8 Oct 2023
Hamas-Israel War 2023...What Next?
As we enter the second day (Sunday Oct 8) of the Hamas-Israel war, the prospects that the situation will spiral out of control are real. The Gaza based Hamas is one of the radical Palestinian militant groups that was founded in 1987 to contribute to the decades old war against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian settlements.
The Gaza Strip (one of the two main Palestinian territories) pop. 2m is hemmed between the South Western end of Israel, the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It’s one of the most densely populated places on earth and her border with Israel is fenced leading residents to fondly refer to Gaza as an open prison.
Early on Saturday, Hamas militants breached the border fence and launched an audacious multi-pronged attacks called ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ on Israeli Security outposts and settlements within Israel. At the same time about 5000 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. Towards the end of the second day of the war, about 700 Israelis had died and an equal number unaccounted for. On the Palestinian side, over 400 had died and it was expected that the number will rise dramatically as Israel vowed to revenge. As of the time of writing this article (Sunday night), Israel was raining air and artillery strikes on Gaza and claiming to have struck 800 Hamas targets with hundreds of Hamas fighters killed.
As it usually happens when war breaks out in this region, there is always global effervescence. As the Israeli parliament officially approves the declaration of war, the U.S president emphasized the ‘Rock solid and unwavering’ support for Israel. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations occurred in Yemen, Turkey and Kuwait. The Lebanon based Hezbollah that had fought a similar war with Israel in 2006 snarled and fired warning shots at Israeli positions on the Lebanese border. Palestinians on the West Bank (separated from Gaza by 93 kms of Israeli territory) are drumming up support for Hamas. An emergency UN Security Council Meeting was convened. Speaking ahead of the Security Council meeting, the Israeli UN ambassador spoke in the language of vengeance referring to the Hamas attack as ‘Barbaric pogrom’. His Palestinian Counterpart castigated those who do not rate the killing of Palestinians at par with the killing of Israelis, adding ‘we are not sub humans’.
Thus the stage is set for another polarizing conflict that comes to exacerbate the already tense global environment that was ignited by the Russian/Ukraine war.
Israel emerged from the first day of the conflict with a bloody nose and the embarrassment that her intelligence services failed to see what was coming. They are therefore more than determined to exact revenge and ignore any appeal for restrain. The coming days will undoubtedly be dire for the Palestinians living in the congested ‘open prison’ that is Gaza Strip. The unanswered question is what will be the reaction of the rest of the world and esp. Hamas supporters if the ongoing Israeli action is judged to be disproportional? We are at the doorsteps of another flashpoint that will affect global peace and security.
Njei Timah Moses