May 18, 2024

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LIVE DEVELOPMENTS — updated Sunday, May 19th, 2024

51 US Bipartisan Lawmakers Urge Sanctions Against UNRWA Workers Involved In Oct 7 Attack



Israelis Killed
Israelis Killed


LIVE DEVELOPMENTS — updated Sunday, May 19th, 2024

51 US Bipartisan Lawmakers Urge Sanctions Against UNRWA Workers Involved In Oct 7 Attack


Israelis Killed
Israelis Killed


Quick Facts

  • Since Oct. 7, Over 1,400 Israelis (626 soldiers) have been killed, and over 13,000 have been injured.
  • 3,479 IDF soldiers wounded since the start of the war. 
  • On April 13, Iran launched 200+ missiles and drones toward Israel from Iranian soil.
  • On April 8, the IDF withdrew ground troops from southern Gaza, maintaining that a operation in Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold, remains imminent.
  • On April 1, Israel allegedly carried out an airstrike in Damascus, killing 7 IRGC members, including the top Iranian commander in Syria.
  • On Dec. 3, the IDF’s ground operation moved into southern Gaza after Israel dropped leaflets to inform civilians to evacuate key areas. 
  • On Dec. 1, after Hamas violated the terms of the ceasefire agreement, the pause in fighting ended. Israel resumed their operations in the north of Gaza.
  • On Nov. 24, in accordance with a ceasefire agreement for the release of hostages by Hamas, the IDF paused their operations.
  • On Oct. 27, the IDF began its Ground Operation in Northern Gaza
  • On Oct. 8, the Israel Security Cabinet voted to officially declare war for the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
  • On Oct. 7, one day after the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, thousands of Hamas gunmen invaded southern Israel, kidnapping, raping, torturing, and killing hundreds of Israelis.
  • For Video Updates — Click Here

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  • ‘Empowering The Terror Group’: Netanyahu Responds To US, Gallant’s Assertion Israel Must Not ‘Reoccupy’ Gaza
  • ‘Leave Immediately’: University Issues Warning To Campus As Hundreds Of Anti-Israel Agitators Clash With Police
  • Escalating Tensions: Top Hezbollah Field Commander Killed In IDF Drone Strike In South Lebanon
  • Shifting UN Casualty Numbers Raise Questions: Can Any Reports From Gaza Be Trusted?

Day 226 — Sunday, May 19

51 US Bipartisan Lawmakers Urge Sanctions Against UNRWA Workers Involved In Oct 7 Attack

Fifty-one bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives have expressed “deep concern” over the United States’ delay in sanctioning 12 former employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) who were involved in the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of over 250 hostages.

“We cannot allow these terrorists who masquerade as UNRWA humanitarian aid workers to go unpunished,” the Republican and Democratic lawmakers stated in a joint letter addressed to State Secretary Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen.

The lawmakers urged the U.S. government to swiftly designate the concerned individuals as Specially Designed Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and impose sanctions on them, emphasizing the need to take strong action to preserve the integrity of genuine humanitarian aid work.

In late January, the United States and several other governments suspended their financial aid to UNRWA after Israel presented incriminating evidence that revealed several of its employees had participated in the Hamas Oct. 7 atrocities committed against Israeli civilians.

At the time, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized that the Biden administration is “extremely troubled” by the UNRWA ties to the Hamas terrorist group.

“There must be complete accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks,” Blinken reportedly told UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres.

In early February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the UN agency for being closely affiliated with Hamas.

“I think it’s time that the international community and the UN itself understands that UNRWA’s mission has to end,” Netanyahu stated.

“UNRWA is totally infiltrated with Hamas,” the premier said. “It has been in the service of Hamas and its schools, and in many other things,” Netanyahu added.

Later in February, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed the names of 12 UNRWA workers who participated in the attack on Oct. 7. The defense minister noted that he had the names of 30 additional UNRWA workers who assisted Hamas in committing atrocities.

