ACLS

Israel and Palestinian Territories in October 2023

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October 2, 2023

★ Military Report on Iran-Israel Relations and Developments

  1.  Satellite Launch and Ballistic Capabilities. The United States and Western countries have confirmed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard successfully launched its third military imaging satellite, Noor-3, into orbit. The satellite, carried by a three-stage Qased rocket, is positioned 450 kilometers above Earth. The U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Defense Squadron supplied data confirming the launch. This development follows a series of failed attempts by Iran’s civilian space program. The satellite aims to enhance Iran’s imaging capabilities for intelligence gathering. The launch has heightened tensions, as it is seen as aiding Tehran’s ballistic missile program amidst ongoing Western criticism and sanctions. Iran denies that the technology serves as a precursor to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles  (Times of Israel, Sharq Awsat).
  2. Internal Security and Intelligence Operations. Iranian media, although unverified, reported that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence thwarted 30 planned bombings in Tehran. The ministry conducted raids in three provinces, arresting more than 28 civilians. The operational design and behavior of the arrested individuals were noted to be more advanced than typical ISIS methods. The ministry pointed to “well-known practices and mechanisms of the Zionist entity” as the external influence behind these operations. Confiscated materials included a significant amount of explosives, American-made pistols, and other equipment.
  3. Missile Capabilities and Statements.On the same day as the internal security operations, Iran’s Ministry of Defense spokesperson, Reza Talaei, announced that Iran possesses missiles capable of striking Israel. One such missile, named after Qasem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 kilometers and is fueled by solid fuel.
  4. Israeli Defense Activities. On October 1, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) conducted airstrikes near Damascus, targeting an Iranian weapons shipment en route to Lebanon. The strikes took place in al-Dimas, west of Damascus, and targeted locations belonging to the Syrian army and pro-Iranian militias. While the IDF does not traditionally comment on specific strikes, they have acknowledged conducting operations against Iran-backed groups, primarily to intercept arms shipments to Hezbollah. These strikes coincide with increased Iranian efforts to bolster anti-aircraft defenses in Syria (Sharq Awsat, Iran International, Bayan Media). 
  5. Naval Capabilities and Ambitions. Iran is actively working to enhance its naval capabilities. Plans are underway to upgrade the aging Sabalan frigate by installing 12 cruise missiles to improve its blue-water naval operations. Iran also claims to have received international orders for advanced destroyers like the Dena. The Sabalan destroyer has been armed with 12 anti-ship cruise missiles, an upgrade from its previous four. These missiles have a range of over 1,000 kilometers and are equipped with artificial intelligence for advanced trajectory definition and command-and-control systems. Iran also has ambitions to establish a permanent naval station in Antarctica for military and scientific operations (Jerusalem Post). 
  6. U.S.-Iran Naval Encounters. In a recent incident, Iranian naval forces targeted a U.S. military helicopter, an AH-1Z Viper, with a laser during its routine flight over international waters in the Gulf. The helicopter is part of the unit deployed on the USS Bataan, which is in the region to deter Iran from seizing commercial tankers. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command reported no injuries or damages but condemned the act as “unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible.” Commander Rick Chernitzer emphasized that such actions risk lives and must cease immediately. This event adds to a growing list of tense encounters between U.S. and Iranian forces in the region (CBS News).

October 3, 2023

  1. IDF Investigates Surge in Migrant Boats Reaching Israeli Shores Undetected (I24). The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are investigating a migrant boat incident in Netanya. Passports and personal items were found on board, indicating a rising trend in such incidents since 2017. IDF Navy and Israel Police are searching for the occupants, while radar systems are under review for improvements.
  2. Netanyahu Denies Rift with Ben Gvir Over Security Meeting Exclusion (Sharq Awsat). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied media reports suggesting a rift with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir over his exclusion from a recent security meeting. Netanyahu stated that the meeting was focused on Iran and did not fall under Ben Gvir’s jurisdiction. The media had reported that Ben Gvir was excluded due to fears of information leaks and his controversial proposals.
  3. Israel Accuses France of Ignoring Hezbollah’s Growing Influence in Lebanon During Border Tensions (I24). Israel criticizes France for ignoring Hezbollah near the border. Foreign Ministry summons French deputy ambassador amid tensions over Hezbollah’s activities in Israeli territories. Israeli officials warn France’s alignment with Lebanon could hinder negotiations. France’s UNIFIL mandate draft changed after pressure from the US, Israel, and Security Council members.
  4. Israeli Authorities Close Ibrahimi Mosque, Allow Settler Entry to Al-Aqsa During Sukkot Celebrations (TRT Arabic). Tensions rise in East Jerusalem as Ibrahimi Mosque closed to Muslims during Sukkot, allowing settler access. Al-Aqsa Mosque sees hundreds of Israeli settlers with age restrictions for Palestinians. 859 settlers entered Al-Aqsa on the first day of Sukkot, causing increased regional tension.
  5. Israel’s Defense Exports Surge, Drone Sales to Countries Increase 40% Since 2020 (Al Monitor). Israel’s defense exports surged with drone sales up 40% since 2020. The Israeli Defense Ministry approved drone sales to 56 countries in 2022, compared to 41 in 2021 and 40 in 2020. Munitions sales rose by 45%, while intelligence and cyber systems increased by 24%. These exports, totaling $12.55 billion in 2022, benefited from the 2020 Abraham Accords, leading to $3 billion in exports to Arab nations in 2022. The growth continues with a commitment to sell the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system to Germany in 2023.

October 4, 2023

  1. Israeli Ministry Blocks European Ministers’ Visit to West Bank Palestinian Villages (AlWatan). The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied visits by Ireland, Norway, and Britain’s foreign ministers to Palestinian villages in Area C of the West Bank. Israel cited security concerns, fearing escalation and violence. The right-wing government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has intensified demolitions and displacements in Area C, despite its intended expansion for the Palestinian Authority. Settlement organizations are pressuring the government to hinder European aid to Palestinians in this region.
  2. Israel Expands Gazan Worker Permits, Eases Gaza Goods Entry, and Engages in Talks with Qatar for Hamas Salaries (Sharq Awsat). These measures are designed to reinforce American efforts in talks with Saudi Arabia by preventing Gaza-related tensions. Due to a recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Joe Biden highlighted that averting violence against Palestinians would enhance US-Saudi communication, signaling a show of strength in support of these negotiations. Meanwhile, Palestinian Islamic Jihad test-fired rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea, leading to an alert in southern Israel. These launches occurred after a hiatus in border riots and incendiary balloon attacks. The rockets were directed seaward and did not breach Israeli territory. The group characterized the event as a live fire drill simulating raids on Israeli military sites, including advanced offensive maneuvers. The timing coincided with increased Jewish visits to the Temple Mount during Sukkot.
  3. Israel Ranks High in TikTok Content Removal with 12.75% Rate (Jerusalem Post). Israel featured prominently in Canopy.us’ analysis of TikTok content removal rates, with 12.75% of videos removed from January to March 2023. Pakistan led the list with a 70.91% removal rate. The primary reasons for removal were minor safety concerns (30%), followed by the display of illegal activities and adult content. Israel’s strict moderation is in response to issues like cyberbullying, predatory behavior, and scams, despite the app’s 13+ age restriction. The UK also displayed active content removal practices, nearly 20% of videos were removed, reflecting a wider trend in content management.
  4. Leader of Afghan National Resistance Front Open to Cooperation with Israel for Peace (Jerusalem Post). Ahmed Massoud, leader of the Afghan National Resistance Front seeks support from any party backing their cause against terrorism and ignorance. Massoud, who studied at elite institutions and leads the resistance, aims for international backing in Europe and a democratic Afghan government that decides its international relations, including cooperation with Israel. He emphasizes the global need for peace and dialogue.
  5. Ben Gvir’s Anti-Terrorism Online Unit: 34 Arrests, 100 Investigations, 759 Posts Removed (Jerusalem Post). Since 2022, the Anti-Terrorism Online Operation Unit led by Itamar Ben Gvir has arrested 34 individuals for online terrorism incitement, conducted 100 investigations, and removed 759 posts from social media. The unit comprises various security personnel and prosecutors, effectively countering online radicalization and incitement to terrorism.

October 5, 2023

  1. World Jewish Center in Armenia Vandalized; Attackers Declare Jews “Enemies of the Armenian Nation (Jerusalem Post). The World Jewish Center in Yerevan, Armenia, was vandalized in an act believed to be linked to Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The attackers left a note declaring Jews as “enemies of the Armenian nation” and threatened further violence against Jewish communities.
  2. Heightened Security Measures During Jerusalem Main March Today (Ynet). Jerusalem’s annual main march kicks off today, leading to extensive road closures and traffic modifications. Hundreds of police officers and volunteers have been deployed to ensure the event’s security. The parade will commence at Bezalel Street and conclude at the First Station complex.
  3. Orthodox Jewish Extremists Spitting at Christian Pilgrims Sparks Outrage (CBN). Orthodox Jewish extremists were caught on video spitting at Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem’s Old City during the Feast of Tabernacles. Another group protested outside an International Christian Embassy event, shouting for Christians to stay out of Israel. Five individuals have been arrested in connection with the spitting incident.

October 6, 2023

  1. Israel’s Arms Supply to Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Israel and Azerbaijan have expanded their strategic alliance, but it’s the discreet arms supply from Israel aiding Azerbaijan’s recent recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh that’s drawing attention. This development comes as the two nations also signed a space cooperation agreement at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku, focusing on joint projects in space technologies and Earth observation. The arms deal has raised questions about Israel’s geopolitical interests and its influence on regional conflicts (Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post).
  2. Five Israeli Undercover Soldiers Injured in Tulkarm Camp Operation. An operation in the Tulkarm Palestinian refugee camp resulted in injuries to five members of the Israeli undercover unit, Musta’ribin, three of them seriously. The injuries occurred due to a grenade ricochet. The operation also led to the death of two Palestinians and the arrest of two others. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of being responsible for operations against Israel (Syria TV).

October 9, 2023

  • ACLS ANALYSIS OF THE ISRAEL-GAZA CRISIS:  Iran’s Hamas Offensive and the Dilemma Facing U.S. Middle East Policy

Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Saturday morning into Israeli territory has changed the security balance in the Middle East, probably permanently.  Not since 1973 has Israeli territory been invaded in such a significant way.  As of Sunday evening, the attack has resulted in over 700 Israeli deaths and 2,000 wounded, with the casualty toll still rising.  Hamas fighters were able to penetrate into Israeli territory from more than two dozen entry points in vehicles, on foot, and even in paragliders.  They wreaked havoc in Israeli towns, slaughtered hundreds of people at a music festival, and took dozens of captives back into Gaza.  The number of Israelis killed so far is more than double the toll (317) of Israel’s worst day in the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan war.  Israelis are describing the Hamas attack as “Israel’s 9-11.”

Why Hamas and the Iranian Regime Launched the Attack

Also as of Sunday evening, Hamas and Hizballah officials have revealed to the media that the attack was sponsored, planned, and greenlit by the Iranian regime.  According to Wall Street Journal reporting, the Iranian-Hamas planning and preparations for the attack began in August.  The attack thus represents not just a significant new threat from Gaza-based Hamas, but also a capability by the Iranian regime to reach into Israel and pose an unprecedented threat to the security of Israeli communities.

For Hamas, the attack was not a reaction to any Israeli provocation, but instead a calculated and long-planned move to seize political control within the Palestinian territories and become the Palestinians’ sole political power.  Hamas has displayed military power far beyond that of any other faction and probably has rendered the 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah coalition irrelevant for the foreseeable future.  And since Hamas is an Iranian regime proxy, this outcome gives Supreme Leader Khameni and his regime the de facto control of the Palestinian cause he has always wanted.

How Israel Will Respond

Given the unprecedented capability to harm Israel that Hamas has now demonstrated, Israel will have no choice but to try to permanently destroy Hamas’s capability in Gaza.  The Israelis also have long believed they must restore deterrence against Hamas, Hizbllah, and the Iranian regime in any case, and Saturday’s attack will have convinced Israeli leaders that they can wait no longer to do this.   Israelis are also shocked by their apparent intelligence failure:  the fact that Hamas was able to assemble a large invasion force in Gaza without any detection or warning, despite the supposedly close monitoring of the Israeli intelligence agencies.  This failure is as damaging to Israel’s strategic deterrent of its enemies as the cost of the attack itself, and many Israelis believe it stems from Israel’s months of growing internal divisions and distractions.

The retaliation has already begun:  Israeli forces are already bombarding Hamas targets in Gaza by air and with artillery, and Israeli special operators have already captured or killed several of Hamas’s most senior military commanders.  The Israeli retaliation will be different and harder-hitting than ever before. The Israelis will not countenance another military operation that leaves Hamas intact enough to come back and pose the same kind of threat again, as happened after the 2008, 2014, and 2021 Gaza wars.  The Israeli army is almost certain to mount a major ground offensive into Gaza this time, and it is highly likely to be more extensive than Israel’s previous major ground incursion in 2008. The Israelis will wind up destroying much of Gaza in the course of such an operation, especially since Hamas deliberately operates from within civilian areas and facilities.  The consequences for Gaza will be ugly, and as the images of civilian casualties and destroyed infrastructure mount, the Israelis will face a rising tide of international pressure to break off their campaign before they accomplish their military objectives.  But having just suffered Hamas’s attack, the Israelis will judge that they have no choice but to see the ground campaign through to its conclusion, regardless of international pressure.

How the Gaza War Will Likely Expand

What the Israelis are going to feel compelled to do–destroy Hamas’s capabilities forever–is something the Iranian regime will try very hard to prevent.  If Israel does mount a major campaign against Hamas in Gaza, one different in scale and severity than in 2021, the Iranian regime will seek to relieve pressure on Hamas by opening a northern front against Israel, which Tehran will calculate must be done to enable Hamas to survive intact. The likelihood of the Iranian regime opening up a serious attack against Israel from Syria or Lebanon, or both, will increase if the Israeli operation in Gaza begins to threaten Hamas’s survival–as the Israelis will intend it to do.  This is the very scenario for which the Iranian regime has invested years in establishing new strategic outposts inside Syria from which to threaten Israel, just as it has already established with Hizballah in Lebanon.  The Iranian regime and Hizballah will judge that the Israelis do not have the ability to conduct campaigns on the southern and northern fronts at the same time.  The Israelis will judge that they have to mobilize the military assets to prove the Iranian regime and Hizballah wrong, thereby restoring deterrence.

Hizballah, however, will see Hamas’s fate connected to its own.  If Hamas is destroyed, Hassan Nasrallah and Hizballah have to conclude that they could be next.  Nasrallah and his IRGC sponsors therefore cannot afford to sit idle while Israel destroys Hamas in Gaza.  They will eventually be compelled to intervene, because if the Israelis no longer face a southern threat, they will be free to focus all their attention on the northern one.

The High Risk of a Wider War

The Biden administration apparently recognizes the likelihood that the Iranian regime will seek to open an additional front against Israel, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on Sunday that he was sending additional U.S. naval and air forces to the eastern mediterranean.  The purpose of these U.S. reinforcements will be to deter the Iranians from expanding the Gaza war or from targeting U.S. troops in the region, and possibly to be prepared to evacuate American civilians from Israel and neighboring countries in the event that the conflict escalates.

If the Iranian regime does open a northern war with Israel, the risk of a broader escalation becomes high, and not just because of the Israel-Hamas dynamic or the new deployment of U.S. forces. As we note below (see ACLS SPECIAL REPORT ON THE ESCALATING NORTHERN SYRIA CRISIS), the complicated, multi-level conflict in Syria has already escalated significantly in the past week. There is more intense fighting going on across both northwest and northeast Syria than at any time in almost four years. The danger extends to Iraq as well.  In Iraqi Kurdistan, the Iranian regime and its Iraqi proxies have been using political and economic pressure to try to paralyze the Kurdistan Regional Government, with the aim of collapsing or partitioning the KRG and perhaps even making the U.S. military presence in Iraqi Kurdistan untenable.

All this is to say that the entire northern Middle East is already unstable with escalating conflicts, and thus the risk of a bigger explosion involving the Iranian regime and its proxies, Russia, Turkiye, and the United States may be higher than at any time in the past decade.

The Iranian Regime’s Regional Objectives…

For Supreme Leader Khamenei and his regime, in the larger picture the Hamas attack was a strategic move to halt whatever momentum was gathering behind the U.S. administration’s initiative to broker a normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.  This Iranian regime gambit will almost certainly succeed.  The Israelis have likely judged that they have no choice but to make their harshest retaliation ever against Hamas, far more severe than their Gaza operation of 2008, and their campaign against Gaza will produce images of destruction that Israel’s Arab partners (and potential partners) will almost certainly feel compelled to condemn. The Iranian regime will thus have succeeded in stopping the momentum of the Abraham Accords for the foreseeable future.

..and the Dilemma Now Facing U.S. Middle East Policy

The Biden administration’s Middle East policy has been based on two interconnected ideas:  first, that detente between the United States and the Iranian regime can be accomplished and will create conditions for de escalating all the regional conflicts in which the Iranian regime is involved, and second, that integrating the region (including the Iranian and Syrian regimes) economically will give all the regional actors an incentive peace and stability.

The Iranian regime’s sponsorship of the Hamas offensive against Israel has shown these ideas to be unrealistic.  In the face of Tehran’s aggressive destabilization of the Levant, the U.S. administration will have great difficulty continuing its pursuit of a restoration of the Iran nuclear agreement, which has involved negotiating to unfree the Iranian regime’s frozen funds in several countries and deliberately not enforcing U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports.  The result has been tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues for Tehran as the Iranian regime can now sell as many as two million barrels of oil each day.  The administration will have great difficulty allowing this flow of Iranian regime revenues to continue at the same time that Israel is girding for potential war with Tehran’s proxies and American warships and warplanes are reinforcing the eastern Mediterranean. These two policies cannot exist side by side for much longer.

