Day Sixty Of Swords Of Iron

Turkey warns Israel against assassinations of Hamas terrorists on Turkish soil.

Israeli troops IDF photo

8:32 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Argentine President-elect Javier Milei on Dec. 4 and called him  “a true friend of Israel” and invited him to visit Jerusalem. Netanyahu congratuled Milei on his election in a “friendly” telephone call, and thanked him for supporting Israel in its war against Hamas as well as for his pledge to move Argentina’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

8:14 pm

Jewish college students told Congress today about the unrestrained antisemitism they are experiencing on campus and the failure of administrators to protect Jewish students and faculty. Among them was Bella Ingber, a junior at New York University. 

Members of American Muslims for Palestine strongly objected in Washington DC when confronted with trucks bearing electronic signs accusing the group of supporting Hamas terrorists. The trucks also displayed images of children abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7 and still held in Gaza. A video showed AMP leader Mohammed Habbeh denouncing the trucks and shouting 'These are our streets! Not their streets! This is not Tel Aviv!"

7:45 pm

Israeli police investigators have found evidence that men as well as woman were raped by Hamas terrorists and suffered sexual violence at their hands. Yael Sherer of Israel's Survivors of Sexual Violence advocacy group, said there was physical evidence as well as eyewitness accounts. She told BBC radio on December 4: “There was sexual violence and rape in these communities in the south of Israel. We have a few living survivors - not a lot - of both genders. It didn't only happen to women, it happened to men as well."

7:42 am

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller suggested to reporters that the reason the truce between Israel and Hamas fell apart was that the terrorists did not want released female prisoners revealing the sexual abuse they have faced in captivity. The truce stipulated that Hamas was to prioritise the release of children and non-IDF females. It collapsed this week.

Israel says 15 women still held by Hamas meet that description, as well as two children — Ariel Bibas, 4, and Kfir Bibas, 10 months, both of whom may now have perished. “The fact that they continue to hold women hostages, the fact that they continue to hold children hostages, just the fact that it seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over they’ve been holding hostage, and the reason this pause fell apart, is they don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” Miller told reporters.

7:30 pm

The U.S. State Department announced today the imposition of sanctions on several dozen Israeli settlers in the West Bank believed to be involved in attacks against Palestinians, banning them from travel to the U.S. In addition, it announced a travel ban on several dozen Palestinians who were believed to be involved in attacks against Israelis. The names of the people being added to the department's visa restrictions blacklist won't be added, two U.S. officials said.

This is the first time the U.S. is sanctioning extremist settlers in Judea and Samaria since the Clinton administration. "Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions," U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a press briefing.

6:30 pm

Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts of “serious consequences” if they attempt to target members of Hamas on Turkish soil. The warning came after Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet, said in an audio recording that his organization is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

The city council of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, announced on Dec. 4 that it opted to reverse its recent decision to stop its 20-year tradition of displaying a menorah at city hall for Hanukah. “There has been a strong reaction to the city of Moncton’s decision not to install the menorah and nativity scene at City Hall. As a growing city, Moncton is continuously evolving its posture with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion,” stated Dawn Arnold, the city mayor.

The House voted 311-14 in favor of resolution to “strongly condemn and denounce the drastic rise of antisemitism.” The resolution “clearly and firmly states that anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” 92 Democrats voted “present.”

6:20 pm

Hamas Political Bureau member and former Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad said on a December 1 on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas – Gaza) that the Palestinians are preparing to establish an Islamic caliphate, with Jerusalem as its capital city. He said that the Palestinians cannot ask where the Arabs are, while some of them continue to take orders from the "traitor" Mahmud Abbas. Hammad called on Abbas to relinquish his control over the Palestinian Authority security forces and "side with his people." He asked the PA security forces whether they are "real men" who care about their people. Hammad called on the people in the Arab countries for help, singling out Jordan, which has a 400 km border with Israel. He said: "You must rise up, just as the Palestinians rose up."

Fathi Hammad said: "The [Palestinian] people have been soldiers throughout history. They are now preparing to liberate Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and I am saying this loud and clear: [The Palestinian people] are preparing to establish the Caliphate, with Jerusalem as its capital city, Inshallah. Jerusalem will not only be the capital city of Palestine as an independent state – it will be the capital city of the Islamic Caliphate". 

 Hammas said on TV that Palestinians are preparing to establish a worldwide caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital. He also said that Palestinians in the West Bank should rise up against the "traitor" Mahmoud Abbas - the leader of the Palestinian Authority. 

"The Palestinian people must unite under the banner of 'There is no god but Allah.'" Hammad said. Shouting, he cried "What are you waiting for" Are you waiting for Gaza to be totally annihilated? ...Some people say we must be grateful to Arabs and Muslims. Grateful for what? I do not want to thank the Arabs and Muslims.It is time for you to rise up and march forward for the sake of Allah. You deserve no thanks. You have no excuses. You must rise up, just as the Palestinians rose up with their children, women, and elderly, with everything that they have sacrified and are still sacrificing for the sake of Allah. The Zionist enemy is negotiating with us with fire, whereas you are still living with disgrace. The Zionist enemy is negotaiting with us with fire, with our body parts and our blood,  while you are still living happily with your disgrace."  

