ACLS

Israel and Palestinian Territories in November 2023

Table of Contents

November 1, 2023

  1. Israeli Soldiers Killed in Intense Gaza Clashes. Nine Israeli soldiers lost their lives in fierce battles within Gaza, with multiple others wounded as the IDF continues its offensive against Hamas, facing urban warfare challenges (Times of Israel).
  2. Arrow Missile Intercepts Iranian Ballistic Missile: A Game Changer in the Middle East. Israel’s Arrow missile defense system successfully intercepted an Iranian ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, demonstrating advanced defense capabilities against high-quality threats. This achievement sends a strong message to Iran and enhances Israel’s security, although challenges remain (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Israel Boosts Naval Presence in Red Sea Amid Houthi Attacks. Israel has deployed missile destroyers to the Red Sea region in response to ongoing missile and drone attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The move aims to enhance defense efforts following recent incidents, including the interception of a missile with the Arrow air-defense system (JNS).
  4. Israeli Military Takes Control of Hamas Stronghold in Jabaliya, Killing Senior Leader. Israeli forces expand ground operations in Gaza, eliminate around 600 hostile targets, and intensify air raids on Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. Escalating regional tensions follow the interception of a missile from the Red Sea, marking the 25th day of the conflict. Hamas’ political bureau deputy head’s house is destroyed, and arrests are made in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel remains on high alert as rocket sirens sound near Gaza’s border, while the ground offensive continues (i24).
  5. US Requests Israel to Release Frozen Tax Revenues for Palestinians. The US has sought clarification from Israel regarding the Finance Minister’s decision to suspend the transfer of tax revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority due to the Gaza conflict. The US is concerned that this suspension could undermine the Palestinian Authority and escalate tensions in the West Bank. Israel’s Finance Minister claims that the tax revenues are being used against Israel and calls for a discussion on the matter in the Israeli Security Cabinet (i24).
  6. Israel Warns Hezbollah One Day After “Hamas Elimination”. Israel is taking a defensive position on the Lebanese front to avoid exhausting its forces while focusing on the war against Hamas in Gaza, says Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi. He warns that “one day after the elimination of Hamas, Israel will apply the lessons learned” to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. The Israeli military has been targeting Hezbollah positions in Lebanon (Sharq Awsat).
  7. Hamas Announces the Killing of 7 Hostages in Israeli Airstrikes on Jabalia. Hamas confirmed the deaths of seven hostages, including three holding foreign passports, in Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza (Sky News Arabia).

November 2, 2023

  1. Thai Officials Hold Talks with Hamas in Iran. Thai officials conducted direct talks with Hamas in Iran last week regarding the fate of 22 citizens held captive by the Palestinian movement after their attack on Israel on October 7. They received a commitment to release the Thais at an appropriate time, according to the Thai delegation leader (Almashhad).
  2. Russia Challenges Israel’s Right to Self-Defense at UN. Russia’s UN representative, Vasily Nebenzya, criticized Israel’s right to self-defense, citing its occupation status. However, he emphasized the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on relevant UN resolutions for lasting security and condemned Arab states’ normalization efforts with Israel (Jerusalem Post).
  3. US House Passes Bill to Sanction Hamas Supporters. The US House of Representatives approved the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, targeting foreign supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The bill requires the president to report those who aid these groups and imposes sanctions on them. Additionally, it targets governments providing material support to these terrorist organizations, restricting US assistance and exports of controlled munitions for a year. AIPAC supported the bill’s passage, and a resolution to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib for her support of Hamas was tabled (Jerusalem Post).
  4. Jordan Recalls Ambassador to Israel Over Gaza Conflict. Jordan has summoned its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, in response to the ongoing Gaza conflict, demanding his return contingent on a ceasefire in Gaza. In a reciprocal move, Israel asked its ambassador in Jordan, Roy Rachlin, to leave and not return (i24).
  5. 242 Hostages Held by Hamas, Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Shooting.  On the 27th day of the Gaza conflict, the Israeli army advances with air, ground, and naval support despite painful losses. President Herzog emphasizes Israeli resilience. An Israeli reserve officer’s death increases the military’s death toll to 17. In the north, the army responds to anti-tank missile fire (i24).
  6. Israel Pledges to “Allow” Return of Gaza Wounded Transferred to Egypt. Israel has committed to allowing any Palestinian who leaves Gaza for medical treatment to return after the conflict ends, following an evacuation agreement announced recently. The move aims to facilitate the evacuation of wounded Palestinians while ensuring their return after the war (Alhurra).
  7. Israel Isolates Gaza City and Northern Areas in Ongoing Ground Incursion. The Israeli military continues its ground incursion into Gaza, isolating Gaza City and its northern areas. Palestinian sources report numerous casualties from airstrikes targeting residential areas. The United Nations warns that this isolation threatens the delivery of humanitarian aid to around 300,000 internally displaced people in the northern Gaza Strip (Sharq Awsat).

November 3, 2023

  1. Israeli Troops Enter Gaza City, IDF’s Ground Offensive Intensifies. Israeli forces, backed by airstrikes and naval support, have advanced into Gaza City, a significant stage in the ongoing conflict. The IDF chief hints at fuel transfers to Gaza hospitals. Despite the ground offensive, rocket attacks on southern and central Israel continue, with a growing toll of IDF casualties. Naval forces also engage in the fighting (Times of Israel).
  2. Significant Humanitarian Aid Convoy Reaches Gaza Amidst Conflict. Over 100 trucks filled with food, water, and medical supplies entered Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing, a crucial development for the war-ravaged Strip. This marks the first time more than 100 trucks entered in a single day since the conflict’s outset. However, it falls short of the pre-war aid levels. Israel continues to block fuel shipments, citing concerns over diversion to Hamas military infrastructure (Times of Israel).
  3. Israeli Security Cabinet Votes on Palestinian Tax Fund Transfer. Israel’s security cabinet has approved the transfer of frozen tax funds to the Palestinian Authority but decided to withhold funds designated for Gaza. The move aims to strengthen the PA’s position in the West Bank while cutting off contact with Gaza. The decision follows Washington’s push for releasing these funds, and it also involves returning detained Gazan laborers to the Strip (Times of Israel).
  4. IDF Eliminates Senior Hamas Commander. The IDF successfully eliminates Mustafa Daloul, a central Hamas commander involved in ongoing Gaza battles. Simultaneously, counterterrorism operations in the West Bank result in at least nine reported deaths (i24).
  5. Israeli IDF Chief Warns Hezbollah Ahead of Nasrallah’s Speech. Israeli IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, warns Hezbollah as he reaffirms Israel’s readiness for conflict on multiple fronts. He emphasizes that Israel’s strength extends beyond Gaza and discusses ongoing operations in Gaza Strip (i24).
  6. US Drones Over Gaza in Search of Hostages. American drones conduct reconnaissance flights over Gaza to locate hostages held by Hamas. US officials indicate that drones have been deployed for over a week in intelligence-gathering efforts. These drones are unarmed and do not support Israeli offensive activities (Alarabiya).
  7. Israel Accuses Iranian Group of Supporting Hezbollah in Cross-Border Conflict. The Israeli army accused the Iranian Imam Hossein Brigade of aiding Hezbollah in cross-border attacks against Israel, intensifying tensions with exchanges of fire between Israeli Forces and Hezbollah. At least 49 Hezbollah members have been killed since October 7, marking the deadliest border conflicts since the 2006 war (MEM).

November 6, 2023

  1. Israeli Army Seizes Hamas Base and Strikes 450 Aerial Targets in 24 Hours. The Israeli army has taken control of a Hamas base in Gaza and launched airstrikes on 450 aerial targets within the past 24 hours. These actions are part of the ongoing conflict, now in its 31st day, where the Israeli military seeks to eliminate Hamas following a comprehensive attack on October 7th. The conflict also resulted in the death of Hamas leader Jamal Musa, responsible for the organization’s security (i24).
  2. Israeli Army Conducts Targeted Ground Operation in Southern Gaza. The Israeli army executed a limited operation in southern Gaza during the night, while continuing attacks against Hamas in the northern part of the region. The operation aimed to map buildings and clear the area of explosive devices, with confrontations leading to the death of Hamas operatives. Additionally, Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza city and the residence of Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have evacuated the north, while Israel’s airstrikes persist in the south (Times of Israel).
  3. Hamas-Russia Deal. Russia announced arrangements for a deal with Hamas, aiming to secure the release of Russian citizens held by the group. This move has raised concerns, particularly in Israel, amid reports of potential military aid to Hamas. Russia has expressed support for Palestinian resistance and criticized the Gaza war, emphasizing a stance contrary to Israel (Yemen News).
  4. Israeli Army Announces Safe Passage for Gazan Civilians to the South. The Israeli army has provided a time window for civilians in northern Gaza to move to the southern coastal area amid ongoing hostilities with Hamas. The army permitted traffic southward from 10 AM to 2 PM, encouraging Gazans to take this opportunity for their safety. Hundreds of thousands have already evacuated as the UN estimates 1.4 million internally displaced in densely populated Gaza (Sharq Awsat).
  5. Israel’s War with Hamas to Cost Over $50 Billion. Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza is estimated to cost up to $51 billion, with expenses accounting for 10% of the GDP. The cost factors in an 8-12 month duration and excludes full involvement of Hezbollah, Iran, or Yemen. Half of the expenses will be related to daily defense costs, with additional losses in revenue and compensation to companies. Credit agencies have downgraded Israel’s outlook amid the conflict (Sharq Awsat).
  6. Attempted Smuggling of Hamas Fighters in Ambulances from Gaza to Egypt. Hamas attempted to smuggle its fighters from Gaza to Egypt in ambulances transporting wounded Palestinians. However, the plan was thwarted as Egypt and the United States discovered that a significant number of names on the evacuation list were Hamas fighters. In a separate incident, Israeli inspectors found oxygen concentrators intended for tunnel ventilation in Gaza (Times of Israel).
  7. Israeli Plane’s Visit to Egypt Suggests Hostage Negotiation Activity. An Israeli plane, previously used by senior officials, made a trip to Egypt, indicating potential behind-the-scenes efforts to negotiate the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza (Jerusalem Post).
  8. Netanyahu Suspends Minister Over ‘Nuke Gaza’ Remark. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu for suggesting the possibility of using a nuclear bomb on Gaza. Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized the minister’s comment as “horrifying and insane.” Eliyahu later clarified that his statement was metaphorical but emphasized the need for a strong response to terrorism (JNS).
  9. Hamas Suspends Evacuation of Foreigners from Gaza to Egypt. Hamas has suspended the evacuation of foreigners and dual nationals to Egypt due to Israel’s refusal to allow the transfer of wounded Palestinians to Egyptian hospitals. The movement halted evacuations after Israeli airstrikes targeted ambulances carrying the injured to the border crossing (Al-Arabiya).
  10. Israeli Forces Surround Gaza, Anticipate Entry Within 48 Hours. After over a week of intense fighting, Israeli forces have completely surrounded Gaza, effectively dividing the region. The Israeli military is poised to enter Gaza within the next 48 hours, as they aim to suppress Hamas. Speculation grows about the type of combat that may unfold within Gaza’s urban streets, as Israel seeks to avoid a costly war within Hamas tunnels (The Guardian).
  11. Hamas Security Chief Killed; 34th IDF Soldier Falls in Gaza. Israel Defense Forces announced the death of Staff Sgt. Shahar Cohen Mivtach during ground operations in Gaza. He is the 34th IDF soldier killed in the conflict. Additionally, Jamal Musa, the head of Hamas’s special security operations, was killed in an Israeli airstrike (JNS).

