Day Nineteen Of Swords Of Iron

A Catholic university is offering a safe haven for Jewish students who are experiencing campus antisemitism elsewhere.

IDF artillery

7:43 pm

Israel agreed to US requests to delay its invasion of the Hamas-ruled Gaza so that American forces can position air defenses to protect troops in the region. “The Pentagon is scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air-defense systems to the region, including for U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Since Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and killed 1,400 people, Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) has processed a record 2,050 journalists coming to the country. This is double the number who covered “Operation Protective Edge:” the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict that lasted 50 days. 

The leading countries in dispatching correspondents to cover the current war are the United States (358), Great Britain (281), France (221) and Germany (102).

Other countries that have sent journalists include: Turkey (71), Italy (63), Canada (56), India (55), Spain (49), Australia (36), Greece (33), Russia (24), China (19), Belgium (18), Argentina (16), Mexico (10), Azerbaijan (8), Nepal (4), Uruguay (4), New Zealand (3), Georgia (2), Ghana (1), Nigeria (1), Senegal (1) and Singapore (1).

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the war is darkening the skies over an already gloomy world economic prospect. “What we see is more jitters in what has already been an anxious world,” Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told a panel at the Future Investment Initiative Institute conference in Riyadh. “And on a horizon that had plenty of clouds, one more — and it can get deeper.”

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, Israel’s Foreign Ministry clapped back tonight, saying the Turkish leader's “inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen.” Earlier today, Erdoğan argued that Hamas is “a group of mujahideen [‘jihadists’] defending their lands and people.”

7:00 pm

President Biden said he “did not demand” a delay in Israel's predicted ground invasion of Gaza, according to AFP. He said in the Rose Garden,  "Israel has a right and I would add responsibility to respond to the slaughter of its people." He accused Hamas of Hamas of “hiding behind” civilians. While Israel continues its bombing raids, Biden said Israel must follow the “laws of war”. At the joint press conference with Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, he said: "Israel has to do everything in its power, as difficult as it is, to protect innocent civilians. It’s difficult."

While US media had reported that he had pushed Israeli PM Netanyahu to delay the start of a ground invasion while Hamas still holds hostages, Biden denied it: "What I have indicated to him is that if that’s possible to get these folks out safely, that’s what he should do. It’s their decision. But I did not demand it. I put it out to him, if it’s real, it should be done."

Biden deplored reports that Israeli civilians were attacking Palestinians in the West Bank following the Oct. 7 massacres by Hamas. He said he was committed to finding a two-state solution to end the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict. Biden said that the attacks by “extremist settlers” amounted to “pouring gasoline” on the already burning fires in the Middle East. "It has to stop. They have to be held accountable. It has to stop now,’" said at the news conference. According to Palestinian authorities, Israeli civilians have killed Palestinians living in the West Bank, saying Israelis have burned vehicles and attacked Bedouin communities, which have been forced to leave

Biden also condemned the brutality of the Hamas attack that killed 1,400 Israelis and said that he was convinced that Hamas was driven in part by a desire to undo US-led efforts to normalize Israeli relations with some of its Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia. Once the war ends, he called on all parties to work toward a two-state solution. "Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live side by side in safety, dignity and peace. When this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next. And in our view, it has to be a two-state solution."

Switzerland has cut its financial support to 11 Palestinian and Israeli non-governmental organizations following the Oct. 7 massacre. A statement from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) reads: "In view of the new situation that has prevailed since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October and the resumption of hostilities in the Middle East, the FDFA has decided to suspend its financial support to eleven local NGOs (six Palestinian and five Israeli)." The organizations are mainly active in the field of human rights, it said. The department will undertake an “in-depth analysis” of whether these organisations’ communications comply with the FDFA’s code of conduct and anti-discrimination clause. "The FDFA’s cooperation activities in the Middle East must adapt to the new context that has prevailed since the resumption of hostilities. The relevance and feasibility of programmes will therefore have to be analysed in general terms."

