Conflict In The Middle East Report | December 26, 2023

Israel Hamas Food Insecurity
December 26, 2023


Current as of 9:30AM EST, 26DEC23


Over the past week, a United Nations (U.N.) resolution led to the approval of a special coordinator for aid to help Palestinians as Israel maintained its commitment to the “elimination of Hamas.” In addition, the Biden administration’s involvement remains mixed as U.S. officials called for the support of humanitarian aid but received criticisms for “watering down” the resolution by eliminating mentions of a ceasefire.  

  • Humanitarian Crisis: The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the secretary general to appoint a special coordinator for aid to help Palestinians trapped in Gaza and to establish a mechanism to speed up aid deliveries. However, it remains unclear how soon the coordinator will be appointed. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, Gaza’s population is suffering “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity.” 
  • U.S. Support: During a phone call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu on December 23, Biden emphasized supporting humanitarian aid and allowing civilians to move away from areas of ongoing fighting, according to White House officials. However, there was no discussion of a ceasefire. Furthermore, the U.S. was accused of “watering down” the resolution by eliminating mentions of a ceasefire. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the U.S. of “forcing into the text an essential license for Israel to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza under the pretext of ‘creating conditions for a cessation of hostilities’.”
  • Military Operations: The Israeli military said the air force hit 100 targets in southern Gaza in 24-hours. Israeli bombing campaigns also killed Palestinians in Khan Younis, Bureij, Juhor ad-Dik and Nuseirat, according to the Palestinian state news agency Wafa. Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said the Israeli government is committed to the goals of the war and the “elimination of Hamas.” He also said the war will end immediately if Gaza surrenders and ensures any future government in Gaza must fight terrorism. He noted Hezbollah must be removed from its northern border and “back off” as attacks intensify. In addition, five Israeli hostages killed in Hamas captivity were recovered from an underground tunnel network in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Israeli military sources. Israeli military forces have not briefed the public on their causes of death. 
  • Regional Relations: The Indian navy deployed three guided missile destroyers in the Arabian Sea as a deterrent after a chemical tanker was struck off the Indian coast on December 23. U.S. officials blamed Iran for the attack and Iranian officials said the claim was “baseless,” according to Reuters. In addition, on December 26, two explosions in the Red Sea were reported by a vessel sailing off the coast of Yemen shortly after the U.K. Maritime Trade Operations said they spotted two unmanned aircraft, according to CNN. The U.S. unveiled a multinational naval task force, known as “Operation Prosperity Guardian,” to protect commercial ships from Houthi missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Participating countries in the new effort include the United States, the U.K., Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain. Despite concerns regarding transit in the Red Sea, Maersk is preparing to resume operations in the area and the Gulf of Aden, according to open source reporting. Hapag-Lloyd plans to decide whether or not they will return to the Red Sea on Wednesday, December 27.
    • Iran and several of its armed proxies have also vowed to retaliate against Israel following the alleged assassination of a senior Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander in Syria, according to CNN. According to Iranian state media, IRGC commander Seyyed Razi Mousavi was killed by an Israeli airstrike. Meanwhile, Egyptian officials on December 24 proposed a three-phase plan to end the war between Israel and Hamas and secure the release of hostages, but neither side has responded to the proposal. The U.S. military carried out airstrikes on three facilities used by the Iraq-based Kataib Hezbollah on December 25 after an attack injured three U.S. troops, leaving one in critical condition.
  • Protests: Pro-Palestinian marches occurred in several U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago over the Christmas weekend as demonstrators organized “actions to boycott, disrupt, and rally at commercial centers.” Over 60 protestors calling for a ceasefire were arrested on December 19 for holding a demonstration in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. In addition, over 10,000 individuals marched through Rabat, Morocco, denouncing a “war of extermination” as well as the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel. A blast occurred near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on December 26; although no staff were harmed and the circumstances remain unclear, Israel is treating the event as a terrorist incident, according to Reuters.


The U.S. tech sector continues to play a pivotal role in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with ongoing concerns of disinformation on one end and increased investment in Israel on the other. 

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report accusing Meta of “silencing voices in support of Palestine and Palestinian human rights on Instagram and Facebook.” Between October and November 2023, HRW documented over 1,050 takedowns and other suppression of content on the social media sites. 
  • Over 70 executives and investors, from companies such as Bain Capital Ventures, Apollo, and Mastercard made a joint trip to Israel this past week in a show of solidarity and interest in the country’s tech sector, according to Reuters. The visit comes as Israel’s government announced a $3.2 billion grant to Intel for a new $25 billion chip plant the company plans to build in southern Israel.


We continue to urge anyone with business interests in Israel and the surrounding regions to exercise extreme caution, and to consider postponing any upcoming travel. We also encourage travelers to avoid all demonstrations and maintain awareness of their surroundings in areas with protest activity. Travelers and businesses should also consider:

  • Watching for updated U.S. Department of State worldwide travel advisories.
  • Avoiding areas in and around Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other portions of the Gulf. 
  • Reaching out to Concentric’s experts for support. Concentric can provide:
    • Emergency evacuation and secure transportation, and support from local partners;
    • Active monitoring and intelligence support, including tailored risk and travel assessments;
    • Tailored security consulting;
    • Executive protection agents;
    • Cybersecurity and digital privacy protection. 

If you are interested in a briefing with Concentric’s Chief Executive Officer Mike LeFever or a member of Concentric’s team on any of these topics, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Feature image source.

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