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Friday, September 22, 2023


What you need to know: Israel and Hamas fast-fact guide

As summer rounded to a close, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian region of Gaza exploded, bringing on one of the deadliest conflicts between the two regions in years. With United States money and support backing Israel, the situation drew even more debate among Americans, and misinformation has spread about the nature of the conflict. Though there has been news of a potential “truce,” it’s still critical to remain in-the-know on the situation should things become violent again.

The Facts

  • Hamas has been a major, if not the largest driving factor behind the Gaza Strip’s fighting force. Hamas is a Palestenian organization that associated themselves with Islam; they are also a political party with a military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, which have instigated several bombings and suicide attacks in the past 20 years. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
  • The Gaza Strip, sandwiched in Palestine next to Israel and just bordering Egypt, has been a major host of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The area was occupied by Israel after the 1967 Middle East War, and remained occupied until 2005. Israel and Egypt continue to control the strip’s borders.

The Conflict

  • On June 12, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while hitchhiking. After massive Israeli outcry, the Israeli military launched “Operation Brother’s Keeper” to find them. The operation pushed into the West Bank, and numerous Palestinians were arrested. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the kidnapping was orchestrated by Hamas. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal did not “confirm or deny” the kidnapping. The teens’ bodies were found June 30, and Netanyahu declared that “Hamas will pay.”
  • Israel promptly launched 34 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on July 1.
  • On July 8, the Israeli Defense Force announced that they had launched “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas, rekindling a conflict between the two that has been dormant since a ceasefire was negotiated by Egypt in 2012.
  • The Gaza Health Ministry announced that 81 Palestinians had been killed from Israel’s air strikes on July 10, and Palestinians and Westerners alike voiced outrage over the amount of children and civilians killed during the strike.
  • Egypt proposed a ceasefire on July 15, which was accepted by the Israeli cabinet. Hamas said that it was not consulted on the ceasefire.
  • The United Nations proposed a five-hour ceasefire on July 17, which was agreed upon by both Israel and Hamas. Two hours into the ceasefire, three rockets were launched into Israel, allegedly by Hamas. Hamas did acknowledge responsibility for a shot-down drone that was launched into Israel that evening.
  • As of July 21, IDF destroyed 2,800 targets in Gaza, and Gaza 1,497 rockets were fired into Israel.
  • The United Arab Emirates gave $41 million in aid to Gaza on July 22.
  • Israel and Hamas agreed on a 12-hour cease-fire on July 26, though the IDF said they would continue to destroy Hamas-built tunnels. Israel agreed to a four-hour extension as the cease-fire drew to a close.
  • Hamas rejected an additional cease-fire that would have been held on July 27.
  • On August 19, a five-day cease-fire was broken by Gaza launching rockets into Israel, which Israel reciprocated. The United Nations have declared 1,976 Palestinian deaths, 459 of which are younger than 18. Two Israel civilians, a guest worker and 64 soldiers have been killed. A U.N. official has said that Gaza “will require massive reconstruction,” according to ABC News, as 16,800 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

Numerous news outlets have reported a potential truce between Hamas and Israel. If honored, the “open-ended” ceasefire would end the seven weeks of relentless violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

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