November 7, 2023

  1. Israeli President Herzog Responds to Criticism in Post-Attack Interview. Israeli President Isaac Herzog refutes Angelina Jolie’s accusations and details the harrowing aftermath of the Hamas terror attack, emphasizing Israel’s right to self-defense and the moral imperative to combat terrorism. He recounts personal experiences at attack sites and addresses global reactions, while calling for a firm stance against what he describes as evil. To watch the entire video with Arabic transcript click on the following link (ACLS YouTube). 
  2. Zelensky Points to Russia, Iran, and North Korea for Hamas Support. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has accused Russia, Iran, and North Korea of supporting Hamas in its attacks against Israel. In an interview, Zelensky blamed these nations for exacerbating the conflict, which has seen a significant escalation with thousands of rockets launched by Hamas on October 7, leading to a severe response from Israel. Despite Iran’s denial of direct involvement, Zelensky called for international intervention to halt the conflict. His potential visit to Israel hinges on the situation in Ukraine and the return of detained Ukrainians from Israel (Iran International). 
  3. Global Powers Allegedly Amplify Online Support for Hamas, Undermine US and Israel. Iran, Russia, and China are reportedly intensifying online disinformation campaigns to support Hamas and challenge US and Israeli narratives. Experts note unprecedented levels of propaganda, suggesting involvement by state or significant nonstate actors. Amidst the conflict, these campaigns are seen as part of a broader geopolitical contest with the United States, with implications for regional and global power dynamics (Times of Israel).
  4. Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi Arrested by Israeli Troops on Incitement Charges. Ahed Tamimi, a prominent Palestinian figure since her teenage years, was detained by Israeli forces on allegations of inciting violence, which her family contests, attributing to a purported fake social media post. Tamimi, known for slapping an Israeli soldier in 2017, has been a vocal opponent of Israeli land policies in the West Bank. The authenticity of the inciting Instagram post remains unverified (Reuters). 
  5. UN Security Council Fails to Pass Gaza Ceasefire Resolution. The UN Security Council has been unable to adopt a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, one month into the conflict. The resolution, presented by a group of ten non-permanent members, faced opposition from the US and the UK, who hold veto power. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected a comprehensive ceasefire and emphasized the need for continued military pressure. The hopes for a ceasefire have dimmed, despite international efforts to negotiate humanitarian pauses and aid delivery (Sharq Awsat).
  6. Hamas Rockets Launched from Lebanon; IDF Responds. Hamas militants in Southern Lebanon fired around 30 rockets at Israel, leading to air-raid sirens in cities like Haifa, Nahariya, and Akko. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted some rockets, and most landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas in Lebanon claimed responsibility, striking Nahariya and Haifa (JNS).
  7. Israel’s $14 Billion Aid Package Includes Massive Iron Dome Expansion. US President Joe Biden’s $14 billion aid package to Israel will fund the assembly of up to 100 additional Iron Dome launchers, expanding Israel’s air defense capabilities. The package also includes funds for approximately 14,000 interceptors, allowing Israel to deploy around 25 new Iron Dome batteries across the country. This aid is expected to replace outdated equipment currently in use by the Israeli Defense Forces (Jerusalem Post).
  8. Israel Successfully Intercepts Houthi Missile Beyond Earth’s Borders. Israel recently intercepted a Houthi-launched missile outside Earth’s borders. The Houthis, backed by Iran, have launched long-range ballistic missiles towards Israel. This marks the first time Israel intercepted a missile beyond its borders, and they have successfully defended against multiple Houthi missile attacks on Tel Aviv. The Houthi spokesperson stated they would continue their operations until Israeli aggression against Gaza ceases (i24).

November 8, 2023

  1. In the wake of the October 7 incidents, the power dynamics in Gaza have been thrust into the global spotlight. Ghazi Hamad of Hamas has made it clear that the group will not relinquish its influential role in determining Gaza’s future, directly challenging efforts by the U.S. and Israel to minimize their sway. This defiant stance, Hamad insists, is underscored by recent events which have only solidified Hamas’s pivotal position.
  2. Parallel to this, Islamic Jihad’s Muhammad al-Hindi has voiced a bold prediction Israel, under the weight of public demand and the consequences of the October clashes, will have to engage in a prisoner swap. Both leaders, in a united front, have decried the perceived absence of backing from Arab nations, affirming the steadfastness of Palestinian resistance amidst the region’s turmoil.
  3. Meanwhile, Israel is not standing idly by. The government’s legal advisor, Gali Baharav Miara, in collaboration with state attorney Amit Isman, is gearing up to take legal action against those behind the harrowing October 7 attacks. Labelled as the largest assault in the nation’s history, with a toll of over 1,400 lives, Israel is moving swiftly, with many assailants already neutralized or in custody. A triad of Israeli defense bodies – the Police, Shin Bet, and the IDF – are investigating under the watchful eye of legal oversight.

November 9, 2023

  1. Israeli Defense Systems Intercept Missile Fired from Yemen. The Israeli military intercepted a missile launched from Yemen towards the southern city of Eilat. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, stating they targeted sensitive areas in Israel, including military sites in Eilat. The Israeli army reported no breach of airspace, while the Houthis asserted successful strikes on their intended targets. This comes after ongoing violence, with a significant Palestinian death toll in Gaza since October 7 and nearly 1,600 Israelis killed, as per official records (Anadolu Agency).
  2. Mossad and Brazilian Security Thwart Iranian Plot Against Israelis. Israeli intelligence, collaborating with Brazilian authorities, has intercepted a Hezbollah-directed terror plot in Brazil. The operation, linked to Iran, targeted Israeli and Jewish entities, leading to arrests in São Paulo. This disruption comes amidst heightened tensions with Hamas in Gaza and ongoing conflicts on Israeli borders (i24).
  3. Israeli Forces Target Hezbollah Sites in Lebanon. Israeli forces struck Hezbollah ammunition depots and military positions in southern Lebanon in retaliation to earlier attacks, causing significant explosions. The strikes aimed at preventing further missile launches into Israel (i24).
  4. IDF and Shin Bet Neutralize Hamas Rocket System Leader. The IDF, in collaboration with the Shin Bet, eliminated Ibrahim Abu-Maazib, the head of Hamas’ Nuhba missile system in the Central Camps Brigade. The targeted operation aimed to thwart numerous anti-tank missile attacks against Israeli civilians and military forces. Additionally, naval forces targeted a rocket launch position to counter ongoing threats (Maariv).
  5. U.S. Lawmaker Advocates for Strong Bipartisan Support for Israel and Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians. Congressman Greg Stanton, in a recent hearing, passionately defended bipartisan support for Israel while also advocating for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, Stanton stressed the necessity of dismantling Hamas to ensure peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. He noted the importance of Israel to U.S. national security and urged Congress to pass a security funding package that includes aid for Gaza. Stanton’s remarks also included support for a Palestinian state and acknowledgment of the complex governance issues in Gaza, highlighting the need for careful consideration of the Palestinian Authority’s future role (ACLS YouTube).