As of Monday, the U.S. administration is not yet ready to openly acknowledge this new reality.  On Sunday, Administration spokesmen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were quick to claim they saw no evidence of an Iranian hand in the Hamas attack against Israel, even as Hamas itself publicly declared they had executed their attack in full partnership with the Iranian regime.  On Sunday evening, Blinken added that he had encouraged Turkiye to advocate for a cease fire–even as Israel is on a full war footing, mobilizing more than 300,000 reserve troops and preparing for a ground assault on Gaza, and a U.S. carrier strike group is on its way to the region.

The old formula for Hamas-Israeli clashes, in which Hamas hits Israel in a limited way, the Israelis respond in a limited way, all parties pretend the Iranian regime is not involved, and the rest of the region goes on as before, is no longer tenable.  Since taking office, President Biden and his team have picked up where the Obama administration left off, hoping to avert war and instability in the Middle East by unilaterally withdrawing American attention and leadership from the region, assuming that the longstanding U.S.-led security order in the region will be naturally replaced by some kind of multipolar, integrated calm.  The Iranian regime and Hamas have shown that that approach cannot work.  The Biden administration will either have to take the steps necessary to reestablish strategic deterrence for the U.S. and its allies, or face a reckoning whose outcome no one can predict.

 

October 10, 2023

  1. Hamas Threatens to Execute Israeli Prisoners in Retaliation for Civilian Bombings. The Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, has declared its intent to execute an Israeli civilian prisoner in response to any new Israeli bombings of civilian homes without warning. Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, warned that they would broadcast the executions with audio and video, emphasizing Israel’s responsibility for the situation (Al Arabiya).
  2. Netanyahu Threatens Hamas: “We Will Change the Middle East”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the war on the Gaza Strip will be ongoing and vowed to “change the Middle East.” In a call with heads of Israeli local councils surrounding Gaza, he emphasized the need for a strong stance in the difficult days ahead and warned Hamas that they would face difficult and terrible consequences. The conflict began when Hamas and Palestinian factions launched the “Al-Aqsa Flood” military operation in response to Israeli attacks on Palestinians, leading to casualties on both sides (Anadolu Agency).

October 11, 2023

  1. Massacre Site Reveals At Least 40 Babies Among Victims. International journalists accompanied by IDF soldiers visited the aftermath of a Hamas attack in Kibbutz Kfar Aza. They discovered the shocking reality of over 40 babies among the victims, some of whom had been beheaded. Omar Barak, an Israeli army officer, stated that when Palestinian gunmen stormed the Kfar Aza community, they “set fire” to several homes to compel their occupants to come out. He described witnessing the aftermath of the attack and mentioned seeing the bodies of two children who had been assassinated (Times of Israel). 
  2. Israel Uncovers 1,500 Bodies of Hamas Fighters; Regains Border Control. The Israeli army announced the discovery of approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas fighters in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Military spokesperson Richard Hecht stated that security forces have largely regained control of the border. The army is also preparing infrastructure for future operations. Israeli deaths have risen to 900, while Palestinian casualties stand at 700, including 140 children and 105 women (Sharq Awsat).
  3. Israeli Forces Locate 30 Missing People in Southern Kibbutz After Hamas Assault. Israeli forces located 30 missing people in the southern kibbutz of Ein Hashlosha three days into Hamas’s assault on southern Israel. A group of 16 Israelis and 14 Thais had gone missing, prompting authorities to launch a rescue operation. The joint effort involving the military, police, Shin Bet, and various ministries used location technology to locate the group, and they were found alive and well (Times of Israel). 
  4. IDF Confirms 1,200 Deaths in Hamas Attack; Targets Hamas Positions in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed over 1,200 civilian and military deaths due to a Hamas attack. In response, the IDF conducted extensive overnight strikes, targeting hundreds of Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. An attempt to target Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif resulted in the death of his cousin. This marks the eighth attempt on Deif’s life (i24).

October 12, 2023

  1. Israel’s Intel Minister Accuses Iran of Backing Hamas Attacks. Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel stated that Iran’s long-term support for Hamas makes it partly responsible for the recent attacks against Israel. Gamliel emphasized that the focus is currently on enhancing security measures. She also mentioned receiving global support, including from the Iranian diaspora. The minister condemned Hamas for committing “war crimes” and using civilians as human shields (Al Monitor).
  2. Israeli-American Teen Survives Hamas Attack After Parents Sacrifice Lives. In a tragic incident near the Gaza border, an Israeli-American teenager, Rotem Mathias, survived a Hamas attack on his family’s home by hiding under his deceased mother. His parents, Shlomi and Debbie Mathias, were killed while shielding him from gunfire. Rotem played dead for 30 minutes before finding a hiding spot. The family had less than a minute to seek shelter after being alerted to the attack. Rotem and his sisters, who were hiding in separate safe rooms, were eventually rescued by Israeli soldiers. The attack occurred just hours after the family celebrated the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (AP).
  3. Israelis Abroad Rush Home to Support War Effort as Conflict Continues. As the conflict with Hamas intensifies, Israelis living overseas are making urgent plans to return home. They aim to join reserve military units or volunteer in various roles. Israel’s military has recently expanded its reservist mobilization to 360,000. Individuals like Yaakov Swisa and Adam Jacobs feel a compelling duty to return, despite the war claiming at least 1,800 lives. Travel remains challenging due to suspended flights and U.S. State Department advisories (AP). 
  4. U.S. Jewish Communities Mobilize Rapid Aid for Israel Following Hamas Attack. In response to the recent Hamas attack on Israel, Jewish communities across the United States have rallied to provide aid, raising millions of dollars and sending supplies ranging from bulletproof vests to toiletries. Rabbi Jonathan Leener’s Brooklyn synagogue alone raised $5,000 within an hour. High-profile donors like Yuri Milner and Mike Bloomberg have also pledged significant contributions. Despite airlines suspending flights to Israel, communities are using social media and private charters to ensure supplies and donations reach their destination. Legacy aid organizations are also raising funds for both Israel and the Palestinian territories (Reuters). 
  5. Hamas Official Reveals Two-Year Secret Plan for Israel Invasion. Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka disclosed in an interview that the organization had been covertly planning an invasion of southern Israel for two years. Baraka stated that only a select few within Hamas were aware of these plans. He also mentioned that Russia is sympathetic to Hamas and benefits from the U.S. being entangled in this conflict. Additionally, Baraka revealed that any prisoner swap deals should include Hamas prisoners in the U.S. and Europe (MEMRI). 
  6. The Enigmatic Commander: Who is Mohammed Deif? Mohammed Deif, the secretive chief of Hamas’s military wing, is the mastermind behind the recent devastating attack on Israel. Deif began planning the operation two years ago, triggered by Israeli raids on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque. A survivor of multiple assassination attempts, Deif is a highly elusive figure, rarely appearing in public. He is held responsible for numerous deaths in Israel and has been on the country’s most-wanted list for decades. His planning involved a long-term deception strategy, making Israel believe that Hamas was focused on economic development in Gaza. Deif’s whereabouts remain unknown, likely hidden in Gaza’s tunnel networks (Reuters). 
  7. Gaza’s 75-Year Struggle: A Timeline of Key Events. Gaza, a coastal strip with over 2 million Palestinians, has a history marked by conflict and hardship. From Ottoman rule to British, Egyptian, and Israeli military control, the area has seen significant changes. Major milestones include the influx of Palestinian refugees in 1948, Egyptian rule in the 1950s and 1960s, and Israeli occupation post-1967. The first Palestinian uprising in 1987 led to the formation of Hamas. The Oslo Accords in 1993 offered some autonomy but failed to achieve statehood. The second intifada in 2000 worsened conditions, leading to Israeli withdrawal in 2005. Hamas took control in 2006, resulting in international isolation. Repeated cycles of conflict have devastated Gaza’s economy, culminating in a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel in October 2023 (Reuters).
  8. Hamas Releases Israeli Woman and Children; Israeli Army Calls It a “Play”. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced the release of an Israeli woman and her two children, previously detained during clashes. Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee criticized the move as a propaganda stunt, labeling Hamas “worse than ISIS (Sky News). 
  9. Palestinian President Scheduled for Upcoming Moscow Visit. Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov announced that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to visit Moscow in the near future. While a specific date has not been set, the visit is confirmed to take place “relatively soon,” according to Ushakov (Al Nahar). 
  10. World Leaders Omit Mention of Iran in Joint Statement Condemning Hamas. An initial draft of a joint statement from leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US had explicitly warned Iran not to exploit the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, the final version omitted any reference to Iran. This comes during speculation about Iran’s role in supporting Hamas’s recent attacks on Israel. The U.S. has deployed aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean as a deterrent, while the world leaders’ statement strongly condemned Hamas’s acts of terrorism (Iran International). 

