No, the U.S. Hasn’t Kept Satellite Imagery Classified Because of the “Occupation”

Last month, an article appeared in the magazine Foreign Policy under the headline “Israel Can’t Hide Evidence of Its Occupation Anymore,” celebrating a minor change in U.S. regulations concerning the availability of high-resolution satellite images as a victory over “censorship.” But the entire premise of the article is rooted in what might charitably be called a misunderstanding of the issue at hand. Gerald Steinberg, whose research contributed to the original piece of legislation, explains:

A very small country under threat of massive attack from conventional and unconventional forces (particularly Iraq and Syria, at the time), [Israel was] severely limited in deploying defensive and deterrent capabilities, making it vulnerable to a surprise first strike. With the addition of very high-resolution space images available for purchase by potential attackers, including Palestinian and other terror groups, and in real-time, the threat to Israel would have been much higher. . . . Understanding these concerns, the regulations were adopted [in 1996 to prevent highly detailed satellite imagery of Israel from being made public].

Now skip forward 24 years—to July 2020—when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised the limitations regarding imaging of Israel (from a minimum two meters to 40 centimeters), based on the improvements in technology, new Middle East strategic realities, and greater availability from non-U.S. suppliers.

For those whose main objective in life is to measure Israeli, Palestinian, and (unauthorized) European government construction in the West Bank, there are numerous other and less costly sources.

But the author of the Foreign Policy article is an employee of an organization “dedicated to demonizing Israel,” as Steinberg puts it—and lavishly funded by European governments, as well as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Open Society Foundation. And so she must find, or manufacture, subjects to keep up a steady output of “disinformation.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, West Bank

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security