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Palestine Proclaims Independence

On the 34th anniversary of Palestine proclaiming independence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a focal point of global attention, embodying a complex history of struggle, diplomacy, and the relentless quest for peace. This significant milestone invites us to reflect on the events that have unfolded since that pivotal declaration, exploring the implications, challenges, and enduring hope for a resolution to one of the most enduring conflicts of our time.

Today also marks the 39th day of the war that Israel declared on Palestine following one of the biggest ever militant group attacks in the human history, second only to 9/11 attacks in the USA in terms of casualties. This militant group attack was much biggert han the 9/11 attacks in many respects considering the strategy adopted, the number of militant group involved, the way the militant group entered the Israelis territory and so on.

This post reviews the consequences of proclamation of Independence from Israelis occupation by PLO  34 years ago, the years that followed and the preceeding history.

The Proclamation of the Independent State of Palestine

1988 stands as a significant year in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was marked by a pivotal event – the proclamation of the independent State of Palestine. This declaration, made in Algiers, represented a critical moment in the long-standing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, shaping the course of subsequent political developments in the region.

The Proclamation in Algiers Amid Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Background and Context

The proclamation of the State of Palestine occurred against a backdrop of decades-long conflict and unrest in the region. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rooted in territorial disputes, religious tensions, and competing national aspirations, had seen numerous escalations and attempts at resolution.

The Declaration

On November 15, 1988, the Palestine National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), proclaimed the establishment of the State of Palestine in Algiers. This declaration was symbolic, as it asserted the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood.

Implications of the Declaration on

Immediate Reactions

The declaration received mixed reactions internationally. While it was a moment of hope for Palestinians, it was met with skepticism by Israel and its allies. Some countries recognized the proclaimed state, whereas others, including the United States, did not.

International Recognition and Responses

Following the declaration, over 100 countries officially recognized the State of Palestine, affirming its right to self-determination and acknowledging the Palestinian claim to statehood. This widespread recognition reflected a significant moment of international solidarity with the Palestinian cause, although major powers like the United States, Canada, and most Western European countries did not extend formal recognition. This divide in international responses highlighted the geopolitical complexities surrounding the conflict and the varying positions of countries based on their regional interests and alliances.

Shift in Palestinian Strategy

The proclamation represented a shift in the Palestinian strategy, moving from armed struggle to a more diplomatic approach in seeking a solution to the conflict. It was seen as an implicit recognition of Israel’s right to exist and an opening for future negotiations.

Impact on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Renewed Focus on Diplomacy

The declaration in Algiers led to renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict. It paved the way for subsequent peace initiatives, including the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accords.

Continuing Challenges

Despite the diplomatic efforts, the declaration did not immediately lead to a resolution of the conflict. The ensuing years witnessed continued tensions, uprisings, and negotiations, reflecting the complexity and deep-rooted nature of the dispute.

Conclusion: A Milestone in a Protracted Conflict

The proclamation of the State of Palestine in 1988 was a milestone in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It signaled a new phase in the pursuit of Palestinian statehood and set the stage for future diplomatic efforts. While it did not bring an immediate end to the conflict, it marked a significant shift in approach and strategy, underscoring the persistent quest for peace and stability in the region. The event remains a key reference point in the ongoing dialogue and negotiations surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Period following the Proclamation of Independence

Following the 1988 proclamation of the State of Palestine in Algiers, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict entered a new phase marked by continued uprisings, shifting global support, and renewed diplomatic efforts. This period reflects the ongoing challenges in achieving lasting peace in the region and highlights the complex interplay of regional and international dynamics.

Global Support and Diplomatic Endeavors

The proclamation of Palestinian independence drew a complex tapestry of international reactions, setting the stage for subsequent diplomatic maneuvers and shifts in global politics. The international community’s response was multifaceted, with some countries recognizing the State of Palestine and others siding with Israel, reflecting broader geopolitical interests and alliances.

Diplomatic Efforts and Agreements

The Oslo Accords (1993-1995)

The Oslo Accords marked a significant milestone in Palestinian-Israeli relations, representing the first direct agreement between the two parties facilitated by international mediation. Despite its initial promise, the Oslo process encountered numerous obstacles, underscoring the intricacies of the peace negotiations.

The Camp David Summit (2000)

The summit at Camp David, though ultimately unsuccessful, demonstrated the pivotal role of the United States in attempting to broker peace between Israel and the PLO. The failure of the summit highlighted the deep-seated issues at the heart of the conflict that remained unresolved.

