Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
Morning Jolt: Hamas’s Twisted Game of Hostage Chess
The gambit is to claim Israel isn't upholding its promises, then use that as an excuse to break its
On the menu today: Over the Thanksgiving break, a series of Israeli concessions was sufficient to get Hamas to release roughly 60 hostages, including four-year-old American Abigail Edan. But it's hard to feel jubilant with so many hostages — including Americans — remaining in captivity, Hamas getting rewarded for abominable behavior, and the sense that Hamas has a new way to pressure Israel by dangling the release of more hostages and adding new demands. Fifteen minutes into the ceasefire, someone fired a rocket at Israel from Gaza and the world barely noticed; no one really expects Hamas to uphold its end of the agreement. Go figure — barbarians who massacre unarmed civilians and use rape as a weapon of war aren't the kind of people you can trust at the negotiating table.
On paper, this is a good incentive structure designed to maximize the number of hostages released. In practice, this means Hamas can always dangle the potential release of some of the estimated 180 remaining hostages and then drag its feet in actually releasing them. On Saturday, the second round of releases was delayed for about eight hours because Hamas accused Israel of not delivering trucks of humanitarian aid.
But that evening, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed that "sixty-one trucks hauled aid to northern Gaza on Saturday — the largest number since 7 October. . . . Eleven ambulances, 3 coaches and a flatbed were delivered to Al Shifa hospital to be used to assist with evacuations. Also on Saturday, another 200 trucks were dispatched from Nitzana, with 187 of them successfully entering Gaza by 19:00 local time."
What happens if, as the deadline approaches, Hamas offers to release nine hostages instead of the previously agreed ten? Or eight, or five, or just one? Is Israel willing to restart the fighting when there is an offer of a released hostage on the table? How will the families of the hostages respond? How will Israeli society respond?
Two Egyptian officials said talks are aimed at extending the cease-fire for another four days, with one saying that both sides have agreed in principle. But that official added that violence in the occupied West Bank is complicating matters, with Hamas demanding an end to Israeli military raids. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested and scores killed in clashes with Israeli forces since the war began.
Kibbutz Be'eri, where 12 of the 13 hostages released last night were kidnapped from on October 7, says that while the community was "happy and excited" about the return of the hostages, Hamas violated the terms of the deal when it released 13-year-old Hila Rotem without her mother, Raya. . . .
Also released last night were 17-year-old Noam Or and his 13-year-old sister, Alma.
Their mother Yonat was murdered by terrorists on October 7, and their father Dror remains hostage in Gaza, along with his 18-year-old nephew Liam.
Note that roughly 15 minutes after the cease-fire went into effect, someone — perhaps Hamas, perhaps some other anti-Israel terror group like Palestinian Islamic Jihad — fired a rocket into Israel. Thankfully, it was intercepted; Israel did not treat it as a violation of the terms of the agreement.
Hamas's modus operandi is clear: Look for any conceivable reason to claim the Israelis aren't upholding their end of the agreement, and then use that as an excuse to break its own promises and/or make further demands.
This is not merely an Israeli problem. There are ten Americans, including one legal resident, who are unaccounted for; some of these Americans are believed to be held by Hamas. Yesterday, President Biden's national-security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on CBS News' Face the Nation, "I have every confidence that ultimately, all of the Americans and all of the individuals being held hostage will come home. We are determined not to rest until that happens."
You may have noticed that you haven't heard much about these ten unaccounted-for Americans. You could make an argument that saturation coverage of these hostages, with yellow ribbons and all the rest, would increase the leverage of Hamas and increase pressure on the Biden administration to offer concessions to it. But if that is the philosophy at work in the relatively low-key coverage of American hostages, it is exceptionally convenient for the administration and the president, whose job-approval rating is at 38.9 percent.
As of 2 a.m. Eastern this morning, the coordinator for the hostages and missing in the Israeli prime minister's office issued a statement declaring, "Discussions are being held on the list that was received overnight and which is now being evaluated in Israel." In other words, negotiations with Hamas are ongoing. When the deadline arrives, will the Israelis be willing to get up from the table and restart military operations? Or will there be too much pressure to make more concessions to get at least a few more hostages released?
For now, it would seem, seven weeks into the Israeli effort to tear it apart, Hamas seems to be holding together quite effectively. The best estimate is that perhaps 4,000-5,000 of its gunmen are dead; that leaves another 20,000-25,000 who are not.
Israel controls much of northern Gaza, and has destroyed much of Hamas's infrastructure there, but most of the Hamas tunnel network in the north may well still be intact. According to former generals including Amos Yadlin, Yisrael Ziv and Giora Eiland, the ground operation is certainly not even half-completed, with central and southern Gaza yet to be tackled, notably including Hamas strongholds such as Khan Younis. And the logistics of fighting in southern Gaza, now unprecedentedly populated with its own residents and hundreds of thousands of evacuees from the north, will present immense challenges to the IDF, even as almost all of the international community steps up pressure for a permanent ceasefire.
