Six In The Morning Wednesday 8 November 2023

Behind Hamas’s Bloody Gambit to Create a ‘Permanent’ State of War

Hamas leaders say they waged their Oct. 7 attack on Israel because they believed the Palestinian cause was slipping away, and that only violence could revive it.

Thousands have been killed in Gaza, with entire families wiped out. Israeli airstrikes have reduced Palestinian neighborhoods to expanses of rubble, while doctors treat screaming children in darkened hospitals with no anesthesia. Across the Middle East, fear has spread over the possible outbreak of a broader regional war.

But in the bloody arithmetic of Hamas’s leaders, the carnage is not the regrettable outcome of a big miscalculation. Quite the opposite, they say: It is the necessary cost of a great accomplishment — the shattering of the status quo and the opening of a new, more volatile chapter in their fight against Israel.

It was necessary to “change the entire equation and not just have a clash,” Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’s top leadership body, told The New York Times in Doha, Qatar. “We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm.”

UNICEF defends accuracy of Gaza death toll as horror unfolds in ravaged enclave


A UNICEF spokesperson has defended the death toll being reported out of Gaza, saying the organization’s figures had historically matched those of the Hamas-controlled Gazan health ministry.

More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the past month – including thousands of women, children and elderly, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, drawing from sources in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Israel declared war on the Islamist militant group Hamas after its brutal October 7 attack, in which it killed 1,400 people in Israel and kidnapped about 240 others. Israel’s offensive on Gaza has since razed neighborhoods and bombed thousands of what it says are Hamas targets, including in refugee camps. Israel Defense Forces warnings have prompted many to flee to the southern part of the strip.


Human-caused heating behind extreme droughts in Syria, Iraq and Iran, study finds

Millions of people’s lives wrecked by droughts that used to happen once every 250 years but now expected once a decade

Extreme droughts that have wrecked the lives of millions of people in Syria, Iraq and Iran since 2020 would not have happened without human-caused global heating, a study has found.

The climate crisis means such long-lasting and severe droughts are no longer rare, the analysis showed. In the Tigris-Euphrates basin, which covers large parts of Syria and Iraq, droughts of this severity happened about once every 250 years before global heating – now they are expected once a decade.

Spain’s amnesty plan for Catalan separatists sparks backlash

Thousands of far-right demonstrators protested against acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez offer of amnesty for those involved in Catalonia’s 2017 independence bid.

Protest in Madrid against negotiations between Spain’s acting government and Catalan separatist parties over a possible amnesty for thousands involved in Catalonia’s independence movement turned violent on Tuesday night.

Police fired tear gas and used batons against some of the protesters they said threw stones and other objects at them.

Television footage showed some demonstrators giving the Nazi salute and waving flags of the Franco dictatorship.

According to the government around 7,000 people attended Tuesday’s protest near the national headquarters of Spain’s Socialist Party in and the Parliament,

Iran sentences Frenchman Louis Arnaud to five years on national security charges

An Iranian court has ordered a five-year jail sentence against a French national tried on national security charges, his family announced on Wednesday.


Louis Arnaud, a banking consultant, was detained in Iran in September last year and has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Arnaud was handed the sentence by a Revolutionary Court on charges of making propaganda against and seeking to harm the security of the Islamic republic, the family said in a statement.

The family said Arnaud was innocent of all charges and denounced the verdict as “an attack on human rights and individual freedoms”.

Unification Church in Japan offers to set aside up to ¥10 bil in compensation fund


The Unification Church’s Japanese branch announced plans Tuesday to set aside a fund up to 10 billion yen to cover possible compensation for those seeking damages they say were caused by the group’s manipulative fundraising tactics.

The move is seen as an attempt to allay any suspicion that the group would try to avoid later payouts by hiding assets overseas while a government-requested dissolution order is pending.

The announcement by head of the controversial church’s Japanese branch, Tomihiro Tanaka, came a month after Japan’s Education Ministry asked the Tokyo District Court to revoke the legal status of the group.