The escalating tension between Israel and Hamas has the world's eye over it. Recent attack by Hamas on Israel has killed many civilians and Israeli Soldiers.
Hamas has called its current offensive Operation al-Aqsa Deluge.
What is Hamas?
The Gaza Strip is under the administration of Hamas, a political organization headed by Ismail Haniyeh.
NOTE: The Gaza Strip is 140 sq miles of land located in the southwest corner of Israel, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
- It was founded in 1987 as a response to Israel's control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The name Hamas is derived from an Arabic phrase that means Islamic Resistance Movement.
- Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union, among others, classify Hamas or its military arm, the Al Qassam brigades, as terrorist groups.
- However, Iran and the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon support Hamas and consider it the legitimate governing body of the territory.
Who are Hezbollah?
- Lebanon's Hezbollah is an Islamic militant group that identifies as the 'Party of God'. According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), it is the world's most heavily armed non-state actor, holding a diverse stockpile of unguided artillery rockets, ballistic, anti air, antitank, and anti ship missiles.
- Lebanon was previously under French mandate until 1943, whereafter power was divided among numerous religious groups. Prime Minister and President positions were reserved for people of specific religious denominations.
- Hezbollah formed during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) due to growing discontent over the large, armed Palestinian presence in the country.
- Palestinian refugees arriving from 1948 onwards, following the creation of Israel as a state for Jewish people, escalated the tensions.
- Their presence led to Israeli forces invading southern Lebanon in 1978 and again in 1982 to expel Palestinian guerrilla fighters, amidst the tense ethnic and religious divisions.
What is the Israel Palestine War?
Throughout history, Jews have endured persecution as a result of their religious beliefs and distinct culture.
- Zionist movement: In 1897, they initiated the Zionist movement to flee persecution and establish their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel.
- The World Zionist Organisation was established to champion the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. As a result, many Jews started flowing into Palestine, buying land, and settling there.
- Sykes-Picot Agreement: In 1916, Palestine fell under British authority as a consequence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a covert accord between Great Britain and France that resulted in the partitioning of the former Ottoman Turkish Empire. Subsequently, the British foreign secretary, James Balfour, assented to the creation of a Jewish homeland via the Balfour Declaration.
- Nazis: After the Nazis gained power in Germany in the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Jews resettled from Europe to Palestine, causing the Arabs to view this as a threat to their homeland. As the British Government remained a mute spectator, violence reached its peak.
- In 1947, the British Government referred the question of the future of Palestine to the United Nations, which voted to split the land into two countries. The Jewish people accepted the agreement and declared the independence of Israel.
What is the Gaza Conflict?
- Formation of PLO: The creation of Israel was viewed by Arabs as a conspiracy to displace them from their land.
- As a result, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria declared war on Israel in 1948. Israel emerged as the victorious party at the end of the war and expanded its territory, initiating an expansionist policy.
- The war led to the displacement of a significant number of Palestinians who were forced to flee or settle in refugee camps near Israel's border, resulting in the Palestine refugee crisis. The crisis ultimately led to the formation of a terrorist organization, PLO, in 1964.
- Six-Day War: In 1967, Israel initiated a preemptive strike against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, which is now famously known as the Six-Day War.
- As a result of the war, Israel took control of the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt.
- This war is significant in today's conflict as it left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories with a large Palestinian population. These territories are now referred to as 'Occupied Territories' after the 1967 war.
United Nations Charter
According to the UN Charter, no country is allowed to gain territory through war, even if it is acting in self-defense.
- As a result, after the Six-Day War, the UN Security Council passed a resolution called 'Land for Peace', which required Israel to give back any areas it had captured to the nations it had defeated.
- Yom Kippur War: However, Israel was hesitant to do so, and this led to another war between the Arab states and Israel in 1973, known as the Yom Kippur War, which resulted in some setbacks for Israel.
- In 1979, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, and as part of the deal, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982. This move made Egypt the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel as a state.
Events in Israel Palestine war
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have been escalating due to Israel's increased settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1987, Palestinians living in those territories began riots, which were later called the first intifada.
- Oslo Peace accord: In 1993, with the mediation of the US and Russia, Israel and PLO signed the Oslo Peace accord. The accord was based on the idea of a two-state solution, where both Palestine and Israel would seek recognition as autonomous governing bodies.
- The PLO recognized Israel, and in exchange, Israel agreed to give independence to the occupied territories. However, the territories remained under Israeli possession.
- Camp David Summit of 2000: The Camp David Summit of 2000 aimed to finally end the conflict by bringing the two sides together, but the talks were unsuccessful. This led to the Second Intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2005.
- The uprising was more violent than the first, resulting in a large number of civilian deaths on both sides. In response, Israel constructed the West Bank Barrier along the West Bank as a defensive measure to separate Israeli and Palestinian settlements.
- Gaza Expulsion: In 2005, Israel implemented the Gaza Expulsion plan, which was a unilateral disarmament plan. It involved Israel's defense forces leaving the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank.