Much of the week’s news has been extensively covered elsewhere so this Update is not a summary, rather a few relevant items & links to articles many of which have not appeared in the mainstream coverage.
As I compile this Update (Thursday afternoon), Hezbollah & Hamas have simultaneously fired rocket barrages into Israel and there have been clashes in the West Bank.
AL-AHLI BAPTIST HOSPITAL
After a massive explosion adjacent to a Gaza City hospital on Tuesday. Israel blamed a rocket misfired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The IDF said Islamic Jihad militants had fired a barrage of rockets near the hospital and that “intelligence from multiple sources” indicated the group was responsible.
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the army determined there were no air force, ground or naval attacks in the area at the time of the blast. He said radar detected outgoing rocket fire at the same moment, and intercepted communications indicated that Islamic Jihad fired the rockets.
Hagari also shared aerial footage collected by a military drone that showed a blast that he said was inconsistent with Israeli weaponry. He said that since the war began, 450 rockets fired at Israel had landed in Gaza, “endangering and harming the lives of Gazan residents”. Read more here
IDF: Following the briefing by the IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari on the failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization that hit the hospital in Gaza City:
Attached is a recording of a conversation between Hamas operatives regarding the Islamic Jihad failed rocket launch on the hospital on October 17, 2023: Here
Attached is a visual analysis following the IAF’s examination on the subject: View here
Attached is an infographic of all the failed rocket launches in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war: View here
Attached is a photograph from the IDF launch identification system on the subject:View here
President Isaac Herzog wrote on X on Tuesday, “An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital – a place where lives should be saved. Shame on the media who swallow the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad – broadcasting a 21st century blood libel around the globe. Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who wilfully spill the blood of the innocent. Never before has the choice been clearer. Israel is standing against an enemy made of pure evil. If you stand for humanity – for the value of all human life – you stand with Israel.” Read here
The IDF spokesman said that the damage to the hospital’s parking lot (the hospital remained undamaged) was caused by the rocket impact and due to the large amount of rocket fuel that was still in the projectile as it fell short.
Had it been an Israeli airstrike, “we would have seen craters and structural damage to the building, both of which were not identified in this incident.” Read more here
A U.S. analysis of currently available data indicates that “Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” a White House National Security Council spokeswoman said on Wednesday. She said the U.S. assessment is based on the analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts, and open source information. Read more here
Shortly after the explosion, former ambassador to the UK Mark Regev dealt effectively with a hostile Sky News interviewer. 12 minutes 23 secs.
(Warning: some upsetting images in the sidebar)View here
US President Biden, UK P.M. Sunak & German Chancellor Scholz visited Israel this week to show solidarity.
Official text of Biden’s speech: Read here
23 American firefighters from the Emergency Volunteers Project left their homes to join the response effort in Israel as Hamas continues firing rockets on Israeli communities.
Morris Morgan from California, is stationed in Ramle. His first call after landing was to a car that was engulfed in flames after being hit by rocket fire. Morgan said, “I just felt honoured to be here, especially at this time.”
Firefighters must respond to every fallen rocket. The hot metal can start fires, and sometimes the explosive load remains intact and a bomb squad needs to be called in to dispose of it. 50 more American firefighters are on standby, ready to fly over at a moment’s notice.Read more here (paywall)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh amassed a fortune thanks to the control that he and other ministers in the Hamas government exerted over the Gazan economy and the taxes they levied on goods imported into the Strip from Egypt. This has enabled him with his family to live in luxury in Qatar. A senior PA official alleged that the tunnel-smuggling market had transformed 1,700 senior Hamas officials into millionaires, according to a report in Saudi weekly Al-Majalla. Read more here
Stills from an horrific video released by Fatah terrorists in Gaza show that their men participated in the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel and also kidnapped Jews. Fatah is the political party of Abbas who heads the P.A.
(There is an X (twitter) link but I try to avoid circulating links to graphic and horrific photos & videos.)
According to Palestinian Media Watch, the P.A. will pay at least 11,100,000 shekels ($2,789,430) this month to the families of the 1,500 dead Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel as a reward for participating in the Oct. 7 murders and atrocities against Israeli civilians.
