IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
Israeli Air Force attack in the Jenina neighborhood in Rafah (Shehab X account, December 3, 2023)
Fayez al-Doueiri interviewed by al-Jazeera TV (aljazeera.net , December 3, 2023)
Gazans flee the Khan Yunis area towards Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, December 3, 2023).
the tent camp set up by Gazans who fled to Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, December 3, 2023)
The Israeli Air Force attacks Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023)
The Combat Arena
- According to the IDF Chief of Staff, Major General Herzi Halevi, IDF forces have so far succeeded in dismantling two brigades of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing in the northern Gaza Strip and were attacking battalions, adding that IDF forces had killed battalion and company commanders. On December 3, 2023, the IDF began a similar operation in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023).
- During the past day, the ground forces operated with extensive support from the Israeli Air Force, attacking more than 200 targets. Attacks in the northern Gaza Strip focused on the Shejaiya area and the Shati refugee camp. In the southern Gaza Strip, the forces operated mainly in the Khan Yunis area. IDF fighters destroyed terrorist facilities, including one in a school in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip from where the forces were attacked. Two tunnel shafts were also found in the school, one which was booby-trapped. A cache of explosives and weapons were also found (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023).
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
- Aerial activity: Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked targets with missiles, mortar shells and other weapons. An aircraft attacked and destroyed a military facility used to ambush and attack the forces with anti-tank missiles. The IDF attacked squads of terrorist operatives and the warehouse they came out of. Haitham Hawajri was killed in a targeted aerial attack. He was the commander of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades’ Shati Battalion, responsible for Hamas security in Shifa Hospital, and commanded the fighting against IDF forces in the Shati refugee camp (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023).
Right: Eliminating a Hamas terrorist from the air. Left: Attacking vehicles carrying weapons
(IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
Israeli Air Force attack in the Jenina neighborhood in Rafah
(Shehab X account, December 3, 2023)
- Naval activity: During the night, in support of the ground maneuvers, Israeli Navy forces attacked Hamas targets. Among the targets were a naval observation post and a terrorist facility in the Gaza City harbor (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023).
Israeli Navi attacks (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
Reactions to the fighting
- Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan claimed that what Israel had not achieved during more than 50 days before the temporary ceasefire, it would not achieve afterwards, no matter how long the war lasted. He claimed Netanyahu and his army would only fail and be roundly defeated, would have more corpses of soldiers, more tanks and vehicles would be destroyed, and they would sink deeper “in the morass of their crimes.” He dismissed talk about the IDF’s advancing in the southern Gaza Strip and claimed the IDF could not penetrate the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] defense formations (Palinfo , December 3, 2023; al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2023).
- Senior terrorist Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, claimed Israel was attacking “everywhere” to increase the number of Palestinian deaths to “compensate” for the days of the temporary ceasefire. He claimed Hamas had tried to extend the temporary ceasefire until a final ceasefire could be reached, but it was clear that Israel only wanted the hostages after failing to reach them by force, and Hamas was convinced that after the issue of the civilian hostages had been settled, Israel would attack again, which did indeed happen. . He claimed it was obvious Israel did not want calm or a ceasefire. He also claimed Israel could not eliminate Hamas because it was not only an organization, it was the expression of an idea and a “culture” in Palestinian society, and Israel was fighting not only Hamas but all Palestinians. (al-Arabi TV YouTube channel, December 3, 2023; al-Arabi TV X account, December 3, 2023).
- General Fayez al-Doueiri, a retired Jordanian army officer now a military analyst for al-Jazeera, said of the IDF’s activity in the Khan Yunis area that the campaign would be different from the one in the northern Gaza Strip. He predicted it would be more difficult and Hamas would have an advantage because the Khan Yunis Brigade was considered the military wing’s strongest brigade in the Gaza Strip. He said it had many years of combat experience, adding that 40% of the IDF casualties during Operation Protective Edge were in the Khan Yunis area (aljazeera.net, December 3, 2023).
Fayez al-Doueiri interviewed by al-Jazeera TV (aljazeera.net , December 3, 2023)
- Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, claimed the IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip were “ethnic cleansing” by Israel, which was shooting indiscriminately because it was unable to reach Hamas operatives and therefore “was taking revenge” on the residents. He claimed the United States had given Israel a “green light” to continue its attack in the Gaza Strip (al-Arabi’s YouTube channel, December 4, 2023).
