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Interim Israel Update 20.11.23



Today is day 45 of the war. Sixty-six soldiers have been killed so far in the ground offensive in Gaza. daily briefing here




After locating the entrance to a Hamas tunnel under an evacuated hospital in northern Gaza, Israeli army engineers filled the passage with exploding gel and detonated it. The blast engulfed the building and surveillance footage showed smoke spewing out of at least three points along a nearby road in Beit Hanoun.Report here



Last week IDF troops raided an Islamic Jihad outpost in northern Gaza, locating Iran-made Badr-3 rockets, drones, and other weapons. The Badr-3 has a range of 160 km. and carries a 250-kg. explosive warhead.Report here



Israel agreed on Friday to a request by the U.S. to allow two trucks daily carrying fuel into Gaza for use by the UN and in order to operate a water desalinization plant and other critical water and sewage infrastructure, as long as the fuel does not reach Hamas.Report here



Senior Hamas officials set up residence in Gaza City’s upscale Al Rimal neighbourhood, using their luxurious lodgings as command centres and digging tunnels underneath. IDF forces uncovered 35 tunnel shafts in the neighbourhood leading to the Hamas underground network of tunnels and command centres, and found large quantities of weapons.Report here





Emily Schrader: On Nov. 16, I joined IDF forces in northern Gaza to witness the humanitarian corridor that tens of thousands of Palestinians have safely used to flee the areas of intensive fighting. The humanitarian corridor is protected on all sides by IDF combat soldiers – protecting the Palestinian civilians seeking refuge. Additionally, as of Nov. 16, the IDF has overseen the transfer of 1,373 trucks of humanitarian aid to Gaza since the start of the war and is in the process of planning field hospitals in southern Gaza.
Capt. Natan, an IDF reserve officer, said, “We know that if we see a school and if we see a hospital, that’s actually the best way to find [terror sites]. Hamas terrorists use civilians as human shields and they use schools to put very big launching sites and tunnels nearby, all the time. We see it all over Gaza.”Report here






U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk said Saturday in Bahrain, “The release of [the Israeli] hostages is the pathway to a pause in the fighting [in Gaza]. To pause the fighting, release the hostages, the women, the children, the toddlers, the babies. The onus here is on Hamas. I want to stress that once the hostages are released you will see a significant change.”Report here







Corporal Noa Marciano, who was abducted to the Gaza Strip in Hamas’ October 7 attack, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in Al Shifa Hospital, According to the IDF and the Shin Bet, Marciano was injured from an IDF strike on November 9, and the terrorists holding her hostage were killed. Marciano was taken to the Al Shifa Hospital but was not facing a life-threatening injury. She was later murdered by Hamas terrorists. Report here



The IDF has released surveillance camera footage from Shifa Hospital showing Hamas terrorists bringing in Nepali and Thai citizens who were abducted from Israel on Oct. 7.  One is forcibly dragged into the hospital, while the other is on a stretcher.
The video proves that Hamas used Shifa Hospital on the day of the massacre.
Further images show Hamas terrorists inside the hospital and outside the rooms of the hostages.Report here



IDF forces uncovered a tunnel used by Hamas underneath Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, the army reported Sunday.
A spiral staircase leading to a 55-meter-long (180-foot) terror tunnel, situated 10 meters (30 feet) deep, was discovered beneath the compound.Report here



A British doctor who used to work at Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical centre, under which the IDF says Hamas operates a major command and control base, has confirmed that there were areas of the hospital where he could not go, or else he would be shot.  “I stayed away, but I saw a few dodgy-looking non-medical characters going in and out all the time. It was a ward leading to a basement.”
“People were genuinely fearful. I cannot emphasize too much the air of collective paranoia that existed there.” He said if hospital staff were 10% frightened of possible Israeli airstrikes, they were 90% frightened of being persecuted by Hamas. Report here



VIDEO (Voices from Gaza): On Nov. 15, we asked a Palestinian patient at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza what she saw there.
“Hamas’ Qassam fighters enter among us civilians so the Jews can’t get to them. And nobody can tell on them. When I went to Shifa, I found Qassam fighters all around us: next to us, in front of us, behind us, over and under us. Isn’t that forbidden in Islam? Isn’t that oppression of civilians? Every Palestinian knows Shifa hospital is full of them, but nobody can talk: death by the Jews is better than death by ISIS.”
“Our people will bear poverty, hunger and thirst, as long as Hamas gets out of here. From the day they arrived, we have endured catastrophe. Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out.”   Video here






Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday that Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group had fired 1,000 munitions at Israel since October 7, warning that Tehran was intensifying its attacks against the Jewish state.On Sunday, Hezbollah launched more rocket and missile attacks and instigated drone infiltrations at northern Israeli communities.Report here







Rocket sirens sounded all across central Israel, including Tel Aviv, (today) on Monday evening, as well as in the southern city of Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries. A vehicle in Holon was hit by shrapnel.Report here