French president Macron said he believed it would be an “error” if Israel launched a “massive” ground incursion into Gaza. He held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who also urged efforts “to avoid a ground invasion” in the Palestinian territory. Macron said, "France recognises Israel’s right to defend itself. Regarding a ground intervention, if it is entirely targeted against terrorist groups, that is a choice that it has, but if it is a massive operation that would endanger civilian populations, in that case I think it would be an error for Israel." He continued, "It would also be a mistake for Israel because it would be unlikely to offer long-term protection and because it is incompatible with protecting the civilian population or respecting international humanitarian law and the rules of war.”

Secretary of State Blinken said he asked the Qatari PM to control the state-owned Al Jazeera’s rhetoric about the war in Gaza, according to a report. Speaking to Jewish leaders on Oct. 23, he said he had asked the Qatari government to change its public posture towards Hamas, Axios reported, citing people who attended the meeting. Blinken asked the Qataris to “turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement.”

The IDF conducted air strikes in Gaza to “improve” the army’s posture for the upcoming ground offensive, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said. He said that the war “will be long, and to achieve the goals of the war, resilience, trust and patience are required” from the Israeli public. "We will continue to strike in Gaza to achieve the goals of the war. Every strike improves our situation for the next stages," he said. 

Jordan’s Queen Rania has accused western leaders of a “glaring double standard” for failing to condemn Israel's bombardment of Gaza. Born to Palestinian parents, she denounced western countries for opposing a blanket ceasefire, saying their silence gave the impression they were “complicit” in Israel’s attacks on Gaza. “The people all around the Middle East, including in Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world’s reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a glaring double standard in the world,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “When October 7 happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and its right to defend itself, and condemned the attack,” she said.

5:30 pm

Jewish students were trapped inside a library at Cooper Union College in New York City as police stood by and pro-Palestine demonstrators shouted and beat on the doors demanding admittance. The Jewish students were afraid, thus the pro-Hamas protesters demanded entry. 


5:05 pm

Israeli PM Netanyahu said the IDF is  “getting prepared” for the ground invasion of Gaza with the goal of destroying Hamas. On TV, he said his war cabinet are “working around the clock” until  victory.

Israel rejected Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s assertion that the Palestinian militant group Hamas was “not a terrorist organization”. Israeli foreign minister spokesperson Lior Haiat wrote on social media: "Israel wholeheartedly rejects the Turkish president’s harsh words about the terrorist organization Hamas," and added, “Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen.” Erdogan cancelled a planned trip to Israel, and has called for an immediate ceasefire.

5:00 pm

Cornel West tweeted today: "There is national walkout across the nation of colleges and universities. I’m on my way to UCLA to be in deep solidarity with all students who are in solidarity with our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters against the genocidal and barbaric attack on Gaza! We want freedom across the board, we want equal dignity, equal rights, and equal status for Palestinians and Israelis!" West is a presidential candidate and an inveterate critic of Israel. 

4:40 pm

Students at New York University staged a walkout. Students chanted "Free Palestine!". One demonstrator held up placard that read on one side: "We Can't Wait for the Caliphate" and "Free Humus from Iran" on the other side. Some chanted “topple it [the system] down” and “Globalize the intifada.” Some also said they don't want a two-state solution. One student was spotted holding a sign advocating for the genocide of all Jews worldwide.

4:37 pm

The Wall Street Journal reported: "In the weeks leading up to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, hundreds of the Palestinian Islamist militant group’s fighters received specialized combat training in Iran, according to people familiar with intelligence related to the assault.

"Roughly 500 militants from Hamas and an allied group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, participated in the exercises in September, which were led by officers of the Quds Force, the foreign-operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the people said.

"Senior Palestinian officials and Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the head of Quds Force, also attended, they said."

4:30 pm

The Israel Defense Forces found a recording of one of the terrorists boasting to his parents about how many Jews he had killed. The terrorist called his father and exulted "Your son has killed Jews!...I am calling from the phone of a Jewish woman. I killed her and her husand." Israel revealed the recording, which was found on the phone of a murdered Israeli woman, for the first time at the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 24.

