On Oct. 7 Hamas, the Palestinian militant group in Gaza, attacked Israel and fired thousands of rockets, reaching major Israeli cities. By all accounts, Israel was left shocked and stunned. The country has since hit back. And thousands have been killed. But Hamas’ attack was like none other in recent history as its soldiers infiltrated Israeli towns and military bases, and took hostages.
The leader of Hamas’ military wing said the attack was due to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, recent police actions in Jerusalem, and Palestinian detentions. That attack, called one of the broadest invasions on Israeli territory for 50, years follows months of strained tensions.
Black America has responded to the attacks. Here are three things to know.
Hamas is the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. It is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and emerged during the first Palestinian intifada. The group is committed to armed resistance against Israel and it seeks a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders. The U.S. designated a Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, a veteran community leader and founder of the New York City-based National Action Network, issued a joint statement with various civil rights organization condemning the Hamas attack. He posted the letter in Twitter/X and wrote, “National Action Network, Drum Major Institute, National Urban League, and NAACP Condemn Violent Attack on Israel. Organizers of 60th Anniversary of March on Washington Stand in Solidarity Against Hatred and War”. In the letter, the group slam the attacks and notes, “We hold innocent civilians’ families and our partners in our hearts…We call on all our partners and colleagues to join us in solidarity because hatred and war must end.”
Presidential candidate Cornel West called out both sides. He tweeted, “The escalation of the barbaric violence in the Middle East must stop! The vicious Israeli occupation and the ugly Palestinian retaliation results in the killing of precious innocent people on both sides! We must have a lasting peace based on justice!”
Minority Leader of the U.S House of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries tweeted out a statement, and said, “My statement on the violent, unprovoked and despicable terrorist attack by Hamas against the State of Israel.” In the statement he writes, “I strongly condemn the violent and ghastly attack by the terrorist organization Hamas on the Jewish people and the State of Israel…American stands firmly and unequivocally with Israel.”
The Black Caucus tweeted its support for Israel. The post read, “We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones, and we strongly condemn the attacks against the people of Israel by Hamas terrorists. The CBC stands firmly with Israel and its right to self-defense against these violent attacks.”
Some in Black America on Twitter/X are decidedly pro-Palestinian.
Motherland tweeted, “Atlanta stands with Palestine!”
Some pointed out a solidarity with Palestinian.
“I’ll never forget how Palestinian folks showed love to Black Americans after Mike Brown was killed. They wrote messages of solidarity and made videos teaching folks how to deal with tear gas. Our struggles are intertwined. The US government doesn’t speak for me. Free Palestine!” R. Nicole tweeted.
Others delved deeper into the history on the long-standing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
LEFT, PhD tweeted, “If you’re new to trying to understand what’s going on in Palestine, just know that no other place in the world is more invested in Israel than the United States, and that investment (economically and militaristically) produces biased propagandistic media coverage. That matters.”
Sabby Sabs tweeted, “This day was coming. The Palestinian ppl have been oppressed far too long.”
RealTimeBlack tweeted out Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s stance, writing, “RFK Jr.’s tweet highlights the stark contrast between him and Dr. Cornel West on Palestinian rights. Support for Palestinian life? You align with Dr. West. Otherwise, you’re with RFK Jr. It’s clear-cut.”
Some spoke out for a free Palestine.
William C. tweeted, “Palestinian liberation has always exposed who everyone around us is. Inconsistency, complacency, and fraudulence in defense of colonialism. Free Palestine with or without anyone trying to make indefensible genocidal oppression a “complicated” both sides matter.”
To a statement by Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that said, “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly,” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor tweeted, “Let the words wash over you. Because if this is the public statement, the reality for the two million civilians, half of whom are children, that live in the prison that is Gaza is one million times worse.”
Smoke rises in the Gaza Strip Oct. 9, 2023 as Israel’s military battles to drive Hamas fighters out of southern towns and seal its borders. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)