October 7: 1,400 Israelis were killed and over 4,000 injured in an attack by Hamas*, which also fired missiles into central and southern Israel. 222 people were taken hostage, including both Israelis and dozens of other nationalities (4 have been released so far). Most missiles have been intercepted by Israel’s defense system, according to the Israeli government. (Recently, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, announced at the U.N. that Hamas is ready to release the hostages but that the world should push for the release of 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. According to a Reuters report, a Palestinian senior member of Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said, “Foreign prisoners cannot be released due to the continued Israeli bombing of Gaza.”)
Following the October 7 attack: the Israeli government cut off electricity, water, fuel, medicine, and food to Gaza’s over 2.2 million population and ordered over a million civilians living in the north to evacuate south, warning that the north would be bombed.
Those who could travel did – but found sites in the south were also being bombed. Adding to the difficulty of escaping was the lack of fuel. According to U.N. data, over 7,300 people in Gaza were killed, including 2,600 children, and over 17,439 were injured, including many who fled to refugee camps.
Among those killed were 27 journalists and 57 aid workers. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed while seeking treatment and safety at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, which was bombed and is running low on medicine, food, and water, as well as fuel for generators to operate the hospital without electricity. (By October 26, twelve hospitals had shut down.)
October 10: President Biden continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself while he denounced the killing of civilians and said that the U.S. would provide $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and the West Bank. By October 21, U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Martin Griffiths reported the first convoy of aid into Gaza had arrived but said much more was needed.
According to the U.N., 20 trucks carry supplies enough for 22,000 people in one day, but – 629,000 people are sheltering in the 150 U.N. Relief and Works Agency facilities. Hundreds of trucks await inspection, and by October 27, only 84 trucks had made it through the Egyptian border.
October 18: Over 300 people, including members of the Jewish group “If Not Now” and “Jewish Voice for Peace,” were arrested at a U.S. Capitol Hill sit-in demanding a ceasefire as innocent civilians are being victimized. Demonstrations called for a ceasefire, return of Israeli hostages, and support of a free Palestine were held in Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, New York, Brooklyn, SF, LA, and other cities across the U.S., and cities in France, Germany, Britain, Denmark, Italy, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa and other countries.
October 25: The U.S. government, which contributes an annual $3.3 billion in aid to Israel, has failed to join the push for a ceasefire, instead committing $2 trillion in arms to support the blockade, occupation, and bombing. The U.S. House of Representatives passed – in a 412 to 10 vote, a resolution for the continued support of Israel while condemning Hamas.
October 26: European Union leaders representing 27 nations called for a pause in bombing from both sides to get humanitarian aid to those in need. The US Government sent 900 soldiers to bases in the Middle East. At the 15-member UN Security Council, a second Russian attempt at a ceasefire resolution, which also demanded Israel rescind its order for Gaza citizens to move south, failed with US and UK vetos. A second US resolution to “pause” bombing to allow humanitarian aid and calls for a halt to providing arms to Hamas also failed with vetoes from Russia and China. It only takes one veto to stop a resolution, and the US, UK, Russia, China, and France are the members with veto power.
October 27: On Day 21 of the Israeli/Hamas war in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” between Israeli forces and Hamas militants. The resolution also called for Israel to rescind its order for Palestinian civilians and U.N. staff to evacuate northern Gaza and for the immediate release of all civilians who are held captive by Hamas. There is no veto power in the General Assembly, and resolutions are non-binding.
*Who is Hamas?: According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “The Palestinian militant group has struggled to govern Gaza and remains committed to violently resisting Israel.” Hamas won a dominating number of seats in the Palestine Authority legislature in 2006, with post-election polls indicating that Palestinians supported the authoritarian group’s promise to end poverty, corruption in government, and the Israeli occupation in place since 1967 rather than its ideology. No elections have been held during the past 17 years.