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Israel At War: Week Twelve Coverage

TRUSTED ANALYSIS

ISRAEL WAR — TIMELINE

Day 84 — Friday, December 29

Israeli Official Warns Time Running Out For Lebanon To Stop Hezbollah, Raising Fears Of 2nd War Front


A member of Israel’s war cabinet warned on Wednesday that the diplomatic “hourglass” was running out for Lebanon as the nation has failed to stop Hezbollah from firing rockets across the border.

Israeli government minister Benny Gantz derided the barrage from the Lebanese border — raising new fears of a second front of the war opening on Israel’s northern border.

“The hourglass for a political settlement is running out,” Gantz told reporters.

“If the world and Lebanon’s government will not work to stop the shooting at Israel and to distance Hezbollah from the border, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will do so.”

Hezbollah, a heavily militarized terrorist organization, holds a strong grip over southern Lebanon and began firing rockets into Israel a day after Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack.

At least 11 Israelis, including four civilians, have been killed by the strikes.

Around 150 Lebanese — mostly Hezbollah terrorists and 17 civilians — have been killed by Israeli counterstrikes. Thousands of civilians have been displaced on both sides of the border.

Gantz’s warning came after Hezbollah launched its most expansive assault yet on Wednesday, firing more rockets and drones at Israel than in any other single day since the assaults began.

Day 84 — Friday, December 29

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: Watching The Deterioration Of Truth


As far as Israel is concerned, I believe that the worst of the war has not yet begun. Currently, there are only skirmishes taking place across our northern border. That will not last. Both Hezbollah and their Iranian leaders, as well as the generals of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), have their strategies planned for an all-out war across the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

Undoubtedly, Israel will be blamed for the conflict. Public opinion continues to deteriorate toward Israel. Those who take time to learn the history of the region, to study the atrocities of October 7, and to accept as real the genocidal intentions of the Arab and Persian nations toward Israel will stand with Jerusalem and the people of the land. But the growing majority reject the truths contained in each of those areas, because, once again, they are buying into the lies of the great deceiver.

It seems that everything that Israel does is vilified in the media and in international governmental settings. Yet, when other countries carry out true criminal acts and atrocities, the world is silent.

Day 84 — Friday, December 29

Jordanian MP Burns Israeli Flag During Arab League Session In Cairo


Jordanian MP Khalil Attiya on Thursday burned an Israeli flag at the Arab League session which convened in Cairo.

Footage posted to social media showed Attiya burning the flag as other attendees clapped.

Jordan is one of only two Arab countries, along with Egypt, to have a peace deal with Israel. However, the country’s parliament, which is made up mostly of Islamists, remains anti-Israel and its members have more than once called to annul the peace treaty.

In 2017, the Jordanian parliament approved a proposal to establish a committee to reevaluate all formal ties with Israel, including the peace agreement. The authority to cancel the peace agreement, however, remains in the hands of the king.

Attiya is no stranger to controversies surrounding Israel. In 2014, he offered a prayer and minute’s silence in honor of two terrorists who murdered five people in a synagogue in Jerusalem.

He later appeared on a television program where he repeatedly declared, “I hate the Jews”.

Day 83 — Thursday, December 28

Analysis — There Is A Very High Price To Pay For Ignoring The Truth About God’s Chosen People


Is 2023 any different from the previous years and is it significant for our civilization? The answer can be found in the events of October 7, 2023, when Hamas committed the brutal murder of 1,200 Israelis in one day (the highest Jewish death toll since the Holocaust.) and took over 200 hostages into Gaza. October 7 was not just a terrible terrorist attack in Israel, but it was an existential attack on Western civilization.

Some sixty years ago, Yasir Arafat, the Egyptian-born leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, started planting the seeds of historical revisionism in the Middle East. His then farfetched approach to the Palestinian people being refugees in their Israel-occupied land didn’t take root immediately, but the seed was planted. It has been watered by liberalism and an increasingly Marxist-leaning left faction. Additionally, it is being fertilized by post-modern social justice militants around the globe. Fast forward to 2023 in the Middle East and the rest of the world by proxy and the roles of victims and perpetrators have been switched. This reverse narrative founded on lies and historical revisionism has now fully blossomed and the world is buying it…No questions asked. The result is an exponential hatred of Israel and by proxy, the rest of the Jewish people in the entire Diaspora. Historically, this is yet another conflict in the Middle East, but biblically, it is one of the last few bricks in the foundational wall of the end times!