October 13, 2023

  1. Verified Photos Confirm Horrific Acts in Hamas’s Assault on Kfar Aza. The graphic images were shown to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Israel and later released on Twitter by the Prime Minister’s Office. Hamas Denied civilian abuse and has launched a campaign to deny allegations of kidnapping, murdering, and abusing civilians during its recent attack on southern Israel. Deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri stated that their forces did not target civilians and that Palestinian civilians entered the conflict later. Antony Blinken is: “It’s impossible for me to look at the photos of families killed – such as the mother, father, and three small children murdered as they sheltered in their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz – and not think of my own children. Young people burned alive. Women raped. Parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents The release aims to show “just a fraction of the horrors that Hamas carried out,” according to a spokesman for the PMO. The death toll in Israel has surpassed 1,300, mostly civilians (Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel). 
  2. Dire Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza as Israeli Military Operation Looms. Israel’s military urges over 1 million civilians in Gaza City to evacuate, signaling an impending ground invasion. The UN highlights the impossibility of such a move without severe humanitarian fallout. Critical shortages in fuel, food, and water are reported by the ICRC and UNWFP. Retaliatory attacks have resulted in over 1,500 Palestinian deaths. (Reuters ).
  3. France Bans Pro-Palestinian Protests, Germany Bans Hamas Activities. The French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, has ordered the ban of “pro-Palestinian protests” due to potential public order disturbances. In response to Hamas attacks, Germany has imposed a ban on Hamas activities and plans to extend it to the Palestinian solidarity network “Sahar.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for anti-Semitism and incitement, with strict enforcement by security agencies. The bans are unusual actions in both countries (Sharq Awsat).
  4. Britain Sends Ships, Troops, and Spy Planes to Support Israel. The United Kingdom will send two Royal Navy ships, spy planes, and troops to support Israel in response to the ongoing conflict. British authorities aim to provide military assistance, reassurance, and evacuation capabilities due to the heightened tensions. The move comes as Israel considers the potential for further aggression, with the United States also deploying significant naval assets to the Eastern Mediterranean. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has emphasized British support for Israel during this crisis. RAF Rivet Joint spy planes will likely play a crucial role in surveillance missions over Israel (24).
  5. Iran Denied Access to Released Funds After Hamas Attack.  The United States and the Qatari government have agreed to deny Iran access to a $6 billion account for humanitarian aid in light of Hamas’ attack on Israel, according to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. Senators from both parties, including Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown, have called on the Biden administration to reconsider the deal. The decision followed the US-Iran deal for humanitarian aid, part of a prisoner exchange aiming to reduce regional hostilities. The fund is financed by Iranian oil sales, but the Biden administration faced increasing pressure to prevent Iran from using the funds due to the scrutiny of Iran’s relationship with Hamas (Alarabiya).

October 16, 2023

Expert Analysis:  Israel is at a diplomatic and strategic crossroads as the Gaza conflict escalates. Preparing for a potential ground incursion, Israel faces limited U.S. support, evidenced by Secretary Blinken’s recent visit. The conflict’s impact on global oil prices could sway international opinion, while worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza increase global pressure. Mixed signals from European, Chinese, and Russian diplomats further complicate Israel’s international standing. Additionally, accusations against Iran suggest a risk of broader regional conflict, stretching Israel’s resources and complicating its strategic position. Overall, Israel confronts a multifaceted challenge that extends beyond the immediate crisis.

  1. Israeli Army Prepares for Gaza Incursion as Hamas Targets Ben Gurion Airport During Blinken’s Visit. In anticipation of a ground incursion into Gaza, the Israeli army intensified its presence along the border, while Hamas struck Ben Gurion Airport during the US Secretary of State’s visit. The Israeli death toll reached 291 with 199 hostages held by Hamas. Blinken’s visit coincided with discussions about President Biden’s potential visit, and he rejected Gaza expulsion plans. Blinken appointed David Satterfield as Gaza aid envoy and confirmed Rafah crossing reopening. Concerns arose over the conflict’s Middle East expansion, including Hezbollah and Iran. The Washington Post reported that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel to discuss the major military offensive in Gaza. The visit comes after President Biden warned against a new Israeli occupation of Gaza.
  2. Gaza Crisis Deepens as No Ceasefire in Sight, Netanyahu Denies Entry of Aid for Evacuation. The Palestinian-Israeli crisis enters its tenth day with escalating tensions. Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, faces severe shortages of food, water, and safety. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports 2,750 killed and 9,700 injured in Israeli strikes since October 7, with over 1,000 bodies believed under rubble. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu denies a ceasefire or entry of aid for evacuating foreigners, while Hamas denies a humanitarian truce. Israeli army spokesperson Avichay Adraee stated their ongoing targeting of terrorist leaders in Gaza. The casualties include prominent figures such as Moataz Eid, Ali al-Qadi, Jawad Abu Shamala, Zakaria Abu Muammar, Murad Abu Murad, and Bilal al-Qudra. The conflict shows no signs of abating as it enters its tenth day, with continued Israeli airstrikes and rocket launches from Gaza, exacerbating civilian suffering.
  3. Gaza Conflict Rattles Global Markets, Spikes Oil Prices. The escalation in Gaza is affecting global markets, with increased geopolitical risks and potential impact on oil prices. Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza, causing oil prices to jump six percent. Financial analysts anticipate broader economic repercussions if the conflict expands, including possible interest rate hikes globally.
  4. Israel Evacuates 28 Settlements Near Lebanese Border Amid Escalation. Israel announces the evacuation of residents living within two kilometers of the Lebanese border due to escalating tensions. Hezbollah has launched attacks on Israeli army positions and a northern border village, leading to border clashes last week.
  5. Conflicting Reports on Rafah Crossing After 5-Hour Ceasefire in Southern Gaza. Aid trucks are lined up at Al-Arish, waiting to enter Gaza, but the convoy remains stalled due to an unstable truce. The U.S. Embassy is unsure about allowing traveler access. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis worsens as fuel reserves in Gaza hospitals are expected to last only 24 hours, putting thousands of patients in jeopardy. U.S. officials are taking steps to mitigate the crisis and are urging Israel to adhere to the laws of war. UN relief operations in Gaza are on the verge of collapse, and the situation continues to be critical.Aid trucks are queued at Al-Arish, awaiting entry into Gaza, but the convoy hasn’t moved due to a faltering truce.
  6. China Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza, Sends Special Envoy. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza as exceeding self-defense and called for an end to “collective punishment.” Wang also urged the U.S. to play a constructive role and advocated for an international peace meeting. China’s special envoy to the Middle East, Zhai Jun, is set to visit the region next week to push for a ceasefire and peace talks.
  7. Israeli Official Accuses Iran of Opening New Front from Syria. Joshua Zarka, a senior Israeli official, accused Iran of attempting to establish a new front against Israel from Syria. Joel Rayburn, Director of the American Center for Middle East Studies, suggested that Israel’s repeated strikes on Damascus and Aleppo airports indicate efforts to preempt Iranian strategic weapon transfers. Zarka confirmed these observations. The strikes come amid Israel’s concerns about Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in its ongoing conflict with Gaza. Despite the frequency of these strikes, analysts question their effectiveness in preventing Iran’s strategic positioning in Syria.
  8. European Institutions Issue Differing Statements on Gaza War. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, voiced support for Israel’s right to self-defense but refrained from criticizing Israel’s ultimatum to evacuate Gaza homes. Janez Lenarchic, Commissioner for Crisis Management and Humanitarian Aid, highlighted the violation of international law by the Gaza siege. High Representative for European Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, deemed Israel’s warning to Gaza residents “completely unrealistic” and called for maintaining essential services while condemning Hamas attacks. German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock emphasized the protection of civilians and distinguishing them from terrorists. The Vatican meanwhile, offered to mediate the release of hostages and achieve peace. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State expressed solidarity with Israel and called for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian resistance movement to avoid further bloodshed.
  9. Russia Implies It Can Help Free Israeli Hostages Through Hamas Contact. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov is considering a meeting with Hamas officials in Qatar to discuss the potential release of Israeli hostages taken during the recent attack on Israel. He highlighted the utility of such meetings in resolving practical issues, including hostage release. Russia has also drafted a UN Security Council resolution increasing the pressure on Israel, with President Vladimir Putin expressing concern about potential civilian casualties in an anticipated Israeli ground assault on Gaza. Knesset Members Forced to Evacuate Following Sirens. After multiple speeches from top Israeli leaders addressing the severity of Hamas actions in Israel and pledging to maintain Israeli stability, a live broadcast on Al Hadath abruptly showed Knesset members evacuating the building in disarray upon hearing sirens signaling potential missile attacks. An Al Hadath reporter in Jerusalem later clarified that the missile attack occurred almost simultaneously with Netanyahu’s speech. (Al Hadath).

