The Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 7, 2023)

On December 1, 2023, the temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip ended. It began on November 24, 2023 at 7 a.m. and its objective was the release of hostages and their return to Israel. It ended after it was violated by Hamas. Senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists blamed Israel for ending it and also blamed the United States for the events in the Gaza Strip because of its unreserved support for Israel. Senior Hamas and PIJ terrorists also warned that the next phase of the hostage exchange deal would be longer and more "complex," because it would include a demand for the release of security prisoners with blood on their hands and the price Israel would pay for men and soldiers would be different from that of women and children. Hamas and PIJ senior terrorists stated that they were prepared for the continuation of the fighting and all possible scenarios. They also claimed they were completely confident that they would defeat Israel. Saleh al-'Arouri, senior Hamas terrorist, said that there would be no more negotiations for a ceasefire and Hamas' final position was that there would be no deals for the release of hostages before the end of the war.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 6, 2023)

During the past day, IDF forces continued to attack Hamas terrorist strongholds in Jabalia and Shejaiya. IDF fighters surrounded the Khan Yunis area and entered the center of the city. Hamas claimed that during almost two months of war, Israel had made no significant achievements, given the scope of the military campaign it was waging against the Gaza Strip.Hamas continues to state that there will be no negotiations without a ceasefire and that the terms of the negotiations for the return of the soldiers will be different from those for the return of the women and children.The Palestinians report that the situation continues to deteriorate, especially regarding medical care. IDF activities led many Gazans to concentrate in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip, where the mosques were opened to house the evacuees.Hezbollah continued attacking IDF positions on the Lebanese border. IDF fire killed one Lebanese army soldier and wounded three. The IDF apologized for the incident. Hezbollah and al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya, a Palestinian terrorist organization operating in Lebanon, attacked in response.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 5, 2023)

The integrated IDF forces extended the fighting in the Gaza Strip, focusing their activity in the Jabalia and Shejaiya areas in the northern Gaza Strip and in the Khan Yunis region in the south. The Palestinian media reported a very difficult night in the Khan Yunis region and in the central Gaza Strip. A Hamas source said the Gaza Strip was burning "in the most horrific war in modern history. Hamas is calling for a return to indirect negotiations, but not under fire. Hamas claims that since most of the hostages are officers and soldiers, there will be different criteria for their release. Hamas denied the accusations of acts of rape and other sexual abuse committed during the October 7 attack and accused Israel of spreading "false propaganda. Hezbollah continued attacking IDF positions along the northern border; the IDF responded with artillery and aerial fire. Hamas sources in Lebanon announced the establishment of an organization called Pioneers of Operation al-Aqsa Storm, calling on young and adult men to join its ranks. The organization was apparently established with Hezbollah's blessing. Following criticism, Hamas was quick to claim it was not a military organization, but rather the "popular recruitment" of young Palestinians into its ranks.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 4, 2023)

The IDF forces continued intensive integrated maneuvers in the northern and southern Gaza Strip.. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) sources emphasized the "inferiority of the IDF" which, they claimed, had achieved nothing in all the days of fighting. A Palestinian military commentator claimed the IDF would encounter stronger resistance in the southern Gaza Strip, since the forces there had "more combat experience."The announcement by the British Ministry of Defense that it would help locate the hostages in the Gaza Strip by means of aerial intelligence patrols was condemned by Hamas and the PIJ, which claimed the UK was thereby becoming an accomplice to "Israel's crimes. Many Gazans from the southern Gaza Strip began concentrating in the Rafah area, where a tent camp was erected. The hospitals continue to convey distress because of the large number of wounded. Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and vehicles, injuring 15 soldiers continued their counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 3, 2023)

Following the extension of the temporary ceasefire, another group of hostages was returned to Israel on the night of November 30. Efforts to extend the temporary ceasefire and return additional hostages failed since Hamas did not honor its commitment, and on the morning of December 1, 2023, fighting in the Gaza Strip resumed. Senior Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Palestine (PIJ) terrorists continued to state they were prepared to continue negotiations, however, Saleh al-'Arouri unequivocally announced there would be no negotiations before a comprehensive ceasefire, closing the door to further efforts.: Integrated IDF forces resumed fighting in the northern, central and southern Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip continue firing rockets and mortar shells at Israel. Since the beginning of the integrated ground maneuver, IDF forces have located more than 800 shafts of Hamas tunnels and have destroyed approximately 500 of them. Another field hospital was established in Rafah. The spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported the hospitals were operating beyond full capacity.: With the resumption of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah resumed its attacks on the Israel-Lebanon border. So far, it has claimed responsibility for 17 attacks. The IDF responded with artillery fire and airstrikes. A launch attempt was made from Syria and failed.In Judea and Samaria Palestinian terrorists attempted a stabbing and a hit and run attack. Two IDF soldiers were injured. Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Shtayyeh met with Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, who visited Ramallah. The heads of Palestinian human rights organizations refused to meet with him on the grounds that he was biased towards Israel.
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Iranian efforts to blur the Shi’ite-Sunni rift over the war in Gaza

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, there has been considerable effort by the Islamic Republic of Iran to blur the Sunni-Shi’ite rift, which it sees as liable to undermine its efforts to enlist the support of Muslim and Arab public opinion in the campaign against Israel and to arouse opposition from both Sunnis and Shi’ites to its support for the Palestinians, especially Hamas. Statements and commentaries by Iranian officials include two main messages: emphasizing the need for Islamic unity between Shi’ites and Sunnis in the struggle against Israel and presenting the Palestinians as closer to Shi’a despite their Sunni Islamic affiliation.The call for Muslim unity, especially against the enemies of Islam, reflects the official policy of the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979. Against the backdrop of the 2011 regional upheaval, which deepened the Sunni-Shi’ite rift in the Arab world, senior Iranian officials, headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have stressed that the Islamic Republic advocates Islamic solidarity and is committed to supporting both Shi’ites and Sunnis regardless of their sectarian affiliation. Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, Iranian officials have stressed that increasing unity between Shi’ites and Sunnis will strengthen the Muslim world in the campaign against Israel.
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