Hamas gambled on the suffering of civilians in Gaza. Netanyahu played right into it

“Yahya Sinwar has so far survived eight months of Israeli’s brutal military campaign to kill him. His longevity is a personal victory for the Hamas leader – and increasingly appears to be grim vindication of his decision to seize the initiative in the generational Palestinian struggle with Israel by launching a bloody attack on October 7 that would plunge Gaza’s two million residents into a predictable hell.”

“Now Sinwar – who speaks fluent Hebrew and has a nuanced knowledge of Israeli politics – believes he still has the war’s initiative, amid high-stakes bargaining with Israel for a ceasefire and hostage deal.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” he is said to have told other Hamas leaders, in leaked messages reported by The Wall Street Journal. He appeared to justify the deaths of Palestinian civilians as a “necessary sacrifice” according to the messages.

If this were a conventional war, it would be easy to write Sinwar off as deluded; Israel has the upper hand by far in conventional weapons. But the weapons’ devastating effectiveness is becoming a liability in this asymmetric conflict, and against the backdrop of a tortured history that Sinwar is adroitly weaponizing against Israel.”


Israel’s return to areas of Gaza it said were clear of Hamas raises doubts about its military strategy

“The Israeli military has renewed its fighting in northern Gaza where it previously claimed to have dismantled Hamas’ command structure. But it now says the Palestinian militant group is trying to “reassemble” in the area, raising doubts about whether Israel’s goal to eradicate the group in the enclave is realistic.
Israel’s renewed ground operation began on Saturday, with intense shelling and gunfire gripping much of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. The Israeli military also began operating in the area of Zeitoun in central Gaza, as it continues its offensive in eastern Rafah and near the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Israel’s return to pockets it had supposedly cleared of Hamas renews questions about its long-term military strategy, which after more than seven months of war has left more than 35,000 Palestinians dead and much of Gaza in ruins – but more than 100 hostages from Israel still in captivity and Hamas’ top leadership still at large.

The resumption in fighting in the north comes as talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire-for-hostages deal have stalled, and as the Biden administration signals that the United States is losing patience with its closest ally in the Middle East.”

“Others say the re-emergence of Hamas “pockets” is not unusual, and that the Israeli military will have to keep re-entering areas in Gaza until no more fighters emerge.

“This process will happen again and again,” Amir Aviv, former deputy commander of the Gaza Division of Israel’s military, told CNN, until all “pockets of resistance” are removed.

The former deputy commander believes it is possible to eradicate Hamas though. “Gaza is not endless, it is not so big,” he said. “(Israel) has reached the last stronghold (Rafah), and now Hamas is with their backs to the wall.””


What’s Going on With Gaza’s Fatality Numbers?

“All the numbers we’re getting out of Gaza are from offices run by Hamas, the terrorist group that perpetrated the October 7 attack and runs the government (if you consider the government to be functional at all there). But there’s two main sources—the Government Media Office (GMO) and the Ministry of Health (MoH)—and the first, higher count is from the GMO, whereas the revised count is from the MoH.
In order to suss out the legitimacy of the numbers, we have to consider what is being counted as “identified” vs. “unidentified.” The MoH had long counted deaths reported by both hospitals and “reliable” media accounts; around the start of April, it revised the media-reported deaths to be categorized as “incomplete” and then “unidentified.” When a death is reported based on a media account (and a media account alone), there are no remains that have been identified—so the accuracy of this count remains disputed.

If you think these data-reporting practices are not so great, you should look at the GMO’s account. “Way back on Dec. 11, GMO reported the death of 8,000 children and 6,200 women out of 18,396 total fatalities,” writes David Adesnik, the director of research for the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Arithmetic shows there were (18,396-8,000-6,200=) 4,196 men. But GMoH reported at the time that hospitals had registered 5,577 male fatalities.” In other words: Hamas’ two data-reporting entities cannot even line up their stories.”


Israel Raids the Associated Press and Seizes Equipment Over War Coverage

“On April 1, Israeli lawmakers passed a law that would allow the government to shut down foreign news networks deemed a threat to national security. The Times of Israel reported that the law was specifically intended to target Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network that has often been accused of anti-Israel or pro-Hamas bias.
“The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel,” Netanyahu pledged in an April 1 post on X (formerly Twitter). “I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.” Netanyahu charged that the network had “harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the October 7 massacre, and incited against [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers.”

The move was broadly denounced. “Such slanderous accusations will not deter us from continuing our bold and professional coverage,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.”

“On May 5, Israel forcibly closed Al Jazeera’s satellite office in Tel Aviv, seized its broadcast equipment, and blocked access to its websites and broadcasts from within the country, after the government unanimously approved a proposal to do so.

Then on Tuesday, Israel did the same to the A.P.

The country’s communications ministry had ordered the A.P. to cease its live broadcast of footage from Gaza last week, which the outlet refused to do. As a result, officials seized broadcast equipment, saying in a statement that “the communications ministry will continue to take whatever enforcement action is required to limit broadcasts that harm the security of the state.”

“The AP complies with Israel’s military censorship rules, which prohibit broadcasts of details like troops movements that could endanger soldiers,” the outlet noted. “Al Jazeera is one of thousands of AP customers, and it receives live video from AP and other news organizations.””

“Hours after the seizure, the A.P.’s story was updated to say that “Israel’s communications minister ordered the government to return a camera and broadcasting equipment it had seized from The Associated Press, reversing course hours after blocking the news organization’s live video of Gaza.” It noted that this came after “the Biden administration, journalism organizations and an Israeli opposition leader condemned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pressured it to reverse the decision.””


What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about

What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about


Egypt rips Israel’s ‘desperate attempts’ to deflect blame for Gaza crisis

“Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz said it was up to Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, going as far as saying he addressed that need with some of his European counterparts. “The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” Katz said in comments released by his office.
That did not sit well with Egyptian foreign ministry officials, who issued a statement decrying “the desperate attempts of the Israeli side to hold Egypt responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip,” and adding, “The foreign minister called on Israel to fulfil its legal responsibility as the occupying power, by allowing aid to enter through the land ports under its control.”

Though it worries about a large influx of Palestinians fleeing the violence, Egypt has maintained its side of the crossing has been open since the war started.”