After the latest clash with Israel, Gazans’ struggle continues

Killed in fighting between Israeli army and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group 49 Palestinians Last week in Gaza, a territory where Palestinians often live in brutal conditions and frequent outbreaks of deadly violence.

Israeli forces launched a pre-emptive strike against PIJ targets on 5 August. Reuters reported, following the arrest of one of the group’s leaders, Bassam al-Saadi, in the occupied West Bank. Israel claims to have struck several PIJ targets. However, many citizens With 17 childrenKilled in the clashes, both Israeli weapons and Possibly by an errant PIJ rocket Intended for Israeli targets. A There was a ceasefire Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, the US, the UN and the Palestinian Authority have held talks between Israel and the PIJ since last Sunday; However, an attack on worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City late on Sunday could spark further violence. At least eight people, including US citizens, according to Israeli officials, was wounded in an attack by a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem. They have not yet released his name and there are no indications that he is affiliated with any major group. According to Reuters.

Despite the ceasefire, the effects of even short-term hostilities in Gaza go beyond active bombing and shelling; The combination of years of violence, a brutal blockade and state repression has created an enduring crisis. What’s more, there is little chance of recovery before the violence starts again.

Accordingly Initial UN report360 Palestinians have been injured in the battle, and Gazans experienced a tight Israeli Blockade of goods and services which lasted more than 20 hours per day. There were no Israeli deaths or serious injuries, The Associated Press reported Friday.

The most recent conflict resulted from long-standing tensions between Israel and the PIJ

While much smaller than Hamas, the PIJ, the militant Palestinian nationalist organization that controls Gaza, “Very efficient and highly organized,” According to Ibrahim Fryhat of the Doha Institute.

“There is a strong order within the party itself,” he told Al Jazeera last week. “Despite its small size, it has participated in all the conflicts with Israel.” Hamas was not involved in the latest conflictPossibly due to economic agreements with Israel that eased Israel and Egypt’s 15-year blockade of the region.

Formed in the late 70s and early 80s, the PIJ avoided negotiations with Israel, opting for armed conflict. It has a goal Creating an Islamic Palestinian state that includes not only the occupied territories, but all of what is now Israel, According to the AP. Like Hamas, many Western countries including the US have declared it a terrorist organization. However, unlike Hamas, it is not part of the political leadership in Gaza or the West Bank, and makes no efforts for political activity in the occupied territories.

The PIJ is also aligned with Iran, which contributed to Iran’s decision to strike preemptively, Freihat told Al Jazeera.

During last week’s fighting, Israeli forces killed two of the group’s leaders, Taisir al-Jabari and Khalid Mansour. Al-Jabari was a member of the group’s military council, and led the group in Gaza City and northern Gaza during last year’s outbreak of violence, while Mansour was in charge of military operations in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Axios. The AP reported that Israel claimed that al-Jabari was preparing an anti-tank missile attack, prompting Israel to launch aerial bombardments in the east. On August 5. PIJ fighters responded by using a barrage of rockets — 1,100, according to the Israeli military, a tactic Hamas and other groups have developed. Iron Dome Protection System Large numbers of projectiles fired at people or infrastructure are likely to be ejected. The parties pressed for a ceasefire to prevent further escalation of violence.

Violence between the Israeli state and Palestinian groups is not uncommon; In April 2021, Israeli police disrupted Ramadan services at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and later attempted to evict Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. By May 10, it grew Bombing missions Rocket attacks by the Israeli army and by Hamas and the PIJ At least 250 Palestinians killedWith approximately 128 citizens, and 12 Israeli citizens. Prior to that, Israel had frequent conflicts with neighboring states such as Lebanon and Syria, as well as with Palestinian groups and the diaspora in the Occupied Territories.

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, said in a speech on August 8 that last weekend’s military operation had achieved all of its objectives and that “anyone who tries to harm us will pay with their lives,” against retaliation by the PIJ or other groups. warned. He said the Israeli military made “special efforts” to avoid harming civilians, while Israel “will not apologize for protecting its people by force.” Haaretz reported.

Gaza’s particular characteristics make the violence uniquely devastating

While the attacks and reprisals in Gaza certainly affect Israeli civilians – driving them into shelters, destroying property and sometimes killing innocent people – there is considerable disparity not only in the types of weapons used by both sides, but also in their impact on civilians. areas, for several reasons.

Diana Buttu, a Canadian-Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the Palestinian Authority president and Palestine Liberation Organization, says in Gaza, it’s incredibly difficult for people to rebuild their homes, not just because of the military operation. President Mahmoud Abbas told Vox.

