Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Attack: the best form of Defence? Israel and the Gaza Strip.

A series of blogs on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Over the next few days, we will be releasing a series of 3 blogs on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  These blogs consider reasons behind the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and aim to put the issues into historical and political context.


Is attack really the best form of defence? Israel and the Gaza Strip

On Thursday 29th November, The Palestine Authority was granted UN observer status as "non-member state." The 193 member United Nations General Assembly voted 138 in favor with only nine against and 41 abstentions.1 In retaliation, Israel has declared construction of thousands of new illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank,2 as well as withdrawal and withholding of tax needed to pay Palestinian civil servants,3 to the dismay of the International Community

This vote by the General Assembly came after nearly three weeks of continual conflict and diplomatic negotiation between the two nations of Israel and Palestine. This immediate provocation was initiated by Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip on November 14th killing Ahmed al-Jabari the operational commander of the Izz ad-Din al Qassam Brigades of Hamas’s military wing.4

Hamas (the ruling Islamist party of Gaza, supported by Iran with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbollah in Lebanon) and other militant groups within the Gaza Strip acted against Israel, provoking an immediate and violent conflict that killed at least 158 Palestinians and six Israelis.5 Worries of escalation and the close proximity of the Syrian conflict meant that the global and regional community had to act; and in this instance act quickly. Finally on Wednesday 21st November a ceasefire was brokered in Egypt between Hamas and Israel after eight days of fighting and increased international pressure and worry that this conflict would escalate.

The Middle East region, especially the area of Israel and the Palestinian territories, has been in constant conflict since colonial rule in the 1800-1900s. The recent Arab Spring uprisings from 2010 until today highlight the volatility of the whole region and questions once more whether the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will ever become successful because of increased power of Islamism within the region and the existential security threats posed to Israel. 



The next blog will consider the historical context of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

References

1 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/29/united-nations-vote-palestine-state

2 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/30/israel-build-jewish-settlement-un-palestine

3 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3618490.ece

4 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/14/ahmed-al-jaabari-hamas-general

5 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20501144

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