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What You Need to Know About the IDF Operation in Nablus

What You Need to Know About the IDF Operation in Nablus

Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War, Palestinians have been comparing themselves to the Ukrainians, painting themselves as underdogs trying to “resist” an “oppressor” that is “occupying” their land.

But new reports show that Palestinians are actually joining the war — to fight for Putin. That’s right: Palestinians are helping perpetuate the Russian occupation of Ukraine.

Russian entities are offering Palestinian residents of Lebanon, mainly from Ein El Hilweh Camp, $350 to enlist and serve on the front lines in Russia’s war against Ukraine. 

Recruitment efforts are reportedly being carried out by individuals connected to the Palestinian embassy in Beirut as well as by Iranian-backed Hezbollah operatives. Most of the recruits are members of Fatah (led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas) or the PFLP. Recruiters are especially targeting people proficient at operating drones and those knowledgeable in guerilla warfare.

With the help of the Assad regime, Russia has also recruited Syrian troops to fight against Ukraine, reportedly offering Syrian soldiers a salary of up to $3,000. 

Palestinian leadership has met with and expressed support for Russia several times since the war started:

  • In April 2022, PA President Abbas spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone. During that phone call, Abbas expressed his support for Putin over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • In May 2022, the head of the PA Civil Affairs Authority Hussein Al-Sheikh met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. 
  • In August 2022, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexander Fomin met with Major General Nidal Abu Dukhan, the commander of the PA security forces, to discuss military and intelligence cooperation. 
  • In September 2022, Lavrov met with Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh.
  • In October 2022, Abbas met with Putin and told him that the Palestinians “do not trust America” but were “happy and satisfied” with Russia, and that “we know perfectly well that Russia stands for justice, for international law…We are glad that we have such a partner in Russia.”

Palestinian support for Russia should come as no surprise, given that Palestinian terror groups receive significant backing from Iran, which has been deepening ties with and selling weapons to Russia as both countries face increasing isolation from the rest of the world.

Abbas has a strong connection with Moscow, having completed his antisemitic, Holocaust-revisionary doctorate at a Russian university. An authenticated Soviet-era document also listed Abbas as an agent for the KGB spy agency. For years, the Soviet Union also provided significant aid to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Hussein al-Sheikh, another top member of the Palestinian Authority, maintains close ties with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia has also often played mediator between the different Palestinian factions, and the heads of the Palestinian factions attend diplomatic meetings in the Russian Foreign Ministry each year.

Meanwhile, Israel has stood alongside Ukraine, voted to condemn Russia at the UN, and has provided extensive humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the past year, including deploying a field hospital, taking in tens of thousands of refugees, supplying generators, protective gear, medical equipment, and ambulances, offering trauma counseling and psychosocial support, and rehabilitating injured Ukrainian soldiers in Israeli hospitals. Recently, Israeli FM Eli Cohen pledged to expand existing aid to Ukraine and to help rebuild the country. 

Several Israeli NGOs have been providing aid to Ukraine as well, including NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief, IsraAID, United Hatzalah, SmartAID, Dream Doctors, Engineers Without Borders, and 2141 Club. Thousands of Israelis also rallied in support of Ukraine and in protest of Russia’s invasion.

As your newsfeed is undoubtedly flooding with reports of Israel killing "innocent Palestinians" in a "massacre" in Nablus, here's what you should know:

Israeli security forces entered Nablus to arrest 3 wanted suspects who were involved in past shooting attacks (including the attack that killed Sgt. Ido Baruch) and were preparing for additional attacks in the imminent future. The suspects refused to turn themselves in and opened fire on IDF forces. IDF troops responded with live fire, and three terrorists were neutralized.

Calls for civilians to mobilize and attack IDF troops were broadcast throughout Nablus via mosque loudspeakers. IDF forces were attacked by live fire, rocks, explosive devices, and molotov cocktails.

At least 7 of the 11 Palestinians killed were terrorists — six were confirmed members of the local Lion's Den terror battalion. Of those six, two were also affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), three with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AAMB), and one with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The seventh was involved in terrorism but so far hasn't been claimed by any group.

The circumstances of the deaths of the others killed (three men over the age of 60 and a 16-year-old male) are being investigated.  It hasn't been determined whether they were killed by Israeli or Palestinian fire. Palestinian media claims one died after suffocating from tear gas used by the IDF to disperse rioters.

More to know:

Even during counterterrorism operations in dangerous neighborhoods, the IDF does everything possible to minimize civilian casualties, and the Nablus operation was no exception. In the clip below (from the battle in Nablus), an IDF soldier can be heard saying he is not firing at an armed terrorist because there was a child behind the terrorist.

