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A preliminary analysis reviewing the sophisticated media campaign deployed by Hamas prior to and throughout this ongoing conflict.

A preliminary analysis of the surprise terror attack by Hamas from Gaza against Israel on 07 October 2023.

A review and analysis of the dilemmas faced by Egypt following Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel and the Israeli defensive operation, Operation Swords of Iron.

A preliminary analysis on Jordan following the surprise terror attack by Hamas from Gaza against Israel on 07 October 2023.

A preliminary analysis of the online far-right’s response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

This analysis focuses on the increased threats and calls for violence against Israelis and Jews globally, particularly in the context of the campaign in Gaza and Hamas’ actions.

The analysis discusses the strategic shift in the Middle East conflict, where Israel faces a multi-front war orchestrated by Iran through its regional proxies, highlighting the factors that could influence the expansion of the Gaza conflict into a wider regional war.

A preliminary analysis outlining Iran’s proxy, the Houthi’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict, as the escalating Houthi actions against Israel.

The analysis primarily focuses on Malaysia’s support for Hamas, the implications of this support, and the potential risks it poses for Malaysia as it strives to balance its Islamic values with modernity and democracy.

A preliminary analysis of Hamas’ call for ‘rage day’ on October 13, 2023, urging its supporters to take action against Israel and Jewish communities not only within the West Bank and Israel but also in neighboring countries and globally.

The analysis summarizes Nasrallah’s speech focusing on Hezbollah’s stance in the Gaza conflict, distancing from Palestinian operations, critiquing Israeli leadership, and warning against international actions targeting Hezbollah and Hamas, while advocating for ending Gaza hostilities.

This analysis describes ISIS’s manifesto urging global action against Israel, highlighting three strategies: 1) global military attacks against Jews, 2) spreading ideological narratives to support Hamas, and 3) encouraging prayer.

A preliminary analysis of Cyber Toufan al-Aksa Hacking Group which pauses cyber-attacks against Israel amidst ceasefire. Known for their high-level hacking, this move signals a strategic cyber shift in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

A preliminary analysis of the Anonymous Sudan pro-Islamic hacker group initiating a cryptocurrency donation campaign.

An analysis of the increase in terrorist activities in maritime spaces, focusing on recent incidents involving the Houthi rebels in Yemen, their attacks on ships, and the broader implications for regional and global maritime security.

Mr. Shalom Ben Hanan

Chief Superintendant (Ret.) Baruch Goldman

Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak

Mr. Naftali Granot

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zohar Dvir

Ms. Sigalit Maor-Hirsh

Dr. Eitan Azani

Ambassador Itzhak Levanon

Dr. Michael Barak

Lt. Col. (Res.) Uri Ben Yaakov

Mr. Adi Carmi

In the hours following the surprise attack, Hamas leaders highlighted the defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque as a primary reason for launching the operation. Mr. Shalom Ben Hanan, an ICT fellow and former Shin Bet official, argues that the purpose of this message is to recruit as many groups and actors as possible, including those that will develop spontaneously.

“What can unite all Arab communities, from those in Israel to those in Jerusalem and any other potential arena, is the narrative of defending al-Aqsa. This common denominator can, as was the case during Operation “Guardian of the Walls,” motivate thousands to engage in popular terror. It’s the catalyst that can activate additional individuals, such as those in the West Bank, coupled with the realization that they caught us off guard, and they should seize the momentum.

The capabilities Hamas demonstrated on 7 October 2023 suggest an Iranian fingerprint. This has been a known fact for years. Hamas’s power in the Gaza Strip is based on Iranian funding and means, and in recent years, it has only expanded, starting from rocket capabilities and ending with cyber means and everything in between.

Israel must now see itself in a multi-front campaign. There’s a high chance it’s heading there, and even if not, early preparation might prevent such trends. Israel now needs to create deterrence, as strange as it may sound, against other arenas.”

– Mr. Shalom Ben Hanan, an ICT fellow and former Shin Bet official

Mr. Naftali Granot, an ICT fellow and a former Deputy Director of the Mossad, claims that there is no doubt that Israeli deterrence has suffered a severe blow in light of the successful surprise attack by Hamas and the collapse of the IDF’s defense concept on the settlements surrounding Gaza.

“There is a possibility that the anticipated extensive IDF attack aimed at eradicating Hamas, along with the high number of civilian casualties, might compel Hezbollah to take a more active role in the conflict. This could occur either proactively or through a series of days of battle, potentially escalating into a wider conflict.

At the same time, and in light of the difficult internal situation in Lebanon and perhaps precisely because of the impressive success of Hamas, in my estimation, Hezbollah has no interest in getting involved in an all-out war against Israel, and this is also because the element of surprise does not exist in light of the mobilization of the reserves and the wide alert announced in the north.

