Day Twenty-Eight Of Swords Of Iron

The House of Representatives approved $14.5 billion in military aid to Israel.

Blinken meets PM Netanyahu GPO photo

4:31 pm

Video recorded in Gaza showed civilians shot dead on the road from the north to the south, reportedly killed by Hamas snipers seeking to prevent their escape. On Oct. 26, the IDF released an audio  recording of an Israeli military intelligence officer speaking to a Gazan man. The Gazan said that Hamas was preventing Gazans from fleeing south, and even shooting them. The IDF has been calling on civilians to leave northern Gaza for their own safety in order to avoid the IAF air strikes. The IDF was heard calling on the Gazan man to head toward Khan Younis in southern Gaza, but the Gazan said Hamas was blocking access.


2:30 pm

IDF confirmed its airstrike on a Gaza ambulance, saying it was being used by Hama, “that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell”. An IDF spokesperson said “a number” of terrorists were killed by the strike and that “more detailed information” was shared with allies. They said: "We have information which demonstrates that Hamas’s method of operation is to transfer terror operatives and weapons in ambulances." The IDF added: "We emphasise that this area is a battle zone. Civilians in the area are repeatedly called upon to evacuate southwards for their own safety."

The White House has said 100 American citizens and family members left Gaza on Nove. 2. Another group of Americans is expected to leave today. US Embassy Cairo posted an image on social media of the first group of American citizens who had been able to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

The Oxfam NGO said it is “gravely concerned” for the lives of about 500,000 Gazans currently trapped in a “siege within a siege” in northern Gaza. It stated today that the IDF has “imposed a near-complete stranglehold on Gaza City and the northern region, effectively cutting the enclave in half from the border wall to the sea”. Oxfam accused Israel of the collective punishment of civilians in Gaza and violating international humanitarian law by depriving people of food, water, fuel, medicines and other aid. It warned of a “risk of further atrocious cost to civilian life in northern Gaza”. 

Humanitarian support is “virtually impossible” in the north of Gaza, it said. One Oxfam humanitarian worker in north Gaza, Alhasan Swairjo, told the organisation: "We are sharing resources with ten other families. The markets almost empty. There’s no fresh food across all the city. We depend on canned food. The bread markets have no electricity and only a limited amount of fuel - one day, two days, five days - we don’t know … Our children are suffering, they don’t understand why we moved, why Israel is shooting us." Oxfam called for an immediate ceasefire, and demanded the international community “to push for an end to Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory, including lifting of the Gaza blockade.”

An IAF air strike struck Institut Français in Gaza, and that the Gaza office of Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency was also hit and its building significantly damage on Nov. 2. 

London UK Metropolitan polic commander Karen Findlay said organizers of the pro-Palestine rally planned for Armistice Day Nov. 11 do not intend to disrupt official remembrance events for that day. She said, "They have already expressed that they have no intention to disrupt Remembrance events and are working with us to really establish a route, assembly points, etc, which will not factor within what I would call the Remembrance footprint." Police will use retrospective facial recognition to identify people at the march through London on Saturday and vowed to intervene quickly and enter crowds if necessary to remove suspects. She denied that tough police tactics were caused by political pressure, saying: "No, we are retaining our operational independence. We are reviewing our policing approach and it’s right that that is responsive, taking into account what has occurred."

UK Prime Minister Sunak said that such a protest on Armistice Day would be “provocative and disrespectful”. He claimed there is a “clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated” on a day when thousands of marchers were due to take to the streets. Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said the planned demonstration was “a matter of great concern” to him and that he had written to police about it.

The march will take place on Armistice Day, when events will include a two-minute silence commemorating Britain’s war dead on the 105th anniversary of the end of the first world war. The protesters claim there are no plans to march near Whitehall or the Cenotaph on Remembrance weekend.

Sunak used the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to say he had asked the home secretary to support the police “in doing everything necessary” to protect the sanctity of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. Sunak said: "To plan protests on Armistice Day is provocative and disrespectful, and there is a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated, something that would be an affront to the British public and the values we stand for. The right to remember, in peace and dignity, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for those freedoms must be protected."

