Day Twenty-Five Of Swords Of Iron

Netanayahu: 'This is a time for war, a war for our common future.'

Merkava tank

4:46 pm

The Palestinian Authority (West Bank) published a statement, which was preached to worshippers during the Friday prayer on October 20th, in which they called for the extermination of Jews as prophesied by Muhammad.

The highlighted text says:

"6. He (Muhammad) said: The Hour will not be established until the Muslims fight the Jews, so the Jews will hide behind stones and trees, and the stone or the tree will say: 'O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews. [Hadith, Sahih Muslim]"


4:25 pm

In London, some 700 protesters sat down on the concourse at Liverpool St. Station at rush-hour and began waving Palestinian flags and chanting: “Free, free Palestine”, “Ceasefire now” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Other messages included: “Ceasefire now” and “Boycott, divest, sanctions”. Protesters listened to speeches about the crisis in Gaza from representatives of the Palestinian Youth Movement, Na’Amod, No More Exclusions, Sisters Uncut and International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

4:19 pm

“We’re supporting efforts for safe passage for civilians in Gaza and those wishing to depart while making it clear that we will not support any forced relocation of Palestinians outside of Gaza,” National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters today.

According to Anadolu, the Orthodox Cultural Centre was completely destroyed today in Israel’s attack on the Tel Al-Hawa region. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the Israeli army’s bombing of the Centre.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last week in a pro-Palestinian rally that his government would declare Israel a “war criminal" and bring charges before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Daily Sabah reports.

4:05 pm

The Jordanian government condemned Israel’s airstrike on Jabalia, a city in northern Gaza adjacent to a so-called refugee camp, saying the attack contradicts human and moral values as well as international humanitarian law. Jordan’s foreign ministry tweeted: "Jordan’s Foreign Ministry condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli aggression that targeted the Jabalya camp in the Gaza Strip this evening, holding Israel, the occupying power responsible for this dangerous development … [The Jordanian Foreign Ministry] affirmed the Kingdom’s strong rejection and condemnation of this act, which contradicts all human and moral values and the rules of international humanitarian law."

According to Reuters, Bolivia has broken diplomatic ties with Israel. Citing Israel's attacks on Gaza, the Bolivian government announced that it will sever its diplomatic ties with Israel once again. Bolivia's government accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity. Similarly, in 2009, Bolivia cut its ties with Israel over its offensives in Gaza. However, Bolivia renewed its ties in 2020. 

According to Hamas, an IAF strike on Jabalia killed hundreds of Gazans. 

4:00 pm

US special forces operators are in Israel assisting Israeli efforts to rout Hamas terrorists, according to a Department of Defense official. The New York Times reported: "We’re actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things,” Christopher P. Maier, an assistant secretary of defense, told a special operations conference in Washington. He said that a main task was to help Israel “identify hostages, including American hostages. It’s really our responsibility to do so.” Mr. Maier declined to say how many U.S. Special Operations forces were currently in Israel. But other U.S. officials say the Defense Department has dispatched several dozen commandos in recent days, in addition to a small team that was in Israel on Oct. 7 conducting previously scheduled training."

3:13 pm

British PM Rishi Sunak called Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Sunak told Netanyahu to take "all possible measures to minimise civilian casualties”, according to his office. He also welcomed Israeli commitment to allow more aid deliveries to Gaza, saying that the UK will support efforts to promote humanitarian aid, and temporary pauses in the fighting. Sunak also reiterated Britain’s “resolute backing for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism” during the call. Sunak and Netanyahu reportedly also “discussed the situation in the West Bank and the long-term goal of a two-state solution.”

Sunak discussed with Abbas "the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza” and  “expressed his deep condolences for the tragic loss of civilian life.” Sunak told Abbas that “the UK would continue to support diplomatic action to protect Palestinian civilians, prevent wider escalation and secure a peaceful and lasting resolution to the crisis”, it said.

Egypt is preparing to receive wounded Palestinians from Gaza tomorrow through the crossing for medical treatment. According to AFP, medical teams will be present tomorrow at the crossing to examine the cases coming (from Gaza) as soon as they arrive... and determine the hospitals they will be sent to. A field hospital with an area of 1,300 square metres will be built to receive the wounded Palestinians in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Rafah. AFP reported that a large number of ambulances gathered at the Egyptian side of the crossing.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said Hamas has continued to use the civilian population in Gaza as human shields “in a very cruel and brutal manner”. He accused Hamas of intentionally building infrastructure beneath people’s homes.

Hamas operative Ibrahim Biari was  “behind the massacre not just of Israeli citizens on October 7, but also the massacres that is leading to the collapse of the Gaza Strip on its inhabitants”, he said. "Therefore we call upon the residents of northern Gaza to move south and we will allow them to do so in corridors," Hagari said, and added the IDF “will continue to operate in full force” in Gaza, he added. He confirmed that Biari is was killed by the IDF, which also killed other terrorists and “led to the collapse of other things because there was a very extensive infrastructure there”.

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has “firmly condemned” attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, his office said. The statement came after Borrell held calls with the Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers and the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Hissein Brahim Taha, AFP reported.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since Oct. 7, according to the Ramallah-based health ministry.

The UN relief agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) said three of its staff have been killed in strikes “while in their houses with their families” in Gaza over the last 24 hours.

A total of 67 UNRWA staff have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, the agency said in its latest update.

Humanitarian needs remain “dire” in the Palestinian territory with the situation in shelters in “critical condition”, it said.

The Israeli military is making “significant” achievements during the ground operation in the Gaza Strip but it is also “paying a heavy price”, said the defense minister, Yoav Gallant. “We are deploying forces on a large scale, deep in the [Gaza] Strip,” the Times of Israel reported. "There are battles against the forces that are operating [in Gaza] and the results and achievements on the battlefield are very high. Unfortunately, in war, there are also prices, and the prices in the last day were heavy prices. Despite that, we are also determined to continue and win."

In a letter shared on social media, Craig Mokhiber, the director of the New York office of theUN  high commissioner for human rights, said it had become “painfully clear” that the UN had failed in its duty “to meet the imperatives of prevention of mass atrocities, of protection of the vulnerable, and of accountability for perpetrators”. He wrote: "The current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs … leaves no room for doubt or debate … Across the land, Apartheid rules." The situation in Gaza “is a text-book case of genocide”, he continued, with the aim of the “expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine”. He added: "What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault."

Four people were injured after two rockets hit the coastal city of Ashdod in southern Israel, according to emergency services.

UN chief António Guterres described the level of humanitarian assistance that has been allowed into the Gaza Strip as “completely inadequate” and insufficient to meet the urgent needs of civilians. He again appealed for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas, adding that he was “deeply concerned about the risk of a dangerous escalation” beyond Gaza.  He reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and for humanitarian access to be granted “to meet the urgent needs created by the catastrophe unfolding” in the Palestinian territory.

In a statement on Tuesday, Guterres said he was “deeply alarmed” by the escalation of the conflict. He said, "I condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza and I am dismayed by reports that two-thirds of those who have been killed are women and children." Appealing for the safety of civilians who have “borne the brunt of the current fighting,” he urgedall parties to abide by international humanitarian law, adding: "International humanitarian law establishes clear rules that cannot be ignored. It is not an a la carte menu and cannot be applied selectively."

The Israeli military has raised the number of hostages it says are confirmed held in Gaza by Hamas to 240. The head of Israel’s national security council said on Tuesday he does not see a deal for the release of hostages being close.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that Israel intercepted a missile from the Red Sea direction. “These drones belong to the state of Yemen,” Abdelaziz bin Habtour, the prime minister of the Houthi government, told AFP, claiming the attacks.

Pro-Palestine demonstrators interrupted Secretary of State Blinken at a Senate hearing, covering their hands in red paint and calling on him to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. The protesters stopped Blinken during his testimony several times, with police taking the individuals out of the hall.

According to a poll conducted by the Arab American Institute, Arab American support for President Biden has fallen in the wake of his response to the latest bout of violence between Israel and Hamas. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) has said that she will not vote for Biden in the coming presidential election.

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has spoken of his horror at the killing of Shani Louk, which he described as “slaughter”, and reiterated the EU’s call for Hamas to release all of the hostages held in Gaza.


3:02 pm

Abu Obeidah, spokesman for the Az ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said that the terrorist organization "informed the mediators that it will release some foreign hostages in the coming days."

A Hamas spokesman said the terrorist organization plans to release foreign passport-holders in the coming days.

2:52 pm

IDF troops killed 50 terrorists as part of a "wide-scale" attack on the terrorist redoubts in Gaza. In Jabaliya, IDF forces including the Givati Brigade destroyed the entrances to Hamas tunnels, as well as underground weapons caches. 

The IDF also confirmed that senior Hamas commander Ibrahim Bari and other terrorists were eliminated by the IAF.  Hamas underground tunnels collapsed from the blast, causing damage to nearby buildings.

