The World War On Jews: Update

Israel is preparing an investigation and criminal cases against Muslim terrorists who raped, murdered, burned to death, and mutilated the corpses of Israelis on Oct. 7.

IDF troops in Gaza IDF photo

Israel is preparing for the country’s most significant trial since the 1961 court case against the highranking Nazi and Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann. Investigators and prosecutors are compiling a massive amount of evidence for an indictment against the captured Hamas terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 persons in the northwestern Negev. Thousands more were wounded and at least 240 kidnapped back to Gaza. Terrorists committed acts of rape, abuse, torture, burning, and desecration of corpses. Some of the perpetrators of the Oct. 7 attack have been taken prisoner by Israeli forces.

At the stroke of midnight in israel, more than 20 rockets were fired by Hamas at southern and central Israel just at the start of the new year. Most were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. Sirens sounded in the center of the country, including Rehovot, Ness Ziona, Holon, Lod, and Modiin, as well as Ashdod, Sderot and other southern towns. The Magen David Adom ambulance service says no injuries have been reported so far.

Israel plans to permanently replace all Palestinian laborers with foreign workers,aiming to rid the country of a perceived security threat. Thousands of construction and agriculture workers from the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria have been barred from entering Israel for work since Oct. 7. Hamas gathered some of its intelligence for the attack from Gazans who had permits to work in Israel. The Israeli government does not intend to allow the Palestinian workers back after the ongoing war in order to forestall a similar attack along its border with the West Bank. Israel would bring in 25,500 workers from Sri Lanka, 20,000 from China, 17,000 from India, 13,000 from Thailand and 6,000 from Moldova. In some cases, this will require signing new deals with countries involved, and diplomatic work is being done to advance these deals. The Israeli government will also incentivize Israelis to work in construction and agriculture, as well promoting technologies that could cut the number of employees needed in these fields. The plan was approved by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, with the economic ministerial cabinet set to discuss it in two weeks, followed by a government vote.

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Shira Shohat 19 RIP

Shira Shohat was 19 years old when she was burned alive by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.

Tomer and mother RIP

Tomer was 17 years old when Hamas terrorists raided his home on Oct. 17. They filmed as they shot him

to death in front of his mother, then they shot the rest of the family.

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The IDF said a “suspicious aerial target” — a possible drone — headed towards Israeli airspace from “the eastern direction” was shot down by a jet outside of Israeli airspace. The statement did not say whether the apparent drone was downed over Syria or over Jordan. Another aerial target that entered Israeli airspace from Syria was also downed by a fighter jet. In the second incident, which was previously reported, a drone infiltration alarm sounded in two communities in the Golan Heights. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq,  backed by Iran, claimed to have targeted Israel this evening with “appropriate weapons.”

The United States will withdraw the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier strike group from the Middle East after more than two months in the Mediterranean Sea. The group will return to the Norfolk Virginia navy base for redeployment. The carrier was sent at the start of the war to prevent regional escalation. The USS Dwight Eisenhower group is currently in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen to deter Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea. The report says it will remain in the Middle East for now.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel's military anticipates a long war against the Hamas terror group, stretching throughout the entire coming year. “We are adjusting the fighting methods to each area in Gaza, as well as the necessary forces to carry out the mission in the best way possible. Each area has different characteristics and different operational needs,” he said. "Tonight, 2024 will begin. The goals of the war require lengthy fighting, and we are prepared accordingly,” Hagari said. He said the IDF will carry out “smart” management of the forces in Gaza, allowing some reservists to return home to help Israel's economy, and letting standing army troops train. “We are continuing the training of officers and commanders… after their experience in combat, they are returning to training and will join the army’s line of commanders when they finish,” Hagari said. He said “some of the reservists will return to their families and work this week.” “It will result in considerable relief for the economy, and will allow them to gain strength for operations next year, and the fighting will continue and we will need them,” he said. “These adjustments are aimed at ensuring the planning and preparations for 2024. The IDF needs to plan ahead, out of the understanding that we will be needed for additional missions and continued fighting during the entire coming year,” Hagri said. 

Hagari said members of Hamas’s elite Nukhba force in Gaza were killed by IDF troops and others surrendered in the Khan Younis area of southern Gazatoday. He says some of them participated in the October 7 massacres. Regarding criticisms by government ministers that Israeli infantry have not been given enough air support, Hagari said there has “never been such coordination in any campaign.” “There isn’t one case where ground forces did not receive support from the air or extraction under fire,” he added. This is so far Israel's longest war.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair may serve to mediate between Israel and moderate Arab countries on post-war Gaza and a controversial Israeli aim of having other nations absorb residents of Gaza who leave the enclave. He arrived in Israel last week and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz. If the plan materializes, Blair will negotiate the option of countries receiving Gazan refugees. The Israeli government has not yet voiced how Gaza should be governed post-war. Discussions have been reportedly delayed by PM Netanyahu for fear of causing political divisions in his coalition. Some parties are pushing for sending Israeli settlers to Gaza and encouraging Gazans to leave. Those parties have ruled out any post-war plan that includes a governing role for the Palestinian Authority. This puts those parties at odds with the United States, UK, EU and others. 

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Pro-Hamas groups are planning demonstrations in various major cities as the world celebrates New Years Eve.

Israeli finance minister Smotrich called for the return of Jewish settlers to the Gaza Strip after the war and said Gaza’s Palestinian population should be encouraged to emigrate. “To have security, we must control the territory,” Smotrich told Israel’s Army Radio. "In order to control the territory militarily for a long time, we need a civilian presence.” The Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu has not officially suggested plans to evict Gazans or to send Jewish settlers back to the territory since the war broke out on 7 October. Israel forcibly removed the last of its troops and settlers in 2005, ending a presence inside Gaza that began in 1967, but maintained near complete control over the territory’s borders.

The Israeli military will release some reservists who were called to join Israel’s war in Gaza. “Some of the reservist soldiers will return to their families and their jobs already this week,” said military spokesperson rear admiral Daniel Hagari. “This will allow a significant relief for the economy, and will allow them to gather strength ahead of the coming activities in the next year, and the fighting will continue and we will need them,” he added.

World Health Organization representatives visited Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in southern Gaza today to assess the needs of that health facility, according to  WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said. Ghebreyesus tweeted today that it is one of only two key functioning hospitals in southern Gaza that is able to provide medical care for wounded and other patients. 

US Senator Cori Bush (D-Missouri) joined other Democrats, including Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia in criticizing the Biden administration for bypassing congressional review in its transfer of weapons to Israel. Bush tweeted: “The White House cannot have it both ways: calling on the Israeli government to uphold international law while bypassing Congress to send weapons that are leading to violations of international law. How many innocent people must die before @POTUS will demand a ceasefire?”

Palestine’s ambassador to the UK said that the world wants to discuss the “day after Israel’s aggression on Gaza but it’s the day before we need to understand”. Husam Zomlot told the leftist Democracy Now outlet: "Everybody now is wanting us to discuss the day after. No. The day before. The day before 7 October. The occupation, the colonisation, the racism, the supremacy, the murders all over the West Bank, the provocations in Jerusalem, the rounding and arresting of our children without trial, without charge, without access to their parents or lawyers, this is what needs to be discussed. The decades-long oppression and suppresion of an entire nation, the denial, the bare, basic denial of basic rights needs to be discussed." 

Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki tweeted a condemnation of what he called the “Israeli war machine’s persistence in the war of genocide”. He wrote: "We welcome the new year and the 59th anniversary of the start of the Palestinian revolution, yet the wounds of our people are bleeding due to Israeli war machine’s persistence in the war of genocide, destruction, and displacement … starvation, the spread of epidemics, invasions, arrests, and torture, all of which are crimes of ethnic cleansing dominating the daily lives of Palestinian citizens. We reaffirm our demand at the beginning of this year for an immediate ceasefire, and we hope and work for the new year to be the year when the Palestinian people obtain their fair and legitimate national rights to return, self-determination, and the embodiment of the Palestinian state on the ground with East Jerusalem as its capital, and for security and peace to prevail in the region and the world."

UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma said that more than 1 million Gazans have been displaced because of the war. She told the BBC: "The facilities in the north are becoming crowded by the hour, people continue to come in. They are absolutely full and so people have started taking refuge in areas outside these facilities including in parks, in the open. Many are sleeping in their cars. Our facilities, yes they have been hit. We have recorded 180 hits on our facilities. Some were directly hit and as a result of these hits, at least 300 people who were sheltering in these facilities got killed and around a thousand were injured."

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Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the return of Jewish settlers to Gaza after the conflict, saying Gazans should emigrate. “To have security, we must control the territory,” Smotrich told Israel’s Army Radio in response to a question about the prospect of re-establishing settlements in Gaza. “In order to control the territory militarily for a long time, we need a civilian presence.” Following the Six-Day War of 1967, Israeli settlers established businesses, farms and homes in Gaza. However, the Israeli government forcibly removed them in 2005 when control reverted to the Palestinian Authorty.

Youssef Salama (68), a former Palestinian Authority minister was killed today by an Israeli air strike on his home in Gaza. He was once the minister of religious affairs in the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen told a radio interviewer that Israel's "government bears responsibility” for having failed to anticipate the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

Israel is prepared to let ships deliver aid to Gaza immediately as part of a proposed sea corridor from Cyprus, Israeli foreign minister Cohen said. Cargo would undergo security inspection in the Cypriot port of Larnaca before being ferried to the Gaza coast, 230 miles away, rather than through neighbouring Egypt or Israel. Israel Katz will be named to replace Cohen, who in turn will become energy minister as part of a pre-arranged ministerial rotation. Cohen is due to continue to serve as a member of the security cabinet.

A total of 21,822 Palestinian people have been killed and 56,451 injured in Israeli strikes in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's Hamas-controlled health ministry. This includes 150 Palestinians killed and 286 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

US Navy helicopters sank three of four small boats used by Iranian-backed Houthi militants to attack a merchant vessel in the southern Red Sea today, according to US Central Command. 


Israeli troops ilhouetted IDF photo

Israeli PM Netanyahu stated at a press conference: "The Philadelphi corridor - or to put it more correctly, the southern stoppage point [of Gaza] - must be in our hands. It must be shut. It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarisation that we seek...At the same time, we are also active on additional fronts. On the northern border, we are striking harsh blows at Hezbollah. We are eliminating many terrorists and are destroying the enemy's capabilities. We have approved operational plans for the continuation of the fighting. If Hezbollah expands the war – it will absorb blows that it has not dreamed of, and Iran as well. We will take all action until we restore security to the residents of the north."

Protesters gathered in front of the Art Institute of Chicago to publicly mourn hundreds of Palestinian workers who have been killed by Israeli strikes. The advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace called for a ceasefire in Gaza, adding, “Their names will be remembered.”

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation“welcomed” South Africa’s decision to launch a case at the International Court of Justice in which it accused Israel of carrying out “genocidal” acts across Gaza. The 57-member OIC, which Qatar is a part of, stressed that Israel is “committing a genocide by its indiscriminate targeting of civilian population…forcibly displacing them, preventing them from obtaining basic needs and humanitarian aid, and destroying buildings and health, educational and religious facilities.” It added that the OIC called on the ICJ to “respond swiftly and take urgent measures to put an end to the genocide committed by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian territory.” South Africa’s decision to file a case against Israel came as Israeli strikes have killed over 21,600 Palestinians across the densely populated Gaza strip – which human rights organizations have described as an “open air prison” – since October 7.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) condemned the Biden administration’s arms transfer to Israel, joining other Democrats in criticizing Biden for bypassing congressional review in the foreign transfer of weapons. Kaine, who serves on the Senate armed services committee – said weapons transfers must come under congressional oversight. “Just as Congress has a crucial role to play in all matters of war and peace, Congress should have full visibility over the weapons we transfer to any other nation. Unnecessarily bypassing Congress means keeping the American people in the dark,” Kaine wrote. “We need a public explanation of the rationale behind this decision – the second such decision this month,” he added. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the Secretary of State Antony Blinken had approved the sale of 155mm projectiles and related equipment to Israel valued at $147.5 million: an increase from an earlier approved order for tens of thousands of rounds of the heavy artillery munitions.

Demonstrators thronged in several national capitals, including Sa'naa, Yemen, Berlin, Germany, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Paris, France, and Barcelona, Catalonia to call for a ceasefire and condemn Israel's bombing campaign. In Israel, leftists demonstrated and demanded the return of hostages held by Gazan terrorists, and a ceasefire while denouncing Israeli premier Netanyahu. 

With more than 21,600 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, the IDF has expanded their ground operations across Gaza, where more than 1.9 million surviving Gazans displaced as a result. Israeli planes bombed refugee camps in Gaza today, according to The Guardian, as troops expanded ground operations and tens of thousands of Gazans fled their homes.A senior Hamas official told AP today that the terrorist group are firm in their position that there will be no hostage releases without a permanent ceasefire. Israeli PM Netanyahu said earlier this month that Hamas must be destroyed. 

The World Food Programme tweeted that “there is a different kind of countdown in Gaza”, alleging that famine is about to break out in Gaza as a result of Israel’s attacks. “We are racing against time to avert a complete collapse of even the most basic services and starvation for millions,” the WFP said. “Only a long-term ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access can end this,” it added.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht revealed the aftermath of a Hezbollah missile attack on St Mary's Greek Orthodox church near the Lebanon border earlier this week. On Dec. 26, Hezbollah fired a missile at the church in Iqrit, moderately wounding a civilian in his 80s who was near the building. Hezbollah then fired an anti-tank guided missile as the man was evacuated by Israeli troops, wounding nine of them. There was visible damage to a structure right outside the entrance to the church, along with debris on the ground.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported there were “material losses” caused by an Israeli airstrike on Aleppo. Israeli fighter jets launched their missiles from over the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, hitting several sites in Aleppo. The report did not specifiy the sites that were hit, but other media outlets in Syria say Aleppo International Airport was targeted in the strike.

IDF jets struck three terror cells in southern Lebanon on Dec. 30. The IDF carried out strikes against Hezbollah infrastructure, and shelled areas in southern Lebanon with artillery. The strikes come amid Hezbollah rocket, missile and drone attacks on northern Israel today. Israeli air defenses also intercepted a “suspicious aerial target” that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon earlier.

Hezbollah took responsibility for firing rockets at Israel after warning sirens were activated in several towns near the Lebanon border. 

Police launched an investigation after four people are shot and wounded in the central city of Ramle. The four Ramle residents are taken to a local hospital for treatment as police dispatch officers to search for suspects and gather evidence from the scene.

Israeli troops of the 7th Armored Brigade have advanced further in southern Gaza, while raiding Hamas sites in Khan Younis, including the headquarters of the terror group’s intelligence division. The intelligence headquarters was responsible for all of Hamas’s intelligence activity in the Khan Younis area, the IDF says, adding that it also located a command center belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the same complex. The troops recovered “very valuable” intelligence materials from the sites. The Givati Brigade raided several more Hamas sites in southern Gaza, killing operatives in the process with sniper fire and tank shelling. Givati troops also directed several airstrikes on Hamas gunmen in the area, along with other infrastructure belonging to the terror group. Before the troops maneuvered deeper into Khan Younis, the 98th Division and Air Force carried out some 50 strikes on targets in the area, including tunnels and other infrastructure used by Hamas to attack troops.

One Israeli is wounded in a car-ramming attack at a military position in the southern West Bank, the military and medics say. The IDF said the attack took place near the al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, not far from the site of a car-ramming attack yesterday in which five soldiers were wounded. Troops “neutralized” the assailant in the attack. The wounded person is fully conscious, according to first responders.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps denied a report that 11 of its members were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria.

The unverified report by the Saudi Al-Hadath TV channel claimed 11 senior IRGC members were killed in an Israeli strike targeting Syria’s Damascus International Airport late Thursday.

IRGC spokesman Brig. Gen. Ramezan Sharif calls the report “baseless". 


