Israel and Palestine map: Why are Israel and Palestine at war?

Israel-Palestine: Biden faces 'hopeless challenge' says expert

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Israel forces are now undertaking a fresh round of airstrikes on Gaza in the fifth day of hostilities. There is no sign of the bloody warfare between Israelis and Palestinians reaching an end. Individuals involved in a new eruption of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed may be targeted by an International Criminal Court investigation into alleged war crimes, according to its top prosecutor.

Israel fired artillery and mounted more airstrikes at Gaza on Friday.

The country attacked a network of Palestinian militant tunnels beneath Gaza, dubbed the Metro, as Hamas forces continued persistent rocket attacks on Israeli towns.

An Israeli military spokesman said ground forces, brought in on Friday, undertook the pre-dawn raid on the tunnels but had not crossed into the Gaza Strip.

The official added the country had struck 150 targets and damaged miles of the tunnel network.

Gaza’s health ministry today confirmed the death toll has risen to at least 119 Palestinians overnight, including 31 children and 19 women.

In addition, 830 Palestinians have been injured.

Israel’s death toll stands at eight, including one child and one soldier.

This also includes an 87-year old woman who died after falling on her way to a bomb shelter near Ashdod.

The main point of contention between Israel and Palestine is decades-old.

Britain took control of the areas known as Palestine after the rule of the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I.

The land was then inhabited by a Jewish minority and an Arab majority.

Tensions between these groups continued to escalate after Britain was assigned the task of creating a “national home” in Palestine for Jewish people.

The region became has become the ancestral home for Jews, but Palestinian Arabs also claim the land.

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Over the years tensions continued between Jewish and Palestinian people, with the number of Jews flocking to the area increasing in the wake of the Holocaust.

Violence between Jews and Arabs, and against British rule, also grew.

The UN voted to split Palestine into two separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city in 1947.

This plan was accepted by Jewish leaders, but rejected by the Arab side and therefore was never implemented.

The next year British rulers left the region, unable to resolve the ongoing conflict.

In the wake of Britain’s departure, Jewish leaders declared the creation of Israel, but many Palestinians objected to this and a war began.

Hundreds of Palestinians were evicted from their homes in what is called Al Nakba or the “Catastrophe”.

Since then, there has never been a peace agreement, and more wars and fighting has continued – although a ceasefire came into force the next year.

Violence and tension escalated last month as Ramadan began.

This reached a peak level last weekend over the threatened eviction of some Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and after Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at the al-Aqsa mosque.

The conflict has now seen hundreds of rocket attacks and airstrikes undertaken by Hamas and Israel after weeks of friction.

Each side cannot reach an agreement on several issues including:

  • A plan for what should happen to ousted Palestinian refugees
  • Whether Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank should stay or be removed
  • Whether the two sides should share Jerusalem
  • If a Palestinian state should be created alongside Israel.

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