Israeli-Palestine violence soars as U.S. commitment wavers

Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem (Photo by Konevi)

In the past week, tensions have flared between Israel and Palestine as a result of rocket fire from Hamas into Israel in retaliation for storming the Al-Aqsa mosque during the final prayers of Ramadan. In the following days, violence would surge as more rockets were fired and protestors clashed with police in settlements facing evictions. On May 10th, Hamas issued an ultimatum demanding Israel withdraw its military from Sheikh Jarrah, after which they fired a salvo of rockets into Israel. Israel responded with airstrikes,

On May 14th, Israel’s IDF Twitter account tweeted, “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.” The IDF later apologized for their statement, claiming that they had intended for Hamas fighters to enter Gaza’s tunnel networks, which they then heavily bombarded. The following day, an airstrike hit the news office of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. Though the IDF claimed the building was warned in advance and that Hamas operatives were believed to be in the building, the attack was nonetheless condemned by many worldwide organizations as a war crime suppressing coverage of Gaza.

Recently, President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in regards to a ceasefire. Shortly after this meeting, the United States delivered 795 million worth of armaments. This support received much criticism from progressive democrats; however, it should be noted that Israel’s military had indicated the Iron Dome was running low on missiles. If the iron dome’s stockpile were to run out, an Israeli invasion of Palestine would be all but certain and would amount to a massive loss of life.

The United States, in particular, has been torn by indecision. Many progressives support Palestine, viewing the conflict as purely humanitarian. Using the momentum from a year of support and outcry for the black lives matter movement, progressives have applied the same values to foreign policy. Cori Bush, a prominent U.S. congresswoman and leader of the progressive movement tweeted:

“The Black and Palestinian struggles for liberation are interconnected, and we will not let up until all of us are free.”

U.S. Congresswoman Cori Bush

Other moderates and conservatives restate their commitment to Israel. Representative Ted Deutch, a staunch supporter of Israel, said on the house floor:

“Please don’t be fooled by false choices: Israel orHamas. If I am asked to choose between a terrorist organization and our democratic ally, I will stand with Israel.”

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch

So far, 213 have been killed in Palestine, including 61 children. In Israel, there have been 12 deaths, including one child. Given the disparity in regards to the casualties, many abroad view Israel as committing war crimes. Others hold Hamas accountable as terrorists, supporting Israel’s actions as self-defense.

The most outstanding issue with the conflict is the fact that warfare is endemic to the region. The iron dome, which has saved thousands of lives throughout its operation, has had the effect of pacifying the Israeli civilian populace. It is far easier to ignore a peaceful resolution if deaths from Hamas rocket fire are few and far between, and far harder to sympathize with the plight of Palestinians who have no such protections. But given the current state of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, tensions are too high for a peaceful resolution. While Israel would likely be more inclined to a resolution in the past, the current mood of the conflict may end in a full-scale invasion should a ceasefire not be reached. It is of the utmost importance that de-escalation is achieved so that peace efforts may continue without increasing the death toll of this never-ending conflict.

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