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Israel Update 28.12.23

The next Israel Update will hopefully be sometime in the first week of January.

 

ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS

 

 

As the IDF continued to battle the Hamas terror group in Gaza, the army on Thursday morning announced the deaths of three soldiers in fighting the previous day, bringing the death toll in the ongoing ground operation to 167. Report here

 

 

Since Oct. 7, Hamas and other armed groups have fired 12,000 rockets into Israel, a quarter of them on Oct. 7. The ongoing salvos are an indication of the size of Hamas’ arsenal. In nearly three months of war, 15 people in Israel have been killed in strikes and 700 others injured…The IDF recently publicized video that shows rockets and launching infrastructure found near a mosque, in a compound used for youth activities, in playgrounds, and near children’s swimming pools. Some 10-20% of Hamas rockets fail and fall into Gaza, killing Palestinians, according to Human Rights Watch. Report here (paywall)

 

 

IDF forces gained control over Jabaliya after intense battles which eliminated over 200 terrorists. These operations included terrorists engaging in gunfire while surrounded by civilians who had surrendered while waving white flags.Report here

 

 

In Khan Yunis, the IDF is using a grid system to move civilians out of areas it plans to attack rather than demanding they evacuate all at once as in northern Gaza at the start of the war. An Israeli officer said the system is working and that civilians are evacuating areas before Israel attacks. He said this has led to fewer civilian casualties, and the majority of casualties in Khan Yunis are now terrorists.(paywall) Report here

 

 

The IDF said Monday it found a Toyota Corolla with an Israeli license plate belonging to the family of Israeli captive Samer El-Talalqa inside the Indonesian hospital  in northern Gaza.”RPG remnants and bloodstains were found in the vehicle, which were identified as belonging to another hostage…”Report here

 

 

 

A rocket fired from Gaza scored a direct hit on the roof of a synagogue in the border community of Kibbutz Sa’ad, causing significant damage to the building’s interior. Following the impact, a group of Jewish worshippers gathered outside the damaged building to continue their afternoon prayers.Report here

 

 

HOW HAMAS IS EMBEDDED IN GAZA’S CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INCLUDING UNWRA

 

 

The IDF Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504, has held 50,066 phone calls with Palestinians in Gaza; the vast majority were aimed at urging Gazans to evacuate to designated shelters and humanitarian zones during the war. One call with a Gazan, Munir, confirmed that Hamas is stealing humanitarian aid and that the terror group actually controls UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. He said ” Hamas are the senior leadership of UNRWA, and they’re also in charge of the humanitarian organizations” Other Gazans said that they wanted to evacuate south, but that Hamas gunmen were blocking the evacuation route, firing at the feet of those trying to flee…and that it was not safe to publicly criticize Hamas.Report here

 

 

 

UNRWA was originally a small agency mandated to provide basic humanitarian relief for Palestinians…According to the textbooks used in UNRWA schools, Jews have no rights whatsoever or any legitimate status in Israel…UNRWA has allowed its school buildings to be used by Hamas as storehouses for rockets and other weapons, to conceal terror tunnels, and to shelter jihadi terrorists. Hamas has been launching rockets at Israel from alongside UNRWA schools, and, when possible, shooting from inside the schools…UNRWA kindergartens have been discovered with weapons hidden inside toys and in UNRWA bags, and UN officials are charged with being complicit in holding hostages. Article here

 

 

Israeli forces completed a raid of schools in Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood on Sunday, uncovering hundreds of weapons hidden by Hamas inside the schools. Several terrorists hiding in the schools were killed by Israeli forces. Dozens of terrorists were also detained and taken into Israel for interrogation. Report here

 

 

IDF troops in the field identify Hamas terrorists almost every day inside UNRWA shelters, with their weapons, near children…Sometimes the terrorists shoot civilians who try to escape.
Almost every school and even diplomatic embassies in Gaza have become terrorist bases, similar to hospitals where weapons are found in abundance. Report here

