Days Fifty-Seven And Fifty-Eight Of Swords Of Iron

Deputy Hamas chief says no hostages to be released unless Israel releases all Palestinians held in prison, and grants a ceasefire.

IDF Tank in Gaza facing sun

5:30 pm

The Palestinian Authority is currently unfit to govern a post-Hamas Gaza Strip, according to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. During a Sunday interview with with ABC “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos, Kirby responded to a question about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the P.A. playing any future role in Gaza due to its support for terrorism and promotion of Jew-hatred. Kirby said, "What [Netanyahu] said was right now you’ve got an unreformed P.A. And that’s unacceptable to him. I would tell you that’s unacceptable to us too. We don’t believe the P.A. is in a position right now to be in—a credible control of governance in Gaza.” 

3:45 pm

IDF released footage of an airstrike in Gaza, killing Haitham Hawajri: the commander of Hamas’s Shati battalion. Israel said he sent Hamas terrorists into Israel during the Oct. 7 attacks, and led Hamas combatants in fighting against IDF forces at Gaza City’s Shati camp during the ground offensive. The IDF said Hawajri and his troops secured Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, beneath which Hamas is believed to have a base of operations. “As part of his role, Hawajri was responsible for a lot of terror activity against the citizens of the State of Israel,” the IDF added.

When asked about relative silence globally about Hamas sexual violence against Israeli women, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) responded with a discussion about Israeli actions in Gaza, adding that outrage must be “balanced.” When asked by CNN anchor Dana Bash about the lack of response about the growing evidence of rape and sexual deviancy on the part of Hamas Muslim jihadis, she said that she has “condemned what Hamas has done… but I think we have to remember” that Israel must “comply with international humanitarian law… morally we cannot say that one war crime deserves another.” Bash pushed back saying "you turned it back to Israel" when the questions about about Hamas rape and sexual assaults on women and girls. “I think that rape is horrific, sexual assault is horrific, I think it happens in war situations,” Jayapal replied. “However I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians, 15,000 Palestinians have been killed.”

An air strike killed at least five members of a pro-Iran paramilitary group in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province. The raid targets a site used by an armed group affiliated with Hashed al-Shaabi, a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi regular military, a senior security official in Kirkuk says without saying who had launched the attack. It came just one day after Iraq warned the US against such “attacks” on Iraqi territory. Iraq did not announce which power may have carried out the airstrike.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel on November 30 and called on its government to reduce civilian casualties in its ongoing assault on Hamas in Gaza. According to the IDF, it has  “updated” and “made amendments” to its plans for expanding operations into southern Gaza, according Israel's Channel 12 news. Blinken demanded that: Israel designate multiple safe zones in southern and central Gaza for civilians to avoid the fighting; avoid the targeting of “life-critical infrastructure” such as hospitals, power stations and water treatment plants; and minimize the displacement of Gazans, among other demands. 

“We did not ignore the American points, and this will become clear in the coming few days,” the official was quoted saying in the Channel 12 report, which comes as the IDF prepares for operations in Khan Younis and elsewhere in Gaza following the Dec. 1 collapse of a week-long truce.

The TV report said Israel has also decided to keep humanitarian aid entering Gaza at the same levels as during the truce. It said senior Israeli officials are considering significantly increasing humanitarian aid — including food, medicines, fuel and gas — in light of the US concerns.

Channel 12 quoted an Israeli official saying that Secretary Blinken and President Biden recently told Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and presented the demands as “a kind of condition: In order to receive continued American support for the achievement of the war goals, Israel must prove that all its plans take the civilian population into consideration, that it reduces to a minimum the evacuation of civilians from their homes, and that it works to provide more and more safe areas for non-combatants.”

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military is expanding the ground offensive to “all areas of the Gaza Strip.” Wherever Hamas operates, there the IDF will go. 

Regarding the fate of Hamas leaders, he said: “We are tracking around the clock to locate the senior Hamas leadership in the Strip. The goal is to eliminate each and every one of them.”

The leader of the Anglican Church Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby denounced antisemitism and Islamophobia at a vigil in London featuring bereaved Israelis and Palestinians and calling for unity against hate. He said it is time to “clean away antisemitism and Islamophobia,” in Britain. “We will not let antisemitism, Islamophobia have a role in our streets, our schools, our towns,” Welby adddc. Imam Monawar Hussain said “we stand united against all those who seek to sow hatred and division.”

Israeli PM Netanyahu tells members of his Likud party that Israel’s efforts to free further hostages from Gaza are being made through its military campaign in Gaza. "We are continuing now to speak with our enemy about continuing to free hostages — speaking with fire,” he said. According to Netanyahu, his war cabinet is acting “quickly but not recklessly” in its decisions about fighting, and says that the focus remains on both the southern and northern fronts. He told Likud to "be careful with your words, in particular during a time of war,” and avoid getting into personal arguments, including criticizing security forces.

Israeli jets struck several Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to the attacks on the border today, including an anti-tank guided missile attack that left several soldiers wounded. The IDF said: "Over the past day, there have been unconfirmed reports of IDF ground forces operating in the southern Gaza Strip."

