Israel – Hamas War. An Opinion.

Notes:

  1. The following is a current affairs piece. This is a new thread of writing we’re exploring. All feedback is appreciated.
  2. There is no easy way to talk about war. War, even when justified, is devastating. We’ll do our best to present the following viewpoints while acknowledging war’s horrid nature.

Israel – Hamas War. An opinion.

Many people have condemned and continue to condemn the Hamas atrocities from October 7. But some who do so then immediately change the conversation to Israel’s actions in response. Look at the occupation, they say. Or cite the death numbers resulting from the war.

Now, the latter statement is devastating. Most Israelis and Israeli officials themselves would say so. The occupation statement, however, is, at best, a half-truth. Gaza wasn’t occupied on October 7 – Israel removed all of its citizens, some forcibly, from the area in 2005. Since then, governance has been in the hands of the Palestinian people, who elected Hamas in the first and to date only election, even though the Hamas founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jewish people. As a result, what almost immediately followed Hamas coming to power was rockets launched at Israel and other forms of terror attacks from Gaza. One may agree or disagree with the resulting initiatives, but understandably, Israel countered with tactics such as blockades and border walls.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean Palestinian people don’t have grievances. They do. And it doesn’t mean that life in Gaza pre-October 7 didn’t come with many struggles. It did. There are no doubts about the deep frustrations that exist for the Palestinian people who live in Gaza from all the happenings of the post-1948 years. This, too, is part of the story of the conflict. But with the many rejected partition peace deals, it seems from history that leaders of the Palestinian people, Hamas in particular in recent years, seem more intent on trying to destroy Israel than to build a country for their people.

Which begs the question, what is the resistance movement aiming to achieve. If the Palestinian people can have a country without violence, then what does it mean if the leaders choose violence? That question became all too poignant on October 7, when Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel, killing nearly a thousand civilians and taking hundreds more hostage. Then, they vowed to continue launching similar attacks.

As a people, we should always strive for non-violent solutions. Israel presented such an option to Hamas after October 7. Release the hostages and surrender, and there won’t be war. That offer was rejected.

That rejection and the call to commit more attacks like October 7 left Israel in a position without much option but to attack and to do so against an enemy that had already prepared for one to come. Israel would also have to conduct the operation in an environment where Hamas embeds their soldiers and military infrastructure in civilian populations or within myriad elaborate underground tunnels.

About four months in, the result of war thus far has been Israel successfully eliminating most Hamas battalions and many leaders, bringing home 112 hostages, and destroying tunnel infrastructure and other military capabilities. Israel has done this all with most actions under a global microscope and some blatant examples of misreporting that caused heightened anti-Israel sentiment. It has also done this against aggressive ceasefire campaigns, which may have the best intentions in mind but would only leave Israel in a position to be attacked again. These calls for ceasefire would serve the people of Gaza better if they were calls for Hamas to release the hostages and surrender. Given the stance Hamas has taken, it is understandable that Israel cannot accept a ceasefire at this time.

As a concluding thought, one perspective remains quite clear. What Hamas did on October 7 was pure barbarism. It wasn’t resistance; it wasn’t an action to defend the people they govern in Gaza. It was some of the worst terrorism in modern history. As a people, it’s imperative to stand against those actions and the group that perpetrated them in more than condemnation.


Notes:

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