For the last few weeks, there has been constant media attention on the current conflict in Gaza. With new pictures of injured children, families and people’s homes and livelihoods continuously being destroyed, it seems achieving world peace is still a distant dream. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how the whole conflict began and to be honest, there isn’t a straight answer. Here’s why…
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to 1948 with the formation of Israel which resulted in the mass expulsion of Palestinians in order to create the Jewish state. It was required so that many Jews who were persecuted during the Holocaust could have a place called home, but at the expense of Palestinians who still to this day remain stateless (for all you Politics students, you might remember studying this under Nationalism). There has been many criticisms towards the British government who intervened and gave the Palestinians’ state to the Jews. A bit like America with Native American land, if you are familiar with American history. This concerns the people of Gaza because a majority of Gaza’s residents are descendants of those who were expelled from Palestine in 1948.
We can also date the conflict back to the 1990s when the Gaza strip was still occupied by Israel and encouraged the rise of what became Hamas, a resistance movement as the Israeli’s hoped to weaken secular Palestinian liberation groups. But who started the recent conflicts? Israel says Hamas due to rockets which had been fired by the group and their breaking of the ceasefire agreed in November 2012. Hamas on the other hand have said their resumption of rocket fire was a response to the mass arrests of hundreds of Hamas members. On June 16, four rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza and were detonated safely. During a search for missing teenagers, six Palestinians were killed by Israel forces and in response, 40 rockets were fired. As you can see, this quickly spiralled into a circle of conflict – when the bodies of the teenagers were discovered on 30 June, Israel launched 34 attacks on Gaza and as a result of this back and forth warfare, it is innocent civilians who are paying the price.
Why the worldwide uproar? Well the obvious reason being because of the hundreds of lives that have been lost. There was a brief ceasefire but it soon collapsed, renewing the mass murders of innocent children, men and women. With the little time Gaza residents have to leave their homes to avoid being hit by rockets, it is close to being a genocide. Israel has one of the best military defence systems in the world so are their actions necessary? What are they REALLY defending themselves from?
The uproar also goes as far as media representation, particularly BBC coverage of the conflict. Since the recent atrocities began, the BBC has been accused of bias coverage, portraying Israel as the victims when the death toll in Gaza increases by the second. In response to this, many in support of the Palestinians have boycotted the BBC and have also written to the corporation to express their concerns. Despite being mass rallies, the BBC has failed to present this in their news coverage, stating “Many of our programs focused on detailed reporting and analysis of the latest developments in the Gaza conflict rather than a protest about our reporting.”
In terms of the conflict, it is evident that both sides are attempting to pursue their interests with the resources that are available to them, in order to stop the continuous loss of innocent lives, but at the sane time, it’s creating a never-ending cycle of violence. The underlying issue here is the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but with a ceasefire looking unlikely, the violence and endless attacks on innocent civilians continues. #PrayforGaza