Hamas has launched another Long-Range Rocket, the “Ayyash-250” with a range of roughly 155 Miles towards the city of Eilat in southeastern Israel near the border with Jordan this morning; there was no red alert and the IDF has stated the rocket landed in an vacant field. 

Several massive airstrikes by the Israeli Air Force on western Gaza during the afternoon hours today. 

The total number of American troops that have been injured as a result of missile and drone attacks over the past week on the U.S. Bases in western Iraq and eastern Syria by pro-Iranian militias increased from 24 to 30 with all of the Injuries said to have been minor including possible concussions, bruises, cuts, and scratches; according to the Department of Defense. All 30 soldiers returned to active duty. 

Regarding a Hamas infiltration overnight in Zikim area, the IDF said: "Two Hamas terrorists were killed after leaving a tunnel on the beach and trying to infiltrate Israel."

Israeli PM Netanyahu says that the current main goals is the annihilation of Hamas terrorists, and the return of as many hostages held by the terrorists as possible. He said that every Hamas terrorist is a dead man walking , “in Gaza or out of, underground or above it”

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari: "Today we struck in Gaza City terror infrastructure in buildings and underground.  We will continue to strike in Gaza to achieve the goals of the war. Every strike improves our situation for the next stages." IDF says fighter jets destroyed a Hezbollah terrorist military compound and an observation post in southern Lebanon. 

Israel's war cabinet is convening tonight at the IDF HQ in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli Air Force has conducted strikes on unknown targets near the town of Yaroun in southern Lebanon early this evening.

A Jewish student was attacked at Brooklyn College. The student was pepper sprayed and star of David ripped from clothing. 

1:00 pm

Hamas militants have stopped people from approaching the Rafah border crossing, a US state department spokesperson said. On CNN, spokesman Matthew Miller said the sporadic presence of Hamas at the crossing has made the situation “extremely difficult”. "At times, Hamas has had no one there manning the border station. At other times, we have seen Hamas militants actively there with guns preventing people from approaching the crossing," said. Miller said getting people through the Gaza into “the no man’s land” where they can ultimately get across to the Egyptian side is difficult. He added: "The Egyptians are — on their side — ready, they say, to accept people, foreign nationals, United States citizens, if they can get to Egyptian processing."

The Qatari prime minister said he hopes there will soon be a breakthrough in negotiations led by the Gulf state to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, while Qatar has warned that an Israel invasion could jeopardise those efforts. “There is some progress and some breakthrough and we remain hopeful,” said PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at a press conference. “If they are able to get along between the two parties I think we will see some breakthroughs hopefully soon,” said Al Thani. The Qatari foreign ministry has said an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza would complicate efforts to free the hostages. FM spokesman Majed Al Ansari said: "Obviously a land incursion into Gaza would make it difficult to maintain the safety of the hostages, and in our efforts at mediation with both sides we urge all parties in this conflict to de-escalate immediately." Qatar is now discussing a larger release of civilians, according to The Guardian. However, Israeli soldiers held hostage are not included. 

A school sheltering Palestinians in Gaza sustained “severe collateral damage” due to a “close proximity strike”, the UN claimed. One civilian was killed and 44 more were injured, including nine children, it said in a statement. The school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip had been sheltering 4,600 internally displaced people (IDP), it said. The UN claims 613,000+ internally displaced people are sheltering in its facilities across Gaza. Another three UN staffer have been killed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 38 staff killed since 7 October, it said. The agency warned last night that it would be forced to halt its operations in Gaza due to a lack of fuel as of Wednesday night. However, the IDF has showed aerial footage of storage tanks controlled by Hamas that contain hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel.

UN refugee agency official Philippe Lazzarini warned on Oct. 22 that it would exhausts its fuel stores today. "Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach those in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance. No fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza."

Israel has agreed to delay Gaza invasion so US can get air defenses to region, reported The Guardian. The Pentagon is working to deploy early a dozen air-defense systems to the region to protect US troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from missiles and rockets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US and Israeli officials.

