[Follow-up to “Opinion – Has the Hamas attack on Israel started World War III? We’ll soon find out” by Michael Bilow on October 25th, 2023.]
The situation in Israel is chaotic and unclear, as a surprise attack by Hamas terrorists infiltrating across the border from Gaza has been reported to have killed at least 150 Israelis and wounded nearly 900, mostly innocent civilians. The attack occurred 50 years and one day after a similar attack by massed Arab armies in what has come to be called the Yom Kippur War.
Hamas is one faction in what amounts to a longstanding civil war between Palestinian Arabs, with Hamas controlling the Gaza territory and its rival Fatah controlling the West Bank. Hamas is reported to have launched at least 2,200 rockets into Israel within the past few hours, but these are totally unguided consisting of metal tubes stuffed at one end with explosives and the other end with propellant, so they are strictly indiscriminate terror weapons that murder at random, and about one-third of them fall within Gaza and kill Palestinian Arabs before even reaching Israel.
What Hamas is doing, by targeting innocent civilians, would be considered a war crime if it were a state actor capable of engaging in war, but it is not. Hamas has been formally classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and pretty much the entire civilized world.
That Hamas managed to take Israeli hostages, confirmed by the Israel Defence Force (IDF), puts the government of Israel into an untenable political position, preventing so much as a cease fire and forcing what may turn into an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza, from which it withdrew in 2005 in the obviously dashed hope that the Palestinian Arabs would govern themselves and transition to peaceful mutual coexistence. Instead, Hamas exploited the Israeli withdrawal to escalate a civil war against Fatah, abandoning any effort to help their own Palestinian Arab people in pursuit of an Islamist theocracy committed, in the words of the Hamas charter, to destroy Israel and murder all Jews. Islamism is not a religion but is a religio-political ideology distinct from, although claiming to be based on, the religion of Islam.
No negotiation is possible with Hamas even if they were willing to engage, and the only possible result of this attack by Hamas against Israel will be their own mass suicide, which they glorify as martyrdom. Hamas has overplayed an incredibly weak hand, as Gaza is dependent on Israel for basics such as electricity and water: all Israel has to do is turn these off until the hostages are returned. When a society falls into the grip of collective insanity where its highest goal is martyrdom, this is the inevitable result.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Motif.