Day Forty Of Swords Of Iron

The leader of Turkey wants Israel designated a "terror state" and "settlers" recognized as terrorists.

IDF in Gaza parliament

9:30 pm

U.S. Officials have now confirmed that the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), an Arleigh Burke-Class Guided Missile Destroyer of the U.S. Navy, shot down a UVA/drone this morning over the Red Sea, which was launched by the Houthis in Yemen towards Israel; this is the second interception by the U.S. Navy over the Red Sea, which has been officially confirmed.

French judicial authorities today issued international arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar Assad,his brother, Maher Assad, the commander of the 4th Armored Division, and Syrian army generals Ghassan Abbas and Bassam al-Hassan for their alleged involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity, including a 2013 chemical attack on rebel-held Damascus suburbs, lawyers for Syrian victims said. 

At the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington DC, near the U.S. Capitol, pro-Palestine protesters today were thrown to the ground by police. Multiple arrests were reported. 150 screaming protesters tried to storm the building, while some screamed "F**k you bitch!" and others shouted "Let us live"  Police evacuated the building. The public has been asked to avoid the neighborhood.

5:30 pm

Israeli forces have withdrawn from the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, according to a report from AFP, after raiding the facility. Both Israel and the US said Hamas have a command center beneath the hospital. Hamas continues to denie the claim. According to AFP, Israeli soldiers, some wearing face masks, shot in the air at Al-Shifa and ordered young men to surrender when they burst into the hospital overnight. About 1,000 Gazan men, with hands above their heads, were in the courtyard, some of them stripped naked by Israeli soldiers, according to AFP, who checked them for weapons and explosives. By early evening Nov. 15, the IDF troops left Al-Shifa and redeployed around it. Israel said it found “military and combat equipment” inside the hospital compound. The Hamas-run health ministry denied this. ‘We don’t allow’ weapons in any hospital, ministry director Munir al-Bursh said in a statement. An IDF officer accompanied journalists minutes after the MRI ward in the hospital was secured by troops. He showed them that the ward was in disarray, and also revealed weapons and military materiel stored there.

Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan told the UN that a resolution it adopted today, which called for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza, and the creation of more humanitarian aid corridors, is “detached from the reality on the ground”. Addressing the Security Council, announcing that Israel will not abide the resolution, he said Israel is “doing everything possible to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.” Erdan said: "This council has just adopted a resolution that is regretfully detached from the reality on the ground. This council… still has not succeeded in condemning Hamas’s October 7 massacre. The resolution focuses solely on the humanitarian situation in Gaza [and] makes no mention of what led up to this moment. Israel does not need a resolution to remind us to adhere to international law. Israel always adheres to international law. Bringing our hostages home is Israel’s top priority. Israel will continue to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal."


11:48 am

Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz distributed a video and tweed that on the evening of November 14 at Arizona State University, 20 Jewish students had to leave a public gathering under police escort because of death threats. Acccording to the post, Rabbi Shmuel Teichtel and students had to leave a campus building under police escort and flee to the local Chabad House. The students had been attending a dialogue on BDS in Israel, featuring Jewish and Muslim perspectives, as well as pro-Israel and pro-Palestine viewpoints. "Students speak on the video as they walk with the police escort that they do not feel safe on campus as the meeting ended abruptly with acts of violence, throwing rocks at the building and windows and shouting death threats," the post said.

8:00 am

VINnews reported:

On a day meant for unity and solidarity, approximately 900 individuals found themselves in an unexpected predicament at Dulles Airport.  The incident unfolded when bus drivers, scheduled to transport attendees from Detroit, to the rally in support of Israel, refused to drive them, leaving the stranded passengers stuck on the tarmac. Compounding the issue, the chartered flights, organized specifically for the event, did not pass through TSA screening, preventing the stranded individuals from seeking refuge within the terminal.

According to the Detroit News, David Kurzman of the Detroit Jewish Federation said: "We have learned from the bus company that this was caused by a deliberate and malicious walk-off of drivers. Fortunately, many were able to travel to the march, and we are grateful to the drivers of those buses that arrived...While we are deeply dismayed by this disgraceful action, our resolve to proudly stand in solidarity with the people of Israel, to condemn antisemitism and to demand the return of every hostage held by Hamas has never been greater."

Many of the Detroiters who flew to Washington DC were not able to attend the rally, which drew as many as 290,000 people on the National Mall, because of the delay. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La) was among the distinguished guests of the rally.

7:00 am

Israeli troops entered al-Shifa hospital early today after making a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the medical/military complex. Hamas official Youssef Abu Rish was quoted from within the hospital that he could see Israeli tanks inside the perimeter and “dozens of soldiers and commandos inside the emergency and reception buildings”.