How Evolving International Support Impacted Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The post-proclamation period saw an evolving landscape of international support for both Israel and Palestine. Initiatives like the Abraham Accords indicated a shift in regional dynamics, with some Arab nations establishing formal relations with Israel, impacting the geopolitical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Role of International Organizations

The United Nations and other international bodies have played critical roles in mediating the conflict, offering platforms for dialogue and attempting to facilitate peace agreements. Despite these efforts, achieving a lasting resolution has remained elusive, reflecting the complexity of the conflict and the divergent interests of international actors.

Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Peace Initiatives

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued to experience periods of heightened tension and violence, interspersed with attempts at negotiation and peace initiatives. The enduring nature of the conflict highlights the significant challenges in reconciling the deep-rooted historical, territorial, and religious disputes that define it.

In conclusion, the period following the 1988 proclamation has been characterized by a mix of uprisings, diplomatic efforts, and shifting international dynamics. These developments underscore the enduring complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the significant challenges that lie in the path to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement.

Roots of Israel-Palestine Conflict

The Arab-Israeli conflict is a prolonged and complex dispute with deep historical, political, and religious roots. Here’s a background overview that highlights the key factors contributing to this enduring conflict:

Ancient and Religious Roots

1. Historical Claims to the Land:

The conflict’s roots can be traced back to ancient times. Both Jews and Arabs have historical and religious connections to the land, which Jews refer to as the Land of Israel and Arabs call Palestine. This land is sacred to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

2. Jewish Historical Connection:

The Jewish connection to the land dates back thousands of years, with the establishment of ancient Jewish kingdoms in the region and Jerusalem as a spiritual center.

3. Arab and Islamic Presence:

Arabs, predominantly Muslims, have also had a historical presence in the region for over a millennium, especially since the spread of Islam in the 7th century AD.

The Zionist Movement and Jewish Immigration

1. Rise of Zionism:

In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement emerged among European Jews, advocating for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine in response to widespread anti-Semitism and persecution.

2. Jewish Immigration:

The early 20th century saw increased Jewish immigration to Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire and later a British mandate following World War I. This immigration intensified after the Holocaust in World War II.

British Mandate and Partition Plan

1. British Mandate of Palestine:

Post-World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain the mandate to govern Palestine. During this period, tensions escalated between the Jewish and Arab populations.

2. UN Partition Plan:

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to create independent Jewish and Arab states. The plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by Arab leaders, leading to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War following Israel’s declaration of independence.

Key Conflicts and Wars during Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

1. 1948 Arab-Israeli War:

Upon Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, neighboring Arab states invaded, leading to a war that resulted in Israel expanding its territory beyond the UN partition plan and the creation of a significant Palestinian refugee problem.

2. 1967 Six-Day War:

Israel fought Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The war ended with Israel capturing the Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Sinai Peninsula, and Golan Heights, further exacerbating tensions.

3. 1973 Yom Kippur War:

Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, leading to another major conflict.

Ongoing Conflict

The conflict has been characterized by periods of intensive fighting, uprisings (Intifadas), peace processes, and negotiations. Key issues include the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugee rights, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, security concerns, and mutual recognition.

In summary, Palestine-Israeli conflict is rooted in competing nationalisms and claims to the same land, compounded by religious significance, regional politics, and international involvement.

While the Jewish State of Israel are fighting for the very existance of their clan and faith, the war by Palestine against Israel is a Jehad or religious war.  As per Hamas Doctrine “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea” meaning thereby that Israel shall be eliminated from the surface of the earth and so also the Jews living there.

( https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/doctrine-hamas)

Palestine-Israel War 2023

In the recent past a number of steps were taken by various international groups  and peace lovers within the Islamic world that were brining Arabs and Israel closer. Islamic countries were slowly establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

It is possible that this was a thorn in the eyes of those who follow extremist ideology within Islam and so they planned to derail the peace efforts to perpetuate the Jehad against “infidals” in general and Jews in particular.

