Israel-Hamas War: Why is this happening?- Molly N

Recently the conflict in Israel has been all over the news, but what actually caused all this and what is happening?

In 1948, Israel was established as a country to provide a safe place for Jewish people after the Holocaust. However, at the time there was an Arab majority, with the people living there called Palestinians. Britain, who had ruled the area as part of its empire, proposed creating another country: Palestine. But neighbouring Arab countries rejected the plan and they went to war. Israel won the war and ended up controlling more land than originally planned. The territory was divided into the State of Israel, and 2 Palestinian areas called the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They were captured by Israel in 1967 and the Israeli government controlled access and movement to these areas.

The State of Palestine is highlighted

In the 1980s, the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising) took place against the Israeli government. The Islamist organisation, Hamas, gained popularity as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and Fatah (the Palestinian political faction). Elections in 2006 resulted in Hamas controlling Gaza, while Fatah kept control of the West Bank after a brief civil war. Hamas do not recognise Israel’s right to exist and believes Palestine should cover the whole area. Despite being elected, Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by the US, EU, UK and Israel.

Throughout this time, there have been many attacks from both Israel and Palestine over political control and territory. Both Hamas and Israel have been accused of war crimes, as well as Israeli policies in Jerusalem of the planned eviction of Palestinian families and restricted access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2023.

Palestine vs Israel supporters protesting across the road from one another in New York

This month, on the 7th October 2023, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. This included an air strike followed by their military storming into Israel territory, killing and taking many Israelis hostage. This was retaliated with Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and Israel has cut water, electricity and food from being delivered to Gaza.

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