New York police have arrested a person of interest in the Cornell antisemitic threats, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul. Over the weekend, social media was full of threats to stalk and hurt Jews on campus.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, his government is "engaging at all levels" to solve the "unprecedented humanitarian crisis" there. "Egypt is engaging at all levels starting with the political leadership with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to all state agencies that are moving to solve this unprecedented humanitarian crisis that the innocent residents of the Gaza Strip are exposed to today," Madbouly said.

According to Secretary of State Blinken, 400+ American citizens are trapped in Gaza and wish to leave. He told the Senate foreign relations committee today that the US is "intensively" focused on freeing the Americans trapped in the enclave.

Israeli Staff Sgt. Roei Wolf, 20, of Ramat Gan, and Staff Sgt. Lavi Lipshitz, 20, from Modiin were confirmed by IDF as fatalities in fighting Hamas.

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the Oct. 7 attack on Israel is serving as "inspiration" for attacks on the US. Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Wray said that "the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole 'nother level." He said, "In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West. Al Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the United States in the last five years. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the United States and Europe." 

Israeli graphic of Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue to "hunt" Hamas terrorists and has rejected calls for a cease-fire.

9:46 am

Famed constitutional law expert and Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz published an op-ed denouncing antisemitism on campuses in the West. He said that there are no pro-Palestine marches that are not in favor of Hamas terrorists and the extermination of Jews.

9:45 am

The chairman of Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, derided Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan for wearing a yellow Star of David patch during his address to the Security Council on Oct. 31, claiming it “belittles both the victims of the Holocaust and the State of Israel.” “The yellow patch symbolizes the helplessness of the Jewish people when it was at the mercy of others,” Dani Dayan tweeted. “Today we have an independent state and a strong army. We are masters of our fate. Today we put on our lapels the blue and white flag (of Israel), not a yellow patch.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan

9:41 am

The official spokesperson of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, stated:

    "In response to our religious, moral, humanitarian, and patriotic duty, and per the wishes of our Yemeni people and the calls from free nations to aid our oppressed brethren in Gaza. 
    Our armed forces have initiated a significant barrage of ballistic and cruise missiles targeting various locations within the occupied territories of the Israeli adversary.
    The Yemeni armed forces declare that this operation represents the third show of support for our oppressed Palestinian brothers.
    The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm their commitment to executing further precise missile and drone strikes until the Israeli aggression is brought to a halt."

8:20 am

According to the IDF, Israeli troops attacked Hamas terrorists inside the vast network of tunnels beneath Gaza. Known by some as the 'Gaza Metro', the network is a prime target for Israel, which is expanding its ground operations in the enclave. "Over the last day, combined IDF (Israel Defense Forces) struck approximately 300 targets, including anti-tank missile and rocket launch posts below shafts, as well as military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization," the IDF stated. Terrorists responded with machine guns and anti-tank missiles. "The soldiers killed terrorists and directed air forces to real-time strikes on targets and terror infrastructure," the IDF said. 

8:11 am

Overnight, Stars of David were painted on buildings in Paris again, while fears of antisemitism spike in France. The stars were painted in multiple spots across several buildings in a southern district of Paris, an AFP journalist saw. On the weekend, buildings in suburban Vanves, Fontenay-aux-Roses, and Aubervilliers were also tagged. In another nearby town of Saint-Ouen they were accompanied by inscriptions such as “Palestine will overcome”. The Union of Jewish students of France said they were designed to mirror the way Jews were forced to wear the stars by the Nazi regime. “This act of marking recalls the processes of the 1930s and the second world war which led to the extermination of millions of Jews,” its president Samuel Lejoyeux told AFP. “The people who did this clearly wanted to terrify,” he added. 

At the United Nations in New York, Israel's ambassador and staff appeared in the deliberative chamber wearing yellow Stars of David.

In Paris, police shot and wounded a woman who was allegedly making threats at a train station. Police told AFP that a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf made threats and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest). “Police fired because they feared for their safety,” police said. The arrest was made at the train station serving the François Mitterrand national library in south-eastern Paris.

8:06 am

WHO has warned of imminent 'public health catastrophe' and risk of infant deaths in Gaza, due to overcrowding, displacement, and damage to water and sanitation. A WHO official warned of the risk of infant deaths due to dehydration with just 5 percent of normal water supplies.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that Israel intercepted a missile from the Red Sea. He wrote on social media, "A surface-to-surface missile that was launched into the territory of the state of Israel from the Red Sea area was successfully intercepted by the “Arrow” long-range defence system. The detection systems of the air force followed the trajectory of the missile and it is intercepted at the most appropriate operational time and location. Also, IDF planes were launched in the morning following an aerial threat detected in the Red Sea area and intercepted hostile targets flying in the area. All the threats were intercepted outside the territory of the state of Israel. No intrusion into Israeli territory was detected."

