Today, November 2nd is 106 years since the Balfour Declaration.
As I compile this Update (Thursday afternoon) Kiryat Shemona in the north of Israel has been hit by Hamas rockets fired from Lebanon.
Hamas official Ghazi Hamad has promised that the Palestinian terrorist group will repeat its Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis “again and again” to bring about the Jewish state’s “annihilation.” He said “[The Oct. 7 massacre] is just the first time and there will be a second, a third, a fourth … On Saturday, Hamad made headlines for storming out of a BBC interview when he was asked about Hamas murdering entire families in their beds during the Oct. 7 massacre.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that Hamad’s comments were proof that there can be no peace with Hamas. Article hereand here
Large IDF infantry and armoured forces are engaged in tough, persistent fighting deep in urban areas inside Gaza.
On Tuesday, 7 IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade were killed after an armoured vehicle they were in was hit by an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas. Another four soldiers were wounded. Two soldiers from the 7th Armoured Brigade were killed after their tank drove over an explosive device. Another two soldiers were seriously hurt.
Two IDF soldiers were killed and two others were seriously wounded when an RPG missile hit a building.
Tragically the IDF death toll has since increased.
The IDF spokesperson said “Over the course of integrated and coordinated air and ground strikes, terrorists and hundreds of targets of the murderous Hamas terrorist organization were and continue to be struck.” The army is intensifying its operations, deploying additional combat brigades toward Gaza City. The IDF is proceeding with caution, fully aware that every alley, street, and building could potentially be booby-trapped.Report here (paywall)hereand here
Israel has come under international criticism for the strike on Tuesday in Jabalya, which Palestinian sources claimed caused mass civilian casualties. However independent analysts have suggested that the IDF deployed bunker busting bombs that penetrated deep (100m) underground and precisely targeted Hamas tunnels. The resulting explosions deep underground caused an earthquake type effect above ground that caused the collapse of adjacent buildings.
According to the Hamas-controlled Gazan Health Ministry, over 8,500 Gazans have been killed. Yesterday, Israel’s Defence Minister Gallant confirmed that thousands of terrorists have been killed. Over 8,500 rockets have been fired towards Israel since October 7th, at least 550 falling short inside Gaza. Source: WBII email update 2.11.23
IDF combat engineers are using robots and explosive devices to destroy tunnels, detonate booby traps, and kill terrorists in areas of Gaza that have come under Israeli control. Report here
IDF soldiers who were engaged in fierce combat for control over the base of Hamas’ elite Force 17 near Jabaliya in Gaza were met with 100 women and children who were pushed forward by Hamas to act as a human barrier. Report here
The current invasion of Gaza with intense fighting, and later stages of insurgency and lower-grade fighting, will take several months according to informed sources. Hamas is not expected to surrender at any point.Report here
Israel is trying to strike a delicate balance between destroying Hamas and minimizing civilian deaths in an urban area where Hamas’ military capabilities are interwoven within residential neighbourhoods and in tunnels beneath them. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday, that it was “obvious to us” that Israeli forces were working to minimize casualties. “Sadly, our own experience as a military over the last 20 years has shown us that even with our best intentions and all the efforts that we put into avoiding civilian casualties, we still cause them.” Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli Air Force general and head of Israeli military intelligence said “We are not targeting Gaza’s civilians on purpose. We have obligations to defend Israeli civilians. We are in a war with the aim that the brutal massacre of Oct. 7 will never happen again.” Article here (paywall)
Elhanan Klein (35) was murdered in a shooting attack on Thursday in the West Bank. Article here
Israel’s Arrow air defence system intercepted a surface-to-surface missile believed to have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, aimed at Eilat where tens of thousands of people displaced by the Hamas assault on Israel and Hizbullah attacks on the north are being temporarily housed. Fighter jets downed another two “hostile targets”believed to be drones, that were flying in the Red Sea area. The IDF intercepted another aerial threat near Eilat that was launched from Yemen.Israeli missile boats were deployed in the Red Sea. Article here and here
The IDF on Wednesday night released a recording of a conversation between a Hamas commander and a Gazan citizen revealing how the terrorist group takes fuel from hospitals in the Gaza Strip.Article here
Israel agreed to allow 100 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza each day. The (Israeli) Prime Minister’s Office said the aid is food and medicine that is physically checked by Israeli security services before it enters. “All of the deliveries are designated for the civilian population – if it comes to light that they are being taken by Hamas, they will stop.”
32 child hostages snatched by Hamas are being held in underground tunnels in Gaza as Israel battles to crush the jihadists and bring them home. On Wednesday, The Sun (UK) published the names and photos of all 32 innocent kids to back the plea of their distraught families: “Please free our children.” Article here
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the number of Israeli hostages in Gaza is now 240.
