Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 24, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)

The tunnel discovered by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)

The tunnel discovered by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)

The demonstration in Deir al-Balah. The sign on the right reads,

The demonstration in Deir al-Balah. The sign on the right reads, "Yes to the end of the war," on the left, "Yes to handing over the prisoners" (al-Ghad TV X account, January 24, 2024).

Israeli Air Force attack in Jmaijmeh (Ali Shoeib's X account; Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 23, 2024)

Israeli Air Force attack in Jmaijmeh (Ali Shoeib's X account; Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 23, 2024)

The Palestinian minister of the interior meets with the Dutch minister of defense (Ma'an, January 23, 2024)

The Palestinian minister of the interior meets with the Dutch minister of defense (Ma'an, January 23, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: Over the past day the activity of the IDF forces focused on the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip. The forces increased the pressure on Hamas and attacked a large number of terrorist cells scattered throughout the area.
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 556 of them soldiers and officers; 132 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 121 hostages have been returned to Israel. Despite reports of the considerable activity concerning a hostage deal and the various proposals which have been put forward, serious disparities remain between the demands and no progress has been made. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) stated that no understandings had been reached and their condition for any deal was a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Strip.
  • The Gaza Strip: Medical personnel in the Gaza Strip continue to report the movement of civilians from the battle zones in Khan Yunis to the Rafah area. Mahmoud Abbas’ office warned of the danger inherent in Israel’s demand that the residents of Khan Yunis move towards Rafah, which according to the Palestinians constituted a “war crime.”
  • The northern arena: Over the past day Hezbollah claimed responsibility for one attack. In response to the attack on the Israeli Air Force base in Miron on January 23, 2024, the Air Force planes attacked Hezbollah terrorist targets in south Lebanon, including a military asset operated by Hezbollah in collaboration with Iran.
  • Judea and Samaria: Hamas claimed responsibility for a shooting attack targeting an IDF position at the Einav Junction, east of Qalqilya.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: United States military forces attacked three targets of Hezbollah brigades in response to attacks on its military bases, especially the attack on the Ain al-Assad base. The Iraqi authorities condemned the attack and claimed it constituted a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. The militias’ spokesmen stated that they would continue and expand their attacks.
  • The UN Security Council convened once again to discuss the war in the Gaza Strip.
The Southern Arena
  • The southern Gaza Strip: The IDF forces focused the fighting on the Khan Yunis area, increasing pressure on Hamas and attacking terrorist cells with sniper fire, tanks and airstrikes. The Israeli Air Force assisted the integrated ground maneuver forces in attacking terrorist squads and destroying terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024). During the maneuvers, the IDF forces located a strategic Hamas facility located in the heart of a residential neighborhood and near two schools. A large number of shafts were found which led to a tunnel about 1.5 kilometers (9/10 of a mile) long, where there were a laboratory and a lathe for the production of rockets, the largest located so far in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024).
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)     IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)
The tunnel discovered by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)    The tunnel discovered by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
The tunnel discovered by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
The underground lathe (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)     The underground lathe (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
The underground lathe (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
  • The Palestinian media reported IDF activity in Khan Yunis, mainly in the area near Nasser Hospital and the Khan Yunis refugee camp, in the west of the city (Ma’an January 24, 2024). Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, claimed that the way the IDF forces had surrounded Nasser Hospital prevented the medical teams from transferring patients to the nearby Jordanian field hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 23, 2024). A correspondent from al-Arabi TV reported a heavy exchange of fire between IDF forces and the “resistance” [terrorist operatives] near the hospital (al-Arabi TV, January 24, 2024). It was also reported that IDF forces continued to surround al-Khair Hospital and al-Aqsa University (west Khan Yunis), where many displaced persons sought shelter. Shells were also fired at the Khan Yunis refugee camp and at the city center (Shehab X account, January 24, 2024).
  • The central Gaza Strip: The Palestinian media reported that IDF forces continued demolishing houses between the village of al-Masdar and the al-Maghazi refugee camp (Ma’an, January 24, 2024).