- Taher Al-Nunu, Ismail Haniyeh’s media advisor, claimed the threats made by the head of the Israeli Security Agency to attack the Hamas leadership reflected Israel’s political crisis and distress on the ground caused by the Palestinians’ “courageous resistance” (Hamas Telegram channel, December 3, 2023).
- Interviewed from Johannesburg, Ahsan Ataya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, claimed that during the temporary ceasefire, it became clear to Israel that the “resistance” was in “very good condition” and could not be harmed, and Israel knew it would be impossible to eliminate it. He said they would not negotiate for the kidnapped military personnel before the “aggression” stopped, adding that Israel might think that by resuming the fighting it would be able to achieve significant military objectives, but the Palestinian “resistance” [terrorism], “obviously,” would continue fighting until it broke Israel’s willpower and achieved what was necessary for a respectable exchange deal. As for support for the “resistance” in Gaza, he said that Yemen was sending “strong, important messages” and Hezbollah was sacrificing dozens of lives, and they were attacking and causing Israel casualties and losses (Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV YouTube channel, December 4, 2023).
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
- During the past day, the Palestinian terrorist organizations continued attacking the cities, towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip with rockets and mortar shells. Several buildings in Sderot were damaged by rocket fire, including a synagogue.
- According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,200 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 401 of them soldiers and officers (including the bodies of three IDF soldiers ); 137 civilian and military hostages are being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, 17 of them women and children; 113 hostages have been returned.
The issue of the hostages
- The British ministry of defense announced that in support of the efforts to rescue the hostages from the Gaza Strip, Britain would conduct unarmed surveillance flights over the Middle East region to locate hostages; the flights would help gather intelligence on their locations. According to reports, five British citizens were missing, but it was not stated how many of them were being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip (BBC, December 3, 2023).
- Hamas condemned the announcement of the British ministry of defense, claiming it made Britain an accomplice to the “crimes of the Zionist occupation” and responsible for the massacres of the Palestinian people. Hamas called on Britain to withdraw its announcement and its diplomatic and economic support for the “war of genocide in Gaza” (Hamas Telegram channel, December 3, 2023).
- The PIJ condemned Britain’s intention to “participate in aggression against the Gaza Strip” using its patrol planes for intelligence missions in Gazan airspace. According to the PIJ, it was genuine participation alongside f Israel in the aggression, and indicated that “colonial mentality” still ruled Britain (PIJ media information bureau Telegram channel, December 3, 2023).
- Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan rejected the “false narrative” about the treatment of the hostages at the hands of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades. He claimed the “false narrative” had received a “devastating blow” from the films the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades released during and after every exchange of kidnapped Israeli and foreign women and children. He claimed that over the course of seven days, the entire world witnessed a great difference between the attitude of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operatives and the attitude of the IDF to the Palestinian prisoners who had been detained since October 7. He added that Hamas had shown “great flexibility” in the negotiations to extend the temporary ceasefire, and had told the mediators that they were prepared to continue, but “Israel’s stubbornness, procrastination, lack of seriousness and its intention to continue the war” kept the negotiations from having a successful conclusion. Hamdan said the resumption of negotiations for a prisoner exchange would have to involve a cessation of aggression and a cease-fire (Palinfo, December 3 2023; al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2023).
- Senior terrorist Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas had informed the mediators of its position, and expressed hope that the mediators would still be able to find a way to achieve a final ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Asked whether Hamas had specific data about the number of captives and hostages, he said that they had discussed the issue in detail with the mediators, they had numbers and names and had discussed each and every name. He claimed they had finally finished with the children and women and offered to continue negotiating for other groups, but Israel refused and wanted to impose conditions which were unacceptable and did not meet Hamas expectations (al-Arabi TV YouTube channel, December 3 2023; al-Arabi TV X account, December 3, 2023).
The Gaza Strip
- The Hamas-controlled government media information bureau in Gaza reported that as of 7:00 p.m., December 3, 2027, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at more than 15,523 and the number of wounded at more than 41,316 (Shehab X account, November 27, 2023).