IDF helo dust off IDF photo

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In a “frustrating” call over the weekend, President Biden told  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax funds following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack must conform to Biden's wishes. A US official told Axios that the call was "frustrating" and one of the most difficult since the terrorists' unheralded attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking some 240 hostages of all ages. The Bide administration has provided material support to Israel, but has called for scaling  back the high-intensity military operations in Gaza. "The feeling was that the president is going out on a limb for Bibi [Netanyahu] every day and when Bibi needs to give something back and take some political risk he is unwilling to do it,” the US official said. Israel usually collects monthly tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on imports and exports, and transfers those funds to the PA, but has retained some of the funds over the payment of stipends to terror convicts and the families of slain terrorists. It has recently warned it will not allow the PA to transfer funds earmarked for services and salaries in the Gaza Strip, alleging the money could reach Hamas while Israel is at war with the terror group.

A reported deal brokered by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would enable the Palestinian Authority to send funds to its employees in Gaza through Norway and by allowing Israel to check the recipients of the funds. According to Axios, “Biden asked Netanyahu to accept” the proposal he himself raised several weeks ago: “to transfer the withheld tax revenues to Norway for safekeeping until an arrangement can be found that will assuage Israel’s concerns that the funds could reach Hamas.” While the PA likes the arrangement, Netanyahu does not think it was a good idea. “He told Biden he doesn’t trust the Norwegians and said the Palestinian Authority should just accept the partial transfer of the funds,” according to the US official. When Biden told Netanyahu to resolve the issue, he reportedly told the Israeli leader “this conversation is over.” However, another US official cited by Axios said Netanyahu didn’t reject the Norway idea. He said the two leaders were “still working through things on their end.” “We have made good progress and think this issue of tax revenue transfers is on its way to being resolved,” the official added. A White House spokesperson told Axios the conversation was “good and productive.”

Iran executed today four people and sentenced several others to prison for having alleged links with Israel’s Mossad security service. Mizan, the news website affiliated with the country’s judiciary, said three men and one woman were executed Friday morning. It identified the men as Vafa Hanareh, Aram Omari, Rahman Parhazo and the woman as Nasim Namazi. The report didn’t say how the deaths were carried out, but Iran usually applies hanging.

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According to the Hamas-controlled Gazan health ministry, over 21,500 Gazans have died since the beginning of the war due to Israeli military operations. In the last 24 hours, some 187 Gazans have been killed. The figures have not been independently verified.

Israeli forces destroyed Hamas infrastructure, including a network of tunnels in the area of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo today to discuss Egypti's plan for a ceasefire that would end the war in Gaza. It was offered last week to Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad. The three-stage plan provides for renewable ceasefires, a staggered release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel, and ultimately a ceasefire.

Tens of thousands of newly displaced Gazans are huddling under tarpaulins in the center of Gaza after fleeing the latest offensive by Israeli tanks, while Israeli aviation targeted the south, flattening buildings, the Guardian reported. The UN estimates that 85% of Gaza’s population has already been displaced, some multiple times. Gaza's health added that 55,915 people have been wounded in Gaza during the fighting.

Thomas White, the director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, accused Israel of firing on an aid convoy. In a social media post he said “Israeli soldiers fired at an aid convoy as it returned from northern Gaza along a route designated by the Israeli army – our international convoy leader and his team were not injured but one vehicle sustained damage.”

Israel has named another soldier killed fighting in Gaza. It also said the families of two soldiers have been notified that they were “seriously injured in various battles in the northern Gaza Strip”. At least 160 IDF troops have been killed during the ground operation in Gaza. It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify the casualty figures being issued during the conflict.

Wafa, the Hamas-controlled news agency, reported that Israel has detained at least 14 Palestinians, including a minor, during its latest raids inside the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria. On Dec. 28, the UN published a report deploring a “rapid deterioration” of human rights in the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria, urging Israel to "end violence against the Palestinian population there," according to The Guardian. The Palestine Red Crescent Society issued a video interview with a paramedic at the Jabaliya refugee camp. He described that ambulance staff being made to undress and being beaten and interrogated by Israeli forces operating inside Gaza, reported the newspaper.

Israeli airstrikes hit near the Syrian capital Damascus late on Dec. 28, according to the Syrian defense ministry and state media.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says security forces have detained 32 people suspected of links to the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) extremist group. The suspects were allegedly planning to carry out attacks on synagogues and churches as well as the Iraqi embassy in Turkey.

Pakistan has banned New Year’s Eve celebrations to show solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, the government said late Thursday, urging people instead to “observe simplicity”.

Israeli Samur troops IDF photo


Doctors against Genocide flyer


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President Joe Biden said he and his wife are “devastated” over news that Israeli-American Judith Weinstein was killed at Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 and her body is currently held by terrorists in Gaza. “This tragic development cuts deep, coming on the heels of last week’s news that Judith’s beloved husband, Gad Haggai, is believed to have been killed by Hamas,” Biden stated. “We are holding Judith and Gad’s four children, seven grandchildren and other loved ones close to our hearts.”

The US, UK, France, and Germany condemned Iran for accelerating its production of highly enriched uranium following months of slowdown. “We condemn this measure that further aggravates the continued escalation of the Iranian nuclear programme,” adding that “Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium has no credible civilian justification.” This came after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran Iran “increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous output reduction from mid-2023.” Iran claimed the report contained “nothing new.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “discussed Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and preparations for the stabilization phase that will follow major combat operations,” the Pentagon stated. This is the first time the Biden administration has used the term “stabilization phase,” as it gradually intensifies its rhetoric aimed at inducing Israel to cease the high-intensity operations. Israel has offered little indication that it plans to do so imminently, with Gallant saying recently that the high-intensity fighting would continue for months more. Austin “reiterated US resolve to ensure Hamas can no longer threaten Israel’s security and underscored the importance of protecting Gaza’s civilians and accelerating humanitarian assistance.” The two “also discussed threats to regional security, including Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities in southern Lebanon, Iran-aligned militia attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria and Houthi assaults against international commerce in the Red Sea.”

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A Hamas official said  today that the terrorist group is “open to any ideas or proposals for a complete and final cessation of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip.” Osama Hamdan said the group is not interested in a “partial or temporary cessation of aggression” and reiterated the group’s official position that the remaining hostages who have been held in Gaza since the group launched its deadly Oct. 7 incursion into Israel would only be released after a permanent ceasefire is implemented.

The New York Times published an exposé detailing the systematic sexual violence, mutilation, and rape of women and girls by Hamas terrorists in Israel on Oct. 7.  NYT identified at least seven locations where Israeli women and girls were sexually abused, raped or mutilated. Israeli security and other interviewed described finding the bodies of more than 30 women around the Re’im rave site in southern Israel. A body of a woman was found with dozens of nails driven into her thighs and groin. Two two dead Israeli soldiers were apparently shot directly in their vaginas. One witness who was wounded by able to conceal herself saw at least five women raped in front of her while she tried to hide. In Be’eri and Kfar Aza Kibbutzim, 24+ bodies of women and girls were found either stripped, tied up or mutilated — sometimes all three — according to eight volunteer medics and two Israeli soldiers who spoke to The Times. Three women who were raped and brutalized, and managed to survive, have not provided details yet. Two therapists treating a woman who was gang raped at the Re’im rave tell The Times she is in no condition to speak with reporters or investigators about what she endured. “According to Jewish tradition, funerals are held promptly. The result was that many bodies with signs of sexual abuse were put to rest without medical examinations, meaning that potential evidence now lies buried in the ground,” the  NYT says.

Teen Israeli girl raped wounded screen grab

Syrian sources say that its air defense shot down "most" of the missiles launched by Israeli jets over the Golan Heights, but admitted that there were “material losses.” The strikes come a day after Damascus International Airport reportedly reopened following repeated Israeli strikes.

Leftist House Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) called Israeli PM Netanyahu a “genocidal maniac,” denouncing US legislators who have met with him. “Every member of Congress who sits down with this murderer is supporting a war criminal,” Tlaib wrote on Instagram on Dec. 27. “I am so sick and tired of our country funding and supporting a genocide and war on children,” Tlaib wrote in another Instagram story. “Please don’t stop talking about Palestine.”

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Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands’ former deputy prime minister and a Mideast expert, was appointed the U.N. coordinator for humanitarian aid to war-torn Gaza, the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres announced. A Catholic and polyglot, she is married to Anis al-Qad, a former assistant to terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.The announcement  follows the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution last week requesting him to appoint a senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, where more than 2 million civilians live. 

Sigrid Kaag and family with Yasser Arafat

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal reached out to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, telling French media that the terror group is willing to consider joining a P.A.-led governing body for the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria. For more than a decade, Hamas has ruled with terror, killing and torturing political opponents, homosexuals, and dissidents.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams said he is “sure” anti-Israel protesters will try to interrupt the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square after already disrupting the annual Rockefeller Center tree lighting and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “We’re sure there’s gonna be some type of attempt this year,” the mayor said. “Everyone looks for events like this if they want to do bad things, and the police department is on top of it.” To prevent any sort of disruption, the NYPD is deploying thousands of officers to the area — both in uniform and in plainclothes. Earlier this week, protesters blocked a major highway leading to New York City's JFK international airport.

Overnight, Israeli security forces raided Judea and Samaria, sending thousands of troops and hundreds of armored vehicles into cities, including Jenin, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jericho in what appears to be an attempt at mass arrests of known Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad terrorists. Heavy fighting was recorded in these cities.

A UN report published was published today claiming there has been a “rapid deterioration” of human rights in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and urged Israeli authorities to end violence against the Palestinian population there. The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) said it had recorded mass arbitrary detentions, unlawful detentions, and cases of reported torture and other forms of ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees. It said about 4,785 Palestinians had been detained in the occupied West Bank since Hamas attack on October 7.

Russia's foreign ministry said “a small number of Russian citizens remain in the Gaza Strip” and that Russia is still working to free hostages. Foreign Ministry official YuriGorlach said: "According to information from our foreign missions, our citizens remain in the Gaza Strip. This is … a small number. Either permission from the relevant authorities was not received, or they voluntarily refused to leave because there was no permission for their relative. Our foreign missions are closely monitoring the situation, and whenever possible we are trying to provide assistance to them on an individual basis." Of those who have left Gaza, Gorlach said “Currently, there are over 600 people, including about 300 children, in ten temporary accommodation centres in … the Russian Federation.” The ministry said that in total 1,125 people have left Gaza and arrived in Russia on special flights. Russia claims it has assisted in evacuating citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Sweden, and Morocco from Gaza. Gorlach said: "There is one more aspect on which we worked with our Israeli colleagues – the release of Russian hostages, citizens with Russian citizenship. There was also very intensive work here. We managed to rescue most of them, we expect that this work will continue, it is not very easy. As you understand, the situation in the region is not simple. The safe withdrawal of our hostages is also a task that we must solve extremely carefully … And we are working closely with the authorities of both Israel and Qatar, which also provides assistance." 

The Israeli ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, has said that Israel believes three Russian citizens are still being held captive by Hamas inside Gaza.

Israeli troops in Gaza IDF photo

Al Jazeera reported that “huge explosions were heard in the northern suburbs of Gaza City amid continued Israeli artillery shelling”. There are also reports that at least one Palestinian has been killed and a number of others injured in Israeli bombing of the al-Wafiya area in Khan Younis.

In a statement, Israel’s military says it has been operating “in the heart of Daraj Tuffah” in Gaza City in the north of the territory. It claims “after RPG missiles were fired from inside a building toward an IDF vehicle, IDF ground troops destroyed terrorist infrastructure located inside the building. Additionally, an anti-tank missile launch site where terrorist operatives were located was struck by the IAF with the direction of IDF ground forces, Over the last two days, IDF troops conducted operational activity in the Daraj Tuffah area and eliminated terrorists in both ground and aerial strikes.”

Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir published an image on social media that shows items confiscated by Israel in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank. He said “tens of millions of shekels, safes, documents, recording systems and telephones that were intended to finance Hamas terrorism were confiscated.” Ben-Gvir also states that “21 suspects, residents of Ramallah, Jenin, Hebron, Tulkarem, Atil and Albira” were arrested.

An Israeli teen, Tal Mitnick, 18, has been jailed for 30 days after going to an army recruitment center with a group of protesters to announce his refusal to enlist, the paper reported, adding that he had been given an “exceptionally long” sentence for a first time refuser. It attributed the following statement to him. He is the first known Israeli conscientious objector in this war. He said: "I refuse to believe that more violence will bring security, I refuse to take part in a war of revenge. I grew up in a home where life is sacred, where discussion is valued, and where discourse and understanding always come before taking violent measures. In the world full of corrupt interests in which we live, violence and war are another way to increase support for the government and silence criticism. We must recognise the fact that after weeks of the ground operation in Gaza, at the end of the day – negotiations, an agreement, brought back the hostages. It was actually military action that caused them to be killed. Because of the criminal lie that ‘there are no innocent civilians in Gaza’, even hostages waving a white flag shouting in Hebrew were shot to death. I don’t want to imagine how many similar cases there were that were not investigated because the victims were born on the wrong side of the fence."

A drone crashed near a village in the Golan Heights, Israel’s army has said, after an Iraqi armed group with links to Hamas militants claimed responsibility for an attack in the area. No injuries were reported. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a formation of pro-Iran armed groups, said it had hit a “vital target” south of Eliad with “appropriate weaponry”. Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against US and international coalition forces in Iraq and Syria. Washington has counted 103 attacks against its forces in Iraq and Syria since 17 October, according to a US military official. Most of those attacks have been claimed by factions of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq that oppose US support for Israel in its war against Hamas. The group has so far claimed few direct attacks against Israeli interests.

French president Emmanuel Macron has demanded a “lasting ceasefire” in Gaza during a call with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, his office has said, as an escalating humanitarian crisis grips the Palestinian territory. “France will work in the coming days in cooperation with Jordan to carry out humanitarian operations in Gaza,” the French presidency added in a statement.
Israeli troops looking out window IDF photo

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French president Emmanuel Macron has demanded a “lasting ceasefire” in Gaza during a call with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, his office has said, as an escalating humanitarian crisis grips the Palestinian territory. “France will work in the coming days in cooperation with Jordan to carry out humanitarian operations in Gaza,” the French presidency added in a statement. Macron, an ally of Netanyahu since the start of the war triggered by the unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, told the Israeli premier of his “deepest concern” about civilian deaths and the humanitarian emergency in Gaza. The call took place as Israeli warplanes continued to strike central and southern Gaza, including in Khan Younis where 20 Palestinians were killed in a strike near al-Amal hospital according to the Gaza health ministry.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) has warned that the scale and intensity of ground operations and fighting in Gaza is hindering the delivery of aid to those in need. In a statement on Wednesday, the OCHA said humanitarian operations are “facing increasing operational challenges due to intensified hostilities, insecurity, blocked roads, scarcity of fuel, and extremely limited communications.”

Israel launched heavy strikes across central and southern Gaza overnight and into Wednesday after broadening its offensive against Hamas to more areas where the military had told Palestinians to seek shelter earlier in the war. Residents reported heavy bombing in the built-up Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, in the southern city of Khan Younis and in the southern town of Rafah, areas where tens of thousands have sought refuge as much of northern Gaza was pounded to rubble. An Israeli strike killed 20 Palestinians near al-Amal hospital in Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis, according to a Gaza health ministry spokesperson.

At least 21,110 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza since 7 October, according to figures released on Wednesday by the health ministry in the territory. The ministry reported that 55,243 people had been wounded. It said 195 people were killed and 325 injured in the last 24 hours.

Six Palestinians were killed and several others wounded on Wednesday after an Israeli operation in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. According to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, the six people were killed by Israeli airstrikes on the Nur Shams refugee camp near the town of Tulkarem, where Israeli soldiers were also deployed.

Israel’s military chief, Herzi Halevi, has said his forces are “at a very high level of readiness” amid escalating Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon. Israeli war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, separately said that the situation on the country’s northern border “demands change”, adding that the time for diplomacy “is running out”. Hezbollah claimed on Wednesday morning to have fired 18 rockets into Israel from Lebanon. The IDF said it intercepted some of the rockets. A Hezbollah fighter was killed late Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon along with his brother, a Lebanese-Australian national, and his wife, according to reports.