5:00 pm

At a Capitol Hill hearing. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) questioned Harvard president Claudine Gray, MIT president Sally Kornbluth, and University of Pennsylvania president M. Elizabeth Magill over concerns about rising antisemitism on their campuses. They were asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates the codes of conduct of the three institutions, all three demurred.  

4:39 pm

Seventeen buses intended to bring thousands of people to a mass rally against antisemitism in Ottawa, Canada this morning were canceled without explanation even after having received full payment. “Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor and with no other explanation, we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred towards Jews,” the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said. The identity of the bus company was not made available, but organizers said they would “respond aggressively with every legal and public affairs tool at our disposal.

4:21 pm

More than 260,000 Israelis have applied for gun permits in the past six weeks, according to Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. On Dec. 4, at a meeting of his Otzma Yehudit Party, Ben-Gvir said the applicants were normal people who simply wanted to protect themselves and their families.

The Head of the Israel Defense Force’s Southern Command, Major General Yaron Finkelman stated that IDF troops have entered the “heart” of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

Israel is considering a plan to pump seawater into Hamas’s tunnel system underneath the Gaza Strip, the Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 4. The IDF has assembled five large seawater pumps capable of transferring thousands of cubic meters of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea into the tunnels, according to the report.

Despite a foot of snow in Montreal, Quebec, and chartered buses that never showed up in Toronto, thousands of Canadian Jews assembled on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday to voice solidarity with Israel and decry a rise in antisemitism. The rally’s speakers included several prominent Canadian politicians, Jewish leaders, college students who feel unsafe on campus and family members of Israelis taken hostage or killed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Orthodox Israeli Jews

10:24 am

More than dozen Republican state attorneys general signed a letter to media outlets such as the New York Times and Reuters, to put them them "on notice" that providing material support to terrorist organizations such as Hamas is illegal. "We will continue to follow your reporting to ensure that your organizations do not violate any federal or State laws by giving material support to terrorists abroad. Now your organizations are on notice. Follow the law," 14 state attorneys general stated in a letter to the chiefs of CNN, The New York Times, Reuters and The Associated Press on Monday afternoon. 

10:04 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel should not  “get away” with alleged war crimes committed in Gaza. Speaking today at a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Erdogan accused Israeli PM Netanyahu of endangering the entire region for his own political survival. “The Netanyahu administration is endangering the security and future of our entire region in order to extend its political life,” Erdogan said. “The loss of life of 17,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, is a crime against humanity and a war crime. Israel should not get away with these crimes,” he added. The figure he cited is higher than the toll claimed by Hamas or the UN. Hamas does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but claims 70% of the dead were women and children. Its numbers cannot be confirmed and likely include those killed by Hamas's own rocket misfires. Erdogan has repeatedly called for Netanyahu to be put on trial for alleged war crimes.

Israeli Defense Forces said troops have reached the center of Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, days after Israel expanded its ground offensive beyond northern Gaza. Much of the Hamas leadership may be hiding in Khan Younis, a Hamas stronghold. Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman said that troops are involved in the heaviest fighting seen since the start of the ground war last month. “We are in the heart of Jabaliya, in the heart of Shejaiya and from this evening, also in the heart of Khan Younis,” he said in a statement in a reference to Hamas strongholds near Gaza City. “This is the most intense day [of battles] since the start of the [ground] maneuver, in terms of terrorists killed, the number of engagements and the use of fire from the ground and the air,” he added. “We plan to continue attacking to deepen achievements.”

Israeli troops have raided Hamas posts in Jabaliya and Shejaiya, seizing arms caches and destroying “terror infrastructure both above ground and below.” “In the past day, infantry, armor, engineering and air forces have cooperated to fight terrorists face to face, and many terrorists were assassinated,” and IDF statement said that some weapons were found in civilian structures.

At least one Hamas rocket struck Tel Aviv today, striking a park near a school. According to the Ynet, approximately 15 rockets were fired from Gaza at the Tel Aviv area in the barrage.

Rocket sirens wailed in several towns in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said two elderly women sustained light wounds from shrapnel after a rocket fired by terrorists from Gaza directly hit a building in Ashkelon. It says three others, including two children, suffered acute anxiety attacks but are physically unharmed. Fire and Rescue Service officers are at the scene, searching for trapped people.

A Health Ministry representative told the Knesset that some hostages freed from Hamas captivity were given tranquilizer pills before being handed over to the Red Cross for transfer to Israel. The drugging would have made the hostages appear calm, happy and upbeat after suffering physical abuse, deprivation and psychological terror for more than 50 days in Gaza.

