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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

Top 5 Headlines: 

  • Netanyahu Ignored 2016 Warning on Hamas Attack
  • Iraq’s Quest for Air Defense Systems
  • Gaza Tunnels for Hamas, Not Civilians, Says Official
  • Iran Touts Hamas Tunnels as Strategic Asset
  • Hamas Atrocities Documentation Center

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Hamas Atrocities Documentation Center. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has initiated the Hamas Atrocities Documentation Center (HADC). The center aims to provide historical records of Hamas’ actions for academic and educational purposes. The documentation includes various forms of violence and atrocities committed by Hamas, ranging from kidnappings to massacres. The content, which includes graphic videos and descriptions, is available on MEMRI’s Telegram account (MEMRI).
  2. Escalating Conflict in Gaza. Israeli and Hamas forces intensify ground and air operations, causing a severe humanitarian crisis. Israel expands its ground operations following an attack that killed over 1,400 people. Hamas militants retaliate with machine guns and anti-tank shells. The conflict has left 8,306 dead, including 3,457 minors, and over one million homeless in Gaza. Despite the devastation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rules out a ceasefire. The situation has sparked global protests and incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia (Al Nahar).
  3. Psychological Warfare in Gaza Conflict: Hamas Releases Hostage Video. Amid escalating ground battles in Gaza, Hamas releases a video of Israeli female prisoners, pressuring Netanyahu for their release. Israel continues its military operations, claiming progress and the liberation of a captive soldier. The situation adds complexity to ongoing negotiations and raises questions about the psychological tactics employed by both sides (Sharq Awsat). 
  4. Netanyahu Ignored 2016 Warning on Hamas Attack. A 2016 document from then-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Netanyahu of Hamas’ intentions to escalate conflict with Israel. The document, labeled as “top secret,” outlined Hamas’ strategies, including taking hostages and targeting settlements. Despite its detailed nature, the warning was not taken seriously by Israeli officials, raising questions about preparedness and accountability (Al Hadath).
  5. Al-Qassam Brigades Engage Israeli Forces in Southern Gaza. The military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, reports confrontations with Israeli forces in the southern Gaza Strip. Utilizing machine guns and missiles, they claim to have targeted four vehicles and two tanks. The situation remains tense with ongoing gunfire and explosions reported in various parts of Gaza (Al Hadath).
  6. Gaza Tunnels for Hamas, Not Civilians, Says Official. Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau, stated in an interview that the tunnels in Gaza were constructed to shield Hamas fighters from airstrikes, not to protect civilians. He argued that the responsibility for civilian protection lies with the United Nations and Israel, citing the Geneva Conventions and the high percentage of refugees in the Gaza Strip (MEMRI).
  7. One Million Homeless Due to the Ongoing Israeli Bombing. UN warns of humanitarian catastrophe as over one million Gazans are displaced due to Israeli airstrikes. Palestinian Red Crescent reports new bombardment near Al-Quds Hospital. The UN aid system collapses, leading to the halt of four aid distribution centers. Both sides continue to engage in violent clashes (Al Hadath).
  8. Putin Links Palestine and Ukraine Conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that resolving the Middle East conflict requires the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. He criticized the U.S. for benefiting from ongoing crises and emphasized that Russia’s military operations are aimed at fighting those behind the Palestinian tragedy. Putin also claimed that the U.S. is weakening as a global superpower and is resistant to Russia’s role in solving global issues (Al Maydeen).
  9. Netanyahu Seeks European Pressure to Convince Egypt on Gaza Refugees. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought European leaders’ support to pressure Egypt into accepting refugees from Gaza. Despite objections from major European nations and Egypt, there’s growing pressure for Egypt to admit refugees from Gaza, with potential implications for the Israel-Egypt relationship. Talks also consider the transfer of injured individuals from Gaza to Egypt. The situation remains dynamic as international efforts seek humanitarian solutions amid the ongoing Israeli-Gaza conflict (Alkhaleej Online).
