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Interim Israel Update 4.12.23

Since Friday, Israel has been under renewed daily rocket and missile attack (largely unreported outside the country) from Gaza in the south and from Hezbollah in the north.

 

THE IDF

 

 

The IDF announced on Monday morning that three soldiers fell in combat in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Report here

 

The IDF announced that Col. Asaf Hamami the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade missing since October 7 was killed that day fighting to defend Kibbutz Nirim, and his remains are being held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza. Report here

 

 

CEASEFIRE BROKEN BY HAMAS ON FRIDAY

On Friday morning, Hamas renewed rocket fire and failed to provide an adequate list of hostages to release to extend the ceasefire deal, with Israel announcing that this stood in violation of the ceasefire agreement and that the war was resuming.

Over an hour before the ceasefire was set to end at 7 a.m., a rocket was fired from Gaza toward southern Israel, with a second round of rocket fire reported a few minutes before the end of the ceasefire. The rocket fire continued throughout the day, with over 45 rockets fired into Israel.

On Friday evening, Hamas rockets were fired towards central Israel. Report here

 

 

The temporary truce broke down last week after Hamas refused to release 10 more female hostages.  According to Israel, Hamas is still holding roughly 17 more women and two children.Report here

 

 

Rocket attacks from Gaza have continued daily on southern communities and on Saturday night a barrage of up to 10 rockets targeted central Israel including  Tel Aviv. A 22 year old man was hit by shrapnel sustaining a head injury. Report here

A 20 second video shows the barrage launched towards Tel Aviv:video here

 

 

GAZAN CIVILIANS

 

 

Over the last few days, Israel has facilitated the opening of 2 field hospitals in Gaza, donated by Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The field hospitals are designed to treat hundreds of Gazans in Khan Yunis and Rafah, offering comprehensive healthcare services. (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) Photos here

 

 

The Israeli army said on Friday that with the resumption of fighting it had published a map to advise Gazans of safe areas for their evacuation. Its statement linked to an Israeli army website in Arabic showing an Evacuation Zone Map. An Arabic-language video had been released on social networks and the map was being distributed by the army in Gaza. Report here

 

 

According to Palestinian reports, the IDF dropped leaflets over southern Gaza on Friday warning residents of several neighbourhoods in Khan Yunis to evacuate to shelter areas in Rafah, warning “the city of Khan Yunis is a dangerous combat zone.” The  IDF spokesperson for Arabic media Avichay Adraee said the IDF “makes great efforts to distinguish between civilians and terrorists. The residents of Gaza are not our enemy. Because of this, the IDF seeks to conduct a controlled and precise evacuation of the Gazan population with the aim of removing them as much as possible from the war zone. Residents of Gaza, obeying the evacuation instructions is the safest way to protect your safety, your life, and the lives of your families.”  Report here

 

 

 

HOSTAGES

 

 

The Israeli army on Friday confirmed the death of six Israeli citizens who were abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7. (paywall)Report here

 

 

Israel said on Friday that 136 hostages remain in Gaza. They include 119 men and 17 women and children. Roughly 10 of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority are Israeli while 11 are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand, one from Nepal and Tanzania each, and one French-Mexican.Report here

 

Yaniv Yaakov, the uncle of brothers Yagil (12) and Or (16) Yaakov, Israeli hostages who were returned to Israel earlier this week, said, “Each child that was taken by Hamas was taken on a motorbike and they took every child, took his leg and put it on the exhaust of that motorbike, so they have a burn so they will be marked if they run, if they escape, so [Hamas] can find them….They were drugged, they were treated so bad, but at least they are with us.” Report here

 

 

Many of the hostages have come home malnourished, infested with lice, ill, injured and deeply traumatized.. Several   of the family members interviewed, whose parents or siblings remain in captivity, were reluctant to share the most incriminating details of their captivity lest the militants retaliate against the hostages still in their custody.(paywall) Report here

 

 

One of the paediatricians caring for the freed child hostages says that reports that they returned to Israel in decent medical condition are not true. The children had lost 10-15 percent of their body weight and they returned with skin rashes and lice bites on their bodies. “Their headlice was the worst I have ever seen. Even with five or six treatments, the lice were not gone.” They also had infected wounds that had not been properly treated.Report here

