What’s happening on Day 12 of the Israel-Hamas war
President Joe Biden is in Israel on an urgent mission to keep the Israel-Hamas war from spiralling into a broader regional conflict. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that limited humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza from Egypt following a request from Biden.
The president’s visit on Wednesday came after hundreds of people were reported killed in an explosion at a Gaza Strip hospital the night before. There were conflicting claims of who was responsible for the hospital blast. Officials in Gaza quickly blamed an Israeli airstrike. Israel denied it was involved and released a flurry of video, audio and other information that it said showed the blast was due to a missile misfire by Islamic Jihad, another militant group operating in Gaza. The Islamic Jihad dismissed that claim.
The Associated Press has not independently verified any of the claims or evidence released by the parties.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Wednesday that 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 injured in the past 11 days.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.
- Biden says the U.S. will provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians affected by conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.
- Doctors in Gaza City performed surgery on floors, often without anaesthesia, in a desperate bid to save wounded victims of a massive blast that killed civilians sheltering in a hospital.
- Rage at the hospital carnage spread throughout the Middle East.
- The leaders of Egypt and Jordan, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called off a planned summit with Biden.
- The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution about the fighting between Hamas and Israel, but negotiations on the wording are still underway.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s longest-running and most controversial conflicts. At its heart, it is a conflict between two self-determination movements — the Jewish Zionist project and the Palestinian nationalist project — that lay claim to the same territory. But it is so, so much more complicated than that, with seemingly every fact and historical detail small and large litigated by the two sides and their defenders.
- Israeli warplanes destroyed a mosque in western Gaza city, bringing the total number of mosques ruined to five.
- Over 500 raids on targets were carried out by the Israeli army across the Gaza Strip overnight.
- The Israeli army called up around 100,000 reservists, says a military spokesman.
- Around 800 to 1,000 Palestinian gunmen infiltrated Israel through 80 gaps across the border with Gaza, says the Israeli army.
- Israeli army committed a ‘massacre’ against 15 Palestinian families by targeting their homes, according to a Palestinian official.
- Israeli fighter jets staged several strikes in northern Gaza.
- Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Israel’s international airport in Tel Aviv.
Conflict in numbers
- The death toll of Palestinians rose to 493 people, and over 2,700 injured.
- At least 700 Israelis have been killed and over 2,300 wounded.
- Over 120,000 Palestinians displaced in the Gaza Strip,
- More than 130 Israelis were held captive.
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement claims capturing 30 Israeli soldiers, and settlers.
The situation in the West Bank
- Israel imposes lockdown on West Bank.
- The military closes entrances to a number of towns and establishes checkpoints in several locations.
- Clashes were reported across the West Bank as Palestinians organized rallies to protest Israel’s attacks.
Tensions with Lebanon
- Four Israeli soldiers were injured in a friendly fire incident near the border with Lebanon.
- Possible evacuation of settlements near Lebanon announced by the Israeli defence minister.
- Israeli Druze citizens and conscripts on Sunday were urged not to participate in hostilities by Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
- Iran and Iraq foreign ministers call for a special OIC session on Palestine.
- US verifying reports that Americans are being held hostage by Hamas, says Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
- Several Americans killed by Hamas, says US National Security Council.
- Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani urged restraint and cease-fire in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
- Israel’s President Isaac Herzog says the war with Hamas will not “end in the blink of an eye.”
- International support for Israel encourages more crimes, Palestinian prime minister speaks by phone with British foreign secretary.
- Several countries, including the UK, issue travel advisories, warning against visiting Israel.
- Scores of people stage a ‘Free Palestine’ protest in the southern UK, showing support for Palestine.
- A group of demonstrators gathered Swedish capital Stockholm to condemn the Israeli occupation.
- Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel supporters rally in New York.
The Israel-Palestine conflict – often referred to as the ‘world’s most intractable conflict’ – is rooted in a dispute over land claimed by Jews as their biblical birthright and by the Palestinians, who seek self-determination. Despite repeated attempts to end the conflict between the two countries, there is no peace settlement in sight.
The History of Israel – Palestine Conflict
- Jews have been persecuted throughout history due to their religious beliefs and foreign culture.
- In 1897, Jews started a movement called a Zionist movement, to escape persecution and establish their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel. The World Zionist Organisation was created to advocate for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
- As a result, a large number of Jews started flowing into Palestine and they bought land and started settling down there.
- By 1916, Palestine came under British control after the Sykes-Picot Agreement (a secret agreement between Great Britain and France). This led to the division of the old Ottoman Turkish Empire.
- Later through the Balfour Declaration, the British foreign secretary James Balfour agreed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland.
- After the Nazis gained power in Germany in the 1930s, the Jews influx to Palestine took a major turn with hundreds of thousands of them resettled from Europe to Palestine. Arabs saw this as a threat to their homeland and they fought bitterly with them. As the British Government remained a mute spectator, violence reached its peak.
- In 1947, the British Government referred the question of the future of Palestine to the United Nations. UN voted to split the land into two countries. Jewish people accepted the agreement and declared the independence of Israel.
Israel’s fight against the Arab countries
In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and at the end of this Six-Day War, Israel captured:
- Golan Heights from Syria.
- West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.
- Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt. (Refer to the map above)
- The 1967 war is particularly important for today’s conflict, as it left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, two territories home to a large number of Palestinians.
- Gaza and Westbank are together known as ‘Occupied Territories’, after the 1967 war.
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