On October 7, 2023 a force of Palestinians from the Gaza area adjacent to Israel launched an attack that lasted one day and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Hamas has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 fighters. Israel has 170,000 active military personnel with 450,000 reserves available for call up. Hamas has no air force or navy and attacked in jeeps, on motorcycles and with paragliders. Israel has many jet fighters-bombers, several warships including submarines, tanks and armored personnel carriers, and nuclear weapons.
Why would the Hamas David challenge the Israeli Goliath? 1 Samuel 17. The Biblical David used a stone to bring down the heavily armored gigantic Philistine then cut off his head. However, the vastly out-gunned Hamas fighters precipitated an overwhelming Israeli reign of death, terror and destruction on, so far, 14,000 Palestinian civilians for a month and a half with the Israeli promise of more to come. Surely Hamas anticipated its impotent assault could not defeat Israel and that Israel would react with a massive military response. So, why do it? The origins of October 7th are in the history of that small geographical area and those two related peoples, Jews and Palestinians, who claim the common progenitor of Abraham. Also, both believe the roots of much of the first five books of the Bible. Their histories and cultures are intricately and inextricably intertwined.
Thanks mainly to the help of the British and Americans the Palestinians who had been living in what is now Israel for hundreds, if not thousands, of years have gradually been displaced by a Jewish population seeking a homeland. The Jews look back to thousands of years of history for their claims. Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 began the process of Palestinian expulsion and America has supported it financially, politically and militarily since 1948. Once again one might ask, why?
With the British, as we Americans can attest, colonialism has been a way of global conquest for hundreds of years. British insertion into the Middle East was and is simply a vestige of the Elizabethan Age. America has a different raison d’être, in part as a reaction against Great Britain’s colonial treatment of our 13 Colonies.
An important event in the American Revolution was King George’s Royal Proclamation of October 7 (note the irony of the date), 1763 that sought to prohibit expansion of American colonists into lands west of the Allegheny Mountains from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Proclamation reserved that great expanse of America for the “indigenous population”. This was not done by Britain to protect Native Americans but to preserve control to the British. The people of the Colonies saw this as encouraging Indians to kill Colonists. In fact, this 1763 Proclamation was at the heart of our 1776 Declaration of Independence’s complaint about King George:
“He (King George) has excited domestic insurrections amonst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
This American attitude towards Native Americans is akin to Israel’s attitude toward Palestinians. And after England was defeated, Anglo-Saxon Americans declared a Manifest Destiny in which their Christian God had ordained that the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico was the sole province of Anglo-Saxons and that the savages who lived there should be eliminated. This attitude toward Native Americans is similar to the attitude of some toward the presence of Palestinians in traditional Palestine.
Such an attitude may be what led Hamas to make such a vicious and futile attack on October 7, 2023. Many Native Americans fought back against the onslaught of Manifest Destiny long after it was a fait accompli. Of course, they were called terrorists. And as Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux Nation said:
“They (white men) made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.”
Hamas may have lived for several generations under a system of a Jewish God giving Palestinian land to the Jews and decided there was nothing more to lose.