Day 79 of the war and the fighting in Gaza continues unabated. Israel’s military leadership visited the northern Gaza operations earlier today and continues its attacks in the south where it is believed the Hamas leadership is headquartered, moat probably underground. The Israel Air Force carried out the successful killing of Hassan Atrash, Hamas’ key weapons smuggler in an air attack on the vehicle in which he was traveling.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Biden held a 45-minute-long conversation yesterday. The President asked Israel to phase back the fighting to a smaller scale but did not call for a cease fire.
12 additional deaths among Israeli troops were announced over the weekend here with the casualty count of soldiers killed now at 153. The IDF and the Israel Air Force completed their attack on a series of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, reported the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit on Sunday. Terrorist infrastructures, military buildings, and launch positions were hit in the attacks.
The United Nations Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution that would allow more aid to reach desperate civilians in the Gaza Strip, ending nearly a week of intense diplomatic wrangling intended to prevent the United States from blocking the measure. But the resolution stopped short of past attempts to impose a cease-fire. The vote was 13 to 0, with the United States and Russia abstaining. The resolution was adopted after diplomats repeatedly delayed the vote this week and reworked the measure in heated negotiations aimed at winning support from the United States, which previously vetoed two resolutions that called for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. The measure does not impose a legally binding cease-fire and instead calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.”
It also dropped from earlier drafts demands for the “urgent suspension of hostilities,” replacing them with more watered-down language that recommended creating “the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”
As Christmas eve begins here in Israel, Bethlehem, normally bustling with activity is totally quiet with the stores closed, no Christmas decorations, no tourists and very little activity. Palestinian president Abbas today said Israel ruined Christmas this year as if the war against Hamas was our initiative. Nevertheless, it is sad to see the absence of tourists everywhere in Israel.
Former Prime Minister Bennett was interviewed late last week on BBC’s hard talk in a particular aggressive questioning by the host. You can see the show here…..
It is not one of Bennett’s best performances but he did well under the rat-a-tat questioning via videoconference.