Published On: Aug 08 2014 10:59:04 AM CDTUpdated On: Aug 07 2014 02:56:41 PM CDT
After more than seven weeks of heavy fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire. The two sides announced that the truce does not deal with the long-standing issues of the conflict, but stops the immediate fighting, which has already killed around 2,200 people, mostly Palestinians.
Take a look at images of the Gaza Strip, a region now devastated by this conflict.
The Gaza-Israel conflict has been taking place in the region of the Gaza Strip and southern Israel since 2006.
The recent violence is part of a long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinian militant actions escalated in the Gaza Strip following the election to government of the Islamic political party Hamas in 2005 and 2006.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is primarily over who occupied what land and how it is controlled. The borders between the two countries are blurry, as are the rules dictating which people are allowed to go to which areas.
The border dispute has sprouted another dispute, which is who is in charge of managing the unpleasant Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, in which Israel has put the Palestinians under suffocating military occupation and Palestinian militant groups terrorize Israelis.
Israel's military occupation of the West Bank is an important part of the present-day violence. Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967 and continues to this day.
Israel withdrew the occupying troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005,but still maintains a full blockade of the territory, which has turned Gaza into what human rights organizations sometimes call an "open-air prison" and has pushed the unemployment rate up to 40 percent.
Israel says the occupation is necessary for security. But they also have settlers moving into Gaza and the West Bank. Many of the 500,000 settlers are just looking for cheap housing, but some others move deep into the West Bank to claim land for Jews, out of religious fervor and/or a desire to see more or all of the West Bank absorbed into Israel. While Israel officially forbids this and often evicts these settlers, many are still able to lay roots.
Settlers of all forms make life for Palestinians even more difficult, by forcing the Israeli government to guard them with walls or soldiers that further constrain Palestinians. Even worse, the settlers create what are sometimes called "facts on the ground": Israeli communities that blur the borders and expand land that Israel could claim for itself in any eventual peace deal.
The latest round of fighting was sparked when members of Hamas in the West Bank murdered three Israeli youths who were studying there on June 10. Though the Hamas members appear to have acted without approval from their leadership, Israel responded by arresting large numbers of Hamas personnel in the West Bank and with air strikes against the group in Gaza.
After some Israeli extremists murdered a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem and Israeli security forces cracked down on protests, Hamas and other Gaza groups launched dozens of rockets into Israel, which responded with many more air strikes.
Underneath it all lies a long, bitter, violent history between Israelis and Palestinians. Both sides have such widely divergent narratives of the last several decades, of what has happened and why, that even reconciling their two realities is extremely difficult.
And all of the conflict makes it easier for extremists, who typically oppose any compromise, to control the conversation and derail the peace process.
A fresh round of Palestinian protests reignited this summer, and again on August 8 in Gaza, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. This was in response to Palestinian rockets fired after Egyptian-mediated talks failed to extend a 72-hour truce in the war.
At least 1,875 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip so far, while 67 people, including 64 soldiers, died on the Israeli side.
More than 9,800 Gaza residents have also been injured.
The UN and Gaza human rights groups monitoring the death toll have said more than 75 percent of those killed in Gaza were civilians. But an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said that about 900 Palestinian terrorists had been killed by Israeli forces during the war.
The damage to Gaza's infrastructure from the current conflict is more severe than the destruction caused by either of the last two Gaza wars, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) and other organizations with staff on the ground, like Oxfam and Human Rights Watch.
The fighting has displaced about a fourth of Gaza’s population.
Nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes, and the number of people taking shelter in Unrwa schools is nearly five times as many as in 2009.
The cost to Gaza’s already fragile economy will be significant: the 2009 conflict caused losses estimated at $4 billion — almost three times the size of Gaza’s annual gross domestic product.
Beit Hanoun town in the Gaza Strip has been very heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the latest Israeli offensive.
The Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City has been completely leveled. About 600 structures were destroyed and 280 were damaged within the first two and a half weeks of conflict.
Khan Younis, heavily populated by members of Hamas, has also been heavily targeted. One strike leveled a four-story home, killing more than two dozen people at once.
Israeli forces bombarded the Rafah area after three soldiers were killed by Palestinian militants who emerged from a tunnel near the beginning of a humanitarian cease-fire.
The month-long war has seen several attempts at cease-fires, many of which were broken after a few hours.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) said it had transferred 1,856 trucks of humanitarian aid to Gaza, carrying 40,550 tons of food, medical and humanitarian supplies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said the country's deadly ground offensive won't end until its soldiers destroy a vast network of Hamas tunnelsthe militants use to try to attack Jewish communities outside the Gaza Strip.
The focus of the Israel-Palestine conflict today is mostly on the human suffering it has caused. Thousands of innocent people have died and peace seems like an almost unattainable goal for most civilians living in the violence.
And while Israelis certainly suffer deeply and in great numbers, the vast majority of the conflict's toll in incurred by Palestinian civilians.
Santa Barbara Police have been at the scene of a homicide in an industrial area of the city since approximately 6:53 a.m. Friday when police officers, City firefighters and paramedics responded to the emergency call.