The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres finally stated the obvious on Tuesday 24 October that, “It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. However, the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
This statement is in contrast to the Israeli narrative being widely spread by its supporters that the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict started on Saturday 7 October when reportedly 1,400 Israelis lost their lives, the largest number of Jews killed on a single day since the holocaust and thus Israel has the ‘right to defend itself’ by mounting revenge killing of many times more Palestinians.
The Israeli narrative rhetorically depicts its revenge attacks in Gaza and the West Bank as a justified war against Hamas, demonising it as terrorists, Nazis and equivalent to ISIS, avoiding terms like Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims or civilians.
As stated by the UN Secretary-General, the root cause of 7 October attacks has a long history where Palestinians have been made to live under brutal military occupation in the West Bank and under siege in an open-air prison in Gaza while Israeli settlers live in leafy suburban settlements armed to the teeth, enjoying life and partying under the protection of Israeli military and police.
Hamas have said that the attack was driven by what it called escalated Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons as well as the desecration of Muslim holy places in the West Banks, in particular Masjid Al-Aqsa.
Hamas or Islamic Resistance Movement is a democratically elected legitimate authority governing Gaza Strip of the Palestinian Territories with a presence in the West Bank as well competing with secular Fatah.
Its armed wing Al-Qassam Brigades have engaged Israel from time to time justifying its attacks to resist Israeli occupation and occasionally targeting Israeli civilians in Israel proper and armed settlers in the occupied areas.
Because of indiscriminate attacks by the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas as a whole has been declared as a terrorist organisation by the US as well as Australia pushed by the Israeli lobby in these countries.
Hamas disputes Israel to be a legitimate nation-state, rather a racist and apartheid state with discriminatory laws incorporated to promote the settlement of foreign Jews while denying indigenous people of Palestine to live peacefully on their own ancestral land.
It believes in its right to defend Palestinians and resist foreign occupation and colonisation of their land in spite of great asymmetry of power where it is pitted against the Israeli military machine, the strongest in the Middle East backed by Western countries, with only inaccurate rockets against missiles, pick up trucks against tanks and gliders against fighter jets.