On the 50th Anniversary Yom Kippur, a surporise attack by Egypt and Syria on Israel and auspicious ocassion for jews, the end of the weeklong Jewish festival of Sukkot, Hamas planned and carried out a, never before, attack on Israelis civilians and military locations. They reached Israelis soil through land, air and sea and launched attack on unarmed civilians, children, infants, and elderly while showering the rain of rockets from the sky overwhelming all protection and security systems of the Israelis military. Here is the summary description:

A. The summary of the attack on October 7, 2023:

The attack, named “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” by Hamas, occurred on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Hamas launched over 5,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel, with Israeli sources confirming at least 3,000 projectiles. This massive assault resulted in the deaths of at least five people and widespread explosions in areas surrounding Gaza and several cities in the Sharon Plain, including Tel Aviv and Ashkelon. Air raid sirens were activated across various Israeli cities.

Hamas utilized unconventional tactics, including aerial drones, paragliders, and motorcycles, to disrupt Israeli defenses. Palestinian militants also attacked Israeli boats and clashed with the Israel Defense Forces along the Gaza perimeter. In the evening, Hamas fired another 150 rockets, targeting multiple Israeli cities.

Concurrently, about 3,000 Hamas militants infiltrated Israel using various vehicles and breached the border in several places. They took control of checkpoints, engaged in direct combat in Sderot, and caused numerous Israeli civilian and military casualties. Footage showed militants using Israeli military vehicles and equipment, and there were reports of Israelis being taken prisoner. This attack marked a significant escalation in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Brutalities and Methods used for Attacks

Key aspects of these events include

1. Massacres and Violence Across Multiple Locations:

Several Israeli communities faced brutal attacks. Notably, the Kfar Aza massacre resulted in 52 civilian deaths, the Be’eri massacre claimed 108 lives (10% of the kibbutz’s population), and 15 were killed in the Netiv HaAsara massacre. The day of these events is described as the bloodiest in Israel’s history and the worst single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

2. Targeted Attacks and Hostage Situations:

Civilians were targeted in Sderot, with houses set on fire. In Ofakim, hostages were taken. Hamas claimed these actions were to compel Israel to release Palestinian prisoners. In Be’eri, up to 50 people were taken hostage, with videos showing hostages being led barefoot across a street.

3. Massacre at an Outdoor Music Festival:

Near Re’im, militants massacred 260 people and injured many more at a music festival, taking attendees hostage. Witnesses described militants on motorcycles firing on people already fleeing due to rocket attacks.

4. Extensive Hostage-Taking:

Approximately 240 people were taken hostage, including children, festivalgoers, peace activists, caregivers, elderly people, and soldiers.

5. Invasion Through Multiple Entry Points:

Militants entered Israel through at least seven locations, both land and sea, and invaded four rural communities, the city of Sderot, and two military bases. Israeli media reported that seven communities, including Nahal Oz, Kfar Aza, Magen, Be’eri, and Sufa, came under Hamas control, with 21 active high-confrontation locations in southern Israel.

6. Amphibious Landing in Zikim:

Hamas militants executed an amphibious landing in Zikim. During this operation, they encountered the Israeli military forces.

7. Attack on Military Base Near Nahal Oz:

The militants took control of a military base near Nahal Oz. This attack resulted in the death of at least two Israeli soldiers and the capture of six others.

8. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Response:

In response to these attacks, the IDF reported killing two attackers on the beach and destroying four vessels used in the assault, including two rubber boats.

9. Confrontation at Re’im Military Base:

The Re’im military base, the headquarters of Israel’s Gaza Division, also saw significant fighting. Hamas militants briefly took control of the base and captured several Israeli soldiers before the IDF regained control later in the day.

10. Control of Sderot Police Station:

In Sderot, Hamas militants took control of the police station, resulting in the deaths of 30 Israelis, including policemen and civilians.

11. Attacks on Israeli Military Bases:

At least six Israeli military bases near the Gaza border were attacked in these coordinated assaults.

This terror attack started the chain reaction from the Israelis military who, in an effort to enter Gaza to flush out Hamas have flattened the city that has among the highest population density in the world. With this, also started communication war on type and number of casualties in Gaza.

B. Terror Network in Gaza

It is widely reported that the Gaza Strip encompasses a dual reality: one above ground and another below, with an extensive network of tunnels. These tunnels, often highlighted in reports, serve multiple functions, including storage, movement, and as a strategic component in the conflict dynamics. Constructed in part from materials that were intended for civilian aid, these underground passageways have been a subject of controversy, reflecting the dire circumstances faced by the civilian population in Gaza and the complex nature of the conflict. Here is a report [Source: Palestinian tunnel warfare in the Gaza Strip – Wikipedia]

The Gaza Strip harbors an extensive underground tunnel network, primarily used by Hamas and other militant groups for a variety of purposes. Key aspects of this network, often referred to as the “Gaza metro,” include:

1. Purpose and Functionality:

    • The tunnels facilitate activities like weapon storage and shielding, troop movement, communication, training, and launching offensive attacks.
    • They are also used for transporting hostages and enabling militants to retreat undetected by Israeli or Egyptian authorities.

