At the time of compiling this Update (Thursday afternoon), Hamas are again targeting Israeli civilians with anther rocket barrage on the Tel Aviv area, while air raid sirens are sounding in the south including Ashkelon, Ashdod and Netivot and surrounding areas.
Lord Guglielmo Verdirame, professor and barrister in public international law, told the UK’s House of Lords on Wednesday:”Israel has described its war aims as the destruction of Hamas’ capability. From a legal perspective, these war aims are consistent with proportionality in the law of self-defence, given what Hamas says it does and what Hamas has done and continues to do.” “Asking a state that is acting in self-defence to agree to a ceasefire before its lawful defensive objectives have been met is, in effect, asking that state to stop defending itself.”Read here and here
Hamas is likely inflating the daily death toll in Gaza and the media should be wary of treating its figures as reliable, said Luke Baker, a former Reuters bureau chief for the region. “Hamas has now been in charge of Gaza for 16 years. It has squeezed the life out of honesty and probity. Any health official stepping out of line and not giving the death tolls that Hamas wants reported to journalists risks serious consequences.”
“I’m not denying there are civilians being killed,” Baker said. “What is not verifiable are the numbers that emerge throughout the day from Gaza of new death tolls – 700 killed in the last 24 hours, 500 killed in the Ahli hospital car park blast, 5,000 killed since October 8. Hamas has a clear propaganda incentive to inflate civilian casualties as much as possible.”
Instead of 500 people killed in the blast at the hospital caused by a misfiring rocket, between 50 and 70 people were killed in the explosion, according to one European intelligence agency. Read more here (paywall)
One-fifth of the rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have misfired, landing inside Gaza and killing civilians, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Saturday. At the time, this amounted to more than 550 rockets. “They are killing their own people,” he said. Read more here
On Monday, the Israeli army disseminated images and recordings of the Oct. 7 attacks to the international media. In the middle of the screening of the attack footage, Roxane Runel, a reporter for France’s M6 television, was one of a number of journalists who stepped out early. “It was too much,” she said. “I knew coming here that the hardest thing for me would not be the images but the sound, because you can close your eyes if the images are too much.”… Runel said her personal limit was reached when listening to an audio clip of a call between a Hamas terrorist and his parents, made via the stolen cellphone of an Israeli victim. “He tells them on the phone – with a voice that is so ecstatic – …over and over again, ‘I killed 10 of them.’ He was saying this as something he was really proud of.” The man’s father reacted with praise.article here. warning: graphic descriptions
Hamas has been exploiting civilian sites such as kindergartens, schools, and mosques for the purpose of firing rockets at Israel. The IDF published aerial images of Hamas rocket launchers near these sites.view here
Roughly 500 Palestinian Islamist terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad participated in specialized combat training exercises in Iran in September.Article here (paywall)
Just a few of the ongoing indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, largely unreported outside Israel:
Five Israelis were wounded in a massive barrage of rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza on Tuesday in Holon, Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba, Be’er Yaakov, and Yavne. Around a million Israel civilians had to take shelter. Article hereand here
Hamas fired long range rockets towards Haifa in the north and Eilat in the south of Israel on Tuesday.Read more here
On Sunday, an Israeli man was seriously wounded by a rocket in Netivot. Gaza terror groups had then fired more than 7,400 rockets into Israel since Oct. 7. Iron Dome had intercepted over 1,100 rockets.Read more here
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre provides a graph showing the daily number of rockets fired by Gazan terrorist groups.Information here
IDF Cpl. Tamir Barak, 19, from the Combat Engineering Corps, was killed by an anti-tank missile and three others were hurt on Sunday after Hamas attacked troops searching for bodies of missing Israelis and clearing the area for Israel’s upcoming ground offensive.Article here
The IDF has provided audio evidence that Hamas is forcibly preventing Palestinians from heeding Israeli orders to evacuate to the south of the Gaza Strip. Read more here
Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza via the sea on Tuesday evening and were killed by Israeli Navy forces.Read more here
This week, the IDF has continued attacking hundreds of Hamas targets in Gaza including Hamas tunnels, headquarters, military compounds, and observation posts and rocket launchers hidden close to mosques & kindergartens. Article here/ Times of Israel liveblog here
There is a necessity and a method to the Israeli strikes, which are not about retaliation but defence as the campaign is focused on degrading Gazan military infrastructure. Strikes that ease an Israeli ground advance will help reduce the loss of life for Gazan civilians and Israeli soldiers alike, once the invasion begins… A group of Arabic-speaking Israeli soldiers regularly telephone community leaders in northern Gaza to push them to encourage their neighbours to flee. (paywall) article here
The IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office reported Sunday that it has set up a mechanism to monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza to avoid deterioration to a humanitarian crisis. On Saturday,20 supply trucks entered Gaza. Hamas has prepared for this war for months, accumulating many resources which it chooses not to share with hospitals in need. Hamas owns a fuel reserve of 1 million litres. On Sunday, Hamas confiscated 50,000 litres of fuel from a private vendor. When it infiltrated Israel, Hamas destroyed 9 out of 10 power lines to Gaza.