In addition, the 50 captured Hamas terrorist murderers will receive monthly salaries in prison.Read more here
Israeli Border Police officers shot and killed four Palestinians who set off explosive devices in an attempt to breach the West Bank security barrier near Tulkarem on Friday.Read more here
On Monday the evacuation of civilians in 28 communities living up to 2 km. (1.25 miles) from the Lebanese border was announced, amid repeated rocket attacks by Hizbullah and allied Palestinian factions in recent days. Many residents had already evacuated southward.
On Sunday, Hizbullah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at an Israeli town and military positions on the Lebanon border, killing one civilian and one soldier. Another nine rockets were launched from Lebanon at northern towns; Hamas claimed responsibility. Read more here
Hizbullah launched 30 mortars at IDF positions in the Mount Dov area on the Lebanon border on Saturday. The IDF shelled the source of fire with artillery,and carried out a drone strike on a terror cell planning to carry out an anti-tank missile attack. Earlier Saturday, the IDF killed three terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon. Three drones were also shot down over northern Israel.Read more here
The IDF used airstrikes to thwart an attempted penetration by Hizbullah forces into northern Israel, killing four of the terrorists. The IDF struck military targets belonging to Hizbullah in Lebanon on Monday night in response to attacks by Hizbullah against the IDF on Monday.Read more here
Hizbullah fired an anti-tank missile from Lebanon at Israeli forces near Shtula, a moshav in northern Israel early Wednesday, wounding four soldiers. The IDF responded with artillery shelling. On Tuesday night, IDF planes carried out strikes against Hizbullah sites and observation posts in south Lebanon in response to attacks on the border. On Tuesday, Hizbullah launched six anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli towns and military posts along the border, wounding three people. Hizbullah also opened fire with light arms at a number of IDF posts along the border.Read more here
Hizbullah said Monday it has started destroying surveillance cameras at several Israeli army posts along the Lebanese border, releasing a video showing snipers shooting at and destroying surveillance cameras at five points, including one outside the Israeli town of Metula. Read more here
An IDF drone eliminated a terrorist squad that launched mortar shells toward the Upper Galilee region near the Lebanon border on Wednesday. During the day, several anti-tank missiles were launched toward the areas of Metula, Malkia, and Manara. The IDF responded with fire toward the location of the shooting. Read more here
28 Thai nationals died in the Hamas attacks on Israel and 17 are believed held hostage by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. About 30,000 Thais work in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector. Read more here
Arab Israelis were also gunned down by Hamas terrorists or killed by Hamas rockets. Jamal Alkirnawi, a social activist from the Bedouin city of Rahat, said: “We are heartbroken. Those who were slaughtered were our friends and neighbours. We have good relations with the Jewish communities along the Gaza border. Many Rahat residents work in agriculture in the kibbutzim. Some of them were killed in the fields on Oct. 7.” He put the number of Bedouins killed during the war at 18. Read more here
A wounded battalion commander rescued an abducted French tourist and carried on fighting. A brigade commander got into 3 separate tanks, one after another, ran over Hamas vehicles and then shelled terrorists in the besieged Sderot police station.Read more here
The agricultural losses in the communities bordering Gaza are huge. Amit Yifrach, chairperson of the Israel Farmers Federation, said 75% of the vegetables consumed in Israel come from this area, plus 20% of the fruit, and 6.5% of the milk. There are also chicken runs, cattle farms, and fish farms.Farmers and farmhands were murdered, fields were set on fire, cattle and poultry were left uncared for, and there were also severe problems in the water and power supply.
“There is produce, but it’s impossible to reach the fields, the army won’t allow entry,” said Yaron Solomon, head of the economic department of the Farmers Federation. Read more here
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz confirmed on Sunday that water would begin to flow again from Israel to the southern part of Gaza to where Israel had urged residents to flee. Read more here
Pro-Palestinian protests in the UK have been stirred up by a “sophisticated” Iranian and Hamas network operating within Britain, Robin Simcox, the head of the Commission for Countering Extremism at the Home Office, has warned, saying that the thousands of protesters who have come out onto the streets following the Hamas terror attacks on Israel did not appear out of nowhere. Read more here(paywall)
Douglas Murray 10 minute video.