There are still dozens more missing people whose fates are currently unknown. Article here
British Ambassador Simon Walters volunteered at Assif, the Centre for Food Culture in Israel. He joined dozens of volunteers and staff at the site packing food to send to families evacuated from their homes, hospitals, and more. “I was moved by the strength, unity and generosity that I saw today at the meeting, and in Israel in general,” he said.Article here
One must not stand silent in the face of a second Holocaust, the Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová said as she called on her country to withdraw from the United Nations to protest its failure to condemn Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. The Czech Foreign Ministry posted a more moderate statement on X, explaining its decision (to vote against the resolution), including the absence of a Hamas condemnation, the lack of demand that Hamas release the hostages and the failure to mention Israel’s right to defend itself. The resolution, proposed by Jordan and other Arab countries, saw several EU countries abstain, while only four, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, voted against it.Article here Article here
Unlike most UN agencies, the head of the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Hamas as an immoral and vicious terrorist organization and expressed his shock at their actions that opened the Gaza war. Dr. Hans Kluge, a Belgian national, praised the performance of the Israeli health system and of the Soroka-University Medical Centre in Beersheba and Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon, especially because of the very large number of wounded who arrived simultaneously. He also promised to spread the word all over the world about the atrocities and cruelty of the terrorist organization Hamas.Article here
German business software maker SAP is joining a handful of global tech giants in granting cash payments to their employees in Israel to help them cope with the challenges they are facing during the war with the Hamas terror group. SAP has also committed to donate €250,000 to the Magen David Adom (MDA) and the Alon and Ella Association, which caters to the immediate needs of families from the Gaza border settlements. In addition, SAP together with its workers’ union have bought agricultural produce directly from farmers near the Gaza border worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, the firm said. The produce is donated to various aid associations and organizations assisting evacuees, as well as IDF soldiers. Article here
The New York Times published a video featuring survivors from this kibbutz. It’s only accessible to subscribers but here are some extracts:
The residents of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where more than 100 Israelis were killed, reflect on what they lost on Oct. 7.
Survivor #1: “All of my friends in the neighbourhood are dead, along with their children. We were crawling in the field, in the ditches.”
“I truly believed that the people on the other side were not terrorists. They want to live in peace like me. But now we can’t trust anyone.”
Survivor #3: “I always believed that a mother from one side of the border wants exactly the same thing as a mother on the other side of the border.”
“Many people from the kibbutz would volunteer to drive patients from Gaza to Israeli hospitals. When we understand it’s not just terrorists (who attacked us), it hurts so much more.(paywall) Article here
This item featured in a previous Update and I’m including it again it as just one recent example of Israeli medical treatment for Gazans:
26/9/23. For the first time in Israel a new kind of pacemaker was implanted using innovative methods. The recipient of the new pacemaker in the unusual procedure was an 18-year-old from Gaza named Shahad, who was treated at Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon.Article here
The war has plunged Israel’s agricultural heartlands, located around the Gaza Strip and in the north near the Lebanese and Syrian borders, into crisis. Farmers are unable to tend their fields due to terror attacks and foreign workers have returned to their home countries.
The soldiers guarding Avi Chivivian’s organic vegetable farm in southern Israel must first scour every corner of his fields for terrorists before they give him the all clear: He has only six hours to work.article here
Reportedly the BBC cut 4 minutes from an interview of Israel’s President Herzog on Tuesday by its chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet. This segment included Herzog’s most eloquent and uncompromising statements on the realities of Israel’s war. Video embedded here
Eyal Golan released a new song “Am Yisroel Chai” in which he sings about the return of the hostages, the solidarity and resilience of the Israeli people in difficult times, and his hope that Israel “will know better days than these.” 3.5 mins. View here
Rachel O’Donoghue Every day (since Oct 7), hundreds of rockets have been shot at Israeli towns and cities, forcing tens of thousands of Israelis to take cover in shelters and safe rooms.
Israel’s missile-based defensive system Iron Dome is under pressure. Each Iron Dome battery contains three or four launchers that are equipped with 20 interceptor missiles, which stop rockets that are heading toward populated areas. But a heavy barrage can overwhelm it.
At least 11 Israelis have died as a result of rocket strikes, countless more civilians have been injured, and damage has been recorded in nearly every major Israeli civilian centre.
Not that you would know any of this by reading the international news media.
Despite the consistency and ferocity of the Hamas rocket attacks, major news outlets have repeatedly failed to mention them in recent live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war.
The media’s inattention to the constant rocket fire is important for two reasons.
First, it represents the abject failure of mainstream news organizations to accurately report what is going on in the region. It is effectively lying by omission.
Second, and most importantly, it perpetuates a dangerous and skewed picture of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Media outlets have reported in minute detail every development of Israel’s counterattack against Hamas, from the movement of ground troops into the Strip and the continuing airstrikes to the humanitarian issues affecting the enclave.
