Massacre in Israel: Over the weekend, the Palestinian militant group Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel and breached the border wall, catching Israeli forces off guard on a holiday.
Video has circulated on social media of atrocities committed by the invaders, including several of Hamas going door-to-door in southern Israel, entering people's homes, and slaughtering innocent people, including children, as family members are forced to watch. One viral video shows a 25-year-old Israeli woman, Noa Argamani, who was kidnapped by Hamas while attending a music festival.
At that same music festival—Nova, at Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel—rockets began appearing in the sky around 6:30 a.m., prompting a mass evacuation. But then "four pickup trucks filled with armed militants and gunmen on motorcycles encircled the road leading out of the event venue, which was bottlenecked with cars attempting to flee the area," per The New Yorker's Ruth Margalit. "These were executions," one source who was in attendance told Margalit. "We were like ducks in a firing range."
More than 260 people were killed at the music festival massacre, with many more abducted, according to ZAKA, an Israeli organization conducting search and rescue. One man, named Shoam Gueta, said he escaped the festival "with a group of 20 people and hid in the bushes for nearly six hours as the onslaught unfolded around them," per NBC. "He used his mandatory military training experience to stay camouflaged and urged everyone in the group to remain silent and not to run away even when militants came within several feet." (More eyewitness accounts here.)
More than 700 Israelis have died so far. Israel has responded by striking Gaza—including hospitals, and residential buildings that the military claims are occupied by members of Hamas—killing almost 500 Palestinians. (Background on Gaza here.)
"We are at war," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an address, declaring that the army would be mobilized and reservists called up. Schools will close, and most international airlines that service Tel Aviv have ceased operations there for now.
BREAKING: IDF spokesperson confirms there will be an incursion into Gaza utilizing 100,000 Israeli troops with the goal of dismantling all Hamas military capabilities.
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) October 8, 2023
"The Pentagon on Sunday announced it was sending additional munitions to Israel and moving more Navy warships, including an aircraft carrier, and combat aircraft closer to Israel in a show of support," according to The New York Times.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) October 9, 2023
The invasion started on Simchat Torah, a normally joyful Jewish holiday that follows Sukkot and marks the end of a cycle of Torah readings. It also happened 50 years and one day after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, another conflict in which Israel was attacked on a holiday.
One likely reason for the attack: the negotiations between the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which had been getting close to "full diplomatic normalization of Israeli-Saudi diplomatic relations," writes Responsible Statecraft's Paul R. Pillar.
"From the general Palestinian perspective, any such three-way diplomatic deal would be a step backwards for Palestinian self-determination, because an Israeli objective is to enjoy such fruit without making peace with the Palestinians," notes Pillar. "From Hamas's perspective, it sees the rival Palestinian Authority taking a remarkably complacent posture toward the prospect of upgraded Saudi-Israeli ties, seemingly content to remain in its role of an auxiliary to the Israeli occupation. That leaves it to Hamas to actively oppose this backward step."
Another possible reason: The ongoing expansion of the Israeli settlements, marked by "vigilante" attacks on Palestinians, has led many observers to fear another intifada would soon break out in the West Bank. Hamas, which has long been at odds with other Palestinian factions, may have wanted to seize the initiative, thus positioning itself in front of the movement.
While much of the reaction to this weekend's violence has been thoughtful and informative, there have also been two other categories. Extremely Online insanity…
what did y'all think decolonization meant? vibes? papers? essays? losers.
— Najma Sharif (@overdramatique) October 7, 2023
…and vapid warmongering:
This will not be a fleeting conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian saga. This looks like it will be the war to end all wars. It's different this time, and it needs to be clear to Hamas and the Iranian Ayatollah - and all their other proxies - that this was a severe miscalculation.…
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) October 8, 2023
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Iran helped plot the attacks, though this has sparked some skepticism; we'll see what more comes out. Eli Lake asks whether "the bulldozer that Hamas used to demolish a border fence between Israel and Gaza" was "paid for in part with U.S. development aid" here. The Associated Press offers photos that "show fear, death and destruction in battle scenes from Israel and the Gaza Strip" here. Michael Eisenberg has a Twitter thread discussing the on-the-ground organizing in Israel that's happening outside of government.
Scenes from New York:
Today at the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) rally people cheered when a speaker spoke approvingly of Hamas killing and kidnapping "hipsters" at a rave. They cheered this at Times Square. Believe them. Progressive New Yorkers need to stop voting for these people. https://t.co/UI0Avj1L6A
— Peter Moskos (@PeterMoskos) October 9, 2023
- Though still on strike, the "United Auto Workers won a landmark concession from General Motors Co. to bring battery plant workers into the union's fold," which sets the stage for unionized electric vehicle plants.
- Watch Reason's Matt Welch on Real Time with Bill Maher if you know what's good for you.
- Pivot to…LinkedIn?
- Fascinating voter demographic changes:
so in 2022, 40% of native americans voted republican - a number that's been increasing since 2018. this makes them the most conservative voting group among U.S. people of color - even more than latinos, whose rightward shift has gained much attentionhttps://t.co/ARH5M9GD7m
— spencer sunshine (@transform6789) October 5, 2023
- Against safetyism, tech edition:
By obstructing technological progress, safetyism has an extremely high civilizational opportunity cost. If there would have been a moratorium and ethics committee for every emerging technology, we most likely would have killed any progress in its larval stage. pic.twitter.com/XzRTlnjxZw
— Pirate Wires (@PirateWires) April 17, 2023
- Such a dumb strain of anti-AI sentiment (of course image generators can be used to make things you find offensive):
— Emanuel Maiberg (@emanuelmaiberg) October 4, 2023
- Amazon goes to space.
- "Any retaliation against Tehran—amid reports that it helped to plan the [Hamas] attacks—could endanger the passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital conduit that transports much of the world's crude [oil] and which the Iranian government previously has threatened to close," reports Bloomberg. "Iran denied on Monday that it was involved in the assault."
- How does the Iron Dome work?
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