Over the two decades prior to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, Israelis had grown complacent about the country’s vulnerability to large-scale violence from Palestinians. In the absence of a meaningful threat, they relegated negotiations for a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians to the backburner or worse. Many, particularly on the Israeli right, promoted the narrative that there was no Palestinian partner for peace negotiations, despite the fact that this was demonstrably false at many points over that time. Some had even convinced themselves that an agreement with the Palestinians was no longer necessary.
The attack on Oct. 7 put an end to those illusions. Since then, the latest chapter in the war between Palestinians and Israelis has led to thousands of mostly civilian deaths on both sides, with many more likely as long as the conflict continues.
The events of the past three months serve as a painful reminder that the truths of this conflict do not go away simply because they are ignored. Acknowledgment of the conflict’s realities is necessary to avoid further repetition of violence, particularly against civilians, and to take concrete steps toward a resolution that minimizes future killing. Five truths, in particular, bear underlining.