“Treat UK Hamas supporters like Isis supporters” View here
Commentary on Murray’s speech.here
Juliet Samuel: Back in reality, it turns out that what had actually happened was that a terrorist rocket misfired and landed on a carpark, killing an as yet unknown number of innocent people but leaving the hospital almost entirely intact. When the truth emerged, most of the media outlets did not issue corrections, admit they had relied on Hamas sources for a major news story, send out fresh notifications, review their editorial policies or reverse their emotive headlines to blame the terrorist group for the latest senseless massacre. They prevaricated, added weasel-worded caveats and quietly tweaked phrases to maintain the initial impression so that, for example, a BBC subhead stating “hundreds killed” became “hundreds were taking shelter”. And almost a whole day later, demonstrably false social media posts parroting Hamas’s original lies were still live online….By contrast, the leading voices debunking Hamas’s lies were a set of scrupulous, open-source intelligence analysts employed at various global think tanks or niche media, posting the evidence for free on X/Twitter…Yet on a story with implications for the stability of the entire Middle East, if not the world, and for the safety of Jews here in Britain, the (BBC) corporation became a conduit for terrorist propaganda.Full article here (paywall)
Allister Heath: We have just been subjected to a grotesque masterclass in misinformation, moral inversion, anti-Semitic hate-mongering and hypocrisy. Within minutes of Hamas claiming, with zero proof, that Israel had bombed a hospital, the world erupted into instant, unequivocal condemnation of the Jewish state.The utter certainty with which the allegations were repeated on the broadcast media, the uncritical acceptance of the vilest propaganda from terrorists, the willingness to attribute the worst possible motives to a tiny democracy fighting for its survival: it was a chilling spectacle – the successful whipping-up of a global lynch-mob. Millions of people in Britain, Europe, America and the Middle East knew – they just knew – that Israel must have bombed the hospital, that Hamas’ claims must be true. The extreme, irrational demonization of Israel is the new blood libel of our times. This allergic reaction to Israel is so acute it can only be explained as the current iteration of the world’s oldest hatred – antisemitism. Full article here(paywall)
Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch: Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
EXTRACT: When Hamas deliberately locates its operational headquarters in high-rise buildings, no provision of IHL would prevent attacking that target, even if it means destroying the entire building. Medical facilities and places of worship enjoy specific safeguards and should not be attacked as a general rule. However, when the enemy uses these sites to facilitate military operations – including using them as command centres or warehouses and storage areas to stockpile ammunition and weapons – the installations become legitimate military targets. Moreover, those wearing civilian clothes who directly participate in hostilities are considered combatants and legitimate military targets.
The electricity provided by Israel to Gaza is essential for the terrorist war effort. Limiting the flow of electricity into Gaza from Israel would substantially impair the enemy’s military capabilities. No provision in IHL requires Israel to provide the enemy, which slaughtered 1,200 Israelis, injured thousands of others, and kidnapped scores more, with a resource essential to further its homicidal terrorist goals. Cutting the flow of electricity from Israel does not meet the definition of collective punishment under IHL.Full article here
Ann Bayefsky: On Oct. 9, 2023, two days after a slaughter of Jews unprecedented since the Holocaust, the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN in Geneva asked the states attending a UN Human Rights Council meeting to stand and join him in a minute of silence for “the victims of decades of foreign occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” And they did.
UN forces are doing the political dirty work of Hamas and its partners. UN officials reacted immediately by condemning Israel and finding ways to excuse and diminish the actions of its mortal enemies. The UN is not a neutral party in this war.
UN statistic-gatherers rely heavily on Hamas sources, who lie. Palestinian terrorists seek to inflate casualty numbers, and the UN has repeatedly obliged. The UN continuously announces alleged numbers of dead and injured in Gaza without separating casualties into terrorists and civilians. Yet killing the armed combatants of the enemy during a time of war is not illegal.
UN sources constantly misrepresent international law, claiming that any civilian casualty is a war crime. In fact, the rules prohibit targeting civilians, and they recognize that within limits, civilian collateral damage or indirect harm is unfortunate but legal. Full article here but currently unavailable
Alan Dershowitz: Israel has declared northern Gaza a war zone. They have given its civilians the opportunity to move several miles south in order to protect themselves from Israeli bombing of legitimate military targets, including Gaza City. Hamas has told the civilians to stay and serve as human shields. It is actually blocking the egress roads to safety so as to assure that civilians who want to leave cannot do so.
The feckless United Nations instead of helping with evacuation, has told the civilians that evacuation is “impossible.”
