Facts and context about the war launched by Hamas against Israel
As of November 1, 2023:
On October 7th, with funding and support from Iran’s regime, Hamas and other Islamist extremist terror groups that control Gaza launched a brutal war by brutally massacring Israeli civilians. After reviewing the evidence, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “I know a lot about ISIS, and [the Hamas massacre] is worse than what I saw with ISIS.”
As of now over 1,400 Israelis have been murdered and over 5,350 wounded by terrorists invading Israel and firing over 8,500 rockets across the country. The vast majority of Israeli casualties are civilians. They include women, children, the elderly, paramedics, firefighters, and security forces.
If the U.S. lost the same percentage of its population as Israel did since October 7th, it would mean terrorists murdered 44,234 Americans.
While Hamas’s primary target was Israeli Jews, Hamas also murdered 9 Bedouin Israelis, including six children, when Hamas rockets fell on their house in Rahat. There are also reportedly people from 42 other countries around the world who were either murdered or are missing as a result of the Hamas massacre.
Numerous towns in the south of Israel were infiltrated, with terrorists setting homes on fire to force families to come out and be kidnapped or murdered. 260 civilians were massacred at a music festival. Over 240 Israelis, including the elderly, women, and children, have reportedly been kidnapped and are being held hostage in Gaza.
As a result of this terrorist onslaught, Israel is now at war. Israel’s army, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first had to fight off all the terrorists who invaded on October 7th, and then launched extensive airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. As of October 29th, Israeli ground forces have begun military operations in northern Gaza.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says over 8,500 Palestinians have been killed and over 16,200 wounded in the fighting. The IDF said it has killed at least 1,500 terrorists who invaded Israel on October 7th. The real numbers will likely remain unclear for some time, due to misinformation spread by Hamas and other factors.
The goal of Hamas is not to oppose any specific Israeli policy or action. Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist group driven by genocidal racism against Jews. It seeks to destroy Israel and replace it with a brutal regime of religious supremacy (see quotes from Hamas below).
Hamas has tried to justify this war by falsely claiming that Israelis were threatening Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem during the recent Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This is untrue. A senior Hamas official publicly admitted that they have been planning this massacre for two years.
Hamas launched this war for a variety of reasons: to stop Israel from making peace with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states; internal Palestinian politics where Hamas is positioning itself to be the unquestioned leader of the Palestinians after PA President Mahmoud Abbas dies; miscalculating Israeli resolve as Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza put it while the attack was still underway: Israel is an “illusion made of dust and capable of being defeated and broken.”
Hamas is heavily funded by Iran’s regime, which often makes genocidal threats to destroy Israel. It also receives support from Turkey and Qatar. Hamas was named the third richest terror group in the world by Forbes Magazine. It uses its funding to brutally oppress Palestinians in Gaza and fuel its endless war against Israel, instead of making peace and building a better future for its people.
After the attack began, Iran quickly announced their support of Hamas and called for Israel’s destruction.
In 2005 Israel unilaterally and unconditionally withdrew all its citizens and forces from Gaza in the hope of making peace with the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority (PA) began to govern.
In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections, while Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah party remained the President of the PA. In 2007, Hamas violently took over Gaza from the PA and has ruled it since. Once this terror group took over Gaza, Israel and Egypt — with international support — put into effect a land and sea blockade to prevent Hamas from smuggling arms from Iran and other sources.
Until the massacre by Hamas, Israel delivered thousands of tons of food, water, medicine, aid, fuel, and other materials to the people of Gaza every single week. This included providing 50% of Gaza’s electricity for free, according to the Begin-Sadat Center. However, Palestinian civilians living there still suffered tremendous hardships, mainly due to hostilities between Hamas and Israel.
In response to Hamas launching an all-out war and kidnapping civilians, Israel initially stopped its deliveries of fuel and water to Gaza and said they will resume only when all Israeli hostages are released. On October 15th, Israel began supplying water to southern Gaza, after encouraging civilians from northern Gaza to temporarily evacuate to the south.
The Egyptian government initially stated that its border crossings with Gaza remained open for deliveries of humanitarian aid to civilians, and numerous countries have sent this aid. However, delivery trucks were not allowed to enter Gaza until negotiations were completed between Israel, Egypt, the U.S., and others. On October 18th, Israel announced it will not prevent food, water, or medicine from being delivered to civilians, “as long as these supplies do not reach Hamas.”
Israeli deliveries of water represent a very small portion of Gaza’s total water supply, according EcoPeace Middle East. However, Gaza’s water infrastructure has been severely harmed by Hamas mismanagement, their endless war against Israel, and their terrorists digging up water pipes and using them to build rockets.
Hamas has dragged Israel into a war which will likely be long and painful. Israel has a right and duty to defend its people against genocidal terrorist groups and has said its goal is to destroy the “military and governmental capabilities of Hamas.”
This war is a tragedy that has already caused horrific suffering on both sides because Hamas is murdering Israelis and at the same time using innocent Palestinians as human shields. Hamas and other terrorists have militarized civilian areas in Gaza. Their leaders and militants hide, store weapons, and fire rockets at Israel from homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques. These are war crimes against Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The IDF code of ethics requires Israeli soldiers to do everything they can to protect innocent life. Numerous legal and military experts have documented how the IDF does not intentionally target civilians as a matter of policy and goes beyond what the law requires by warning civilians before striking military targets. Nevertheless, it has proven impossible to stop terrorists in Gaza from attacking innocent Israelis without harming innocent Palestinians in the process. This is because Hamas and its allies intentionally put civilians directly in harm’s way, and even actively encourage them to ignore Israeli warnings.
The U.S., Canada, UK, EU, India, Australia, Iranian opposition leaders, and others have said they stand with Israel. At least 84 countries have reportedly expressed their support for Israel and its people.
Since the Hamas massacre on October 7th and the ensuing war, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, which controls much of Lebanon, has begun attacking Israel from the north. This has included rockets, guided missiles, sniper fire, and more. Israel has responded with targeted strikes and artillery fire of its own, but these clashes have not yet escalated to a full blown war. Iran’s regime has also begun threatening to expand the war against Israel, resulting in the U.S. stationing aircraft carriers in the region.
Since October 7th, at least 250,000 Israelis have been internally displaced due to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as the clashes with Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.
Since October 20, Hamas has released four hostages – an Israeli American mother and daughter (who still have other family members being held hostage) and two elderly Israelis. However, over 200 people are still suffering in Hamas captivity, including children and babies. On October 30th, a fifth hostage was rescued during the IDF ground operation in Gaza.
Israel is a very small country with a population of only 9 million. Everyone knows someone who lost a family member. The whole country is in shock, and is grieving.
The people of Israel are resilient and will overcome the Hamas massacre. While we hope this war ends as soon as possible, we call on the international community to fully support Israelis in their fight against terrorism.
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