The Middle East sent shockwaves throughout the world earlier this month when Hamas unexpectedly attacked Israel. These attacks later lead to a declaration of war from Israel on Oct. 8.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, a blast occurred at the compound of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza right before President Biden landed in Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported. Immediately, Hamas blamed the blast on Israel, while Israel and the preliminary evidence points to the source being a Palestinian militant group. After the bombings at the hospital, Israel has increased their aerial bombing on the Gaza Strip according to the Journal. These airstrikes are aimed at the Hamas militants in mostly northern Gaza, and are precursors to a proposed ground offensive by Israel.
The Journal has reported that Washington has warned Israeli leadership to hold off on ground offensive operations. This suggestion was made in order for Qatar to secure the release of additional hostages. Holding off on these operations would also give time to the US to organize its own military assets. Furthermore, the New York Times reported that the Biden administration “is concerned that Israel lacks achievable military objectives in Gaza, and that the Israel Defense Forces are not yet ready to launch a ground invasion with a plan that can work.”
Marine Lt. Gen. James Glynn and a team of officers were sent by the Pentagon to help Israel with the challenges of the war. The Pentagon emphasized that Glynn was not making decisions for Israel and that he would not be on the ground if an invasion into Gaza were to occur.
Hamas has taken over 200 hostages, including Americans, foreign nationals and many Israeli citizens.
According to the Journal, Hamas released American mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan this past Friday, Oct. 20. This was coincidentally the same day that aid became available in Gaza after the bombing of the hospital.
On Monday, Oct. 23, two more women were released for “humanitarian reasons.” Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper were released at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing where their husbands were still being held.
According to a White House readout of a phone call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the President reaffirmed his commitment to achieve the release of all remaining hostages. Biden in the readout also “underscored the need to sustain a continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”
Colleges across the country are in shambles in the aftermath of this conflict, and are divided on how to react and facilitate the conflict between students, staff and faculty.
Hope College has yet to release an official statement or a campus-wide email on the conflict. President Scogin was contacted by The Anchor to express his and the College’s position on the war.
“The violence between Hamas and Israel is heart-breaking and tragic. Currently there are no Hope students from or studying in that region, but we are aware that some of our colleagues and alumni have ties to Israel and Palestine.”
He continued on to say that “we are holding them and everyone affected in our prayers. May the God of hope fill our world with peace and joy!”
Other universities like University of Michigan have released comments addressing the issues. U of M President Santa J. Ono addressed the community with five simple words: “…violence is never the answer.” He continued to emphasize the importance of “…equity, inclusion, fair treatment for all and respect for our differences.”
“Together, we can support our entire community and a renewed commitment to working together toward a common goal — making the world we live in a better place for all.”
Michigan State University also published a statement concerning the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We condemn the recent acts of violence and share the concern of many in our community regarding the staggering loss of life in Israel and Gaza. MSU strongly opposes hate, bigotry, antisemitism and Islamophobia and the way these may manifest into fear and violence.”
The statement also provides resources for students concerned about safety and other counseling and psychiatric services.
Photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/PRESS POOL via the Wall Street Journal