In a shocking and brutal surprise attack, Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli towns, unleashing a barrage of violence that has plunged Israel into a state of war. The early morning assault on a major Jewish holiday has left hundreds dead, others abducted, and a nation grappling with its deadliest attack in decades.
Israel, now in a declared state of war, vows to retaliate and inflict an "unprecedented price" on Hamas.
Hamas terrorists, utilizing a multi-faceted approach, infiltrated as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and communities up to 15 miles from the Gaza border. The terrorists, armed and ruthless, roamed freely in some areas for hours, killing civilians and soldiers alike.
The death toll has totaled more than 300 people and more than 1,500 wounded, marking it as the deadliest attack in Israel in decades.
The international community has been swift to respond, with leaders worldwide expressing their stances on the unfolding situation. President Joe Biden decried the "unconscionable" Hamas attack and warned Israel’s enemies not to exploit the crisis.
President Trump blamed the Biden administration stating at a campaign event in Iowa, "The Israeli attack was made because we are perceived as being weak and ineffective and with a really weak leader."
Governor DeSantis echoed Trump's position comparing the attacks to 9/11 and pointed to the administration's recent release of funds to Iran, calling it a "disgrace."
Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, vocalized their support as well.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (pictured) affirmed that Israel "has every right to defend itself and its people against this barbarous onslaught."
🧵(2/3) It has every right to defend itself and its people against this barbarous onslaught. The United States stands in solidarity with Israel, not just during this tragic day, but always. My heart and resolve is with all Israelis now and going forward.
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) October 7, 2023
Sen. Rick Scott called for "every American ally & partner" to "swiftly condemn [the] invasion & actions of war by Hamas terrorists & the Iranian regime which supports their murderous attacks."
Israelis are dying today at the hands of Iran-backed terrorists. Every American ally & partner must swiftly condemn this invasion & acts of war by Hamas terrorists & the Iranian regime which supports their murderous attacks.
We stand with Israel 🇺🇸🇮🇱 https://t.co/bxv6Q6QyUJ
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 7, 2023
Rep. Cory Mills' analysis of larger implications of the attack highlight the dangers of viewing "incidents in isolation and [failing] to recognize the larger strategy" of bad actors including Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea.
(1/8) I support Israel's right to defend itself, its citizens, and eliminate the terrorists threatening the stability of the region. It's clear to me that this is the work of Iranian-backed Hamas, aimed at disrupting talks with Saudi Arabia and the expansion of the Trump-era…
— Rep. Cory Mills 🇺🇸 (@RepMillsPress) October 7, 2023
However, members of the progressive "Squad", including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, issued statements later in the day, reflecting a different perspective. Their statements read as if they were written together.
Rep. Pressley called for an "immediate ceasefire & de-escalation," while citing a "cycle of violence and trauma."
These devastating attacks on Israelis are deeply alarming and my heart breaks for the victims & their loved ones.
We need an immediate ceasefire & de-escalation.
It is long past time to stop this cycle of violence & trauma, and work toward a just & lasting peace in the region. https://t.co/mPUukLKYg6
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) October 7, 2023
Omar echoed that position and called the situation a "back and forth cycle" and calling for a "deescalation and ceasefire."
I condemn the horrific acts we are seeing unfold today in Israel against children, women, the elderly, and the unarmed people who are being slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas. Such senseless violence will only repeat the back and forth cycle we've seen, which we cannot allow…
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 7, 2023
AOC's statement boldly asserts Israel is responsible for "ongoing oppression and occupation in the region," and also called for "an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation."
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) October 7, 2023
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who is Palestinian and supports the anti-Israel BDS movement, has not yet issued an official statement.
The common denominator in these statements reflects a position that Israel should not retaliate, that it should lay down its arms in a cease-fire, and that a “cycle of violence” – Israeli violence – is to blame.
Clapping back at these sentiments is Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who tweeted:
This is the largest attack in Israel in 50 years.
The response will be the largest response in 50 years.
Blame Hamas. They knew Israel would respond in kind. They didn’t care that this would get people in Gaza killed.
— Jared Moskowitz 🟧 (@JaredEMoskowitz) October 7, 2023
The tweet generated significant backlash from Hamas sympathizers, including Rep. Omar who retweeted a comment reading "A U.S. Congressman suggesting 2 million people in Gaza should be collectively punished for the actions of Hamas."
While there appears to be widespread and global support for Israel in the wake of this attack, once Israel initiates a response, the tide will likely shift. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "This war will take time. It will be difficult." He promised that the military would utilize all its strength to dismantle Hamas's capabilities and avenge the dark day that has befallen Israel.