Combat between the IDF and Gazan militants has raged around the complex for days, thereby trapping more than 1000 patients and staffmembers. Al-Shifa is a major objective for the IDF, which has long contended that Hamas has a headquarters hidden underneath. Hamas denies the accusation. The IDF provided evacuation routes for civilians and medical supplies to the Al-Shifa entrance.

IDF medical supplies for Gaza

The Times of Israel reported that “at least five Hamas gunmen were killed by troops during a gun battle outside the hospital”, and quoted the IDF claiming that “there has been no ‘friction’ between troops and patients and medical staff” and “there is no indication of hostages currently being held” at the location. The IDF said that it had sent “medical teams and Arabic speaking soldiers” into the hospital.

The BBC apologized after a presenter falsely claimed that Israel was targeting medical staff and Arabic speakers during its operation at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital. “This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report,” the UK broadcaster later says. “What we should have said is that IDF forces included medical staff and Arabic speakers for this operation.” “We apologize for this error which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later,” the BBC saids. The Jewish community of the UK issued an open letter condemning the national broadcaster.

A senior IDF officer said Israeli forces has “concrete evidence” that Hamas uses al-Shifa Hospital as a military facility. This has been affirmed by the Biden administration. “In the last hour, we saw concrete evidence that Hamas terrorists used Shifa hospital as a terrorist headquarters,” the IDF official said. The officer did not elaborate on the nature of the evidence, but said the IDF will publish portions of the information. The officer said that Hamas weapons and “terror infrastructure” have been located within the Al-Shifa hospital complex.

During the night, the IDF operated in “a specific area of the complex,” which includes several buildings and subterranean facilities. The IDF showed similar underground facilities troops found at the Rantisi hospital complex in Gaza. The IDF officer said Israeli military activity currently involves “no friction with patients, medical staff and injured civilians,” saying that “they are in a different section of the hospital.”

Hamas claims that 37 infant patients have been endangered by power failures at the Al-Shifa hospital complex. A senior IDF official said an "offer is still on the table” to transfer those infant patients to an alternative facilities, which could be chosen by the Gaza Hamas-run Health Ministry. Israel provided medical supplies, baby food, and incubators capable of being transported by ambulance, to enable the infants’ transfer to an alternative facility outside of north Gaza, where the fighting is focused.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz told the media in Tel Aviv: “There will be no sanctuary cities, no sanctuary houses. We will go wherever we need to in order to eradicate child murderers – above and below ground. In Gaza and around the world. We will reach the heads of government just as we reached the centers of government.”

Gantz said, “IDF soldiers continue to operate deep inside Gaza City against those who have turned hospitals into command centers, from which war crimes are committed.” He added that on the northern front with Lebanon that “what we’re doing effectively in the south, can work even better in the north, if necessary.”

The print version of the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad features a front-page editorial in Hebrew titled “What will be after ‘Israel’?” Written in non-native Hebrew, with translation into Arabic, the editorial says “the whole world is busy discussing what will be after Hamas” in Gaza, but “nobody is looking at the other side and asking: what will happen after ‘Israel’?” The article predicts Israel's collapse under economic, military, political, and social problems.

The Times of Israel reported that the article cited "mostly incorrect economic and military data, and eroding foreign support, for a coming victory for Hamas in Gaza, which the Jordanian paper called the “Palestinian resistance.” There was no condemnation for the terror group’s brutal slaughter of 1,200 Israelis on October 7, most of them civilians. It predict the collapse of Israel, a “cardboard settlement” – will bring with it the end of US influence in the Middle East, and heralds the rise of a “new world order.”

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths tweeted that he is “appalled” over the IDF operation at a hospital Israel says is used as a Hamas command center, a claim backed by the United States. “I’m appalled by reports of military raids in Al Shifa hospital in Gaza,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths wrote on X. “The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns,” he wrote. “Hospitals are not battlegrounds.”

Citing inflammatory statements, the the Israeli Knesset’s Ethics Committee sanctioned two Arab lawmakers, banning them from Knesset hearings and votes for specified periods, and docking their pay. It found Ra’am Iman Khatib-Yasin “denied atrocities” committed by Hamas during its October 7 terror attack, and that Hadash-Ta’al Aida Touma-Sliman falsely accused Israel of committing a “war crime” during its ongoing war to destroy Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Khatib-Yasin apologized for her remarks after she was pressured by Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas to resign. She is now banned from Knesset committee and plenum sessions for one month and has two weeks of pay stripped. Touma-Sliman, who did not apologize and did not recant her statements, is barred from Knesset committee and plenum sessions for two months, and also receives a two-week pay deduction.

The Israel Defense Forces publishes a video showing soldiers bringing humanitarian aid to Shifa Hospital. It said, “IDF troops are continuing the precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital, in which they are conducting searches for Hamas terror infrastructure and weapons.”

“The troops delivered humanitarian aid to the entrance of the hospital,” the IDF adds.

