Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry

Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: An In-Depth Look at the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Around 100 Israelis lost their lives in a surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7, 2023. In a message posted on social media, the secretive leader of Hamas' military wing, Mohammed Deif, declared the beginning of "Operation Al-Aqsa Storm." He urged Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Northern Israel to join the fight, stating that today people are taking back their revolution. This message marked his first public statement since May 2021 when he warned Israel about consequences if it didn't meet Hamas's demands regarding Jerusalem.


Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry
Gaza flotilla masacre solidarity demonstration

An unprecedented attack by the ruling Hamas group, Israel responded with airstrikes and its Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) declared the country was at war with Hamas. Hamas took Israeli civilians and soldiers hostage in Gaza, though the exact number is unknown. In Gaza, Israeli counterattacks resulted in at least 232 deaths and 1,697 wounded. Palestine Groups with Arms in the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel, have promised to support Hamas in its ongoing attack.

The fight between Israel and Hamas keeps going on. They're fighting because they both want control over the same land and Jerusalem. This fight happens often, with Israel using its military, and Hamas firing rockets. It's all taking place in a place called the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, a group with strong religious beliefs. This fight has been happening for a long time and has caused problems with other countries like Iran. Many countries and Organizations like UN, including news channels like Al Jazeera, are trying to make peace, but it's not easy. To understand why this keeps happening, we need to look at the history, politics, and complicated relationships involved.


Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry
Al-Aqsa Mosque

International reactions to the Israel-Hamas conflict have been varied. The Arab League, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, NATO, Palestinian President Abbas, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Nations, United States, and Venezuela have all expressed their positions.

These statements include calls for an immediate halt to military operations, concerns over escalating violence, condemnation of attacks on civilians, and expressions of solidarity with affected parties. The United Nations has called for restraint, while the United States has condemned the Hamas attacks and pledged support for Israel's defense. The situation remains tense, with international efforts to de-escalate the conflict ongoing.


Understanding the Basics: 

Before delving into recent events, it's important to establish a foundational understanding of the key players and terms that involved.


Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry
Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel:

Israel, also known as the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East. It's located by the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east and southeast, and Egypt to the southwest. The capital is Jerusalem, although not everyone recognizes it as the capital. Israel is unique because it's the only country in the world that's mostly for Jewish people. The land it's on has a long history, going way back before the Bible times. Over the years, it was controlled by different empires, like the Romans and the Byzantines. In the 7th century, it became part of the Islamic caliphate.



During the time of the Crusades, there was a lot of fighting over this land, which was then known as Palestine. Later, it was controlled by different Islamic dynasties until the Ottoman Empire fell after World War I. Then, the League of Nations gave Britain the responsibility to oversee this area. Even before that, some Jewish people had started moving to Palestine because they wanted a place to call their own. This increased a lot during the 20th century when Jews faced a lot of discrimination and persecution, including the Holocaust by Nazi Germany.

But this immigration also caused problems because the native Palestinian Arabs didn't like it. There was violence between the two groups. Eventually, the United Nations came up with a plan to split Palestine into Jewish and Arab parts, and Israel declared itself a country on May 14, 1948. After that, Israel had to fight several wars with its Arab neighbors over the next few decades, which led to conflicts about land and refugees. Despite these tensions, Israel did manage to make peace with some Arab countries in the last part of the 20th century.


Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry
Palestine President

Gaza Strip:

The Gaza Strip is a small territory of about 140 square miles located along the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East, next to the Sinai Peninsula. It's densely populated but not officially part of any country. It has faced challenges like high unemployment, inadequate services, and sanctions imposed by Israel.

Agriculture is a significant part of its economy, with citrus fruit being a major crop. Over the years, it has been a center of conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups, notably Hamas. Despite efforts to ease tensions, violence has erupted at various times, leading to casualties and displacement of people.

Hamas, the most prominent armed Islamist organization in the Palestinian territory, currently holds governance over the Gaza Strip, which is inhabited by a population of two million people. The history of Gaza's control traces back to the aftermath of the Six-Day War in 1967, a conflict involving Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Israel took control of the Gaza Strip during this war and maintained its authority for nearly four decades until 2005.

In 1994, Israel initiated a gradual process of transferring administrative control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA), in accordance with the Oslo Accords, which had been jointly signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It's worth noting that Gaza and the West Bank are geographically distinct and are separated by Israeli territory. Both are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but the Strip is governed by Hamas, a militant, fundamentalist Islamic organization, which came to power in the last-held elections in 2006.

