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Hamas’ horrific attack of October 7th, 2023, as a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Hamas’ horrific attack of October 7th, 2023, as a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Recent crisis in Gaza has triggered sensitive and crucial humanitarian concerns, but also initiated once more the revival of major security and even existential threats, for more than one of the geopolitical actors of the region. State and non-State ones.

On the morning of Oct. 7th, 2023, a new tragic development added to the long bloodied list of incidents that comprise the historical Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A stunning and unprecedented in scale attack operation took place on behalf of the radical Islamic Sunni organisation of Hamas in Gaza strip against Israeli targets, both military and civilian, resulting in extremely high number of casualties (dead and injured). That offensive resulted in a much anticipated subsequent Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operational response at the Gaze enclave, which also caused many casualties, as well. In fact, this major military campaign on behalf of the IDF is still ongoing at the time these lines are written.
Clearly, the particular timing (date) that the radical Islamic organisation of Hamas chose to launch that major attack against Israel was not accidental, nor irrelevant. It was profoundly linked with the remembrance of the “Yom Kippur War” (also known as the “Ramadan War” or the “Fourth Arab–Israeli War”), which was fought from 6 to 25 of October 1973, between Israel and a coalition between Egypt and Syria. Αs a matter of fact, the “Ofira Air Battle” (an air confrontation between some F-4 fighter aircraft from the (then) Israeli Air Force Base “Ofir” at Sharm el-Sheikh / South Sinai peninsula and much more MiG-17 and MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Egyptian Air Force), which took place on the 6th of October 1973, and practically was the kick start of the particular armed conflict, since it assorted with a strong flavour of operational surprise on behalf of the seemingly unaware Israeli military side. Actually, the Hamas attack took place a day after the 50th anniversary of the “Yom Kippur War”, since October 6th is the Jewish holy day of “Yom Kippur”. It should also be noted that the “Yom Kippur armed conflict” occurred during “Ramadan”, the sacred month of fasting in the faith of Islam. Having said that, it should also be pointed out that Hamas[ “Hamas, also spelled Ḥamās, acronym of Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, English Islamic Resistance Movement, militant Palestinian nationalist and Islamist movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that is dedicated to the establishment of an independent Islamic state in historical Palestine. Founded in 1987, Hamas opposed the secular approach of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rejected attempts to cede any part of Palestine.”, Brittanica, last accessed 8/10/2023, available at https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hamas.] is considerably related (both dogmatically and operationally) with the overarching Islamist organization of The Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, Hamas has emerged as the predominant political actor and military force in Gaza and, more recently, in the West Bank. This ascendancy followed the outcome of the 2006 legislative elections, where Hamas representatives secured victory. Subsequently, in 2007, they forcefully seized control in Gaza, a process marked by excessive violence against other candidates from the opposing Fatah political party. Lastly, it is important to emphasize that both the United States and the European Union, along with several other nations, have officially designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.[ Zachary Laub and Kali Robinson, “What is Hamas”, Backgrounder, Council of Foreign Relations, August 8, 2023, available at https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-hamas. ]

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