If the story of this attack begins on the holiday and Sabbath morning of Oct. 7, it becomes a 9/11 tale of innocent victims exposed to the unprovoked violence of barbarians. The plot then unfolds as the struggle to overcome the shock of a devastating blow, and then to defeat and punish the aggressors on behalf of an outraged humanity.

But if the story is seen as starting in 1948, when it was the grandparents of Gaza refugees who lived in the areas to which their armed descendants returned so briefly and violently, then the moral of the story and the requirements of a satisfying end to the narrative change drastically.

In this wider temporal framing, Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not start a war; they launched a prison revolt.

A timely piece by Ian Lustick in Foreign Policy that reminds us that Gaza is technically part of Israel, not separate, and thinking of what is happening (and has happened, and will continue to happen until something changes) as a terrorist attack or a war is not a useful framing for understanding why.

Ron Toland @mindbat