Saddam's Death - The Gaza War 2023-2024
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 200: sept-oct 2023 and Page 201: november 2023


Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple
Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003 - Trump & the Pisces Messiah - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel - "I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations - Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel - Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center - Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes - The Balfour Declaration - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017) - Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century" - John Bolton, prominent war hawk, National Security Adviser to President Trump - Lies & Provocations: France, UK and USA show their dark face - Trump, the 'deal-breaker' - Explaining America’s economic might - Netanyahu & The Survival of the Fittest - Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Is Now Pence’s ‘Wolf Pack of Rogue States’ - Mike Pence & antisemitism - Amnesia of the US Foreign Policy Establishment - Israeli Elections 2019 - Was Jesus a Palestinian? - Labor disappears from Knesset - Settlers from the White House - NO to International Law - Israel & The Three Central Dilemmas - Netanyahu & Neo-Zionism - Secularism & 'Jewish' identity - Pompeo & Christian leadership - Jeremy Corbyn & Jewish Witch Hunt - Trump's Deal of the Century - Netanyahu & the Moongod Abraham - Gantz' betrayal - Trump's sanctions against ICC officials - The Ceasar Act - The Turkey-Armenia conflict - Joe Biden's Running Mate - The UAE-Israel-deal - The Sudan-US-Israel-deal - Robert Fisk Articles" - Joe Biden elected president - The return of Victoria Nuland - Putin 2014: New Rules or a Game without Rules - Alexander Dugin & The Great Awakening - Bennett is an 'evil' and 'wicked' Reform Jew, say haredi MKs - The Taliban enter Kabul - UAE leaders receive Syrian President Assad - Lapid & the Palestinian state - Yusuf al-Qaradawi died in Qatar - Israel heading toward a fascist theocracy - Ukraine is now a failed state: - The Global Civilization Initiative - Assad joins Arab leaders in Jeddah - Israel at war: Rockets slam Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 2023


Index Page - Start

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)


How the National Security State Manipulates the News Media
Ted Galen Carpenter, antiwar.com, March 09, 2021

An especially dangerous threat to liberty occurs when members of the press collude with government agencies instead of monitoring and exposing the abuses of those agencies. Unfortunately, collusion is an all-too-common pattern in press coverage of the national security state’s activities. The American people then receive official propaganda disguised as honest reporting and analysis.


"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."

Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002


Joe Biden & Truth - 2009

US Vice President Joe Biden said that the new administration would seek the unvarnished truth from its spies, whether or not their information supported the goals of the government.
The Vice President's address was greeted with loud cheers by the several hundred CIA employees who gathered for the swearing in ceremony in the foyer of the Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Standing before the wall of 89 stars representing the CIA staff who have died in the line of duty, Mr Biden said:
"We expect you to provide independent analysis, not to engage in group think. We expect you to tell us the facts as you know them wherever they may lead, not what you think we want to hear." (Tim Shipman. 20-2-2009)

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people …
The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. …
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." John F.Kennedy


“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)


Flashback- Hanan Ashrawi 2002:
The New Age of Ideology

"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."

Index Page


"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)


Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)

Israel at war: 22 people dead
Rockets slam Jerusalem, Tel Aviv as Netanyahu declares war
Hamas claims kidnapped Israelis
By Jerusalem Post Staff, 7-10-2023

A barrage of rockets slammed into southern and central Israel Saturday morning, as Hamas terrorists infiltrated the country and took over Southern Israeli towns and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is at war.
"We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war," the prime minister said in a video statement.
"Hamas has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location," said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant following a situation assessment...”
The IDF was striking the southern region and communities near the Gaza Strip with multiple operational forces it said Saturday afternoon in an operation it is calling "Iron Swords."
"Operational commanders are arriving to manage the combat in all areas," explained IDF Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hagari. "Concurrently, we have initiated the call-up of reservists for various units within the IDF."
Numerous IDF units, including special units, have been deployed to the Gaza periphery and are engaging in various combat zones to protect the residents of the southern region. Dozens of IDF warplanes attacked 17 military compounds and four operational headquarters belonging to Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesperson said.

Hamas Declares Start of Military Operation Against Israel
FARS News Agency [Iran], 7-10-2023

Mohammad Deif, a senior Hamas military commander, said on Saturday the group has launched a new operation against Israel. In a rare public statement, Deif stated that 5,000 rockets had been fired into Israel early Saturday to begin “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm”, Al-Jazeera reported.
“We’ve decided to say enough is enough,” Deif said as he urged all Palestinians to confront Israel. "We have already warned the enemy before. The occupation committed hundreds of massacres against civilians. Hundreds of martyrs and wounded died this year due to the crimes of the occupation," he added.
We announce the start of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and we announce that the first strike, which targeted enemy positions, airports, and miltary fortifications, exceeded 5,000 missiles and shells,” he continued.
Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy chief of Hamas in the occupied West Bank, has also issued a call to arms.
“We must all fight this battle, especially the resistance fighters in the West Bank,” he said in a statement. “The West Bank is the final word in this battle, and it can open a clash with all the settlements in the West Bank. We call on our people to participate in the battle of Al-Aqsa Flood,” he added.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group has also announced it is “part of this battle”..
Meantime, the Israeli Army announced a number of Palestinian fighters “have infiltrated” Israel from the Gaza Strip, without providing further information: “Residents in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip have been asked to stay in their homes,” the army said in a statement.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has declared an emergency situation within a range of 80km from the Gaza Strip, according to his office..
The Israeli Army announced it has started an operation aimed at Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Unprecedented attack & casualties
Mondoweiss Info, 7-10-2023

Saturday’s operation, which is being led by Hamas, but seemingly being joined by various militant factions across the Gaza Strip, was unprecedented on many fronts. It is already being considered one of the worst Israeli security and intelligence failures in recent history due to the fact that the operation largely caught Israel off guard.
Saturday morning marked the first time since Israel placed Gaza under blockade more than 16 years ago that Gaza resistance fighters were able to break through the Israeli barrier fence along the border and enter Israeli territory on foot in large numbers.
Videos surfaced on social media, posted by both Israeli and Palestinian accounts, showing masked and armed Palestinian fighters arriving in Sderot and other Israeli towns bordering Gaza in trucks equipped with large caliber guns.
Other videos showed Palestinians in large numbers, both in vehicles and on motorbikes, breaking through openings in the Gaza border fence. As the morning continued, footage showed Palestinian bulldozers breaking down parts of the fence as seemingly ordinary Palestinians crossed into the other side.
Professional video footage released by Hamas in Gaza showed its fighters taking off from Gaza using power-motorized paragliders and flying into Israeli territory.
Israeli news channels reported that Palestinian fighters reached 21 different sites inside Israel and reported several Israeli deaths and hundreds of injuries.
The Israeli military response came several hours after the surprise attack of the resistance, as Israeli air forces launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip at approximately 10:57 a.m., targeting a hospital in the north of Gaza and killing one of its staff. Other airstrikes were reported in several locations across the strip.
20 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza so far, including a journalist, while over 105 were injured.

International community knows only double standards
when it comes to Palestine: Al-Azhar
Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Oct 2023

Egypt’s Al-Azhar demanded on Saturday the international community stop applying double standards to the Israel-Palestine conflict, mourning Palestinian “martyrs” and praising their resistance:
“Al-Azhar proudly salutes the efforts of the resistance of the Palestinian people and demands that the civilized world and the international community look with reason and wisdom at the longest occupation known in modern history, the occupation of Palestine by the Zionists,” the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution said in its statement.
“This occupation is a stain on the forehead of humanity and the international community, which weighs things with two scales and knows only double standards when it comes to the Palestinian issue,” Al-Azhar added.
Al-Azhar praised the resistance of the Palestinian people and their “martyrs who have instilled in us the spirit of confidence and restored life to us after we thought it would never return,” praying to God to grant them patience, steadfastness, peace, and strength. “Every occupation will eventually end, regardless of how long or short it lasts,” it added.

On Saturday morning, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel that killed more than 350 Israelis and wounded 1864.
Fighters from the group broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip and rampaged through nearby Israeli settlements, capturing prisoners, both soldiers and settlers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin declared a state of war, launching retaliatory strikes in Gaza that have leveled buildings and killed over 300 Palestinians and wounded 1990.
In the West Bank, seven Palestinians have been killed since Saturday – two in Ramallah, two in Hebron, one in Jericho, one in Qalqilya, and one in Nablus, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Lebanon's Hezbollah joined the fighting on Saturday by firing artillery shells and guided missiles at Israeli positions, with Israel bombing southern Lebanon in retaliation.

China ‘deeply concerned’ at violence,
calls for establishment of Palestinian state
Al-Monitor News, 8-10-2023

China’s foreign ministry has issued a statement on the conflict, saying it is “deeply concerned” over the “escalation of tensions and violence” between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“The recurrence of the conflict shows once again that the protracted standstill of the peace process cannot go on,” the statement said.
“The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine.”
The ministry said China would continue to work with the international community to find a peaceful resolution and urged the other countries to act with greater urgency to facilitate peace talks between the two sides.

Qatar in contact with US and regional leaders
as Israel vows to turn Gaza to ‘rubble’
Asmahan Qarjouli, Doha News [Qatar], October 8, 2023

Qatar held a number of phone calls with top diplomats from the United States and a number of regional countries on Saturday as Israel declared war and launched a massive bombardment campaign targeting the besieged Gaza Strip.
Calls were made between Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and foreign ministers from the US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkiye, according to several statements from Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The US, which has long failed to condemn Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and annually pumps $3 billion into Israel’s economy, stressed Israel’s right to self defence during the latest escalations.
In a press conference late on Saturday, US President Joe Biden vowed to stand by Israel’s side, describing his support as “rock solid and unwavering.”
“I’ve also directed my team to remain in constant contact with leaders throughout the region, including Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, the UAE, as well as with our European partners and the Palestinian Authority,” Biden added.
In a statement on Saturday, Qatar said it holds the Israeli occupation “solely” responsible for the ongoing flare ups while expressing its “deep concern” on the developments in Gaza.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel alone responsible for the ongoing escalation due to its ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which is the repeated raids on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police,” the statement said.

Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in a bloody war in 1967, widely known as “the six-day war” or the Naksa, which translates to the “setback”.
Within six days, the Zionist state captured the majority of Palestine while forcibly displacing at least 300,000 Palestinians.
Saturday’s operation by Hamas, Gaza’s ruling party, is widely seen as a historic moment for Palestine, which has been living under Israeli occupation for 75 years.
Home two more than two million Palestinians, Gaza has faced an illegal Israeli air, land and sea blockade since 2007 and has been widely described as the world’s “largest open-air prison”.
Palestinians under siege live with limited electricity and water supplies while patients with severe illnesses struggle to exit the city for treatment as they require Israeli permits.

New Gaza Conflict shows that “Abraham Accords”
can’t bring Peace as Long as Israelis keep Palestinians Occupied and Stateless
Juan Cole (Informed Comment), 8-10-2023

The conflict that broke out on October 7, 2023, between Palestinian militants and Israel underlined once again that the status quo, with Israel occupying 5 million stateless Palestinians, is unsustainable.
In the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney was recording giving a fundraising speech in which he admitted that it was impractical to give the Palestinians a state and that the only thing you could do with the Israel-Palestine issue was to “kick the can down the road.”
Periodic kinetic conflicts are the price of the American elite’s studied inaction and, worse, coddling of the ugliest political forces on the Israeli side, as well as failure to offer ordinary Palestinians a dignified life that could allow them to develop alternatives to the ambitious and bloodthirsty fundamentalists who run Gaza.

More recently, the standard line from both Israeli politicians such as Binyamin Netanyahu and from American politicians such as Jared Kushner (Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East) and Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has been that Palestinian citizenship in a state is not essential to a peace settlement.

Rather, Israel can do diplomatic deals with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Sudan, and now perhaps Saudi Arabia. The wealthier Middle East states could exchange technology with Israel, do joint start-ups, and engage in trade, giving a fillip to the Israeli economy that would trickle down to the Palestinians.
With rising incomes and economic well-being, the Palestinians would be content to forego rights to nationhood and would acquiesce in Israeli military rule (in the Palestinian West Bank) or Israeli siege (in the Gaza Strip).
As with all trickle-down theories, this one is a chimera, an illusion, in brief, a scam.....

While the so-called “Abraham Accords” may have allowed Arab oil billionaires and Israel tech billionaires to do some deals, those people were never at war in the first place, and their finances remained in the stratosphere out of sight of ordinary mortals.
We have seen the rise of a set of fascist parties among the Ultra-Orthodox Jews and especially those who had been encouraged or allowed by the Israeli government to squat on land owned by Palestinian families in the West Bank...
The Israeli extremists have openly been talking about illegally annexing the occupied Palestinian territories that Israel seized in 1967 and imposing full Israeli sovereignty, with the implication that the stateless Palestinians would somehow be expelled...
The rhetoric about making the Palestinians forget all about being Palestinians by luring them with a good economy always consisted of empty rhetoric. It was nothing more than a smokescreen for predatory projects of colonizing and appropriating Palestinian land or making Gaza into an open air penitentiary...

Hamas-Israel fighting continues for third day,
hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians killed
The Arab Weekly, Monday 09/10/2023

The Israeli military on Monday said it struck hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip overnight and had sent four combat divisions south where it continued to battle Islamist militants two days after a bloody incursion.
A military spokesman said fighting was ongoing at seven or eight locations near Gaza two days after gunmen from Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens more in the deadliest raid into Israeli territory since Egypt and Syria’s attacks in the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago. Hamas fighters also continued to cross into Israel from Gaza, the spokesman said.
Israeli air strikes on Sunday hit housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza. The Palestinian health ministry said more than 400 people including scores of children had been killed.
“The price the Gaza Strip will pay will be a very heavy one that will change reality for generations,” said Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in the town of Ofakim, which suffered casualties and had hostages taken.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the country had called in around 100,000 soldiers. “Our job is to make sure that at the end of this war, Hamas will no longer have any military capabilities to threaten Israeli civilians with, and in addition to that we also need to make sure Hamas will not govern the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Palestinian fighters took dozens of hostages to Gaza, including soldiers and civilians, children and the elderly. A second Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad, said it was holding more than 30 of the captives. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the assault would spread to the West Bank and Jerusalem. Gazans have lived under an Israeli-led blockade for 16 years, since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
“How many times have we warned you that the Palestinian people have been living in refugee camps for 75 years, and you refuse to recognise the rights of our people?” Haniyeh said.

Sisi says Palestinians must 'remain on their land'
Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Oct 2023

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Thursday that the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip must stay steadfast and "remain on their land," warning of "the liquidation" of the Palestinian cause...
The Palestinian cause is the issue of all Arabs, the president affirmed, adding that Egypt will exert "utmost" efforts to alleviate the burden endured by the Palestinians.
Egyptian security sources warned that some parties and forces plan to forcibly displace Palestinians from their land amid the Israeli retaliation for Hamas's Saturday surprise attack.
"Egypt is exerting great efforts to contain the escalation and ongoing fighting and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in the strip," El-Sisi asserted.
"Our contacts with the leaders and officials never cease," he said, stressing that Egypt spares no effort to coordinate with "its Arab brothers and friends" to resolve the current crisis.
"We are keen that humanitarian and medical aid arrives in the [Gaza] Strip," the president affirmed.

Egypt, El-Sisi asserted, is ready to "harness all its capabilities and efforts toward mediation in coordination with all international and regional partners without restrictions or conditions."
He warned against the "relentless efforts by multiple parties" to derail the Palestinian issue so that it strays off the path to achieving a just peace based on the principles of the Oslo Accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the resolutions of international legitimacy."
These parties want, instead, to escalate the situation, leading to "zero-sum conflicts where there is no winner or loser," added El-Sisi.
Peace is a strategic choice for Egypt, said the president, adding that such an approach "makes it incumbent upon Egypt not to abandon our brothers in beloved Palestine and to help them retain their capabilities and their legitimate rights."

The Egyptian foreign ministry stressed that contrary to inaccurate information, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has not been closed since the onset of the current crisis.
Egypt has designated North Sinai's El-Arish International Airport as a receiving point for international humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Gaza -- currently under a complete blockade by Israel.

Israel’s military orders civilians to evacuate Gaza City
ahead of possible ground invasion
Ahram onnline|AP, Friday 13 Oct 2023

Israel’s military delivered sweeping evacuation orders for almost half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people Friday ahead of a feared ground invasion, U.N. officials said.
The order sent panic through civilians and aid workers already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade.
The Israeli military sent one evacuation order directly Friday morning, warning the hundreds of thousands of civilians of Gaza City to flee deeper south into the Gaza Strip, a narrow coastal territory. Israel’s directive charged that Hamas militants were hiding in tunnels under the city.
“This evacuation is for your own safety,” the Israeli military said, in a warning it said was sent to Gaza City civilians.
The United Nations said it received a separate directive from the Israeli military shortly before midnight, giving all 1.1 million civilians of northern Gaza 24 hours to flee south.