November 10, 2023

  1. Israeli Tanks Penetrate Central Gaza. Israeli tanks have penetrated central Gaza City, encircling major medical facilities and entrapping thousands, including patients and medical staff. As Israel intensifies its military operations in Gaza, this move exacerbates the humanitarian crisis, with widespread civilian displacement and severe damage to infrastructure. The ongoing Gaza-Israel Conflict 2023 has resulted in significant human and economic tolls, including extensive casualties and billions in damage costs (Al Arabiya). 
  2. Netanyahu Proposes Civilian Government for Post-War Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals a plan for Gaza post-conflict, aiming to establish a civilian government while ensuring the region remains demilitarized and free from extremism. This plan, diverging from previous statements about reoccupying Gaza, adds to the uncertainty regarding the future of the area. Amidst international concerns, the proposal includes robust security measures but lacks detailed implementation strategies, heightening ambiguities about the region’s governance post-conflict (Al Arabiya). 
  3. Israeli Economy Suffers $600 Million Weekly Loss Due to Workforce Shortage. The Central Bank of Israel reports a staggering weekly economic loss of 2.3 billion shekels ($600 million) due to workforce shortages exacerbated by the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The economic strain stems from school closures nationwide, the evacuation of 144,000 workers from border areas, and the historic summoning of 360,000 reserve soldiers, impacting businesses across the country (SNA Business). 
  4. Gaza Conflict Impacts Global Travel, Causes Decline in Flight Bookings. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has significantly impacted the global travel market, leading to a notable decline in international flight reservations since the beginning of the Gaza-Israel Conflict 2023. This downturn, particularly evident in the Americas, reflects a 10% drop in bookings since the outbreak of hostilities. The Middle East has seen a 9% decrease in travel traffic, with international bookings to the region dropping by 26%. This shift has adversely affected the post-pandemic recovery of the global aviation sector (SNA Business). 
  5. Israeli Soldier Casualties in Gaza Operation Increase to 36. The Times of Israel reports the death of an additional Israeli soldier in the ongoing battles in Gaza, raising the total number of Israeli military fatalities to 36 since the commencement of the ground operation. This development occurs amidst continued hostilities, including significant strikes on key locations in Gaza (Asharq Al Awsat).
  6. Palestinians Fear Repeat of 1948 Nakba After Gaza Exodus. Thousands of Palestinians are fleeing Gaza City, haunted by the prospect of a new Nakba, reminiscent of the mass displacement in 1948 since the beginning of the Gaza- Israel Conflict 2023. They navigate a harrowing path past Israeli tanks and remnants of conflict, moving from the northern to the southern part of the enclave. The Israeli military’s declared objective is the elimination of Hamas, which Israel accuses of major attacks on October 7. The exodus intensifies as the siege around Gaza City tightens, with many fearing they may never return to their homes, mirroring the historic displacement of their ancestors (Asharq Al Awsat).
  7. Reuters Denies Prior Knowledge of Hamas October 7 Attack. Reuters has categorically denied allegations that it had advance knowledge of the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers on October 7. The denial comes in response to claims by Honest Reporting, suggesting that Reuters and other international news organizations were aware of the attack beforehand. Reuters clarified that the photographs it published were taken by independent photographers in Gaza, with no prior relationship to them, and only after the events had started. The Israeli government has sought clarifications from news agencies regarding these claims, which Honest Reporting stated were not accusations of complicity but raised ethical concerns about media coverage. The Associated Press, also cited in the report, affirmed that it had no prior knowledge of the attacks (Asharq Awsat). 
  8. US and India Discuss Security, Indo-Pacific, and Israel-Hamas War. Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the US and India met to discuss a range of security issues, including the Indo-Pacific strategy, China, and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the deepening partnership between the two nations in various domains, including defense and technology. Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar expressed concerns over the Middle East situation, reiterating India’s stance for direct negotiations towards a sovereign Palestine and peace with Israel. The meeting also touched on a diplomatic dispute involving Canada and India, with Blinken urging cooperative resolution. Defense talks focused on integrating industrial bases and co-producing defense systems, underscoring the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region and the strengthening US-India partnership (AP).
  9. Israel Implements Daily Humanitarian Truces in Northern Gaza. The latest Israel-Hamas War Updates from Arabic sources says that Israel has agreed to implement daily humanitarian “truces” in the northern Gaza Strip, starting Thursday, to facilitate the safe exit of civilians to the south. This decision comes during intense battles and bombing operations in the area. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasizing his goal to “eliminate Hamas,” stated that these truces are not indicative of a ceasefire. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed that these truces, lasting four hours each day, are aimed at ensuring no military operations occur in these areas during the truce period. The agreement for humanitarian truces follows a significant escalation in conflict since October 7, resulting in substantial casualties on both Israeli and Palestinian sides (i24).
  10. EU Issues Isolation Warning to Israel Over Gaza Conduct. European Council President Charles Michel has cautioned Israel about potential isolation from the international community due to its actions in the Gaza Strip. Michel emphasized the importance of adhering to international law, particularly in regard to the ongoing siege in Gaza, stating that such actions could lead to Israel’s international isolation. Highlighting the necessity of civilian safety, he also stressed the urgency of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the establishment of two states, a priority for the European Union. The EU plans to organize an international conference on this issue in the near future (MEMO).
  11. UN Human Rights Chief Questions Israel’s Civilian Protection Measures in Gaza. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk expressed doubts about Israel’s commitment to protecting civilians in Gaza amidst its military operations against Hamas. Speaking from Jordan, Turk highlighted the unsafe conditions across Gaza, where bombardment is ongoing in all parts of the strip. He criticized Israel’s instructions for civilians to relocate to so-called ‘safe zones’ in southern Gaza, emphasizing that these unilaterally established zones do not guarantee security. Turk stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire based on human rights imperatives, describing the situation in Gaza as nightmarish. He also addressed the rising violence in the West Bank, where Israeli actions are increasingly under scrutiny, calling for immediate measures to protect civilians there (The National). 
  12. Israel Implements Groundbreaking Sperm Preservation for Fallen Soldiers. In a groundbreaking medical and ethical move, Israel has initiated a program to preserve the sperm of soldiers killed in action, facilitating potential future conception. This initiative, reflecting Israel’s advanced fertility technology, raises significant ethical and legal debates, particularly regarding the wishes of the deceased and the rights of their families in a society deeply invested in procreation and lineage (Al Hurra). 
  13. Israel Denies Reports of Hostage Swap Negotiations with Hamas in Gaza. Israeli officials have denied reports of negotiations for a prisoner swap with Hamas in Gaza. Qatari mediators had initiated discussions with Hamas to secure the release of Israeli women and children held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. While the talks have been described as “moving positively,” there are no breakthroughs yet, and both sides remain entrenched. The exact numbers of hostages and prisoners involved are unclear, and the ongoing conflict in the region casts a shadow over potential agreements (YNet).

November 13, 2023

  • Breaking Developments from Gaza:  The Frontline Reaches Shifa Hospital As Hostage Negotiations Stall

The battle in the Gaza Strip intensified over the weekend as Israeli forces reportedly surrounded Al-Shifa Hospital, which the Israelis claim to be Hamas’s main military headquarters. On November 11, the IDF announced the killing of 150 Hamas terrorists in a large battle near an important Hamas outpost. Despite losing six soldiers, the IDF successfully destroyed Hamas military headquarters, munitions sites, and an underground network, significantly degrading Hamas’s military capabilities in northern Gaza. Meanwhile, in a high-profile incident over the weekend, Shifa hospital ran short of fuel as a result of a standoff between the IDF and the hospital director over an Israeli fuel delivery. The situation illustrated how the Gaza battle is being fought not just on the ground, but as a propaganda war in which each side shapes a narrative to gain international support.

Outside Gaza, the intensifying ground fighting has complicated diplomatic negotiations for a potential hostage exchange deal. Qatar released a statement highlighting the difficulty in reaching an agreement with Hamas amidst ongoing clashes, while a high-level Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo to negotiate with Hamas via Egypt. The potential deal being mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S., would involve the release of  Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli custody and the delivery of fuel to Gaza in exchange for Hamas releasing Israeli female hostages. The negotiations reportedly exclude the Israeli soldiers Hamas is holding.

  • Northern Front Update: Hizballah-Israel Border War Heats Up in Lebanon; Iran Hits U.S. Bases in Syria

On Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon, the military situation grew more tense over the weekend as Hizballah struck Israeli territory near Dovev, injuring eighteen Israelis, one critically. Israel reported that the targets included some civilian Israel Electric Corporation employees, while Hezbollah claims to have targeted soldiers. The incident followed Israel’s defense minister Gallant‘s warning to Hezbollah leader Nasrallah that “What [Israel] can do in Gaza, we do in Beirut.” In response to the Dovev attack, the Israelis struck a Hizballah target in Al-Zahrani, 40 kilometers inside Lebanon. The fact that the Israeli strike was so deep inside Lebanese territory prompted U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to call Gallant to express U.S. concerns that Israel should avoid escalating the war in the north.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Air Force jets conducted airstrikes on terrorist infrastructure in Syria in retaliation for projectiles fired towards the Israeli Golan Heights. The IDF also struck Syrian facilities linked to a drone attack on a school in Eilat, and the Israeli army warned Bashar al-Assad that Israel would hold the Assad regime responsible for attacks originating from Syrian territory.

Elsewhere in Iraq and Syria, Iranian proxies struck three American military bases with armed drones, damaging their infrastructure. The Kharab al-Jir airport base in northeastern Syria was hit by explosive drones but with no immediate reports of casualties. The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”–a moniker Iranian-backed Iraqi militias have adopted over the past month–claimed responsibility for targeting the Rmelan base in Syria and the Al-Harir Airbase in Erbil, claiming that their attacks directly hit targets. The Iranian proxy militias claim that the more than 50 strikes on American facilities in Iraq and Syria in the past month are in response to U.S. support for Israel in the Gaza conflict.