Telecommunications and internet services are being gradually restored in central and southern Gaza, the Palestinian phone service provider, Paltel, has said on Wednesday. Phone and Internet services experienced a “complete breakdown” on Tuesday that was “due to the ongoing offensive”, it said.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the people of Gaza face “grave peril”. In a statement on Wednesday, the WHO said its teams had undertaken “high-risk” missions to deliver supplies to hospitals in northern and southern Gaza, where they witnessed “intense hostilities in their vicinity, high patient loads and overcrowding.”

Israel has responded furiously to comments by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler. Speaking at an awards ceremony in Ankara, Erdoğan said the Israeli prime minister was no different from Hitler and likened Israel’s attacks on Gaza to the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis. Netanyahu responded by saying the Turkish president should be the last person to lecture Israel. Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, said Erdoğan’s remarks were “deeply offensive” to Jewish people around the world.

Benjamin Netanyahu has allegedly refused requests from security officials to begin making plans for control and governance of the Gaza Strip after the war ends, according to a report. Multiple requests were conveyed on behalf of the directors of the Mossad, the Shin Bet security agency, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) chief of staff and the defence ministry to arrange a meeting with the prime minister’s office, Israeli media reported. Meanwhile, a White House official has said national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Ron Dermer, have discussed planning for the day after the Israel-Gaza war, including governance and security in Gaza.

Israeli armored personnel carrier in Gaza IDF photo


Secretary of State Blinken is scheduled to visit Israel again next week. Currently, he was in Mexico to discuss border security.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via telephone that he sees a need to work toward a durable ceasefire “with the help of all regional and international partners.” France is to negotiate with Jordan on humanitarian operations in Gaza. The two leaders also discussed the repeated attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s pro-Iran Houthi rebels, cross-border skirmishes between Israeli forces and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and the ongoing war in Gaza against Hamas. “Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Macron for France’s involvement in defending freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, and its willingness to assist in restoring security to Israel’s border with Lebanon,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s Office. The Israeli premier also told Macron about “the war to destroy Hamas” and Israel’s efforts to return the hostages kidnapped by terrorists during the October 7 massacres.

An apparent explosive-laden drone crashed in the southern Golan Heights, local authorities said. The authorities said that the “hostile unmanned aircraft” was located by IDF troops. No injuries were reported. The drone is believed to have been launched from Syria.

Pro-Palestinian protesters briefly blocked entrance roads to airports in New York and Los Angeles while demonstrating against Israel, forcing some travelers to set off on foot to bypass the jammed roadway. Traffic jams delayed passengers at NYC's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. At JFK, activists locked arms and displayed banners with slogans such as “divest from genocide” and “right to return,” bringing traffic to a standstill on the expressway leading up to the airport for about 20 minutes. They chanted "from the river to the sea, Palestine will free,” a slogan used by Hamas and others calling for Israel’s destruction. Passengers were seen leaving vehicles behind and carrying suitcases and head towards the JFK terminal. Police arresgted 26 people were arrested on the roadway. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey dispatched two buses “offering rides to travelers involved in the backup to allow them to reach the airport safely,” Burns says.

Similarly, activists jammed the roadway outside the international airport at los Angeles airpor, using traffic cones, trash bins, scooters and debris in the lanes.The Los Angeles Police Department says traffic around the airport remains impacted roughly two hours after the demonstration was declared unlawful. The number of arrests is unclear. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group could be Israel’s next target. He said that  Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallh “must understand that he’s next.” Cohen said Hezbollah must respect a 2006 UN ceasefire that calls on the group to withdraw from the border area. “We will operate to make the most of the diplomatic option,” Cohen says. “If it doesn’t work, all options are on the table.”

Months before Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, the Shin Bet security service received intelligence that Hamas was planning to carry out “a big move,” giving the specific time in which the massive invasion was indeed carried out — but the information was believed to be insignificant. The Shin Bet got the tip from a human source in Gaza who warned Hamas was planning to attack during the week after the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur was on September 25, a Monday. The October 7 invasion, in which thousands of Hamas terrorists massacred some 1,200 people in southern Israel and kidnapped over 240 hostages, occurred 12 days later — on the Saturday of the week after Yom Kippur. The source’s operator conveyed the raw information to Shin Bet colleagues, but they marked it as insignificant, concluding that “if this really nears implementation, we’ll receive additional intelligence” corroborating it. The information was reportedly not brought to the attention of senior Shin Bet officials, and the agency chief Ronen Bar never heard about it. It was eventually noticed after October 7, as part of efforts to understand how the service had known nothing about the planned attack.

Shin Bet sources said that at the time, no other pieces of intelligence were found to support the information, and the reliability of the human source — who had started giving intel to the Shin Bet a relatively short while before that — had been deemed unclear, though they have since admitted that he is highly reliable.

Shin Bet reported that it is focusing on the ongoing war against Hamas, and is preparing to thoroughly investigate after the war how the intelligence failure had happened, including checking what information had been available. “In any case, focusing on a specific piece of intelligence cannot reflect the full intelligence picture of that time.”

4:24 pm

A majority of Polish citizens believe that Polish MP Grzegorz Braun, who extinguished a Hanukkah menorah in the Polish parliament earlier this month, should step down, a new poll shows. Braun is a senior member of the Confederation of the Polish Crown (KKP) party, and considered to be a far-right extremist.

A spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claimed today that the deadly Hamas-led attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7 was launched in retaliation for the 2020 killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. Hamas promptly denied the claim in a rare public spat between the Palestinian group and its main sponsor. The paramilitary guard's spokesman, Ramezan Sharif, made the comments at a news conference where he threatened retaliation for the killing of another top Iranian military figure, Gen. Razi Mousavi, who was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on Dec. 25. 

The Pakistani Navy has announced the dispatch of navy ships (2) ​​to the Bab al-Mandab strait, after the Houthis in Yemen attacked a Pakistani commercial ship.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu responded to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the latter's claim that Israel’s operations against Hamas terrorists in Gaza are “no different” from those of Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler. “Erdogan, who is carrying out a genocide of Kurds and holds a world record number of journalists opposed to his rule in jail, is the last to preach morality to us,” Netanyahu said. “The IDF is the most moral army in the world, which is fighting and eliminating the most despicable and brutal terror organization in the world, Hamas-Daesh, which committed crimes against humanity and Erdogan praises it and hosts its senior officials,” Netanyahu said. 

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The IDF launched ground operations against Hamas in southern Gaza’s Khuza’a, on the outskirts of Khan Younis. The commander of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, wrote to his troops while launching Operation “Oz and Nir” (Might and Furrow), dubbed for the Nir Oz Kibbutz that was attacked by Hamas on October 7, "On the cursed Sabbath, October 7th, the horrible terrorists came from Khirbat Ikhzaa (Khuza’a), who committed the most horrible crimes imaginable,” his missive reads. “The terrorist attack by the Gaza terrorists from Khirbat Ikhzaa was aimed at Kibbutz Nir Oz, a community of people of work and peace,” Rosenfeld wrote. Hamas terrorists killed and kidnapped dozens in Nir Oz. “The rage and shock at what happened to the people of Nir Oz and the frustration that we failed to protect them will always accompany us,” the commander wrote. "We are committed to pursuing the terrorists who were there and those who aided them, to the last of them, and bring home from captivity in Gaza the people of Nir Oz, along with all the hostages and the missing...We will work with all our might to eliminate the terrorists hiding there above and below the ground, and to dismantle the infrastructures of terrorism and evil,” Rosenfeld adds.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions over Gaza are “no different” from those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. This is not the first time Erdogan has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and in July 2014, the Turkish president accused Israel of “keeping Hitler’s spirit alive” during a war with Gaza. He has also said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. In October, Israel recalled its diplomats from Turkey in October after Erdogan accused Israel of committing war crimes. Turkey later also recalled its ambassador from Israel. Israel had been an ally of Turkey before Erdogan came to power, but ties imploded after a 2010 Israeli commando raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, part of a blockade-busting flotilla, that left dead 10 Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the ship. Bilateral relations have fluctuated since that time. In September, Netanyahu and Erdogan met at the United Nations and discussed possible cooperation. However, Turkey maintains relations with Hamas. 

The IDF releases footage of the Commando Brigade’s Maglan, Egoz, and Duvdevan units operating in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis. The commandos are fighting "deep within Khan Younis," killing terrorists and destroying their infrastructure and tunnels. The commandos used guided munitions during their operations in Khan Younis.

The Hamas-controlled health authorities says Israel’s bombing campaign and fighting on the ground have killed at least 21,110 people in Gaza. The figures are unverified. The terrorists have been accused of inflating casualty figures and including those killed by misfired Palestinian rockets. Hamas does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. The IDF says it has killed some 8,000 Hamas operatives in Gaza and another 1,000 terrorists during and immediately after the October 7 attacks.

The Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel says that internet and telephone services are gradually being restored across Gaza. “We would like to announce the gradual restoration of telecom services in the central and southern areas of Gaza Strip after a blackout caused by the ongoing aggression,” Paltel claimed. Paltel announced on Dec. 26 the fourth such breakdown since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman announces which facets of the “multi-system failures” on October 7 his office will examine in the coming months, saying “no stone will be left unturned” in examining “personal responsibility” for the “failures on all levels – policy, military and civilian.” Englman said that to be examined are: the conduct of the government’s security cabinet; the conduct of policy makers and the military on October 7 itself; intelligence preparedness before October 7; the defense posture on the Gaza border before the Hamas invasion; the preparedness of the civilian security squads in the Gaza border region before the war; the funding of Hamas; and the lack of equipment for IDF soldiers. He will also review the government’s actions following the outbreak of war, including civilian evacuations from the south and north; evacuating the injured and collecting and identifying the bodies of the victims; access of those harmed in the attack to their rights; and the government’s public diplomacy activities. Other fields to be examined are the economic and technological aspects of the government’s functioning in connection to the war. Englman says the functioning of government in these fields will be examined in the period before the October 7 atrocities committed by Hamas, on the day itself, and in the time since.

Following a rocket barrage from Lebanon on Rosh Hanikra, the IDF says it targeted the source of the fire. It says the Iron Dome intercepted some of the projectiles, while the others landed in open areas. Hezbollah had claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. The IDF also says a fighter jet hit a Hezbollah site in southern Lebanon overnight, and troops struck areas near the border this morning.


IDF naval operations near Gaza IDF photo

The Israeli military will kill Hamas’s leadership in the Gaza Strip “whether it takes a week or months,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Dec. 26 after visiting the Palestinian enclave.

Papua New Guinea is set to become the first country to open an honorary consulate in the biblical heartland, after inaugurating an embassy in Jerusalem earlier this year. Papua New Guinea is largely Christian and its policy is a mix of faith-based diplomacy and a desire for increased trade ties, and comes as several other countries have announced their intention to inaugurate embassies in Jerusalem in 2024.

An Israeli soldier has died after being infected by a dangerous type of fungus found in the soil of the Gaza Strip. Two weeks ago, the soldier was transported to Assuta Ashdod Medical Center  suffering from serious limb wounds infected by the fungus. The medical staff attempted every treatment possible, including experimental treatments from abroad, and brought in experts, but the fungus proved resistant and eventually overtook his organs, resulting in his death.

IDF troops discovered dozens of Kalachnikov automatic rifles, grenades, rocket launchers, RPG rocket heads, and Israeli license plates in a child's bedroom in Gaza.

IDF is expanding its ground operations in Gaza. Video showed "Namer” Heavy-Armored Personnel Vehicles and “Puma” Heavy-Engineering Combat Vehicles entering the Alborij refugee Camp in central Gaza in order to fight the roughly 1,000 Hamas terrorists who are believed to remain in the camp despite extensive air operations. 

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet successfully intercepted a hostile aerial target in the Red Sea that was on its way to Israel.

‘We should not stop, we should go all the way,’ said Danny Danon, a member of Israel's Knesset, referring to Israel's incursion into Gaza.

The IDF will build a one kilometer barrier area along the length of Gaza's border with Israel, putting it on the Gaza side of the frontier. 

Appearing on Christmas Day, Rev. Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest, appeared to link the "story of Christmas" to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas terrorists. When asked on CNN about the "pain and suffering" taking place all over the world, he said:  "I think the message of Christmas is that God enters into it with us and we're not alone in it," Beck responded. "What I'm so struck by is that the story of Christmas is about a Palestinian Jew- how often do you find those words put together? A Palestinian Jew born into a time when his country was occupied, right? They can't find a place for her to even give birth, his mother. They're homeless. They eventually have to flee as refugees into Egypt, no less. I mean, you can't make up the parallels to our current world situation right now." 

"And so in some way, that is who we believe God becomes born into that situation and yet, that very man, Jesus, says love one another, love your enemies. There is hope. There is light in the darkness. I'm attesting to that. So somehow that God enters that experience of suffering and that struggle and is actually born into it. That is what is so miraculous about this celebration for me." 

Commenting on the priest's statement was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The Jewish leader wrote on X: "CNN NOW FRAUDULENTLY CLAIMS THAT JESUS WAS NOT JEWISH BUT A PALESTINIAN. I have appeared with Father Edward Beck on National TV before. This is a disgraceful interview which is the very essence of fake news. JESUS was not a Palestinian as Palestine did not exist at that time. Clearly Father Edward Beck is utterly ignorant of even the Christian Bible (New Testament). Jesus was a Jew who was murdered by the Romans for being a JEW and for proclaiming himself the king of the Jews. He was not an Arab, not a Palestinian. Islam did not exist until 700 years after Jesus. This is a disgraceful interview that undermines CNN's entire claim to any kind of truth. I have rarely seen such historical fiction and such fraudulence."

Rev. Edward Beck YouTube screengrab

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'Doctors Against Genocide", a pro-Palestine pressure group, announced plans to rally inside the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC on Dec. 28.

In New York City and Collierville, Tennessee, pro-Palestine protesters shouted "Christmas is closed" and held rallies in support of Gaza and denouncing Israel.

9:35 am

More than 100 Christians were brutally murdered by Muslim jihadis in Nigeria on Christmas Day. Children and adults were hacked to death and shot. Two babies survived.

Blood stain Nigeria massacre Catholic church 12 25 2023

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Hamas and the allied Islamic Jihad rejected an Egyptian proposal that they relinquish power in the Gaza Strip in return for a permanent ceasefire, acording to two Egyptian security sources. Officials from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups later denied what the sources said about the talks. Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, added: "There can be no negotiations without a complete stop to the aggression." The terrorists would have been forced to lay down weapons and hand over power to a civilian Gazan government aided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Multiple projectiles were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense systems over the southern coastal city of Ashkelon and the Gaza border city of Sderot after rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah terrorists fired an anti-tank missile from Lebanon at a Greek Orthodox church in northern Israel, wounding a civilian. Hezbollah claims to have targeted an IDF position near the northern community of Shomera. Hebrew-language media reports say the target is actually a church in the nearby depopulated Palestinian Christian village of Iqrit. A civilian man in his 80s guarding the church was moderately wounded in the attack, reports say. According to the reports, another missile was fired at the area as troops and medical services worked to evacuate the wounded man. IDF released a statement that this was a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and universally guaranteed freedom of worship.

The IDF says troops of the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion recovered a large cache of weapons inside a home in the area of Gaza City’s Daraj and Tuffah neighborhoods. After numerous encounters with Hamas operatives in the area, troops set out to raid sites believed to be used by Hamas. In one of the homes, the troops found dozens of assault rifles, grenades, and RPGs in a children’s bedroom. “These findings are another example of the attempt by the Hamas terror organization to hide weapons and terror activity under civilian cover,” the IDF says.

The illegal outpost of Sde Yonatan in the West Bank was evacuated and demolished by Israeli Border Police and Civil Administration forces, the second such demolition of an illegal outpost in the territory in less than 48 hours. A rudimentary residential building and a goat pen were destroyed by the Civil Administration forces during the operation, reports say. Israeli Jewish activists state that the Border Police officers were violent when evacuating the residents of the outpost, punching and kicking the residents and throwing them to the ground. Three people were injured during the incident, the activists say. A Magen David Adom ambulance was called to the area but was prevented from reaching the outpost, the activists allege. Paramedics from United Hatzalah also arrived at the scene to treat one person who was lightly injured during the incident and needed stitches on his hand. Activists say that the area was declared a closed military zone before the evacuation began and phones belonging to the residents and activists at the site were confiscated. Ten people were detained at the site during the enforcement operation, three of whom were taken to the local police station. The other seven were released after the demolition had been completed. The outpost, close to the settlement of Michmash northeast of Jerusalem, was built on private Palestinian land, the Civil Administration says. It has been built and demolished several times in the last two years and was most recently reestablished shortly after the beginning of the current war with Hamas. The Border Police declined to comment on the incident.