The world is currently being conditioned for the final chapter of HIStory before the return of the Messiah to establish His Millennial Kingdom, and just as the Bible predicted, it will all hinge around Israel and Jerusalem (Zechariah 12; Ezekiel 36-38.) But really, is Zechariah 12:3“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it”, to be taken literally? Of course, it is! We should be concerned and heavily burdened for the Jewish people but not surprised. Keep in mind that if Zechariah 12:3 is to be taken literally, 12:9 also is, “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” Is the world truly guilty of willful ignorance?

Day 83 — Thursday, December 28

Israelis Hear Drilling, Feel Shaking Amid West Bank Terror Tunnel Fears


Residents of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, a town of about 9,000 in Israel’s Sharon region, have told authorities in recent weeks that they feel “shaking and drilling and excavation noises” in their homes at night.

The town is located near the Green Line, only about 800 meters from Kalkilya in the West Bank, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority. Residents are concerned that they are hearing the excavations of tunnels of the sort used by Hamas to attack Israel in the South and Hezbollah to attack Israel in the North.

“I felt like there was an earthquake far off like the bed I was lying on was moving and sailing,” said Baruch Ben Neria, a resident who reported his experience to the authorities. “I’m not making it up,” he said. “I’ve been feeling this for the last two years, and sometimes it lasts for minutes in the middle of the night. There’s quiet outside, and then suddenly, it happens.

“At first, I thought it might be heavy trucks passing on the road,” said Ben Neria, “but there weren’t any trucks in the middle of the night.”

“Kalkilya is a straight line from here, close by, they can dig to us from there,” he continued. “My house is something like 200 meters from the fence. After what happened in Gaza, and the fact that they found tunnels in the Galilee in the past– which is a really rocky terrain, similar to what we have here– the whole story raises a big question mark.”

Another resident of the town shared a video recording of the sound in a Facebook group for locals, several of whom say they’ve heard similar noises themselves.

Yuval Arad, head of the town’s regional council, said that an investigation has not yet been made to rule out the existence of tunnels, but the Ephraim Brigade has been referred to the issue and is expected to investigate it.

Day 83 — Thursday, December 28

Pro-Palestinian Protest Blocks Access to New York’s JFK Airport


A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators temporarily blocked access to New York’s JFK airport on Wednesday, protesting on the Van Wyck Expressway and provoking police to make arrests.

New York’s local Fox affiliate reported:

At least 26 people were arrested Wednesday morning after an apparent pro-Palestinian demonstration blocked a portion of the Van Wyck Expressway inside John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Port Authority said.

Several demonstrators were seen holding banners reading “Free Palestine” and “Divest From Genocide,” creating gridlock traffic and forcing travelers to exit their ride-share vehicles and cart their luggage to their gates.

In a statement to FOX 5 NY, the Port Authority said, “At about 11:30 this morning, PAPD was notified of protest activity on the Van Wyck Expressway inside JFK Airport. 26 arrests were made for disorderly conduct and impeding vehicular traffic. The roadway was reopened at 11:50. During the disruption, the Port Authority dispatched two airport buses, offering rides to travelers involved in the backup to allow them to reach the airport safely.”

Some travelers were evidently forced to walk around the protest.

A similar protest blocked access to LAX in California on Wednesday, and another one blocked access to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Christmas Eve.

Day 83 — Thursday, December 28

Northern Towns Rocked By Heaviest Hezbollah Barrages Since Outbreak Of War


Sirens sounded repeatedly in northern Israel on Wednesday as rockets fired from Lebanon pummeled the towns of Rosh Hanikra and Kiryat Shmona in a major escalation of violence along the restive border, as Israel’s top general vowed that the country’s military was prepared to battle the Hezbollah terror group, even as heavy fighting persisted in Gaza.

No injuries were reported in the attacks, which apparently marked the most intense volleys on northern Israel since the region was plunged into war on October 7. Israel responded to the attacks with airstrikes in southern Lebanon.

The uptick came after an alleged Israeli strike killed a Hezbollah member, as well as his brother and his brother’s wife, and with Iran vowing revenge for the killing of a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer in Syria, which it has blamed on Israel.

At least 18 rockets were fired at coastal Rosh Hanikra at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, in an attack that Hezbollah claimed was aimed at an Israeli Navy base in the area. At least six of the rockets were said to have been intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, with several others falling in open areas.

Several hours later, a second barrage was fired at the city of Kiryat Shmona. Six of the rockets impacted inside the city, causing damage to residential buildings and infrastructure, while another four landed in open areas within the municipal boundary, officials said. An additional three rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, with the remainder landing in open areas.

Authorities in Kiryat Shmona said that at least 16 rockets were fired at the city, although Hezbollah claimed to have launched 30 in total.

The city, normally home to over 20,000 people, has been largely evacuated in recent months, along with other towns near Israel’s border, due to near-daily rocket, missile and drone attacks launched by Hezbollah and allied groups.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the rocket barrages, as well as for three explosive-laden drones that hit the Mount Dov area, where several IDF positions are located, saying that they had launched the attacks “in response to the enemy’s repeated crimes.”

Visiting Northern Command headquarters on Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that the military is “at a very high level of readiness” amid escalating Hezbollah attacks.

“Our first task is to return residents safely, and that will take time. Today we approved a variety of plans for the future, and we need to be ready for an offensive, if necessary,” he said in remarks provided by the IDF.

Day 82 — Wednesday, December 27

CNN Asks Israeli Spokesperson If Children Are 'Justifiable Enemies' In Heated Clash

Israeli spokeswoman Tal Heinrich sparred with CNN host Brianna Keilar as the latter appeared to suggest Israel viewed children as enemies in the war against Hamas.

Heinrich was featured on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing Israel-Gaza war. As she explained Hamas’ use of women and children to harm soldiers, Keilar repeatedly interrupted to suggest Heinrich was justifying attacking children.

Heinrich explained, “Our troops are finding, right now, on the ground, in certain neighborhoods in Gaza, pictures of children, women with guns, Hamas uniform tailored for children. And Hamas terrorists that we have arrested—”

“Does that make the children justifiable enemies to you? Is that what you’re saying?” Keilar interjected.

Keilar repeated, “Does that make all of the children justifiable enemies to you? I mean, you’re raising the specter of them being used in military uniform.”

“This is not what I’m saying,” Heinrich answered.

After given some time, she explained, “I’m saying that a Hamas terrorist that we have interrogated has admitted in the interrogation that Hamas are exploiting children, they’re using them to transport ammunition. That is outrageous! Where is UNICEF? No, of course not!”

Day 82 — Wednesday, December 27

Israel: UN Officials No Longer Granted Automatic Visas; ‘Covering Up For Hamas’


Israel announced Tuesday that it will no longer automatically approve visa requests from United Nations (UN) officials, due to the UN’s silence on Hamas terrorism and its apparent collaboration with Hamas within Gaza.

Visas for UN officials will henceforth be considered on a case-by-case basis, Israel said.

Israeli government spokesman Eytan Laor made the announcement during a press briefing:

An update on the deeply problematic involvement of the United Nations in this conflict: For too long, international officials have been deflecting blame onto Israel to cover up for the fact that they are covering up for Hamas. In failing to condemn Hamas for hijacking aid, and failing to condemn it for waging war out of hospitals, they have been complicit partners in Hamas’s human shields strategy. They have let the world down. We are demanding global accountability, and now we are leading by example. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that visa requests by UN employees will no longer be granted automatically, and will instead be considered on a case-by-case basis. Israel will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terror regime’s propaganda machine, and we urge our allies to do the same, and stand up for basic integrity in the global institutions that should serve, and not sabotage, international security.

