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Israel Update 11.1.24




U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday: “We continue to stand with Israel in ensuring that October 7th can never happen again….We believe the submission [by South Africa] against Israel to the International Court of Justice distracts the world from all of these important efforts. And moreover, the charge of genocide is meritless. It’s particularly galling, given that those who are attacking Israel – Hamas, Hizbullah, the Houthis, as well as their supporter, Iran – continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and the mass murder of Jews.” “Hamas could have ended this on October 8th by not hiding behind civilians, by putting down its weapons, by surrendering, by releasing the hostages. None of the suffering would have happened if Hamas hadn’t done what it did on October 7th…”Briefing here







Nine IDF soldiers were killed in three incidents in Gaza on Monday, with eight soldiers wounded. Six of the soldiers died in the explosion of an IDF ammunition truck brought to destroy a Hamas tunnel. The death toll from the IDF ground operation has risen to 186.Report here and here



The IDF announced on Monday that it found in a massive tunnel area in central Gaza the largest lathe and weapons manufacturing site so far and numerous rockets with ranges of 120 km. (75 miles) capable of reaching all of central Israel.Report hereand here



The IDF announced Sunday that it had found an underground rocket production base that turned “low-tech” rockets into precision missiles. Iranian training manuals were found containing instructions on how to develop cruise missiles.Report here



The IDF presented evidence proving that two  Al Jazeera journalists killed on Sunday were also working for Islamic Jihad and Hamas respectively. Both had been involved in activating drones which caused danger to Israeli forces and which led to the air strike against them. Report here



Israeli forces entered the luxurious home of the deputy head of Hamas’ military wing which  includes a swimming pool and a large manicured garden.  The IDF Arabic spokesperson said “This is further evidence of the absolute disconnect between the Hamas leadership, including the heads of its military wing, who lived in luxury and enjoy great wealth, and a large segment of Gaza’s population pleading for donations and international aid. Report here



94 year-old Sgt Mjr Suleiman Juamis from the Galilee Bedouin town of Zarzir is the oldest reservist in the IDF.
He is also the father of seven combat soldiers and his thirty five grandsons are following the family tradition.
One of his sons founded the first Bedouin pre-army study programme.
Since October 7th he has been helping to organise other veteran reservists to patrol the area around their town and neighbouring towns, Jewish and Bedouin.  Article here (Hebrew)



Gazan press photographers joined in October 7 lynching and raiding of Israelis. An Instagram Live feed showed multiple Gaza-based photojournalists boasting about their participation in the infiltration of Israel. Report here



The IDF says it had eliminated Hassan Akasha, a Hamas official in Syria responsible for launching rockets at Israel in recent weeks. Report here



Since Oct. 7, 13,000 Israelis have been wounded in the war against Hamas. Of these, over 6,000 are members of security forces including the IDF and Israel Police with more than 2,000 permanently disabled. Report herearticle here



Gazan civilians have testified to IDF officers how Hamas murdered Gazan civilians who tried to get help from UNRWA and that Hamas terrorists steal food from US aid organizations and seize civilian properties for military use.Article here



The IDF unit overseeing the transport of humanitarian aid into Gaza said Wednesday there are no shortages of food and that existing problems were caused by the inability of the UN to properly distribute the goods inside Gaza. Report here




Israel has launched a new website that includes horrific video of the Hamas terrorists committing their massacre on Oct. 7. The IDF explained that “The goal is to make sure the world remembers why we went to war.” The site is intentionally not accessible from within Israel and is exclusively for international viewers. Warning: this article contains links to graphic footage.




A Telegram group of 3,000 UNRWA teachers in Gaza is replete with posts celebrating the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7 minutes after it began, praising the murderers and rapists as “heroes,” gleefully sharing photos of dead or captured Israelis, and urging the execution of hostages. In previous reports and testimony, UN Watch has documented how UNRWA teachers systematically indoctrinate Palestinian children and promote terrorism and antisemitism.Report here



According to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel, some UNRWA employees act as terrorists. Hamas has used UNRWA schools as human shields, built terror tunnels beneath them, stored missiles inside them and fired them on Israel.
UNRWA text books promote hatred and incitement against Israel and Jews. The UNRWA curriculum treats Israel as an enemy, promotes “martyrs,” and claims that “jihad is the road to glory. Apparently, the number of Palestinians living today who meet the international criteria for refugee status is less than 30,000…Article here


Also see Rick Berman article at the end of this Update.






