Graphic depicting Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S flags designed on Canva
Graphic depicting Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S flags designed on Canva
Lulu Vitulo

The latest in the Israel-Hamas War – and a brief history behind ongoing tension

Current

The ongoing Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, 2023, after the organization known as Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. 

Hamas began its roots during the Arab-Israeli war and occupation of Palestine, where a group of islamic palestinians started taking action against Israel. It was officially founded in 1987. Similar to Zionists, Hamas believes in the creation of an Islamic homeland, rather than a Jewish one. Hamas has been resistant to any negotiations and refuses to cede any land or recognize Israel, unlike other Palestinian organizations. 

According to Britannica, “Hamas soon began to act independently of other Palestinian organizations, generating animosity between the group and its secular nationalist counterparts.” 

This was deepened when Hamas called for Jihad, or holy war, and began to use terroristic and violent methods for their cause. 

According to Britannica, “The United States designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. The European Union added Hamas to its list of terrorist groups in 2003.” 

Hamas and Israel have had back-forth actions and negotiations throughout the early 2000s and up to the current war. 

On Oct. 7, Hamas’s attack killed more than 1,200 people, and injured 6,900. 

The attack was launched from Gaza into Israel. According to AP News, “In an assault of startling breadth, Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and other communities as far as 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Gaza border.”

The attack brought Israel to officially declare war, and launch retaliating airstrikes. “At least 232 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and 1,700 wounded in Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.”

On Oct. 17, an explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital killed an estimated 300 people, according to the Guardian. The attack, however, has not been claimed by either side, with Israel claiming Hamas is to blame, and other reports suggesting it was an off-course Israeli missile. 

On Nov. 22, a ceasefire and exchange of hostages was agreed upon by the Israeli government and Hamas, through the U.S, Qatar, and Egypt, according to ABC News. Hostage exchanges continued for the four-day ceasefire successfully, only women and children being released. 

As of Dec. 11, humanitarian aid efforts are entering Gaza while ongoing gunfire and shelling between Hezbollah and Israeli Defense Forces continue.  Al Jazeera is reporting “18,000 Palestinians have been killed and 49,500 wounded in Israeli attacks since October 7, including 297 in the past 24 hours.”

History

On May 14, 1948, the first Arab-Israeli war broke out when five Arab countries invaded Palestine, immediately after the independence of Israel as a state. 

Balfour Declaration (1917)

After World War II, Britain had released a public statement supporting a national home for Jewish people in Palestine under the Balfour Declaration. Followed by the Holocaust and a diaspora of Jewish people, and the advocacy of a home for jewish people by Zionist organizations. 

Jewish Migration (1920-1946)

Jewish migration to Palestine had been increasing in the 20th century, and spiked after the creation of Israel. Between 1918 and 1947, the Palestine-Jewish population increased from six percent to 33 percent. In the late 19th century, The rise of Zionism occurred. Zionism was the belief in the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which led to the rise of Zionist organizations that advocated for a home for Jews in Palestine. During the migration, armed Zionists began to attack Palestinians forcing them to flee their homes, so they could occupy the land for the Jews. 

UN Partition Plan (1947)

While violence continued in Palestine, the issue was brought before the United Nations and the Resolution 181, also known as the Partition Plan, was adopted in 1947. It was made to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into two separate states. The mandate was put in place to give Jews and Arabs their own lands, in an effort to prevent violence. In 1948 Britain chose to pull out of the area, leaving Palestinians and Israelis to determine land division on their own. Israel was declared independent before the British left, leaving Palestine without any protection. 

The partition of Israel and Palestine had created two separated areas of Palestinian land, with Israel surrounding both, making Palestine having to fight a two front war and Israel began pushing into the land. 

The Nakba (May 1948)

This was the first Arab-Israeli war. The war ended in 1949 with Israel taking the victory. 

In Feb. through July of 1949 Israel signed armistice agreements with 4 Arab states; Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. All negotiations were made under the United Nations (UN) by Ralph Bunche, the agreements later earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1949. These agreements marked the separation of land with the agreement that both sides would respect the new borders. As a result, the land was divided into 3 parts: Israel, and the West Bank of Jordan river and the Gaza strip. 

Despite the armistice agreements and end of first the official war, conflict and violence continued between the two sides. Zionist militias and organizations had continued to try and push Palestinians out, and the Palestinian state had degraded significantly even after the new land agreements. Decades of discrimination and mistreatment had built tensions between the sides that would prove impossible to smooth over. 

The Suez Canal Crisis in 1956 did not directly involve Palestine, but was another Arab-Israeli conflict as Israel fought against Egypt. New resolutions were put into place, an attempt to prevent more conflicts in the area, which would prove to be a failure as the next war would occur in 1967. 

In 1967 the Arab-Israeli war began, ending the armistice agreements. Israel began to receive military support from the U.S, soon beating the other Arab states and fully occupying Palestinian land. Israel refused to pull out and began setting up illegal Jewish settlements.

