Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Erupts into War
Israel and Palestine: it's a perennial source of debate in the United States. And now, with the Levantine powder keg reignited, opinions are more divided than ever.
Of course, with so many angles and viewpoints, tackling something as complex as this conflict falls way outside the scope of a single report. Yet we cannot let ourselves be overwhelmed by such an intimidating subject.
So, in this spirit, let's make a start: As of October 8, 2023, Israel has officially declared war on the insurgent group Hamas, following a shock terror attack that left over 900 Israeli citizens dead, and over 2,400 injured.
In these first days of war, we are seeing horrifying imagery, the likes of which are normally relegated to historical newsreel footage and documentaries.
That means rockets flying through busy city streets, colliding with corner shops–leaving a trail of shattered structures. Insurgents infiltrating Gaza’s security barrier via vehicles, boats, and flying in with motorized paragliders. Hostages being dragged from their homes and taken away.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the border of the Gaza Strip, Israeli retaliatory attacks have left at least 560 Palestinians killed, and 2,900 injured.
Though we had hoped nothing like the 1979 Nahaiya attack would ever happen again, in any country, we find ourselves here: a sobering reminder of the deep-rooted issues that persist in the Levant.
With all of this in mind, what do you need to know?
Table of Contents
What You Need to Know
Where Do We Begin?
What Do You Need on Hand?
What You Need to Know
Current map of the conflict. (Image courtesy of FT Research/Ft.com)
In October 2023, Hamas militants prompted Israel to declare “Operation Swords of Iron"–a declaration of war. Hamas would do so by unleashing an incursion along the Gaza Strip, loosing over 3,000 rockets against Israeli targets.
To date, the militant group has reportedly captured over 100 men, women, and children–taken from their homes to be used as shields–following a large-scale land invasion.
In turn, stunning videos have emerged of Hamas fighters gliding into Israeli territory seemingly unscathed—missed by Israel’s famed Iron Dome, a world-renowned missile defense and surveillance system.
As a video uploaded to Reddit shows, Hamas drones dropped explosive devices onto Israeli observation towers and weapons systems, effectively disabling their defensive capabilities.
As it stands, this is the most coordinated and lethal attack from Hamas yet—standing as a devastating testament to challenges that lie ahead in the quest for peace in the region.
Israel, for its part, has responded by unleashing a volley of air and artillery strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip. Alongside this, Tel Avivi, the capital of Israel, has seen major airlines shut down operations as the siege has continued to pick up speed.
Aggressions are expected to escalate too, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel will take “mighty vengeance” against HAMAS, and encouraged Palestinians living in Gaza to flee.
But how did we get here? What would drive such a frightening and brutal attack? Well, it might just be time to grab a beer–we’ve gotta go in.
Before we do though, it is imperative to understand that a conflict of this magnitude involves an absolutely overwhelming scope.
As such, we encourage you to independedntly research, fact-check, and take time before reaching your own conclusion on this event. The information provided today is a condensed report for your situational awareness–not a substitute for more expansive self-education.
With that disclaimer out of the way, it would be incumbent upon us to equip you with a bit of background and context. Read on to get a quick grip on how this all started, and see how it led us to today.
Where Do We Begin?
Map of Israel and Palestine. (Image courtesy of AP via ABC)
Following WWI, the League of Nations tasked Britain with creating a Jewish homeland. With the Ottoman Empire dismantled, and Palestine now under the control of the allies, British authorities accomplished this by sectioning out portions of Palestine. Thus, the land was divided up in an infamous treaty known as the Sykes-Picot agreement.
Put simply–the Jewish and Arab people did not love this idea. As a result, tensions between Jewish and Arab countries intensified.
Then, in 1948, the British left, leaving Israeli leadership to declare an independent Israel. This led to war, with neighboring Arab countries applying military force.
Ultimately, Israel would come out on top, displacing thousands of Palestinians in an event that would come to be known as “Al Nakba,” or “The Catastrophe." What followed was nearly seven decades of continued conflict between Middle Eastern nations and Israel—a period that would see the emergence of numerous guerilla militias and organizations.
This was fueled, in part, by the fact that the majority of Arab nations see the creation of Israel as an imperialist affront to their own existence. As such, Arab nations have continued to find incompatible differences between their values and the West's.
By way of response, Israel has launched numerous defensive and offensive campaigns to uphold its claim to sovereignty. The extent of these campaigns, and their appropriateness/necessity, would drive seemingly endless debate.
Palestine, meanwhile, has launched offensive and defensive campaigns to counter Israel’s—with opinions about their tactics and motivations as varied as ones about Israel.
Of course, this is a highly summarized recounting of the issue, and does not take into account the hundreds of thousands of micro-conflicts that have occurred.
The crux of the issue, as it were, comes in the finer details.
Depending on your own beliefs, your lineage, and your sociopolitical lens, you—like many Westerners—many find themselves torn. Each belligerent, after all, has their own justifications and reasons for what they’ve done.