Hamas weapons found in Gaza home IDF photo

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Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant said "We are in a multi-front war and are coming under attack from seven theatres: Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Iraq, Yemen and Iran. We have already responded and taken action in six of these theatres." The comments come after an Israeli airstrike in a Damascus neighbourhood in Syria on Dec. 25, which killed a high-ranking Iranian general, Sayyed Razi Mousavi. The killing of Mousavi, a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guards in Syria, came amid ongoing fears of the Israel-Hamas war sparking a regional escalation of hostilities. 

In Jerusalem, Israel’s military said its air force carried out a strike against 100 Hamas targets, including tunnel shafts, to assist ground forces. In Shejaia, a suburb near Gaza City, troops backed by aircraft killed several fighters spotted trying to plant a bomb underneath a tank. More than 10 fighters were killed in separate incidents in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. These claims are yet to be independently verified.

The IDF stated that 160 soldiers have been killed in Gaza since ground operations began on 20 October.

A drone was downed near the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Dahab on Dec. 26. However, Egyptian security forces could not confirm its origin. Egypt’s Al Qahera News TV had reported earlier that explosions were heard over Dahab. “A flying object was downed approximately 2km from the shores of Dahab,” Al Qahera said. Earlier in December, Egyptian air defences shot down a suspected drone near Dahab, security sources had said.

The Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen have escalated attacks on shipping in the Red Sea in protest against Israel’s war in Gaza. India’s navy has said it is deploying three warships and reconnaissance aircraft in the Arabian Sea to “maintain a deterrent presence” after a string of recent shipping attacks in the region. Last week, a drone strike was conducted on a ship carrying chemicals near India. Three guided-missile destroyers as well as P8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft were being deployed following “the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea”, it said in a statement on Dec. 25. The US accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack on Dec. 23 on the MV Chem Pluto tanker 200 nautical miles (370km) off the coast of India, claims Iran’s foreign ministry dubbed “worthless”. It was the first time Washington has openly accused Iran of directly targeting ships since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas, the militant group backed by Tehran, in Gaza.

In the Red Sea, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have carried out a string of drone and missile attacks in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. The assaults prompted Washington to last week launch a US-led coalition involving joint patrols in Red Sea waters near Yemen to safeguard commercial traffic.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in Moscow on Dec. 27. They will discuss bilateral ties as well as the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, among other issues.

Israel conducted bombing raids in central Gaza overnight, with aerial bombs and artillery striking the Nuseirat, Maghazi and Bureij refugee camps, which are crowded with people who fled from the north in search of safety, the Associated Press reports.

Terrorists of Hamas's Qassam Brigades struck an Israeli tank east of Bureij. This claim is yet to be independently verified, but suggests Israeli forces could be moving toward the camp. Artillery also reportedly struck areas east of the Nuseirat camp. According to The Guardian, more than 100  Gazans were killed in Israeli airstrikes late on Dec. 24 in Gaza, including at least 70 in bombings that hit a residential block in the Maghazi refugee camp near Deir al-Balah, health officials in Gaza said. The Israeli military said it was reviewing the Maghazi incident.

Israeli forces killed two residents in a Dec. 26 raid on a refugee camp near Hebron, a city in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The two people – aged 17 and 31 – were shot dead in the Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, according to Hamas sources. 

The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory said Israeli security forces were conducting demolitions of buildings on Dec. 26 in Furush Beit Dajan in the West Bank and yesterday in Deir Ballut.

Iraq’s government condemned overnight US air strikes on Iraqi military positions that it said killed one serviceman and injured 18 other people, calling them a “clear hostile act”. The air strikes came on Dec. 25 after a one-way drone attack earlier in the day by Iran-aligned militants that left one US service member in critical condition and injured two others. The Iraqi government said the retaliation was “an unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty”. US forces have repeatedly targeted sites used by Iran and its proxy forces in Iraq and Syria in response to dozens of attacks on American and allied forces in the region since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war.

The Japanese government will freeze assets and impose sanctions on payments and capital transactions on three senior Hamas members, the country’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, has said. They are believed to have been involved in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and in a position to use funds to finance such terrorist activities, the top Japanese government spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society has said some displaced people have been injured in artillery shelling that targeted the upper floors of the organization’s headquarters in Khan Younis. It claimed that thousands of refugees are sheltering in the building.

The Israeli army recently said it was sending more ground forces, including combat engineers, to Khan Younis, Gaza’s second biggest city, to target Hamas militants above ground and in tunnels.

7:30 am

Rapper/fashionista Kanye West has apologized to “the Jewish community” for a series of antisemitic remarks he made in 2022. In a statement posted in Hebrew on his Instagram account, where he has 18.2m followers, he wrote (as translated by Google): “I sincerely apologise to the Jewish community … It was not my intention to hurt or demean, and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused. I am committed to starting with myself and learning from this experience to ensure greater sensitivity and understanding in the future. Your forgiveness is important to me, and I am committed to making amends and promoting unity.”

7:00 am

U.S. jets struck Iranian-backed militias near the city of Hillah in central Iraq; a number of buildings were destroyed with reports of multiple casualties.

The Health Department of the State of New York ordered Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan to halt immediate closure of its inpatient beds, deeming it unlawful without state approval. The move follows the hospital's proposal to shut down by July 2024.

The IDF says two projectiles were fired from Lebanon at the northern community of Menara in Israel on Dec. 25. There are no reports of injuries, as the community is largely evacuated amid ongoing Hezbollah attacks. In response, the IDF struck the launch sites and other nearby areas, the military says. Earlier, the IDF says a surface-to-air missile was fired from Lebanon at an Israeli military aircraft over the area. The missile missed the aircraft, which continued its mission, according to the IDF.

IDF warned about possible attack from Syria on Golan Heights. Kann News reports; thousands of Iranian militia forces deployed in area near Israeli border; Iran transferred extra $200 million to Syria & Hezbollah since start of war, report says.

According to Israeli media, the U.S. has already delivered to Israel 10,000 tons of ammunition and military equipment since Oct. 7.

Israeli soldiers fought Hamas terrorists operating inside two United Nations schools in the northern Gaza Strip on Dec. 25. The IDF said the terrorists were hiding inside the Al Rafaa and Zavaha schools in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City. “This is further evidence that Hamas uses the civilian population and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as human shields for its terrorist activity,” added the IDF.

US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia and thousands of its employees have raised $15 million to donate to nonprofit organizations that are supporting Israeli and Gazan civilians affected by the war with the Hamas terror group. The US chipmaker said the donation marked the largest humanitarian fundraiser in its 30-year corporate history. As part of the fundraising effort, thousands of Nvidia employees from more than 30 countries donated a total of $5 million, which the company matched and doubled to $10 million under a special program introduced to help those impacted by the war.

Hamas terror leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar on Dec. 25 delivered his first public message since the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre and the ensuing war. While admitting Hamas is facing a “fierce, violent and unprecedented battle” against Israel, Sinwar falsely claimed in the letter to the Hamas political bureau that “the occupation army is suffering heavy losses in life and equipment.” He claimed that the Izz ad-Din al-Kassam Brigades (the “military wing” of Hamas) have killed over a thousand Israeli soldiers. According to the IDF, 156 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27, and 489 military personnel in total have lost their lives since the war began on Oct. 7.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visited troops in the Gaza Strip on  Dec. 25 and said that the war against Hamas is not nearly finished. “We are not stopping; we are continuing to battle. We will be intensifying the fighting in the coming days, as this will be a long war. It is not close to over,” said Netanyahu.

In a video broadcast on social media, PM Netanayahu said: "To our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a time of good will to all men and peace on Earth. Well, we don't have peace on Earth, not in our part anyway, and we certainly don't see good will to all men. We're facing monsters, monsters who murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children, who raped and beheaded women, who burned babies alive, who took babies hostages. This is a battle, not only of Israel against these barbarians, it's a battle of civilization against barbarism. And I know in this that we have your support. I want to thank you for your support. I want to thank you for your prayers. And I want to assure you, that as we stand together, we will also prevail. We shall win this war and secure our common values and our common future. Thank you."

Doctors Against Genocide flyer


Israeli troops in Gaza IDF photo


The IDF destroyed a weapons plant and a concrete factory in Gaza used by Hamas to contruct its network of tunnels. 

The Maersk shipping line stated that it is prepared to resume sending its ships through the Red Sea after the U.S. formed a naval coalition to fend off Houthi attacks from Yemen.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby used his Christmas Day sermon to highlight the suffering of children caught up in the Israel-Hamas war, PA Media reported. Referring to Jesus Christ’s birthplace, Welby said “the skies of Bethlehem are full of fear rather than angels and glory”. He said: "Today a crying child is in a manger somewhere in the world, nobody willing or able to help his parents who desperately need shelter. Or in an incubator, in a hospital low on electricity, like Al-Ahli (hospital) in Gaza, surrounded by conflict. Maybe he lies in a house that still bears the marks of the horrors of 7 October, with family members killed, and a mother who feared for her life." He also referred to Sudan and Ukraine: “So many parts of the world seem beset with violence.”

Israel’s war on Gaza was enacting a “very heavy price” on Israeli soldiers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Dec. 24. “This is a difficult morning, after a very difficult day of fighting in Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “The war is exacting a very heavy cost from us; however we have no choice [but] to continue to fight.”

A Qatari Armed Forces aircraft carrying 14 tons of aid for Palestinians in Gaza arrived in El Arish, Egypt on Dec. 24, the Qatari state news agency QNA announced. The aid delivery brings the total number of Qatari aircraft sent to Gaza to 50, with a total of 1,548 tons of aid. Four trucks carrying 33 tons of aid from UNRWA and the World Food Programme have made its way into Gaza, UNRWA reported. The aid trucks consists of 84 packages of biscuits and 16 pallets of easy-to-open food cans. Video has emerged on social media showing Gazan terrorists hijacking the trucks and shooting at civilians.

An Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed 23 people, bringing total Palestinian fatalities overnight to more than 100, according to Reuters reports. At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in central Gaza, Hamas health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf Al-Qidra, said earlier. Eight people were killed as Israeli planes and tanks carried out dozens of air strikes on houses and roads in nearby al-Bureij and al-Nusseirat, health officials said.

In his Christmas Day 'Urbi et Orbi' message, Pope Francis said that Israeli strikes in Gaza are reaping an “appalling harvest” of innocent civilians. The 87-year-old pontiff also called the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas “abominable” and again appealed for the release of about 100 hostages still being held in Gaza. He also called for an end to conflicts, political, social or military, in countries including Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Armenia and Azerbaijan. He criticised the weapons industry and its “instruments of death” that fuel wars. Speaking to thousands gathered in St. Peter's Basilica, he said, "How many innocents are being slaughtered in our world! In their mothers’ wombs, in odysseys undertaken in desperation and in search of hope, in the lives of all those little ones whose childhood has been devastated by war. They are the little Jesuses of today …May [peace] come in Israel and Palestine, where war is devastating the lives of those peoples. I embrace them all, particularly the Christian communities of Gaza and the entire Holy Land …I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid.”

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote  an open letter to Pope Francis, asking him for his “personal intervention” in the plight of the 129 hostages held by Muslim terrorists in Gaza since being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7. “Your Holiness, I ask for your personal intervention in this matter. Please use your influence to demand the unconditional release all the hostages without delay,” she writes. “Please also call on the Red Cross to demand to visit all the hostages at once and deliver them vital medicine. So far, the Red Cross has failed to insist on these deliverables. You intervention could tilt the balance and save precious lives.” She highlighted the plight of 25-year-old abductee Noa Argamani, whose kidnapping was captured in harrowing video footage.

Catholics attending midnight Mass in Cologne, Germany, were given police protection because of terroristic Muslim threats.

Nitai Meisels and Rani Tamir fallen IDF soldiersNitai Meisels and Rani Tamir, IDF killed in action in Gaza.


Pro Palestine protesters sat down and blocked a highway leading to Chicago's O'Hare international airport, leading to delays and irate travelers on one of the most travelled days of the year.

Al-Qaeda now has a presence in Gaza and called for targetting Jews. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda, backed by Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran are present in Gaza and now joined by a group aligned with Al-Qaeda. The group has called for suicide attacks on US, UK embassies and those of aligned countries, and attacks in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

Egypt has placed on the table a new proposal for a truce and a further release of Israeli hostages held by Gazan terrorists. The Egyptian initiative is a plan to end hostilities and release all the remaining hostages, in three stages. There would be a two-week halt at first, extendable to three or four, in exchange for the release of 40 hostages — women, minors and elderly men, especially the sick. Israel would release 120 Palestinian security prisoners of the same categories. During this time, hostilities would stop, Israeli tanks would withdraw, and humanitarian aid would enter Gaza. A second phase would be a “Palestinian national talk” aimed at ending the division between Palestinian factions — mainly the Palestinian Authority and Hamas terror group — leading to a technocratic government in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza that would oversee the reconstruction and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. A third stage would be a ceasefire, the release of the remaining Israeli hostages, including soldiers, in return for prisoners in Israeli jails affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad   — including those arrested after October 7 and some convicted of serious terror offenses. In this phase, Israel would withdraw its forces from cities in the Gaza Strip and would allow displaced Gazans from the enclave’s north to return to their homes.

Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh returned to Qatar on Dec. 23 after four days in Cairo to discuss Egypt's proposal. A delegation of the Islamic Jihad has arrived in Cairo today.

There are currently 129 hostages abducted from Israel by Hamas on October 7 remaining in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in November. The IDF confirmed the deaths of 22 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. Hamas is keeping the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering Gaza in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Israeli National Cyber Directorate published a report outlining cyber attacks against Israel since the start of the war against Hamas, concluding that such attacks have grown in number and intensity throughout the hostilities. At first, the cyber attacks were unsophisticated, focusing on defacing websites and attempts to steal information. Gradually, the attacks became more focused and aimed at causing actual damage and disrupting the activities of organizations. There are 15 different hacking groups, linked to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, some of which collaborated with one another. Other cyber operations focused on spreading disinformation online.

More than 10,000 people staged one of Morocco’s biggest pro-Palestinian rallies since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, urging authorities to sever Rabat’s nascent ties with the Jewish state. The protest was led by Islamist and leftist groups, with some demonstrators holding banners reading “Resistance till victory” and “Stop Moroccan government normalization with Israel.”

The IDF says it struck further Hezbollah sites in Lebanon in response to attacks on the border today, alongside firing to “remove threats” in a number of areas along the border. Earlier, several projectiles were fired from Lebanon at Avivim, Margaliot and Arab al-Aramshe. The IDF shelled the launch sites with artillery.

PM Netanyahu's cabinet approved $20 million to bolster infrastructure, including security, in Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), following pressure from the Religious Zionism party and its leader, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Known as "young settlements,” they will receive firefighting trailers, prefabricated bomb shelters, generators, field cameras, lighting, and rescue equipment. 

Iran’s navy says it added domestically produced sophisticated cruise missiles to its arsenal. Both Talaeieh and Nasir cruise missiles have arrived at a naval base near the Indian Ocean in the southern Iranian port of Konarak, some 1,400 kilometers (850 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. Navy chief Adm. Shahram Irani said the Talaeieh has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and called it “fully smart.” Irani says the cruise missile is capable of changing targets during travel. He said the Nasi has a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles) and can be installed on warships. From time to time Iran announces the test firing, production and commissioning of new military equipment that cannot be independently verified. The country says it has a stock of various kinds of missiles with ranges up to 2,000 kilometers (1250 miles), capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the region. The announcement comes amid a wave of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea, which they say is a response to the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli PM Netanyahu denounced claims by Economy Minister Nir Barkat that Presidednt Biden talked him out of a preemptive strike on the Hezbollah terror organization. “It’s a difficult morning after a difficult day,” says Netanyahu, reading from prepared remarks. “All the government and the people of Israel send our sympathies to the families of the heroes who fell in the war for our home.” “This war is exacting a high price from us, but we have no choice other than to continue to fight,” he said. Netanyahu spoke to Biden on Dec. 23 and thanked him for the US stance at the United Nations Security Council after its work to soften a resolution on the Gaza fighting. “I told Biden we will fight until there is total victory, however long it takes. The US understands this,” he said. There have been reports that US has prevented, and is preventing, us from carrying out operations in the region. This is not true. Israel is a sovereign country. Our decisions on the war are based on our operational considerations, and not external pressures,” Netanyahu said. ays.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 23 that Israeli warplanes were in the air preparing a major preemptive strike against Hezbollah in Lebanon four days after Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught, but Biden convinced Netanyahu to stand down at the last minute. 

