The rapidly intensifying conflict has left 145 Palestinians, including 23 women and 41 children, and 8 Israelis dead.
- This is the fourth time since 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2014 that the war-like situation has occurred resulting in fatalities and humanitarian crises.
- After the Israeli troops refused to leave the Shaikh Jarrah neighborhood, Hamas started by firing barrage of rockets into Israel. Israel replied with ferocious airstrikes on Gaza.
- Israel is trying to take control of Gaza by completely wiping out Hamas.
It was a doomsday at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound where Palestinians had gathered to pray last Friday as the fasting month of Ramadan came to a close. The Hamas rockets started attacking Ashkelon, a city near Gaza Strip, thereby deepening the long-standing Israel-Palestine rift. The attack claimed five innocent lives. The Palestinians aggressively clashed with the Israeli police that led to the wounding of over 220 people.
The the situation spiraled down, Israeli forces and the Hamas have entered their worst confrontation in years. While damage on the Israeli side has been minimized by the state-of-the-art anti-missile system Iron Dome, airstrikes have been flattening Gaza’s skyline. Since then, the cross-border violence has shown no signs of diminution to which the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed, “will take more time”.
Israel has been in a decade-long conflict involving Jews and the Arabs. Those disagreements have led to terrifying violence that has cost more than 5590 Palestinian lives and 250 Israeli since 2008. But the current situation that has rapidly intensified since Friday has spread fears of an Israeli invasion and unprecedented damage in Gaza. According to Gaza’s health ministry, the death toll has reached over 145 Palestinians involving 23 women and 41 children. Many of its biggest residential towers were pulverized by Israeli airstrikes over the past 48 hours.
What is Hamas?
Founded in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has been at loggerheads with Israel since its inception. Hamas also governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas used suicide bombings against Israel in the 1990s and 2000s but now it has shifted to mortars and rockets in recent times.
Hamas also offers the Palestinians a wide range of social services. That resulted in it winning a slight majority in Palestinian Authority in 2006. Since Hamas refused all the past deals that the Palestinian Authority had made with Israel, it did not win the driving seat for Gaza and the West Bank. This has resulted in war breaking out frequently. Yassin was assassinated during an Israeli attack in 2004. Abdel Aziz Ali Abdul Majid al-Rantisi, his deputy, took the charge of the movement. Right now the Hamas is headed by Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh.
The never-ending Israel-Hamas conflict
The Hamas had given an ultimatum that all the Israeli troops leave the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by the evening of May 10. However, the ultimatum was not acted upon, to which, Hamas responded by firing 150 rockets into Israel straight from Gaza. In retaliation, Israel launched heavy airstrikes on Gaza Strip.
Since 2007, when Hamas got hold of the Gaza Strip, a series of full-scale wars have broken out.
Here’s a short structure as to why the conflict has followed all these years: Palestinian rule that is split between Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza and Israel’s obstruction of the West Bank and Gaza. There is an illusion that the current situation of violence has taken place because of a series of events that happened in Jerusalem right from ruthless actions by the Israeli police to the aggression expressed by the Jewish nationalists. But these scenarios are just triggers for the escalating issues between the major parties.
Both Israeli and Palestinian leadership have accepted the painful political status quo in Gaza, viewing the violence and humanitarian suffering as a tolerable collateral in the effort to secure their hold on power.
But the moment economic and humanitarian pressure starts building up in Gaza, Hamas intensifies the violence to pressurize Israel and to create political support domestically. Israeli, much stronger militarily, inflicts disproportionate damage on Gaza’s residents in brutal retaliatory measures.
Watch: How did the decade-long Israeli-Palestinian Conflict take shape?
What is the Endgame?
The moment a fresh conflict commences, no one knows what shape it would take. It ends in hours at times. But some times, like in the years 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2014, it spirals down into a war-like situation with hundreds of people dying and fighting for their lives. The current situation is a war. Israel is defiantly determined to continue the intensified attack on Gaza for an indefinite period.You will find more infographics at Statista
There is no doubt that Hamas is a de facto head of Gaza and it has kept its rule despite all the international pressures, internal conflicts, and continuous intrusions by Israel. This has also led to minimum economic growth in Gaza as the situation continues to get desperate. Hamas will not stop with its rocket launches and Israel will not stop disproportionate retaliation. But there is a slight chance that the neighboring countries along with the US will be able to find a solution in controlling the situation. With each passing second, it looks like Israel is trying to completely eradicate Hamas to take control of Gaza.