Israel-Hamas War – 4th week Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2023

We present here a diary of reported news from Israel and elsewhere about the Israel-Hamas war of 2023, known in Israel as Swords of Iron. Our sources include the IDF Spokesman, Israeli Kan TV/radio service, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on Twitter/X (@IsraeliPM) and other sources considered reliable.

Saturday November 4, 2023

  • The IDF continued its air and ground campaign in Gaza. The IDF Givati brigade captured a Hamas intelligence headquarters in Jaballya.
  • The IDF soldiers opened a temporary supply and escape corridor on Gaza’s main north-south highway (Salach Al-Din Road). Hamas fired at the IDF soldiers.
  • Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel continued, so did skirmishes on the Lebanon-Israel border.
  • An ambulance convoy was hit, Israel said it was a disguised Hamas convoy. The IDF said on X/Twitter: “A Hamas terrorist cell was identified using an ambulance. In response, an IDF aircraft struck and neutralized the Hamas terrorists, who were operating within the ambulance….This is not the first and not the hundredth time that Hamas operatives, including senior leaders, make illegal use of ambulances on the battlefield.”
  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the ground campaign is going well, 12 Hamas battalions have been wiped out so far, no fuel is being allowed into Gaza, the campaign will take as long as needed. At the end of the war, there will be no more Hamas, Israel will have freedom of operation.
  • The exodus of dual nationals and sick from Gaza into Egypt continued. The White House said Hamas tried to include its terrorists in the sick. Others said Hamas was also slowing down the exit process.
  • Portuguese President Rebelo de Sousa told the Palestinian ambassador “I know you blame the Israelis, but this time someone from your side started it. The Palestinian side started it. You can’t blame Israel, you shouldn’t have started it” (Jerusalem Post).
  • The Israeli PM Office warned Israelis on X/Twitter about travelling abroad: “Given the increase in antisemitic and violent incidents towards Israelis and Jews around the world, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) are calling on the public to exercise extra caution while abroad.”
  • Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yoko Kamikawa, visited Israel and met President Isaac Herzog among others.
  • This author and others received an email giving 6 months free subscription to, supplier of audio books and owned by, Inc. “Our hearts go out to all impacted by the tragic events in the Middle East. While only a small gesture, we want to make things a bit easier for members impacted at this time”. Thank you Audible/Amazon.
  • An Israeli Kan radio poll this weekend apparently indicate a 28% approval rating for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, 56% disapproval rating, and 74% expect him to cease to be PM at the end of the war.
  • Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultation, a sign of disagreement with Israel and support for Hamas.
  • Relatives of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas on October 7 have set up an ongoing demo in Tel-Aviv. Today they were visited by Gal Hirsch, responsible for handling the return of hostages held by Hamas. Some relatives were cordial, some booed Gal Hirsch.

Friday November 3, 2023

  • The IDF ground forces have encircled Gaza City and are engaged with Hamas defenders in the city, not only the outskirts, faster than apparently expected.
  • Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel continued, so did skirmishes on the Lebanon-Israel border.
  • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited Israel. While he was still flying in, Israeli PM Netanyahu and the IDF spokesman pre-empted his plans – by stating Israel would only consider the concept of a humanitarian pause for supplies of food, medical supplies or fuel if Hamas release all the Israeli hostages they hold. Blinken also called for a return to the two state solution, Israelis of all political persuasions were not convinced.
  • The IDF spokesman says there are objections to letting fuel into Gaza because Hamas regularly steals hospital fuel supplies and holds over 0.5 million liters of fuel in its inventory below the Shifa hospital alone and other supplies elsewhere.
  • Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech, saying recent events are a Palestinian matter.
  • Israeli press reports (Yediot Ahahronit) indicate around 1500 Hamas terrorists were captured after October 7 and are providing information to the IDF. Many of them became indoctrinated as Moslem fundamentalists in Hamas military religious academies rather than Mosques. These off-Mosque indoctrination academies were part of the deliberate plan of Hamas to keep the October 7 massacre secret until it happened.
  • French Emmanuel President wrapped up a visit to Israel and other Mideast countries. He announced the French Navy is sending a ship to support hospitals in the region. He pushed back on claims France was applying double standards saying “International law applies to everyone” (presumably including Hamas).
  • The Israeli government approved a series of financial support measures for Israelis affected by the war with Hamas.
  • What about the Arabs in Israel? It is reported that 3000 stranded Gaza workers are to be returned to Gaza.
  • The PM’s Office announced on X/Twitter: Israel is severing all contact with Gaza. There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza. Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza.
  • West Bank Arabs with work permits are reportedly uncertain whether to show up for work.
  • In our own experience, Israeli Arabs throughout the Israeli economy appear to be working as normal – in shops, hotels, hospitals, construction, etc.
  • Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestine Authority (PA) Prime Minister on the West Bank is reported as saying that the PA would only consider assuming control over Gaza after the war if a solution is found to both the West Bank and Gaza.
  • The Russian Wagner Group apparently plans to supply Hezbollah in Lebanon with a Russian SA22 air defense system (reported in Wall Street Journal citing US officials).
  • Various reports say around 200,000 Israeli citizens have recently bought guns and started training to use them.
  • The Israeli Labor Ministry reported on November 2 that around 760,000 Israelis are not working due to IDF reserve duty or evacuation from the South or to be with their children, around 18% of the work force. Since the start of the war, 46,004 Israelis have been paid off – either dismissed (around 30%) or placed on unpaid leave (around 70%).
  • Some foreign workers are known to have left Israel, some continue working in Israel, and some have suffered severely in the war. On November 1, the Israeli PM’s Office reported on X/Twitter: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and expressed his sincere condolences over the murder and abduction of Thai nationals in the murderous terrorist assault by Hamas.
  • Debate has arisen between the Israeli Finance Ministry and the War Cabinet as to whether Israel should transfer Palestinian taxes (mainly customs and import duties) to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Finance Minister objects to the PA forwarding part of those taxes to Hamas. The War Cabinet decided that the Hamas portion of the taxes should be held back. It is unclear whether the Finance Ministry will release the rest of the taxes to the PA.
  • The in-laws of Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf apparently have received approval to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing into Egypt, among 92 British citizens (Telegraph).
  • While demonstrations continue in the UK, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, uses an article in the London Times to criticize those who he says have lost sight of the moral distance between Israel and Hamas

