The latest in seven decades of war and strife between Israelis and Palestinians, which has attracted other powers and destabilized the larger Middle East, is the battle between Israel and Hamas, who launched an unexpected offensive on Saturday.

On October 7, 2023, starting early in the morning, Hamas and other armed organizations from Gaza launched rocket barrages targeting Israel’s southern and central regions. Armed groups entered Israeli territory by land and air breaching the Gaza border fence. 

Once inside, they wounded and killed Israeli soldiers as well as Israeli and international civilians, including more than 260 guests of a music festival near Re’im and kibbutzim Kfar Azza and Be’eri. Gunfights and hostage crises occurred in southern Israeli communities over the course of three days; the Israeli army only regained control on October 9. Since October 7, there have been estimated to be between 5,500 and 6,700 rockets shot against Israeli territory. 

As of October 16, at least 1,300 people had died and 4,121 had been injured as a result of attacks by armed groups commanded by Hamas from Gaza. “Horrifying scenes, including the slaughter of elderly people and finding bloody rooms crowded with massacred civilians” were observed by those involved. October 7th has been by far the worst day in Israeli history according to a spokesman for the Israeli army. 

Before coming to any conclusion is it necessary to know a bit about the statistical data of the deaths in Palestine. As per the records maintained by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the UN, the current death toll has surpassed 3 times the total number of Israelis killed since OCHA started keeping track of casualties in 2005, which was about 400 and  OCHA reports that in 2022, state-sponsored settler violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank escalated for the sixth year in a row, peaking in October during the olive harvest season. Between January 2020 and August 2022, almost 69 women lost their lives. Palestinians continued to file complaints about such brutality, but the Israeli army and police never looked into them. 

Throughout the midst of a wave of military incursions including the disproportionate use of force, including illegal murders and apparent extrajudicial executions, Israeli forces murdered 151 Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and wounded 9,875, according to OCHA-OPT. 

The OPT, Palestinian citizens living in Israel, and Palestinian refugees denied the right of return were all divided and segregated by Israel, which was enforcing an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination against the Palestinian people everywhere it possessed authority over their rights, according to a 280-page report published by Amnesty International in February.


 Apartheid is a crime against humanity that is under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Israeli officials would be accountable for this crime against humanity through massive seizures of land and property, unlawful killings, serious injuries inflicted, forcible transfers, arbitrary restrictions on freedom of movement, denial of nationality, and other inhuman acts.

Ultimately, it is important to mention that there is no justification for violence that indiscriminately targets innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. Taking hostages in the context of hostilities constitutes a war crime and is prohibited under international law. It does not matter who will win or lose the war by the end. War is always a setback for humanity, resulting in a humanitarian crisis with unfathomable effects on all sides of the spectrum.

Author: Disha Chauhan

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