Hamas and Palestinians Face a Bloody Future
Israeli forces are bombing targets in Gaza after Hamas militants infiltrated Israel this past weekend and killed hundreds of soldiers and unarmed civilians, including many women and children.
The attack carried out in a combined land, sea, and air invasion, saw Hamas militants take over entire communities within Israel, killing their inhabitants and taking over 100 hostages back into Gaza.
At the same time, Hamas fired over 3,000 rockets into Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Israelis reeling from this massive intelligence and military failure are asking how this happened, with Israel’s intelligence services known as among the best in the world.
As the Israeli military attacks Hamas in Gaza in what it has dubbed “Operation Swords of Iron,” killing hundreds of terrorists there as well as civilians caught up in the crossfire, the world is asking what the objective is and where this latest round of fighting is headed.
According to Israeli sources, the aim this time is not to return to a state of calm and quiet as in the past, but rather, to completely destroy Hamas’ capability to operate as a military force and act as a continued threat to Israel.
Hamas, for its part, appears to have carried out its incredibly successful attack with the aim of forcing Israel to release all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.
This unlikely scenario became even more unlikely as Israel responded with overwhelming and unprecedented force and it is possible that Hamas has been taken by surprise, assuming Israel would instead want to negotiate the release of the hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday that Israel does not have any choice but to unleash a ground operation in Gaza. “We have to go in,” Netanyahu said.
The conflict has created a wall of support for Israel across the globe with the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many other countries condemning Hamas and proclaiming Israel’s right to defend itself.
Biden delivered a statement on Sunday, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. “The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel,” he said. “Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
Notably, Hamas published many videos on social media channels showing how it infiltrated Israel and killed and captured Israeli civilians. The videos quickly spread across the world, generating disgust as some of them showed young women, children, and elderly women, including many Holocaust survivors, being brutally murdered or carted off to Gaza.
While the world has long maintained strong sympathy for the Palestinian people locked in Gaza under an oppressive Hamas regime, an Israeli-controlled border to the east and an Egyptian-controlled border to the south, many are now questioning their dedication to the Palestinian cause.
Hamas may not represent all Palestinians and all Palestinians may not necessarily support Hamas, but their destinies are intertwined.
If Israel is successful and manages to destroy Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) capabilities, it could in time provide the Palestinians living in Gaza another chance to choose a peaceful government that will bring prosperity and a brighter future for the next generation.
In 2005, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority, then governed by Yasser Arafat. Hamas seized control of Gaza in a violent takeover in 2006 and has ruled it since then.
Just as Germans had to undergo a program of de-Nazification after WWII, Palestinian youth may need to unlearn the hate and everything they were taught by Hamas and PIJ, and instead learn how to build a better future with their neighbors in Israel.
Meanwhile, the international community will be watching as Israel works toward its stated objective to destroy Hamas and PIJ military and operational capabilities.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and promised American support. He also sent the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean to serve as a warning to Iran and Hezbollah not to join the war and turn it into a multi-front attack on Israel.
Gallant said Israel’s blockade would be tightened to prevent food and fuel from being brought into the strip, home to approximately 2.3 million people.
Qatar’s foreign ministry has confirmed it is involved in mediation talks with Hamas and Israeli officials, including a possible prisoner swap.
Israeli analysts have dismissed the report, saying Israel’s only objective now is to destroy Hamas.
On Monday, Netanyahu delivered an address in which he said the conflict “was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way.” Adding, “Though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it.”
According to analysts, that could take weeks, depending on how willing Hamas is to fight and what it decides to do about the hostages.
The next few days and weeks will be telling as both sides suffer casualties and the ravages of war.