News Digest — 12/1/23

Israel-Hamas War: Ceasefire Ends, Rocket Fire, Airstrikes Resume

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came to an end Friday morning (1st) as Hamas renewed rocket fire toward southern Israel and fighting erupted in the Gaza Strip.  The IDF launched airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Strip as well after the ceasefire ended.

Over an hour before the ceasefire was set to end, a rocket was fired from Gaza towards southern Israel, with a second round of rocket fire reported a few minutes before the end of the ceasefire.

The Home Front Command instructed residents of communities near the Gaza border to remain near shelters on Friday morning (1st).

After the ceasefire ended, intense clashes were reported in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City in northern Gaza, with Palestinian media reporting Israeli airstrikes throughout Gaza as well.  The clashes expanded to additional areas, with firefights reported near the Netzarim junction in central Gaza.

The IDF dropped leaflets over southern Gaza warning residents of several neighborhoods in Khan Yunis to evacuate to sheltered areas in Rafah, warning “the city of Khan Yunis is a dangerous combat zone,” according to Palestinian reports.

Khan Yunis is the place where Yahya Sinwar lives and is thought to be where his hideout is located.

Shortly after the ceasefire ended, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated on Friday morning (1st) that “Hamas violated the agreement and additionally fired toward Israeli territory.  The IDF has renewed combat with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.”

The Prime Minister’s Office stated on Friday morning (1st) that “The terrorist organization Hamas-ISIS violated the agreement, did not live up to its commitment to release all the kidnapped women today, and launched rockets at the citizens of Israel.”

“With the return to fighting, we emphasize: The Israeli government is committed to achieving the goals of the war – to release our hostages, eliminate Hamas, and ensure that Gaza will never again pose a threat to the residents of Israel.”

The Home Front Command tightened restrictions for communities near the Gaza border and the Lebanese and Syrian borders on Friday morning (1st) shortly before the ceasefire ended.

In communities near the Gaza border gatherings were restricted to 10 people in open areas and up to 50 people indoors.  Businesses will only be allowed to operate if they have a shelter and no schools will operate.

In the western Lachish region, some of the towns in the southern Golan Heights, all of the towns in the northern Golan Heights, and towns and cities along the confrontation line on the northern border,  were restricted to gatherings of 30 people outdoors and up to 300 people indoors.  Businesses will only be allowed to operate if they have a shelter and only schools with easily accessible shelters will be allowed to operate.

In many cities in central and southern Israel, only schools which have easily accessible shelters will be allowed to operate.

The Holon community in central Israel announced Friday morning (1st) that schools would not operate Friday (1st) due to the end of the ceasefire. 

The Hamas-run government media office in Gaza responded to the end of the ceasefire, accusing the US of “giving Israel the green light to continue the war without any regard to the laws of war and international and humanitarian laws.”

“Our Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves by all means, and they have the right to gain their freedom and independence, establish their Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and completely remove the occupation from their lands in accordance with international and UN laws.” 



IDF Providing Information To Gazans On How To Move To Safety

The IDF is providing information to residents of the Gaza Strip on movement for their safety in the next stage of the war, and has divided Gaza into a huge number of evacuation areas.

“The terrorist organization Hamas uses the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields, placing its command and military infrastructure in residential areas, hospitals, mosques and schools,” the IDF noted.  “Hamas turns civilian sites into military targets while using civilians and civilian facilities as human shields.”

Since the beginning of the war, the IDF has been deploying various means to avoid harming civilians in the Gaza Strip.  This includes sending messages and announcements to the residents of Gaza calling on them to evacuate from specific areas that are being used by Hamas for terrorist activities, and calls for them to evacuate along relevant routes. 

In preparation for the next stage of the war, the IDF has published the Evacuation Route Map in the Gaza Strip.  This divides the territory of the Gaza Strip into areas according to recognizable areas to enable the residents of Gaza to orient themselves and understand the instructions, and to evacuate from specific places for their safety, if required.

An interactive map shows the numbers of the areas in the north and south of the Strip, calling on residents to locate the area relevant to them and to act if they are requested to evacuate from it.

The map was published on a special page on the IDF website in Arabic and in a special video released by the IDF Spokesperson in Arabic on social networks.

Additionally, the map was published in announcements distributed by the IDF in Gaza.



Sinwar: ‘Oct.7th Was Just A Rehearsal’

Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter was “just a rehearsal,” the Islamist group’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar threatened on Thursday (30th), in his first public statement since the terrorist organization massacred more than a thousand people in Israel.

“The leaders of the occupation [Israel] should know, Oct. 7 was just a rehearsal,” stated Sinwar, according to the Maariv newspaper.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border. Another 240 men, women, children, and soldiers were taken back to Gaza as hostages.

On Monday (27th), Israel media reported that Sinwar paid a visit to several of the hostages held in an underground tunnel in the Strip.  One of the hostages released over the weekend said the terror mastermind spoke to them in Hebrew without an accent.

As Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their ceasefire-for-hostages agreement on Monday (27th), Egypt reportedly put heavy pressure on Sinwar.

“Twice during the ceasefire the parties got into a crisis when Yahya Sinwar tried to violate the agreements, the first last Saturday night,” (25th) said an Egyptian source with access to official circles in Cairo.

“Egyptian intelligence officers arrived at the Rafah Crossing [to Gaza] and conveyed to Sinwar extremely difficult messages and threats peppered with curses.  Less than an hour later…the Israeli hostages were released,” the source added.

On October 14, Israel Defense Forces International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told journalists that Sinwar and his entire command team “are in our sights.”

“Yahya Sinwar is the face of evil.  He is the mastermind behind this, like [Osama] bin Laden was.  He built his career on murdering Palestinians when he understood they were collaborators.  That’s how he became known as the butcher of Khan Yunis [in southern Gaza],” said Hecht.

Sinwar was convicted on multiple murder counts by an Israeli court and sentenced to five life sentences, which he was supposed to serve until his death, but in October 2011 he was released from prison – having served only 22 years – as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

After his release, Sinwar gained power and popularity within Hamas, becoming its Gaza leader in February 2017 by defeating Ismail Haniyeh in an internal vote.



Senators Emerge Shaken From Screening Of Hamas Attack Footage – Marc Rod

Nearly 40 Senators who viewed footage from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, on Tuesday (11/28) emerged from the screening shaken, some of them in tears.  “We must bear witness to what they did, to honor the memories of the thousands of families who lost loved ones, friends,  beloved family members,” said  Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who co-organized the screening with Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-FL).  “There are those who wish to deny what happened.  We need to let the world know what happened here.”

“It’s important that we see it now, in real time, because Hamas has vowed to repeat this day over and over, over and over…They have promised to export this terror.  So we need to show people who they really are and what they plan to do and how they plan to do it.”

Sen. Rubio said, “The one thing that struck me is how proud and gleeful these people were about what they were doing to unarmed civilians, children, people sitting around at home having breakfast, kids out at a rave party.  It gives you insight into what human beings are capable of.”

“It’s the face of evil,”said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).  “There is a level of evil and hate and depravity that defies words.  And it is astonishing that there are still some in America and across the globe who deny these atrocities occurred.  This was not combat.  This was the slaughter of innocent civilians.  And the joy and celebration among those terrorists as they were murdering children – it simply defies words.”

“It shook all of us up in the room,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).  “I had to go sit in my office for a half hour alone after seeing it.”  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate majority whip, said, “It’s just graphic violence and death.”

Sen. Rosen added, “Israel has to protect itself and the world from the brutal, brutal terror that Hamas waged in Israel, and has promised to wage again,”  (Jewish Insider)



Rejection Of The UN Partition Plan Of November 29, 1947, Was A Prequel To The October 7 Massacre – Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch

• On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted  to partition the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.  While the representatives of the Jews expressed their support for the plan, the representatives of the Arabs rejected the decision, refusing to accept the creation of a Jewish state within any boundaries.

• The events of October 7, in which all the Palestinians terror organizations participated, demonstrated that nothing has changed in 76 years.  From November 1947 to May 1948, the Arab countries could have reconsidered their decision and given birth to an Arab state in “Palestine.”  They did not.  Instead, they chose the path of war to annihilate Israel.

• The Palestinian Authority messaging to the Palestinians for the last 30 years has been very clear: Israel, in all and any borders, is an illegitimate state; Israelis/Jews are responsible for all the ills of the world and Islamic imperative mandates their destruction; Palestinians are destined to annihilate Israel through the use of terror and violence in the end of days when “trees and stones will call to Muslim believers saying a Jews is hiding behind me – kill them.”

• Hamas’ messaging to the Gazans is precisely the same as the PA’s messaging.

• Palestinian leaders are not talking about peace, nor are they talking about coexistence.  What they are saying, in Arabic, to their own population has never changed: Israel has no right to exist, and we must do everything, including the genocide of Jews, to destroy it.

• Being willfully blind and deaf to Palestinian incitement and denial of Israel’s right to exist will not bring about peace.  It will, however, guarantee that the October 7 massacre will happen over and over again.

The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria