The latest offensive from both sides in the Israel Palestine conflict comes after decades of tensions on the Gaza strip. America has pledged their support for Israel’s right to defend themselves, whereas the surrounding Arabic states have continued to back Palestine. American President Barack Obama spoke on Wednesday night with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the rockets from Gaza into Israel, highlighting his stance against Palestine.

Israel’s most intense attack on the Gaza Strip in 4 years led to the death of Hamas’ military commander on Wednesday. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, ‘bears principal responsibility’ for the escalating tension in Gaza, and says he is ‘gravely concerned’ about the on-going violence in the area. He urged both sides to ‘avoid any action which risks civilian casualties or escalates the crisis’.

World leaders have warned Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu to exercise restraint, after three Israelis were killed when a rocket from Gaza hit a building in the south of the country.

The tensions in the area are not expected to subside as both sides continue to attack each other. Israel said the airstrikes, launched in retaliation to days of rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza, were the beginning of a broader operation against Islamic militants. Israeli defence officials said that a ground operation was a strong possibility in the coming days though they stressed no decisions had been made.

Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan promised a response to the death of their commander. He said ‘We have to say clearly we know that this road of retaliation is very long and we have to sacrifice. And we have sacrificed a lot.’

With Israel now targeting specific people, the tensions appear to be stronger than ever. Neither side appear to be willing to back-down, and so, it appears the events of the last few days are just a taste of what’s to come.

Text: Anja P


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