Aerial view of buildings destroyed by the earthquake.

The conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which is governed by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, has been ongoing for over a decade. The most recent escalation in hostilities began on May 10, 2021, when Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into Israel in response to Israeli police clashes with Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Israel responded with airstrikes on targets in Gaza, including Hamas military infrastructure and buildings affiliated with the group’s political wing. The fighting quickly intensified, with both sides exchanging hundreds of rockets and airstrikes.

The conflict has resulted in significant casualties on both sides. As of May 21, 2021, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that at least 230 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, had been killed in Gaza, with over 1,500 injured. On the Israeli side, at least 12 people have been killed, including two children and an Israeli soldier.

The conflict has also had a significant impact on civilians in both Gaza and Israel. In Gaza, many have been forced to flee their homes due to the intense bombardment, with over 57,000 people seeking shelter in UN-run schools. In Israel, rocket sirens have forced thousands of people to seek shelter in bomb shelters or other safe spaces.

The international community has called for a ceasefire to be implemented as soon as possible. The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged all parties to “step back from the brink” and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The European Union has also called for an immediate ceasefire and urged all parties to return to negotiations to find a sustainable solution to the conflict.

The root causes of the conflict are complex and multifaceted. At its core, it is a dispute over land and resources between Israelis and Palestinians. The situation is further complicated by historical grievances, religious tensions, and political disagreements.

The international community has long been involved in efforts to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means. The Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993, were a significant step towards peace but have not led to a lasting solution. More recently, numerous rounds of peace talks have failed to produce a resolution to the conflict.

The current conflict between Israel and Gaza is a tragic reminder of the ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza is deeply concerning, and it is imperative that all parties work towards a peaceful resolution that addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. As international actors continue to call for a ceasefire and work towards a sustainable solution, it is crucial that efforts are made to address the root causes of this longstanding conflict.

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