AFP reported that a senior official from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed to have fired drones at Israel. “These drones belong to the state of Yemen,” Houthi PM Abdelaziz bin Habtour said when asked about the launch towards Eilat in southern Israel. Israel blamed the Houthis for a similar drone attack on Oct. 27, when its aircraft intercepted “hostile targets” headed for southern Israel. Six people were lightly injured in neighboring Egypt when debris hit a building in the Sinai resort of Taba, just across the border from Eilat, the Egyptian army said at the time.

'No ceasefire'

UK opposition leader Keir Starmer spoke in parliament and said why he does not support a ceasefire in Gaza. He said: "And that is why, while I understand calls for a ceasefire at this stage, I do not believe that it is the correct position now for two reasons. One, because a ceasefire always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lives. And as we speak, that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on 7 October. Attacks that are still ongoing. Hostages, who should be released, still held. Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately. And it is this context which explains my second reason. Our current call for a pause in the fighting for clear and specific humanitarian purposes, and which must start immediately, is right in practice, as well as principle. In fact, it is, at this moment, the only credible approach that has any chance of achieving what we all want to see in Gaza. The urgent alleviation of Palestinian suffering, aid distributed quickly, space to get hostages out."

According to Hamas, 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, killed by Israel since Oct. 7. Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said 130 healthcare staff had been killed, and 15 hospitals were now out of service along with 32 healthcare centers.

Israeli PM Netanyahu stated: "Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of 7 October. Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas. To surrender to terrorists. To surrender to barbarism. That will not happen. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that there is a time for peace, and a time for war. This is a time for war, a war for our common future."

The IDF has raised the number of hostages it says are confirmed held in Gaza by Hamas to 240. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said, "So far, families of 240 hostages have received notification. The number rose to 240 because our identification – as I’ve explained, some of the people are not citizens of Israel, so identification is more complicated. It takes time. Hamas has so far released four hostages back to Israel; the IDF has claimed to have recovered a soldier, Ori Megidish; and Shani Louk, who was believed to be held hostage, has been declared killed. Hamas seized the hostages as part of its murderous rampage inside Israel on 7 October."

In London, Jewish activists from Na’amod (British Jews against occupation) have been staging a protest outside the Foreign Office, demanding a ceasefire and the release of all hostages. the protesters blocked the walkways into the Foreign Office. 

Israeli troops on Tuesday destroyed the family home of Saleh al-Arouri, the exiled commander of Hamas forces in the West Bank as security forces continued a crackdown on leaders of the group that launched the attack inside Israel on Oct. 7. Arouri, a veteran Hamas leader who has spent 17 years in Israeli jails, is deputy to the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and among a group of leaders singled out by Israeli officials.

Israeli forces arrest weapons and terrorists in West Bank

"The IDF and Shin Bet are working against the terrorist organization Hamas throughout Judea and Samaria; 38 wanted persons were arrested and weapons were confiscated. The security forces tonight destroyed the house of Salah Arori, the deputy head of the political bureau and responsible for the activities of the terrorist organization Hamas in Judea and Samaria."

The UN’s humanitarian affairs chief, Martin Griffiths, has posted to social media to say he has spoken to residents inside Gaza. He wrote: "I had the sad privilege of speaking to families in Gaza over the phone this morning. What they’ve endured since 7 October is beyond devastating. And when an 8-year-old tells you that she doesn’t want to die, it’s hard not to feel helpless."

Israel said last week it had refused a visa to Griffiths after a speech by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, at the UN in New York sparked Israeli protests. However, on Oct 30, Griffiths posted that he was “in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory”, saying “Palestinian and Israeli civilians have suffered enough”.

Labour’s shadow minister Sir Chris Bryant said on BBC radio today: “How could you have a ceasefire with Hamas who have no intention of laying down their weapons and haven’t even said that they will return the hostages? We’re calling for a pause because that’s the fastest way to get food, water, medicine and power back into the people of Gaza.”

PA Media reports that Bryant said Israel had a “right to self defence” but it was “not a carte blanche”.

Kuwaiti crown prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah said today that Kuwait condemns Israeli “aggression” on Gaza and called for a ceasefire. He was addressing a session of his country's parliament. He also requested the opening of the crossings to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, and condemned the displacement of people within Gaza.

Among those who have called for a ceasefire are UN Secretary General António Guterres and director-general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

October 31, 2023

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