The results of the war in Gaza and especially the Israeli determination to overthrow Hamas rule will determine to a large extent whether Hezbollah will join the fighting.”

– Mr. Naftali Granot, an ICT fellow and a former Deputy Director of the Mossad

Reviewing Hamas’ propaganda in the immediate period after the launch of the surprise attack on Israel, Dr. Michael Barak, a senior researcher at the ICT, argued that Hamas’s psychological warfare is reminiscent of the propaganda systems of other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.

“Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hezbollah has emphasized that the physical campaign against the enemy must be combined with an information campaign through photo documentation and its distribution, among other things, in order to strengthen the morale of the terrorists while simultaneously deterring and frightening the enemy.

Today, Hamas uses social media as a force multiplier for their psychological warfare activities.

Hamas appears to draw inspiration in this field of psychological warfare from Hezbollah. It is important to remember that Hezbollah and Iran instruct Hamas on how to conduct propaganda wars on social media, including through courses and workshops held either online or physically, whether in the Gaza Strip or at Hezbollah’s al-Manar offices during the elections.

In other words, there is training from Hezbollah and Iran regarding methods of managing a system of psychological warfare. Emphasis is also placed on methods of recruiting Israeli Arabs for the campaign against Israel through the distribution of specific messages in the media. For example, through the promotion of narratives related to the importance of protecting Al-Aqsa, “Victory” photos, etc.

The campaign of psychological warfare includes fake news publications, disinformation, and recruiting messages through various social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more.

Hamas places great emphasis on psychological warfare campaigns and, therefore, focuses their efforts on training children and teenagers how to manage information systems and campaigns on social media during workshops and summer camps.”

– Dr. Michael Barak, a Senior Researcher at the ICT

Dr. Eitan Azani, Director of Research at the ICT, offers insights on the growing relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah and claims that the tightening connection of Hamas to the Iranian region and Hezbollah can, to one degree or another, attract or inspire an escalation in the northern area of Israel, potentially including Shiite militias in the Golan Heights.

“The question that arises is what will prevail over what. Iranian control over Nasrallah and the commitment to obey Iran. Or alternatively, the status of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the risk to its survival in the war against Israel.

It is very difficult to predict where it will go. There are two scenarios: it is possible that one side does not correctly assess the mindset and thinking of the other side (like Nasrallah after the Second Lebanon War), and the second scenario – a development at the field level that will cause an escalation and deterioration into a war. In this context, rockets being launched from the northern border do not necessarily indicate a deterioration into war or a ground invasion of Israel.

It is worth clarifying that Hamas’s ability to penetrate the State of Israel on four axes and the failure of the barriers are not equal to Hezbollah’s ability to attack and penetrate Israeli territory. It is expected to be carried out along the entire length of the border with dozens of break-ins, including the use of the underground tunnels.

However, Israel will not be surprised, as was the case of Hamas. The evacuation of settlements in the north and the mobilization of extensive reserves confirms that the State of Israel will not be surprised again. In this case, they will find the IDF more prepared than Hamas did.”

– Dr. Eitan Azani, Director of Research at the ICT

Lt. Col. (Res.) Uri Ben Yaakov, a senior researcher at the ICT suggests that, per his assessment, “it’s the Iranians,” supporting Hamas’ surprise attack against Israel.

“Given that Hamas has in the past failed to cope with the military capabilities of the State of Israel, and with a clear understanding that the Israeli home front constitutes significant vulnerability points, the organization developed means to reach the Israeli home front, including advanced rocket launching capabilities, and means that Israeli technological capabilities could not easily respond to, such as incendiary balloons. However, in this current attack, Hamas acted somewhat differently and was able to penetrate into the civilian home front by exploiting gaps in the military front, intelligence gaps, as well as operational ones. This highlights the importance Hamas places on reaching the Israeli home front.

The resilience of the Israeli home front is a necessary tool in the hands of decision-makers and the state’s ability to operate over time against its enemies, whoever they may be. In their recent terror attack, Hamas demonstrated significantly advanced rocket launch capabilities, capabilities that also reach beyond the towns of the Gaza envelope. However, the State of Israel has not yet managed to utilize all the means at its disposal to cope with this challenge, as well as the new operational challenges revealed in the towns near the Gaza Strip.

In an in-depth study conducted by the Institute for Counter-Terrorism on how the civilian home front could be organized during a multi-front war, it was found that the State of Israel does not make enough use of millions of Israeli citizens who are not recruited in an emergency, but who wish to volunteer and assist in the campaign. These citizens can be a significant addition to the civilian home front response, increasing its resilience and assisting in things like medical and mental support, distribution of food, water, and medicine to those in need, and a two-way information transfer pipeline between the authorities and the citizens. These citizens, who are naturally relatively familiar with the surrounding population, can serve as information management centers in specific locations that will be established for this purpose in advance and which were so lacking in the current event. It should be noted that beyond the importance of real-time information transfer, which was fully revealed during the recent terror attack, the mere ability to consume information in general and about relatives, in particular, increases the resilience of the home front and also that of the fighters on the front who care about their loved ones back home.”

