It’s a pretty messy and complex situation, in that there are factors dating back to Israel’s founding 64 years ago that continue to contribute to every aspect of the situation.
But I’ll do my best for a brief “What’s happening now”.
The Gaza Strip is a tiny 4 by 23 mile strip of land along the Mediterranean that is home to 1.6 million Palestinians, 80% of whom are refugees who were forced into that corner when they were kicked out of their homes during Israel’s founding in 1948.
In 2006, the US and Israel basically forced an election on the Palestinian people to decide what group would run the country, and the top two contenders were Fatah, which has a long-running history of aiding the Palestinian cause but have recently become nothing more than Western-Backed and funded cronies, and Hamas, which was basically a more radical group that was created as a response to Israeli aggressions and the lack of an armed, unified group to resist it.
The US and Israel were banking on Fatah winning, but instead, Hamas won, because it was basically an election of “The old and corrupt” against “The “not” old and corrupt”, and the Palestinian people wanted a change from the stalemate we had been stuck in with Fatah.
Because Israel and the US weren’t happy with the results, they funded and armed Fatah to “fight out” Hamas, who were democratically elected through an process that they pushed in the first place, which resulted in civil war, and Hamas being pushed into the Gaza Strip, where they currently rule, while Fatah retains control of the West Bank.
After the brief civil war, Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza strip, allowing no-one in or out, no medical/building supplies, food, clothing, or anything else without Israeli approval, which was never granted.
Fast-Forward, to 2012, the Gaza Strip is in shambled, people are dying of malnutrition, facing medical crises’ because they have no supplies, and are basically forced to merely “exist”, rather than to live as normal human beings. The siege is so severe, that Israel has literally set a calorie limit in which it dictated the amount of food that was allowed in that would keep people from just barely starving to death, with multiple reports stating that within 6 years, the Gaza Strip will be an unlivable region unless something drastic is done to save the area.
Last month, Israel “accidentally” killed a 13 year-old boy as he was playing soccer with his friends after a bullet struck his abdomen. Shortly after, they opened fire on a 23 year-old mentally disabled man who wondered too close to the “buffer zone” surrounding Gaza, and refused to allow anyone to treat his wounds, from which he could have been saved. He died shortly after.
In retaliation, the PFLP [another armed group within Palestine] launched a rocket attack on Israeli patrol forces near the border of Gaza, wounding 4.
That attack is what Israel considers the “start” of the current conflict, while ignoring the previous two killings.
Israel responded by assassinating one of the top leader of Hamas and the Gaza Strip, who had at the time been drafting peace-plans towards Israel, despite having a history of terror attacks.
Hamas then responded by launching many rockets into Israel, while Israel continued to launch relentless, punishing air-strikes on the Gaza Strip. Due to the fact that the strip is so small and so crowded, and due to Israeli use of massive missiles in their strikes, no where is safe within the strip, and no one is allowed to even leave. There are no places to seek shelter, no places to hide, and nothing to do but stay in place and pray that you’re not the next piece of “collateral damage”
In the last 4 days, 73 Palestinians have been killed, with early reports claiming 21 children, 9 women [two of whom were pregnant] and 6 elderly among them, with an estimated 700 injured [with injuries ranging from mutilations resulting in physical disabilities, broken bones, or other less extreme tragedies], of which 150 are children.
In the same time frame, 3 Israeli civilians have been killed from the same blast on Thursday.
While Israelis have an active missile defense system called “Iron Dome”, which shoots down rockets, along with sirens to warn of incoming rockets and when to seek bomb shelters to protect themselves from the home-made rockets of Hamas, those in Gaza are subject to shelling by land, air and sea.
There have been talks that the conflict could escalate and that Israel may send troops within the Gaza Strip, which is a source of great fear, considering the last ground invasion Israel launched resulted in the deaths of 1400 Palestinians, between 750 and 930 of which were civilians, while Israeli forces lost 10 combatants [4 to friendly fire] and 3 civilians.
I know this is a exhausting wall of text so I’m sorry about that, but I tried to cover all the bases of the conflict so that I can have this here for future reference.
I hope I helped you a bit :)
[Made rebloggable by request]