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7 Points About The Conflict Between Israel And Gaza

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By Mayank Jain:

Social media is filled with reportage, videos and tweets from the gruesome war that has been raging between Israel and Palestine since years, which has recently escalated again. The current conflict has taken ugly turns in recent days and Israel’s military operations have claimed many lives. Israel has pounded Gaza with bombs in ‘retaliation’ to the rockets fired by Hamas.

The conflict is much deeper at its roots than it appears on ground and a look at the background and histories of the two regions will put things in context:

1. About Gaza:

Gaza strip is a region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The strip is sandwiched between Egypt and Israel’s borders and that is where the problems begin. It is a relatively smaller area but one of the most densely populated in the world. Gaza was given freedom from Israel’s military occupancy to govern itself through Palestine Authority in 1994.

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Since 2007, it has been governed by the Hamas. Hamas is one of the largest Palestine Islamic militant groups and it rejects the existence of Israel, and the Palestine authority.

2. Israel’s Problem

Israel has been constantly eyeing control over Gaza Strip, even after letting it go. Israel still controls most of Gaza’s borders, waters and airspace. Egypt isn’t far behind either which controls Gaza’s southern border. This control comes with tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people in the region.

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The restrictions and ever increasing population on the small patch of land have become a constant source of socio-economic hardships that the people face. This has led Hamas to retaliate and its charter is committed to Israel’s destruction.

3. First Sparks Of Violence

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On June 12, 2014 three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while they were hitchhiking in the West Bank and killed. Their bodies were discovered on June 30th. Israel then arrested more than 300 Palestinians and many of them were members of Hamas.

Rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel on the same night when the bodies were found and Israeli warplanes also carried out numerous airstrikes.

4. Multiple Offensives, Numerous Casualties

The attacks from each side escalated quickly into rockets launched in the cities, on ground offensives to demolish and destruct towns and air raid sirens in far off cities like Jerusalem and Haifa.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Israel’s drone defence system is intercepting many of the missiles but there have been reports of some Israeli injuries.

According to the Israeli Defence Forces which is on the forefront of the attacks, they have hit 1,576 ‘terror’ targets in Gaza with air and naval bombardment. The official stats are varied but more than 190 people have been killed and at least 1300 people have been injured since the conflict began.

5. Peace Proposition That Couldn’t Hold Up

The fragile hopes of peace on the horizon in the troubled regions were shattered as soon as they were built up by the Egyptian proposal for both parties to abide by ceasefire and engage in dialogue instead.

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Photo Credit

A statement from the Egyptian foreign ministry called on “Israel and all Palestinian factions to immediately enforce a ceasefire, in view of the fact that escalation and mutual violence … is not in the interest of either party”.

Israel finally agreed to the peace proposal as President Netanyahu convened his cabinet 2 hours before it was supposed to take effect but Hamas continued firing rockets and refused to agree to the proposal. Hamas has argued that the current government is hostile to the group and its proposal didn’t deal with Palestinian demands at all.

6. Arab League’s Lacklustre Response

After multiple calls from the United Nations to international organizations for intervening in the conflict, Arab League has finally woken up to the reality of the war that is waging in its backyard for over a week now.

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A cartoon being widely circulated about Arab League’s response

Arab League has called for protection of Gaza by the international community in a report which says, “The Arab League affirmed the necessity of urgent steps for an immediate end to the Israeli aggression on Gaza and providing protection for the Palestinians, air strikes on Gaza have become a matter that cannot be met with silence anymore,” it said.

7. No Place For Peace

Israel is unlikely to abide by the peace process since the strikes have resumed already. The United States of America had also endorsed the peace process as a solution before it fell through, but the conflict needs more than just that to cease right now.

As we monitor the situation and horrific images continue to surface on the internet, Israel has called up 40,000 reserved forces and armed tanks to line along the border just to hit Gaza where it hurts them the most, in cramped cities.

UPDATED: 28th July, 2014

8. Hamas Not Responsible For Kidnapping Three Teens: Micky Rosenfeld

The kidnapping and killing of three teenagers from Israel were the epicenter of the whole violence and offensive towards Hamas in Gaza. The war has claimed hundreds of lives by now and it is in its third week already.

But, according to the Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the kidnapping was done by a group of people operating as a lone cell rather than on Hamas’ orders. They are said to be affiliated to Hamas but “not operating under their leadership” which is a clear divergence from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement, “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.”

The statement became the tipping point between the strained relations of the two regions and the violence only escalated after the claim but the claims seems to have been falsified by a report of BBC who tweeted:

9. Clashes Erupt Amid A 10,000 Strong Solidarity March:

As a protest against Israeli offensive in Gaza, 10,000 people took to a march from Ramallah to Jerusalem in the West Bank. The demonstration is one of the biggest in nearly a decade and marked civil unrest prevailing in the area because of repeated offensive that haven’t spared anyone including new born children.

The march didn’t go as smoothly as it was planned and clashes erupted continually with police and four Palestinians were shot dead, according to the reports.

To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter at @mayank1029

You must be to comment.
  1. Neeraj KT

    See this Article will never make one understand Who is occupied by whom ?

    U started from 3 teenagers being kidnapped… what israel is doing from 1940’s @Gaza ..any idea!?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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