Israel-Hamas conflict ‘could start World War Three’ as ‘global order collapses’

The Israel-Hamas conflict could develop into a full-blown World War Three, experts have warned.

More than 1,400 Israelis and nearly 4,000 Palestinians have lost their lives in the violent battle, which begun on October 7, the Daily Star previously reported. Reports suggest the deadly conflict could escalate even further with large world powers, such as China, Russia and the US, potentially getting involved.

Historian Yuval Noah Harari said the world appeared to be descending into "chaos" and warned "order is collapsing" thanks to the fighting, which follows the Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic. "This has been happening for the past five to 10 years. We see it in more and more places now. The pandemic was a part of it. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is also a part of it," he told NDTV.

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"It will spread all over the world," he continued to say: “It could lead to [a] Third World War. And with the type of weapons and technology now available, it could lead to the annihilation of humankind itself."

Writing for The Times, fellow historian Niall Ferguson added the fighting had an "unpleasant 1930s feel." He wrote: "If Israel finds it cannot contend with a three-front war in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, and turns to the United States for military help against Iran, we shall have reached one of history’s hinges."

Unconfirmed reports suggest Israel may launch a ground invasion on the Gaza strip in an attempt to target Hamas, a militant group designated as terrorists by the UK and a number of other countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas of butchering babies and taking civilians hostage.

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In a meeting with Rishi Sunak, Netanyahu said Israel was facing its "darkest hour." "We have to win," he added. "We have to release the hostages. We have their children, babies, women, elderly, Holocaust survivors."

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant similarly vowed to show "no forgiveness" for the attacks on Israel and promised "total annihilation of the Hamas organisation".

Speaking to the Daily Star at the outset of the war, Ludovica Castelli, a doctoral researcher at the University of Leicester also warned the fighting would feed into an existing "cycle of violence". She said: "We are witnessing a massive surprise attack on Israel, which will most probably lead to a full-scale war in Gaza," she said.

"Analysts expect the Israeli military reaction to be unprecedented. This has the potential to be a transformative event, which will certainly lead to further radicalisation and will cement the cycle of violence.

"It will be crucial to see how the different [global] parties will react."

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