Israel-Palestine Conflict Explained| Hamas Vs Israel

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Topic covered:

  • Rocket attack by israel
  • Background of Israel palestine conflict
  • Sheikh Jarrah dispute
  • Abrahm Accord
  • Role of regional power, USA and India
  • Al Aqsa Mosque
  • Iron dome missile

Reason of fight escalation : In the month of Ramdan (Apr 2021) Israeli police set up barricades at the Damascus Gate outside the occupied Old City, preventing Palestinians from gathering there. Clashes erupted in Jerusalem between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in which hundreds of Palestinians and over a dozen Israeli police personnel were injured. Eviction of dozens of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah escalated the crisis further.

Israeli armed forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Haram Sharif in Jerusalem. Hamas sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel  and on the other hand Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes. Though fight between Arabs and Jews are almost 70 years old.

Background of Israel-Palestine conflict

  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. It claims to have its roots in 957 BC when King Solomon built the first temple in the Israelite kingdom. The temple was destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon in 587/586 BC.
  • The current political conflict began in the early 20th century.
  • Tensions are always high between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. Gaza is ruled by a Palestinian militant group called Hamas, which has fought Israel many times. Israel and Egypt tightly control Gaza’s borders.
  • British rulers failed to establish peace between Muslims and Jews and thus, declared the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
  • The two state solution is based on a UN resolution of 1947 which proposed two states – one would be a state where Zionist Jews constituted a majority, the other where the Palestinian Arabs would be a majority of the population. The idea was however rejected by the Arabs.
  • Palestinians objected and a war followed. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in what they call Al-Nakba.
  • By the time the fighting ended in a ceasefire the following year, Israel controlled most of the territory. The war led to over 700,000 Palestinians becoming refugees.
  • Jordan occupied land, which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza.
  • Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West and Jordanian forces in the East.
  • The most significant one among them was fought in 1967 when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula

What is the Sheikh Jarrah dispute?

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes when the State of Israel was created in historical Palestine in 1948 (the Palestinians call the events ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe). Twenty-eight of those Palestinian families moved to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to settle there.

 In 1956, when East Jerusalem was ruled by Jordan, the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency facilitated the construction of houses for these families in Sheikh Jarrah. But Israel would capture East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967. 

By the early 1970s, Jewish agencies started demanding the families leave the land. Jewish committees claimed that the houses sat on land they purchased in 1885 (when Jews were migrating to historic Palestine that was part of the Ottoman Empire).

 The Central Court in East Jerusalem upheld a decision to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jewish settlers. The Israeli Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the case on May 10, 2021. But it was postponed on advice from the government amid the ongoing violence in Jerusalem. The issue remains unresolved and potentially inflammable.

Abraham Accord:

The Abraham Accord between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is mediated by the USA. It is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.

There were the only two peace deals between Israel and the Arab States in more than a quarter of a century.

  • Egypt was the first Arab State to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1979.
  • Jordan signed a peace pact in 1994.

As per the agreements, the UAE and Bahrain will establish:

  • Embassies and exchange ambassadors.
  • Working together with Israel across a range of sectors, including tourism, trade, healthcare and security.

The Abraham Accords also open the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

Role of the USA:

  • The President of the US, Joe Biden, has stated that Israel has the right to defend itself and has called for ending the conflict as soon as possible.
  • In the United Nations Security Council, the US has blocked any discussion on the issue by using its veto power even though 14 out of 15 members called for an urgent meeting on the issue.
  • A certain section of the Democratic lawmakers in the US believes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for such escalation and has called to put pressure on him to end the conflict.
  • However, the US has less leverage because of Donald Trump’s action of unilaterally siding with Israel over Jerusalem, which the Palestinians consider as their capital, and the vacillation of Biden over putting pressure on Israel.
  • The US is also trying to shift its focus from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific to tackle China.

Role of Regional Powers:

  • The Arab nations are also divided. On the one hand, Iran and Turkey are champions of the Palestine cause and on the other hand, Saudi Arabia and UAE have improved their relations with Israel. Qatar, Egypt, and Turkey also trying their best to calm the situation.
  • Russia is also playing its role 
  • with Hamas and Israel being in constant talks with Russian authorities.
  • China is also actively engaged in the situation.

Role of India:

  • India has termed the conflict as an internal matter of Israel and Palestine and has called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
  • India now follows dehyphenation policy when it comes to Israel and Palestine. It means India’s relationship with Israel would stand on its own merits, independent and separate from India’s relationship with the Palestinians. It would no longer be India’s relationship with Israel-Palestine, but India’s relationship with Israel, and India’s relationship with the Palestinians.
  • With the West shying away from its responsibilities to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict and the trust deficit with China, Palestinian leader Muhammad Abbas in 2014 had called for India to play the role of interlocutor in resolving the conflict.
  • India can be part of the peace process to end this conflict under the overall leadership of the United Nations.

Al Aqsa Mosque:  The holy mosque situated in old city of Jerusalem, considered as third holiest site in Islam. Read more about Al aqsa  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Aqsa_Mosque)

Iron dome aerial defence missile:  Israel used this rocket to intercept Hamas Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that crossed from Gaza into Israel. Israel shooting down around 1500 rocket from Hamas side.

  • Very short range air defence (V-SHORAD), cover up to 70 kms.
  • manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited and its success rate is over 90 percent.
  • Its development was prompted after a series of rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah 2000s.
  • Consist a detection and tracking radar which helps in battle management.
  • A firing unit of three vertical launchers, with 20 interceptor missiles each.
  • The I-DOME is the mobile variant with all components on a single truck and C-DOME is the naval version for deployment on ships.
  • The cost of the interceptor missile is about $40,000- $50,000.

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