Israeli forces kept up their military campaign in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and told civilians to leave a refugee camp in the north of the Palestinian enclave after the war reached into Lebanon with the killing in Beirut of the Hamas deputy leader.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it killed Saleh al-Arouri in a drone strike in the Lebanese capital on Tuesday. But military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces were in a high state of readiness and prepared for any scenario.
The assassination was a further sign that the nearly three-month war between Israel and Hamas was spreading across the region, drawing in the West Bank, Hezbollah forces on the Lebanon-Israel border, and even Red Sea shipping lanes.
Arouri, 57, who lived in Beirut, was the first senior Hamas political leader to be assassinated since Israel began its offensive against the Palestinian terrorist group in response to its deadly rampage into Israeli towns on Oct. 7.
Hamas politburo member Hossam Badran said in a eulogy for Arouri: “We say to the criminal occupation [Israel] that the battle between us is open.”
Israel had long accused him of orchestrating attacks on its citizens. But a Hamas official said he was also “at the heart of negotiations” conducted by Qatar and Egypt over the outcome of the Gaza war and the release of Hamas-held Israeli hostages.
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was due to make a speech in Beirut later on Wednesday. Previously he had warned Israel against carrying out assassinations on Lebanese soil, vowing a “severe reaction.”
The heavily armed Hezbollah, a Hamas ally and an Iran-backed terrorist group, has been exchanging near-daily fire with Israel across Lebanon’s southern border since the Gaza war began. More than 100 Hezbollah fighters and two dozen civilians have been killed on Lebanese territory, as well as at least nine Israeli soldiers in Israel.
Following Arouri’s killing, the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon said any escalation “could have devastating consequences for people on both sides of the border.”
In Cairo, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a delegation from the US Congress that the priority was to secure a ceasefire in Gaza.
Sisi stressed the need to prevent the conflict from widening across the region, a presidency statement said.
The Israeli military said in its daily briefing that “intensive battles” with terrorists were continuing in Gaza on Wednesday in the southern city of Khan Younis. It has said previously it is trying to flush out Hamas leaders in the area.
Residents and Palestinian media said Israeli forces bombed Al-Nusseirat refugee camp in the northern part of the Hamas-ruled enclave overnight and into Wednesday.
Israeli planes also dropped leaflets on Al-Nusseirat ordering people to leave seven districts.
“You are in a dangerous combat area. The IDF is operating heavily in your area of residence. For your safety the IDF urge you to immediately evacuate this area,” the leaflets said.
Israeli war planes and tanks also stepped up attacks on the Al-Bureij refugee camp.
Hamas’ armed wing said it had killed 10 Israeli soldiers in fighting in Al-Bureij and hit five tanks and troop carriers. The Israeli military said the number of its soldiers killed since its first incursion into Gaza on Oct. 20 had reached 177.
The war was triggered by a cross-border Hamas assault on Israeli towns on Oct. 7 in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and some 240 hostages taken back to Gaza.
Since then Israel has waged a campaign of air strikes and ground operations in Gaza with the goal of incapacitating Hamas.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Arouri’s killing would “ignite another surge in the veins of resistance and the motivation to fight against the Zionist occupiers.”
Shortly before Arouri’s killing, Hamas’ paramount leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is also based outside Gaza, said the movement had delivered its response to an Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal.
He reiterated that Hamas’ conditions entailed “a complete cessation” of Israel‘s offensive in exchange for further releases of hostages.
Israel believes 129 hostages remain in Gaza after some were released during a brief truce in late November and others were killed during air strikes and rescue or escape attempts.
Israel has vowed to keep fighting until it has wiped out Hamas but it is unclear what it plans to do with the enclave should it succeed, and where that leaves the prospect of an independent Palestinian state.
In Lisbon, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the international community must impose a solution to the conflict because the two parties would never be able to reach an agreement.
“If this tragedy doesn’t end soon, the entire Middle East might end up in flames,” he said.
