The worst violence seen between Israel and Palestine in years began in Jerusalem in June, with the seizure and murder of three Israeli teenagers who were doing nothing more than heading from school to home in the West Bank. Tensions reached the boiling point when these killings were followed by the revenge slaying of a Palestinian teen. Since then the conflict of Israeli–Palestinian, always simmering beneath the surface, has increased in intensity with massive Israeli airstrikes that have killed hundreds and left many more homeless, and punctuated by Palestinian rocket attacks. Israel followed its airstrikes with a martial ground operation known as Operation Protective Edge into Gaza.
For people alive in the area, the situation has become desperate, with truce after truce falling through and no end to the conflict in sight. Now these individuals must accept the reality of mass death, air raid sirens and fleeing their homes for shelters as part of their every day life. But they are not alone in their suffering. Protests have sprung up in countries like the United States, Europe and even Africa.
While the majority of these protests have been peaceful, some of these demonstrations have also ended in violence, with protests in the United States and France turning hostile. In Paris a mob carrying baseball bats, broken bottles and even knives stormed a synagogue. A pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles deteriorated into violence after one of the demonstrators reportedly stomped on a Palestinian flag.
Elsewhere around the world including Germany there have been hostile confrontations between demonstrators from both sides of the conflict. These tensions have now subsided, however, the fact that they exist in the first place is disturbing.
If the latest Gaza truce continues to last and Israel ends its Operation Protective Edge, what has really been accomplished? Both Israel and Hamas will insist that military victory is theirs, with Israel boasting of the destruction of Hamas militant tunnels and the huge dent made in their rocket supply; Hamas will brag about the dozens of Israeli troops that were killed and the fact that despite Israel’s best efforts, Hamas leadership in Gaza is still alive and well. Now it’s left for the Palestinian people to hold their breath and wait for the next conflict to arise. And they know that it will, sooner or later, as it always does.
The only real difference is that relations between the United States and Israel are now more strained than ever. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama have had tensions between them for years, and their already frayed relationship doesn’t appear to be heading towards reconciliation any time soon.