Unexpectedly, the conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated to unforeseen levels on October 7 when Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that controls the densely populated Gaza Strip along Israel’s border, launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza. This attack resulted in the tragic death of at least 700 Israelis, and the death toll could rise further according to reports. Israeli forces are currently engaged in battles with militants who are holed up in several locations.
In response to this attack, Israel initiated retaliatory bombardments of the Gaza Strip. It declared war against Hamas and vowed to destroy the “military and governing capabilities” of the enclave’s Hamas rulers. Unfortunately, these retaliatory actions have claimed the lives of more than 400 Palestinians. Israeli soldiers have been fighting to dislodge Gaza gunmen from areas in southern Israel, and Palestinian militant groups have claimed to be holding over 130 captives from the Israeli side.
Israel’s intelligence agencies have built a reputation of invincibility over the years due to a series of successful operations. They have thwarted plots in the West Bank, reportedly pursued Hamas operatives in Dubai, and faced accusations of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists in Iran itself. However, the weekend’s assault, which caught Israel off guard during a major Jewish holiday, has cast doubt on this reputation and raised questions about the country’s preparedness in the face of a determined but seemingly weaker adversary. Observers note that this episode in the history of West Asia is unprecedented and has the potential to spiral into a larger geopolitical crisis. This crisis could have far-reaching implications, not only for Palestine and Israel but also for the entire region.
In light of these developments, Frontline has delved into its extensive archives to retrieve a collection of articles that provide insight into Hamas, Palestine, Israel, and the intricate and violent history of the conflict in the region.