Israeli Defense Forces confirmed fresh airstrikes in Gaza last night (July 3) in response to incendiary balloons it claims were launched from the territory.
This is the latest of several cross-border actions by both sides since a ceasefire took hold on May 21, ending the conflict which claimed the lives of over 250 Palestinians and 13 people living in Israel.
Israeli security forces killed 3 Palestinian men in the West Bank on June 10, at least 2 have been confirmed to be intelligence officers for the governing Palestine Authority there.
Additionally, far-right Israeli activists marched through East Jerusalem’s Old City on June 15 to celebrate the Israeli capture and occupation of the city during the 1967 war. The march was approved by Israel’s new government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, who has been described as an ultra-nationalist.
The recent conflict was the bloodiest since 2014, when Israeli ground forces invaded the Gaza strip in response to rockets fired by Hamas.
The British Red Cross said of the conflict: “The devastation done in 11 days takes years to be rebuilt”. While experts from the United Nations Human Rights Watch said: “[The] violence has a depressingly familiar pattern to it.”
The conflict sparked protests across the globe, with tens of thousands coming out in London in support of Palestine, including ex-Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot.
As Conflict Between Israel and Hamas Winds Down, Protests in London Continue
A Conflict Brewing:
On May 6, clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and right-wing Israeli settlers in Shiekh Jarrah. Many Palestinian families, who fled to the neighborhood during the aftermath of the 1948 war, are facing eviction by the settlers.
Tensions came to a head when Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque complex May 7. Clashes continued in the compound for several days culminating with another raid on May 10. Al Aqsa Mosque sits on Temple-Mount, known as Haram esh-Sharif by Muslims.
These raids prompted Hamas to issue the ultimatum that Israeli forces leave the Al-Aqsa compound or face open conflict.
Shortly after the 6pm deadline on May 10, Hamas fired more than 150 rockets towards Israel beginning 12 days of open conflict between the two sides.
According to the Israeli Defense Force, more than 4000 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel while more than 1500 “terror targets” had been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. The IDF has claimed that 90 percent of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
During the conflict, the press offices of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in the Gaza Strip were destroyed when the building was hit by an Israeli airstrike shortly after staff were evacuated.
Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said: “We are shocked and horrified the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.”
The Israeli Defense Force claimed that the offices housed a Hamas communications centre. Even with sporadic cross-border violence, the fragile ceasefire, for now, continues to hold.
In Pictures: London’s Protests
A young woman protesting near Hyde Park, Central London.
Timeline of the Israel-Hamas Conflict 2021