The latest news of the power struggle between Israel and…Israel.

The subject of Israel and Palestine is a sensitive one, and it often requires some in-depth background reading of the history and the present situation in order to form an opinion. That is, if one decides to form one at all since there is a lot of radicalism from both sides. The past month the whole world watched a display of realism from Israel: an intense pursuit of self-interest and a strong military offensive to protect its sovereignty. However, this is the  twenty-first century, we are meant to be evolved creatures that have created international institutions to stop ourselves from killing each other. But we have witnessed the systematic destruction of Gaza in the past few weeks. Isn’t it time for some radicalism from our part?

Palestine and Israel have their reasons behind their decision to go to war. The former is fighting for their territory that was taken away from them almost seven decades ago, and the latter claims to be defending themselves from the Hamas militants. Operation Protective Edge was launched on the 8th July in an Israeli attempt to stop Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. Earlier last week the UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA said that approximately 40 percent of the Gaza strip had been deemed off-limits to civilians. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, how are 135,000 displaced people meant to live in war-like conditions? Women and children are in constant fear of being killed since there is no longer any place considered safe. On Wednesday 30th, Israel bombed a school that was being used by the UN to shelter families. The efforts of the UNRWA in keeping thousands of people safe are of extreme importance in this chaotic period. The tough reality of the situation was obvious after the breakdown of an UN official during an interview for Al Jazeera.

Unfortunately that was not the first UN facility – and probably not the last – that Israel has shelled. On Sunday 3rd, another UN school was hit, resulting in 10 deaths. However, that bombing was the only one that the US ‘strongly condemned’. Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman said: ‘The shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.’ He also called upon Israel’s standards of protecting innocent civilians. These standards however, are nowhere to be seen. So far the conflict has taken 1,740 Palestinian lives and left 9,080 wounded, according to Gaza’s emergency services.

So the question is: why isn’t anyone doing anything other than just ‘condemn’? Diplomatic actions are being taken to push for a humanitarian ceasefire. Egypt is trying to act as the main mediator, but they declared war on Hamas after the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power. On Friday a US/UN 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire was agreed upon, however it didn’t last longer than two hours. Palestinian officials said the end of the ceasefire was followed by air strikes in the southern town of Rafah that resulted in about 200 lives. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has given continued permission for Israel to tap a local US arms stockpile in order to replenish their depleted ammunition, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Truce seems like a far away possibility, as Hamas demands the end of the eight-year blockade of the Gaza strip by Israel. Israel is determined to continue its operation in Gaza even after they’ve destroyed all Hamas tunnels and refuses to join Hamas at a peace talk in Egypt. Mr. Netanyahu has told the US to ‘never second-guess me again’ and warned Obama not to force Israel into a Gaza ceasefire. The tension between the world’s most powerful leaders is building as the conflict enters its fourth week, making ‘best-friends’ snap at each other.

There were speculations that Israel was evacuating families in northern and eastern Gaza as an action of expansion of territory. The truth is that parts of Gaza are gas and oil rich, making Israel’s initial action of self-defense highly questionable. In 2000, British Gas discovered a natural gas reserve worth $4 billion off the coast of Gaza. Along with the Palestinian Investment Fund, they’ve invested in the project and found more natural gas reserves in the region. Israel’s shady interest in Palestine might be more than just ‘a war of independence’.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled that it is safe for families to return to their homes in Northern Gaza. That region was heavily shelled during Israel’s devastating 26-day operation, leaving behind only rubble for the families that try to come back. Israel’s forces have started to pull back, but Mr. Netanyahu has declared that they will continue the fight against Hamas until calm is restored in Israel. So far the Israeli forces have destroyed more than 30 tunnels and Gaza’s main power plant. If they continue to fight, Hamas will ‘pay an intolerable price’, declared Mr. Netanyahu.

The large number of civilians killed is clear evidence of Netanyahu’s intentions to stand by his words . Israel is responsible for the systematic destruction of Gaza. They have shelled Palestinians into terror and the world into a state of shock. The sensitivity of the subject is forgotten as updates of more bombs being dropped on innocent civilians flood international media. The reason behind this modern mass genocide is not self-interest alone. It’s a display of power by the Israeli government, who seems to stop at nothing, and fear no one. We’re probably not witnessing the beginning of another world war, because in this case, there’s too much at stake, including Obama’s reputation. However, it is our duty to stop this conflict and restore some kind of balance to the world.

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