocations. This posture will likely continue even if Israel launches a ground invasion into Gaza. Yet there is a strong possibility that Iran will eventually use drones to target Israeli ships on covert missions. The likelihood of a direct threat to U.S. military assets is lower, unless Hezbollah acquires and opts to use Iranian air defense assets.
Alternatively, Tehran might open a second front in the Golan Heights, which it considers a safer option than the Lebanon border. The Golan is a favorite area of operations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who have been recruiting local groups into militia outlets to support Hezbollah activities in Syria while deploying drones and rocket capabilities around the area. The IRGC’s Qods Force has the infrastructure and experience to lead a multi-domain attack on Israel much like Hamas did, so the Golan frontier bears close watching.
This summary was prepared by Ana Estrada. The Policy Forum series is made possible through the generosity of the Florence and Robert Kaufman Family.

Gaza Has Created a Dilemma for Hezbollah
Mohanad Hagi Ali/Carnegie/October 17, 2023
The party has spent almost two decades building up a deterrence capacity, and now may be its prisoner.
Since Hamas’ attack against Israeli towns on October 7, and the ensuing Israeli bombardment and military operations in and around Gaza, Hezbollah’s response in southern Lebanon has been mostly restrained. The party is expected to escalate if or when Israel begins its ground invasion of Gaza in order to achieve its objective of eradicating Hamas. However, given Hezbollah’s recent history, this escalation may be more forced than intended.
Since 2019, the party has reinforced its alliance with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Iran-backed groups in the Middle East, to strengthen its deterrence capacity against Israel. Wider coordination among these groups means engaging in a multifront conflict if Israel crosses certain “red lines.” The first of these is violating the sanctity of religious sites in Jerusalem, notably the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Hezbollah is also helping its partners to develop their military capabilities, such as perfecting their use of drones and ameliorating their military tactics. At face value, the Hamas attack of October 7 affirmed the success of Hezbollah’s threat to occupy Israeli towns in a future war with Israel. The party’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened as early as February 2011 to attack Israeli towns, although the tactic was more confidently put forward in 2019.
While Hezbollah must have realized that Israel would be vulnerable to such attacks, what happened on October 7, with the killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians, must have provoked a feeling of entrapment in the party. Hezbollah has demonstrated that it understands the power balance in its conflict with Israel, after four decades of experience and the high cost of the 2006 war. The party’s interaction with Israel has relied on a careful calibration of Israeli political calculations, Hezbollah’s military capabilities, and geopolitics. A sign of this has been the party’s effective acceptance and lack of response to years of Israeli airstrikes against Hezbollah positions in Syria. As the conflict in Syria subsided in 2017, it was the party’s understanding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s risk-averse approach and polarizing internal behavior that led it to try to rework the rules of engagement with Israel, by playing a wider role in supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Only time will tell the extent of Hezbollah’s knowledge of the details of the Hamas attack. Yet the scale of the operation and its high civilian death toll are anomalies in the recent record of Iran and its allies, who tend to progress slowly and carefully, as if weaving a Persian carpet. Definitely, some elements of the attack were highlighted previously by Hezbollah, and were featured in its rhetoric and as part of its deterrence options. Even the operation’s security aspect, with Hamas switching to a more secure mode of communications within the network of participants, showed signs of cooperation with Hezbollah, which has expertise in this field.
Since 2006, Hezbollah has worked meticulously on building up its military capabilities through a manifold increase in its firepower, by developing a precision-guided missile and drone capacity, and by adopting naval tactics. The party has added layer upon layer of deterrence capabilities, while becoming much more of a regional player, for instance by participating in the Syrian conflict on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. For Hezbollah, the alliance with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad under the “unity of the fronts” strategy, represented yet another layer of deterrence and a manifestation of its regional role.
In this context, Hezbollah relied on Netanyahu’s willingness to accept shades of violence on his northern border to shift the rules of engagement in southern Lebanon. For instance, Palestinian factions have launched limited rocket attacks and infiltrated Israeli territory in the past year, and Israel has time and again responded with restraint. It did so both to respect these evolving rules of engagement and avoid a wider conflagration. This came at a fairly low cost.
Politically, Hezbollah’s alliance with Hamas and Islamic Jihad became a part of the party’s rhetoric, giving Nasrallah and Iran a front seat in the battle to protect Al-Aqsa. This presented Iran and its allies with an opportunity for redemption after their more sectarian approach during the post-2003 period in Iraq, and during the Syrian conflict. Hamas, which fought on the rebel side in Syria and fell out with Hezbollah and Iran, is now underlining Iran’s role in protecting Al-Aqsa. The alliance is also a political response to the Abraham Accords and its promise to reshape the Middle East and redefine the region’s geopolitics.
Allowing the demise of Hamas in Gaza would be costly for Iran and Hezbollah in terms of morale, and would redefine them as being primarily centered on Shiite interests, with a strictly sectarian agenda. Hamas is already showing signs of distress over Hezbollah’s relatively limited response to the bombings in Gaza. But more importantly for Hezbollah, a Hamas defeat would not only destroy the “unity of the fronts” strategy, which is already a burden, but also expose the limits of its deterrence capabilities, which would effectively bring Hezbollah back to where it was in 2006. Added to this, the October 7 attacks might push Israel to again adopt preemptive military action as a central feature of its defensive strategy, which means that a crushing conflict with Hezbollah may only be a matter of time. In spite of this, Hezbollah still wants to avoid an all-out conflict in Lebanon over Gaza, given the implications for its political standing in a crisis-ridden country. Rather, it prefers a gradual escalation, with the now difficult objective of halting an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. However, the party knows that it cannot control the outcome of its actions, as the wars of 1993, 1996, and 2006 were all Israeli operations aimed at deterring Hezbollah or destroying it. A widening of the Gaza war to Lebanon is ultimately an Israeli decision. Today, Hezbollah is caught in a trap largely of its own making, with high stakes that can bring potentially devastating consequences. The party’s alliances, which were designed to act as another level of deterrence, have instead exposed it to levels of military escalation that it has sought to avoid since 2006.

Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 17-18/2023
Iran warns of 'pre-emptive action' against Israel
Agence France Presse/October 17, 2023
Iran has warned of a possible "pre-emptive action" against Israel "in the coming hours", as Israel readies for a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip. Tehran has repeatedly warned that a ground invasion of the long-blockaded Gaza would be met with a response from other fronts -- prompting fears of a wider conflict that could draw in other countries. "The possibility of pre-emptive action by the resistance axis is expected in the coming hours," Iran's foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Monday in a live broadcast to state TV, as he referred to his meeting with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday. Earlier Monday, Iran's top diplomat and president, Ebrahim Raisi had said time was running out to reach a political solution and warned against the expansion of the Israel-Hamas war to other fronts. Amir-Abdollahian said Monday that "the resistance leaders" will not allow Israel "to do whatever it wants in Gaza". "If we don't defend Gaza today, tomorrow we have to defend against these (phosphorus) bombs in the children's hospital of our own country," he added. Israel declared war on the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas a day after waves of its fighters broke through Gaza's heavily militarized border with Israel on October 7 and reportedly killed over 1,400 people. Israel has responded by pummelling the Gaza Strip with non-stop air and artillery strikes that have flattened neighborhoods and killed at least 2,750 people in Gaza, mostly civilians. Iran celebrated the Hamas assault but insisted it was not involved. The Monday remarks come as Israel prepares for a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, where fears for Palestinians trapped in the heavily-bombarded enclave have grown since Israel launched its aerial campaign. Since its Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran has made support for Palestinians one of the pillars of its ideology.

Biden heads to Israel and Jordan as concerns mount that conflict could spread
Associated Press/October 17, 2023
President Joe Biden will travel to Israel and on to Jordan Wednesday to meet with both Israeli and Arab leadership, as concerns increase that the raging Israel-Hamas war could expand into a larger regional conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Biden's travel to Israel as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip grows more dire and as Israel prepares for a possible ground attack on the 141-square-mile (365-square-kilometer) territory to root out Hamas militants responsible for what U.S. and Israeli officials say was the most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust.
Biden is looking to send the strongest message yet that the U.S. is behind Israel. His Democratic administration has pledged military support, sending U.S. carriers and aid to the region. Officials have said they would ask Congress for upward of $2 billion in additional aid for both Israel and Ukraine, which is fighting Russia's invasion. It's a chance for Biden to burnish his national security credentials to U.S. voters with the 2024 election just over a year away. It's also an opportunity to demonstrate that he's making good on his campaign promise of exercising American leadership after four years of former President Donald Trump's "America First" foreign policy. But Biden's presence could be seen as a provocative move by Hamas' chief sponsor, Iran, or potentially viewed as tone-deaf by Arab nations as civilian casualties mount in Gaza. Blinken has already been traveling around the Mideast this past week trying to prevent the war with Hamas from igniting a broader regional conflict. Blinken made the announcement early Tuesday after more than seven hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials. "He is coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region and for the world," Blinken said. Blinken added that Biden will be briefed by Israeli officials on their war aims and strategy and would hear about how they intend to conduct operations "in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas."
Shortly after in Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced that Biden would also go to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"We've been crystal clear about the need for humanitarian aid to be able to continue to flow into Gaza," Kirby said. "That has been a consistent call by President Biden and certainly by this entire administration."
Truckloads of aid idled Monday at Egypt's border with Gaza, barred from entry, as residents and humanitarian groups pleaded for water, food and fuel for dying generators, saying the tiny Palestinian territory sealed off by Israel after last week's rampage by Hamas was near total collapse.
Biden had been scheduled to travel to Pueblo, Colorado, on Monday but decided to postpone the visit so he could consult with his aides and speak with fellow leaders about the unfolding situation in the Middle East. The announcements came after Biden consulted with a trio of world leaders and his own national security team on Monday amid growing global concern about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Gaza Strip and fears that the Israel-Hamas war could metastasize into a broader regional conflict. Biden spoke by phone with Egypt's el-Sissi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the fallout from Hamas militants' surprise attacks on Israel that left 1,400 dead and retaliatory strikes that have killed at least 2,778 Palestinians. European Union leaders will hold an emergency summit on Tuesday as concern mounts that the war between Israel and Hamas could fuel tensions in Europe and bring more refugees in search of sanctuary. Biden's call with the Egyptian leader came one day after el-Sissi met with Blinken in Cairo. Egypt's state-run media said el-Sissi told Blinken that Israel's Gaza operation has exceeded "the right of self-defense" and turned into "a collective punishment." Kirby declined to comment on el-Sissi's concerns about how Israel is conducting the war.
"The humanitarian situation was high on the list of the discussion with President el-Sissi," Kirby said. Iran's foreign minister warned Monday that "preemptive action is possible" if Israel moves closer to its looming ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Iran is a chief financial sponsor of Hamas militants in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The comments by Hossein Amirabdollahian follow a pattern of escalating rhetoric from Iran. "Leaders of the resistance will not allow the Zionist regime to do whatever it wants in Gaza and then go after other resistance groups after it's done with Gaza," he told state television. "Therefore any preemptive action is possible in the coming hours."Kirby said the U.S. has not seen any signs that Iran might try to get directly involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict. White House officials have said that U.S. intelligence shows that Iran has been broadly aware that Hamas had been preparing for a possible strike against Israel. But the U.S. says it has yet to uncover evidence of direct Iranian involvement in the Oct. 7 attack.
Israel is also preparing for the potential of a new front opening on its northern border with Lebanon, where it has exchanged fire repeatedly with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group. The military ordered residents of 28 Israeli communities near the border to evacuate. Air raid sirens interrupted Blinken's meetings with Israeli officials on three different occasions Monday, including twice as he huddled with Netanyahu and his war cabinet. In Washington, Biden was briefed in the Oval Office by his national security team on the situation on the ground in Israel and Gaza. White House chief of staff Jeff Zients joined the briefing led by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns, according to the White House. Blinken was in Israel on Monday for his second visit in less than a week for talks with Israeli leaders. He has been crisscrossing the Middle East with stops in Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Blinken, in talks Monday with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, carried back some of the feedback he received from Arab leaders. He also "underlined his firm support for Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas' terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. determination to provide the Israeli government with what it needs to protect its citizens," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement. White House officials said Biden's talks with Arab leaders in Amman will largely focus on humanitarian concerns for Gaza's 2.3 million people. He'll also make clear that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people's right to dignity and self-determination. Still, White House officials bristled about whether Biden would ask Netanyahu and Israel officials to show restraint or set any conditions on any new U.S. military aid that could be in the pipeline. "We are not putting conditions on the military assistance that we are providing to Israel," Kirby said. "They have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to go after this terrorist threat."

Israeli bombings kill dozens in besieged Gaza as efforts persist to get aid
Associated Press/October 17, 2023
Israel on Tuesday bombed areas of southern Gaza where it had told Palestinians to flee to ahead of an expected invasion, killing dozens of people. Meanwhile, mediators struggled to break a deadlock over delivering aid to millions of increasingly desperate civilians in the territory, which has been besieged and under assault by Israel since a brutal attack by Hamas militants. Flaring violence along Israel's border with Lebanon also led to concerns over a widening regional conflict that diplomats were working to prevent. In Gaza, people wounded in the airstrikes were rushed to the hospital after heavy attacks outside the southern Gaza cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, residents reported. Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official and former health minister, reported 27 people were killed in Rafah and 30 in Khan Younis. An Associated Press reporter saw around 50 bodies brought to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Family members came to claim the bodies, wrapped in white bedsheets, some soaked in blood. An airstrike in Deir al Balah reduced a house to rubble, killing nine members of the family living there. Three members of another family that had evacuated from Gaza City were killed in a neighboring home. The dead included one man and 11 women and children. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike. The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers. "When we see a target, when we see something moving that is Hamas, we'll take care of it. We'll handle it," said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman. Israel has sealed off and bombed Hamas-ruled Gaza since the militant attack on southern Israel Oct. 7 killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and left about 200 captive in Gaza. Israeli strikes have killed at least 2,778 people and wounded 9,700 others in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry. Nearly two-thirds of the dead were children, said Medhat Abbas, a Gaza Health Ministry official. The strikes have not stopped Hamas militants from continuing to barrage Israel with rockets launched from Gaza.
Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said. Emergency teams struggled to rescue people while cut off from the internet and mobile networks, running out of fuel and exposed to unceasing airstrikes. On Monday Israeli warplanes struck the headquarters of the Civil Defense in Gaza City, killing seven paramedics. Another 10 medics and doctors have been killed on the job, health authorities said. Israel has massed troops at the border for an expected ground offensive, but Hecht said Tuesday no concrete decisions have been made.
"These plans are being developed. They will be decided by, and presented to, our political leadership,'' he said. Airstrikes, dwindling supplies, and Israel's mass evacuation order for the north of the Gaza Strip has thrown the tiny territory's 2.3 million people into upheaval and desperation.
More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes, and 60% are now in the approximately 14-kilometer (8-mile) long area south of the evacuation zone, the U.N. said. Aid workers warned that the territory was near complete collapse as hospitals were on the verge of losing electricity, threatening the lives of thousands of patients, and hundreds of thousands of people searched for bread and water.
Some departments in Gaza's only specialized cancer hospital stopped working because of fuel shortages and the remaining wards will run out within two days, according to a statement from Sobhi Skik, director general of the Turkish Friendship Hospital. At the Rafah crossing, Gaza's only connection to Egypt, truckloads of aid were waiting to go into the tiny, densely populated territory, and trapped civilians with foreign citizenship — many of them Palestinians with dual nationalities — were hoping desperately to get out.
Mediators were trying to reach a cease-fire to open the border, which shut down last week after Israeli airstrikes. An agreement appeared to have been reached Monday, but Israel denied reports of a cease-fire in Rafah, which would be needed to open the gates. On Tuesday morning, they were still closed.
An Egyptian official said Tuesday that Egypt and Israel agreed that the aid convoys at the border would travel into Israel for inspection at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel. The aid would then be allowed into Gaza. A brief humanitarian cease-fire would take place and foreign nationals would be allowed to exit Gaza via Rafah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak with the media. Both Hamas and Israel cast doubt on an immediate opening.
''The crossings are closed, and I'm not aware of a truce or stop of hostilities," Hecht said.
Wael Abu Omar, Hamas' spokesman for the Rafah crossing, said: "Up until now, there is no agreement." The World Food Program said that it had more than 300 tons of food waiting to cross into Gaza. ''No one is giving up on the hope that this (crossing) would be open,'' said WFP official Abeer Etefa.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel for the second time in a week on Monday after a six-country tour through Arab nations, said in Tel Aviv that the U.S. and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to enable humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza. There were few details, but the plan would include "the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm's way."Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli military authorities ahead of a Biden visit planned for Wednesday to signal White House support for Israel. Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid fears the fighting could expand into a broader regional conflict. Israel evacuated towns near its northern border with Lebanon, where the military has exchanged fire repeatedly with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
The military said it killed four militants wearing explosive vests who were attempting to cross into the country from Lebanon on Tuesday morning. Video from a reconnaissance drone the army shared showed the militants near the border wall before they were targeted, causing an explosion. No group immediately claimed responsibility. "Whoever approaches the border with Lebanon will be killed," said Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. Israel has warned Lebanon it will strongly retaliate against attacks from across the border. Israel fought a vicious monthlong war with Hezbollah in 2006 that ended in a stalemate and a tense detente between the two sides. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Israel's continuing offensive in Gaza could cause a violent reaction across the region. "Bombardments should be immediately stopped. Muslim nations are angry," Khamenei said, according to state media. Speaking to the Israeli Knesset on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran and Hezbollah, "Don't test us in the north. Don't make the mistake of the past. Today, the price you will pay will be far heavier."
Soon after he spoke, the Knesset floor was evacuated as rockets headed toward Jerusalem. Sirens in Tel Aviv prompted U.S. and Israeli officials to take shelter in a bunker, officials said. The Israeli military said Monday at least 199 hostages were taken into Gaza, more than previously estimated. Hamas said it was holding 200 to 250 hostages. Hamas' military wing released a hostage video showing a dazed woman having her arm wrapped with bandages. The woman, who identified herself as Mia Schem, 21, rocked slightly as she spoke, the sound of explosions reverberating in the background.
The plight of the hostages has dominated the Israeli media since the attack, with interviews with their relatives playing on television almost constantly. Israeli officials have vowed to maintain the siege of Gaza until the hostages are released. In Gaza, more than 400,000 displaced people in the south crowded into schools and other facilities of the U.N. agency for Palestinians. The agency said it has only 1 liter of water a day for each of its staff members trapped in the territory. Israel opened a water line into the south for three hours that benefitted only 14 percent of Gaza's population, the U.N. said.

Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza hospital

Associated Press/October 17, 2023
The Gaza Health Ministry said an Israeli airstrike Tuesday hit a Gaza City hospital packed with wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter, killing hundreds. If confirmed, the attack would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008.
Photos from al-Ahli Hospital showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and body parts scattered across the area. The ministry said at least 500 people had been killed. Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of people, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said there were still no details on the hospital deaths: "We will get the details and update the public. I don't know to say whether it was an Israeli air strike."

Macron says 'intense' talks on to free hostages held by Hamas
Agence France Presse/October 17, 2023
Intense talks are on to free hostages held by Hamas after its attack on Israel, French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday, after the mother of a French-Israeli captive begged world leaders to intervene. "I want to be very cautious here... so as not to endanger the intense talks we are currently conducting," Macron told reporters in the Albanian capital Tirana. "But they are progressing and we are following these talks hour by hour."Turkey has also been contacted by several countries for help in freeing Hamas captives.

Iran says 'no one can stop resistance' if Israel keeps bombing Gaza
Agence France Presse/October 17, 2023
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Tuesday that "no one can stop" forces opposed to Israel if it keeps up its bombardment of Gaza in response to the surprise attack by Hamas. The Islamic republic has maintained close contacts with its allies across the region since Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza border with Israel and killed more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Israel has responded to the attack with a devastating air and artillery bombardment of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip that has killed at least 2,750 Palestinians, also mostly civilians. "If the crimes of the Zionist (Israeli) regime continue, Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them," Khamenei said. "No one should expect" that certain parties like Iran can "prevent the resistance forces" from taking action, said the supreme leader, who has the final say in major state policies in Iran. "No matter what the Zionist regime does, it cannot make up for the scandalous failure it suffered," Khamenei said. "Regarding the situation in Gaza, we all have a responsibility to react; we must react," Khamenei said, without detailing what a reaction may entail. Officials in Iran often use the term "axis of resistance" to refer to the Islamic republic and its allied forces across the Middle East, including Lebanon's Hezbollah and other Shiite forces in Iraq and Syria.
'Resistance front'
Israel has deployed tens of thousands of troops on its border with Gaza in preparation for a full-scale ground offensive on the Palestinian territory. It has told some 1.1 million Gazans -- nearly half the territory's population of 2.4 million -- to leave the north of the densely populated enclave, in anticipation of the operation. Iran has repeatedly warned a ground invasion of Gaza will be met with a response on other fronts -- prompting fears of a wider conflict that could draw in other countries. Its foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, spoke on Monday of possible "pre-emptive action" against Israel by the "resistance front" while President Ebrahim Raisi said time was running out to reach a political solution. Amir-Abdollahian spoke by telephone on Tuesday about the situation with the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, according to a statement from his ministry. He described "the US encouragement of the Zionist regime to carry out more attacks against civilians in Gaza" as an important factor in the continuation and expansion of the war. Tehran, which financially and militarily backs Hamas militants, celebrated the Hamas assault but insisted it was not involved. Iran's supreme leader criticised "officials of certain countries" for supporting Israel after the Hamas attacks. He rejected as "untrue" that most of the Israelis killed were civilians, arguing that "those people in the settlements are all armed". Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has made support for the Palestinian cause one of the pillars of its foreign policy.

Palestinian medics in Gaza struggle to save lives under Israeli siege, bombardment
Associated Press/October 17, 2023
For hours and hours, Moen Abu Aish digs through the rubble of demolished homes to find survivors of Israeli airstrikes, toiling in a vast and desperate search complicated by the shortage of critical supplies and the sheer scope of destruction across the Gaza Strip.
Even as rescue worker Abu Aish, 58, and his colleagues struggle to pry lifeless bodies from the concrete and twisted metal where residential towers once stood, the death toll keeps rising. Gaza's Health Ministry has reported that Israel's bombardment — launched after Hamas mounted an unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7 — has killed more than 2,700 Palestinians, many of them women and children. But far more Palestinians have been killed than have been officially reported, with 1,200 people, among them some 500 minors, believed to be trapped under the rubble awaiting rescue, or recovery, health authorities said. They based their estimates on distress calls they received. "So many times medics say they hear victims scream but they cannot do anything about it," said Mohammed Abu Selmia, general director of Shifa Hospital, Gaza's biggest medical center. The untold scores of victims buried beneath destroyed buildings shed light on the struggles of rescue teams in Gaza trying to save lives, while cut off from the internet and mobile networks, running out of fuel and exposed to unceasing airstrikes. Israel imposed a siege on Gaza after the Hamas attack, severing the crowded strip's access to water, power and fuel. Health authorities have warned that without humanitarian aid, hospitals and emergency services will soon break down. Hospitals running on backup generators say they have enough fuel for another day or two at most. "The destruction is so intense, there are hundreds of dead under the rubble as we speak," said Mahmoud Basal, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Civil Defense, which provides emergency service, his voice cracking as he fought back tears. "Where are the Arab countries? Where is the rest of the world? We are begging you, please, save us from this madness."At dawn Monday, Israeli warplanes struck the headquarters of the Civil Defense in Gaza City, killing seven paramedics as they prepared for a rescue mission, the Interior Ministry said. In widely shared videos of the aftermath, medics, shell-shocked and exhausted, crouched on the back of their blood-smeared ambulance with their heads in their hands. "They targeted a center for ambulances," one of them cried out, his voice frantic. "There are no weapons. There are no militants. There is nothing, nothing but civilians." The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the airstrike but has alleged in the past that Hamas militants use hospitals and rescue services as protective cover. It says it only targets sites and infrastructure used by Hamas and other militant groups. Since the start of this war, 10 other medics have been killed on the job, the Health Ministry said. "I'm terrified all the time, of course I am. I'm human," Abu Aish said from Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, where doctors had refused an Israeli military order to evacuate earlier this week. "I see the worst things you could imagine."Like most medics, Abu Aish has spent the past days in the hospital's ambulance bay, sleeping a few hours before returning to his grueling work. The massive blasts ripping through the northern Jabaliya refugee camp where he lives have been bad enough, he said.
What made them worse was not knowing how his loved ones fared.
Since Israeli bombardment destroyed two of Gaza's three main lines for mobile communication last week, he hasn't spoken to his family in five days. "I miss them so much it hurts," he said of his seven kids and 10 grandchildren. "But this is my mission. I respect it."At the hospital, distress calls follow the nearby thunder of explosions. Abu Aish drives as far as he can in the ambulance and jumps out when the roads buckle so badly they cannot be used. Rushing in the opposite direction of panicked families, he and his team arrive by foot to ravaged homes with little more than flashlights, shovels and other amateur tools, like pickaxes, saws, backhoes and blowtorches to cut metal bars. The rescue crews in their bright vests and white helmets largely lack excavators, ladders and heavy machinery — the outcome of a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007 to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels and rearming itself. Often Abu Aish uses his bare hands to sort through chunks of concrete mixed with residents' belongings and personal mementos. But as the rescuers work, they hear bombardment crashing in the distance. Another block of homes, flattened. More people who need their help, urgently.
Residents say it often takes rescue crews many hours to reach the site of an attack and search for victims. By that point, the chances of finding additional survivors are slim. Ali Ahad, a 37-year-old resident of Gaza City, said that when airstrikes leveled the residential building next door, rescuers never came.
He and his friends sprinted outside in their slippers, sifted through the rubble and struggled to lift men and women coated in blood out of the ruins with blankets. When they saw an ambulance racing down the street to Shifa Hospital they chased it, pounding on its windows to make it stop so they could squeeze their neighbors inside.
"You have people like us using our hands and we have zero experience doing such things," he said. "There is no infrastructure. There is no capacity." Rescuers say they try to save as many lives as they can. But at any point, they may have to save themselves. Among the 10 medics killed over the past week were four workers with the Palestinian Red Crescent. Airstrikes last Wednesday slammed into their ambulances in two different places. Three of those killed that day had been waiting to evacuate civilians in Jabaliya. "I was traumatized by that loss," said their colleague, Salem Abu Al-Khair. As he spoke from the ambulance center, the roar of airstrikes could be heard. "Even during this interview we are being bombed," he said. "This is the extent of the danger."Good news is rare for Gaza's medics. On Thursday, after airstrikes hit Jabaliya, Abu Aish found a mother hugging a small child under the rubble. The mother had been killed, along with the rest of the family members in the collapsed building. But the child, a boy no more than 3 years old, was alive.Abu Aish pulled him out of the rubble and took him to the ambulance. He was covered in dirt but completely healthy, he said. "Those moments give me the will to carry on," he said. "That's my work. I never want to let one child like that die."

Iran’s Khamenei threatens US as Pentagon readies 2,000 troops for region
Al Monitor/October 17, 2023
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered some 2,000 US military personnel on heightened alert in order to respond to the fallout of Israel’s war in Gaza if needed, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. Austin has also extended the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group in the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran and Iran-backed forces like Hezbollah from joining in the conflict. “The strike group was nearing the end of its six-month deployment to the US European Command area of responsibility,” deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday.
A second US carrier strike group, the USS Eisenhower, is also headed to the eastern Mediterranean, the Pentagon confirmed. The Wall Street Journal first reported the order on Monday, noting that the troops would not perform in combat roles and that no infantry units had been mobilized. “No decisions have been made to deploy any forces at this time,” Singh said on Monday. As NBC News reported, "Those who received the orders were already on 96-hour prepare-to-deploy status, which has now been shortened to 24 hours." Singh also told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday that the US military has been “providing planning and intelligence support to Israel” including on potential hostage recovery operations in Gaza. “We do have a small number of personnel in Israel in support of this effort as augmentation to the embassy staff,” Singh said, but declined to offer further details.
"As the president stated, any presence of military personnel will be to advise and consult on hostage recovery efforts," she said. Al-Monitor and other outlets previously reported that members of the Pentagon’s elite Joint Special Operations Command were in Israel offering to assist the Israel Defense Forces in case hostage recovery operations are launched. “If they will be engaging in hostage recovery, we're going to be providing intelligence for them to do so,” Singh added Monday. Iran has armed and trained a bevy of militias and non-state actor groups ranging from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as various groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, many of which espouse enmity toward Israel and openly threaten US troops in the region. Iran’s foreign minister suggested Monday that the so-called "resistance axis" could take action to pre-empt an Israeli invasion of Gaza. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Washington of “formulating” Israel’s “current policy” regarding Gaza, alleging, “What is being done is governed by US policy-making.”
“The US must be held responsible for this situation,” Khamenei tweeted on Tuesday. The US military has also dispatched the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Bataan and its Amphibious Ready Group to the eastern Mediterranean in preparation to respond to any crisis, officials confirmed Monday. The 26th MEU has not been assigned a specific mission but remains on standby to assist with a variety of potential tasks, one military official said. US President Joe Biden is expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday in a show of solidarity and to press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to enable humanitarian aid corridors for the besieged Gaza Strip. The top commander of US military forces in the Middle East, US Army Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning for top-level meetings with Israeli defense officials. “I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla said in a press release.

Israeli Official Sees US ‘Involvement’ If Gaza War Spreads

Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Israel's national security adviser predicted on Tuesday that the United States would get "involved" if the Gaza war escalated to the point where Iran and Hezbollah joined in on behalf of Hamas. In a televised briefing, Tzachi Hanegbi noted expressions of support by US President Joe Biden, which included US naval deployments in the Mediterranean and a public warning to the Lebanese group and to Tehran to stay out of the fighting. "He is making clear to our enemies that if they even imagine taking part in the offensive against the citizens of Israel, there will be American involvement here," Hanegbi said.
"Israel will not be alone ... A US force is here and it is ready," he added, without elaborating.

Biden offers 'deepest condolences' for Gaza hospital explosion victims: White House
AFP/October 17/2023
US President Joe Biden offers “deepest condolences” for the Gaza hospital explosion victims: White House.

France strongly condemns the bombing of a hospital in Gaza
AFP/October 17/2023
France has expressed its "strong condemnation" for the bombing that targeted a hospital in the city of Gaza on Tuesday evening. Hamas accused Israel of carrying out the attack, while the Israeli state attributed responsibility to the Islamic Jihad Movement.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a release, "International humanitarian law is binding on all and must allow for the protection of civilian populations. Humanitarian aid must be granted access to the Gaza Strip without delay."

Biden will ask Congress for funds for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the immigration crisis
AFP/October 17/2023
US President Joe Biden plans to request a $100 billion aid package from Congress to support Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and address the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border, according to an informed source cited by AFP on Tuesday.
The request, not yet officially announced by the White House, comes at a time when Congress remains gridlocked due to the absence of the election of a House Speaker, with Republicans currently holding the majority.
Bloomberg was the first to report on the aid package that Biden intends to seek. This package aims to unify Democrats, who have been seeking additional assistance for Kyiv for weeks, and Republicans, who prioritize funding to address the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border. Recognizing the risks of the United States wavering, Ukraine's President visited Congress in September to persuade Washington to support Kyiv in reaching a "red line" against Russia. However, the United States has faced increasing pressure to support its historical ally, Israel, in its war with Hamas.
On Tuesday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced that he is working on a major aid package for Israel. He emphasized that the package would include military, diplomatic, humanitarian, and intelligence support and expressed hope for its adoption in the coming weeks. The Senate is considering a resolution condemning Hamas and is set to discuss the confirmation of the new ambassador to Israel on Wednesday.

Israel’s Gaza Evacuation Order Could Breach International Law, Says UN

Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that Israel's siege of Gaza and its evacuation order for the north of the enclave could amount to a forcible transfer of civilians and be in breach of international law. Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, said Israel seemed to have made no effort to ensure the civilians temporarily evacuated in Gaza were provided with proper accommodation, as well as satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition. "We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law," she said. "Those who managed to comply with the Israeli authorities' order to evacuate are now trapped in the south of the Gaza Strip, with scant shelter, fast-depleting food supplies, little or no access to clean water, sanitation, medicine and other basic needs." The term "forcible transfer" describes the forced relocation of civilian populations and it is a crime against humanity punishable by the International Criminal Court (ICC). In separate comments, the World Food Program said its food supplies in Gaza were running low but that it was stockpiling supplies in the Egyptian city of Al-Arish nearby. Abeer Etefa, WFP Regional Communications Lead for the Middle East and North Africa, said they hoped "to cross as soon as the border access is granted."
"We call for unimpeded access, safe passage to desperately needed humanitarian supplies to Gaza," she said. Trucks carrying supplies headed towards the Rafah crossing in Egypt, the only access point to the enclave outside of Israel's control, though it was not certain whether they would be able to cross. Fuel reserves at all hospitals across Gaza are expected to last for an additional 24 hours only, according to the UN Palestinian agency UNRWA. "The shutdown of backup generators would place the lives of thousands of patients at serious risk," it said.

US Officials: Netanyahu Suggested Plan to Establish Palestinian State in Sinai

Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Syria’s Defense Ministry is testing the readiness of alarm sirens and shelters in the capital, Damascus, and various other cities across the nation. Late Sunday, the ministry announced that the testing of the central alarm siren in Damascus was scheduled for Monday morning. The Civil Defense in Latakia had previously announced the trial of alarm sirens on Monday afternoon, all in an effort to ensure preparedness. Additionally, inspections of shelters in several areas within the Latakia province, both urban and rural, were carried out. The sound of alarm sirens has not been officially heard in Syria since the October 6, 1973 war, except for sporadic tests every decade or so, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The sources added that the newer generations, who have experienced the sounds of explosions and various forms of shelling, are unfamiliar with the sound of alarm sirens, and very few paid attention to its testing on Monday. In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ways to halt the Israeli “aggression” against Gaza, as reported by the Syrian News Agency (SANA). Both leaders emphasized the urgent need for “immediate humanitarian assistance for civilians in the sector, as well as ending the shelling and displacement carried out by Israel against innocent people in Gaza.”This marks Assad’s third conversation since the situation escalated in Gaza, following talks with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. In a related development, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad received Palestinian Ambassador Anwar Abdul Hadi in the capital, Damascus, on Monday. The ambassador presented the Syrian minister with an update on the latest developments and the evolving situation in Palestine. “The Israeli occupation deliberately targets innocent civilians without discrimination, be they women, children, or the elderly, with the support of the US and the West,” said Hadi. He further pointed out that “the Israeli occupation aims to displace the residents of Gaza as part of its plan to empty the territory of Palestinians.” Hadi also informed the Syrian Foreign Minister about the efforts made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with world nations to halt the Israeli aggression in Gaza and urgently establish humanitarian corridors.

Jordan's King Abdullah Says ‘Whole Region is on the Brink’
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Jordan's King Abdullah on Tuesday warned against trying to push Palestinian refugees into Egypt or Jordan, adding that the humanitarian situation must be dealt with inside Gaza and the West Bank. The Jordanian king told reporters on Tuesday that “this is a red line ... no refugees to Jordan and also no refugees to Egypt.”“This is a situation that has to be handled within Gaza and the West Bank,” he said. “And you don’t have to carry this out on the shoulders of others,” he said at a news conference following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Abdullah also said that everything needs to be done to prevent a further escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. “The whole region is on the brink,” Abdullah said. “This new cycle of violence is leading us towards the abyss.” At the same press conference, Scholz called for preventing an escalation in the Middle East and warned Hezbollah and Iran against intervening in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. "I expressly warn Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in the conflict," Scholz said. Scholz, who is traveling to Israel later on Tuesday, stressed that the country has every right to defend itself and can count on Germany’s support.

WHO Says It Needs Urgent Access to Gaza to Deliver Aid, Medical Supplies
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it needs urgent access to Gaza to deliver aid and medical supplies, as the UN agency warned of a long-term humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave. Speaking to media in a briefing, Dr. Richard Brennan, regional emergency director of the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean regional office, said the agency was meeting with "decision-makers" on Tuesday to open access to Gaza as soon as possible. "We have aid south of Rafah and waiting for the go ahead to get entry to Gaza," he said, referring to the Rafah crossing, which was a vital artery before the fighting and is now a key route for desperately needed supplies into Gaza. Israel began intense bombardment and a siege of Gaza following a devastating assault by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian territories, said 2,800 people have died and 11,000 injured in Gaza since Israeli air strikes started. About half of them were women and children. There have been 115 attacks on healthcare and the majority of hospitals in Gaza were not functioning, with water and electricity, as well as medical supplies, scarce, officials said. The agency said disease outbreaks are a risk and concerns are growing about the 350,000 people in Gaza with chronic diseases like diabetes, who are also struggling to get access to healthcare.

Egypt to Host Int’l Summit to Discuss Palestinian Developments
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Cairo is set to host an international summit on Saturday to discuss developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the peace process. The Egyptian presidency has extended an official invitation to many countries to attend the summit, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. This included the US, China, Russia, Türkiye, and the European Union, and several Arab countries. Leaders from Jordan, Palestine and the Gulf states are expected to attend, as well as representatives from international and regional organizations, including the UN and the Arab League. Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakri affirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the summit will be attended by prominent Arab and international figures. It will have two main objectives: firstly, to halt the Israeli aggression against Gaza and urgently alleviate the suffering of Palestinians. Secondly, to explore a political horizon for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of a two-state solution and to support the Palestinian Authority as a key party to the solution. The convening of the summit aligns with the decisions made during the Egyptian National Security Council meeting, presided over by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on Sunday. Sisi had announced a commitment to continue communications with international and regional partners to de-escalate the situation and halt the targeting of civilians in Gaza. He emphasized that the only solution to the conflict is the two-state solution, while rejecting and condemning policies involving displacement or attempts to resolve the issue at the expense of neighboring countries. “There is a consistent Egyptian role in achieving de-escalation and peace,” stressed Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a press conference with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna in Cairo on Monday. “There are risks of the crisis expanding and causing more casualties, with potential implications for security and stability,” he added. Egypt’s top diplomat also highlighted that the current focus is on de-escalation, and it is essential to concentrate on the significance of a two-state solution and achieving peace.

Report: Iraqi Pro-Iran Factions Establish Operations Room with Hamas

Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Iranian proxies have established a “resistance operations room” to help Hamas during the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, Iraqi sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday. A senior commander in an Iraqi faction engaged in reconnaissance in Lebanon said the Israeli army postponed its ground operation in Gaza in anticipation of any reaction from the Iran proxies. On Sunday, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the leaders of several Iraqi factions loyal to Iran have headed to Syria and Lebanon in wake of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. The sources said the leaders were accompanied by groups of fighters, whose task, at the moment, seems aimed at assessing the situation on the ground and following up with groups in Syria and Lebanon along border regions. Confirming the reports, activists close to the Iraqi factions were circulating photos of their commanders currently present in Lebanon, including a photo of the leader of Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Abu Alaa al-Walae, reportedly seen at the Lebanese border. Meanwhile, the senior Iraqi commander told Asharq Al-Awsat that the resistance factions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were engaged with Hamas in a joint operations room, which has been regularly receiving updates on the situation at the borders. “We feel that something will happen soon,” the commander said. Asharq Al-Awsat received information saying Iranian officers were involved in establishing the operations room with the help of their proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. According to the Iraqi commander, contacts intensified in the past few hours between all factions and Iran after fighters were deployed in different areas near the border. However, he ruled out “a traditional confrontation with the Israelis in case they carry out their ground attack.” The commander, who wished to remain anonymous, said “Israel postponed its ground attack when it realized that Hamas is not alone in this battle.” However, members of the Coordination Framework in Iraq, despite their eagerness for an armed and open confrontation with Israel, revealed that Iran is currently waging a “media war more than taking actual actions on the ground.”
Nevertheless, they did not rule out the possible “anti-Israel operations” taking place on the ground. Meanwhile, two leaders from the pro-Iran Badr movement and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq confirmed that Iraqi factions are moving at the front between Lebanon and Syria. One leader said developments there are in line with a plan developed by Iran and supervised by Hezbollah.

No place is safe in Gaza after Israel targets areas where civilians seek refuge, Palestinians say
DEIR al-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP)/Tue, October 17, 2023
Even the “safe zones” of Gaza aren't safe for Palestinians.Intense Israeli strikes Tuesday destroyed homes, hit a U.N. school sheltering the displaced and killed dozens of people in south and central Gaza. “The situation is very, very difficult with artillery shelling and aerial bombardment on homes and defenseless people,” said Abu Hashem Abu al-Hussein, who initially welcomed displaced families into his home in Khan Younis, but then fled to a U.N. school, where he hoped to find safety himself. Israel had told Palestinians over the weekend to evacuate northern Gaza and Gaza City in advance of an expected ground invasion of the territory following an attack by Hamas militants last week that killed at least 1,400 Israelis. An estimated 600,000 people complied, packing what belongings they could and rushing to the south, where they squeezed into overcrowded U.N. shelters, hospitals, and homes in the approximately 14-kilometer (8-mile) long area south of the evacuation zone. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Tuesday of preventing people from “getting out of harm’s way,” and he again urged Palestinians to head “south to safe zones”For some on Tuesday, there was no safety to be had there.
After midnight Tuesday morning, an explosion shattered Moataz al-Zre’e’s windows. He rushed outside to find his neighbor Ibrahim’s entire home had been razed. The house next door was damaged also. At least 12 people from two families were killed, including three people from a family displaced from Gaza City. “There was no (Israeli) warning,” he said. Al-Zre’e’s sister was gravely wounded and five of his paternal cousins were also injured following the attack. “Most of the killed were women and children.”Stunned residents took stock of the damage from another strike in Khan Younis. Samiha Zoarab looked around at the destruction in shock, as children rummaged through piles of rubble around the destroyed home, which lies amid a dense cluster of buildings. At least four people from the same family were killed in the attack, she said. “There are only two survivors,” she said. A strike hit a U.N. school in central Gaza where 4,000 Palestinians had taken refuge, killing six people, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said. A barrage leveled a block of homes in the central Gaza Bureij refugee camp, killing many inside, residents said. Among the killed was Ayman Nofal, a top Hamas military commander. Strikes also hit the cities of Rafah, where 27 were reported killed, and Khan Younis, where 30 were reported killed, according to Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official. The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers. The strikes came even as residents struggled with an Israeli blockade that cut off the flow of water, food, fuel and medicine to the area. The Kuwait Speciality Hospital in the southern city of Rafah has received two orders from the Israeli military to evacuate said staff had just two hours to leave after Sunday's order, in a video posted to the hospital's Facebook group. The second came Monday at 10 p.m., as medics worked around the clock to resuscitate patients. “We shall not evacuate,” he said. The Israeli army did not immediately comment on why it had called for the hospital evacuation. Apart from the near-constant stream of wounded patients, the hospital was also sheltering hundreds of people inside its halls and surroundings. Israel “has left no red line they did not cross, nor an international convention they did not violate,” said al-Hams. The safety of hospitals, he added, was the last red line left.

As Biden Heads to Israel and Jordan, Aid Is Held up for a Gaza on the Verge of Total Collapse

EPA/October 17/2023
The US hoped to break a deadlock over delivering aid to increasingly desperate civilians in besieged Gaza following a brutal attack by Hamas militants, as President Joe Biden was set to head to Israel and Jordan on Wednesday. Aid workers warned that life in Gaza was near complete collapse because of the Israeli siege, with hundreds of thousands of people seeking shelter, ever-decreasing water supplies and power running out at hospitals. At the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only connection to Egypt, truckloads of aid were waiting to go into the tiny, densely populated territory, and trapped civilians — many of them Palestinians with dual nationalities — were hoping desperately to get out. Mediators were trying to reach a ceasefire to open the border, which shut down last week after Israeli airstrikes, but by early Tuesday it was unclear who was keeping the crossing closed. Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of US Central Command, arrived in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli military authorities ahead of a Biden visit planned for Wednesday to signal White House support for the country. Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid fears that the fighting could expand into a broader regional conflict.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had returned to Israel after a six-country tour through Arab nations, said in Tel Aviv that the US and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to enable humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza. There were few details, but the plan would include “the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”Israel maintained punishing airstrikes across Gaza as a ground invasion loomed, while Hamas militants kept up a barrage of rocket attacks, and tensions mounted near the Israel-Lebanon border.
At least 2,778 people have been killed and 9,700 wounded in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry there. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, the vast majority civilians killed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault. The combination of airstrikes, dwindling supplies and Israel’s mass evacuation order for the north of the Gaza Strip has thrown the tiny territory’s 2.3 million people into upheaval and caused increasing desperation. More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes, and 60% are now in the approximately 14-kilometer-long (8 mile) area south of the evacuation zone, according to the UN. In Gaza, hospitals were on the verge of losing electricity, threatening the lives of thousands of patients, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced from their homes searched for bread. With taps dry, many have resorted to drinking dirty or sewage-filled water, risking the spread of disease.
The Israeli military says it is trying to clear civilians for their safety ahead of a major campaign against Hamas in Gaza’s north, where it says the militants have extensive networks of tunnels and rocket launchers. Much of Hamas’ military infrastructure is in residential areas.
Those fleeing northern Gaza still faced airstrikes in the south. Before dawn Monday, a strike in the town of Rafah collapsed a building sheltering three families who had evacuated from Gaza City. At least 12 people were killed and nine others remained buried under rubble, survivors said. Israel evacuated towns near its northern border with Lebanon, where the military has exchanged fire repeatedly with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group. Israel fought a vicious monthlong war with Hezbollah in 2006 that ended in a stalemate and a tense detente between the two sides.
Speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran and Hezbollah: “Don’t test us in the north. Don’t make the mistake of the past. Today, the price you will pay will be far heavier."Soon after he spoke, the Knesset floor was evacuated as rockets headed toward Jerusalem. Sirens in Tel Aviv prompted US and Israeli officials to take shelter in a bunker, officials said.
Iran’s foreign minister, meanwhile, warned that “preemptive action is possible” if Israel moves closer to a ground offensive. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's threat followed a pattern of escalating rhetoric from Iran, which supports Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Israeli military said Monday that at least 199 hostages were taken into Gaza, more than previously estimated. Hamas said it was holding 200 to 250 hostages. Hamas’ military wing released a hostage video showing a dazed woman having her arm wrapped with bandages. The woman, who identified herself as Mia Schem, 21, rocked slightly as she spoke, the sound of explosions reverberating in the background. Schem was taken from Kibbutz Reim, where she was attending a rave. Hamas said she had undergone a three-hour operation. The plight of the hostages has dominated the Israeli media since the attack, with interviews with their relatives playing on television almost constantly. Israeli officials have vowed to maintain the siege of Gaza until the hostages are released. In Gaza, more than 400,000 displaced people in the south crowded into schools and other facilities of the UN agency for Palestinians. But the agency said it has only 1 liter of water a day for each of its staff members trapped in the territory. “Gaza is running out of water, and Gaza is running out of life,” said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini, calling for a lifting of the siege. “We need this now.”
Hospitals are expected to run out of generator fuel in the next 24 hours, meaning life-saving equipment like incubators and ventilators will stop functioning and putting thousands of lives at risk, the UN said. Yet doctors and many hospital staff have refused to evacuate, saying it would mean death for critically ill patients and newborns on ventilators. In northern Gaza, unknown numbers remained, either unwilling or unable to leave. Hamas urged people to ignore the evacuation order. The Israeli military on Sunday released photos it said showed a Hamas roadblock preventing traffic from moving south.

Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 17-18/2023
Iran May Exploit Israel’s War To Sprint To Nuclear Weapons
Andrea Stricker/1945 site/October 17/ 2023
This risk will rise significantly if the regime directs its proxies to open new fronts against Israel and takes advantage of the chaos while Jerusalem’s focus and military resources are strained. President Biden must renew his credible military threat against the regime’s nuclear facilities and warn Tehran against contemplating such action. Biden — who sternly warned Iran last week not to direct its proxies to escalate the war against Israel to additional fronts — has a special responsibility to deter Tehran from dashing to nuclear weapons. For nearly three years, his administration has stood by as the regime augmented its nuclear program with impunity in pursuit of a failed “de-escalation” effort. Washington even unfroze $16 billion in Iranian assets and allowed Iran to earn at least $26 billion more in oil revenue by failing to enforce sanctions. The attacks by Hamas, allegedly authorized by the Islamic Republic, underscore this mistake. Iran now possesses enough enriched uranium that, if further enriched to weapons-grade, could be used to fuel at least 10 nuclear weapons. Tehran would require 12 days to produce the nuclear material for its first weapon and four months in total to produce enough for 10. The regime would then require an unknown amount of additional time to weaponize the material for nuclear devices. Western estimates of this timeline range from several months to more than a year. One breakout scenario involves Tehran creating a crisis at one of its three known enrichment plants by delaying access for inspectors while it enriches uranium to 90 percent, or weapons-grade. Iran permits the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect and monitor its enrichment facilities and allows near-real time enrichment monitoring devices of 60 percent enrichment, which is a stone’s throw away from 90 percent. However, Tehran last month expelled around one-third of key agency inspectors with expertise in enrichment, a worrying sign. Last January, it also enriched uranium to near-84 percent before inspectors detected it. By enriching to weapons-grade at a known facility, Iran would run the risk of Israel or the United States preemptively bombing the plant after a prolonged denial of IAEA access. Tehran would also be vulnerable to a foreign military strike if it tried relocating the material for weaponization into atomic devices. Another breakout risk involves Iran diverting enriched uranium stocks directly to covert facilities for further enrichment and weaponization. While there is no evidence that a covert enrichment plant currently exists, the regime has significantly reduced IAEA monitoring of its nuclear assets, such as centrifuges for uranium-enrichment, since February 2021. Iran would only require a few hundred of its fastest centrifuges to outfit a secret enrichment facility and could complete weaponization almost anywhere. Most relevant to this scenario: Iran is storing more than 80 percent of its stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) — that is, uranium enriched to 20 or 60 percent — at the Esfahan Fuel Fabrication Plant. These stocks are stored in small, easily moveable containers that could quickly go missing. Once Tehran has diverted nuclear material, foreign powers may be unable to identify its location, particularly if Iran moves the material to one of many sites buried deep under mountains. From there, unhindered by foreign interference, the regime could finish fashioning nuclear devices and detonate one in a test. Jerusalem is understandably focused on addressing and eliminating threats from Hamas and guarding against being pulled into additional Iran-backed fronts. Faced with Iranian breakout — and with imperfect information — America may need to step in and act militarily on Israel’s behalf. The United States should have a military action plan at the ready should Iran take steps to create a crisis at its enrichment facilities or relocate any nuclear material. Hamas’ masters in Tehran will surely be looking for chances to establish the ultimate nuclear deterrent and make good on their desire to annihilate the Jewish state. Washington must deter the regime and plan accordingly.  
*Andrea Stricker is a research fellow and deputy director of the Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Follow her on X @StrickerNonpro. FDD is a nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

10 Things to Know about Hamas
FDD/October 17/ 2023
Hamas is an Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ 1988 charter states: “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea” — i.e., the annihilation of Israel. The charter says: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.”
Hamas later issued a new policy document, which did not replace or supersede its original charter, that included more coded language with calls for “resisting the occupation with all means and methods.”
In October 2023, Hamas carried out the worst terror attack in Israel’s history resulting in more than 1,300 dead and many more wounded. Hamas was previously responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 Israelis through suicide bombings and other attacks. Hamas violence derailed the Oslo Peace Process between Israel and the PLO during the 1990s.
Since conquering the Gaza Strip by force in 2007, Hamas has maintained a standing army of fighters and an arsenal of light arms, mortars, rockets, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, drones, and more.
Why does Hamas control Gaza?
Israel took control of the Gaza Strip after the Six-Day War in 1967. In 2005, under U.S. pressure, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew from the coastal enclave, removing every Israeli town, including every citizen, soldier, and grave.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) ruled Gaza for two years, until 2007, when Hamas waged a brief but violent war against the PA. Since then, Hamas and other terrorist groups have launched thousands of rockets and mortars toward Israel, used Palestinian civilians as human shields to protect their personnel and facilities, and terrorized the Israeli communities near Gaza.
Is Hamas a designated terrorist entity?
The United States designated Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, freezing its U.S.-based assets, barring members from entering the country, and banning the provision of “material support or resources.”
The U.S. government subsequently sanctioned Hamas-related charities and senior Hamas members and blocked funds related to Hamas activity. Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and 15 European states have also sanctioned some or all of Hamas.
Who are the leaders of Hamas?
Hamas leaders are dispersed across Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Gaza, and Lebanon, among others. Leaders include:
Ismail Haniyeh, chief of the political bureau based in Qatar
Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza
Saleh al-Arouri, deputy political chief who splits his time between Qatar, Iran, Turkey, and Lebanon
Mohammad Deif, commander of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades presumed to be in Gaza
Khaled Mashal, former leader of Hamas based in Qatar, recently called for global “Day of Jihad”
Khaled Qaddoumi, Hamas representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran
How does Hamas get its funding and weapons?
Iran reportedly supplies $100 million in financial and military support annually. Hamas officials praise Iran for sending “cash, equipment and [military] expertise” and long-range rockets to strike Israel.
Qatar reportedly contributed more than $150 million to Hamas in 2019, $100 million in 2020, and $360 million in 2021. Qatar now funds Hamas with an estimated $120 million per year. It claims to support the Gaza government, not the terrorists.
Turkey, Malaysia, Algeria and Kuwait also provide financial, military, diplomatic, and political support to Hamas.
What is the relationship between Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority in Gaza?
Hamas and Fatah are the dominant players in Palestinian politics. Fatah is based in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Both seek to lead the Palestinian people. For years, they have failed to reconcile their differences and hold elections.
Fatah is the party that controls the PA, which was created in 1994 to be the government of the West Bank and Gaza. However, when Hamas seized power in 2007, it violently ejected Fatah and the PA from Gaza.
How does Hamas treat Palestinians?
Hamas diverts international assistance to build its terrorist infrastructure. This impedes economic development and contributes to the humanitarian and environmental crisis in Gaza. The group restricts the rights of women and Christians and treats homosexuality as a crime.
Hamas uses civilians as human shields, hiding terror tunnels, weapons factories, and operations centers under schools and in densely populated civilian areas. The United Nations (UN) has called on Hamas to “cease immediately” these violations of international law.
Has Hamas attacked Israel in other instances prior to 2023?
Since it seized power in Gaza in 2007, Hamas has provoked multiple major confrontations with Israel, including a 22-day war in 2008-2009; an eight-day war in 2012; a 50-day war in 2014; a series of coordinated attacks in 2018 and 2019; and an 11-day war in May 2021.
Prior to October 2023, Hamas had killed approximately 25 U.S. citizens and was holding two hostages plus the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. Hamas’ 2023 attack represents the most lethal terrorist attack in Israel’s history. The Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, claimed the lives of 22 citizens from the United States, 17 from Britain, 18 from Thailand, 10 from Nepal, 10 from France, seven from Argentina, and others.
How does the October 2023 massacre reflect Iran’s “ring of fire” strategy?
The plot to attack Israel is part of an Iranian strategy to encircle Israel with armed groups, instigate turmoil, and carry out acts of terror. The Wall Street Journal revealed that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) helped plan and execute the massacre. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Iran’s support for Hamas makes it “complicit” in the October 7 attack.
What can the United States do to support the dismantling of Hamas?
Give Israel Time and Space: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) needs time and international support to defeat Hamas. Washington is best positioned to do this at the UN and in the public sphere.
Sanction Human Shields Enablers: An existing U.S. law — the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields (SHIELDS) Act — passed unanimously by Congress requires the president to impose sanctions on any member of Hamas or Hezbollah that uses human shields. This law’s sanctioning authority must be extended beyond 2023. There have been no designations so far under this law.
Isolate Hamas: Nominal U.S. allies Turkey and Qatar host Hamas offices and senior leaders. Washington should pressure them to immediately close those offices, expel Hamas officials, and cut support to the group. The United States should shut off funding streams that subsidize Hamas, including certain State Department and USAID grants, and funding of operations in Gaza by UN agencies, especially UNRWA.
Pressure Hamas Supporters to Take in Palestinians Fleeing Gaza: Washington should encourage Egypt to open its border with Gaza to permit Palestinians to enter. This need not be the final destination for refugees. Cairo should call upon the Arab League to determine their ultimate destination. Iran, Hamas’ chief patron, should be called upon to absorb the majority of Gazan refugees. Other Hamas patrons, such as Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia, Algeria and Kuwait, should be called on to take responsibility.
The U.S. Military Must Deter Iranian Escalation: Without a credible U.S. military threat, Tehran may be emboldened to open another front in northern Israel using its terror proxy Hezbollah, making a regional war likely. Iran may also use the opportunity to develop a nuclear weapon. Washington must honor its commitment — commitments from multiple Democratic and Republican presidents — to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons using all instruments of American power.
Deny Iran Resources: Washington must mount an all-of-government effort to target Hamas financial, military, and other networks. This must be coupled with a return to a financial pressure campaign against Iran, Hamas’ main financier. This includes re-imposing Iran sanctions, freezing Iranian access to all of its oil funds abroad, and the targeting of Chinese banks processing Iranian oil transactions.
Snapback UN Sanctions: The UN missile embargo on Iran expires on October 18, 2023. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France each can unilaterally reimpose all UN sanctions against Iran that were suspended as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, including the UN arms embargo that expired in 2019. Congress and the administration should snap back these sanctions immediately.
Broker a Saudi-Israel Peace Deal: Iran’s leaders see the emerging peace deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem as a threat. The deal promises greater stability and prosperity for the region, including for Palestinians. The Biden administration must insist that Riyadh play a constructive role.

