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OCTOBER 8-9,  2023

ANOTHER DAY OF WAR:  But with a difference.  Israel has now declared before the world that its objective is to wipe out Hamas, not to simply administer a UN-approved slap on the wrist.  And the prime minister of Israel has promised that his country would not stop fighting until the objective was met. 

It won't be easy.  It will require a ground operation into Gaza, with all the nightmares of urban warfare attached.  We are looking at the possibility of major casualties on each side.

But it must be done. 

The day was filled with Israeli bombings of targets in Gaza, and rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

But there was one thing that was largely overlooked by the media.  Five Western nations, in a manner typical of international declarations of past eras, combined to issue a ringing declaration of support for Israel.  The nations are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. 

In a joint statement on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and U.S. President Joe Biden expressed “steadfast and united support to the State of Israel” and “unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.”
 
“We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned. There is never any justification for terrorism,” the leaders stated. “In recent days, the world has watched in horror as Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes, slaughtered over 200 young people enjoying a music festival, and kidnapped elderly women, children and entire families, who are now being held as hostages.”

France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States “will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage.”
 
The leaders added that they “recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.”
 
“Over the coming days, we will remain united and coordinated, together as allies, and as common friends of Israel, to ensure Israel is able to defend itself, and to ultimately set the conditions for a peaceful and integrated Middle East region,” they stated. 

COMMENT:   Great statement.  Now we'll see if these Western nations, including our own, actually mean it.  If they do, it will be a giant step forward in rebuilding the Western alliance based on peace through strength.  If they don't, we'll look at the United States through a rear-view window.

October 9, 2023       Permalink

 

MORNING OF OCTOBER 9TH, MIDEAST LATEST:  Here is what we know about the boiling situation in the Mideast:

The number of Israelis killed by the Hamas attack stands at about 800; the number of hostages held by Hamas is probably over 100, but no one outside Hamas is absolutely sure.

The State Department officially announced that nine Americans have been killed, but noted that the number could go higher; there is no estimate as to the number of Americans who might be held hostage.

Israel announced that it had retaken all Israeli territory near the Gaza strip that had been temporarily held by Hamas invaders.  However, Israel cautioned that there still might be terrorists operating on the Israeli side of the Gaza border.

The United States is sending the USS Gerald Ford carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean to caution Iran about making any new moves.

There is continuing controversy as to Iran's involvement in the Hamas operation.  Both Hamas and Hezbollah, another group of terrorist lovelies, have openly said that they get help from Iran, and the Wall Street Journal, as we note below, is reporting that Iran was heavily involved in the Hamas attacks.  The State Department stiffly asserts that it has no proof of any Iranian involvement, which sounds a bit absurd.

Rocket attacks from Gaza to Israel continued all night, but they were much lighter than the original attacks.  It is now reported that some operatives tried to get into Israel across its northern border with Lebanon, but we don't have details.

Israel is launching major air attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza, and is sealing the Gaza border so supplies cannot be brought in.  However, Gaza has another border, with Egypt, so any Israeli blockade could be ineffective.

The Arab nation of Qatar says it is in contact with Hamas to try to get release of the hostages.  This is questionable.  Hamas, in the past, has driven a very hard bargain, over long periods of time, in hostage negotiations.  We have to assume that it will do the same now.  The 100 hostages they hold are powerful weapons in their hands.

More coming later in the day. 

October 9, 2023       Permalink


FIRST A BULLETIN FROM THE JERUSALEM POST, QUOTING THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  WE HAVE NO OTHER CONFIRMATION OF THIS, BUT IT HAS THAT RING OF TRUTH:

Hamas's attacks on Israel, which began Saturday morning, were planned weeks in advance with assistance from Iranian security officials, according to a Sunday report from The Wall Street Journal.

The report, citing senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, stated that the Iranian officials "gave the green light" for the attacks during a meeting between them and Hamas in Beirut last week.

IRGC officers worked with Hamas since August to plan incursions from the "air, land, and sea," the report noted. Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were also at the meetings in Beirut.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had praised the attacks, posting on X earlier this week that the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region."

COMMENT:  If this checks out, the story of the Hamas attack on Israel takes on an entirely new meaning, and has large implications. 

October 8, 2023       Permalink

 

 

OCTOBER 6-7,  2023

IT'S 3 A.M. ET:  The Hamas attacks against Israel still overwhelmingly dominate the reporting of the news networks.  There is a recognition that something fundamental has changed in the Middle East.  Hamas, basically a ragtag gang of terrorists backed by Iran, has been transformed in an effective fighting force, conducting a precise, coordinated attack against Israel.