It is well beyond the scope of this article (morally and academically) to make an argument for either participant. Instead, it is more appropriate to state the facts here: Israel has made a claim to their land, and the Palestinians reject this claim. It’s up to you to decide how you feel regarding everything that happened afterwards.
A history of violence. (Image courtesy of Istock via Monash.edu)
A spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas was founded in the late 1980s. Operating out of Palestine, this terrorist group has its footholds deep in the Gaza Strip and areas of the West Bank.
Hamas, notably, is a complicated organization, as they currently hold strong political power within Palestine. Think of them as a governing body, with multiple wings to carry out operations.
Hamas itself focuses on establishing an Islamic state throughout Palestine, delivering social services to its citizens, and operating as a standard ruling authority. With that said, it also has a military wing that at times appears to operate independently from its core organization.
Put it this way: If Hamas is Sinn Fein (an Irish Republican party), an organization working towards a philosophical goal, then their military wing, Al-Qassam, is the Irish Republican Army. In other words, the former oversees the everyday functioning of Palestine, while the latter carries out military operations.
Quoted as saying, “[We are] a separate armed military wing, which has its own leaders who do not take orders from Hamas and do not tell us of their plans in advance," Al-Qassam has carried out many attacks against Israel, including a 2002 bombing that left five Americans dead.
In addition to claiming responsibility for the most recent attacks, Al-Qassam has credited itself with the capture of over 100 Israeli citizens. They claim the captives are being held in safe holdings until negotiations can be held.
“Our hearts are with you. Our minds are with you. Our souls are with you. Our history and guns and our rockets are with you.”
This was the official statement from Hezbollah’s leader, Hashem Safieddine, in Beirut. Historically, Hezbollah has stood with Hamas in their common goal to expel Western influence from the Middle East.
Possibly adding a second front to the conflict, Hezbollah has begun a campaign of opportunity against Israel. Accordingly, the organization has claimed responsibility for attacks on three targets thus far, and is promising solidarity with HAMAS–in other words, to continue bombardment of Israel.
But how does Hezbollah, often confused with Hamas, differ from its Palestinian counterpart?
Hezbollah was born in Lebanon following its fifteen-year civil war. Another major political power, they hold seats in Lebanon’s ruling government. And like Hamas, they hold an established military wing to carry out attacks.
Significantly, Hezbollah has been identified as the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor. With an inventory of 40,000 active and reserve fights, they boast a staggering arsenal of drones, tanks, and long-range rockets.
As such, their injections regarding the reignited Israel-Palestine conflict has drawn concern from leaders worldwide. With Israel’s retaliation spilling into Lebanon, fears of conflagration loom. Thus, hoping to avoid further bloodshed, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon has attempted to mediate the conflict.
Of course, Lebanon is far from the only state actor drawn into the ensuing conflict. Zooming out of the region, we find two world-powers entering the fray: The United States of America, and Iran. It’s here that we begin to grasp how this larger involvement radiates to our doorsteps.
Two world powers are thrust into the limelight again, amidst the current conflict. (Image courtesy of CNN)
The United States of America and Israel have been working cooperatively for decades. As such, common sentiment from the U.S. government is in full support of Israel, militarily and financially. This is because the U.S. hopes to secure its interests in the region by showing solidarity with Israel, as they too, are in the crosshairs of Islamic terror.
From this perspective, President Joe Biden released an official statement, denouncing Hamas and all forms of terrorism. In this statement, he promised “all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel.”
While there is a lot of debate regarding the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the U.S., for its part, has supported what is known as a “two-state solution” for the region. This position, notably, has drawn ire across the Middle East, as Islamic detractors see this solution as a one-sided win for Israel.
While it is difficult to know exactly how the U.S. will react to the evolving situation in Gaza, one crucial factor to consider is the presence of U.S. citizens in communities targeted by the recent attacks.
Accordingly, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced that the U.S. is investigating reports that American citizens may have been victimized in the conflict or among the hostages taken. Though the extent of the carnage is currently unknown, it has been reported that eleven U.S. citizens have been killed in the attacks so far.
Turning our attention back to the East, about 7,000 miles or so, we find another country with strong opinions regarding Israel and their claims.
Iran—never to be out of the spotlight for long—has emerged as the power behind Hamas’ latest incursion. This was confirmed by Ghazi Hamad, a spokesperson for Hamas who told the BBC late Saturday that their funding and support came from Iran.
Iran has also publicly praised the attacks, expressing support for the “anti-Zionist resistance” they claim is spreading across the region. This follows decades of strong support for Hamas and Hezbollah, as the groups share similar goals regarding the destruction of Israel.
Note, here, that Iran is famously a nuclear-weapons capable nation. So while their support of Hamas and Hezbollah is worrying enough when considering kinetic capability, the prospect of them funnelling nuclear weapons to these groups is all the more daunting.
