Palestine and Israel. What is going on?!

So it’s been fairly spread across the news lately, the Gaza and Israeli conflict. I feel this is a fairly important issue as I don’t think enough people fully understand the war that is going on.

So to begin with, we have Palestine and Israel. The issue? Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is part of Israel, and has been the capital for years, based on the 1980 Israel law. However, Palestine want the east of Jerusalem, as they believe it to be the holiest place in Islam, as it has the Dome of the Rock, the place in which Mohammed is said to have visited heaven. The borders of Jerusalem are all over the place, with many Palestinian settlers there. Israel argues it should remain under their control, Palestinians argue that at least some parts of it should be handed over.

The Six Day War in 1948 saw Israel capture the previously Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem. Decades of on-off negotiations between Palestine and Israel, has resulted in a failure to to settle conflict as to who should settle there.

Now then, there has been a lot of talk about Gaza in the news, too. This is where it gets complicated.

Basically, this was under Egyptian control, until Israel took control of the strip between 1967 to 2005. In 2005, Israel pulled its soldiers and settlers out of there, however maintained control over Gaza’s land, sea, and air borders, despite considering it the end of their occupation. Egypt maintained control over Gaza’s southern border. Despite this, there has still been cross border killings from both sides.

Part of the strip borders Palestinian territories, so, enter Hamas. A Palestinian movement group who governs part of the Gaza Strip, and has done since 2007. They’re pretty set on bringing down Israel. Since Hamas entered the strip, Israeli border control has been tightened and intensified, with Egypt’s help, in an attempt to end rocket attacks from Hamas to Israel.

In 1979, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, and although Israel handed back Gaza and parts of the West Bank in Jerusalem to the Palestinians, there is still on-going conflict, with a resolution yet to be met.

1.1 million of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are registered as refugees. 80 per-cent of the country is reliant on international assistance, (so it’s all very messy). Western countries such as the UK and the US, are largely sided with Israel, with President Obama stating their relationship with the country was ‘rock solid’. However, Iran called for Arab states to send weapons to Hamas to give them a ‘helping hand’ as it were.

SO… What’s been going down recently?

Despite many previous ceasefires, non have prevailed. Many, many innocent civilians have died at the hands of these bomb attacks. Hamas want their land, and to be recognised by the Israelis. They want their own sovereign state in the West Bank Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip. Israel insist they are not trying to topple Hamas, but retaliate with bombings and missiles as a ‘defence’ mechanism. Long…long, story short, they can’t seem to stop bombing each other.

They have agreed to another ceasefire. The agreements on this are that Israel end fire on the Gaza strip by land, sea, and air. All Palastenians in the Gaza Strip end fire on Israel. And most importantly borders from the Strip to Israel are opened, allowing food, goods, and people the freedom to move. Adding to this, Egypt, needs to be informed from both sides that they abide by the ceasefire.

That is the main gist of what is going on in the Middle East. Please remember this is a vague description in comparison to what is actually going on, but hopefully clears a few things up, so readers, like me, can now understand what is happening when we see ‘Gaza ceasefire’ plastered over the news.

Never forgetting the many lives being torn apart during this horrific war.

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