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Campus Reacts to Israel-Hamas War

Campus Reacts to Israel-Hamas War

Campus Reacts to Israel-Hamas War


Staff Writer

November 2, 2023

Matthew Hong '26 and Ellie Keum '26

On October 7, Hamas, a militant group, launched over 3,000 rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip and attacked many small Israeli towns and kibbutzim. During the attack, which President Joe Biden described as the “deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” Hamas fighters murdered more than 1,400 and kidnapped more than 200 Israelis. 

In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, which the United States and many European nations recognize as a terrorist organization, launching an aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, this has resulted in the deaths of over 7,000 Palestinians, about half of whom were children. 

Israel has also cut off access to food, water, and fuel, demanding the return of all hostages before allowing any resources back in. Basic necessities in Gaza has become increasingly scarce, creating a worsening humanitarian crisis. In recent days, Israel has allowed in limited International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aid through Egypt’s border with southern Gaza. 

The Gaza Strip, a small strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, borders Israel and Egypt. It is home to just over 2 million people. The U.N. included Gaza in the Arab state created by its 1947 partition plan. 

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Gaza was occupied by Egypt. Israel, in turn, occupied the territory after the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1979, Israel made peace with Egypt and agreed to pursue self-governance in Gaza and the West Bank. Due to continued instability in Gaza, Israel unilaterally withdrew its soldiers and evicted Israeli settlers in 2005. There has not been a direct Israeli military or governmental presence in Gaza since. 

Hamas has governed Gaza since it won elections in 2006 and a brief civil war against Fatah, the group that governs parts of the West Bank in 2007. The Gaza Strip has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas came to power. Hamas maintains a complex network of underground tunnels throughout Gaza, which lie under civilian homes and critical infrastructure. 

Responding to the conflict, the school hosted an optional Wednesday evening chapel, where Mr. Tom Drake, instructor in history, briefly reviewed the history of the region and fielded questions from the small group of students who attended. 

Head of School Mr. Craig Bradley addressed the group. He condemned Hamas’s attacks and reflected on the school’s role in helping students process the conflict in Israel and Gaza. He said, “In this moment following these murderous, terrorist acts in a part of the world to which many in our community have ties, I focus on the safety and wellbeing of all members of the Hotchkiss community, and I focus on teaching and learning.” A transcript of the remarks was shared with the community, the only all-school communication at time of press. 

Hillel also hosted an affinity space for Jewish students in Harris House later that night. On Sunday, October 22, the school hosted a “Community Vigil for Peace,” also in the Chapel. 

Mr. Bradley said the school did not plan to issue a public statement, despite pressure from community members and parents. He said, “This decision does not reflect indifference to the violence,” and that the school “will look to create other times and spaces to come together to try to make sense and provide support during this dark time.”

Ellie Keum is a staff writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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