Mission Brief: Dispatch #1
October 29, 2023
Incredibly excited to kick this Substack off.
Public relations can feel glossy. Even the word feels too polished.
But the second I started as the IDF Spokesperson for Foreign Media I knew that glossy was not my way.
My friends know that I'm not about polish or soundbytes. So as much as this job lets me, I like to keep it real.
And this Substack is a way to do that.
Even in routine times, the military is complex.
Behind every soldier you see is a support network of intelligence, logistics, personnel, training and so much more. And I'm going to tell you exactly what it looks like.
But not yet.
I'm starting this in the middle of a war, triggered by Hamas' brutal massacre of over 1,400 people in Israel. So that's what I'll focus on first, talking through what's going on in this complex environment, our war of defense, and about the people behind it.
But when we're done - when we dismantle Hamas and make sure that the attacks can't happen again, when we bring back the 220+ hostages now held for three weeks in Gaza....I can't wait to share what the army really looks like.
From the inside.
So subscribe if this is up your alley. I can promise you backstage access to the Israel Defense Forces....and to what a proper English breakfast looks like.
As I said, this isn't about glossy. It's about talking to my readers like humans...and listening to the questions that real humans have. So do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. I'm here.
Lt. Col. Richard Hecht
IDF Spokesperson for Foreign Media
Following three weeks of aerial assaults, combined with occasional isolated tactical operations on both sides of the Gaza Strip security fence, IDF troops entered Gaza on Friday night and have steadily increased the scope of their activity since.
Combined forces, including ground forces, identified and struck terrorist cells that attempted to attack the forces. They also targeted terrorist cells planning to execute anti-tank missile launches.
Over the last day, the IDF struck over 450 terror targets over the past day, including operational command centers, observation posts, and anti-tank missile launch posts.
On the northern front, we’re continuing to respond to Hezbollah aggression by targeting military posts and infrastructure.
Our war is not with the people of Gaza. So we are expanding humanitarian efforts for the citizens of the Gaza Strip who moved south of Wadi Gaza. We are bringing in more trucks of water, medicine and food today. Whoever will be in this safer area will have access to food, water and medicine.
An expanded version of this daily recap is available on the IDF website here.
How Hamas “Manages” Water, Power, and Fuel In Gaza
As part of their attacks on October 7th, Hamas damaged pipes and lines conducting water and power from Israel into Gaza. They also attacked the same crossings that over 18,000 Gazans had used to enter Israel every day, where they would earn above-average salaries to take back home. Despite the ongoing rocket fire and Hamas continuing to hold over 230 hostages in blatant violation of the laws of armed combat, Israel has been hard at work repairing the damage - here’s where things stand.
90% of Gaza’s water is self sourced, with a little under 10% provided via Israel. Hamas’ attacks damaged two of the three pipes that Israel uses to send water to Gaza. Despite the ongoing attacks on Israel, Israel has repaired two water lines and transferred 28.5 million liters of potable water into Gaza yesterday. Our estimates are that there is currently no lack of water in the humanitarian zone near Khan Yunis although there are some issues distributing water towards the north, which is currently an active battlefield. This is another reason we are encouraging residents to go south.
Hamas’ attacks also damaged nine of the ten power lines transferring electricity into the Gaza Strip. However, all sensitive infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including hospitals and sewage plants, have alternative sources of energy available, including generators and solar panels.
Hamas has fuel. Its pattern of stealing fuel from humanitarian aid for their own uses is well documented. We estimate that at least a million liters of fuel is currently being hoarded by Hamas.
Question of the Day
Have questions about the IDF or the ongoing operation? I’ll be addressing them every day in this section - send them my way in the comments.
Quote of the Day
“Hamas is currently holding innocent people - babies, children, women, men, and elderly civilians alike. Returning the hostages is a supreme national effort.”
What I’m Reading
These are interesting articles I’ve recently come across. By sharing them I am not endorsing them, their points of view, or the veracity of information therein. It’s just interesting articles I came across.
As Gazans Scrounge for Food and Water, Hamas Sits on a Rich Trove of Supplies - The New York Times
Hamas continues to supply its fighters with fuel and supplies, while refusing to help their own citizens. As long as Hamas controls Gaza, they’ll prioritize rockets and weapons over civil infrastructure.
The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False - The Atlantic
What are we to make of the celebrations of Hamas’ atrocities among academics? Interesting exploration of the hollow “intellectual” framework that justifies killing babies and burning families in their homes.
Be’eri victims of Hamas are painting out their trauma - Jerusalem Post
How can survivors of October 7th begin to process their grief?
Art therapist Lee Leventer is working with children and adults to try to express in art what words cannot capture.