Day Twenty-Four Of Swords Of Iron
International Criminal Court prepares 'active investigations' for alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza.
Israeli Pvt. Ori Megilish was abducted and released by Hamas
Saudi Arabia is a safer place for Jews than college campuses in the United States, former senior U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner said this weekend. “One of the ironies is that, as an American Jew, you’re safer in Saudi Arabia right now than you are on a college campus like Columbia University,” Kushner said on Fox News. “They allowed me to speak freely,” Kushner said of the Saudis after returning from a trip to the Gulf Kingdom, where he spoke at a conference.
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, who briefly served as prime minister in 2022 said: "We must not stop until we kill six people - Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Daf, Ismail Haniyeh, Saleh Aaruri, Khaled Mashal and Marwan Issa. Until they die - Israel will not avenge the murdered and the Middle East will not understand that we are not being messed with."
Cornell University administrators dispatched campus police to a Jewish center after threatening statements appeared on a discussion board on Oct. 29. Cornell President Martha E. Pollack issued a statement explaining there were a series of “horrendous, antisemitic messages” threatening violence against the university's Jewish community, specifically naming the address of the Center for Jewish Living.
Israel’s signals intelligence agency, IDF Unit 8200, stopped listening to Hamas’s handheld radios a year ago, deciding it was a “waste of effort.” It was one of a series of failures that led to the shocking success of the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 invasion, The New York Times reported on Oct, 29. Monitoring that network might have helped Ronen Bar, the director of the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, realize at 3 a.m. on Oct. 7, a few hours before the attack, that the unusual activity he was seeing on the Gaza border wasn’t just another Hamas “military” exercise, the Times noted.
Mossad director David Barnea reportedly arrived back in Israel on Oct. 29 after a secret visit to Qatar to discuss with Qatari and others the Israeli and third-country nationals abducted and held by Hamas.
Video was distributed on social media of a Musilm woman attacking, beating, and thrashing an Israeli woman on the London Underground. There was no information about an arrest.
Wikileaks released what it says is a verified document obtained from Israeli Ministry of Intelligence on October 13 suggests forced displacement of Gaza civilians to Egypt would "yield positive and long term strategic results" The advisory document envisions a three stage process including the establishment of tent cities in Sinai and opening of humanitarian corridor, followed by construction of cities in northerm Sinai from which there would be no return. See original document here.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reacted to news of the identification of the remains of German-Israeli Shani Louk, who was abducted, beheaded and murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 at a music festival in Israel. He said, “It shows all the barbarism that is behind the Hamas attack. And that’s why Hamas must be held accountable,” while visiting Nigeria.
Unconfirmed reposts that large numbers of IDF tanks had already crossed the border into Gaza city (just north to Wadi Gaza where an Israeli tank was spotted this morning), and are moving towards the coast , basically cutting off the northern part from the southern part - there is no verification of the news yet.
Hamas released a video of three Israeli hostages in Gaza in an apparent effort to increase the pressure on the sraeli government. The women may have been filmed under address. PM Netanyahu's office identified them as Daniel Aloni, Rimon Kirsht, and Yelena Trupanob. During a Tel Aviv press conference, a friend of Trupanov said this was the first proof of life that the families of the three women had received. “We are so happy that Elena is alive,” he said and urged the Red Cross to conduct a medical check on her immediately. "At the same time, there are still 239 people that are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza right now … 24 days have already passed. How is that possible? How are they not freed?" He called on President Biden to “do any and everything in your power to bring everyone home.” The man said: "They are not just hostages… They are real people with beating hearts waiting to be freed. Time is running out, but it’s not too late to save lives."
26 trucks containing food supplies and medical equipment passed through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza Strip today, according to Palestine Red Crescent. So far, 144 trucks have delivered supplies to the humanitarian organisation since since Oct. 7.
The US will suspend charter flights for American citizens seeking to leave issue due to a lack of demand. The last charter flight will leave on Oct. 31 from Tel Aviv.
Displaced Gazans huddle at a hospital
ActionAid Palestine, an NGO, claims that hundreds of patients are trapped inside al-Quds Hospital in northern Gaza amid Israeli bombardment around the hospital. It said that 12,000+ displaced people are taking shelter in the hospital, in addition to hundreds of patients. “How can people – babies on incubators, the elderly, and those on mechanical ventilation - be expected to evacuate a hospital that has been under constant bombardment?” said Riham Jafari of ActionAid Palestine in a statement. "How can doctors, working around the clock to keep patients alive be expected to follow these orders? With patients’ lives on the line, doctors do not want to leave thousands of patients without lifesaving care. Leaving Al-Quds would mean life support machines would lose power and many lives would be lost."
