On October 7 the world was shocked by another flare-up of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and, this time, a very serious one. Not only did Hamas fire rockets at Israel, but it also penetrated Israeli territory. The operation, called Al-Aqsa Flood, has been unprecedented in terms of audacity and planning. Over a thousand Israelis have been killed, it’s estimated, and more than 3,500 wounded, territories were captured, military personnel and civilians were taken hostage. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the start of a full-scale war, promising to leave the Gaza Strip in ruins.
The current events were a result of the biggest failure of Israel’s state security system in recent history. They have severely shaken the belief in the “omnipresence” of the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence service) and the invincibility of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). For many hours, the Israeli army was utterly helpless as Palestinian armed groups attacked the country. Israeli intelligence also failed to prevent the catastrophe in any way. Meanwhile, even the day chosen by Hamas for the start of the operation was quite symbolic – the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Presently, the Israeli authorities have only one way out– to wash away their dishonor with the blood of the enemy. This could be done by pulling ground troops into Gaza and dealing a destructive blow to Hamas. Things, however, are further complicated by the fact that Hamas is not alone. It is backed by Iran and the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah. Earlier, Hezbollah promised to open a second front, and today it openly joined the armed conflict on the side of the Palestinians. So far, it has taken action only from the border area. The sides are exchanging strikes, Hezbollah already has deaths, for which the leadership of the movement promised to take revenge.
Experts note that Hezbollah possesses advanced weapons, considerable combat experience, and has the full support of Tehran.