There is no evidence of severe food shortage in supermarkets, despite some localized shortages. There are no reported shortages in UNRWA shelters. The list of medical supplies demanded by the Gazans isn’t proportional to what is needed for a hospital in an emergency state, according to the expert opinion of the medical corps.
Important overview here
According to data from the IDF’s personnel division, approximately 3,000 ultra-Orthodox individuals have applied to volunteer for the army since the start of the war. Out of these, 2,100 have already completed questionnaires and demonstrated their seriousness.Read more here
Citizens of around 30 countries have been reported dead or missing in the wake of the Hamas attacks.Read more here
Israel on Tuesday released satellite images depicting stockpiles of half a million litres of diesel fuel controlled by Hamas as UN agencies claimed that their operations were on the verge of ceasing for lack of power. The IDF spokesman said “There’s fuel in Gaza to run hospitals and pump water…But Hamas prefers to use the fuel to continue fighting Israel. All those who claim otherwise are whitewashing Hamas crimes against their own (people).” Read more here
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN on Tuesday: “Israel has given the green light for medicine, for water, for food – humanitarian aid for the civilian population [in Gaza]…Fuel, unfortunately is essential for the Hamas military machine. They need it for their rockets, they need it for their underground terror network of tunnels.”
“We had a documented case last week when CNN reported that 6 tankers went in through the Rafah crossing with Egypt and it was said that the fuel was going for generators in hospitals to help save lives. And yet Hamas, at gunpoint, stole a large proportion of that fuel and we presume that it was diverted to their military machine…Fuel doesn’t go in because it will be stolen by Hamas and it will be used by them to power rockets that are fired into Israel to kill our people.” video here
IDF Staff Sgt. (res.) Omer Balva, 22, a dual Israeli-American citizen, flew from the U.S. to report for duty and was killed Friday in an anti-tank missile attack along the border with Lebanon. Balva grew up in Rockville, Maryland and was a friend of a cousin of the compiler of this update.Article here
Three Israelis, including a 5-year-old girl, were injured when a rocket fired from Lebanon slammed into a home in Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel last Thursday. Dozens of rockets were fired in several barrages, with some intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.Earlier in the day, two anti-tank guided missiles were fired at Kibbutz Manara. Gunfire was also heard near Zar’it. Read more here
The Ministry of Defence and the IDF on Friday announced the evacuation of the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona due to rising tensions on the Lebanese border. This comes a day after 30 rockets were fired from Lebanese territory at northern Israeli communities by Hamas. Read more here
On Monday, the IDF intercepted two drones launched from Lebanon at northern Israel, while striking four Hizbullah cells planning to carry out attacks on the border. Two people in Kiryat Shmona were wounded by shrapnel and a house suffered damage after a missile attack. Read more here
From WBII: Throughout the day Wednesday, there were at least half a dozen incidents of anti-tank missile and rocket fire from Lebanese territory towards civilian and military positions close to the border.