6:51 am

A New Jersey Muslim man who admitted posting a broad online threat aimed at synagogues and Jewish schools in the state in 2023 last year was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Nov. 14. U.S. District Judge Christine O'Hearn in Camden imposed the sentence on Omar Alkattoul, 19, of Sayreville, who earlier pleaded guilty to transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. He had faced up to five years in prison.

5:37 am

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today that Israel is a “terror state” committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza. He also repeated his claim that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a political party elected by the people of Gaza. He told Turkish lawmakers that he had demanded Israeli PM Netanyahu announce whether Israel is a nuclear power or not. Erogan claimed that Netanyahu is finished politically. He also said Turkey will call on foreign countries to recognize Israelis living in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as terrorists.

Turkey has called its diplomats home fro Israel, following Israel's retaliation for Hamas's terrorist attacks of Oct. 7. Israel has never admitted whether or not it has nuclear weapons, while it is widely assumed that it does. A member of Netanyahu's government, during the early stages of the war, appeared to have advocated the use of nuclear weapons on Gaza.

Turkish health minister Fahrettin Koca was in Cairo today to meet with Egyptian health minister Abdel Ghaffar to discuss sending aid to Gaza, and the transfer of some patients to Turkey.

The IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari gave an update of its “targeted operation” at al-Shifa hospital. He said: "IDF forces continue to operate in a targeted manner in a part of the Shifa hospital area where they are scanning for infrastructure and terrorist means of the terrorist organization Hamas." Hagari also claimed that “the forces delivered humanitarian equipment and placed it at the entrance to the hospital”, accompanied by an image of an Israeli soldier next to some boxes labelled “medical supplies” in English. A doctor inside Al-Shifa told Qatar-based Al Jazeera it had been six days since water and food had been able to get into the hospital, and the World Health Organization said it had lost contact with health professionals within the hospital complex.

Israel rebukes Belgium

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen rebuked the president of the parliament of Belgium, Eliane Tillieux, and accused her of “turning a blind eye to the war crimes” of Hamas by refusing to screen an Israeli video of the October 7 attacks. Cohen said via social media: "In your decision not to screen in parliament the video depicting the atrocities, the president of the parliament of Belgium Eliane Tillieux is turning a blind eye to the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas. This is not a propaganda video, rather it is a film created from footage shot by the terrorists themselves, that shows their indiscriminate slaughter of Israeli civilians. Turning a blind eye to Hamas’ crimes is tantamount to disregarding Israel’s right to defend itself against a terrorist organization that is worse than ISIS."

Israel has been requesting screenings of the film produced by Israeli authorities which demonstrates the violence carried out by Hamas during its attack inside Israel. Members of the international press and the US Congress have viewed the film. On Nov. 14, Israeli ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Idit Rosenzweig-Abu, posted on social media that she had asked a week ago about screening the film for the Belgian parliament with no reply, to which Tillieux replied: "As I have already informed you, I have submitted your request to the conference of presidents of the chamber, made up of all the presidents of the political groups. Meeting today, the conference of presidents did not reach a consensus regarding the screening of the film.  RTBF reports that after contacting Tillieux, she said: “This is a joint decision of the conference of presidents. There will therefore be no additional communication on this subject.” The film has been screened in other European parliaments.

According to Al Jazeera, Dr. Ahmed Mokhallalat said from inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza: "Since yesterday evening, there have been really continuous, aggressive gunshots, bombardments and attacks. It’s a totally scary time; it’s a horrible time for the families, the civilians sheltering in the hospital with their kids. It’s terrible for the staff who are taking care of their patients and the patients themselves. Imagine being in a hospital where the water is not there, the basic hygiene of the people going to the toilet is a challenge. Food and drinking water haven’t come to the hospital for the sixth day now with no way of getting anything in the hospital. What we feel is really shocking and bad is that the whole world has been witnessing this crime and seeing everything that is happening in front of everybody, and no one has stopped, and no one has said loudly this is not allowed. Where is the international community? We are all within the building now; we can’t even check through the window what’s outside, we can’t get anything to eat or drink, we can’t get anything to our patients, and we can’t move between the buildings at all."

His statements have not been verified by the media.

Dr. WHO condemns IDF at Al-Shifa complex

Today, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said WHO lost touch with health personnel at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza after Israeli forces began  a “targeted operation” inside the facility. “Reports of military incursion into al-Shifa hospital are deeply concerning,” the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on social media, Reuters reports. “We’ve lost touch again with health personnel at the hospital. We’re extremely worried for their and their patients’ safety.”

51 Norwegian citizens have been allowed to leave Gaza today, while Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide said those remaining “are in a very demanding situation”. AP News reported Barth Eide said: “The Norwegian authorities continue to work to ensure that Norwegian citizens will be allowed to leave Gaza as soon as possible...We will continue the work to halt the hostilities and ensure humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.” There are 270 people with ties to Norway in Gaza; half are children. 