– Lt. Col. (Res.) Uri Ben Yaakov, Director of International Relations and Senior Researcher at the ICT

Ambassador Itzhak Levanon, an ICT Fellow and Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, had this to say about the attack against Israeli tourists in Egypt:

“This is not the first time that Egyptian security personnel, whether army or police, have killed Israelis. Not long ago, an Egyptian soldier fatally shot two of our soldiers on the border with Egypt. This doesn’t mean that there’s an Egyptian policy to kill Israelis. This worrying phenomenon stems from the following reasons: the inability of the Egyptian security system to supervise, monitor, or prevent the actions of an individual. The second reason is that soldiers and police officers are paid so little that they are exposed to negative influences, and from there, the readiness for violent action is short.

Regarding the operation in Gaza. There’s no doubt that Hamas’s painful surprise against Israel on Saturday and Simchat Torah will remain etched in the collective memory. The scale of the attack is unprecedented. Its brutality has never been known in Israel, and the number of casualties is staggering. The shock is so profound that the public’s demand to change the reality and strike Hamas until its destruction is understandable.

This demand has limitations. The first is the terrorists who continue to roam in several towns in the Gaza envelope. The second is the Israeli captives held by Hamas and Jihad. These two factors slow down the implementation of the Israeli response against Hamas. As a result, time passes, and we lose the element of surprise. But it also puts us in a not-so-simple dilemma. During World War II, England and other allies were less considerate of their captives, who fell into the hands of the Nazis. Their primary goal was to defeat Nazi Germany. What Israel will do is hard to predict. One thing is clear. Our enemies are terrorists with an extremist ideology whose goal is to annihilate Israel. This is their raison d’être. We must fight them with their tools. If we want to win, we must fight to the bitter end.”

– Ambassador Itzhak Levanon, an ICT Fellow and Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt

Ms. Sigalit Maor-Hirsh, Former Head of Cyber Sub-division, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, shares her insights on the crucial aspect of social network influencers involved in influencing public opinion during the “Operation Swords Of Iron.”

“A preliminary analysis of the social networks of Palestinian influencers in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel, and internationally in the days since Hamas’ terrorist attack began on 07 October 2023 has uncovered several trends. First, influencers with large followings have been using their platforms to reach both Arab and international audiences, influencing public opinion related to the Israeli defensive operation, Operation Swords of Iron, which they refer to, using Hamas’ term for their terror attack, the “Al-Aqsa Flood.” These narratives make liberal use of verses from the Quran, attempting to strengthen the religious connection to Hamas’ attack. In addition to strengthening the relationship between religion and Hamas’ attack, many posts have also included encouragement, support, and justification. Another trend that has emerged is Hamas’ attempts to portray itself as a humanitarian army that does not harm women, children, or the elderly.

These narratives are being continually amplified through a global network of supporters and influences that cumulatively have hundreds of thousands of followers. Each of these posts is promoted in different ways across multiple platforms, using specific hashtags that also support the narrative and ideas. In addition to this interconnected network, the posts are also being promoted by platform-specific algorithms. The power of the algorithm is being expertly leveraged to increase the reach of these narratives in local Palestinian society, the regional Arab sphere, and the broader international sphere.

Another central narrative being promoted through these networks attempts to justify and support the actions of Hamas as a “resistance” movement. It appears that they are attempting to reinforce this narrative and draw support from international organizations, countries, and communities to turn against the State of Israel. As they promote this narrative, there is a danger that they will utilize disinformation.”

– Ms. Sigalit Maor-Hirsh, an ICT Fellow and Former Head of Cyber Sub-division, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel

For the past four days, a brutal terrorist attack has been taking place in the State of Israel from the Gaza Strip, led by the terrorist organization Hamas. Many hundreds of terrorists penetrated the sovereignty of the State of Israel from land, sea, and air in an event the likes of which the State of Israel has not experienced since its founding. So far, hundreds have been killed, thousands injured, and a large number of abductees, including small children and the elderly.

Chief Superintendant (Ret.) Baruch Goldman, an ICT Fellow and former Commander of the Israeli Crisis Negotiation Unit, explained:

“In one of the fighting centers, four terrorists took two hostages (an adult couple) in a house in the city of Ofakim. A long and protracted negotiation took place there, at the end of which the building was taken over. The terrorists were neutralized, and the hostages were rescued. Several fighters were injured in this daring action.

