Israel and Palestine- Can Ceasefire Hold?


Following a five-day clash of violence, on May 13, both Israel and the Islamic Jihad of Palestine agreed to a ceasefire with the aid of the Egyptian President. A ceasefire is a temporary halt to fighting. While the announcement of the ceasefire seems to have brought a sense of calm to the 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza and to thousands of Israelis, it does nothing to address the main issue that has been the very reason for the outbreaks of violence.   

What caused the week of violence? According to the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), they claim to have resorted to launching attacks, due to their belief that the Islamic Jihad planned a series of attacks. The IDF therefore targeted locations of the Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza. Egyptian students in 1981 founded the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with the stated. goal of establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza, West Bank, and other territories illegally occupied by Israel. Israeli officials claimed that Khalil Bahtini, the Islamic Jihad Commander for the Northern Gaza Strip, was responsible for the rockets fired towards Israel in the past month. Israeli airstrikes were reported to have the intention to take down three Islamic Jihad commanders due to a prior rocket fire from Gaza the week before. The killing of the top three commanders of the Islamic Jihad, along with their wives and many of their children, ignited more militant fire. However, residents in Gaza reported that air strikes hit their neighborhood and civilian houses instead.

The week of violence consisted of numerous outbreaks which resulted in deaths on both sides. The total deaths came to 35, with 33 Palestinians dead in Gaza, as a result of Israeli rockets. Two people were dead in Israel, consisting of a 80-year-old Israeli woman, along with a Palestinian man with a permit working in Israel. Israel is coming under criticism for their bombardment and civilian casualties in Gaza. Israel, however, states that they do everything possible to prevent civilians from being hurt. Since last Tuesday, many patients who need lifesaving treatments have been denied from border crossings. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israel closing the borders has denied more than 140 patients (most of whom are diagnosed with cancer) from being able to access the medical attention they desperately need. 

After much violence, a ceasefire came to surface with the aid of Egypt. The agreed ceasefire was scheduled to take effect at 10 p.m on the 13th. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah – al Sisi was thanked by Tzachi Hanegbi (head of Israel’s National Security Council) for Egypt’s efforts to bring a ceasefire. However, due to the killings of the PIJ, Egypt’s efforts to secure a ceasefire were slowed. The Islamic Jihad demanded that if a ceasefire was to happen, Israel would have to stop assassinating their leaders. Israel, however, didn’t want to do that, thus becoming a complicating factor. 

Even after all the efforts made by Egypt and the United States to calm tensions between Palestine and Israel, the ceasefire does not address the main issue of illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by Israeli settlers. Throughout modern history, Palestine has always been neglected, and we as a global community, should educate ourselves on the ongoing Palestinian human rights violations. With the failed 2 state solution proposed by the United Nations, there will come a time where this temporary peace will not prevail, and tensions will arise. The only way to resolve this would be if Palestine gets some of its land back, because this current situation will not give the everlasting solution for this problem.