Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israeli barbarism begets barbarism: The 7 October war

October 16, 2023 at 8:21 pm

Doctors examine a child injured as a result of Israeli attacks at Nasser Hospital as Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip continue on the eighth day in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 14, 2023 [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]

In a vacuum, the Hamas-led 7 October attack on southern Israel, in which civilians – including women, children, and the elderly – were killed in the hundreds, leading to a total death toll of around 1,300 was brutal, immoral and unjustified. While the IDF never confirmed reports of infant beheadings by Hamas militants and seem unlikely, the deliberate killing of children and a few hundred people enjoying a concert seems particularly heinous, not to mention illegal under international law.

Physicists tell us that nothing can exist in a vacuum; there is always black body radiation or virtual particles. The game goes with the Hamas Resistance’s invasion of southern Israel. Palestinians in Gaza have been trapped on a strip of land the size of Detroit for the past 16 years under an Israeli siege. The siege has prevented people from leaving to seek medical care and limited the amount of medical supplies, construction materials and other basic necessities coming into the enclave. Due to Israel’s creation of an outdoor prison for 2.1 million people, the UN has long considered Gaza unlivable.

That is before getting into the post-siege Israeli-Hamas conflicts.

OPINION: When war strikes the innocent

According to Wikipedia, during the past 16 years, conflicts between Israel and Hamas have left approximately 4,023 Gazans dead, mostly civilians (63 per cent) – [No information from Wikipedia was given for Palestinian civilian deaths in the 2021 conflict between Hamas and Israel. Therefore, civilian deaths noted for this conflict on the Israeli side were also negated] – and 160 Israelis dead, a minority of civilians (38 per cent). The data points to the fact that, besides making life unlivable for Palestinians in Gaza (not to mention the West Bank), Israel is killing Palestinians at a rate of 200 for every Israeli killed. Among the two populations, when there are deaths in Israel-Hamas conflicts, there is 26 per cent greater likelihood of being a civilian when Israel strikes Gaza than the other way around. The data shows that self-proclaimed “most moral military in the world” of the IDF is a flat lie.

In the West Bank, the drastic increase of the Israeli settler population has long made the two-state solution unviable. The settlers conduct pogroms against Palestinian villages and are backed by the IDF’s live fire, killing about 230 Palestinian civilians this year prior to 7 October (after which the settlers have become even more violent).

The Palestinian Authority is a corrupt entity that helps perpetuate the longest and most brutal military occupation in today’s world. The only real option of organised, Palestinian military resistance is Hamas. Typically, Hamas will launch a barrage of inaccurate rockets that inflict few, if any, casualties. Israel responds with accurate bombings of civilian apartment buildings and infrastructure as collective punishment.

Early October was different. This time, Hamas played by Israel’s rules in carrying out a barbaric attack largely against Israeli civilians. The far-right Israeli government, after forming an emergency coalition, has conducted a rampage of bombings in retaliation that have caused one million Gazans to be displaced in a week, 2,329 deaths, including 724 children. They have bombed civilian apartment buildings, mosques, the main Islamic University and health care services in Gaza. The Israeli government has also ordered a complete siege, preventing food, electricity and other basic necessities from flowing in, causing a humanitarian catastrophe, where incubators for infants and ventilators risk no longer being able to run on generators. The IDF is amassed at the Gaza border with 300,000 troops, tanks and US munitions. Although much of Gaza is already in ruins because of Israeli bombing, 1.1 million Gazans in the north have been told to flee as Israel is preparing a massive ground invasion.

REVIEW: Gaza Ghetto, the occupation’s lasting legacy

Israel’s retaliatory actions have all been against international law – from targeting civilian areas, using white phosphorus, preventing food and electricity from entering Gaza and ordering 1.1 million civilians to flee their homes without giving the time or the means to do so. Hamas’s actions against Israel on the 7 October were barbaric, but Israel’s revenge, as usual, has been beyond the pale.

If Israel accepted the long-term truce that returns to 1967 borders which Hamas broached in the mid-2000s, as well as ending the Gaza siege, Israel would have peace with its neighbours. The problem is that Israel wants all of the West Bank and to keep the “troublemakers”, i.e., Hamas, and the civilian population of Gaza in an outdoor prison. This will never yield peace.

For when the boot rests heavily upon a victim’s neck, what can be done but resist?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.