Video posted to social media purports to show Israeli tanks on the Salah a-Din road, Gaza’s main north-south highway, between Deir al Balah and Khan Younis. It comes as both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists clashed with the IDF in areas northeast of Khan Younis today. The IDF has not yet confirmed it is operating on the ground in southern Gaza.


3:33 pm

The IDF marked 10,000 airstrikes carried out in the Gaza Strip that were directed by ground forces as of today. These airstrikes have been led by the IAF’s Cooperation Unit 5620, which coordinates operations between the IAF and ground forces during maneuvers.

Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered on the evening of December 2 at a rally in Tel Aviv, calling for the immediate release of the remaining captives in Gaza.

The IDF attacked terrorist infrastructures of  Hezbollah in Lebanese territory.

2:43 pm

According to Gaza's Hamas-controlled health ministry, 15,500+ Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes in the last two months. Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, 70% of those fatalities were women and children. He said that 41,316 have been injured. “During the past hours, only 316 dead and 664 wounded were removed from rubble and taken to hospitals, but many others are still under the rubble,” al-Qudra added.

Israel will hunt down Hamas even in Qatar, Turkey, and Lebanon even if it takes years, according the head of Shin Bet, Israel's security agency. Israeli public broadcaster Kan released a recording of Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, but did not clarify when or to whom he made the remarks.

White House spokesman John Kirby said that the Biden administration is discussing with Israel about “careful, precise and deliberate in their targeting” on the part of Israel's campaign in Gaza. He told CBS’s Face the Nation, in response to a question on whether there should be “red lines” between the US and Israel on their respective military strategies: "That’s why we continue to work, as [defense] secretary [Lloyd] Austin said, with our Israeli counterparts, to get them to be as careful and as precise and as deliberate in their targeting as possible."

Yemen's Houthis claim Red Sea ship attacks as US says it's "aware of reports" on attacks. The terrorists claimed that they had targeted "Israeli" vessels. However, Israel announced the ships had no connection to Israel. A maritime security group said a British ship had been reportedly hit by rockets. ‘The affected vessel was issuing distress calls relating to piracy/missile attack,’ the UK-based company added. It noted reports that ‘an international naval asset in the vicinity of the incident’ was likely proceeding to the ship’s location.

The Houthis claimed on social media they carried out an ‘operation against two Israeli ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait,’ a strategic waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, targeting one with a ‘missile and the second ship with a drone.’ The terrorists identified the vessels as Unity Explorer and Number Nine, saying the attack came after the two ships ‘rejected warning messages’ from its forces. The Houthis will continue to target Israeli vessels ‘until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops."

A US defense official said the US government is aware of attacks on the USS Carney warship and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available. 

“People have lost everything and they need everything,” the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) added.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan said he will “intensify its efforts to advance its investigations” of possible crimes committed by Israel and Hamas following a visit to Israel and Palestine. He said that he witnessed “scenes of calculated cruelty” at locations of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. He added: "The attacks against innocent Israeli civilians on 7 October represent some of the most serious international crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, crimes which the ICC was established to address. In my meeting with the families of the victims of these attacks, my message was clear: we stand ready to work in partnership with them as part of our ongoing work to hold those responsible to account." Khan, who also visited Ramallah, a Palestinian city, said that he spoke with the families of Palestinian victims and said: “We must never become numb to such suffering.”

He added: "In relation to Gaza, and notwithstanding any ongoing violations of international humanitarian law by Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip, the manner in which Israel responds to these attacks is subject to clear legal parameters that govern armed conflict. Conflict in densely populated areas where fighters are alleged to be unlawfully embedded in the civilian population is inherently complex, but international humanitarian must still apply and the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied."

Khan also added: "All actors must comply with international humanitarian law. If you do not do so, do not complain when my office is required to act."

Qatar is demanding an “immediate, comprehensive and impartial international investigation” into what its prime minister called Israeli crimes in Gaza. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar will continue its efforts towards facilitating another truce and reaching a permanent ceasefire in the besieged enclave.

2:28 pm

Pope Francis addressed the war between Israel and Hamas. He said, “Dear brothers and sisters, good day. Also today, I won’t be able to read everything. I’m getting better, but the voice still isn’t strong enough to read everything,” before passing the microphone to a priest to read prepared remarks. “It’s painful that the truce has been broken,” Francis said in the remarks read by the priest. ”That means death, destruction and misery.” Calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas, he said: “Many hostages have been freed but so many others are still in Gaza." Lamenting the lack of necessities in Gaza and athe war triggered by Hamas terrorism, he said, “There is so much suffering in Gaza.”

Last week, the Pope had a tense phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in which the pontiff reportedly categorize Israeli military operations in Gaza as "terrorism." Herzog forcefully objected.

The IDF said soldiers were lightly wounded by shrapnel when an anti-tank missile was fired from Lebanon at a military vehicle in Beit Hillel on Israel's northern border. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack. Also, rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Mount Dov area on the border. The IDF responded with artillery fire.

