By Victoria Rivera
Israel was celebrating the Supernova Sukkot Gathering on Oct.6. The festival was advertised to play the most meaningful, powerful psytrance music over the weekend to rejoice in “free love, spirit, and environmental preservation.” On its second day, the festival of 3,500 citizens was assaulted by a barrage of presumably Iranian-made rockets smuggled through Gazan tunnels and gunmen who flew over Israeli borders on motorized hang gliders. After invading 29 different locations, about 1,400 Israelis were killed and 220 were taken hostage.
In response, Israel ordered a mass evacuation of the Gaza Strip. An onslaught of bombings followed on homes, mosques, schools, and hospitals. Though ten hospitals are functioning in Gaza City, they are overworked and overcrowded with refugees with nowhere to go. These hospitals are also unsafe as Hamas is using them to protect operations, in violation of the Geneva Convention. Shifa, the largest hospital, is atop Hamas’s main base of operations. They continue to exploit the Sheikh Hamad and Indonesian hospitals for protection.
Marc Garlasco, a military advisor in the Netherlands, revealed Israel launched 6,000 bombs in six days, almost matching the amount the U.S. dropped on Afghanistan in a year. As of Nov. 2, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor estimated that 25,000 tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza. As air raids continue, the death toll rose to over 9,400 by the time of publication, 40 percent of which were children, per the United Nations (UN). Homes are completely leveled with so many internally displaced.
Israel’s ground troops began to flood northern Gaza on Nov. 4. As they separate Gaza into two, they have successfully killed ten Hamas advisors who aided in coordinating the music festival attack. Israel is forming a blockade on Gazan resources with their new occupation. They have cut off food, water, fuel, and electricity as a means of putting the Palestinian people in a stranglehold. The blockade resulted in the shutdown of the Turkey-Palestine Friendship Hospital, the only cancer treatment hospital in Gaza.
Hamas began as a political party in Gaza, winning a 2006 election over growing disapproval of the opposing party of Fatah. Palestinians felt they were corrupt and hadn’t helped in negotiating the poor longstanding terms with Israel. Soon after Hamas took charge, laws grew incredibly restrictive, silencing social media and cries of political oppression. The freedom of speech and assembly is practiced on paper but has been physically stripped. Those detained were reportedly subjected to maltreatment. Then Hamas began to violently retaliate against Israel who Palestinians claim as their colonizer since its conception.
Before 1948, Palestine had a largely Arab population under British rule with a small Jewish presence. However, as WWII raged, more Jewish people began to take refuge in Palestine. Arabs rejected the influx of Jewish refugees, and as the UN tried to split Palestine into separate sections, the two groups brewed a violent animosity.
When Israel became an official state after Britain’s withdrawal, Arabs began a war that would cause what is considered one of the first Palestinian genocides by Israelis: Al Nakba, “the catastrophe.” Zionists destroyed Palestinian villages, displacing an estimated 700,000 Arab Palestinians. While the event has been slowly taught publicly in Israel, there are still efforts to keep Al Nakba from being taught. In 2011, the Nakba Law was placed to bar schools or publicly funded institutions from paying homage to the event.
The Six-Day War broke out in 1967 between Israel and an Arab coalition including Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, which led the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to become occupied territories, or “open-air prisons” as Palestinians and their supporters call them.
The poor relations continued until 2014 when Israel launched unlawful airstrikes that were investigated by the Human Rights Watch. About 1,255 homes were destroyed, displacing a minimum of 7,500 people and killing 2,251. Of those killed, it’s estimated more than two-thirds were innocent civilians. Due to the indiscriminate attacks with no direct target, Israel only further garnered the scrutiny of the Palestinian people.
Despite the large number of Palestinian casualties, Hamas remains on the offensive. The former leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, shared a message asking Muslims to take part in a “Day of Rage” on Oct. 13. There was no call for violence, but the implications resulted in increased security everywhere. People were encouraged to report suspicious activity and Jewish people were encouraged to band together for safety. While nothing happened, the fear of violent backlash towards innocent Jewish people was vivid.
The call for a Day of Rage gave bigotry a platform to speak on. It gives an excuse to treat not only Palestinians but any Middle Eastern person as a threat. With the implicit bias to “reasonably” suspect someone of being “radical,” Muslim people, too, had to live in fear with threats of hate crimes.
Israel remains strongly supported by the West. America has a close friendship with Israel since its creation. The U.S. has provided $3 billion annually to Israel’s military and continues to financially support them through this war. President Joe Biden shared his strong support for Israel while also sending $100 million in humanitarian aid for the more than 1 million internally displaced Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Despite officially supporting Palestine, France still banned pro-Palestine protests and stopped demonstrators on Oct. 12.
“It is this shield of unity that will protect us from drifting away and from all hatred,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
Similarly, Governor Ron DeSantis has banned pro-Palestine student groups in colleges claiming Palestinian support strengthens Hamas.
But worldwide support remains strong. Protestors in England, France, Germany, Turkey, and America continue to march on capitals demanding a ceasefire. Palestine also remains a fully recognized state in all of South and Central America, except Panama. Many Latin countries criticize Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks, including Colombian President Gustavo Petro who compared Gaza’s situation to concentration camps.
Separately, antisemitism also continues to brew despite widespread support for Israel. As more means allow discrimination against Muslim and Palestinian people, those of Jewish origin are also at high risk of harassment, especially in college settings around the country where demonstrations are spearheaded.
“I feel that in every important subject that affects people's lives, individuals who do not know exactly what is happening or do not see the full picture should be aware of the consequences their actions could lead to,” said Israeli senior Roy Shohat, majoring in exercise physiology.
On Oct. 12, a public prayer for peace was hosted at Barry’s Peace Pole, much like last March’s moment of solidarity for Ukraine. In light of such bloody events, Barry University shows full support to all the innocent people affected by the war and condemns all forms of bigotry.