Hamas Attacks Israel

Aaron Foyer
Scenes from Israel
Courtesy of the Financial Times

Israel woke up on Saturday morning to find it was under attack from air, sea, and land, in the worst attack since in the country in more seven decades.

What happened: Starting at 6:30am on Saturday morning, Hamas launched a barrage from Palestine that reportedly included up to 5,000 rockets fired into southern Israel. Shortly after, militants entered into the country, mostly through breaches in the country’s security barriers to capture and take Israeli citizens hostage.

The attack is being described as Israel’s Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment.

Background: Hamas is an Islamic militant movement and one of Palestine’s two major political parties. It’s goal is to liberate Palestinian territories from Israel. The US State Department considers the group to be a terrorist organization.

Tension between Israel and Palestine have existed since Israel was established as a nation in 1948.

  • Israel’s focus has historically been towards security and regional recognition as a legitimate state, while Palestine is seeking self-determination and the right of return for refugees.

Why now? Motives are still being figured out, but the attack comes just as Israel and regional power Saudi Arabia were working on normalizing diplomatic relations, with help from the US. Iran, the Middle East’s other major regional power, strongly opposes Israel and was against the push for improved relations.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-back militant group, helped plan the attack.

The impact: The war likely makes discussions between the US, Saudi Arabia, and Iran more complicated, with nuclear deals, oil sanctions, and price caps already challenging discussions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the country is at war, mobilizing 300,000 reservists, the largest mobilization in Israel’s history. This sent oil prices climbing on Monday. Ultimately, the conflict will rock an already rocky oil market.