The recent attack on a hospital in Gaza has unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic attacks around the world. Also, following the incident - for which Israel blames terrorists - Iran has raised a black flag on its holy mosque

Israel allows humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt

AFP/ SAID KHATIB - Paso fronterizo de Rafah, entre Egipto y Gaza
AFP/ SAID KHATIB - Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza

Following pressure from the United States and in order to alleviate the plight of civilians in the Gaza Strip, Israel has given the green light for humanitarian aid to enter the Palestinian enclave through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

The delivery of aid to the people of Gaza was announced by US President Joe Biden following his visit to Tel Aviv to reaffirm his solidarity with Israel. "The people of Gaza need food, water, medicine and shelter," Biden stressed.

Following his meetings with senior Israeli officials, the US leader spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who agreed to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza and let in "up to" 20 truckloads of humanitarian assistance. However, Biden said that people will not be able to evacuate Gaza to Egypt after Cairo's refusal. Neighbouring Arab countries, despite expressing solidarity with the Gazan people, refuse to accept Palestinian refugees for fear of destabilisation.

Al-Sisi, for example, has pointed out that the current war is not only aimed at fighting Hamas, 'but also at pressuring civilian inhabitants to migrate to Egypt', which, according to the Egyptian leader, 'could ruin peace in the region'. Similarly, Cairo has expressed concern that a mass exodus from Gaza could lead to Hamas or other Palestinian terrorists entering its territory.

This could be a destabilising factor in the Sinai, where the Egyptian army has fought jihadists for years. In this regard, Al-Sisi has warned that the presence of Palestinian fighters in Sinai "would become a base for attacks against Israel, and Israel would have to defend itself, attacking Egyptian territory".  

Cairo, which has accused Hamas of backing terrorists in Sinai, has supported Israel's blockade of Gaza since the terrorist group seized control of the territory in 2007. It has also destroyed the network of tunnels under the border that Hamas and other Palestinians used to smuggle goods into Gaza.

Jordan's King Abdullah II has made a similar point, stating that 'there will be no refugees in Jordan, nor in Egypt'.

Israel, for its part, will not allow any aid from its territory as long as the 200 Hamas abductees are released. Israel has also demanded that the Red Cross visit the hostages.

Jerusalem will not prevent humanitarian assistance from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for civilians in or evacuating to the southern Gaza Strip, and as long as it does not reach Hamas. 

Biden also underscored this point, noting that assistance must go to civilians, not to the terrorist organisation. "If Hamas diverts or steals aid, they will have demonstrated once again that they do not care about the welfare of the Palestinian people, and the aid will stop," he added.

Israel cut off water and electricity to Gaza after the brutal 7 October massacre by thousands of Hamas terrorists, who killed 1,400 Israelis. The terrorists also tortured, raped, burned and kidnapped hundreds of civilians, while 309 people remain hospitalised from the attacks, 80 in serious condition. On the other hand, Hamas, as well as other terrorist groups operating in Gaza such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, launch daily missiles into Israeli territory, especially into the south and centre.

Some relatives of abducted Israelis have expressed their rejection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. According to a statement by the association Bring Them Home Now accessed by The Times of Israel, this decision "has provoked great anger among the relatives". 

"We remind them that children, babies, women, soldiers, men and elderly people - some of whom have serious health problems, are wounded - are being held underground like animals without humane conditions, and the Israeli government is allowing the murderers even baklava and medicine," the statement said.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has updated the number of abductees and now estimates that 203 people are being held in Gaza by Hamas. The authorities continue to find infiltrators from the terrorist group as well as dead bodies.

In the last few hours, the lifeless bodies of Noya Dan, a 12-year-old Israeli girl with autism, and her 80-year-old grandmother Carmela have been found. They were initially believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas. The case of young Noya went viral after British author JK Rowling posted her story on Twitter, as Noya was a huge Harry Potter fan.  

The remains of Erick Peretz and his daughter Ruth, who has cerebral palsy, have also been found. Both had attended the Nova music festival in southern Israel, where it is estimated that more than 260 people were brutally murdered.  