Sderot received two rockets fired from Gaza. The rockets caused damage but no injuries in the southern city. Several other rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system over the city.

The IDF reported that its troops have discovered 800+ tunnel shafts in Gaza since the beginning of the ground offensive in late October. 500 have already been destroyed, either by setting off large amounts of explosives inside, or by sealing them. The IDF said that the tunnels connected various "strategic assets" of Hamas. The IDF says it has also destroyed hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, in addition to the shafts. “The shafts were located in civilian areas, and many of them were located near or inside educational institutions, kindergartens, mosques, and playgrounds,” the IDF said. The IDF found weapons and military materiel in the tunnels. “These findings are further proof of the cynical use that the Hamas terror organization makes of the civilian population as a human shield, and as a cover for its terror activity,” the IDF added.

On December 3, thousands of people streamed through the streets of Copenhagen, as in other European capitals, in support of Palestine and Hamas. In response, the Danish government ordered the military to assist police protecting Jewish and Israeli sites. The Danish Defense Ministry said troops will help protect a number of sites, including the Israeli embassy and the synagogue in Copenhagen. “The terrorist threat against Denmark is serious,” says Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsenm, according to the news outlet. “And the conflict in the Middle East has led to a completely unacceptable rise in antisemitism and more uncertainty among Jews in Denmark.”

1:00 pm

The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people – roughly 75% of Gaza’s population – are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million. “However, obtaining an accurate count is challenging,” it said.

A Gaza health ministry spokesperson has said that several people were killed by an Israeli airstrike on Jabaliya refugee camp. Local media reported: “A residential square containing at least 300 people, half of whom are children, was just completely flattened to the ground.”

On Saturday evening, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, held a press conference vowing to continue the ground assault “with increasing force”, saying it was the only way to achieve Israel’s goal of “eliminating Hamas and releasing our hostages”. He said the IDF and security forces were continuing the ground incursion while upholding international law – a claim that has been repeatedly called into question by some human rights observers and world leaders.
Israel’s military claims to have found about 800 shafts leading to Hamas tunnels and bunkers since the IDF began its Gaza ground operation on 27 October. It said it had destroyed more than half of them.

Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank late on Saturday, killing one man and torching a car, Palestinian authorities said. The Palestinian ambulance service said a 38-year-old man in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, in the northern West Bank, was shot in the chest and died as residents confronted settlers and Israeli soldiers.

Seven Palestinians were killed and several others were injured in an Israeli raid on a house east of Rafah city in southern Gaza, the Hamas-led interior ministry said on Sunday. Hamas and Palestinian group Islamic Jihad also announced “rocket barrages” against a number of Israeli cities and towns, including Tel Aviv. The IDF announced the deaths of two soldiers – the first since the end of the week-long truce on Friday.

The deputy Hamas chief, Saleh al-Arouri, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that no more hostages would be exchanged with Israel until there was a ceasefire in Gaza, Reuters reports. According to Arouri, the hostages still held by Hamas were Israeli soldiers and civilian men who had previously served in the Israeli army.

The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court said on Sunday that his office would “further intensify its efforts to advance its investigations” in the occupied Palestinian territories, after he visited the region for the first time since his appointment. There have been widespread claims of breaches of international law by Hamas and Israeli forces since war erupted.
Israel’s military has reported that “several IDF soldiers were lightly injured” as a result of anti-tank fire at a vehicle in the area of Beit Hillel in northern Israel.

Two rockets have hit a residential area in Sderot in southern Israel. There are no reports of any casualties.

December 3, 2023


7:50 pm

A Muslim man screamed “Allahu Akbar,” and killed one person and wounded two others in France in a terror attack near the Eiffel Tower. Attacker Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab was jailed in 2016 for planning to stab people but released in 2020. Tonight, he told the police he did it because: “He can’t stand watching Arabs being killed”. Rajabpour-Miyandoab was well known to the police. He had been in contact with Larossi Abballa, who killed a policeman and a woman, as well as Adel Kermiche, who attacked a priest in a church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.
He was also in contact with Abdoullakh Anzorov, the terrorist who beheaded French teacher Samuel Paty for showing Muhammad cartoons in class in 2020.

Anti-Israel protesters disrupted Christmas celebrations in Chicago today.

In Copenhagen, anti-Israel protesters marched through the streets carrying the black flags of Muslim terror organizations.

7:45 pm

Anti-Israel protesters in New York City tried to storm a McDonald’s restaurant at Times Square because the company is considered “pro-Israeli”

7:34 pm

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michgan) said this afternoon that the “constant dehumanization of Palestinians have real consequences.” In a House address, Tlaib cited the recent shooting of three college students in Vermont, as well as the fatal stabbing of 6-year old  Wadea Al Fayoume in Chicago in October. Tlaib said that the dehumanization of Palestinians is “fueling anti-Palestinian racism and violence.” She added, “The dehumanization and the rhetoric repeated by many elected officials, many in this chamber, is inciting violence against Palestinians.”

