Georgia Tech Experts Shed Light
on Israel-Hamas War
As the war unfolds, Tech experts offer their thoughts on what happened, what comes next, and how the U.S. will be involved.
Nov. 28, 2023
In the month following Hamas' attacks in Israel, the war between the two sides has continued to escalate. As casualties increase, humanitarian concerns grow, and calls for a cease-fire mount, the situation remains volatile.
Since the war began with the killing of an estimated 1,200 Israelis and the taking of more than 200 hostages by Hamas, the Gazan death toll is estimated to have surpassed 11,000, and over 1.6 million residents have been displaced. Israel has rejected cease-fire calls to this point, but a deal with Hamas resulted in a four-day pause in fighting in exchange for the release of 50 hostages. Israel has begun to release about 150 Palestinian prisoners — primarily women and children — and is allowing up to 300 aid trucks into Gaza. An additional two-day pause was also brokered, including the release of an additional 20 Israeli hostages.
The deal offers hope that “there are lines of communication open, which, as we've just seen in the U.S.-China context, is important in and of itself between hostile or adversarial actors,” said Rachel Whitlark, political scientist and associate professor of international affairs in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
“It's not clear that the current developments signal anything about what might happen with the additional hostages being held by Hamas or those being held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And the deal will likely allow Israel to continue its military campaign to rid itself of a neighbor committed to its destruction, perhaps more aggressively given that these hostages have been released.”
Oct. 17, 2023
Attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel, along with subsequent strikes in Gaza and a declaration of war from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have resulted in global unrest. Georgia Tech experts offer their thoughts on the conflict, what comes next, and what role the United States will play.
On the Jewish Sabbath, which coincided with the holiday of Simchat Torah, 3,000 Hamas militants crossed into Israel and executed a coordinated attack on Israeli civilians and military personnel by land, sea, and air, killing an estimated 1,400.
At the latest count, nearly 200 hostages were taken, including Americans and people from other countries. The attacks caught Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by surprise in what Lawrence Rubin, associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, described as one of the biggest intelligence failures since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
"It is too early to make a definitive assessment as to why this intelligence failure occurred. However, it’s clear that there was a heavy reliance on technology and a certain amount of complacency in thinking that the threat from Hamas was contained and the greater Palestinian threat was in the West Bank. Israel had also been much more focused on the Iranian nuclear threat," said Rubin, author of Islam in the Balance: Ideational Threat in Arab Politics.
Following Netanyahu's vow to "avenge this dark day" and win the ensuing war despite an inevitable "unbearable price," Israel quickly launched counterstrikes in Gaza, which have killed and wounded thousands. The conflict has escalated to a level not seen in the region in decades.