Another thing mainstream media doesn't tell you: shooting attacks are routinely carried out by Palestinian terrorists targeting civilian areas. Thankfully, few attacks have resulted in injuries. One example: the below video from yesterday shows the "Jenin Brigade" firing at an Israeli community. The IDF will continue to operate against terrorism to prevent attacks like this one, which can be deadly.

More documentation of recent Palestinian terrorist shooting attacks can be found here, here, and here. Last September, a yeshiva student was struck and injured during a study session when several bullets shot by a Palestinian terrorist penetrated the yeshiva door. Most of these attacks are carried out by smaller, localized terror groups (such as the Lion's Den and the Jenin Battalion) which typically include members from larger Palestinian terror organizations like PIJ and AAMB, as well as Hamas and the PFLP.

After major pressure from antisemitic groups and Ken Roth himself, Harvard Kennedy School dean Doug Elmendorf has reversed course and offered the previously-denied fellowship to Roth. Here's what they fail to acknowledge in doing so:

1) The pressure campaign was based on antisemitic speculation and conspiracy theorizing — with zero evidence — by Ken Roth and others that Jewish donors to the Kennedy School were the reason Roth was denied the fellowship: i.e, that rich and powerful Jews control elite decision-makers. Roth himself admitted to the lack of evidence in his Guardian op-ed published last week, where he stated that Elmendorf gave no reasoning for his rejection, and claimed that the only “plausible explanation” for his appointment denial is a shadowy cabal of pro-Israel donors.

In fact, in Roth’s statement in response to HKS’s decision today to reverse their decision and to offer him a fellowship, he still doubled down on this antisemitic conspiracy theory, claiming Elmendorf “still has not said anything about the people ‘who matter to him’ whom he said were behind his original veto decision.”

Dean Elmendorf never said anything about “people who matter to him” playing a role in the veto decision. In fact, he was very clear that “donors do not affect our consideration of academic matters.” The school has not wavered from this fact throughout the ordeal.

At the end of an interview with Ken Roth published yesterday, NPR reported that Harvard Kennedy School’s media relations director James Smith told them the same thing — that “the school does not engage with donors or funders in our deliberations or decisions related to fellowship appointments.”

It's even codified in Harvard Kennedy School’s statement on transparent engagement and funding, written in 2020: “It bears emphasis that HKS’s funders do not control the way we carry out our work" and "no funder is allowed to interfere" with decisions about research methodologies, policy findings, course content, and who is HKS acceptance of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. 

2) Ken Roth’s consistent virulent criticisms of Israel have often veered into antisemitism. Could his antisemitic track record (even before he blamed Jews for his fellowship denial) be the reason he was denied the fellowship?

A few examples of this: this since-deleted 2021 tweet from Roth, which blames Israel’s conduct for antisemitic attacks on Jews around the world — essentially blaming the victim — when everyone knows antisemitism has been around long before the State of Israel’s establishment.

Example 2: This 2014 tweet, where again he blames a rise in antisemitism on Israel’s conduct. Holding global Jewry accountable for the actions of the Israeli military or government is antisemitic. It’s no different than attacking Asians because Covid-19 originated in China.

Blaming Jews for violence directed against them is yet another antisemitic trope. Hitler blamed the Jews’ actions for his antisemitism. Roth, as the child of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, should know better than anyone to avoid this antisemitic insinuation.

3) Human Rights Watch, under Roth’s leadership, was denounced by one of its own founders, Robert Bernstein, for “losing critical perspective” on Israel and devolving into an organization dedicated to “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” In 2021, Human Rights Watch became the first major international human rights group to accuse Israel of “apartheid” in a factually inaccurate, antisemitic hatchet job of a report.

4) To Ken Roth and everyone else who claims Human Rights Watch has treated Israel as objectively as any other country they scrutinize: one only needs to look at this chart from ElderofZiyon to see that Human Rights Watch has spent a disproportionate amount of time and effort vilifying Israel. 

5) Everyone who jumped on board the “Harvard is silencing Israel critics” train did so with zero evidence and only antisemitic conspiracy theories to back them up. Is this what Harvard Kennedy School should be caving to?

6) Additionally, after all of the baseless, antisemitic accusations made by Roth and others about Harvard Kennedy School denying him a fellowship, should HKS really be welcoming a fellow who just proved they have no regard for the truth?

7) Anyone who dared point out Ken Roth’s antisemitic track record was accused of trying to play the antisemitism card to shield Israel from criticism — essentially silencing pro-Israel and pro-Jewish voices. Is Kennedy School ok denying these perspectives a voice?

