Israel’s security cabinet has officially declared war after a major attack by Hamas, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The government invoked Article 40 of Israel’s Basic Law, enabling them to undertake “significant military action that may lead, with a level of probability close to certain, to war.” This decision grants the prime minister the authority to make certain war-related decisions with just the approval of the security cabinet.
In addition, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office announced that emergency regulations requesting an extended period of custody without court appearances for detainees have been submitted to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
Prime Minister Netanyahu wasted no time in declaring Israel at war. Following Hamas’ launch of thousands of rockets and infiltration of Jewish settlements near the Gaza border on Saturday, he addressed the nation, stating, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war. And we will win.” Netanyahu also emphasized that Hamas would suffer severe consequences for their actions, vowing, “The enemy will pay a price like they have never known before.”
Since the surprise attack by Hamas, ZAKA, a volunteer group responsible for handling human remains after terrorist attacks in Israel, reported that over 600 Israelis have been killed, including 44 soldiers confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In response, Israeli security forces have killed over 400 Hamas fighters in the past 30 hours.
The situation in Gaza has also escalated, with the local health ministry reporting a death toll of 313 people and nearly 2,000 others injured due to Israel’s retaliatory strikes. Continuing clashes between the two sides are occurring in multiple Israeli settlements near the Gaza border.
This declaration of war signifies a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Tensions have been mounting for weeks, with clashes erupting in Jerusalem over the forced evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and Israeli security forces’ response to protests at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.
The international community has expressed deep concern over the violence and called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of life and destruction. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting, where multiple countries urged both sides to de-escalate tensions and find a peaceful resolution.
However, it remains unclear how long this conflict will persist or what the outcome will be. The situation on the ground is volatile, with both Israel and Hamas seemingly determined to pursue their objectives through military means. As the violence continues, it is the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire who suffer the most. The international community must redouble its efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution and prevent further loss of life in this devastating conflict.