Israeli raids continue to kill Palestinians. On January 26, the Israeli army killed 10 Palestinians. Today, Israel launched multiple airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Media reports have labelled the attack as one of the deadliest since last year.
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Israeli warplanes hit al-Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of the territory in the early hours of Friday, in total, 13 strikes made their way to the Gaza Strip. Yesterday’s strike was in the Jenin refugee camp. Since 2023, more than 29 Palestinians, including five children, have died.
As the chances of violence escalate, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been asked to meet to discuss the security and peace of the region. The meeting has been requested by France, China, and the UAE.
Witnesses have reported that Israeli drones attacked the al-Zaitoun neighbourhood in the south of Gaza City and Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza. Although there were no casualties, the Israeli drones fired two missiles, followed by fighter jets. “Cautious calm” had returned to Gaza. Air attacks were targeted at the most densely populated areas in the world, with 2.1 million residents.
A Hamas spokesman who witnessed the event said that the armed groups in Gaza “will continue to carry out [their] duty to defend the Palestinian people and their sanctities, and will remain the people’s shield and sword.”
What are the tensions between Israel and Palestine?
The tension between Israel and Palestine is now more than 100 years old.
Palestine’s land was controlled by the British after the Middle East was defeated in World War One. Soon after this, the Palestinian land was inhabited by an Arab majority and a Jewish minority. The Jews who faced discrimination during the great war in Europe were given Palestine land as their national home. This marked the beginning of tension. For Jews, it was an ancestral home and national home, but Arabs also lived on the same land.
The violence between Jews and Arabs grew with time. In 1947, the UN voted for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. It was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side and thus never implemented. In 1948, Jews declared the land to be theirs and called it Israel. Palestinians objected and waged wars. The war resulted in warfare with Israel occupying most of the territory.
Currently, Jordan occupies land that is known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupies Gaza. On the other hand, Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the west and Jordanian forces in the east. Because there was never a peace agreement between the two territories, it resulted in more wars and fighting, which continue to this day.
Beginning of 2023 strikes in Israel
On January 26, 2023, a Thursday, the violence in the country flared up when Israel launched a raid on the Jenin refugee camp, resulting in the death of 10 people and leaving 20 injured. In response, Gaza fired rockets and blocked the Iron Dome. Early Friday morning, Gaza witnessed a dozen of air strikes. ‘The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is currently striking in the Gaza strip,’ an army statement read. ‘Most of the Gaza rockets were intercepted by Israel’s air defence system,’ the army added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right party, which has recently come to power, have pledged to be tough against the Palestinian militancy, i.e., the Hamas-ruled territory. Nobody has claimed responsibility for their attacks, but Israel has called their attacks ‘counter-terrorism’ operations. On the other hand, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had earlier vowed to respond to Thursday’s army raid in Jenin, which killed nine Palestinians. They have also described the Jenin raid as a “massacre.”
The United Nations (UN) tagged 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestine since 2006. But the world continues to remain silent. This year the strikes have begun again, just like any other year.
Israeli defence minister informed the media that the military would stop its air strikes if the Palestinian groups halt their rocket attacks. But this is not the solution to the prolonged problem of Israel. There has been a limited exchange between the Gaza militants and Israeli armed forces, the result of which has continued arms strikes, warplanes and drone attacks. Although countries around the world have asked for peace and security in the region, international inter-governmental organisations have not made enough efforts to resolve the dispute.