Over at the United Nations this weekend, our ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, pointed out the obvious: that the U.N. has quickly forgotten about what started the war, and shows no desire to hold Hamas accountable for its war crimes:
It has been less than two months since Hamas carried out its barbaric terrorist attack against Israel, but many members of this Council seem to have forgotten or attempted to erase the horrors of that day. And many still cannot bring themselves to unequivocally condemn Hamas' acts of terror.
So, I feel an obligation to speak on these horrors lest we forget. It is outrageous and it is an insult to the victims of Hamas' brutal attack. The children who were executed in front of their parents. The families who were burned alive. The young people who were gunned down with glee. We have also seen horrifying footage that points to Hamas' rape and sexual assault of innocent civilians. Where is the universal condemnation? And where is the outrage?
At National Review today, Danielle Pletka, a distinguished senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, asks just what the point of U.S. membership in the United Nations is, if the institution is forever going to give a pass to terrorist groups like Hamas:
Doubtless there are useful things that happen at the United Nations, though it takes some effort to conjure up their impact — whether in Syria, where half a million died with barely a murmur from the international body's leadership; in North Korea, where millions have died at the hands of a brutal dictatorship; in Xinjiang, where a million Uyghur Muslim Chinese remain in Communist concentration camps, suffering the silence of the world's most important human-rights bodies; or in Ukraine, where a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council preys on a sovereign state's land.
Sure, the U.N.'s structure insulates the Security Council's five permanent members from attack. But then, is it not right to ask what exactly the U.N. does for human freedom, or, more practically speaking, for the U.S. taxpayer? Hating Israel and exonerating tyrants is hardly in the best interests of American foreign policy. Perhaps it's time to stop paying the U.N. as if it actually serves American interests in any way, because it doesn't.
Elsewhere at NR, our Haley Strack is observing the "U.N. Women's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" by spotlighting 15 women's organizations that have either supported Hamas's violence against Israeli women or remained silent on it. Today's offering is on the so-called Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund:
The Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) is a financing arm of the United Nations that funds local women's organizations worldwide. With an emphasis on preventing conflict and ending gender-based violence, WPHF has supported Palestinians across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for years. . . .
In the wake of Hamas's brutal attack against Israel, WPHF announced it would mobilize $10 million to support Palestinian women. The organization has made no similar appeals to help the women and children in Israel who were brutalized on October 7.
If you only want to help the Palestinians, never want to help the Israelis, and can never bring yourself to denounce Hamas's most brutal and inhumane actions, then you are functionally pro-Hamas.
ADDENDUM: It's Cyber Monday, which means it's a good day to check out the NR store for sweatshirts, mugs, caps, T-shirts, products for pets, you name it. It's also a good day to think about gift subscriptions. For $75, you can get a year of the newly redesigned, thicker and glossier magazine and NR Plus.
And my books can be found here. Yes, I'm working on book four in the Dangerous Clique series — the mole is revealed, the question of who or what "The Voices" are will be answered, this dangerous world just keeps getting more treacherous, and Alec and Katrina are new parents. There is no convenient time to be a sleep-deprived new parent . . . but it's particularly inconvenient when some new global threat arrives just as you're supposed to pick up the kids from day care.
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A left-wing writer and racial-justice activist who has claimed that American society was "instituted by racist ideas and maintained by racist policies" published a black history book for kids earlier this year that appears to be filled with content plagiarized from other sources, according to a review of the book by National Review . Confronted with the apparent plagiarism, the book’s publisher said it would be pulled from circulation pending an investigation. Rann Miller, a New Jersey-based activist and educator, published Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids in March. According to the book, it is designed to be a "place of entry" into the history of the African people so readers will be "empowered to fight" injustices in the world. Miller, a former teacher who has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Rutgers University, also writes opinion pieces for the Philadelphia Inquirer , the Progressive Magazine, and education websites
Friday, January 05, 2024 Good morning and welcome to Fox News' morning newsletter, Fox News First. Subscribe now to get Fox News First in your email . And here's what you need to know to start your day ... FOLLOW THE MONEY - Billionaire tied to Epstein scandal funneled large donations to Ramaswamy, Dems. Continue reading ... BUCKLE UP - Border state candidates issue stark warning to fellow Republicans about ceding to Dems on Ukraine. Continue reading ... 'MALIGN INFLUENCE' - Montana Republicans fume over university defying calls to shutter CCP-linked program. Continue reading ... IN A 'HUFF' - Christian influencer rips World Series champ who slid into her DMs, then deleted account. Continue reading ... SQUAD GOALS - Dramatic home video captures cat saving dog's life by chasing away coyotes in backyard. Continue reading ... POLITICS 'NOTHING IS OFF THE TABLE' - Some senators back House threats to shut down government over border security.
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