The Israel – Palestine Conflict
The countries of Israel and Palestine have been in conflict since 1948. The territorial dispute
is mainly over the Holy Land of Jerusalem, which is sacred to both the Jews (Israelis) and the Muslims (Palestinians).
Another reason for this conflict is the property dispute in Sheikh Jarrah. Sheikh Jarrah is a
neighborhood consisting of mainly Palestinian settlers, in East Jerusalem (in Israel).
According to Israeli laws, the Jewish (Israeli) families could reclaim property in the West
Bank of River Jordan and East Jerusalem which they owned before 1948. However, any
claims from the Palestinians are rejected. In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had
been evicted out of Israel, and according to the Palestinians, this Israeli law was a way to
push out the Palestinians further and gain control of East Jerusalem.
Reason for the 2021 crisis
The latest flare up which happened began on 6 th May 2021. 6 Palestinian families in Sheikh
Jarrah were at the risk of being evicted, resulting in a large number of protests. The hearing in
the court was however postponed due to the protests.
Another incident occurred in the Al Aqsa Mosque on 7 th May. Israeli police forces stormed
the compound and started evacuating the mosque while the final prayer of Friday was going
on. Soon after, many protestors gathered near the mosque, and the police
consequently employed tear gas and rubber bullets to empty the area.
Response of both countries
On 10th May, Hamas, the militant group governing the Gaza Strip (a self-governing territory
in Palestine), issued an ultimatum for Israel to remove its forces from the Al Aqsa and Sheikh
Jarrah by 6 p.m. After the deadline passed, Hamas sent out thirty rockets to Jerusalem, and
Israel fought back.
Many rockets, missiles and airstrikes were exchanged between the two countries. The death
toll in Gaza almost rose up to 250, while in Israel, there were about 15 deaths. In an Israeli
airstrike, a building (in Gaza) housing the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera was
destroyed resulting in a media outrage.
The 2021 conflict was the worst violence seen between Israel and Palestine since 2014.
After 11 days of violence and bloodshed, which took away hundreds of lives, the conflict
came to an end. Both countries agreed on a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which meant that
neither country will employ military action. All world leaders welcomed the ceasefire with
open arms. Israel and Gaza both claimed victory in the ceasefire, with hundreds of people
celebrating on the streets.