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Denver expert calls war between Israel, Hamas unprecedented

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Posted at 8:44 PM, Oct 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-10 14:45:06-04

DENVER — Israeli officials say at least 900 people have been killed, including at least 11 Americans, amid the war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s defense minister has ordered a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip following an unprecedented incursion into Israel by Hamas fighters. Israel formally declared war on Sunday and gave the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas for Saturday’s surprise attack.

In Gaza, authorities say more than 600 people have been killed and thousands more hurt, with dozens of Israelis taken hostage.

Micheline Ishay, director and professor for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said she doesn’t expect the war to end anytime soon.

"It's unprecedented,” said Ishay. "It reminds a lot of people what happened 50 years ago during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 where Israel was attacked on two fronts by Arab countries. So a lot of people are evoking those memories.”

Ishay said Israel has never seen the number of casualties it's seeing now.

"There's been an economic crisis that's been enduring. There's been effort for similar incursions, or rocket missiles, since 2006 with retaliatory action,” said Ishay.

Now, innocent Israelis and Palestinians are suffering as a result.

“Children, elderly people have been taken as hostage with one idea in mind — for the exchange of Palestinian prisoners that are among the thousands in Israeli prison. And they know it usually works,” said Ishay. "[Hamas has] done it in a way they've never done it in the past because they went into Israel per se, within the border to kidnap those people and bring them together.”

Ishay doesn't anticipate Israel pulling out of the war anytime soon.

"They would certainly want to see that they succeed in neutralizing the Hamas military wing,” said Ishay.

Though this is happening an ocean away from Denver, Ishay said it's something the country should pay attention to.

“For the United States to stay safe, and to promote its liberal and democratic ideals, it has to be interested in what's happening elsewhere and refocuses its attention that is often internal rather than external,” said Ishay. “A very aware citizen is actually a much more able to elect in more educated and informed way its politicians.”

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