On the Gaza Border, Chaos and a Question: How Will Israel Defeat Hamas?
Seth J. Frantzman/The Messenger/October 16/2023
Israel has begun moving into the next phase — ground operations against Hamas — after the terrorist group murdered more than 1,000 civilians. I spent the first week of the war driving back and forth to the Gaza border from Jerusalem. The first days of the war were chaotic as Israel tried to regain control of the area. This meant moving tanks to the border and bringing in more army units to try to secure the border. More than 20 communities were evacuated and some 19,000 people moved into hotels or into other communities across Israel.
This was only the beginning of the trauma facing Israel. Recovering and identifying the bodies of a thousand victims takes time. It’s also traumatic for many families because Hamas kidnapped at least 150 people and is holding them as hostages.
All of this is unprecedented in Israeli history. The country is also entering uncharted waters in how to cope with the sense of failure, and also the sense that security was so lacking at the border. Many communities were cut off for hours, while terrorists roamed their streets. I spoke to some of the first responders, including local security volunteers and police. In many cases, they were outgunned. It is believed that Hamas struck the security fence around Gaza at 29 points, and where it breached the fence, sent thousands of armed men into Israel. This was followed by more waves of men who came to loot and kidnap. Disturbing videos have shown some of this, with evidence of crimes against humanity as terrorists carted children and elderly people off to Gaza.
Hamas has portrayed itself over the years as a legitimate alternative to other Palestinian political parties. It even ran in Palestinian elections. The group was founded during the First Intifada in the late 1980s, and its ideological wellspring is similar to other parties in the region that are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition to its backing from Iran, Hamas has received support from Qatar and from Turkey over the years, two Western allies. The attack has confirmed as false the hope that some held that Hamas one day could become a peace partner. How can a group that ordered its members to massacre families be involved in a Palestinian government that seeks any kind of peace deal or two-state solution with Israel? Hamas has governed Gaza since 2006 and has shown that this violence is the kind of state it would develop. In the first week of the conflict, it fired 5,000 rockets at Israel.
Israel has received support from the U.S. Israeli officials have met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who traveled around the region, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who emphasized the depth of U.S. support and promised to supply Israel with munitions and other items it may need.
However, the question that looms is this: How can Hamas be contained and defeated, and what might come next?
A group involved in the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust cannot be permitted to re-establish a mini-state in Gaza. Yet, rumblings in the Middle East indicate that Iran is threatening to escalate the war if Israel conducts a ground invasion into Gaza — and it is not clear what the preference is in Israel regarding what comes next in Gaza. The overall goal, however, is clear: Hamas must be defeated and should not return to running things in Gaza and terrorizing its people. As we learned with the Taliban, coddling extremists leads to great harm in the places they are allowed to govern.
On the border of Gaza, among the communities Hamas attacked, I found that Israelis will not accept the terrorist group’s return to border areas. In many cases, Hamas had outposts just a few hundred yards from the border fence, in plain sight. Many Israeli communities are located about a mile from the border and they can’t live under the shadow of this threat any longer.
*Seth J. Frantzman, Ph.D., is the author of “Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future.” He has more than 15 years of experience covering conflict and security issues in the Middle East, as a correspondent and analyst, and is an adjunct fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Arab world has opportunity to take responsibility for Gaza’s future after Hamas attacks
David Adesnik/New york Post/Published October/17/2023
Suddenly, the Arab world has a chance to show that its concern for the Palestinians is real. When Israel is done crushing Hamas, there will be a political vacuum in Gaza.
Not surprisingly, Israeli leaders appear to have little interest in maintaining control of an enclave whose 2 million inhabitants Hamas has impoverished and oppressed.
By the same token, the last thing most Gazans would want is a return to Israeli administration. The answer to this dilemma is for the Arab world to take responsibility for Gaza’s future. It is impossible for now, with Hamas still in control, to say precisely how such an arrangement would work. But broad Arab responsibility should be the founding principle of the new order. For 75 years, Arab leaders have spoken of their commitment to Palestinian statehood, often by way of vilifying Israel.
This is their chance to finally help build something that could resemble a functioning Palestinian state. Would it be expensive, difficult, controversial and more likely to fail than to succeed? Yes, absolutely. But it would be a lot less expensive than the wars Arab leaders once waged in the hope of destroying Israel. It may also turn out to be less expensive than funneling vast sums to the autocratic, corrupt and reviled Palestinian Authority that was supposed build a state in the Palestinian territories under the terms of the Oslo Accords, signed 30 years ago.
Egypt is key
In post-Hamas Gaza, Egypt has no choice but to step up first. Geography dictates as much, given Egypt is the only country abutting Gaza other than Israel. Cairo also has a history in Gaza, which it occupied from 1948 to 1967 — it even prevented a Palestinian government from being formed after the first Arab-Israeli war. But it’s played a positive role more recently. It has had diplomatic relations with Israel for more than 40 years, although the peace has been frigid. Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt has often played a constructive role in resolving periodic rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
What Egypt cannot do is pick up the tab either for supporting refugees or rebuilding Gaza. Its fragile economy simply cannot afford it. That is where the Gulf states come in. Qatar has already dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to programs in Gaza, as agreed to with Israel, but also directed funds to the terror group’s military activities. Given this record, if Doha’s concern for the Palestinians is serious, it should provide funding but let neutral officials ensure it is spent properly.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain could play a more direct role, both funding postwar Gaza and deploying officials to help administer the enclave alongside the Egyptians. The Emirates and Bahrain have already normalized relations with Israel as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords. The Saudis are clearly looking for an opportunity to normalize relations but also for a way to show that peace with Israel does not amount to abandonment of the Palestinians. What better way than to become a leading sponsor of the one Palestinian entity that may become capable of governing itself? As for the people of Gaza, the new authorities should experiment gradually with self-governance. In the short term, elections will be pointless. Despite being subject to a formal ban, Hamas might still be able to control the process from the shadows.
What Gazans need is a period of several years in which they have freedom of speech, religion and assembly, so they can begin to build their own civil society.
In the interim, there can be advisory councils, perhaps even elected ones, but the transitional authority will need to maintain power. And however unpopular, Israel will need to put certain security measures in place to prevent a terrorist resurgence.
There are any number of ways all of this could go wrong. Americans don’t look to Egypt or the Gulf states as models of governance, yet if Gaza resembled Bahrain or the Emirates, that would be a dramatic improvement over where it’s been for the past two decades. After 75 years of advocating Palestinian statehood, it is time for Arab leaders to seize this unexpected opportunity.
*David Adesnik is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

The Bloody Shirt Of Palestine
Alberto M. Fernandez/IN-1776 site/October 17/2023
The Evolution Of The Palestinian Cause throughout the Middle East
After the assassination of Othman, the third Caliph of Islam in 656 CE, his relatives found refuge in Syria, then ruled by his second cousin Muawiya. Muawiya didn’t much care for his relations but recognized the widespread mood of indignation following Othman’s murder as a political opportunity. Othman’s bloodied shirt with its multiple stab wounds was circulated among the Syrian garrisons and then nailed to the pulpit of the Grand Mosque of Damascus to initiate the revolt of Muawiya.
Muawiya – “the Caesar of the Arabs” – became the fifth Caliph of Islam and founder of the Umayyad dynasty. The phrase “Othman’s shirt” – Qamis Othman – became the Arabic version of “waving the bloody shirt” in English: a political tactic to rouse the masses to anger. Today, the Palestinian cause is one of the most powerful “bloody shirts” for Muslims and Arabs worldwide: a rallying cry that still has real power. And like Muawiya’s canny use of the Qamis Othman fourteen centuries ago, the Palestinian cause simultaneously concentrates indignation, a sincere sense of injustice, tribalism, and a cynical lust for power.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, in East Jerusalem, a city then ruled by Jordan. Its first head, Ahmed al-Shuqairi had been born in Lebanon, was half-Turkish, and had served as both a Syrian diplomat and a Saudi ambassador. Two years before becoming the first PLO Chairman, when he was the Saudi Permanent Representative to the United Nations, al-Shuqairi had distinguished himself at a session of the General Assembly by “saluting” the Argentine Peronist, antisemitic and neo-fascist Argentine Movimiento Nacionalista Tacuara. Three decades later, al-Shuqairi’s successor Yasir Arafat repeated the error by embracing the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein just as Hussein began falling from grace in the eyes of other Arab regimes.
Fifty years ago, the Arab oil-producing states attempted to bring the West to its knees as part of an energy embargo in support of Arab armies fighting Israel. They would spend tens of billions of dollars over decades, ostensibly for the cause of Palestine, but most of it was wasted, or stolen. In general, the Palestinians have been consistently unlucky in both diplomacy and war but fortunate in their multiple second chances. Consider the following: a century ago an international treaty gave the Armenians a large state in what is now Eastern Turkey, the so-called “Wilsonian Armenia.” The Armenians, devastated by genocide, were too weak to keep it. No second chance for them. Yet the Palestinian cause still remains alive…
A Palestinian state could have been formed on the basis of the 1947 UN Partition Plan or anytime from 1948 to 1967 on territory held by Jordan and Egypt, but it wasn’t to be. Seeking to emulate the Algerians in their successful expulsion of the French, the PLO failed for decades in their conflict with Israel, and meanwhile attempted to overthrow regimes in Jordan (1970) and Lebanon (1975). The Cause survived all these reverses.
The PLO would eventually get a sort of quasi-state in 1994 as a result of the Oslo Peace Accords. Thirteen years later, part of that quasi-state, the Gaza Strip, would become the territory of the terrorist group Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and bitter rival of Yasser Arafat’s dominant PLO faction, Fatah. The PLO would go on to reject further peace deals in 2000 and 2008 while maintaining basically corrupt control over the occupied West Bank. Hamas, for its part, favors temporary truces, not peace deals, as it pursues its medium-term goal of displacing the PLO and its long-term goal of destroying Israel.
If the movement of the hour today is Islamist Hamas, fifty years ago the impetus for the Palestinian Movement was the revolutionary Left. Arafat claimed their West Beirut stronghold was the Hanoi, or the Stalingrad, of the Arabs. A number of senior Palestinian leaders were on the KGB payroll. The PLO helped train far-left German Red Army Faction terrorists, Nicaraguan Sandinistas, revolutionary Kurds and Armenians, and also some of the first Lebanese Shia fighters that formed Hezbollah, the Iran-backed political and military group that today dominates Lebanon.
Broadly speaking, the discourse on the Palestinian cause has evolved over the decades from revolutionary Marxist rhetoric evoking Che Guevara, Soviet Russia and Vietnam to a mixture of political Islam invoking the Holy Places and academic and progressive discourse emphasizing anti-colonial struggles, human rights, and indigenous racialism. Yet the energy that drives the Cause is ultimately less about rights, and more about sides. Although a considerable part of the Palestine discourse is presented wrapped in the contemporary language of rights and freedoms, its most militant champions have cared for only one right: the right to be free of the Jews. One difference between Hamas and the PLO is that whereas the former openly calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jews, the latter clings to the “right of return” where incoming waves of people of Palestinian origin would swamp the world’s only majority Jewish state. But the result would be the same.
Gamal Abdul Nasser fervently supported the Palestinian cause while Egypt used poison gas on Yemeni tribesmen. Saddam Hussein, a great champion of Palestine liberation, did the same while trying to exterminate Iraq’s Kurds. The Assad regime, Qaddafi, the Algerian Generals, the genocidal Bashir regime in Khartoum and so many other non-Arab tyrants from Havana to Beijing have all behaved very similarly while stridently calling for the rights of the Palestinians. But this is not, as Westerners might think, hypocrisy, but rather Asabiyyah, the group feeling or tribalism of supporting ours against theirs.
Arab states particularly concerned about Palestine today have their own very parochial concerns. For Qatar, supporting Hamas is a way of projecting political power (through money) and strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood. For Jordan, with its majority Palestinian population, the goal is to keep the focus outside rather than inward, preventing a recurrence of Black September 1970 when the Hashemites almost lost their throne. For Saudi Arabia, it is about the rivalry with Iran, Hamas’s other patron, and about securing Saudi leadership regionally as the country reforms internally and the Saudi Crown Prince ensures his own succession to the throne. For none of these actors is the Palestinian cause per se important: it is important only in so far as it strengthens the position of these nation-states.
If Palestine is somewhat less popular today in some quarters in the region than it was at the time of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, it is because some Arab states have moved on and have other concerns. But if you are a Pakistani or Turk, or an Iranian regime seeking regional hegemony, or a tinpot Third World kleptocracy or an immigrant, or a nihilistic progressive college student in the West seeking to identify with an intense and exotic cause, the bloody shirt of Palestine retains its considerable luster. Through the magic of the bloody shirt, “problematic” symbols and visions like borders and flags, holy places, ethnic supremacy, and blood and soil, have been redeemed into an acceptable form and recharged with the capacity to spellbind and sparkle.
*Alberto Miguel Fernandez is a former career U.S. diplomat and Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in Washington, D.C.

