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Sickening Violence: Israel-Hamas War Begins

Smoky skies of Gaza captured on October 8th, 2023. (Photo Source: US News - Why Did Hamas Attack Israel?)

Just this month, on October 7th, a group known as Hamas fired thousands of rockets and launched an invasion of 1,000 armed fighters towards Israel. According to Guardian News, “The confirmed number of people held hostage in the Gaza Strip since…cross-border raids by Hamas has risen [from] two to 224… So far, four hostages have been released.”

As it turns out, this Israel-Hamas conflict extends all the way back to the 1900s, beginning with the acts of the British government. When the Balfour Declaration was announced, Jewish people were promised a home in Palestine, which at the time, was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Jews of the Zionist Movement supported this since they believed it was their right to live in Jerusalem, also known as one of the holiest places in the world. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations put Palestine under Britain’s rule. However, by doing so, the Palestinians’ opinions weren’t taken into consideration and they called for independence. By the time World War II and the Holocaust had passed, Jews that had migrated to Palestinian lands were facing arguments with the Arabs that already lived there and clashes between the two groups became frequent.

In 1947, the United Nations decided to resolve the Arab-Israeli War by splitting Palestine into 2 states: Jewish State and Arab State. Additionally, to prevent fighting over Jerusalem, the UN decided to take international custody of the location. However, Palestinians refused to accept this solution, eventually making it meaningless by continuing to fight.

By May 1948, Israel declared independence, beginning another war between 5 Arab states against those who wished to create a new one. During this decade-long battle, Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. Then, with the help of foreign powers, Israel claimed victory which led to a redivision of the land into Israel including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Peace lasted until 1967, when both Israel and Arab communities’ saw flaring tensions for six days. Conveniently, this was named the Six-Day War, where Israel gained control over West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and Syrian territory of Gowan Heights. For the next decade, Israel would maintain dominance over what was originally Palestinian territory.

It was in 1987 when the world witnessed the first Intifada, which was a civil uprising executed by Palestinians. During that year’s December, an Israeli truck collided with two vans occupied by Palestinian workers, leading to the deaths of 4 Palestinians. This small accident became extremely consequential when it escalated to an uprising in Gaza. In response, leaders from both sides signed the Oslo Accords, which recognized the organization, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), as well as Israel’s right to exist in peace. This unfortunately became a vain attempt to stop the fighting when the second Intifada occurred between 2000-2005. Palestinians used bombs that not only eliminated 1,000 Israelis, but 2,000 of their own civilians as well. These terror attacks didn’t leave them empty handed as the Palestinians swiftly gained back control over the West Bank and forced Israelis out of Gaza.

In 2007, a Palestinian terrorist group known as Hamas finally stepped in to take over the Gaza Strip by kicking out the PLO. To protect their own citizens, a blockade was created around Gaza by Israel and Egypt, and with it followed a system of apartheid. Up to 2022, Palestinians found their freedoms and rights restricted while living in Israel, suffering from lack of proper housing, access to services, absence of clean water, and movement limitations. According to ABC News, “81% of the population in Gaza lives in poverty with food insecurity plaguing 63%...The unemployment rate is 46.6%.”

Currently, after the Hamas invasion, 1,400 people were found dead, while another 4,629 were injured. Subsequently, Israel’s recent actions haven’t left them innocent either. In retaliation, Israel launched multiple airstrikes back at Gaza, where some were directed at UNRWA Schools (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) for Palestine refugees. According to Al Jazeera International News Network, this has led to 5,761 Palestinians dying (including 2,360 children) and 16,297 being injured. Furthermore, Israel states they plan to cut off all food and power being given to Gaza in order to force Hamas to surrender. By doing so, this decision has led to 40 medical centers halting operations due to shortages and damages caused by bombing.

Overall, the recent conflicts have led to both sides viewing the other as a major enemy. Since attacks from Hamas and Israel have led to innocent civilians dying on both sides, we have seen contrasting perspectives in our own country.

Keep an eye out for more updates from Falconer’s Voice on the Israel-Hamas conflict.


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