Washington has been restrained in its responses to these attacks in hopes of avoiding a wider escalation with the Iranian regime, but Tehran’s continued proxy provocations are forcing the U.S. to step up its response. After the latest Iranian-back drone attacks on U.S. troops, the U.S. military on Sunday struck facilities in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reportedly killing eight Iranian-backed militamen. The U.S. airstrikes were followed immediately by an Iranian drone attack on a base used by U.S. troops in Al-Hasakah, Syria.

  • Riyadh Summit Highlights Rifts Between Arab States and Iran over Israel

The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference met in Riyadh on November 12 to discuss the Gaza crisis. This significant meeting of Arab League and OIC leaders marked Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade. The conference revealed deep divisions among the Islamic nations regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. While the summit participants condemned Israeli actions in Gaza, Iran’s calls for tougher actions against Israel, including economic sanctions and designating the Israeli military as a terrorist organization, found little support.

Bashar al Assad’s attendance at the summit to discuss the civilian toll of the Gaza war prompted international criticism given Assad’s 12-year campaign against his own civilian population in Syria. Israel’s Culture Minister Mickey Zohar, for example, criticized Assad for his stance on the Palestinian situation in Gaza, contrasting it with the dictators’ brutal actions in Syria. Zohar highlighted the irony in Assad speaking against Israeli actions in Gaza while being responsible for extensive violence and human rights violations in Syria.

Iran’s stance of rejecting Israel’s existence and opposing the Arab nations’ support for a two-state solution is a contentious issue among Arab countries that have been normalizing or considering normalizing relations with Israel. Despite the war in Gaza, the UAE has decided to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel so as to influence Israel’s actions in Gaza and to protect Emirati interests not just in the region but with the United States. In a significant step, the UAE military revealed the arrival of Israeli military reinforcements off the coast of Yemen on Sunday. The UAE noted that Israeli forces and bases are present on the islands of Socotra in the Arabian Sea and Mayun in the Red Sea as part of a joint coalition under American supervision to secure the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab, the first official acknowledgment of Israel’s involvement in the coalition in Yemen since March 2015. The open acknowledgement of Israel’s presence near the Bab al-Mandab is a response to the Iranians’ recent use of the Houthis to conduct attacks on Israel and indicates that the Israelis and their Arab allies are preparing for escalation on the Yemen front.

Meanwhile, Turkiye’s stance towards the Israel-Hamas war sharpened as President Erdogan strongly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza. At the Riyadh Summit, Erdogan condemned the Israeli offensive and called for a united response from the Islamic world. Later, in Istanbul, Erdoğan warned Netanyahu directly:

“Hey Netanyahu, these are your good days right now. Different days are waiting for you. Why? Those babies, those puppies, those 3-year-old, 5-year-old mothers wrapped in shrouds, smelling the bodies of those martyred children and taking them to the grave. Their curses will not cure you. Netanyahu, know this, you are going, you are going. You are a goner.”

Turkiye’s diplomatic efforts regarding Gaza, while not yielding immediate results, have strengthened its ties with Iran. President Erdogan’s refusal to label Hamas as a “terrorist” organization and his description of it as a “mujahideen liberation group” aligns with Tehran’s stance. This rapprochement is evident as both countries explore resolving bilateral issues and unite in support of Palestinians. However, their approaches fundamentally differ and will limit the potential for their newfound cooperation on regional issues: Turkiye advocates for a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, while Iran rejects Israel’s existence, proposing a joint state for Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s bilateral meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in Riyadh, the first of their kind in years, have sparked discussions about potential Egyptian rapprochement with Syria and Iran. Sisi’s talks with Assad focused on the Palestinian issue and the situation in Syria, while his meeting with Raisi focused on the Gaza Strip crisis and regional security. Despite recent interactions between officials and efforts to boost Iranian tourism in Egypt, a major breakthrough in relations remains unlikely in the short term. While Iran has shown interest in strengthening ties with Egypt, Cairo has been cautious in its approach to Tehran.

In another development on the sidelines of the Riyadh summit, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, President of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, met Raisi to explore expanding bilateral relations between Sudan and Iran. Al-Burhan reportedly expressed his government’s keen interest in advancing and strengthening its relationship with Iran.

  • On the Geopolitical Front:  The Israel-Hamas War’s Impact on EU Policy, International Diplomacy, and Investment Trends

The Israel-Hamas war is creating reverberations far beyond the Middle East. In Europe, both the UK and EU are considering ramping up economic sanctions and designations against Iran and Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel is reportedly considering appointing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a humanitarian coordinator for Gaza in a move meant to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza and reduce international pressure on Israel. Discussions about Blair’s role are ongoing, focusing on medical and evacuation needs in Gaza.

Economically, October saw a significant withdrawal of foreign investments from US stock funds associated with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other Gulf countries. Over $200 million was pulled from these funds, reflecting investor concerns about regional instability. This trend extended to funds exposed to Qatari, Emirati, and Israeli stocks. The outflows from Gulf country ETFs surpassed those from most emerging markets during the same period, with Israel also experiencing above-average withdrawals. ETFs tracking the region have shown resilience overall, bouncing back from immediate losses post-Hamas’s attack on Israel, but the ongoing conflict raises concerns about the long-term economic impact on these countries, especially regarding their diversification efforts and foreign direct investment.

Even as it fights a major war in Gaza, Israel is continuing with its unprecedented arms deals in Europe–including a new deal clearly aimed at Russia. Israel has signed a landmark agreement with Finland for the sale of the “David’s Sling” missile defense system in a deal valued at approximately 317 Euros. “David’s Sling” is known for its capability to intercept a range of advanced threats, including ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones. The sale marks a significant step in defense cooperation between Israel and Finland and has received approval from the US government. But more importantly, the deal is one of a number of steps Israel has taken over the past year to help arm European countries against the strategic threat posed to them by Russia.

November 14, 2023

  1. Dutch Memo Alleges Israeli Disproportionate Force in Gaza. A confidential memo from the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv suggests Israel is using “disproportionate force” in Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure to deter Iran and Hezbollah. The memo, seen by Dutch media, indicates this strategy violates international laws and could escalate regional tensions. Despite Dutch PM Mark Rutte’s call for proportionate action, he has not demanded a ceasefire. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes the complexity of the situation and the need for restraint and investigation (Politico).
  2. South Africa Considers Cutting Diplomatic Ties with Israel. South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, aligning with Hamas, is contemplating recalling their envoy from Tel Aviv and ending relations with Israel. This follows Pandor’s condemnation of Israel for the October 7 massacre, where she labeled the victims as “soldiers and settlers” and called for Israeli PM Netanyahu’s prosecution for war crimes. Despite South Africa’s economic reliance on the West, its ties with Hamas and Iran have strengthened, including a Hamas political office in Cape Town. President Cyril Ramphosa has condemned Hamas’s civilian killings while supporting Palestine. Israel’s ambassador faces potential expulsion amid tensions, risking South Africa’s participation in the AGOA and its economic ties with the U.S (YNet).
  3. IDF Neutralizes Seven Terrorists in West Bank Raid. In a significant operation in Tulkarm, West Bank, the IDF’s Kfir Brigade eliminated seven terrorists, dismantled an explosives lab, and apprehended key individuals. The operation, involving multiple Israeli defense units, faced armed resistance, leading to the neutralization of the terrorists. Among those captured was a senior member of the Tulkarm Battalion, who attempted to escape using an ambulance. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the identities of the deceased (Jerusalem Post).
  4. Evacuation Directive for Gaza City Neighborhoods as IDF Intensifies Operations. The IDF has issued an urgent evacuation warning for residents in the Sabra, Tel al-Hawa, and Zeitoun areas of Gaza City, urging them to move south for safety. This directive comes in the wake of increased IDF activities, including airstrikes on approximately 200 Hamas targets and naval assaults on Hamas’s naval training and weapons storage facilities. A Hamas tunnel was discovered in a mosque, and IDF forces have taken control of several strategic locations in Gaza. Residents are advised to evacuate promptly, with designated routes and times for safe evacuation (Jerusalem Post). 
  5. Israeli Lawmakers Urge European Nations to Host Gaza Refugees. In a rare cross-party initiative, Israeli politicians Danny Danon (Likud) and Ram Ben-Barak (Yesh Atid) have called on the international community to provide refuge to displaced Gazans. Amid the ongoing conflict, they propose that European countries accept families seeking to relocate from the war-affected Gaza Strip. This suggestion follows the displacement of over 800,000 people due to intense military operations in Gaza. The lawmakers draw parallels with past global refugee crises, urging a shared international responsibility to offer sanctuary and aid in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza (Times of Israel).
  6. IDF Captures Hamas Governmental Sites in Gaza as Conflict Escalates. The IDF has taken control of key Hamas locations in Gaza City, including the parliament, government complex, and police headquarters, intensifying the ongoing conflict. They are also coordinating humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations and planning to deliver medical supplies to Gaza hospitals. Continuous rocket fire and military actions persist, leading to significant displacement within Gaza (Times of Israel). If you missed yesterday’s edition with a complete analysis on the situation in Israel, go here
  7. Jordanian Parliament Votes to Review Agreements with Israel. Jordan’s House of Representatives unanimously agreed to reassess its agreements with Israel, including the 1994 peace treaty and 2016 gas deal, in light of recent events in Gaza. King Abdullah II of Jordan emphasized the unacceptability of any Israeli plans to occupy parts of Gaza or establish buffer zones, viewing these as attacks on Palestinian rights. The King urged the international community to intervene to halt the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stressed the need to address the root cause: the occupation and denial of Palestinian rights (TRT World). 
  8. David Cameron’s 2010 Gaza Remarks Resurface Following His Return to UK Politics. David Cameron, reappointed as the UK’s Minister of Foreign Affairs after a 7-year hiatus, is back in the spotlight due to his 2010 statements on Gaza made during a visit to Turkey. Criticizing Israel’s actions in Gaza as unacceptable and likening the region to a “prison camp,” these comments have regained international attention amidst ongoing tensions in the region. Cameron’s return to politics, marked by a call with US President Joe Biden, coincides with significant cabinet changes by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Turkiye).