October 17, 2023

  1. Ismail Haniyeh Veils Threats and Mocks Israeli Capabilities in Comprehensive Strategy. Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, issues a series of veiled threats against Israel, mocking its military capabilities and readiness. He calls for a unified resistance that includes regional players like Hezbollah and Iran, emphasizing the group’s preparedness for a prolonged conflict. Haniyeh also frames the ongoing strife as part of a 75-year-long Palestinian struggle, criticizing international actors for their roles. He suggests that the conflict is not just a Palestinian issue but a broader regional concern, affecting countries like Egypt and Jordan. The leader also hints at the group’s military capabilities, including prisoners of war, as he outlines a multi-faceted strategy against Israel. For a full English transcript of Haniyeh’s statement, click here. To watch with English subtitles, click here (ACLS YouTube Channel). 
  2. Hamas Signals Willingness to Use Hostages as Bargaining Chips for Prisoner Release. A top Hamas leader indicated that the group may use hostages, including Israelis and non-Israelis, as leverage to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The hostages were taken during a violent attack on southern Israeli communities, resulting in over 1,300 deaths. Israel’s military estimates that Hamas is holding around 199 hostages, while Hamas claims to have between 200 and 250 (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Hamas Releases Video of French-Israeli Hostage; Mother Appeals for Daughter’s Return. Hamas released a video of 21-year-old French-Israeli citizen Mia Schem, who was abducted from a music festival in Kibbutz Re’im. In the video, Schem is seen asking for her release. Her mother, Keren Schem, confirmed her daughter’s condition and appealed to world leaders for her return. Israel and the French embassy have not commented on the video. The IDF is taking all measures to secure the return of hostages, according to an IDF spokesman (Haaretz).
  4. US Urges Israel to Plan for Post-Hamas Gaza. The Biden administration is pressing Israel to develop a strategy for the scenario where Hamas’s rule in Gaza is toppled. While Israel’s focus remains on removing Hamas from power, U.S. officials warn that lack of a post-Hamas plan could lead to an indefinite IDF presence in Gaza. The issue has gained urgency as Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli officials, emphasizing the need to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza while maintaining international support for Israel’s military operation (Times of Israel).
  5. Israel Requests $10B in Emergency US Military Aid. Israel has reportedly asked the United States for $10 billion in emergency military assistance, according to The New York Times. The aid package is being assembled by Congress and the White House and will also include funds for Ukraine, Taiwan, and the US-Mexico border. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed that discussions are underway to provide Israel with various types of ammunition and precision-guided munitions (Times of Israel). 
  6. Shin Bet Chief Takes Responsibility for Lack of Early Warning in Hamas Attack. The head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency admitted to failing to provide an early warning for the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel. The statement came as new rocket attacks targeted Tel Aviv and other areas, coinciding with a visit from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. No immediate casualties were reported (Times of Israel).
  7. Netanyahu Warns Iran and Hezbollah Against Testing Israel on Its Northern Borders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a warning to Iran and Hezbollah, cautioning them against “testing” Israel on its northern borders. He delivered this message during a speech in the Israeli Knesset, stating that the world needs to unite to defeat Hamas and likening Hamas to Nazis. Netanyahu’s remarks highlight concerns about regional stability and security along Israel’s northern frontiers (Sharq Awsat).
  8. EU to Open Humanitarian Air Corridor to Gaza via Egypt. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Union’s plan to establish a humanitarian air corridor to the Gaza Strip through Egypt. The first two flights carrying aid are set to launch this week. This comes after the EU tripled its humanitarian aid to over 75 million euros for Gaza (Al Nahar).
  9. German Chancellor to Visit Israel and Egypt During Middle East Conflict. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set to visit Israel and Egypt as Western nations intensify their efforts to prevent further escalation in the Middle East conflict. During his visit to Israel, he expressed solidarity with the country, highlighting the importance of dialogue and preventing further escalation. Germany has expressed support for Israel following the recent violence initiated by Hamas, leading to discussions on security issues and humanitarian aid (Swiss Info).
  10. Putin Discusses Israel-Hamas Conflict with Netanyahu. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu about the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Putin briefed Netanyahu on his talks with leaders from Palestine, Egypt, Iran, and Syria. The discussion centered on preventing further escalation and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Putin expressed condolences for the deceased Israelis and outlined Russia’s efforts to normalize the situation (The Moscow Times).
  11. UN Security Council Rejects Russian Ceasefire Proposal for Gaza. The UN Security Council failed to adopt a Russian-led resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The draft received five votes in favor and four against, with six abstentions. Russia blamed the failure on the “selfish intention of the western bloc,” while the US said the draft ignored Hamas’ terrorism. The resolution had aimed for a ceasefire, release of hostages, aid access, and civilian evacuation (UN News).

October 18, 2023

  1. Israeli Army Arrests 750 Palestinians in West Bank as Gaza Conflict Escalates. Palestinian sources report that the Israeli army has arrested 750 Palestinians in the West Bank since the recent outbreak of fighting in Gaza. This number excludes workers or detainees in Gaza. The arrests, which include at least 65 Palestinians from the West Bank and Jerusalem, have raised concerns due to allegations of abuse and escalating criminality by Israeli forces. Many of those arrested face administrative detention or charges related to incitement, particularly in Jerusalem. Accessing information related to the detainees has become increasingly difficult due to new military orders enacted by the Israeli army (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Gaza’s doctors struggle to save hospital blast survivors as Middle East rage grows. Doctors in Gaza City faced with dwindling medical supplies performed surgery on hospital floors, often without anesthesia, in a desperate bid to save badly wounded victims of a massive blast that killed civilians sheltering in a nearby hospital after Israeli bombings and a blockade of the territory. The Hamas militant group blamed the blast on an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants. At least 500 people were killed, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said. Rage at the hospital carnage spread through the Middle East as U.S. President Joe Biden landed in Israel in hopes of stopping a spread of the war, which started after Hamas militants attacked towns and cities across southern Israel Oct. 7 (AP).
  3. Moscow Calls on Tel Aviv to Prove Innocence in Gaza Hospital Massacre. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern over the Gaza hospital strike, calling it a “horrific disaster” and emphasizing the need to halt the conflict. While the Russian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack on the Baptist Hospital, spokesperson Maria Zakharova cautiously avoided directly blaming the Israeli government. Instead, she urged Tel Aviv to provide satellite images and data to prove its lack of involvement. Zakharova criticized Western policies, holding them responsible for escalating violence in the Middle East. She referenced European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s remarks on Hiroshima to underscore Western accountability (Sharq Awsat).
  4. Chinese President Xi Jinping Welcomes Russian President Putin as “Old Friend” at the Belt and Road Forum. During discussions at the Belt and Road Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping warmly greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin, referring to him as an “old friend.” The two leaders’ meeting focused on the Belt and Road Initiative and highlighted their countries’ growing alliance in the face of opposition to the U.S.-led world order, support for Iran, and condemnation of recent events in Israel (Jerusalem Post). 
  5. Guterres Calls for Humanitarian Ceasefire in Israel-Palestine Conflict. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. He emphasized the need to alleviate human suffering and urged Hamas to release hostages while requesting Israel to allow unrestricted humanitarian aid into Gaza. Guterres condemned the October 7 Hamas attacks but stressed they should not justify collective punishment of Palestinians (Sharq Awsat).
  6. Netanyahu’s Accountability Looms as Public Anger Swells. Public dissatisfaction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is escalating, with only 21% of Israelis wanting him to remain in office, according to a Maariv newspaper poll. The government is criticized for weakening Israel’s security and mishandling the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Netanyahu’s silence on his personal responsibility for the crisis is further fueling public anger, even as key officials admit to failures. The war’s impact on Netanyahu’s foreign policy goals and his party’s political future is increasingly uncertain (Al Nahar).

