About a week ago a decisive operation was launched by Israel, Operation Protective Edge. This Operation was launched in response to increased rocket attacks by Hamas, the terrorist group ruling Gaza who has been at knife’s edge with Israel for nearly a decade. The conflict has so far killed 170 Palestinians, wounded 1,100 of them and injured 27 civilians. There seems to be no sign of this conflict deescalating, and with Hamas using more and more inhumane methods to protect themselves, the question remains, will this conflict come to a peaceful end?
Conflict started in 2000, when there was a struggle against the then- Israeli government, which saw the growth of many Palestinian militias, and tactics such as suicide bombings and rockets (sound familiar?) against Israeli residential areas. The Israeli government retaliated with mass arrests and assassinations of militants and leaders of Palestinian organizations. In 2005, Israel completely withdrew from Gaza, leaving no civilians or military behind. However, they still controlled the airspace, ports and borders. After this, rocket attacks from Gaza increased, and had already killed 13 people, injured hundreds, and has led to PTSD occurring in adults and children, with 33% of the children in Sderot, a town near Gaza, reported suffering from it.
Meanwhile, there was unrest in the Palestinian Authority, which led to a civil war, splitting the PA into two major powers, Hamas and the Fatah. After Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian election, the conflict intensified, with Israel shutting it’s border near the Gaza strip, and Hamas launching rockets to towns near the border such as the above mentioned Sderot. A coup d’état conducted by Hamas violently ousted Fatah from Gaza, leaving them to rule it. In June 2007 a full scale battle between the two factions left 120 dead and Hamas in full control of the Gaza Strip. However, the Fatah was and is officially recognized internationally as the ruler, however they have no power in Gaza. In retaliation Israel restricted the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza. Armed groups have since fired their favourite weapon, rockets, into Israel, who responded to artillery fire.
Fast forward a few years, and Hamas signed a ceasefire in November 2012. This year, three Israeli teenagers were murdered by Hamas forces. Hours after their funeral, a Palestinian teenager was killed by Jewish extremists. Egypt brokered a truce where Hamas would cease rocket fire to Israel who in turn would stop their air raids on Gaza. Hamas didn’t agree to it, and instead amped up the rocket fire to Israel, firing 140 rockets in the span of 24 hours. Israel launched 50 air strikes on various target the next day. On July 8, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, which effectively stomped on any hopes of de-escalation and instead saw increased hostilities from both the sides. Hamas has announced that Jewish genocide is his goal (So original), and Israel says that they won’t stop until they have effectively ensured that their citizens are safe from the barrage of rockets coming towards them constantly.
Conflicts continue till the date of this post, but only Palestinian lives have been lost. The reason for no Israeli lives being lost is Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome anti-missile system, which can identify missiles which will hit civilian areas, launch a counter missile and detonate it in midair all before you finish this sentence. Each missile costs $50,000 to launch, and each battery (there are 5 of them) cost $30 million. Hasam also fires rockets all over the place, with most landing in fields and plains. However, Iron Dome has intercepted 70+ missiles heading towards civilian areas including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Also, Israel has opened it’s bomb shelters towards the public, while in Gaza they are reserved for militia and military. Hasam purposely launches missiles from schools, hospitals etc. to incite the IDF (Israel military) to launch counter attacks on them and kill civilians in the process.
The IDF has refrained from firing on such targets, risking more rocket fire and Israeli casualties, even though a lawsuit is being filed against them, stating that the lives of it’s own citizens are more valuable than an enemy citizen’s. The IDF also makes it a point to send SMS-es and airdrop pamphlets on sites that are targets for air strikes, and fire a warning shot before the full strike. However, Hamas has begun encouraging and forcing civilians to stand on roofs of the buildings as seen in this video forcing the IDF to risk civilian casualties or more missile fire. If any civilians are killed, Hamas uses that against them, pleading for foreign support, and heavily twists it’s media. However, there have still been about 150 casualties, 80% of which are civilian. Modern weapons are not laser-accurate as many believe them to be. There seems to be no end to this conflict now or in the foreseeable future.
As most of you would know, July 8 was the same date Germany won 7-1 against Brazil, which was the headlines almost everywhere, except, of course, Israel and Gaza. The only news I heard about the next day in school and all the social media I’m on was the match. Arguably, the world cup is better known than the conflict. I mean, don’t get me wrong, watching people kick balls into nets is extremely entertaining. However, I think that people should be aware that this is occurring. The world cup should not be as prominent during a time of conflict as it is now. Shouldn’t this be getting a little more screen time? But does it really matter what the general populace thinks? Maybe. This conflict doesn’t seem to have a way to come to a peaceful end. If any pressure is put on foreign governments to interfere, it will only lead to more violence. Actually, 9 people were killed while watching a WC match. I guess football is; more important than this.
So, will Israel succumb to foreign pressure and stop it’s counter-offensive? Or will Gaza and Israel continue to rough it out until one has suffered to great a loss? I guess only time will tell.