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The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

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The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

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Past and Present: Understanding Israel’s Complex Landscape

Sofia Bonomi
People around the world are divided when it comes to supporting Palestine or Israel.

When people think of the current state of Israel, they think of pain, suffering, and bloodshed. The Israel issue is an extremely complex matter. Political tensions, territorial disputes, and historical conflicts have been present since the modern state of Israel was established in 1948. These conflicts have had both regional and global effects. 

This issue began when many people in the Jewish community felt that they no longer had a place in Europe after the disasters of the Holocaust. European-Jewish people faced many centuries of antisemitism even before the Holocaust began. They desired a homeland where they would no longer be viewed as the minority. Another issue at hand was the refugee crisis escalation. Jewish survivors of the Holocaust had been pushed out of their homes and had nowhere to go. The British government brought up the issue to the United Nations, deciding to partition the territory of Palestine into two new states: one Jewish and one Arab. On May 14th, 1948, the State of Israel was created, sparking Israel’s War of Independence. The Jewish were in favor of the idea while the Arabs and neighboring states rejected the creation of the two states. The War of Independence had fierce battles. Initially, the Arabs had an advantage but Israel gradually won the war. An Armistice agreement was signed with Palestinians and its neighbors in 1949. Israel won, but the conflict had long-lasting effects: territorial changes, Palestinian displacement, ongoing tensions, and a sense of identity.

Only eight years later, another conflict arose in Israel over the Suez Canal. Egypt attacked the Suez Canal which belonged to Israel at the time. Although this crisis ended due to international pressure, it showed the underlying complexity of Middle East politics.

A key concept of the issues in Israel is territorial disputes and regional tensions, which is highlighted by the Six-Day War, or June War, in 1967. Israel launched a surprise attack on Egyptian airfields, giving Israel a crucial advantage. From there, Israel rapidly advanced and conquered territory. This war was between Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Once again, due to international pressure the war ended. Even though the war was so short, it still had lasting effects. One main effect was Territorial Gains as Israel Gained control over the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. Israel almost doubled their territory in only six days. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been very important to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel occupied the West Bank and was blocked from Gaza. Issues such as access have continued to remain. 

As if the issue wasn’t already complicated enough, in the 1980s Hamas, an organization labeled as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, moved into the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory. They were granted this territory after the Six Days War in which they helped Palestinians, gaining popularity among the Palestinians as they provided services and infrastructure during the war. The presence of Hamas in Gaza has led to both political and security challenges. They have caused violence, and conflict, creating divisions within the Palestinians. The Hamas group had stated that their goal was the destruction of Israel.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the issues that have gone down in Israel. Now to talk about the current issues. On October 7, 2023, a war broke out between Hamas and Israel. Hamas started the present conflict by firing over 2,200 rockets into southern and central Israel killing hundreds of soldiers and civilians, as well as taking many hostages. Militants also stormed Israeli cities, murdering hundreds of people and taking hundreds hostage. This was a complete surprise attack on Israel and had no idea that this was happening. Only one day after the attack, the Israeli cabinet formally declared war against Hamas. Currently, as of October 17th, Hamas and Israel continue to exchange rocket fire. Israel has blocked Hamas off from resources, food, water, electricity, and other assistance. Now you may ask, why did Hamas start the war on October seventh? October 7 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. This war was an attempt to regain territory from the Six-Day War.       

Not only the people of Israel are being affected by this matter though. Many Americans have been killed by the issue, as well, and are stuck in Israel. Shani Louk, a young German tattoo artist, was captured after the Hamas terrorist group targeted an outdoor music festival during their sneak attack on October 7th. She was among the hundreds of non-Israeli victims at the festival when Hamas hit the party. Shani Louk was kidnapped by Hamas and then dragged through the streets. Armed terrorists paraded around her body chanting, “Allahabad Akbar,” which means “God is great.” She was then thrown into the back of the truck and it is still unknown where she is. 

People around the world are divided about supporting Palestine or Israel. Both sides have valuable points for why they are siding. To express their opinions, people all over the world are having rallies and marches. Supporters for Palestine held a rally called “Day of Action for Palestine” at the White House on October 14, 2023. In Turkey, on October 15th, people waved Palestine flags at a rally. Thousands of people in the Mideast and west have held rallies supporting Israel. There has been strong sympathy for Israel from Western governments. Not only is it all over the world but also within the local community. In downtown San Diego hundreds of Palestinian supporters had a rally. There was also a counter-protest of about fifty people. They waved Israel and US flags as the pro-Palestinians walked by. There was clear tension between the two groups but was overall a peaceful rally.

This issue is continuing to grow and is not going away any time soon. People have begun to be divided over the issue, posing valuable points on both sides. This article is only a fraction of the events and is not being updated in real-time. To learn more about the events in real time click here.

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About the Contributor
Sofia Bonomi, Staffer
Hi, I'm Sofia Bonomi. I have experience reporting on important things in the CCHS community and writing about important event effecting our society around the world. I believe journalism is important for readers to hear stories from others and realize what is happening in the world around them. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and going to the beach.

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