The Latest on Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Surprise Attack and a State of War

The Israel-Palestine conflict has flared up again, but this time to an unprecedented scale.

The Israel-Palestine conflict has flared up again, but this time to an unprecedented scale. On Saturday, October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, firing thousands of rockets and infiltrating the southern Israeli towns by land, sea and air using paragliders. The attack caught Israel off guard and caused widespread panic, damage and casualties. Israel responded by declaring a state of war and launching air strikes on Gaza, while its forces clashed with Hamas fighters on the ground. The fighting has continued for two days, with no sign of de-escalation or ceasefire.

Here are some of the key developments and facts about the conflict:

  • The death toll has risen to over 900 people, with more than 3,600 wounded. According to Israeli officials, at least 600 Israelis have been killed and 2,000 injured, mostly civilians. According to the Palestinian health ministry, at least 313 Palestinians have died and more than 1,600 are wounded in Gaza, where residential buildings, mosques and infrastructure have been bombed by Israel.
  • Hamas claims it has captured dozens of Israelis, including soldiers and civilians. Videos authenticated by CNN show some of the dramatic seizures, such as a group of militants parading an unconscious woman taken hostage from a music festival near the border. Hamas says it wants to exchange the captives for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Israel’s military has acknowledged hostages were taken, but has not confirmed the number or their identities.
  • The attack by Hamas was unprecedented in its scale and audacity. It was described by some analysts as a “Pearl Harbor” moment for Israel, which has one of the most sophisticated border security systems in the world. Hamas used a combination of rockets, drones, tunnels, boats and paragliders to breach Israel’s defenses and strike multiple targets simultaneously. The attack was timed to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when many Israelis were outdoors celebrating.
  • The attack by Hamas was also motivated by several factors, including the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, the forced evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, the recent normalization of ties between Israel and some Arab states, and the internal divisions within the Palestinian leadership. Hamas, which controls Gaza but is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and many Western countries, wanted to assert its role as a resistance movement and challenge the legitimacy of its rival, the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank.
  • The international community has expressed alarm and concern over the escalation of violence and called for an immediate end to hostilities. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday, but failed to issue a joint statement due to disagreements among its members. The United States, Israel’s main ally, said it was sending military ships and aircraft closer to Israel to support its security and deter further attacks. Hamas labeled the US announcement as “aggression” against Palestinians. Other countries, such as Turkey, Iran and Qatar, have condemned Israel’s actions and expressed solidarity with Palestinians.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is one of the longest-running and most complex in the world. It has its roots in the historical claims and grievances of both sides over the land that they consider their homeland. It has also been influenced by regional and global dynamics, such as wars, diplomacy, terrorism, human rights, religion and geopolitics. Despite several attempts at peace negotiations over the years, the conflict remains unresolved and prone to flare-ups.

For more information and updates on the latest developments on the ground, you can follow these sources:

  • Al Jazeera: A Qatar-based news network that provides comprehensive coverage of the Middle East and other regions.
  • CNN: A US-based news network that offers live updates, analysis and videos on global events.
  • Anadolu Agency: A Turkish state-run news agency that reports on regional and international issues.