On Saturday, October 7, Hamas carried out a largescale attack against Israel which included the use of “thousands” of rockets, raids, and kidnappings.
Early reports from the NYT are claiming that more than 250 Israelis have been killed and over 1,400 wounded in these attacks. Another article by ABC News claims more than 300 are dead, and 2,000 wounded. Israel immediately retaliated against Palestinian fighters in Gaza, the location of the attacks origins.
Israel and various Islamic groups have waged hushed yet violent war against each other for some time now, but this is Israel’s first open engagement with such forces since the sporadic Gaza conflicts in the 2010s.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially declared a state of emergency across Israel, and said his country is now at war. Additionally, he stated that “The Israeli army will immediately use its full power to destroy Hamas” and that Israel’s forces would avenge these sudden attacks.
Videos have surfaced across social media showing Israeli forces mustering at their lines of departure, prepping to enter the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government has asked residents to leave that area.
Israel’s response has been strong, clear, and unified. The United States also offered a straightforward message. Delivering a formal statement, President Biden stated that “The United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have their back.” President Biden continued to pledge assistance to the citizens of Israel, and to provide whatever they need to defend themselves.
Hamas leader Muhammad Deif, according to the NYT, cited Israel’s seizure and occupation of the West Bank since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, as well as recent raids on a Jerusalem Mosque and the jailing of Islamic militants within Israel, as caused for their massed rocket strikes, raids, and kidnappings.
Hamas is known to be supplied and financed by the regime in Iran, and Tehran has repeatedly sought the eradication of an Israeli state. It is likely that Iranian Quds forces supplied and coordinated the efforts necessary for this attack.
Russia has also delivered a statement. Addressing the international community, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov stated “We call for an immediate ceasefire and a peace plan based on the establishment of an independent Palestine state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Many unfamiliar with the regions history may view Russia’s statement as a well-structured and workable agreement, leaving room for a diplomatic peace. The 1967 Arab-Israeli Conflict was spurred on by an Arabic Coalition looking to destroy the state of Israel. The border changes were a result of Israel’s victory and have been the controversial cornerstone of Israel's nation-building ever since. Russia’s proposition for peace, much like its own in Ukraine, is untenable.
United Nations Peacekeepers have reinforced their positions on the Israeli-Lebanese border as a means of deterring Hezbollah terrorists from joining the fray. Additionally, Muslims in Berlin, Canada, and Turkey have, for example, begun rallies in support of Hamas and the Palestinian cause.
Will the conflict expand? Will Iran take a formal, open role? How will Muslims and Jews in the West react? Let me know in the comments.