“This is chaos, no one understands what to do,” said Inas Hamdan, an officer at the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City, while she grabbed whatever she could throw into her bags as the panicked shouts of her relatives could be heard around her. She said all the U.N. staff in Gaza City and northern Gaza had been told to evacuate south to Rafah. Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, said there was no way more than one million people could be safely moved that fast..

“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation,” Dujarric said. Another U.N. official said that the United Nation is trying to get clarity from Israeli officials at the senior most political level.
“It’s completely unprecedent,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The number of people forced from their homes by Israel’s airstrikes soared 25 percent in a day, reaching 423,000 out of a population of 2.3 million, the U.N. said Thursday.

A visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with shipments of U.S. weapons, offered a powerful green light to Israel to drive ahead with its grisly retaliation in Gaza, even as international aid groups warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Israel has halted deliveries of basic necessities and electricity to Gaza’s 2.3 million people and prevented entry of supplies from Egypt.
“Not a single electricity switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on and not a single fuel truck will enter," Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said on social media, demanding the release of captive Israelis.

Iran urges US to 'control' Israel to avert regional war
AFP, Friday 13 Oct 2023

"If the Americans want to prevent the war in the region from developing, they must control Israel," Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, adding, "one of the goals of our trip is to stress on Lebanon's security".
Iran's foreign minister, whose government supports Hamas and other Middle East militant groups, said on Thursday opening a "new front" against Israel would depend on Israel's actions in Gaza.
Although Tehran has been a long-term backer of Hamas, Iranian officials have been adamant that the country had no involvement in the militants' attack against its arch enemy Israel on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the United States fears the opening of a second front on Israel's northern border with Lebanon if Hezbollah, another heavily armed militant group backed by Iran, were to intervene.
Speaking from Beirut's airport, the top diplomat said that Iran's regional allies, known as the "axis of resistance", could respond if Israel's Gaza offensive escalates. "The continuation of war crimes against Palestinians and Gaza will receive a response from the rest of the axes," he told reporters.

The West has been cautious about Iran since Saturday, but its leaders have warned Tehran in no uncertain terms against intervening in the war.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had "made it clear to the Iranians: Be careful".

Blinken: ‘As long as America Exists,’ It Will Support Israel
by Dave DeCamp, antiwar.com, October 12, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared in Tel Aviv on Thursday that “as long as America exists,” it will support Israel, a pledge that came amid a relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
“The message that I bring to Israel is this: You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself – but as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there, by your side,” Blinken said alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, the US has shipped more military equipment to Israel, deployed an aircraft carrier strike group, and augmented its fighter jets in the region. Congress is poised to authorize more military aid on top of the $3.8 billion Israel receives each year.
“We’re delivering on our word — supplying ammunition, interceptors to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome, alongside other defense materiel. The first shipments of US military support have already arrived in Israel, and more is on the way,” Blinken said.

Türkiye slams Western complicity
in Israeli war crimes in Gaza
by Daily Sabah, ISTANBUL Oct 12, 2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Western countries for remaining silent and their complicity as Israel commits war crimes by blocking access to food, water and electricity in Gaza, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Speaking at the Türkiye Youth Foundation (TÜGVA) meeting in Ankara on Thursday, Erdoğan said the West, especially the U.S., has chosen to fan the flames rather than de-escalate tensions in Gaza.
"Is it befitting for a country like the U.S. to restore peace, or to add fuel to fire?" Erdoğan said.
He noted that it is inhumane of Israel to cut off access to water, electricity, fuel and food for 2 million Palestinians living in an area of 360 square kilometers and that it is in violation of the law of war.
"We do not want conflicts to spread to our region, instead of blindly supporting someone, we call on influential actors to reduce tension," Erdoğan said.

Qatar Foundation CEO leaves ‘no doubt’
with powerful solidarity statement for Palestine
Doha News [Qatar], october 13, 2023

Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, who also serves as the Vice Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation (an educational organisation), sent out a heartfelt message of solidarity with Gaza on Thursday...
Sheikha Hind said she is “committed to extending our support to our community in any activities you may wish to initiate in solidarity with the Palestinian cause”.
“Like so many of you, I have been witnessing the news and events unfolding in Palestine and I am horrified at the scale of murder and destruction being carried out in Gaza, and the ensuing suffering and humanitarian crisis...
Sheikha Hind signed off with an unapologetic stance in support of Palestine and its people’s right to freedom and life, saying: “Finally, let there be no doubt about this – QF always has and always will stand with Palestine.”

Sheikha Hind made her stance clear while students at some universities in Qatar have rallied against statements sent by their institutions’ main campuses in the United States in recent days; statements that have turned a blind eye to Israeli atrocities against Palestinians and the continued war crimes being perpetrated by the zionist state...
In a detailed letter, Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at GUQ, Omar Khalifah, addressed what he described as a false narrative painted by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia’s recent email.
President De Gioia’s message suggests that Israelis were targeted simply because they were Jews.
The reference to the Jewish Sabbath, along with the invocation of the Yom Kippur War, draws a false picture of a quasi-religious war,” Khalifah asserted, further clarifying that in neither historical cases were Israelis targeted because they were Jews. “Both are political acts of resistance against a colonising, political force.”
The professor was particularly disturbed by DeGioia’s dismissal of the critical situation in Gaza...

Israel’s Colonial Revenge Genocide in Gaza
Juan Cole, Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) 14-10-2023

I find peculiar the conviction of so many politicians in Europe and North America, not to mention Israel itself, that the Hamas attacks of October 7 and after justify the casual murder thousands of Palestinian noncombatants in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces, including through aerial bombardment on densely populated neighborhoods, displacement of the infirm, and denying civilians water, food and electricity....
Half of Gaza consists of children, most born after 2006 when Hamas came to power in the Strip through elections insisted upon by George W. Bush. Large numbers of these children are set to be killed, and several hundred already have been, by Israeli aerial, tank and artillery bombardment.
Although the stated military objective is to destroy the Hamas guerrillas, that objective is being pursued with obvious reckless disregard for the welfare of civilian noncombatants.
Hamas viciously attacked Israel and committed unspeakable war crimes, and it is legitimate for the Israeli armed forces to go after it in a determined way.
It is not legitimate to ethnically cleanse civilians in Gaza or to blow them to smithereens in pursuit of ethno-national revenge. Anyone who thinks the latter is not happening doesn’t have eyes in their head...

The US State Department has forbidden its diplomats from calling for deescalation in Gaza and the Biden administration has rebuked Democrats who want to forestall the massacre, showing that the power elite in the United States now is embroiled in white supremacist revenge fantasies.
This bloodthirstiness is not new — Washington sacrificed up hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives in revenge for 9/11.
It was no excuse that Iraqis had nothing to do with it, just as it is no excuse that most people in Gaza had nothing to do with October 7.

Biden, Sisi, Abdullah, Abbas to meet in Amman
Amr Kandil , Ahram online [Egypt] 17 Oct 2023

US President Joe Biden will hold talks with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman after his Wednesday visit to Israel amid Israeli deadly strikes on Gaza.
According to a statement by the White House on Monday, Biden will discuss with the three Arab leaders the humanitarian needs of civilians in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has cut off food, fuel, electricity, and much of the water.
Biden will also reiterate during the meeting that "Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people's right to dignity and self-determination."
On Tuesday, Jordan Royal Court announced that King Abdullah II will host a quadrilateral summit in Amman on Wednesday. "The primary agenda of the summit is to discuss the critical developments in Gaza and their impact on the wider region. A key objective is to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian and relief aid to the Gaza region," the court added in a statement.

Biden plans an extraordinary solidarity visit to Israel, during which he will "demonstrate his steadfast support" for the country. However, Biden said that the Israeli occupation of Gaza would be “a big mistake.
Biden's visit comes shortly after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and Israel have agreed to develop a plan enabling humanitarian aid from donor states and organizations to reach Gazan civilians.
Over the past few days, Blinken has been on a Middle East tour, visiting Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia between two visits to Israel.

Egypt has been communicating with the Palestinian and Israeli sides in a bid to achieve calm in Hamas-run Gaza, which has seen worsening humanitarian conditions amid unrelenting Israeli strikes over the past 10 days.
Egypt has received tons of humanitarian aid from donor countries but they remain stranded in El-Arish, North Sinai, as Israel has launched repeated strikes on the neighbouring Rafah border crossing.
Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip have killed over 2,800 Palestinians and left nearly 11,000 injured, with the vast majority being women and children.
The ongoing missile strikes have left Gaza in ruins, with countless homes reduced to rubble, and its 2.3 million residents struggling with severe shortages of essentials like food, water, and electricity.

Al-Azhar urges Islamic Nations
to reconsider reliance on the West
And stand firmly behind Palestine
Ahram Online, Wednesday 18 Oct 2023

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Al-Azhar told the Palestinians that they should be confident that the West, despite all its military power and destructive machinery, is weak and apprehensive when confronting them because he is fighting on a land that is not his and defending outdated ideologies and doctrines.
“The Islamic nation should harness the power, wealth, resources, and assets that Almighty God has bestowed upon it to firmly stand behind Palestine and its oppressed people, who are facing an enemy that has lost its conscience, empathy, and feeling, turning its back on humanity, ethics, and the teachings of the prophets and messengers,” Al-Azhar concluded.

An Israeli airstrike on Al Ali Baptiste Hospital that killed over 600 Palestinians caused a global outcry and sparked protests across the Arab and Muslim world.
After 11 days Israel has killed over 3,000 Palestinians while at least 1,400 Israelis lost their lives since the fighting broke against Hamas on 7 October.

Biden in Israel, backs Netanyahu
no longer going to Jordan
Al-Monitor Staff, October 18, 2023

President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday on a rare wartime visit, pledging US support for Israel and meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as members of the war cabinet.
"We will continue to have Israel's back as you work to defend your people,” he said.
Biden briefly addressed the Gaza hospital bombing, backing the Israeli government and telling Netanyahu it “appears as though it was done by the other team.”

The White House confirmed that Biden is no longer going to Jordan.
“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President [Mahmoud] Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President [Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi of Egypt,” the White House said.
A regional official told Al-Monitor’s Jared Szuba that the decision to cancel Biden’s summit in Amman was “collective” and not a unilateral one by Jordan...
Meanwhile, intense negotiations to open the Rafah crossing continued as a blast hit the area, adding to operational problems that could delay opening the only passage out of Gaza.
On Tuesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah said that neither his country nor Egypt will accept Palestinian refugees, declaring it a "red line."

Why do US Politicians target Gaza Civilians
with Bloodthirsty Rhetoric, Greenlighting Ethnic Cleansing?
Dan Dinello 10/18/2023

In retaliation for Hamas’ attack of October 7, Israel enforced a total siege on Gaza, denying its 2.3 million inhabitants access to electricity, food, water and fuel while bombarding its population with a massive aerial assault whose targets include mosques, schools, and hospitals. No humanitarian supplies, except for some fuel, have been allowed into Gaza for over a week.
The situation in Gaza has reached the “level of genocide,” said Shawan Jabarin, head of the al-Haq rights group. “You wanted hell — you will get hell,” declared Israeli general Ghassan Aliyan.
Israel ordered 1 million Gazans — mostly refugees descended from refugees — to evacuate the northern part of the strip, in advance of an inevitably bloody ground invasion. The only exit from Gaza — the Rafah border crossing into Egypt — was bombed by Israel and remains closed by Egypt as of Tuesday. The United Nations said that it considered the evacuation “logistically impossible.”
Trying to “justify” the evacuation of Palestinians and the incineration of Gaza’s remaining noncombatant population — a collective punishment which is a war crime, Israeli president Isaac Herzog said that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza, a morally indefensible position: “It is an entire nation that is responsible. They could have risen up, they could have fought against the evil regime.
Likewise, Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant defended Palestinian genocide on racist grounds when he said “We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”
Inflaming already heated rhetoric, an enraged Israeli political class emphasized a dark vision of unrestrained retribution. “Israel needs to create a humanitarian crisis” to eradicate Hamas, wrote the former head of the Israeli National Security Council Giora Eiland. “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.”

Despite Israel’s flaunting of international humanitarian law, the U.S. government has done little publicly to discourage Israel from committing war crimes by its blocking of supplies essential to survival, its impossible evacuation order, its collective punishment, and its disproportionate killing of civilians, especially children.
A speech by President Biden last week suggested that the U.S. backed whatever Israel regarded as necessary to defend itself and defeat Hamas. But, the Palestinian people are not Hamas and defending against Hamas terrorism cannot be the mass death of Palestinians.

Israel-Palestine war: Sisi says Israel can transfer
Palestinians in Gaza to Negev desert
Middle East Eye, Cairo, 18 October 2023

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Wednesday declared his government’s rejection of the forced transfer of Palestinian civilians from Gaza into Sinai, suggesting Israel could instead relocate them to the Negev desert.
The statements come as Israeli air strikes continue to bombard civilian buildings and infrastructure in the besieged Gaza Strip for the 12th day, with the latest attack targeting a hospital on Tuesday killing at least 471 civilians, both patients and displaced people.
Palestinians and Egyptian officials have rejected the prospect of relocating Gaza residents to Sinai, warning it would constitute a second Nakba, or another ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.


palestinians 1948 - 1949

During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Cairo’s Ittihadeya palace on Wednesday, Sisi responded to Israeli proposals for Palestinian civilians to relocate to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, on the border with Gaza.
“If there is an idea for transfer, there is the Negev Desert in Israel. It is entirely possible to transfer Palestinians until Israel completes its declared mission of eliminating resistance or armed groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others in the Gaza Strip. Then, they can be returned if [Israel] desires,” Sisi said in comments that were not in the official speech published by the presidency spokesman.
“But transferring them to Egypt? This military operation could take years and is a risky endeavour. I must emphasise that we have not yet eradicated terrorism; we have not completed our mission.
Egypt will bear the consequences of this, and Sinai may turn into a base for terrorist operations against Israel.
'We, in Egypt, will be responsible for that, and all the peace we have worked for will fade away as part of an idea to resolve the Palestinian issue.”
The president also warned that "millions" of Egyptians will protest against any displacement of Palestinians to Sinai...

Meanwhile, Israel has amassed tanks near the boundary with Gaza ahead of an expected ground invasion of the enclave - the first such incursion in more than nine years.
The Israeli army on Friday said that civilians in the north of Gaza must leave southwards, and that they would not be allowed to return "until we say so"...
Since 1948, Israel has prevented Palestinian refugees, who were expelled by Zionist militias prior to the establishment of Israel, from returning to their native land. Currently, the estimated count of Palestinian refugees stands at more than 5.6 million.

When Civilians Become Cannon Fodder:
War And Peace In The Middle East
Arshad M. Khan, Modern Diplomacy, October 19, 2023

There was a time when attacking civilians was considered a war crime. It quickly disappeared from thought in WW2 when bombing began to flatten cities; the rationale being that civilians assisted in the war effort through working in manufacturing, or doing other men’s jobs, to free them to go and fight.
So here we are again with the Middle East in turmoil and Gaza being bombed at will.
The logic of it all might be understandable as revenge to satisfy voters but if Bibi Netanyahu focused on the future, he might realize that embittering the children of today will produce the fighters of tomorrow.
Will Israel and Palestine produce another Hundred Years War as in Europe from 1337 to 1453? One could ask a further question: Are we more civilized now than in the days when armies met on a plain somewhere to determine the winner of a dispute while civilians who were going to be taxed no matter who won (and whose prior taxes were paying for the show) stayed out of the way?

The fact is Israel had a hand in creating Hamas, an Islamist group, as a foil to Yasser Arafat’s secular PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization).
Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev, the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s, confessed to financing the group, the object being to divide the Palestinians. Arafat himself referred to Hamas as a creature of Israel.
In short, the Israelis first forged political Islamists into Hamas and are now trying to blockade, besiege and bomb it out of existence.
Israeli soldiers are raiding Gaza and Netanyahu has been calling this bombing and attacks … just the beginning. Blowback is the term used to describe a situation that goes awry, and Hamas is an Israeli strategic blowback in spades.

Since the PLO now PA (Palestinian Authority) is relatively supine, Hamas has soared in popularity defeating the PA in Gaza elections.
The PA governs the portions of the West Bank that Israel allows it to. The 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is the president, continuing in office with his official elected term long expired. He has been referred to as Israel’s policeman and Hamas refuses to recognize him. Well educated, he earned a law degree from the University of Damascus and later a doctorate in Moscow.

