Why did Hamas attack Israel on Oct 7?
Too many people are naively unaware that Hamas' core grievance is the very existence of Israel and its Jewish population.
Myth: The Oct 7 attacks, led by Hamas, are rooted in legitimate grievances that Israel must address.
Truth: Hamas’ core grievance is the very existence of Israel and its Jewish population, which drives them to commit atrocities.
Though most people condemn Hamas’s methods, many perceive that their goal is the potentially reasonable desire to resist unjust Israeli policies. In fact, Hamas takes issue not with any particular doing of Israel, but with the fact that its Jewish population is still breathing.
In an investigation of Hamas’ motivations, their founding documents are beyond a detective’s wildest dream. Hamas’ 1988 Charter does not shroud their end-Israel agenda, but declares it blatantly: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”
Hamas’ Charter asserts that God commands Jew-killing: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. [They] will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Hamas’ brand of anti-Semitism is not unique. Rather, they are part of the global jihadist movement backed by Iran, which seeks to establish, via holy war, a theocratic Islamic Caliphate over the entire planet. This ideology also drives al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, and ISIS.
The jihadist nature of Hamas is exposed unambiguously by their leaders’ statements. In 2022, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said, “We are not talking about liberating our land alone… The entire 510 million square kilometers of Planet Earth will come under [Islam].”
In 2018, Hamas official Fathi Hammad laid out Hamas’ vision in two stages: “The first is the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews, and their uprooting from it... The second is the establishment of the Caliphate, after the nation has been healed of its cancer—the Jews.”
Even despite Hamas’ stated goals of genocide and world domination, some Westerners are tempted to assume that Hamas must have some redeeming motivations. However, Hamas’ actions—beginning far before Oct 7—prove definitively that we should take them at their word.
Hamas started wars with Israel in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, and 2021. Even during ‘peacetime’, they launched thousands of rockets at Israeli towns and sent suicide bombers to explode Israeli bus stops, restaurants, shops, and other public places, killing hundreds of Israelis.
In a 2017 PR stunt, Hamas revised their Charter to disavow Israel in more academic lingo—“Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish [but] against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.” Obfuscations aside, their proudly stated goal remains to end Israel.
On Oct 7, 2023, Hamas put into practice their undeniable intentions for Israel. They murdered >1000 Israeli men, women, kids—even infants—in homes, streets, and nurseries. They beheaded, burned alive, raped, tortured, and machine-gunned their victims, taking >200 hostages.
Since Oct 7, Hamas has doubled down. "We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again. [Oct 7] is just the first time; there will be a second, a third, a fourth… on Oct 7, Oct 10, Oct 1000000—everything we do is justified” — Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, Oct 24.
Hamas’ “justification”—some still claim—is that they are freedom fighters. However, Hamas' conduct within Gaza refutes the belief that they are fighting for the freedom of the Palestinian people.
Consider: If Hamas were to succeed in its aims, would Palestinians be free?
Under Hamas’ totalitarian theocracy, Palestinians have very few freedoms—not of speech, religion, assembly, or sexuality. If Hamas were to take Israel, Palestinians would still be profoundly unfree. Palestinian liberation is clearly not Hamas’ goal—not in any core sense.
People sometimes point out that Israel, in its past occupation of regions, may have done some things improperly by the standards of a free and civilized society. This is not the grievance of Hamas, who does not want a free and civilized society—or to live by its standards.
Hamas sometimes hides behind legitimate-sounding grievances against Israel, but these are smokescreens. Their fundamental grievance—and that of many in the Arab-Muslim world—is the existence of Israel. The only way for Israel to “solve” this would be to commit suicide.
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