UK and France continue support for Israel via BICom
Macron visits: Visiting Israel yesterday, French President Emanuel Macron joined Western allies in support for Israel.
- In a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Macron said that “this fight against terrorism is obviously a matter of existence for Israel. But it's a matter of existence for all of us.” He added that “this is an international coalition in order to fight against this terrorist group that we have to build.”
- Macron subsequently told reporters that “France is ready for the international coalition against ISIS in which we are taking part in operations in Iraq and Syria to also fight against Hamas.”
- Macron also called for a “decisive relaunch” of the Middle East peace process. “The Palestinian cause must be heard with reason,” he said, adding that the stability of the region would only be guaranteed if the Israeli response was “obviously security orientated and implacable in the face of terrorist groups, but also political”.
At the UN: Speaking at the Security Council, UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said that “Hamas rockets kill innocent Palestinians and Israelis. We judge the horrific al-Ahli Arab hospital explosion was likely caused by a missile launched from Gaza. We support Israel's right to defend itself against terror, in line with international humanitarian law.”
- He added, "Hamas use children as human shields. They have embedded themselves in civilian communities. They steal humanitarian aid meant for the Palestinian people. And their rockets murder civilians in Gaza as well as Israel. Hamas are no friends of the Palestinian people. It is a terrorist organisation that is not just a threat to Israel and Palestinians but to many others in the region."
- Elsewhere at the UN, Israel reacted furiously to UN Secretary General António Guterres saying at the Security Council that “it is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” He added that "the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation."
- Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the speech shocking and said Guterres should resign. Guterres, he tweeted, “who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN. I call on him to resign immediately. There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people. There are simply no words.”
Gaza Strip: The IDF has kept up its airstrikes on Hamas targets. In the last 24 hours the Israeli Air Force (IAF) destroyed dozens more Hamas targets.
- According to the IDF Spokesperson, they “struck several terrorists and Hamas infrastructure, including terror tunnel shafts, military headquarters, weapons warehouses, mortar launchers and anti-tank missile launchers.”
- “Furthermore, overnight the IDF struck Hamas’ emergency operational apparatus, including war rooms, infrastructure and military headquarters.”
- Adding, “Hamas’ emergency operational apparatus was responsible for setting up blockades that prevented Gazans from evacuating to safer areas in the southern Gaza Strip. Additionally, the IDF struck military infrastructure and command centres of Hamas' security apparatus, which is responsible for overseeing the terrorist organisation in the Gaza Strip and arresting and imprisoning Hamas' opponents.”
- The IDF also released more names of Hamas operatives killed including,
- Abed Alrahman - Deputy Commander of the Nuseirat Battalion, who took part in the Kibbutz Be'eri massacre.
- Khalil Muhajez - Deputy Commander of the Shati Battalion.
- Khalil Tatri - Deputy Commander of the Sheikh Radwan Battalion.
- There was another attempted infiltration attempt via the sea onto Zikim Beach, which the IDF were able to intercept, killing the terror cell.
- Despite the IAF strikes, Hamas have continued to fire rockets into Israel. Yesterday afternoon there was a heavy barrage directed towards Tel Aviv and the centre of the country.
Lebanon: The IDF continued to target terrorist cells operating on the Lebanese border.
- The IDF confirmed a “UAV struck two terrorist cells that carried out rocket and mortar shell launches toward IDF posts in the area of Netu'a and Elkosh in northern Israel. Furthermore, IDF tanks and artillery responded toward the sources of the launches.”
- “In addition, IDF forces struck an additional terrorist cell that attempted to launch anti-tank missiles toward Israeli territory adjacent to Kibbutz Yiftach.”
- Hezbollah announced 9 of their fighters have been killed in the last 24 hours; taking their tally to 38 operative killed so far. The number killed in Lebanon is thought to be higher as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are also operating in southern Lebanon and responsible for some of the attacks.
- Notably, there were no IAF attacks overnight.
Syria: Iranian proxy militias in the Syrian Golan fired a total of 5 rockets towards Israel. 3 fell in Syrian territory and 2 landed in Israel.
- In response the IAF struck military targets and mortar-firing sites belonging to the Syrian military.
- Syrian sources claimed 8 Syrian soldiers were killed and 7 others were injured.
West Bank: In the Jenin refugee camp, an IDF drone attacked a terror cell that had attacked Israeli forces. Palestinians reported four deaths.
Context: Macron’s visit follows comes in the context of many visits to Israel by foreign leaders and senior officials to show support. Since the October 7 attack by Hamas, President Biden, Prime Minister Sunak, German Chancellor Scholtz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Christodoulides of Cyprus have all come to Israel.
- After a storm of criticism, Gutteres tried to walk back his comments, tweeting that “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the horrific attacks by Hamas,” adding that “those horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
- The US continues to block Security Council efforts to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has proposed new language for a resolution, supporting Israel’s right to continue its campaign, by upholding the “inherent right of all states” to self-defence, but also calling for “humanitarian pauses”.
- As Israel continues to strike targets from the air, speculation remains as to when a ground incursion into Gaza will begin.
- The IDF is continuing to drop leaflets urging civilians to leave the northern Gaza Strip to flee south and avoid being caught in the fighting. Hamas, meanwhile, continues to hamper those efforts with road blocks.
- In the latest example of Hamas-Hezbollah coordination, Hezbollah released photos of Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah, meeting with Saleh al-Aruri, the deputy head of Hamas and Ziad al-Nakhala, the leader of PIJ.
- Eight more trucks with aid entered Gaza from the Egyptian side, the fourth convoy so far.
Looking ahead: Israel’s Security Cabinet is expected to meet again this evening, when a decision could be made regarding launching a ground incursion.
- Amid the deadlock in the UN Security Council, Jordan, and Russia are among the nations that have requested a meeting on Thursday of the UN General Assembly.