  • Many hours after the incident in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed near the al-Maghazi refugee camp, Hamas claimed responsibility for carrying out a “combined operation” in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed. Hamas stated its operatives used a rocket to attack a house where an IDF engineering force was trapped. According to the claim, the attack caused the explosion of the soldiers’ ammunition and engineering equipment and the house was completely destroyed. At the same time, the operatives fired an al-Yassin 105 rocket at a Merkava tank with soldiers inside. Hamas also claimed that its operatives blew up a minefield while another IDF force was present at the scene (Hamas Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).
  • Sami Abu Zuhri, head of Hamas’ “external” political bureau, said that the United States government and Israel had to understand the “message” of the “high-quality [sic] operations” of January 22, 2024, which [allegedly] showed that the strength of the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] was increasing rather than decreasing, and the possibility of eliminating Hamas was an illusion. He claimed the time had come to recognize the Palestinian people’s rights to freedom, self-determination, and the establishment of the Palestinian state (Shehab Telegram channel, January 23, 2024). Walid al-Kilani, responsible for Hamas media information distribution in Lebanon, said the attack had made Gazans and Palestinians forget about the crimes that Israel committed against them, and would increase and deepen the internal discord among the members of the war cabinet and cause larger demonstrations in the Israeli home front (Lebanon Debate, January 23, 2024).
Explosions in the area where the IDF soldiers were killed near the al-Maghazi refugee camp (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
Explosions in the area where the IDF soldiers were killed near the al-Maghazi refugee camp (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
  • Gaza City: Palestinian media reported IDF attacks, especially in the al-Shati refugee camp and the Tel al-Hawa and Zeitoun neighborhoods (Ma’an, January 24, 2024).
  • The northern Gaza Strip: Palestinian media reported attacks in the Jabalia area (Ma’an, January 24, 2024).
Israeli casualties
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,300 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 556 of them are soldiers and officers (221 since the start of the ground maneuver on 27 October, 2023); 132 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 121 hostages have been returned.
The issue of the hostages and a ceasefire
  • Despite reports of the considerable activity concerning a hostage deal and the various proposals which have been put forward, serious disparities remain between the demands of both sides and no progress has been made.
  • John Kirby, the White House spokesman, said that Brett McGurk, the United States envoy to the Middle East, was in Cairo and dealing with the promotion of a hostage deal, the issue of normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel and a ceasefire. He said the United States would support a longer humanitarian ceasefire, adding they were having active conversations regarding the hostages. He stated that the future of the Strip could include the Hamas leadership (Reuters, January 23, 2024). Abbas Kamal, head of Egyptian General Intelligence, met with Brett McGurk to discuss ways to quickly implement a hostage deal. They also discussed ways to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, as well as the initiatives which have been proposed so far for a hostage deal (al-Sharq, January 23, 2024). It was also reported that a Hamas delegation was currently in Cairo and met with Abbas Kama, to discuss proposals for a ceasefire (al-Sharq, January 23, 2024).
  • An “Egyptian official” said that Hamas had rejected an Israeli proposal for a two-month ceasefire, during which all the hostages would be released in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and allowing senior Hamas members to emigrate from the Strip to other countries. According to the “official,” Hamas insisted that no more hostages would be released until Israel ended its attacks on the Strip and withdrew (AP, January 23, 2024).
  • A source described as a “senior Hamas member” said that they rejected Israel’s proposal to stop fighting for two months, adding that no one would accept a two-month ceasefire deal because after it ended Israel would return to carry out [alleged] massacres. He reiterated their demand for the cessation of the [so-called] Israeli “aggression” in the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces, and only then would they discuss a hostage deal (al-Sharq, January 23, 2024).
  • Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, confirmed the report that through Egyptian and Qatari mediators, Israel had conveyed an offer to Hamas to stop fighting for two months as part of a multi-stage deal which included the release of the Israeli hostages. He claimed there were still no “serious proposals” from Israel, adding that Benjamin Netanyahu was resorting to lies and deception. He claimed the report was an Israeli exercise and it was impossible to talk about serious Israeli proposals because the Israelis themselves publicly said that the fighting would continue and the goals of the fighting remained unchanged. He reiterated yet again Hamas’ condition for a hostage deal: the absolute and unequivocal end of Israeli aggression. He claimed the Palestinians were not looking for temporary solutions, but wanted to end the “aggression” (Arab World Press News Agency (AWP), January 24, 2024).