The Japanese government is handing over about $65 million in additional humanitarian aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip. Japanese foreign minister  Yoko Kamikawa announced the pledge during talks with her Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki, in Ramallah in the West Bank, her ministry said. She also spoke to Israeli FM Eli Cohen and called for a humanitarian pause.

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed outside a daycare centre in Sderot, southern Israel, the Times of Israel reported.No injuries were reported.

Officials at the Frick art museum in Pittsburgh promised to “repair our relationships with the Muslim community” over criticism of its decision to postpone an Islamic art exhibition because of the Israel-Hamas war. The Frick had post-poned its Islamic art exhibition, scheduled for Nov. 4, out of concern it would be “insensitive” to the Jewish community and others, according to the museum’s director. However, the postponement until August 2024 angered both Muslims and Jewish people locally, a local newspaper reports. A statement read: "The Frick is devastated to have hurt neighbors we deeply respect with our unclear communication about the postponement of this exhibition featuring ten centuries of Islamic art. We will work earnestly to repair our relationships with the Muslim community."

Elizabeth Barker, director of Frick Pittsburgh, attempted to explain the rescheduling in comments to the PittsburghTribune. "When war broke out in the Middle East, we were as heartbroken as everyone, and we realized that we were about to open an exhibition that a forgiving person would call insensitive, but for many people, especially in our community, would be traumatic."

Secretary of State Blinken ended his trip to Israel, where he met the country’s war cabinet to urge it to show greater restraint in its campaign to destroy Hamas. He urged Israel to allow more aid to enter Gaza and to implement humanitarian pauses to secure the release of hostages.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on the idea of a temporary ceasefire. In a statement to reporters, Netanyahu said Israel was continuing with “all of its power” and “refuses a temporary ceasefire that doesn’t include a return of our hostages”.

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said he is “utterly shocked” by reports of attacks on ambulances evacuating patients close to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. On social media, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged that “patients, health workers, facilities, and ambulances must be protected at all times. Always”. He once again called for a ceasefire.

Hezbollah should not try to take advantage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said today. "The United States does not want to see the conflict expand into Lebanon, the spokesperson said."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke to Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, “to express EU solidarity and commitment to Israel’s security, as well as support for mediation efforts to free hostages, and to stress the need to protect civilians, avoid civilian casualties and improve humanitarian access”.

“Humanitarian pauses are urgently needed to ensure safe delivery of aid,” Borrell said, adding: “The EU is ready to support stabilisation efforts in Gaza and remains committed to the two-state solution as the only viable option to achieve lasting peace.”

8:16 am

Israeli PM Netanyahu and Secretary of State Blinken ended their meeting in Tel Aviv. According to Netanyahu's office, there is no decision to allow fuel into Gaza. Israel resists allowing fuel to enter the enclave, saying that Hamas is pilfering fuel from Gaza's hospitals and has its own stores of fuel.

According to the reports, Blinken said Israel has the right to defend itself, and that the US is trying to bring about the safe return of 240+ hostages held by terrorists in Gaza.

Blinken reportedly also stressed everything must be done to ensure the safety of civilians.


8:05 am

The government of Israel linked on its official Twitter page a website that displays video recorded by Hamas and Israeli authorities of Hamas's terror attack of Oct. 7 and its victims.

7:58 am

Israeli PM Netanyahu sent a public message to the IDF and said the current war is “another chapter” in the Jewish people’s “intergenerational story of national resilience.” “Remember What Amalek Did to You,” Netanyahu quoted the Bible in reference to enemies who must be defeated. “This is a fight between light and darkness,” Netanyahu wrote. “We will not let go of our mission until light conquers darkness, and good defeats the extreme evil threatening us and the entire world. When I send you to a mission, our dear heroes, I am confident in our complete victory over our enemies. I trust you, am proud of you and love you.”

7:15 am

The IDF is on “very high alert” along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and will “respond to every event” on the border. Hezbollah's leader is expected to speak at 3 pm local time, and there are concerns that it will precede an attack by Hezbollah on Israel. Terrorists are massing in Lebanon and Syria.

