The death toll on Gaza rose to 67 Palestinians, including 16 children and 3 women. More than 300 people have been wounded which included 86 children and 39 women. Airstrikes and Rocket barrages have already claimed dozens of lives.
Tensions are sky-high in the mixed Jewish-Arab towns. The pernicious exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military has escalated significantly with the United Nations fearing a “full-scale war”.
Here is what you need to know
An explosive new round of conflict between Israeli Army and Palestinian militants in Gaza broadened on Wednesday, escalating rapidly into one of the worst rounds of violence between these two sides in the last several years. Waves of mob violence between Jews and Arabs spread across Israeli cities leading to riots and attacks in the streets as rockets and missiles streaked across the sky. The tension between Israel and Palestine was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinian and Israeli police at the holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem. The site was revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif and Jews, form whom it is known as the Temple Mount. Hamas demanded Israel to remove police from there and nearby Arab districts, where Palestinian families face eviction by Jewish settlers.
Israel stated that it assassinated 10 senior militants and continued to pound both military and residential areas across the Gaza strip with airstrikes, while Hamas who are the Islamist group that rules Gaza, and its allies continued to fire rockets into the residential areas across central and southern Israel. The Israeli police entered the Al Aqsa Mosque and clashed with Palestinians inside the sacred site by firing stun grenades. The Israeli Defence Forces, on Wednesday, claimed that their strikes on Gaza were the largest since the conflict in 2014.
More than 1000 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza, most of which were intercepted by an antimissile defence system, the Israeli military said.
According to the reports, more than 67 Palestinians, including 16 children have lost their lives since the start of the conflict on Monday. The rockets fired by Hamas and its ally, Islamic Jihad, have already claimed the lives of at least six Israeli civilians including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.
The fight is showing no signs of letting up. An Israeli military official stated on Wednesday that three infantry bridges were preparing for a work case scenario, confirming that a ground invasion could follow the bombardment from air. The Israeli officials said that they had already “locked down” the city of Lod in Central Israel for the first time in decades and have arrested 280 people accused of rioting across the country. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described this violence as “anarchy” and held an emergency cabinet meeting to give more powers to the police and to enforce curfews as needed. In less than two full days, the escalation from a localized dispute in Jerusalem to a full-scale ariel war over Gaza to a widespread unrest shocked the Israelis and Palestinians and left the country’s experienced leaders fearing the decades-old Israel-Palestine conflict was heading into a new territory.
Why is East Jerusalem so sensitive?
For almost two decades after the founding of the State of Jerusalem in 1948, the city of Jerusalem was divided into Eat Jerusalem which was controlled by the Jordanians and the West Jerusalem which was controlled by the Israelis, who eventually made it their capital. The Old City of Jerusalem and its holy sites formed a part of East Jerusalem. The Old City is the homes to Church of the Holy Sepulchre where, according to the believes of Christians, Jesus Christ was buried. It is also the home to Al Aqsa Mosque where, the Muslims believe that, Prophet Mohammed journeyed on his night voyage. According to them, it is also the place where he ascended to heaven. East Jerusalem is home to one of the holiest sites in the world for the Jews-the stone where they believe that Abraham came to sacrifice his son, Isaac and where the First and Second Temples stood in the ancient times. However, during the Six-Day war in 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem which placed the entire city under their control. Israel also captured the West Bank, the Golan heights and the Sinai Peninsula which was later returned to Egypt under a peace agreement in 1979. But East Jerusalem and Golan Heights continued to remain under complete control of Israel. The Palestinians enjoyed limited autonomy in Gaza and in parts of the West bank, but for the most of it, Israel maintains control of all borders and security.
Key Holy Sites in Jerusalem’s Old City
What are the main problems?
There are certain issues which the Israelis and Palestinians cannot agree upon. This includes the current situation regarding the state of Palestinian refugees, whether Jewish settlements in the occupied West bank should stay or removed, whether two sides should share Jerusalem and perhaps the most important factor- whether a Palestinian state should be created alongside Israel. Peace talks have been going on for over 25 years, however the conflicts have not been solved yet.
What does the future hold?
With the rise in tension between Israel and Palestine, the conflict is far from being over. The peace plan that was prepared by the United States when Donald Trump was the president, called “the deal of the country” by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, has been dismissed by the Palestinians as one-sided and it never got off the ground. Any peace deal will require both the sides to agree to resolve complex issues. Until that happens, the conflicts will continue.