“It’s been going on for 15 years now — this tough, tough blockade,” in which both goods and people cannot move freely, she said.

Battu said when she lived in Gaza in 2005, there were often bread rations and “getting milk, getting fresh milk was a big, big feat.” Over time, she noted, the blockade got progressively worse; similar items Cement and other construction materials Authorities have largely banned them because they are apparently dual-use materials that can also be used for military purposes.

“One of the biggest challenges is being able to do simple things like getting supplies to rebuild bombed buildings with glass. Glass is a big challenge for them,” she said.

Some construction materials were allowed into Gaza after continued opposition to the lifting of sanctions. Al Jazeera Reported in May 2021, there are still buildings damaged in the 2008-2009 conflict that have not been fully repaired, Buttu said. “For families in Gaza, they always live with the feeling that, even after a building is bombed, they don’t have the ability to rebuild it. Even though you are trying to recover in some way, you still see all these debris in you. It’s just a daily, constant reminder that you just went through a massive bombing campaign.”

Gazans’ inability to rebuild their homes and businesses means many people are internally displaced, living in temporary housing. At the height of the conflict last year, more than 117,000 Gazans were displaced from their homes, and 10,500 remained internally displaced by the end of the year. Internal Displacement Monitoring Center. There is also less chance of having a safe place to take shelter during an aerial bombing campaign.

The blockade means that people cannot get medical equipment and Access to care outside of GazaButtu told Vox — even under difficult circumstances.

“There are always these negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian hospitals, usually as intermediaries between the World Health Organization or Physicians for Human Rights,” she said. “It’s so dehumanizing that you have to negotiate with them, the extent to which stuff can come in – what’s allowed, what’s not allowed. They’re living in a constant, 24-hour state of trauma and there’s no way out.”

Normal life in Gaza is challenging enough even without violent conflict

The Gaza Strip is home to nearly 2 million Palestinians and has been controlled by Hamas since 2007, when the group took control from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank. The two factions have not succeeded in forming a unity government over the past 15 years, despite repeated attempts, weakening the Palestinian resistance and further disenfranchising ordinary Palestinians. Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections in 2021, the first since 2006, but those elections have been postponed indefinitely.

This is on top of the restrictions imposed by the Israeli state. Apart from the blockade, only Palestinians who live within Israel’s borders as they were defined between 1948 and June 1967 are allowed to vote in Israeli elections. There are also restrictions on the ability of Palestinians to travel between Israel and the West Bank. East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as Human Rights Watch As stated in the April 2021 report. “People will go to human rights organizations and NGOs and try to get some kind of representation, but there is no voice,” Buttu said.

Gazans are also subject to high unemployment – ​​around 50 percent, even before the Covid-19 pandemic – and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, estimates that. 80 percent of the population Dependent on humanitarian aid for basic needs as of 2017.

The blockade has led to poor sewage management in Gaza, sewage flowing into the Mediterranean Sea, making it unsafe for people to swim or escape the heat. Although sewage treatment is now in place, According to NPRThe facility is running out of spare parts and chemicals to ensure the wastewater is clean after Israeli authorities have not complied with the facility’s requests.

“Two months from now, there will be no chemicals to test our quality,” Fahid Rabah, an engineer at the facility, told NPR in August. “We will be blind. We will not be able to know if we are performing environmental quality or not.”

The Palestinians’ – and Gazans’ in particular – extremely limited political power, access to basic goods and services and reduced levels of basic freedoms, not to mention routine, devastating violence, make it challenging to see any possibility of change, either in Gaza or for them. Palestinians as a whole.

Peace talks between Israel and Palestine have repeatedly failed. Arab And Muslim states Unity with Palestine was previously promised Normalized relations with IsraelAnd the Israeli state continues to push for settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well Lobby for US recognition of Jerusalem as the nation’s capital Under the Trump administration.

However, Buttu said, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the Palestinians. She points to the growing political activism of Palestinian Israeli citizens and their drive to preserve their identity in the face of discrimination and sublimation into the wider Israeli population. “The other area is that, in the West Bank and Gaza, despite everything, despite the occupation and the siege, there is no sense of ‘let’s throw in the towel,'” Buttu said.

“There has to be a pushback against Israel, and against the old-guard Palestinian political parties like Fatah, she said. “They haven’t succeeded in breaking through, but there’s still shock there, there’s still that discourse going on… there are people who are still pushing back. are and are saying, ‘We will not live like this.’ “

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