Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The history behind Israel's Gaza Conflict

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded since Israel launched a military offensive against the militant Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Israel says the military action was taken in response to persistent rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, which has been struck by thousands of missiles since 2001. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century. The conflict is wide-ranging and the term is sometimes also used in reference to the earlier sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine, between the Zionist yishuv and the Arab population under British rule. This conflict has formed the core part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict. It has widely been referred to as the world's"most intractable conflict". Despite a long-term peace process and the general reconciliation of Israel with Egypt and Jordan, Israelis and Palestinians have failed to reach a final peace agreement.

As international efforts at mediation quicken and the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows grimmer, here’s a quick look at some of the context to the latest chapter in the decades-long conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land:

Where is the Gaza Strip?
The Gaza Strip is a 146-square-mile strip of coastal land running along Israel's southwestern flank on the Mediterranean Sea and on the border with Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border. About 1.5 million Palestinians live there and it is governed by the militant Islamist group Hamas.

What are both sides’ demands?
Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any
truce and a halt to Hamas rearming. In the immediate term, Hamas demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of vital Gaza-Israel cargo crossings, Gaza's main lifeline.

What's the big picture?
A battle over soil is at the heart of the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The lands that now make up Israel and the Palestinians territories of the West Bank and Gaza
Strip emerged out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed after World War I.
Although initially run by the British under a League of Nations mandate, the United Nations
recommended partitioning what was then called Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.
But Jewish settlers declared the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, prompting the surrounding Arab states to invade. By the end of the brief war, the land that was to have been the Palestinian Arab state was occupied partially by Israel and partially by Egypt and Jordan. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled Israeli-controlled territory and many wound up in refugee camps in the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. In the wars that did much to define the region in the ensuring decades, the Gaza Strip passed into Israeli control and, as a result of the Oslo accords, became partly autonomous under the Palestinian National Authority in 1994. Israel continued to exercise considerable control in the area, however, and Israeli settlements that had been built during the period of military occupation remained. Successive peace processes started and stalled in the following years. Neither the Israelis nor the
Palestinians met commitments made under a timetable set forth in 2003 meant to lead to a
Palestinian state next to Israel. Israel did eventually evacuate its settlements in the Gaza Strip, however, forcibly ejecting Israeli citizens from these settlements in 2005.

What's life like in Gaza?
Difficult. Conditions for regular Gazans, many of whom live in refugee camps, have deteriorated dramatically in recent years, with 80 percent living on less than $2.30 per day, according to the United Nations. Two-thirds of all Palestinians do not have access to a sewage system. The population of Gaza is subject to Israeli closures and checkpoints, which often make it impossible to travel to or work in Israel and the West Bank. Gaza lives under a tight blockade, which often makes it impossible for food, water, medical supplies and other essentials to reach the population. The Israeli military has severely limited journalists’ access to Gaza following its invasion but reports indicate the situation is growing grimmer each day.

What is the  World reacts to the conflict in Gaza?
According to Aljazeera, July 10, 2014. The international community remains sharply divided as an Israeli army offensive in Gaza that has killed scores enters its third day and Palestinian fighters fire rockets at a number of cities in Israel. At least 81 Palestinians have died in airstrikes since they began on Tuesday, with Israel facing condemnation from many Arab andmMuslim countries, and calls for restraint from some of its allies. Others have condemned rocket attacks from Gaza and say that Israel has a right to defend itself. Al Jazeera looks at how some world leaders have reacted.
Arab League General-Secretary Nabil al Arabi called for a emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to "adopt measures to stop Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip."
"I condemn the rising number of civilian lives lost in Gaza,” he said.
Scotland, which is in the UK but has its own parliament separate to London's House of Commons, called on both sides to "de - escalate" the situation and offered to help treat civilians injured in the conflict. "Scotland stands ready to offer whatever assistance we can and it is in that spirit that we make this offer, to give specialist medicalhelp to civilians caught up in the conflict should medical evacuation be possible," said External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf .
"The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela vigorously condemns the unfair and disproportionate military response by the illegal state of Israel against the heroic Palestinian people",  President Nicolas Maduro said .
"The firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip has led to a situation that threatens to cause a spiral of violence and counter - violence .. .I hope that all sides will agree that a military confrontation , which could spiral out of control, must be averted," said a statement by the German Foreign Office.
The country ' s foreign ministry said "Egypt condemns these hostilities, which led to the killing and injury of tens of Palestinians and called on Israeli to stop 'all collective punishment.'
"I condemn unreservedly the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel which pose such a grave threat to the population. I equally condemn the mounting civilian casualties, including reportedly women and children, resulting from Israeli air strikes against Gaza" said Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore




No comments:

Post a Comment