Meanwhile, the Israeli air force continues to strike Hamas targets in Gaza. In these latest attacks, Jamila al-Shanti, the widow of Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and the first woman elected to the terrorist group's political bureau, was reportedly killed, according to Hamas-affiliated media. Her husband, Rantisi, was killed in 2004 in an Israeli airstrike during the Second Intifada.

Also, through a precision air strike that relied on intelligence from the Shin Bet internal security agency, Israel has eliminated a senior Palestinian terrorist member of Hamas. In addition, hundreds of Hamas military infrastructure were destroyed in the last 24 hours, as well as Hamas security chief Jihad Mahisan.

In addition to Hamas in Gaza, Israel also has to deal with the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Since the beginning of the war, taking advantage of the chaos and encouraged by Tehran, Hezbollah has launched attacks on Israeli territory, prompting the IDF to defend itself and evacuate several communities in the north of the country.  

Rishi Sunak in Israel: "We are with you" 

Due to increased tension in the region, and especially following the attack on a hospital in Gaza, the US has sent the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney to the eastern Mediterranean. The UK has also announced that it will send warships and spy planes to support Israel. This comes amid a visit by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who since the start of the war has expressed support for Jerusalem.

Sunak has met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu. He is also scheduled to meet with relatives of those kidnapped by Hamas. "I want you to know that the UK and I stand with you," Sunak said after landing in Tel Aviv, where he also condemned the "unspeakable and horrendous acts of terrorism". 

Before Sunak, other international leaders have visited Israel, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

During his meeting with Sunak, Herzog took the opportunity to criticise the BBC's coverage of the war. "We believe that the BBC's characterisation of Hamas is a distortion of the facts," he said. The BBC, in addition to refusing to label Hamas as a terrorist group, was one of the media outlets that reproduced Hamas's reporting of the hospital attack without countering the information, provoking a wave of violence against Israel and Jews in the Middle East and Europe. 

Rising anti-Semitism  

This incident, triggered by a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad missile according to several analysts, has unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic attacks around the world. In addition to violent demonstrations against Israeli embassies and consulates in several Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan and Turkey, attacks on Jewish religious centres have also been reported in Europe and North Africa, where there was once a large Jewish community before it was expelled.

In Berlin, Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue, in Cannes a man was stabbed to death next to a Jewish temple, while in the Spanish city of Melilla a group of demonstrators attacked a synagogue. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the historic and famous El Hamma synagogue was burned down. 

Attacks on synagogues in Spain and Germany, as well as incitement to violence against Jews across Europe, have caused anti-Semitism to rise by more than 1200%, according to the European Jewish Association (EJA), which warns that "attacks against Europe's Jews have begun".

EJA president Rabbi Menachem Margolin has sounded the alarm, demanding that European governments wake up and protect all Jewish communities in Europe, lamenting that Jews should not have to ask for help.

"Anyone who thinks this is about Israel and Palestine, or politics, is living under a rock. This is nothing more than a pretext to launch attacks against all Jews in Europe," he concludes.  

Thwarting Israeli-Saudi peace, Iran's goal  

The explosion at the Gazan hospital has also turned out to be the perfect excuse for Iran, which for days has been threatening to intervene in the war with Israel. Following the attack, Iran raised a black flag at its holy mosque, while its embassy in Damascus posted a message in Hebrew: "Time is up".

The New York Times has echoed a report by several Iranian media outlets describing a possible attack on Israel coming from all borders. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei noted that, if the war continues, "no one will stop the resistance forces". He then claimed that Hezbollah would attack from the north, pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria from the east and the Houthis in Yemen from the south. "They will coordinate the attack on Israel with missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to create a 'siege from all sides'," the report suggested. 

The report concluded that Iraq's militias have already taken up positions in the Golan, along with their Syrian counterparts, and said that "such operations could occur in the coming days if Khamenei's call to halt attacks on Gaza is not answered".

Tehran has for years been the main sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran funds groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and played a key role in the 7 October attack on Israel. As MEMRI reports, senior Iranian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Palestinian officials link the brutal raid to an attempt to thwart normalisation between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

For months, the US has been working for a peace deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem, which would boost stability in the region and further isolate Iran.