In the same year the Security Council Resolution 242 ended the war, calling for acknowledgement of state sovereignty and independence. This worked to appease both sides, but both interpreted this clause differently, in their own favor. The resolution also called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestine, and was passed unanimously. While the resolution was never fully enforced, nor did it address Palestine by name, it would become the basis for negotiations and diplomatic relations for the countries involved. 

U.S Involvement

With the current events surrounding Israel and Palestine, the United States (U.S.) has been involved since the beginning. The U.S. is seen on Israel’s side as it was the first country to offer de facto recognition in May 1948 to the new Israeli Government after it declared independence. Now, 75 years after the initial conflict over land ownership, America is still one of Israel’s strongest diplomatic and military allies. 

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians started over claims of land which includes disputes on borders, Jewish Holy Land, security and refugees. The U.S. has been working with Israel to find a solution to the conflicts. The Trump administration however, created policies that diverged from the United States goal. As for the Biden administration, they have shown U.S. support for a solution between the two states and have promoted Israeli-Arab normalization while continuing to aid Palestine citizens that have nothing to do with the conflict with Hamas.

The United States has been a supporter of Israel from the beginning of the conflict even with its occasional help towards palestinians. The U.S. has many economic ties to Israel historically having been an ally of Israel since World War II and is a top trading partner of the country. Also, the states have an annual bilateral trade of about $50 billion goods and services with the country.

There is limited support of Palestine by the U.S.. As of Oct. 18, 2023, Biden announced that the U.S. would be providing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with $100 million in humanitarian assistance. This money is for the civilians in the area as they have no ties to Hamas. 

Israel is the location of many critical components such as the 2,500 U.S. firms that lead to America’s high-tech products. This makes the U.S. companies located there like HP, Cisco and Intel more competitive and profitable globally. With recent events, the U.S. has been involved because of its ties like this to the region.

As of Oct. 12, 2023 and with adjustments due to inflation from 2022, United States aid to Israel from 1951 to 2022 is estimated to be about $317.9 billion. This makes Israel the largest recipient of foreign aid from America since World War II.

 

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About the Contributors
Savannah Hayes, News Editor
McIntosh High School senior Savannah Hayes is serving her second year as the McIntosh Trail’s news editor. Hayes has been on the Trail staff since 2021 and has enjoyed every moment of working with the staff. Just this past school year, Hayes won three awards for her writing given to her by the Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA). Hayes won superior writing for In-Depth News, Features and Social Media Storytelling. She can not wait for another marvelous year on the Trail staff. Hayes has received countless accolades throughout both high school and middle school. Hayes has been a part of National Honor Society (NHS) since 2023, Science National Honor Society (SNHS) since 2023, Beta Club since 2021, National English Honor Society (NEHS) since 2021 and National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) since 2022. In middle school, Hayes was in Jr. Beta Club and received the Silver Service Hour Award in eighth grade and the Bronze Service Hour Award in seventh grade. Every semester since her freshman year, Hayes has been on the Gold Honor Roll. Outside of the Trail, Hayes works as a volunteer intern at Zoo Atlanta. She took AP Biology and is currently taking Anatomy and Physiology at McIntosh to help achieve her goal of majoring in Animal Science. Hayes is currently the High Brass Section Leader of the Spirit of McIntosh Marching Band, of which she has been a member since 2020. Hayes has played the trumpet in various concert bands since 2017. As a Dual Enrollment, Student Hayes is currently attending Clayton State and has been a part of the program since 2022.
Grace Lovejoy, Features Editor
Grace Lovejoy is serving as the Features Editor for the McIntosh Trail this year. Lovejoy is a sophomore this year and ia McIntosh Ambassador and a Gold Honor Roll Student. Lovejoy first started journalism In sixth grade at J.C Booth Middle School working for the online newsletter. She joined the Mcintosh Trail last year and was promoted to Features Editor as a sophomore. Last year, Lovejoy won the Trail staff’s first Best of SNO Excellence in writing badge for her story “Collision course: teens and golf cart accidents in Peachtree City”. In the fall, she followed and wrote multiple stories about Taylor Swift vs. Ticketmaster. At the Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s Spring Convention, she won a superior in depth news story award for her story, “The Saga of Taylor Swift Tickets: “The Great War '' between fans and Ticketmaster”. Lovejoy is now seeing her first year as a New Voices Student Leader at the Student Press Law Center for the 2023-2024 school year. She also applied to Teen Insight, a fully teen-run student online newspaper created by New Voices Leaders. Last year, Lovejoy was a part of the McIntosh Drama Department’s one act and the McIntosh Girls Varsity Tennis Team. Lovejoy loves journaling, organizing and acting. She is very excited to help new staffers have a successful first year of highschool journalism!
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