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What is happening in Israel and Gaza today?

On October 7, Hamas, a militant Palestinian group from Gaza, launched a surprise assault on Israel. It killed more than 1,400 civilians, soldiers and police officers, and captured more than 200 others.

According to USA Today, as Hamas invaded the country via land, air and sea, Iron Dome’s missile defense system was unable to stop some rocket attacks.

Israel responded by declaring war on Gaza and launching a military assault, including airstrikes.

The death toll is rising in Gaza amid a spiraling humanitarian crisis

Israel also imposed a “total” blockade in Gaza, blocking the access to fuels, water, electricity and food as well as medical supplies.

PBS reports the Israel-Hamas conflict has been the deadliest Gaza war for both sides. According to Hamas’ Gaza Health Ministry, as of day 20, over 7,000 Palestinians had been killed. This is three times more than the six-week Gaza War in 2014. More than 1400 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial attack.

Understanding the Israel-Hamas conflict requires that you understand the long history of the relationship between Israel, Palestine and the .

1967: Six-Day War

During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank and Sinai Peninsula as well as parts of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The Six-Day War marked the beginning of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and Palestinians who lived there for decades.

Israel began establishing settlements and military facilities in the West Bank and Gaza in 1970. The Palestinians were treated in Israel as cheap labor, mainly manual.

The First Intifada, 1987-1993

In 1987, Palestinians staged an intifada or uprising to protest Israeli oppression. According to PBS, the Palestinians took part in nonviolent demonstrations such as civil disobedience and mass boycotts. They also refused to work in Israel and attacked Israelis with rocks, Molotov cocktail, and sometimes firearms. Israeli security forces reacted violently to the protesters

First Intifada lasted until 1993, when Israeli and Palestinian leaders started negotiating to end the conflict peacefully. The Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, allowing Palestinians to govern themselves in the West Bank & Gaza. Israel agreed to remove its security forces and, in exchange, the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace. This was according to the United States Department of State.

The Second Intifada 2000-2003

In 2000 there was a second Intifada which resulted to the death of more than 3,001 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and its military and settlement forces, but the area remains under Israeli occupation. Israel ceded Gaza to the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abubas and evacuated four Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

2006 – The Hamas Takeover of Gaza

In 2006, the militant Palestinian group Hamas was elected to govern the Gaza Strip. The next year, after a violent break with the Fatah run Palestinian Authority in occupied West Bank territory, the Islamist group took control of the area,” Vox reported.

2007 Now: Israel Imposes Blockade

Hamas took over Gaza armed in 2007. Israel then imposed a Gaza blockade, which Palestinians have been living under for 16 years.

Gaza is a ” open air prison” according to human rights groups.

According to the United Nations 81% of Gaza’s population lives in poverty, and 63% are food insecure. According to the UN, the unemployment rate in Gaza is 46.6% and access to electricity and clean water remains at “crisis levels”.

American Friends Service Committee states “blockade enforced by violence.” Israeli military incursions in Gaza are weekly. Israeli forces fire daily into Gaza, and Gaza is regularly bombed.

Hamas has continued to fight Israel for many years. According to the UN, approximately 6,400 Palestinians as well as 300 Israelis were killed in ongoing violence between 2008 and 2016, not including recent deaths.

Israel and Hamas have now engaged in the worst violence they’ve seen in decades, with both sides continuing to increase their death toll.

protests have been held across the country in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.