A British Conservative MP has been sacked from his government job after publicly urging PM Rishi Sunak to back a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Paul Bristow was dismissed as a ministerial aide at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology today after writing to the prime minister to call for an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Sunak has called for a pause in the fighting in order to allow humanitarian aid, but he has stopped short of pushing for a full ceasefire. According to the PM's office, Bristow was fired because his comments “were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility.
In his public letter, Bristow said Gazans were facing a “collective punishment” as a result of Israel’s retaliation and airstrikes. He wrote: "A permanent ceasefire would save lives and allow for a continued column of humanitarian aid [to] reach the people who need it the most."
'No surrender to terrorism'
Netanyahu was asked if Israel is inflicting collective punishment on Palestinians. He said that Hamas is preventing civilians in northern Gaza from leaving and forcing them in areas of conflict. “Not a single civilian has to die,” he said. "We’re going out of our way to prevent civilian casualties, not only by asking civilians to move, calling them to move, arranging a place for them to be which is safe, also putting in humanitarian support, providing them with the means with food, with water, with medicine."
When he was asked whether he will resign, Netanyahu said: “The only thing that I intend to resign is Hamas.” "We’re going to resign them to the dustbin of history. That’s my goal. That’s my responsibility. That’s what I’m leading the country to do. This is my responsibility now."
Netanyahu said that the IDF has reached a common conclusion that Hamas will not release hostages “unless they are under pressure”. He said ground action “actually creates the possibility” of getting hostages out because Hamas “will only do it under pressure. This creates pressure.” He said: "We’re committed to getting all the hostages back home. We think that this method stands a chance. It’s a goal that we’re committed to."
At a briefing today, Netanyahu called the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas as a “turning point” for the world. He said the time has come “to decide if we are willing to fight for a future of hope and promise, or surrender to tyranny and terror.” Israel “did not start this war” but it will win this war, he says. “Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory,” he said. Regarding calls for a ceasefire, he said: "Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 911, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7. Calls for a ceasefire are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen."
National Security spokesman John Kirby said about anti-Semitism: "It’s dangerous. It’s unacceptable, anywhere in the world ... Now, there’s obviously also a rise in anti-Muslim hate and — and activity as well." On CNN, when press about efforts to free American hostages in Gaza, he said, "We believe that there will be a way to get those Americans out. We’d like to do that today if we could. I don’t — I don’t know how close we are."
Israeli Lt. Col. Richard Hecht tweeted: "This is a war against an enemy that - rather than investing in its civilians - has invested in digging down. Massive tunnels under mosques, universities, schools, UN facilities…you name it."
Ori Megidish, a female private in the IDF, was liberated by Israeli ground operations in Gaza and was reunited with her family today, three weeks after being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
The Lebanese army says its troops have discovered 21 launchers on the border at northern Israel, and dismantled them. It said one of them was equipped with a rocket ready to be fired. This came after the Hezbollah terrorist organization said its militants had attacked two Israeli posts on Monday, including one on the edge of the town of Metula, destroying “technical equipment.” The IDF returned fire after coming under attack.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has warned of the “continued criminalization of advocacy for Palestinian rights” and described an “increasing tide of anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab attacks in the US” following the Hamas cross-border attack in which about 1,400 Israelis were killed and more than 200 abducted.
Palestine Legal, a Chicago-based civil rights group, said it has received hundreds of requests for legal assistance from people who have lost their jobs, been threatened with dismissal or faced other sanctions for speaking out in support of Palestinians.
Rabbi Alexander Boroda, who presides over Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities, called on the government to harshly punish the participants and organizers of an antisemitic riot in Dagestan. The rabbi said that a riot that greeted the arrival of a plane from Tel Aviv at Makhachkala airport “undermined the basic foundations of our multi-cultural and multi-national state.” Boroda said that Dagestani authorities had not been prepared for the riot, in which 60 people were arrested and at least 20 injured. Earlier today the Kremlin blamed “outside influence” for the incident.
The IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Israel is again returning fire into Lebanon after Israeli positions in northern Israel were fired upon. He reported there were no Israeli casualites.
Hamas claimed four people, aged 23 to 28, were killed during the early morning raid on the Jenin refugee camp. Israel said its warplanes carried out airstrikes today against militants clashing with its forces in the Jenin refugee camp.
The IDF ground forces appear to be advancing in two directions around Gaza City. In the north of the Gaza Strip, Israeli armored units are operating close to the Mediterranean coast while Hamas said it was engaged in “heavy fighting … with the invading occupation force” in northern Gaza.
Israeli tanks cut through the main north south Salah ad-Din road south of Gaza City and are operating on the outskirts of the Zaytoun and Shajaiya neighborhoods of Gaza City.
AFP reported that a resident said: "They have cut the Salah ad Din road and are firing at any vehicle that tries to go along it."
