Last week Israel responded to attacks sent from the Gaza Strip. The strikes came after five days of tensions along the Gaza border which began last Saturday when Palestinian fighters fired an anti-tank rocket, sparking Israeli fire which killed seven. Gaza is currently in flames, at least seven people have been killed, including two innocent children, and 60 wounded. Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel commented on the attacks, “Today we sent a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and if it becomes necessary we are prepared to expand the operation,” he went on to say that he refuses to tolerate innocent civilians being killed by rocket fire. One Hamas spokesperson stated that Israel has “opened the gates of hell on itself,” and that Israeli strikes were that of a declaration of war. It seems that both sides are beyond fed up with the Israeli-Palestinian tensions and a change is going to be made very soon.
The politics of the Gaza Strip has always been unclear to me, and with so many conflicting views on Hamas I decided to research a little bit more in depth before succumbing to Netanyahu’s every word that Hamas is a terrorist group out to kill innocent children. Hamas is the Islamist political party that governs the Gaza strip. Based on the principles of Islamic Fundamentalism Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987 that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation. Although there are many countries like Europe, The United States, Canada, Israel and Japan that consider Hamas to be a terrorist group, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories since 2007, and is recognized by many as a strong leadership force. As with any political issues there are always two conflicting opinions; while many Western countries see Hamas as a terrorist group many others feel the opposite and see Israel as the problem.
The United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other international groups consider Israel to be the occupying force of the Gaza Strip. Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, and does not allow the movement of goods in or out of Gaza, however, Israel does not exercise authority over any land or institutions in the Gaza Strip. In accordance with the Oslo Accords, an attempt in 1993 to end the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian Authority took over the administrative authority of the Gaza Strip in 1994. Since 2007 Hamas has taken full control of the Gaza Strip. Attempts have been made to enforce Islamic dress and require women to wear the Hijab head covering. Also, the government’s “Islamic Endowment Ministry”, under Hamas, has been known to warn citizens of the dangers of immodest dress, card playing and dating. Currently there are no government laws imposing dress and other moral standards, but these ideals are heavily enforced by Hamas. According to Human Rights Watch, the Hamas-controlled government stepped up its efforts to “Islamize” Gaza in 2010, efforts it says included the “repression of civil society” and “severe violations of personal freedom.” Since Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip there have been many regulations on women such as their dress and moral standards, but based on my research, I would not go as far as pegging them as a terrorist group. Regardless of foreign opinion, the rising tensions between Israel and Palestine are issues that need to be dealt with internally. If not a peace accord, then maybe a war, either way I feel this is something that needs to be dealt with within their boundaries, without the complications of foreign allies.
With so many different viewpoints on the Israeli-Palestinian issue there is no way of knowing what is really happening on the inside. I refuse to state my opinion on who is at fault seeing as I am not well enough informed on the issue. As an outsider I can only educated myself on the history of the two countries and make my own educated opinions on the topic. It seems that the tensions between Israel and Palestine are coming to a head and a war is in the near future. What is your opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Do you believe that Hamas should be considered a terrorist group? Do you think that the United States media is bias towards Israel, seeing as they are one of our strongest allies?