War Breaks Out Between Israel and Palestine

On October 7, 2023, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict saw one of the largest escalations since spring 2021. Hamas, a militant organization that rules the Gaza Strip, launched an unanticipated attack, firing thousands of missiles into Israel. Fighters breached the border and began a ground invasion; over 1,400 Israeli civilians died in the attacks with 199 people taken hostage, according to the Israeli government. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) formally declared war on Hamas on October 8, with the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, ordering a “complete siege,” of the Gaza Strip (NYT). Israel has cut off the area’s food and energy supplies, while also banning travel in and out of the enclave. Palestinian officials say 3,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, and many others have been displaced. 

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians has roots dating back three-quarters of a century. In 1947, UN Resolution 181 established a plan to split the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states (CFR). The following year, Israel was created, causing the first Israeli-Arab conflict to break out; Israel came out victorious in 1949, however 750,000 Palestinians were left displaced (CFR), pushing them into the territories of Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians remained without a definite government until 1987, when Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip rose against the Israeli government. The conflict led to the 1993 Oslo I Accords, setting the framework for Palestinians to govern themselves in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (CFR). In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Authority’s parliamentary election, giving Hamas control of the Gaza Strip (CFR). After the seizure of power by Hamas, Palestine ebbed and flowed between peace and conflict until a turning point in 2021, when Palestinian citizens living in East Jerusalem were evicted. Demonstrations quickly broke out, ending in police force in an attempt to subdue the protests. In the days following, Israel launched airstrikes. A ceasefire was agreed upon after 13 Israeli deaths, 250 Palestinian deaths, and 2000 other Palestinians wounded. 

On October 17, the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital was bombed in one of the war’s deadliest moments. The Palestinian Health Ministry has claimed a death toll of at least 471 people. While Hamas blames, Israel, U.S. and Israeli officials have stated that hospital airstrikes were likely the result of misfire from the Islamic-Jahid movement, a related militant organization. President Biden traveled to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on October 18. Following the meeting, President Biden announced that Egypt has agreed to grant humanitarian access for supplies to cross into Gaza along its border (CNN). The World Health Organization stated that conditions are “spiraling out of control,” for the millions who are still trapped. The U.S. has shown strong support for Israel’s efforts but continues to push for humanitarian aid for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire between the IDF and Hamas, with Biden announcing $100 million in support for Gaza and the West Bank. 

 

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