On this basis, Israel has long been a stalwart detractor of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This has led to rumors that Israel and the United States developed and deployed the world’s first cyberweapon, Stuxnet. Though Iran maintains to this day that these rumors are true, no conclusive evidence has been accepted by either of the accused countries.
Stuxnet, in any event, was designed to destabilize Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities, which Iran claimed were being used to supply nuclear-power generation.
Casting doubt on this claim was the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, responsible for nuclear program inspections, reported that several of their inspectors had been expelled from Iran. This was an unexpected escalation, in what has been a divisive tug-of-war between nuclear capabilities and major nations.
So, with so many different threats arriving suddenly from different directions–what is the safety brief here?
Let’s regroup and hit the main points.
What Do You Need on Hand?
Israeli police pursue a Palestinian demonstrator at the al-Aqsa Mosque, May 10, 2023. (Image courtesy of Laurent Van Der Stocky/Getty Images )
It could happen anywhere. In a moment’s notice, a serene and calm life can be upended and scattered to the wind. We pray for those affected, and hope to never find ourselves subjected to this kind of violence.
With that said, we hope for the best–and prepare for the worst.
As such, we’ve identified the combatants and some of their capabilities. Let’s quickly analyze the threats.
Destabilization: The scenes from both Israel and Gaza highlight the suddenness and direness of a populace being disrupted. From kidnappings, to being caught in the crossfire, one thing is clear–the government can’t protect you. Ultimately, it’s up to you to be ready and have the equipment and means to respond.
Nuclear Weapons: Iran’s nuclear capabilities give rise to concerns over the safe handling of their materials, especially with regard to their alliances. If Iran is willing to back terrorist groups with funding and gear, after all, it’s not a far stretch to imagine them extending access to weapons of mass destruction—like, for example, Hezbollah acquiring a dirty bomb.
Chemical Weapons: Hamas has allegedly been tinkering with chemical weapons since the 1990s. Though it's difficult to know the truth, the group has proven over the years they are capable of operating a laboratory, and they have well-educated operatives with limited expertise in chemistry. Should they gain the ability to advance their understanding of chemical formulations, we should be ready to counter.
MIRA Safety DETEHIT CWD-3 CBRN Detection Strips
When the threat can come from a variety of vectors, it’s best to keep your head on a swivel. With the DETEHIT CWD-3 CBRNE Detector Strips, you’ll be ready to identify a threat in as little as two to three minutes.
Here's how they work: Your test strips will alert you to the concentration of an agent in your immediate area. One test strip can alert you to airborn CWAs, and allow for food/water testing as well.
This kit is essential for you and yours to know when to gear up, and when to decon.
MIRA Safety CBRN Detection Paper
The key to countering a chemical agent is first understanding what you’re working with. While your MIRA Safety DETEHIT CWD-3 CBRN Detection Strips will keep you abreast of your current concentration of chemical hazards, the MIRA Safety CBRN Detection Paper will give you the tools to differentiate between a variety of threats.
Yellow | G agents: sarin, soman, tabun
Red | V agents: VX gas
Black | H agents: blister agents like mustard gas
Delivered in a compact package, your MIRA Safety CBRN Detection Paper will keep you and your loved ones in the fight.
MIRA Safety Military Gas Mask & Nuclear Survival Kit
Last but certainly not least, the MIRA Safety Military Gas Mask & Nuclear Survival Kit is a critical addition to your bug-out-bag. Combining our NBC-77 filter, canteen, Thyrosafe tablets, leg-mounted pouch and our CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask, you’re equipped with the best gear available to keep yourself alive.
From superior filtration to potassium iodide security against thyroid radiation exposure, this kit has everything you need to survive a dirty nuclear bomb or other nuclear ordinance.
“Banksy in Bethlehem,” March 18th 2018. (Image courtesy of Global Ministries)
As yet another international feud breaks out, we must remain ever vigilant. Taking stock of our lives, as they are, and finding the gratitude within.
Finding empathy and understanding for those suffering. The participants, much like many of us, who never wanted any of this. Regardless of their allegiance, affiliation, or opinions–those who didn’t sign up to fight are finding themselves in the thick of it.
In the end, these are everyday civilians, called to action in a moment's notice. Whether it’s to run, administer aid, or neutralize an incoming threat, preparation is the key to survival. From this perspective, the imagery coming out of the Gaza Strip and Israel is terrifying and sobering.
Even more so when one stops to consider how these very groups battling in a far away region of the world also hold contempt for more than just each other. They feel antipathy for many Western countries and their citizens.
While we, once again, pray and hope to never experience violence of this magnitude… we must also consider that this spark of conflict could just as easily have occurred outside our doors. Or we could have become embroiled in the conflict when visiting friends or family in the Levant.
For these reasons, we hope that our elected officials and leadership will make the right calls, and keep us protected regardless of where we reside.
But though we hope, we also verify our own safety.
Verify yours by staying informed, equipped, and on top of all the ongoing events in our world. In this regard, we at MIRA Safety will do our best to provide the latest updates, so that you, the savvy survivalist, can remain ready.