On April 2, tensions rose in the Middle East after Israel carried out an airstrike in Gaza, a Palestinian territory, in the first bombing raid between the two countries since a ceasefire was signed last November.
The airstrike, which involved two warplanes, struck two open areas in Gaza. According to Israeli military officials, the airstrike caused no casualties or damage.
The day preceding the airstrike, rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza. This action was triggered in reaction to a three-day hunger strike among Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. The prisoners claimed Israel was responsible for the death of a fellow Palestinian inmate.
This is not the first time a conflict has occured between Isreal and Gaza. In the Six Day War of 1967, Israel seized Gaza, and Israeli settlers lived there until 2005. Since then, there have been repeated rocket attacks on southern Israel.
One of the most recent incidents took place while President Barack Obama was on a four-day trip to Israel and the West Bank — his first visit there since assuming office. The Associated Press reported that two rockets were fired from Gaza while the president was in Jerusalem on April 1. On April 4, President Obama met with Palestinian authorities to urge them to make peace.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made several trips of his own to Israel to engage in peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Sources told the Associated Press that Kerry is strongly in favor of making amendments to the 2002 Arab Peace initiative, which states that Palestine will guarantee peace if Israel withdraws from the territories it captured during the Six Day War, including Gaza.
“In terms of whether peace is going to happen… Personally, I doubt it,” said Dr. Monsour El-Kikhia, chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at UTSA. “Israel doesn’t want to give up the land. There’s no interest in giving up any part of the West Bank.”
In a speech earlier this month, President Obama urged a group of Israeli students to lead a grassroots movement for peace. However, according to El-Kikhia, this has not been a successful strategy in the past: “Obama tells Israelis to ‘apply pressure on the government,’ but since when has that ever happened?”
As far as the United States is concerned, “Israel determines America’s foreign policy more than America does” El-Kikhia noted. “The United States is a pivotal player, but Israel is in control.”
El-Kikhia stated yet another reason for doubt: “Israel has used the United States for its own purposes, and America really seems to be quite impotent and unable to do anything about it” he continued. “There is no ‘no’ for Israel when it comes to what it wants from the United States.”
Kerry has committed the United States to a multi-month diplomatic effort to resolve the issue, according to The Washington Post.

Related Stories

More from Julia Brouillette / Staff Writer

Editorial Board

At the University of Missouri, real change happened — but only when loss of university revenue was threatened. Missouri student…

More In News

Joseph Torres Co News Editor

The Student Government Association (SGA) at UTSA reduced the number of seats available for their leadership summit from 75 to…