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi named the drug Clonazepam, known as Clonex in Israel and sold under the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril elsewhere, as the drug is used to prevent and treat anxiety disorders, seizures, bipolar mania, agitation associated with psychosis, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He didn't disclose whether the drugging has been confirmed by blood tests done on the released hostages at Israeli hospitals, or from the freed hostages’ testimony, or both.

A member of the Knesset urged Israel's Health Ministry to send an official report to the world detailing the evidence of the drugging and other medical findings following the released hostages’ return.

The United Nations claims it is impossible to create safe zones for civilians to flee to inside Gaza, as offered by the IDF to limit civilian casualties in Gaza. “The so-called safe zones… are not scientific, they are not rational, they are not possible, and I think the authorities are aware of this,” said James Elder of the UN children’s agency UNICEF. He did not offer alternatives for Israel to combat Hamas, which raided Israel on Oct. 7 and indiscriminately murdered, raped, and plundered Israelis.

The IDF says a “hostile” drone that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon crashed near the northern community of Margaliot earlier today. IDF sappers are examining the UAV. 

Qatar’s ruler hits out at what he labels “shameful” international inaction over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza as he opened a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting. “It is shameful for the international community to allow this heinous crime to continue for nearly two months, during which the systematic and deliberate killing of innocent civilians continues, including women and children,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said. Israel strongly denies targeting civilians, saying it is making extraordinarily extensive efforts to protect them and accusing the Palestinian terror group of building its entire strategy around using civilians as human shields to protect its members from being targeted by Israel.

France has frozen all assets belonging to the Hamas terror group’s top leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar,  for the next six months. Sinwar is believed to be the mastermind behind the Oct. 7 onslaught. According to the Official Journal of the French Republic, “funds and economic resources owned, held or controlled” by Sinwar are being frozen. The total value of Sinwar’s assets in France is not provided.

The Israel Defense Forces announced the deaths of two more soldiers killed during fighting in the Gaza Strip, bringing the toll of the ground operations to 80.

IDF Jets struck several Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, including observation posts, weapons depots, and other military sites used by the terrorists. This is in response to repeated attacks carried out by the Iran-backed group on northern Israel. Several rockets and missiles were fired from Lebanon today at different areas along the northern border. The IDF says all the projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries. Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for at least four attacks on IDF positions  today.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other war cabinet ministers met with families of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza. 

7:45 am

The IDF says "fierce battles" are taking place between troops and Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip in the last few hours.  It also publishes footage of troops of the Combat Engineering Corps' 601st Battalion battling Hamas operatives who opened fire at them from a building yesterday. During the battle, two soldiers, Sgt. First Class (res.) Ben Zussman and Sgt. Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, were killed and two other soldiers were wounded.  The IDF says the troops killed the Hamas gunmen in the incident.

The Guardian newspaper provided the following summary of the day's events:

Israel’s military has expanded its ground operations deeper into southern Gaza, with dozens of Israeli tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers entering the Gaza Strip near Khan Younis. Witnesses said Israeli military vehicles were on the southern section of the main north-to-south road in Gaza, “firing bullets and tank shells at cars and people trying to move through the area”.

The areas in Khan Younis that Israel has ordered to be evacuated cover about a fifth of the city. Before the war the area was home to 117,000 people, and now it also houses more than 50,000 people displaced from the north. Reporters on the ground in the city said Palestinians experienced “a very, very tough night” with “nonstop heavy artillery shelling, relentless airstrikes, and mass bombardment.”

Israel’s military has issued its latest situational update in which it describes operating against what it claims are “Hamas strongholds” in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which it says it has encircled. It also claims in the update to have “struck buildings used by ‘Nukhba’ terrorists” and to have conducted “a targeted raid on a Hamas internal security forces command and control centre”.

To date, during Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-led health ministry has said almost 16,000 people have been killed, 70% of which are women and children. The Israeli campaign in Gaza followed the surprise 7 October Hamas attack inside Israel that killed at least 1,200 people, and during which more than 200 people were seized and taken to be held hostage. Israel believes that Hamas retains more than 130 hostages within the Gaza Strip.

The IDF has said that it arrested 21 people in the occupied West Bank last night. Media sources have put the number higher, with Al Jazeera reporting that “at least 40 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces in overnight raids”. One Palestinian is reported to have been wounded when Israeli forces raided Jenin with about 50 armoured vehicles and four bulldozers overnight, and a 25-year-old man was killed by Israeli forces in a raid on Qalandiya refugee camp.

It is expected that families of those still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza will meet with Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday. On Monday a group representing the families said it would stage a permanent sit-in outside Israel’s military headquarters if Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would not meet with them.

The Kremlin says that Vladimir Putin will make a one-day trip to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia focused on the Israeli-Hamas war as well as also host the Iranian president in Moscow this week.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts of “serious consequences” if they attempt to target members of Hamas on Turkish soil.

December 5, 2023

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Swords of Iron