Violence that included sexual atrocities committed during the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 in Israel amounts to war crimes and may also be crimes against humanity, UN human rights experts Alice Jill Edwards, a special rapporteur on torture, and Morris Tidball-Binz, a special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said on Monday. They called for “full accountability” for the multitude of crimes. Report here (paywall)






Hizbullah fired 40 rockets at the Mount Meron area of northern Israel on Saturday, targeting an Israeli military installation. The attack on the base, located 5 miles from the Lebanese border, underscores Hizbullah’s ability to carry out precision strikes on Israeli strategic and military targets. Later, several more missiles were fired by Hizbullah at Yiftah and Avivim. Article hereReport here



The commander of Hizbullah’s Radwan special forces, was killed on Monday. Tawil played an important role in the management of Hizbullah operations and was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 2006, that led to the Second Lebanon War. He was also responsible for planning an invasion of Israeli communities along the border with Lebanon. Report here (paywall)



The commander of Hizbullah’s drone forces in southern Lebanon, was killed on Tuesday. He was responsible for dozens of drone attacks on northern Israel in recent months, including a strike on IDF Northern Command headquarters in Safed. Report here



The border between Israel and Lebanon has become a landscape of abandoned towns and neglected farms as escalating strikes by Hizbullah have displaced people from their homes for three months amid daily missile and rocket attacks from Lebanon.
Many residents work in agriculture and have been all but cut off from the farms, hothouses and chicken coops that are their livelihood. One farmer, a father of three, was killed in a strike launched from Lebanon last month as he drove to his apple orchards. ((paywall)Article here



Nearly 190 missiles have struck the city of Kiryat Shmona near the Lebanese border since the war began, on top of six drone attacks. Ten people have been wounded, one seriously. Some 21,000 people, 87% of the city’s population, have been evacuated. Dozens of cars and 16 buildings, including four preschools and a high school, have been hit, in addition to heavy damage to roads and infrastructure.(paywall) Article here



Evacuated Kibbutz Sasa’s Plasan armour factory is operating around the clock producing body armour for bulletproof vests and bolt-on armour kits for military vehicles. Article here



Hamas’ strategy of invasion, massacre, kidnapping, and deception under cover of massive rocket attacks mirrors Hizbullah’s strategy toward Israel’s north. Hizbullah’s Radwan forces prepared a similar ground invasion plan to capture Israel’s northern towns and cities, including Kiryat Shmona, Metula, and Nahariya.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701 required a Hizbullah pullback 20 km. north of Israel’s border beyond the Litani River to create a buffer zone that would have prevented the current stark reality of more than 100,000 Israelis evacuated from their homes in northern Israel. Unfortunately, UNIFIL (United Nations International Forces in Lebanon) failed to enforce the UN’s internationally-guaranteed resolution. Article here






Border Policewoman Sgt. Shai Germai, 19, was killed and three others were injured early Sunday when their vehicle was hit by an explosive charge in Jenin.Report here



Three Palestinians suspected of involvement in a deadly terror shooting attack in the West Bank Sunday were arrested. Amar Mansour, 33, a father of two from East Jerusalem was killed, and a Palestinian woman, 42, a pharmacist at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital was seriously wounded in the attack. Report here



During a counterterrorism operation near Tulkarm, close to the Israeli city of Netanya, IDF forces found a booby-trapped UNRWA kindergarten on the ground floor of a multi-story building, part of terrorist infrastructure built up over years. There was a mosque there from which they would shoot on a daily basis, and its entire surroundings were completely booby-trapped. It was only a matter of time before that infrastructure was used to carry out serious terrorist attacks inside IsraelReport hereArticle here






A group of 29 University of Pennsylvania faculty members joined a 3 day solidarity visit to Israel last week,  the first organized tour by US academics since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7.Report here



US data-analysis software giant Palantir Technologies is this week holding the firm’s first board meeting of the new year in Tel Aviv to show solidarity with Israel. Report here






In an interview with FRANCE 24, Israel’s First Lady Michal Herzog insisted that “the people of Israel do not want war; they do not want civilians to be hurt.” Herzog went on to say that “the people who are hurting the people in Gaza are the terrorist regime that uses them.” She added that Israelis “would be very happy for the innocent people of Gaza to have a better life and not under the terror of Hamas”. Video here






Herb Keinon: On Thursday, Israel will be dragged to the ICJ in The Hague, accused of committing genocide, and not Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that has the destruction of Israel as the cardinal tenet of its founding charter and which started the war by attacking us, killing 1,200 people and destroying entire communities.
Therein lies the dissonance between what Israelis are feeling and the perspective from the outside. Israelis, traumatized and embattled, feel that they are fighting a quintessential war of no choice, one of – if not the most – just and justifiable wars the country has ever fought. It’s as if part of the world’s moral compass has gone haywire, as if we live in parallel universes.
This dissonance would, indeed, be unbearable were it not for the sense of justice that most Israelis feel in their country waging this war and the way it is waging this war, regardless of what judges at the ICJ from those beacons-of-light countries such as Russia, China, Somalia, Lebanon, and South Africa may determine. Article here




