Hamas and Israel Conflict Intensifies – Thousands of Lives at Stake

Image shows Free Gaza graffiti on a wall. Photo credit: Daniel Lobo on Flickr

By Contributing Writer Riley Kim (’24)

Recently the news has been dominated by the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is a lot of history leading up to the conflict that is currently going on. RamPage has already covered this information which you can find here: https://jdrampage.org/israel-palestine-conflict-no-end-in-sight-despite-ceasefire/

The current conflict between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, 2023 when Hamas fired thousands of rockets towards Israeli towns. They broke through the heavily fortified border fence with Israel and sent militants deep into Israeli territory. Once inside, gunmen killed civilians and soldiers alike and took more than 200 hostages. This attack was unprecedented and was the first time Israel had faced its adversaries within its own territories since 1948.

But what is Hamas and why did they attack Israel? Hamas is an Islamist organization with a military wing that emerged in 1987 out of the Muslim Brotherhood, a non-violent Sunni Islamist group that was founded in the late 1920s in Egypt. Similar to most Palestinian factions, they say Israel is an occupying power and that they are trying to liberate the Palestinian territories. Over the years, it has claimed many attacks on Israel and been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, and Israel. Hamas differs from some other Palestinian factions in that it refuses to engage with Israel and does not recognize its right to exist.

After the attack by Hamas, Israel felt the need to respond. They launched “Operation Swords of Iron” with the goal of eliminating Hamas entirely. Israel imposed a complete siege on Gaza, the main location for Hamas by blocking food, water, and fuel from entering. They did this while also sending in a ground offensive which effectively cut the territory in two. Between October 7 and 12, Israel dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza. Children were reported to make up 30-40% of those wounded in the strikes. The IDF told citizens in Gaza to evacuate their residential areas immediately but all crossings out of Gaza have been shut down, leaving them trapped.

Gaza is a 140 mile territory with around 2 million people crammed into it. The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth, which means bombings are even more impactful. The territory has been blockaded by Israel, nobody can get in or out. The territory’s only power station stopped working during the middle of October and hospitals are expected to run out of fuel soon, which could lead to catastrophic conditions according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Thousands have died during this conflict and thousands more have been injured. There are 1,200 deaths from the Hamas attack on Israel and 12,000 deaths from the Israel counterattack on Gaza. Around 1.5 million citizens of the 2 million living in Gaza have been displaced.

At the moment, the conflict seems to have no end in sight. As of November 18th, no outside power has directly intervened in the fighting involved in the conflict but many have voiced concerns over the citizens who are trapped within the conflict. Some countries have shown their support for different sides. The U.S and its European allies have shown their support for Israel by sending millions in military aid and countries such as Rwanda, India, and Qatar have sent aid to those in Gaza. This current conflict is simply a remaster of a conflict that has been going on for decades. We here at RamPage hope that you take the time to learn about the history and to keep an eye on the conflict as it continues to evolve.

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