If you are reading the newspaper and you hear about the Israel-Hamas war, the chances are you’re not really following everything that is happening.
Maybe you want to know that the Middle East is facing tumultuous times and that many people are injured and dead because of the conflict.
But are you satisfied with just knowing that? Don’t you get more curious about the cause of the conflict and what happens next?
We are here for you if you don’t want to do the in-depth reading on your own.
Here are some facts about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that started not too long ago but we hope will end soon.
The facts are accurate as of 15 October 2023.
Hamas Is an Islamist Militant Movement of Palestinian Origin
One of the words you might have come across when reading about the conflict is Hamas.
No, it is not a person’s name, nor is it a territory.
It is the name of a militant movement. The members are of the Islamic religion, and they have their origins in Palestine.
Some countries view Hamas as a terrorist organisation, though other countries only slap that label on the militant wing of the group.
And for those who don’t know, Hamas is actually an acronym, not a full name.
It stands for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, which translates to “Islamic Resistance Movement”.
The group was founded in the 1960s by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Hamas Is Hoping to Free Palestine Through Its Attack on Israel
Now that we know what Hamas is, what is it that the group is trying to achieve?
Of course, there are many variations of interpretation of what the ultimate goal or goals of the group are.
However, here are some commonly outlined goals.
For one, Hamas wants to free the vindicate the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.
According to reports from NPR, who interviewed a senior Hamas official based in Lebanon, the Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month was in response to “Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and the West Bank”.
It was also to “break the blockade on the Gaza Strip”.
The group also wanted to free the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, estimated to be in the thousands.
That’s the goal of the group right now.
Before the war on 7 October 2023, Hamas was fighting to free Palestine from Israeli occupation.
It also wanted revenge for Israel’s raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
The mosque is located in the Old City of Jerusalem.
For those who are unaware, the dominant religion in Israel at the moment is Judaism (with the people called Jews).
The Israel-Hamas War Was Started On 7 October 2023 by the Hamas Attacking Israel
While the bad blood between Israel, Jews, Hamas and Muslims may extend way back, the 2023 conflict that we know now as bloody and devastating started about a week ago.
On 7 October 2023, Hamas, the militant group, launched the attack against Israel in the wee hours of the morning.
The attack appeared to be well-planned in advance, given the multiple attacks on Israel through land, sea and air channels.
The day that Hamas chose to attack Israel was also a significant one.
It was the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, so there is most likely some religious aspect to the picking of the day to invade Israel.
Our hearts can’t help but go out to the innocent civilians who were looking forward to spending some time with their families on a treasured holiday but were faced instead with blood, death and destruction.
The Number of Casualties and Dead Keeps Growing
As with all wars and conflict, we expect there to be a wave of death and destruction which follows.
The number of casualties and deaths estimated is astounding.
According to Reuters, which referenced Palestinian health ministry sources, the Gaza Strip and West Bank are seeing many dead and injured.
The death toll has reached 2,383 Palestinians, and 10,814 were injured on Sunday morning (15 October 2023).
We hope the conflict stops soon so that innocent civilians are not caught in the crossfire.
Women and Children Face Heightened Risk in During the Time of Conflict
Amidst all the fighting that civilians have little to no part to play in, women and children are bearing the brunt of the effects of the war.
For one, being more physically vulnerable than others, the women and children have reportedly been kidnapped and brutalised by invading forces.
Some family members only found out about their loved ones’ capture by watching news outlets and reports.
How terrible a way to find out that someone dear to you is facing mortal peril.
Apart from facing the risk of being brutalised by their captors, women are also finding that they draw the short end of the stick when it comes to healthcare.
For example, a lot of pregnant women in Gaza are at risk of facing a “nightmare” given the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse.
About 50,000 women are estimated to be pregnant and ready to give birth within the next month in Gaza, as reported by foreign news outlet CNN.
With the healthcare system of Gaza under attack, pregnant women may face birthing complications without access to adequate healthcare support.
They may not have clothing to wear or may not be able to deliver in a hygienic environment.
That is, of course, on top of their concerns about surviving the war.