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Gaza War Diary: 22 FEBRUARY 2024

Well, we can all now breathe a sigh of relief (not) because Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Hamas has “softened” its position after Haniyeh’s talks in Cairo with Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Biden’s special emissary, Brett McGurk, met with Defense Minister Gallant, and we can surmise that he has been intensely “encouraging” Israel to send an emissary to the Paris Two Summit, after Israel refused to attend Paris One because of Hamas’s delusional demands.

While all of us would like to see our hostages released from this inhuman situation, we are skeptical about being able to achieve this through negotiations with bestial, lying Hamas. Arriving in Paris only to face the same ridiculous demands, which we would be under great pressure to accede to, and lacking a single friend there to strengthen our case, isn’t a good scenario.

Brett McGurk, after all, isn’t a friend. He has been sent because Joe Biden desperately wants a ceasefire in Gaza at any cost to Israel for his election campaign. It’s no skin off his teeth if we get slaughtered. The other “mediators” involved have given us zero reason to trust them since they were the ones who “mediated “ the deal with Hamas to supply medicines to our hostages, medicines which turned up not only in unopened boxes in Nasser Hospital, but also, today, in locked black suitcases that washed ashore not far from my house in Zichron Yaakov. Bad luck for the “mediators” who thought we’d never find out.

Nevertheless, the Israeli cabinet, under, I assume, dire pressure from the families of hostages, are considering sending the head of the Mossad with, as Gantz put it: “expanded” powers to negotiate.

I really don’t like the sound of that, and I don’t trust wobbly Mr. Gantz. But at least our Defense Minister told McGurk that the IDF will at the same time be expanding its attacks in Gaza. If we want to “soften” Hamas, there is nothing like aerial bombardment and tunnel explosions.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Israel continues to attack Hezbollah positions. north of Nebatiya, 30 kilometers from the border. Lebanese Civil Defense reported two Hezbollah dead and three wounded in an attack attributed to Israel on the top floor of a building in the village of Raman, apartments used by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who narrowly escaped death. Don’t worry. We’ll get them next time.

Is Nasrallah worried? Reports are coming out saying Nasrallah believes Hezbollah’s war with Israel is “done.” That may be, but we are not yet done with Hezbollah, whose terror tunnels in the north are reportedly even more dangerous that Hamas’ in the south, and whose special Radwan forces, trained for years to invade the Galilee to kill, maim, and rape with the same Islamic barbarism as Hamas, is still too close for comfort and must be pushed back beyond the Litani River, even according to a decision by the UN Security Council.

While Haniyeh may not be “softening,” the people of northern Gaza are liquid, pouring into the streets of northern Gaza in unprecedented numbers and boldness with chants against Hamas. Today, in broad daylight, they chanted:

“People are up here (above the surface of the earth)…
… Ya Sanwar, Ya donkey we want to go home
 Ya Haniyeh, Ya donkey we want to go home”
(in Arabic it rhymes)

There is evidence that those who can afford to bribe the Egyptian guards can cross the border. The going price, which before the war was $400 per person, is now $5,000-7,000. According to Abu Ali Express, sources in Fatah report that the sons of Ra’ad al-Attar, the former commander of the Rafah Brigade in the military wing of Hamas who was eliminated in 2014, have recently left the Strip. Like Al Jazeerah “journalist” and wanted October 7 terrorist Abu Omar who escaped this week, apparently every terrorist who can afford it is being allowed by the Egyptians to escape.

On the other side of the border, photos show hundreds of relatives of Gazans lining up to bribe guards to let their Gazan relatives cross over. It is clear that what is driving the sudden urgency of this exodus is the belief that Israel is about to launch a campaign in Rafah.

Early this morning there was another terror attack against innocent Israeli civilians. During the morning rush hour, three terrorists from the village of Za’atara near Bethlehem, using the backed-up traffic on the road from Maale Adumim to Jerusalem behind the security checkpoints, exited their cars with assault rifles, makeshift submachine guns, and a grenade and began an indiscriminate slaughter of those trapped in their vehicles. Israeli “super hero” Hanania Ben Shimon, a reserve soldier on leave after four months in Gaza, was seated next to his mother. Despite two bullets lodged in his pelvis and leg, he opened fire from inside his car then exited and killed a terrorist at point blank range. Before going into surgery, Hanania told his father he wanted everyone to know he wasn’t a hero – the guy who got shot in the arm was a hero (not sure who he meant, but I am sure they are both heroes). Hanania underwent complex surgery. Israeli security forces at the scene killed the other terrorist, and captured a third.

In all, twelve people were treated by MDA. Matan Elmaliah, 26, of Ma’aleh Adumim was killed. A pregnant woman, aged 23, was listed in serious condition and was operated on in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Doctors said she was out of danger but it was too early to predict the effect on the fetus. Four others were in moderate condition, and another five were treated for shock and minor injuries. MK Ben Gvir has called to increase the number of guns that the Israeli public has at their disposal, and MK Smotrich wants to build massive new housing in Maale Adumim.

I am not sure what the solution is, except that it is clear that it is only the armed readiness of our civilian population at all times that prevents these attacks from exponentially increasing the number of victims.

I wish all those who contend their desire for a “ceasefire in Gaza” is because their hearts are bleeding for the deaths of “innocent civilians” would  also allow their hearts to bleed for our innocent deaths as well. But Palestinians killing Jews somehow doesn’t move them. Only the opposite.

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4 comments on “Gaza War Diary: 22 FEBRUARY 2024”

  1. David Bornstein Reply

    Haniyeh travels around. I am positive he is accessible. He is the head of Hamas. Is Israel keeping him breathing for some particular reason? It seems to me that it would send a powerful message to the underground inhuman life forms (I have too much respect for rats or moles to compare them) that maybe their time was up and that a surrender and release of hostages might be the way forward….

  2. Chris Porter Reply

    You’re not a “paranoid freak” when people jump out of cars and try to murder you on a regular basis. Weapons in some distant warehouse aren’t any good when bullets are whistling through your windshield. Get with the program. The time to disarm is after peace on both sides of whatever border you’re near.

    • Ryan Keogh Reply

      I am sorry Chris, I probably could have phrased that better, I did not mean to insult the people of Israel. If I was in their place, I would be fearful too. I am not a military or security expert; I am only a schmuck from New York. The point I was trying to make was that Israel needs some more personal defense, but I don’t know if they want or are comfortable with people with easy access to guns. If that is what they want, that is fine with me. Over here, the only things we have to defend ourselves with are pots and pans. And even if you did defend yourself, you will probably go to jail. That is not hyperbole, that is the truth, it happened to a bodega owner here. I will admit, something about Israel that does not make sense to me is that a nation of soldiers would have considerably restrictive gun laws. Maybe because of wariness over giving guns to Arab Israelis? I don’t know.

  3. Ryan Keogh Reply

    I know we cannot have an armed population in Israel, the culture is not right for that there, but I think the way to go is to have the civilians have access to warehouses containing the weapons they need in times of war, including but not limited to helmets, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, pistols, grenades, grenade launchers, armored vests, camouflaged uniforms, and maybe even some armored-personnel carriers and obsolete tanks. Even if the tanks are obsolete, as long as they have fuel and are maintained they can be useful in self-defense operations. It would surprise me if Israel didn’t already have something like this, and if not, it should be taken into consideration. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there should be Israelis carrying weapons at all times like paranoid freaks but have them where the public can readily access them. These facilities should also be put into the hands of proper leaders, and likewise the people should be led by capable and resourceful officers.

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