  10. Al-Quds Brigades Spokesman Foresees Strategic Shift in Battle. Abu Hamza, the spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, stated in a video speech that the ongoing conflict will experience a comprehensive strategic shift in favor of the resistance. He warned that attempts by the Israeli army to regain confidence in Gaza are futile and cautioned that the lives of Israeli prisoners are at risk due to ongoing bombings (Al Maydeen).
  11. Gaza War Exacerbates Israeli Economic Struggles. Israel’s Central Bank and international credit rating agencies state that the conflict in Gaza is the primary reason behind the negative assessment of Israel’s economy. They predict a 5% contraction in the Israeli economy in the last quarter of this year, citing concerns over government debt, military mobilization, tourism disruption, and decreased consumer spending. This could lead to increased unemployment, fiscal deficits, and a rise in sovereign debt. The extended military conflict could further deteriorate the Israeli economy and hamper long-term prospects, highlighting the need for a genuine and lasting resolution to the Palestinian issue (Aljazeera).
  12. Israeli Ministry Proposes Transferring Gaza Population to Sinai. An official document from the Israeli intelligence ministry suggests relocating Gaza’s 2.3 million residents to Sinai, with plans for temporary tent cities and a security zone in Israel. The proposal has sparked controversy, evoking memories of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, and faces international legality concerns. Egypt’s foreign ministry rejects such plans, and Palestinians consider it a red line, potentially leading to a new war. Israeli officials downplay the document, calling it a conceptual idea commonly discussed within the government (Sharq Awsat).
  13. Israeli Ambassador Accuses UN of Letting Down Tel Aviv. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Meirav Eilon Shahar, has criticized the UN and its agencies for not sufficiently denouncing Hamas attacks and the rise in anti-Semitism. She expressed disappointment and called for condemnation of Hamas’s actions and the use of protected facilities for military purposes in Gaza (TRT World).
  14. Gaza Conflict Threatens Global Oil Prices and Food Security. The World Bank warns that the Israel-Hamas conflict could push oil prices to over $150 per barrel, potentially doubling current prices. This could also jeopardize global food security. While the likelihood of oil reaching $150 due to this conflict is uncertain, escalating tensions in the region and potential disruptions in oil production pose significant risks. The conflict’s impact on commodity markets, coupled with events in Ukraine, could lead to a “dual energy shock” for the global economy. The World Bank emphasizes the importance of managing inflation and diversifying food sources to mitigate potential food price spikes (Al Monitor).
  15. Israel-Russia Relations Strained Over Dagestan Mob Incident. Tensions escalate as Russian President Putin calls a security meeting following an anti-Israeli mob incident in Dagestan, and a recent Hamas delegation visit to Moscow. This marks a public crisis in Israeli-Russian relations, with concerns over Moscow’s alignment with Hamas and potential implications for the Middle East. The incident in Dagestan, where rioters targeted Israeli and Jewish passengers, raises questions about the safety of Jews in Russia. The incident’s connection to the Kremlin is unclear, but experts warn of possible antisemitic incidents due to Moscow’s pro-Hamas stance. The situation may impact the Israeli-Russian military communication channel in Syria (Al Monitor).
  16. Israel Intercepts Missile Launched from Red Sea Area. Israel’s military successfully intercepted a ground-to-ground missile launched from the Red Sea area. The defense system, Iron Dome, was used to thwart the attack, marking the first use of this system since the conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for launching drones towards Israel, a response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza (DW).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

IRAN

  1. Iranian Minister Escalates Anti-Israel Rhetoric. Esmail Khatib, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, intensifies threats against Israel, calling the recent Hamas attack a “new historical beginning for the eradication of Israel.” His comments come as Israeli forces rescue their first hostage in Gaza. Khatib’s statements underscore Iran’s ongoing support for Hamas, despite Iran’s economic challenges (Iran International).
  2. Iran Touts Hamas Tunnels as Strategic Asset. Iran’s top military commander, Mohammad Bagheri, praised the extensive tunnel network constructed by Hamas in Gaza, describing it as crucial for the group’s survival against Israeli attacks. The tunnels are used for various military purposes, including moving forces and smuggling weapons. Bagheri’s comments come as Israel intensifies its ground operations in Gaza, targeting the tunnel infrastructure. The Iranian general claimed that Israel would not proceed with a large-scale ground invasion, fearing defeat (Iran International).
  3. Tasnim Agency Claims Details on MKO Leader’s Death. An informed source told Tasnim that Massoud Rajavi, the former leader of the terrorist group Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), died three years ago from a heart attack after a period of illness. The source also alleged that Rajavi had been under U.S. protection until his death. The MKO has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Iran (Tasnim Agency).
  4. Iran-Turkiye Trade Surges to $13.4 Billion. Tasnim reports that Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Mehrdad Bazrpash, announced a rise in trade exchanges between Iran and Turkiye to over $13.4 billion. Bazrpash emphasized the importance of Turkiye in Iran’s neighborhood policy and said the cooperation between the two countries could bring regional peace and stability. The minister also highlighted the upcoming visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Turkiye to further strengthen bilateral ties (Tasnim Agency).
  5. Iran Urges ICC Action on Gaza Humanitarian Crisis. Iran calls upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prioritize investigations into Israel’s actions in Gaza, especially considering the dire humanitarian situation with numerous civilian casualties. Ali Mousavi, Director-General for International Legal Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, emphasized the seriousness of the alleged international crimes (Islam Times).
  6. Ireland Seeks Iranian Assistance to Free Captive in Gaza. Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Micheal Martin, has asked Iran for help in freeing an Irish citizen believed to be held captive in Gaza. During a phone conversation with Iran’s Foreign Minister, they discussed the situation in Gaza and the need for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid. Iran assured Ireland of efforts to secure the release through negotiations with Hamas (Tasnim News).
  7. Iranian General Claims Extensive Tunnel Network in Gaza. Tasnim reports that Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, warned Israel of defeat if it launches a ground offensive in Gaza. He stated that Palestinian fighters have built over 400 kilometers of tunnels in northern Gaza, capable of accommodating vehicles and motorcycles. Baqeri suggested that Israel is delaying a ground invasion due to the risk of another defeat (Tasnim Agency). 
  8. Iran Funds Palestinian Groups, Says MEMRI. MEMRI TV has compiled a video featuring top officials from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine openly discussing Iran’s financial support for their military activities. The leaders describe a “strategic relationship” with Iran and claim that billions of dollars have been provided for weapons, training, and waging jihad. The video includes statements from various leaders and analysts, emphasizing the role of the late IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in arming and training these groups (MEMRI). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

IRAQ

  1. Rockets Target Iraq Air Base Hosting U.S. Forces. Four Katyusha rockets were fired at Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq, where U.S. and international forces are stationed. The source of the attack is unclear, and it follows increased threats from Iranian-aligned groups in Iraq since the Israel-Gaza conflict began. The U.S. has warned Iran and its proxies against interfering in the conflict (Iran International).
  2. Iraq’s Quest for Air Defense Systems. Iraq is actively seeking air defense systems from various countries to deter potential Israeli airstrikes and protect its airspace, with concerns over spillover from regional conflicts and unfulfilled US promises. The move reflects Iraq’s commitment to safeguarding its territory and avoiding a fate similar to Syria’s continuous Israeli strikes (New Arab).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

THE GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Thailand Turns to Qatar and Egypt for Help in Resolving Hamas Hostage Crisis. The Thai Foreign Minister embarks on urgent visits to Qatar and Egypt to discuss the fate of 22 Thai citizens held by Hamas in Gaza since the group’s attack on Israel three weeks ago. This comes as Thailand intensifies efforts to secure the release of these hostages (Sky News Arabia).
  2. Mossad Chiefs Secretly Visit Qatar to Discuss Gaza Hostages. Mossad Chief David Barnea and former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen made a secret trip to Qatar to meet with Qatari leaders and discuss the ongoing hostage situation in Gaza. The details and results of the visit have not been disclosed yet (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Israeli Airline Suspends Gulf Airspace Routes. Israel’s “El Al” airline has halted flights through Gulf airspace due to security alerts. Flights to Thailand now avoid Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, lengthening travel time. This comes amid increasing regional tensions following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and Oman’s cancellation of an agreement allowing Israeli flights to cross its airspace (Alkhaleej Online).
  4. Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Qatar for the Second Time Since the Gaza War. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, visited Qatar for the second time since the Gaza conflict began. He delivered a message from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, discussing regional and international matters, particularly the situation in the Palestinian territories. Qatar plays a mediation role in seeking a ceasefire in Gaza amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes (Alkhaleej Online).
  5. Oman Calls for Israel’s Trial Over Gaza Crimes. Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Albusaidi, has called for an independent investigation and trial of Israel for its deliberate targeting of civilians during the Gaza conflict. Oman continues its diplomatic efforts to halt the Israeli aggression and condemn its violations of international law, emphasizing the need for a ceasefire and the protection of innocent lives (Alkhaleej Online).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egyptian Prime Minister’s Extensive Visit to Northern Sinai. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly embarked on an extensive tour in the Northern Sinai province, including a meeting at a military base in El-Arish. This visit raises questions about its implications, particularly in the context of tensions on the Palestinian side of the border. The delegation is expected to visit the Rafah border crossing connecting Egypt and Gaza, as part of ongoing developments in the region (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Egypt Invites Hamas to Discuss Prisoner Issue and Engages with Hezbollah. Egypt extends an invitation to Hamas leadership for discussions on the prisoner file and the situation in Gaza. Egypt’s evolving stance toward Hamas, driven by the group’s opposition to displacement and Israeli pressure, includes plans for a permanent Hamas representative in Cairo. The country also initiates communication with Hezbollah and Iran, expanding its regional network amid Gaza’s crisis (Alaraby).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

