As the fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian Hamas continues, civilian casualties have increased, with hundreds killed on both sides. Hamas has also captured many Israelis, including soldiers and civilians. Israel has warned the people of Gaza of a ground invasion and targeted buildings in the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds of civilians. How did the attack on Israel by Hamas fighters come about, and what are the implications for the world and the Middle East?
Saturday, October 7, was a significant turning point in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Aqsa Operation, distinct from previous conflicts in the Middle East, stands out as an event where Palestinian leadership and strategy posed a direct threat to Israel for the first time, and the operation took place within the occupied regions of Israel. Given that most previous conflicts occurred between the occupying Zionists and the Hamas resistance (Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades) movement in the closed areas of Gaza, this event surprised the Israeli government, leaving it struggling to comprehend the direction of the conflict. Further attacks by Hamas against Israel may potentially lead to increased tensions in the Middle East and exacerbate regional instability. The consequences of this conflict could impact the political and security dynamics in the region.
The operation that took place carries significant implications both quantitatively and in terms of execution. Hamas employed a war strategy that took advantage of a moment when the world was distracted and when the global media seemed to have moved on from Hamas' cause, presenting a well-rested and calculated approach. Suddenly, their strengths came to the fore. They returned from a period of internal development and construction, focused on strengthening their resilience and prepared for potential threats from Israeli bases. Even Israel's intelligence and radar systems appeared taken aback.
The Background of the Operation
The Hamas movement is engaged in a struggle to reclaim Palestinian territories, basing their fight on the principle of 'The land is ours, and the right is ours.' They see themselves as a people ready to sacrifice for the defence of this land and their homeland despite the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other Zionist sympathizers. Hamas is particularly fighting for ownership of the historical sacred sites, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the birthplace of Jesus. Consequently, the fundamental principle underlying the conflict is land ownership, shared by Muslims and Christians in Palestine.
The Message of the Aqsa Storm
Hamas' largest attack on the areas occupied by Israel in Palestine since Egypt's October 1973 war against Israel conveys three significant messages;
· Israel, which is regarded to have one of the world's most capable intelligence agencies, failed to gather information about the attack. This suggests that Hamas possesses highly developed intelligence and operational capabilities.
· Recent years have seen efforts to normalize relations between Arab and Islamic governments and Israel, while isolating Palestine, especially Gaza, imposing sanctions on the Palestinian people, and intensifying pressures. This attack undermines all of these efforts. Those supporting Hamas and other groups' leaders have found themselves on the opposing side.
· The response from the Palestinian government illustrates cooperation and consultation among different Palestinian groups, as well as their receptiveness to external support and advice.
Israel, viewing this operation as a major defeat, not only targets Hamas fighters but also unleashes aggression on the civilian population, thus highlighting its own ruthless identity to the world. Western countries sympathetic to Zionism, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, characterize this as their right to self-defence and provide military support to Israel, while Islamic countries often limit their response to condemnation. This situation is deeply disheartening. One may inquire: What is the significance of the numerous human rights declarations and international laws that Western countries compel others to endorse?