Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Students react to the Israel-Hamas war

Media: Google Images
The Israeli Defense Forces destroys a building in Gaza. The war in Palestine raged on the past few weeks after the Oct. 7 surprise attack launched by Hamas.

In the early morning of October 7, also the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, Hamas viciously launched over 5,000 rockets – within a span of just twenty minutes – on Israel’s various peripheral cities on the Gaza–Israel border. As air sirens blared their universal alarm, almost three thousand Palestinian militants infiltrated Israel from all sides of the Gaza Strip, utilizing trucks on the ground, dinghies from the sea, and paragliders from the air.
In the moments that followed, Hamas militants violently massacred over 270 civilians that were partying near the Iron Wall, concluding the attack with the deaths of 1400 Israelis as well as taking over 200 hostages of various nationalities.

In what has been described as the “worst single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust” by Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, the world immediately reacted with shock. People across the world opened their phones to see the brutal and vicious attacks against the Israeli people by the Palestinian militant group. Soon after, however, news of the attack filled the world with bitter indignation and many called to arms against Hamas.

With the world at its back, Israel declared war on Hamas on that very day, and launched Operation Swords of Iron, which aims to completely eradicate Hamas from the face of the Earth Gaza. The move marks Israel’s first state of war since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 

Since October 8, Israel Defense Forces announced that they had mobilized over 360,000 reserves, bolstering Israel’s army to 530,000. A day later and hours of planning, Israel put the complete stateless enclave under siege, cutting off all food, water, electricity, and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, Israel also carried out hundreds of air strikes aimed at destroying civilian infrastructure, whom Hamas uses to shield their operations. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that “we are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” 

Following Hamas’ attack on Israel, the protest group Kaplan Force, an Israeli opposition group protesting Israeli Judicial Reform since it would give Netanyahu even greater powers, canceled its protest against the controversial Israeli Judicial Reform scheduled on October 7, extending support to the IDF amidst the crisis. Other anti-draft groups including Form 555 and Brothers in Arms called on reservists to serve if called up. Accordingly, Israel’s political groups have also set aside their differences and have since united to form an emergency war government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at its head. 

As the Israeli Air Force dropped bunker busting bombs on Gaza, aiming to destroy Hamas’ labyrinth of tunnels, the IDF issued an evacuation warning for North Gaza, instructing over 1.1 million Palestinians to move south to avoid the calamity – suggesting that Israel is planning to invade Gaza City. The evacuation, however, was deemed impossible by the United Nations, who in a statement warned that there would be “devastating humanitarian consequences” if the war escalated. Human Rights Watch called the move “abhorrent” and called on the International Criminal Court to make a note of the order.

The conflict has also resulted in a rise of antisemitism among universities. At Stanford University, a lecturer was suspended after singling out and attacking Jewish students. At Harvard, students signed a letter blaming Israel solely for the deadly attacks by Hamas, causing billionaire hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman and several other business leaders to demand Harvard University to release the names of the students associated with the letter. “One should not be able to hide a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists,” Ackman said in a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

The Wexner Foundation, founded by former Victoria’s Secret billionaire Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail, broke ties with Harvard are alleging the school has been tiptoeing over Hamas’ terror attacks against Israel. 

“We are stunned and sickened by the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians,” the Wexner Foundation’s leaders wrote in a letter to the Harvard board of overseers. 

Harvard students, on the other hand, organized protests against Israel and called on the end to “apartheid” and “the genocide in Gaza,” arguing that Israel’s at fault for the attack and that they have killed over 9000 Palestinians and have injured 23000 more. They also claim that Israel has forced Palestine’s hand since they could not resist Israel’s attempt to block Palestinian statehood.

The United States has unequivocally supported Israel, with Biden saying on X, “America says clearly to the Israeli people, to the world, and to terrorists everywhere that we stand with Israel.” 

The White House, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, and more have all lit up to show support for Israel. The US Navy has also sent two aircraft carrier groups to the eastern Mediterranean in an act of power towards groups supportive of Hamas’ cause.

Some students have voiced their opposition against the invasion of Gaza.. Faris Miller ’24, a staff writer and the only student of Palestinian descent at The Hill, believes that the IDF “are an oppressive group that has gotten away with harassing, demeaning, and oppressing Palestinians for decades.”

“I believe that Israel is using the attack by Hamas as an excuse to flatten Gaza and control the entirety of the region,” Miller said.

Others have voiced their support of Israel.

“Israel needs to act swiftly and flush Hamas out of the region or else more innocents will die. The United States needs to stand with Israel,” Madison Tian ’25 said.

Others have taken their hatred too far: in Illinois, a 6 year Palestinian old boy was killed in an apparent anti-muslim attack. In Paris, a Russian national of Chechen origin named Mohamad Moguouchkov, killed a French teacher and is apparently to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. In Belgium, a gunman who has been said to support the Islamic State, killed two Swedes in Brussels, Belgium. FBI Director Christopher Wray says that a terror threat to America is on a “whole other level” amid the Israel-Hamas war.

As the war continues to rage on, with Israelis giving the “green light” to move in Gaza, the humanitarian situation will continue to flare up. Only time will tell when the next major incident will inflame the world within the narrow Gaza Strip.

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About the Contributor
Evan Luo '25
Evan Luo '25, Features Editor

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