The BBC and The Financial Times report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will have “overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip “for an indefinite period”.
The BBC and The Financial Times report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will have “overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip “for an indefinite period”. The Times asks: “what does that mean? That Israeli troops and tanks remain on the ground in Gaza when the fighting ends? A demilitarised buffer-zone on Gaza’s borders? Withdrawing all ground forces but swooping back in again the moment Hamas makes a reappearance?”
The Mirror reports that Israel will have to free 7,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure the release of their 240 citizens held in the tunnels of Gaza, a hostage negotiator has warned. Gershon Baskin, 67, has dealt with Hamas for two decades. He secured the release of soldier Gilad Shalit after he had been held for five years and four months in Gaza. He has been talking to contacts across the Middle East in a bid to assist in the release of the 240 Israeli prisoners seized by Hamas.
The BBC also reports on how, during this conflict, the Israeli military has phoned Gazans sometimes to warn them ahead of air strikes.
The Times and The Telegraph report claims that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is “hiding” in a Gaza bunker after being cut off from other members of the terrorist group, Israel has claimed. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Sinwar is “without contact with his associates” as Israeli forces continued their offensive in the Gaza Strip.
ITV News reports on how rising tension in the occupied West Bank is a major barrier to any hopes of peace. In the last month alone, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli settler violence and Israeli raids. There are thought to be more than 700,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, in nearly three hundred settlements.
The Financial Times reports that Oil fell to a two-month low on Tuesday, reversing all gains made since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, with hedge funds betting that the conflict will not draw in oil-rich neighbouring countries. Hamas’s attacks and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war sparked fears of a wider conflict that could hit the Middle East’s oil and gas supplies, pushing prices up more than 10 per cent to almost $93 a barrel by the middle of last month. The Guardian reports that Israel fell silent on Tuesday to observe a minute’s silence to mark one month since the Hamas terrorist attacks that killed 1,400, mostly civilians at home and at a festival, and injured many more. At 11am, people stood silently on the street and at schools, businesses and in cafes in Jerusalem and elsewhere, heads bowed. Some wept, others prayed or held hands.
The I reports that Hamas has more than tripled its following on Telegram since 7 October to 650,000, according to research from the Atlantic Council think-tank. The group’s official accounts on US-owned platforms such as Facebook and X, formerly Twitter, have been shut down, but their clips still circulate widely on the network via supporters. Ruslan Trad of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab says that Hamas has taken lessons from content that went viral during the war in Ukraine.
The I also reports that Halifax bank has apologised after it sent a letter to a British-Israeli man in Tel-Aviv telling him he lived in occupied Palestinian territory. David Bender said he was “shocked” when he received the letter with his new credit card, describing the Israeli city as “Palestine Territory, Occupied” in the address line. Mr Bender, 75, originally from Manchester, said he feared it was a “conscious and cold” act of antisemitism by someone who had access to his personal data.
In Yediot Ahronot, Nahum Barnea suggests that Israel may soon have no choice but to agree to hold its fire and to significantly scale back its operations in Gaza. “The coming days,” he says, “could prove to be the final and decisive stage of two efforts—the fight against Hamas and the American-Qatari effort to secure a hostage deal. Beyond that point, Israel is unlikely to be able to withstand American pressure for a ceasefire, especially is a hostage deal is on the table. The clock is ticking.” Barnea adds: “When Netanyahu and others talk about a protracted war, they apparently aren’t taking about a war of the kind that has come to be fought in the past month. They are talking about a war of a different kind—targeted killing operations, local raids and routine security.” Walla News’ Barak Ravid echoes Barnea, and suggests that President Biden is pressing for a three day humanitarian pause.
Maariv, in a differing analysis, writes that “contrary to reports, the United States has not been pressuring Israel to agree to a humanitarian pause in the fighting, said Israeli officials yesterday. The officials said that major achievements have been secured in the course of the fighting and are known to the Americans, adding that the United States supports Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli officials went on to say that the Israeli stance has remained unchanged: It will agree to a pause in the fighting only if a deal that involves a hostage release bears fruit—a scenario that currently appears to be remote.”
Yediot Ahronot’s Avi Issacharoff considers the symbolism of the sight yesterday of Gazans using a four hour pause in the fighting to move south along a safe road. “Hamas,” he writes, “tried every possible way to prevent residents of the northern Gaza Strip from moving southward and by so doing effectively surrendering to the Israelis, with the goal of maximizing potential civilian casualties. Hamas is well aware of the consequences of its actions—namely, loss of human life—but they chose nevertheless to impede the populace’s efforts to move southward.”
Haaretz’s Amos Harel considers the progress of the war and internal assessments of the Israeli performance. “The IDF is indeed pleased, and even pleasantly surprised, at the professional level of the ground forces in the second week of the ground manoeuvre in Gaza,” he writes. “The forces’ determination, the cooperation with the Air Force and intelligence officers – all these shine. But the question still troubling is the degree to which Hamas wishes to fight right now.” A particular challenge, he says, is the extent of the Hamas tunnel network. “The IDF is gradually learning that everything Israeli intelligence knew about the array of defensive tunnels dug by Hamas under the ground of Gaza, doesn’t scratch the surface of the scope and sophistication of the project, which may be the largest of its sort in the world. According to intelligence sources in the West and in Israel, the organisation’s leadership and military wing constructed the capacity for staying inside the tunnels for long months.”
Ynet’s Yossi Yehoshua pays tribute to the performance of the IDF. “One can confidently note,” he says, that “the Israeli military is very much up and running in a multi-venue conflict, where Gaza is the focal point, but up north, Hezbollah is becoming increasingly bold…” Yehoshua also looks to the future, and to the lessons learned by the October 7th attacks. “It seems the war has brought about plans to enlarge… forces, both active duty and reserve, and extend the duration of service on all branches of the military,” he says. “Before October 7, there was talk of trimming the budget for attack helicopters, and now the consensus is to bolster those numbers. The bottom line is a fundamental change is needed in the way Israel approaches regional conflicts, and that’s true with regards to enlisting Haredi Jews, how to better prepare the IDF itself and how Israeli society will function from now on. Everyone is going to have to look in the mirror and ask incredibly tough questions.”
Israel Hayom reports Saudi Arabia announcing that it will host summits of Arab and Islamic nations in the coming days to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit… the first visit by an Iranian head of state since Tehran and Riyadh ended years of hostility under a deal brokered by China in March.”
Yediot Ahronot reports Welfare and Social Security Minister Yaakov Margi calling yesterday for an amendment to Israel’s controversial nation-state law, in recognition of the contribution of Druze soldiers to the current war effort. Between Israeli Jews and the Druze, he said, “we did not form a blood alliance; we formed a life alliance. And in this alliance, there is one side that time after time has fulfilled its part in blood and sweat. To my deep regret, I say as a member of the government and as a Member of Knesset for more than 20 years, that I have always felt a sense of discomfort and unfairness. The other side, which is the sovereign, hasn’t translated that life alliance to the same degree, be that in housing, land or jobs. And, above all else, we need to say courageously—in the nation-state law as well.” Opposition Chairman Yair Lapid said, “I congratulate Welfare Minister Yaakov Margi for his statement. It’s about time. Let’s do this together.”