  • In another statement, Osama Hamdan said that several proposals had been put forward by Israel, “which sends its proposals in every directions,” but the essence of Israeli ideas so far was that Israel wanted a truce to organize its ranks and then resume fighting. He said that neither the “resistance” nor any clear-thinking person would agree to such an idea. He claimed they had a “different” [sic] idea, which they had transmitted to the mediators, reiterating yet again that the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip would end completely and comprehensively, including the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the end of the “siege,” the provision of international guarantees that the “aggression” would not be repeated and then it would be possible to discuss a comprehensive exchange deal. He said that any proposal which did not include those three elements was not a serious proposal. Regarding the departure of the Hamas leadership from the Gaza Strip, he said they had not received such a proposal, and those whose idea it had been did not understand the meaning of attachment to the land and the homeland (al-Mayadeen Programs YouTube channel, January 23, 2024).
  • Ghazi Hamed, a member of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas rejected the Israeli proposal for a two-month ceasefire as part of a multi-stage deal that included the release of the Israeli hostages. He reiterated Hamas’ demand for a complete cessation of the war and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip before talks about the hostages (AWP, January 24, 2024).
  • Walid al-Kilani, responsible for Hamas media information distribution in Lebanon, said there were several proposals, but so far it was impossible to say they were close to an agreement. He said every offer presented was examined by the leadership, after which they replied to the mediators. He reiterated that the position of the “resistance” had always focused on a complete and comprehensive ceasefire, after which discussions on other issues could continue. Israel, he claimed, only wanted a truce for a week, two weeks or two months, as recently proposed, during which the hostages would be exchanged in several stages. They, however, adhered to the condition of a full and comprehensive ceasefire, and that was what they informed the mediators (Lebanon Debate, January 23, 2024).
  • Muhammad al-Hindi, deputy PIJ secretary general, reiterated that they were not talking about humanitarian truces, but rather a ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. He claimed it was Israel that was looking for a way out of the Gaza Strip because it could not bear losses over time. Asked if they could be flexible in negotiations, he claimed they were flexible, they had divided the hostages into categories, each of which had a specific price, up to the final category whose price was emptying the Israeli prisons of the prisoners. He said the categories were the civilians, of whom there were few, female soldiers, male soldiers and corpses (al-Jazeera Mubasher TV website, January 24, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of 12:15 p.m., January 24, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 25,700 and the number of wounded at 63,740 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 24, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • Sources in Khan Yunis reported a mass movement of displaced persons from the Khan Yunis area towards Rafah because of the massive IDF activity of in the city (Ma’an, January 23, 2024).
  • Mahmoud Abbas’ office warned of the danger of Israel’s demand that the residents of Khan Yunis leave and move towards Rafah, especially because most of them had already been displaced from the northern and central Gaza Strip. The office called the demand a “war crime,” and they appealed to the international community, and in particular the United States, to intervene immediately to prevent Israel from implementing it (Wafa, January 23, 2024).
Anti-Hamas demonstration
  • A demonstration was held in the Shuhadaa al-Aqsa hospital complex in Deir al-Balah demanding an end to the war so the residents could return to their homes (al-Ghad TV X account, January 24, 2024).
 The demonstration in Deir al-Balah. The sign on the right reads, "Yes to the end of the war," on the left, "Yes to handing over the prisoners" (al-Ghad TV X account, January 24, 2024).    The demonstration in Deir al-Balah. The sign on the right reads, "Yes to the end of the war," on the left, "Yes to handing over the prisoners" (al-Ghad TV X account, January 24, 2024).
The demonstration in Deir al-Balah. The sign on the right reads, “Yes to the end of the war,” on the left, “Yes to handing over the prisoners” (al-Ghad TV X account, January 24, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and concentrations of forces on the border of Israel, and claimed responsibility for one anti-tank missile and rocket attack (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 17, 2024).
  • In response to Hezbollah’s activities on January 23, 2024, including an attack on the Israeli Air Force base in Miron, Air Force fighter jets attacked a series of terrorist targets in Lebanese territory, including a Hezbollah military asset operated in collaboration with the Iranians. A Hezbollah military site was also destroyed (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024).
  • Ali Shoeib, a correspondent for the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar network, published a photo of the IDF attack in the Jmaijmeh area, about ten kilometers west of Kiryat Shmona (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 23, 2024).