Archival: The Hamas Charter – A Religious Antisemitic Document That Calls For Uncompromising Jihad Against The Jews
MEMRI/October 17, 2023
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10881
The Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas is a religious, antisemitic document that calls for uncompromising war against the Jews until Judgement Day and rejects ceding even an inch of the land of Palestine. It declares that the only valid way to liberate Palestine is to wage jihad against Israel until achieving either victory or death, and proclaims this to be a religious duty incumbent on every individual Muslim man or woman.
Explicitly citing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Charter describes the Jews as an enemy that controls the world and which, for centuries, has sought to undermine all human values and to sow worldwide corruption and destruction in order to gain profits and power. It blames the Jews – "a wicked enemy with Nazi behavior" – for all wars throughout history, and for toppling the Islamic caliphate, since their aim is to annihilate Islam.
According to the Charter, the jihad waged today is a continuation of the jihad launched in the early days of Islam, which will persist until the End of Days. Hamas pledges to remain committed to this jihad until the words of the Prophet Muhammad come true: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews."
The Charter declares Palestine to be an Islamic waqf, a religious term which means that the land belongs to Allah alone and is "given as endowment for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection," and therefore the Muslims are religiously prohibited from relinquishing any part of it. International conferences that seek a solution for the Palestinian problem, it adds, are "nothing but a way to give the infidels power of arbitration over Muslim land," which can only be liberated by means of jihad.
The following is a translation of the Hamas Charter, as translated by MEMRI in 2006.
In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate
Palestine, Muharram 1, 1409 A.H./August 18, 1988
In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate
"You are the best nation that has been brought out for mankind. You command good and forbid evil and believe in Allah. If only the people of the Book [i.e., Jews and Christians] had believed, it would have been well for them. Some of them believe, but most of them are iniquitous. They will never be able to do you serious harm, they will only be an annoyance. If they fight you, they will turn their backs and flee, and will not be succored. Humiliation is their lot wherever they may be, except where they are saved from it by a bond with Allah or by a bond with men. They incurred upon themselves Allah's wrath, and wretchedness is their lot, because they denied Allah's signs and wrongfully killed the prophets, and because they disobeyed and transgressed." (Koran, 3:110-112).
"Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it." [From the words of] The martyr, Imam Hasan al-Banna', Allah's mercy be upon him.[1]
"The Islamic world is burning, and each and every one of us must pour water, even if it be a little, to extinguish whatever he can extinguish, without waiting for others." [From the words of] Sheikh Amjad Al-Zahawi, Allah's mercy be upon him.[2]
In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate
Praise be to Allah. We seek help from Him, we ask forgiveness from Him, we ask Him for guidance, and we rely on Him. Prayer and peace be upon Allah's messenger and upon his family and companions, and those who are loyal to him and spread his message and follow his sunna [the Prophet's custom]. Prayer and peace be forever upon them as long as heaven and earth exist.
Oh people, from the midst of great troubles and in the depths of suffering, and from the beating of believing hearts and arms purified for worship, out of cognizance of duty and in response to Allah's command – thence came the call [of our movement] and the meeting and joining [of forces], and thence came education in accordance with Allah's way and a resolute will to carry out [the movement's] role in life, overcoming all of the obstacles and surmounting the difficulties of the journey. Thence came also continuous preparation, [along with] readiness to sacrifice one's life and all that is valuable for the sake of Allah.
Then the seed took form and [the movement] began to move forward through this stormy sea of wishes and hopes, yearnings and aspirations, dangers and obstacles, pains and challenges, both locally [in Palestine] and abroad.
When the idea ripened, and the seed grew, and the plant shot its roots into the ground of reality, away from fleeting emotions and improper hastiness, then the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas][3] set out to play its role, marching onward for the sake of Allah. [In doing this, Hamas] joins arms with all those who wage jihad for the liberation of Palestine.[4] The souls of its jihad fighters meet the souls of all those jihad fighters who sacrificed their lives for the land of Palestine, from the time when the Prophet's companions conquered it until the present.
The charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) reveals its face, presents its identity, clarifies its stand, makes clear its aspiration, discusses its hopes, and calls out to help it and support it and to join its ranks, because our fight with the Jews is very extensive and very grave, and it requires all the sincere efforts. It is a step that must be followed by further steps; it is a brigade that must be reinforced by brigades upon brigades from this vast Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah's victory is revealed.
This is how we see them coming on the horizon: "And after a time you will come to know about it."(Koran, 38:88)
"Allah has written: It is I and My messengers who will surely prevail. Allah is Strong and Mighty." (Koran, 58:21)
"Say: This is my way. I call on Allah with certainty, I and those who follow me, and glory be to Allah, I am not among the polytheists." (Koran, 12:108)
Chapter One: Introduction to the Movement
Ideological Premises
Article One
The Islamic Resistance Movement: Islam is its way. It is from Islam that it derives its ideas, concepts, and perceptions concerning the universe, life, and man, and it refers to Islam's judgment in all its actions. It is from Islam that it seeks direction so as to guide its steps.
The Relation between the Islamic Resistance Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood
Article Two
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood movement is a global organization and is the largest of the Islamic movements in modern times. It is distinguished by its profound understanding and its conceptual precision and by the fact that it encompasses the totality of Islamic concepts in all aspects of life, in thought and in creed, in politics and in economics, in education and in social affairs, in judicial matters and in matters of government, in preaching and in teaching, in art and in communications, in secret and in the open, and in all other areas of life.
Structure and Formation
Article Three
The Islamic Resistance Movement is founded upon Muslims who gave their allegiance to Allah and served Him as He ought to be served. "I did not create jinns and men except that they should serve me." (Koran, 51:56)
[These Muslims] recognized their duty towards themselves, their families and their homeland, fearing Allah in all of this. They raised the banner of jihad in the face of the oppressors, in order to deliver the land and the believers from their filth, impurity and evil. "We hurl the truth against falsehood and crush its head, and lo, it vanishes." (Koran, 21:18)
Article Four
The Islamic Resistance Movement welcomes every Muslim who embraces its creed, adopts its ideology, is committed to its way, keeps its secrets and desires to join its ranks in order to carry out the duty, and his reward is with Allah.
The Islamic Resistance Movement – Dimensions of Time and Place
Article Five
The temporal dimension of the Islamic Resistance Movement – in view of the fact that it has adopted Islam as its way of life – go back to the birth of the Islamic message and to the righteous early believers; Allah is its goal, the Prophet is its example to be followed, and Koran is its constitution.
Its spatial dimension: wherever there are Muslims who embrace Islam as their way of life, everywhere upon the earth. Thus, [Hamas] sends its roots deep into the ground, and it extends to embrace the heavens.
"Do you not see how Allah has given us a parable? A good word is like a good tree; its roots are firm and its branches extend to the heavens. It always bears its fruit at the right time in accordance with God's will. Allah recites parables to men so that they will take heed." (Koran, 14:24-25)
Distinctiveness and Independence
Article Six
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian movement that is loyal to Allah, adopts Islam as a way of life and works to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Under the wing of Islam, followers of other religions can all live safe and secure in their life, property and rights; whereas in the absence of Islam, discord arises, injustice spreads, corruption burgeons, and there are conflicts and wars. Allah bless the Muslim poet Muhammad Iqbal[5] who said:
When faith is gone, there is no safety,
And there is no life to him who has no religion.
He who is content to live without religion
Has taken death as a consort of life.
The Universality of the Islamic Resistance Movement
Article Seven
Muslims who adopt the way of the Islamic Resistance Movement are found in all countries of the world, and act to support [the movement], to adopt its positions and to reinforce its jihad. Therefore, it is a world movement, and it is qualified for this [role] owing to the clarity of its ideology, the loftiness of its purpose and the exaltedness of its goals. It is on this basis that it should be regarded and evaluated; it is on this basis that its role should be recognized. Whoever denies its rights, refrains from helping it, becomes blind [to the truth] and makes an effort to blot out its role – he is like one who attempts to dispute with [divine] predestination. Whoever closes his eyes to the facts, intentionally or unintentionally, will eventually wake up [to find that] events have overtaken him and that the [weight of the] evidence has rendered him unable to justify his position. Precedence shall be given to those who those who come first [to the movement]. The iniquity of one's own relatives is more painful to the soul than the blow of a sharp sword.[6]
"We have revealed to you the Book in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it. Judge between them according to what Allah has revealed, and follow not their capricious will, turning away from the truth that was revealed to you. To each among you Allah has appointed a law and a way. If Allah had so desired, he would have made you a single nation. However, he desired to test you in all that he had given you. So vie with one another in good works. It is to Allah that you shall all return, and He will then reveal to you [the truth] about the matters in which you differed." (Koran 5:48)
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one link in the chain of jihad in confronting the Zionist invasion. It is connected and linked to the [courageous] uprising of the martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam and his brethren the jihad fighters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the year 1936. It is further related and connected to another link, [namely] the jihad of the Palestinians, the efforts and jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war, and the jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and afterwards. Although these links are far apart, and although the continuity of jihad was interrupted by obstacles placed in the path of the jihad fighters by those who circle in the orbit of Zionism, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim).
The Motto of the Islamic Resistance Movement
Article Eight
Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model to be followed, the Koran its constitution, Jihad its way, and death for the sake of Allah its loftiest desire.
Chapter Two: Goals
Causes and Goals
Article Nine
The Islamic Resistance Movement has found itself in a period when Islam is absent from everyday life. Consequently, the balance has been disturbed, concepts have been confused, values have been altered, evil people have come into power, injustice and darkness have prevailed, the cowardly have become tigers, the homeland has been ravished, the people have been driven away and have been wandering in all the countries of the world. The rule of righteousness is absent, and the rule of falsehood prevails. Nothing is in its proper place. Thus, when Islam is absent, everything is transformed. These are the causes.
As for the goals, they are to fight falsehood, vanquish it and defeat it so that righteousness shall rule, the homeland shall return [to its rightful owner], and from the top of its mosques, the [Muslim] call for prayer will ring out announcing the rise of the rule of Islam, so that people and things shall all return to their proper place. From Allah we seek succor.
"If Allah did not ward off one group of people by means of another, the earth would certainly be in a state of disorder. Allah is most kind to all beings." (Koran, 2:251)
Article Ten
The Islamic Resistance Movement – while marching forward – offers support to all who are persecuted and protects all who are oppressed with all its strength. It spares no effort in upholding the truth and eradicating falsehood, in word and in action, here and in every place within its reach and its influence.
Chapter Three: Strategy and Means
The Strategy of the Islamic Resistance Movement
Palestine Is an Islamic Waqf [i.e., an Islamic religious endowment]
Article Eleven
The Islamic Resistance Movement maintains that the land of Palestine is Waqf land given as endowment for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. One should not neglect it or [even] a part of it, nor should one relinquish it or [even] a part of it. No Arab state, or [even] all of the Arab states [together], have [the right] to do this; no king or president has this right nor all the kings and presidents together; no organization, or all the organizations together – be they Palestinian or Arab – [have the right to do this] because Palestine is Islamic Waqf land given to all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection.
This is the legal status of the land of Palestine according to Islamic law. In this respect, it is like any other land that the Muslims have conquered by force, because the Muslims consecrated it at the time of the conquest as religious endowment for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This is how it was: when the conquest of Al-Sha'm[7] and Iraq was complete, the commanders of the Muslim armies sent messages to the Caliph 'Umar b. Al-Khattab, asking for instructions concerning the conquered land – should they divide it up among the troops or leave it in the hands of its owners or what?
After discussions and consultations between the Caliph 'Umar b. Al-Khattab and the Companions of the Prophet, they decided that the land should be left with its [original] owners to benefit from its crops, but the substance of the land, that is the land itself, should constitute Waqf for all the generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The tenure of the owners is only tenure of usufruct. This Waqf will exist as long as the heaven and earth exist. Any measure which does not conform to this Islamic law regarding Palestine is null and void. "This surely is the very truth. Therefore, praise the great name of your Lord." (Koran, 56:95-96)
Homeland and Nationalism as Seen by the Islamic Resistance Movement
Article Twelve
Nationalism[8], as seen by the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the [Islamic] religious creed. There is nothing that speaks more eloquently and more profoundly of nationalism than the following: when the enemy tramples Muslim territory, waging jihad and confronting the enemy become a personal duty of every Muslim man and Muslim woman. A woman may go out to fight the enemy [even] without her husband's permission and a slave without his master's permission.
There is nothing like this in any other political system – this is an indisputable fact. Whereas the various other nationalist [ideologies] are connected to physical, human and regional factors, the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is [likewise] characterized by all of the above, and in addition – and most importantly – it is characterized by divine motives which endow it with spirit and life, since it is related to the source of the spirit, and to Him who gives life. [The Islamic Resistance Movement] is raising the divine banner in the skies of the homeland, so as to firmly connect heaven and earth.
When Moses came and cast down his rod
Both sorcery and sorcerer came to naught
"The right way stands out clearly from error; therefore, whoever renounces falsehood and believes in Allah, he has indeed grasped the firmest handhold, which never breaks, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing." (Koran, 2:256)
Peaceful Solutions, Initiatives and International Conferences
Article Thirteen
The initiatives, the so-called peace solutions, and the international conferences for resolving the Palestinian problem stand in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement, for to neglect any part of Palestine is to neglect part of the Islamic faith. The nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its [Islamic] faith. It is in the light of this principle that its members are educated, and they wage jihad in order to raise the banner of Allah over the homeland.
"And Allah has full control over His affairs; but most people do not know." (Koran, 12:21)
From time to time there are calls to hold an international conference in order to seek a solution for the [Palestinian] problem. Some accept this [proposal] and some reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the fulfillment of some condition or conditions before they agree to hold the conference and participate in it. However, the Islamic Resistance Movement – since it is familiar with the parties participating in the conference and with their past and current positions on the issues of the Muslims – does not believe that these conferences can meet the demands or restore the rights [of the Palestinians], or bring equity to the oppressed. These conferences are nothing but a way to give the infidels power of arbitration over Muslim land, and when have the infidels ever been equitable towards the believers?
"The Jews will never be content with you, nor will the Christians, until you follow their religion. Say: 'The guidance of Allah is the right guidance.' But if you follow their desires after the knowledge which has come to you, then you shall have no protector or guardian from Allah." (Koran, 2:120)
There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are a waste of time and a farce. The Palestinian people is far too eminent to have its future, its rights and its destiny toyed with. As stated in the Hadith: "The people of Al-Sha'm are [Allah's] rod in His land. Through them, He wreaks vengeance on whomever He wishes among His servants. The hypocrites among them are not allowed to be superior to the believers among them, and they shall die in grief and distress." (Recorded by Al-Tabarani with a chain of transmitters to Muhammad, and by Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] with an incomplete chain of transmitters to Muhammad which may be the accurate record, the transmitters in both cases being trustworthy – Allah alone is omniscient).
The Three Circles
Article Fourteen
The problem of liberating Palestine involves three circles: the Palestinian circle, the [pan-]Arab circle and the Islamic circle. Each of these three circles has its role in the struggle against Zionism and has its duties. It is a grave error and shameful ignorance to neglect any of these circles, for Palestine is an Islamic land. In it is the first of the two qiblas [directions of prayer] and the third most holy mosque, after the mosques of Mecca and Medina. It is the destination of the Prophet's nocturnal journey.
"Praise be to Him who carried His servant by night from the most sacred mosque to the farthest mosque whose surroundings We blessed, so as to show him Our signs. He is the One who is hearing and seeing." (Koran, 17:1)
This being the case, the liberation [of Palestine] is a personal duty of every Muslim, wherever he be. It is on this basis that one should consider the problem, and every Muslim should understand this. When the day comes and the problem is treated on this basis, and all the capabilities of the three circles are mobilized – the current circumstances will change and the day of liberation will draw near.
"You strike more fear in the hearts of the Jews than does Allah, because they are people who do not understand." (Koran, 59:13)
Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty
Article Fifteen
The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters.
The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements. It is [also] necessary to introduce essential changes in the curricula, in order to eliminate the influences of the intellectual invasion which were inflicted upon them by the Orientalists and the missionaries. This invasion came upon the region after Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi defeated the Crusaders. The Crusaders then realized that it is impossible to vanquish the Muslims unless the way is first paved by an intellectual invasion that would confuse the [Muslims'] thinking, distort their legacy and impugn their ideals. Only after this [intellectual invasion] would there come invasion with troops. This [intellectual invasion] prepared the ground for the colonialist invasion, as [General] Allenby declared upon entering Jerusalem: "Now the Crusades have come to an end." General Gouraud stood at Salah Al-Din's tomb, and said: "Oh, Salah Al-Din, we are back!" Colonialism helped to intensify the intellectual invasion and helped it to take root. It still does. All this paved the way towards the loss of Palestine.
It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet's nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence.
"Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman's] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja)
"By the name of Him who holds Muhammad's soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)
Educating the Next Generations
Article Sixteen
It is necessary to educate the next Islamic generations in our region in an Islamic way, based on the performance of the religious duties, attentive study of Allah's book, study of the Prophet's sunna [custom], perusal of Islamic history and legacy based on reliable sources under the instruction of experts and scholars, and reliance on methods which will produce a wholesome outlook in thought and in faith. In addition, it is necessary to closely study the enemy and his material and human capabilities, to become familiar with his weaknesses and strengths, to recognize the powers that assist and support him. It is also necessary to be familiar with current events, follow new developments and study the analyses and commentaries regarding them. It is likewise necessary to plan for the future and to study each and every phenomenon, so that Muslims engaged in jihad will live with full awareness of their purpose, goal and way, and [with full awareness of] what is happening around them.
"Oh my son! If [a thing] is but the weight of a grain of mustard, though it be in a rock, or in the heavens, or on earth, Allah will bring it forth. Allah discerns even the smallest thing; He is omniscient. Oh my son! Keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and persevere whatever may befall you; surely this [behavior] is worthy steadfastness. Turn not thy cheek in scorn away from people; do not walk haughtily in the land. Allah does not love the arrogant and self-conceited." (Koran, 31:16-18)
The Role of Muslim Women
Article Seventeen
The role of the Muslim woman in the war of liberation is no less important than that of the man, for she is the maker of men. Her role in guiding and educating the next generation is very important. The enemies have realized [the significance of] her role, and they believe that if they can educate her according to their wishes, guiding her away from Islam, they will have won the war. You find, therefore, that they continually make great efforts [to do this] by means of the media, the cinema and school curricula, through their agents who are incorporated in Zionist organizations that assume various names and forms such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups, etc. – all of which are dens of sabotage and saboteurs. These Zionist organizations have an enormous abundance of material resources, which enable them to play their game in [various] societies with the aim of realizing their purpose while Islam is absent from the scene and the Muslims are estranged [from their faith]. The followers of the Islamic movements[9] should fulfill their role in countering the schemes of these saboteurs. When Islam is at the helm, it will totally eradicate these organizations, which are hostile to humanity and to Islam.
Article Eighteen
The woman in the jihadist home and family, as mother or sister, has the primary role in managing the household, raising the children according to the moral ideas and values inspired by Islam, and teaching them to perform the religious duties in preparation for the jihadist role that awaits them. Hence, it is necessary to pay close attention to the schools in which the Muslim girl is educated, and to their curricula, so that she will grow to be a good mother, conscious of her role in the war of liberation. She should have adequate awareness and understanding concerning the management of domestic affairs, since economy and avoiding wastefulness in family expenses are among the requirements in the ability to persist in the current difficult circumstances. She should ever be aware that available funds are like blood that must flow only in the veins for life to continue in both young and old.
"Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and women, the truthful men and women, the persevering men and women, the humble men and women, the charitable men and women, the fasting men and women, the men and women who guard their chastity, and the men and women who remember Allah frequently – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and great reward." (Koran, 33:35).
The Role of Islamic Art in the War of Liberation
Article Nineteen
Art has rules and standards by which it is possible to determine whether it is Islamic or pagan. The Islamic liberation is in need of Islamic art that uplifts the spirit without subjecting one aspect of human nature to another, but rather uplifts all aspects in [perfect] balance and harmony. Man is a marvelous and unique creature made from a handful of clay and a breath of spirit. Islamic art addresses man on this basis, while pagan art addresses the physical body and gives dominance to the component of clay.
Books, articles, pamphlets, sermons, epistles, traditional songs, poems, [patriotic] songs, plays, etc. – when they have the characteristics of Islamic art, they are among the necessary means of ideological indoctrination. [They constitute] self-renewing sustenance for continuing the journey and refreshing the spirit, for the road is long, the suffering is great and the souls grow weary. Islamic art renews the energies, revives motion and awakens the soul to lofty ideals and wholesome conduct.
Nothing heals the soul when it is in retreat save moving from mode to mode.
All this is utterly serious and no jest, for the nation engaged in jihad knows no jest.
Social Solidarity
Article Twenty
Muslim society is characterized by solidarity. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: "Blessed are the Banu Al-Ash'ar tribe. When they are afflicted with drought – whether in a town or on a journey – they would collect all that they have and divide it among themselves in equal shares." This is the Islamic spirit that should prevail in every Muslim society. A society which is facing a wicked enemy with Nazi behavior, that does not distinguish between men and women, old and young, has an even greater need to grace itself with this Islamic spirit [of solidarity]. Our enemy employs the method of collective punishment, depriving people of their homes and possessions. He pursued them [even] in their places of exile, breaking bones, shooting women, children and elderly people with or without reason. He established detention camps to imprison thousands and thousands [of people] in inhuman conditions, all this in addition to destroying houses, orphaning children and unjustly convicting thousands of young people to spend the best years of their youth in the darkness of prison. The Nazism of the Jews targeted both women and children. The terror they spread is directed at everyone. They fight people by destroying their livelihood, stealing their money and trampling their dignity. Their horrible treatment of people is like that of the worst war criminals. Deportation from one's homeland is a form of murder. In the face of such behavior, we must have social solidarity among the people, and we must face the enemy as one body, which, when one of its limbs is in pain, the rest of it reacts with sleeplessness and fever.
Article Twenty-One
Social solidarity means offering help to everyone who is in need, be it material or moral, or joining with him to complete some work. Members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should regard the interests of the masses as their own, and they should spare no effort to achieve them and protect them. They must prevent reckless playing with matters affecting the future of the next generations or causing losses to their society. The masses are of them and for them, and the strength of the masses is strength for them; their future is theirs. The members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should be with the people on joyous occasions and at times of grief. They should espouse the demands of the masses and strive to serve the masses' interests, which are indeed their own. When this spirit prevails, friendship will deepen and there will be cooperation and empathy, unity will increase and the ranks will be strengthened to confront the enemies.
The Forces which Support the Enemy
Article Twenty-Two
The enemies have been planning expertly and thoroughly for a long time in order to achieve what they have achieved, employing those means which affect the course of events. They strove to accumulate huge financial resources which they used to realize their dream.
With money they have taken control of the world media – news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting services, etc. With money they sparked revolutions in various countries around the world in order to serve their interests and to reap profits. They were behind the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution and [they are behind] most of the revolutions about which we hear from time to time here and there. With money they have formed secret organizations, all over the world, in order to destroy [those countries'] societies and to serve the Zionists' interests, such as the Freemasons, the Rotary Clubs, the Lions, the Sons of the Covenant [i.e. B'nei B'rith], etc. All of these are organizations of espionage and sabotage. With money they were able to take control of the colonialist countries, and [they] urged them to colonize many countries so that they could exploit their resources and spread moral corruption there.
There is no end to what can be said about [their involvement in] local wars and world wars. They were behind World War I, through which they achieved the destruction of the Islamic Caliphate, reaped material profits, took control of numerous resources, obtained the Balfour Declaration, and established the League of the United Nations [sic] so as to rule the world through this organization. They were [also] behind World War II, through which they reaped enormous profits from commerce in war materials and paved the way for the establishment of their state. They [also] suggested the formation of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of the United Nations [sic] and to rule the world through this [new organization]. Wherever there is war in the world, it is they who are pulling the strings behind the scenes. "Whenever they ignite the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. They strive to spread evil in the land, but Allah does not love those who do evil." (Koran, 5:64)
The colonialist powers, both in the capitalist West and the communist East, support the enemy with all their might, both materially and with manpower, alternating one with the other [in giving support]. When Islam appears, all the forces of unbelief unite to oppose it, for all unbelief is one denomination.
"Oh you who believe, do not take as your intimate friends those outside your ranks, for they will spare no effort to harm you. They desire that which causes you suffering. Hatred has indeed come out of their mouths, but what they hide in their hearts is even worse. We have given you clear signs, if you understand" (Koran, 3:118). It is not for nothing that the verse ends with His words "if you understand."
Chapter Four – Our Positions on:
A. The Islamic Movements
Article Twenty-Three
The Islamic Resistance Movement looks on the other Islamic movements with respect and appreciation, for even if it is at variance with them in some given respect or thought, it agrees with them in many more respects or thoughts, and it views them – so long as their intentions are good and they are devoted to Allah – as falling under the rubric of legitimate opinion, that is, as long as their actions are within the bounds of the Islamic circle. Everyone who strives for truth receives his reward.
The Islamic Resistance Movement considers these movements as reinforcing it, and asks [Allah] to guide and direct us all. It never forgets to constantly raise the banner of unity and to strive assiduously to achieve unity in accordance with the Koran and the sunna. "Hold fast to Allah's rope, all of you. Do not be divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's favor to you. When you were enemies to one another, He brought your hearts together, and through his favor you became brothers. You were on the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah shows you His signs, so that you may follow the right way." (Koran, 3:103)[10]
Article Twenty-Four
The Islamic Resistance Movement does not allow to impugn or to blacken the name of individuals or groups, for [true] Muslims do not impugn or curse others. One should make a clear distinction between this and positions or behavior, for the Islamic Resistance Movement does have the right to expose error and to deter people from it and to strive to make the truth known and to adopt it in an impartial way in every given case. Wisdom is what the Muslim looks for, and he takes it wherever he finds it.[11]
"Allah does not like it when people speak ill in public, except for those who have been wronged. Allah hears all and knows all. When you do good openly, or in secret, or forgive a wrong [done to you], surely Allah is Forgiving and Almighty." (Koran, 4:148-149)
B. The Nationalist Movements in the Palestinian Arena
Article Twenty-Five
[The Islamic Resistance Movement] respects them and appreciates the conditions that surround and affect them. It supports them as long as they do not pay allegiance to the Communist East or to the Crusader West, and it emphasizes to all the members and supporters [of these movements] that it is a jihadist, ethical movement, conscientious in its worldview and in its treatment of others. It abhors opportunism, wants only good for the people, both as individuals and as groups, and does not strive to attain material gain or fame for itself. It does not seek reward from people, and it goes forth with its own resources and what it has at hand – "Muster against them all the force you can" (Koran, 8:60) – in order to carry out the duty and win Allah's favor. It has no desire other than that.
It reassures all the nationalist [groups] of all orientations that are operating in the Palestinian arena for the liberation of Palestine that it shall never be anything other than a support and an aid for them, in word and in deed, at present and in the future. It joins together and does not separate, preserves and does not scatter, unites and does not divide, it values every kind word, every sincere effort and every praiseworthy endeavor. It closes the door in the face of petty disagreements. It pays no heed to rumors and biased remarks, but is fully aware of [its] right to defend itself.
Anything that opposes or contradicts this orientation is fabricated by the enemy or by their lackeys in order to cause confusion, divide the ranks and create distraction with side issues. "OH you who believe, if an evildoer brings you information [about any person], you should examine it carefully lest you hurt [innocent] people out of ignorance, and afterwards come to regret it." (Koran, 49:6)
Article Twenty-Six
The Islamic Resistance Movement – looking favorably as it does on the Palestinian nationalist movements – does not refrain from discussing new developments concerning the Palestinian problem in the local and international arena in an objective manner, so as to find to what extent [these developments] agree or disagree with the national interests in the light of the Islamic vision.
C. The Palestine Liberation Organization
Article Twenty-Seven
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] is closest to the heart of the Islamic Resistance Movement. [We regard it as] a father, brother or friend, and a true Muslim does not spurn his father, his brother or his friend. Our homeland is one, our misfortune is one, our destiny is one and we share the same enemy.
Owing to the circumstances that surrounded the establishment of the PLO, and [owing to] the intellectual confusion which prevails in the Arab world as a result of the intellectual invasion to which it has been subject since the defeat of the Crusaders, and which was intensified, and continues to be intensified by Orientalism and Christian missionary activities – the PLO has adopted the idea of the secular state, and we view [the PLO] accordingly. Secularist ideology stands in total contradiction to the religious ideology, and it is ideas which are the basis of positions, behavior and decisions.
Hence, with all our appreciation for the Palestine Liberation Organization and what it may yet become, and without belittling its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot give up the Islamic identity of Palestine in the present and in the future to adopt the secularist ideology – for the Islamic identity of Palestine is part of our faith, and whoever is lax with his faith is lost. "Who spurns the religion of Abraham but one who has made himself into a fool?" (Koran, 2:130)
When the PLO adopts Islam as its way of life, then we shall be its troops and the fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies. But until this time comes – and we pray to Allah that it be soon – the position of the Islamic Resistance Movement vis a vis the PLO is that of a son towards his father, a brother towards his brother or a relative towards his relative. He shares the other's pain when he is pricked by a thorn, and supports him in facing the enemy, and he wishes for him to find divine guidance and [follow] the right path.
Your brother, your brother before all others! He who has no brother
Is like one who goes to war unarmed.
Your cousin, you must know the strength of his wing,
For how can the falcon rise up without wings?[12]
D. Arab and Islamic States and Governments
Article Twenty-Eight
The Zionist invasion is a cruel invasion, which has no scruples whatsoever; it uses every vicious and vile method to achieve its goals. In its infiltration and espionage operations, it greatly relies on secret organizations which grew out of it, such as the Freemasons, the Rotary Clubs, the Lions and other such espionage groups. All these organizations, covert or overt, work for the interests of Zionism and under its direction, and their aim is to break societies, undermine values, destroy people's honor, create moral degeneration and annihilate Islam. [Zionism] is behind all types of trafficking in drugs and alcohol, so as to make it easier for it to take control and expand.
We demand that the Arab countries around Israel open their borders to jihad fighters from among the Arab and Islamic peoples, so they may fulfill their role and join their efforts to the efforts of their brothers – the Muslim brethren in Palestine. As for the rest of the Arab and Muslim countries, we demand that they facilitate the passage of the jihad fighters into them and out of them – that is the very least [they can do].
We should not fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied the Sacred place [i.e., Jerusalem] in 1967 and stood on the threshold of the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque, they shouted: "Muhammad is dead; his offspring are women." Israel with its Jewish identity and Jewish people is challenging Islam and the Muslims. May the cowardly know no sleep.
E. Nationalist and Religious Groups and Organizations, Intellectuals, and the Arab and Islamic world
Article Twenty-Nine
The Islamic Resistance Movement hopes that these groups will stand by it in every respect, help it, espouse its positions, back its activities and strive to enlist support for it, so that the Muslim peoples will be a support and a reinforcement for it, and [will provide] strategic depth on all levels: [in terms of] human and material resources, information, in every time and every place. [This should be done] by holding conferences, publishing ideological pamphlets, and by indoctrination of the masses with regards to the Palestinian issue – what is facing [the Palestinians] and what is plotted against [them]. [Likewise they should work to] mobilize the Islamic peoples, ideologically, educationally and culturally, so that they will play their role in the decisive war of liberation just as they did in defeating the Crusaders and routing out the Mongols, thus saving human civilization. This is not difficult for Allah.
"Allah has decreed: 'I and My messengers shall prevail'; Allah is strong and all-powerful." (Koran, 58:21)
Article Thirty
Writers, intellectuals, media people, preachers in mosques, educators and all the various sectors in the Arab and Islamic world, are all required to fulfill their role and perform their duty. [This is necessary] due to the ferocity of the Zionist onslaught and the fact that it has infiltrated many countries and has taken control of the finances and media – with all the ramifications that follow from this – in most countries of the world.
Jihad is not limited to wielding arms and fighting the enemies face to face, for eloquent speech, persuasive writing, effective books, support and help – when [they are] performed with the sincere intention that Allah's banner will reign supreme – all constitute jihad for the sake of Allah.
[As the prophet said:] "Whoever equips a warrior fighting for the sake of Allah is [himself] a warrior, and whoever supports the family of a warrior [who has set out to fight for the sake of Allah] is [himself] a warrior." (Recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da'ud and Tirmidhi in their Hadith collections).
F. Followers of the Other Religions
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a Humane Movement
Article Thirty-One
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humane movement which respects human rights and is committed to the Islamic tolerance towards the followers of the other religions. It is hostile only to those among them who display hostility towards it or stand in its way, hampering its activities and foiling its efforts. Under the wing of Islam, the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – can co-exist in security and safety. It is only under the wing of Islam that safety and security prevail. Recent and ancient history provide the best evidence for this. The followers of the other religions should stop competing with Islam for sovereignty in this region, because, when they rule, there is nothing but carnage, torture and deportation, and they cannot get along with their own, let alone with followers of other religions. Both the present and the past are full of evidence for this.
"They do not fight you together, except from within fortified villages, or from behind walls. They fight fiercely with one another. You consider them to be united, but their hearts are divided, for they are a people with no sense." (Koran, 59:14)
Islam accords to every person his rights, and prevents any infringement on other people's rights. The Nazi Zionist measures against our people will not succeed in prolonging the duration of their invasion, for the rule of injustice lasts but one hour, while the rule of the truth will last until the Hour of Resurrection.
"Allah does not forbid you to show kindness and act justly towards those who do not fight you on account of your religion, and do not drive you from your homes. Allah loves those who act justly." (Koran, 60:8)
G. The Attempt to Isolate the Palestinian People
Article Thirty-Two
World Zionism and the colonialist powers attempt, by clever maneuvering and meticulous planning, to pull the Arab states, one by one, out of the circle of the conflict with Zionism, so as to ultimately isolate the Palestinian people. It has already taken Egypt out of the circle of conflict to a large extent through the treacherous Camp David Accords [of September 1978], and it is trying to pull additional [Arab] countries into similar agreements so that they leave the circle of conflict.
The Islamic Resistance Movement calls upon all the Arab and Muslim peoples to strive seriously and diligently to prevent this horrible scheme, and to alert the masses to the danger inherent in leaving the circle of the conflict with Zionism. Today it is Palestine, and tomorrow some other country or countries, for the Zionist plan has no limits, and after Palestine they want to expand [their territory] from the Nile to the Euphrates, and when they finish devouring one area, they hunger for further expansion and so on, indefinitely. Their plan is expounded in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [behavior] is the best proof for what we are saying.
Leaving the circle of the conflict with Zionism is an act of high treason; all those who do this shall be cursed. "Whoever [when fighting the infidels] turns his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intending to join another [fighting] company, he incurs Allah's wrath, and his abode shall be hell. Most unfortunate is his fate." (Koran, 8:16)
All forces and capabilities must be pooled to confront this ferocious Mongol, Nazi onslaught, lest homelands be lost, people be exiled, evil spread on the earth and all religious values be destroyed. Each and every person should know that he is responsible to Allah.
"Anyone who does a grain's weight of good shall see it, and anyone who does a grain's weight of evil shall see it." (Koran, 99:7-8)
In the circle of the conflict against world Zionism, the Islamic Resistance Movement sees itself as a spearhead or as a step forward on the road [to victory]. It joins its efforts to the efforts of all those who are active in the Palestinian arena. It now remains for steps to be taken by the Arab and Islamic world. [The Islamic Resistance Movement] is well qualified for the upcoming stage [of the struggle] with the Jews, the warmongers.
"We have planted enmity and hatred among them [i.e., among the Jews] until the Day of Resurrection. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. They strive to spread evil upon the earth, and Allah does not love those who do evil." (Koran, 5:64)
Article Thirty-Three
The Islamic Resistance Movement – proceeding from these general concepts which are in harmony and agreement with the laws of nature, and following the current of divine destiny towards confrontation with the enemies and jihad against them in defense of Muslims, Islamic civilization and Islamic sanctities, primarily the Al-Aqsa mosque – calls on the Arab and Islamic peoples and their governments, and on their NGOs and official organizations, to fear Allah in their attitude toward the Islamic Resistance Movement and in their treatment of it. They should act towards it as Allah wants them to, namely back it, support it, assist it and continuously reinforce it, until Allah's word is fulfilled. Then the ranks will all be united, jihad fighters will join other jihad fighters, and the masses all over the Islamic world will rush out and answer the call of duty, shouting: "Hasten to jihad!" This call will penetrate the clouds in the sky and continue to ring out, until liberation is accomplished, the invaders are defeated and Allah's victory is revealed.
"Allah surely helps whoever helps Him; Allah is strong and mighty." (Koran, 22:40)
Chapter Five: Historical Evidence throughout the Generations regarding Confrontation with Aggressors
Article Thirty-Four
Palestine is the center of the Earth and the meeting place of the continents; it has always been the target of greedy aggressors. This has been the case since the dawn of history. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, points to this in his noble words with which he addressed his exalted companion, Mu'adh b. Jabal, saying: "Oh Mu'adh, Allah will give you the land of Al-Sha'm after my death, from Al-'Arish to the Euphrates. Its men, women and handmaids will be [constantly] stationed on the frontier until the Day of Resurrection, for any one of you who chooses [to live in] some part of the coastal plains of Al-Sha'm or Bayt Al-Maqdis [i.e., Palestine], will be in a [constant] state of jihad until the Day of Resurrection."
The aggressors coveted Palestine on many occasions. They attacked it with great armies in attempt to realize their greedy aspirations. The great armies of the Crusaders came there, bringing their religious creed and hoisting their cross. They managed to defeat the Muslims for a while, and the Muslims only managed to regain it when they fought under their religious banner, joined forces crying "Allah Akbar," and set forth in jihad under the command of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi for nearly two decades, which led to a clear victory: the Crusaders were defeated and Palestine was liberated.
"Say to the unbelievers: You will surely be defeated and gathered in Hell. Most terrible shall be your resting-place." (Koran, 3:12)
This is the only way to liberation, and one cannot doubt the testimony of history. This is one of the rules of the universe and the laws of reality. Only iron can break iron, and their false, fabricated faith can only be overcome by the true faith of Islam, for religious faith cannot be attacked except through religious faith. And truth shall eventually triumph, for truth is the strongest.
"We have already given Our Word to Our servants, the messengers, that they would be helped to victory and that Our army will triumph." (Koran, 37:171-173)
Article Thirty-Five
The Islamic Resistance Movement studies the defeat of the Crusaders at the hands of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi, the liberation of Palestine from them, as well as the defeat of the Mongols at 'Ayn Jalut and the breaking of their military strength at the hands of Qutuz and Al-Zahir Baybars, and the delivery of the Arab world from the Mongol conquest which destroyed all aspects of human civilization.[13] [The Islamic Resistance Movement] studies these [events] seriously, and draws lessons and examples from them. The current Zionist invasion was preceded by Crusader invasions from the west, and by Mongol invasion from the east. And just as the Muslims faced these invasions, made plans for fighting them and defeated them, they can [now] confront the Zionist invasion and defeat it. This not difficult for Allah, providing that intentions are sincere and resolve is strong, and that Muslims draw benefit from the experiences of the past, shed off the influences of the intellectual invasion, and follow the ways of their predecessors.
Conclusion: The Islamic Resistance Movement– Soldiers [for the Cause]
Article Thirty-Six
The Islamic Resistance Movement, in its march forward, repeatedly emphasizes to all members of our people and of the Arab and Muslim peoples that it is not seeking fame for itself, or material gain, or social status, and that it is not aimed against any of our own people in an attempt to compete with them or to take their place – nothing of the kind. It does not oppose any Muslim, or any non-Muslim who is peaceful towards it, here [in Palestine] or elsewhere. It will always offer nothing but help to all groups and organizations that strive against the Zionist enemy and against its lackeys.
The Islamic Resistance Movement adopts Islam as its way of life. [Islam] is its creed and its law. [Any group that] adopts Islam as its way of life, here or elsewhere – be it an organization, association, state or any other group – the Islamic Resistance Movement will serve as its soldiers. We ask Allah to guide us, to guide [others] through us, and to judge between us and our people with truth.
"Oh, Lord, judge between us and our people with truth. You are the best of judges." (Koran, 7:89)
At the end, we beseech: Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe.
[1] Hasan Al-Banna' (1906-1949) founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 and was its Director General until his assassination in 1949.
[2] Amjad Al-Zahawi was an Iraqi Sunni religious scholar who was affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood and active in various initiatives to support the Palestinian cause.
[3] Hamas is the Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement (harakat al-muqawama al-islamiyya); it is also an Arabic word meaning enthusiasm, ardor or zeal.
[4] Due to the importance of the concept of jihad in the Hamas ideology, we leave this term in Arabic wherever it appears in the text.
[5] The verses of Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938), an Indian Muslim poet and religious thinker, are often used by both reformist and conservative Muslims in support of their opposite orientations.
[6] This is an often quoted verse by the famous pre-Islamic poet Tarafa.
[7] In medieval Islamic writings, Al-Sha'm usually refers to an area roughly corresponding to present-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
[8] The word "nationalism" here and elsewhere in this document is used as the equivalent of the term wataniyya, which is derived from the Arabic word watan ("homeland"), and in modern Arabic discourse signifies particularist territorial nationalism, in contradistinction to qawmiyya, which also means "nationalism," but is used to refer to pan-Arab nationalism.
[9] The phrase "the followers of the Islamic movements" is used here to translate the Arabic term al-islamiyyun.
[10] In the Arabic original the verse is mistakenly given as 3:102.
[11] This is a well known Hadith (i.e., a saying attributed to the Prophet).
[12] These are two often quoted verses by the 7th century poet Miskin al-Darimi.
[13] Saif Al-Din Qutuz (d. 1260) was the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt from 1257 until his death. In 1260, the commander of his army, Al-Zahir Baybars (1223-1277), defeated the Mongols in the battle of Ain- Jalut.