President George W. Bush presented a ‘roadmap for peace’ in 2002 formally proposed by the Quartet on the Middle East which envisioned Israel and an independent Palestinian state existing side by side in peace.
Anathema to the religious right and extremists who desire a Greater Israel — the road map hit a roadblock when the right wing rose to power in Israel.
Israel was quite comfortable with the status quo — leaving Palestinians in a sort of limbo trapped in Gaza or the West Bank, surrounded by a myriad of checkpoints to keep Israelis safe. That is until the Palestinians used bulldozers to break through the fences and paragliders to fly over, in a carefully planned and well rehearsed attack.
One can only hope that the lessons learned in the latest bloodletting will lead to peace after the lust for revenge has been satisfied...

Israel-Palestine conflict - History Illustrated:
The war on Al-Aqsa redux
By Danylo Hawaleshka, Al-Jazeera, 16 Oct 2023

Hamas blames the current war with Israel, in part, on the recent “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli settlers.
These are provocations that have been going on for a long time.

Earlier this year, during Ramadan, Muslims in Al-Aqsa were observing a religious ritual called itikaf. But Israeli police accused some worshippers of being “masked agitators”, so they stormed in with tear gas, viciously swinging batons. The assault resulted in international condemnation — and retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel from inside Gaza and southern Lebanon.
Israel responded with an aerial barrage on Lebanon and Gaza — but many at the time asked, why was this happening? Some said it would make it easier for hard-right Israeli settlers to enter Al-Aqsa compound, some of whom want the mosque torn down.
Then on October 1, thousands of settlers started to conduct provocative tours of the mosque compound.
On October 4, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the compound, the third holiest site in Islam, while police prevented young Palestinians from entering the mosque.
In response to Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, Israel seems ready for a massive ground invasion of Gaza, while the US has sent a second aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, leaving many people to wonder, when might all the death and destruction finally end?

Cairo Peace Summit: Arab leaders urge halting Gaza war
but European officials want Israel to 'defend' itself
Amr Kandil , Ahram online, Saturday 21 Oct 2023

While leaders of the Arab countries at the Cairo Summit for Peace have focused on the need to halt the war in Gaza and return to negotiations, most of the European officials in attendance were more keen on condemning Hamas for its 7th of October attack inside Israel and defending Israel's "right to self-defense."
These differences between the Arab and European delegations hindered the issuance of a final communique for the summit.
​Sources told Ahram Online that a communique have not been issued as the European leaders have demanded a clear condemnation of Hamas and a recognition of Israel’s right to self-defense.
Leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Greece, Cyprus as well as the European Council have condemned Hamas’s attack as “terrorist” during their participation in the summit.
Meanwhile, they viewed the Israeli strikes that killed more than 4,000 civilians, more than half of whom are children, in the context of Israel’s right to defend itself as per international law.

During the summit, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine rejected targeting civilians and called for the cessation of the military operations in the strip.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II denounced global silence amid the Israeli bombing of the strip and the policies of collective punishment practiced against Palestinian civilians.
In a statement after the summit, the Egyptian Presidency said the ongoing war has disclosed a “shortcoming” in the values of the international community in addressing crises. “While we see a rush and competition to promptly condemn the killing of innocent people in a place, we find incomprehensible hesitation in denouncing the same act in another place,” the Presidency said.

In a speech at the summit, France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna described Hamas as terrorist, saying that the Islamist movement seeks to destroy the state of Israel and spread chaos rather than fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians.
Similarly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock blamed Hamas for the attacks and stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and protect its people against terrorism. She noted, however, that the fight against Hamas need to be carried out with the “greatest possible” consideration for the humanitarian situation of the innocent men, women, and children in Gaza.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he called for restraint from the Israeli military “despite the incredibly difficult circumstances.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni claimed that the Arab countries, Israel, and the West are all “targets” for Hamas.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also defended Israel’s right to self-defense in accordance with international law, but affirmed that policies of collective punishment are also prohibited under the same law.

HRW calls on Israel to ‘immediately’
restore water and electricity in Gaza
Asmahan Qarjouli, Doha News [Qatar], 22-10-2023

The complete Israeli blockade on Gaza has been widely slammed as a form of “collective punishment”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Israel to “immediately” restore electricity, water and fuel to Gaza on Saturday as millions of Palestinians continue to face a devastating blockade that has pushed the enclave to catastrophic conditions.
In a statement, the international rights organisation called on Israeli authorities to restore basic resources and allow “unhindered” aid into Gaza to meet a portion of its humanitarian needs.
“While aid agencies struggle to squeeze a few trucks of humanitarian aid into southern Gaza via Egypt, the Israeli authorities are keeping their crossings with Gaza closed and refusing to flick the switch for the water and electricity supply,” Tirana Hassan, executive director of HRW, said.
“There is no excuse for denying water, food, and medicine to Gaza’s civilian population. It is cruel and contrary to international law,” Hassan added.

Obama: Israeli actions in Gaza war may
harden Palestinian attitudes for generations
Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Oct 2023

Israeli actions in its war against Gaza, like cutting off food and water, could “harden Palestinian attitudes for generations” and weaken international support for Israel, former US President Barack Obama warned.
Obama, in rare comments on the Israel-Gaza war, said any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs of the war “could ultimately backfire.”
The Israeli government’s decision could also "erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” Obama added.
While condemning Hamas’ attack on Israel and reiterating his support for Israel’s right to defend itself, Obama said: “But even as we support Israel, we should also be clear that how Israel prosecutes this fight matters.”
As President Biden has repeatedly emphasized, Israel’s military strategy should abide by international law, including those laws that seek to avoid, to every extent, the death or suffering of civilian populations, Obama added in a statement on Monday.
He said upholding international law is “vital for building alliances and shaping international opinion.” Obama emphasized that doing so is an “enormously difficult task,” noting that Israeli occupation army operations “often put civilians at risk.”

The Obama administration sought, but ultimately failed to broker, a peace deal in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Since taking office in early 2021, Biden has not tried to resume long-stalled talks, saying that leaders on both sides were too stubborn and the climate was not right.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a testy relationship when Obama was in office, especially when Obama's administration was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel envoy calls for resignation of UN chief
who said Hamas attack ‘did not happen in a vacuum’
CNBC News, Oct 25 2023

Israel’s representative to the U.N. called for the resignation of the organization’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, following his remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict and action in Gaza.
Speaking on Tuesday at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Guterres reiterated his call for a humanitarian pause of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has been sealed off from Israel’s supplies of fuel, food, water and electricity. Israel is carrying out a military campaign against Palestinian militant group Hamas, which launched a multi-pronged attack against Israel two weeks prior.
While stating he has “condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel,” Guterres said “it is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” pointing to “56 years of suffocating occupation” suffered by the Palestinian people.
“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas,” he added. “Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians — or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.”

In a press briefing following the U.N. Security Council meeting, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s representative to the U.N., demanded Guterres’ resignation for his comments.
“The U.N. is failing, and you, Mr. Secretary-General, have lost all morality and impartiality. Because when you say those terrible words that these heinous attacks did not happen in a vacuum, you are tolerating terrorism, and I think that the Secretary-General must resign,” he said.
“Because from now on, every day that he is here in this building, unless he apologizes immediately, today, we called him to apologize, there’s no justification to the existence of this building. ”

The diplomatic conflict with Guterres coincides with nascent tensions between the Israeli military and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which has repeatedly called for safe passage to distribute resources in the Gaza Strip and for additional supplies, critically fuel — without which, it says it will need to end operations on Wednesday night.
Israel has come under fire from human rights groups, which question whether the country’s military response in the Gaza Strip has been proportionate, and whether the displacement and harm suffered by Palestinian civilians risk bringing Israel in breach of international law.

Flashback:
Erdan: Saudi deal will isolate the Palestinians completely
Times of Israel, 22 September 2023

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan is pressed during a Kan public broadcaster interview on how the current hardline government will be able to make the concessions to the Palestinians necessary to secure a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Erdan recalls that in 2020 Netanyahu agreed to delay plans to annex large parts of the West Bank until 2024 in exchange for normalization with the UAE.
“All the more so [is the same kind of concession] possible when talking about a peace deal that ends the Arab-Israeli conflict, except for the Palestinians.
[This] will isolate the Palestinians and leave them alone by themselves.
Under these circumstances, I’m confident that the ministers of the government will know how to make the right consideration,” Erdan says.


Wikipedia info: Gilad Erdan (born September 30, 1970 in Ashkelon) is an Israeli Likud politician. He has been Israel's ambassador to the United Nations since August 2020 and also Israel's ambassador to the United States since January 2021.
Erdan studied law at Bar-Ilan University, worked as a lawyer and was an advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.
At the beginning of February 2019, he was one of the signatories of a petition by the Nachala movement (a radical settler group) addressed to the (next) Israeli government, asking for the colonization of the entire Israeli-occupied West Bank with two million Jews. To this end, the Two-State Model must be abandoned and the applicable construction freeze outside the "official settlement blocs" (which the UN considers illegal).
It is a plan by Yitzchak Shamir from the 1990s. The Nachala petition talks about: The Land of Israel: One Land for One People....

In Moscow: Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk
demands ceasefire among other conditions for release of Israeli captives
Ahram Online, Friday 27 Oct 2023

Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, met on Friday with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani, Russian state news agency Tass said. The Iranian diplomat told Abu Marzouk that Tehran’s “priority” in negotiations is “an immediate ceasefire, providing assistance to the people and lifting the repressive blockade of Gaza,” Tass reported.
The Israeli foreign ministry slammed Russia’s decision to invite Hamas representatives to Moscow as “an act of support for terrorism.”
“We welcome anyone who wants to fight alongside us," Abu Marzouk said, according to Al-Arabiya. "We are counting on our Arab brethren to reach a ceasefire," he said.
Abu Marzouk voiced his gratitude to Russia, saying they had protected Hamas twice at the UN Security Council with a veto. He added that “Russia and China represent a bloc that defends us.”

Earlier, on Thursday, the US military revealed in a statement that it had struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups.
"The precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on 17 October," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in the statement.
This comes as US President Joe Biden on Thursday sent a message to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning against strikes on US troops amid the Israeli war on Gaza.
The day before, Biden told a press conference that he had warned Khamenei of a resp onse if the attacks continued.
"My warning to the Ayatollah was that if they continue to move against those troops, we will respond, and he should be prepared. It has nothing to do with Israel," he said.

Yair Lapid: 6 Hamas leaders must die
Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, Oct 30, 2023

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said during the weekly Yesh Atid faction meeting today (Monday) that he intends to support the government in any decision that will bring the hostages held by Hamas back home.
"I conveyed a message to the government, by virtue of my position as the head of the opposition, that we will fully support every decision and every step and every price that will lead to the return of the abductees home. At the same time, we need to take painful steps to make sure they return home," Lapid stated.
He also defined the goals of the war and stated that all of Hamas' top leaders - including those outside Gaza - must be eliminated.
"The political echelon defined the goal of the war as the elimination of Hamas' military infrastructure. I agree, of course, but to that must be added the elimination of the Hamas leadership.
The State of Israel must not stop and must not let go until we kill six people: Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, Ismail Haniyeh, Saleh al-Arouri, Khaled Mashal, and Marwan Issa. All six must die.
Until they die, Israel will not have avenged the murders of Be'eri and Sderot, Kafr Aza, and Ofakim. Until they die, the Middle East will not understand that we are not messing around."

"The State of Israel needs to get them, wherever they are. Whether it's in Gaza or in other countries, it doesn't matter. We need to get them and eliminate them. It's part of the campaign. It's part of restoring deterrence," Lapid said.

Netanyahu Citing the Bible:
"Go, attack the Amalekites..."
Faruk Imamovic, Financial World, 29-10-2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew on ancient scriptural references on Sunday, evoking the biblical nation of 'Amalek' to explain Israel's position in the ongoing conflict with Hamas, which has resulted in significant civilian casualties.
Amid the escalating conflict, Netanyahu turned to ancient scripture to elucidate Israel's stance. He quoted from First Samuel 15:3, saying, "You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. 'Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys'"
The invocation of this biblical passage serves not only as a historical reference but also as a genocidal lens through which the Prime Minister views the current conflict.

For those unfamiliar with the biblical narrative, the term 'Amalek' might be a mystery. But what is Amalek, and why has it been cited in the context of this modern conflict?
The Hebrew Bible paints a picture of the Amalekite nation as a fervent adversary of the Israelites.
The name "Amalek" can denote Esau's grandson who established the nation, his descendants - known as the Amalekites, or the territories they once occupied.
The historical enmity can be traced back to the book of Exodus, which recounts the Amalekites attacking the tribe of Israel as they made their exodus from Egypt. Even though the Israelites triumphed over the Amalekites, God cursed the descendants of Amalek.
Netanyahu's invocation of 'Amalek' is symbolic, drawing parallels between ancient foes and present-day adversaries. His reference to First Samuel 15:3, which calls for the complete annihilation of the Amalekites, underscores the depth of enmity and the historical weight of the ongoing conflict.


Ahram Online

The strife between Israel and Hamas has escalated drastically, with the war claiming more than 1,400 Israeli lives and nearly 8,000 in Gaza.
As tensions rise, the Israeli army has moved into the second phase of its campaign against Hamas. Ground forces have been deployed in Gaza, complemented by intensified assaults from the land, sea, and air, as confirmed by Netanyahu.
"There are moments in which a nation faces two possibilities: to do or die," the Israeli Prime Minister remarked. “We now face that test, and I have no doubt how it will end: We will be the victors. We will do and we will be the victors”.

James J. Zogby: Debunking “all Palestinians are Hamas”
The Jordan Times, Oct 31,2023

Too many comments from Israeli political, military and religious leaders have suggested that all Palestinians are legitimate targets because they support Hamas or that they voted for them and are, therefore, guilty of that group’s many crimes. Here are a few:
The president of Israel said: “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It's absolutely not true.”
An Israeli Knesset member said: “The children of Gaza brought it upon themselves.” The minister of defence described the current war this way: “We are fighting human animals.”
Statements of this kind, in which an entire group of people are demonised or seen as responsible for the actions of a few, are sheer bigotry. The very same racism when applied to other groups (like Jews, Blacks, or Native Americans) has led to pogroms, persecution, or genocide.

What about the claim that “all Palestinians support Hamas”?
Our frequent polling across Palestine and Israel provides data that easily debunks that characterisation. In our last poll in Gaza (July, 2023) only 11 per cent identified themselves as Hamas supporters, as opposed to 32 per cent identified with Fatah. Eleven per cent hardly constitutes “all Palestinians”.
As for the claim that Palestinians voted for Hamas and are therefore culpable for their behaviour, the same dangerous generalisation would hold all Americans responsible for the actions of the US government, or all Israelis, or Jews, responsible for the atrocities committed by the Israeli government...

FLASHBACK
The Palestinians are Amalek
by Michale Welton, CounterPunch, 30-1-2015

Both Christians and Jews share a common mythology: that Yahweh created the world, that the Jews are a chosen people, that they have been promised a land.

The Palestinians are Amalek. If they will not submit to Jewish rule they must, or will be, destroyed.
The basis for this is the Old Testament, the shared sacred text of Christians and Jews. One cannot argue with sacred texts! Indeed, in 1971, Golda Meir told Le Monde that Israel existed as “the fulfilment of promise made by God Himself.

"In one of the scariest and stupidest statements any Israeli official has ever made, an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of strategy regarding Iran, 'Think Amalek'." (Steven Weiss)

The Amalekite view of Jewish history
by David Myers, Jewish Journal, May 15, 2012

Netanyahu's father, Benzion Netanyahu, was a scholar of Jewish history who exerted an outsized influence on his tight-knit family.
The elder Netanyahu held to what the greatest of 20th century Jewish historians, Salo Baron, called the “lachrymose” — or tearful — conception of Jewish history.
This view can be readily summarized in a line uttered by Benzion Netanyahu to David Remnick for a 1998 profile of Bibi in The New Yorker: “Jewish history is in large measure a history of holocausts.”

We might call this the Amalekite view of Jewish history, referring to the hated biblical foes of the Israelites whose existence should be blotted out (Exodus 17:14).
The historian’s belief that the Jews have been subjected to constant genocidal threats did not lead him to a passive fatalism, as if there were nothing that the Jews could do in the face of Amalek. Rather, it inspired his own militant Zionism, which demanded a persistent willingness to wage war against one’s enemies.
Benzion Netanyahu’s methods and findings are inseparable from his deeply ingrained Amalekite worldview, according to which Jews face unrelenting hostility from the Gentile world — even when those Jews abandon their very adherence to Judaism.