Israeli Air Force attack in Jmaijmeh (Ali Shoeib's X account; Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 23, 2024)      Israeli Air Force attack in Jmaijmeh (Ali Shoeib's X account; Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 23, 2024)
Israeli Air Force attack in Jmaijmeh
(Ali Shoeib’s X account; Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 23, 2024)
The Lebanese government
  • Abdallah Bou Habib, the Lebanese foreign minister, met in New York with Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, the Iranian foreign minister. They stated that the war had to be stopped before the current situation in the Middle East deteriorated. Abdollahian claimed Iran was engaging in political connections and trying to end the conflict. Bou Habib also met with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, to discuss the tensions on Lebanon’s southern border and the [alleged] attempts to drag Lebanon into a war (al-Nashra, January 23, 2024).
  • During an interview, given by Sami al-Gemayel, chairman of the Phalanges Party and a prominent opponent of Hezbollah, he described Lebanon as having been “hijacked,” since the country was actually controlled by Hezbollah. He added there was concern that Hezbollah’s influence would extend to the presidency as well, and the organization would strengthen its control over the country even more. Indeed, he said, the government was composed of Hezbollah allies. Regarding an agreement between Lebanon and Israel, he said that would be impossible as long the two countries were hostile to one another. At the moment, he said, the focus was on a ceasefire to allow civilians in south Lebanon to return to their homes, adding that Hezbollah was duty-bound to act according to the constitution, the law and equality among the Lebanese, and had to cooperate to reach long-term solutions on the southern border with Israel. Regarding Resolution 1701, Gemayel claimed that Hezbollah and Israel were both guilty of violating the Resolution. He claimed Hezbollah had “opened a front” to support the Gaza Strip, while Israel was guilty of violating Lebanon’s sovereignty. He proposed that Lebanon, with international support, enforce its sovereignty, implement Resolution 1701 and deploy the Lebanese army along the entire border in coordination with UNIFIL. Regarding the question of whether the Lebanese army was capable of controlling the borders, he said that if the Lebanese army were to accept such a responsibility, it would [have to] be accompanied by international support to strengthen its capabilities (Sky News in Arabic, January 21, 2024; The Phalanges website / kataeb.org, January 22, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Shooting attack
  •  On the evening of January 23, 2024, an armed Palestinian riding a motorcycle shot at an IDF post at the Einav Junction (east of Qalqilya). An IDF force at the scene shot and killed him. An M-16 rifle and two knives were found in his possession (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024).
Weapons found in the possession of the assailant (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
Weapons found in the possession of the assailant (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024)
  • The Palestinian media reported the death of Kareem Nashaat Salameh, 21, from Far’un (south of Tulkarm) (al-Ayyam, January 24, 2024). Hamas announced that Kareem Nashaat Salameh was an operative in the movement’s military wing. Hamas said the attack was a “natural response” to Israel’s “ongoing aggression” against the Palestinians. According to Hamas, it will continue recruiting operatives in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to escalate the resistance in all its forms (al-Aqsa, January 23, 2024). Hamas also issued an official death notice on its behalf (Palinfo website, January 23, 2024).
Official Hamas death notice (Palinfo website, January 23, 2024)
Official Hamas death notice (Palinfo website, January 23, 2024)
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining seven wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war, about 2,700 wanted Palestinians have been detained, over 1,300 of them Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 24, 2024).
  • Operating in the village of Urif (south of Nablus) on the night of January 23, 2024, IDF fighters demolished the apartment of Basel Shehadeh, a Hamas operative who took part in the attack at the Eli gas station on June 20, 2023, killing four Israelis and wounding several others. The apartments of the other terrorists who took part in the attack were also destroyed, in the past (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024).
Demolition of the terrorist's apartment (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)
Demolition of the terrorist’s apartment (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024)
Demolition of the apartment (Urif Times Facebook page, January 23, 24, 2024)     Palestinian documentation of the entry of the Israeli forces into the village of Urif.
Right: Palestinian documentation of the entry of the Israeli forces into the village of Urif. Left: Demolition of the apartment (Urif Times Facebook page, January 23, 24, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Ziad Hab al-Reeh, PA minister of the interior, met with the Dutch defense minister. The two discussed cooperation between the sides. Al-Reeh asked for Dutch assistance in ending the war in the Gaza Strip and bringing humanitarian aid into the Strip (Ma’an, January 23, 2024).
The Palestinian minister of the interior meets with the Dutch minister of defense (Ma'an, January 23, 2024)
The Palestinian minister of the interior meets with the Dutch minister of defense
(Ma’an, January 23, 2024)