 

November 15, 2023

  1. Iranian Media Claims Significant Breaches in Israel’s Iron Dome Defense. Iranian reports allege that Hamas successfully exploited vulnerabilities in Israel’s Iron Dome system during the Al-Aqsa Storm operation, launching over 5,000 rockets and causing fatalities among Iron Dome operators. The reports claim cyberattacks on the system and suggest higher casualties than officially acknowledged by Israel (Tasnim Agency).
  2. Israeli Forces Conduct Precision Operation at Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Israeli military forces carried out a targeted operation at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, focusing on a specific area within the hospital. The operation, described as precise and intelligence-driven, was aimed at Hamas, according to the IDF (Jewish News Syndicate).  Gaza Hospital Director refutes claims of armed Resistance During IDF Raid, however, and stated that no gunfire originated from Al-Shifa Hospital during the Israeli army’s recent incursion. Despite Israeli claims of Hamas command centers in hospitals, no evidence was found by the IDF during their search. The hospital, currently housing 700 patients and thousands of displaced people, has been surrounded by Israeli forces for six days. Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with a high number of civilian deaths and injuries reported (MEMO)
  3. Israeli Military Continues Operations in Gaza; Rockets Fired from Lebanon. Israeli forces persist in their ground operation in Gaza, focusing on Al-Shifa Hospital for a targeted mission. Meanwhile, clashes with Hamas and Hezbollah continue, with rockets launched into northern and southern Israel. Internationally, discussions between Netanyahu and Biden focus on efforts to free hostages held by Hamas. The health system in Gaza faces collapse, and international reactions vary, with Turkey and Spain expressing strong criticisms of Israel’s actions (i24).
  4. Jordan’s King Advocates for Two-State Solution in Washington Post Op-Ed. King Abdullah II of Jordan, in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, emphasizes the necessity of a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace. He reflects on the negative impacts of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza 18 years ago, contributing to Palestinian division and hindering the peace process. The King calls for international efforts to establish a regional structure for peace, security, and prosperity, warning against the dangers of ongoing conflict and the rise of extremism (i24). 
  5. Macron’s Shift on Israel Stirs Concern Among French Jews. French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent demand for Israel to stop bombing in Gaza, contrasting his earlier support, has alarmed French Jews. They fear this change, seemingly in response to Muslim unrest in France, could incite antisemitism and compromise their safety. Macron’s stance, initially supportive of Israel’s fight against Hamas, appears to have shifted due to internal political pressures in France, raising concerns about the influence of local dynamics on French foreign policy (Times of Israel). 

 

November 16, 2023

  1. Shooting Attack at Jerusalem Checkpoint Injures Seven. A shooting attack at the “Tunnels” checkpoint in Jerusalem, carried out by three Palestinians, resulted in seven Israelis injured. Two attackers were killed by Israeli police at the scene. This incident, deemed a thwarted terrorist attack by Israeli police, is the first in the occupied Palestinian territories since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began on October 7. The ongoing Israeli military action in Gaza, now in its 41st day, has resulted in 371 Israeli army deaths and continued ground invasions. Amidst international calls for a ceasefire, tensions remain high with significant casualties and displacement reported in Gaza (Enab Baladi). 
  2. Israeli Jets Target Home of Hamas Leader in Gaza. Israeli Air Force struck the residence of Hamas politburo head Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza Strip. The house was reportedly used as a base for planning attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. This operation is part of Israel’s ongoing military activities in the region (JNS). 
  3. IDF Discovers Hostage Photos, Weapons at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uncovered photos of hostages and a cache of weapons, including rifles and ammunition, at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. IDF spokesperson revealed that laptop computers at the hospital contained photos of hostages taken since their abduction. The operation at the hospital, a significant development in the ongoing conflict, is part of broader IDF activities in the region. The discovery raises concerns about the use of medical facilities for military purposes (YNet). 
  4. BBC Team Documents IDF’s Search Operation Inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The BBC, accompanied by IDF forces, entered Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, witnessing the aftermath of intense military activity. The IDF showcased weapons and military paraphernalia found in the hospital, including Kalashnikovs and military pamphlets. They also reported finding laptops with photos of hostages. This operation underlines Israel’s assertion that Hamas uses medical facilities for military purposes (BBC). 

November 17, 2023

  1. Israeli Cabinet Approves Fuel Entry to Gaza with Conditions. The Israeli War Council, after a lengthy meeting, agreed to allow two fuel tanks daily into Gaza, specifically for United Nations’ water and sanitation needs, on the condition that the fuel does not reach Hamas. This decision, diverging from the previous stance linking fuel entry to progress on the prisoners’ issue, aims to prevent epidemic outbreaks in the region. Additionally, a potential truce and prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas is under discussion, involving the release of 50 Israeli hostages and children in exchange for 50 imprisoned women and children (Al Hadath). 
  2. IDF Recovers Bodies of Israeli Hostages in Gaza as Tensions Persist. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have successfully retrieved the remains of Cpl. Noa Marciano and Yehudit Weiss, who were held captive by Hamas in Gaza. Marciano’s death, initially attributed to an airstrike, raised suspicions due to evidence of bullet injuries and signs of a fall. The recovery operations unveiled underground infrastructure near Shifa Hospital, underscoring the complexity of the situation in the ongoing Gaza conflict (JNS). 
  3. Gaza Strip Plunges Into Darkness and Desperation.  The Gaza Strip is facing a dire crisis as a lack of fuel has led to the shutdown of all internet and phone networks, isolating the territory from the outside world. Amid Israel’s offensive and the potential expansion of a ground invasion, residents are receiving evacuation notices in the south. With severe shortages of food, clean water, and basic necessities, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached a critical point. The conflict has already resulted in a high number of casualties, with thousands reported missing (AP). 
  4. Israeli Military Targets Senior Hamas Figures in Underground Strikes.  The Israeli military has launched airstrikes targeting underground infrastructure in Gaza, where senior political and military leaders of Hamas were believed to be hiding. While the military did not confirm the deaths of these leaders, it highlighted severe damage to the underground sites. The strikes are part of ongoing operations in Gaza, with the Israeli army indicating it is close to dismantling the Hamas “military regime” in the northern part of the territory. Leaflets urging civilians to evacuate southern Gaza suggest a potential expansion of operations, amid a conflict that has resulted in significant casualties (Times of Israel). 
  5. Israel Agrees to International Control of Gaza Post-War. Israel has conveyed to the United States its agreement for international forces to oversee the Gaza Strip following the conclusion of the ongoing conflict. This development emerged from discussions between Brett McGurk, the US President’s envoy to the Middle East, and Israeli officials in Tel Aviv. The proposal, initially suggested by Germany and debated within the European Union, aims to stabilize the region post-conflict. Israeli officials clarified that their acceptance does not equate to Israeli civilian control or settlement establishment in Gaza. This agreement comes amid a prolonged conflict in Gaza, which has resulted in significant casualties and injuries (TRT Arabic). 
  6. Gaza’s Population Dwindles to 807,000 During Ongoing Conflict. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that the number of residents in Gaza and its northern regions has decreased to approximately 807,000 during the current military operations by the Israeli army. This estimate, based on data including mobile phone signal analysis, shows a substantial reduction from the 1.2 million inhabitants before the conflict. The report underscores the difficulties in accurately locating these individuals due to the ongoing conflict. Significant displacement has occurred, with about one-third of the population from northern Gaza moving to the central and southern regions, increasing their population to 1.43 million. The Israeli army’s evacuation orders and the resulting widespread displacement have markedly changed the demographic composition of the Gaza Strip (Al Hurra).
  7. Escalation in the West Bank and Gaza. The West Bank is experiencing heightened tensions with seven Palestinians killed in Israeli raids. Israel has approved fuel truck deliveries to Gaza amid UN warnings of potential starvation in the area. The decision, influenced by the U.S., aims to support civilian needs and facilitate hostage negotiation progress. Meanwhile, Israeli and Hezbollah forces have exchanged fire along the Israel-Lebanon border, and the U.S. has conducted airstrikes against Iran-linked groups in Syria. The situation remains volatile with ongoing military actions and humanitarian concerns (Al Monitor).

