Hamas’ initial attack on October 7 represented a large intelligence failure by the Israeli intelligence and security services. Once believed to be one of the strongest military forces in the Middle East, the advanced border fence near Gaza was easily breached by militant forces who simultaneously launched thousands of rockets into Israeli territory. NPR reports that most of the Israeli Defense Forces’ focus, including most of their resources and assets, has been on the West Bank, where young Palestinian men have been launching their own initiatives against Israel. The New York Times states that, “the brazen infiltration of more than 20 Israeli towns and army bases in that raid was the worst breach of Israel’s defenses in 50 years and shattered the nation’s sense of security.” Prior to the assault, it was believed that Hamas was not looking for escalation, even ending riots along the border. As the death toll following the attacks in Israel and Gaza continue to mount, people across the world are calling into question what this conflict means for the stability not only of the Middle East, but the rest of the world as well.
Tension within the region have been sharply rising as nations such as Iran and the United States warn of possible escalation. In a United Nations Security Council briefing on October 16, Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said, “The events of the past 11 days have served to reignite grievances and reanimate alliances across the region. The risk of an expansion of the conflict if very, very real and extremely dangerous.” Similarly, Joe Biden cautioned Israel to “not be blinded by rage” during a presidential address following his recent trip to Tel Aviv, reports CNBC. He also encouraged Congress to put in an urgent budget request to help support both Israel and Ukraine in their current conflicts. This followed the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s six-country tour through Arab nations that was aimed and preventing the conflict from escalating into a broader regional conflict, writes The Associated Press. The U.S. Department of State has also issued a worldwide caution to U.S. citizens citing, “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned Israel of potential escalation if they go through with a ground invasion of Gaza, telling Al Jazeera on October 14, “If the Zionist entity [Israel] decides to enter Gaza, the resistance leaders will turn it into a graveyard of the occupation soldiers.” Despite rejecting claims that Tehran was involved in Hamas’ assault on Israel, Amir-Abdollahian discussed continued cooperation during a meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar on October 14. He has also visited Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria which represents diplomatic engagements to stop Israeli attacks. The world will continue to closely watch as the conflict between Israel and Palestine plays out, as leaders around the world work to prevent the fighting from escalating into a larger regional, or even global, conflict.