The IDF says it carried out a “wide-scale” wave of airstrikes against Hezbollah sites in Lebanon today. Jets hit military buildings, rocket launchers, and other infrastructure belonging to the terror group. Several rockets were also fired from Lebanon at the Keren Naftali peak in the Galilee Panhandle. The IDF says it shelled the source of the fire with artillery.

Iran summoned Russia’s charge d’affaires after Moscow and Arab countries released a joint statement last week challenging Iran’s claim to disputed islands in the Persian Gulf, state media reports. The Russian envoy was handed a note to deliver to Moscow in which Tehran protested the statement the 6th Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum issued in Morocco that called for a peaceful solution to resolve the conflict between Iran and the United Arab Emirates over the islands. This is the second time this year that Iran has called for a Russian envoy in protest over comments on the disputed islands. Tehran summoned the Russian ambassador in July over a similar statement. The diplomatic spat is a rare occurrence between the two countries that have recently deepened their ties. Iran took control of the three islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb after British forces withdrew in 1971. It considers them an “inseparable” part of its territory. The UAE also claims the three islands and has long pressed for a negotiated solution.

December 24, 2023

Israeli armored personnel carrier IDF photo

During ground operations in the southern part of Gaza City, the IDF  troops of the Yiftah Reserve Brigade ambushed Hamas operatives, killing dozens. 

The UN Security Council on Dec. 22 passed a resolution that “calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” It was the first time since the war began with Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel that the council has passed a resolution including language regarding a “cessation of hostilities,” but it still stopped short of demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire, which both the US and Israel oppose. (Full resolution text here.)

The UN security council has called for boosting humanitarian assistance for Gaza, but UN chief Antonio Guterres said Israel's military operation was causing “massive obstacles” to aid distribution inside the battered territory. Video has shown that Hamas terrorists have hijacked trucks carrying aid and shot at civilians clamoring for aid.

The presidents of Egypt and Iran spoke by telephone to discuss Gaza and the possibility of renewing diplomatic ties between their countries in what Iranian state television said today was their first phone call. The report said that Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, spoke to his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. “Raisi said Iran was ready to provide all its capacities to stop the genocide by the Zionist regime and send aid to the Palestinians,” Iranian state TV reported. Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been poor, although the countries have maintained some diplomatic contacts. Their call follows other moves by countries in the region to ease tension in recent months. Egypt’s Sunni Muslim Arab ally Saudi Arabia and Shia Muslim Iran restored diplomatic relations earlier this year, while Cairo has mended a rift with Qatar and re-established ties with Turkey.

A worldwide campaign of assassinations of Hamas leaders was announced by Israeli officials in mid-October. Officials in Israel briefed journalists that a new operation called Nili, an acronym for a biblical phrase in Hebrew meaning “the eternal one of Israel will not lie”, would target senior leaders of the militant Islamist organization.

A drone damaged an “Israel-affiliated” merchant ship off the coast of India today but caused no casualties, according to maritime agencies. It caused a fire on board, according to the British military’s UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). Ambrey, a maritime security firm, said the “Liberia-flagged chemical/products tanker … was Israel-affiliated” and had been on its way from Saudi Arabia to India. The attack occurred 200 nautical miles south-west of Veraval, India. The UKMTO said the “authorities were investigating”, and noted the fire had been extinguished. Ambrey said the Indian navy was responding. No group has claimed responsibility, which came amid numerous drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea. Iran has also been accused of carrying out attacks near its waters. In November, an Israeli-owned cargo ship was hit in a suspected drone attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Indian Ocean, according to a US official.

Thomas White, director for the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, criticized a decision by Israeli authorities to issue evacuation orders for people in central Gaza to move to Deir al-Balah. He said that 150,000 people would be impacted, while the area was “already overwhelmed with displaced including UNRWA shelters.”People in #Gaza are People. They are not pieces on a checkerboard - many have already been displaced several times. The Israeli Army just orders people to move into areas where there are ongoing airstrikes. No place is safe, nowhere to go," he tweeted. 

The IDF said it attacked a number of Hezbollah “terrorist targets” overnight, and today struck "operational infrastructures, terrorist infrastructures and a military compound," according to and IDF spokesman. The attacks occured in “Lebanese territory”, he said. Israeli strikes on Gaza continued today, including heavy shelling in several cities. Airstrikes, artillery bombardments and fighting were reported across Gaza late into night on Dec. 22.

UN chief António Guterres said on X today that 136 United Nations colleagues in Gaza had died in 75 days, something the global organization had “never seen” in its history. “Most of our staff have been forced from their homes. I pay tribute to them and the thousands of aid workers risking their lives as they support civilians in Gaza," he said.

President Biden said he is “heartbroken” by the news that an American named Gadi Haggai is believed to have been killed by Hamas on Oct. 7 during Hamas attack on Israel. Haggai (73) had been thought to be a hostage along with his wife.  On Dec. 22, Biden released a statement saying, "Jill [Biden, the first lady] and I are heartbroken by the news that American Gadi Haggai is now believed to have been killed by Hamas on October 7. We continue to pray for the wellbeing and safe return of his wife, Judy." Haggai's wife, Judith Weinstein, is still being held hostage in Gaza.

Israel’s military ordered residents of al-Bureij, in central Gaza, to move south immediately today. This may signal a new focus of the ground assault that has devastated the territory’s north and made a series of incursions in the south. Some residents packed up donkey carts and left. But there was no immediate sign of large numbers from al-Bureij joining the hundreds of thousands fleeing other areas.


The UN security council, after days of delay, passed its new resolution on Gaza aid delivery with 13 votes in favor, no votes against and abstentions by the US and Russia. Although abstaining, it was pivotal for Gaza that the US did not veto and therefore block the resolution. A vote had originally been expected on Monday but was delayed day after day as negotiations went on to try to get the pieces in place for the resolution to pass when it did finally come to the vote. the resolution called for speeding up the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza while also “creating the conditions” for an end to the Israel-Hamas war. It also “calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” This was the first time that the security council has passed a resolution including language regarding a “cessation of hostilities,” but it still stopped short of demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire, which both the US and Israel oppose. (Full resolution text here.)

UN Secretary General António Guterres said after the vote that he hoped aid delivery would improve “but a humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to begin to meet the desperate needs of people in Gaza and end their ongoing nightmare”. The UN chief added: “As difficult as it might appear today, the two-state solution – in line with UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements – is the only path to sustainable peace.”

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas issued different responses towards the UN vote. The Palestinian foreign ministry, which is part of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, called the resolution “a step in the right direction” and said it would help “end the aggression, ensure the arrival of aid and protect the Palestinian people”. But Hamas, the militants who run Gaza, called the resolution an “insufficient step” for meeting the impoverished territory’s needs.

The International Rescue Committee deplored the lack of a UN security council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, even as it welcomed the resolution on aid. It welcomed the call for the unconditional release of remaining hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. “From a humanitarian point of view, the failure of the UNSC to demand an immediate and sustained ceasefire is unjustifiable,” the committee said.

The European Commission said it will offer a €118m ($130m) aid package to the Palestinian Authority. The EC said on Dec. 22 that it would pay salaries and pensions of civil servants in the Judea and Samaria (West Bank), social allowances for vulnerable families and the payment for medical referrals to East Jerusalem hospitals.

Gaza health officials say more than 20,000 people have been killed in the war. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said on Friday that it had documented 20,057 deaths in the fighting. It does not differentiate between combatant and civilian deaths. It has previously said that roughly two-thirds of the dead were women or minors.

Gaza skyline with Israeli soldier in foreground IDF photo


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that of the UN Security Council vote demanding aid deliveries at scale that Israel’s offensive is the “real problem… creating massive obstacles” to humanitarian shipments. “The real problem is that the way Israel is conducting this offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza,” he says. “A humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to begin to meet the desperate needs of people in Gaza and end their ongoing nightmare.”

Following the vote on the resolution, from which the US and UK abstained, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield lamented that it does not denounce Hamas over the October 7 atrocities. “Ultimately, while we are encouraged that the council spoke out on this humanitarian crisis we’re deeply disappointed — appalled, actually — that once again, the council was not able to condemn Hamas for the horrific terrorist attack [it perpetrated] on October 7,” she said. “I can’t understand why — why some council members are standing in the way and why they refuse to condemn these evils unequivocally,” she continued. “Why is it so hard to condemn Hamas for slaughtering young people at a concert, for butchering families alive, for the reports of widespread sexual violence? I will never understand why some council members have remained silent in the face of such evil.” The US abstained after negotiating language that did not require an immediate ceasefire or other demands opposed by Israel. Israel's ambassador to the UN thanked the US for “standing on Israel’s side throughout the negotiations” and “maintaining defined red lines.”

The Palestinian Authority’s representative to the UN said the Security Council resolution demanding more aid deliveries to Gaza “a step in the right direction,” but reiterater calls for an immediate ceasefire. “This resolution is a step in the right direction — it must be implemented and must be accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate ceasefire. I repeat, immediate ceasefire,” said Riyad Mansour. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: “It is good news that the UN has come together to back a resolution to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

The IDF uncovered another large Hamas tunnel network in the southern part of Gaza City. According to the IDF, the network is hundreds of meters long and includes command rooms, storage and large resting areas with electricity, communication lines and water. The tunnel was found by the IDF after troops of the Yiftah Brigade and combat engineers battled Hamas operatives at a main compound belonging to the terror group in Gaza City, near the al-Quds Hospital.

Israel will continue to inspect humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says after the UN Security Council approves a resolution demanding increased aid deliveries amid the Israel-Hamas war. “Israel will continue to inspect, for security reasons, all humanitarian assistance to Gaza,” Cohen says in a statement.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeil troops have nearly e military complete “operational control” of northern Gaza, as it further expands operations in the southern of the enclave. “IDF troops are continuing ground operations in Khan Younis, and at the same time are preparing to expand the activity to additional areas of the Strip, with an emphasis on its south,” Hagari said in a press conference.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed militias, claimed it struck a “vital target” in the Mediterranean Sea  this week. Al Jazeera reported that it was the Karish gas rig near Israel's northern shore. The claim was not verified and came after the IDF downed a drone last week over the sea near Lebanon as it approached Israeli airspace.

Iran is “deeply involved” in the planning of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels against commercial vessels in the Red Sea, providing weapons, funding, training and “tactical intelligence” to enable the strikes along a critical sea corridor,  said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. Watson said “Iranian support throughout the Gaza crisis has enabled the Houthis to launch attacks against Israel and maritime targets, though Iran has often deferred operational decision-making authority to the Houthis.” “Since 2015, Iran has transferred advanced weapons systems to the Houthis, including Unmanned Aerial Systems, Land Attack Cruise Missiles, and ballistic missiles that have been used in attacks against maritime vessels, including commercial vessels with no known links to Israel, and in attacks against Israel since October,” Watson said. Without ongoing Iranian support, “the Houthis would struggle to effectively track and strike commercial vessels,” Watson said. Iran, which has long backed the Yemeni rebels, has provided unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles to the Houthis, including those used in recent strikes on commercial and military vessels and attempted attacks on Israel, according to the US assessment.

“We have no reason to believe that Iran is trying to dissuade the Houthis from this reckless behavior,” Watson said. The Houthi campaign has prompted a growing list of companies to halt operations in the major trade route. The US has established a naval coalition to protect the Red Sea global shipping lane. However, the Biden administration has not yet declassified the Houthis as a terror organization. US officials say that Washington is still considering the move.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a relatively called Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Dec. 21 and discussed “active efforts” towards releasing hostages held by Gazan terrorists, and to facilitate more humanitarian aid into the Strip, according to the State Department. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has again denied claims that an IDF sniper “murdered” two women at the Catholic Holy Family Parish in Gaza last week, with military officials indicating that a review of the incident does not line up with widely distributed reports of the women’s deaths. Following the reports of two women that were shot in the area of the Latin church in Shuja’iyya, the IDF has finished conducting an initial review of the incident,” the statement said. The review found that “Hamas terrorists launched a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) at IDF troops from the vicinity of the church,” the statement said. “The troops then identified three people in the vicinity, operating as spotters for Hamas by guiding their attacks in the direction of the IDF troops.” “In response, our troops fired towards the spotters, and hits were identified,” the IDF continued. “While this incident occurred in the area where the two women were reportedly killed, the reports received do not match the conclusion of our initial review, which found that the IDF troops were targeting spotters in enemy lookouts.” “The IDF continues to investigate the incident,” the statement said.

The Red Cross says it has appointed Pierre Krahenbuhl, a controversial former head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, as its director-general. The Swiss national, with more than 30 years of experience in the humanitarian sector, will take over in April, when current chief Robert Mardini completes his four-year term. “The Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has appointed Pierre Krahenbuhl as the organization’s next director-general,” it says in a statement. Krahenbuhl, 57, has spent 25 years in prominent roles at the ICRC and is currently serving as secretary-general to the ICRC assembly. In 2014, Krahenbuhl was appointed commissioner-general of the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). He resigned from that position in 2019 amid an internal probe into alleged mismanagement and ethical abuses at the organization. In the end, he was largely cleared of the allegations.

The IDF reveals footage obtained from the body camera of a Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip, showing gunmen preparing a roadside bomb to be used against Israeli troops. The camera was found following a recent battle in northern Gaza, during which troops of the Nahal Infantry Brigade’s 931st Battalion encountered a group of Hamas gunmen hiding on the third floor of a building. The IDF says the gunmen hurled grenades from the building at the troops, who engaged them inside the structure and used tanks to shell the top floor where they were holed up. After scanning the building, the soldiers found the camera on the body of one of the gunmen, with footage showing they had placed explosive devices in the area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promises to continue to supply the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and urges a peaceful resolution to fighting between Israel and Hamas. “Russia will continue to supply the Gaza Strip with essential goods, including medicines and medical equipment,” Putin tells Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a telephone call, the Kremlin says, adding that Putin stresses the “importance of a quick cessation of the bloodshed and the resumption of the political process.”

Kibbutz Nir Oz announces that 73-year-old resident Gadi Haggai, abducted on October 7, is dead. It does not say how it received the information, but adds that Haggai’s body remains in the hands of Gaza terrorists. Haggai was a father of four and grandfather of seven. His wife Judith remains captive and is believed to have been wounded during the attacks.

Hezbollah has announced that 121 of the terror group’s operatives have been killed since it began its attacks on Israel’s north in October. Israel has been exchanging fire with gunmen and conducting strikes on terror targets in Lebanon as the attacks on communities and army posts continue.

The IDF says fighter jets carried out airstrikes against a series of Hezbollah sites in Lebanon in response to rocket fire on northern Israel this morning. It says the sites include military compounds where Hezbollah members operated, and other infrastructure belonging to the terror group. Some 20 rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Shomera area in northern Israel with additional rocket fire on other areas along the border. The IDF has not immediately published information on potential casualties in the attacks. The army says it shelled the launch sites with artillery. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the rocket fire on Shomera.

The IDF has begun to call on residents of central Gaza’s Bureij town to evacuate south, and head for shelters in Deir al-Balah, as the military’s ground offensive expands. Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman, publishes a map of the zones that need to be evacuated alongside the announcement. He also says that Gaza’s main north-south highway, Salah ad-Din, in the areas northeast of Khan Younis, still remains a “battle zone.” He says the IDF will facilitate the movement of civilians via a bypass route along the coast. Additionally, Adraee says the IDF will make “tactical pauses in military activities” in the western neighborhoods of Rafah in southern Gaza, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., for “humanitarian purposes.”

