Press "Enter" to skip to content

Israel-Hamas War creates huge humanitarian crisis, claiming thousands of lives

By Jack Levy, Staff Writer

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas fired thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. Hamas also sent militant gunmen into Israel where they killed over 1,000 Israelis and took more as hostages.

 One specific incident captured on film showed dozens of Hamas gunmen airdrop into a music festival near the Gaza-Israel border and open fire on the festival goers, leaving 260 dead.

Hamas, a group that came to power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, splitting from the Palestinian Authority which controls the West Bank, is referring to the operation as “Al-Aqsa Storm” in retaliation to Israel’s desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

In response, Israel launched their own operation, “Operation Swords of Iron,” to hit targets of importance to Hamas. Israel has launched thousands of their own rockets and Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed that Israel was in a “state of war” on the first day of the conflict.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is very complicated and goes back more than half a century. In 1948, after World War II and the Holocaust which killed over 60 percent of Europe’s Jewish population, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in British Palestine, which was a territory of the United Kingdom at the time, and is now mostly part of the state of Israel. However, this land was already the home of Palestinian Arabs, many of whom have been forcibly displaced since the founding of the state of Israel.  

Courtesy of CNBC

This is not the first conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, the current conflict seems to be the largest and potentially the deadliest with thousands of lives lost on both sides.

Since the start of the current conflict, both sides have been heavily criticized for their tactics which often blatantly disregard the safety of civilians. As of Oct. 23, the death toll in Israel has surpassed 1,400, according to the Israeli Medical Services, and the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 5,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. On both sides, a significant number of these fatalities are civilians.

“It’s wrong for both of these sides to be using civilians as human shields in this war, which they seem to be doing,” junior finance major Jake Shaw said about the civilian casualties. “I don’t even know how this conflict can ever end, it’s been going on since Israel was created.”

The conflict has forced the entire world to take a side on one of the most inflammatory issues in recent history. Most of the Western world including the United States backs Israel and has historically always done so, while most of the Middle East backs Palestine.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Hamas has received funding from Iran and other countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan and Algeria. On the other hand, Israel receives money each year from the United States.

The aid the United States gives to Israel and the support from much of the Western world puts the United States very close to this faraway conflict. Many people are worried that the United States may be drawn into this conflict directly or that the conflict may spread to more of the Middle East. 

“I don’t think we should be sending any troops to Israel to fight in this war,” senior business administration major Vincent Pirolo said. “We can send aid and try to make both sides negotiate a peace deal, but I think the situation would get way worse if we sent troops. Other countries might do the same thing for the Palestinians.”

The United States has already sent the USS Gerald Ford and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The USS Carney already shot down drone missiles fired from Yemen over the Red Sea, which the Pentagon states might have been heading toward Israel.

Since the start of the conflict there have been massive protests in cities and on college campuses, some in favor of the Palestinians using the popular slogan “free Palestine” and some in favor of the Israelis.

The issue is inflammatory and has led to hate crimes and hateful rhetoric being used against Palestinian and Jewish Americans.

“There’s no excuse for these crimes,” Shaw said. “We, as Americans, can’t allow this war to divide us more than we already are.”

The many differing opinions regarding this conflict puts the United States in a tight position because any decision made can anger millions of people.

It is still not certain what Hamas’s ultimate goal is in the current conflict, they have not backed down, and the conflict continues with no end in sight yet. Israel has not backed down either.

With thousands dead and even more displaced in a warzone with nowhere to go, this conflict may lead to one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent history. It is almost certain that more will be killed on both sides and it is uncertain if anything will be accomplished as a result of this conflict.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *