On Oct 7, 2023, Hamas launched a massive, monstrous, unprovoked attack on the civilian population of Israel during the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah. This ongoing assault has seen hundreds of terrorists infiltrate Israeli territory by land, air and sea, specifically targeting Israeli civilian communities near the Gaza Strip. More than 3,500 rockets were launched at towns and cities across the country, with the explicit aim of causing harm to innocent civilians.
According to medical authorities, the tragic toll stands at over 1,300 lives lost, with thousands more suffering various degrees of injuries. Additionally, at least 400 individuals have been classified as missing or taken captive by Hamas, forcibly transported to Gaza. Regrettably, it is anticipated that these numbers will continue to rise.
Tragically, among the casualties, there are several foreign nationals, including 24 Thai workers who lost their lives, several who sustained injuries, and an unknown number of workers who were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
While the whole world is shocked by these inhumane attacks, Palestinian social media channels have been circulating distressing images of violence and brutality, showcasing innocent civilians who have been kidnapped and used as human shields.
Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, Hamas and other terrorist organisations have turned the Gaza Strip into a launching pad for rockets directed at Israeli civilian targets. Since 2005, approximately 20,000 rockets have been launched from Gaza, of which more than 3000 were fired Oct 7-8, 2023 alone. Additionally, Hamas carried out hundreds of suicide bombings as well as shooting, stabbing and ramming attacks, which have killed and wounded thousands of innocent people in Israel’s sovereign territory.
Hamas is committing a double war crime: Launching rockets and initiating vicious terror attacks against Israeli civilian communities, and using Gazan residents as human shields. Hamas uses hospitals, schools, mosques and heavily populated areas as their base for its terror activities. The world must condemn Hamas and its sponsors strongly and without hesitation.
The recent attack proves once again that Hamas disregards human lives and is unconcerned of the safety and well-being of Gaza’s civilian population. For decades, Hamas has been using Gazan civilians as nothing more than pawns in its quest to harm Israeli citizens. Sadly, this recent attack shows their disregard, not only for Israeli and Palestinian lives, but also for innocent civilians from other nationalities, such as Thai and Nepalis workers that were murders and kidnapped without second thought.
There in no justification for the deliberate mass murder of civilians, and no country the world tolerates such heinous acts against its citizens.
I implore you to stand together with the international community in condemning Hamas’s brutal assault and affirming Israel’s right to defend its territory and people. Let the world hear the unwavering voice of the Thai people, united in their opposition to these atrocities.
Orna Sagiv is the Ambassador of Israel to Thailand.