October 19, 2023

  1. Israeli Airstrike Targets Hamas National Security Commander and Family. In a significant development, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed Hamas’s National Security Commander, Jihad Muhaisen, and his family in their home. This event is part of Israel’s ongoing efforts to target key Hamas figures (Sky News Arabia). 
  2. Israel Responds to Rocket Attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas. Israeli security forces retaliated against rocket attacks from southern Lebanon. Approximately 30 rockets were fired into Israel, resulting in rocket impacts in Kiryat Shmona and two reported injuries. Both Hezbollah and Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket barrages, escalating tensions in the region (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Israeli Defense Minister’s Message to Soldiers: Gaza Soon from Within. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant’s remarks to infantry soldiers on the Gaza border suggest an impending ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave. He stated, “You see Gaza now from afar, and soon you will see it from within.” Israel is mobilizing troops and preparing for a large-scale air, land, and sea attack amid escalating tensions in the region (Al Hurra). 
  4. Explosion in Tulkarm Injures 10 Israeli Soldiers; Al-Quds Brigades Claim Responsibility. An explosion in Tulkarm left 10 Israeli soldiers injured, with one in serious condition. The Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for ambushing the soldiers. Israeli forces declared the Nour Shams camp in Tulkarm a closed military zone. Over the past 24 hours, confrontations in the West Bank led to the death of 6 Palestinians, while in Tulkarm, a young man died after Israeli forces prevented his father from treating him, resulting in his father also being wounded (Al Hadath).
  5. British PM Sunak Stands by Israel’s Right to Defend Amid Gaza Conflict. In a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Netanyahu calls for global unity to combat Hamas, vowing unwavering resolve. Sunak backs Israel’s right to self-defense, emphasizing cooperation for humanitarian aid and hostages’ release in Gaza, while acknowledging Palestinian civilian suffering due to Hamas actions (:24).
  6. Hamas Accused of Using North Korean Weapons in Attack. A report by the Associated Press suggests that Hamas utilized North Korean weaponry in its October attack on Israel, despite North Korea’s denial of involvement. Evidence includes video footage and captured arms analyzed by experts, revealing the use of North Korean F-7 rocket shells. The findings raise concerns about illicit arms shipments and North Korea’s support for Palestinian militant groups. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the use of F-7 shells by Hamas, challenging North Korea’s denial (Sharq Awsat).
  7. Families’ Heartbreak: Kidnapped Children in Gaza. In a deeply emotional press conference held in Israel, families of children kidnapped by Hamas during the recent attack on October 7th shared their heart-wrenching stories. As they grapple with the absence of their loved ones, including young children, the families express their profound fear and anguish. Over 203 individuals, including soldiers, women, children, and the elderly, remain hostage in Gaza, intensifying the desperate need for their safe return. The situation continues to be fraught with tension, underscoring the urgency for a resolution (Al Hurra).
  8. Gaza Children Write Names for Identification Amid Israeli Strikes. Arabic media reports that children who have been displaced in Gaza due to the ongoing Israeli airstrikes are adopting a practice of writing their names on their hands as a precaution for potential identification in case of fatalities (Al Jazeera). 
  9. IDF Presents Evidence of Islamic Jihad’s Role in Gaza Hospital Explosion. IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari presented comprehensive intelligence, including audio recordings and videos, to demonstrate that an Islamic Jihad rocket caused the damage to a Gaza hospital. The evidence showed the trajectory of the rocket and its impact on the hospital. The IDF’s goal was to clarify the incident for the global audience and underline Israel’s commitment to transparency in the ongoing conflict. Hamas was found to have inflated casualties, and there was no IDF involvement in the hospital strike (Jerusalem Post).
  10. President Biden wraps up his visit to wartime Israel with a warning against being ‘consumed’ by rage. President Biden’s visit to wartime Israel resulted in vocal support and a humanitarian aid deal for Gaza. He likened the recent Hamas attack to 9/11, understanding the call for justice but cautioning against being consumed by rage, drawing a parallel with the U.S. response to 9/11 (AP).

October 20, 2023

  1. U.S. Intelligence Report on Gaza City Hospital Explosion Revealed. An unclassified U.S. intelligence report estimates the death toll from a Gaza City hospital explosion to be between 100 and 300, describing it as a “staggering loss of life.” The report contradicts Hamas’ initial claim that an Israeli airstrike caused the blast, supporting instead Israel’s evidence that a misfired Palestinian rocket was responsible. The U.S. intelligence assessment is ongoing and the casualty numbers may change (Sharq Awsat). 
  2. Israel Intensifies Gaza Strikes, Evacuates Town Near Lebanon. Israel has escalated its military actions in Gaza, leveling a district after giving residents a half-hour warning. The Israeli Defense Ministry also ordered the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a town near the Lebanese border, amid increasing clashes (Reuters). 
  3. Moody’s Puts Israel’s Credit Rating Under Review Due to Ongoing Hamas Conflict. Moody’s, a global credit rating agency, is reviewing Israel’s A1 credit ratings for a potential downgrade due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The agency suggests that the conflict’s length and severity could negatively affect Israel’s governance, fiscal health, and overall economy. This development follows a significant 80% increase in the cost to insure Israel’s government debt and comes after Fitch, another rating agency, also put Israel on negative rating watch (Jerusalem Post).
  4. China, Russia to Coordinate for Israel-Hamas Truce. China has announced its willingness to work with Russia to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid ongoing hostilities. The announcement comes as international efforts to halt the conflict have so far been unsuccessful. China’s special envoy to the Middle East, Zhai Jun, expressed the country’s readiness to play a “positive role” in resuming peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians (France 24). 
  5. Japan Urges Increased Oil Production Over Gaza Conflict Market Fears. Japan has called on Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to ramp up crude oil supplies to stabilize the global market. The request comes as Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza raises concerns about potential market destabilization and a negative impact on the global economy. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno emphasized the need for increased production to maintain market stability (Middle East Monitor).

October 23, 2023

Analysis: Israel is confronting escalating tensions on multiple fronts, with Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Assad in Syria—all under the proxy control of Iran. The situation is further complicated by international calls for humanitarian aid and the formation of specialized Israeli units targeting elite Hamas commandos.The recent attack on Israeli troops near the Gaza border has led to increased airstrikes in northern Gaza and preparations for a ground offensive. This escalation has been met with reciprocal rocket attacks from Hamas, straining Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Concurrently, Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat’s warning about a potential military strike on Iran if Hezbollah joins the conflict indicates Israel’s willingness to broaden its military engagements. Israel’s formation of a special operations unit, “Indigo,” aimed at neutralizing elite Hamas commandos, underscores a tactical shift towards targeted operations. Meanwhile, the Al-Qassam Brigades’ evolving naval capabilities pose another layer of security concerns. International calls for humanitarian aid and conflict resolution, led by figures like Pope Francis, add diplomatic pressure. On one hand, Israel is dealing with the urgency of deterring internal security risks; on the other, it faces constant international pressure for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire. Reports suggest that the Biden administration is advising Israel to delay a ground incursion into Gaza, potentially causing internal political rifts between Prime Minister Netanyahu and his war cabinet. This volatile, escalating situation, with Iran having multiple fronts from which to attack Israel, underscores the necessity of a strong American presence in the region. The people of Israel have never needed the United States as much as they do today.

Intercepts: 

  1. Soldier Killed, Tensions Rise in Gaza as Israel Reacts to Hamas Attack. A soldier was killed and three injured as Hamas attacked Israeli troops near the Gaza border. This incident occurred during Israel’s efforts to search for missing Israelis and prepare for an upcoming ground offensive. Israeli forces have increased airstrikes in northern Gaza in preparation for the offensive. In response, Hamas continues to launch rockets at Israeli cities. Additionally, Israel accidentally fired a tank shell at an Egyptian border post, causing minor injuries. Humanitarian aid to Gaza remains a contentious issue, with Israel demanding the release of hostages before allowing fuel into the enclave (Times of Israel).
  2. He threatened to cut off the “head of the snake”… Israeli Minister: We will destroy Iran if Hezbollah joins the war. Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat warned of a potential military attack on Iran if Hezbollah initiates a war against Israel. He emphasized that Israel would not limit its response to Hezbollah but would also target Iran directly. Barkat stated, “If our enemies attack us, we will eliminate them. The ayatollahs in Iran will not sleep peacefully at night, and we will make sure that they will pay a heavy price if they open the northern front (Al Jazeera).
  3. Pope Francis Pleads for End to Hamas-Israel Conflict and Urges Humanitarian Aid for Gaza. Pope Francis called for an end to the Hamas-Israeli conflict, emphasizing the destructive nature of war and the need for human fraternity. He urged the opening of spaces for humanitarian aid delivery and the release of hostages. The ongoing conflict, which began with a Hamas attack into Israel, has led to significant casualties and a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza (Khaleej UAE).
  4. Israeli Raids Continue in Gaza, Al-Qassam Launches Rockets Toward Israel. Israeli airstrikes persist in Gaza, causing casualties and straining medical resources in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. The Al-Qassam Brigades respond with rocket attacks on Ashkelon, while the Israeli army intensifies artillery shelling in northern Gaza. The death toll surpasses 400 in a single day of Israeli raids, with growing calls for aid to enter the besieged Strip. Israel maintains its siege on Gaza and prepares for a possible ground invasion, aiming to eliminate Hamas control, despite international concerns about an escalating conflict (Al Hadath).
  5. Al-Qassam Brigades Retaliate with Rocket Attacks on Ashkelon.  In response to renewed Israeli air raids on Gaza, the Al-Qassam Brigades launched a series of rocket attacks targeting Ashkelon. At least 20 missiles were fired, some successfully bypassing Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The escalation marks a continuation of hostilities in the region (Al Hadath).
  6. Israel Forms Special Unit to Target Elite Hamas Commandos. Israel’s intelligence agencies, Mossad and Shin Bet, have established a special operations center aimed at eliminating members of an elite Hamas unit responsible for a major attack on October 7. The unit, named “Indigo,” is tasked with tracking down and neutralizing key figures in the Hamas commando unit that led the attack, which resulted in significant civilian casualties and hostages taken to Gaza. Israel warns that top Hamas leaders are primary targets, while Hamas remains defiant (Times of Israel).
  7. Arab Media Chronicles Al-Qassam Brigades’ Naval Operations: Key Milestones and Impact. Arab media sources provide a detailed account of the Al-Qassam Brigades’ evolving naval capabilities, tracing back to their first naval attack in 2000 against an Israeli gunboat. The report emphasizes key operations, most notably the 2014 storming of the Zikim military base, which marked the first operational appearance of the Brigades’ frogmen units. Israel’s countermeasures, such as the construction of a sea wall in 2018 and advanced sensing systems, are also discussed. The article culminates with a 2023 operation where the Brigades reportedly took control of multiple military sites and settlements in the Gaza envelope. This operation is portrayed as a significant breach of Israeli defense systems, challenging the effectiveness of Israel’s countermeasures (Al Jazeera).

October 24, 2023

  1. Hamas Highlights New Strategic Balance in Region After Al-Aqsa Storm Operation. Following the Al-Aqsa Storm operation outside Gaza, Hamas’ Political Bureau Head Ismail Haniyeh spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, emphasizing the establishment of a new strategic balance in the region. Haniyeh praised Iran’s support for Palestine and criticized the U.S.’ unwavering support for Israel. The article also highlighted the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza due to Israeli strikes (Tasnim Agency). 
  2. Day 18 of Israel-Hamas Conflict: Key Developments and Diplomatic Efforts. As the Israel-Hamas conflict enters its 18th day, the death toll in Gaza surpasses 5,000. Two elderly Israeli captives were released by Hamas, while Israeli air raids have resulted in significant casualties. Diplomatic efforts are underway, with French President Emmanuel Macron visiting Tel Aviv and the UN General Assembly set to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, tensions are also rising in the West Bank and along the Lebanon-Israel border (Al Jazeera). 
  3. EU Foreign Policy Chief Calls for Additional Gaza Aid and Humanitarian Ceasefire. EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, calls for increased aid to Gaza and suggests a humanitarian ceasefire during intense Israeli bombardment. Gaza receives only 4% of daily imports due to depleted supplies. EU employees criticize Ursula von der Leyen’s stance, condemning both Hamas’ attack on Israel and the disproportionate Israeli response (Sharq Awsat).
  4. Hamas Resumes Rocket Fires on Southern Israel. Hamas resumed rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, launching a barrage of rockets at southern Israel some 14 hours after sirens were last heard across Israel. Residents of the southern port city of Ashkelon, as well as those who remained in Gaza border towns such as Yad Mordechai, Erez, Karmia, and Nativ Ha’Asara were all told to seek shelter (Jerusalem Post).
  5. Israel Delays Ground Operation in Gaza for U.S. Reinforcements. The Israeli army postponed the anticipated ground operation in Gaza in response to Hamas’ recent actions. Israel’s move is dependent on the arrival of U.S. reinforcements in the region, with the U.S. preparing for possible Iranian attacks. While the delay is also attributed to operational readiness and resolving the issue of Palestinian prisoners, increased U.S. military presence aims to support Israel during the ongoing conflict (Haberler, Israeli Army Radio).
  6. North Korea Accuses Washington of Fueling Israel-Hamas Conflict. North Korea blames Washington for escalating the Israel-Hamas conflict, accusing the U.S. of driving the situation in the Middle East. This comes after the U.S. vetoed a UN resolution for humanitarian aid to Gaza, citing concerns about Israel’s self-defense rights. North Korea criticizes both the U.S. and the EU for their stances, while expressing concern about deteriorating Middle East conditions (Sharq Awsat).
  7. Germany Urges Fuel Delivery to Gaza, Warns of Cholera Outbreak. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for the delivery of fuel to the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been targeted by Israeli airstrikes for 17 days. Baerbock emphasized the urgent need for fuel, especially for hospitals and essential services like water desalination and drinking water pumps. She warned of the potential spread of cholera due to the dire situation. Fuel shortages have already had a severe impact on Gaza’s hospitals and daily life, prompting concerns about potential health crises (:24).
  8. Two Israeli Hostages Released by Hamas after 17 Days in Captivity. Hamas has released two elderly Israeli hostages, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, who were taken captive from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. The release comes after reports suggesting that up to 50 hostages with foreign citizenships could be freed. However, it is believed that at least 220 others, including the husbands of both women, are still held hostage by Hamas (Times of Israel).
  9. Herzog and Macron Discuss Israel’s Response to Hostage Situation. During a meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the ongoing conflict with Hamas, emphasizing the demand for the immediate release of Israeli citizens held hostage. Herzog warned of potential consequences for Lebanon if Hezbollah were to initiate hostilities. Macron called for targeted operations against terrorist organizations but cautioned against widening the conflict (Timesofisrael).
  10. Israel Protests Russian Stance on Gaza War, Calls for ‘More Balance. Israel has expressed dissatisfaction with Russia over its statements against Israel during the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The Israeli Foreign Ministry voiced its displeasure to a Russian official, urging Moscow to adopt more balanced positions. The Russian stance included submitting a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire that did not mention Hamas, as well as criticizing Israel’s methods in its campaign against the terror group. Israel argued that Russia’s remarks don’t align with the severity of the situation Israel is facing. Russia has sought to maintain relations with both parties but has faced criticism for comparing Israel’s Gaza blockade to the Nazi siege of Leningrad (Timesofisrael).

October 25, 2023

  1. Israeli Officials Demand UN Chief’s Resignation Over Gaza Tensions. Israeli officials call for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ resignation over his comments linking Hamas attacks to Palestinian territories’ control. Meanwhile, the US seeks a UN Security Council vote on Gaza, raising ceasefire concerns. Russia presents an alternative draft during Israeli-Hamas disagreements on aid and ceasefire terms. Israel’s cancellation of a meeting with Guterres and visa denials for UN representatives further escalate tensions (Aljazeera, Times of Israel, Al Arabiya).
  2. Israeli Navy Thwarts Hamas Sea Infiltration, Two Terrorists Killed. The Israeli Navy successfully foiled a Hamas attempt to infiltrate Israel from Gaza via the sea. The incident occurred in near-empty border towns of Zikim and Karmia, resulting in the deaths of two Hamas operatives (Times of Israel).
  3. Israel Responds to Syria Rocket Attack with Strikes on Syrian Army. Israel launched airstrikes against Syrian Army infrastructure after two rockets were fired at the Golan Heights from Syria. The strikes targeted radar sites and warehouses, resulting in reported casualties among Syrian soldiers (Jerusalem Post).
  4. Israeli Army Claims Iran Orchestrated Recent Regional Attacks. The Israeli army asserts that Iran directed its allied armed factions in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon to launch recent attacks. Israel, in collaboration with the United States, is closely monitoring the situation. Additionally, Iran is accused of providing information to Hamas in Gaza and spreading anti-Israel sentiment globally through online campaigns (Al Jazeera). 
  5. Russia’s Calculated Stance in Israel-Hamas Conflict. Russia cautiously criticizes both Israel and Hamas, using the conflict to bolster its global influence and challenge Western isolation over Ukraine. While Moscow can’t mediate the Middle East crisis, it capitalizes on perceived Western shortcomings. The risk is strained relations with Israel, which hasn’t sanctioned Russia or armed Ukraine (AP).
  6. Israeli Finance Minister Amends Budget Due to Gaza War Cost. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared that the 2023-2024 national budget is “no longer relevant” due to the ongoing Gaza war, estimating a daily direct cost of $246 million. He downplayed S&P Global’s economic outlook downgrade, expressing confidence in Israel’s financial stability. Smotrich praised Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron’s efforts during the crisis but remained non-committal on Yaron’s permanent tenure. Smotrich emphasized the priority of maintaining economic continuity during the conflict (Jerusalem Post).
  7. S&P Downgrades Israel’s Credit Rating Outlook Over War Uncertainties. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has changed Israel’s credit rating outlook from “stable” to “negative” in light of the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza.. S&P cited the potential for the conflict to escalate and its impact on the country’s economy. Israel’s credit rating remains at AA-. This revision serves as a warning for a possible future downgrade. Fitch and Moody’s have also taken similar actions (Israel Hayom).