5:54 pm

The UK will conduct surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza “in support of hostage rescue activity.” The British government stated: “Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages. Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue.”

Two Qatar Armed Forces aircraft carried aid for Palestinians in Gaza today, carrying 62 tons of aid consisting of food supplies and shelter equipment. This brings the total amount of Qatari aid planes sent to Gaza from Qatar to 35.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urged Israel to protect civilians as it increases its attacks across Gaza, which have killed more than 15,200 Palestinians in the last two months. At the Reagan National Defense Forum, Austin said that he had “learned a thing or two about urban warfare” while fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign against the Islamic State. He said: "Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against Isis worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during the toughest battles." He added: "The lesson is not that you can win in urban warfare by protecting civilians. The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians … In this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat."

An Israeli srike destroyed a Qatar-funded complex in Gaza. According AFP, "At almost exactly the same time Israeli negotiators pulled out of deadlocked truce talks in Qatar on Saturday, Israeli jets sent a prestige Doha-funded housing development in the Gaza Strip up in smoke. Hamad City is named for the former emir of the Gulf petro-state, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who laid the foundation stone on a visit 11 years ago. Inaugurated in 2016, it was still among the newest projects in the Gaza Strip, [with] the housing complex in the city of Khan Younis boasting an impressive mosque, shops and gardens. The first flats – more than 1,000 of them – were provided to Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in the war between Israel and Hamas two years earlier."

The Guardian reported that aid workers likened Israel’s new grid system for targeted evacuation warnings in southern to a “macabre game of Battleships”. The newspaper reported: "Israel has started using its new grid system for evacuation warnings, which breaks Gaza down into more than 600 blocks, and can be accessed through a QR code on leaflets and social media posts. It appears designed to allow the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to try to shuffle civilians around in a shrinking battle space as they target Hamas fighters, by ordering them to leave areas that in some cases cover just a few blocks. But on the ground, people said it had just added to their fear and confusion. After weeks of bombardment and blockades, most people have little access to electricity to charge phones and other devices, and even for those who can get online, the telecommunications system regularly collapses. That means residents have no reliable way of accessing the map, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said."

4:48 pm

With an airstrike, the IDF killed Hamas battalion commander Wissam Farhat, who was held responsible for several deadly attacks against both civilians and soldiers, as it continued to bomb targets in Gaza in advance of an expected ground offensive in the enclave’s south. Farhat commanded Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion. An IDF spokesman said Farhat was responsible for an attack on Golani troops in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya during the 2014 war. Seven soldiers were killed in that incident, known as the APC disaster, including Oron Shaul, whose remains have been held by Hamas since. Farhat also “planned and sent terrorists on October 7 to the Nahal Oz kibbutz and army post, in the cruel massacre that was carried out,” the spokesman said. Dozens Israelis were killed and dozens more kidnapped there.

At the same time, rockets continued to rain down on Israel from Gaza; Tel Aviv was hit for the first time since November 20. Rocket sirens sounded throughout central Israel.

New surveillance camera footage leaked online shows the moment Hamas terrorists managed to infiltrate into Israel via the sea on October 7. The short clip shows six members of Hamas’s naval forces landing at the shore of Zikim Beach on a rubber dinghy, running onto a beach and opening fire. The Israeli Navy had managed to thwart most of the Hamas vessels and divers trying to infiltrate from the sea, though some terrorists made it ashore, killing at least 17 civilians and around two dozen soldiers on the beach and nearby army base.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says Israel cannot win in Gaza unless it protects civilians in urban environments, drawing on lessons from the US fight against Islamic State in Iraq. “Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during tough battles,” Austin said at a security conference in Washington. “So the lesson is not that you can win in urban warfare by protecting civilians. The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” he adds. “If you drive [Gaza’s civilians] into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

Austin said “the world will only become more dangerous if tyrants and terrorists believe that they can get away with wholesale aggression and mass slaughter.” “You’ll hear some people try to brand an American retreat from responsibility as bold new leadership,” Austin said. “Make no mistake: It is not bold. It is not new. And it is not leadership,” he said in a possible jibe at former president Donald Trump. He called on Congress to approve the military’s budget and the supplemental funding for the wars. “Our competitors don’t have to operate under continuing resolutions,” he says. “And doing so erodes both our security and our ability to compete.”

Planes from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Air Wing intercepted an Iranian drone “operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” in the Persian Gulf. "The U.S. Navy will continue to fly and sail where international law allows," read a tweet by U.S. Central Command, which added, "The U.S. Navy will continue to fly and sail where international law allows.”

At a press conference, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized the Palestinian Authority and the process that led to its establishment. Regarding the PA's potential role in post-war Gaza, he said that it “pays murderers…. They educate their children to hate Israel and, to my sorrow, to murder Jews, and ultimately for the disappearance of the State of Israel.” Israel opposes a role for PA in Gaza following the role, while the US supports the PA. Netanyahu said that PA President Mahmoud “Abbas still hasn’t apologized” for the October 7 onslaught, and that senior PA official Jibril Rajoub has said “the same should be done in Judea and Samaria from Judea and Samaria.”

