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Hamas Attacks on Israel: A Historical Perspective

Hamas, which stands for Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Resistance Movement), is a Palestinian militant organization that was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied territories. Since its inception, Hamas has been involved in a long history of attacks on Israel, shaping the complex and ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This article provides an overview of the history of Hamas attacks on Israel.

1. Formation and Early Years (1987-1990s): Hamas was initially established as a response to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and it quickly gained popularity among Palestinians for its perceived commitment to resistance. During its early years, Hamas carried out numerous acts of violence, including suicide bombings, against Israeli targets.

2. Oslo Accords and the Shift to Political Participation (1993-2000): In the early 1990s, the Oslo Accords initiated a peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This led to a shift in Hamas’s approach. While some factions remained committed to armed resistance, others chose to participate in Palestinian politics. The organization even participated in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, winning a significant number of seats.

3. Second Intifada (2000-2005): The eruption of the Second Intifada in 2000 saw a resurgence in violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Hamas was responsible for a significant number of attacks during this period, which included suicide bombings, shootings, and rocket attacks. The Israeli military responded with military operations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

4. Gaza Takeover (2007): In 2007, Hamas staged a violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, ousting the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. This division created a lasting rift between the West Bank, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas. Hamas’s control of Gaza gave it a stronghold from which it continued to launch attacks on Israel.

5. Rocket Attacks on Southern Israel (2000s-2020s): Hamas has consistently fired rockets and mortars into southern Israel, particularly during times of heightened tension. These rocket attacks have led to multiple conflicts, most notably the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the 2012 Gaza conflict, and the 2014 Gaza war. These conflicts resulted in significant casualties on both sides.

6. Gaza Protests and March of Return (2018): In 2018, Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great March of Return, a series of protests demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees and an end to the blockade of Gaza. While largely non-violent, some participants engaged in clashes with Israeli forces, leading to casualties and deaths.

7. Recent Developments and Ceasefires: In recent years, there have been several ceasefire agreements between Israel and Hamas. These ceasefires have helped reduce the frequency of rocket attacks and military incursions in the past. But that was shattered with the attack on Israel last week.

It’s important to note that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is highly complex and deeply rooted in historical, political, and social factors. While this article provides an overview of Hamas’s attacks on Israel, it’s crucial to recognize that the conflict involves multiple parties and has caused immense suffering on both sides. Efforts to achieve a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict continue to be a central concern for the international community.


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Patrick Zarrelli

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