October 26, 2023

  1. Israeli Troops Enter Gaza in Preparatory Move for Anticipated Ground Invasion. The Israeli military carried out a ground raid in northern Gaza as a preparation for an expected larger ground invasion. The United Nations warned of fuel running out in Gaza, hampering relief efforts. The death toll in Gaza surpassed 7,000, with an increased risk of more casualties if Israel proceeds with a ground offensive against Hamas (AP).
  2. Escalating Conflict in Gaza Results in 7,000 Deaths; Missiles Target Tel Aviv. Israel’s ongoing Operation “Iron Swords” has led to over 7,000 deaths in Gaza, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health. Al-Qassam Brigades retaliated with missile attacks on Tel Aviv. The UN states there is no safe place in Gaza, and the Israeli army is preparing for a possible ground invasion despite international warnings (Al Hadath).
  3. UNGA to Call for Gaza War Ceasefire, Without Condemning Hamas. The UN General Assembly is set to demand a Gaza war ceasefire in a resolution, but it does not condemn Hamas for the October 7 attack. Jordan is pushing for international support, emphasizing the need to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid. The resolution also opposes plans to relocate Palestinians outside Gaza, fearing permanent expulsion (Jerusalem Post).
  4. Russia-US Rivalry Blocks UNSC Condemnation of Hamas. Russian-American competition hinders UNSC condemnation of Hamas following the Gaza war and the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which resulted in numerous casualties. Despite both countries submitting resolutions condemning Hamas, the UNSC failed to reach a consensus, with Russia and China vetoing the US-backed resolution (Jerusalem Post).
  5. Hamas and Islamic Jihad Threaten Severe Response to Israeli Ground Invasion. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have warned of a fierce response to an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza, vowing to make it a challenging endeavor. The article also touches on the presence of hostages held by Hamas, adding complexity to the situation (AL-Monitor).
  6. Israeli Banks’ Stocks Drop 20% Since Gaza War Onset. The stocks of Israel’s top five banks listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange have fallen by 20% since the start of the Gaza war on October 8. Foreign investors continue to sell shares in Israeli companies, particularly banks. Despite these losses, Israeli banks had previously reported substantial profits in the first half of 2023, but are now expected to face declining earnings in the last quarter of the year. The ongoing conflict is contributing to the drop in bank stock values, with uncertainty affecting investor sentiment (Anadolu Agency).
  7. UK to hold emergency response meeting on Israel-Gaza strategy. Britain will convene a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency response committee on Thursday to consider its strategy and approach towards Gaza and the Israeli-Hamas conflict, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden told Times Radio. Britain is pushing for a humanitarian pause to the conflict, and for Britons in Gaza to be able to leave safely (Jerusalem Post).
  8. Spanish Minister Urges Europe to Cut Ties with Israel During Gaza Conflict.. Spain’s Acting Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, has called on European nations to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, impose an arms embargo, and implement economic sanctions. She labeled the situation in Gaza a “genocide” and demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders responsible for civilian bombings face the International Criminal Court. Belarra accused the EU and the US of endorsing Israel’s actions, which she considered a violation of human rights (MEM).
  9. Japan Urges Israel to Halt Gaza Attacks for Humanitarian Aid. Japan has called on Israel to temporarily cease its attacks on besieged Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to enter, according to Reuters. The appeal was made during a meeting between Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Ambassador to Japan. Japan is also arranging a visit by its Foreign Minister to Israel and Jordan to contribute to Middle East conflict de-escalation efforts (Sharq Awsat).
  10. Satellite Images Show Gaza Strip Before and After Israeli Airstrikes. Satellite images reveal the impact of recent Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, particularly in Beit Hanoun and Atatra. The Israeli Air Force has been targeting weapons depots and Hamas tunnels, causing substantial damage to the region (Jerusalem Post).
  11. Israeli Women in France Advocating for Kidnapped Family Members Held by Hamas. Four Israeli women are in France, meeting with French and international leaders to gain support in securing the release of their family members held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Their advocacy efforts aim to raise awareness and seek assistance in bringing their loved ones back home (Jerusalem Post).
  12. Israeli Ground Forces Raid Hamas Sites in Gaza, Withdraw – IDF. Israeli ground forces conducted a limited incursion into Gaza, targeting Hamas sites and withdrawing shortly after. The operation, carried out by the Givati Brigade, involved tanks and infantry striking terrorists, terror infrastructure, and anti-tank missile launch posts. In addition, Israel struck 250 Hamas targets overnight, bringing the total airstrikes for the week to around 1,000. The IDF also struck Hamas from the sea near the Khan Yunis area. Despite reduced rocket fire from Gaza overnight, the IDF urges Israelis to remain vigilant. The IDF continues to purchase equipment and receives support from the US. The government faces criticism for its support to evacuees and survivors. International pressure grows regarding humanitarian issues in Gaza. Iranian and Turkish officials express their views on the conflict (Jerusalem Post).
  13. Israel’s Imports at Risk Due to Ongoing Conflict. The article discusses the potential threat to Israel’s imports due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Shipping companies are reconsidering calling Israeli ports due to the conflict, increasing risk premiums and costs for shipping. Israel relies heavily on imports for various essential goods, and the situation could impact its food and other supplies. The conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon further adds to the risks. If shipping companies avoid Israeli ports, it could result in shortages (Times of Israel).
  14. Indian Protest for Gaza Mistakenly Raises Italian-Like Flag. A pro-Palestine march in Kerala, India, went viral for mistakenly raising a flag resembling Italy’s instead of Palestine’s. The flag actually belonged to the Indian Islamic Welfare Party, whose logo is similar to the Italian flag. The incident drew mockery online, including from Indian political figures (Sharq Awsat).

October 27, 2023

  1. Moscow Hosts Controversial Talks with Hamas and Iran, Ignites Israeli Ire. In a meeting hosted by Moscow, a Hamas delegation and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict and potential prisoner releases. The talks resulted in Hamas expressing readiness to release civilian prisoners, albeit delayed due to Gaza’s volatile situation. They claimed that around 50 hostages were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Israel vehemently condemned the meeting, urging Russia to expel the Hamas officials, thereby highlighting Russia’s complex role in Middle East geopolitics (i24, Al Monitor, Israel Hayom). 
  2. EU and Spain Advocate for Israel-Palestine Peace Talks, Omit Hamas. Spain and the EU propose separate but aligned international peace conferences to address the Israel-Palestine conflict, both supporting a two-state solution. While Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez calls for recognizing Palestine and humanitarian aid to Gaza, the EU explicitly excludes Hamas from any talks. Both proposals aim for regional stability due to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises (MEMO, Anadolu Agency).
  3. Palestinian Agony Echoed at UN as Calls for Ceasefire Clash with Israel’s Stance on Hamas. In yesterday’s UN meeting, the Palestinian ambassador had urgently called for an immediate ceasefire, spotlighting the devastating impact on Palestinian civilians. “Is this the war some of you are defending? These are crimes. This is barbarism,” he stated. He also pointed out that 70% of those killed in Gaza were children and women, asking, “Is this the war some of you are defending?” Israel’s representative had opposed the call, insisting that eradicating Hamas was the only option. The session had revealed stark divisions, with Arab nations supporting a ceasefire, while Israel argued it would let Hamas rearm. The meeting had accentuated the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people (AP). 
  4. Israel Prepares for Prolonged Gaza Ground War; Humanitarian Crisis Deepens. Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant indicated that a long, grueling ground war in Gaza is imminent, aimed at dismantling Hamas’ extensive tunnel network. The announcement came three weeks after Hamas initiated attacks, leading to ongoing airstrikes in Gaza. The Palestinian death toll has surpassed 7,300, with essential supplies running critically low. The situation has escalated regional tensions and worsened the humanitarian crisis (AP).

October 30, 2023

  1. Global Reverberations, Volatile War, and Diplomatic Strains. The situation in Israel and Gaza is complex and multi-faceted, involving not just military actions but also diplomatic efforts, public opinion, and international law. The Israeli army’s intensified ground operations in northern Gaza have led to large-scale displacement and a high civilian death toll. This has prompted international calls for an immediate ceasefire, including from UN Secretary-General António Guterres and US President Joe Biden. However, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under domestic scrutiny for his handling of the situation, particularly after blaming intelligence chiefs for a failure to anticipate a Hamas attack, a statement he later retracted. Diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict are underway, involving multiple countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, France, and the UK. Interestingly, Russia has been involved in negotiating the release of Russian-Israeli hostages taken by Hamas, indicating the group’s willingness to engage in diplomatic efforts with certain states. Meanwhile, tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have escalated, adding another layer of complexity to the regional dynamics. Israel is also advancing its counterterrorism legislation, allowing for the designation of individuals as terror operatives. This could have far-reaching implications for how Israel engages with those it considers to be threats. On the technological front, Elon Musk‘s offer to provide Starlink Internet to Gaza has raised concerns about the potential misuse of this service by Hamas, further complicating international involvement in the crisis. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire. Despite the largest aid shipment to date, needs far outstrip supply. The Israeli military continues its offensive, targeting militant positions, but also disrupting essential services like internet and phone connectivity. Hamas has indicated its readiness for a prisoner exchange, but it’s unclear how this aligns with Israel’s strategic objectives, which include a large-scale ground offensive aimed at destroying Hamas’ capabilities. The extensive network of tunnels in Gaza, built by Hamas, poses a significant challenge for any ground offensive by Israel. These tunnels are crucial for Hamas’ military operations and their existence complicates any efforts to bring about a swift end to the conflict. The UN General Assembly‘s call for an immediate ceasefire, which Israel has rejected, underscores the international community’s concern over the humanitarian crisis. However, the resolution’s omission of Hamas has drawn criticism, highlighting the complexities involved in achieving a balanced international response. In summary, the situation involves multiple actors, each with their own set of interests and strategies, making it a highly volatile and complex crisis. The involvement of various countries in diplomatic efforts, the changing dynamics of military engagement, the dire humanitarian situation, and the domestic pressures faced by leaders like Netanyahu all contribute to a situation that is fluid and fraught with challenges.

October 31, 2023

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

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