While the southern communities near Gaza and the northern ones near Lebanon have borne the brunt of daily attacks, Tel Aviv was also targeted on Friday evening. Five people were injured while running to shelters. Report here






Oz Davidian, a farmer from Moshav Maslul rescued 120 young people trying to escape from Hamas terrorists who attacked a music festival on Oct. 7. Channel 13 aired the dashcam footage from his truck which shows him speeding past wrecked cars, while shots are being fired. At one stage, Davidian rescued a reserve army officer who had been at the party and had the locations on his phone of other places where people were hiding. Report here



In Kibbutz Be’eri, Rami and Vered Gold, awoke to the sounds of rocket fire. By 7 a.m., gunshots resonated throughout the kibbutz. Rami, 70, went off to help the local civilian response team. Havingpicked up a gun from a dead friend, he went on to battle the terrorists for over 12 hours until rescued by the IDF. Report here





EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said (inter alia) Thursday that Hamas “must be defeated” and should no longer rule Gaza at the end of the current war. Hamas, in his view, is “not a partner for anything….Hamas will lose Gaza.” He also called for the “unconditional release” of all the Israeli hostages and said the Red Cross should be able to visit them in Gaza. (paywall) Report here







Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed published last week in The Atlantic, titled: “Hamas Must Go.” She wrote: “A full ceasefire that leaves Hamas in power would be a mistake.” A truce would give Hamas “a chance to rearm and perpetuate the cycle of violence…. Israel’s policy since 2009 of containing rather than destroying Hamas has failed.”

“October 7 made clear that this bloody cycle must end, and that Hamas cannot be allowed to once again retrench, rearm, and launch new attacks. Hamas would claim that it had won and it would remain a key part of Iran’s so-called axis of resistance. Ceasefires freeze conflicts rather than resolve them.” Report here


President Joe Biden

Hamas has promised that it will relentlessly try to repeat Oct. 7. It has said very clearly that it will not stop. It is imperative that no terrorist threats ever again emanate from Gaza or the West Bank.

As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace. To Hamas’ members, every ceasefire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again. An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.

(paywall) article here







A poll of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza conducted by Birzeit University’s Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD) between Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 found that 77% of Palestinians in the West Bank and 66% in Gaza believe that the Palestinians will emerge victorious from this war.
83% in the West Bank and 64% in Gaza “support the military operation carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7.”
88% in the West Bank and 60% in Gaza have a positive view of Hamas. (62% in the West Bank but only 29% in Gaza say “very positive.”)
27% in the West Bank and 18% in Gaza have a positive view of Fatah.
12% in the West Bank and 8% in Gaza have a positive view of the Palestinian Authority.
93% in the West Bank and 72% in Gaza have a positive view of Islamic Jihad.

Poll findings here






Danielle Haas, an outgoing senior editor at Human Rights Watch (HRW), wrote an internal email to 500 HRW employees on Tuesday. “Following the Hamas massacres in Israel on October 7, years of institutional creep culminated in organizational responses that shattered professionalism, abandoned principles of accuracy and fairness, and surrendered its duty to stand for the human rights of all,” she wrote.
“HRW’s initial reactions to the Hamas attacks failed to condemn outright the murder, torture, and kidnapping of Israeli men, women, and children…..HRW’s initial response was the fruition of years of politicization of its Israel-Palestine work that has frequently violated basic editorial standards related to rigour, balance, and collegiality, when it comes to Israel.” Report here






UEFA refused to hold a minute’s silence before the Israel v Poland U21 game last week. In response, the two teams decided not to play the first minute of the match and observe a minute’s silence to honour the victims of 7 October. Video embedded in this article: Report here





David French: World pressure, including pressure from diplomats and from the streets, should focus on Hamas. Demand that it end the war by laying down its arms and freeing the hostages.

Public demands for a ceasefire advance the interests of the unlawful aggressor by attempting to block Israel’s exercise of its inherent right to self-defence. A ceasefire instead leaves the attacking force in place, able to rest, rearm, and attack again.

When it (Hamas)  intentionally slaughtered civilians and then hid among civilians after the attack, it violated the most basic principles of the law of armed conflict. As a result, Israel has a right under international law to defeat Hamas. Hamas bears the legal responsibility for the civilian deaths that result from its own violations of the laws of war…placing more pressure on Israel than Hamas to end the conflict and save civilian lives is exactly backward. The international system depends on opposing the aggressor and punishing crimes.

Protests that aim their demands more at Israel than Hamas impede justice, erode the international order, and undermine the quest for a real and lasting peace.

(paywall)  Article here



Moshe Emilio Lavi: Hamas has yet to allow any international humanitarian group to visit the Israelis and foreign nationals being held captive. We have no idea whether the hostages are still alive and in good health. This illustrates the urgent need to prioritize the release of all the hostages as a condition for any humanitarian pause or cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Taking hostages – civilians, including babies, children, the disabled and the elderly – is a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions. (paywall) Article here