“I’m not prepared to delude myself and say that this defective thing, established under the Oslo Accords in a terrible mistake,” should be allowed to govern Gaza. “It was a terrible mistake to return the most hostile thing in the Arab world and the Palestinian world into the center of the Land of Israel, the heart of the land,” he said. In an apparent reference to Fatah and Hamas terror organizations, he said, it “split into two, but the ideology, to my sorrow, that rejects the existence of Israel is common to both those factions. So I won’t repeat the mistake and put that entity into Gaza, because we’ll get the same thing.”

He added: “We would be putting the same element — utterly unreformed, utterly unchanged — into Gaza, and that’s what even the best of our friends suggest. I think differently. I oppose it. I think we need to build something else. Of course, [there must be] Israeli security control in the whole area… to ensure no rise of a terror entity for years to come. And the internal governance must undergo a totally different process.

“The PA has failed in this — it doesn’t fight terror, it finances terror; it doesn’t educate for peace, it educates for the disappearance of the State of Israel. That is not the group that should enter now,” he says.

He said Israel is coordinating with the US and that Israel “wants to avoid harm to the civilian populace.” When asked whether he had strengthened Hamas in the past, he said: “It’s a lie.” During his time as prime minister, Hamas was hit in four rounds of conflict. “We killed thousands of terrorists.” He said that he and other Israeli national leaders sought to prevent a humanitarian collapse in Gaza by allowing money to flow into Gaza. “We have to finish the job” against Hamas, he said. Previously, “we didn’t have either the internal national consensus or the international consensus” to destroy Hamas. Now, the internal support is very strong, he says, and he is working to preserve international support. “Now, we will finish the job.”

Israeli PM Netanyahu was asked at a press conference about displaced Israelis: “People will go back [to their homes] when they have a sense of security. And they’ll have that sense when there is security… It’ll take some time.” In response to conspiracy theories that members of Israel's security services were aware in advance of the October 7 attack, he said, "There was no conspiracy. There are questions that will have to answered — what happened, how did it happen — and that will be discussed at the end of the war. Not now. There was certainly no conspiracy.”

He said that a truce deal negotiated by the Red Cross to visit all the hostages was refused by Hamas. 

Regarding the death of a civilian who thwarted a deadly stabbing attack on Dec. 1 in Jerusalem, he said more guns among the public may cause such tragedies. Defending his governmen's policy to encourage more eligible Israelis to bear arms, he said armed civilians can save the day. On Dec. 1, a Hamas operative stabbed three people to death at a bus stop in Jerusalem, one of which was a pregnant woman. An armed civilian on the scene responded and killed the assailant, but was in turn shot and killed by an off-duty soldier who mistook him for a terrorist.

At the press conference, PM Netanyahu was asked how he will respond if Hamas can be brought to a truce, he said: “Hamas breached the agreement. I said we’d resume the war if they did, and that’s what happened.” “There is international pressure,” he acknowledged, but said Israel will continue with its war goals. “Ultimately, we make the decisions — and our definitive decision is to destroy Hamas, to return our hostages, and ensure no new terror control of Gaza,” he says.

Regarding US backing for his war goals, he said that the US supports “two of them for sure.” He said: “There are differences of opinion on how to achieve all these goals,” he acknowledges, but says the two allies have broadly managed to get over them. He also acknowledges some disagreement “on the humanitarian issues.”

“Ultimately this is our war. Ultimately we have to make the decisions. Ultimately, we do make the decisions. We try and often succeed in convincing our American friends. I hope and believe that will be the case in the future.”

Surveillance camera footage from the southern community Netiv Ha’asara shows at least 10 rockets being fired from Gaza during an attack today. Hamas claimed responsibility.

Democrats in Michigan have warned that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him support among Muslims in the US and thus sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. Muslim leaders leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gathered behind a lectern that reads “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States. According to Muslim Jaylani Hussein of Minneapolis, Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire has damaged his relationship with Muslims beyond repair. “Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars,” Hussein says. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”  Hussein said: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden.”

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were critical components of the states that gave Biden a victory in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans (1.1% of the total) identify as Muslim, and is a demographic leaning Democratic, according to the Pew Research Center.

4:20 pm

Mass protests of support for Palestine and Hamas were seen in several national capitals, including Paris, Madrid, London, and Copenhagen.

Deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri told Al Jazeera today that no more hostages would be exchanged with Israel until there is a ceasefire in Gaza. Arouri said hostages held by Hamas are Israeli soldiers or former soldier. He said the remaining hostages will not be released unless there is a ceasefire and all Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are also released. "Let the war take its course. This decision is final. We will not compromise on it."

