Israel's Ongoing Mourning and Gaza Conflict: 7 Months After October 7th

Israel marks Memorial Day with somber mood amid ongoing Gaza conflict, criticism of PM Netanyahu's government, and heroic work by Palestinian journalists. The October 7th attack killed over 600 Israeli soldiers, sparking an ongoing war that has killed over 34,700 Palestinians.

Muthana Al-Najjar
New Update
Israel's Ongoing Mourning and Gaza Conflict: 7 Months After October 7th

Israel's Ongoing Mourning and Gaza Conflict: 7 Months After October 7th

Seven months after the devastating October 7th attack, Israel remains in a state of mourning, with rage, anxiety, and doubt dominating the national mood. The country is marking its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, a somber occasion that has taken on a still, profound and raw sadness this year amidst the ongoing Gaza conflict, criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, and heroic work by Palestinian journalists and Haaretz newspaper.

Why this matters: The ongoing conflict and government criticism have far-reaching implications for regional stability and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The failure of the Israeli military and government to address the root causes of the conflict may lead to further escalation and humanitarian crises.

The October 7th attack saw over 600 Israeli soldiers killed, with roughly 1,200 people killed in total that day, including about a quarter of them soldiers. 250 people were taken captive into Gaza, including Itay Chen, whose remains are still being held. The sparked an ongoing war, now in its eighth month, which has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, most of them women and children.

The war has shaken Israel's trust in its military and government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public support plummeting. Thousands of people are participating in weekly protests demanding early elections and a new leadership. "Too many people were killed on that day because of a colossal misjudgment. People who made the misjudgment need to pay, from the prime minister down," said Ruby Chen, mother of Itay Chen.

The Israeli military is currently battling Palestinian militants across the Gaza Strip, including in parts of the devastated north that the military said it had cleared months ago. A limited operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has expanded, forcing around 300,000 people to flee and drawing warnings from Egypt that it is putting the country's decades-old peace treaty with Israel at risk.

The Israeli military has yet to offer a detailed plan for post-war governance in Gaza, saying only that it will maintain open-ended security control over the coastal enclave, home to around 2.3 million Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected post-war plans proposed by the United States for the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza with support from Arab and Muslim countries.

Memorial Day is a significant event in Israel, marking the country's fallen soldiers and victims of attacks. The solemnity of Memorial Day is typically followed by the fanfare of Independence Day, which begins on Monday evening. However, this year, the two days are expected to feel dramatically different from previous years, with the trauma of October 7th looming large. "This is an event that the failing leadership and the failing security apparatus led us to. Respect the families' request. Don't come," said Eyal Eshel, father of Roni Eshel, who was killed on October 7th.

The October 7th article was the deadliest in Israel's history, with thousands of militants rampaging across southern Israeli military bases and communities. The attack shook Israel's trust in its military, which has compulsory enlistment for most Jewish 18-year-olds. Military and defense leaders have taken responsibility for the failures of October 7th, but Netanyahu has stopped short of accepting responsibility.

Key Takeaways

  • Israel marks Memorial Day amidst ongoing Gaza conflict and criticism of PM Netanyahu's government.
  • October 7th attack killed 600 Israeli soldiers, 1,200 people total, and sparked 8-month war.
  • War has killed 34,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and shaken Israel's trust in military.
  • Thousands protest, demanding early elections and new leadership, as Netanyahu's support plummets.
  • Israeli military lacks post-war plan for Gaza, sparking concerns about regional stability.