The post Hamas Leader’s Killing Raises Fears of Wider War, Israel Keeps Up Campaign in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals
The release of formerly classified documents from the 1986 Deschênes Commission—which investigated how Nazi war criminals entered Canada after the Second World War—reveals greater details about why the government was reluctant to prosecute them once they were in the country, says David Matas, the lawyer who represented B’nai Brith Canada at the inquiry. Canada released […]
South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government
Dozens of South African immigrants to Israel protested against their former country’s government on Friday, standing with their new home against political and legal attacks from South Africa’s ruling ANC party, highlighted by accusing Israel of “genocide,” last Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
“The demonstration is not against South Africa or its people, but against its disgraceful government. I am proud to stand here as an Israeli, but I am ashamed of the government of my homeland, for stooping so low. It is a danger to Judaism,” said David Kaplan, an attendant of the event.
Former Knesset member Ruth Wasserman Lande, who was raised in Cape Town, South Africa before moving to Israel for military service, living in Israel since, added “Justice is with us, the ruling party of South Africa has sold its soul to Iran.”
The protest in Ra’anana in central Israel comes a few weeks after Israel was forced to stand trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against charges of “genocide” in its current defensive war against Hamas in Gaza. The charges were filed by South Africa’s government, a noted friend of Hamas leadership and outspoken critic of Israel and the Israeli government.
In South Africa’s case against Israel, the country alleges that the IDF is acting “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”
The suit came as both countries are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, passed after the Holocaust and with the goal of creating proceedings to ensure no genocide like what happened to the Jews of Europe occurs in the future.
Israel said South Africa was acting as “the legal arm of Hamas,” and called the charges “baseless,” especially as the country has been noted to take unprecedented steps to protect civilians in the war. Furthermore, the war began after Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7, when they invaded southern Israel, murdering more than 1,200 and taking hostage over 240.
The ICJ refused to grant South Africa’s wish of calling for an immediate ceasefire, but nevertheless ruled to investigate the genocide charges and called on Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of [genocide].”
Even this past week South Africa continued its attacks, calling for the defunding of Israel, with Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor saying “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions.”
The post South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Robert Kraft Antisemitism Nonprofit to Air Super Bowl Ad Featuring Associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), a group created by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will air its first Super Bowl commercial when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11.
An estimated 100 million television viewers will see the commercial, which features Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a former legal adviser of civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones, according to FCAS, helped King draft the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Aug. 28, 1963.
“I know I can speak for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when I say without a doubt that the Civil Rights movement (including the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts) would not have occurred without the unwavering and largely unsung efforts of the Jewish people,” Jones said in a press release issued by FCAS. “With hate on the rise, it is as important as ever that all of us stand together and speak out. Silence is not an option. I’m glad that I’ve lived long enough to partner with Robert Kraft and FCAS to continue to spread the message to the widest possible audience — the Super Bowl.”
This year’s Super Bowl commercial mark’s FCAS’ biggest push to promote awareness of antisemitism since its founding in 2019. Last year, the nonprofit launched a $25 million multimedia campaign, which asked supporters to use the “Blue Square” emoji available on iOS devices in their social media posts.
FCAS has undertaken numerous other initiatives to address rising antisemitism.
In March 2023, it announced a partnership with Brandeis University, which will include a student fellowship program for undergraduates, conferences featuring leading experts on antisemitism, and collaborations with K-12 administrators. Additionally, Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Jewish Leadership Program will expand to include “Kraft Scholars,” who will participate in new online degree and certificate programs that will train them to respond to crises caused by antisemitic incidents.
Kraft, who led the remarkable transformation of the New England Patriots from a second tier club to an annual Super Bowl contender and winner of six such titles in under twenty years, founded FCAS after being awarded $1 million through Genesis Prize, an honor given to successful members of the Jewish community. FCAS focuses most of its resources on social media, aiming, it says, “to stand up against racist and violent rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people through the most accessible and most powerful avenue of information in the world.”
In a statement, Kraft, expressed hope for this latest campaign and praised Dr. Clarence Jones as an emblem of his FCAS’ highest aspirations.
“The work Dr. Jones has done over the course of his entire life and career is the embodiment of FCAS’ mission to build bridges and stand up to Jewish hate and all forms of hate. In the time we have spent together and through his work, I have become a huge fan of Dr. Jones, and I am proud to spotlight all that he has done for our nation,” he said. “With this ad, we hope to continue to spread Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of unity and equality at a time in which the country needs it mist most, and our goal is to reach a wide audience of people and inspire all Americans to stand up together, arm in arm, and fight this horrific rising hate.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.