Bibi Netanyahu dismisses talk of his father’s deep imprint on him as “psychobabble.”
But It is hard to disconnect Netanyahu's bellicose stance on Iran from his father’s Amalekite worldview.
Netanyahu the son does not merely see Iran as a grave threat; he regards it as comparable to the most terrifying of Jewish persecutors, the Nazis — a point he made explicitly at the March 2012 AIPAC convention and during his recent Yom HaShoah remarks.
Like his father, the prime minister sees the long history of the Jews as marked by “powerlessness,” “utter defenselessness” and “the atrophy of Jewish resistance,” the antidote to which is the unapologetic and ever-ready assertion of Jewish force.

To be sure, Bibi Netanyahu is more than a mere replica of his father. Indeed, there is another facet to his personality alongside the Amalekite — that of the political pragmatist educated at MIT and trained in the art of deal making at the Boston Consulting Group.
Still, it is worth reflecting on the father...

Iran’s FM heads to Turkey
as Erdogan slams 'Israel's barbarity'
Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, October 31, 2023

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will pay an official visit to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, bilateral ties and other regional developments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The announcement came as Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels fired drones toward Israel’s southern city of Eilat on Tuesday in retaliation for its war against the militant group Hamas. Israel intercepted the missiles fired from the Red Sea area.
The meeting shows that “states of the region prioritize speaking to each other as they carefully manage the escalations. Iran and Turkey have had continuously close state-to-state talks and ties, even when they’ve stood at polar opposites of regional conflicts as was the case in Syria,” observed Arash Azizi, a historian at New York University...
On Tuesday, Amir-Abdollahian met in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Qatar has played a central role in negotiating between Israel and Hamas over the release of hostages.

Iran denies any links to Hamas’ Oct. 7 bloody rampage in Israel...
Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday in an interview with CNN that Iran does not want the war “to spread out." Both Turkey and Iran have called for an immediate cease-fire. Such calls have been squarely rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“In general, Tehran has sought to use the ongoing conflict in Gaza, especially the opposition of public opinion in the Islamic world to Israeli military operations, as an opportunity for diplomatic engagement,” argued Hamidreza Azizi, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
“Until now, the Islamic Republic has been primarily known as a military actor in the conflict, providing military support to Palestinian groups. Now, Iranian leaders are trying to play a new diplomatic role alongside their traditional military one, viewing Turkey and Qatar as potential partners,” he told Al-Monitor.

Turkey’s rhetoric against Israel has grown increasingly harsh in parallel with the rising death toll in Gaza..
Tensions continued to escalate as Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned Israel’s bombing of the sole cancer hospital in Gaza that was built with Turkish funding, causing extensive damage...
“Israel, with the unconditional support of Europe and America, has for the past 25 days been committing crimes against humanity before the eyes of the entire world,” Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday. “Yesterday the Friendship Hospital was targeted by Israeli forces,” making it “the latest victim of Israel’s barbarity,” he added.

Israel has dropped 18,000 tons of bombs on Gaza
Ahmed Gouda and Hamdi Yildiz, Anadolu [Turkey] 01.11.2023

The Israeli army has dropped 18,000 tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip since Oct.7, or about 1.5 times the explosive force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in World War II, according to officials in the besieged enclave.
Speaking to the press, Salama Marouf, head of the government's media office, said Israeli forces have also destroyed 85 government buildings in Gaza, adding: "In Gaza, Israel has demolished 47 mosques and inflicted significant harm to three churches. The attacks have resulted in over 200,000 damaged buildings, with 32,500 of them rendered uninhabitable, 203 schools have sustained major damage, and 45 schools are now completely non-operational. Due to the intensity of the attacks, statistics are not yet complete."

Biden's support among Arab Americans
plummets amid Israel-Palestine conflict: Poll
Darren Lyn | Anadolu 01.11.2023

US President Joe Biden has lost an unprecedented amount of support from the Arab American community since the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7 which triggered the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a new poll.
The latest numbers by the Arab American Institute show that Biden's support from Arab Americans for his 2024 reelection bid has plummeted from 59% to 17%. That is a 42% nosedive in the president's support since 2020.
The poll, which surveyed 500 Arab Americans between Oct. 23-27, also showed that Biden’s overall approval rating within the community has dropped precipitously from 74% in 2020 to 29% in 2023, "reflecting trends across the American public as a whole."
That could make a major difference in the coming presidential election, with nearly 3.7 million Arab Americans living in the US.
According to the poll, if the election were held today, 40% of Arab Americans would vote for former President Donald Trump versus just 17.4% for Biden. Another 25.1% said they were undecided...
The poll also indicated that 78% of Arab Americans are concerned about an increase in anti-Arab bigotry and 67% are concerned about an increase in anti-Semitism.

Iran: US Not Qualified to Preach Others
on Israel’s War on Gaza - FNA News [Iran], 1-11-2023

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that the United States complicit in the crimes of Israel against the people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip, adding Washington is not in a position to lecture others on exercise self-restraint regarding the conflict between Palestinian resistance groups and the Zionist regime.
Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar’s Doha on Tuesday.
The region is at a critical juncture and the resistance groups in the region make decisions independently and they do not necessarily wait for political decisions,” the Iranian minister said.
“Therefore, if the war crimes of the Zionist regime continue and the scope of conflict and war widens, no party will remain unaffected by the consequences and repercussions,” he added.
He stressed that despite advising others to exercise self-restraint, the US government is actually a party to the war and is not in a position to invite others to do so.
Haniyeh, for his part, said the Palestinian resistance is at the peak of its strength and capabilities. Therefore, instead of engaging with the resistance forces, the occupying regime continues to target Palestinian civilians, he stated...

Flashback: Paradigm shift in Palestine
by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 10-10-2023

The bloody conflict in geographic Palestine comes after 75 years of equally murderous injustice.
Under international law, Palestinians have the right and duty to resist Israeli occupation, just as Israelis have the right and duty to respond to the attack on them. It is everyone’s responsibility to help resolve the injustices suffered by both groups, which does not mean supporting the cruel vengeance of some of them.

The current situation is hopeless for both sides. After three-quarters of a century of crimes, Israel can no longer lay claim to much. Its population is now divided.
Over the last few months, the followers of the Ukrainian Vladimir Jabotinsky and supporters of Jewish supremacism have seized power in Tel Aviv, despite the opposition of a small majority of the population and huge demonstrations.
Its young people, who aspire to live in peace, refuse to serve in armies to brutalize Arabs, but have joined them anyway to defend their families whom they love and their country in which they do not believe.
Legally, the Palestinians formed a state, which was granted observer status at the United Nations. On the death of Yasser Arafat, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was elected president. However, following Hamas’s victory in the 2007 legislative elections, and the impossibility of getting the West to accept a Hamas government, the Palestinians fought a civil war.
In the end, the West Bank was governed by Fatah, the secular party created by Yasser Arafat. Mahmoud Abbas and his inner circle are financed by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, is in the hands of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is governed by individuals who see Islam not as a spirituality, but as a weapon of conquest. They are mainly paid by the UK, Qatar, Israel, Turkey, Iran and the European Union.
When it was created, Hamas was financed by the United Kingdom. It was supported by the Israeli secret services to weaken Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.
Israel then fought it and assassinated its religious leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Then, once again, Israel used Hamas to eliminate the leaders of the Marxist Palestinian Resistance. Hamas fighters accompanied by Mossad agents and Al-Qaeda jihadists attacked the Palestinian Yarmouk camp at the start of the war against Syria. But today, once again, Hamas is fighting its erstwhile ally, Israel...

Erdogan says Netanyahu 'no longer someone we can talk to'
AFP|Ahram online, Saturday 4 Nov 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he was breaking off contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel's actions in Gaza.
"Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off," Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan's remarks came a week after Israel said it was "re-evaluating" its relations with Ankara because of Turkey's increasingly heated rhetoric about Israel's war crimes in Gaza. Israel had earlier withdrawn all diplomats from Turkey and other regional countries as a security precaution.
Israeli forces have encircled Gaza's largest city, as more than 9,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in relentless Israeli strikes and an intensifying ground invasion.
Erdogan said Saturday that Turkey was not breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel. "Completely severing ties is not possible, especially in international diplomacy," Erdogan said.
He said MIT intelligence agency chief Ibrahim Kalin was spearheading Turkey's efforts to try and mediate an end to the Israeli war: "Ibrahim Kalin talking to the Israeli side. Of course, he is also negotiating with Palestine and Hamas," Erdogan said.
But he said Netanyahu bore the primary responsibility for the violence and had "lost the support of his own citizens". "What he needs to do is take a step back and stop this..."

Netanyahu clarifies: No ceasefire in Gaza
Arutz Sheva News, [Israel] 3-11-2023

[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear on Friday afternoon, in a statement to the press before the start of Shabbat, that Israel will not agree to a ceasefire in Gaza without the release of the hostages being held by Hamas.
Our forces are operating in all sectors and with all their might. Our victory will be sharp and clear.It will deliver a message to our enemies, a message that will resonate for generations,” stated Netanyahu.
“I tell you, and I tell them - they will be defeated.We will not let up until victory, until the goals we set are achieved - the elimination of Hamas, the return of our hostages and the return of security to our citizens and our children,” he added....
“Regarding the north - I repeat and say to our enemies: Do not underestimate us. A mistake will cost you dearly.A mistake will cost you a price you can't even imagine,” warned Netanyahu in the remarks, which came as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech.
“At the same time, we continue to operate on the political front. I met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this morning... “
“I made it clear that we continue with all our might, and that Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the release of our hostages. Israel does not allow entry of fuel into the Gaza Strip and opposes the transfer of funds to the Gaza Strip.”

Blinken on surprise visit to Baghdad
AFP|Ahram online, Sunday 5 Nov 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Sunday following a trip to the occupied West Bank earlier in the day. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani met Blinken, the premier's office said, with the two expected to discuss the risks of escalation in Israel's war with Hamas.
Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, a series of rocket and drone attacks have targeted military bases hosting US forces in Iraq.
"I made very clear that attacks or threats coming from militias that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable," Blinken said on Sunday. "We will take every necessary step to protect our people," he added during a meeting with Sudani.
Washington has accused Iran of having a hand in the attacks which have also targeted American troops in Syria. Most of the attacks have been claimed by a group known as "Islamic Resistance in Iraq", according to Telegram channels affiliated with Iraqi factions close to Tehran.
Figures released by the Pentagon on Friday showed that between October 17 and November 3 there were 17 attacks in Iraq and 12 in Syria.
Some 2,500 American troops are deployed in Iraq, tasked with advising their Iraqi counterparts in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Iraq's prime minister has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and has described Israel's military operation in the coastal territory as a "genocide" against the Palestinian people. Iraq does not recognise Israel as a state and its government is close to Iran, which in turn backs Hamas.

Palestine's Abbas decries 'genocide' as Blinken visits West Bank
by Daily Sabah with Agencies, Nov 05, 2023

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decried Sunday Israel's "genocide" in the Gaza Strip, in remarks to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
"I have no words to describe the genocide and destruction suffered by our Palestinian people in Gaza at the hands of Israel's war machine, with no regard for the principles of international law," Abbas told Blinken in Ramallah, in remarks carried by official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The comments came as Blinken made a surprise visit to the West Bank as part of his Middle East tour, the office of the Palestinian president said.
In his sit-down with Abbas, Blinken said Palestinians in Gaza “must not be forcibly displaced,” and the pair discussed “the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians” in the West Bank, a U.S. State Department spokesman said...
Blinken last week told a Senate hearing Abbas’s Palestinian Authority should retake control of Gaza, even though it currently exercises only limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long sought to sideline it.

Ayatollah Khamenei: All-Out Support
for Palestine, Iran’s Permanent Policy
Fars News Agency [Iran], 6-11-2023

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei reaffirmed Iran’s all-out support for Palestine as the permanent principle of Tehran’s policy.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with the Head of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, as Israel’s more than 12,000 strikes in Gaza since early October have killed nearly 10,000, mostly children and women, and damaged civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, United Nations shelters and refugee camps.
“Supporting the Palestinian resistance forces vis-à-vis the Zionist occupiers is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s permanent policy,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a recent meeting with Haniyeh in Tehran.
Tehran has made no secret of its backing for Palestinian resistance movements, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed the necessity for arming the Palestinians with weapons and equipment to enable them to defend themselves.
But, Iranian officials have denied claims that Tehran helped Palestinian fighters to plan the multi-front attack on Israel...
Tehran stresses the resistance groups are currently considering various options in response to the Israeli regime act of aggression and relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Iran warns the resistance movements would adopt appropriate measures if the Israeli regime continues its relentless bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, and Palestinian fighters do not face a shortage in weapons and munitions and are ready for a long battle with the Zionist regime...

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, where some 2 million people live in an area of 140 square miles. It has been almost completely cut off from the rest of the world for nearly 17 years. More than half of its population lives in poverty and is food insecure, with nearly 80% of its population relying on humanitarian assistance.

Israel vows to take 'security responsibility' of Gaza after war
AP|Ahram online, Tuesday 7 Nov 2023

More than 1.5 million people in densely packed Gaza have fled their homes for other parts of the territory in a desperate search for cover, with critical aid only trickling in.
But Netanyahu told ABC News the war would continue until Israel had restored "overall security" control of Gaza.
"Israel will for an indefinite period have the overall security responsibility
," he said.
Netanyahu's comments came after the White House said the Israeli leader had discussed potential "tactical pauses" in a phone call with US President Joe Biden on Monday. But no agreements were announced and the pair did not broach the possibility of a ceasefire.
While the United States is seeking a humanitarian "pause" in the fighting, several countries and UN agencies have repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire.
Netanyahu said that there will be no ceasefire - general ceasefire -, without the release of the Israelis held in captivity by the Pastinians resistance groups.
"As far as tactical, little pauses -- an hour here, an hour there -- we've had them before. I suppose we'll check the circumstances in order to enable goods -- humanitarian goods -- to come in or individual hostages, to leave," he added.
The Israeli occupation army said it had pounded Gaza with "significant" strikes on 450 sites over 24 hours since Sunday morning. Israeli infantry and tanks have flooded the northern half of the Gaza Strip and tightened an encirclement of Gaza City, effectively splitting the territory in two.

Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but maintained a total blockage of the strip.
A year later, Hamas won elections in Gaza, and took control of the territory in 2007, while Israel controled all exists, see, air and water.
The Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, only exercises limited autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested last week that the Palestinian Authority should retake control of Gaza after the war, and visited the West Bank to meet Abbas on Sunday.
But senior Hamas official in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said they would never accept a puppet government in Gaza...".

Blinken says no reoccupation of Gaza,
but suggests an Israeli-run "transition period”
AFP|Ahram online, Ahram Online, 8 Nov 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday called on Israel not to reoccupy Gaza once the war comes to an end but later modified his quotes by suggesting the possibility of an Israeli-run "transition period” in Gaza.
Speaking to reporters after G7 foreign ministers held talks in Japan, Blinken listed what he said were "key elements" in order to create "durable peace and security."
"The United States believes key elements should include: no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war; no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks; no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends," Blinken told reporters.
He added that other conditions included no "attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza" or any "reduction in the territory of Gaza."
However, Reuters carried an additional quote from Blinken, in which the US secretary of state modified earlier comments, by suggesting that Israel might run the Gaza Strip for a "transition period."
"Now, the reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict... We do not see a reoccupation and what I have heard from Israeli leaders is that they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza," he said as reported by Reuters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Monday that Israel will take control of "overall security" of besieged Gaza after the war. "Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility," Netanyahu told ABC News. On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said that Israel has no desire to impose a civilian administration on Gaza after the war is over.
Once Hamas is toppled, he said, Israel seeks to turn over responsibility for governing the Palestinian strip to "an international coalition, including the US, the European Union and Muslim majority countries, or to local political leaders in Gaza," Cohen told Wall Street Journal.

Egypt rejects managing security in post-war Gaza
Merna Hesham, Al Ahram, Thursday 9 Nov 2023

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi rejected a proposal for Egypt to manage security in Gaza until the Palestinian Authority (PA) can take over after the end of the war, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing senior Egyptian officials.
The proposal came from US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns during a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday with El-Sisi and Abbas Kamel, head of Egyptian intelligence, according to the New York-based newspaper.
El-Sisi asserted that the Egyptian government “wouldn’t play a role in eliminating Hamas as it needs the militant group to help maintain security at the country’s border with the Gaza Strip,” the officials added.
Furthermore, El-Sisi confirmed Egypt's rejection of an “Israeli presence” in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian sources said according to a Sky News Arabia correspondent on Thursday, adding that Cairo has also rejected any presence of NATO or any foreign forces inside the strip "under any guise."
El-Sisi also reiterated that Cairo sees no settlement for the Palestinian cause but the two-state solution, the sources added.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel will manage security in Gaza for an "indefinite period," prompting concerns about an Israeli reoccupation.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israel not to occupy post-war Gaza but later modified his stance on Wednesday suggesting an Israeli-run "transition period."
Photographers captured scenes of thousands of Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombardment in northern Gaza on foot in an eerie scene parallel to the 1948 Nakba. More than 1.5 million people have been displaced in Gaza since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza.
The Palestinian Health Ministry also said that the death toll due to Israeli bombardment of the strip has reached 10,560 people, including 4,324 children and 2,823 women; over 25,000 have been wounded.

