Shortly past midnight on Friday, Israeli media announced the news of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet approval regarding a unilateral ceasefire to halt an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip. Soon after this, Hamas confirmed via a spokesperson that it too would enter into a ceasefire and truce.
With this, the bruising 11-day war that had caused widespread destruction in Gaza Strip and Israel with more than 200 casualties came to a halt. The decision came after the U.S. pressurized Israel to stop the offensive. But before that Israel retorted at the UN equating Hama’s actions to that of ISIS and calling out the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) for deceptive lies and also accused a number of nations of demonizing Israel, especially Turkey.
The communal tensions in the lead-up to the conflict erupted on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. This revolt came after clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque compound which was a holy site to Muslims and Jews saw heavy-handed police tactics; along with this, the threatened eviction of many Palestinians by Jewish settlers fuelled the tensions.
Both the groups appeared to have suffered a significant loss in the terms of human lives and infrastructure in the fighting. Over 4000 rockets were fired by Hamas and other militant groups into Israel throughout the violence. Israel, meanwhile in response carried out hundreds of airstrikes to degrade Hamas’ military infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network.
At the global stage, Israel has come in for some amount of flak as its counter-attacks have caused the deaths of over 200 (232 is the precise estimate) Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1710 people wounded. In Israel, a report of the death of 12 people, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl is reported.
According to WHO, attacks from Israel have damaged at least 18 hospitals and medical clinics and one health facility. Similarly, as per the advocacy group Save the Children, over 50 schools across the territory have been damaged by Israeli bombing and disrupted education for nearly 42,000 children.
Israel shares a close bond with both India and the US. India, a supporter of the 2-state solution, voiced support for the Palestinian cause, but only after first calling for an end to the rocket barrage from Gaza. On the other hand, America’s Biden administration has been careful to preface almost all its meaningful statements and initially backed with Israel’s right to defend itself before pressuring it to end the violence.