- Dr. Muhammad Jumaa, director of the Jordanian field hospital in Khan Yunis, reported that during the last 72 hours the hospital treated 500 wounded, and performs between six and ten major surgeries every day. He also said the hospital was working around the clock to provide medical assistance to local residents (al-Mamlaka TV, Jordan, December 4, 2023).
The situation in Gaza
- The Palestinian media reported on the mass exodus of residents from the Khan Yunis area towards Rafah following massive IDF attacks. According to reports, enormous numbers of Gazans arrived in the west of Rafah and erected a tent camp (Wafa YouTube channel, December 3, 2023).
Right: Gazans flee the Khan Yunis area towards Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, December 3, 2023). Left: the tent camp set up by Gazans who fled to Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, December 3, 2023)
- Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan said that Israel’s claim since the beginning of the war regarding the existence of safe areas in the southern Gaza Strip, and its continuous call for Gazans to reach them, was a premeditated plan and a way to carry out ambushes and “other massacres.” He claimed there were no safe areas, and there was “aggression and massacres” in the southern Gaza Strip as well as in the north. He emphasized Hamas’ firm rejection of all Israeli plots to displace the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and warned against cooperating with them.
- He also noted the need to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid and medical assistance, fuel and gas, and all the equipment needed for the rescue teams, civil defense and municipalities in the Gaza Strip. He called for field hospitals with all medical specialties, for providing the hospitals with everything they needed to continue treating the Gazans, and for the evacuation of emergency cases from Gaza. He called on the Arab and Islamic countries and the “free people around the world” to form official and popular delegations which would visit the Gaza Strip and break the “siege.” He thanked all the international institutions and individuals who chose to remain in the Gaza Strip and called on Belgium and Spain, which had taken “courageous positions,” to lead a European and international movement to visit the Gaza Strip to see the extent of “Israel’s crimes” and the suffering of the Palestinians (Palinfo, December 3, 2023; al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2023).
The Northern Arena
- During the past day Hezbollah continued attacking IDF positions and forces along the northern border. At noon on December 3, 2023, an anti-tank missile was fired at IDF vehicles in the Beit Hillel area, wounding 12 IDF soldiers and damaging the vehicles (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023). On the afternoon of December 3, 2023, several rockets were fired at the Har Dov area, some of them falling inside Lebanese territory; IDF forces responded with artillery fire (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023). On the night of December 3, 2023, mortar shells were fired from Lebanese territory at the Shtula area. Three IDF soldiers were wounded and mortar shells were fired at an IDF post in the Yiftah area (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 3, 2023).
- As of noon, December 4, 2023, Hezbollah had claimed responsibility for nine attacks during the past day (Hezbollah combat information wing, December 3 and 4, 2023).
- In response, Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked several Hezbollah terrorist facilities and military targets (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023).
he Israeli Air Force attacks Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023)
- “Sources” in the axis of resistance “command” announced that Hezbollah had improved the quality of its strategic weapons after assessing that the next war against Lebanon would not include a ground activity but would be limited to destroying its capabilities, and it would respond accordingly. According to the “sources,” during the first weeks of the war in the Gaza Strip, large, high-quality missiles with warheads weighing between half a ton and two tons were “transferred” to Hezbollah. In addition Hezbollah stopped hiding the types of its mass-murder missiles (al-Ra’i, December 2, 2023).
- Muhammad Raad, chairman of the Hezbollah faction in the Lebanese Parliament, visited a number of bereaved families and offered his condolences (al-Ghad, December 3, 2023). Muhammad Raad’s son was killed in Hezbollah terrorist activity in south Lebanon on November 23, 2023.
- Ahsan Ataya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, claimed the “resistance” in Lebanon was sending “deterrent messages” to Israel and the American government, stating that enlarging the circle of combat would lead to the destruction of Israel. He added the “messages” also stated that the “resistance” in Lebanon would not allow the “resistance” in the Gaza Strip and “Palestine” to be eliminated, because they complemented each other and were part of the “axis of resistance” (Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV YouTube channel, December 4, 2023).
