Violence intensified between the Israeli government and Hamas on Tuesday, May 11, after Hamas fired initial rockets. More than 83 Palestinians in Gaza and six Israelis were killed as a result of this ongoing conflict, according to “The New York Times” and “Wall Street Journal.” As a result of the violence, 17 children in Gaza and one child in Israel have been killed.
Hamas has launched at least 1,600 rockets into Israel since Monday with a 90% interception rate from the Israeli Iron Dome and 400 exploding within Gaza, according to the Israeli military. As a result, Israel responded with airstrikes targeting weapons-manufacturing sites, military facilities, and a civilian building that housed a Hamas commander. The latter attack led to the death of the leader’s family, including a child with cerebral palsy.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the deployment of 5,000 Israeli troops in order to “enhance Israel’s defense efforts” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement following the initial rocket launches.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and will pay a dear price…This battle will take time, but we will restore security to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police officers resulted over access to the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, and the temple mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Currently, Palestinians use this area during the final days of Ramadan while Jewish Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, the commemoration of the reunification of Jerusalem following the Israeli win after the Six-Day War. Officers began using stun guns and rubber bullets when they said people at the site were throwing stones. In addition, Palestininan frustrations also stem from an upcoming court decision to evict Palestinian residents from Sheikh Jarrah.
These tensions have also spread to more violence among individuals. Jewish mobs have been targeting Arab citizens of Israel and attempted to lynch an Arab-Israeli man. These actions have been condemned by Netanyahu. Arab citizens have also been attacking Jews by targeting synagogues and clashing in Sheikh Jarrah and the Old City (among other places).
Politicians in the United States have also been commenting on the conflict. On Monday, New York Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists.” After receiving criticism from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that his comments were “utterly shameful,” Yang said he “failed to acknowledge the pain and suffering on both sides.” Other democrats, like Ocasio-Cortex and Rep. Rashida Tlaib have called for the “end of occupation” and has urged Biden to condition Israeli aid, demonstrating a split in the Democratic party on the Israel-Palestine issue.The United States and Egypt have advocated for mediation efforts and restraint on both sides. The US has sent the senior State Department official with the Israeli-Palestine portfolio, Hady Amr, to encourage conflict resolution in Israel. In addition, the U.S. State Department called that “all sides exercise restraint [and] refrain from provocative actions.”