For many years, UNRWA has been accused of advocating terrorism and spreading antisemitism in its school system. The agency largely depends on financial aid from Western donor nations and Japan. Following international pressure and the suspension of aid, the UN promised to implement an impartial and professional inquiry into the conduct of UNRWA and its employees.

However, an UN-appointed panel whitewashed the UNRWA-Hamas terror scandal in an April report.

“The set of rules and the mechanisms and procedures in place [at UNRWA] are the most elaborate within the UN system, precisely because it is such a difficult issue to work in such a complex and sensitive environment,” claimed former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who led the panel.

Furthermore, the panel report claimed that Israel had failed to present evidence linking UNRWA workers to the October 7 terrorist attack.

“Israel made public claims that a significant number of UNRWA employees are members of terrorist organisations. However, Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this,” the report stated.

Following the publication of the controversial report, most Western donor nations decided to restore financial aid to UNRWA without demanding accountability for the UN agency’s problematic links to Hamas and the Oct. 7 attack.

Day 225 — Saturday, May 18

IDF Soldiers Recover Bodies Of Four Hostages In Gaza Amid Intense Fighting

The military announced Friday that soldiers recovered the bodies of three hostages from the Gaza Strip, as intensive fighting raged there between Israeli forces and Hamas.

The three were named as Itzhak GelerenterAmit Buskila, and Shani Louk.

In a press statement, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the bodies were recovered in an overnight operation carried out by the military and Shin Bet.

The three were at the Supernova music festival near Re’im on the morning of the Hamas-led October 7 onslaught, where they then fled to the Mefalsim area.

Hagari said they were killed there by Hamas terrorists, and their bodies were then kidnapped to Gaza.

Until recently, both Gelerenter and Buskila were presumed to be alive, while Louk was confirmed dead in late October after a piece of her skull was identified following widely shared footage of terrorists kidnapping her.

The military had initially not planned to make the announcement of the recovery of the bodies on Friday, but rather wait until the operation had concluded. However, due to rumors spreading on social media about the operation, it was decided to release some information, including the names of the three hostages.

“I call on the public — please refrain from spreading rumors and maintain the security of our forces. Keep our forces safe. Listen to the messages of the IDF spokesperson and the official bodies only,” Hagari said. “We will update with any information that is available, transparently, first of all the families and then the public through the media.”

According to Hagarithe recovery efforts have “been going on for a long time already.” He also said some of the intelligence for the operation came from Palestinian terror suspects captured by the IDF and interrogated by the Shin Bet.

“The intense fighting in all parts of the Strip continues, and the task of utmost importance of returning the hostages is [on the mind] of every commander and fighter in the field,” he added.

Shani Louk’s father Nissim later told Channel 12 news while the announcement that the IDF recovered her body was difficult to receive, it was also news that he had been waiting for, since he had been officially informed more than six months ago that Shani was dead.

Gelerenter’s son Ilai said the family was grappling with “difficult feelings” in the wake of the news, after holding out hope for months that Itzhak would return alive.

“This is a second blow, after the first time we heard about what happened [on October 7],” Ilai told the Walla news site, while saying the family took solace that Itzhak can now be buried in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “heartbroken” by the news and pledged to return the remaining hostages.

“My wife Sara and I grieve with the families,” he said in a statement. “We will return all of our hostages — living and deceased alike.”

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Saturday evening that soldiers had recovered the body of an additional hostage from the Gaza Strip, after the announcement the previous day that three slain captives had been returned in a special mission.

The hostage was named as Ron Benjamin, 53, who was abducted by Hamas terrorists on the morning of October 7 while returning home from a planned bike ride near the Gaza border, which he canceled when rocket sirens sounded at 6:30 a.m. as Hamas’s attack began.

It is now known that Benjamin was killed near Kibbutz Mefalsim on the day of the attack, and his body was taken to Gaza, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a statement to the press.

Day 224 — Friday, May 17

House Passes Bill To Stop Biden From Withholding Arms To Israel

On Thursday, the GOP-led House passed a bill that pressures the Biden administration not to withhold arms from Israel as the U.S. ally fights Iran-backed Hamas following a deadly terrorist attack in October of last year.