The negotiations with the terrorists, which were conducted entirely in Arabic, in the Gaza dialect, and in a hostile environment, greatly helped to calm the situation and thus prevented possible harm to the hostages and, at the same time, created more favorable conditions for the rescue unit.

On the face of it, it appears that the initial goal of the terrorists was a murderous killing spree and not a negotiation attack, but in practice, they entered a residence and, as mentioned, held the hostages for many hours. The main demands of the terrorists revolved around procedural issues (food, drink, medicine, etc.) and not around nationalist issues.

This event emphasizes once again that hostage negotiation events “have not disappeared from the world,” and even if this is not the initial goal of the terrorists, it is possible that they will fall into it or choose to fall into it.

We must continue to develop the practice models and protocols of what is called in the professional parlance “classic negotiation,” which includes elements from the worlds of psychology, crisis management, decision making, and more.”

– Chief Superintendant (Ret.) Baruch Goldman, an ICT Fellow and former Commander of the Israeli Crisis Negotiation Unit

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zohar Dvir explains that in light of the surprise attack initiated by Hamas against Israel yesterday, there’s potential for escalation among Israeli Arabs, similar to the operation of “Guardian of the Walls.”

“The security system needs to be vigilant, prepare adequately, and aim to contain events at a local level with minimal casualties and prevent further escalation. We are facing a challenging period, but we can overcome it – we’ve survived the Holocaust, we endured the Yom Kippur War, and we will get through this current conflict.

Basic procedures will need to be rethought and security systems strengthened. Yesterday, the Israeli police faced severe attacks; police stations were overrun, station commanders and their teams fought until they fell in battle. Many special forces and security personnel were killed in intense exchanges of fire.

It’s of utmost importance to distinguish as much as possible between the arenas, preventing extremist elements from capitalizing on their perceived success to continue or even intensify nationalist violent actions.”

– Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zohar Dvir, an ICT Fellow and Former Deputy Commissioner of the Israel National Police

Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak, a senior researcher at the ICT, offered her insights on the most recent terror attacks on Israel, drawing comparisons and identifying how this most recent round of attacks is different:

“The invasion of Israel, the brutal murdering of innocent civilians in their homes, the kidnapping of hundreds of others, are of a scale that Israel has not encountered in decades. Since Israel disengaged from Gaza unilaterally in 2005, there have been no less than five large confrontations between Hamas and Israel (Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, Protective Edge, Guardian of the Walls, and now Swords of Iron) – yet this is by far the most organized, planned, and bloody one.

The combination of a ground, subterranean, and naval military invasion, with murderous assaults on civilians and soldiers alike points to a successful multi-domain operation that has been long in the making. Though Iran’s footprint can be felt in the coordinated and highly lethal assault (and a possible cyberattack), Hamas has brought to the operation the quintessential element of terror – by spreading terror among the civilian population, executing children in front of their siblings and parents, and carrying out kidnappings on a massive scale. By doing so, Hamas has violated countless fundamental norms of international law, including the prohibition against hostage-taking and the obligation to discriminate between civilians and combatants, both of which amount to war crimes.”

– Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak, a Senior Researcher at the ICT and Lecturer at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Reichman University

Mr. Adi Carmi, a Fellow at the ICT and a Former Senior Israeli Security Agency Official, comments on the war in Gaza:

“We are in a mega-event and a declaration of war on Hamas in Gaza. There will be time for investigations and clarifications of intelligence and operational failures, but now we need to support and embrace our security system, the soldiers of the IDF, the police officers of the Israel Police, hospitals, Magen David Adom, and everyone involved in the operation.

I would emphasize that I do not connect with statements such as occupying the Gaza Strip, uprooting and eliminating Hamas, house-to-house entry, etc. However, I do resonate with the recent threat by the Defense Minister towards Lebanon that if they start a war, we will ‘send them back to the Stone Age.’ It’s time to implement this threat against Hamas in Gaza when we have the moral justification for all that implies.

Before the first soldier steps into the Gaza Strip, we have a duty to use all tools and means to realize the Defense Minister’s threat and direct it towards Hamas. I emphasize that the IDF is a moral and value-driven army, but at this stage, we need to start with aggressive action.

We have a moral justification to exert force on those who declared war on us, kidnapped citizens, and brutally murdered innocent civilians in their homes and beds. We need to execute this aggressive approach before any ground operation, for which we know how to enter but it’s hard to predict how we’ll exit…

The citizens of the Gaza Strip chose Hamas, they support it, and most of them are happy and celebrate the initiation of this operation by them. We need to change the equation, unlike what was done in previous operations.”

– Mr. Adi Carmi, an ICT Fellow and a Former Senior Israeli Security Agency Official