Tensions in the Middle East Show No Signs of Subsiding
By Raphael Verelst (Contributor)
Ever since the ceasefire of the Six Days War in 1967, one small strip of land in the Middle East has been the cause of much negotiation, strife and struggle: the city of Gaza and the large suburban area around it. In the last few months, tensions ran high once again as a prolonged artillery bombardment from Israeli forces began once again.
On June 30th, the bodies of three Israeli teenagers reported missing in the West Bank were discovered. The Israeli Defence Forces, claiming self defence after the paramilitary organization Hamas began shelling its land, began a series of missile strikes against the fighters. On July 6th, the Israeli Air Force claimed the lives of six militants, as Hamas reported. By this time, Israel already issued warnings that it would begin widespread operations in the Gaza strip, As a result, thousands of citizens began fleeing the area.
Attacks kept on happening, and by the second week of July ceasefire talks backed by neighboring Egypt had begun. This collapsed on July 15th as the exchange continued. The next day, a ceasefire was called for 5 hours to allow humanitarian aid workers to enter the beleaguered city and begin medical care. By July 17th, Israeli infantry units began a ground war, targeting various Hamas strongholds within concentrated suburbs around the city. The artillery bombardment and infantry engagement continued as such throughout the third week of July.
On July 24th, however, a UN official reported that a hospital treating the many wounded of the conflict was hit by a strike. This incident caused much outrage through many Western countries and through social media, many people crying out that Israel, having targeted a supposedly neutral zone, had gone from committing war to committing wholesale genocide. This position was echoed by many contributors and reporters in televised and print media.
The conflict raged on throughout the final week of July, with Hamas and the Israeli Defence Forces continuing the tit-for-tat bombing strategy that had been going on for most of the month. However, by the beginning of August, the UN once again reported that a school it sponsored had been hit by a strike.
After continuing the same violence that had been going on for most of the conflict, Israel offered Hamas a truce on August 5th, which was extended the next day.
The conflict in Gaza has been raging on, as stated earlier, for the better part of the last half-century. It shows virtually no signs of abating any time soon, or any time in the near future. It should be expected to receive more updates on this situation in the next few months.