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Olivia Chan recalls the incident which caught the world’s attention and dives into the timeline of the complex history between Israel and Palestine.

May 7th.

Dawn worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque, a sacred site for Islam located in the Old City of Jerusalem, were suddenly disrupted by Israeli police.

Rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas were used, leading to mass injuries; the Palestinian Red Crescent stated that hundreds of Palestinians were wounded in the process. Israeli police claim that they used force to ‘restore order’ in response to Palestinian ‘rioting’ after evening prayers.

In response, the Islamic militant group controlling Gaza, Hamas, fired six rockets towards Jerusalem after giving an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw its military forces by 6pm that evening.

As a result, Israel fired missiles at Gaza, leading to a descent into chaos.

The Executive Director of UNICEF stated on May 12th that at least 14 Palestinian children and 1 child from Israel had been killed in the 2 days before. Continuing on a similar thread, the Secretary-General stated that “[t]he fighting has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis,” whilst highlighting an attack on a refugee camp in Gaza, leading to 10 members of the same family being murdered.

"This senseless cycle of bloodshed, terror and destruction must stop immediately.”

The Secretary-General continued that de-escalation of the conflict was "an absolute must."

This situation arose in light of persistent protests in Jerusalem for several years. This was however recently further fuelled by the controversial decision to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Harrah, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. The decision came from the Supreme Court of Israel due to an adverse claim made by Jewish settlers on May 6th. Consequently, Palestinians protested in support of their families. This escalated into violent confrontations between Jewish and Palestinian protesters, which unravelled days ahead of the Israeli celebration of ‘Jerusalem Day’ on May 10th. The national holiday commemorates the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1967 after the Six-Day War.

The Israel-Palestine conflict however sustains wounds that cut far deeper into history. The modern conflicts beginning from the 20th century arose due to the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, which segregated the fallen Ottoman Empire into separate countries, as signed and controlled by the British and the French. This consequently led to the control of Palestine under a British Mandate, which encouraged the mass immigration of Jewish people who eventually built the identity of Israel. Consequently, this led to many conflicts between the Jewish and Arab people in Palestine, which continues to this day.

Please refer to the timeline below for a greater in-depth history:


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