Thousands of rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on Saturday, and Palestinian militants infiltrated Israel, killing at least one person, according to the Israeli military and medics.
Rockets rained down on Israel from Gaza starting at 6:30 am, following months of rising violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the highest number of fatalities in West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, in years.
The Palestinian group Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket assault on Israel, saying its militants had launched more than 5,000 rockets.
READ |“Ready For War”: Israel After Hamas Launches 5,000 Rockets From Gaza
“We decided to put an end to all the crimes of the occupation (Israel), their time for rampaging without being held accountable is over,” Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said in a statement. “We announce Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and we fired, in the first strike of 20 minutes, more than 5,000 rockets.”
Israeli authorities said Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, while Palestinian militants infiltrated Israeli territory in multiple locations. Hamas “will face the consequences and responsibility for these events”, an Israeli army statement read.
After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, Britain gained control of Palestine, which was inhabited by a Jewish minority and Arab majority.
The international community tasked Britain with creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which heightened tensions between the two groups.
In the 1920s and 1940s, the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine increased significantly, as many Jews fled persecution in Europe and sought a homeland in the wake of the Holocaust.
READ |Video: Hamas Militants Enter Israel Towns, Shoot At Civilians
Friction between Jews and Arabs, as well as resistance to British rule, intensified. In 1947, the United Nations voted to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem under international administration. The Jewish leadership embraced the plan, but the Arab side rejected it, and it was never implemented.
In 1948, unable to end the strife, British authorities withdrew and Jewish leaders proclaimed the founding of Israel. Many Palestinians objected, and a war ensued. Neighboring Arab countries intervened with military force. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in what they call Al Nakba, or “The Catastrophe”.
War And Peace
Over the years, Israel and Palestine have been involved in several skirmishes, some minor, some of catastrophic proportions that led to the deaths of thousands.
In 1987, Hamas, an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement), a political group with military capabilities, was launched by Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist organisation.
READ |Video: “I Call On All Citizens…”: Israel’s Defence Minister On “War” By Hamas
The two Palestinian uprisings, or ‘intifadas’, profoundly impacted Israeli-Palestinian relations, especially the second, which ended the 1990s peace process and ushered in a new era of conflict. Both the intifadas had the involvement of Hamas.
US President Bill Clinton convened the Camp David Summit on July 11, 2000, bringing together Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for intensive final status negotiations, but the summit ended in no cigars, further worsening relations between the two nations.
Hamas has called on its fighters in the West Bank and the Arab and Islamic worlds to join the battle against Israel. In light of the latest conflict, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank remain high.
Israel and Egypt maintain tight control over Gaza’s borders in an effort to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons. This has led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with many people struggling to access basic necessities such as food and water.
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank claim that they are suffering due to Israeli actions, such as the blockade of Gaza, the construction of the West Bank barrier, and the destruction of Palestinian homes.
Israel contends that it is only acting to defend itself from Palestinian violence, citing the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israeli territory and that Palestinian militants have carried out numerous attacks on Israeli civilians.
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