Today, the IDF released the names of three soldiers who have been killed in the fighting in Gaza, bringing to 51 the number who have been killed since the start of the Gaza ground operation.
Missiles continue to be fired daily at Israeli civilians by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. (and these attacks largely go unreported by the international media)
One example was a rocket barrage fired towards central Israel on Tuesday. Even though most are intercepted by Iron Dome, there’s a real danger of injury from falling shrapnel. On Tuesday three people were wounded, one seriously, in Tel Aviv. Report here
Six members of the security forces and two civilians were injured Thursday in a shooting attack near the tunnel road checkpoint south of Jerusalem. One is critically injured. Three terrorists, residents of Hebron, were shot and killed. A large amount of ammunition, as well as axes, were found in their vehicle which had been stopped for inspection.Report here
In the House of Commons, Labour MP Margaret Beckett said that she cannot support calls for a ceasefire because to some people calling for a ceasefire means Israel should stop fighting but not anyone else. Video clip here
Arab-Druze villagers are proud to serve in the IDF.
Kamal Saad, 33, commands the Israeli army’s 299th Battalion operating in the north, where cross-border exchanges of fire have intensified since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The infantry battalion is 70% Druze, an Arabic-speaking minority in Israel who are known for being fierce fighters. “We grew up here, it’s our home. We know every stone,” says Saad. “Our mission is to protect the security forces operating here and the remaining civilians,” he adds. His brother Alim was killed by Hizbullah on Oct. 9 in the area.
The fire from Lebanon is sporadic, but it does take place every day. And for the first time in Israel’s history, all civilians in areas along the border have been evacuated. In the north since Oct. 7, at least 70 Hizbullah fighters have been killed on the Lebanese side, and eight people inside Israel, including six soldiers.Report hereand here
On Monday, after the IDF entered Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children, the IDF spokesman said “Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control centre, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons….We also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here.”
He added that “Israel helped the hospital managers evacuate the Gaza patients to a safer hospital…” Report here
Suicide vests, RPGs, motorcycles used to kidnap Israelis to Gaza, diapers, chairs with rope to hold hostages, all in the basement of the Rantisi hospital in Gaza. Video here
Israeli special forces entered Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital overnight Tuesday to carry out a “precise and targeted operation” against Hamas terror infrastructure. At least five Hamas gunmen were killed during a gun battle outside the hospital.
Incubators for newborns, baby food, and medical supplies were brought by IDF tanks from Israel and delivered to Shifa, the IDF said. “Medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need.” Report here
Some of the Hamas items, including AK-47 guns found inside Shifa Hospital. Short video here
Among the items discovered at the hospital was a laptop that contained photos and videos of hostages, taken after their abduction to Gaza. Report here
The U.S. assessment that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were operating within Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital was based in part on intercepted communications of fighters inside the compound. Signals intelligence picked up in recent weeks was among several pieces of U.S.-gathered information. People familiar with the matter stressed it was based on multiple streams of data and was collected independently of Israel. The U.S. has also picked up intelligence about other hospitals. Using a hospital for any militant activities is considered a war crime.(paywall) Report here
Eran Smilansky, 28, watched Gazan children go from house to house at Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7. The boys laughed as Hamas gunmen shot or dragged away Israeli families. Survivors of the Nir Oz massacre said they witnessed boys and women from Gaza looting the kibbutz, helping the armed terrorists, and enjoying themselves.
The youngest children were around 10 years old. One of the survivors provided photographs of some of the women and children he saw.
Eyal Barad, an engineer, had a rare view of the outside world thanks to a spy camera he had recently set up. He said he saw at least a dozen children, who were between the ages of 10 and 15, and 30 women from Gaza…
“I can say with 100% certainty that [the women and kids] were not just innocent bystanders or looters. They were part of the massacre.”
Raziel Tamil, 26, had fled the Nova music festival in Re’im and was hiding in a citrus grove. He said he saw Hamas commandos holding a group of Israelis at gunpoint.
Several children, ages about 6 to 10, then emerged from a pickup truck wearing Hamas outfits. Tamil said the commandos gave some of the children rifles and directed them to execute hostages, which they did. Full Report here
Dr. Tarek Abu Arar, a Bedouin physician at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Centre, was accosted by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. He was shot in the chest, but his life was saved by a protective ceramic vest. Others beat him and used him as a human shield. “They shot for an hour and a half at every car that passed. They murdered so many people – men, women, children – everyone. I was a doctor but I couldn’t help them. Finally, Israeli special forces arrived and rescued me.” Report here
Of the 239 Israelis being held by Hamas and other factions in Gaza, one is Yusuf Alziadna, 53, of the Bedouin Alziadna clan, who was kidnapped along with his sons Bilal and Hamza and his daughter Aisha. Three other members of the Bedouin community were also taken hostage on Oct. 7. … Lt.-Col. (res.) Wahid al-Huzeil, who is helping the Bedouin families, said the fact that Hamas abducted Muslim Israelis too makes clear that this isn’t a religious war or a war between Arab and Jew. “There are Arab citizens in Israel who are part of the war effort, helping the state. There are Arab soldiers on the front, and there are Arab citizens on the home front – doctors, farmworkers and manual labourers…. (paywall) Report here (paywall)
The leader of Israel’s Labour Party, Merav Michaeli, said that after Hamas attacked Israel, “It became very, very clear in this attack that people who consider themselves to be democratic, progressive, are supporting a totalitarian terror regime that oppresses women [and] the LGBTQ+ community.”
