US Deputy National Security Advisor John Finner told CNN on November 19: “We believe we are closer than ever before in prisoner release negotiations.”
According to Israeli media, the agreements provide that: “Hamas will release 50 Israeli women and children in exchange for a 5-day complete ceasefire. No Israeli UAV activity during ceasefire. Hamas will work to free Israeli women and children held by other factions in the second phase of the hostage exchange. Israel is asked to release all Palestinian women and children (under 18). Hamas has asked for guarantees to rebuild Gaza and lift part of the blockade in exchange for the possible release of Israeli soldiers.”
Late on November 19, Israeli government ministers were hastily summoned due to progress on the prisoner deal.
The agreement on the release of prisoners has been discussed since October 7th thanks to the intervention of Qatar. But if the law being discussed on November 20 in the Knesset on the execution of Palestinian prisoners passes, there is a possibility that the agreements will be put on hold again. Ben Gvir told the press on November 20: “The Israeli Knesset discusses approving the law on the death penalty for Palestinian prisoners at the request of the Minister of Security.”
According to other sources, the convocation of the ministers took place following the debate between Ben Gvir and the members of the Knesset with the families of prisoners held by the resistance in Gaza, against the background of the approval of the law on the “Execution of Palestinian prisoners”. Furthermore, Hamas lost contacts with various groups holding foreigners hostage after Israeli bombings in the North.
European diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said Israel must take into account the “rules of war” when bombing the Gaza Strip. According to Borrell, what the Palestinian movement Hamas has done to Israel is a terrible and unjustifiable attack against civilians. “But war has its rules. And bombings must take into account the victims they cause,” Borrell said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Pais.
There were also numerous Iranian statements over the weekend: “The Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Iran, General Hossein Salami: The Palestinian resistance fighters are fighting at zero distance and from where the enemy, armed with tanks, was not expecting them.” “Victory will be allied with the Palestinian resistance, which fights day and night, the land belongs to its men, capable of destroying the occupation tanks.” […] “Palestine will win this war, that is certain, and Hamas and Jihad will never collapse, and are part of the fabric of the Palestinian people. This will not undermine the foundations of the resistance of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which will turn Gaza into a quagmire for the enemy, for whom we hope for a decisive victory.” The United States and “Israel” have no hope of victory and we will see a clear conquest by the… Palestinians. There is great potential that the Palestinian people have not exploited and the enemies must know that they will fail to realize their plot in Palestine and the region. We are on the side of the Palestinian people, who have become an example of patience and courage for the whole world.”
The Leader of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei said: “The defeat of the Zionist entity in Gaza is a sobering reality. The advance of the Israelis and their entry into hospitals and public housing is not a victory. The support of the leaders of America, Britain, Germany and France for such a racist entity means that they support racial discrimination. Islamic governments must sever their political relations with the Zionist entity for at least a specified period. Some Islamic governments have condemned the crimes of the Israeli entity, others have not yet done so, but this is unacceptable. The primary mission of some Islamic governments is to cut off the vital artery of the Zionist entity and prevent its supply of energy and goods. We believe in divine promise and we are optimistic about the future, and we will do our duty.”
Former Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei told Al-Mayadeen: “This war will determine the fate of “Israel” and the fate of the axis of resistance, which will play a greater role in the future. Israel suffered only defeat in this battle. The more Israel penetrates Gaza, the more it will sink into the quagmire and will not be able to achieve victory. “Israel” may enter the streets of Gaza, but faces hidden resistance. This war will lead to the fall of Netanyahu, and after years we will witness the fall of “Israel”. Hamas is not only in Gaza, it is present in the West Bank and outside Palestine, together with the resistance forces in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.”
Houthis from Yemen have seized a British-flagged but Israeli-owned vessel in the Red Sea. The Minister of Information of the Yemeni Government of National Salvation, Dhaif Allah al-Shami, wrote before the seizure of the ship: “We have information on all Israeli ships crossing the Red Sea. We are moving to face a strategic enemy of the entire Arab and Islamic nation. All Israeli ships will be a legitimate target for us. We are dealing with a criminal enemy and those who witness massacres and genocide cannot remain neutral. We are facing a criminal enemy and everything related to him will be targeted. We have leadership that studies all strategies and works to choose the appropriate times for implementation.”
