How attack on Al-AQsa, persecution, trigger fresh conflict between Isreal, Hamaz
The raging conflict between Israel and Palestine has been linked to the attacks by the former on al-Aqsa mosque and Gaza refugee camp in the past years.
The escalated crisis has since Saturday recorded more than 1,000 casualties on both sides. Palestine was said to have had 421 deaths; and Israel, over 700. The numbers of those injured were put at 2, 220 and 2, 156 respectively.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs the Gaza strip, had explained that it launched its large-scale operation on Saturday in response to the “continued brutality” by Israel and its occupation administration against Palestinians.
This includes standing by as Israeli settlers launched attacks on Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods; attacking worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and killing an alarming number of Palestinians this year.
Why Hamas launched Operation al-Aqsa Storm
The leader of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Deif, said the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, violence at al-Aqsa and increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians and the growth of settlements.
The attack code-named ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’, is said to be the most serious escalation since Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day war in 2021.
Hamas said it had fired 5,000 rockets; while Israel confirmed that the group’s fighters had entered its territory.
The rockets were fired as far north as Tel Aviv. Hamas also sent fighters into southern Israel. The Israeli army has since launched “Operation Iron Swords” against the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has declared a “state of war” as its army continues to face off against Palestinian fighters in several areas across southern Israel.
Reports had it that in May 2021, after weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces at the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem.
The disputed al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located at the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, is the third holiest site in Islam and sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount.
The compound has been a flashpoint of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians over the past years.
After demanding Israel withdraw security forces from the compound, Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
Israel hit back with air strikes on Gaza. Fighting went on for 11 days, killing at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
Again in August 2022, at least 44 people, including 15 children, were killed in three days of violence that began when Israeli air strikes hit a senior Islamic Jihad commander.
Israel said the strikes were a pre-emptive operation against an imminent attack by the Iranian-backed militant movement, targeting commanders and arms depots.
In January 2023, the Islamic Jihad in Gaza fired two rockets towards Israel after Israeli troops raided a refugee camp and killed seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians. The rockets set off alarms in Israeli communities near the border, but caused no casualties. Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza.
In a recorded message, Deif said:”Enough is enough.”
He said the Saturday morning attack was only the start of what he called Operation al-Aqsa Storm and called on Palestinians from East Jerusalem to northern Israel to join the fight.
“Today the people are regaining their revolution.”
Experts flay Israeli occupying power
Prof. Abubakar Jika Jiddare of the Department of Political Science, Bayero University Kano, said Hamas attacks took the international community off guard because of the Israel’s policy of containment of the Palestinians over the decades.
He said containment would rather embolden Palestinians into devising solutions to free themselves from the “bondage” of Israel.
He said only an agreement on the existence of the two states of Palestine and Israel could end the decades-long standoff “because it has shown that containment would not work.
“So, Israel must understand this problem and sit with the Palestinians and come to terms on the two steps solution to this unending conflict in the region.’’
An ex-diplomat, Ambassador Suleiman Dahiru, told Daily Trust that the escalation of conflict between Hamas and Israel should be expected, “because Israel has been a ruthless occupying power acting in the most unacceptable manner.
“I’m happy that Hamas responded in good measure in the way Israel never thought. No matter what happens, Hamas has disgraced invincible Israel. I’ve never and will never tolerate Israel’s criminality against Palestine with the active connivance of lapdog America,” he added.
Israel should be forced to obey int’l laws-Palestinian envoy
Speaking on Trust Tv last night, Palestinian Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary to Nigeria, Abdullah Abu Shawesh, asked the international community to force Israel to accept all international resolutions made by the United Nations and other organisations to end the resurgence of the conflict.
Shawesh said Palestinians had continued to suffer from the illegal occupation of Palestine without recourse to international laws.
He stated: “The international community needs to be serious on the implementation of all the resolutions they have adopted in the UN, in the Security Council and other places.
“If the international community wants to be serious to end the Israel occupation, countries like the US, European countries and their allies should put an end to the brutality and force Israel to be bound to international laws. So, when international laws are followed, we’ll put an end to this escalation.”
He said the conflict had been going on for the past 75 years, thus, the public should not be gas-lighted to make decisions on the recent events but should consider inhumane ways Palestinians had lived in refugee camps scattered across the world and those who had to remain on the strict rule of Israel.
“Since the Palestinian An-Nakba, Israel has wiped out the majority of Palestine people. They became refugees in the diaspora, the root cause is Israel in 1967 that has continued to occupy the remaining part of Palestine; we live under Israel rule.”
He urged the public not to rely on Israel media for information on the war as the historical sufferings Palestinians had been enduring under the rule of Israel led to the death of over 250 Palestinians since the start of the year with more than 50 children murdered.
Israeli ambassador fingers Iran
Michael Freeman, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, has fingered Iran in the attack on Israel by Hamas.
While speaking with Trust TV on Saturday, he alleged that Iran was trying to stop the peace initiative in the Middle East by pushing Hamas into the attack.
“Make no mistake, Iran is behind all of these. Iran is sponsoring Hamas, Iran is pushing Hamas and we will make sure that Hamas paid a severe price for these unprovoked attacks.
“Hamas is determined to stop the peace in the Middle East,” he said.
On the narrative that the attack was a response to the occupation of Gaza by Israel, Freeman said Israel left Gaza in 2005 and that there were no Israelis in Gaza currently.
“Hamas death squad walked through the streets and shot women and children and may have kidnapped thousands of other civilians and taken them back to Gaza where they are being held. We’ll do everything to bring them back,” he said.
He said there would never be any justification for walking down the street and murdering women and children, assuring that Hamas would be made to pay for their actions.
He said the Hamas militants killed over 150 unarmed men, women and children just because they were Israelis.
Hezbollah enters the fray
The Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah, has joined the fight against the Israeli occupation.
The group declared that it had targeted three Israeli military positions in the occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms, in the early hours of Sunday.
In a statement on its website, the group said it entered the fight to liberate the remaining part of occupied Lebanese land and in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance.
AU, Nigeria, China, S/Arabia, Egypt, others urge ceasefire
Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, in a statement, said the cycle of violence and retaliation that the current escalation had assumed only served to perpetuate an unending cycle of pain and suffering for the civilian population that bears the brunt of every conflict.
He said Nigeria called on both sides to exercise restraint, prioritize the safety of civilians and give room for humanitarian considerations.
“We’re, therefore, calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue,” he said. The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged both parties “to return, without preconditions, to the negotiating table to implement the principle of two states living side by side”.
China said it was “deeply concerned” by the dramatic escalation of the crisis and asked all sides to show “calm”.
Egypt, according to its foreign affairs ministry, is in talks with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to defuse Palestinian-Israeli tensions.
Saudi Arabia urged “immediate cessation of violence”; while American President Joe Biden described Saturday’s Hamas attacks in Israel as “unconscionable” and pledged to ensure Israel has “what it needs to defend itself”.
Pope Francis yesterday called for peace, saying “terrorism and war do not lead to a solution”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of “a long and difficult war” vowing to flatten Gaza Strip. Israel has intensified air attacks and cut off power to the coastal enclave in the Gaza Strip. The 2.3 million Palestinians who live in the besieged Gaza Strip spent the night in terror and darkness.
The Israeli attacks flattened residential buildings in giant explosions, including a 14-storey tower that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City.
US to help Israel with military ships, aircraft
Reuters quoted American Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin as saying yesterday that the US would send multiple military ships and aircraft closer to Israel as a show of support.