The Lebanese government
- Najib Mikati, prime minister of the interim government of Lebanon, met with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, on the sidelines of the climate summit in Dubai. They discussed the situation in Lebanon and Gaza, and Egypt’s efforts to stop “Israeli aggression” and reach a ceasefire, as a first step to returning to the search for a full solution that considered the Palestinians’ rights (Lebanese prime minister’s office X account, December 3, 2023).
- Abdullah Bou Habib, Lebanese foreign minister, said Lebanon was under international pressure to convince Hezbollah to avoid conflicts in south Lebanon as much as possible and not to enter the war. He claimed responsibility lay with the international authorities to exert pressure on Israel not to wage war against Lebanon, since it was Israel which had issued threats and, he alleged, initiated the current escalation. He claimed that although Israel violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701 hundreds of times a year, Lebanon upheld it. Lebanon called for permanent borders to be established between the countries and to bring security to the region and reduce tensions. He claimed he had met recently with senior regional officials and in the European Union, and they all understood there could be no permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip without an external separation force such as UNIFIL and a resolution similar to Resolution 1701. He said the situation was currently “extremely complex” and no one had yet proposed a comprehensive outline for a cease-fire. However, he said that due to the “presence” of more than 150 Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip, he did not reject a new deal and a temporary cease-fire, and hoped that it would be longer without [the need for] an international declaration (Nida al-Watan, December 3, 2023).
- On the evening of December 3, 2023, a rocket was fired at Israeli territory from Syria; it fell in an open area. Sirens were sounded in Keshet, an Israeli moshav. IDF forces attacked the source of the rocket fire (IDF spokesperson, December 3, 2023).
Judea and Samaria
- On the night of December 4, 2023, Israeli security forces detained wanted Palestinians and seized weapons in Judea and Samaria. A total of 29 suspects were detained, five of them suspected Hamas operatives. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, about 2,150 wanted Palestinians have been detained, about 1,100 of them Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s X account, December 4, 2023). The health ministry in Ramallah reported 256 fatalities since the beginning of the war (Wafa, December 4, 2023).
- The Israeli security forces operating in Qalqilya eliminated a terrorist squad that recently shot at the security forces several times. The forces pursued the wanted Palestinians and exchanged fire with them, killing two wanted Palestinians, Anas Qaraqe Daoud and Alaa Nazzal, 29, commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Qalqilya, who was involved in shooting attacks and received funding from terrorist headquarters abroad. . The forces seized a pistol from their vehicle, as well as an M-16 rifle and ammunition magazines (IDF spokesperson’s X account, December 4, 2023) (Ma’an, December 4, 2023).
The two wanted Palestinians killed this morning in Qalqilya. Right: Anas Qaraqe Daoud. Left: Alaa Nazzal, commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Qalqilya (Shehab X account, December 4, 2023)
- Operating in Jenin, the forces detained six wanted Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. Armed operatives threw IEDs and shot at the forces, who responded with gunfire (IDF website, December 4, 2023).
Weapons found during the forces’ activity (IDF spokesperson, December 4, 2023)
- Operating in Silat al-Zahr in northern Samaria, the forces detained two wanted Palestinians, seized weapons and ammunition, and a bag containing IEDs. An IDF soldier sustained minor injuries from gunfire (IDF Spokesperson’s X account, December 4, 2023). Operating in several villages northeast of Ramallah, large quantities of weapons were seized, including a drone, lasers, two hunting rifles and ammunition (IDF spokesperson’s X account, December 4, 2023).
Palestinian Authority (PA)
- American Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss “the day after the war.” She stressed American support for the unification of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip under a renewed Palestinian Authority. She also said the United States was committed to the two-state solution, adding that the Palestinians had to have a clear political horizon (White House website, December 3, 2023). Mahmoud Abbas stressed that security and military solutions had failed and would not achieve security and stability in the region. He said the Gaza Strip was an integral part of the Palestinian state and no Israeli plan to cut it off could be accepted (Wafa, December 4, 2023).
- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking at a joint press conference with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who is visiting Tehran, said the two countries agreed on the need to establish an intercontinental alliance and an alliance among states that would support the rights of the Palestinian people (IRNA, December 4, 2023).
- On December 3, 2023, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, met in Tehran with his Omani counterpart, Badr al-Busaidi, to discuss regional and international developments, including the war in Gaza. At a joint press conference held by the two, Abdollahian again warned that if the Israeli attacks continued, the war might spread to additional fronts and the region might enter a new phase through the “resistance.” He said the United States had to take responsibility for supporting Israel in the war. He added that Egypt had to open the Rafah Crossing, and that according to information obtained by the “resistance” during the war, Israel intended to transfer the residents of the Gaza Strip to Egypt and the residents of Judea and Samaria to Jordan (Fars, December 3, 2023).
- Hossein Amir Abdollahian met in Tehran with a delegation of the Association of Muslim Clerics of Lebanon, headed by Sheikh Ghazi Hanina, and said that Operation al-Aqsa Storm had once again brought the Palestinian issue to the forefront of the Muslim world. He stressed the need to take practical steps to exert pressure on Israel to stop its attacks in the Gaza Strip (IRNA, December 4, 2023).
- At a conference in Tehran in support of the Palestinians Ali Bagheri-Kani, Iranian deputy foreign minister, reported that the foreign ministry had set up a team to promote an oil embargo on Israel. He said the team would contact countries that supplied Israel with energy products and try to dissuade them. The team was set up following a call by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for Muslim countries to impose an oil embargo on Israel (IRNA, December 3, 2023).
- Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, who is visiting Iraq, met with Falih al-Fayyad, chairman of the Popular Mobilization (the umbrella framework of the Shi’ite pro-Iranian militias in Iraq). He also met with senior Iraqi officials, including the prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and interior minister to discuss security and military issues (Tasnim, December 4, 2023). In the background of Bagheri’s visit to Iraq were the continued attacks by Iraqi pro-Iranian militias against the American forces in Syria and Iraq.
- Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, referred to the deaths of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers in Syria, saying Iran would respond to any attack on its interests in the region and that no action against Iran, its security, interests or “advisory forces” in Syria would go unanswered (Fars, December 4, 2023).
Iraq and Syria
- During the past day, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for carrying out two drone attacks against the American base in al-Qarya al-Khadra (the Green Zone) in Syria and the Ayn al-Assad base in Iraq. It also claimed responsibility for a missile attack against the Kharab al-Jir base in northeastern Syria (the Resistance Telegram channel, December 3, 2023).
- A “senior American military official” said the United States had carried out a “self-defense attack” in the Kirkuk area of Iraq, which was directed at a launching zone for UAVs. According to him, the objective of the attack was to thwart an immediate threat (Agence France-Presse, December 3, 2023).
- The Islamic Resistance in Iraq announced the deaths of five of its operatives “in battle against the American occupation forces in Iraq” in the Kirkuk area in northern Iraq. Later, an official death notice was published with the names and pictures of the operatives (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, December 4, 2023). According to reports in Iraq, those killed were operatives of the Nujaba movement militia (al-Arabiya, December 4, 2023).
- Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, said they were currently participating in a crucial campaign against the “Zionists and the Americans,” and they would continue to wage it until the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip stopped. He reaffirmed that the forces were ready for all possibilities and prepared to respond to any attack. He also threatened that an American or Israeli attack would be “gravely foolish” and be answered with a “powerful and painful” response (director of Saria’s office X account, December 3, 2023).
- A senior Pentagon official said missiles and drones had been launched from Yemen at the American destroyer Carney and merchant ships in the Red Sea. According to maritime sources in Yemen, the Houthis attacked two ships in the Red Sea suspected of being Israeli (al-Jazeera, December 3, 2023).
- A senior Pentagon official said the launch of the aircraft and missiles at the USS Carney did not cause loss of life or property. According to him, the American vessel destroyed the Houthi drone that approached it in the southern Red Sea. He also noted that the destroyer had detected at least one ballistic missile that had been launched at a merchant ship and landed near it (al-Jazeera, December 3, 2023).
- The British maritime security company Embry reported that a British ship flying the flag of the Bahamas was hit by a rocket while sailing in the Red Sea about 35 nautical miles off Yemen’s west coast. The company added that the damaged ship had sent distress calls related to a pirate or missile attack (Agence France-Presse, December 3, 2023). It was later reported that the ship, with dozens of containers aboard, was sinking.
- Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, announced that their naval forces had attacked two Israeli ships in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait: one with a missile and the other with a drone. He said the attacks were carried out after the two ships had rejected warnings from the Houthi navy. He stressed that the Houthi forces continued to prevent Israeli ships from sailing in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea until Israel’s “aggression” in the Gaza Strip stopped. He also reiterated the Houthi forces’ warning against Israeli ships and Israeli-linked ships and made it clear that they would become legitimate targets if they acted in violation of the Houthi statements (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, December 3, 2023).
- In response, a “senior American official” said that they saw no connection between the targets attacked by the Houthis and the war in the Gaza Strip. According to him, they had the means to protect their interests in the Red Sea and reserved the right to respond at the appropriate time and place (al-Jazeera, December 3, 2023).
- The American Army Central Command (CENTCOM) published the list of recent attacks against vessels in the Red Sea. According to CENTCOM, they had every reason to believe that although the attacks had been carried out by the Houthis in Yemen, they were made possible thanks to Iran. According to them, the United States will consider the appropriate responses to the attacks in full coordination with its allies (CENTCOM X account, December 4, 2023).
The Arab Arena
- Murad al-Adayla, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front, Jordan’s largest opposition party, called on all Arab and Islamic countries to open the doors to the “Palestinian resistance” and establish offices for it. He demanded that Jordanian prisons release prisoners belonging to Hamas. He also called for the encirclement of the American embassies in Arab and Islamic countries in the coming week (Rai al-Youm, December 3, 2023).
- “Egyptian sources familiar with the issue of the war in Gaza” reported that the Egyptian vision for the day after the war was based on the merger of Hamas into the PA and the entry of its members into the Palestinian preventive security forces, while leaving PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas as honorary president. In their opinion, this is to enable coexistence that does not compromise Egyptian national security, the Palestinians or Israel. The vision reportedly depends on the creation of a new map that will enable the reorganization of the Palestinian state, the dismantling of some of the Israeli settlements, and the establishment of buffer zones between the Palestinian territories and Israel. The vision is also based on Palestinian national reconciliation and the establishment of a technocratic government for three years, to which Egypt, together with an Arab or international entity, will be a guarantor. It was noted that one of the names proposed to serve as its head was Salam Fayyad, former PA prime minister.
- Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, spoke by phone with American Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the latest developments in the situation in Gaza, Judea and Samaria and ways to de-escalate the situation. Abdulrahman stressed that Qatar was committed to continuing its efforts to reach a lull and that the continued attacks against the Gaza Strip jeopardized the mediation efforts (Qatari foreign ministry X account, December 3, 2023).
The International Arena
International Criminal Court
- Following his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan issued a summary of his visit, noting that the visit was intended to ensure that the protection of the law applied to everyone and that everyone had to abide by international humanitarian law. He said civilians had to receive food, water and medical supplies, and Hamas should not abuse it. He expressed concern about the large number of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank. He stressed that they continued to investigate the incidents and the alleged crimes had to be investigated independently and at the appropriate time. Regarding his visit to Israel, he said he had called for the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages kidnapped by the terrorist organizations. He also said they aspired to further deepen their cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (International Criminal Court website, December 3, 2023).
- Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, criticized the chief prosecutor’s visit to Ramallah, saying it was due to American pressure. He wondered why the prosecutor general had visited Ramallah and not the Gaza Strip. He also blamed the prosecutor general for rejecting and refusing to open an investigation into Palestinian cases submitted to him, preferring instead to deal with cases from Ukraine (al-Arabi’s YouTube channel, December 4, 2023).
- Hamas condemned the chief prosecutor’s visit and his statements about the October 7 events without visiting the Gaza Strip and listening to the other side. According to Hamas, he ignored “hundreds of requests” from human rights organizations and lawyers from around the world urging him to go to the Gaza Strip and see the “truth” about the “genocide of children and civilians” (Hamas Telegram channel, December 4, 2023).
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the Islamic Cooperation Conference in Istanbul that the Gaza Strip was Palestinian land and would remain so, and that the road to regional peace passed through the establishment of a Palestinian state. He also stressed that they were ready to bear all the responsibility, including participation in Arab conferences to achieve their objective (Anadolu News, December 4, 2023).
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 Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Shi'ite Houthis in Yemen and the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. ↑