This may mean that the IDF is trying to cut off Gaza City from the south, thereby laying siege to the urban sprawl that extends north all the way to Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in the north.
In East Jerusalem, Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli police officer . According to The Guardian, there were two bursts of gunfire in quick succession, following by armed and mounted police, and sharpshooters on motorcycles converged on a filling station. “A terrorist from east Jerusalem armed with a knife arrived at the Mandelbaum gas station in Jerusalem,” police said later in a statement. “The terrorist stabbed a border police officer, and after grabbing his gun and trying to shoot it, fled the scene,” it added.
“Border police officers at the scene neutralized the terrorist with gunfire,” a police statement affirmed. Shaare Zedek hospital said it received a man in his 30s who had sustained “stab wounds to the torso”, describing his condition as “serious but stable”.
Hamas terrorists are trying to block the IDF, according to Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem, who said: “The Palestinian resistance attacked the Israeli tanks in Salah al-Din street.” The area is about 2 miles from the Gaza fence.
The IDF is “gradually moving ahead according to plan”, said IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari. He told the media that Israeli forces had killed dozens of Hamas terrorists in overnight clashes and struck more than 600 “terror targets”, including weapons depots and anti-tank missile launching positions, in recent days.
The bombardment has killed more than 8,300 people in Gaza, according to Hamas.
South Africa called for the UN to deploy a rapid protection force to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip from further Israeli bombing. “Entire generations of families have been wiped out in Gaza over the last three weeks,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “The numbers of non-combatants killed, especially the numbers of children killed, requires that the world show that it is serious about global accountability,” it continued.
South Africa has thus has gone further in its support for the Palestinians than most other countries. Some have called for a ceasefire, while some have called for a “humanitarian pause” in hostilities.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has offer to mediate the conflict, as has China. Earlier in the conflict. South Africa's foreign minister phoned the leader of Hamas about getting aid into Gaza, while underlining that it did not support the group.
Hamas claims 8,306 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 3,457 children. The figures have not been independently verified.
German-Israeli girl confirmed dead
Shani Louk, a German-Israeli woman who was captured from a music festival in southern Israel on Oct. 7 by Hamas, has been confirmed dead by Israel’s foreign ministry. The ministry posted on social media: "We are devastated to share that the body of 23 year old German-Israeli Shani Luk was found and identified. Shani who was kidnapped from a music festival and tortured and paraded around Gaza by Hamas terrorists, experienced unfathomable horrors. Our thoughts and prayer are with Shani’s friends and family during this unimaginable nightmare. May her memory be a blessing." He nude body was displayed by terrorists in Gaza on the day of the attack. Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Oct. 30 that mother Ricarda Louk said that her daughter’s body had not yet been found but a splinter of a skull bone had been found and a DNA sample taken that had led to the identification. Ricarda Louk said she now assumed that her daughter had been dead since Oct. 7. The woman's surviving family had assumed that Shani Louk was seriously wounded but still alive and abducted by Hamas. Shani Louk had attended the Supernova festival in the Negev region, and on the day of the attack. On Oct. 7, her mother told the media “This morning my daughter, Shani Nicole Louk, a German citizen, was kidnapped with a group of tourists in southern Israel by Palestinian Hamas. We were sent a video in which I could clearly see our daughter unconscious in the car with the Palestinians and them driving around the Gaza Strip.”
Russia's Muslim problem
According to the Russian government, 'outside influence' is to blame for Dagestan mob that swarmed over a regional airport. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to hold meeting on 'west's attempts to split Russian society'. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “ill-wishers” had used widely seen images of suffering in Gaza to stir up people in the Muslim region in the north Caucasus. There are reports that Russian troops quelled the mobs with live fire. There are reports that 20 people had been injured at the Makhachkala airport. Russian media reported nine police officers had received injuries and 60 people were later detained. Peskov said: "Putin plans to hold a large representative meeting today at approximately 7pm Moscow time and discuss the west’s attempts to use events in the Middle East to split Russian society. A detailed conversation will take place.” The head of Russia's intelligence services, and defense minister, will attended.
The IAF conducted strikes in the West Bank to “thwart terrorist infrastructure in the Jenin refugee camp”. "At the end of an extensive arrest operation to thwart terrorism and confiscate weapons tonight, 51 wanted persons were arrested in Judea and Samaria, of which 38 were operatives in the terrorist organization Hamas," it wrote.
IDF is moving ahead
Israeli IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel is “gradually moving ahead according to plan” in Gaza. He said that the IDF killed dozens of terrorists overnight, but would not disclose where IDF troops are engaged. Hagari said IDF troops now in northern Israel are ready. Strip, chief military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said during a regular press briefing on Monday.
