The Israeli-Palestinian conflict started perhaps back in 1948 and continues to shudder millions of people who form the population of these regions. Since the last few days, news channels, newspapers and specifically the social media is crammed with information about the Israeli air-strikes in the Gaza and West Bank area of Palestine. People from several corners of the world are condemning the attacks and criticizing Israel for killing hundreds of people, impairing and injuring thousands of them and forcing the rest to leave their shelters and take refuge in places where the terror is considerably lesser. What’s even more heart-breaking is that this massacre is devastating the subsistence of Gaza in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, thereby curtailing the spiritual undertakings of the populace and turning all that’s sacred into persistent dreadful events. Yet, aren’t a lot of us still wondering about the back-story of this major conflict? If your answer is yes, continue to read.
In the month of June, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were abducted from the West Bank region and they went missing for quite a number of days. Eventually, their dead bodies were found and the Israeli Government blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for their slaughter. People in different parts of the country stood against the killings and condemned Hamas for its activities. In the following tragic event, some Israeli rebels abducted a 17 year old Palestinian teenager and murdered him in retaliation. What ensued was a battle between the two regions. Hamas, as already pointed out, is a militant group that rules over Gaza and has abundant rocket bases in the entire area through which it has been relentlessly firing barrels of rockets into Israel since 2005. The recent upsurge ultimately led to a situation where the Israeli military forces initiated airstrikes into parts of Gaza, especially the ones that are home to these rocket launchers. According to the latest information, 176 Palestinians have lost their lives while more than 1,280 have been wounded as a consequence of the Israeli confrontation.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) begun this massive attack under the name of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on 8th July 2014 with the objective to strike and demolish the Hamas-controlled rocket stations. However, the United Nations Office of Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that almost 80% of those killed in these attacks were civilians comprising of about 21% Palestinian children. Thus, this operation has been considered as something that’s more of a bombing campaign than a defense mechanism. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seems complacent with the series of events and states that the civilian deaths are a responsibility of the Hamas. In an interview with an international news show, he said-‘We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, whereas the Hamas is using its civilians to protect its missiles.’ The Israeli government further emphasizes that they are doing all in their means to warn the Palestinians to vacate the locations that are under raid. Over the weekend, Israel dropped leaflets in the northern areas of Gaza, instructing people to abscond the expanse because they intended to carry on the strikes in the said regions; except, the Hamas commanded them to overlook the warnings and continue residing in their houses. Another report claims that the IDF have been striking the homes of known Palestinian military commanders which is an act of great denunciation and has also resulted in the death of 15 members of the same family in one such incident. The Israeli forces also call up the inhabitants of such homes to vacate the premises before launching any attack, but that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the death toll.
Another point in fact here is that the Hamas’ firing of rockets hasn’t stopped or reduced. Some Israeli students shared that their lives are in constant danger. Every time the Hamas militants launch a rocket in their territory, sirens blow off indicating the people to find refuge under safe establishments. All activity comes to a halt as soon as the siren is heard and restores only when announcements are made signifying safety. Netanyahu claims that he wants to save his people from this insecurity. He desires peace for them even if that means striking back on Hamas like they do on Israelis. This implies that the current brawl is the responsibility of both the Palestinian military groups and the Israel Defence Forces; just how they say, you can’t clap with a single hand. Nevertheless, the casualties in Gaza are increasing with each passing day whereas there have been no reported deaths in Israel as an outcome of the rockets launched by Hamas. The Israelis owe that to the gigantic Iron dome which intercepts a large proportion of these rockets, counterattacks them and saves the civilians from severe consequences. Also, various parts of Israel have bomb shelters and reinforced rooms in which families can hide when Hamas fires its rockets on the blameless population. Experts therefore say that this is an entirely asymmetrical conflict as Israel is a great deal stronger than the Palestinian militant groups and has state-of-the-art technology to keep on its attacks.
Human life in Gaza has been gravely impacted and the bereavement, the viciousness and the sting seem to have no end. International bodies and many countries have been denouncing Israel through street protests and social media activism. But, Prime Minister Netanyahu says that a diplomatic solution or a political consensus is hard to reach because the sole purpose of the Palestinian militants, particularly Hamas, is to wipe out the Jews from this world. He has been justifying the air-strikes as an untainted act instigated to safeguard the Israeli population. However, it is unreasonable and grossly immoral to back his cause through a course as brutal as the one he has resorted to. To further rationalize the bombings, Netanyahu adds: ‘We are doing what any other country would have done in case rockets were fired on its innocent people by militants of some other region.’
The question isn’t whether the Israeli defense system is logical or not; but today, what we need to know is when exactly would this mayhem end. The IDF would keep striking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; the Hamas would keep shooting rockets in provinces where about 70% of the Israeli citizens dwell; and the revulsion, the struggle, the deaths will go on. When would they discern that the combat has been won? Netanyahu replies- ‘That’s when we’ll reach our goal of sustainable security for the Israelis.’ And yet, dear Prime Minister, how would you ever evaluate the amount of triumph achieved in the turmoil?
Ah, may be when the death toll in Gaza escalates to a few thousands. We never know!