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Sabra Express | Israel Enters Gaza

Emanuel Fabian and Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, November 1st 2023


Recap:

Israeli forces breached Hamas’s first line of defense on their approach to Gaza City, saying the deaths of 17 soldiers this week were a “heavy price.”


The Context:

· The war was sparked on October 7th when 3,000 Hamas terrorists killed 1,400 Israelis (including babies, children, and the elderly), and took 245 hostages into Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bombed 11,000 targets in Gaza and ground troops are now tasked with clearing out a complex network of tunnels and booby traps [1]. The two locations where Israel entered —north and south of Gaza city —suggest a gradual plan to encircle it. Israeli officials believe the offensive will take up to a year [2].

· According to Hamas, more than 8,700 Palestinians have been killed and 22,000 wounded since the war began. Hamas is known to inflate death tolls by not distinguishing between civilians and militants. An estimated 800,000 Palestinians have fled south from Gaza City following Israeli calls to evacuate, but hundreds of thousands remain in the north.

· This week, the IDF killed several Hamas commanders, including Ibrahim Biari, who was instrumental in orchestrating the October 7th attack [3]. Biari was found in the Jabaliya refugee camp where at least 50 other Palestinians were killed following Israel’s strike. The refugee camp was used by Biari as a base for Hamas training operations [4].

· Israeli leaders have vowed to destroy Hamas in its entirety and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a truce saying, "calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas [5].” Last week, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution that called for an immediate “humanitarian truce.” The US said it would not be “drawing red lines for Israel,” although it has started pushing for “humanitarian pauses” to allow more aid to enter Gaza and let people with foreign citizenship leave Gaza through Egypt [6].


Conversation Points:

· How are Israel’s tactics constrained by the 245 hostages currently held in Gaza?

· Will a prolonged war require Israel to oversee a humanitarian effort in Gaza?

· What threats do IDF soldiers face as the army shifts to urban combat in Gaza’s crowded streets?


Notes:

1. 12 IDF soldiers killed inside Gaza as ground operation against Hamas continues, Lawrence Richard, Trey Yingst, Fox News, November 1, 2023

2. Israel’s new plan to encircle Hamas, The Economist, October 28th, 2023.

3. Catastrophic damage after second Israeli airstrike hits Gaza refugee camp, Kareem Khadder, Abeer Salman, Tara John, CNN, October 31st, 2023

4. IDF takes command of Hamas military stronghold in Jabaliya in Gaza, GADI ZAIG, Jerusalem Post, OCTOBER 31st, 2023.

5. 12 IDF soldiers killed inside Gaza as ground operation against Hamas continues, Lawrence Richard, Trey Yingst, Fox News, November 1, 2023

6. Israel’s new plan to encircle Hamas, The Economist, October 28th, 2023.


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