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Iran
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for carrying out two drone attacks against the Ain al-Assad base in Iraq (Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024). A channel affiliated with the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq reported from a “special source” that the American Army had sustained casualties due to the attack (Saberin News Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).
  • The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that American Army forces had attacked Kataib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) targets in response to the attacks against the American forces, in particular the attack on January 20, 2024, on the Ain al-Assad base. According to the announcement, the attack was carried out against three targets of the militia, including several headquarters and a logistics headquarters where rockets, missiles and drones were stored and training was carried out for launching them (CENTCOM X account, January 23, 2024). The attack was carried out in al-Qaim, on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
  • Ali Anwar Sbeih, aka Abu al-Heil, was reportedly killed in the attack, and two wounded were reported (Saberin News Telegram channel, January 24, 2024). Sbeih’s picture was published on several channels of the pro-Iranian militias.
The fatality in the attack (Saberin News, January 24, 2024)
The fatality in the attack (Saberin News, January 24, 2024)
  • Qasim al-Araji, Iraq’s national security advisor, said the attack was a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and that the American side had to exert pressure to stop the continued “aggression” against the Gaza Strip, instead of attacking the headquarters of Iraqi national institutions (Qasim al-Araji’s X account, January 24, 2024).
  • According to the Iraqi Army spokesman, the attack undermines years of cooperation, blatantly violates Iraq’s sovereignty, and leads to escalation at a time when the region is suffering from the danger of the conflict spreading. It was also argued that while the understandings regarding the roles of the global coalition and its advisors in Iraq had progressed in a positive direction, these actions violated all agreements and security cooperation (Iraqi prime minister’s Telegram channel, January 24, 2024).
  • Abu Alaa al-Wala’i, secretary-general of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia, noted that while the United States was attacking targets of their security forces, they supported the transition to the second phase of the resistance, which included a naval blockade on Israel in the Mediterranean Sea and putting Israeli ports out of commission (Abu Alaa al-Wala’i’s X account, January 23, 2024). Ja’far al-Husseini, military spokesman of the Kataib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) militia, said they would continue to attack enemy strongholds (al-Mayadeen, January 23, 2024).
Yemen
  • The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that at 2:30 a.m. Sana’a time, their forces attacked two Houthi anti-ship missiles directed at the southern Red Sea and ready to be launched. After the forces had identified the missiles and determined that they posed an immediate threat to the ships in the area, they destroyed them as an act of self-defense (CENTCOM X account, January 24, 2024). The Pentagon reported that since the beginning of the operation in Yemen, American military forces had destroyed or damaged more than 25 Houthi launch facilities and more than 20 missiles (Reuters, January 23, 2024).
  • Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, said they were going to use the most effective means at their disposal to cut off the Houthis’ economic resources. According to him, they are working together with the United States on the issue and plan to announce new sanctions in the coming days (Reuters, January 23, 2024). A “senior UN official” reported that the Houthi movement in Yemen had ordered all British and American UN teams and agencies in the country to leave within a month (Agence France-Presse, January 23, 2024).
  • Sami Abu Zuhri, head of Hamas’ “external” political bureau, claimed that the “aggression” against Yemen was aggression against the Islamic nation, reflecting the American-British decision to expand the regional conflict. He said the leaders of both countries had to bear responsibility for the consequences of provoking the nation and endangering its security (Shehab Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Jordan
  • Ayman al-Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister, met in New York with Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the Red Cross. At the end of the meeting, the two stressed the need to increase the power of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations. Al-Safadi noted that Jordan rejected any forced displacement of Palestinians “inside or outside their land,” and that hospitals and humanitarian facilities had to be kept safe (Jordanian foreign ministry X account, January 23, 2024).
The International Arena
United Nations Security Council
  • The Security Council convened for a special session to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian issue. At the start of the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the repeated rejection of the two-state solution by Israel’s highest levels was unacceptable. He noted that the entire population of the Gaza Strip was suffering great destruction, and nothing could justify the collective punishment Israel was carrying out against the Palestinian people. According to him, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is appalling, and there is a growing chance that infectious diseases will spread among the residents (Reuters, January 23, 2024).
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, said in his speech that Israel had crossed all the red lines in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and that the “killing of innocent civilians, especially women and children,” had to stop immediately. He said the killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could not continue until “Hamas was completely eliminated” because that would never happen. Abdollahian added that the United States called for a de-escalation of tension in the region, but at the same time it continued to support the “war machine of the Zionist regime,” violated Yemen’s sovereignty, and expanded the scope of the war. He called on the Security Council to adopt an unequivocal resolution that would end the war, bring about Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and deliver humanitarian aid without any restriction to the residents of the Gaza Strip. He said the solution to the Palestinian problem was to hold a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians (Iranian foreign ministry website, January 24, 2024).
  • Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said that just as they were concerned about the spreading of the conflict in the Middle East, they also saw it as a historic opportunity to achieve permanent quiet in south Lebanon. He noted that Lebanon did not want war and that their vision was to achieve lasting security and stability in south Lebanon based on the full implementation of Resolution 1701 in accordance with several conditions, among them cessation of Israeli violations, completion of the agreement process on all 13 points of dispute, and Israel’s withdrawal to the internationally recognized borders. He said ending the war in the Gaza Strip would make it easier to implement the resolution (NNA News Agency, January 24, 2024).

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