It’s Not Israel Against Palestine. It’s People Against Politicians.
A more informative lens for the Israel-Palestine conflict could help to reduce tensions, reveal the truth, and pave a way forward.
I don’t intend to discuss the events of recent days at length. I’ll mostly leave that to people far better placed than me to dissect exactly what’s happened, but here’s a very basic potted summary of the flare-up between Israel and Palestine.
The violence started a couple of days ago over a land dispute between the two countries in East Jerusalem. In the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli settlers, who claim this neighbourhood is a part of Israel, are working to displace the roughly 70 Palestinians there. The residents staged a protest, the police turned up, the resident threw stones at the police, and the police fired rubber bullets back. 250 Palestinians were left injured.
There’s no doubt that this is a significant act of aggression by the Israeli state and the extremists looking to take control of Sheikh Jarrah.
This sparked military action, first from Hamas, who fired several rockets from Gaza into Israel, and then retaliatory action from the Israel Defence Forces, who struck a Hamas military post in Gaza and closed Gaza’s fishing zone in response.
Tensions escalated further on Tuesday as Israel hit a tower block in Gaza, with Hamas retaliating by firing hundreds of rockets towards Tel Aviv. At present the casualties look fairly one-sided, with Israel inflicting the most damage. However, that comes with a giant caveat — Israel has a very good air defence system that Hamas does not, and so the one-sidedness of the casualties is really a function of ability and competence, not intentions.
Things will only get worse in the short-run, and we may be seeing the start of a third intifada, an Arab term meaning “shake” or “shake off” that refers to Palestinian mass uprisings against the Israelis.
As you’d expect about a topic that stirs emotions and sparks anger even far away from the actual location of the conflict, this latest flare-up caused outrage and intensified hatred, with claims and counter-claims flying back…