8) Dean Elmendorf has still not specified why he initially rejected Roth’s fellowship other than to say that it was "based on my evaluation of his potential contributions to the School.” What exactly would Roth’s presence as a fellow contribute to Harvard? As Harvard college senior Natalie Kahn said, “There are so many people at Harvard who are espousing anti-Israel views that we really don’t need another one.”

Will Roth’s presence at Harvard Kennedy School encourage healthy dialogue? Or will it just further ostracize Jewish and pro-Israel students, who already feel unsafe and unwelcome on campus?

We can only hope that in the name of free speech and academic freedom, Harvard will welcome more pro-Israel voices on campus and into the Kennedy School fellowship. If you need suggestions, we’re happy to provide a list of well-qualified candidates.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) lacks authority and jurisdiction to investigate matters related to Israel because Israel is not a party to the ICC.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to over the alleged actions of Israel because Israel is not a party to the ICC.

The ICC, like all governing bodies, derives its legitimacy from. the consent of the governed. Israel is not a signatory to the international treaty - the Rome Statute - which is the basis for the ICC. This means Israel did not consent to be under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

The United States is also not a party to the Rome Statute and as such allowing the ICC to trample Israeli sovereignty will set the precedent for the ICC to trample American national sovereignty as well.

By attempting to assert non-existent authority over a sovereign nation that never agreed to join its ranks, the court is engaging in a gross overreach of its mandate and delegitimizing itself and its purpose.

Click here to tweet and raise awareness about the ICC’s illegitimate, biased attacks against Israel.  

What is the "Deadly Exchange" conspiracy theory?

The “Deadly Exchange” conspiracy theory alleges that Jews, vis-à-vis Israel, export police brutality to the US and around the world. 

To the extent that cooperation between American and Israeli law enforcement bodies exists, it is usually limited to counterterrorism strategy, which includes an emphasis on having a positive and constructive relationship with minority communities.

Police brutality and racial strife between police and the African American community is an issue that has existed for much longer than Israel has.

Antisemitic conspiracy theories have always been a major threat to Jewish safety. This wild, unfounded conspiracy theory is no different. There is a separate deadly exchange of talking points and strategy here, as Louis Farrakhan’s antisemitic Nation of Islam has begun to coordinate this campaign with anti-Israel groups like Jewish Voice for Peace.

For example, this Tweet from (a since-suspended account of) Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam demonstrates the open collaboration between NOI and JVP.

Click here to tweet about why the “deadly exchange” is a myth and the real deadly exchange is the collaboration between open bigots like Louis Farrakhan and anti-Israel groups like JVP.

How Does Israel's Democracy Compare to Its Neighbors' Governments?

Israel has a parliamentary democracy, whose advanced democratic institutions receive strong ratings from reputable comparative lists and academics.

Freedom House, for example, rates Israel as fully "free" and scores them consistently in the high-70s out of 100.

Political attempts to smear Israel as an "apartheid state" or a somehow unfree country for its citizens are usually ill-informed if not outright motivated by antisemitism.

Medical Apartheid is a lie commonly used to demonize Israel. It was kicked into overdrive during Israel’s wildly successful drive to vaccinate its citizens against COVID-19.

The basic accusation of medical apartheid relies upon two fundamental lies. First, that Israel is prioritizing the vaccination and health of Jews over Arabs, and secondly that Israel is responsible for the healthcare of the Palestinian Authority.

First Lie:

The first lie, that Israel is prioritizing the vaccination of Jews over Arabs has no basis in fact. To the extent that there are different rates of vaccination between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, those are due to higher levels of vaccine and government skepticism among Israeli Arabs. As a matter of Israeli policy, Israeli Arabs and Jews have the same level of access to vaccination.

Second Lie:

The second lie, that Israel is obligated to vaccinate citizens of the Palestinian Authority who live in the West Bank. Not only is this claim inconsistent with international law, but it also ignores the terms of the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords are the main set of mutually agreed-upon rules that govern Israeli-Palestinian relations. Article 17 is instructive in the case of healthcare, and it clearly states that “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.”

Furthermore, Israel has already transferred thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, despite having no obligation to.

Here are some examples of how to respond to this lie:

Israel is not an Apartheid State

The most pernicious lie consistently leveled against Israel is the lies that Israel practices apartheid.

Anti-Israel activists usually engage in multiple fallacies to lead others to this conclusion.

They deceive others by conflating Arab citizens of Israel, who have full rights and religious freedom like Israeli Jews, with Palestinians living in contested areas of the West Bank.

By conflating these entirely separate groups of people, one of whom possesses Israeli citizenship and one who doesn't, they are able to mislead people whoa aren't familiar enough with the facts on the ground.