The Israel-Hamas war

READER’S VIEWS - Joselito S. Berdin - The Freeman

I find it fitting to mention here the then British foreign minister, Arthur Balfour, the person responsible for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 proposing to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Part of his letter read like this, "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

The State of Israel was established on May 15, 1948 with David Ben-Gurion as its founder and first prime minister through United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 181 calling for the establishment of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. Israel is one of the 193 members of the United Nations, with the Philippines being one of the signatories for it to become a state.

The Palestinians rejected the proposed land partition, thus, a Palestinian State was not established in 1948. It was only established as a separate state in 1988.

The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip were administered by Jordan and Egypt, respectively (info extract from reliable source).

In manifestation of their sympathy to the Palestinians and discontented with the UN's imprimatur of establishing a Jewish State, an alliance of Arab nations, namely, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt attacked Israel; unfortunately, the Arab nations suffered a stunning defeat despite Israel's limited weapons of war at the time.

Then came the year 1967, commonly called the six-day war, a coalition of Arab countries like Syria, Jordan and Egypt attacked Israel. Just the same, Israel won the war and occupied a portion of land at the Golan Heights in Syria and the Suez Canal in Egypt. Israel also occupied and took control of The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

In 1973, Arab nations Egypt and Syria allied themselves and attacked Israel, but again, Israel emerged victorious in the war. From 1973 until October 6, 2023, the Israelis had been continuously on the defensive in dealing with violent attacks from Palestinian militants mostly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Then came October 7, 2023, when Hamas (a terrorist group supported by Iran), launched a surprise cross border attack against Israel killing more than a thousand innocent civilians and holding in hostage more than 200 people, including foreigners, men, women, the elderly, and young children.

In retaliation, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) carried out aerial bombardment, targeting only known Hamas' places of operation as well as numerous rocket-launch sites in and around Gaza. A four-day truce of the war brokered by Qatar and agreed both by Israel and Hamas, paved the way for the exchange and release of hostages from both sides.

But Israel made it clear that a ceasefire didn't mean the war had ended; rather, it was merely an occasion allowing the release of hostages for humanitarian reasons and that war would resume when the ceasefire agreement elapsed.

Israel is determined to continue its war against Hamas no matter what will be the cost. It may even engage in a war with its neighboring Arab nations that continue to support and provide Hamas with the needed weapons of war.

In war, there is no known formula or standard measuring stick when taking revenge against a rogue state or against a barbaric group of terrorists like Hamas. They started the war and Israel had no other option but to retaliate and fight them to the end notwithstanding the collateral damage that may ensue.

With superior military equipment at its disposal, there is no doubt Israel is militarily prepared and capable to fight the Hamas fighters until the latter have been completely defeated.

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