SYRIA

  1. Gaza Crisis Spills into Syria, Warns UN Envoy. The Israel-Palestine crisis is escalating in Syria, posing a significant threat to regional stability, according to the UN special envoy. Spillover incidents, including airstrikes on Syrian airports and retaliatory actions, have intensified the conflict, heightening concerns of a broader escalation. Tensions are on the rise in the region, with the US, Russia, and Iran offering different perspectives on the situation (TRT World).
  2. Similarities and Differences Between Northern Syria and Gaza: A Shared Fate? The plight of Palestinians in Gaza resonates with Syrian opposition, given the similarities in their situations, from sieges and displacement to international indifference. Despite hardships, Syrian and Palestinian communities in northern Syria have shown solidarity, while political and military factions in Gaza differ from those in northern Syria, maintaining better organizational structures. The Palestinian cause garners more global attention due to Israel’s role in the conflict, unlike the Syrian revolution, which faces international indifference and internal divisions (Orient).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

TURKIYE

  1. Ankara-Tel Aviv Relations: A Diplomatic Tightrope Over Gaza Conflict. Israel recalls diplomats from Turkiye following Erdogan’s criticism over Gaza. Turkish analysts suggest Ankara aims to mend ties despite the rhetoric, warning of economic repercussions if relations deteriorate. Erdogan’s statements come ahead of local elections, balancing domestic politics with geopolitical realities (Al Hadath).
  2. Türkiye Aims to Notify ICC About Israeli War Crimes. Türkiye seeks to inform the International Criminal Court (ICC) about Israel’s alleged war crimes against Palestinian civilians, including the use of white phosphorus bombs, targeting hospitals and schools, and rejecting UN resolutions for a humanitarian ceasefire. ICC’s Prosecutor has warned that obstructing humanitarian aid to Gaza could be considered a criminal act, emphasizing the importance of ensuring aid reaches civilians promptly. Israel and Hamas are both reminded of their obligations under the laws of conflict (Daily Sabah). 
  3. Turkish Investment Fund Faces US Sanctions Over Alleged Hamas Support. The Turkish real estate investment fund “Trend GYO” denied providing any support to Hamas in response to US sanctions imposed on three of its shareholders for alleged assistance to the Palestinian movement. The company stressed its compliance with the laws and regulations, emphasizing its profit-oriented nature. The US sanctions were issued following Hamas’ recent attacks on Israel, targeting individuals residing in Iran and Iranian Revolutionary Guard members (Syria TV).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

LEBANON

  1. Lebanon’s PM Warns of Israeli War if Aggression Persists. Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister has accused Israel of starting a potential war if border violations and aggressions continue. He called for an end to Israel’s provocative actions and emphasized that the people of Lebanon do not want war. If Lebanon’s sovereignty continues to be violated, the Israeli regime will be held accountable. Tensions on the Lebanon-Israel border have escalated since the Hamas-Israel confrontation began, resulting in casualties in Gaza (Islam Times).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 31, 2023

 

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