Palestinians living along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders are fleeing heavy Israeli bombardment. Fleeing families arrived in pickup trucks, on carts, and by foot at schools run by the United Nations.
Thousands of Palestinian families have taken shelter in United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire. The UN estimates that approximately 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza amid the latest Israeli offensive.
Israeli forces have launched more than 600 airstrikes so far toppling at least three multi-story buildings.
At least 10 member of a Palestinian family – two women and eight children – have been killed by an Israeli air raid on their home in the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, following the fifth night of bombardment at Gaza.
At least 140 people have been killed in Gaza including 39 children and 22 women while eight have died in Israel since the fighting began this Monday.
Warnings of civil war
Clashes between Arab and Jewish mobs on the streets of Israeli cities have given way to warnings from Israeli leaders that the decades-old conflict could lead to a civil war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the scenes of arson and violence as “anarchy” and appealed for an end to “lynchings.” Mr. Netanyahu said that nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs, and nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews.
Jewish and Arab citizens have clashed in the worst violence in decades in Israeli cities stoning cars, burning offices and places of worship, and mobs dragging people from their vehicles and beating them.
Setters burn a Palestinian house in Yaffa, Palestine pic.twitter.com/GigmhU2wSM
— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 14, 2021
“These could be our last hours as the next strikes may kill us… Whoever has grudge against me, please forgive me because I swear I never meant to hurt anyone.” This was the last thing Yousuf Mansi posted on Facebook before an Israeli warplane struck in his house, killing him. Since then his last FaceBook post is making rounds on social media.
What instigated the recent violence?
Israeli restrictions around holy sites during Ramadan; increasingly intense protests and violence on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, with each side blaming the other for initiating; and a court decision, now under higher court review, to remove Palestinian families from an East Jerusalem neighborhood preceded this latest round of conflict.
Tensions were rising in the Palestinian-majority Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, as the Israeli government ordered a number of Palestinian families to leave their homes, after a court ruling that Jewish families held a historic claim to the property.
Controversial Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim property lost in the 1948 war but prevents Palestinians (including Palestinian citizens of Israel) from recovering property lost in the same war. The highly controversial decision has led to days of solidarity protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and clashes with police and Israeli Jews in adjacent neighborhoods.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel” as the violence and killings of civilians entered the sixth day.
It happened in 1948 when British rulers left the region and Jewish leaders declared the creation of the state of Israel. Palestinians, however, objected to the creation of a Jewish state on their land and a war followed. Troops from neighboring Arab countries invaded in favor of Palestinian defense.
Israel controlled most of the territory by the time the fighting ended in a ceasefire. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes in what they call Al-Nakba, or the “Catastrophe”.
As of now the violence and unrest intensified with the multiple rocket attacks on Gaza. The conflict doesn’t seem to make an end anytime soon unless some big players are willing to do so.