PC : Anas Baba/AFP

As you know that from 10 May 2021 onwards, Israel and Hamas have been engaged in an intense fight in the Gaza area in which a lot of civilians from both sides have been killed. This war was closely followed in India and in the rest of the world. Finally, on 21 May 2021, Israeli PM Netanyahu’s office tweeted that Israel and Hamas have accepted Egypt’s ceasefire agreement. However, even after this declaration, Hamas rocket attacks continue and the next 3-4 days will be very crucial for this agreement. In today’s Guarding India Exclusive we will cover this fight between Israel and Hamas in detail.

You may watch a Guarding India YouTube video covering a detailed account of the Israel Palestine War or may continue reading this article.

Before talking about present war between Israel and Hamas, its necessary to know their history.

Israel got its independence in 1948 and it is one of the closest friends of India. Immediately after its independence, Israel has fought many wars with Middle East’s powerful Arab countries like Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. From 1960 onwards, Palestinian terrorists have repeatedly targeted Israeli civilians as Palestinian civilians consider that Israel has captured their land. This opinion is the biggest cause of war as Palestinian terrorist organizations aim at complete destruction of the State of Israel.

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War between Arab and Israeli forces, June 10, 1967.
Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War between Arab and Israeli forces, June 10, 1967. | PC : britannica

After Israel now we will cover Hamas. You will be surprised to know that Hamas is a terrorist group which is ruling Gaza since 2007. The ultimate aim of Hamas is complete destruction of the State of Israel and Hamas does not differentiate between Israeli Armed Forces and Israeli civilians. For the last 10 years, Iran has supplied a lot of weaponry to Hamas which includes rocket building technologies.

These Hamas rockets consist of low technology and they cost in the range of 500 USD to 5000 USD. The range of Hamas rockets is between 10 kilometers to 250 kilometers. For saving its rockets from Israeli Air Force attacks, Hamas has developed a subterranean tunnel system under Gaza city. Israel calls this tunnel system the ‘Metro’. These terror tunnels of Hamas are built amidst civilian areas therefore in any Israeli counter-attack danger of civilians casualties looms large.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that brazenly attacks Israel however at the same time uses civilians as human shields to save itself from Israeli counterattack. For this, Hamas uses all tricks like calling children to witness rocket launches to using the civilian buildings as a base. It’s an open secret that for Hamas destruction of Israel is more important than the safety of Palestinian civilians and Hamas is willing to accept astronomical casualties amongst its own people for killing few Israelis.

Hamas Rocket Launch Site Located in a Civilian Area at Khan Yunis, Gaza
Hamas Rocket Launch Site Located in a Civilian Area at Khan Yunis, Gaza | PC : @IDF/Twiter

The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas was the result of rising tensions in the last few months. This includes a large number of incidents and I will like to tell you about some of the important events. This fight originated from East Jerusalem which is considered a holy land by the Jews, the Christian, and the Muslims.

On 12 April 2021, during the first week of Ramadan, Israeli police placed barriers on the Damascus gate leading to the old city of Jerusalem. This was done to prevent stone-pelting on Israeli police by Palestinian civilians after offering the namaz in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque each Friday. Subsequently, on 13 April 2021, multiple clashes were reported by seen Israeli Police and Palestinian civilians which further escalated the tensions.

Thereafter, on 15-16 April 2021, Hamas fired rockets towards the Israeli civilian area. in retaliation, on the same day, the Israeli Air Force targeted Hamas bases in Gaza. Subsequently, these clashes escalated to a point that on 24 April 2021 Hamas fired more than 20 rockets on Israeli civilian areas. Israel retaliated by airstrikes on Hamas targets.

On 02 May 21, Palestinian President Abbas and Hamas stated that Israel wants to evict Palestinian civilians from Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem which added fuel to the fire. Thereafter, on 7 May 2021 which was the last Friday of Ramadan, Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in the al-Aqsa mosque in which Palestinian protestors stone pelted and fired futon Israeli police. Thus, Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to control the situation. These actions of Israeli police were in self defence.

Subsequently, from 8 May to 10 May, repeatedly Palestinian protestors clashed with the Israeli Police in which al-Aqsa mosque and Sheikh Jarrah district turned as main centres of these violent clashes. On 10 May 2021, Hamas issued an ultimatum means warning to Israel stating that if all Israeli soldiers were not removed from the al-Aqsa mosque and Sheikh Jarrah district then Hamas will attack Israel.

Subsequently, on the night of 10 May 2021, Hamas launched rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas. you can watch Israeli civilians running to save themselves from sudden Hamas rockets attacks after warning sirens go off. After this Hamas attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Hamas has crossed a big ‘Red Line’ cross, and thereafter Israeli military launched airstrikes on the Hamas bases which started the war for sides.

