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The Israel-Palestine Conflict


Written by Akshita Poddar

Illustrated by Anushka Doshi

Edited by Anvita Tripathi

 

The Israeli-Palestine conflict has been an ongoing struggle since the mid-20th century. For more than the last 100 years, habitants of the Gaza strip have had to suffer the misery of war. This conflict has evidently been over the authority over a piece of land between Jews and Arabs. But no amicable solution has been found. In recent days the strife between Israel and Hamas has laid bare the fragility of the city’s bubble. A barrage of thousands of rockets has frayed nerves, even in a place conditioned by decades of war and protected by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. To explore further into the conflict, Perspectoverse’s Akshita Poddar presents: Everything You Need to Know About the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

 

The major reason of the current violence, like in the past, is happening due to conflicting claims over Jerusalem which is currently home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. To be clear, Palestinians are the part of Arab population hailing from the land under Israel generally referred to as Palestine. And over the years, they’ve made it very clear that they wish to establish a state by that name entirely. So, the conflict is over the holy land and who holds its reigns.


This new tension between the Jews and Arabs emerged when in mid-April 2021, clashes took place between police and Palestinians. The 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis was an outbreak of violence in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that commenced on 10 May, 2021, though, Palestinian protests began on 6th May, and continued until a ceasefire came into effect on 21 May.


The fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, culminated in clashes at Al-Aqsa, a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes. Israeli forces periodically halted their attacks to allow humanitarian aid, but the fighting continued.

The crisis was triggered on 6 May when Palestinians in East Jerusalem were enraged over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel on the eviction of six Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

During the evening and night of 10 May, Arab rioters in Lod threw stones and firebombs at Jewish homes, a school, and a synagogue, later attacking a hospital. Soon, widespread protests and riots intensified across Israel, particularly in cities with large Arab populations. In Lod, rocks were thrown at Jewish apartments and some Jewish residents were evacuated from their homes by the police. And synagogues and a Muslim cemetery were vandalized as well.


The conflict has spurred an international backlash against Israel, with condemnation by political leaders and pro-Palestinian protesters taking to the streets in Paris, London, Montreal and elsewhere, for military airstrikes in Gaza for killing numerous civilians, including more than 60 children and wounding more than 1,600 since May 10. Not just that, the Israeli airstrikes have destroyed buildings, left huge swaths of the territory without electricity or water, and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. Damage did not just take place in Gaza, but also claimed the lives of more than 130 combatants.


As of 16 May, according to the IDF, over 2,000 rockets had been fired into Israel; approximately half were intercepted by Israeli missile defenses, and 350 fell inside Gaza. By the time the campaign ended, over 4,360 rockets and mortar shells had been fired at southern and central Israel, an average of 400 per day. About 3,400 successfully crossed the border while 680 fell in Gaza and 280 fell into the sea. The Iron Dome shot down 1,428 rockets detected as heading toward populated areas, an interception rate of 95%.


That steady onslaught appeared to slow overnight, with Israeli military officials recording 70 rockets in 12 hours. Some 60-70 rockets hit populated areas after the Iron Dome failed to intercept them. Hamas rocket attacks have killed more than a dozen people in Israel, including two children, according to the Israeli authorities.


Thankfully, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas finally agreed to a ceasefire, after a lot of international as well as internal pressure. The ceasefire began early on Friday and brought an end to the 11 days of bombardment. This was the heaviest flare up since the 2014 Gaza War which left over 240 people dead and threatened to destabilize the volatile region.


Scattered clashes between Palestinian protesters, Israeli police at flash point Jerusalem site were also observed hours after Gaza truce, but they all appeared limited in scope. It's the first time in nearly a fortnight the people have been able to go outside in relative safety and with the skies free from the threat of Israeli bombardment for the first time since May 10.


Israel has temporarily opened a crossing into Gaza, allowing food, fuel and medicine into the territory. The country has also lifted emergency restrictions inside its own borders. Hopefully the ceasefire will be one that will last as it is known that cease-fires can be fragile, and short-lived, with underlying disputes unresolved.



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