Former UK Attorney General Sir Michael Ellis told the House of Commons that “South Africa is geopolitically moving towards Iran and openly supports Hamas. Indeed, its Foreign Secretary said that Israel does not even have the right to defend itself…South Africa’s case at The Hague has no legal merit whatsoever. Israel’s actions are in lawful self-defence. The case is a dangerous political stunt that the United States has already criticized.”  Report here




Arsen Ostrovsky and Stanislav Pavlovschi: The commission of genocide has nothing to do with the number of civilian casualties. The key element of the crime is “intent.” Israel is not seeking to destroy the Palestinian people, whether in whole, in part, or in any manner.
If anyone is guilty of genocide here, it is Hamas, which openly states that the destruction of Israel is its ultimate goal. It acted on those intentions on Oct. 7, when Hamas massacred over 1,200 Israelis.Article here





Daniel Greenfield: Months after all the assurances from the Biden administration that the aid would not end up in the hands of Hamas, it routinely does and without a word of protest.
A massive fortune in aid is being handed over to Hamas for distribution by nameless aid organizations that video evidence and eyewitness testimony shows is going to terrorists…armed Hamas fighters have hijacked aid convoys in videos taken both by the IDF and civilians in Gaza. In video after video, Hamas terrorists seize aid and assault civilians.Article here



David Farahi: In 1947, India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain and 15 million people began the largest population transfer the world had ever seen. They included 2 million Hindus displaced from Sindh in southwest Pakistan. They were forced to flee their land with not much more than the clothes on their backs. But in only one or two generations, they have shed the title of refugee and are entrepreneurs and community leaders across the globe. Hamas must be removed from power so a new Palestinian leadership can emerge that works to create opportunity for a prosperous Palestinian future alongside its neighbours – a leadership that does not trumpet the label of victim, but one that glorifies growth and agency.   Article here



Amir Taheri: In the first two quarters of 2023, the Gaza economy grew by 4% while that of the West Bank remained almost static.
Thanks to generous donations by UNRWA, the EU, Qatar, the PA, repatriated income by 100,000 Gazans working abroad, including 25,000 working in Israel, and customs revenue from Israeli governments, Gaza had 36 hospitals and 3,500 hospital beds, figures that are per capita higher than those of Egypt and Jordan.
Thanks to international aid and donations by wealthy Palestinians in Europe and the Americas, Gaza ranked ahead of Iran in percentage of GDP allocated to health and education. At the same time, Hamas did not need to fund its military and the tunnels it dug through taxation, as Tehran covered much of the cost.article here



Stuart Force: Congress enacted the Taylor Force Act in 2018, mandating that the U.S. withhold financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ends its payments for terrorist attacks. The law was named after our son, Taylor, who was stabbed to death on March 8, 2016, on the boardwalk in Jaffa, Israel, by a Palestinian.
To watch President Biden and his administration violate the law and resume payments of millions of taxpayer dollars to terrorists is devastating to our family. It is also a slap in the face to the many who supported the Taylor Force Act. Payments to PA-controlled nongovernmental organizations or to the anti-Israel UN refugee agency UNRWA results in money being diverted to fund terrorism.
“Pay for slay” must end, the flow of U.S. dollars must stop, and any discussion of the PA’s role in Gaza after the war against Hamas must cease as well. Article here (paywall)



Col. Richard Kemp: The IDF is facing one of the most difficult and complex combat environments any armed forces have ever had to deal with. Most of Hamas’ forms of operation directly and intentionally contravene the laws of armed conflict.

I am not aware of any comparable purposely-built underground (tunnel) complex that any armed forces have had to tackle in any other conflict.

Hamas and its fellow Gaza terrorists have, over several years, been preparing the territory with weapons and ammo caches, booby traps, mines, kill zones, and ambush and sniper positions… They have an armoury that includes sophisticated ground combat systems…In addition, they have positioned a vast array of mobile rocket launchers that continue to attack Israel’s civilian population.

It is a standard Hamas tactic for terrorists to move unarmed, in civilian clothing, among the civilian population, collecting weapons stashed in civilian buildings and then carrying out attacks against IDF troops.

In my opinion, the IDF has taken all reasonable measures to achieve its mission while minimizing harm to the civilian population and maximizing humanitarian relief. Article here

Col. Richard Kemp is a former British Army commander who served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland and the Balkans wars.




Rick Berman: Reports often refer to “Palestinian refugees.” But the children and grandchildren of those who lost or left their homes in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War are not refugees. There are no other examples where refugee status becomes an inherited birthright. Children and grandchildren of Jews who lost their homes to the Nazis or descendants of American Indians forced off their land are not legally entitled refugees.Article here