|Hamas says that, with each air strike that Israel rains down without warning, they will slaughter a hostage in retribution. The Israeli military claims to conduct “precision strikes” only, attempting to take out Hamas commanders and critical sites, not civilians. The military also frequently warns Gazans when offensives are coming. “Palestinians say that strikes on heavily populated areas amount to a collective punishment and that civilians have been targeted,” per The New York Times.
In Gaza, roughly 2 million people—so the entire population—live in squalor. Half of adult Gazans are unemployed. The median age there is 18, compared to 28 worldwide (the Gazan fertility rate is extremely high; Hamas pressures women to have lots of children allegedly so they can have a larger army). Up until now, Israel had offered work permits, allowing many Gazans to flow across the border in search of jobs in agriculture, construction, and auto repair. Now, that lifeline is gone, and conditions have gotten a lot worse for inhabitants of the Strip, which includes almost a million children (or about half the population).
By the numbers: More than 150 Israeli hostages are currently being held in Gaza though Hamas doesn’t seem certain as to the number. The total death toll for the conflict tops 1,500 with nearly 6,000 reported wounded. Israel is working to mobilize 300,000 army reservists, with those who had been traveling or living abroad getting priority flights home via El Al. The United Nations reports that 180,000 Gazans have been internally displaced due to the fighting.
A senior defense official in the U.S. says the military is “surging support” to Israel, including air defenses and munitions. “Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Sunday that he has ordered American military ships, including an aircraft carrier and additional aircraft, to move closer to the eastern Mediterranean in response to Hamas’ unprecedented, multi-fronted attack on Israel,” per CBS News. Israel has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, receiving $104.5 billion in military aid from the U.S. since 1947.
“Under discussion among some national-security hawks this weekend was a potential legislative package that lumps Israel aid in with a big Ukraine package that Congress is still trying to pass,” reports Punchbowl News.
Under no circumstances do you have to hand it to Hamas: Many American leftists, from Harvard student groups to members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), seem to be gravitating toward disturbingly simplistic narratives that minimize the atrocities—massacres, rapes, and kidnappings, with many deaths livestreamed to Facebook pages and uploaded to TikTok—committed by Hamas.
“We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” reads a recent statement issued by more than 50 Harvard student groups. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame,” they say.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world to criticize Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, and to view the occupation of the West Bank and the isolation of Gaza (the result of a combination of Israeli policy, Egyptian policy, and the fact that Hamas rules Gaza) as fundamentally unjust, while also condemning the murder of civilians,” writes Jesse Singal, criticizing the recent DSA rallies and statements.
“If basic moral principles aren’t enough to sway groups like DSA toward decency, they should consider the impact their disgraceful performance will have on their ability to accomplish their own goals,” adds Singal.