The narrative is one of a purely one-sided assault on a defenceless territory packed with suffering civilians, which is a clear departure from the truth — that Hamas rocket strikes have not stopped since its initial attack. Article here
WSJ Editorial: Hamas has two messages for two different audiences. To the international community, it pleads for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds. To the Arab world, it pledges to repeat its Oct. 7 attacks and sacrifice as many Palestinians as it takes to destroy Israel, according to Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas Politburo. To Hamas, a cease-fire means a chance to repeat Oct. 7 another day.The similar idea of a “humanitarian pause” is merely an opportunity for Hamas to reload. There is nothing humane about pressuring Israel to leave a genocidal enemy in power on its border. Hamas promises more massacres in Arabic while asking for a humanitarian reprieve in English. It knows from experience that some Westerners are gullible enough to fall for it. Article here (paywall)
Ophir Falk: Many misunderstand the principle of “proportionality.” In the course of defeating Nazi Germany, more than 5,000,000 Germans were killed by the Allies, while 400,000 American servicemen lost their lives. Did America and the Allies act disproportionately? Nonsense.
Proportionality means doing what it takes – and no more – to obtain a legitimate goal.
Israel is fully entitled to apply all military force necessary to achieve the legitimate objective of dismantling Hamas. It is a matter of survival.
The IDF is not limited to attacks that are “equal” to the damage caused by Hamas. It has to destroy Hamas and guarantee such atrocities never happen again.
The proportional response to the Oct. 7 massacre is the dismantlement of Hamas. Article here
Marcus Sheff: We are seeing with absolute clarity that in Gaza, education has been manipulated to teach a generation to hate with deadly and horrific consequences. On Oct. 7, graduates of Gaza’s education system perpetrated the most unspeakable crimes against thousands of Israeli civilians. The roots of the unprecedented assault are found in Palestinian textbooks replete with hatred towards Jews, incitement to violence, and the glorification of terror and martyrdom… Moreover, the uncomfortable truth is that the international community, including policymakers in Washington, has unwittingly contributed to this state of affairs. The Palestinian Authority (PA) receives hundreds of millions of euros in aid from European governments and the EU itself. The PA’s hate-filled textbooks are taught throughout the Gazan school system, including schools run by the UN.
Since 1994, the U.S. has funnelled billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. Among the biggest beneficiaries is UNRWA, which operates schools serving more than half of Gaza’s students. The U.S. is UNRWA’s largest donor, paying the salaries of teachers in UNRWA schools who peddle the hatred of the PA curriculum and teaching materials. In light of the atrocities of Oct. 7, Washington can no longer afford to write UNRWA a blank check. The human cost has become unbearable. Article here
Nick Timothy:The most despicable thing about the rolling anti-Israel protests in London is that they first began not in response to Israeli military action, but to the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7. For three consecutive weekends now, around 100,000 people have lined the streets of London to show their opposition to Israel. Lord Austin, who witnessed Saturday’s march, noted there were “lots of signs calling for Israel to be eradicated. [But I] didn’t see any calling for peace, a two-state solution, Gaza to be freed from Hamas or hostages to be released.” For this is about hatred, not peace. Many of those attending the protests are unembarrassed about supporting the rape and murder of Israeli civilians.
(paywall) Article here
Bassam Tawil: There is absolutely no difference between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas when it comes to spreading hate against Israel and inciting the murder of Jews. It has also been proven that each time Israel cedes land or makes gestures to the PA or Hamas, they respond by increasing terror attacks against Jews. Make no mistake. Inflammatory statements such as these drive Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Jews. Article here
In this article Nadav Shragai details atrocities committed by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank/Judea Samaria.
(Further) Abdel-Rahman Abu Arab, a member of *Fatah in Jenin, defined the Oct. 7 massacre as a morning of joy, victory, and pride, and blessed the “heroic martyrs in Gaza.” Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, praised Hamas for the attack and threatened to crush the skulls of all the Jews and Americans in the region.
(*Fatah is the party to which Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority belongs.)Article here
Eitay Mack: Civilians in Gaza were killed not because Israel specifically targets them, but because of the extensive Hamas military infrastructures that are located near civilian buildings and in the tunnels beneath them. If Israel wanted to kill the civilians of Gaza, why would it call on them to evacuate to the south and limit its attacks there? Paywall Article here
Andrew Roberts: Once Hamas has been destroyed, the people of Gaza will only be able to flourish if they learn from all the other peoples who suffered large-scale population transfers in the later 1940s, and forswear revanchism…
in the late 1940s, some ethnic groups had to move far longer distances than the Palestinians, and in much the same or more traumatic circumstances. The transfer of power in India saw 16 million Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus move from their homes in the Punjab and North West Frontier, for example, never to return…and they built modern-day India and Pakistan by not constantly dreaming of return. Starting in the late 1940s, some 800,000 Jews from Arabia, whose families had lived there for centuries, were expelled. After the German defeat in 1945, more than three million ethnic Germans were forced to move 300 miles westwards out of Silesia, the Sudetenland and other historically German areas east of the Oder and Neisse rivers…Yet where are their violent demands for the return of their ancestral lands presently lived in by Poles and Czechs?
None of these peoples…are today actively demanding the right to murder the people who have now lived in their former lands for over seven decades. They have instead built new lives for themselves, looking forward rather than back.(paywall)Article here