Netanyahu: The Gaza Strip will remain under the control of the IDF
Arutz Sheva [Israel], Nov 10, 2023

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Friday with local council leaders of Gaza adjacent communities, now called Tekuma.
“The residents of the region and the government are exhibiting determination to re-establish more than was ever before. To renovate, build and develop. First of all, restore security — ensure that there is no Hamas and that Hamas does not come back — but also ensure robust life," he added.
The local council leaders told Netanyahu that they were demanding a different security reality the day after the war and demanded "not to agree to a ceasefire, and to finish the work in Gaza until the last terrorist is eliminated".

Netanyahu assured them that "after the elimination of Hamas, there will be total Israeli security control over the Gaza Strip, including full demilitarization, to ensure that there is no longer a threat from Gaza to the citizens of Israel."

UN Security Council trying for fifth time to
adopt resolution on war on Gaza
AP|Ahram online, Wednesday 15 Nov 2023

After four failed attempts, the U.N. Security Council is trying for a fifth time to come up with a resolution on the war on Gaza but it remains to be seen whether serious divisions can be overcome to produce a consensus on the wording.
The current draft under negotiation would demand “immediate extended humanitarian pauses” throughout the Gaza Strip to provide civilians with desperately needed aid.
It also would demand that “all parties” comply with international humanitarian law that requires protection for civilians, calls for special protections for children, and bans captive-taking.
But the draft, proposed by council member Malta, makes no mention of a ceasefire. It also doesn’t refer to Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Nor does it cite Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive in Gaza that the Palestinian health ministry says has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and children.

The 15-member council, which has the responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, has been paralyzed since the war began by its internal divisions.
This is especially the case between China and Russia, which want an immediate ceasefire, and the United States, Israel’s closest ally has called for humanitarian pauses but objects to any mention of a ceasefire.
In the four previous tries, a Brazil-drafted resolution was vetoed by the United States, a U.S.-drafted resolution was vetoed by Russia and China, and two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes needed for adoption.

After the failure of the fourth Security Council resolution, Arab nations turned to the 193-member General Assembly and succeeded in getting wide approval for a resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza meant to lead to a cessation of hostilities.
It was the first United Nations response to the war. But unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, though they are a barometer of world opinion.
The vote was 120-14 with 45 abstentions. Of the five veto-holding Security Council members, Russia, China and France voted in favour, the United States voted against and the United Kingdom abstained.
Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group, said “A U.N. ceasefire call would embarrass but not really constrain the Israelis... But the U.S. clearly feels that even such a symbolic move is too much of a political risk.”

400 US Officials Criticize Israel Policy
In a letter to Biden, the officials called for a ceasefire
Dave DeCamp, November 14, 2023

More than 400 US officials from 40 government agencies have sent a letter to President Biden criticizing his unconditional support for Israel’s war in Gaza in the latest example of dissent from within the US government.
“We call on President Biden to urgently demand a ceasefire; and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” the letter reads.
According to The New York Times, the majority of the signatories to the letter are political appointees who work throughout the government, including in the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Security Council. Some signatories helped get Biden elected and said they were worried his support for the onslaught on Gaza was not opposed by many Democratic voters.
The letter says that the “overwhelming majority of Americans support a ceasefire,” citing a poll from Data For Progress that found 66% of voters believe the US should push for a ceasefire, including 80% of Democrats. BR> “Furthermore, Americans do not want the US military to be drawn into another costly and senseless war in the Middle East,” the letter says.
President Biden and his top aides havecalled for “pauses” in the fighting but refuse to use the term “ceasefire,” demonstrating that they are committed to continuing support for the Israeli war, which has killed at least 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,500 children....
Since October 7, the US has shipped weapons to Israel on a near-daily basis and is providing special operations support, including surveillance drone flights over Gaza.

Eli Cohen: Israel to continue Gaza operation
until it eliminates Hamas, gets hostages back
TASS, 15-11-2023

TEL AVIV, November 15. The Israeli military will continue its operation in the Gaza Strip until it eliminates the Palestinian radical movement Hamas and frees all hostages from the enclave, sraeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in an interview with Radio 103FM.
"There is no political clock. On our part, we will continue [the operation in the Gaza Strip] as long as it takes, weeks or months, until we achieve two goals - eliminate Hamas and get all our hostages back," Israel’s top diplomat said.
According to Cohen, the goal behind the actions by the Israeli military on the premises of Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip is "to destroy Hamas terror tunnels and find hostages."
"We entered the hospital after we received reconnaissance data... Today, the IDF (the Israel Defense Forces - TASS) is in that area, as it controls it and will persevere with its operation across the entire Gaza Strip," he explained, adding that Israel "is working to get those who have been abducted back in any possible way."


Biden: Israel’s Gaza operation will end
when Hamas no longer able to murder Israelis
Times of Israel Staff, 15-11-2023

US President Joe Biden aligned himself late Wednesday with Jerusalem’s position on the duration of the war against Hamas, saying Israel can go on until it achieves its goal of eliminating the Gaza-ruling terror group’s ability to endanger Israelis.
In a televised press conference Biden said Israel’s operation in Gaza, following the shock Hamas massacres in southern Israeli communities last month, “will end when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse, and do horrific things to the Israelis.”
Biden added that Israel’s military has “an obligation to use as much caution as they can in going after their targets. Hamas said they plan to attack Israelis again and this is a terrible dilemma.”
The Biden administration has continued to oppose international calls for Israel to cease fire, saying that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas after the October 7 onslaught, while pushing for more short-term humanitarian pauses and asserting that it expects Israel to abide by the rules of war while fighting in Gaza.
Biden said Israel was taking risks in operating around Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, but “one thing has been established: Hamas does have headquarters, weapons, materiel, below this hospital, and — I suspect — others.”

The IDF said Wednesday that its troops had found military equipment in an operation that began before dawn and continued for much of the day. Israeli forces entered part of Shifa Hospital, with a journalist at the site telling AFP that the IDF had carried out room-by-room searches of that area, after days of fighting on the outskirts of the facility with Hamas gunmen...
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza denied the claims, saying Israeli forces “did not find any equipment or weapons in the hospital.”
“It is a civilian hospital. There is no member of Hamas in al-Shifa Hospital,” Mohammed Zaqout, the director-general of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera. “There is no military activity in al-Shifa. All that happened is around the hospital but inside the hospital, all of the people are civilians.”

Why Al-Shifa Hospital?
Al-Manar [Lebanon], 15-11-2023

In Arabic, it’s “House of Healing”. In English, it’s “Dar Al-Shifa”, known as Al-Shifa Hospital. Located in the neighborhood of northern Rimal in Gaza City, Al-Shifa Hospital has become in recent days the center of global attention.
Gaza’s largest medical facility has been the venue of fresh Israeli massacres, with Israeli ground troops on Tuesday staging brutal raid and tanks lying siege to the facility.
Why the hospital has been attacked by Israeli ground troops, and what role does the medical complex play in terms of Gaza’s health systems? What is the relation between Hamas and Al-Shifa and what about the alleged presence of tunnels beneath the hospital?

Al-Manar hosted Osama Hamadan, a senior Hamas official in Lebanon, on Tuesday. Hamadan emphasized that the Israeli occupation has failed to secure significant military achievements on the ground, noting that there have been concerted efforts to create a false image of victory in the eyes of the Israeli public.
Al-Shifa is a large medical complex that houses several buildings which were built even before Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007,” Hamdan told Al-Manar, affirming: “Claims on tunnels that are under Al-Shifa Hospital are exposed lies.”
Dozens of journalists constantly appear in live messages from Al-Shifa Hospital as they have been covering the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the senior official added.
He noted that in addition to the Palestinian doctors, dozens of foreign medics and health workers served at the medical complex, and they have been on direct contact with International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
“Both local and foreign health workers firmly deny any military presence in and around Al-Shifa Hospital.”

US and EU plan to deploy UN force in postwar Gaza
Ahram Online, Thursday 16 Nov 2023

The United States and European Union are advocating for plans to deploy international peacekeepers in the Gaza Strip following the end of Israel's war on Gaza, according to insiders.
The move would increase pressure on Israel to halt its air and ground invasion of the Palestinian territory that has so far killed more than 11,500 people, many of them women and children, according to Palestinian health ministry figures.
While acknowledging that significant uncertainties persist, US and European officials are actively considering this proposal, people familiar with the matter said, adding that even discussing the idea may push Israel to end its war on the strip.
According to Bloomberg, the discussions, taking place through the United Nations Security Council, are still in an early phase. They come amid mounting pressure from the international community for a cease-fire in Gaza.
One option under consideration involves granting an expanded role for the UN Truce Supervision Organization, first established in 1949 to help implement armistice agreements between Palestinian Arabs and the newly created State of Israel, reported Bloomberg.
Furthermore, similar UN structures could be used as a template, those familiar with the matter added, pointing to UN-backed troop deployment in other areas worldwide.

The plans come as Israeli forces dropped leaflets on Thursday, warning Palestinians to flee parts of southern Gaza, signalling a possible expansion of operations to areas where hundreds of thousands of people who heeded earlier evacuation orders are crowded into UN-run shelters and family homes.
Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday the ground operation will eventually “include both the north and south. We will strike Hamas wherever it is."

Israeli army forces evacuation of Shifa hospital
Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Nov 2023

The Israeli army ordered patients, refugees, and medical staff to evacuate the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, forcing them to make the more than 20-kilometre-long trek south on foot.
Medical sources in Gaza reported about five doctors stayed with the 530 remaining critically ill and wounded patients who are unable to walk.
Palestine News Agency (WAFA) reported the evacuees were forced to flee in single file past Israeli tanks, raising their hands and carrying white flags.
The evacuees are headed south along Salah El-Din Street, the main north-south highway in the Gaza Strip, to Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza. The journey of over 20 kilometres is bound to be difficult, with many of the evacuees having to navigate the partially destroyed road while pushing wheelchairs and sickbeds.
The head of the bone surgery department, Adnan Al-Barsh, tearfully conveyed on a live broadcast on Al Jazeera: "I swear we did everything we could do until the very last moment."

Israeli forces besieged Al-Shifa Medical Complex for nine days, destroying its medical equipment and causing the death of wounded people and a number of premature babies.
The director-general of hospitals in Gaza said: "All of the 22 patients who were in the intensive care unit, in addition to six dialysis patients, who were in Al-Shifa have died."
Several buildings were bombed, including the cardiac building on the western side of the complex.
Al-Shifa Medical Complex is affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and is the largest medical centre in the Gaza Strip. It was established in 1946 during the British Mandate and started as small kiosks providing medical care to patients. It developed over time and became the largest medical complex in the Gaza Strip where 25 percent of the entire hospital workers in the Gaza Strip work

Netanyahu: "heavy international pressure against Israel’s war on Hamas"
By Times of Israel Staff, 19-11-2023

[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said there was heavy international pressure against Israel’s war on Hamas, as he pledged to continue pressing the military campaign in Gaza until the terror group is overthrown and the hostages it seized are returned. While Israel has the support of the US and others for the ongoing war, “there is growing pressure against us, in the US and elsewhere,” he said. [...]
“They pressed us to agree to a full ceasefire. We refused. And I made clear that we would only agree to a temporary ceasefire and only for the return of our hostages.”
He added: “Together with my colleagues, I rebuff the pressure and make clear to the world: We will continue to fight until victory. Until we destroy Hamas. And until we bring our hostages home.”

He set out three war missions that will be fulfilled: “Complete victory, to destroy Hamas. To return the hostages. And to ensure that after victory, Gaza will never again constitute a threat to Israeli citizens. I will not allow into Gaza any party that supports terrorism...
An additional condition, he said: “The IDF will have complete freedom of action in Gaza against any threat. That is the only way to guarantee the demilitarization of Gaza.”

Netanyahu said he greatly “appreciates the support of the US” and that it is sending constant shipments of crucial weaponry and defense equipment, while noting bipartisan support for the Jewish state in Congress.
He said Israel’s leadership was in daily contact with the White House, and “I give US media interviews almost every day to persuade the American public of the rightness of our path.”
He said he speaks every day with other international leaders. All this and more, he said, ensures Israel continues to receive the military support it needs from the US, and thwarts international initiatives against Israel that would endanger its ability to keep fighting.


How Netanyahu falsifies the news
by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network | 21 November 2023

Like all wars, the one pitting the State of Israel against the Palestinian population is the subject of a media battle.
The Palestinian Resistance doesn’t need to tell the story of the injustice it is fighting against: you only need to look to see. Rather, it aims to magnify one or other of its components.
Israel, on the other hand, has to convince people of its good faith, which after three quarters of a century of violating international law is no mean feat.
Since the attack of the Palestinian Resistance on October 7, 2023, Israel has been deploying all its resources to make us believe that the attack was carried out by Hamas jihadists and that it knew nothing about its preparation.
However, this attack was carried out by all Palestinian factions, with the exception of Fatah.

Until recently, Hamas defined itself as the "Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood", as stated on all its documents.
As such, it fought against the secularists of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah and George Habash’s PFLP, then against those of President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Republic. In his eyes, they were all "enemies of God".
Hamas was financed by Israel and, in Syria, its fighters were supervised by Mossad and NATO officers.
However, after the Brotherhood’s failure in Egypt and their defeat in Syria, Hamas split between a section loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, led by Khaled Mechaal (and still pursuing the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate), and another that refocused on the liberation of Palestine.
The latter, led by Iran, renewed its ties with Syria. Its leader, Khalil Hayya, was received in Damascus by President Bashar al-Assad. It also renewed its ties with the Lebanese Hezbollah, taking part in meetings in Beirut with the latter and other components of the Palestinian Resistance.

All the components of the Palestinian Resistance had agreed to carry out a "coup de poing" operation to kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers and exchange them for Palestinian civilians and fighters detained in Israel.
The date of October 7 was chosen by Hamas alone, and the other Palestinian factions were informed only a few hours beforehand. Incidentally, Hamas fighters were in the majority compared with the Marxists of the PFLP and the members of the Axis of Resistance (united around Iran), the Islamic Jidad....
The operation had been planned at a coordination meeting in Beirut in May. It was reported in the Lebanese press. However, while the principle, targets and modus operandi had been set, no one knew when it would take place.
The Egyptian intelligence services were the first to sound the alarm. They support the Palestinian Resistance, but fight Hamas without being able to distinguish between its two tendencies. They were not worried about the possible success of the Palestinian Resistance, but of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Intelligence Minister Kamal Abbas personally warned his Israeli counterparts. According to Yigal Carmon, director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), Netanyahu did not listen...

Times of Israel, 9 oct 2023:
Abbas Kamel, the powerful head of Egyptian intelligence, warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 10 days before the attack, Ynet reports. Kamel warned Israel that “something unusual, a terrible operation” was about to take place around Gaza. Kamel was reportedly aghast at Netanyahu’s passivity upon hearing the report.
Egyptian sources tell Ynet that Netanyahu responded that IDF forces were focused on fighting terror in the West Bank, where deadly terror attacks against Israel were being carried out.
Netanyahu’s office calls the Ynet report “a lie.”


Israel-Palestine war: Israel and Hamas agree
to exchange prisoners as part of four-day 'truce'
By MEE staff, 22 November 2023

Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day truce early on Wednesday, as part of an agreement that will see the Palestinian group release 50 Israeli women and child prisoners in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jailss...
Israel's cabinet backed the agreement after talks lasting several hours, which reportedly involved heated exchanges between ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government. In the end, only three of the 38 members of the cabinet voted against the truce.
The prime minister's office said in a statement that for every additional 10 Israeli hostages released the pause would be extended by a day. The statement did not mention the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.
"The Israeli government is committed to bringing all the abductees home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal, under which at least 50 abductees - women and children - will be released over a span of four days, during which there will be a lull in the fighting," the statement said.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, also released a statement, confirming that 50 women and children held in the territory would be freed in exchange for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.
It said that during the temporary pause, Israel would stop all military actions in Gaza. Additionally, Israeli fighter jets and surveillance drones will not be allowed to fly over southern Gaza and only fly over northern Gaza between 4pm-10am. The pause would also allow hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, medical and fuel aid into the territory, it said.