Speaking on the fringes of an international meeting in Spain of Socialist and social democrat parties, she said, “I fail to see how shouting jihad and calling for a mass murder of Jews is pro-Palestinian. It’s important for me to emphasize to them that when you do not very strongly go against Hamas and what it does in Gaza, including to its own people, you are complicit.”
Calling for a “cease-fire now is giving permission to Hamas to continue rearming itself, continue stealing food, water, medicine and fuel from its own people and yes, rebasing itself.” She put the blame for thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza on Hamas, rather than on the Israeli army, whose actions she defended. “They are dying because Hamas is using them as human shields, because they have based everything from equipment to missiles to their headquarters in the midst of the most civilian functions there are.”
She criticized a lack of support among EU politicians, in general, to push for the release of 240 hostages kidnapped by Hamas. “I would have loved to hear more about that than just a mention, at least as much as they’re talking about the humanitarian needs in Gaza.” Report here
Video link below to a rare on-air BBC apology after one of its presenters said twice (citing a Reuters report) that IDF soldiers who had entered Shifa Hospital in Gaza “were targeting people including medical teams and Arab speakers.” The Reuters report had quoted an IDF statement that upon entering Gaza’s largest hospital specially trained forces were accompanied by “medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers [who] are on the ground to ensure that [medical] supplies reach those in need.” However, in their “apology” the BBC omitted the words “to ensure that [medical] supplies reach those in need.” Video here Article here
Journalist Tom Gross highlights the inconsistency of Gazan claims:
In a short interview that was broadcast on Al Jazeera Tuesday from the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza, a Gazan resident publicly criticized Hamas saying “Why is Hamas hiding among us civilians? Why don’t they go to hell and hide there instead?” The reporter quickly ended the interview…. video here Report here
James Heappey, Minister of State for the Armed Forces stated “A total of 12 aircraft have deployed to the eastern Mediterranean. These flights have provided surveillance support to Israel, including preventing the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups.”Report here
Israel drew 1-1 with Switzerland in a Euro 2024 qualifier last night (postponed from October) played in Hungary. Israel have to play four games in the space of nine days to complete their qualifying campaign.
Yigal Nisell organised a free trip for 130 families evacuated from the Gaza periphery to see the team play in Hungary. Israeli companies including ISRAIR and Fattal Hotels sponsored the initiative. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with players during their practice sessions, “and come together for a spiritual Kabbalat Shabbat celebration.”Article here
Israel beat the Faroe Islands 6-0 in a U19 EUFA qualifier last night. Result here
Israeli football teams Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv are going to Serbia to play their remaining “home” games in the group stage of European competitions, UEFA said Thursday. Report here
ILCA7 laser sailor Maor Ben Harush won the silver medal at the Greek Open.He said:”Especially during this period I go out into the water and compete for the flag and for the country.” Report included here
Eleonora Metelitsa & Vlad Kozhevnikov finished 4th at the World Dance Sport Federation championships. Recent video here
(Bad taste warning)
Eretz Mehuderet airs a “ BBC exclusive interview” with the “Hamas leader”.Video here
Hussain Abdul-Hussain: Many years ago, I learned Hebrew in a bid to penetrate into a world that I once thought was evil and conspiring against the Arabs and Muslims. Once in, I was surprised how wrong I was, how wrong almost every Arab and Muslim around me was. Israel was not on a mission to kill us all. Israel wanted to live and let live. In the Middle East, it’s we, the Arabs, who never seem to let live.
These days, Israelis are suffering immense pain over the 1,200 people who Hamas killed in cold blood on Oct. 7. Survivors are struggling with PTSD. All of Israel is living in anxiety over the fate of the 240 hostages Hamas took. Tears for the victims of Oct. 7 are now mixed with tears over fallen soldiers fighting in Gaza.
The world does not feel Israeli pain. It only sees and hears Palestinian pain. The world likes to take the side of the underdog, even when the underdog is guilty. One billion Muslims have a much louder voice than 16 million Jews. So the world blames Israel, even when Palestinians started the carnage. article here
Naaman Hirschfeld: When 3,000 terrorists emerged from Gaza and slaughtered the surrounding civilian population, the death of the civilian population was not “collateral damage.” It was the clear objective of this operation.
Hamas has positioned itself as an existential enemy of Israel. Its regime in Gaza cannot be allowed to continue to exist. Israel has no choice but to fight this war until it utterly defeats Hamas in Gaza.Article here
An article by Alan Dershowitz about Hamas strategy, its use of human shields and the complicity of Gazan doctors, hospital administrators, UN personnel and the international media. Article here