2. Size and Dimensions:

    • The exact size of the tunnel network is unknown and kept secret.
    • Former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh suggested in 2016 that it might be twice the size of Vietnam’s Củ Chi tunnel network.
    • Reports indicate that around 100 km of tunnels were discovered by Israel during the 2014 Gaza War, with a third intruding into Israeli territory.

3. Structure and Accessibility:

    • The network runs beneath many Gazan towns and cities, with access points often hidden in buildings or camouflaged.
    • Tunnels can be complex, with multiple entry and exit points, and are about 20-30 meters underground.
    • They typically measure 2 meters in height and 1 meter in width, equipped with lights, electricity, and sometimes transport tracks.

4. Security Measures:

    • Tunnels are often booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices for protection.

5. Recent Discoveries:

    • In 2022, a tunnel was found under a UN-run elementary school, prompting condemnation from the UN for violating neutrality and international law.
    • Yocheved Lifshitz, a hostage released in 2023, described extensive tunnels resembling a “spiderweb” and well-equipped underground facilities.

These tunnels represent a significant aspect of the conflict dynamics in the region, being a crucial tactical asset for militant groups in Gaza.

C. Reaction of Israel to the Militant group Attack of 7 October, 2023

Initial Reaction of Israel

The Israeli counter-operation described in your summary involves a series of military responses to an initial breach of the Gaza perimeter by Palestinian militants. Here are the key points:

1. Delayed Military Response:

    • It took hours for the Israeli military to respond after the breach. The first helicopters, sent from northern Israel, arrived an hour into the fighting.

2. Challenges in Target Identification:

    • Helicopter crews faced difficulty distinguishing between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers/civilians. Initially, they attacked about 300 targets in 4 hours, later becoming more selective.

3. Militant Tactics and Israeli Realization:

    • Palestinian militants were instructed not to run, mimicking Israeli behavior to confuse attackers. Israeli pilots eventually recognized this tactic and adjusted their response.

4. Operation Swords of Iron:

    • Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the launch of Operation Swords of Iron in Gaza, calling for the destruction of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military and governmental capabilities.

5. Cutting Off Electricity and Emergency Measures:

    • Israel Electric Corporation cut off most of Gaza’s electricity supply, reducing it significantly.
    • The IDF declared a state of readiness for war, mobilizing army reservists and declaring a state of emergency in areas close to Gaza.

6. Military Deployment:

    • The Yamam counterterrorism unit and new divisions were deployed, augmenting existing battalions. Reservists were stationed in Gaza, the West Bank, and near the borders with Lebanon and Syria.

7. Civilian Precautions and Disruptions:

    • Residents near Gaza were advised to stay indoors, and civilian movement in southern and central Israel was restricted.
    • Air travel and railway services were affected, with some cancellations and route suspensions. Cruise ships also altered their itineraries to avoid Ashdod and Haifa ports.

This summary highlights the scale and intensity of the Israeli military response, including strategic operational decisions, emergency measures, and the impact on civilian life in the region.

D. Follow-up Action By Israel Forces

The Israeli blockade and bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2023 followed the surprise attack, leading to significant military actions and humanitarian concerns. Key points include:

1. Initial Israeli Air Force Strikes:

    • Following the attack, the Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes targeting Hamas compounds, command centers, tunnels, and other strategic locations.

2. Extent of the Bombardment:

    • Israel reported hitting 426 Hamas targets, including the destruction of Beit Hanoun, homes of Hamas officials, a mosque, and an internet hub.
    • The bombardment also led to the recapture of the Sderot police station and the rescue of two hostages.

3. Declaration of State of War:

    • For the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel declared a state of war.

4. Blockade of Gaza Strip:

    • Defense Minister Gallant announced a total blockade of Gaza, cutting off electricity and restricting the entry of food and fuel.
    • This blockade drew criticism from Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian groups, who labeled it “abhorrent” and a potential war crime.

