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Israel-Hamas conflict a blow to Biden's peace efforts

NIUTANQIN WECHAT ACCOUNT | Updated: 2023-10-09 07:47

Rockets are fired from Gaza toward Israel, in Gaza, October 8, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

That both Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said on Saturday that they are "at war" after Palestinian militants launched an early morning assault on southern Israel which was unprecedented in its intensity, shows how serious the situation is there. Unlike previous conflicts between the two sides, Hamas' attack this time was unprecedentedly fierce, and Israeli casualties were far more than many had imagined.

Israel seems to have made two fatal mistakes this time. The first was a gross miscalculation on the part of its intelligence wing. Such a large-scale attack by Hamas, especially on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, was apparently carefully planned over a long period of time, but surprisingly Israeli intelligence had no inkling about it.

The second was the Israeli army's slow reaction to Hamas' sudden assault, possibly because it was caught unawares. The Israeli army not only failed to protect civilians, but also lost some of its personnel who were either killed or taken as "prisoners of war" by Hamas. Perhaps the relative calm of the past few years had pushed the Israeli army into a state of rest, or the fierce internal strife in Israel had further lowered the morale of the famed Israeli intelligence.

The attack revealed the fighting power and strategic prowess of Hamas. The most frightening aspect for Israelis is that Hamas broke through Israel's supposedly impregnable separation wall, and breached the Israeli-made border. It will take a long time for Israeli citizens to overcome the psychological shock now that they know the barrier is not secure.

The retaliation of the Israeli side is almost predictable, and the Palestinian side has to prepare for a renewed and massive counterattack by Israel.

No peace-loving person would like to see that happening, though. Both sides should realize that war does not solve any problem; instead, it sows more seeds of hatred, extending conflicts and feuds to future generations.

Moreover, the conflict is a big blow to the Joe Biden administration which has been working to broker a rapprochement between Israel and Palestine in line with the United States' "commitment" to peace in the Middle East.


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