Day Sixty-One Of Swords Of Iron

Israel has seen a spike in the numbers of female draftees to the IDF.

IDF troops in Gaza IDF photo

6:08 pm

After US pressure, Israel approved increasing the amount of fuel allowed into Gaza. 
PM Netanyahu's office announced this his security cabinet approved the war cabinet's proposal to increase the amount of fuel supplied daily to Gaza. The PM's office did not say how much more fuel will be delivered, but that it is “the minimal amount needed to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics in the southern Gaza Strip. This minimal amount will be determined from time to time by the war cabinet, in accordance with the disease rate and humanitarian conditions in the Strip.”

The Biden administration had demanded that the daily delivery of 60,000 litres (15,850 gallons) of fuel be doubled or even tripled.

Channel 12 news cited unsourced “estimates” that the war cabinet will gradually increase the daily amount from the current 60,000 liters to three times that amount, 180,000 liters, in accordance with the US demand.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen tweeted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “a danger to world peace,” responding to the UN chief’s decision to invoke a rare clause in the UN charter to urge Security Council intervention in the Israel-Hamas war. Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN’s charter, which states that “the secretary-general may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” Cohen said Guterres’s decision “constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women. Anyone who supports world peace must support the liberation of Gaza from Hamas.”

9:17 am

Video and audio evidence, eyewitness accounts, and mortuary evidence underlined that Hamas terrorists raped, mutilated, and murdered multiple women and children during their assault on Israel on Oct. 7. Author and historian Niall Ferguson suggested during a TV interview that the Muslim marauders sought to emulate Nazi atrocities committed in the 1930s and 40s. "It seemed to me that what Hamas were trying to communicate was their intention to reenact the Holocaust." One witness said that Hamas terrorists even raped the lifeless corpses of women and girls. Some women were mutilated while still alive.

French journalist Ruth Elkrief is under police protection after the far-left French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon referred to her as anti-Muslim. In a tweet, Mélenchon, who has 2.7 million followers, called Elkrief “manipulative” and added, “If we don’t insult Muslims, this fanatic is indignant.” 

A Queens New York man was indicted on hate crime charges for allegedly stalking, harassing and punching an Israeli tourist in Times Square while ranting that “Hamas should kill more [Jews],” Manhattan prosecutors said on Dec. 5. Yehia Amin, 28, was hit of charges over a Oct. 18 incident in which prosecutors said he targeted the Jewish tourist and his four male friends, who were all wearing yarmulkes, at the Crossroads of the World.

IDF forces killed several commanders and operatives of Hamas Northern Gaza Strip Brigade. They had been hiding in a tunnel. Israel is now pumping sea water into another network of tunnels in the labyrinth built by Hamas beneath Gaza.

Hamas continues to exploit civilian infrastructure as a terrorist hub. Al-Shati is one of many areas where schools and civilian buildings are used to launch rockets, store weapons and carry out attacks against the IDF.

9:12 am

The United Nations' agency for children (UNICEF) condemend sexual violence against women and children committed on Oct. 7, but made no mention of the perpetrators: Hamas terrorists. “The accounts of sexual violence on 7 October in Israel are horrific,” UNICEF chief Catherine Russell tweeted. “Survivors must be heard, supported, and provided with care. Allegations must be fully investigated. We condemn gender-based violence and all forms of violence against women and girls,” Russell wrote. 

9:05 am

At least 10 of the Israeli civilians released by Hamas, both men and women, were sexually assaulted or abused while in captivity. A doctor who treated some of the 110 hostages released by Hamas reported that at least 10 men and women among those freed were sexually assaulted or abused. He spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the hostages' identities and did not provide details. This corroborates accounts shared at a meeting of Israel's war cabinet and a group of recently freed hostages and family members of hostages still being held by Hamas. The members provided details of the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Hamas. 

Armed Israeli waitress

Liberated hostage Aviva Siegel, whose US citizen husband is still a hostage, reportedly said during the meeting that some of the women hostages were “being touched.” Others said during the meeting that both men and women were sexually assaulted. Ronen Tzur, the director of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said after the gathering that “this was an unusual meeting. Members of the cabinet heard for the first time from freed female hostages describing the difficult things that are going on in the tunnels, including sexual abuse, and the fact that the airstrikes are happening very close to where the captives are being held.”

9:00 am

MIT student Talia Khan told members of Congress on Dec. 5, "“I was forced to leave my study group because my group members told me that the people at the Nova music festival deserved to die because they were partying on stolen land.” She said she is the daughter of a Jewish mother and an African Muslim father. 

8:45 am

An Israeli settler of the West Bank was put in administrative detention on suspicion of posing a threat to national security. This follows an announcement by the US State Department that it is barring visas to certain as yet unidentified Israeli settlers alleged to have committed violence against non-Jewish residents of the West Bank. 