A 13-year-old boy who pleaded guilty last week to planning a mass shooting at the Temple Israel synagogue in Canton OH has received a lenient sentence that features a year of probation, and a requirement that he read a book about Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz and do a book report on it. Lutz saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. The unidentified adolescent was alleged by law enforcement to have created a "detailed plan to complete a mass shooting at the Temple Israel" and shared it on the online gaming communication platform Discord.This "plan was reported to law enforcement and required an immediate investigatory response." Stark County Sheriff George Maier told WKYC-TV, "We stand by a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to threats made against our community. Every threat is investigated thoroughly with the seriousness it deserves. We work diligently to ensure that those responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Democratic Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania accused  the American Israel Public Affairs Committee of racism, while citing the lobby group for failing to support her as a result of her anti-Israel positions. A former member of the Democratic Socialists of America and member of the ‘Squad’ of progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives, she wrote on social media: "Since no one else will say it, I will: AIPAC is an existential threat to the Black community and its right to self [determination].”

Israeli soldiers in profile IDF photo


The union representing Legal Aid lawyers in New York City approved a controversial anti-Israel resolution on Dec. 19 calling for an economic boycott of “apartheid” Israel and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza — which critics condemned as pro-Hamas and antisemitic. The resolution from the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/Local 2325 of United Auto Workers passed with 1067 votes to 570 opposed.

A high-ranking member of Hezbollah's Islamic Jihad Organization was charged with terrorism offenses, including the bombing of a building in Argentina in 1994 that killed 85 people, in an indictment unsealed on Dec. 20 in Manhattan's federal court. Samuel Salman El Reda, 58, who remains at large and is believed to be in Lebanon, was described by federal authorities as the leader of terrorist activity carried out by Hezbollah since at least 1993.

Young U.S. Democrats disapprove of President Biden's policy on Israel-Gaza but favor Donald Trump in the 2024 election, according to a New York Times/Sina College poll. The poll shows more Americans favor a Gaza cease-fire than oppose it. Among young Democratic voters, nearly three-quarters are dissatisfied with Biden's Gaza approach, leading some to lean towards Trump, the poll finds. According to the survey, conducted together with Siena College, when given the choice between the two courses of action, 44 percent voted for a cease-fire and 39 percent voted in favor of the war.

In his year-end press availability on Dec. 20, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said with regard to proposals for a truce in Gaza: "What is striking to me is that even as we hear many countries urging an end to this conflict, I hear virtually no one demanding of Hamas that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender. This is over tomorrow if Hamas does that. How can it be that there are no demands made of the aggressor, and only demands made of the victim. It would be good if there was a strong international voice pressing Hamas to do what is necessary to end this."

Prospects for further hostage exchanges darkened after Egyptian talks with Hamas ended "without results." The terrorist organization insisted it would not discuss anything less than a complete end to Israel’s offensive in Gaza. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had visited Egypt on Dec. 20 for the first time in more than a month for discussions about a possible truce. There were discussions over which of the hostages still held by terrorists in Gaza could be freed in a new truce and which prisoners held by Israel may be released. Taher Al-Nono, Haniyeh’s media adviser, said Hamas was not willing to discuss releasing more Israeli hostages until Israel permanently ends its military campaign in Gaza and humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians increases. "We cannot talk about negotiations while Israel continues its aggression. Discussing any proposal related to prisoners must occur after the cessation of aggression," he said.  Israel has insisted all remaining women and infirm men among the hostages be released.  Hamas rejected an Israeli offer to stop fighting for one week in exchange for dozens of hostages. Islamic Jihad said its leader would visit Egypt in coming days as well to discuss a possible end to the conflict. White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Dec. 20: "These are very serious discussions and negotiations, and we hope that they lead somewhere." “There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression”, the statement from Hamas said.

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said, “We continue to cooperate with many of our partners to provide suitable conditions for the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea,” affirming that regional powers have a duty to ensure freedom of navigation, he said as UK foreign secretary David Cameron stood by him. 

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd shipping company said today that 25 of its ships will be re-routed by the end of the year to avoid the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis are targeting merchant ships. “We will reroute around 25 vessels up to the end of 2023,” a spokesperson said in a written reply to an enquiry by Reuters. “Further decisions will be taken at the end of the year.” Hapag-Lloyd’s ship, the Al Jasrah, was attacked near Yemen this month is on its way to Singapore. Apart from Hapag-Lloyd, other operators’ ships have also been attacked, including those of rivals Maersk and MSC. Shipping freight rates and shipping stocks have risen as a result of the disruptions, which means that many East-West trades incur more expenses by having to circumnavigate Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.

Reuters reported that shipping companies are not certain about the new international navy coalition led by the United States to combat terrorists attacks in the Red Sea, with many vessels continuing to avoid the area or cancelling contracts. Shipping and maritime security officials said few practical details are known about the initiative launched by the Biden administration or whether it will directly engage in the event of further armed attacks at sea."There are still a number of unknowns with the coalition. We don't know exactly how many warships will be involved, how long it will take those vessels to get to the region, or their rules of engagement and the actual protection scheme that will be put in place," said Corey Ranslem, chief executive of British maritime risk advisory and security company Dryad Global. "Globally this is a fairly small area, however providing protection to commercial vessels in this region could be a major undertaking depending on the number of vessels along with any changes to the Houthi tactics."

Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and the Iron Dome intercepted rockets over the city today after launches from Gaza. There was no immediate word of any damage or casualties in what appeared to have been a long-range salvo by terrorists in the third month of a Gaza war.

An Israeli air strike killed a Hamas-appointed senior border official and three others in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt, Hamas and health officials said today. Col. Bassam Ghaben, the Hamas-appointed director of the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, and three other Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike near the gate of Rafah crossing. 

An Israeli strike in southern Lebanon killed a Hezbollah terrorist, adding to the toll of 100 Hezbollah combants killed in recent shooting with Israel. Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel at the border since Palestinian ally Hamas attacked southern Israel, igniting a conflict that has drawn in the heavily armed group and other Iran-aligned factions across the Middle East.

Northern Gaza no longer has a functional hospital, WHO said, due to lack of fuel, staff and supplies. “There are actually no functional hospitals left in the north,” said Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in Gaza. “Al-Ahli [hospital] was the last one but it is now minimally functional.” Al-Ahli was one of the hospitals used by Hamas for military operations and to detain and interrogate Israeli prisoners. 

More than 8,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails, amid an intensified wave of arrests and detentions in Gaza and the West Bank since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel. Adameer, a group supporting prisoners held by Israel, said they include hundreds from Gaza, including 123 women, though the true total from the territory could be much higher. Earlier this month the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, an advocacy group that keeps a tally of prisoners from Samaria and Judea (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, said there were about 7,800 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the highest total for at least 14 years. The numbers for those held in administrative detention – indefinitely and without charge – was at a historic high, they said. Eighty percent of detainees since October 7 fell into this category, said Tala Nasir, a lawyer working with Addameer according to The Guardian. 

Relatives of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza appealed to the international community for the release of their loved ones. In a video, a woman tells of a two-year old boy who keeps asking every day: “Where is daddy?” "And the only answer we have is that daddy loves him. And that’s it, we don’t know what to say." Another woman described “a three-year-old who knows what being held hostage in Gaza is like”. A man appealed for help to bring hostages home, saying: "We don’t have a single moment to lose any more." About 128 Hamas-held hostages reportedly remain in Gaza, although Israeli officials believe that several of that number have died.

The IDF acknowledged a significant misstep over the mistaken shooting of three Israelis held hostage in Gaza. Five days before they were shot and killed by IDF troops, a military search dog with a body camera had captured audio of them shouting for help in Hebrew, according to AP. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Dec. 20 that the recording was not reviewed until after the hostages were killed while trying to make themselves known to Israeli forces. The incident has sparked an uproar in Israel and put pressure on the government to reach a new deal with Hamas. The chief of the military has said the shooting was against its rules of engagement.

December 21, 2023

In a video that appeared on social media, Ahmad Mohammad Hassan al-Kahlout (Abu Hassan) was shown being interrogated by Israeli forces. He said that he was manager of the Kamel Adnan hospital in Gaza. He said that he joined Hamas in 2010 and received military training at that time. He is a brigadier general in the terrorist organization. He said that senior military and civilian Hamas officials were hiding at the hospital for 10 days at a time and were regularly replaced. He said that they hid at the hospital because it is a "safe place" and "will not be targeted when they're inside the hospital. At one time, he said, there were nearly 100 such officials hiding in the hospital. He verified that at least 16 medical personnel at the hospital belonged to Al-Qassam brigade. Among them were physicians, nurses, paramedics and clerks. Some were also in the Islamic Brigades. He affirmed that the hospital was a military facility, as was long asserted by Israel. He said that senior Hamas personnel had offices at the hospital, including Majdi abu Amsha and Mushir al-Mashri. He said that Israeli soldiers were kept captive there.  There were also places there for the police commander, interrogators and "special security." He said that Hamas uses private ambulances, which are painted a different color than others and do not have license plates. He said that they are used to transport abducted Israeli soldiers, and dead bodies. He said that they were not used to transport injured and wounded people, even though he begged his superiors to use them to transport patients to Al-Shifa hospital.  "His mission was more important," he said. "His mission is to carry out the orders of his headquarters, Izz adin al-Qassam (Hamas' military branch). He characterized the leaders of Hamas as "cowards." "They are cowards because they left us in the field. While they are hiding in secret places. The people are the ones who pay the price. They have destroyed us, destroyed, unfortunately."

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ top leader traveled to Cairo today for negotiations concerning the war in Gaza as part of diplomatic moves by Israel and US and regional powers to secure another cease-fire and hostage swap at a moment even while Hamas terrorists are stubbornly resisting the Israeli military operations in the enclave. 

The government of Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, announced today that it will block all Israeli-owned and -flagged ships, and any vessels headed to Israel, from docking at its ports. The ban will take immediately. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin flew out to the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier today and met with crews he has ordered to remain at sea to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spilling over into a deadlier regional conflict. He had pushed Israel to limit its bombardment of Gaza and quickly address Palestinian civilians’ humanitarian needs.

The IDF carried out airstrikes against a series of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, amid the ongoing border skirmishes. These included sites Hezbollah terrorists and infrastructure are located.

Israel's Nahal and 551st brigades raided several Hamas sites in northern Gaza's Jabaliya today. They discovered a truck with long-range rockets inside, the IDF said. Other weapon caches were found in the area, it said. The 551st Brigade identified several Hamas terrrorists hiding in buildings in the Jabaliya area, and directed airstrikes against them. A strike was made again on a building previously used to launch anti-tank missiles at troops, the IDF claimed. 

In Khan Younis, the IDF said troops of the 7th Armored Brigade raided homes of senior Hamas officials, finding tunnel shafts.

Israeli soldier crouching alert IDF photo


According to Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, Pope Francis is repeating “the sins of Pius XII” and “surreptitiously colluding with the forces of evil.” Speaking on a video distributed via social media, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa said: “By denying Israel the moral right to fight this war, by comparing its just war of self-defense to the barbarism of Hamas, you repeat the sins of Pius XII – surreptitiously colluding with the forces of evil who seek to annihilate the Jewish people.” Goldstein equated Pope Francis’ approach to that alleged of Pope Pius XII during World War II, suggesting Francis is failing in his duty to protect both Christians and Jews from global threats. He “betrays his fiduciary duty as the head of the Catholic Church to protect Christians throughout the world from the same murderous hatred directed against the Jews, not realizing that we are in this war together,” he added.

Israeli soldiers and armored personnel carriers IDF photo


The Department of Defense announced the establishment of a multinational naval task force to protect commercial ships from Houthi missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which have escalated in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. The task force will be known as "Operation Prosperity Guardian" and will build upon an existing counterpiracy mission in the region known as Task Force 153, officials said.

British Airways has paused plans to stream a Jewish sitcom on its flights owing to alleged concerns it could trigger a backlash in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. The airline delayed plans to add the comedy series Hapless, which has been shown on Netflix and Amazon Prime, to its in-flight entertainment system to avoid any appearance of taking sides in the ongoing conflict.

Brent Wood, 33, was arrested after spraying an unknown substance on two people and chanting antisemitic slogans outside a synagogue in Washington D.C. The incident occurred in front of the Kesher Israel Congregation at about 9:30 Sunday morning. The suspect allegedly sprayed a foul-smelling substance at two people and yelled "gas the Jews!"

A video released by Hamas’ armed wing on Dec.18 appears to show the terrorists firing an anti-tank missile at an Israeli army convoy in Gaza, hitting a truck and setting it on fire. Israeli troops are shown trying to remove one or more injured comrades as the truck burns next to them. One soldier is seen crawling next to the vehicle.

Israel's concessions regarding the war in Gaza, at the request of the Biden administration to minimize civilian casualties, have increased the risk to IDF soldiers, according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. WSJ noted that while Israel and the US share the goal of eliminating Hamas, Biden's pressure on Netanyahu is extraneous and erroneous. "Israel fights on because it has no other choice if it wants to survive as a state. But many nations see these U.N. votes as consequence-free gestures for peace or solidarity. That a cease-fire now would mean a Hamas victory and the death of Israeli deterrence, bringing on the next massacre and the next war, doesn’t concern them."

A prominent Christian evangelical organization, International Embassy in Jerusalem, has renovated 140 underground bomb shelters in the Upper Galilee as intermittent Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon continue for the third straight month, the group announced on Dec. 18.

A terrorist from Hamas' "Nukhba Force", and a terrorist who participated in the October 7 massacre, were captured in a school in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza. The terrorists were captured during a raid on the school on Friday by soldiers from the IDF's 401st Brigade. During the battle, many Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists holed up in the school were killed or captured. The captured terrorists were turned over to Unit 504 of the Intelligence Directorate.

A man remains at large after storming into a Paris nursery and threatening its Jewish director with a six-inch knife and making antisemitic death threats. The attacker used an unlocked door on Dec. 12 to enter Les Minis Kids nursery, per Le Figaro. The school, in the Créteil suburb of southeastern Paris, is home to a large Jewish community.

Dozens of pro-Palestine demonstrators occupied the main concourses of both Penn Station and Grand Central Station in New York City. Prominent activists addressed the commuters and called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Dec 17, the IFD refuted a claim made by the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem that Israeli forces had targeted Holy Family Catholic parish in Gaza. According to Patriarch Pizzaballa, an elderly Christian woman and her daughter were "murdered" by an Israeli "sniper" on the grounds of the Holy Family Parish on December 16. According to AFP, an Israeli army spokesperson said that the IDF “does not target civilians, no matter their religion.” The army said it had been contacted on December 16 by church representatives about the incident in the Holy Family Parish, but “no reports of a hit on the church, nor civilians being injured or killed, were raised.” “A review of the IDF’s operational findings support this,” it added. “The IDF takes claims regarding harm to sensitive sites with the utmost seriousness — especially churches — considering that Christian communities are a minority group in the Middle East.” According to Vatican News, Israel justified the attack because a rocket launcher was detected on church grounds. “Yesterday (Saturday), a letter from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was received describing a tragic incident that took place in the Holy Family Parish which is located in the Rimal area in the Gaza Strip. Yesterday morning (Saturday), representatives of the church contacted the IDF regarding explosions that were heard near the church.”

“During the dialogue between the IDF and representatives of the community, no reports of a hit on the church, nor civilians being injured or killed, were raised. A review of the IDF’s operational findings support this.”However, the IDF added that an incident did occur in another area of Gaza City near a church located in Shejaiya, where there was intense combat. 

“When reviewing incidents that may have taken place in the vicinity of churches in Gaza, it was found that an incident took place during yesterday afternoon (Saturday) in another area in Gaza, near the Latin Church in the Shejayia area.”“An initial review suggests that IDF troops, who were operating against Hamas terrorists in the area, operated against a threat that they identified in the area of the church. The IDF is conducting a thorough review of the incident.”The Israeli stressed that it takes such claims “with the utmost seriousness — especially churches — considering that Christian communities are a minority group in the Middle East.”“The IDF only targets terrorists and terror infrastructure and does not target civilians, no matter their religion. The IDF takes vast measures to avoid harm to uninvolved civilians, while fighting against a terrorist organization which does everything to put civilians at risk — including by using civilians and holy sites as human shields for its terror activities.”

