September 11 as Viewed from the Israeli Embassy

Twenty-two years ago today, al-Qaeda simultaneously attacked U.S. cities with airplanes filled with unsuspecting passengers, murdering thousands of Americans. At the time, Mark Regev was a spokesperson at Israel’s U.S. embassy; he began that fateful day preparing for an official visit from then-Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on September 12. He recounts his experience:

It wasn’t too long before my colleagues and I were instructed to exit the embassy. But with the defense minister arriving the next day, and so much still to do, my immediate reaction was to view the evacuation directive as unnecessary. I attributed it to the legendary overzealousness of embassy security which was always prioritizing safety at the expense of everything else.

Ambassador David Ivry was a former commander of the Israel Air Force (IAF), deputy IDF chief of staff, director general of the Ministry of Defense, national security advisor, and long experienced at handling a crisis. . . . When I barged into his office, Ivry must have thought my behavior somewhat detached from reality. For when I complained that the security people were preventing me from preparing for Ben-Eliezer, the ambassador looked at me and said: “Mark, you don’t understand, there isn’t going to be a visit.”

[In Israel, then-prime minister Ariel] Sharon set the tone. In a televised address to the nation, he proclaimed: “The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness who seek to destroy our liberty and way of life.” Israel, he declared, was prepared to provide the U.S. with “any assistance at any time.” . . . Across Israel, many hoped that with America experiencing Islamist terror firsthand, Washington policymakers could now better appreciate the realities that Israelis had been facing daily.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: 9/11, Al Qaeda, Ariel Sharon, U.S.-Israel relationship


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