It may be logistically difficult and imperfect, but many civilian lives could be saved if the U.N. and other groups, such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent, were to try to help families to move out of harm’s way. But Hamas wants these human shields—especially children, women, and the elderly—to remain in harm’s way…
“(Hamas) strategy is as simple as it is cynical: Provoke Israel by playing Russian roulette with its children, firing rockets at kindergartens, playgrounds and hospitals; hide behind its own civilians when firing at Israeli civilians; refuse to build bunkers for its own civilians; have TV cameras ready to transmit every image of dead Palestinians, especially children; exaggerate the number of civilians killed by including as “children” Hamas fighters who are 16 or 17 years old and as “women,” female terrorists.”Article here
Bret Stephens: A Hamas that wanted a more prosperous Gaza could have it, simply by desisting from its ideological aims.
If Gaza is the open-air prison that so many of Israel’s critics allege, it’s not because Israelis are cruel but because too many of its residents pose a mortal risk.
The central cause of Gaza’s misery is Hamas. It alone bears the blame for the suffering it has inflicted on Israel and knowingly invited against Palestinians. Article here (paywall)
Ireland: Ian O’Doherty: As the true horrors of what happened in Israel began to emerge…there was an air of grotesque exultation on many Irish social media sites, with the hashtag #karma attached to countless posts. It was a disgusting spectacle. At this point it was no longer possible to justify the response of so many Irish people as naivety. This was positively wicked. Israel is facing the worst pogrom since the Holocaust and many of my fellow citizens are openly celebrating the atrocities. Article here (paywall)
|Canada: Brian Lilley : Over the last week since Hamas began their horrific terrorist attacks in Israel, we’ve watched in dismay as elected officials marched in support of Hamas, union leaders expressed support for terrorist acts, and law professors at our supposedly best schools defended the Hamas attacks on social media.
People think it’s appropriate to march in rallies where the Hamas flag is flown, where chants of “from the river to the sea” ring out, and where organizers play recordings of the Israeli early warning air raid siren to warn of incoming missiles while the crowd chants “Zionists hide.” All of these things happened in Toronto over the past week, on our major streets and with hundreds if not thousands cheering on.
You don’t need to be on Israel’s side to see how wrong this is, how sick and twisted the thinking of some people is to cheer on the slaughter of innocent civilians. Once you state that you support the barbaric acts of Hamas, you are no longer a member of civilized society, nor should you be treated as such. Article here
Rich Lowry: An academic cottage industry is devoted to deeming Israel an exercise in “settler colonialism,” but the smear can’t survive contact with the slightest critical scrutiny.
Bassem Eid: As a Palestinian refugee myself, Israel’s forthcoming liberation of Gaza is long overdue. Hamas perpetrated a massacre when they violated Israel on Oct. 7 in a spree of bloodcurdling violence. As a Palestinian, I find the actions of the terrorist group beyond abhorrent. During its brutal invasion, Hamas killed, injured and abducted scores of Muslim Israelis, including Bedouins.
Israel never wanted control of Gaza. Between Israel’s independence and 1967, it was controlled by Egypt, which never attempted to create a Palestinian state on its territory. The unforgivable brutality Hamas just displayed against Israelis is what the Palestinian population has experienced from these cold-blooded murderers and thugs for the past 16 years since they took control of Gaza in 2007.
The raping, torture and murder that Hamas has committed is inexcusable, full stop. Please, Israel, deliver our people from the wicked power of Hamas.
The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian peace advocate, political analyst and human rights pioneer. Article here
Bassam Tawil: Israel currently supplies the Palestinians with 52 million cubic meters (MCM) a year of water, far beyond its obligation of 31 MCM in the “Water Agreement” that was part of the 1995 Oslo II accords. In contravention of the agreement, however, the Palestinians have drilled more than 300 unauthorized wells. The Palestinians have also failed to treat their sewage, which flows freely into streams flowing through the West Bank and Israel, thereby contaminating both the environment and the Mountain Aquifer for everyone.
If anyone is depriving Palestinians of water, it is the Palestinians themselves, specifically those who are drilling illegal wells and polluting the environment. Israel’s recent sealing of four illegal wells near Hebron was part of an effort to stop Palestinian thieves from stealing water intended for Palestinians. Were Palestinians to stop stealing water, there would be no shortage of water supplied to any city, village or farm. Yet the Palestinians blame Israel for their own illegal actionsArticle here