Qatar's lead negotiator, Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, said the release of prisoners should prompt the international community to “seize this brief window of opportunity to generate further momentum for the diplomatic track”.
"Qatar's priority now is to ensure that the terms of the agreement are respected while redoubling our efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire, end the war, and work towards lasting peace through a comprehensive political process," the statement said.


Israel news: Mossad chief Barnea in Qatar
for fresh talks, will meet CIA director
Times of Israel, 28-11-2023

Mossad spy agency chief David Barnea is in Doha for talks with CIA director William Burns and top Qatari officials, The Times of Israel was told Tuesday, amid efforts to release hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other terror groups. Burns was said set to hold a meeting with Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
Since the start of the war, Barnea has made three trips to Qatar, which has been mediating between Israel and Hamas. He has also reportedly hosted top Qatari officials in Israel.
The visit came after Israel and Hamas agreed on a two-day extension of the initial four-day truce in order to allow for the release of at least 20 more hostages. A total of some 240 hostages were abducted to Gaza on October 7...
The talks are focused on ensuring the smooth release of the additional 20 hostages and possibly expanding the temporary truce for more days in order to ensure the release of all the women and children held by terror groups in Gaza.
In the first four days of the truce, Hamas released a total of 30 Israeli children and 20 Israeli women, 10 of them mothers of freed kids, as well as an Israeli-Russian man set free as a gesture to Moscow, and 18 foreigners — 17 Thais and a Filipino — released as part of a separate, Iran-brokered deal.

Qatar is a crucial communications channel with Hamas, as it hosts the terror group’s political bureau and is the primary residence of its self-exiled leader Ismail Haniyeh, as well as its former leader Khaled Mashaal. The country is one of Hamas’s main backers, transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to the terror group annually.

Israel expands war on Gaza,
int’l concern mounts over civilians
Ahram Online, Monday 4 Dec 2023

Israel expanded its war on Gaza on Monday, as international concern deepened over the mounting civilian death toll.
The return to open warfare after a truce between Israel and Hamas broke down has had ripple effects around a region on the cusp of a wider conflagration. More than 15,500 people have been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory, according to the Gaza health ministry, in more than eight weeks of combat and heavy bombardment.

4 dec, 9:30: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks over the phone with US Vice President Kamala Harris on her flight from Dubai back to Washington D.C. stressing that his authority rejects any plan to occupy or isolate any part of Gaza, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The head of the Palestinian Authority also voiced his rejection of the forced displacement of the Palestinian people, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
Harris on her part "reiterated U.S. support for the Palestinian people and their right to security, dignity and self-determination," according to a White House press statement based on the call.
She also discussed the situation in the West Bank voicing concerns over steps that could escalate tensions in the West Bank, including Israeli settler violence, according to the press statement.
Harris and Abbas also discussed US plans for a post-war Gaza once the war in the strip ends, in this regard, Harris "reiterated US support for a unified West Bank and Gaza under a revitalized Palestinian Authority," the statement added. Above all, Harris underscored the US commitment to a two-state solution and said that "the Palestinian people must have a clear political horizon."

Israel has rejected U.S. suggestions that control over postwar Gaza be handed over to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, ahead of renewed efforts to resolve the conflict by establishing a Palestinian state...

Western countries shift tone toward Israel
as Palestinian casualties mount
Yasmine Farag , Monday 4 Dec 2023

Countries that provided unlimited support to Israel during the early days of its war on Gaza are now taking a firmer line amid daily massacres of Palestinian civilians.
On Monday, Germany urged Israel to guarantee "realistic" protection to civilians, as Israeli ground forces moved into the south of the strip.
"Something we expect from Israel is that they not only urge civilians to leave the danger zone but that they are in a realistic position to find safe shelter elsewhere," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sebastian Fischer told a regular press briefing. "Too many civilians have already been killed in this war," he added.
Fischer’s statement marks a big shift in Berlin’s position, which has been among Europe’s most hawkish. In November, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposed a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, claiming that the truce would leave Hamas the possibility of recovering and obtaining new missiles.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Israel's aim of eliminating Hamas risks unleashing a decade of war.
Achieving the "total destruction of Hamas" would mean "the war will last 10 years," Macron said at a press conference on the sidelines of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.
This change contrasts with the early days of the war, when French policy skewed toward Israel, even drawing criticism from inside the diplomatic establishment.

The most notable change has been in the US stance.
For weeks, the Biden administration strongly backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military offensive in Gaza, but a rising death count, enormous pro-Palestinian protests across the globe, and increasing discomfort inside the White House have put considerable strain on the US posture.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Saturday Israel risked a “strategic defeat” if it failed to protect civilian lives in Gaza, adding he had personally appealed to Israeli leaders to do so.
“In this kind of a fight, the centre of gravity is the civilian population,” Austin said during the annual Reagan National Defence Forum in California. “And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”
“So I have repeatedly made clear to Israel’s leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative.”

The Biden administration has received stark warnings from American diplomats in the Arab world that its strong support for Israel’s military campaign “is losing us Arab publics for a generation,” according to a diplomatic cable obtained by CNN.

Israel squeezes Gaza cities ahead of rare UN vote
AFP|Ahram online, Friday 8 Dec 2023

Israeli forces squeezed Gaza's main cities Friday, as Israel's brutal war on the strip, has killed thousands, left the Palestinian territory in ruins, and triggered an extraordinary UN bid for a ceasefire.

Weeks of Israeli airstrikes and a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip have killed 17,177 people in the territory, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to a wasteland. The UN says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, facing shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, along with the threat of disease.
On Friday, the Palestinian health ministry reported another 40 dead in strikes near Gaza City, and dozens more in Jabalia and Khan Yunis.
In Gaza, the Israeli military raided multiple cities in the centre and south, including Deir al-Balah, where ambulances carried numerous wounded.
Further south, in Al-Katiba district of Khan Yunis, residents emerged to scenes of desolation after Israeli strikes, an AFP journalist said. On Thursday the wounded arrived at the city's Nasser hospital, where blood stained the walls.

The Israeli invasion has pushed Palestinians further and further south, turning Rafah near the Egyptian border into a vast camp for many of the 1.9 million displaced.
The dire humanitarian crisis in the overcrowded south has sparked fear of epidemic diseases and mass displacement into neighbouring countries.
Israel's military released footage of naval forces firing from the Mediterranean towards what it called Hamas infrastructure on shore. Other military video showed what it described as strikes on targets in Khan Yunis.
On the other side, Hamas has said it is battling Israeli troops "on all axes of the incursion into the Gaza Strip".

During a phone call Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United States President Joe Biden -- whose country provides billions of dollars in military aid to Israel -- "emphasised the critical need to protect civilians and to separate the civilian population from Hamas", the White House said.
Later Friday the UN Security Council meets after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked the UN Charter's Article 99, which no one in his post has done for decades.
The article allows the secretary-general to bring to the council's attention "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security".
Guterres appealed for a "humanitarian ceasefire" to prevent "a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians" and the entire Middle East.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Wednesday said Guterres' tenure was "a danger to world peace" after he invoked Article 99.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed hope that the council will heed Guterres' urgent appeal. Dujarric said that since Wednesday the UN chief has spoken with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and their counterparts from several other countries.

US veto to halt the bloodshed in Gaza sparks global outcry
Ahram Online, Saturday 9 Dec 2023

Global outcry ensued as the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking a ceasefire in Gaza, further increasing Washington's diplomatic isolation for shielding Israel in its brutal war on the Palestinian territory.
Thirteen Security Council members voted in favour of a the resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates on Friday, while the United Kingdom abstained.
Russia's Deputy Charge d’Affaires, Dmitry Polyanskiy, fiercely criticized the United States and the United Kingdom for their respective actions—voting against and abstaining from supporting a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza. Polyanskiy labeled their actions as "complicit in a merciless Israeli bloodbath."
He expressed deep concern at the UN Security Council after the failed vote, stating, "The US's obstruction of a ceasefire is an American death sentence against thousands, or maybe dozens of thousands, of Palestinians in Gaza."
"One can speak cynically with nice empty words about democracy, human rights, women, peace, security, rules, order, as much as you like. However, the real value of those we have just witnessed when two members of the security council preferred to remain complicit to the merciless Israeli bloodbath," he said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said it was "a disgrace and another blank cheque given to the occupying state to massacre, destroy and displace."
The US veto was referred to as "a turning point in history" said Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of the State of Palestine to the UN.
"Instead of enabling this council to fulfill its mandate by unequivocally demanding an end to two months of massacres, the perpetrators are granted more time to continue their crimes. How can such actions be justified?
​"What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?" Deputy UAE U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab asked the council.
"Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?"


Israeli leaders: War to go on until Hamas defeated,
‘with or without’ world’s approval
By Times of Israel staff, 13 December 2023

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen both vowed Wednesday that the military offensive against the Hamas terror group will continue “until the end,” indicating Israel would not buckle to mounting international pressure for a ceasefire.
Netanyahu made his remarks during a visit to a detention facility in southern Israel where Hamas gunmen captured in the Gaza Strip are being questioned by the Israel Defense Forces’ human intelligence unit 504.
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,” he said. “Let there be no doubt on this matter,” he added.

Echoing the prime minister’s sentiments, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also said the war against Hamas will continue “with or without international support.”
“A ceasefire at the current stage is a gift to the terrorist organization Hamas, and will allow it to again threaten the residents of Israel,” Cohen told Australia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tim Watts, according to a statement issued by his ministry.
The comments by the premier and top diplomat came a day after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution Tuesday demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages...


Israel puts $400,000 bounty
on head of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar
The National [UAE], Dec 15, 2023

Israel has reportedly placed a bounty of $400,000 on the head of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
The Israeli military dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip offering cash rewards for information leading to the capture of Mr Sinwar and other commanders of the Palestinian militant group.
Mr Sinwar is believed to be behind the planning of the October 7 attack on Israel that led to the massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis.
Images of the pamphlets circulated on social media on Thursday but could not be independently verified. They showed an Israeli military telephone number and a contact on the Telegram messaging app, accompanied by a promise to protect the identities of informants.
The pamphlets also offer $300,000 for information on Mr Sinwar's brother Muhammed, who commands the southern brigade, $200,000 for Rafaa Salameh, commander of the Khan Younis battalion, and $100,000 for Muhammad Deif, the commander of the group's military wing.

A senior Biden administration official said on Thursday that the US would make sure justice is served. “I think it’s safe to say his [Mr Sinwar's] days are numbered,” the official said, during a call to discuss National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s trip to Israel and Palestine. "He has American blood on his hands. Thirty-eight Americans were killed on October 7, and he is still holding a number of American hostages. “So, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, but justice will be served.”d south.


Austin heads to Israel as US urges transition
to a more targeted approach in Gaza
AP|Al-Ahram, Monday 18 Dec 2023

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to press Israel to wind down major combat operations in Gaza on a visit Monday, in the latest test of whether Washington can leverage its unwavering support for the war to blunt its devastating impact on Palestinian civilians.

France, the U.K., and Germany joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend, and Israeli protesters have demanded the government relaunch talks with the palestinian resistance group on releasing more captives after three were killed by Israeli troops while waving a white flag.
The U.S. has vetoed international calls for a cease-fire and rushed munitions to its close ally while pressing it to take greater steps to avoid harming civilians.
The 10-week-old Israeli war on Gaza has killed over 18,700 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and children, and transformed much of northern Gaza into a moonscape.
Some 1.9 million Palestinians — nearly 85% of Gaza's population — have fled their homes, with most packing into U.N.-run shelters and tent camps in the southern part of the besieged territory.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza
among the most destructive in history
Naharnet|AP, 21-12-2023

The Israeli military campaign in Gaza, experts say, now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in history.
In just over two months, the offensive has wreaked more destruction than the razing of Syria's Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, Ukraine's Mariupol or, proportionally, the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II. It has killed more civilians than the U.S.-led coalition did in its three-year campaign against the Islamic State group.
With the Palestinian death toll in Gaza approaching 20,000, the international community is calling for a cease-fire.
Israel vows to press ahead, saying it wants to destroy Hamas' military capabilities following the militant group's Oct. 7 cross-border rampage that triggered the war, in which it killed 1,200 people and took 240 others hostage.
The Biden administration has quietly continued to supply arms to Israel. Last week, however, President Joe Biden publicly acknowledged that Israel was losing international legitimacy for what he called its "indiscriminate bombing."

How much destruction is there in Gaza?
Israel's offensive has destroyed over two-thirds of all structures in northern Gaza and a quarter of buildings in the southern area of Khan Younis...
The percentage of damaged buildings in the Khan Younis area nearly doubled in just the first two weeks of Israel's southern offensive...That includes tens of thousands of homes as well as schools, hospitals, mosques and stores.
U.N. monitors have said that about 70% of school buildings across Gaza have been damaged. At least 56 damaged schools served as shelters for displaced civilians. Israeli strikes damaged 110 mosques and three churches, the monitors said.

During the 2014-2017 campaign to defeat IS in Iraq, the coalition carried out nearly 15,000 strikes across the country, according to Airwars, a London-based independent group that tracks recent conflicts. By comparison, the Israeli military said last week it has conducted 22,000 strikes in Gaza....
The level of destruction is so high because "Hamas is very entrenched within the civilian population," said Efraim Inbar, head of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a think tank. He also said intense bombardment of Hamas' tunnels is needed to protect advancing Israeli ground forces from attacks.


News | Israel-Palestine war
Netanyahu laments Israel's 'heavy price' as death toll mounts
By MEE staff, 25 December 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is paying a "heavy price" in the war on Gaza, after more Israeli soldiers were confirmed to have been killed over the weekend.
"This is a difficult morning, after a very difficult day of fighting in Gaza," Netanyahu said early on Sunday after the Israeli army announced that 14 soldiers had been killed in the war-torn enclave since Friday.
"This war is exacting a high price from us, but we have no choice other than to continue to fight," he said. "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."
The death toll among Israeli forces has gone up steadily in recent weeks, with at least 154 soldiers confirmed to have been killed since Israel launched a ground offensive in Gaza in late October.

Meanwhile, more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the besieged enclave, the overwhelming majority of whom are women and children.
International aid groups have warned of a humanitarian "catastrophe" in the Palestinian territory, with the most recent food security update by the World Food Programme (WFP) saying the situation is worst in the north, where 90 percent of people have gone a full day and night without eating.
Clean water, electricity and access to medical treatment are hard to find, with aid agencies warning that an increase in aid since 17 December is a fraction of what is needed for the population to survive the winter. Aid that gets in, the WFP said, is difficult to distribute because of the fighting and lack of fuel and usable roads.

Despite a growing international outcry over the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, including increasing criticism in Washington, Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel will push on until "complete victory" over Hamas is achieved.
In his opening remarks to his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu denied American pressure was determining Israel's operational decisions, saying that the US isn't preventing Israel from taking military action in the region.


Israel killed top Hamas official in Lebanon’s Beirut
Reuters, 03 January 2024

Israel killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in a drone strike in Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Tuesday, Lebanese and Palestinian security sources said, raising the potential risk of the war in Gaza spreading well beyond the Palestinian enclave.
Al-Arouri, 57, was the first senior Hamas political leader to be assassinated since Israel launched a shattering air and ground offensive against the group almost three months ago after its shock assault and rampage into Israeli towns.
Israel has long accused al-Arouri of lethal attacks on its citizens, but a Hamas official said he was also “at the heart of negotiations” conducted by Qatar and Egypt over the outcome of the Gaza war and the release of Hamas-held Israeli hostages.
An advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the strike against Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut was not an attack on Lebanon or Iran-backed Hezbollah.
Mossad chief David Barnea said: “Let every Arab mother know that if her son took part in the [October 7] massacre — he signed his own death warrant.”
Hamas politburo member Hossam Badran said in a eulogy for Arouri: "We say to the criminal occupation (Israel) that the battle between us is open."

Though less influential than Hamas' leaders in Gaza, Arouri was seen as a key player in the movement, masterminding its operations in the West Bank from exile in Syria, Turkey, Qatar and finally Lebanon after long stints in Israeli prisons.
As the group's senior official in Lebanon he played a big role in cementing Hamas' relations with the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, and through it with Iran, the main backer for both groups.

Shortly before al-Arouri’s killing, Hamas’ paramount leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is also based outside Gaza, said the movement had delivered its response to an Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal.He reiterated that Hamas’ conditions entailed “a complete cessation” of Israel’s offensive in exchange for further releases of hostages.