At 11.12 on November 19, the Yemeni armed forces issued a statement: “On the basis of religious, national and moral responsibility and in consideration of what the Gaza Strip is exposed to due to the brutal Israeli-American aggression, including daily massacres and genocide, and in response to the demands of our Yemeni people and the demands of free peoples and to provide relief to our oppressed people in Gaza. The Yemeni Armed Forces announce that they will target all of the following types of ships: 1. Ships carrying the flag of the Zionist entity 2. Ships operated by Israeli companies 3. Ships owned by Israeli companies. The Yemeni Armed Forces also calls on all countries in the world to do the following: UN. Withdrawal of its citizens who work in the crews of these ships. B. Avoid shipping or handling these vessels. C. Inform your ships to stay away from these ships.” At 2.42pm on the same day, the communication of the seizure of the “Israeli ship” “Galaxy Leader” and its crew arrived. According to some sources, the cargo ship belongs to the United Kingdom and is currently leased to a Japanese company, and there are no Israelis on board. The vessel was traveling to India from Turkey with an international civilian crew.
Various sources claim that there would be 22-52 crew members (among those kidnapped according to Israeli declarations are Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Filipinos and Mexicans), while linking the ship to the Israeli company Ray Shipping LTD and the Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar (Rami Ongar). At the moment, according to some information, the ship has been towed to Hodeidah, Yemen, and investigations are underway.
The Israeli army spokesman says 378 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza. The director of the Mount Herzl military cemetery on November 19 revealed the large number of Israeli army soldiers buried following the battles it is waging in the Gaza Strip, where 50 soldiers were buried in 48 hours.
Former head of the Security Agency Amos Yadlin said: “The time factor is not in our favor, neither in the North, nor in the Israeli economy, nor in relation to pressure from abroad”
The situation in southern Lebanon has collapsed, starting from 18 November attacks have intensified both by Israel, which attacked for the first time in a preventive manner, and by Hezbollah’s response. Aluf Yoav Galant, Tel Aviv’s defense minister, said: “We counter missile and armor cells on the northern front and strike military assets and targets. Hezbollah is exposed to damage and will pay the price.” According to Israeli media: Sayyed Nasrallah has achieved a strategic result by establishing a new security zone on the northern border, this time on the Israeli side, emptying the Northern Galilee of its “inhabitants”, and this is an intolerable act. reality from the “Israeli” point of view. In the Israeli newspapers we read that Nasrallah has set a foot and a half in northern Israel, as he likes to say. Head Maariv writes: “Hezbollah, when it wants, raises the level of fire, and when it wants, lowers it.” “After the “residents” of the north abandoned their “homes”, Nasrallah decided that anyone who moves on the border is a target.” On November 20, 4 roads were closed outside the central sector and the Upper Galilee within the Israeli border due to the intensity of Hezbollah bombing.
The Israeli army will begin to mobilize his forces in the north in preparation for battle with Hezbollah. Then “Israel” will have to demand that Lebanon fully implement Resolution 1701. In other words, “the withdrawal of Hezbollah forces to the north of Litani.” And the establishment of a zone free from Hezbollah’s military presence. Meanwhile, Hezbollah announces the attack on the headquarters of the 91st Division in the Pranit barracks with two large-caliber Burkan missiles. Benny Gantz commented: “we will make difficult and decisive decisions to deter our enemies on the northern border.” This statement was followed by the urgent/violent Israeli bombing of more than 6 cities in southern Lebanon.
Israeli Apache helicopters participate in the bombing of cities in southern Lebanon, in particular Aita al-Shaab, Maroun al-Ras, Muhaibib and Tayr Harfa, in conjunction with Israeli artillery bombardments.
Unconfirmed sources speak of damage to the Pranit barracks, but not the entire barracks, it was seriously damaged. The Israelis denied any damage. Israeli attacks and Hezbollah responses are ongoing across southern Lebanon.
Massive air strikes and IDF preparations for a new phase of ground operations continue in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian groups are making incursions, but there is no talk of actual counterattacks: small groups of fewer than 10 people are operating in urban areas.
In the West Bank, after a short break, mass raids and clashes between the IDF and local Arab youth occurred again. A wave of violence has hit several cities and a dozen settlements and refugee camps. The most violent clashes occurred in Jenin.
Antonio Albanese and Graziella Giangiulio