As Israel imposes a punishing ‘complete siege’ on Gaza, signs point to preparations for a risky ground invasion to eliminate Hamas. With over 1,300 dead and counting, this crisis starkly reveals the roots of Palestinian rage.
Key Facts (as of 10th October 2023):
- Chaos as Hamas launches 3,000+ missiles on Israeli cities and 1,000+ fighters cross border from Gaza – 900 + Israelis killed
- Israel has mobilised 300,000 reservists, striking hundreds of sites in Gaza from the air
- Israel insists targeting militants but 700+ dead Gazans and 10% children fuel “war crimes” condemnation
- Over 2 million Gazans, with around 50% being children, face a humanitarian catastrophe as Israel’s blockade cuts off electricity, water, food and medical supplies
- Hamas threatens to execute their 100-150 Israeli hostages in response to bombing of Gazan homes
- Hezbollah clashes with Israel in the north have also escalated, risking a 2-front war
- Stunned Israel failed to foresee Hamas’ bold incursion and 5,000+ rocket “Al-Aqsa Storm” offensive, despite its vaunted intelligence services
- Speculation mounts about a risky ground invasion to eliminate Hamas capabilities
- Reports suggesting Iranian involvement with Hamas triggers widening the conflict further
- The current crisis lays bare the bitter fruits of occupation, dispossession and loss of hope
An unprovoked attack?
How did this simmering conflict boil over so dramatically? The current hostilities reflect a confluence of regional currents and decades of dispossession. It seems to be understood that Hamas timed its offensive to derail Israel-Saudi rapprochement, sensing its irrelevance amidst Arab-Israeli normalisation. Its surprise onslaught sought to underscore that while some Arab states may accept Israeli partnership, doing so will sow only bloodshed absent justice for Palestinians.
These tensions also arise from the breakdown of the peace process. For years, the international community has ignored Palestinian desperation, focusing myopically on Israeli security concerns and alliance building against Iran. Settlement growth and Al-Aqsa incursions have sparked clashes, yet Israel faces no consequences. Meanwhile Gaza’s 15-year blockade creates a pressure cooker for militancy. Hence, Hamas stresses that negotiations and nonviolence lead nowhere. Only armed resistance can shake the status quo.
For Hamas, this attack represents a jailbreak from unliveable conditions in Gaza and a last stand by the hopeless against the hopeless. This action could be viewed as seeking to force worldwide attention back to a forgotten people through the language Israel understands best: force.
Israel’s Fierce Response
Yet Israeli retaliation will be unrestrained. Despite the stinging losses and bloody nose, Israel is determined to make Gaza bear the consequences of shattering its deterrence and military aura of invincibility. The scale of destruction it will sow to regain that perception of supremacy will be unprecedented, predict experts.
Buoyed by steadfast US support, Israel rebuffs global calls for ceasefire. An advanced American naval carrier group brings crucial military aid, signalling strong White House solidarity. Yet strains emerge amongst allies. Though NATO is providing assistance to Israel, the international community remains fractured in its response as the war continues, with some experts predicting increased alignment behind Israel’s position whilst fault lines emerge amongst other global actors opposing the civilian toll.
The Murky Path Ahead
As Gaza burns, the way forward appears murky. Israel will not permit a return to Oslo’s fragile status quo, nor allow the rocket fire and border attacks that have become Hamas’ calling card. Meanwhile, Hamas cannot back down empty-handed, and Gaza teeters on economic collapse that aids extremists. Is more bloodshed inevitable? Have moderates been decisively sidelined? The answers remain elusive.
What emerges clearly from the current strife is a need to address underlying causes—occupation, dispossession, marginalisation—before conditions worsen. Without political horizons, Palestinian youth will fill Hamas’ ranks, guaranteeing future war. The international community must urgently re-engage on resolving conflict drivers, not just mitigating symptoms after flare-ups. For this crisis lays bare the need for a just peace anchored in freedom and Palestinian self-determination.
Until substantive progress is made towards that distant goal, the embers of hatred will continue to find fresh oxygen. And civilians, not fighters, will always pay the steepest price, as Gaza demonstrates today. Its tortured history is long, its defiance now unbroken. Only through empathy and a shared vision can needed change emerge.
- Al Jazeera. “Israel-Hamas war updates: Israeli bombing rocks Gaza through the night.” Accessed October 10, 2023. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2023/10/9/israel-hamas-war-live-news-israel-orders-complete-siege-of-gaza-strip.
- Al Jazeera. “What is happening in Israel and Gaza? A look at the war with Hamas.” Accessed October 10, 2023. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/9/what-is-happening-in-israel-and-gaza-a-look-at-the-war-with-hamas.
- ABC News. “Timeline of surprise rocket attack by Hamas on Israel.” Accessed October 10, 2023. https://abcnews.go.com/International/timeline-surprise-rocket-attack-hamas-israel/story?id=103816006.
- “Fact Sheet: Israel and Palestine Conflict.” Accessed October 10, 2023. https://acleddata.com/2023/10/09/fact-sheet-israel-and-palestine-conflict/.
- Amnesty International. “Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Accessed October 10,2023. https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/.
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- Global Intel Watch. “International news aggregation. We try to be first on the news. To contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org @GIWAdmin.” Telegram, https://t.me/geopoliticalblog. Accessed October 10, 2023.
- The Muslim World. “Reporting, commentary and analysis on social, historical, political and economic events in the Muslim world.” Telegram, https://t.me/tmw\\_media. Accessed October 10, 2023.
- The New York Times. “Israel Orders ‘Complete Siege’ of Gaza and Hamas Threatens to Kill Hostages.” Accessed October 10, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/09/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-siege-hamas.html#:~:text=Hamas’s%20Attack%20Unfolded-,Israel%20Orders%20’Complete%20Siege’%20of%20Gaza%20and%20Hamas%20Threatens%20to,including%20mosques%20and%20a%20marketplace.
- War Monitors. Telegram, https://t.me/warmonitors. Accessed October 10, 2023.