IDF Completes Destruction of
Hamas Infrastructure in North of Gaza Strip
Sputnik International, 7-1-2024

The Israeli military has completed the destruction of Palestinian movement Hamas’ infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip and will now focus on fighting the Palestinian movement in the central and southern parts of the enclave, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Saturday.
"We have completed the dismantling of Hamas structures in the northern Gaza Strip and will continue to deepen achievements, as well as strengthen the barrier and defense along the border. We are now focused on eliminating Hamas in the center and south of the Gaza Strip," Hagari told a briefing.
According to the spokesman, the complete destruction of Hamas will take a long time, so "fighting will continue through 2024".

The Israeli territory remains under a threat of missile attacks from the enclave’s north as Hamas operatives who operate without commanders may still be present in these areas, Hagari said. He added that the center of the Gaza Strip is densely populated with Hamas fighters and there is an underground city of tunnels under the city of Khan Yunis in the south.
The IDF also said on Saturday that it had conducted an airstrike as a result of which the commander of Hamas’s Nuseirat Battalion and his deputy were killed.
"Ismail Siraj, the Commander of Hamas’ Nuseirat Battalion, as well as Ahmed Wehbe, his Deputy Commander, were eliminated during an IAF strike in an operation led by the Southern Command and with the direction of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate and the ISA overnight (Friday)," the IDF said on Telegram.
Over 22,700 people have been killed so far in Gaza as a result of Israeli strikes, local authorities said.

100 days of agony in the longest,
bloodiest Israeli war on Gaza
AFP, AP, Ahram Online, Sunday 14 Jan 2024

As the longest and bloodiest Israeli war on Gaza entered its 100th day, Israel is facing growing pressure domestically and internationally to stop its most destructive war on the Palestinian territories in 75 years.
Thousands of demonstrators around the world rallied on Saturday to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, while children joined a pro-Palestinian march through central London as part of a global day of action against Israeli atrocities.
More than 23,000 casualties have been reported in Gaza since the war erupted on 7 October. Israel's relentless airstrikes and a ground offensive have resulted in unparalleled destruction, leveling entire neighborhoods. This offensive has led to the displacement of the majority of Palestinians in Gaza, the closure of over half of the territory's hospitals, and widespread hunger, according to UN monitors.
The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Philippe Lazzarini said, during a visit to the Gaza Strip on Saturday, "The massive death, destruction, displacement, hunger, loss and grief of the last 100 days are staining our shared humanity."

After the Hague-based International Court of Justice heard arguments this week that accused Israel of breaching the UN Genocide Convention, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted no court or military foe could stop Israel from achieving its aim of destroying Hamas.


Gaza War Updates
Ahram Online, Thursday 18 Jan 2024

-- On the 104th day of the Israeli War on Gaza, a UN health emergency expert warns Palestinians are dying every day in Gaza’s overwhelmed remaining hospitals which can’t deal with the estimated 60,000 injured people and daily arrival of hundreds more hurt.
A a doctor with the International Rescue Committee called the situation in Gaza's hospitals the most extreme she had ever seen.

-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that sustainable peace in the Middle East is unattainable without the creation of the state of Palestine.
Without the creation of the state of Palestine, Palestinians will continue to feel discriminated against and live in injustice,” Lavrov said in a press conference in Moscow, adding that he hopes Israeli leaders will eventually come to the same conclusion.
He added that he will address the United Nations Security Council next week about proposals for “collective efforts” to solve the Middle East crisis.

-- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that ultimately there is no military solution to Hamas and that the Israeli leader needs to recognize that history will repeat itself and violence will continue, the US NBC reported citing anonymous US officials.
The officials said the Biden administration is trying to lay the groundwork with other Israeli and civil society leaders in anticipation of an eventual post-Netanyahu government.
In an attempt to work around Netanyahu, Blinken also met individually with members of his war Cabinet and other Israeli leaders, including opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, officials told NBC.
The Biden administration and Netanyahu’s divisions over Israel’s handling of its war in Gaza have only become more pronounced since Blinken’s last visit to Israel, according to senior administration officials.
The secretary of state returned to Washington, the officials said, having been rebuffed by Netanyahu on all but one of the administration’s asks: an understanding that Israel would not attack Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Netanyahu also rejected an offer by Saudi Arabia to normalize relations as part of a Gaza reconstruction agreement only if Israel agrees to provide Palestinians with a pathway to statehood, t or Qatar said.


Denial of Palestinian statehood 'unacceptable', says UN chief
AFP|Ahram online, Saturday 20 Jan 2024

The right of the Palestinian people to build their own state "must be recognised by all", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Uganda on Saturday.
"The refusal to accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people, are unacceptable," the UN leader insisted in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
Such a stance "would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security; exacerbate polarization; and embolden extremists everywhere," Guterres warned.

The UN chief's remarks come as Israel is carrying out a brutal war on the Gaza Strip that has killed at least 24,927 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The United Nations says 85 percent of Gazans are displaced from Israel's war and a quarter of the 2.3 million people trapped in Gaza are starving under Israel's siege, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has deplored the "inhuman living conditions" in the small coastal territory.
On Monday, Guterres appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
The United States, Israel's main ally and key supporter in its war on Gaza, has also recently reiterated its support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
In recent days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reaffirmed his opposition to the creation of a viable Palestinian state, drawing criticism from his American ally.


ICJ calls on Israel to
'immediately' implement provisional measures
by Anadolu Agency, Feb 17, 2024

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is handling a genocide case lodged by South Africa against Israel, urged the latter to immediately implement provisional measures it ordered in January, as the country is in the process of further exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe by carrying out an operation in Rafah.
"The Court notes that the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, 'would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences', as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General," said a press statement by the court with its response to a request by South Africa for additional measures.
It said the "perilous situation" in Gaza and Rafah, the enclave's southernmost city, "demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024." However, it said this "does not demand the indication of additional provisional measures."
"The Court emphasizes that the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," it also said.

South Africa brought the genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in late December and asked it to grant emergency measures to end the bloodshed in Gaza, where more than 28,600 Palestinians have been killed so far since Oct. 7.
The court ordered on Jan. 26 that Israel take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a cease-fire.
It also ordered Israel to take "immediate and effective" measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip, but fell short of ordering a cease-fire.
Despite international outcry, Israel now plans a ground invasion of Rafah, which holds about 1.4 million refugees. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to "fight until complete victory and this includes a powerful action in Rafah."

Gantz: If Israeli hostages aren't returned by Ramadan,
Gaza fighting will expand to Rafah
Haaretz [Israel], 18-2-2024

[Israeli\ Minister Benny Gantz, speaking to North American Jewish organizations, said that if Israel's hostages are not returned by Ramadan, the IDF will expand its fighting to Rafah as well. "The world must know, and the leaders of Hamas must know," he said.
"To those who say the price is too high, I say clearly: Hamas has a choice. They can surrender, release the hostages, and the residents of Gaza can celebrate Ramadan," he said.
Gantz noted that any operation in Rafah will include the evacuation of civilians in co-ordination with Israel's "American and Egyptian partners."
In his speech, Gantz emphasized that "any unilateral actions like recognizing a Palestinian state are not the way to regional stability and political arrangements," adding that those things can only be established by long-term processes that will act against the "Iranian axis" and "improve the lives of all residents in the region."
Gantz noted that one such effort is Israel's normalization process with Saudi Arabia, "a step that can be part of the solution."

Recognition of Palestinian state
‘not a taboo for France’ says President Macron
The Arab Weekly, Saturday 17/02/2024

The recognition of a Palestinian state is no longer a taboo for France, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday, suggesting Paris could make the decision if efforts for a two-state solution stalled because of Israeli opposition.
A unilateral French recognition would do little to change the situation on the ground without true negotiations, but would weigh symbolically and diplomatically.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has voiced opposition to Palestinian sovereignty, saying he will not compromise on full Israeli security control west of Jordan and that this stands contrary to a Palestinian state.
Macron’s comments were the first time a French leader had made such a suggestion and highlighted further impatience among Western leaders as casualties mount in Gaza from Israeli retaliation after an attack on October 7 by Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“Our partners in the region, notably Jordan, are working on it, we are working on it with them. We are ready to contribute to it, in Europe and in the Security Council.
The recognition of a Palestinian state is not a taboo for France,” Macron said alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Paris.
“We owe it to the Palestinians, whose aspirations have been trampled on for too long. We owe it to a region that longs to escape the promoters of chaos and those who sow revenge,” he said... [...]
While most developing countries recognise Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not, arguing that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.


US vice president calls for ceasefire in Gaza
AFP|Ahram online, Monday 4 Mar 2024

US Vice President Kamala Harris called Sunday for a proposed six-week ceasefire deal in Gaza to be accepted, while criticizing Israel over insufficient aid deliveries into Gaza.
"Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table," Harris said during a speech in Selma, Alabama.
Her comments were the strongest to date by a US administration official on Israel since the war started, as President Joe Biden comes under acute pressure over his support for Israel and the civilian death toll in Gaza soars.
In unusually strong language, Harris called on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to increase aid into Gaza.
"The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses," Harris said. She added that Israel "must open new border crossings" and "must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid."
"Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed," Harris said, highlighting the deaths on Thursday in chaotic scenes around a convoy of aid trucks. People "simply trying to secure food for their families after weeks of nearly no aid reaching northern Gaza... were met with gunfire and chaos," said Harris, adding: "Our hearts break for the victims of that horrific tragedy."

Harris delivered her remarks at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where a march by hundreds of peaceful activists was violently suppressed by police on March 7, 1965.
The event, known as "Bloody Sunday," further catalyzed support for Black rights and helped lead a few months later to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, a federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

Israel premier says not attacking Rafah
means losing war in Gaza
Middle East Monitor, March 7, 2024

The Israeli Prime Minister, on Thursday, vowed to go ahead with plans to attack Rafah, the last area in the southern Gaza Strip that was not yet attacked from the ground, stressing that not doing so means Israel’s defeat against the Hamas group, Anadolu Agency reports.
“Whoever tells us not to operate in Rafah is telling us to lose the war and that will not happen,” Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cadet ceremony of the Israeli army, according to the public broadcaster, KAN.
While promising to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza, he reiterated his accusation that Hamas uses civilians as human shields as part of its tactics in confronting the Israeli army. Hamas denies such criticism, accusing Israel of using Palestinians as human shields in its attacks against Palestinian areas.
Netanyahu also said that the Israeli army “will continue to act against Hamas in all corners of Gaza, including in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold”.
He noted that he is facing international pressure not to attack Rafah, but stressed that Israel will stand with these pressures and keep the war on Gaza until full victory against Hamas.


Flashback 2018: "Only the strong survive"

Tel Aviv plans a ground offensive in Rafah, where 1.4 million people have taken refuge, despite international warnings and calls to avoid any such attack.
Israel has launched a retaliatory offensive on the Gaza Strip since 7 October, killing at least 30,800 people and injuring nearly 73,000 others amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.
Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Palestinian enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation. About 85 per cent of Gazans have been displaced by the Israeli onslaught amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.
Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice which, in an interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza...

EU's Borrell says hunger being used as 'war arm' in Gaza
AFP|Ahram online, Tuesday 12 Mar 2024

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell criticized the lack of aid entering Gaza as a "manmade" disaster on Tuesday, telling the UN Security Council that hunger was being used as a "war arm."
"This humanitarian crisis... is not a natural disaster, is not a flood, is not an earthquake, it is manmade," said Borrell at UN headquarters in New York.
The EU official has repeatedly criticized Israel over its conduct during the war in Gaza started on October 7, and has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, 70% of them women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
With aid entering Gaza by land far below pre-war levels and relief agencies warning of famine, foreign governments have turned to airdrops and are also trying to set up a maritime aid corridor.
"When we look for alternative ways of providing support, by sea or by air, we have to remind that we have to do it because the natural way of providing support through roads is being closed, artificially closed," said Borrell, a former Spanish minister.
"Starvation is being used as a war arm," he said, adding that "when we condemn this happening in Ukraine, we have to use the same words of what's happening in Gaza.

Gaza War - Operation 'Swords of Iron'
Netanyahu says Rafah operation will happen,
Arutz Sheva [Israel], Mar 17, 2024

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated today (Sunday) that an operation in Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in southern Gaza, would take place.
"Since the beginning of the war, we have been fighting on two fronts - the military front and the political front," Netanyahu began, adding that "on the political front, we have so far managed to allow our forces to fight in an unprecedented manner for five full months. But it is no secret that the international pressure against us is increasing."
He added that "there are those in the international community who are trying to stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved. They do this by hurling false accusations against the IDF, against the Israeli government, and against the Prime Minister of Israel. They do this by trying to bring about elections now, in the midst of the war. And they do this because they know that elections now will stop the war, and paralyze the country for at least six months."
"So let's be clear: if we stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved, it means that Israel has lost the war, and we will not allow that. Therefore, we must not give in to these pressures, and we will not give in to them," he said.
"No international pressure will stop us from realizing all the goals of the war: eliminating Hamas, freeing all our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat against Israel."
He stated that "in order to do this, we will also operate in Rafah. This is the only way to eliminate the rest of the murderous battalions of Hamas, and this is the only way to exert the military pressure necessary to release all our hostages."
"I repeat - we will act in Rafah. It will take a few weeks, and it will happen," Netanyahu said...


Hamas holds talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief
on Gaza cease-fire, hostage swap deal
Rania Abu Shamala | 08.04.2024

A delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas held discussions on Sunday with the head of Egyptian intelligence in Cairo on efforts to reach a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and a hostage swap deal with Israel.
“A delegation from the movement arrived in Cairo and met with Abbas Kamel," Hamas said in a statement.
“The delegation emphasized Hamas's demands, its desire to reach an agreement that would achieve a complete cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of occupation forces from the Gaza Strip, the free return of displaced people to their regions and places of residence, the relief of our people and the beginning of reconstruction of what was destroyed by the occupation,” it said.
Hamas emphasized the necessity to “achieve a hostage swap deal under which Palestinian prisoners are released in exchange for the release of (Israeli) hostages detained by Hamas and the resistance in Gaza.”
The statement added that “Hamas affirmed its determination, along with all Palestinian forces and factions, to achieve our national goals and establish our Palestinian state with full sovereignty and its capital in Jerusalem, the right of return and self-determination."
Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli war council decided to send a delegation to Cairo to participate in negotiations on reaching a deal to swap hostages with Hamas, according to Israeli media.
Qatar, Egypt and the US are trying to reach a hostage swap deal and cease-fire in Gaza, as the first pause in fighting lasted only a week in late November last year...

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack early last October by the Palestinian group Hamas which killed around 1,200 people.
Nearly 33,200 Palestinians have since been killed and almost 75,900 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.
The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.


Sisi, Abdullah and Macron call for ceasefire in Gaza
Ahram Online, 9 Apr 2024

A joint op-ed by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

The war in Gaza and the catastrophic humanitarian suffering it is causing must end now.
Violence, terror and war cannot bring peace to the Middle East. The Two-State solution will.
It is the only credible path to guaranteeing peace and security for all and ensuring that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis ever have to relive the horrors that have befallen them since the October 7 attacks.
Ten days ago, the United Nations Security Council finally assumed its responsibility by demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This is a critical step that must be fully implemented without further delay...
We emphasize the urgency of implementing the Security Council’s demand for the immediate release of all hostages and reaffirm our support for the Egypt-Qatar-US brokered negotiations dealing with ceasefire, hostages, and detainees.

As we urge all parties to abide by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we warn against the dangerous consequences of an Israeli offensive on Rafah, where more than 1.5 million Palestinian civilians have sought refuge.
Such an offensive will only bring more death and suffering, heighten the risks and consequences of mass forcible displacement of the people of Gaza and threaten regional escalation. We reiterate our equal respect for all lives...
Protecting civilians is a fundamental legal obligation on all parties and the cornerstone of international humanitarian law. Violating this obligation is absolutely prohibited.
UN agencies, including UNRWA, and humanitarian actors play a critical role in humanitarian operations in Gaza. They must be protected and granted full access, including in the Northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Consistent with international law, Israel is under an obligation to ensure the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian population, a responsibility it has not fulfilled.

We stress our determination to step up our joint efforts to effectively bring about the two-state solution.
The establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of the two-state solution, in accordance with international law and relevant UNSC resolutions, to live side by side in peace and security with Israel, is the only way to achieve true peace.
The United Nations Security Council must play a role in reopening decisively this horizon for peace.