AP News said more fuel was delivered to Gaza, reporting Israel will allow approximately 24,000 litres (6,340 gallons) of fuel in for humanitarian efforts. The Israeli agency responsible for Gaza affair will allow UN trucks to refill at the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border later today. It said the decision was made in response to a request from the US.

Previously, Israel repeatedly rejected allowing fuel into Gaza, saying Hamas would divert it for military use.

The Guardian reported the following:


The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said early on Wednesday it was “carrying out a precise and targeted operation” against Hamas in al-Shifa hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza.
Gaza’s health ministry was quoted by Palestinian news agency Shebab as saying that “dozens of soldiers” have entered the al-Shifa emergency department building, and that tanks have entered the complex.

A witness inside al-Shifa told the BBC they saw six tanks and more than 100 soldiers inside the hospital complex, in the area around the emergency department. The Guardian has not been able to verify the claims. Ahmed Mokhallalati, a surgeon at al-Shifa, has told Al Jazeera that Israeli tanks and bulldozers had entered the complex. ‘The firing is still heavy, and we are hearing explosions everywhere,’ he said. 

Figures vary widely on how many civilians are at the site. On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) put the figure at about 1,500 displaced people, up to 650 inpatients and 200 to 500 health workers.

A White House official, speaking after the operation was announced, said it does not want to see a firefight in a hospital. A spokesperson for the National Security Council, who did not wish to be named, said: “We do not support striking a hospital from the air and we don’t want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people trying to get medical care they deserve are caught in the crossfire.

Israeli defence officials say they have agreed to allow fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip for humanitarian operations, the Associated Press reports. It is the first time that Israel has allowed fuel into the territory since the Hamas militant group’s bloody cross-border invasion on 7 October. The UN said the fuel will be “used exclusively to run trucks for the distribution of incoming humanitarian aid” and that “this represents a fraction of the fuel needs for humanitarian operations.”

The death toll in Gaza was not updated in Tuesday for the fourth day in a row, the UNOCHA says, “following the collapse of services and communications at hospitals in the north, the Ministry of Health”.

The UN Security Council is negotiating a new resolution that demands “immediate extended humanitarian pauses” throughout the Gaza Strip but makes no mention of a cease-fire, the Associated Press reported. The resolution, drafted by Malta, does demand that “all parties” comply with their obligations under international law. The Security Council has rejected four resolutions on the war, and many of its 15 members have said they don’t want a vote on a new resolution unless it’s going to be approved.

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu spoke “at length” about ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including many children and a number of Americans, the White House said.

The IDF announcement of its operation came within an hour of Palestinian health officials in Gaza saying the IDF had told them it would raid the hospital “within minutes”. The Gaza health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Al Jazeera that Israel “informed us that it will raid al-Shifa hospital complex in the coming minutes”.

On its Hebrew X account, the IDF appeared to signal that once inside the hospital, it would continue to have a presence there, saying, “in the continuation of the operation, incubators, medical equipment and baby food are expected to be transferred to the hospital”.

The White House has said it has intelligence supporting Israel’s claims that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip – including al-Shifa hospital – to conceal or support their military operations and to hold hostages. “That is a war crime,” national security spokesperson John Kirby said, adding that those actions by Hamas did not lessen Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians in the course of its military operations.

Hamas said it strongly condemned and rejected the claims, adding that these statements “give a green light to the Israeli occupation to commit further brutal massacres targeting hospitals”.
The WHO has insisted that moving the most vulnerable patients from al-Shifa hospital has become an “impossible task”. WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris, speaking to reporters in Geneva, said the “heroic” health workers have been “doing whatever they can to keep going” while the facility has been without power since Saturday and there was not enough food and clean water.

Another 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza in the past 10 days, the UN has said. The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (Ocha) said on Tuesday that only one hospital in the northern half of the blockaded Gaza Strip, al-Awda, still had electricity and was able to receive patients, with other medical facilities in sprawling Gaza City now mostly functioning as shelters for those fleeing the violence.

Israeli authorities have said they have now identified the remains of 859 civilians killed during the 7 October Hamas attack inside southern Israel. The work to identify bodies is ongoing, they said. On 10 November, Israel revised down the number of Israeli deaths on 7 October from the previously given figure of 1,400 to 1,200.

The families of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas have started a five-day march on Tuesday from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demand the government does more to secure their release. The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is coming under fierce criticism from some relatives for not doing more to secure their release, even as Israeli troops push further into the Gaza Strip and the region is bombarded by the Israeli air force.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Washington on Tuesday to support Israel, condemn antisemitism and demand the release of the hostages. US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke at the “March for Israel" event on the National Mall, as well as family members of the hostages.

November 15, 2023

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