October 11, 2023
As you have no doubt seen and heard, Israel was invaded on October 7, 2023, for only the second time in 50 years. The first time was on October 6, 1973, when the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, and Sudan initiated a surprise attack against Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On October 6, 2023, it happened again. The terror group Hamas broke through Israel's southern border with Gaza, killing anyone they encountered with a level of barbarity not seen since the days of the Nazi Gestapo. In a series of acts too horrific to describe here, Hamas executed over 1,000 soldiers and civilians without regard to country of origin, age, or gender. 3,000 were injured, many of them hospitalized. Hamas also abducted over 100 people and took them back to Gaza as hostages. The Israeli Air Force immediately began striking Hamas targets in Gaza as the Army began sending soldiers to liberate Israeli towns and villages taken by Hamas. At this writing, Israel has mobilized 300,000 soldiers for a likely ground invasion of Gaza to eliminate Hamas.
The purpose of this note is to provide historical context for these events, and to share additional resources that you can use to deepen your understanding of these events and their significance to Israel, the region, and ultimately the world. Also included is a list of reputable organizations through which you can donate money to support various initiatives.
What is Gaza?
Gaza is a Palestinian enclave on Israel's southern border with Egypt. Fronting the Mediterranean, it shares about 31 miles of border on its north and east sides with Israel and another 7 with Egypt on its south. It encompasses about 140 square miles and houses about 2 million people, making it one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel seized control of Gaza from Egypt during the 1967 Mideast War, when it also captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which are still under Israeli control.
What is Hamas?
Hamas is a non-state jihadi theologist movement first established at the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by national governments and inter-governmental organizations worldwide. Its original Charter declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad (holy war)" and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in place of Israel and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. In June 2007 Hamas forcibly wrested control of Gaza from Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Movement (PLO), immediately abrogating the PLO's recognition of Israel's right to exist and renunciation of violence.
What is the Gaza blockade?
Israel and Egypt imposed a land, sea, and air blockage on Gaza following the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, when they became alarmed by the growing influence of Iran over Hamas and other Jihadi groups operating in Gaza. Since taking over Gaza, Hamas has diverted money donated by the international community, aid organizations, and the United Nations to fund their "holy war" against Israel, essentially turning Gaza into an armed camp, rather than governing responsibly, providing for the civil needs of 2 million Gaza residents, or building a functioning economy.
What is Hezbollah?
Hezbollah is another non-state jihadi theologist movement first established by Lebanese clerics in south Lebanon during the aftermath of the 1982 Lebanon war. The 1982 Lebanon War began on June 6, 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon to drive out the PLO, which had been raining missiles into northern Israel. Since 1982, Hezbollah has become a state-within-a-state in Lebanon. Hezbollah was founded by, and continues to be funded, equipped, and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, with whom Hezbollah also shares intelligence and through which Hezbollah coordinates actions with other terror groups like Hamas operating in Gaza, the "West Bank," and Syria. Most notably, Hezbollah is known to possess a large cache of missiles, some of them "smart" guided ones, variously estimated to number between 150,000 and 250,000. For reference purposes, Hamas was thought to possess about 20,000 missiles. Of historical significance to American readers will be Hezbollah's legacy of terror against American interests, including the suicide bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983 (63 dead); the suicide bombing of the United States Marine Barracks on October 23, 1983 (220 dead); the abduction, torture, and murder of CIA Bureau Chief William Buckley; and assassination of Malcolm H. Kerr (father of NBA basketball coach Steve Kerr) on January 18, 1984.
Hamas initiated the current conflict on the 6th and Hezbollah joined in shortly thereafter, albeit to a limited degree at the time of this writing.
"Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth," Noa Tishby, 2022.
"Defensive Shield: An Israeli Special Forces Commander on the Front Line of Counterterrorism," Gal Hirsch, 2016.
"Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism's Money Masters, " Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, 2017.
"The Devil We Know—Dealing with the New IranIan Superpower," Robert Baer, 2008.
"The Virtue of Nationalism," Yoram Hazony, 2018
"De-Dollarization: The revolt against the dollar and the rise of a new financial world," Gul Luft, 2019.
Emergency Medical Services = Israel Rescue https://www.israelrescue.org
Soldier Well-being = Friends of the IDF (FIDF) https://www.fidf.org
Bomb shelters and underground recreation facilities = Jewish National Fund (JNF) https://www.jnf.org
Using the legal system to prosecute those supporting terror = Shurat Hadin https://israellawcenter.org