Netanyahu: No force on Earth can stop us from defeating Hamas
"It is not just defeating Hamas - it is defeating the axis"
Arutz Sheva, Apr 9, 2024

[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today (Tuesday) with new IDF recruits at the Tel Hashomer base. During his visit to the base, the Prime Minister addressed the progress in the war against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip...
Netanyahu told the recruits: "This is a very fateful day in your life and in the life of the state. The state exists because of our ability to defend ourselves. These attacks have not stopped since we established the state, this was the fate of the Jewish people for hundreds and even thousands of years. What changed with the establishment of the state is our ability to repel these attacks..."
He continued: "This is what you are doing here today; in the different units, in the different brigades, in the different military forces. We are actually protecting the existence of our country, which is also the personal existence of each and every one of you, of your families, of your friends, and also of future generations..."

Netanyahu said about the combat in the Gaza Strip: "We will complete the elimination of the Hamas brigades, including in Rafah.
There is no force in the world that will stop us. There are many forces that are trying to do this, but it will not work, because this enemy, after what it has done, will not do it any more. It won't continue to exist either. We are committed to doing it, and each and every one of you now, in your recruitment, will contribute in one way or another to the completion of the goal. It has to be. After they did something like this to our country - they won't do it again."

"We have three goals: one, to return the hostages," he said. "We will return them all. "Second goal - to eliminate Hamas. Third goal - to ensure that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel."
"There is a fourth goal - since Hamas is part of Iran's axis of evil that aims to destroy us. And when we defeat Hamas, it is not just defeating Hamas - it is defeating the axis.
Everyone in the Middle East, and beyond, sits in the stands and watches to see who will win on this field, Israel or Iran and its affiliates. You already know who will win. Good luck to you," Netanyahu concluded.


Hamas leader says no change in truce position after sons killed
Arab News, April 10, 2024

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh insisted that the death of three of his sons in an Israeli air strike would not influence truce talks in Gaza, as bombardments on Thursday rocked the Palestinian territory. Israel confirmed the killings, which came as talks in Cairo for a temporary ceasefire and hostage release deal drag on without signs of a breakthrough.
Speaking to Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, Haniyeh suggested that the strike, which also killed four of his grandchildren, was an attempt to shift Hamas’s negotiating stance.
“If they think that this will force Hamas to change its positions, they are delusional,” he said.

NDTV Info: "The three sons - Hazem, Amir and Mohammad - were killed after the car they were driving in was bombed in Gaza's Al-Shati camp, Hamas said. Two of Haniyeh's grandchildren were also killed in the attack and a third was wounded, Hamas media said. [..]
Haniyeh has been the tough-talking face of Hamas' international diplomacy as war with Israel has raged back in the Gaza Strip, where his family home was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike back in November."

Despite calls for a ceasefire, Israel carried out strikes early Thursday in the Gaza Strip, particularly in the south of the territory, witnesses said.
Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz said that militarily “Hamas is defeated” but pledged to continue fighting “what remains of it,” including in the years to come.
He also echoed Netanyahu’s vows to enter the southern city Rafah, despite growing international concern for the civilians there. “We will enter Rafah. We will return to Khan Yunis,” he said. More than 1.5 million civilians are sheltering from the war in Rafah, the last Gazan city yet to face an Israeli ground incursion.
The United States has repeatedly warned against an attack on Rafah.


Israel News - Chief rabbi:
Do not visit places of entertainment
when the nation is suffering
Itzik Brandwein, Arutz Sheva, Apr 11, 2024

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, on Wednesday night spoke to thousands of yeshiva students about their role while Israel is at war.
"We must not forget our brothers who are hostages held captive in Gaza by accursed murderers, the families of the murdered and fallen," he said at a conference for yeshiva students held at the International Convention Center (ICC):
"We must not, in any way, behave rowdily or wander around the streets or places of entertainment during a time when the People of Israel are suffering. 'I am with him in suffering' (Psalms 91:15). We need to feel this - each and every one of us, truly, within himself, and may G-d's Name be sanctified by us." [..]
Rabbi Yosef added, "We are now only a short time before the Seder night (the first night of Passover - ed.). 'In [the Jewish month of] Nissan, the Children of Israel were redeemed, and in Nissan they will be redeemed in the future' - we have a special obligation to use the lofty days of the holiday to pass the Torah traditions on to the next generations, to draw [others] closer and arouse everyone regarding whom there is a concern that they do not find joy in learning, to help them taste the sweetness of the Torah."

Anti-Intellectualism:
the Israeli Destruction of all Gaza Universities
Juan Cole, 04/24/2024

American campuses are being roiled by student and faculty protests against the ongoing Israeli atrocities in Gaza, which the International Court of Justice has found to be plausibly described as a genocide.
These harmless student demonstrations, of a sort that have been normal throughout the past sixty years, have been met with a harsh police response and criminalization by university administrators unmatched since the Kent State University president called in the National Guard on May 4, 1970, when green troops panicked and killed four students.
Charges that these peaceful on-campus rallies are antisemitic in character are bad faith propaganda by hard line ethno-nationalists who have long striven to equate criticism of Israeli government policy with bigotry toward Jews — a ridiculous proposition.
If accepted, this strategy would imply that criticism of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico is a form of bigotry toward Chicanos.


Gaza - Students
The campus demonstrations are instead being driven by outrage at six months of war crimes committed by the fascist government now in power in Israel, which includes ministers who are the Israeli equivalent of neo-Nazis.
It is bad enough that presidents of major American universities are having their students and faculty arrested for “trespassing” on their own campus, with many of them suspended and forced out of their dorms (for which they paid and the rental terms of which they had not violated).
Those same presidents of leading institutions of higher education in the U.S. have stood completely silent as the extremist government in Israel has destroyed every last university in Gaza, leaving 88,000 students stranded and their education interrupted, for who knows how long. Many of them may forever be deprived of their degree.
Reliefweb notes,
“As of 30 March, the Education Cluster estimates that 87.7% of all school buildings in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. 212 school buildings have had a direct hit and could be severely damaged and a further 282 have sustained moderate, minor or likely damage. Previously 503,500 children attended, and 18,900 teachers taught at the school buildings which have now had a direct hit or sustained major or moderate damage. Every university in Gaza has been destroyed.”
About 19 institutions of higher education, including 12 universities, in Gaza served 88,000 students and employed 5200 staff and faculty before October 7, since which time they have all been closed and several have been demolished.

The following footage from TikTok shows the bombing of al-Azhar University in Gaza in November.

Al-Azhar University in Gaza was established in 1991 by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the secular rival of Hamas. It is not related to the al-Azhar in Cairo.
It had 14,391 students and 387 faculty members, though some of these are now dead and none of them have any buildings in which to learn or teach. It had been ranked around 171 out of 200 among Arab regional universities, and it is amazing that it wasn’t at the bottom given that it functioned in an occupied territory under economic siege since 2007.

Israel's Smotrich urges 'complete destruction'
of Gaza instead of truce talks
By MEE staff, 26 April 2024


Israel's far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the "complete destruction" of the Gaza Strip as he hit out against truce talks between the government and Hamas.
Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Smotrich said negotiating with Hamas was irresponsible and members of the group should be killed instead.
"The time has come for the Mossad to return to doing what it was trained to do - to eliminate the heads of Hamas all over the world and not in negotiations that are conducted irresponsibly and harm Israel's security," he said. "With Hamas from now on we should only talk with shells and bombs."
He said Israel needed to attack Rafah "as fast and as strongly as possible, and then continue with the strip until its complete destruction".

Israeli media reported on Wednesday that a ground invasion of southern Rafah appeared imminent, with preparations being put in place to expel tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians who are crowded into the city.
The incursion into Rafah - where over one million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in tents and makeshift camps - will happen "very soon," according to a report in the newspaper Israel Hayom.
The report stated that the decision to press ahead with the planned ground operation was taken after Hamas rejected the most recent Israeli proposal for a truce deal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and an Israeli military spokesperson's office did not immediately comment on the reports.


Israeli army tells Palestinians to evacuate parts of
Gaza’s Rafah ahead of an expected assault
Arab News, May 06, 2024

The Israeli army on Monday (may 6) ordered tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah to start evacuating from the area, signaling that a long-promised ground invasion there could be imminent.
The announcement complicates last-ditch efforts by international mediators, including the director of the CIA, to broker a ceasefire.
The militant Hamas group and Qatar, a key mediator, have warned that invading Rafah — along the border with Egypt — could derail the talks, and the United States has repeatedly urged Israel against the invasion.
However, Israel has described Rafah as the last significant Hamas stronghold after seven months of war, and its leaders have repeatedly said the invasion is necessary to defeat the Islamic militant group...
Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani, an army spokesman, said some 100,000 people were being ordered to move to a nearby Israel-declared humanitarian zone called Muwasi.
He said Israel was preparing a “limited scope operation” and would not say whether this was the beginning of a broader invasion of the city...
Overnight, Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, told US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin that Israel had no choice but to act in Rafah...

Israel’s plan to invade Rafah has raised global alarm because of the potential for harm to more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there.
About 1.4 million Palestinians — more than half of Gaza’s population — are jammed into the city and its surroundings...
The UN agency that has helped millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank for decades, known as UNRWA, warned Monday of devastating consequences of a Rafah offensive, including more civilian suffering and deaths. The agency said it would not leave but stay in Rafah as long as possible to continue providing lifesaving assistance...
In Rafah, people received flyers Monday morning in Arabic detailing which neighborhood blocks needed to leave and where humanitarian zones had expanded to.
The flyers said that aid services would spread from Deir al Balah in the north to the center of Khan Younis city in the middle of the Gaza Strip.
“Anyone found near (militant) organizations endangers themselves and their family members. For your safety, the (army) urges you to evacuate immediately to the expanded humanitarian area”, it read.


Israel shuts Al Jazeera,
confiscates equipment in raid
by Daily Sabah [Turkey], May 06, 2024

Israeli government's decision to shut Qatar-based Al Jazeera's operations in the country has drawn international condemnation.
The move came after Israel's far-right Cabinet recently approved a new media law – widely referred to as the "Al Jazeera law" – that gives the government powers to ban foreign broadcasters if they are deemed a risk to state security.
Netanyahu announced the Cabinet decision in a post on X, formerly Twitter, in which he labeled Al Jazeera "the hate channel."
Al Jazeera's offices in occupied East Jerusalem were raided Sunday following the government's decision, according to Israeli media reports. Television equipment had been confiscated, it said.
Al Jazeera said Israeli cable and satellite network providers had removed the channel from their services

Israel Bans Al Jazeera Journalists, Network
Juan Cole 05/06/2024

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Sunday condemned the Israeli cabinet’s decision to ban the Al Jazeera news network in Israel.
The network’s office was closed and its equipment was confiscated. Israeli cable channels were forced to delete Al Jazeera from their offerings, and even its website has been blocked for Israeli residents.
Since Israeli news channels do not show the effects of the government’s total war on Gaza civilians, the Qatar-based channel had been one of the few sources of comprehensive coverage of the Gaza campaign for those Israelis who know English or Arabic.

On April 1, the Israeli parliament, dominated by the country’s far right parties, passed a law permitting the government to halt the broadcast of foreign channels in Israel “if the content is deemed to be a threat to the country’s security during the ongoing war.”
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi called Al Jazeera an “incitement channel” and a “mouthpiece of Hamas.”
Carlos Martinez de la Serna, the New York-based director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, “CPJ condemns the closure of Al-Jazeera’s office in Israel and the blocking of the channel’s websites.... The Israeli cabinet must allow Al-Jazeera and all international media outlets to operate freely in Israel, especially during wartime.”


Netanyahu answers Biden: 'If Israel is forced
to stand alone, Israel will stand alone'
Arutz Sheva [Israel] May 9, 2024

US President Joe Biden told CNN on Wednesday he would halt shipments of American weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a major invasion of the city of Rafah.
“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett in an exclusive interview, referring to 2,000-pound bombs that Biden paused shipments of last week.
“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons..."

[Isreali] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Thursday to US President Joe Biden's threats by sharing a video of an address he had made several days earlier to social media.
In the address the Prime Minister stated: "I say to the leaders of the world, no amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum, will stop Israel from defending itself."
"As the Prime Minister of Israel – the one and only Jewish state – I pledge here today: If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. But we know we are not alone because countless decent people around the world support our just cause.."

Trump: 'Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists'
Arutz Sheva, May 9, 2024

Former US President Donald Trump took to social media to denounce US President Joe Biden's warning of delaying arms shipments to Israel.
"Crooked Joe Biden, whether he knows it or not, just said he will withhold weapons from Israel as they fight to eradicate Hamas Terrorists in Gaza," he wrote.
"Hamas murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including babies, and are still holding Americans hostage, if the hostages are still alive. Yet Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them."

Iraqi Resistance announces
strikes on vital targets in "Israel"
Shafaaq news, 2024-05-15

On Wednesday, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI) announced the targeting of Israeli sites using advanced cruise missiles.
"The fighters of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq targeted vital objectives in our occupied territories (Palestine) in the Wadi Ara (Ariha) and Nevatim Air Base in Beersheba at dawn today, May 15, 2024, using Al-Arqab type (advanced cruise missiles.)" IRI stated, confirming its "continued attacks on enemy strongholds."
The statement explained that these operations are part of "the ongoing resistance against occupation, in support of the people of Gaza, and response to the massacres committed by the entity against Palestinian civilians, including children, women, and the elderly."

On Friday, the Resistance announced targeting two sites in the city of Eilat, Israel. IRI indicated that it had targeted an Israeli military site in Umm al-Rashrash (Eilat) and a vital target in the same city with drones. The day before that, IRI announced targeting the Nevatim Israeli base in Beersheba.
IRI commonly refers to Tehran's military allies in Iraq, such as Kata'ib Hezbollah and Harakat Al-Nujabaa; it is a part of the "Axis of Resistance" alongside Lebanon's Hezbollah, Yemen's Ansarallah (Houthis), and other Iran-backed factions.
All groups within the Axis have declared that their attacks will persist until a ceasefire is achieved in the Gaza Strip...


Israeli Operations in Rafah Will ‘Intensify’
by Dave DeCamp, antiwar.com, May 16, 2024

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Thursday that Israel will send more troops to Rafah and “intensify” operations in the city where around 1 million civilians are sheltering.
“This operation will continue with additional forces that will enter [the area]. Several tunnels in the area have been destroyed by our forces and more tunnels will be destroyed soon,” Gallant said, according to The Times of Israel.
“This operation will intensify, and Hamas is an organization that cannot regenerate itself now,” he said.
The announcement from Gallant comes despite the US claiming that it’s opposed to a major Israeli operation in Rafah.
President Biden has threatened to withhold certain types of weapons from Israel if it launches a major assault on “population centers,” but so far, he hasn’t imposed any consequences. Instead, his administration is moving forward with a $1 billion arms package for Israel...
Israel has also escalated in northern Gaza in areas where it previously claimed to have defeated Hamas. Israel has ramped up strikes across the Strip, killing scores of Palestinians in the past week.

UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini decries
evacuation of civilians from Rafah
Gary Willig, Arutz Sheva, 19-5-2024

“800,000 people are on the road, having been forced to flee since the Israeli forces started the military operation in the area on 6 May,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote on X.
“Every time, they are forced to leave behind the few belongings they have: mattresses, tents, cooking utensils and basic supplies that they cannot carry or pay to transport. Every time, they have to start from scratch, all over again,” he added.
"The areas that people are fleeing to now do not have safe water supplies or sanitation facilities," Lazzarini claimed.
"The claim that people in Gaza can move to 'safe' or 'humanitarian' zones is false. Each time, it puts the lives of civilians at serious risk," the UNRWA chief said. "Gaza does not have any safe zones.  No place is safe.   No one is safe. "
Lazzarini ended his post by calling for a complete ceasefire....


Rep. Elise Stefanik to Knesset: No excuse for Biden
to halt weapons shipments to Israel
Arutz Sheva [Israel], 19-5-2024

House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) addressed the Israeli Knesset today (Sunday) in a speech condemning the Biden Administration's recent decision to halt certain military aid to Israel over the IDF's operation in Rafah.
Calling herself a "lifelong admirer, supporter, and true friend of Israel and the Jewish people," Stefanik stated, "What we are witnessing today is a story of the forces of good versus evil, the forces of civilization against the forces of barbarism."
She contrasted the young Israelis who rose up to defend their people and their homeland with the "pro-Hamas apologists on elite campuses across America..
According to Stefanik, the views expressed at these anti-Israel campus protests "do not reflect the views of the American people.... America is firmly behind Israel and the Jewish people."
She condemned US President Joe Biden, saying, "The US should help Israel fully and unconditionally, in order to achieve complete victory. There's no excuse for a US president to halt weapons deliveries to our ally!”

Wikipedia info: Initially elected as a moderate conservative, Stefanik has moved considerably towards the right, as she aligned herself with the then-President Donald Trump. She strongly opposed the first impeachment of Trump in 2019 amid the Trump–Ukraine scandal and backed Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election...

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