Gaza: That Fuels Israel-Palestine Conflict:
- With the Gaza rockets and missile attacks on Southern Israel, fights between Israel and Gaza escalated rapidly on May 5th in the worst combat since the last full-blown war in 2014. In these attacks four Israeli civilians killed.
- In response, Israeli forces taking aim at individual Gaza militants, which led 25 deaths of Palestinians, including several Hamas militants.
- The escalation began on May 5th morning with about 50 rockets fired towards Israel within the course of an hour and continued late into the evening.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "massive attacks against terrorist elements" in Gaza will continue after militants in the coastal enclave fired approximately 600 rockets towards Israel.
- This 140-square-mile stretch of land located along the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Israel, has endured decades of protest, military operations and violence.
- It is separated by Israel from Jerusalem, which holds deep religious and cultural significance for both Arabs and Jews, with both Israel and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as a capital city.
- Since the foundation of Israel in 1948, Gaza has been a densely populated area dominated by so-called refugee camps.
- These are conurbations mainly occupied by families originally displaced from towns and villages in other parts of the Holy Land.
- Until the 1967 war Egypt was the custodian of the Gaza Strip while the Kingdom of Jordan controlled the West Bank.
- After the Six Day war when the Egyptians were beaten back from the Sinai, Gaza was formally occupied by Israel.
- But since Israel withdrew from its positions in Gaza in 2005 there have been three major operations designed to stop attacks on the Jewish state from the Palestinian territory.
- Cumulatively more than 3,000 people have died in these conflicts, which lasted three weeks in 2008-09 and eight days in 2012 and now 24 days.
- Gaza is a tiny place totalling just 146 square miles, about the same size as Surat or Pune.
- Its population of 1.8 million makes Gaza one of the top 40 most densely populated places on the planet.
- Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel since 1987.
- Hamas governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.
- It formed in 1987 as a "resistance" group, pledging to destroy Israel and replace it with an all-Palestinian state.
- Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and the economy has imploded, with youth unemployment over 70%.
- Hamas’s rival, the Palestinian Authority, based in the occupied West Bank, has also imposed sanctions on the strip, cutting off money transfers and deepening the crisis.