The “Israel Security Assistance Support Act,” which President Joe Biden has threatened to veto, received support from 224 lawmakers. A total of 187 members, including three Republicans and 184 Democrats, voted against the bill. Nineteen lawmakers did not vote.

House Democrat leaders had urged members of their caucus to oppose the legislation, but that did not stop 16 Democrats from breaking ranks and joining the 208 Republicans to advance it to the Senate.

“The Biden Administration’s decision to withhold weapons is catastrophic and goes directly against the will of Congress,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said in a statement. “With the passage of the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, we send a clear message of solidarity and support to Israel and demand the urgent delivery of defense weapons to our most important ally in the Middle East.”

A group of House Republicans unveiled the bill over the weekend after Biden halted the delivery of 3,500 large bombs to Israel in protest of a full-scale ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Biden has since moved forward with sending other arms to Israel.

The bill pushes for the “expeditious delivery of defense articles and defense services for Israel and other matters.” It also seeks to withhold funds from the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and National Security Council until delivery is confirmed.

Other provisions are geared toward condemning the Biden administration’s decisions to pause certain arms transfers to Israel, reaffirming “Israel’s right to self-defense,” and requiring a report on actions taken to withhold security assistance from Israel.

The White House issued a statement of administrative policy on Tuesday that warned Biden would veto the bill if it reaches his desk, claiming it would “undermine the President’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy.”

That veto threat was enough for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to say during a press conference the bill was “not going anywhere.” It is not immediately clear whether the legislation will even get a vote in the Senate.

In his statement, Johnson said, “The President’s threat to veto this legislation and Leader Schumer’s refusal to bring it to a vote in the Senate are acts of betrayal to our closest ally in the region.” He added, “What’s more alarming is the 184 House Democrats that joined them in siding with the radical, pro-Hamas wing of the Democratic party. Security assistance to Israel is an urgent priority that must not be delayed.”

Day 224 — Friday, May 17

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: The Lesson To Terrorists — What A Long Struggle Can’t Achieve, A Massacre Can

A standoff still exists over certain arms shipments to Israel. U.S. House Republicans have pushed a bill that would force the Biden administration to send the frozen shipment of bombs to Israel. The president has already indicated that he would veto the bill, should it pass to him. Instead, the administration is putting forth a new $1 billion package of military aid, which includes tactical vehicles, ammunition for tanks, and shells. While the aid is appreciated, it is not what is most needed for the operation in Rafah. And that is the sticking point. The Biden administration is trying to interfere in the IDF’s ability to conduct an operation in Rafah.

What the Republicans are saying with their bill is that Israel knows best how to carry out the war with Hamas, and that the U.S. should support their allies in their actions.

Biden has a strong ally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the plan for the IDF to complete the war. Sadly, that ally comes from within Israel. Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has aligned with the U.S. president to bring Netanyahu and his government down. And Gallant isn’t the only one. It’s all the generals and ex-generals who were educated in America. They have become liberal leftists, and they are seeking to do to Israel what the hard left has been doing to the U.S.

Once they have taken Netanyahu down, it will pave the way for Hamas’s survival and the creation of an international force to rule Gaza. This would be disastrous. Netanyahu’s administration has no desire to rule over the Palestinians. But Israel is at a place where it is not about what we want, but about what we need. If any other option than Israeli military control of the Gaza Strip is implemented, it is a reward to Hamas and a guarantee that October 7 will one day happen again.

It will also lead to the grand prize of the terrorist agenda – a Palestinian state. And what would then be the lesson to the terrorists around the world? What a long struggle can’t achieve, a massacre can. Butcher, rape, and behead to your heart’s content, and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Day 223 — Thursday, May 16

'Empowering The Terror Group': Netanyahu Responds To US, Gallant's Assertion Israel Must Not 'Reoccupy' Gaza

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel on Wednesday not to reoccupy Gaza, to refrain from a major Rafah operation, and to finalize a day-after plan for the enclave, as he spoke to reporters in Kyiv.