UK foreign secretary James Cleverly returned to the Middle East and is talking to the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates to push for humanitarian pauses to allow aid to reach Gaza. Cleverly wants a significant increase in aid to Gaza, adding he expects the IDF to behave with professionalism and restraint, reported The Guardian. “We’re working extensively with the Egyptians, with the Israelis and others to try and have a humanitarian pause, a temporary pause so that we can get that humanitarian aid to the people that need it,” Cleverly told Reuters in Abu Dhabi. “It’s trickling through but we need a significant increase in the volume,” he added.
Cleverly is expected to urge the UAE to prevent a regional escalation, something he also urged Iran to do. There is growing concern that the fighting on Israel's border with Lebanon is escalating,
The UAE has been sending into Israel and Egypt, and all sides are waiting to see if Israel is going to allow an increased flow of aid through the Rafah crossing in Egypt. President Biden spoke with Israeli PM Netanyahu on Oct. 29 to urge him to speed the flow of trucks into Gaza.
The UAE, a member of the UN security council, is calling for an emergency debate at the UN today on the humanitarian crisis. Attempts to pass a UN security council resolution is under way, but Russia and the US are expected to veto. The so-called elected 10 on the 15 strong security council have been working on a resolution for some days.
UK opposition shadow foreign secretary David Lammy is the Middle East meeting foreign ministers in Jordan, Qatar and Egypt. The Labour Party said Lammy “will restate Labour’s support for humanitarian pauses and immediate unimpeded access for food, water, electricity, medicine and electricity in Gaza”.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said today the US should refrain from blaming the Islamic Republic for Hamas’s attacks on Israel.
British Education Minister Robert Halfon has reiterated calls for Israel to “follow international law” in its strikes on Gaza. "Britain has always made it clear, the government has always made it clear, that Israel should follow international law, but we do have to remember that the Israelis suffered a horrific pogrom on 7 October, a horrific attack by Hamas on innocent men, women and children. They have every right to defend themselves. They have to go into Gaza in order to dismantle the Hamas tunnels. Remember there are over 200 hostages from across the world stuck in Gaza, I think Israel has the right to take the necessary measures in order to defeat Hamas. If Britain had suffered a similar attack, Britain would be doing everything possible," he told the BBC.
International criminal court prosecutor Karim Khan said the ICC has “active investigations ongoing” into alleged war crimes in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, and last week the UN secretary general, António Guterres, spoke of “the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza”.
Al Jazeera reported that Gaza had “another night of heavy bombardment.” In Khan Younis, BBC reported, there were at “at least 14,000 people” seeking shelter at Al-Quds Hospital, and that “all the residential buildings around Al-Quds hospital have either been destroyed or suffered significant damage as they were targeted by Israel. We are talking about more than 10 residential buildings.” He notes “most of these people have already lost their homes in the Israeli bombardment. It’s hard to see where they could evacuate to next.” Israel has identified a subterranean redoubt built by Hamas beneath the hospital.
The IAF has bombed 600 targets in the last day, while ground forces as pressing its assault on Gaza. The air force struck somewhere “in the area” of Al-Azhar university, from where it said an anti-tank missile was about to be launched. In addition, the IDF has struck targets in Syria and Lebanon in response to launches. IDF aircraft struck targets in Lebanon, including “infrastructures for directing terrorism and military infrastructures of the organization”, and that an IAF fighter jet had attacked launchers in Syrian territory.
Israeli forces raided Jenin in the West Bank, with at least two Palestinians believed to have been killed.
Another 33 aid trucks were allowed to pass through the Rafah crossin into Gaza from Egypt on Oct. 29. This is the biggest number of aid trucks to cross in a day since Oct. 7. Aid workers claim that much more assistance is needed.
In Russian Dagestan, an airport that had been stormed by Muslim mobs on the evening of Oct. 29 is now under local control. Thousands of locals went to the airport in search of Jewish passengers on plane at the airport. The passengers were told not to disembark. Reportedly, Russian troops arrived by helicopter and used rubber bullets at first to quell the crowd before using live ammunition. Local authorities said 60 people had been arrested. The leader of Dagestan, an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, toured the peaceful airport on the morning of Oct. 30.
Jordan requested Patriot air defense missiles from the US amid increased regional tensions. According to Reuters, Jordanian army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hiyari said: “We asked the American side to help bolster our defence system with Patriot air defence missile systems,”
Israel lodged a complaint with the Russian ambassador to lodge a protest at Moscow’s hosting of a Hamas delegation following the terrorist organization's murderous attacks on Oct. 7. Inviting Hamas “sends a message legitimising terrorism against Israelis”, Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Israeli troops backed by tanks have expanded their operations inside Gaza amid reports of fierce air and and artillery strikes in the enclave’s north.