Thursday November 2, 2023

  • The Gaza ground war continues. The IDF reports: around 1,400 Israelis murdered since October 7, including 332 soldiers, 242 people held hostage by Hamas, four hostages released, one rescued.
  • Skirmishes continue on the Lebanon border and friction continues in Judah and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel also continued.
  • Germany has reportedly banned Hamas activities in Germany.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and expressed his sincere condolences over the murder and abduction of Thai nationals in the murderous terrorist assault by Hamas.

Wednesday November 1, 2023

  • The IDF says fierce fighting continues in Gaza on the ground and underground.
  • Skirmishes continue on the Lebanon border and friction continues in Judah and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel also continued.
  • The Houthis may have launched further missiles towards Eilat but they caused no harm. The Israeli navy moved protective missile boats to the Red Sea off Eilat.
  • Bolivia cut diplomatic relations with Israel, alleging lack of proportionality
  • It is reported that 16 IDF soldiers have died in action in Gaza so far.
  • Government financial compensation for businesses may perhaps start tomorrow if draft legislation seen is passed. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said the government deficit must not exceed 5% of GDP in 2024. Critics said there needs to be GDP,
  • Ron Haliva, head of the IDF’s Aman intelligence agency apologized for failing to predict the Hamas October 7 massacre. He said the result was no-choice war rather than an existential survival war.
  • Over 400 injured and Israeli/foreign dual nationals reportedly left Gaza for Egypt under a Qatar-Egypt brokered deal.
  • The IDF released to foreign press an intelligence recording a conversation between Hamas terrorists saying that Hamas takes (“steals”) fuel intended for Gaza hospitals.
  • Friction between Palestinians and Israelis reported in Judah & Samaria (West Bank).
  • The Israeli defense and finance ministers reportedly clashed over the finance minister’s delay in handing over tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (mainly customs duties on imports as agreed under the Oslo Accords). On Israeli TV (Channel 11) the finance minister Bezalel Smotrich expressed concern that the Palestinian Authority would apparently pass the money over to terrorists and doubted that is what PM Netanyahu wants.
  • President Isaac Herzog gave a speech praising the Israeli spirit. He quoted from the Israeli national anthem, the Hatikva: We have not lost our hope, a two thousand old hope to live as a free people in our land…”