“When it comes to the future of Gaza, we do not support and will not support an Israeli reoccupation,” Blinken said, amid a bitter row between Jerusalem and Washington over the Gaza war.

Blinken had spoken with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday to discuss Gaza. In Jerusalem on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also at odds with Gallant, who took him to task for failing to approve a day-after plan, a step he said had only prolonged the military conflict in the enclave.

In a scathing public critique, he stated that Netanyahu’s indecision had eroded “our military achievements, lessen[ed] the pressure on Hamas, and sabotage[d] the chances of achieving a framework for the release of hostages.”

In an interview with CNBC, Netanyahu stressed that those who want Israel to halt its military campaign in Gaza and refrain from a major Rafah operation to destroy the four Hamas battalions there, are empowering the terror group.

“Those who tell us stop the war now” and to “leave those four battalions in Rafah are saying ‘Enable Hamas to regroup, recapture Gaza and threaten [Israel] again;’ that’s not going to happen, he said.

Once the war is over, Gaza should be governed by a “non-Hamas civilian administration, but the IDF would retain military responsibility, he said.

He similarly told his government that he had attempted to replace Hamas with an alternative local governance when it came to food distribution. “One hundred days ago, I directed the security echelon to allow local Gazans, who are not identified with Hamas, to be integrated into the civilian management of food allocation in Gaza, Netanyahu said.

“This attempt has not been successful because Hamas has threatened them and even hurt some of them in order to deter others, he stated.

It is not possible to put in place a local alternative to Gaza, as long as Hamas remains there, he said.

“Until it is clear that Hamas does not control Gaza militarily, nobody will be prepared to take upon himself the civil management of Gaza out of fear for their lives.

“Therefore, all the talk about ‘the day-after, while Hamas stays remains intact, will remain mere words devoid of content, he said.

Day 223 — Thursday, May 16

'Leave Immediately': University Issues Warning To Campus As Hundreds Of Anti-Israel Agitators Clash With Police

After hundreds of anti-Israel protesters swarmed campus buildings and set up barricades at the University of California, Irvine, local law enforcement agencies responded and students were ordered to leave immediately on Wednesday.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a UC Irvine spokesperson said that the campus erupted into chaos after several hundreds of protesters entered the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall on the California campus and began to barricade the building at 2:30 p.m. PST.

The university said that it put out a call to local law enforcement and received immediate assistance from the Irvine Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

In livestream footage of the anti-Israel agitators’ confrontation with police, at least one protester was arrested.

In a follow-up statement, students were told to “leave [the] area” as the protest continued.

“Anyone currently in buildings in the vicinity of the protest are advised to exit buildings & leave area at this time,” UC Irvine said in a statement. “Please disregard all previous orders to shelter in place. If able, please leave immediately & continue to avoid the protest area until further notice.”

Footage from the campus showed law enforcement, dressed in protest gear and holding batons, clashing with anti-Israel agitators.

The protesters were seen holding umbrellas and chanting, “free, free Palestine.”

“From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” they were heard chanting. “Long live Palestine.”

Authorities said that the protesters who entered the campus on Wednesday afternoon joined the established encampment that had been occupying the campus since April 29.

In an earlier X post, UC Irvine told students to “shelter in place” as police descended onto the campus.

“Protest has escalated near Physical Science Quad. Avoid the area,” the social media post said. “If you are in the area, shelter in place for your safety until further notice.”

Beto Mendez, a UC Irvine student Senator, told Fox News Digital that police are slowly clearing some of the encampments.

“Police are clearing out some encampments, very slowly, there are like five helicopters flying above right now,” Mendez said.

The college student said that many of the protesters do not appear to be UC Irvine students, adding that he saw children at the protest.

He added that it was “shocking” that the protests were happening on campus and that school administration is being “very careful and moving slowly.”

UC Irvine said that classes have been canceled for the remainder of the day and that they are monitoring the situation.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation and strongly urge people to stay away from the campus,” the school said.

