UPDATED for 19 October 2023, 18:00 Israel time.
Key messages / Action
- US President Joe Biden arrived yesterday (18 October) in Israel. During his visit President Biden has expressed once more his strong support for Israel, and the US backing for Israel’s actions in its war against Hamas. Furthermore, President Biden confirmed that the facts indicate clearly that the strike against the Gaza hospital was made by the terror organizations, and not by Israel. Today (19 October) the Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, visited Israel and expressed his firm support for Israel and its right to defend itself, as well as the need to defeat Hamas.
- Information proving that the attack on the hospital was caused by a failed launch of the PIJ must be distributed to the media, and to act to change the narrative accusing Israel of the attack or presenting the versions as identical.
- constitutes the media’s support of Hamas’ goals.
- Iran’s negative and dangerous role in the arena should be emphasized. Iran is not only threatening regional peace, but on the stability of the entire world—and its attempts to fan the fire could lead to acts of violence around the world.
- The growing danger of opening a northern front, due to the continues attacks from Lebanon that have already taken the lives of civilians and soldiers, needs to be emphasized. Israel has no wish to engage in was in the north but is fully prepared to such a scenario and will respond forcefully.
- The US Treasury Department’s announcement regarding the imposition of sanctions against ten key economic figures in the Hamas organization should be resonated and calls for similar steps to be taken by other countries should be initiated. (Link)
- It should be emphasized that even now, about a week and a half after the massacre of residents in the region surrounding the Gaza Strip and after the scale of the monstrous actions has become clear beyond any doubt, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has yet to condemn the horrific acts. The lack of condemnation, in conjunction with the PA’s powerlessness regarding the war on incitement, constitutes patronage and support of terrorism.
On Saturday (7 October 2023, the religious holiday of Simhat Torah), in an act of war, over a thousand terrorists infiltrated Israel by land, sea and air at several locations and advanced towards Israeli communities and population centers near the Gaza Strip. This was carried out in conjunction with indiscriminate rocket fire targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.
The terrorists penetrated the southern towns, villages and communities and began a murderous killing spree of families and individuals in their homes, in the streets and at a music festival that was being held in the area. They abducted everyone they happened upon on their return to the Gaza Strip – with an emphasis on families, women and children.
Thus far, more than 1,400 people have been murdered in Israel and more than 4,300 wounded to varying degrees. It is also reported that over 200 people are classified as missing or captive after being kidnapped and taken to Gaza. Among the victims, approximately 225 of those murdered and 77 of the missing hold foreign citizenship (including dual citizenship). In addition, over 7,300 missiles and rockets have been fired so far at villages, towns and cities in the south, the center, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It should be noted that one out of every 5 rockets launched from Gaza falls within the territory of the Gaza Strip, and often causes injuries to the residents of the Gaza Strip.
Israel is at war with the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces are determined to protect the citizens of Israel on all fronts. The IDF will protect the residents of the State of Israel; the Hamas terror organization and all the terrorists involved in harming the citizens of Israel will pay a very heavy price.
Today (19 October), British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Israel. Sunak expressed his firm support for Israel and its right and duty to defend itself and the need to defeat Hamas. He also noted Israel’s efforts to prevent harm to innocents and the need for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians who are themselves victims of Hamas.
Yesterday (18 October) President Joe Biden visited Israel. The visit, as well as the statements made by the President during it, are an expression of the deep alliance and as part of the United States firm moral and practical support of Israel. President Biden expresses his condolences to the people of Israel. His strong support and the backing of the US to Israel’s war against the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.
- Israel will act to depose the Hamas regime, destroy its military capabilities and remove the terrorist threat posed to Israel from the Gaza Strip, and will make maximum effort to resolve the hostage issue. Israel will protect its borders and its citizens.
The attack of the hospital in Gaza
- The terror organizations, operating deliberately from population centers, murder Palestinians as well as Israelis. Thus, the PIJ hit a hospital in Gaza that killed and injured many Palestinians – and Hamas is using this crime to smear Israel while trying to hold it responsible for harming civilians.
- Troubled by its exposure as an Isis-like terror organization, Hamas is trying to create a false comparison between the atrocities it committed and the actions of Israel. This will not be possible.
