Violence is Renewed in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Thomas Daniels, Editor in Chief

Brief History of Israel and Palestine Relations 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After WWI, Britain took control of the Ottoman Empire, which included Palestine. The United Nations (UN) handed Britain the task of making a Jewish nation, which would be in Palestine. During WWII, Jewish people emigrated to Palestine because of the Holocaust and the pending war in Europe. Zionism ( the movement advocating for the creation of a Jewish state) started to accelerate as a way to protect Jews from further persecution. So in 1947, the UN agreed that Palestine would split into Jewish (Israeli) and Arab (Palestinian) land. After the UN divided the land, war broke out between Israel and Palestine over the new boundaries set by the UN. Subsequently, around 700,000 Palestinian people were displaced after Israel took over 77 % of the land, leaving only the West Bank and the Gaza strip to the Palestinians, which Israel would technically still ruled over. This is where we can trace the current conflicts between the Arabs and Jewish populations, the division of land that both sides claim as theirs, and the displacement of Arab people. 

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, skirmishes between them continued and led to two “intifadas” (Palestinian uprisings against the Israeli state). The first was less violent than the second, but it still resulted in the death of around 2,000 Palestinians and around 300 Israelis. The first intifada also led to the creation of Hamas, a militant organization that wants to free Palestine from Israeli occupation using violent means. After the first intifada, the Palestinian government accepted the “two-state solution,” which sought to create the State of Palestine and the State of Israel, two separate and distinct states; this has yet to happen, however, because of border disputes. Hamas was starkly against the two-state solution and decided to split from the Palestinian government, and they took control of the Gaza strip. As mentioned before, the second intifada was more violent and resulted in the deaths of 3,223 Palestinians and 950 Israelis. 

Current Conflicts 

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The 11-day conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas escalated when Israeli police stormed the Temple Mount on April 13, 2021, the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The Israeli police cut the speakers of the Temple so that the President of Israel could deliver a speech without being disrupted. This, combined with the Israeli government evicting Palestinians from their homes, made for massive protests from Palestinians. The demonstrations continued throughout April and into May, where protesters and police frequently clashed. Protests also took place in New York City, where pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators clashed throughout the conflict. 

Then on May 10, the Israeli police raided the Aqsa Mosque, and Hamas fired missiles into Jerusalem, killing three people. Israel responded with missiles of their own, which killed 28 people. The conflict went on for 11 days, leading

Photo courtesy of AP News

to over 200 Palestinian deaths. When Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the cease-fire on May 21, over 200 people in Gaza had died from Israeli missiles in total, 20 people died in West Bank from clashes against the Israeli police, and 12 people died from the Hamas missiles in total.

During the Israeli airstrikes, an AP news building was destroyed, which drew criticism from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Foreign Press Association. The Israeli government’s reasoning for demolishing the building was that the building held Hamas members inside it. The Israeli government has not shown such evidence.