The Palestine Red Crescent Society received 100 aid trucks through the Rafah border crossing today. The trucks contained food, water, relief assistance, medical supplies and medicines.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus defended the IDF’s use of artificial intelligence following reports about how it is using an AI-driven tool to select bombing targets in Gaza. An IDF unit is using AI target-creation platform called “the Gospel”, which has is playing a significant role in Israel’s response to the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7. Conricus said on Twitter, “In anything that is generated by a machine, there’s always a human in the loop that has definitive and executive say over whatever is generated by a machine … and they are accountable for their decisions.” He added: “To indicate that we use AI in order to maximise civilian casualties is categorically false. We use AI to be more effective, to be more efficient and to strike the enemy faster and better, and also to strike the targets that need to be struck and not those that do not need to be struck.”

Regarding the Gospel system and the IDF’s targeting practices, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, said: “I deeply regret that Israel … is running its ‘mass assassination factory.." Former director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth tweeted: “If the devastation of entire Gaza neighborhoods is the measure, Israel’s reliance on artificial intelligence to generate targets has been a disaster. It shows an indifference to Palestinian civilian life that is a virtual invitation to war-crime charges.”

Unicef has condemned what it called the “ongoing war on children” as Israel resumed strikes on Gaza  after the humanitarian pause between Israel and Hamas expired on Friday. Unicef spokesperson James Elder said: “The bombs started just a few seconds after the ceasefire [ended],” before decrying the “ongoing war on children”.

At least 193 Palestinians have been killed while 650 have been wounded since the truce collapsed on  Dec. 1, according to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry. The ministry claims that 15,200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes. According to the ministry, 70% of those killed are children and women. Half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people are below the age of 18.

An Israeli airstrike targeting the town of al-Faluja, 30km (18 miles) north-east of Gaza City killed prominent Palestinian scientist Sufyan Tayeh and his family, the Palestinian higher education ministry announced today. Tayeh was president of the Islamic University of Gaza.

Vice President Kamala Harris said today that “under no circumstance will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians,” according to the White House."The vice president reiterated that under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza," the statement read. This followed Harris’s meeting with Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in Dubai on the sidelines of Cop28.

It added:

"The vice president discussed US ideas for post-conflict planning in Gaza including efforts on reconstruction, security, and governance. She emphasized that these efforts can only succeed if they are pursued in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people towards a state of their own led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and have significant support from the international community and the countries of the region. The vice president made clear that Hamas cannot control Gaza, which is untenable for Israel’s security, the well-being of the Palestinian people, and regional security."

A staff member of Médecins Sans Frontières recounted in a video distributed on Twitter that an Israeli tank and troops opened fire on an MSF vehicle, killing two people, according to the humanitarian organization.

A team from Israel’s Mossad intelligence services has been ordered home after talks in Qatar for another pause in fighting in Gaza reaching a “dead end”, according to the Times of Israel. The team was in Doha on Saturday for talks with Qatari mediators for another pause in fighting in Gaza, focused on the potential release of new categories of Israeli hostages other than women and children and the parameters of a truce.

“Due to the dead end in negotiations, and following instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered the negotiating team in Doha to return home,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office issued on behalf of the intelligence agency.

The order came as eastern areas of Khan Younis in southern Gaza came under intense bombardment as the truce deadline lapsed shortly after dawn on Friday. Israel said its ground, air and naval forces struck more than 200 “terror targets” in Gaza. On Saturday, a spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry said at least 193 Palestinians had been killed and 650 wounded.

The Guardian newspaper provided a summary of the days events in the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel has informed several Arab states that it wants to carve out a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of Gaza’s border to prevent future attacks as part of proposals for the enclave after war ends, a Reuters report quotes Egyptian and regional sources as saying.

Israel’s military has set out its plan for the “next stage of the war”: dividing Gaza into dozens of numbered “evacuation areas”, a core part of the military’s plan to gradually take control of the southern part of the strip. Under the plan, people in certain numbered districts of Gaza will be told to evacuate before bombing begins, although how much time they will get is not clear. Leaflets were dropped in parts of Khan Younis, where Israel believes Hamas’s leadership is based, warning citizens to evacuate further south to Rafah.

Humanitarian groups said the Israeli warnings would be insufficient because civilians in Gaza were running out of places to evacuate to. Palestinians risked being forced completely out of the territory, they said. Homes in Khan Younis were among the targets struck on Friday hours after the truce expired, and residents were given little, if any, time to flee.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared to brush aside US calls to pursue a more restrained military campaign as the resumption of hostilities began. Netanyahu said his country’s forces were now “charging forward” and that the plan was for a total military victory.

The first aid trucks since the collapse of the Gaza truce have entered through the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing on Saturday, on their way to Awja crossing for inspection before continuing the journey to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian security, and Red Crescent sources told Reuters.

The families of hostages being held in Gaza have said they are terrified about the safety of their loved ones after the end of the ceasefire. The relatives of some of the remaining 126 Israeli hostages have said they are grappling with feeling joy for those who have been released while being worried sick for loved ones left behind.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that the chance for peace in Gaza after the humanitarian pause was lost for now due to Israel’s uncompromising approach, broadcaster NTV reported on Saturday.

Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France was “very concerned” by the resumption of violence in Gaza and that he was heading to Qatar to help “engage a new truce ahead of a ceasefire”.

Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants exchanged fire across the Israel-Lebanon border on Saturday. Iran-backed Hezbollah said in a statement that one of its fighters was killed but did not specify when.

Two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp who served as military advisers in Syria have been killed in an Israeli attack, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

The head of the UN children’s agency has warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if Israeli bombings in Gaza return to the intensity of before the truce. Catherine Russell urged “all parties to ensure that children are protected and assisted” and called for a “lasting humanitarian ceasefire”.

London police said protests were expected “in around 13 boroughs” around the capital on Saturday following the resumption of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

9:00 am

Israeli intelligence agency Mossad withdrew a negotiating team has been ordered home from Qatar because talks on extending a truce are at a “dead end.” the office of Israeli PM Netanyahu stated: “Due to the dead end in negotiations, and following instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered the negotiating team in Doha to return home.” It continued: “The Hamas terror group did not fulfill its obligations under the agreement that included releasing all the women and children that were on the list provided to Hamas that had authorized it,” the statement said. “The head of Mossad thanks the head of the CIA, Egypt’s intelligence minister, the prime minister of Qatar for their partnership and the tremendous mediation efforts that led to the release of 84 women and children from Gaza, in addition to 24 foreign nationals,” it added. 

Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

In television interview with a CBS correspondent, Hamas chief Gazi Hamed said that he does not know how many hostages are being held by Hamas and "The number is not so important." After saying that Hamas had released 70 hostages, he said their families "are paying the price for the occupation." When asked how a baby and a four-year-old boy can pressure the Israeli government, he said, "They have to impose pressure in their government, to tell them that you pushed us to the hell." He said: "he Israelis, they have a bigger problem, That they occupy the Palestinian people. They have to exert pressure in Israel, their government, in order to tell them that you are going in the wrong way."

French President Emmanuel Macron warns that Israel’s aim of the “total destruction of Hamas” would mean “the war will last 10 years.” At a press conference in Dubai, he said, "So this objective must be clarified,” he added. He appealed for intense efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, a day after fighting resumed between Israel and Hamas after an expired pause. “This situation requires stepped-up efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire,” to free all hostages held by Hamas, allow more urgently needed aid into Gaza, and to assure Israel of its security, he tells a news conference on the sidelines of the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

The IDF says it is carrying airstrikes and artillery shelling against Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel today.

Rocket warning sirens sound in the city of Ashkelon and in communities near the Gaza border. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage. There were alerts in Western Lakhish — Ashkelon Southern Industrial Zone, Mavki'im, Ashkelon – North, Ashkelon – South, Zikim, Karmia.

Iraq’s prime minister warns the US against any “attack” on Iraqi territory after a resumption of fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani made the comment during a phone call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sudani’s office claimed. On November 22, US fighter jets struck two targets in Iraq, killing nine pro-Iran fighters in retaliation for repeated attacks on American troops, US and Iraqi sources said. This came after a US jet struck the vehicle of Iran-backed fighters after they had fired a short-range ballistic missile at US and allied personnel, according to the Pentagon. The strikes came after US forces deployed in Iraq and Syria were attacked at least 74 times, according to the Pentagon, in activity linked to the war in Gaza. Sudani's office said that in his call with Blinken, Sudani rejected “any attack on Iraqi territory.” The Iraqi government is committed “to ensuring the safety of the international coalition advisers present in Iraq.”

The US strikes targeted positions of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi regular military. Washington’s strikes killed nine fighters, according to the Hezbollah Brigades, an important faction within the Hashed al-Shaabi.

IDF troops foiled an attempted stabbing attack near Nablus in the northern West Bank, killing the alleged assailant. Troops of the 7037th Reserve Battalion, operating at a checkpoint near the West Bank city, identified a suspect approaching them. When the suspect drew a knife and began to approach the troops, the troops opened fire. No IDF troops were injured.

IDF forces in northern Gaza discovered located dozens of rockets hidden under boxes with UNRWA markings in a residence, as well as other Hamas weaponry. The troops of the 7007th Reserve Battalion were searching a home when they found a room full of boxes bearing the logo of the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. Underneath the boxes, dozens of rockets, mortars and other explosives were found, the IDF says.

Separately, troops of the 414th combat intelligence collection unit found grenades, weapon parts and other military equipment inside a child’s bedroom at another residence in northern Gaza.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announce that two of its officers were killed in Syria by an airstrike attributed to the Israeli air force. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps declared Mohammad Ali Atai Shoorcheh and Panah Taghizadeh were “martyred” while on an advisory mission to Syria, blaming the “Zionists” for their death. Overnight, Israeli airstrikes targeted the outskirts of Damascus, according to Syrian state media. State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military official, says the strikes came from the direction of the Golan Heights and that Syrian air defenses shot most of the missiles down. The strikes resulted in only “material losses,” the statement said.

8:55 am

More than a dozen synagogues in New York received bomb threats on December 1 in advance of the Sabbath. “We are currently tracking a spate of bomb threats to Jewish institutions in New York and elsewhere,” the Anti-Defamation League wrote on social media. Police are investigating.