Israel has been frustrated for many years with the one-sided nature of deliberations at the UN, which tends to criticize Israel alone, and completely out of proportion to criticism of any other country. It has also noted the role of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in radicalizing young Palestinians and perpetuating the conflict. More recently, it has also noted the UN’s silence on Hamas, its indifference to the theft of international aid by Hamas, and its reluctance to condemn terror against Israel.

Israel has also been sharply critical of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has not been allowed to visit Israeli hostages held by Hamas — and has been passive in pushing for the right to do so, which it has under international law.

Day 82 — Wednesday, December 27

Gaza Must Be ‘Deradicalized’ Like Post-WWII Germany As Part Of ‘Prerequisites For Peace,’ Netanyahu Says


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country’s military operation against the Hamas terror group will not be completed until the Gaza Strip and Palestinian society as a whole are “deradicalized” — citing the example of defeated Germany and Japan after the Second World War.

“Gaza will have to be deradicalized,” Netanyahu wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday. “Schools must teach children to cherish life rather than death, and imams must cease to preach for the murder of Jews. Palestinian civil society needs to be transformed so that its people support fighting terrorism rather than funding it.”

“Successful deradicalization took place in Germany and Japan after the Allied victory in World War II,” the Israeli leader added. “Today, both nations are great allies of the US and promote peace, stability and prosperity in Europe and Asia.”

Allied forces occupied Germany for four years following the defeat of the Nazis in May 1945, while the occupation of Japan following that country’s surrender lasted until April 1952.

The purging of Palestinian terror ideology was one of three “prerequisites for peace” Netanyahu laid out in the op-ed, along with “Hamas must be destroyed” and “Gaza must be demilitarized.”

On Monday, the 74-year-old paid a visit to northern Gaza to meet with ground soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“First thing — we will do everything to keep you safe,” Netanyahu told the troops. “Secondly, we are not stopping. Anyone who talks about stopping — no. We’re not stopping. This war is going to go until the end. Until we finish them. No less than that.”

In the WSJ op-ed, Netanyahu defended the conduct of the IDF, saying it “does its best to minimize civilian casualties by dropping leaflets, sending text messages and using other means to warn Gazans to get out of harm’s way. Hamas by contrast does its utmost to keep Palestinians in harm’s way — often at gunpoint.

“Unjustly blaming Israel for these casualties will only encourage Hamas and other terror organizations around the world to use human shields.”

Day 81 — Tuesday, December 26

Analysis — The Misconception That Leads Many Christians To Misunderstand God’s Plan For Israel


I heard a popular Bible teacher state, “Throughout the history of Israel, covenant breaking, and disobedience, and idolatry disqualified Israel from the present divine right to the Land (Daniel 9:4-7Psalm 78:54-61).”

It is oddly that this individual quoted from Daniel 9, considering that, after speaking about God’s punishment upon Israel for their disobedience, idolatry, and covenant-breaking, Daniel states that such a punishment was temporary and that God was about to bring the people back to the Land which He had promised the Jewish people. Also, in Psalm 78, God was certainly angry with His people, but biblical prophecy makes it clear that in the end times, God would indeed return the Jewish people to the very Land which He promised them by covenant. It is a gross error to believe that the Jewish people must be obedient to return to the Land. What one must remember is that God acts to fulfill His prophetic promises because of Who He is and not because of the obedience of His people.

Unbelief does not Negate the Faithfulness of God

When considering the return from Babylon, only a remnant came home to Israel. God brought them back because it was necessary for the Jewish people to be in the Land for the First Coming of the Messiah, Yeshua. Now, in our days, God is once again returning the people to the Promised Land in preparation for the Messiah’s Second Coming.

The prophet Ezekiel offers much information concerning these issues. He writes that God will not bring the Jewish people back to the Land in the end times because of their purity; rather it will be in the Land that He will cleanse them. In other words, God Himself will bring a spiritual change to the people, but only after they have returned to the Land.