The Biden Administration Tries to Hide What It Knew About an Impending Massacre, While Leaving U.S. Backing for Iran Untouched
Lee Smith/The Tablet/October 17/2023
The D.C. blame game is about avoiding responsibility while protecting a policy that is written in blood.
The continuing proliferation of conflicting and contradictory stories leaked by U.S. intelligence services regarding what they knew—and, more importantly, didn’t know—about the planning for Hamas’ assault on Israel, is more than just a D.C. bureaucratic comedy act. Taken together, the profusion of leaks suggests there are people in offices and agencies across the Beltway who are worried they’ll be blamed for missing signals and human intelligence outlining plans for the largest one-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
The gaps in U.S. knowledge of the attacks and Iran’s role must also be understood in the context of a separate but related intelligence scandal. As Tablet reported six days before the attacks, the Biden administration’s former Iran envoy Robert Malley supported and facilitated an Iranian spy ring and brought one of the clerical regime’s assets, Ariane Tabatabai, into the government. She is still at the Pentagon, where as chief of staff to the assistant director of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier, she holds top secret clearances. It’s hardly surprising then that the administration is eager to conceal Iran’s supporting role in the Hamas operation and clear the American spy services of any foreknowledge of the murderous incursion of the Iranian-backed terrorist group into southern Israel, no matter how unlikely such claims are in reality.
“We were not tracking this,” a senior U.S. military official told NBC News the day of the attacks. “There’s no particular reason why the U.S. would be training enormous intelligence assets on Hamas, which has never been a threat to us,” former U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross insisted. “It’s pretty hard to say this was a failure on our part. But I think it’s unmistakable that it’s an Israeli intelligence failure.”
Indeed, Israel’s own failures are plain and glaring. At least 1,400 Israelis were killed within Israel’s borders, and the country’s intelligence officials will have to answer to the Israeli public, and investigators, for the massive intelligence and operational failures that led to the slaughter of civilians on a massive scale.
But Ross is wrong: Hamas has long been an obvious threat to the United States and to American lives. Indeed, Hamas violence against Americans is why Congress passed the 2018 Taylor Force Act to prevent the United States from funding the “Pay for Slay” program by which hundreds of Hamas terrorists and their families benefited directly from over half a billion American taxpayer dollars that the United States funnels to the Palestinian Authority.
And the Palestinian terror group has killed Americans before the 30 it slaughtered on Oct. 7, including 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun who was murdered at a Jerusalem light rail stop in October 2014 when a Hamas member drove a car into the stroller pushed by the child’s mother.
It’s also not true the United States doesn’t train enormous intelligence assets on Hamas. As everyone now knows, the NSA collects on virtually everyone in the world. Further, the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East is in Qatar at Al Udeid Air Base, which is also the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command. The Gulf emirate hosts Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, and former chief Khaled Mashal, to the consternation of many who wonder why Washington lets Qatar get away with its double game. U.S. intelligence officials believe that it’s easier to keep tabs on Haniyeh in Qatar where they have plenty of visibility into what he’s doing. And yet according to U.S. officials, they weren’t tracking Hamas?
So what about the claims that the United States knew nothing about the attack—but that U.S. allies like Egypt were indeed aware, and warned Israel?
None of those stories add up, either.
Egypt is a U.S. listening post, which is why it was strange to hear that the Cairo government had given a heads-up about the attack to Jerusalem but not Washington. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he was briefed on the Egyptian intelligence story. But if the account were true, he might have asked what the United States is getting in exchange for a $2 billion annual aid package if not previews of every piece of intelligence the Egyptian military and intelligence services collect. Obviously if the Egyptians did have something on a major Hamas operation designed to murder hundreds of Israelis, especially while Washington was in the midst of trying to broker peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, they’d have given it to the Americans immediately. No, the purpose of that Egypt story was simple and obvious: to keep the media’s focus on Jerusalem’s failures, not Washington’s.
Yet ad hoc ass-covering by U.S. intelligence bureaucrats raises a larger complication: If the United States was really blindsided by the attack, as Biden administration officials claimed, why are they out there arguing against the idea that the Iranians played an operational role? “We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the administration was going to take another look at its collection to see what they had, suggesting that new information could turn up in the coming days and weeks.
They don’t have to bother looking. Open-source reporting shows that Biden officials knew for at least half a year that the Iranians were in planning sessions with their terror assets, Hamas and Hezbollah. Back in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Esmail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ foreign terror unit, was meeting in Beirut with Haniyeh and Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah then fired off a round of missiles from the north, Hamas fired from the south, and another barrage sailed in from across the Syrian border. The Iranians could have sent a courier to tell its allies to fire off a few missiles at the Israelis. But with the Quds Force chief on the ground meeting with the heads of Hamas and Hezbollah, something bigger was in the works.
The United States can’t possibly have not known about this meeting, and could have easily followed up directly on the purpose of it, given its capacities inside Lebanon. The Biden administration has allocated $72 million to pay the salaries of both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the country’s Internal Security Forces (ISF). One of the ISF’s big tasks is to target Israeli spy networks inside Lebanon. In 2022, the ISF rolled up no less than 17 Israeli networks based in Lebanon.
Here’s another bizarre fact. According to an Oct. 13 New York Times article, Hamas fighters who flew paragliders into Israel to massacre Jews did their training in Lebanon. It seems highly unlikely that the United States, with intense intelligence operations right there, somehow missed the hordes of paragliders all of sudden randomly flocking to do training in Lebanon at the same time—not least because the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, is a paragliding enthusiast who posted videos of her own airborne adventures as recently as mid-August.
Moreover, sources for the Times piece claimed that for over a year Iran helped plan the Hamas attack in coordination with Hezbollah, using Lebanon and Syria as training grounds. The Times piece corroborated an Oct. 8 Wall Street Journal article that reported that Iran had planned the invasion and greenlighted it the Monday before. But reporters at the Journal’s Washington, D.C., bureau, who had no access to the Journal’s foreign sources, were dead set against their Middle East-based colleagues publishing a piece based on their own reporting that made Iran’s role clear. Their interest was in protecting their official sources in Washington, who continued to deny any Iranian role in the attack.
The Biden administration has no plans to confront a regime that it is keen to arm with a nuclear bomb. Since the Obama administration first began negotiations with the Iranians over their nuclear program, the United States has given Iran tens of billions of dollars and made available to the clerical regime additional hundreds of billions. Iran, in the eyes of the Biden team, is not a potential belligerent but a prospective partner.
According to an Oct. 13 CNN report, U.S. intelligence agencies produced assessments of Hamas’ activities in the days leading up to the attacks that were based on what the Israelis told them. But “it is unclear if any of these U.S. assessments were shared with Israel.” It appears, then, that the United States had a separate reporting stream it didn’t pass on to the Israelis.
And that’s what concerns the White House. Not the prospect of a war with a terror state the United States has lavishly funded, but the PR mess that will ensue as it becomes clear—as it partly has from the Journal and the Times reports—what exactly Washington withheld from Jerusalem about what the Americans knew about the coming attack, and Iran’s role in sponsoring, planning, and approving it.
As one intelligence source told CNN: “I think what happened is everyone saw these reports and were like, ‘Yeah of course. But we know what this will look like.’” Sure, Hamas kidnaps an Israeli soldier every now and again. Maybe this time, the embarrassment will finally topple Netanyahu, like the White House has been trying to do since he returned to the prime minister’s office.
But hundreds of hostages, including infants—with U.S. citizens among them? Executing children in front of their parents then killing them, too? Incinerating entire families? Chopping the heads off babies? Shooting mothers and leaving their booby-trapped corpses at the foot of their infants’ cribs so anyone trying to move the deceased would kill everyone in the room? No one expected that. So now everyone is attempting to shift blame for the miscalculation of how messy the result would be, while leaving U.S. sponsorship for the author of the attack untouched.
*Lee Smith is the author of The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President (2020).