A squad of female IDF combat troops under the command of Lt-Col Or Ben Yehuda eliminated nearly 100 Hamas terrorists. Read more here
Six commanding officers, seven other army personnel, and one new recruit prevented Hamas’ takeover of the Zikim training base. These 14 fighters of the IDF Home Front Command’s co-ed search and rescue brigade repelled 50 well-armed terrorists while under overwhelming fire, pulling out their fallen comrades and taking their places. Six officers and one recruit were killed. More than 90 new recruits who had been drafted just two months earlier, as well as 30 administrative staffers and civilians, were unharmed. Article here (paywall)
Four Border Police officers, acting without any orders, rushed to the scene of the music festival attacked by Hamas near Re’im. Superintendent Shifra Buchris, 45, a mother of ten, serves as commander of the reconnaissance unit in the Border Police Southern Brigade. Accompanied by her deputy, Chief Inspector Ram Amrani, Sgt. First Class Baruch Avischal, and Sergeant Major Yoniv Cohen Dahar, they courageously drove in two private, non-armoured vehicles toward the area under attack. Despite constant gunfire, they worked for 12 hours to evacuate the wounded and stranded, to save as many people as possible. Read more here
Youssef Ziadna, 47, an Arab Bedouin from the Israeli city of Rahat, rescued 30 Jewish Israelis from the massacre at the outdoor party near Re’im, dodging bullets and veering off-road to bring them to safety. Read more here
Nurse Michal Elon was with her husband Rabbi Omri Elon and eight of their children at the IDF Zikim training base. The heroic nurse was shot by a Hamas terrorist and injured in the arm and chest as she treated wounded soldiers. Read more here
Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, who were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Nir Oz, were released from captivity on Monday. Their husbands, Oded Lifshitz, 83, and Amiram Cooper, 80, were not released. Article here (paywall)
Each one of the (estimated) 224 hostages has a story to tell. Here’s just one.
The Hamas captives probably include Israeli scientist Shoshan Haran, whose innovation in plant seeds has improved the lot of poor Africans, including many Muslims. Haran launched the nonprofit Fair Planet in 2011 to develop vegetable seeds for struggling African farmers. Article here (paywall)
The #NoHostageLeftBehind campaign, is devoid of any both-sidesing or calls for a ceasefire and is a strong show of support for Israel while placing the blame on the predicament of the Gazans’ situation squarely on Hamas. link here
On Oct. 7, as the full scale and brutality of Hamas’ incursion into Israel became clear, Knesset member Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamic party Ra’am, wrote to his 300,000 followers on social media: “I call on Arab citizens…to maintain restraint and behave responsibly and patiently, and to maintain law and order.” and he called on the leadership of the Palestinian factions in Gaza to “release the captives in your hands. Islamic values command us not to imprison women, children, and the elderly.”
When Hamas leaders began calling on Israel’s Arab citizens to join the fight, Knesset member Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Taal political faction, said: “Any call for militant actions and igniting a war between Arabs and Jews inside Israel is something we will not accept.”
The two Israeli Arab politicians were speaking for the vast majority of their community, not least because Arabs were also killed, abducted, and injured in the Hamas raid and as a result of its continuous rocket barrages. Former Knesset member Walid al-Hawashla told of 18 Bedouin killed in the region, “six because of rockets that hit their houses, and 12 who were working in agriculture in the area around Gaza on the first day of the Hamas attack.” Read more here
Arab-Israelis who served in the IDF have been recruited to the reserves to assist in the effort to inform the Arab world of Israel’s case.
Yahya Mahamid, 26, who served in the Nahal unit, serves in the reserves as an IDF spokesman. “I prefer to serve where I am most useful. If they had told me that I was more useful at the front, I would have gone there,” he says.
Muhammad Kabiya, from a village in the Jezreel Valley, was recently interviewed by the BBC in Arabic and stated that the terrorist attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 is against Islam. “This is not the first time I have been interviewed by the BBC,and I always assume that it will not be easy and that the interviewer will not be pro-Israel,” he said. “But against all his questions I use my weapon – the facts. With them we always win because the truth is on our side.”
“I also receive support from Israeli Arabs – of course there are a few who attack, but the majority are in favour. This is happening because what Hamas did that Saturday was shocking, and shocked the whole world. Forget that they also murdered Arabs there, this goes against everything in Islam and every basic human standard. Read more here
Shalom Weil bereavement and casualty official for the southern district school system described his condolence call to the Bedouin community, to pay his respects to the Bedouin schoolchildren murdered during intense Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. Read more here
Iran and its allies have accelerated efforts to smuggle weapons into the West Bank.
