The history of conflict and animosity between Israel and Palestine can be traced back to 1948, marked by Israel’s declaration of independence. However, Hamas was not founded until 1987, during the first Palestinian intifada (uprising). According to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Hamas was established to create an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. By 2006, Hamas won legislative elections, allowing Hamas to become the de facto government in the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip. Hamas has consistently affirmed its aim of dismantling the Israeli state while simultaneously emphasizing its commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Recently, the international stage has been deeply shaken by the current crisis. The conflict emerged on October 7th, 2023, from a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel. These attacks resulted in the tragic loss of over 1,300 lives. The attack has ignited the attention of nations all over the world. According to The Washington Institute (2023), over forty-four nations have responded to the crisis condemning Hamas for its brutal and terroristic attacks. As of 14 October, these attacks have killed approximately 1,300 Israeli’s and injured more than three-thousand people, marking the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the holocaust.
Israel has responded with devastating air strikes on Gaza, a restricted piece of land situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Israel to the east and north, and Egypt to the southwest. According to U.S. media, these attacks have killed over 2,000 Palestinians and injured nearly 10,000. Israeli has sent warnings to Gaza via social media and dropped leaflets to minimize the civilian causalities. However, the cries for safe passage to Egypt have only complicated the conflict.
As Egypt remains conflicted, the rate of displacement is poised to escalate significantly, heralding a cause for grave concern. The global community must unite in collaborative efforts to devise a means of offering sanctuary to those in need. The humanitarian crisis is far from over and the international community should take action to develop a plan to reach those impacted. Egypt has remained steadfast in holding tight constraints on accepting Palestinian refugees. However, Egypt is prepared to administer aid sent by humanitarian organizations and Middle Eastern countries. Nevertheless, Egypt does not want to be seen as aggravating the issue and is requiring those seeking refuge get approval from both Palestinian and Egyptian authorities (Parker, 2023).
The crisis exhibits multifaceted complexities for all parties involved and signifies a potential escalation as Israel maintains its military operations in Gaza. The prevailing humanitarian predicament is characterized by a precarious state of affairs, characterized by the reliance of medical facilities on backup generators for power and the constricted passage of vital supplies due to border closures. Presently, the Rafah border crossing emerges as the solitary pragmatic conduit for the evacuation of civilians and the ingress of essential humanitarian supplies. Difficult decisions need to be made to manage the already growing humanitarian crisis.
The demand for humanitarian assistance in both Israel and the Gaza Strip has reached a critical juncture and is anticipated to further escalate. The international community must bond together and establish a crisis management plan to adequately address the current situation. The impacted areas are home to millions of people, who have experienced devasting hardships and challenges as a result of the attacks on both sides. The primary focus needs to be to deliver these supplies to the intended recipients while ensuring they do not fall into the possession of extremist groups. The intention of Israel to open the water supply to the Southern portion of Gaza, should provide some relief for those in need. However, there are still critical resources such as food and medical supplies needed.
To further complicate the situation, Hamas has defied Israel’s message by urging residents to stay put rather than heeding Israel’s advice to evacuate critical target areas. Yet, another pertinent concern that emerges is whether Gazans, who have previously endured persecution, will choose to leave their homes, and potentially face precarious circumstances. The displacement of the people of Gaza has already resulted in safety risks to include access to basic necessities and escalating tensions. Humanitarian action must be taken to reduce the devastating consequences of these attacks, for both communities.
Egypt has not denied they are in possession of critical humanitarian supplies. Egypt has also stated a path to deliver the supplies will begin on Monday 16 October 2023. However, the growing conflict has put Egypt in a complicated position. Egypt has already taken on countless numbers of refugees from previous conflicts. The prospect of adding more numbers opens the doorway to potential security and political risks for Egypt. Consequently, there might not be a’favorable’ resolution to this increasingly intricate and evolving crisis.
Another dimension of this situation involves the identification of the required assistance for those affected by the attacks in Israel. Media outlets are reporting over 100 hostages taken during the attack. These hostages must be returned safely to their respective nations. In light of the reported hostage situation, it is imperative that swift and coordinated efforts are undertaken to ensure the safe return of these hostages, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the multifaceted challenges at hand.
These attacks underscore the havoc wrought by terrorist groups like Hamas and the resultant humanitarian crisis it produces. The assault on Israel has thrust Hamas into the spotlight, potentially rousing other perilous organizations from dormancy. The international community must analyze the current situation and determine how it can best respond to these heinous actions. Hamas has already called for the ‘brotherhood’ and its neighbors to band together for an uprising. The question has already been raised about the contributions of Iran to the conflict. Consequently, the international community must ascertain the truth behind this question to enable a timely and effective response, thereby preventing further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
The reality of the situation is no matter what the international community does, there will be consequences. The severity of those consequences depends on how the international community and surrounding nations respond. Humanitarian action needs to be taken to promote the livelihood of the affected people. The trauma experienced on both sides requires swift medical and psychological assistance. The consequences of these attacks will have generational implications, and the manner in which Egypt and other nations respond will significantly shape the trajectory of future events in the region.