 

 

Released hostage Mia Schem, 21 said “It’s important to me to reveal the truth about the people who live in Gaza, about who they really are”  Schem says she realized she was being held in a family home during her time in captivity and that the whole family was involved with Hamas, including the women and children. Report here

 

 

The IDF have discovered Gazan family photos of small children as well as an elderly woman  holding and aiming rifles. Photos here

 

 

HAMAS STEALS AID

 

 

A large part of the aid brought into Gaza is plundered by Hamas; the fuel keeps the ventilation systems in Hamas’ tunnels up and running, and the food aid increases the already large supplies that Hamas holds for its own people.(paywall) Article here

 

 

 

SOLIDARITY

 

 

Noor, a restaurant in the Druze village Julis in Northern Israel, has become a kosher establishment, making the change in order to provide free pre-packaged meals for IDF soldiers and evacuees during the ongoing war. Report here

 

 

 

For this year‘s Team Day staff from the German Embassy decided to volunteer in the orange harvest, helping Israeli farmers who have lost their foreign employees. “Who knew orange trees are so thorny?” Video here

 

 

HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS NORTHERN ISRAEL

 

 

Hizbullah has been firing rockets at northern Israel daily since Oct. 7, leading to the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israelis from communities near Lebanon.Article here

 

 

An anti-tank missile hit  a Christian church in Iqrit in the Galilee on Tuesday, wounding an 80-year-old civilian. Israeli soldiers arrived to evacuate him and were hit by a second anti-tank missile. Nine soldiers were wounded, one seriously. Report here (paywall)

 

 

Hezbollah on Wednesday unleashed multiple rounds of rocket attacks and multiple drone strikes reaching approximately three dozen total attacks on Israel, reportedly the most the group has launched in one day since October 7.

Six rockets struck  Kiryat Shmona causing damage to residential buildings and infrastructure.Reports hereand here

 

 

WEST BANK

 

 

IDF reservists and Border Police operating Monday night in a refugee camp near Tulkarem  located an explosives lab with dozens of primed IEDs. Soldiers also detained wanted Palestinians and seized rockets and other firearms.Report here

 

 

Residents in Israel’s Sharon Region report feeling and hearing “shaking and drilling and excavation noises” among fears that West Bank Arabs are building attack tunnels. Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal a town in Israel’s Sharon region is located near the Green Line, only about 800 metres from Kalkilya in the West Bank. Similar concerns have been expressed by residents of Bat Hefer, which sits only about 800 metres from the West Bank city Tulkarm, a terror hotspot.Report here

 

 

In a raid on West Bank money changers, Israeli security forces confiscated 10 million shekels and arrested 20 people suspected of funding terrorism, after their funds were diverted for use by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the West Bank and Gaza. Report here

 

 

IRAQ

 

 

A kamikaze drone launched by an Iran-backed militia in Iraq damaged a building in the southern Golan Heights on Wednesday night, the first case of an explosive drone hitting  the Golan during the  Israel-Hamas war.Report here

 

THE USA IN THE REGION

 

 

After three U.S. servicemembers were injured, one critically, in a drone attack on an air base used by American troops in Erbil in northern Iraq on Monday, President Biden ordered retaliatory airstrikes against the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah. Iranian-backed militias have carried out dozens of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since Oct 7. Report here

 

 

A U.S. Navy destroyer and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group shot down 12 attack drones, 3 anti-ship ballistic missiles, and 2 land attack cruise missiles in the southern Red Sea that were fired by the Houthis over a 10-hour period on Dec. 26. Report here

 

 

BUSINESS

 

Intel Israel announced Tuesday that it will invest a further $15 billion in its new manufacturing facility in Kiryat Gat, over and above the investment of $10 billion announced in 2019, confirming an announcement six months ago by the Israeli government.
Intel is the largest private-sector employer in the country, with 12,000 employees.Report here

 

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

No one has ever fought a war with an enemy so deeply entrenched in their civilian population, who so systematically abuses international law as the IDF faces with Hamas, according to a senior IDF legal official.

Fighting Hamas now, when it has vastly increased its prior use of civilians and civilian locations as human shields, is “incredibly complex” and “a new kind of case study” for the challenge of winning a war while limiting harm to civilians.Article here

 

 

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib: An increasing number of Gazans are openly and publicly condemning Hamas’ actions and blaming the group for their misery…. Dozens of Gazan Facebook accounts detest Hamas’ lack of consideration for the well-being of its people, while others ridicule the group’s mouthpieces and those who inflate the capabilities of “resistance” groups and understate the horrendous losses being endured by civilians. In video after video, we see Gazans blame Hamas for their misery, publicly decry its actions, and accuse its fighters of operating among civilians and contributing to their deaths.
Most of my family members are living in Gaza. The overall mood among the population is characterized by exhaustion and an unprecedented desire for a fundamentally different future. Palestinians in Gaza want a life without Hamas and its violence, narrow ideology, and cultish glorification of death or “martyrdom.”Article here

 

 

George Chesterton: How can you expect calls for a ceasefire to be heard if you do not recognize the right to exist of those doing the fighting? Peace depends on the hope of coexistence. It’s logical to conclude that the repeated failures of Palestinian leaders to reach a deal for their own state are inextricably linked to a refusal to consider true coexistence. Accepting a two-state solution means accepting Israel, and for some that cannot happen…  “From the river to the sea” is not merely an expression of solidarity. It is a call for the obliteration of Israel and its inhabitants. Israel can hardly be expected to listen to, let alone negotiate with, another party that plots its destruction. Spare us the moral and intellectual hypocrisy of calling for the protection of one people and the destruction of another. Article here

 

 

Prof. Gil Troy: There are serious moral and strategic dilemmas regarding how to fight back against Hamas’ unspeakable crimes and its vows to repeat them. It’s challenging with Hamas so embedded in Gaza – so popular there, so willing to hide in hospitals, mosques, and even behind women and children. Israelis who know how painful it is to bury our young take no delight in non-combatant casualties.

Hamas – and the entire Palestinian movement that started cheering the terrorists and jeering us on Oct. 7 – has drawn a clear line in the sand. We withdrew completely from Gaza – and they kept screaming it was “occupied.” They hijacked billions sent to help their own people, instead building an infrastructure of evil against us. We were attacked – breaking the latest ceasefire and the one before that and the one before that. Article here

 

 

Israeli PM’s 3 requisites for peace :

  1. Hamas must be destroyed… Unjustly blaming Israel for civilian casualties will only encourage Hamas and other terror organizations around the world to use human shields. To render this cruel and cynical strategy ineffective, the international community must place the blame for these casualties squarely on Hamas.
  2. Gaza must be demilitarized to ensure that the territory is never again used as a base to attack Israel.
  3. Gaza will have to be deradicalized. Schools must teach children to cherish life rather than death, and imams must cease to preach for the murder of Jews.

(paywall) Article here

 

 

 

Ben Dror Yemini: The West funds UNRWA annually. In 2022, it was to the tune of $1.6 billion. This massive amount of money delivered to the descendants of refugees year after year since 1950 could have paid for housing for each of those families and the construction of infrastructure and industrial zones. But no. The money is spent on perpetuating their refugee status, and on an education system that nurtures the hope of the destruction of Israel.Article here

 

 

 

Avi Garfinkel: During the Iraq War, the Americans directly killed 300,000 civilians. The number of Gazans dead when the war ends will be dramatically lower than the number of Vietnamese, Afghani and Iraqi civilians killed by the Soviet and American armies. The New York Times claims that the proportion of civilian casualties had climbed from 40% in previous conflicts to 60%. This figure actually proves the IDF’s morality, because in Iraq, the Americans killed ten times as many civilians as soldiers. (paywall) Article here