November 20, 2023

  1. Latest Update on the Israel-Hamas Battleground: IDF and Hamas Escalate OperationsGAZA CITY, November 20, 2023 – The Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, claimed responsibility for killing [six] Israeli soldiers in close combat in the Juhr al-Dik area. Employing anti-personnel missiles and machine guns, the militants engaged the IDF forces, as stated in a release by the group. However, the IDF confirmed five fatalities, adding to the toll of 58 officers and soldiers reportedly killed since the onset of  the so- called Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 27, 2023. In a separate incident, IDF airstrikes targeted senior Hamas officials in the northern Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of Ahmed Behar, a prominent figure within the organization. This operation signifies a loss of control for Hamas in the northern regions. Simultaneously, IDF units conducted precise raids in Gaza’s upscale Rimal neighborhood, known to house many top Hamas commanders. These operations led to the discovery of numerous tunnel shafts, seizure of a variety of weapons, and neutralization of several combatants. Due to  these developments, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Israel’s Chief of Staff, approved the continuation of ground operations against Hamas. The IDF has presented new evidence suggesting that Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip was used as a terror base, where Hamas terrorists took hostages on October 7. Surveillance footage shows Hamas terrorists inside the hospital forcibly taking hostages who were kidnapped from Israeli territory. Additionally, IDF forces uncovered a 55-meter-long terror tunnel underneath the hospital complex, equipped with defensive measures.  The IDF is escalating its search for key Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif in the Gaza Strip, amid indications from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority’s control over Gaza may not be restored post-conflict. In related news, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a Euronews interview, stated that Hamas’s actual headquarters is in Khan Yunis, not Al-Shifa Hospital. Olmert advocated for Israel to pursue a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority, which would include Gaza in a future Palestinian state.
  2. Galaxy Leader Hijacking: Divergent Views on Houthi Rebels’ Bold Move.  The recent hijacking of the ‘Galaxy Leader’ by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, a cargo ship owned by a British company and operated under a Japanese flag, marks a significant escalation in regional tensions. This audacious act, aligned with the Houthis’ threats against Israeli or Israeli-affiliated vessels. Despite Israeli Defence Forces confirming no Israeli citizens were onboard, the incident has sparked international alarm, raising the stakes for maritime security in a critical global shipping lane. The Houthi group’s claim of responsibility, framing it as a retaliatory act against perceived Israeli aggression, were reported to have used a helicopter to seize a Japanese cargo ship in the southern Red Sea.  In an Al Arabiya TV interview, contrasting views on the ‘Galaxy Leader’ incident were discussed. Dr. Hossein Royoran, a Tehran political science professor, denied Iranian involvement, attributing the attack to Houthi rebels reacting to Gaza’s crisis. He criticized the global community’s stance on arms support, seeing the seizure as a warning to Israel and the U.S., not an escalation sign. Jonathan Gilliam, a New York-based expert, argued Iran’s indirect involvement through Houthi support, suggesting broader conflict intentions. Royoran, on the other hand, cited Q88.com records affirming the ship’s Israeli ownership, declaring it ‘legitimate targets’. Gilliam concluded the discussion by assuring the audience of the United States’ resolve to prevent such incidents in the future. Referring to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the uncertainties surrounding it, he suggested that continued aggression in the Red Sea might prompt direct U.S. military action against Iran, termed as the ‘Head of the Snake.’
  3. King Abdullah II’s Strategy in Gaza: A Need for Strategic Revision? As the Gaza conflict intensifies, King Abdullah II of Jordan finds himself navigating a complex geopolitical landscape. Recent statements from the King and Queen of Jordan indicate a public stance against Israel, a position that appears increasingly precarious given the multifaceted challenges Jordan faces. In a recent development, King Abdullah II vowed to respond to what he termed an Israeli “attack” on a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza, labeling it a “heinous crime.” This incident has escalated tensions, with the King underscoring the need for a ceasefire and the protection of civilians in Gaza. His condemnation aligns with Jordan’s historical support for the Palestinian cause, yet it also reflects the delicate balance Jordan must maintain in its regional relations. Concurrently, Jordan grapples with the threat of growing extremism within its borders, exacerbated by the ongoing Gaza conflict. The nation’s geographic vulnerability heightens concerns over the potential influx of displaced Palestinians and elements from the “Axis of Resistance,” including Houthi forces in Yemen. This complex security situation poses a significant challenge for King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who have been engaged in diplomatic efforts to quell hostilities while emphasizing civilian protection and humanitarian aid facilitation. It appears that King Abdullah, while cautious about extremist elements entering Jordan, may not fully acknowledge the strategic implications of Israel’s actions in Gaza. From one perspective, Israel’s military efforts could be seen as a bulwark against the broader threat posed by Iran and its proxies, potentially safeguarding Jordan’s stability, including the Hashemite clan’s position. This nuanced situation underscores the intricate balancing act King Abdullah faces: addressing immediate humanitarian concerns in Gaza while considering long-term regional stability and the role of Israeli actions in this broader geopolitical context. Additionally, the postponement of a significant energy-for-water agreement with Israel amid the conflict and Queen Rania’s vocal support for the Palestinians signal a shift in Jordan’s diplomatic posture. However, these actions must be weighed against the potential risks, including the internal and external repercussions of a hardline stance against Israel. In summary, King Abdullah’s strategy in response to the Gaza conflict and his public position against Israel illustrate the complexities of Jordan’s geopolitical situation. While aligning with the Palestinian cause and condemning Israeli actions, Jordan must also consider the broader regional security dynamics, including the threats posed by extremist groups and the influence of Iranian-backed forces.
  4. Haaretz Report Sparks Regional Controversy.  Haaretz’s report on an Israeli helicopter firing at a festival near Kibbutz “Ra’im” during the October 7 massacre operations has stirred significant controversy. The article, which quickly went viral, suggests that the Israeli military may have mistakenly targeted a concert, potentially involving Hamas fighters, leading to 364 deaths. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, have strongly refuted the Palestinian Authority’s claims that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intentionally caused these deaths. Israeli authorities have emphasized the lack of evidence supporting any deliberate civilian targeting in this incident.

November 21, 2023

  1. Strategic Strikes and Technological Advancements in Gaza. The Israeli military has escalated its operations against Hamas, targeting three high-ranking leaders of the militant group’s military wing. This operation, conducted with fighter jets and supported by Shin Bet intelligence, significantly impacted Hamas’ command structure. Concurrently, the Israeli Army employed the Iron Sting guided mortar for the first time, striking 70 Hamas targets with precision to minimize civilian casualties. Additionally, the IDF’s 162nd Division intensified efforts in northern Gaza, particularly in Jabaliya, a major Hamas stronghold. This operation, a response to a recent border breach by Hamas terrorists, combined artillery and air strikes aiming to dismantle Hamas’ influence and rescue hostages. Despite facing 68 IDF soldier casualties, this campaign marks a significant advancement in Israel’s military strategy and technological capabilities in the region.
  2. A Major Step in Resolving Israel-Hamas Hostage Crisis with Key Mediation by Egypt and Qatar. The hostage crisis between Israel and Hamas is seeing significant progress with the imminent release of 53 captives and potential freedom for 20 more, under a deal mediated by Qatar and awaiting Israel’s approval. This agreement, which includes a four-day ceasefire extendable upon further releases, also mandates Israel’s release of 140-150 prisoners, increased humanitarian aid, and reduced aerial activities over Gaza. In this context, Islam’s condemnation of the use of children as hostages is a critical aspect, underscoring the need for humane treatment and the release of young captives. The involvement of Egypt and Qatar as key mediators has been pivotal, with Qatar’s Foreign Minister expressing confidence in a soon-to-be-finalized agreement. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, advocating for intervention against Hamas’s treatment of child hostages, and MK Mansour Abbas’s meetings with affected families further highlight the humanitarian concerns. This scenario indicates a significant step towards resolving the hostage crisis, balancing the demands for safety, rights, and diplomatic negotiations.  UN Chief Guterres Denied Entry into Gaza, Sparks Global Criticism. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent denial of entry into Gaza has drawn significant international attention and criticism. This denial of entry coincides with Guterres’ rejection of a UN-sponsored protection system in Gaza post-conflict. Instead, Guterres advocates for a transitional phase involving the United States and Arab nations, focusing on strengthening the Palestinian authority and moving towards a two-state solution based on international principles.

November 22, 2023

  1. Military Operations and Ceasefire Prospects.  The IDF’s strategic focus on undermining Hamas’s infrastructure has led to the destruction of over 400 tunnels, a testament to their relentless ground operations. This military assertiveness, however, comes at a grave human cost, with 69 casualties reported thus far. In the midst of these operations, a glimmer of hope emerges with the prospect of a temporary ceasefire. This proposed pause in hostilities, slated for Thursday, hinges on a delicate exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. The intricacies of this agreement, including the release mechanism and the timing of the ceasefire, are yet to be fully unveiled.
  2. International Diplomacy and Regional Shifts.  The geopolitical landscape of the Middle East is witnessing a remarkable transformation. Qatar, spearheading the mediation efforts, seeks to bolster its international stature. The anticipated meeting between Mossad Chief David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Doha underscores Qatar’s pivotal role. Concurrently, a notable shift is observed as Saudi Arabia collaborates with China, signaling a transition from regional rivals to global influencers. This joint effort in supporting a regional ceasefire marks a significant realignment in their diplomatic postures.
  3. Humanitarian Concerns and Responses.  Amidst the strategic and diplomatic maneuverings, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains acute. The ongoing rocket sirens in border towns and the IDF’s allegations of Hamas using civilians as shields highlight the grim reality of the conflict. The tragic loss of over 50 members of the Qadura family in Jabalia and the interception of a missile aimed at Eilat are stark reminders of the conflict’s toll. The proposed 4-day ceasefire and prisoner exchange offer a potential for de-escalation. However, the Islamic Jihad‘s stance on prisoner releases and Hamas leader Sinwar’s intention to leverage the post-ceasefire humanitarian crisis for international pressure reveal the complexities of achieving lasting peace. The expected influx of humanitarian aid, involving both Arab and European nations, presents an opportunity to alleviate some of the immediate suffering. In this context, Pope Francis’s separate meetings with families of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli captives, and his emphasis on a peaceful resolution, resonate as a moral imperative amidst the chaos.

November 23, 2023

  1. Ceasefire Stalemate: Israel-Hamas Tensions Escalate Amid Regional Power Shifts. 

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which was initially anticipated for today, has been postponed. This delay is due to increased Israeli military activities in Gaza and Southern Lebanon. In Gaza, Israel has launched severe airstrikes, resulting in numerous casualties. Concurrently, the Israeli army arrested Mohammed Abu Salimia, the director of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Medical Complex. This arrest resulted in the suspension of Gaza’s coordination with the World Health Organization.ed to the suspension of coordination with the World Health Organization.

A senior aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced a new deadline for the release of 50 Israelis held by Hamas. The deadline has been shifted from Thursday to Friday. This change suspends the 4-day ceasefire until a final agreement is reached. Additionally, the Israeli military has demanded the evacuation of the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza within four hours. They cite alleged military activities in the facility and threaten further action. This demand complicates the situation for approximately 200 critically wounded patients.

Furthermore, IDF paratroopers from the Givati Brigade conducted a raid on Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters in Gaza. This operation targeted underground infrastructure and resulted in the elimination of terrorists and the discovery of a workshop producing anti-tank missiles and explosive drones. Similar actions were taken earlier at Hamas headquarters in the northern Gaza Strip.

In Southern Lebanon, Israeli operations have resulted in Hizballah fatalities, further heightening regional tensions. In response to these developments, the Arab Islamic Committee, in a meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, urged the UN Security Council and international community to enforce an immediate and effective ceasefire in Gaza. Cameron expressed Britain’s support to prevent further escalation and emphasized the need for additional resources to maintain essential services in Gaza.

November 24, 2023

  1. Ceasefire Catalyst: Major Prisoner Swap Upends Mideast Dynamics. In a recent ceasefire agreement, Israel is releasing 39 Palestinian prisoners, including 24 women, while 13 Israelis held in Gaza are being freed. This exchange is part of a larger deal involving a total of 50 Israelis and 150 Palestinians over four days, along with provisions for humanitarian aid in Gaza. The move is seen as a tactical victory for Hamas by Israeli media and underscores the intricate dynamics of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders have declared a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, contingent on Israel’s compliance, following a 48-day period of heightened aggression and Israeli airstrikes.
  2. Gaza’s Labyrinth: The Human Cost of Hidden Warfare. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) targeted and demolished a tunnel network beneath Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, spotlighting international humanitarian law violations due to its proximity to a crucial medical facility. This operation, part of a broader initiative against Hamas’s underground infrastructure, has escalated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The temporary ceasefire, mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US, exposed the severe destruction in Gaza, especially in the northern regions, now deemed uninhabitable war zones. The IDF’s enforcement measures during the ceasefire, including riot control against Gazans trying to return home, underscore the high tension and potential for conflict resurgence. This military engagement, resulting in over 40,000 damaged buildings and 1.7 million displaced persons, reflects the profound human and infrastructural toll of this ongoing conflict.
  3. Social Media Shapes Israel-Hamas Conflict Narrative; Netanyahu Weighs Exit Strategy. As the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have become battlegrounds for global public opinion. Citizen-generated content is reshaping the narrative, influencing perceptions worldwide. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers retirement but proposes a plan to stay in power for months, including a regional peace project with President Biden and a settlement for corruption charges. Critics argue the plan aims to salvage his position amid declining popularity and potential early elections. 
  4. West, Iran, and Israel: Tensions and Caution. Western powers cautiously assess Iran’s nuclear ambitions after recent Israel-Hamas clashes. They criticize Tehran’s noncompliance at the IAEA meeting but avoid imposing binding resolutions to prevent further tension. Israel escalates rhetoric against Iran, with the IDF warning of expanded actions against Hamas. Tensions rise along the Lebanon-Israel border due to Hezbollah’s claimed attacks, raising concerns about broader regional conflict. 

November 27, 2023

Israel at a Crossroads: Biden’s Peace Push, Ceasefire Strains, and Musk’s Diplomatic Foray

  1. Biden Administration Reaffirms Commitment to Two-State Solution in Middle East.  In light of the study on reassessing U.S. strategies in the Middle East, the recent statement by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gains significance. Sullivan confirmed President Biden’s administration’s dedication to a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace. This commitment aligns with the study’s emphasis on resolving the Gaza conflict through political means and strategic regional cooperation. The administration’s stance also resonates with the study’s call for a balanced approach to Middle Eastern affairs, including the Israel-Palestine issue, which is pivotal for regional stability and U.S. interests.
  2. Netanyahu and Hamas Grapple with Ceasefire Complexities as Israel Targets Hamas Leadership in Gaza Operations.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed President Biden on potential resumption of military operations in Gaza after the ceasefire, while also considering continued prisoner releases. Concurrently, Hamas is advocating for an extension of the ceasefire, to secure additional prisoner releases.  The temporary truce in Gaza is proving challenging for the Israeli army. Israel, citing security concerns in combat zones, is restricting the movement of Palestinians attempting to return to the northern regions. This restriction is aimed at maintaining Israel’s military effectiveness but is complicated by the return of civilians, increasing the likelihood of unintended harm. There is concern among Israeli officials and analysts that Hamas could use this period of ceasefire to disrupt Israel’s military plans and rebuild its capabilities. Additionally, the terms of the ceasefire, including hostage exchanges, present Israel with operational challenges, amidst fears of losing military advantage and facing global pressure for more comprehensive agreements. The situation is particularly complex in northern Gaza, an area significantly affected by the conflict. Sinwar, playing a significant role in prisoner exchange decisions, has personally visited Israeli detainees in a tunnel in Gaza, reassuring them in Hebrew about their safety. During this ceasefire, the Israeli military faces challenges such as the return of displaced Palestinians and maintaining military readiness. Despite temporary ceasefires, Israel’s offensive, especially in Khan Yunis, continues. The IDF and Shin Bet have significantly disrupted Hamas’ strategic capabilities by eliminating five senior commanders.  The ongoing Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange, coinciding with a 4-day truce in Gaza, has seen a rise in Palestinian detainee numbers and fatalities in the West Bank. Military spokesman Avichay Adraee and Chief of Staff Hertzi Halevi have said the Israeli forces will resume their operations against Hamas following the prisoner exchange. Amidst these tensions, a significant UN aid delivery to northern Gaza addresses urgent needs, highlighting the complex interplay of military action, diplomatic negotiations, and humanitarian concerns in the region.
  3. Qatar Engages in Israel-Hamas Hostage Negotiations During Truce Discussions.  Qatari intelligence officers are currently in Israel, discussing the Gaza truce and a complex hostage situation, despite the lack of official diplomatic relations between the two nations. As part of the proposed extension of the Gaza truce, Israel has set a “one-for-three” release condition, offering to exchange 40 Israelis for 150 Palestinian prisoners. This agreement, mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S., follows Israel’s release of 78 Palestinian prisoners and Hamas’ release of 26 Israelis and 15 non-Israeli foreigners. Israel has confirmed that approximately 240 captives were taken during a Hamas attack. The 13 Israeli captives released from Hamas captivity in Gaza after the October 7 attack have recounted their experiences, describing harsh conditions but no physical torture. They reported days without food, limited bathroom access, and frequent relocations, sleeping on benches. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, in an interview with the Financial Times, stated that Hamas denies capturing civilians during the recent conflict, attributing this to other armed groups. He revealed that over 40 women and children are still detained in Gaza, but not by Hamas. This statement, however, contradicts the known facts of the October 7 attack, where all forces involved were under Hamas’ command. Israel, in response to Qatar’s claims, provided a list of over 90 captives and indicated readiness to prolong the truce if more detainees are released by Hamas. This development suggests a complex coordination between Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in resolving the hostage situation. An Israeli captive, Daniel Aloni, in a farewell letter to Al-Qassam Brigades, expressed gratitude for the humane treatment received during captivity, acknowledging kindness towards her daughter, Emilia. IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari mentioned gathering information from each captive to understand their individual experiences, though this information will not be publicly released.
  4. The Harrowing Plight of Women and Captives in Gaza.  In Gaza, amidst the ongoing conflict, pregnant women face a severe health crisis. Out of 540,000 women of childbearing age, 50,000 are pregnant and grappling with inadequate health services. The World Health Organization has raised alarms about increased maternal mortality due to insufficient care, with the war exacerbating the situation, leading to heightened stress, fetal deaths, premature births, and unanesthetized cesarean sections. The release of Maysoon Musa Al-Jabali, the oldest female Palestinian prisoner, along with 33 children in a Hamas-Israel exchange deal, highlights the harsh conditions Palestinian detainees face in Israeli prisons, especially since October 7th, including allegations of beatings, gas attacks, and severe food scarcity. Conversely, the experiences of 13 Israeli captives held by Hamas in Gaza present a different aspect of the conflict. During their 49-day captivity, they endured isolation, scarce food supplies leading to significant weight loss, and harsh living conditions. Meirav Raviv, a relative of some hostages, shared their struggles, including days without food, long waits for bathroom access, and frequent relocations in small cars. The psychological and physical toll on these hostages was profound, as they were isolated from the outside world until their release under the same exchange agreement. Both narratives, though distinct in context and perspective, underscore the human cost of ongoing conflicts. The ordeal of the Israeli hostages, detailed by IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, emphasizes the importance of individual testimonies in understanding the complexities of captivity. The release of these captives marks the end of a distressing chapter for their families, but the broader narrative of captivity and its consequences continues to unfold in the region.
  5. Elon Musk’s Israel Visit: Addressing Anti-Semitism and Starlink’s Role in Gaza.  As we conclude this week’s analysis, a notable yet distinct development emerges. Elon Musk, amidst allegations of anti-Semitism on his social media platform, is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. This meeting aims to tackle the pressing issue of online hate speech. Additionally, Israel’s agreement with Musk ensures that Starlink’s operations in Gaza will proceed only with Tel Aviv’s approval. Musk’s visit, aligning with his public stance against anti-Semitism, unfolds during a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, marking a significant, albeit different, point of interest in the region’s ongoing narrative.