A senior Jordanian security official said networks of smugglers, assisted by the Syrian government and Iranian-backed militias like Hizbullah, were growing.Article here (paywall)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council on Tuesday: “We all recognize the right, and indeed the imperative, of states to defend themselves against terrorism. That’s why we must unequivocally condemn Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack against Israel ..(narrative includes graphic descriptions)… “It must be asked – where is the outrage? Where is the revulsion? Where is the rejection? Where is the explicit condemnation of these horrors? We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself. No member of this council – no nation in this entire body – could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people. This council has a responsibility to denounce member states that arm, that fund, and train Hamas or any other terrorist group that carries out such horrific acts.” Read more here
UN Secretary-General Guterres appeared to justify the Hamas attacks in remarks at the security council on Tuesday. Article here (paywall)
PALESTINIAN SUPPORT FOR HAMAS
The most recent Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) poll, published in September, showed that if new presidential elections were held then, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win 58% of the vote, while Mahmoud Abbas would receive 37%. Hamas’ “armed struggle” (terrorism) against Israel was supported by 58% of the Palestinian public, the poll showed. In 2021, Abbas cancelled elections he had called for the Palestinian Authority presidency and parliament after realizing that his Fatah faction was poised to lose to Hamas. The September PSR poll showed that 78% of Palestinians do not have faith in Abbas and want him to resign. Abbas has not condemned the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7. Read more here
Sadiq Khan included Magen David Adom UK among 6 charities appealing for support.Read more here
Jordan’s Queen Rania said that there was “no evidence of Hamas atrocities” Read more here
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a group of mujahideen defending their lands” Read more here
Brendan O’Neill: On the two-week anniversary of the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, thousands of people gathered in London to shout out the slogan of the killers: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The world witnesses the bloodiest pogrom against Jews in 80 years and then central London shakes with the chant that the pogromists themselves will have used. Trafalgar Square was rocked by hollers of “Allahu Akbar,” which were the last words some of those Jews in Israel heard before they were shot to death or burnt alive.
A mob of Hizb ut-Tahrir members chanted for “Muslim armies” to invade the Jewish state. What is “the solution” to the problem of Israel, a speaker asked? “Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!,” came the chilling reply….If you march with Islamists who referred to Hamas’ slaughter of Israeli Jews as a “day of good news,” you have sided with racial hatred. If you say “ceasefire now” but you don’t say “release the hostages,” you are demonstrating to the world that you value Jewish lives less than other lives. Article here
Allister Heath: The hate-fest on our streets since Hamas’s genocidal attacks on Israel, the cowardly appeasement of those who loathe democratic values, the victim-blaming, the scapegoating, and most terrifyingly of all, the open, proud, out-of-the-closet anti-Semitism: it is almost too much to bear.
Of all the sickening developments of recent days, the ugliest was the sight of heartless young people, caught on video, tearing down posters highlighting the plight of kidnapped Israeli children, laughing as they did so, in London’s Leicester Square and across the country. Do these vandals think that the kidnappings were justified…In north London, a Hitler moustache was painted on posters, this time of three-year-old twin girls abducted by Islamist extremist monsters. Hamas, a group explicitly inspired by Hitler’s ideology, kills Israelis, and yet it is Jews who are accused of being the real Nazis: nothing better captures the moral inversion of our times. Jews are always to blame, however much they are persecuted. These outrages follow the chilling story of the Tube driver who, carried away by the social contagion of our febrile times, thought it was perfectly normal to lead a carriage of protesters in an anti-Israel chant. Article here (paywall)
Alison Pearson: Please do not be fooled by Hamas’s so-called ‘humanitarian gesture’ in releasing two more hostages. Those monsters, still holding a baby whose parents they slaughtered, took care to only release women whose family members are still captives. They know that the women… will feel pressure not to share all the horrors they experienced because they are afraid for their loved ones.
These kinds of mind games are being played all the time as part of Hamas’s propaganda war against Israel. They are fiendishly good at it, which is why so many naive, idealistic Britons take their word as gospel and why more than 100,000 people marched through the streets of our capital on two pro-palestinian protests which looked alarmingly like an endorsement of one of the worst massacres of modern times. When protestors shout, “Free Palestine” what they really mean is “Destroy Israel.”
