The tension in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militant group, Hamas, is in its second week now. More than 200 people have lost their lives, including children and women, and over a thousand have been injured.
Although international pressure is mounting on Israel (even from the US government) for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made no indication of backing off. Instead, he's made suggestions about conquering the Gaza strip.
In a briefing with a minister he said, "You can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don’t rule out anything. There are only two ways that you can deal with them (Hamas)."
The recent firing, as we know, had begun after brewing tension between Israelis and Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, which built up to violent attacks by Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Holy month of Ramzan, on 7 May.
Horrifying video footage of that day from inside the Mosque showed Israeli troops firing stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas at people who were praying inside. From that day onwards, matters only worsened.
By 10 May, exchanges of fire had begun, as Hamas fired rockets into Israel from Gaza and Israel countered that with airstrikes. One of those airstrikes even flattened a whole building that held the offices of a few media houses like AP and Al Jazeera.
Although this won't be the first instance of violence in that region, many say this is the worst unrest since 2014.
To understand how the recent unrest connects to the decades-old conflict between Israel and Palestine, we got in touch with Mike Cushman, Membership Secretary for Jewish Voice for Labour — an organisation that was formed in 2017 for Jewish members of the UK Labour Party. He's also the Chairperson of the group, Free Speech on Israel, and describes himself as a supporter of Palestinian rights.
In this episode we talk to him about whether Israel's military charge is really just about self-defence as it claims, how US' support for Israel augments this ongoing issue and most importantly, what can be the way forward. Tune in!
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