Turkey says Israel commits war crimes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, saying “crimes against humanity” are being committed by Israel in Gaza. Erdogan has strongly supported the Palestinians during Hamas's war on Israel. He has attended pro-Palestinian rallies and positioned himself as a mediator since Oct. 7. “There is no concept that could explain or excuse the brutality that we have witnessed since 7 October,” Erdogan said during a summit of Turkic States in Kazakhstan. “To put it bluntly: crimes against humanity have been committed in Gaza for exactly 28 days,” he said. “Our priority is to establish a humanitarian ceasefire quickly,” he said, adding that Turkey was working on “new mechanisms that will guarantee the security of everyone, regardless of whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews. “Our efforts to lay the groundwork for an international peace conference continue,” he said.

According to Hamas, 9,227+ Gazans, including 3,826 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7.

Charges of genocide against Hamas

The families of nine Israeli victims of last month’s Hamas attacks are lodging a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for suspected war crimes, their lawyer said today. They want Hamas prosecuted for genocide, and the ICC to issue an international arrest warrant for its leaders, attorney Francois Zimeray said in a statement. “The complaint concerns victims who were all civilians,” Zimeray said, adding that several of them were at Nova music festival where dozens of people were slaughtered by Hamas. “The complaint states that the Hamas terrorists do not deny the crimes committed, which they have amply documented and broadcast, and that the... facts cannot therefore be disputed,” he said. According to France’s Radio Classique, Zimeray said he was always wary of “excessive qualifications” of events. He said that he and his legal team had established that the “genocide” accusation “holds up before the law”.

Any individual or group can bring a case to the ICC, which is located in The Hague, but it is up to the court’s prosecutor to launch an investigation.

In 2021, it opened a probe into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank.

ICC Karim Khan said recently that any suspected war crimes in the ongoing conflict would fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction. But ICC teams have not been able to enter Gaza, or Israel which is not a member of the ICC.

Hamas claimed that Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in raids across the West Bank, all of them males, in Jenin. Jenin is a stronghold of terrorist groups and frequent raided by Israel. 

The Israeli army said today that troops are “operating against Hamas” across the West Bank, with operations in Jenin and the northern city of Nablus.

In the southern city of Hebron, two more Palestinians, aged 33 and 36, were killed during a military raid on Fawwar refugee camp, the ministry and Wafa said.

The army said troops there “responded with fire” after Palestinians hurled gasoline bombs and rocks at them as they seized “weapons manufacturing” equipment.

A sixth Palestinian, aged 29, died during an Israeli arrest operation in Qalandiya refugee camp, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, Hamas said.

The ministry also said two other Palestinians had been shot dead in Jenin late on November 2. An Israeli army spokesperson told AFP troops were conducting “counterterrorism activities” in the area.

UN seeks $12bn for Gaza

The UN has launched an emergency aid appeal seeking $1.2bn to help some 2.7 million people in Gaza and the West Bank. “The cost of meeting the needs of 2.7 million people - that is the entire population of Gaza and 500,000 people in the occupied West Bank - is estimated to be $1.2 billion,” the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. OCHA had originally sought $294m in aid to support nearly 1.3 million people in an appeal on October 12. “The situation has grown increasingly desperate since then,” it said. OCHA said the new appeal “will outline the need for food, water, health care, shelter, hygiene and other urgent priorities following the massive bombardments in Gaza. “We urge donors to promptly make resources available for the response,” it added. “Our ability to ease the suffering of the Palestinian population will depend on adequate funding; safe and sustained access to all people in need, wherever they are; sufficient flow of humanitarian supplies; and - importantly - fuel.”

The Israeli military said today that air assets, artillery and naval units struck Hamas targets overnight, killing several militants including Mustafa Dalul, a Hamas commander it said had directed fighting in Gaza. In one Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, a local journalist working for the official Palestine TV and at least nine of his immediate family were killed in their house, relatives and Hamas claimed.

The United Arab Emirates, which is one of very few Muslim states with diplomatic ties to Israel, said today it is working “relentlessly” for an immediate ceasefire, warning that the risk of regional spillover and further escalation was real. Israel has dismissed calls for a ceasefire, saying Hamas terrorists intentionally hides among civilians and uses them as human shields.

Secretary of State Blinken met Israeli PM Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and is expected to push for a pause in the fighting.

Blinken is to meet Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi on November 4 in Amman. Safadi released a statement saying Israel must end the war on Gaza, where he said it was committing war crimes by bombing civilians and imposing a siege.

The Israeli military said its troops and tanks were encountering mines and booby traps as they advance in Gaza. Hamas terrorists are using their vast underground tunnel network to stage hit-and-run attacks. Israel has said it has lost 23 soldiers so far in the offensive. 

According to Hamas spokesman Abu Ubaida, Israel‘s death toll in Gaza was much higher. “Your soldiers will return in black bags,” he said.

Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the US was flying intelligence-gathering drones over Gaza to help locate hostages.

Thailand’s foreign minister says he has Iran over the welfare of 23 Thai citizens taken hostage by Hamas during its attack on Israel. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara travelled to Qatar and Egypt this week for talks on the hostages, and met his Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Qatar, and called on Iran to pressure Hamas to release Thai nationals.

Israeli authorities say 1,400 people, many of them civilians, were killed and more than 230 hostages taken during Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7, nearly one month ago. “I pointed out to them that Thais working there are low-income people, and work in the agricultural sector to boost their income,” Parnpree told reporters in Bangkok today. “I talked to the Iranian foreign minister and told him the Thais’ work is unrelated to politics and conflict. I asked him to send a message to the Hamas group that they are just labourers.”

About 30,000 Thais work in Israel, mostly in the agriculture sector, according to Thailand. Thirty-two Thai nationals have been killed and 19 wounded in the conflict, and the kingdom has evacuated more than 7,000 of its citizens on repatriation flights. All three countries committed their full support to assisting with the negotiations, Parnpree said. “They expressed their view that the earlier the ceasefire, the sooner the hostages can be released,” he said. 

During the talks, Egypt agreed to allow Thai officials to travel to the Rafah border crossing once the Thai hostages were released. A team of Thai Muslim negotiators last week met Hamas officials in Tehran and were given a pledge that the Thais would be released at the “right time”.

Ireland accuses Israel of vendetta

Irish PM Leo Varadkar once again criticized Israel, saying its operations in Gaza are “something approaching revenge”. He told state radio RTE: "I strongly believe that … Israel has the right to defend itself, has the right to go after Hamas, that they cannot do this again. What I’m seeing unfolding at the moment isn’t just self-defence. It looks, resembles, something more approaching revenge. That’s not where we should be. And I don’t think that’s how Israel will guarantee future freedom and future security." When asked whether Israel had committed war crimes, he said: "That’s not for me to determine.” His statements have made socialist Ireland something of an outlier among EU members in response to the Oct. 7 attacks.

Today, thousands of Gazan workers seeking to cross from Gaza to jobs in Israel and the West Bank were turned back to Gaza. Some of the workers returned through the Kerem Shalom crossing east of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. On the evening of November 3, Israeli PM Netanyahu's office stted, “Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza.”

Fourteen American states have announced $300 million in Israeli bond purchases in the past four weeks. Florida is leading the states in the investment.  

6:03 am

On the evening of Nov. 2, the House of Representatives approved nearly $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel that is separate from such aid to Ukraine.

According to what Israeli intelligence says is an intercepted call between Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Hamas is stealing fuel from hospitals in the enclave. It was a three-way call between the commander of the Western Jabalia Battalion, Dr. Atef Al Kahlout of the Indonesia Hospital in Beit Lahia, and a commander in Gaza.

According to UN chief Gutteres, Iran is carrying out executions "at an alarming rate", putting to death 419+ people during the first seven months of 2023. That is a 30 percent increase over the same period in 2022, according to a new UN report. Guterres said in the report that seven men were executed for participating in nationwide protests sparked by the Sept. 2022 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was picked up by the morality police for her allegedly loose headscarf in violation or Iran's Islamic dress code.

An IDF armored bulldozer was attacked with an improvised explosive device in the city of Jenin in the West Bank. There was little damage to the bulldozer. 

"Israel is severeing off all contact with Gaza," according to a statement by the Iraeli government. Israel will stop providing funding to the Palestinian Authority earmarked for Gaza and will prohibit Gazans from working in Israel.

November 3, 2023

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Swords of Iron United States Iran Israel Gaza