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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Hamas’ attack is a tragedy for Israel – and a death knell for Palestine

Rachel Choi
Illustration by Rachel Choi

The two-state solution is dead. Hamas has killed it.

It lingered for over half a century, sometimes as fantasy, sometimes deliriously close to being a reality. Its assailants were many of the great figures of history—some of whom had helped dream it in the first place. Netanyahu, Arafat, Begin, Kissinger, Ben Gurion. But the final blow came from Hamas.

Israel, which suffered the bloodiest day in its 75-year-long history on Saturday, has been shaken to its very foundations. The image of Israeli military and intelligence superiority is shattered. Hundreds are missing, and thousands more are dead. The attack has been likened to Israel’s 9/11—national tragedy on an unprecedented scale.

Palestine, on the other hand, is unlikely to ever recover.

The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far too long and controversial for anyone, even the most vocal pundits on the internet, to sum up succinctly. But, in short, the conflict that has raged (more or less) since 1948 (more or less) has had an equally-long history of proposed solutions to create two independent, coexisting Israeli and Palestinian states. 

The UN partition plan that split the region between Palestinian and Jewish residents, for example, was scuttled after the Arab states immediately invaded the newly-independent Israeli state, hoping to “drive the Jews into the sea.” The internationally-recognized borders (the so-called “Green Line”) were violated in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sadat and Begin punted on the Palestinian issue at Camp David in 1978. The Oslo Accords, hailed as a breakthrough for Palestinian statehood, have been undermined countless times, by both sides, since 1995.

Enter Hamas.

Saturday’s strike was the boldest move against the Jewish state since the massive invasion of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Hamas’ attack from the Gaza Strip gained the support of Palestinians who had long soured on squalid living conditions, intermittent bombings, and, with the inert corruption of the West Bank, a lack of viable political alternatives. 

But Hamas’ attack gambled Palestine’s future on a surprise lightning attack on Israel, one that succeeded in shocking Israel and the world. At the same time, though, Saturday’s attack offered no clear way to victory. Hamas managed to press their advantage for a few hours, but their meagerly-equipped fighters have no hope against the Western-backed, American-armed, state-of-the-art Israeli air and ground forces.

It is the Palestinian people, in Gaza and in the West Bank, that will pay the price.

Look no further than Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration of war on Sunday—a major escalation even in the long history of Israeli-Arab conflicts. Israel has conducted various military operations in Gaza and Lebanon in the past, but this is the first time it has formally declared war. From a legal perspective, it is a historic moment—and one indicating that Jerusalem is willing to prosecute the conflict with far more ferocity than it ever has before.

Or take the words of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday, who said that Israel will cut off all food, electricity and water to Gaza. While in the past, Palestinian fighters have been “militants” or “terrorists,” Gallant took this a step further—saying that Israel is at war with “human animals.”

With horror stories of rapes and killings committed by Hamas fighters circulating social media, it doesn’t seem as if the Israeli military is particularly inclined to show restraint at this moment. The onslaught has already started: nearly 800 have already died. Gaza will be leveled. 

Beyond the wanton destruction that will be inflicted on Gaza, there is also the political dimension: it is hard to see Israel, on the footing for total war, ever accepting a two-state solution now.

“What Hamas has done in Israel, including the massacre of hundreds of teenagers at an outdoor concert, is on a par with, or even exceeds, the crimes of ISIS and al-Qaeda,” reads a particularly-inflammatory editorial in Israel’s Jerusalem Post. “Does anyone call for negotiations with, much less concessions to, those terrorists?”

The United States, a long standing player in the peace process (unsuccessfully, one might add), has taken a more moderate stance. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated on Tuesday that an independent Palestinian state, coexisting with Israel, “remains the best path forward for peace and security” in the Middle East.

Talk about the road not taken.

Faced with the prospect of utter annihilation, Hamas has already floated the possibility of a truce. Given that the attack was reportedly kept secret even from senior political leaders in the organization, it makes sense. For Israel, though, it’s almost impossible to see any sort of negotiated solution.

