The battle broke out on October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched an air, sea, and land attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. The conflict was between Israel and Palestinian terrorists, particularly Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
The attack on October 7, which claimed the lives of over 1,200 people, mostly Israeli citizens, made it the deadliest day for Israel since the country’s independence. During the raid, about 240 persons were also held hostage. Israel declared war on itself the following day, marking the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to start the conflict, and weeks later, armored vehicles and ground forces invaded the area.
Over 240 more people were kidnapped and transported as hostages into the Gaza Strip. Some were removed from the music event, while many more were abducted from their houses. More than half of those taken hostage, including dual-citizen Israelis, had passports from over twenty different nations combined, enlisting the aid of other nations in the struggle to free their individuals.
Ceasefire as a Precursor to Diplomacy
At the end of 2008, Israel launched its first major offensive against Hamas, involving airstrikes and a land invasion. There were more incidents of hostilities, mostly in 2012, 2014, and 2021. The dense population and extensive network of underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip were two of the many elements that complicated the conflicts. Hamas and other Gazans utilized the tunnels to evade the siege, carry out activities, and conceal themselves from Israeli forces. It was challenging to find or destroy them, particularly when they were built beneath residential buildings.
The list of war objectives that Israel has declared is ever-growing and includes eliminating Hamas, freeing all hostages, guaranteeing that Gaza won’t ever pose a threat to Israel, prohibiting the Palestinian Authority from having any authority over the region, stopping any “element” that “educates its children for terrorism, supports terrorism, finances terrorism and calls for the destruction of Israel,” and establishing a large buffer zone inside Gaza that divides Israel from the people living there.
International Support For Palestinian Statehood
For the eighth week in a row, thousands of people have marched through Jordan in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, marking the end of a humanitarian ceasefire and the beginning of Israeli strikes. Hebron was the center of a demonstration by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank against the Israeli attack on Gaza. Tens of thousands of protesters marched in support of Palestinians through Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Western nations along with those of Japan, South Korea, and India. numerous foreign ministries, including those of Turkey, Russia, China, and numerous Arab nations, advised moderation rather than outright denouncing Hamas. In addition to pledging unwavering support for Israel, US President Joe Biden visited the country on October 18, making history as the first president to do so during a conflict.
However, Israel came under intense international pressure to permit restricted supplies into the Gaza Strip as the conflict caused the situation there to worsen in terms of humanitarian relief. There were also worries expressed about the war’s potential to turn into a larger regional struggle. Strong feelings generated by the conflict also gave rise to a surge of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism against Arabs and Palestinians. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported 312 anti-Semitic acts in the US during the first few weeks of the conflict, an increase over the 64 instances they documented during the same period in 2022.
Hamas is a militant Islamist and Palestinian nationalist organization based in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that aims to build an autonomous Islamic state in the historical region of Palestine. Meanwhile, only a two-State solution could bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict permanently. Both Israelis and Palestinians must see the fulfillment of their justifiable demands for security and the establishment of a completely autonomous, self-governing state.
Rising pro-Hamas and anti-Israeli sentiment in the Arab world is expected to force Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to abandon efforts to publicly embrace Israel indefinitely, according to Hamas and its allies in the Axis of Resistance. For Egypt and Jordan, who have taken in hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the past but have refused to admit any more during the current conflict, the relocation of millions more Palestinians poses a challenge. They worry that when they depart, Gazans, many of whom were previously uprooted from other parts of Israel won’t be able to return.