The leader of the Hamas military, Muhammad Al-Deif, called the operation "Al-Aqsa Storm" and said that they attacked Israel because they were angry about the violence against women, the harm done to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and the fact that Gaza is still surrounded and not free to move in or out.


Hamas:

Hamas is a Political and Military Organization that controls the Gaza Strip and has an endless rivalry with Israel. They have a history of conflicts with Israel, firing rockets and carrying out attacks. Israel, along with Egypt, has blockaded Gaza since 2007 for security reasons. Many countries, including the United States, the European Union and the UK, label Hamas as a terrorist group, and they receive support from Iran.

Hamas commander Mohammed Deif has called for Palestinians and others to join their operation against Israel. This raises concerns about possible conflict in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or involving groups like Hezbollah. Israel is mobilizing troops and planning a potential ground operation in addition to air raids on Gaza. The overall situation could once more result in a humanitarian crisis. Hence, international intervention has become essential.


Palestine:

Palestine, officially known as the State of Palestine, is a country in the Southern Levant region of West Asia. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) governs it officially. Palestinians consider themselves the indigenous people of the region and seek to establish their own state with autonomy and a strong wish for it, often leading to conflicts with Israel over territory and sovereignty.

Palestine claims the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as its territory. However, Israeli occupation has been in place in all of that territory since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Due to the Oslo Accords from 1993 to 1995, the West Bank is divided into 165 Palestinian areas partially ruled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), while the rest, including 200 Israeli settlements, is fully controlled by Israel. The Gaza Strip is controlled by the militant Islamic group Hamas and has been under blockade by Egypt and Israel since 2007.


Jerusalem:

The holy city at the center of the conflict is Jerusalem, and it's claimed as the capital by both Israelis and Palestinians, leading to an ongoing dispute over its status. Jerusalem has a long and significant history spanning thousands of years, holding deep importance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. For Jews, it's the location of the Western Wall, a sacred site from the Second Temple era. Christians revere the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be where Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Muslims hold the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, in high regard. Israel gained control of Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-Day War, and it has since served as Israel's capital, though its status remains a subject of international dispute.


Root Causes: 

To understand the dynamics of the recent conflict, we must explore the underlying causes:

Land Disputes: The fundamental issue at the heart of the conflict is the competing claims to the same territory. Both Israelis and Palestinians assert historical and religious ties to the land.

Jerusalem: Jerusalem remains a flashpoint due to its religious significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The status of the city is a contentious issue, with both sides desiring control over East Jerusalem.

Blockade of Gaza: Israel maintains a blockade on the Gaza Strip, citing security concerns. This blockade has resulted in economic hardship, humanitarian crises, and a sense of siege among the Palestinians living there.

Political Struggles: Internal political divisions among Palestinians, with Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, have hindered efforts to form a united front in negotiations with Israel.

Regional Influences: The involvement of neighboring countries, including Iran, has further complicated the conflict. Iran supports Hamas and other militant groups, while Israel's regional alliances add an additional layer of complexity.

Role of External Actors: Several external actors play a significant role in the Israel-Gaza conflict:

United States: The United States has historically been a staunch ally of Israel and has provided military and financial support. Its stance on the conflict has a substantial impact on the dynamics of the region.

Iran: Iran provides support to Hamas and other Palestinian groups, contributing to their military capabilities. Iran's involvement further fuels regional tensions.

United Nations: The UN has been involved in peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in the region. The Security Council frequently discusses the Israel-Gaza conflict but has struggled to pass resolutions due to veto powers.


Operation Al-Aqsa Storm: A Chapter of Endless Rivalry

A Palestine in front of Israel Army


Arab States: Some Arab states have normalized relations with Israel in recent years, altering the regional dynamics. This shift in alliances has both geopolitical and economic implications.


Conclusion:

The ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict is just one chapter in a long and complex history of struggle and strife. The root causes of the conflict, including territorial disputes, the status of Jerusalem, and political divisions, remain unresolved, posing a persistent threat of future conflicts. International efforts to address the issue persist, but achieving lasting peace in the region remains a challenging task.

To establish a peaceful resolution, all involved parties must engage in meaningful dialogue and compromise while addressing the legitimate grievances and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Only then can the cycle of violence be broken, paving the way for a more stable and secure future in the region.

Code--->