There is no denying what Israel is doing to Palestinians in Gaza is a crime that will haunt the world even as so many refuse to acknowledge it today. While the conflict’s roots can be traced to the 1948 Palestine War, the current aggression was trigged by the Oct. 7 infiltration into southern Israel by the Hamas group. Armed gunmen then killed 1,400 people in a series of raids on military posts, kibbutzim and a music festival, and took 240 hostages back into Gaza. Declaring war on Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would “pay an unprecedented price,” ceaselessly bombarding the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, and indiscriminately killing at least 8,850 civilians, including women and children. The brutal campaign has exposed a world divided, with Western states by-and-large supporting Israel’s genocidal campaign, as the rest of the global community calls for restraint.
Covering roughly 360km2, the Gaza Strip is sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. Originally occupied by Egypt, it was captured by Israel during the 1967 war, though Tel Aviv didn’t withdraw its troops or 8,000 settlers from the region until 2005—and still retains direct control over its air and maritime space, as well as six of seven land crossings. With a population of roughly 2.1 million people—over 75 percent of whom are either registered refugees or their descendants—it has one of the highest population densities in the world. Over 500,000 of its residents still live in eight crowded refugee camps. Israel, meanwhile, is one of the most technologically advanced military powers in the Middle East, rendering any conflict with Gaza little more than a one-sided massacre.
Despite Zionist propaganda denying the very existence of Palestine, it was Israel that didn’t come into being before 1948 and the brutality of the war that saw its creation has meant most Muslim states have yet to recognize it. Today, Palestine is used as an umbrella term for the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in power since 2005, is based in the West Bank and represents the Fatah political party, ironically a bitter rival of Hamas. There have been multiple attempts to negotiate peace in the region, with the latest initiative seeing several Arab states moving toward normalization of ties with Israel. The current aggression has, however, put a damper on these aims, with public support for Israel at an all-time low, as traditional media is no longer able to hide Tel Aviv’s atrocities due to the harrowing images and videos being shared on social media. But while the Western public might be turning on Israel, governments are not, and the world has little choice but to watch an unfolding genocide, bringing into sharp focus the divide between the lives that “matter” and those that do not.