Your cheat sheet on what’s happening in Gaza

By Aditya Rajendran (B.E ICE, 2014-18)

Child_Stone_Tank

This picture of a child throwing a stone at a tank shook the world and caught it by storm. So, what exactly is the highly evolved conflict in the Gaza strip that is now gaining severity by the second all about?

The word “kill” is too short a word to describe what it actually means – the end of a man’s mortal life on god’s green earth. So why do some humans, so badly, want to put an end to other people’s lives? You cannot disregard the fact that the human is an animal. An animal with about 3.8 billion years of evolution, no doubt. But an animal, nevertheless. Asserting the territorial rights is one of the defining characters of our genetic ancestors, the honorable chimpanzees. Take Adolf Hitler for example. His greatness was overshadowed by the umbrella of darkness that he had brought upon himself. This eclipsing force was the fact that he was a mass murderer. This is the power that the utterly tiny word “kill” brings with it.

Now that seems like a lot of baggage. So why do I speak of genetics and dictators, you ask? Because it’s all connected. After weeks of research and metaphorically burning about a liter of midnight oil, I present to you a simplified account of the Gaza conflict.

To understand why this is all happening, we must first venture into the roots of this 70 year old conflict.

So, what is the difference between Israel and Palestine?

 Israel_Map

This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer, because it all comes down to whom you ask. Officially, there is no border that divides the two states, because the international community considers Palestine one of many things. Some consider it an independent state, some an occupied territory and some don’t recognize its existence at all.

Once Herr Hitler’s exceedingly “passionate” regime came to a screeching halt, compensations had to be made. Things had to be set straight. Those upon who wrong had been done had to be compensated for the horrors they had endured during the holocaust. Therefore, it only seemed fair that a Jewish state be created, to make land for the Jews. So where’s the problem, you ask?

Relocating people to a land that already has its own inhabitants only creates a second refugee population. Housing 1.8 million people in just 139 square miles, Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, technically under Palestinian Authority but has been governed since 2007 by “Hamas”, a now widely popular militant group.

So if they’ve been fighting for the past 70 years, why has the fighting intensified all of a sudden?

The most recent outbreak of violence that occurred in June has been credited to Israel’s accusation of Hamas, stating that they were the ones responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three seminary students, which the militant group denied of doing. Within days, Israel arrested more than 300 Palestinians, many of them members of Hamas. At least 10 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 private homes were raided. On the night the boys’ bodies were found, a barrage of rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel and Israeli warplanes carried out numerous air strikes in Gaza.

Hamas_Rockets

Hamas’s claim that the entirety of Israel is within its striking range, without doubt amplified an already instilled state of fear and panic in the minds of civilians, whereas Israel is counting on its highly advanced Iron Dome Missile Defense System which uses high-powered lasers to detect and calculate trajectories of incoming missiles and simultaneously launches interceptor missiles to shoot them down. The Iron Dome System has been credited with shooting down almost 80% of missiles incoming from Gaza.

The international view on the ongoing conflict

With most of the west being supportive of Israel and critical of Hamas, The countries comprising BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), have called for restraint on both sides and have deemed best a return to peace talks. Erstwhile, the European Union has condemned the violations of the laws of war by both sides, while stressing the “unsustainable nature of the status quo”, and calling for a settlement based on the two-state solution.

In the Gaza strip, the governing authority, Hamas, developed a sophisticated network of tunnels, not dissimilar to the kind used by other guerilla or rebel forces, such as the Viet Cong. Their increasingly frequent use of such “unconventional” systems to aid their forward attack has been frowned upon by the international community.

The use of human shields and storage of weapon systems in mosques and schools by Hamas has been severely criticized for their impact on the hundreds of innocent civilian lives. When Israel launches retaliatory fire, they end up with the blood of civilians on their hands. Numerous instances of human rights violations have been reported on both sides, and it rests with one’s own judgment on who ought to be believed.

 “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind”

~Mahatma Gandhi

If only more people took note of these words…

Aditya RajendranADITYA RAJENDRAN (B.E ICE, 2014-18) is a unique individual with interests ranging from physics and electronics to astronomy and English literature. He is an accomplished gamer and also likes to be up to date with recent advances in prototype technologies.

For comments/feedback/suggestions, please write to thebridge@mail.psgtech.ac.in