Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Isreali-Palestinian conflict part 2


            This is the second part of my special on this conflict. I will start where I left off.

      Economic conditions in Gaza remained poor.  In May 2010, a flotilla tried to breach the blockade. Israel responded by raiding the ship. Nine people died in the raid. There was a U.N. report on the incident. It found that what the people of the flotilla did was reckless, and they did attack and physically harass Israeli soldiers as they entered the ship. However, it also found that the Israelis used unnecessary force, and harassed flotilla passengers both physically and mentally from the time they were captured until the time they were deported. After pressure from other countries, Israel eased its blockade on Gaza.

     In 2011, the Fatah decided to bid for full U.N. membership. The move was criticized by the U.S. and Israel because they saw it as a way to avoid negotiations. The move was stalled, and once it appeared Fatah would't get the votes required, the effort was abandoned. 

        By 2012, Israel and Gaza were once again exchanging fire. Once again, Hamas fired many rockets into Israel. In retaliation, on November 14, 2012, Israel launched an airstrike  killing the leader of Hamas's military wing Ahmed al-Ja'abari. Egypt, led by it's new Muslim brotherhood government recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest. The next day the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, proclaimed that Hamas had committed two war crimes, one by firing at Israeli citizens, and another by hiding weapons and rockets behind Palestinian civilians. A day later, Israel called up 75,000 reserve troops to prepare for an invasion of Gaza. Later, Israel called up tanks. The fighting continued, sides stepped up their efforts, and an all out war was feared. However, on November 21, Secretary of State Clinton and Egypt's foreign minister announced a ceasefire. Hamas claimed victory, but the casualty toll shows otherwise. About 65 palestinians were killed compared to only 3 Israelis. This does not mean Israel won, a stalemate would be a more accurate analysis. This is because little changed on the ground, and the situation is similar to what it was before the fighting began.

    Shortly afterward, the Palestinian authority pushed to upgrade their U.N. membership from non-member observer entity to non-member observer state. Both the United States and Israel criticized the move and asserted that it was counter-productive and provocitive. They believed that it undermined the peace process, and Israel warned they would retaliate if the measure was passed. The measure was passed and the PLO claimed victory. In response, Israel confiscated 75 million euros of revenue from the Palestinians, and built 3000 new settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority still refuses to negotiate until settlements are stopped, and the U.S. and Israel say there must be no preconditions for any negotiations.


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