Israel has been in the news for the last few weeks due to the ongoing conflict with Gaza. Are you confused about whether it is Gaza or HAMAS? Don’t worry! We will make everything clear to you in today’s detailed article on the Israel-Hamas war. In this article, you will get to know the background of this conflict, geographical locations with the help of maps, religious and territorial causes behind the years-long Israel-Palestine conflict, and clarity over different terms like what is Gaza, what is Hamas, what is Palestine, and moreover, what is the West Bank and how they are all related to Israel. Read on to learn more about the Israel-Hamas war, as this topic is an important part of international relations and geopolitics, and thus, a number of questions are also expected in the upcoming competitive exams, particularly defence exams like the NDA, CDS, and AFCAT.
What is Israel?
Israel is a sovereign nation located in the western part of Asia. Jerusalem, commonly known as one of the world's oldest cities and holiest sites, is the capital of Israel. The official language of Israel is Hebrew. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people; Jews form the majority population in this country.
What is Gaza?
Gaza, which is also called the Gaza Strip, is a Palestinian territory located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The eastern and northern parts of Gaza share a border with Israel. The 41 km long and 6–12 km wide Gaza strip covers a total area of 365 km² and has one of the highest population densities. Both Gaza and the West Bank are Palestinian territories but are separated by Israel, as both of these territories are located on each side of Israel.
What is Hamas?
Hamas is a political and military organization that currently governs the Gaza strip. It is officially known as the Islamic Resistance Movement. As per the reports, it is a Sunni Islamist organization headquartered in Gaza City. I hope you have understood the exact difference between Gaza and Hamas; the former is a territory and the latter is a political organization.
What is the West Bank?
As we have already discussed, the West Bank is also a Palestinian territory besides the Gaza Strip. The West Bank is the larger of the two Palestinian territories. As of 2023, the Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, while the West Bank is governed by Fatah, which is a nationalist and social democratic political party in Palestine. The West Bank covers a total area of approximately 5,800 km² which is quite bigger than the Gaza Strip.
What is Palestine?
Palestine is a state located in West Asia, and it claims the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as its territories. However, the reports state that both of its territories have been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 six-day war. In fact, Palestine, officially the State of Palestine, is presently under the observer status of the United Nations General Assembly.
The area marked with the black border is the West Bank, while the area marked with the red border is the Gaza Strip. As we have already discussed, these two areas make up the Palestinian territories and are separated by Israel, marked by the purple border.
What is the Israel-Palestine conflict?
The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the longest-running conflicts in the history of the modern world. The public declarations to see a Jewish homeland in Palestine and the Balfour Declaration issued by the British government in 1917 are the two major historical causes behind this conflict. Are you wondering what the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was? It was basically an announcement or statement by the British government for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Do you know what the status of Palestine was at that time? Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire at the time, and it had a very small Jewish population. After the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, the Arab-Israeli War broke out in the very same year. Later, there have been many wars, like the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
What is the present Israel-Hamas conflict?
The present Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on October 7, 2023, when a series of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and the Hamas militants entered Israeli territory, killing and taking hostages of many Israeli people.
Why is Jerusalem the root cause behind the Israel-Palestine conflict?
Jerusalem is considered holy by the three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Israel views a fully unified Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. This makes the issue even more controversial, so it is very clear that behind the Israel-Palestine conflict are territorial occupations and gains as well as religious sentiments.