November 28, 2023

  1. Fifth Day of Gaza Ceasefire: 10 Israeli Prisoners Released in Exchange for 30 Palestinians. On the fifth day of the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas handed over 10 Israeli prisoners, leading to the release of 30 Palestinians, including women and children. The exchange, part of the ceasefire agreement, raises hopes for further extensions and facilitates aid entry to war-torn Gaza. Israel maintains its commitment to weaken Hamas militarily despite the ceasefire.
  2. Putin’s Bias towards Hamas Prompts Israel to Reevaluate. Russia’s alignment with Hamas in the Israel-Hamas conflict prompts Israel to reassess its relationship with Moscow. Putin’s support for Hamas diverges from Russia’s long-term public relations strategy, raising concerns for Israel’s strategic alliances. The evolving situation in the Middle East, coupled with Russia’s assertive stance, compels Israel to navigate a delicate balance in its geopolitical engagements.
  3. Hamas Violates Ceasefire, Attacks Israeli Forces in Gaza. Amid efforts to extend the ceasefire, Hamas reportedly attacked Israeli forces in northern Gaza. Hamas claims Israeli forces violated the truce, emphasizing their commitment to it and urging mediators to pressure Israel to adhere to the ceasefire terms. Israeli fighter jets were allegedly deployed after the incident.
  4. Israel Withdraws Support for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2030 Amid Gaza War. In light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israel has withdrawn its support for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2030 and redirected it to Italy. The decision, reportedly made in coordination with relevant parties, positions Italy as the new host for the global exhibition, intensifying the competition between Saudi Arabia and Italy. The final vote to determine the winning city is scheduled for today, with the current geopolitical context influencing the decision.
  5. Israel Accuses Hamas of Sexual Violence, Holds UN Meeting. Israel convened a meeting at the UN in Geneva, accusing Hamas of sexual violence against women during the October 7th attacks. Israel initiated an investigation into sexual violence, including rape, based on evidence of such crimes. The meeting, attended by diplomats and human rights organizations, marks Israel’s first international event on what it claims to be widespread sexual violence by Hamas. The UN Human Rights Office requested entry into Israel for monitoring, but Israel has not responded, hindering direct access to investigate reported human rights violations.
  6. Israeli Army Admits Failures and Casualties in October 7th Offensive. The Israeli military acknowledges the injury of a thousand soldiers since the start of the Gaza conflict, admitting its failure to counter the Palestinian resistance’s attack on October 7th. Reports reveal 202 soldiers with severe injuries, 320 with moderate, and 470 with minor wounds. The military faces scrutiny over information control, while the chief of staff outlines preparations for continued combat during ceasefires, aiming to dismantle Hamas. The conflict resulted in significant Israeli casualties and extensive damage in Gaza, raising humanitarian concerns.
  7. US Democratic Senators Meet Israeli Military Leaders to Discuss Gaza Conflict. A group of Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate met with high-ranking officials of the Israeli military to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestinian resistance, particularly Hamas, along with concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Senators stressed the need for Israeli adherence to American values during operations against Hamas, while raising questions about the conditions for U.S. aid to Israel. The meeting also addressed the post-ceasefire phase, exploring viewpoints on the current situation and future developments.

November 29, 2023

  1. Fifth Successful Prisoner Exchange: Hope for Permanent Ceasefire Emerges. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announces the fifth successful exchange between Israel and Hamas, releasing 30 Palestinian civilians in exchange for ten Israelis. The Red Cross facilitates the transfer, with both sides expressing hope for a lasting ceasefire. Emotional scenes unfold as the liberated Palestinians, including 15 women and 15 minors, reunite with families in Ramallah and Jerusalem. 
  2. Israel’s Gaza Offensive Sparks Concerns, Ministers Threaten Government Dissolution. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses deep concern over Israel’s reported plans to expand attacks on Gaza after the humanitarian ceasefire. Israeli ministers warn of dissolving the government if the war halts. Amidst diplomatic efforts for a long-term truce, extreme statements from Israeli officials heighten tensions, complicating peace talks. The situation continues to escalate, with the humanitarian crisis worsening, emphasizing the urgent need for a lasting resolution.
  3. Israeli Strike Allegedly Claims Lives of Three Hostages in Gaza. The Al-Qassam Brigades report that three hostages were killed in a prior Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Despite Hamas’s readiness to extend the existing ceasefire for an additional four days, international mediators intensify efforts for a lasting ceasefire and the release of all hostages.
  4. Israeli Forces Declare Jenin a Closed Military Zone Amid Clashes. The Israeli military declared Jenin a closed military zone after entering the city, engaging in armed confrontations with Palestinian resistance fighters. Israeli forces besiege Jenin’s hospitals, causing injuries, and arrest individuals amid intense military actions in the West Bank. Multiple incursions and clashes occur in various Palestinian areas. 
  5. Hamas Urges Media Presence to Witness Gaza’s Devastation. Hamas calls on journalists and news agencies to intensify their presence in Gaza to witness the extent of the damage caused by the Israeli war since October 7. The statement highlights the discovery of civilian bodies under rubble, destruction of vital infrastructure, and deliberate targeting of Gaza’s Islamic University. Hamas also urges global solidarity on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, condemning Israeli aggression and advocating for Palestinian rights to freedom, independence, and self-determination.
  6. Secret Talks in Doha: Agreement to Extend Gaza Ceasefire. In confidential discussions in Doha, Israeli, American, Egyptian, and Qatari officials have reportedly agreed to extend the Israel-Hamas ceasefire for the release of more Gaza prisoners. Negotiations focus on releasing women and children first, with potential extensions based on continued progress. The talks involve high-level intelligence officials, including CIA Director William Burns. Possibility of a ceasefire extension or resumption of hostilities looms, pending the release of Israeli prisoners. Qatar hints at negotiations for the release of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas. 
  7. Hamas to Release Russian Detainees in Appreciation of Putin’s Stance. Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk announces the release of Russian detainees, unrelated to the Israel exchange deal, expressing gratitude for President Putin’s supportive positions. The gesture follows the release of Israeli prisoners, with this move aimed at acknowledging Putin’s stance on Gaza.
  8. UN Explores Opening “Second Crossing” to Gaza, Citing Constraints. UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths heads to Amman to discuss the potential opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for humanitarian aid entry into Gaza via Israel. While acknowledging current aid deliveries through the Rafah crossing, Griffiths emphasizes the need for additional crossings to meet Gaza’s growing humanitarian needs. Diplomatically, the possibility of opening Kerem Shalom is seen as unlikely at present, with Israel’s reluctance due to its military presence in the region.
  9. IDF Military Intelligence Chief to Resign Following October 7 Events. Military Intelligence Directorate Chief Aharon Haliva plans to resign, taking responsibility for the October 7 attack. Excluded from a crucial conversation, he anticipates retirement after the war, leaving the Intelligence Division in search of a successor. The General Staff’s communication lapses raise concerns, leaving the timing of Haliva’s departure uncertain. 

November 30, 2023

  1. Gaza Ceasefire Prolonged as Israel-Hamas Negotiate Prisoner Swap. Israel and Hamas have agreed to a one-day extension of their temporary truce in Gaza, maintaining the terms of the previous ceasefire. Under these terms, Hamas will release 10 Israeli citizens for 30 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. The extension, mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, follows a series of hostile events in the region, including a US Navy warship downing an Iranian drone in the Red Sea and continued violence in the West Bank. Despite the truce, disagreements persist over the “prisoners file,” with Hamas rejecting the inclusion of certain prisoners in the current deal. The US has called for a reduced combat zone in southern Gaza to prevent civilian casualties. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region aims to extend the truce and increase humanitarian aid to Gaza.
  2. Jerusalem Shooting: Three Israelis Dead, Six Wounded in Ramot Settlement Attack. In an attack at the entrance to Jerusalem, three Israelis were killed and six others injured, some critically, following an explosion and shooting at two locations in the Ramot settlement. The Israeli Ambulance Authority identified the deceased as two women, aged 24 and 60, and an elderly man aged 70. Israeli police reported that two gunmen, identified as brothers from the town of Sur Baher in Jerusalem, were “neutralized.” The police found bullet magazines with hundreds of bullets in the gunmen’s car. Additionally, three Palestinians were killed at the Ramot attack site by police and a settler. Reinforcements were sent to the area to search for other possible gunmen, and a large number of ambulances and police personnel gathered at the scene. The police confirmed that the suspects were immediately neutralized after they arrived in a car and opened fire on civilians at a bus stop.
  3. Israel Considers Replicating “Beirut Model” in Gaza. Israel contemplates strategies, including forcibly removing low-level Hamas fighters, to prevent a repeat of the October 7 attack in Gaza. Discussions with the U.S. revolve around post-Hamas governance, proposing the creation of “safe zones free from Hamas.” Challenges persist in reaching consensus on key issues to end the war and determine Gaza’s future administration and security.
  4. Israeli President to Discuss “Hostage Issue” on the Sidelines of COP28 Conference in Dubai. Israeli President Isaac Herzog participates in the UN Climate Conference “COP28” in the UAE, engaging in talks about releasing hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Herzog aims to involve world leaders in high-level humanitarian efforts during COP28. The visit follows weeks of war with Hamas and aligns with an extended ceasefire, fostering negotiations for further hostage releases.

 

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