Israel’s precise war aims—what they will do if and when ground forces invade Gaza—are unclear. Maybe the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority will assume power (unlikely, given PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ full-throated support of the Hamas attack). Maybe the IDF will stay to occupy the ruins, a sort of East Jerusalem-meets-Fallujah. Maybe there will be some sort of new local authority installed. What there will not be, however, is any sort of Hamas-led government. 

With Hamas destroyed, the PA and Abbas discredited and disempowered, and Israeli nationalism at a fever pitch, it is hard to see a way out for Palestinians. 

It’s not just for the foreseeable future: once the door on Palestinian statehood closes, it closes forever. And Hamas may have just kicked the doorstop in.

View Comments (6)
About the Contributor
Camilo Fonseca
Camilo Fonseca, Editor-at-large
Camilo Fonseca is a former editor-at-large for the Beacon. He previously served as news editor and as managing editor for campus coverage. Camilo has also contributed to The Boston Globe, as a metro/express correspondent, and The Seattle Times, as a business reporter. He is currently interning at The Christian Science Monitor. Hailing from Tampa, Fla., Camilo is a senior journalism major with a minor in political science, and hopes to pursue a career in business and foreign affairs writing.

Comments (6)

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  • R

    Rin Kelley / Oct 18, 2023 at 11:36 am

    Oh yes. Such a tragedy for the apartheid state that has had American tax dollars funding their ethnic genocide for years. Such a tragedy for the Israelians bombing hospitals filled with dying palestinians. Such a tragedy for the Israelians HOLDING THEM CAPTIVE in the largest open air prison in the world with limited resources. Such a tragedy for the people slaughtering innocent civilians with no equal amount of force being displayed and celebrating about it. Such a tragedy for the people causing prejudice against innocent Muslims all around the entire world. However will Israel recover, perhaps a check from Biden?? Free Palestine.

    • M

      m / Oct 22, 2023 at 3:10 am

      i do not disagree with this comment at all, and i think it’s really insightful. it does lack perspective into the experiences of everyone involved though. just a reminder that it is a tragedy, in fact, for the people who lost family members this week. from both places. both groups are grieving. so yes, for israeli people it is a tragedy for people whose family members and friends were raped and murdered. we are allowed grace to grieve people we love too. please hold space for everyone who is hurting right now, not just the group that best aligns with your political agenda

  • T

    T-Money / Oct 17, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    Small minded drivel from a complete moron

  • R

    Rayan Afif / Oct 17, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    So, the argument you have written essentially claims that Hamas has killed the “two-state solution”. Because after 75 years of the apartheid “state” of Israel, the only “solution” is to establish two separate states. And after 75 years of the apartheid “state” of Israel, Hamas is apparently what killed the solution. For 75 years, Palestinians have been murdered and displaced by the Israeli government and its settlers. In fact 700,000 Palestinians have been displaced since the Nakba of 1948 as of May 15, 2023 (UN News). Adding to that, from just this past week alone, the UN announced that 1.1 MILLION Palestinians have been displaced, with 4,200 Palestinians murdered by Israel. Not to mention, Israel has also been committing illegal warcrimes such as using white phosphorous in Gaza AND Southern Lebanon. Israel never had any intentions for preserving Palestinian life and land. A “two-state solution” could never be possible as Israel has consistently displaced and murdered Palestinians. Gaza is an open air prison – they simply cannot leave. Israel has bombed the borders, bombed roads, bombed neighboring airports, bombed any aid. Why is it that Palestinians must now face their death while you write an article about how this “is a tragedy for Israel”. The “state” of Israel has, for 75 years, been an occupation of Palestine. That is the truth. That is what the statistics show, that is what the testimonies say. Where is your context? Where is your history? This is a genocide, and you are perpetrating it.

    Please look at the videos posted of Palestinians in Gaza right now. Just look.

    From the river to the sea… Palestinian freedom lies within our lifetime.

    • R

      riana cohen / Oct 18, 2023 at 7:31 pm

      yikes rayan.

    • N

      None / Oct 19, 2023 at 7:46 am

      I accidentally pressed on the like button for the article. Please remove that like. I don’t like.