This conflict which erupted on 10 May 2021 reached the second week as neither of the sides was ready to back off. From 10 May to date, Hamas has fired more than 4300 rockets on Israeli cities. Israeli Army stops these attacks with its Iron Dome system which destroys most of the Hamas rockets while in the air. The Iron Dome system works as a defensive shield for Israeli civilians. In the next Guarding India Exclusive, we will tell you about this system in great detail.

For the last two weeks, Israeli civilians are living in such horrible conditions wherein sirens have been roaring and Israeli civilians relying on Iron Dome for protection. Despite being an excellent system, Iron Dome cannot stop all rockets and some rockets have hit the Israeli civilian areas. To date, more than 12 Israeli civilians have been killed in Hamas attacks which include small kids. Besides this, more than 50 Israelis have been injured in these Hamas rocket attacks.

In response to Hamas rocket attacks, the Israeli Air Force has conducted continuous airstrikes in the Gaza area for targeting the underground tunnel system of Hamas which is called “Metro”. Israel has also targeted the are Hamas building located in civilians areas by airforce fighter and artillery shells.

Hamas terror attack tunnel "Metro" located underneath a School and close proximity to Civilian Buildings
Hamas terror attack tunnel “Metro” located underneath a School and close proximity to Civilian Buildings | PC : @IDF/Twitter

However, one good thing about the Israeli airstrike is the fact that before attacking any Hamas building, Israeli intelligence calls on the mobiles of all the civilians in that building and nearby areas asking them to evacuate the target building, and an attack is launched only after the evacuation is complete. For example, you can see in our Youtube Video that this Israeli operation of 17 May 2021 in which Israel attacked the main operations center of Hamas Internal Security Forces. IDF has issued multiple videos in which the civilians coming out of the target building and it was only after the target building was evacuated Israeli Air Force fighters attacked the target with its laser-guided weapons.

However, despite these precautions, from 10 may to date more than 232 Palestinian civilians have been killed which includes 61 children, and the entire world is shocked by the images of Gaza. We must accept the fact Hamas is also responsible for the few deaths of Palestinian civilians. To date, Hamas has fired approximately 4300 rockets towards Israeli civilian areas however around 15 percent of these rockets means approximately more than 600 rockets have misfired and have blasted inside the Palestinian civilian area of Gaza.

As you have been informed earlier that Hamas launch pads are hidden in civilian areas and therefore any misfired Hamas rocket results in the death of Palestinian civilians. This included a lot of small kids who out of curiosity come to witness the launching of rockets or touch the misfired rockets leading to blasts and instant casualties of a lot of kids. I would like to tell you that till now more than 1900 Palestinian civilians have been injured in these clashes.

After covering this Israel Hamas fight in detail now we will discuss its future. In the first 10 days of this conflict, Hamas refused to stop rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. In retaliation, Israel has continuously targeted the underground tunnel system of Hamas which is called the ‘Metro’ besides attacking other Hamas bases.

In this conflict, the US, France, and many other countries of the world appealed for peace as civilians from both sides were being killed in the Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes.

After the world, we now come to the views of the Indian Government. As you know that Israel has very good relations with India. Despite these attacks, Israel kept on sending Covid relief to India. India is the only country in the world whose civilians have been killed in this conflict. Soumya Santosh who was a resident of the Idukki district of Kerala was working as a caretaker in an Israeli household. On 11 may 2021, she was killed in Hamas’s rocket attack. Thereafter, Israel not only sent its Ambassador to the house of Soumya Santosh for paying his tributes but also the Israeli President himself called the grieved family and consoled them.

Ms. Soumya Santosh with her Family
Ms. Soumya Santosh with her Family | PC : Ron Malka/Twitter

Despite such excellent conduct of Israel and being India’s true friend, the Indian Government did not say anything on this conflict during its first week. Finally, on 16 May 2021, the Indian Ambassador to United Nation T S Tirumurti asked Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint. A large number of Indians did not like this statement of the Indian Ambassador and they were right to a certain degree.

Actually, there are two reasons behind this statement. Firstly, the Indian Government doesn’t want to issue any statement against its good friend Israel and secondly due to the COVID situation India is taking too much liquid Oxygen from Arab nations which are saving the lives of countless Indians. An irresponsible statement could reduce India’s Oxygen supply as Arab nations are much sensitive to the Israel Palestine issue. Additionally, India is facing too many controversies due to oil prices Thus, the statement of the Indian Ambassador was tailored considering all these factors.

After knowing about this concept now will now come to its resolution. After much negotiations on 20 May 2021, the US, France, and Egypt have jointly persuaded Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire which will be effective from morning 2 AM on 21 May 2021. For monitoring this ceasefire agreement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has sent his delegations to Israel and Gaza because the next one week is extremely crucial for this ceasefire.

Finally, on behalf of Team Guarding India hopes that both Israel and Hamas will respect the ceasefire agreement of 21 May 2021 and neither of them will initiate the fight. By the time this video was made, both Israeli PM Netanyahu and Hamas have accepted this ceasefire agreement. However, the next one week is going to be crucial for the ceasefire agreement.