Rocket sirens were heard wailing in Nir Oz and Magen near the Gaza border, as well as at Ashkelon.

The IDF has received a massive rise in female conscripts drafting to IDF combat united since the initiation of hostilities by Hamas on Oct. 7. The IDF says it has seen a massive turnout of female conscripts drafting to combat units amid the war in the Gaza Strip. The IDF says it has seen a draft turnout above 100%, and that 12% of women drafting to combat units requested this during the war. Israel's Border Defense Corps’ light infantry units saw a 116% draft turnout, and its Combat Intelligence Collection units saw a 133% turnout. The Artillery Corps saw a 132% draft turnout; the Air Force’s air defense array saw 101%; the Home Front Command’s Search and Rescue units saw 122%; and the Border Police saw 119%. The numbers mean that more soldiers are showing up for duty than the IDF had initially planned for. The IDF also said that first two female recruits recently completed screening tests for the Air Force’s elite helicopter-borne search and rescue Unit 669, and will be drafted to the unit later this month. The two women will undergo one year and eight months of training, and if they complete it, they will be the first female soldiers in Unit 669.

Mayor Adel Badir of Kafr Qasim says the leadership of the Arab community condemned the October 7 assault, and that what happened that day is undeniable. “I didn’t have to see the film; the facts are the facts, it’s the truth,” Badir to Israel's public broadcaster. “The [Arab] leadership showed responsibility, and from the first day they condemned what happened. Most of the Arab mayors said so, if not all of them,” he said. “It goes against our values and the values of Islam,” Badir said. “When you personally know some of the murdered people it is even harder. They kidnapped people, they took children to Gaza,” he said. Badir spoke after attending a screening on the evening of Dec. 5 of the video of the Hamas atrocities that was held by Israeli PM Netanyah's office for leaders of Israel’s Arab community. “I left after five minutes following [the video of] the two boys and their father. I couldn’t bear it. As a father of six with 13 grandchildren, I couldn’t,” he says.

Arab mayors, heads of city councils, community center administrators, media figures, journalists and “thought leaders” were among those invited to viewing in Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus Christ. The film, produced by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, shows uncensored, difficult-to-watch videos, many taken from terrorists’ bodycams during their murderous rampage in southern Israel on October 7. 

The lives of some of those held in Gaza are in immediate danger, according to a letter sent to Israel's war cabinet from the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum. “We received solid intelligence that there are abductees whose condition has deteriorated and there is now immediate danger to their lives,” the letter reads. “We demand that you act urgently, with initiative and creativity, to reach a deal for the immediate release of all the hostages.” The letter includes expert testimony from Prof. Hagai Levine, head of the medical team at the forum, who said that at least a third of those held in Gaza have preexisting conditions that require regular medical treatment. Without care, some of them may be in life-threatening danger, or have irreversible damage, the letter said. 

Additionally, many of the abductees were injured when they were kidnapped — suffering gunshot wounds, lost limbs and shrapnel wounds — which, untreated, could lead to risk to life, complications, disabilities and suffering. The hostages are also being tortured, physically and/or mentally, and deprived of adequate food, according to testimony of hostages released by the terrorists.

8: 00 am

The UN human rights chief Volker Türk warned of a heightened risk of atrocity crimes in Gaza, saying: “My humanitarian colleagues have described the situation as apocalyptic. In these circumstances, there is a heightened risk of atrocity crimes.” Türk told reporters: “Measures need to be taken urgently, both by the parties concerned and by all states, particularly those with influence, to prevent any such crimes.”

The IDF intercepted a surface-to-surface missile launched towards Eilat in southern Israel. The IDF has responded to a “number of launches” from Lebanon. The IDF reported: "Following the report regarding sirens that sounded in the city of Eilat, a launch of a surface-to-surface missile toward Israel was identified, and was successfully intercepted in the area of the Red Sea by the “Arrow” aerial defence system. The target did not cross into Israeli territory [and] did not pose a threat to civilians...A short while ago, a number of launches were identified from Lebanon. The IDF is striking the sources of the fire. Furthermore, since this morning, IDF tanks and artillery have been striking several locations in Lebanon and IDF aircraft struck a military command center and military infrastructure belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization." The launches from Lebanon had been aimed at IDF military posts.

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida told Israeli PM Netanyahu via telephone of the importance of minimizing civilian casualties in the conflict .

Hamas claims that Israel has killed at least 16,248 people, including 7,112 children and 4,885 women, in Gaza since Oct. 7. It claimed that 7,600+ people are missing. These figures have not been independently verified. Earlier this week an unnamed Israeli military source told news agencies it estimated that 15,000 people had been killed, with 5,000 of them being combatants.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip  Erdogan told Turkish media of serious consequences should Israel go ahead with attacking Hamas officials on Turkish soil. He reiterated that Turkey has petitioned the international criminal court for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes in Gaza. It came in response to the head of Israeli security agency Shin Bet, who in an audio recording, said his agency is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including inside Turkey. Erdoğan said “We brought the war crimes committed in Gaza to the court’s agenda and we will be following up on this. Netanyahu will not be able to evade paying the penalty for his actions. Sooner or later, he will be tried and will pay the price for the war crimes he committed”. Erdoğan has previously referred to Netanyahu as “the butcher of Gaza”.

Erdoğan denounced Israeli plans for a buffer zone in Gaza's future were disrespectful” to Palestinians. He said Gaza’s future after the war would be decided by Palestinian people and that Israel must return the territories it occupies. He also said western support for Israel, namely from the US, had caused the current situation.

British maritime agency UKMTO received a report of an incident involving a Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) - a drone - in the vicinity of position 1425N 04212E, 47 nautical miles west of port Hodeidah, Yemen.

The IDF demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross must have access to the hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza Strip. “As the IDF expands its operations to dismantle Hamas in Gaza, we have not lost sight … of our critical mission to rescue our hostages,” the army spokesman, Daniel Hagari said. “The international community must take action. The Red Cross must have access to the hostages that are in the hands of Hamas.”

Israel believes 138 of the estimated 240 people seized in Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7 are being held in Gaza. One hundred and five hostages were released during the recent temporary truce. Some are presumed to have died in captivity. Israel has previously complained that one of the conditions of the ceasefire had been to allow the Red Cross access to hostages, which was not met by Hamas. Rachel Goldberg, whose son is believed to be a hostage, said last weej the Red Cross had done a good job “being the Uber service for the released hostages” but had done nothing for those still in captivity.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi and is scheduled to hold talks with UAE president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He will then travel to Riyadh for talks with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. They are believed to talk about the conflict in Gaza, as well as oil production policies. This is a rare foreign trip for Putin, who has had an international criminal court arrest warrant issued against him for his alleged role in the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children. 

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, announced that 883 Russians of about 1,100 who asked for help in evacuating from Gaza have arrived in Russia.

The streets of Khan Younis in southern Gaza were almost empty this morning as people took shelter from shelling and artillery fire.

The Guardian newspaper summary of the day's events:

Israeli forces have expanded their ground offensive inside Gaza to include its second-largest city, further shrinking the area where Palestinians can seek safety and halting the distribution of vital aid across most of the territory. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have told AFP their fighters were battling Israeli troops early on Wednesday in an effort to prevent them from breaking into Khan Younis, which local media reported was under heavy bombardment, with Israeli tanks approaching from the east.

Israel has told Palestinians that it will not allow the movement of civilians on the Salah al-Din road that runs through the Gaza Strip in sections north and east of Khan Younis. It is instead instructing residents evacuating from the north to use a diversion along a coastal route where it says the IDF will allow movement.

Israel’s military has said it struck at approximately 250 “terror targets” in the Gaza Strip over the last day, including targeting what it claimed was Hamas activity located at schools. Israeli forces have killed at least 16,248 people, including 7,112 children and 4,885 women, in Gaza since 7 October, a statement from the Hamas media office has said. At least 43,616 people have been injured and at least 7,600 people are missing, according to the statement on Tuesday.

Fuel and medical supplies are at critically low levels at al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza due to road closures while hundreds of patients are being admitted every day, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said.

The UN’s top aid official has said the Israeli military campaign in southern Gaza has been just as devastating as in the north, creating “apocalyptic” conditions and ending any possibility of meaningful humanitarian operations. Martin Griffiths, the UN emergency relief coordinator, said he was speaking on behalf of the entire international aid community in saying the continuing offensive had robbed aid workers of any significant means of helping the 2.3 million people of Gaza.

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says the Israeli military will retain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip long after its war against Hamas ends. In a news conference late Tuesday, Netanyahu said Gaza would have to remain demilitarized and that the only body capable of ensuring this would be the Israeli military.

Two Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli military in the West Bank, local media has reported.

The US president, Joe Biden, has denounced the reported rape and sexual violence committed against Israeli girls and women by Hamas militants during the 7 October attack on Israel, calling on the world to condemn such conduct “without equivocation” and “without exception.”

Israeli media is reporting that the health of Hanna Katzir, one of the hostages released by Hamas from Gaza last month, has deteriorated. Her daughter told army radio she had returned “both heartbroken and with cardiological problems”.

December 6, 2023

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Swords of Iron