Israel is also taking into account the effort to supply humanitarian aid to civilians inside the Palestinian territory, as well as diplomatic efforts to free more hostages held by Hamas, it said.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said that he was “shocked” by alleged misinterpretations of his statement to the UN security council in which he described Israel’s bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip as the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” and “clear violations of international humanitarian law”. Israel has advised that it will no longer issue visas to UN personnel in order to teach the UN a lesson.

12:50 pm
On CNN, former Hamas member Mosab Hassan Yousef said that Hamas's ambitions cannot be satisfied "because it is a religious movement, not a political one." Yousef, who is also a former informant of Mossad, said that Hamas intended to eliminate the Jewish people and establish a worldwide Islamic state.

10:05 am

Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel's western Negev region, more than 100,000 Israelis have filed requests for gun licenses, according to the National Security Ministry. Before the war, that number would have equaled two years of requests.

Israeli authorities released on Oct. 24 aerial images of Hamas storage tanks in Gaza containing at least half a million liters of fuel (132000+ gallons). Isrel stressed that concerns over fuel shortages in Gaza expressed by the UN and others should be addressed to the terrorists rathern than Israel. “Near the Rafah border crossing [to Egypt], Hamas owns fuel tanks, containing hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel. Please refer the ones complaining about no fuel in Gaza to Hamas,” the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit tweeted.

9:30 am

during an interview with CBS News, an IDF spokesman displayed a note found on the body of a deceased Hamas terrorist. The note read: "You must sharpen the blades of your swords and be pure in your intentions before Allah. Know that the enemy is a disease that has no cure, except beheading and tearing out their hearts and livers."

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group held talks today in Beirut with senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures in a key meeting of three top anti-Israel terror groups amid the war raging in Gaza.


8:53 am

In the UK parliament today, PM Rishi Sunak said: " From the start we have said that the first and most important principle is that Israel has the right to defend itself under international law – our support for that position is absolute and unchanged. But from the start we have also said that we do want British nationals to be able to leave Gaza, and that we want hostages to be released and for humanitarian aid to get in. And we recognise that for all of that to happen there has to be a safer environment, which of course necessitates specific pauses as distinct from a ceasefire. And we discussed this with partners yesterday evening at the United Nations, and we have also been consistently clear that everything must be done to protect civilians in line with international law and continue getting more aid flowing into Gaza."

Subsequently, Sunak's office offered his reasoning for backing a pause, not a ceasefire, saying: “A wholesale ceasefire would only serve to benefit Hamas. Humanitarian pauses, which are temporary, which are limited in scope, can be an operational tool.”

The UK’s Ministry of Defence announced that it has sent a plane delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians and is en route to Egypt. In a statement, the government said it would deliver supplies including “76,800 wound care packs, 1,350 water filters and 2,560 solar lights”.

8:27 am

According to UN agency OCHA, 12 out of 35 hospitals in Gaza have closed their doors, and 46 of 72 primary clinics are also closed due to damage caused by the war, or a lack of fuel. UNRWA, the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, had warned that unless fuel is allowed in to Gaza immediately, it will be forced to halt all operations as tonight. OCHA itemised some of the aid that has been allowed in over the past few days, noting that trucks brought in 44,000 bottles of water on Oct. 22, enough for just 22,000 people in one day and on Oct 23 trucks brought enough water for just 13,000 people for one day. The agency noted that Israel's military had reported its attacks on 400 targets, and claimed residential buildings and a busy market had been among the targets. It said: "In one of the airstrikes, a residential building in Rafah was destroyed, killing 48 people and injuring dozens. In Ash Shati refugee camp, airstrikes destroyed three residential buildings overnight, resulting in 36 fatalities, with many others reportedly missing, presumably under the rubble. Airstrikes also struck Souq An Nuseirat with at least 20 fatalities. The incident took place at noon when the market was the busiest. Shoppers were hit while they were inside a large supermarket."

In Jenin, West Bank, Palestinian Wafa news agency reported three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli drone strike. Overnight, Israeli armored vehicles were seen head to Jenin. Overnight, IDF troops raided the West Bank and came under fire, according to the IDF, who "fired and hurled explosive devices" in Jenin. The IDF responded with a drone strike. 

