Judi Johnson is a Third Year Creative and Professional Writing Student. Featured Image is Panoramic-3241 by max_gloin on Pixabay.
Israel is tucked away on the south western shore of the Mediterranean Sea at the northern shore of the Red Sea, but it has a big voice. Old grievances persist in fuelling new chapters in this conflict in the Middle East, with the Israeli presence in Palestinian territory internationally considered to be the world’s longest military occupation in modern times.
A little context and history of these two warring governments:
After World War II and the trauma of the Holocaust, the Jewish people wanted a country to call their own. They were given a large part of Palestine, but the Arabs living there did not accept the new country. In 1948, the conflict between the two began. When hostilities stopped (we now know only temporarily) Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan the West Bank. Many thousands of Palestinians fled the new Israel.
In 1967, after another war, Israeli forces occupied Palestinian lands, hoping to do a land deal and establish their own rights as a nation.
Further hostilities, the 50 days of fighting in 2014, saw the deaths of over 2000 Palestinians. This conflict was not going away. The current hostilities are the inevitable consequence of unresolved infighting, an open, septic sore. With the sectarian confrontation in Jerusalem now added into the melee, there has been and will be, escalating unrest, death, and destruction.
Jerusalem is special to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike, for differing reasons, with worship taking place in differing buildings, sacred to each and a mere stone’s throw apart. But this is not a religious problem. It is a political and geographical war of attrition that carries on even when the eyes of the world are not fixated on it.
Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and where fishing and farming rights are severely curtailed by Israel, is now ruled by Hamas, a militant Islamist group. Across Israel, the West Bank is governed by the Palestinian National Authority, whose president Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO) are aiming to create an independent State of Palestine. These two geographically separated entities do not get on, but many people want Gaza and the West Bank to join forces and become one Palestinian nation.
It has been reported that rockets are being fired indiscriminately into Tel Aviv, and other cities are prompting retaliation in the form of air strikes from the Israeli side. Israeli forces claim to be targeting only Hamas hierarchy and security services, however, as is always the case, innocent civilians, including women and children are among the rising number of casualties.
Israeli ground troops under President Benjamin Netanyahu, are being gathered amidst allegations that it will retaliate in force to rocket attacks, to show its strength, and to warn other potential opposition from any terrorist attacks.
Envoys are now being sent in and the UN, US and other countries are keeping a very close watch on the escalation of the hostilities. Now, a very real fear exists; another full-scale war.