On the 37th day of war in Israel, the IDF has adjusted downward the number of Israelis killed during the October 7th massacre to 1,200 from the original 1,400. As of today, 46 Israeli soldiers have lost their lives since the war began. 240+ hostages remain held by Hamas.
Israel has said doctors, patients, and thousands of evacuees who have taken refuge at hospitals in northern Gaza must leave so it can tackle Hamas terrorists under and around them. To assist, the IDF said it was ready to evacuate babies from Gaza’s largest hospital on Sunday, where Palestinian officials said two newborns died and dozens more were at risk after fuel ran out amid intense fighting in the area.
While the IDF tightens its encirclement of the area around Shifa Hospital in Gaza (under which Hamas has its headquarters), the northern border with Lebanon seems to be getting hotter. Four Israeli soldiers were injured over the weekend by Lebanese attacks. Defense Minister Gallant told the troops today that Hizballah is very close to making a mistake that will end with the residents of Beirut fleeting for their lives. So we may be closer to entering Lebanon than any of us wanted.
Palestinians in Gaza have reportedly started attacking members of Hamas as severe shortages in food, water, and medicine plague the area. The tensions suggest that fissures could be forming in Hamas’ authoritarian rule. The UK’s Telegraph reported that Palestinians are pushing back against Hamas forces, launching rocks at Hamas police who have attempted to cut water lines. Civilians also insulted Hamas officials, according to witnesses. Gazans reportedly hold Hamas at least partially responsible for the humanitarian crisis that has cropped up since Israel invaded the area in October. It appears Gazans are starting to lose their fear of Hamas, whose forces have generally ruled the area with a draconian fist.
The United States Central Command announced on Sunday the presence of an Ohio-class submarine in its area of responsibility. Ohio-class submarines are the largest in the US fleet, and can be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. It is highly unusual for even their approximate locations to be disclosed. The US has already deployed to the region the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason and Carrier Air Wing 3, with nine aircraft squadrons and embarked headquarters staffs. This in addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which includes the USS Normandy, USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney and USS Roosevelt. The US Air Force also announced deployment of squadrons of F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft. In a statement, Defense Secretary Austin said that this is being done “as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts towards widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
Anti-Israel sentiment seems to be growing worldwide with massive demonstrations over the weekend in London and New York, among others. Amazingly at Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance late last week, a showing of uncut footage taken of the October 7th massacre by helmet cameras of captured Hamas fighters, was picketed by anti-Israel protestors claiming the film was propaganda. Again, it was unedited film from the cameras of the Hamas invaders themselves. Seemingly all logic has now disappeared from the lexicon of the protestors.
Today’s on-line version of the New York Times carries an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof urging President Biden to say to Prime Minister Netanyahu “enough” and then the war will end immediately. That may be true but may not be in Israel’s best interests. At the end of the day, for the moment, this is our existential war which we may just need to win and win conclusively.