|The invasion started on Simchat Torah, a normally joyful Jewish holiday that follows Sukkot and marks the end of a cycle of Torah readings. It also happened 50 years and one day after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, another conflict in which Israel was attacked on a holiday.
One likely reason for the attack: the negotiations between the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which had been getting close to “full diplomatic normalization of Israeli-Saudi diplomatic relations,” writes Responsible Statecraft‘s Paul R. Pillar.
“From the general Palestinian perspective, any such three-way diplomatic deal would be a step backwards for Palestinian self-determination, because an Israeli objective is to enjoy such fruit without making peace with the Palestinians,” notes Pillar. “From Hamas’s perspective, it sees the rival Palestinian Authority taking a remarkably complacent posture toward the prospect of upgraded Saudi-Israeli ties, seemingly content to remain in its role of an auxiliary to the Israeli occupation. That leaves it to Hamas to actively oppose this backward step.”
Another possible reason: The ongoing expansion of the Israeli settlements, marked by “vigilante” attacks on Palestinians, has led many observers to fear another intifada would soon break out in the West Bank. Hamas, which has long been at odds with other Palestinian factions, may have wanted to seize the initiative, thus positioning itself in front of the movement.
While much of the reaction to this weekend’s violence has been thoughtful and informative, there have also been two other categories. Extremely Online insanity…