Day 81 — Tuesday, December 26

Iran Vows Revenge After Israel Kills Top Iranian General In Damascus: Report


Israel killed a top commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday in airstrikes carried out in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Iranian-state media said that Reza Mousawi, a high-ranking Iranian general, was killed in a strike on the Sayida Zeinab neighborhood. Israeli airstrikes in Syria earlier this month killed two other Iranian generals.

Reuters reported that Mousawi was responsible for coordinating Iran’s military alliance between Syria and Iran.

Israel did not comment on the strike, which is customary for their military.

“I won’t comment on foreign reports, these or others in the Middle East,” said IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. “The Israeli military obviously has a job to protect the security interests of Israel.”

Various Iranian officials and entities vowed to retaliate against Israel for the killing of Mousavi.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi responded to the strike by saying, “This act is a sign of the Zionist regime’s frustration and weakness in the region for which it will certainly pay the price.”

The IRGC said, “The usurper and savage Zionist regime will pay for this crime.”

“Iran reserves the right to take necessary measures to respond to this action at the appropriate time and place,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani.

Soleimani, who was considered the second most powerful person in Iran, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2020 while traveling in Iraq. He was responsible for spreading Iran’s terror activities around the world and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Day 81 — Tuesday, December 26

In First Public Message Since Oct. 7, Sinwar Says Hamas Won’t Surrender


In his first public message since the massacres of October 7, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar on Monday remained defiant, while grossly inflating the terror group’s achievements in the war.

Hamas is facing a “fierce, violent and unprecedented battle” against Israel, Sinwar acknowledged in a message to Hamas’s political leadership. But he also claimed that the terror group was on its way to crushing the Israel Defense Forces, and, referring to Israel, said Hamas will not submit to “the occupation’s conditions.”

Sinwar falsely claimed that the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, had “targeted” over 5,000 Israeli soldiers and officers, and killed about third of them — that is, over 1,500.

The actual figure of IDF deaths is one-tenth of what the terror leader alleged. According to the IDF, 156 soldiers have so far been killed in the ground operation in Gaza. Over 300 members of the security forces were killed in Hamas’s initial October 7 onslaught.

The terror leader also gave inflated claims of the number of Israeli soldiers injured in the war, and the amount of Israeli military equipment that has been destroyed. He claimed that around 3,500 troops were seriously wounded or disabled, whereas that figure according to the IDF stands at less than 200.

He further said that Hamas had completely or partially destroyed 750 Israeli military vehicles. While the IDF has not provided official figures, the commander of the IDF Technology and Maintenance Corps, Brig. Gen. Ariel Shima, said in early November that very few IDF vehicles had been severely damaged beyond repair, and that most vehicles that are hit return to fighting.

Day 81 — Tuesday, December 26

New York Times Accused Of Spreading Anti-Jewish Hate With Op-Ed Written By Gaza City Mayor Who Was Handpicked By Hamas

The New York Times has been accused of promoting ‘Jew hatred’ by publishing an op ed from the mayor of Gaza City, decrying the devastation at the hands of Israel‘s government.

Yahya R. Sarraj was appointed mayor by Hamas in 2019.

On Christmas Eve, the paper published his op ed, entitled: ‘I Am Gaza City’s Mayor. Our Lives and Culture Are in Rubble.’

Sarraj wrote about witnessing the destruction of cultural centers, infrastructure, businesses, schools and hospitals in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack.

‘The Israeli invasion has caused the deaths of more than 20,000 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and destroyed or damaged about half the buildings in the territory. The Israelis have also pulverized something else: Gaza City’s cultural riches and municipal institutions,’ he wrote.

He condemned the ‘obliteration of our way of life in Gaza’, and said he felt he was living in a nightmare thanks to the ‘horrific campaign of destruction and death.’

Sarraj noted the bombardment was ‘in response to the deadly attack by Hamas’, but he failed to condemn the terror attack or even reference the 129 hostages believed to remain in Gaza – not all of them alive.

Sarraj said his son Roshdi, a 31-year-old photojournalist, was killed on October 22, and said everyone has lost friends and relatives.