5. Military Deployments:

    • The IDF deployed C-130 and C-130J transport aircraft for operations, including retrieving off-duty personnel.

6. Targeting Hamas’s Nukhba Forces:

    • As part of the bombing campaign, the IDF claimed to have targeted the Nukhba forces, a special forces unit of Hamas believed to be behind the attack on Israel.

This summary outlines the scale and intensity of the Israeli military’s response, highlighting the significant impact on both military and civilian structures in the Gaza Strip, as well as the broader humanitarian implications.

Progress of War So Far

Israeli Airstrikes and Civilian Impact

  • October 17: Israel launched airstrikes in southern Gaza, reportedly killing over 70 people, including families evacuated from Gaza City. Ayman Nofal, a senior Hamas military commander, was killed in one of these strikes. An Israeli airstrike also hit a UNWRA school in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, resulting in civilian casualties.
  • Same Day: An explosion at the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza City caused controversy over its origin, with conflicting claims from Hamas and the IDF.

Humanitarian Efforts and Escalations

  • October 21: A convoy of 20 aid trucks from Egypt entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing, delivering medicine, medical equipment, and food. The entry followed negotiations with Israeli authorities amid damaged infrastructure.
  • October 23: Hamas released two elderly Israeli women, including 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz, who reported kind treatment in Gaza.
  • October 24: Over 700 Palestinians were killed overnight. The UN and Secretary-General António Guterres urged Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, highlighting potential war crimes.

Ground Incursions and Global Response

  • October 26: Shadi Barud, Deputy Head of Hamas Intelligence, was killed in an airstrike. The IDF attributed to him the planning of the October 7th attack.
  • October 27: The Palestinian Red Crescent lost contact with its headquarters, and the UN General Assembly passed a resolution for a humanitarian truce in Gaza. The IDF launched a ground incursion in northern Gaza.
  • October 29: Hamas claimed to have repelled Israeli tanks using anti-tank missiles.
  • October 30: The IDF blocked Salah al-Din Road and targeted the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza City. Al Jazeera reported eight deaths and dozens injured at Al-Nasser Children’s Hospital.

Intense Bombardments and International Condemnations

  • October 31: The IDF bombarded the Jabalia refugee camp, resulting in 50 deaths and 150 injuries. Israel claimed to have targeted a Hamas commander and militants.
  • November 1: The first group of evacuees left Gaza for Egypt, with further evacuations planned. The Jabalia refugee camp was bombed again, raising serious concerns from the UN Human Rights Office.
  • November 3: An Israeli strike hit an ambulance convoy in front of Al-Shifa Hospital, killing 15 and injuring 60. The IDF acknowledged the strike but claimed it targeted an ambulance used by Hamas.
  • November 4: A UNRWA school in Jabalia was struck by an Israeli airstrike, killing 15 and wounding more.

Further Developments and Geopolitical Shifts

  • November 6: Israeli missile attacks targeted Gaza City’s medical facilities, including the Al-Nasser Children’s Hospital. Human Rights Watch called for a weapons embargo against Israel and Palestinian militant groups.
  • November 13: The IDF discovered a room under the Rantisi Hospital, believed to have held Israeli hostages. The IDF footage indicated the basement was a bomb shelter, while local officials claimed it sheltered women and children.

Current Status:

The IDF’s presence near Al-Shifa Hospital has sparked controversy, with claims of Hamas’ use of the hospital for military purposes. They may soon enter the hospital to reveal the hidden facts

Lives Lost so far

The conflict has witnessed situations where civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, found themselves in precarious positions amid military activities. Historical documentation and reports have indicated that facilities such as preschool centers and hospitals, including the Al-Aqsa Hospital, were discovered to have tunnels underneath them, which opened up within these areas. These revelations have added complexity to the dynamics of combatants and non-combatants, leading to dire consequences for unarmed civilians. This aspect of the conflict emphasizes the profound human cost and highlights the critical need for solutions that prioritize the safety and well-being of civilian populations.

These events collectively represent a significant escalation in the conflict, involving direct attacks on military installations and resulting in both military and civilian casualties.

Feature Image: The image is of a flag with a green background featuring white Arabic calligraphy. At the base of the flag, there’s an illustration of a gun. It is important to note that the gun in the image represents violence and such symbols are often used in the context of militant or military entities.  (https://hinduinfopedia.in/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Flag_of_Hamas_With_Gun_Wikipedia.png) [Credit https://www.wikipedia.org]

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