 

 

THE UK

 

 

The UK’s military will conduct surveillance flights over Gaza to help locate hostages held by terror group Hamas. The flights will be unarmed and focused only on hostage recovery efforts. At least 12 British nationals were killed in the October 7 attacks and that a further five are still missing. Report here

 

 

 

 UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY (UNWRA)

 

 

 

IDF  troops operating in the northern Gaza Strip have located dozens of rockets, mortars and other explosives hidden under boxes with UNRWA markings in a residential home, and other weaponry belonging to Hamas. (40 second)  Video here Report here

 

 

At least 20 teachers from UNRWA schools have praised and glorified the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, according to the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).
Former Knesset member Einat Wilf said “There will be no change, neither in Gaza, nor in the West Bank, nor in eastern Jerusalem, as long as UNRWA continues to provide international legitimacy to the permanent refugee idea.. Israel needs to declare the end of its voluntary cooperation with UNRWA and remove the organization from any place where it operates. Only then can one imagine a life other than perpetual warfare.” Report here

 

 

WAR ON THE NORTHERN BORDER

 

 

Hizbullah had halted its attacks during the seven-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. But on Saturday, two mortars were fired from Lebanon at the Israeli community of Shomera, while several rockets were fired at army posts along the border. Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the attacks.Report here

 

 

On Sunday there was a series of Hezbollah attacks along the border. 12 people — 11 men and a woman were wounded when an anti-tank missile hit the town of Beit Hillel, some 3.5 kilometres (2.1 miles) from the border. Report here

 

 

On Monday three IDF soldiers were injured after mortar shells landed near their position close to the Lebanon border. Later on Monday morning, a number of rocket launches from Lebanon towards northern Israel were identified. An Israel Air Force fighter jet successfully intercepted a hostile aircraft that was en route to Israeli territory from Lebanon on Sunday. Report here

 

 

HIZBULLAH THREAT

 

 

Alma research Centre: For the past two years, Hizbullah has been preparing to infiltrate Israeli territory and take over Israeli military bases and communities in the Galilee.
Since the summer of 2022, Hizbullah’s Radwan unit has reached the operational capability to fulfill its mission and Hizbullah was on the verge of deciding to authorize the invasion.
It would begin with massive rocket and mortar fire along the entire border and the neutralization of border surveillance devices by sniper fire, UAVs, and anti-tank fire.
Radwan Unit operatives would then storm the barrier throughout the entire sector, on foot and with motorcycles and ATVs.
In practice, on Oct. 7, Hamas effectively copied the invasion plan of the Radwan unit and implemented it.
The events of Oct. 7 proved again that any physical or technological obstacle will inevitably be breached.
It is our assessment that, at any given time, Hizbullah can implement its operational plan to invade Israeli territory. Report here

 

 

COP 28 UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE  IN THE UAE

 

 

President Herzog led a small Israeli delegation of 28 to COP28.  The plan had originally  been for a 1,000 strong delegation to attend including start-ups and environmental groups. At the event, President Herzog met (inter alia) the President of the UAE who thanked him for the co-operation between Israel and the UAE that enabled the increase in humanitarian aid, the construction of a field hospital in Rafah, as well as the removal of injured children for treatment in the Emirates. President Herzog also met King Charles III and Indian PM Modi.
Report here

 

 

 

TURKEY

 

 

The U.S. Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in Istanbul on Thursday that Washington was “profoundly concerned” about Turkey’s role in facilitating Hamas’ access to international finance. Turkey had historically played a “prominent role” in allowing the militant group behind the October 7 attack on Israel to access funds. Turkey’s President Erdogan has referred to Hamas as a “liberation” movement. (paywall)   Report here

 

 

 

PROFITEERING FROM FOREKNOWLEDGE OF HAMAS ATTACKS

 

“Informed traders” knew about the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel, before it happened, and made massive profits on the U.S. and Israeli stock exchanges, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University and New York University…The law professors say the evidence is consistent with informed trading, and were now pursuing the extent to which current securities law could be applied to this case.Report here

 

 

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

 

 

The chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, visited Israel  at the invitation of several families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Khan said he has “reason to believe” that actions defined as crimes according to international law were committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.(Paywall)Report here

 

 

THE STORY OF ONE THAI AGRICULTURAL WORKER

 

 

Wanchai Monsana, 44, was transferred on Oct. 10 to Sheba Medical Centre with severe burns. His co-workers from Thailand were either murdered by Hamas or kidnapped.
Monsana doesn’t speak Hebrew or English. An Israeli woman whose son was also in that hospital saw the Thai man, with no visitors, and his plight was publicised on social media. So many Israelis have visited, sometimes taking along their Thai workers, that a sign on his door requests that he be left to rest between noon and 3 p.m.  His first visitors brought him two phones and a wallet with money. Thai restaurants in Tel Aviv have delivered meals.  Israeli health insurance will cover his medical treatment. Israel’s National Insurance Institute and Thai agencies will compensate for his being out of work…Prior to Oct. 7, 30,000 Thais worked in Israel. About 21,000 remain. Full article here

 

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

Dan Perry: The fundamental equation that is lost on some naïve outside observers is that whereas the return of the hostages is worth almost anything to Israel (as it is a democracy where public opinion matters), the death of large numbers of Gazans means almost nothing to Hamas (and if anything, it is useful). Full article here

 

 

 

Khaled Abu Toameh describes how the Hamas “terrorists’ murder spree made zero distinction between Muslim and Jew…. Perhaps the Palestinians in Gaza should look at the Arab citizens of Israel and note how they enjoy equal rights, democracy, freedom of speech and a free media. If Palestinians wish to live well, like the Israeli-Arabs, this is the time for them to get rid of Hamas and all the terror leaders who, for seven decades, have brought them nothing but one disaster after another” Full article here

 

 

Richard Miron:This is a war that must be fought and won, whatever the cost to Israel itself. Ordinary people and security experts alike know that if they fail to destroy Hamas, then their country will be weakened and fatally vulnerable in the face of all its enemies. For Israelis, this conflict is existential. They are fighting to recover their deterrence which was stripped away on Oct. 7. They are battling against an enemy in Hamas with whom they cannot negotiate and with whom there can be no option but to eradicate as a threat.Full article here

 

 

David Hazony:”Hamas is an idea, and you can’t destroy an idea,” say pro-Hamas apologists and a wide range of well-meaning commentators. Nobody ever called Hamas an idea before Oct. 7. Suddenly, in light of Israel’s decision to end Hamas’ reign in Gaza, it’s fashionable to call it an “idea.” Hamas is not really an idea. It’s a terror organization, with weapons that include rockets and tens of thousands of armed soldiers…
What does it take to destroy an idea? First, you take away its guns. Ideas are like sports teams: Losers are less attractive than winners. This is what the U.S. did to ISIS, and what Israel is doing in Gaza..Full article here

 

 

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence was interviewed about the intelligence and other challenges surrounding the war in Gaza. Inter alia he said:

The Americans live in some sort of wishful world where we can hit every Hamas operative with pinpoint weapons. Whenever we can do that, we do that. Of course we make a big effort to avoid collateral damage. And the IDF has gotten very high marks compared with other militaries around the world for everything we do in order to avoid collateral damage. But the best way for us to avoid collateral damage was to tell the people in Gaza City to move south. About a million did that and they saved their lives…Hamas has managed to create an atmosphere in which the Americans are worried about a humanitarian disaster and that’s why they ask us to fight with one hand tied behind our back. Video here

 

 

MORE PALLYWOOD*

 *Pallywood,a combination of “Palestine” and “Hollywood” describes media manipulation  and distortion by some supporters of the Palestinian cause.

 

Liel Leibovitz: We see Saleh Aljafarawi, 25, a victim of an Israeli air raid, writhing in pain in a Gaza hospital, his body dotted by wires and electrodes.
Two days later we see him again. He’s a radiologist now, helping a blood-smeared patient into an MRI machine.
Since Oct. 7 he has died on camera twice, and then came back to life.
Aljafarawi is a professional social media influencer in Pallywood, where terrorist groups create fake dramatic videos and peddle them to sympathetic Western media outlets. Photos here (article contains offensive language)