‘An unnamed Israeli defense official promised to turn Gaza into a city of tents and Israel has forcibly displaced its inhabitants. For once, Israel is keeping a promise its officials made to the Palestinians,’ he concluded.

‘I call on the world’s municipalities — everyone — to pressure world leaders to stop this mindless destruction.’

Sarraj’s words were immediately seized on.

‘Oh, nothing to see here. Just @nytimes publishing an op-ed by Hamas appointed mayor of Gaza, Yahya Sarraj,’ said Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of The International Legal Forum, a pro-Israel network of lawyers.

‘I wonder, would NYT also publish an op-ed from Al-Qaeda justifying 9-11?

‘Of course not, but there is no red line to this paper’s Jew hatred.’

‘The unrelenting destruction of Gaza — its iconic symbols, its beautiful seafront, its libraries and archives and whatever economic prosperity it had — has broken my heart.’

Another said that Sarraj’s question of why Gazans can’t ‘have open borders and free trade’ was easily answered.

‘After the suicide bombings in Israel during the Second Intifada, and even after Oct 7, he still wants to know why Gaza can’t have open borders and free trade, like the rest of the world,’ said one.

Another called Sarraj’s question bizarre, saying: ‘It’s because your people raped, tortured and massacred your way across defenceless Israeli communities on 7 October, in barbaric scenes from hell.

‘Actions have consequences, you lowlife. And these are the consequences. And they are not finished yet.’

One woman, describing herself on X as a ‘proud Zionist’, took issue with the paper’s decision to give Sarraj a platform.

‘Are you kidding? Would you have posted a nazi mayor’s views?’ she asked. ‘This is so tone deaf it’s unreal.’

Another commented: ‘Mr Sarraj’s article is certainly describing the horrors and suffering of this war.

‘It lacks, however, to also ask the question, how could Hamas launch a savage attack on Israeli civilians. While Gaza is under the regime of a terror group, there is no way for peace.’

Day 80 — Monday, December 25

Israeli Troops Find Bodies Of Five Hostages Kidnapped By Hamas Inside Gaza Tunnel

In a recent large-scale operation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reveals footage from sprawling network of underground tunnels, constituting the northern headquarters of Hamas in the Jablia refugee camp, Gaza.

The operation found 5 bodies of hostages, and battles that led to the elimination of numerous Hamas terrorists and the seizure of a substantial cache of weapons.

This intricate underground facility, consisting of two levels, unfolded as a crucial hub for Hamas’s combat operations.

The first level, approximately 10 meters deep, and the second, extending tens of meters below the surface, showcased an elaborate network of tunnels.

These passages were not only utilized for the management of combat activities but also for the covert movement of terrorists. Additionally, the tunnels housed weaponry and emergency living quarters deep within the military facility.


A notable revelation was the connection of this extensive tunnel network to a shaft leading directly to the residence of Ahmed A’Ndor, the commander of Hamas’s northern division. Furthermore, the network strategically utilized the grounds of schools and hospitals as a shield, highlighting the sophisticated and strategic nature of the tunnels.

In a concentrated intelligence effort led by unit 504 in the intelligence wing, IDF fighters located and rescued the bodies of five abductees from October 7. The fallen soldiers, including Sergeant Ziv Dado, Sergeant Ron Sherman, Corporal Nick Beiser, Eden Zacharias, and Elia Toledano, were safely brought to an Israeli burial site.

i24 news

Day 80 — Monday, December 25

Iran Threatens To Close Off Mediterranean Sea


The Islamic Republic of Iran threatened over the weekend to close off the Mediterranean Sea if the West continues to support Israel in its war against the Hamas terrorist organization.

Tasnim News Agency, Iranian-controlled state media that is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), quoted Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi as saying: “They shall soon await the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, (the Strait of) Gibraltar and other waterways.”

“Yesterday, the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz became a nightmare for them, and today they are trapped … in the Red Sea,” he said, adding that there could be “the birth of new powers of resistance and the closure of other waterways.”

Geographically speaking, Iran does not have direct access to the Mediterranean Sea as it is located hundreds of miles away. The closest point of entry to the Mediterranean Sea for Iran is to take the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, where Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen are launching numerous attacks against commercial shipping vessels.

