Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip and cut off water supply following a surprise offensive by Hamas. The conflict has escalated, causing civilian casualties and displacement.
Escalation of Conflict
- Hamas launched a surprise offensive, leading to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
- Dozens of Palestinians killed and wounded, with over 570 casualties reported.
- More than 123,000 people displaced in Gaza due to the conflict.
- Urgent need for humanitarian corridors to provide food and shelter for affected Palestinians.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a strong response, threatening to turn Hamas sites to rubble.
- Israel imposed a complete siege on Gaza, impacting 2.3 million people: no electricity, food, water, or gas.
International Aid Suspensions
- The European Union suspended aid payments to Palestinians, placing €691 million under review, citing the unprecedented assault by Hamas.
- Austria suspended its aid, totaling around €19 million, in response to the conflict.
US Support and Military Deployment
- US President Joe Biden expressed full support for Israel and warned hostile parties against exploiting the situation.
- The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean in support of Israel.
- Tensions rose as Iran and Hezbollah praised Hamas’s attack, though Iran denied direct involvement.
- Hamas threatened the conflict could spread to the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Urgent Calls for Peace
- UN appealed for humanitarian corridors to provide aid in Gaza.
- Global calls for restraint and peaceful resolution amid escalating violence.
- Gaza has been under Israeli blockade for 16 years, leading to dire living conditions for Palestinians.
- The conflict exacerbates longstanding tensions and threatens regional stability.
- Israel is in the Middle East, along the Mediterranean’s eastern shore.
- Borders Lebanon (north), Syria (northeast), Jordan (east), and Egypt (southwest).
Capital and Largest City
- Capital: Jerusalem (historical and religious significance).
- Largest City: Tel Aviv (economic and cultural hub).
- Hebrew (official), Arabic (recognized).
- Parliamentary democracy with a multi-party system.
- President (head of state), Prime Minister (head of government).
- Holy for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
- Jerusalem hosts Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Established in 1948 after British rule and UN partition plan.
- Complex history with conflicts and Palestinian territories.
- Highly developed with a focus on technology and innovation.
- Strong in fields like cybersecurity and medical research.
- Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with compulsory military service.
- High security focus due to regional tensions.
Society and Culture
- Diverse society with various ethnic and religious backgrounds.
- Rich cultural heritage, influenced by Jewish, Arab, and Mediterranean traditions.
Challenges and Conflicts
- Ongoing challenges include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, border disputes, and security concerns.
- Jerusalem status and West Bank settlements are contentious issues.
- Has diplomatic relations with many countries, including the United States.
- Strained relations with some Middle Eastern neighbors.