Here in the UK, it turns out, we have been far too soft. It was dumbfounding to see Hizb ut-Tahrir hold a rally in London where calls for “Jihad” (holy war) by masked men were excused by Metropolitan police as mere Islamic pleasantries. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Germany and in almost every Muslim country precisely because it wants to create a global caliphate and impose sharia law on the rest of us. It was equally horrifying to see video footage of two imams, at mosques in Manchester and Leeds, spewing bile about Jews….Anti-Semitic attacks in the UK have increased by a terrifying 1,350 per cent compared with this period last year… Article here (paywall)
Stephen Glover: What a very odd state of affairs it is when our national broadcaster (the BBC) is readier to take the word of a barbaric terrorist organization than that of a democratically elected government. article here
Yossi Klein Halevi: The sadistic frenzy of October 7 was not an expression of political frustration, but one of primal Jew-hatred, which has been adapted to opposing sensibilities and ideologies, and which today unites the far right and the far left.Article here
Amir Taheri:Why did Hamas attack Israel on Oct. 7? The “occupation” claim is out because Israeli occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, and since 2007 Hamas has been in full control of the enclave and its government. The “colonial settlements” claim is equally inapplicable because the last Israeli communities in Gaza were dismantled in 2005 prior to full withdrawal.
Between 2005 and the latest Hamas attack, the only “expulsions” that happened in Gaza concerned 20,000 Bedouins kicked out of their villages and grazing areas by Hamas gunmen. The “apartheid” claim is even less credible because there is not a single Israeli living in Gaza to practice it. article here
Wall St Journal: Hamas has raised tens of millions of dollars by skimming off humanitarian assistance and taxing economic activity stirred by trade with Gaza, according to independent researchers and current and former Western security officials. International aid “was designed to be humanitarian in nature, but money is fungible, and that also allows Hamas to divert money from providing for its people to support its war machine,” saida former senior U.S. Treasury national security official.
On Wednesday, President Biden announced the U.S. would send $100 million in humanitarian assistance to provide essential needs to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. He warned Hamas not to steal or divert the humanitarian aid. If history is any guide, that will be hard to police.
Western intelligence shows that Qatari funding was siphoned off by Hamas for its military operations. The international community, too, funded schools and hospitals run by UN agencies, helping Hamas avoid actually paying for the costs of governing the territory it controls.
Western officials say that Iran, besides providing arms and intelligence, has been giving Hamas around $100 million annually in recent years specifically for its military operations. “Iran is complicit in this attack [on Israel] in a broad sense because they have provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas,” said U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. article here (paywall)
George Monastiriakos: Hamas mercilessly massacred members of Fatah to gain control of the enclave in 2007…Hamas had 16 years to show the international community what type of state it could build. Hamas embezzled foreign assistance and prioritized manufacturing weapons instead of building infrastructure. Hamas repurposed Gaza’s pipes to build rockets while begging Israel for running water. Rather than building homes to house the homeless in Gaza’s refugee camps, Hamas built an extensive network of underground tunnels to launch attacks against Israel.
No sane and self-respecting country would accept the brutal crimes against humanity that Hamas perpetrated against Israelis on Oct. 7, nor would they tolerate the endless amount of hatred and terrorism it has exported to Israel over the years. article here
Meir Ben Shabbat: True, not everyone (in Gaza) supports Hamas. There are many who do not share its ways, but the level of support for it undermines the claim that “Hamas does not represent the Palestinians.”In the 2006 elections, Hamas won the largest share of the vote, with significant support (43%) and representation in more than half of the legislative council seats. Opinion polls over the years have indicated its popularity in the general public and especially among the residents of Gaza. Hamas represents the Palestinian ethos at its core: negating the idea of a sovereign Jewish state in the area between the sea and the river. While its military force may number “only” tens of thousands, it enjoys widespread support from the population.Article here
Don Feder: Hamas recruits are drawn from the local populace. Like other Palestinians, Gazans are born and bred to hate Jews. For them, antisemitism is mother’s milk. It saturates their media. It’s taught in their schools and preached in their mosques. Palestinian textbooks call for the total destruction of Israel and the annihilation of Jews. Maps show Palestine encompassing all of Israel.
Texts describe Jews as the enemies of Muslims dating back to Muhammad. Zionists are charged with planning the mass murder of Palestinians, a classic case of Freudian projection. The murderers of Israeli women and children are described as heroes and martyrs. article here
The Israeli coach of Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) referred to the war and massacre in Israel for the first time in an extraordinary press conference in Leipzig: “The world of football has let me down”
Watch his full rebuke (less than 5 mins):Video here
Tom Gross: Gaza has many real victims, but others apply make-up to fool gullible media and inflate casualty figures. Pallywood* at work. (*Pallywood,an amalgamation of “Palestine” and “Hollywood” describes fake news propagated by Palestinian sources.) short Video here