Reuters noted that the only terrorist groups backed by Iran that are located on the Mediterranean are Hezbollah in Lebanon and other terrorist groups in Syria, which are both thousands of miles away from the Strait of Gibraltar.

Numerous intelligence officials from various countries told The Wall Street Journal late last week that Iran was providing the Houthis with “real-time intelligence and weaponry, including drones and missiles” to carry out the attacks.

Day 79 — Sunday, December 24 

United Nations Special Rapporteur Says Palestinans Have Right To Kill Israeli Soldiers

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese claimed that Palestinian Arabs have a right to kill Israeli soldiers in an interview with podcast Makdisi Street, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

In the interview, Albanese said that when terrorist groups that “target civilian objects” commit war crimes, but “if they target military objects, they do not commit war crimes—they are in line with acts of resistance.”

“The killing of soldiers, it’s, I mean, frankly, it’s a tragedy, but it’s not a crime,” Albanese said. “Instead, very often, when Palestinians manage to attack soldiers, they are portrayed as terrorists. And this is a misunderstanding that needs to be addressed.”

She slammed “Western powers” and “Western media” for portraying attacks on Israelis as terrorism, and said that while the Hamas massacre of October 7 must be condemned, “an illegal act of the resistance doesn’t delegitimize the resistance itself.”

Albanese has been involved in numerous antisemitism scandals since being appointed to her position as Special Rapporteur, including engaging in the antisemitic trope about a nefarious “Jewish lobby.” Since the massacre of over 1,200 people on October 7, she has condemned Israel for defending itself and gone as far as to claim that Israel has no right to defend itself.

Less than two months after the massacre, Albanese published a book blaming Israel for the current conflict in which she co-opted the title ‘J’Accuse,’ the phrase used to call out the antisemitism of the trial of Alfred Dreyfus in 1898,

She has even called a demand that Hamas release the hostages it captured on October 7, which include many civilians and even children and babies, “unacceptable.”

While Albanese claimed that Palestinian Arabs have the right to attack Israeli soldiers as long as they do not attack civilians, attacks on Israeli civilians are frequent, and the goal of Hamas and other terrorist organizations is to kill all Jews, regardless of whether they are civilians or soldiers.

Day 78 — Saturday, December 23

IDF Achieves ‘Full Operational Control’ Of Northern Gaza As Fighting Rages Across The Strip


The Israeli Defense Forces battled Hamas Saturday in intense fighting in the northern Gaza town of Jabalia – which is also the site of the area’s largest refugee camp.

Thick smoke hung over the town as residents complained of near-constant aerial bombardments and shelling from Israeli tanks.

The assault came after Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Friday that the IDF had achieved nearly “full operational control” of northern Gaza.

On Saturday, Hagari said that the IDF was continuing to expand its operations in southern Gaza, the Times of Israel reported.

“Upon their entry into new Hamas strongholds, troops are engaged in heavy battles,” Hagari said.

The IDF is still fighting “very heavily” in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, he added.

Both Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet member Benny Gantz toured northern Gaza Saturday – and vowed that the southern cities would meet the same fate, the Times of Israel said.

“I am sure that [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar is sitting in his bunker watching TV, he sees what Beit Hanoun looks like,” Gallant said in a video statement.

“This is also true for the Hamas commander who is now fighting against our forces in Khan Younis, he understands how the story ended for the Beit Hanoun battalion,” he added.

Israel’s Gaza campaign should also serve as a warning to Hezbollah, which continues to attack Israel from Lebanon to the north.

Also this weekend, the IDF confirmed that five soldiers were killed in the most recent fighting in Gaza – including two staff sergeants from the GIvati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit.

The new deaths bring the total ground operation fatalities to 144, the Times of Israel said.

Day 78 — Saturday, December 23

Spain Contradicts US: Not Sure About Joining Coalition in Red Sea Against Houthis

Spain has backed away from a U.S.-led coalition meant to deter the Iranian-backed Houthis from attacks on global shipping near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea.

