During the 1948s Nakba - catastrophe, during Israel’s war of independence, close to 700,000 Arabs (who would later become today’s Palestinians) were uprooted from their homes, and became refugees, spread around the pan-Arabian peninsula, the West Bank and of course, the Gaza strip.
Some of the largest refugee camps still exist inside Gaza now, serving as a never-fading scar that stands as a monument to the Nakba and what is perceived as the Israeli “occupation”. Today, however, Palestinians in Gaza face a new Nakba. The 2023 version, with full credit owed to Hamas.
Hamas’ attack on October 7 may bring about the end of the Muslim Brotherhood within the enclave, and consequently a deep humanitarian crisis for the local populace. Even before Israel’s pending ground offensive, the UN reported a 500,000-strong exodus, enormous amounts of damage and a casualty count surpassing 2,200, with thousands more wounded. When this war is over, will they have somewhere to return to?
Not that any of these details matter to the “charity” organization called Hamas. They’ve transformed the entire enclave into a war command HQ, and will not end the onslaught. They’re even putting up roadblocks to stop the population streaming southward toward Khan Yunis, hiding behind the false and baseless claims that Israelis were bombing the fleeing civilians. Hamas goes further and advertises Israeli attacks to make it clear that walking south was no guarantee of safety.
Using the population as human shields, Hamas wants people to remain in their homes so that when the IDF’s ground offensive begins, the Israeli forces will have a harder time distinguishing between militants and non-combatants, and each innocent killed would then be plastered all over social media as conclusive evidence of Israel’s crimes.
The ground offensive will not surprise Hamas in any way, but the Israeli consensus around it might. They were under the assumption that Israel’s political fragility, exemplified by the scope of the anti-judicial overhaul demonstrations, would result in fractured support for an IDF ground operation. In reality, they were way off.
Not only is there an emergency government with members of the opposition taking part in the security cabinet, but the US and European support for Israel seems quite stable for now, Muslim communities around the world, protesting with Palestinian flags notwithstanding.
Another sticking point for Hamas was the belief they’d be completely supported by Iran’s largest proxy, Hezbollah. However, now that American carriers entered the eastern Mediterranean and were protecting Israel’s northern front, and with red-white-and-blue fighter jets ready to go, Hezbollah is far more reserved in their willingness to lend Hamas a helping hand, fearing theirs would be cut off by the U.S.
The Shiite powerhouse is doing what it can to illustrate a sense of camaraderie with Palestinians, short of actually joining the conflict. Thus far, that axis had to make do with trolling Israel, by occasional mortar fire, some sporadic small-arms fire and infiltration attempts on the border, swiftly thwarted by the ever-watchful IDF. It doesn’t quite meet the criteria of a full-on war, and Hezbollah is aware they will not be able to surprise the IDF the way Hamas did.