Iran's Direct Help to Hamas's October 7 War on Israel ...The West Must Stand United Against Both Hamas and Iran
Con Coughlin/Gatestone Institute/October 17, 2023
The precise details of Iran's direct role in authorising the attack are gradually coming to light, with officials involved in the investigation insisting that both Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah (a terrorist organization Iran controls) were involved in the planning of the Hamas terrorist operation.
This is hardly surprising given the estimated $100 million a year Tehran gives Hamas to help develop its terrorist infrastructure, part of the £13.1 billion Iran has spent on developing its terrorist network throughout the Middle East during the past decade, from supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen to Shia militias in Iraq.
The true extent of Iran's military support for Hamas was recently laid bare by the movement's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, when he revealed that funds received from Tehran had helped to fund the development of missile and defence systems designed and built in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The significance of Iran's involvement with Hamas's terrorist activity was also evident at the weekend, when Haniyeh met with Iran's foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Qatar, a country that also has a long history of funding Hamas.
The extent of Iran's meddling in the current war in the Middle East should certainly serve as a wake-up call to the US and its European allies about the danger Iran poses not just to the region, but the wider world.
With the Saudi negotiations now on hold, the US and its allies should accept the folly of trying to maintain a diplomatic dialogue with Tehran in the hope that the Iranian regime may be persuaded to sign up to a new nuclear deal.
As Iran's open support for Hamas has demonstrated, the ayatollahs have no interest in reaching a peaceful accommodation with the West.
The Iranian regime is only concerned with supporting groups that carry out unimaginable acts of violence against innocent civilians, and should be treated with serious deterrence, if not more, and with the enemy status they fully deserve.
The precise details of Iran's direct role in authorising the Hamas attack on Israel are gradually coming to light, with officials involved in the investigation insisting that both Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah (a terrorist organization Iran controls) were involved in the planning of the Hamas terrorist operation. Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist organization. (Image source: khamenei.ir)
While the total destruction of Hamas is understandably Israel's main priority in the aftermath of the organisation's horrific massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7, ultimately it should be Iran that is held to account for committing these atrocities.
Iran's complicity in Hamas's merciless assault against Israeli civilians cannot be underestimated; it has been reflected in the way the Iranian leadership has openly celebrated the indiscriminate slaughter of elderly women and babies as well as multiplying credible reports, including an almost comical one from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, "Call[ing] On Iranians Not To Speak Out On Iranian Involvement In 'The Hamas-Israel Conflict' -- For Fear Of Harming Iranian Interests And International Status".
The Biden administration seems to be doing everything it can to avoid seeing direct involvement by Iran.
The precise details of Iran's direct role in authorising the attack are gradually coming to light, with officials involved in the investigation insisting that both Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah (a terrorist organization Iran controls) were involved in the planning of the Hamas terrorist operation.
This is hardly surprising given the estimated $100 million a year Tehran gives Hamas to help develop its terrorist infrastructure, part of the £13.1 billion Iran has spent on developing its terrorist network throughout the Middle East during the past decade, from supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen to Shia militias in Iraq. Iran's ability, moreover, to continue funding terror groups across the Middle East has been aided by the Biden administration's decision to release $6 billion in Iranian assets as part of a recent hostage swap deal, on top of the "closer to $60 billion" Iran was able to acquire while the Biden administration "relaxed" sanctions for years.
Iran's support for Hamas has also been especially helpful in enabling the terrorist organisation to develop its own indigenous weapons, such as the thousands of missiles that have been used to attack targets throughout southern and central Israel.
The true extent of Iran's military support for Hamas was recently laid bare by the movement's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, when he revealed that funds received from Tehran had helped to fund the development of missile and defence systems designed and built in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
In a recent message addressed to Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the summer, Haniyeh praised Iran as "a solid pillar upon which Palestinian resistance groups, and the Axis of Resistance in general, rest as they continue their primary struggle against the Zionist enemy and US hegemony."
The significance of Iran's involvement with Hamas's terrorist activity was also evident at the weekend, when Haniyeh met with Iran's foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Qatar, a country that also has a long history of funding Hamas. According to Reuters:
"During their meeting in Qatar's capital Doha, Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian praised the rampage as a 'historic victory' that had dealt a setback to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory."
A statement later issued by Hamas said the two leaders "greed to continue cooperation" to achieve the terror group's goals.
Iran has certainly been quick to celebrate the terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas. Immediately after news of the attack emerged, Iran's foreign ministry declared that the attack was an act of self-defence by the Palestinians.
According to Iranian state media, ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said:
"This operation ... is the spontaneous movement of resistance groups and Palestine's oppressed people in defence of their inalienable rights and their natural reaction to the Zionists' warmongering and provocative policies."
There were also jubilant scenes in Iran's Majlis (parliament), with members of parliament rising from their seats on Saturday to chant "Death to Israel" and "Palestine is victorious, Israel will be destroyed".
Iran's open support for the massacres has inevitably raised fears that the regime could be tempted to respond militarily when Israeli forces launch their ground operation to destroy Hamas's terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.
Visiting Lebanon after his meeting with Haniyeh, Iran's foreign minister warned that the conflict might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer "a huge earthquake."
Concerns that Iran could provoke a major escalation in the conflict by encouraging Hezbollah to open a new front against northern Israel has already seen a rise in tensions, with sporadic clashes reported between Hezbollah and the Israeli military on the Israel-Lebanon border.
Israeli warplanes have also been in action bombing airports in Syria, which are used by Iran to transfer weapons and supplies to the network of military bases it has constructed in southern Syria.
Washington's decision to deploy two US Navy carrier battle groups, headed by the USS Gerald R Ford, the world's largest aircraft carrier, to the eastern Mediterranean was taken as much to deter any further attempt by Tehran to escalate the crisis as to demonstrate American support for Israel.
The extent of Iran's meddling in the current war in the Middle East should certainly serve as a wake-up call to the US and its European allies about the danger Iran poses not just to the region, but the wider world.
The timing of the attack, after all, came at a time when the Biden administration was involved in delicate negotiations with Riyadh for Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with Israel in return for US security guarantees, a move that would have added further to Iran's international isolation.
With the Saudi negotiations now on hold, the US and its allies should accept the folly of trying to maintain a diplomatic dialogue with Tehran in the hope that the Iranian regime may be persuaded to sign up to a new nuclear deal.
As Iran's open support for Hamas has demonstrated, the ayatollahs have no interest in reaching a peaceful accommodation with the West. Rather, they have been working for years to encircle Israel with their proxies -- Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south -- with the intent of obliterating it. Iran has not only been advancing its nuclear program; on Wednesday, the ban on Iranian missiles expires. Iran will be able to send missiles into Gulf countries in the Middle East, as well as to Russia to launch into Ukraine.
The Iranian regime is only concerned with supporting groups that carry out unimaginable acts of violence against innocent civilians, and should be treated with serious deterrence, if not more, and with the enemy status they fully deserve.
*Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
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The Marriage of Convenience Between Iran and Israel