Day 223 — Thursday, May 16

Analysis — Are You With Israel Or Not? America and Christians Need To Stop Sitting On The Fence

Are you with Israel or not? That’s a great question for US President Joe Biden, who is playing both sides of the Israel-Hamas War. One moment, he supports Israel’s right to defend itself and defeat Hamas; the next moment, he seems to want to let Hamas live to fight another day.

Such was the case just last week when Biden approved a pause on the shipment to Israel of 3,500 pound bombs, 6,500 kits used to turn dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons, tank munitions, mortar rounds, and other weapons. Biden told CNN on May 8th, “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 that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along the same lines, told CBS News on Sunday, “What we’ve been clear about is that if Israel launches this major military operation into Rafah, then there are certain systems that we’re not going to be supporting and supplying for that operation.”

Blinken asserted that Israel, instead of working to eliminate Hamas’ in its last stronghold (Rafah), should pull out of Gaza entirely. The Secretary of State claimed Israel’s exit would be a “more effective, durable way” to demilitarize Hamas.

Seriously? Israel should just forget about it and let Hamas live another day? You can’t be serious… but that’s what they’re saying.

These threats have been coming out of the United States for quite some time now. In response last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. I have already said that if we have to – we will fight with our nails. But we have much more than our nails, and with the same determination, with God’s help, we will win together.”

On May 14th, Israel celebrated Independence Day. Seventy-six years ago, in 1948, they defeated five Arab countries that came against the Jewish people and vowed to finish what Hitler started. The armies of those Arab Nations (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon) lost despite having ten-to-one odds in their favor. That should tell us something. The God of this universe has His hand on His chosen people, and He is regathering them back to their ancestral homeland. No one can thwart those plans.

Are you standing with Israel or not? I also asked that question to all pastors. Many, even of the dispensationalist pastors who are solid in what the Bible says concerning Israel and the Jewish people, since October 7th have been silent at their pulpits. Why? Your silence resonates loudly with those that hate Israel.

Why not instead educate your congregation on what God’s Word says concerning Israel in the days in which we live? Teach your congregation to obey God’s command to comfort and move with compassion for His chosen people.

Day 222 — Wednesday, May 15

Escalating Tensions: Top Hezbollah Field Commander Killed In IDF Drone Strike In South Lebanon

A top Hezbollah field commander was killed in an Israeli drone strike in southern Lebanon on Tuesday night, the military said.

Hussein Ibrahim Makki, according to the Israel Defense Forces, was a senior commander in the terror group’s so-called Southern Front unit. He had previously commanded Hezbollah’s coastal division.

Makki was targeted while driving near Tyre, according to the IDF and Lebanese media. Emergency responders said two others were wounded in the strike.

Hezbollah announced Makki’s death, saying he was killed “on the road to Jerusalem,” its term for operatives slain in Israeli strikes. The terror group did not refer to Makki as a commander or list a role for him.

The IDF said Makki “planned and carried out many terror attacks against the Israeli home front amid the war.”

The military says that more than 30 Hezbollah commanders have been killed in its strikes in southern Lebanon amid the war in the past seven months.

The strike came hours after an Israeli civilian was killed and five soldiers were wounded in a Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile attack against a military position near the northern community of Adamit.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in ten civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Day 221 — Tuesday, May 14

Shifting UN Casualty Numbers Raise Questions: Can Any Reports From Gaza Be Trusted?

The United Nations recently — and quietly — revised the casualty numbers coming out of Gaza amid the ongoing war between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, prompting questions about the reporting from Gaza and whether any of it could be trusted.

According to multiple sources, adjustments were quietly made to the casualty count — regarding those killed in Gaza during the ongoing conflict — as more and more of the dead have been positively identified. Those adjustments suggest that Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry has grossly inflated the number of women and children who have been killed.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on May 6, some 9,500 women and 14,500 children were reported to have been killed in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel. Less than a week later, those numbers had dropped significantly to 5,000 women and 8,000 children, the National Post reported.

According to David Adesnik, director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that change could be the result of the UN adopting a different source of information. He noted that prior to May 6, the UN had cited the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office as a source for the casualty numbers —