According to Reuters, the US intelligence community has “high confidence” that an explosion at a Gaza hospital last week was caused by a Palestinian rocket that broke up mid-flight, and not by Israel. According to Hamas, 471 people were killed in the blast at the Al-Ahli Arab (Baptist) hospital on Oct. 17. The terrorist group claimed an Israeli airstrike hit the hospital, despite the lack of a blast crater, while Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian militant Islamic Jihad group, which has denied responsibility.

There remains uncertainty about the actuall death toll and number of injuries at the hospital, said the New York Times. US officials reported there was little damage to the hospital and the structure did not collapse. Israeli intercepts of Palestinian groups, publicly available video, communications intercepts provided by the Israelis, and images of the blast and the aftermath, offered evidence contradicting Hamas's assertions. 

British families of those being held hostage by Hamas are still hopeful about the fate of their relatives, following the release of several elderly hostages. The UK prime minister's office said 12+ British nationals were killed by Hamas on Oct 7 and another five are missing. A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said, “We will continue to work tirelessly with Qatar, Israel and others to ensure all hostages come home safely.” UK foreign secretary James Cleverly recently met with some of those whose family members were killed or are still missing.

The IDF dropped leaflets on Gaza on Oct 24, offering protection and a reward to Palestinians who provide information about hostages held by Hamas. There are over 200 hostages held by the terrorists. The Israeli government said its goal is to "crush Hamask."

Four elderly female hostages have been released after negotiations brokered by Qatar, which is also believed to be trying to reach a deal in which 50 more dual nationals held by Hamas would be released.

The Israeli military is using surveillance, special forces raids, and interrogation of captured members of Hamas to draw up a picture of where the captives – including infants, children and elderly civilians as well male and female soldiers – are being held. Videos of IDF interrogation of Hamas captives showed that the terrorists were ordered to kill as many Israelis, including civilians, women, and children, as possible. 

Yuval Noah Harari, a native of Israel, atheist and historian, is supporting peace activists in his home country in an attack on the “indifference” of some American and European progressives to Hamas atrocities, accusing them of “extreme moral insensitivity” and betraying leftwing politics. Harari is the author of books including Sapiens and Homo Deus – joined dozens of others who signed a statement decrying “elements within the global left … until now, our political partners” who had, on occasion, “justified Hamas’s actions”.

Harari is a vocal opponent of Israeli PM Netanyahu and the latter's push to reform Israeli judiciary. In an interview with The Guardian, he said Israeli peaceniks are “completely devastated” and “feeling abandoned and betrayed by supposed allies”, after academics, artists and intellectuals signed letters failing to condemn Hamas. He said it was “shocking to hear some of the responses that did not only not condemn Hamas, but placed all responsibility on Israel” and to see “the lack of solidarity with regard to the horrific attacks on Israeli civilians”.

8:15 am

Franciscan University at Steubenville is a Catholic institution located in Pennsylvania. On Oct. 24-26, it is holding a conference on contemporary antisemitisim and calling for solidarity on the part of Catholics for the Jewish people in light of increasing acts of hatred not only in the Holy Land, but also in the United States and Europe. The conference is being livestreamed and recorded. University president Fr. David Pivonka has created an expedited transfer to Franciscan University for Jewish students who are afraid on other campuses. He made the announcement last week while noting that many other universities “preach tolerance but practice prejudice,”and said: “Our radical fidelity to Christ and the Catholic faith demands of us fraternal charity toward our Jewish brothers and sisters, as it does toward all people,”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Israeli will ban United Nations representatives from visiting the country “to teach them a lesson” after the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas "did not happen in a vacuum" and should be seen in the context of decades of occupation of the Palestinian people. During debate at UN headquarters on the Hamas-Israel war, Guterres said: “It is important to … recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.” However, he also said no injustice to the Palestinians could justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.

Erdan said in a radio interview to Israeli media: “Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives. We have already refused a visa for undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths. The time has come to teach them a lesson.”


October 25, 2023

Topic tags:
Israel Antisemitism Catholic Church United States United Nations Swords of Iron