The Catholic bishops of the United States issued a statement on Dec. 18 deploring the deaths of the two women at Holy Family parish in Gaza. " Following the mistaken killing of Israeli hostages and now, the killing of two Christian women and the wounding of others inside Holy Family Parish in Gaza, we call for an immediate cessation of all hostilities, the release of hostages, and for earnest negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of this conflict. We resolutely join our voices with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminding all parties in this conflict, that war is never the answer but always a defeat. We plead, ‘peace, please peace!’”

Holy Family Gaza damage 1

Holy Family Gaza damage 2

Holy Family Gaza damage 3

Weekend events at the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville have been cancelled due to email threats. Some 400 other Jewish congregations received similar threats. The Nashville Jewish federations said; "These threats are part of a natikonal trend to harass and intimidate American Jews. We are grateful to our law enforcement partners for their support and professionalism. We will not be afraid, and will continue to live proud and joyful Jewish lives in our amazing Nashville community." Local police are offering 24-hour surveillance at a Nashville synagogue.

A Cayman Islands-flagged tanker Swan Atlantic was attacked in a crucial shipping route off Yemen, according to the Defense department. This is the latest in a series of assaults on vessels in the Red Sea and its strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have responsibility, saying they are targeting vessels linked to Israel. DoD said the vessel was attacked by multiple projectiles at about 9 a.m. local time. The USS Carney responded to the incident. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which monitors Mideast shipping lanes, also reported an incident in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, off Yemen’s port of Mocha, and warned vessels in the area to exercise caution.

BP International announced that it will cease sending its oil tankers through the area, citing concerns over terrorism.

The IDF released videos showing airstrikes it aborted in Gaza due to the presence of civilians. “Hamas sees civilian death as a strategy, we see it as a tragedy, which is why we use many measures to try and minimize the civilian harm and suffering. That is the tragic reality in this war that Hamas started,” said IDF Spokesman  Daniel Hagari. He said the IDF warns civilians before attacks “whenever possible.” “We abort attacks when we see unexpected civilian presence. We choose the right munition for each target, so it doesn’t cause unnecessary damage,” Hagari said.

Israel's State Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against a Jewish Israeli citizen for incitement to terrorism, violence, and racism, for posting incendiary messages on social media against Palestinians and Muslims, including calling for the “extermination” of all Muslims on the planet. This indictment of Noam Dayan (34) is the third indictment against a Jewish citizen for such crimes since the October 7 atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. In one post on Telegram, Dayan wrote, “The time has come to slaughter Gazan babies in the cradle.”


Pope Francis, at his weekly blessing at St Peter's Square at the Vatican, referred to a statement by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem about the death of two Christian women, killed by Israeli forces within the precinct of Holy Family Catholic parish in Gaza. According to the patriarchate, the Catholic authority in the Holy Land, and IDF “sniper” "murdered" two women, Nahida Khalil Anton and her daughter Samar, as they walked to a convent of the Missionaries of Charity within the parish compound. The Patriarchate's statement said seven other people were shot and wounded as they tried to protect others.

“I continue to receive very grave and painful news from Gaza,” Francis said today. “Unarmed civilians are the objects of bombings and shootings. And this happened even inside the Holy Family parish complex, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick or disabled, nuns.” He said the Gazans were killed by “snipers” and also referred to the Patriarchate’s statement that a convent was damaged by Israeli tank fire. The Missionaries of Charity were founded by Mother Theresa. “Some would say, ‘It is war. It is terrorism.’ Yes, it is war. It is terrorism,” he said. According to Israel's foreign ministry, the incident was still under review, and it had no immediate comment on the pope’s statement. This was the second time in less than a month that the pope used the word “terrorism” while speaking about Gaza. After meeting separately with relatives of hostages held by Hamas, he said on Nov. 22:  “This is what wars do. But here we have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism.” Later, controversy ensued when Palestinians who met the pope insisted that he had used the word "genocide" in reference to the death of civilians in Gaza, while a Vatican spokesman insisted he had not. Jewish groups criticized the pope for last month’s “terrorism” comments. 

Israeli troops revealed a tunnel 3 miles long built by Hamas in Gaza wide enough to allow a car to drive through. The IDF also found video showing two of Hamas' leaders driving a car in the tunnel.

Suitcases of cash amounting more than $1 million were found in a Gaza hideout by IDF troops.

Hamas cash IDF photo


After two women were killed and several others wounded in a series of targeted attacks on a Roman Catholic church and convent by the Israeli military in Gaza, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the violence, especially as Christmas draws near. In a Dec. 16 statement, the patriarchate said that around noon that day, “a sniper of the [Israeli Defense Force] murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of the war.” Reportedly, the IDF claimed that Israeli troops received fire from the church compound and responded with fire.

In the new Harvard/Harris poll, 67% of respondents aged 18-24 agree that "Jews as a class are oppressors and should be treated as oppressors." Consistent with other polls that have found relatively high anti-Jewish sentiment among young American adults.


Visitors to the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem scattered during fading light of dusk as siren wailed warning them of incoming rockets. The wall, known as kotel in Hebrew, is one of the holiest sites for Jews due to its proximity to the hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount.  

Denmark is holding two people in custody and four others are the target of a terrorism investigation, a prosecutor said today, in a case that coincided with an arrest in the Netherlands and several in Germany of alleged Hamas terrorists. Authorities in Germany said three people were arrested there under suspicion of planning attacks on Jewish communities in Europe. Danish authorities say that one person was arrested in the Netherlands, but did not clarify if that person is tied to the Hamas investigation in Germany.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that he has discussed with Israeli officials the situation along the Lebanon-Israel border, adding that a “negotiated outcome” is the best way to reassure residents of northern Israel, as terrorists continue to lob rockets and artillery fire into Israel. While in Israel, Sullivan said that the Biden administration will not tolerate threats by Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, which has been attacking Israeli military posts along the border since a day after the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7.

The Israeli military spokesman said today that IDF troops mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages during its ground operation in Gaza. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli troops found the hostages and erroneously identified them as a threat. He said it was not clear if they had escaped their captors or been abandoned.

The IDF says an attack helicopter and drone struck a number of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon, including a rocket launcher used fire projectiles at northern Israel earlier. Some of the rockets were intercepted, while others landed in open areas. The Iron Dome also intercepted a "suspicious aerial target" that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon, and a drone launched from Lebanon crashed near an army post close to Menara, the IDF said.

The IDF announced that it had completed a series of airstrikes against sites used by Hamas's internal security on the Gaza-Egypt border. In a statement, it said the strikes, carried out by fighter jets, attack helicopters, and drones, targeted military compounds, guard posts, observation posts, weapons depots, and command centers belonging to Hamas's internal security forces. The IDF accuses Hamas's internal security forces of aiding the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Video circulating on social media shows Hamas forces hijacking trucks laden with humanitarian aid that pass through the Israeli checkpoint on the Gaza-Egypt border.

Vice President Kamala Harris was shouted down by a Democratic state lawmaker during a party at her home on December 11. Harris, 59, was in the middle of her remarks when Delaware state Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton (D) unfurled a sign that read “ceasefire” and began shouting at the vice president. “Madam Vice President, I am a rep from Delaware. Did you know in Bethlehem they are not celebrating Christmas? Did you know in Bethlehem, baby Jesus is under rubble? Why won’t you call for a cease-fire?” Wilson-Anton has served in the Delaware House of Representatives since 2021 and became the first Muslim elected official in the state after winning her 2020 race by more than 40 points. “Christmas is cancelled in Bethlehem,” Wilson-Anton wrote on X after interrupting the vice president. For the record, Bethlehem -- the birthplace of Jesus Christ -- is not in Gaza.

The official Telegram channels of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organizations were blocked this week on all devices using Apple’s iOS. The channels were the main propaganda outlets of the U.S.-designated terrorist groups, which used Telegram to share videos of kidnappings and killings of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Apple’s decision came after a U.S.-based NGO, the Zachor Legal Institute, approached it with a request to block the channels.

A progressive environmental advocate and longtime Oakland City Council member, Dan Kalb, was disinvited from addressing a University of California- Berkeley environmental policy class after students discovered what they considered to be pro-Israel social media posts.

Israeli forces recovered the body of hostage Elia Toledano (28) in Gaza, the IDF announced.  Hours later, IDF announced that forces operating in Gaza retrieved the bodies of two more Israeli hostages: Cpl. Nik Beizer, 19, and Sgt. Ron Sherman, 19.

The IDF says troops of the 188th Armored Brigade captured and destroyed the headquarters of Hamas's Shejaiya battalion.

New York City sustained a brief blackout on the evening of Dec. 14, leaving some trapped in elevators and countless New Yorkers in the dar. Smoke was seen rising above a Brooklyn power plant. Shortly before midnight, New Yorkers saw their lights flickering. Some reported internet outages. A video on social media showed smoke coming from a Con Edison substation in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, where police said they received a 911 call for an explosion.

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said Yemen’s Houthi rebels are a “threat to freedom of navigation to commercial shipping,” after the Iran-backed terrorists claimed a series of attacks. The US and French navy have shot down several Houthi ballistic missiles and drones since Oct. 7. “The United States is working with the international community, with partners from the region and from all over the world to deal with this threat,” Sullivan said. “While the Houthis are pulling the trigger, so to speak, they’re being handed the gun by Iran,” he added..

Australia warned that violent acts by Israeli settlers in Samaria and Judea are “terrorising Palestinian communities” there, joining the US and other allies in denouncing what it called an “environment of near complete impunity”. Two days after voting in favor of a UN general assembly resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, Australia bolstered its objections to violence directed at some of the residents of the enclave. In a joint statement with 13 other countries, and the EU, that was issued on Dec. 15, Australia called on Israel to "take immediate and concrete steps to tackle record high settler violence in the occupied West Bank." The other countries include: France, Spain, Ireland, Canada, and the UK.

IDF hit Hamas internal security sites.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan hopes for a diplomatic route to end the conflict in Gaza, but affirmed that the threat posed by Hamas must end. Regarding to a potential of the conflict spreading into Lebanon if Hamas does not remove its forces from the border area, Sullivan said that “the citizens of Israel who have been evacuated from the north have to be able to return to their homes and have to be able to do so with a true sense of security. And that means dealing with the threat that comes from the other side of the border.” However, the Biden administration believes “that threat can be dealt with through diplomacy and does not require the launching of a new war.” Sullivan said this requires “deterrence as well, because we need to send a clear message that we will not tolerate the kinds of threats and terrorist activity that we have seen from Hezbollah and from the territory of Lebanon.”  Sullivan said Hamas's tactics, which have included booby traps, have placed “an incredible burden on the IDF, a burden that is unusual for a military in today’s day and age,” by hiding behind civilians. Israel “doesn’t have the opportunity to meet Hamas on a field of battle in a way in which civilians are off to one side and the terrorists are off to the other side,” he said. Hamas on October 7 “massacre[d] 1,200 people in a brutal and savage way. They then turned around and went back into Gaza and hid behind a civilian population, using civilians as human shields, using protected sites like hospitals and schools for military purposes, embedding themselves among the innocent Palestinian people,” he said. Israel, he said, must protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to civilians, but Hamas’s ultimate responsibility for the conflict “has been lost a little bit in this whole debate.”

Jake Sullivan and PM Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli government photo

A Dutch court rejected a request by a group of human rights organizations to order a halt to the transfer to Israel of parts for F-35 fighter jets. The organizations went to court Dec. 4 arguing that delivery of parts for F-35 jets makes the Netherlands complicit in possible war crimes committed by Israel in its war with Hamas. The parts are stored in a warehouse in the Dutch town of Woensdrecht.

The Israeli Air Force struck a Hezbollah target in Lebanon, amid the ongoing exchanges of fire with the terror group along the border. It also says troops carried out a strike on two gunmen identified near the border.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk suggested that the terrorist organization may recognize Israel for the first time as a step toward Palestinian unity. This has been understood that Israel's military operations to oust Hamas from Gaza is pressuring the terrorists.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, which have sparked surges of antisemitic acts worldwide, Jewish and Israeli employees of TikTok report a lack of support and insights into the biases underlying the platform’s heavily criticized content moderation. According to Fox News, many of the 40,000 people employed to remove hate speech on the platform would leave antisemitic content, according to their own biases.

Several Hamas leaders recently left Qatar together with their entourages, cutting off communications including cellphones. Israel has vowed to kill Hamas leadership. They left for Algeria, Lebanon, Iran and other countries, according to Kan News’s Arabic channel.

On December 13, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen both said that the military offensive against the Hamas terror group will continue “until the end,” indicating Israel will not concede to international pressure for a ceasefire. He told the unit’s soldiers that “we are continuing until the end, until victory, until the elimination of Hamas” — even in the face of international pressure. Nothing will stop us.” 

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby suggested on Dec. 13 that some steps taken by Israeli military to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza might go further than what the US would have done if it were in Israel’s place.

A 13-year-old boy who shared a “detailed plan” to attack Temple Israel, a Reform Jewish synagogue in Canton, Ohio, has been arrested and charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. He is due in Stark County Family Court on Dec. 20. The accused boy, whose name has been redacted, created “a detailed plan to complete a mass shooting at the Temple Israel on the Discord platform,” per court documents viewed by the Cleveland television station WKYC.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, addressed a letter to Rabbi Eyal Karim, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, warning against allowing behavior such as was seen in a video of a group of IDF soldiers using the loudspeakers in one of the mosques in the city of Jenin for the "Shema" prayer. "Here, it is clear that everything that is not directly related to the combat should not be used as a provocation," Rabbi Yosef wrote, "religious matters in particular."

The FBI announced the arrest of a minor who will be charged for two online swatting hoaxes perpetrated against synagogues in Orange County, California. The suspect, whose name was not released, was arrested on Dec. 12 by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, in partnership with local law enforcement in Southern California and New York, as well as the Anti-Defamation League. The individual will be charged at the state level by the Orange Country District Attorney for swatting attempts at synagogues in Tustin and Fullerton, California. The suspect is believed to be a member of a swatting ring that carried out false bomb threats and swatting attempts at a number of Jewish institutions, including at least 25 synagogues in 13 states during July and August, according to the FBI. 'Swatting' refers to the practice of false reports to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of an armed police response.

New House email address for reporting Jew-hatred on campus:  Those reporting Jew-hatred on campus can now send complaints to, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce announced.

On Dec. 14, the UK became the first European nation to bar “extremist Israeli settlers” from entering its territories, a week after the United States announced a similar travel ban. “We are banning those responsible for settler violence from entering the U.K. to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these intimidating acts,” tweeted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. The UK has seen a spike in the number of antisemitic incidents since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel.

Top Polish leaders joined members of the Jewish community for a Hanukkah celebration in parliament  on Dec. 14 after nationalist opposition lawmaker used a fire extinguisher to extinguish burning candles on a Menorah earlier this week. The attendance of the president, speaker of parliament and other top legislative officials sent the message that there is no tolerance in Poland for the kind of antisemitic behavior that erupted in parliament halls on Dec. 12, shocking the country and drawing widespread condemnation across the political spectrum. A woman was injured in the incident and was still in a hospital two days later.

Long Island Republicans selected Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian Jewish Nassau County legislator, to run in the special election to replace George Santos, who was expelled after he was exposed for alleged fraud and lies, including that he was Jewish. Pilip emerged as a likely contender to replace Santos when his lies were exposed soon after his election last year, and she was officially named Thursday as the candidate, nearly two weeks after Santos’ expulsion. She will face Democrat Tom Suozzi, who is hoping to get his old job back after quitting the seat in an unsuccessful bid for governor. The special election is Feb. 13.

IDF 4WD vehicles IDF photo

December 15, 2023

Video is circulating on social media showing Hamas terrorists shooting at civilians in Gaza while hijacking trucks ferrying aid into the enclave. 

Israel's Mossad intelligence helped to foil a terrorist attack in Denmark -- 7 terrorists affiliated with Hamas were arrested in Denmark. European news agencies are reporting that one additional terrorist was arrested in the Netherlands related to this plot. The Danish prime minister's office released a statement saying: "Thanks to an intensive and comprehensive intelligence investigation, today the security and law enforcement bodies in Denmark arrested seven terrorist operatives acting on behalf of the terrorist organization Hamas, and foiled an attack aimed at killing innocent citizens on European soil." 

