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International Highlights: Israel-Gaza Conflict

Written by Lucy Fan

The kidnappings and deaths of three Israeli teenagers and eventually one of a Palestinian teenager would be a starting spark in what would become a string of hostilities from both Israel and Palestine. However, the conflict did not start because of these kidnappings – there had already been existing political tensions between Israel and Gaza. Like the West Bank, Gaza was occupied territory until Israel withdrew in 2005, and was handed over to local rule. However, unlike the Palenstinian group that governed the West Bank when Israel retreated, the party that currently watches over Gaza, Hamas, seeks the complete destruction of the Israeli state and has been branded by the U.S as a terrorist organization.

Because of the attempts by Gaza to perpetrate numerous attacks against their neigbouring country, Israel commenced a blockade of the region in 2008, and eventually launched a brutal ground invasion of the region in response to Hamas’ actions, killing between 900 and 1300 civilians. There was also another conflict between the two regions in 2012. Over 1800 Palenstinians have died, whereas only roughly 70 Israelian people have died, due to the use of the US-funded Iron Dome, a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It has also been said that Hamas is purposely using civilians as humans shields, which is an international war crime.

In response to the blockade, Hamas launched more missiles into Israel, but very few of them make an impact – most end up getting intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, land outside of urban areas, or fail to launch. Despite this, Israel continues to bomb Gaza for the every few or so of missiles Gaza sends over per day, and detain many Palestinians, even severly beating a 15 year old under questioning.

There was a unity deal signed between the two nations, although it was broken after a while when Hamas stated that it was over with no justification given. The prospect of peace doesn’t seem to be realistic, seeing as both nations have different demands in mind, and many other obstacles in the way of a peace.

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