Exact numbers are impossible, but late figures have about 300 Israelis killed and more than 1,800 injured.  The 300 killed is the equivalent of almost 10,000 Americans killed in a single day.  It is catastrophic.  The Health Ministry in Gaza is reporting about 250 Palestinian deaths, but that number is very hard to verify.

What happens next?

No one knows.  There was a brief rocket assault from Lebanon aimed at Israeli defensive positions on the Israel/Lebanon border, but it ended quickly with no reported casualties.  Israel is deeply concerned about the possibly of Hezbollah forces in Lebanon joining the Hamas attack on Israel. 

I call it the "48-hour rule."  It says that, during a major news event, it takes between 24 and 48 hours for the political left to reorganize its efforts and try to take advantage of new opportunities.  We're observing that already.  While most of the news coverage I've seen has been reasonably sympathetic to Israel, based largely on the sheer brutality of the Hamas onslaught, we're starting to see and hear the usual leftist suspects going on TV to tip us that the Hamas operatives are really the victims of Israel and America.  Yeah, right.   But this will continue.  As Israel prepares a ground offensive, it understands that it will be condemned by the usual leftist crowd of Western journalists and university students.  They're wiggling out of the woodwork as I write.

And it is highly unlikely that the Biden administration will actually support an Israeli operation designed to wipe out Hamas.   The Biden White House is filled with youngsters who have bought into the Arab line. 

There are very tense days ahead, for Israel and for us.  And please remember that Israel has nuclear weapons.  Don't think they won't be used if the country is in serious danger of being wiped out. 

October 7, 2023       Permalink

 

MIDEAST UPDATE AT 10:39 A.M. ET:  Israel reports more than 100 dead in Hamas attacks.  That's the equivalent of more than 3,000 Americans.  The attacks are being called the Israeli version of 9-11.

We know that Hamas has also infiltrated southern Israel with ground attacks.  Hamas militants have taken Israeli hostages, but we don't yet know how many.

There has been some Israeli retaliation by air, but it's clear the main Israeli response is yet to come, and will probably include ground troops.

Obviously, this is a developing story.  We're getting excellent reporting by CNN, and Fox is now catching up with some fine reports and interviews of its own.  The fear of a major escalation by Iranian-backed forces on Israel's northern border with Lebanon is very real. 

Stand by.  

 

HEAVY ACTION IN THE MIDEAST: AT 3:30 A.M. ET:  We were going to put another story in this space, but were interrupted by news of sudden, substantial, rocket attacks launched by the terror group Hamas against Israel.  Hamas, based in Gaza, and widely considered to be controlled by Iran, claims at least 5,000 rockets were fired into Israeli towns.  

Israel is mobilizing and calling up reserves.  The IDF (Israel Defense Force) has officially declared a war alert.  Statements from Ham as appear to suggest that Hamas considers itself in a war with Israel, but we'd like to see further clarification of that.

In addition to rockets, Israel is asserting that Hamas militants have infiltrated, on the ground, into Israel proper.  There are early reports of kidnappings of Israelis, but we don't have details.  We know that Israelis on the border with Gaza have been making phone calls frantically asking for help.

There are also reports that some Hamas invaders have paraglided into Israel.

Statement by Israel:

“In the last hour, the Hamas terrorist organization has begun a massive shooting of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations. 

"Civilians in the southern and central areas are required to stay next to shelters, and in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, inside shelters.

"The Chief of the General staff is currently conducting a situational assessment and approves plans for the continuation of the IDF activity.

"The Hamas terrorist organization is the sovereign in the Gaza Strip and is responsible for these attacks.  It will face the consequences and responsibility for these events.”

The timing of the attacks is not entirely surprising.  First, this is the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egyptian forces attacked Israeli troops in the Sinai.

Second, there has been substantial diplomatic activity in recent weeks, aimed at normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.  One reason for the hoped-for normalization is to present a united front against Iran.  Iran has been infuriated by the diplomatic talks, and Hamas is its arm in the Mideast.

Third, the Abraham Accords, arranged by then President Trump, are working, bringing peaceful relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries.  Every new peace agreement is a setback to Iran, which has pledged to destroy Israel.

We are awaiting more.  Stand by.

October 7, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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