The Dekalb County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners heard from members of the community about an ultimately withdrawn resolution that called for a “permanent ceasefire in Israel and Gaza”on Oct. 12. Attorney Mark Goldfeder, who is an expert on the Constitution and international law and leader of the National Jewish Advocacy Center, said: “Some of the things that they put into original resolution were beyond false. They were defamatory and downright antisemitic, blood libel level. Those were taken out.” “Respecting human life is not antisemitic. Be brave, be courageous, be remembered for doing the right thing and standing on the right side of history. A ceasefire supports both sides,” said Muse Ghanayem, an attorney of Palestinian ancestry. Representing the Atlanta Interfaith Coalition for Palestine, Keyanna Jones told commissioners to “do the right thing.” She said: "Stop hiding behind who you might be afraid of who has Jewish money to give you … When you say that something is antisemitic, it is not simply because you condemn wrongdoing by Jewish people or Israelis. Antisemitism refers to everyone in that area. We need to stand on facts. We need to stop being led by conjecture.” Goldfeder caller her out as a "goddamn antisemite." “We just heard an antisemite stand here with her antisemitic tropes about Jews and power and money and she couldn’t control herself,” Goldfeder said. “I am shocked to the core that I just heard a public display of antisemitism from a woman who pretends to be a person of faith. That was disgusting and horribly offensive.”

Before lighting candles for the 7th night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi of Chabad on the campus of Harvard University said that he must hide the menorah on campus each night out of fear from the university of criminal activity. “We in the Jewish community are longing for a day…that Harvard  not only has our back, and not only allows us to finally put up a menorah, but doesn’t force us to hide it at night.” At the menorah lighting ceremony, Zarchi spoke as Harvard president Claudine Gay stood by. Gay has been criticized for her testimony before Congress where she failed to say that antisemitic threats can be sanctioned and barred from campus. Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has called on Gay to resign.

Hamas released a new propaganda video explicitly threatening American and English people, as well as all other allies of Israel. “We need violent acts against American and British interests everywhere, as well as the interests of all the countries that support [Israel].”

The IDF is offering a bounty on Hamas leaders, with fliers dropped in Gaza offering information on the whereabouts of Yahya Sinwar and other terrorists. The fliers promise $400,000 for information on Hamas’s Gaza leader Sinwar; $300,000 for information on his brother, Muhammed Sinwar; $200,000 for information on Rafaa Salameh, the commander of Hamas’s Khan Younis battalion; and $100,000 for information on Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing. The flier contains a telephone number and a contact on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claims Gaza situation is a “catastrophe” incomparable to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. He has been vocal in criticizing Israel. “Everybody here and around the world can see and look at the special military operation and at what is happening in Gaza and feel the difference,” he said at a conference. “But there is nothing like this in Ukraine,” he claimed, despite more than 10,000 civilians having been killed in Ukraine, with the UN saying the true toll is likely to be much higher.

IDF troops from the 460th Brigade Combat Team and Shin Bet arrested 70+ terrorists who were operating in the area of the Kamel Adwan Hospital in Gaza. As they surrendered, video showed the terrorists emerging  from a building and depositing their weapons in a pile in sight of Israeli soldiers. During various encounters, IDF troops killed a number of terrorists. The prisoners were taken for interrogation by Unit 504 and Shin Bet.

An antisemitic sign was affixed to a tree outside the office of Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich). It depicted Uncle Sam removing his stovepipe hat to reveal a kippah (yarmulke) with a Star of David underneath and reading 'Jew u$ury buy$ USA pols'.

California Islamic scholar Dr. Khaled Bahajri of the Islamic Center of Inland Empire – Rancho Masjid said in a Friday (Dec.8) sermon streamed live on the mosque's YouTube channel that the people of Gaza prepared for October 7 by building their faith, in addition to logistical and technical preparations. He added: "We feed from the faith of the people of Gaza." Bahajri added that Muslims should learn how to call their friends, neighbors, and colleagues to Islam (perform Da'wah) from the way Hamas treated its prisoners in Gaza.

Hamas surrenders weapons in Gaza IDF photo


Hamas surrenders weapons and uniforms IDF photo

December 14, 2023

The US passed by a vote of 87 to 13 the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense annually. The final version of the NDAA for fiscal year 2024 authorizes $886 billion in national defense funding, an increase of $28 billion over last year. The Senate is expected to approve that, and then it goes to the House of Representatives for approval by both chambers by the end of this week. The NDAA also requires the Defense department consider deploying U.S. KC-46 refueling tanker aircraft to Israel and consult with Israel on the potential for rotational deployments of the U.S. KC-46 aircraft in Israel.

Palestine’s Ambassador to the Holy See praised the Vatican’s support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, saying it is the only path to a lasting peace. “If we talk about a durable and comprehensive peace, this is the only path,” Ambassador Issa J. Kassissieh said. “Many don’t believe in it anymore, and there is no trust on either side,” he said. However, when it comes to the Holy See, “they did their duty by recognizing the State of Palestine based on the borders of ‘67. I believe that the Catholic world should have followed suit with His Holiness and respected his step," he said.

The United Nations General Assembly voted to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. The United States, Israel, and eight other countries — Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay — were the only ones to vote against the nonbinding resolution. 

President  Biden criticized Israeli PM Netanyahu, saying that he "has to change, and ... this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move."

"We will continue until the end. There is no question at all. I say this in light of great pain, but also in light of international pressure. Nothing will stop us. We are going until the end, until victory, nothing less than that," Netanyahu said in a video statement released by his office.

Biden met with the families of American hostages held by Muslim terrorists in Gaza. According to The Times of Israel, Jonathan Dekel-Chen -- whose son Sagui is among Hamas' hostages -- said: “We knew this going in, but we got further affirmation that the Biden administration — the president, the secretary of state — are completely committed to gaining the release of all the hostages, including the Americans among them...They’re doing absolutely everything they can, through every channel and with every tool that they have to accomplish that,” Dekel-Chen says.

Hamas called on civilians in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to "escalate the resistance" against Israel following IDF raid. The IDF conducted an operation in Jenin that resulted in hundreds of arrests. Hamas claims eight Palestinians died yesterday during the raid. 

A new survey shows that Palestinians' support the Hamas terror organization and approval of the Oct. 7 atrocities stands at  72 percent. The survey of 1,231 Palestinians, conducted largely during the recent truce, shows 44 percent of Palestinians in Samaria and Judea (West Bank) support Hamas, an increase from 12 percent in September. while 42 percent in Gaza back Hamas, an uptick from 38 percent.

The Swiss parliament voted to cut funding for UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Neareast (UNRWA). Parliament member David Zuberbühler said, "UNWRA schools continue to glorify terrorism, incite violence, and promote antisemitism." The National Council of Switzerland, the lower house in the landlocked nation's parliament, approved the motion 116-78, despite left-wing opposition. The state commission supports the cut, and the matter will be examined on Dec. 14. The Swiss Senate unanimously banned Hamas, as an member of parliament declare, "Hamas' brutal terrorist attacks against Israel necessitate a clear position from Switzerland."

A protest organized by pro-Palestine groups froze traffic on the southbound lanes of the 110 freeway in Los Angeles, causing backups on nearby streets and freeways. California Highway Patrol officers came and took approximately 75 people into custody. The majority of the protesters were removed by officers by 10:30 am local time. Fights broke out between protesters and irate commuters. The protest was reportedly organized by IFNOTNOW, a group that describes itself as consisting of Jews opposed to Israel's war in Gaza. Its website states: "We are a movement of American Jews organizing our community to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis."

IDF commandos IDF photo

December 13, 2023

8:45 am

The Times of Israel reported: "Anti-PA rhetoric has US convinced Netanyahu in ‘campaign mode’ — Biden officials: Revealing uptick in frustration with PM, US officials note that he’s the only war cabinet minister expressing an aversion to Abbas governing Gaza

"The Biden administration is increasingly convinced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has entered “campaign mode” as the premier escalates his rhetoric against the Palestinian Authority, two US officials told The Times of Israel. “This isn’t a government-wide approach. It’s mainly coming from the prime minister, which is quite telling,” said one of the officials who spoke over the weekend on condition of anonymity. The quiet attribution of Netanyahu’s motivations to political interests rather than security ones appears to reveal the growing frustration in Washington with the prime minister."

8:40 am

The Israeli PM's spokesman Eylon Levy responded to UN chief António Guterres today, saying “I don’t think any U.N. secretary-general in history has gone so far to secure the survival of a terrorist organization.” Levy was speaking in  reference to the Dec. 6 invocation of Article 99 of the U.N. Charter by Guterres, which brought to the Security Council issues he believes endanger international security. In a letter to the council, Guterres demanded a “humanitarian ceasefire” and said conditions in Gaza were “fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole.” He said: “The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.” Thirteen of the 15 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution. The US vetoed and measure, and the UK abstained.

For Israel, a ceasefire would complicate its aim of eliminating Hamas from Gaza, Levy said. “This war will end when it is safe for the children of [the communities of] Be’eri and Nir Oz to sleep in their beds again,” Levy said. “This war will end when the diplomats who voted to save Hamas’s skin at the United Nations would feel safe babysitting little [4-year-old rescued hostage] Abigail Edan in Kfar Aza. Let’s call it the ‘diplomat babysitter test’ for ending this war.”

Overnight, Israeli jets bombed targets in and around Damascus, Syria. “Nearly at 23:05 p.m. on Sunday, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the vicinity of Damascus,” the Syrian state-run SANA news agency reported. 

7:54 am

On the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Pope Francis issued his Sunday greetings to pilgrims assembled in St. Peter’s Square. He affirmed that “the commitment to human rights is never ended!” In an apparent reference to the war in Gaza, he said, “in relation to human rights, let civilians, hospitals and places of worship be protected, let the hostages be released and let humanitarian aid be guaranteed.”

IDF troops pushed further into Gaza in its operation to eliminate Hamas. The IDF reported that dozens of terrorists were killed in Israel Air Force strikes over the past 24 hours. These include armed terrorists exiting a medical clinic.

7:50 am

Portland [Oregon] Public Schools staff member and LGBTQ activist Jordan Mathew Cooper, alias 'JC Troopa,' shares social media content originating from Hamas terrorists, endorses extreme violence against Jewish Israelis, and uses Hamas-affiliated imagery to target landlords for violence. He has worked for Portland Public Schools District for the past 13 years, according to LinkedIn. Since Hamas' attack on Israel, Cooper has supported Hamas on social media and promoted violence against Jews. He claims that it is necessary to free the "oppressed" people of Gaza. Cooper posted on Oct. 21 a series of anti-Israel photographs to his Instagram with a caption that read: "V!olence has always been the privilege of the oppressor. There has never been a time when the oppressed regained their freedom from their oppressor through peaceful means."

7:45 am

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Margaret Brennan of CBS News 'Face the Nation' that a permanent ceasefire with the Hamas terrorist organization does not make sense. He also said that Israel is losing in the court of international public opinion. “I don’t know how you could have a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, who have said before Oct. 7 and after Oct. 7 that they want to destroy Israel. They want a permanent war,” he said. “I don’t know how you have a permanent ceasefire with an attitude like that.” While Sanders said that Israel has the right to defend itself, he said: “It is a humanitarian disaster and the United States has got to put all of the pressure that it can to tell Netanyahu to stop this disastrous military approach.”

7:30 am

Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the United Nations and national governments for failing to condemn rapes and other sexual attacks by Hamas terrorists, which are "beyond anything that I’ve ever seen.” “The atrocities that we saw on Oct. 7 are almost beyond description or beyond our capacity to digest,” Blinken told CNN's Jake Tapper. “And we’ve talked about them before, but the sexual violence that we saw on Oct. 7 is beyond anything that I’ve ever seen, either.” He said: "The failure to condemn, and in some cases failure to even believe, the reports of sexual violence is something about which “these organizations, these countries need to ask themselves.”

When Blinken was asked whether he thought the UN’s stalled acknowledgment was due to antisemitism, he answered: “I don’t know why countries, leaders, international organizations were so slow to focus on this, to bring it to people’s attention,” Blinken responded. “I’m glad it is finally happening.”

Senior Saudi Islamic Scholar Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan said to an audience at a mosque: “Muslims have the right to in war take women captive and use them as concubines,” and affirmed that "possession" of woman by a Muslim annuls her marriage contract to a "kuffar" infidel and permits her Muslim master to rape her.

The Guardian newspaper provided the following summary of the day's events for December 11, 2023:

A Hamas spokesperson has issued a warning over the lives of hostages still being held in Gaza. In a televised statement, a Hamas spokesperson said Israel would not receive “their prisoners alive without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance”,” Agence France-Press reports. Israel says there are still 137 hostages in Gaza, while activists say about 7,000 Palestinians are in Israeli jails.

The UN general assembly, which comprises 193 member states, is likely to vote on a draft resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war on Tuesday, Reuters reports diplomats saying on Sunday. The potential vote will follow the US’s veto of a UAE-led UN security council resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza on Friday.

A dozen UN security council envoys were due to visit the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Monday, Reuters is reporting. The United Arab Emirates arranged the trip to Rafah – where limited humanitarian aid and fuel deliveries have crossed into Gaza.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has urged Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians in its war with Hamas. Two days after the US vetoed a proposed United Nations demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, Blinken told CNN Israel needs to put “a premium” on protecting Gaza civilians and making sure humanitarian assistance can reach those who need it. In his interview with CNN on Sunday, Blinken also said: “We’re not going to have durable security for Israel unless and until Palestinian political aspirations are met.” Blinken added: “When the major military operation is over … we have to make sure that we’re on a path to a durable and sustainable peace. From our perspective, I think from the perspective of many around the world, that has to lead to a Palestinian state.”

Mediation efforts are continuing to secure a new Gaza ceasefire and free more hostages held by Hamas despite the ongoing Israeli bombardment that is “narrowing the window” for a successful outcome, Qatar’s prime minister said Sunday. “Our efforts as the state of Qatar along with our partners are continuing. We are not going to give up,” sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Doha Forum, adding that “the continuation of the bombardment is just narrowing this window for us”.

Israeli tanks have reached the heart of Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis, as Hamas issued fresh demands for Palestinian prisoners to be released while at the same time threatening the lives of the hostages they continue to hold.

The Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza has come under intensified scrutiny after it revealed it had bypassed Congress to supply tank shells, and was reported not to be carrying out continual assessments of whether Israel was committing possible war crimes.

“Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing,” said the World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, with only 14 of 36 hospitals functioning at any capacity. Ghebreyesus also said that the WHO and its partners in Gaza managed to deliver essential trauma and surgical supplies to Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital to cover the needs of 1,500 people, as well as transfer 19 critical patients.

The World Health Organization’s executive board on Sunday adopted a resolution on tackling the worsening health situation in the Gaza Strip, calling for immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access. The 34 countries on the WHO’s executive board adopted by consensus a resolution calling for the “immediate, sustained and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief” into Gaza, Agence France-Presse reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu called on Hamas to lay down its arms and “surrender now”. In an address on Sunday reported by Agence France-Presse, the Israeli prime minister said: “The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas. I say to the Hamas terrorists: It’s over. Don’t die for [Yahya] Sinwar. Surrender now,” referring to the chief of Hamas in Gaza.

Hezbollah launched explosive drones and powerful missiles at Israeli positions and Israeli airstrikes rocked several towns and villages in south Lebanon, Reuters reports. An Israeli airstrike on the town of Aitaroun destroyed five homes and damaged many more, Ali Hijazi, a local official, said. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the Israeli army earlier said “suspicious aerial targets” had crossed from Lebanon and two were intercepted. Israeli fighter jets carried out “an extensive series of strikes on Hezbollah terror targets in Lebanese territory”, it said. Sirens sounded in Israel at several locations at the border.

Israel has carried out airstrikes near Syria’s capital, Damascus, late on Sunday, the Syrian state news agency Sana said. The Israeli army declined to comment on the incident, but said separately that shots had been fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Sunday evening.

December 11, 2023

Topic tags:
Antisemitism Swords of Iron