Speaking the United Arab Emirates on December 1, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it is important to remember why the “pause” in Gaza ended. “It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it made. In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem, killing three people, wounding others, including Americans,” he said.

8:52 am

Actress Susan Sarandon apologized on the evening of December 1 for her anti-semitic rant during a pro-Palestine rally last month in New York City. She said her choice of words was a “terrible mistake.” On November 17, she told listeners assembled at Union Square that Jews are “getting a taste of what it is like to be Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence” as she said she intended “to communicate my concern for an increase in hate crimes.”

The IDF hit at least 400 targets in 24 hours since the end of the humanitarian pause in fighting that was negotiated by the US, Israel, and Qatar

8:30 am

The Guardian newspaper provided the following summary of events:

Israel’s military pounded the Gaza Strip on Friday after the end of the truce. Israel launched more than 200 strikes across the territory over the day, including in the densely populated south, where many civilians have fled. The bombardment was most intense in the southern areas of Khan Younis and Rafah, medics and witnesses were reported as saying. Gaza health officials the strikes killed 184 people and wounded at least 589 others, with most of the dead being children and women. Israel has signalled it is preparing to launch a ground assault into southern Gaza in a significant escalation of the war.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to brush aside US calls to pursue a more restrained military campaign as the resumption of hostilities began. Netanyahu said his country’s forces were now “charging forward” and that the plan was for a total military victory.

Israeli shelling killed three people in southern Lebanon on Friday, the Lebanese state news agency reported, as the end of the Israel-Hamas truce prompted a resumption of hostilities at the frontier. The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, later said two of those killed were its fighters. It also said it had carried out several attacks on Israeli military positions at the border in support of Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli army said its artillery struck sources of fire from Lebanon and that air defences had intercepted two launches. The army also said it struck a “terrorist cell”.

The head of the UN children’s agency has warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if Israeli bombings in Gaza return to the intensity of before the truce. Catherine Russell urged “all parties to ensure that children are protected and assisted” and called for a “lasting humanitarian ceasefire”.

Syrian air defences repelled an Israeli rocket attack against targets near Damascus early on Saturday, Syrian state media reported, saying the defences shot down most of the missiles. It said there were no casualties and “only material damages”, and that the strikes came from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel’s military has set out its plan for the “next stage of the war”: dividing Gaza into dozens of numbered “evacuation areas”, a core part of the military’s plan to gradually take control of the southern part of the strip. Under the plan, people in certain numbered districts of Gaza will be told to evacuate before bombing begins, although how much time they will get is not clear. Leaflets were dropped in parts of Khan Younis, where Israel believes Hamas’s leadership is based, warning citizens to evacuate further south to Rafah.

Humanitarian groups said the Israeli warnings would be insufficient because civilians in Gaza were running out of places to evacuate to. Palestinians risked being forced completely out of the territory, they said. Homes in Khan Younis were among the targets struck on Friday hours after the truce expired, and residents were given little, if any, time to flee.

No humanitarian aid – including fuel – had been allowed into Gaza on Friday, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israeli forces told organisations operating at the Rafah crossing that the entry of aid trucks was prohibited “until further notice”.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, citing reports from Israel, said Israel had agreed to resume letting truck deliveries through at the urging of the US. But he said truck deliveries would likely be reduced to dozens a day rather than the hundreds of trucks that were getting into Gaza daily during the pause in fighting.

The families of hostages being held in Gaza have said they are terrified about the safety of their loved ones after the end of the ceasefire. The relatives of some of the remaining 126 Israeli hostages have said they are grappling with feeling joy for those who have been released while being worried sick for loved ones left behind.

The UN said it deeply regretted the resumption of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, calling the situation “catastrophic”. It also said it was concerned by suggestions Israel could seek to expand its military offensive inside the Palestinian territory. The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, urged efforts to be redoubled to try to bring about a ceasefire on humanitarian and human rights grounds.

Israel has said it will not renew a visa for a top UN official who helps oversee humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, a UN spokesperson said. Israel’s foreign ministry last month accused Lynn Hastings, the UN’s deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, of failing to be impartial and objective.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak described the breakdown of the truce as “deeply disappointing” and issued renewed calls for “sustained humanitarian pauses” in Gaza as he held talks with Israel’s president and the leaders of Egypt, Qatar and Jordan on the sidelines of the Cop28 summit on Friday.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has blamed the Israeli military for what it called a deliberate attack last month on a convoy that was trying to evacuate people out of Gaza City. In a report that cites several witnesses from the organisation, MSF said “all elements point to the responsibility of the Israeli army for this attack”.

The Biden administration has informed Israel that Washington will impose visa bans in the next few weeks on Israeli extremist settlers engaged in violence against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, a senior state department official said, in the first sign that the US is prepared to publicly distance itself from some of the Israeli government’s actions.
A protester with a Palestinian flag self-immolated on Friday outside the Israeli consulate in the US city of Atlanta, Georgia, injuring a security guard who attempted to intervene, authorities said. The protester was reported to be in a critical condition.

December 2, 2023


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