To this day, approximately 1,200 people have been killed. The Israeli military claims that more than 200 soldiers and civilians, including women and children, have been taken hostage by Gaza. According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, 14,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military airstrikes in response.
What was Israel like before 1948?
Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Britain took control of Palestine, which was inhabited by a Jewish minority, an Arab majority, and various other minorities. Tensions between these groups escalated when the international community tasked the UK with establishing a new state for Jewish people in Palestine. Palestine was considered the ancestral home for both Jews and Arabs. Between 1920 and 1940, the Jewish population grew as many fled persecution in Europe. In 1947, the UN voted to split Palestine into two states for Jews and Arabs, with Jerusalem as the capital. While Jewish leaders accepted this plan, it was rejected by the Arabs.
How and why was Israel created?
In 1948, Britain withdrew, and Jewish leaders declared the creation of the state of Israel as a safe haven for Jews. Fighting between Jewish and Arab militias had intensified for months, and the day after Israel declared statehood, five Arab countries attacked. Thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in what they call Al Naqba, or the “Catastrophe.” A ceasefire ended the fighting, and for many years, Israel controlled most of the territory.
What are the main problems between Israel and Palestine?
Several issues divide the two sides, including the fate of Palestinian refugees, the status of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the sharing of Jerusalem, and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Why are Israel and Gaza at war now?
Gaza is currently ruled by Hamas, labeled as terrorists by the UK and other states supporting Israel. Palestinians in Gaza argue that Israel’s restrictions and airstrikes on heavily populated areas amount to collective punishment. The recent conflict, the deadliest in Palestinian history, may have been triggered by a recent attack by Hamas on Israel. Militants may also seek to boost their popularity among ordinary Palestinians by using Israeli hostages to free Palestinians in their jails.
Who supports Israel, and who does not?
The US, the European Union, and other Western countries have condemned the Hamas attack on Israel. The US, Israel’s closest ally, has provided nearly $260 billion for Israel’s economy and military weapons over the years. Russia and China have refused to condemn Hamas, citing ongoing contacts with both sides. Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, supports Hamas, along with Hezbollah, whose militants engage in daily fire and airstrikes with Israeli troops. Iran denies any involvement. While some countries are silent or inactive on this matter, questions may arise regarding their stance.