Tuesday October 31, 2023

  • The IDF ground incursion in Gaza continues.
  • Skirmishes continue on the Lebanon border and friction continues in Judah and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel also continued.
  • Hamas currently holds 240 Israeli hostages
  • Sirens were heard in Eilat in the morning. The IDF then reported shooting down a cocktail of drones, missiles and cruise missiles from Yemen. Israel used an Arrow anti-ballistic missile missile. The Houtis apparently declared war on Israel but they are around 2000 km away.
  • The IDF Spokesman predicts this will be a long war. He also said people in Lebanon are starting to leave South Lebanon of their own accord. They complained that Hezbollah fought ISIS and is now associating with ISIS (i.e. Hamas).
  • Israeli TV Channel 13 carried an interesting extract from a TV report from the Arab world. The interviewer asked a Hamas representative: As you have 500 km of tunnels, why don’t you protect the civilian population in all those tunnels? The Hamas representative replied that Hamas uses the tunnels to attack Israel and it is Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians. So now we know that Hamas has 500 km of attack tunnels….
  • Channel 13 TV also reports that Russia holds 8 Russian citizens as hostages and is trying to negotiate a hostages-for-weapons deal with the Kremlin.
  • Tsachi Hanegbi, Israel’s National Security Advisor, said that the Israel Cabinet has unanimously resolved that “the day after” the war, Hamas should no longer exist in Gaza. Clearing out North Gaza is over. The missiles from the Houtis of Yemen today are unacceptable. Israel does not seek legitimacy from antisemitic people, but Israel does have real friends around the world.
  • Pro-Hamas protests broke out in the US Congress as Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, was speaking.
  • Gilad Erdan, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, gave the UN a speech wearing a Nazi-style yellow star on his suit jacket lapel. This was in protest to the October 24 speech of the UN General Secretary taken to imply Israel caused the October 7 massacre, it didn’t happen “in a vacuum”. The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel said this was disrespectful to the memory of the Holocaust. See the offending speech of the UN General Secretary:,is%20finally%20getting%20into%20Gaza.
  • Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in his website: “This is a message that must be heard loud and clear. When they say ‘from the river to the sea’, they mean no Jews.”
  • The Israeli Air Force “successfully targeted Ibrahim Bihari, a senior Hamas commander in Jabaliya, together with dozens of other Hamas terrorists.” This was at Jabaliya.

Monday October 30, 2023

  • Hamas released a film clip of three female hostages. PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on X/Twitter: “To Yelena Trupanob, Daniel Aloni and Rimon Kirsht, who were abducted by Hamas, which is committing war crimes. I embrace you. Our hearts are with you and the other the captives. We are doing everything to bring home all of the captives and missing.”
  • An IDF soldier female hostage, referred to as Ori, was found and released by Israeli forces.
  • Skirmishes continue on the Lebanon border and friction continues in Judah and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel also continued.
  • The Defense Minister Yoav Gallant mentioned that skirmishes have also occurred in Syria
  • Gallant said Hamas terrorists have two choices – death or unconditional surrender.
  • An Israeli-German dual national participant at the Reim music festival, Shani Louk, was confirmed to be dead, not a hostage of Hamas.
  • The Israeli ground incursion continues and Israeli tanks were seen in central Gaza City according Arab new agencies.
  • Israeli press reports suggest the IDF is conducting in-and-out raids and effectively using guerilla tactics against Hamas guerillas. The hope is this means less civilian casualties.

Sunday October 29, 2023

  • In Dagestan, a Russian Moslem republic, a mob tried to attack around 15 Israelis and Jews on an incoming flight and had to be protected by Russian security forces.
  • The Israeli ground campaign in Gaza continues. The Israeli aims are to topple Hamas from power and to return around 239 Israeli hostages, including many harmless women, children and elderly people.
  • Skirmishes continue on the Lebanon border and friction continues in Judah and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas missile barrages into South and Central Israel also continued.
  • The US White House reports that President Biden spoke with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt. The two leaders committed to the significant acceleration and increase of assistance flowing into Gaza beginning today and then continuously.  They also discussed the importance of protecting civilian lives, respect for international humanitarian law, and ensuring that Palestinians in Gaza are not displaced to Egypt or any other nation.
  • The US White House reports that President Biden spoke with PM Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages, to include American citizens who remain unaccounted for and may be held by Hamas. The President underscored the need to immediately and significantly increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza.
  • The BBC (Lyse Doucet) reported nobody really knows what is happening on the ground in Gaza.
  • Thousands of Gazans reportedly broke into UNWRA warehouses and stole supplies of flour and other basic items. UNWRA sees this as a worrying sign that civil order in Gaza is starting to break down. (YNet/Reuters).
  • The IDF ordered the Al Kuds Hospital in Gaza to evacuate southwards, the Hospital argued it cannot.
  • Almost 640,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are sheltering in 150 UNRWA installations across the Gaza Strip (UNWRA).
  • The IDF is on the lookout for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar according to the IDF Spokesman.
  • 6 missiles hit the Kiryat Shmona town hall in the North, no casualties were reported, the IDF retaliated. Hamas continued to fire volleys of missiles into Tel-Aviv and Central Israel.
  • Debate continued over the judicial reforms which divided Israelis, triggered demonstrations and may have encouraged Hamas to attack now. Is any side to blame? Until now, Israel’s enemies have been deterred by Israelis’ display of solidarity (“Hosen” in Hebrew).