Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a Nutshell

By Todd Huff Published on November 14, 2023

Of all the things I’ve spoken about on our program since we launched on August 10, 2015, none have created as strong of an emotional response as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And while I have my own personal position on the issue (which I will share in this column), I thought it would be beneficial to you if I present, as objectively as I possibly can, a concise summary of the conflict.

To be clear, this problem has been brewing for literally thousands of years. So it would be impossible for a column such as this to adequately present the entirety of the story and background. But, of course, if anyone can do it, my friends …

The conclusions we draw often are predicated on where we begin in the story. I fully recognize that and want to point that out to you so that you are aware that everything I write in this piece has background that I cannot possibly provide in such a short space. Candidly, to comprehensively cover this issue, I’d need volumes of books.

So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to begin our journey on October 7, 2023. I decided to do this because it is the starting point for the most recent phase of the ongoing conflict.

This column will be broken into two parts. The first (this week’s column) will focus on establishing some of the background to this issue. The second (next week’s column) will focus on developments after October 7 as well as analyze the scenario moving forward.

Here goes.

The October 7 Terrorist Attack

Early on Saturday morning, October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists broke through fencing along the Gaza/Israel border. While in Israel, Hamas terrorists murdered, raped, assaulted, and kidnapped Israeli men, women, and children.

It should be noted that Hamas launched the terrorist invasion during a religiously significant time for the Jewish people, which was during the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) at the end of a Jewish festival (Sukkot).

I deliberately use the word “terrorist” to identify those who invaded Israel because they are, by definition, terrorists. A “terrorist” is defined as “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

That is precisely what Hamas did on October 7. They used unlawful violence and intimidation against civilians in order to achieve their desired political ends: the destruction of the State of Israel.

This is absolutely undeniable. And as I’ve shared before, a call for the extermination of the Jewish State of Israel is in Hamas’ founding charter. They don’t make any bones about it: their mission is to terminate the State of Israel.

Hamas vs. Palestinians

You’ll also notice that I’ve used the term “Hamas” instead of “Palestinians” in describing those who are at war with Israel.

I did this deliberately, too, though I must confess this poses some problems.

The main problem is that Hamas is the government elected by the Palestinians in Gaza. And normally if a government of one country invades another, we don’t split hairs to point out that a government is separate from its people.

So, in normal circumstances, we would say that the Palestinians are at war with Israel. But in this case, I’m saying Hamas is at war with Israel.

The reason I decided to do that is because Hamas undoubtedly terrorizes and intimidates its own people into “supporting” them, even if that support is against their personal interests and will. After all, it’s very difficult to argue for the legitimacy of a government that is ruled by terrorist thugs.

But, conversely, according to polls, 57% of Palestinians hold at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Hamas. At the same time, 50% of Palestinians agree that “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.”

So, as is the case with many things in this conflict, it’s complicated.

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Hamas is the official government of Palestinians living in Gaza, and they seem to have a slight majority support of the people — though at least some of that support is created through Hamas’ intimidation and violence against the Palestinian people.

Even so, half of Palestinians do not want to see an end to the State of Israel, which is in direct conflict with what the Hamas terrorists desire.

The Palestinian Authority is the governing authority of Gaza, not the Israeli government. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the first members of Hamas were elected in 2006. However, Hamas did not fully consolidate its governing power until 2007 when it staged a coup and overthrew a governing faction known as Fatah.

But now they are in complete control. Israel is not responsible for governing Gaza and has not been for nearly two decades now.

What Apartheid State? Hamas Governs Gaza, Not Israel

The Pro-Palestinian movement often misrepresents this political reality in Gaza. It’s Hamas who governs Gaza, not Israel. This alone disproves the claim that Israel is an “apartheid state.”

Apartheid means that a government racially segregates its own people. But this, as a matter of fact, is not happening in Gaza. Israel is simply not segregating anyone in Gaza because it is not politically in control of Gaza.

Some contend that Israel never really stopped occupying Gaza. I do not hold that view, based on the reasons outlined above. However, I also want you to know that there are certainly those who make this argument. I leave that up to you to decide.

Almost immediately after gaining political power in Gaza, Hamas began attacking Israel. And it’s fair to say that this violence has never really ended since.

Since then, in a nutshell, Hamas has launched missiles into and terror attacks against Israel. And Israel has responded by fighting back and initiating a blockade designed to prevent the smuggling of arms into Gaza.

It’s been ugly. It’s been tense. It’s been violent.

Yet, in spite of all this, Israel permitted more 18,000 Gazans to work in Israel prior to the most recent war breaking out between the parties. (Israel has since decided to expel these workers as the war between Gaza and Israel continues.)

Hamas is the Aggressor

My friends, as I see it, Hamas is absolutely to blame for the problems in Israel today. I do not mean to imply Israel is perfect. They are not. No nation is. But Hamas is the aggressor. They are the terrorists, not Israel. They are engaged in ethnic cleansing, not Israel. They are killing innocent civilians — including women and children — not Israel.

All that said, I welcome you to disagree with me. But if you do, do so thoughtfully and respectfully. I, like most normal Americans, am a fair-minded and reasonable person. There are no doubt details that remain to be filled in. Volumes of them, in fact. 

We’ll pick up where we left off next week. 

Thanks for reading.


Todd Huff of The Todd Huff Show is an entertaining syndicated radio show host and podcaster, a dynamic columnist, and an insightful political/cultural commentator. His journey began in 2015, podcasting from his closet, a testament to his grassroots approach. Hailing from the heart of small-town USA in flyover country, Todd embodies the spirit of common sense in today’s discourse, proudly advocating a conservative but not bitter perspective.

Originally published at ToddHuffShow.com. Reprinted with permission.

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