Nadim Koteich/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
Israel and Iran agree on obliterating the Palestinian national project through Gaza, and differ on everything else.
Under Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership, Israel has sought to crush the prospects of a unified Palestinian state. Meanwhile, Iran has to kill off any hope for peace in the region, and is particularly focused on undercutting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians and put the region back on track for a comprehensive peace agreement.
The Israeli far-right has made no secret of its intent to fuel divisions between Gaza and the West Bank. Iran openly opposes the Arab-Israeli peace process, which began to encompass Gulf states in recent years, giving Iran the sense that a regional political earthquake was imminent.
Iran wants enough bloodshed in Gaza to allow it to complete its hijacking of Arab public opinion, especially in the places where Tehran believes hostility towards Israel is fading in the public consciousness. It also wants to restore its image after successive Netanyahu governments humiliated it with their assassinations and complex security operations in Tehran.
For its part, Israel wants enough bloodshed in Gaza to re-establish deterrence and create horror after being dealt a powerful and deeply psychologically jarring blow. Israel has not seen this number of Israeli civilians killed in a single day since the Holocaust, which explains the extent of the brutality of retaliation in the Strip.
Can Iran and Israel agree on a degree of bloodshed in Gaza that allows both to achieve their objectives, or will miscalculations spark total war?
Since the war began, Iran has behaved like it is involved in every detail. This is evident in the role that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has been playing. His shuttle visits and political statements make him seem like the "manager" of this rather than a regional diplomat concerned with a conflict within his country's strategic sphere. He behaves like he decides the objectives, narrative, and terms, even going against the statements of the governments in the capitals from which he speaks, as was the case in Beirut!
Regarding the war's expansion, Iran has sent contradictory messages. Abdollahian has said that the finger of all Resistance Axis militias is on the trigger and that a ground invasion would open new fronts, putting the "united fronts" strategy into action. However, Iran's representative at the United Nations said that his country would not enter the war unless Iran's direct interests were attacked.
On the other side, Israel seems interested in addressing the root causes of its recurring wars in Gaza. It does not seem to have considered engaging in a sound political process that gives the Palestinians their rights, nor hitting Iran with a blow that makes it understand that if the octopus strikes with tentacles, Israel will strike its head.
Nonetheless, no one can guarantee that developments will not leave the region slipping into a broader war although all parties are trying to avoid it.
What about the political settlement?
The dialectic relationship between war and peace has manifested itself repeatedly throughout human history. From the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta to the two World Wars of the twentieth century, to the war of October 1973, the Second Gulf War, and others, we have many examples of major conflicts preluding periods of peace and stability. Indeed, wars serve as a catalyst and incentive for developing creative frameworks for governance, diplomacy, and international law.
The initial "triumphant" euphoria on Saturday and Sunday, the 7th and 8th of October, swiftly gave way to the horror that we are seeing on our screens. It became clear that instigating war cannot be a step in the right direction for the Palestinians, regardless of how desperately they need something to restore their national dignity.
On the Israeli side, the current retribution strategy has no political horizon. And the fact is that when raw force is used alone, it perpetuates the conflict and fuels cycles of violence. Without intending to, Israel will produce, through its war in Gaza, a new generation of Palestinian extremists that had been inevitably bound to take this direction before the war. It could also unintentionally lead to a reduction in the number of elites drawn to the idea of peace.
Moreover, the assumptions shattered by the war, about Israel's security and the effectiveness of its army and intelligence, will heighten domestic tensions after this brief sense of unity brought about the national tragedy that Israelis have suffered at the hands of Hamas. Thus, without a political vision to complement its military actions, the severity of the violence could well undermine the very objectives that Israel's military action seeks to achieve, as well as compromising Israel's moral standing among that of the countries that have supported its right to self-defense.
If there is a silver lining in this violent escalation, it is that it reversed the fanatical course that both sides had been taking, or paved for doing so. Hamas is finished politically, and it will never be seen as a legitimate actor in any future political framework after having committed several unjustifiable crimes in a way that left it associated with ISIS, pure criminality, in the mind of the West.
Netanyahu is also finished. The myth Netanyahu had persuaded the public of, regarding his unique capacity for safeguarding security, has been removed from the Israeli collective consciousness. He will be added to the list of Israeli leaders who could not escape the guillotine of post-war accountability. Golda Meir’s political career after the 1973 war, and the same is true for Menachem Begin after the invasion of Beirut in 1982, Yitzhak Shamir after the First Intifada in the late 1980s, and Ehud Olmert after the July War of 2006.
Also, the religious fanatics, represented in government by both the National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, seem to have been totally removed from the picture, and they could well be blamed for paving the way for this explosion of violent with their provocative policies and fanning the ideological flames of the conflict.
There is an opportunity to end this war with the defeats of the extremism camps on both sides, which would revive and strengthen the peace camp in both Israel and the Arab world, allowing it to prevent the destructive outcomes that the marriage of convenience between Tel Aviv and Tehran is leading us to.

Is the Regional War Imminent?
Amal Abdulaziz al-Hazzani/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 17/2023
After the Oslo Accords in 1993, every successive American administration failed to make progress in trying to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with the exception of Bill Clinton’s attempt in 2000 to bring together Ehud Barak, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, at the Camp David resort.
Clinton succeeded in getting both men to shake hands in front of the media, but the meeting failed. After that, no American administration was able to assume the role of a successful mediator.
The circumstances today are moving in one direction, which is increasing the parties to the existing conflict. Israel, which felt humiliated after the attack on October 7, turned into a blind monster retaliating in every direction, in a state of mad rage, regardless of any political or humanitarian consideration.
The shock of the attack greatly affected Israel’s allies. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken flew to Tel Aviv declaring that he came as a Jew! A useless and rushed statement, as if he was suggesting that the existing dispute was religious. Amid this emotional state, he embarked on a tour of the Arab region in an attempt to reach an Arab position that condemns Hamas’ actions. Blinken is trying to solve an old, complex problem in a naive way that does not take into account the reality of the Palestinians.
On October 7, the Al-Qassam Brigades committed a massacre against Israeli civilians who were attending a concert. They opened fire on them randomly with the aim of killing as many people as possible. They attacked settlers’ homes and terrorized their residents. Among their dead victims were children, women, and elderly. They even mutilated the bodies of the dead. A total of 125 Israeli civilians were killed within two hours. Those acts do not reflect Islamic morals.
In general, these shameful acts do not seem surprising, as the factions had already sacrificed the lives of their families in Gaza, their children, their elders, and their women, to satisfy their whims, let alone their enemies.
Netanyahu, who awoke in shock at the news of the killings and the failure of the military intelligence apparatus, decided to end Hamas by striking Gaza. He killed nearly 2,000 civilians, 700 of whom were children, then ordered them to leave Gaza to the south in preparation for its invasion. Is it reasonable to displace more than a million within 24 hours? It’s like they are pawns being moved in a chess game. What about patients in hospitals, the disabled and the elderly? The truth is that the atrocities taking place in Gaza against children and defenseless civilians have made the world turn its gaze towards Gaza, forgetting those killed at the dance party.
Israel has achieved some successes over the past two years, which it may lose through its current rampage, especially in its relationship with the countries of the region, which have improved with difficulty and after a long time.
The repercussions of the attack revealed weaknesses in Israel, and saving face became the priority before sitting down to listen and negotiate rationally.
Unifying the Arab stance is the basis for containing the crisis, because the American mediator will not be able to ignore the Arab demands for calm, in exchange for a subsequent dialogue regarding the Hamas movement and the other factions. None of the Arabs, whether Gulf Arabs or others, agrees with what Hamas has committed, because civilians are the red line in international and humanitarian law on any territory.
What is the purpose of pushing the people of Gaza toward the south? Israel says that it wants to strike Gaza - which it imagines would be devoid of its people - and to use missiles to destroy all types of tunnels or deeper shelters built by Hamas.
But the danger does not lie in destroying the tunnels, but in an Israeli attempt to implement a previous plan to settle the people of Gaza in neighboring Arab countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf countries. Israel wants to choose the land and the people who live on it, selecting the rulers, and presenting it as a Palestinian state.
It is a dangerous plan that cannot be accepted by the Arabs, but rather contradicts all the peace negotiations that have taken place. The Americans, who guarantee Israel’s security, must be more rational, because it is one thing for Arab countries to stand with the Palestinians until their state is established, but it is another to host the displaced Palestinians, who are unwanted by Israel.
When Ariel Sharon implemented the “disengagement” plan and expelled the Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005, the goal was to relieve the Israeli security from the burden of protecting the Israeli settlements from a possible attack at any moment by the Palestinian factions. For them, Gaza was hell.
Sharon wanted an Israeli state that embraces all Israelis with demarcated borders and guaranteed protection, security, and flexible commercial movement. Today, Netanyahu wants to empty Gaza of its people under the pretext of getting rid of Hamas and the rest of the factions. The leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are located abroad, not in Gaza. Those in Gaza are executives, who can be removed and replaced.
Israel is exploiting the crisis to solve its problem with Gaza. It had previously tried, during the term of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, to move the Palestinians to Sinai, finding him receptive.
On the Lebanese front, Hezbollah strikes and runs to simply make its presence known. But so far, it has not actually intervened, and I do not think it will, unless it is prompted to do so. Pressure on the Arabs to receive the Palestinians, and Hezbollah’s intervention from southern Lebanon or the Golan may ignite a fire that will be difficult to extinguish.
The situation is worrying, and the absence of calm will exacerbate violence against civilians. Action must first focus on international and regional efforts to calm the situation. But Israel must understand that Hamas is not the Palestinians. It is a militia that has calculations that differ from Palestinian interests. It would be foolish to fall into its trap.

Israel’s War Aims and the Principles of a Post-Hamas Administration in Gaza
Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, David Makovsky/The Washington Institute/October 17, 2023
It’s not too early to think about the “day after” the war—even preliminary planning to create an interim administration will help clarify objectives for Israel’s leaders, sustain U.S. support, provide a more positive alternative future for Palestinians, and give Arab allies a rationale to play a more constructive role.
In describing the aims of Israel’s war against an organization that perpetrated the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared, “We will crush and destroy Hamas.” Precisely what that means in practice, however, is not clear.
Prominent Israeli voices—ministers, officials, and generals past and present—have offered a range of potential objectives, from disarming Hamas and stripping it of the capability to ever mount such an attack again, to retaking the Gaza Strip nearly two decades after ceding it to Palestinian control. Some current officials (such as Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel) have said it is too early even to define these goals, noting that this should be done only after battlefield victory. But it is difficult to see how Israel will know it has achieved victory without defining it in advance and preparing for the day after.
True, Israel’s desired outcome may be forcibly scaled back by the unpredictability of war, following the adage that no military plan survives contact with the enemy. Yet it still makes sense to define an outcome now and begin planning for it even if circumstances may force change along the way. Having a clear, feasible objective will dull the critique that this war is intended solely as retribution for Hamas’s barbaric attack; it will also provide a banner around which Israel’s allies can advocate its cause, and an umbrella under which vulnerable Arab peace partners can wait out the fighting.
General Principles
Israel’s most logical objective is to end Hamas control of Gaza, since only that outcome will prevent the group’s leaders from rising out of the rubble of war to declare victory just by surviving Israel’s bruising might. Other outcomes are unlikely to meet Jerusalem’s three most critical needs:
To guarantee Hamas cannot launch attacks in the future.
To restore Israelis’ confidence that their government and army can provide for their security.
To reestablish Israel’s deterrent power in the eyes of friends and adversaries around the Middle East.
Ending Hamas rule does not mean eliminating every Hamas supporter or every sign of the group’s influence. But it is a big goal, especially given two formidable complications on the ground—namely, Hamas and other groups are holding approximately 200 hostages, and ending Hamas rule would require enormous military effort throughout Gaza over an extended period, both on the surface and against the group’s vaunted, booby-trapped tunnel system.
In a war with a goal so defined, victory will not be swift or easy. America’s role will be threefold:
To help Israel achieve that objective at the lowest possible cost of injury to Palestinian civilians.
To deter Israel’s other enemies so it can focus on achieving success as quickly as possible.
To help Israelis and Palestinians start planning now for the governance vacuum that would result from ending Hamas rule, so that destabilizing actors do not fill the void.
Given these needs and objectives, the following general principles should govern planning for the postwar situation:
From a U.S. perspective, Israel should leave Gaza as soon as the military task is complete and avoid reoccupying the area. At the same time, it would be a mistake for Israel to destroy Hamas and then leave Gaza as an ungoverned space without a clear sense of what comes next. With help from other actors, Washington has a unique role to play in ensuring that a plan is ready to be implemented once the IDF withdraws, such that Israel is confident about what will fill the vacuum of its departure.
The ultimate goal should be for the Palestinian Authority to return as Gaza’s legitimate government. Yet the PA lacks the will and ability to do that job in the foreseeable future—it does not want to be seen as reentering the Strip on the backs of Israeli tanks, and it is not in any shape to take on additional governmental responsibilities in Gaza given its failings in the West Bank.
Therefore, the situation demands the establishment of an interim administration to run Gaza until the PA is able to assume that role. The duration of this interim period depends on meaningful, substantive PA reform, without which neither local Palestinians nor international donors would have confidence in the PA’s ability to extend its authority to Gaza. Such reform would also have the crucial benefit of boosting the PA’s legitimacy in the West Bank.
Contours of an Interim Administration
Aproposed Gaza Interim Administration (GIA) should have three main components: (1) a civilian administration, (2) a public safety/law enforcement apparatus in which Arab state contingents play a central role, and (3) an international coalition for reconstruction and development.
The civilian administration of post-Hamas Gaza should be led and run by Palestinians. Under the leadership of a Palestinian “Chief Administrator,” the departments of a fully functioning local government—health, education, transportation, judiciary, social welfare, etc.—would be run by a mix of technocrats from Gaza, the West Bank, and the Palestinian diaspora, as well as significant local personalities from Gaza towns and clans. During the tumultuous interim period, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) could continue to provide existing food, health, and education services—no more and no less than in the past. Its long-term status could be reviewed in the context of the PA’s eventual return to the area.
Public safety and law enforcement could be directed by a consortium of the five Arab states who have reached peace agreements with Israel—Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. Only those Arab states would have Israel’s confidence, which is essential for this effort to succeed. Special care should be taken to ensure that this is not viewed as an “occupation force,” which both the contributing nations and local Palestinians would reject. Instead, it should be presented and structured as a “public safety force.” To that end, contributing states should send police or gendarmerie detachments, not regular military units. Moreover, the force should be commanded by an officer from a country that has no territorial connection to Palestinian areas, such as Morocco. Liaison offices could then be established with the Israeli and Egyptian militaries, the latter of which would have a special role reflecting Cairo’s unique status as Gaza’s direct Arab neighbor. These offices would provide a forum for cooperation on border issues and the flow of goods and people.
International donors, UN and other international aid agencies, and international NGOs would work with the Gaza civil administration under the umbrella of a new agency responsible for repair, reconstruction, and development. This should be an Arab-run effort, perhaps chaired by the UAE, which is a peace partner with Israel, holds the financial resources to be a substantial donor, and has the global reputation and professional acumen to manage such an operation. This agency would oversee the immediate repair and reconstruction of utilities and other public works, as well as identify major projects, raise funds for them, and execute major project development. Billions of dollars would be needed for projects such as creating a new Gaza port and building new industrial zones to provide employment options. (Israel is unlikely to readmit Gazan workers anytime soon after some apparently played a role in the October 7 Hamas assault, either directly or by providing intelligence for the attackers.) Saudi participation in the repair/reconstruction effort would also be important for the plan’s overall success, and could be framed as part of Riyadh’s commitment to reopen a path to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
Although Arab administrators, officers, and officials—including Palestinians—should take the lead in all these efforts, there is also a vital role to play for the United States and other supporters of a peaceful, constructive, hopeful future for Palestinians. Numerous actors—from European partners to specialized UN agencies—will be at the table, but only America can mobilize and organize this effort and ensure that all its elements are implemented. Part of the U.S. role is financial; part is lending expertise to the processes of administration and reconstruction; part is ensuring smooth relations between Israel and the three legs of the GIA; and part is providing international legitimacy for the entire effort.
Regarding legitimacy, the best option would be to secure a UN Security Council mandate for this plan, though Russia and China would likely aim to complicate such efforts. The Security Council could also empower the Arab League to authorize this plan as an intermediate actor, but there too, actors such as Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, and Tunisia may get in the way. Alternatively, this effort could be placed within the mandate of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, which may not require further Security Council action.
Ultimately, however, it might be necessary to build the GIA as a coalition of the willing. If it has strong support from major international actors and backing from the most influential Arab states, the initiative will have a reasonable chance to move forward.
Throughout, a necessary but sensitive issue will be ongoing liaison between the GIA and Israel. In a world where Hamas is no longer a political or military force in Gaza, Israel should be willing to allow the seaport and Egyptian land border to operate with a much less intrusive inspection system for the movement of goods and services. After all, the blockade that Israel sustained to varying degrees over the years did not prevent the group from acquiring what it needed to mount the terrible attacks of October 7—rather, it produced enormous public ill will and opportunities for corruption. Still, Israel has a critical role to play at least early in the transition, when it can help with electricity provision, fuel, and the transit of goods—recognizing that the long-term goal should be for Gaza to provide these goods itself.
Intimate liaison with the GIA’s civil governance, public safety, and reconstruction legs is essential to giving Israel confidence that the new system will not allow the reemergence of Hamas or the growth of another, potentially even more radical movement. At the same time, Israel would need to retain as much of an over-the-horizon presence as possible given that the IDF will have just operated in virtually every corner of the Strip rooting out Hamas.
The GIA should also have an organic link to the PA, even though it will operate independently within the framework described here. The GIA’s initial mandate could spell out a limited duration—say, three years—after which its operation should be open for renewal and linked directly to the process of PA reform. Two colliding principles are at work here: that “nothing is as permanent as the temporary” and that “it is better to get it right than to get it over.” The United States and other major actors will be responsible for finding the right balance in this regard.
These principles are not carved in stone. Rather, they should be viewed as springboards for serious discussion of governance in post-Hamas Gaza, and as ideas that will almost certainly morph in different directions with input from various international and Middle East actors and under the impact of events on the ground. With Israel poised to begin ground operations in Gaza, some may believe it is premature to focus on postwar architecture. Yet now is precisely the right moment to begin this exercise so that a well-crafted plan is ready once military operations transition to political outcomes. If key actors wait for the battlefield fog to clear before engaging on these issues, it may be too late.
*Robert Satloff is the Segal Executive Director at The Washington Institute. Dennis Ross, the Institute’s counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, formerly served as U.S. point man on the Israel-Palestinian peace process. David Makovsky, the Institute’s Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and director of its Koret Project on Arab-Israel Relations, formerly served as senior advisor to the State Department’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.