The Houthis have been firing missiles at and seizing, container ships and tankers in what amounts to an attempt to blockade Israel’s southern port city of Eilat.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on Monday:

I am announcing the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.

Operation Prosperity Guardian is bringing together multiple countries to include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain, to jointly address security challenges in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, with the goal of ensuring freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity.

However, Spain appears to have had second thoughts, according to the Times of Israel:

Spain’s Socialist government says it has still not decided whether it will take part in an international coalition led by the United States to quell Houthi attacks on ships transiting the Red Sea.

Spain’s defense ministry said Tuesday the country “depends on the decisions of the European Union and NATO and, therefore, will not participate unilaterally.”

The head of Spain’s conservative opposition Popular Party, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, told a separate news conference that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had told him that Madrid had “decided not to intervene, at least not intervene in the conditions requested by the United States.” He did not elaborate.

The coalition has not said whether it will carry out attacks against Houthi missile sites or naval bases responsible for the attacks. Moreover, many of the coalition’s partners are unnamed, suggesting that the U.S. is having trouble persuading allies to join.

Day 78 — Saturday, December 23

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: Surrounded By Deception — Our World Is Not Into Facts Anymore


(Galilee, Israel) — Even as life goes on in Israel, we are always aware that war is not far from us. Personally, I am constantly reminded, whether it is by the continuous sorties taking off from Ramat David airbase near my house, hearing the sirens for incoming rockets, or seeing the Iron Dome in action in the night sky taking out the missiles sent from Syria and Lebanon. The southern front continues to rage. In Gaza, Khan Yunis and Shahjaya are under nearly constant bombing. Just yesterday alone, the Israeli Air Force attacked 230 Hamas targets in the area. As a result, yes, President Biden, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, and others look pretty bad. But this is not the result of indiscriminate bombing. I know you sent Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to chastise us, saying we need to make our attacks more surgical. What you are failing to understand is that the underground network of terrorist tunnels is so pervasive throughout those locations that eradicating the cities below the cities will leave a lot of devastation, even when done with precision weapons. So far, 1500 shafts and tunnels have been found, the largest of which stretched 4 km, reached a depth of 50 meters, and was large enough for the passage of vehicles.

There are those who complain that Israel must balance the destruction with humanitarian aid. I’m struggling to think of any war in the past in which that was a requirement. Is President Putin sending humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians who are being displaced by his war? Even should we decide to do so, there is a huge obstacle. Humanitarian aid that is currently being sent to Palestinian civilians is being stolen by Hamas. Don’t expect the United Nations to help at all. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been in the pocket of Hamas for a long time. In the aftermath of the October 7 massacre, at least one member of the UNRWA participated in the holding of hostages. The agency’s schools have been used as Hamas headquarters. Just yesterday, Knesset speaker Amir Ohana told the visiting president of the French Senate, “France funds UNRWA schools with millions of euros every year. It should stop, or strictly monitor the educational content. Hamas terrorists operate from these schools and educate incitement against Israel.”

Day 78 — Saturday, December 23

IDF Calls On Residents Of Central Gaza Town To Move South As Ground Op Expands


The IDF began calling on some residents of central Gaza to evacuate south on Friday in the latest indication that the military’s ground offensive in the Strip was expanding, as the defense minister issued a renewed threat against Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar and the military revealed a new major Hamas tunnel network.

Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman, published a map of the zones in central Gaza’s Bureij town whose residents the army was urging to head for shelters in Deir al-Balah.

Adraee also said that Gaza’s main north-south highway, Salah ad-Din, in the areas northeast of Khan Younis, still remains a “battle zone” and that the IDF will instead facilitate the movement of civilians via a bypass route along the coast.

Additionally, Adraee said in his statement the IDF will make “tactical pauses in military activities” in the western neighborhoods of Rafah in southern Gaza, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., for “humanitarian purposes.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issued a renewed threat Friday evening against Yahya Sinwar, saying the Hamas leader will soon “meet the barrels of our guns.”

ISRAEL WAR — TIMELINE

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