- It should be noted that in previous campaigns, close to twenty percent (!) of all rockets launched at Israel by the terrorist organizations landed within the Gaza Strip, injuring and killing many Gazan citizens. Even in the current war, hundreds of rockets launched by the terrorist organizations fell in the Gaza Strip; the strike on the hospital is just the most prominent of them.
- Hamas is holding at least 200 kidnapped persons, whose humanitarian situation is poor, and in addition, it holds the bodies of people murdered by Hamas, who after being killed had their corpses hijacked into Gaza. Many of those who were kidnapped need medical assistance and medications. They are being held with their most basic rights denied, in absolute contradiction to international law, and in a manner that places their lives in extreme danger. Israel views Hamas as responsible for their well-being.
- Following the terrorist attack and the ongoing rocket fire, over 100 thousand Israelis have so far been displaced from their homes in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip and the northern border and dispersed in various shelters throughout Israel. This displacement augments the difficult crisis in which the survivors of the massacre perpetrated by Hamas in the towns, villages and communities surrounding the Gaza Strip find themselves.
- Israel is doingeverything possible to prevent harm to non-involved persons. The terrorist organizations purposely and intentionally operate from within the civilian population and adjacent to humanitarian buildings and institutions, and by doing so are committing double war crimes: indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians while using the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields.
- In accordance with international law, the IDF warned the residents of the Gaza Strip and called on them to move to the area south of Wadi Gaza. [Wadi Gazi, which crosses Gaza from east to west in the area of central Gaza, is the streambed that is a continuation of the Besor Stream.] In contrast to the IDF’s efforts to minimize harm to the civilian population as much as possible, Hamas addressed Gaza’s residents (13 October) and told them to ignore the IDF’s advance warnings, claiming that the IDF’s announcement about the need to evacuate was fake and called upon the residents to “blend in with the resistance”. Hamas did so because it wants to continue to exploit the residents of Gaza as human shields for its activities. Moreover, there is a growing number of testimonies that Hamas is interfering with, and even forcefully preventing, the movement of the civilian population to the southern part of the strip. (Link to aerial photographs, link to call recording)
- UNRWA reported in a tweet (16.10, 14:58) – which it later deleted – that a ‘group of people with trucks’ identified with the Hamas Health Ministry stole fuel and medical equipment from the organization’s compound in Gaza. This theft, which constitutes a serious violation of international law is a cause of humanitarian harm to the residents of Gaza.
- Israel expects the UN to severely condemn this theft, that UNRWA issue a transparent and honest report regarding Hamas conduct, and not allow itself to be used as a fig leaf for a terrorist organization.
The Regional Aspect
- Iran is an essential part of the problem and cannot play any role in achieving a solution.
- The terrorist organizations involved are branches of the Ayatollah regime in Iran, which proactively promotes terrorist activity in Israel and against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world. Hamas would not have been able to carry out this murderous attack without the financing, logistical support and weapons it received from Iran. Iran bears direct responsibility for Hamas’ capabilities, and therefore bears responsibility also for the use Hamas makes of these capabilities.
- Hezbollah – the long arm of the Iranian regime in Lebanon – has taken responsibility in recent days for a series of attacks against Israel, including the firing of anti-tank missiles and rocket launchers and terrorist infiltration attempts. This activity is a practical expression of the increasing Iranian threats, which are carried out under Iranian guidance and backing – and endanger the State of Lebanon and its residents.
- The international community should make it clear to the axis states (Iran, Syria, and Lebanon) and to the terrorist organizations in the area that they must refrain from taking part in Hamas’ war and stipulate that they should not promote, encourage, or enable the opening of another front against Israel. The expansion of the arena of fighting against Israel will be met with determined and lethal actions by Israel and particularly harsh response.
The International Aspect
- Israel expects the international community to condemn the terrorist attack on Israeli citizens and to express clear support for Israel’s complete right to defend itself.
- Repeating claims of an ISIS-like terrorist organization as if they were fact while casting unfounded blame on Israel is dangerous and irresponsible.
- This type of conduct by the media does not meet any minimal journalistic standard, and in practice constitutes their support of Hamas’ narrative.
- Israel also expects the international community to support it throughout the battle, and until its goals are achieved.