Understanding Events in Palestine: May 5th-June 3rd

Understanding the landscape of Palestine can be difficult. Check out our simplified versions of events from the past month in Gaza, the West Bank, and the U.S.

May 6th: Residents in the areas of Rafah and Kerem Shalom, as well as other nearby areas, were ordered to evacuate. The few sites to which people from these regions can relocate to lack adequate latrines, water points, drainage, or shelter. Conditions are unable to be improved due to the lack of fuel and supplies coming into Gaza.

May 7th: Israel begins its ground operation in Rafah. 

May 9th: Biden announces that he will stop sending American weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah. Prior to this comment, the U.S. had paused a shipment of “high-payload munitions” in response to Israel’s potential operation in Rafah that had no clear plan for civilians. At the time of this statement, Biden did not feel that Israel had crossed a red line in Rafah and the actions of Israel were not considered a full-scale invasion.

May 18th: Israel imposes new evacuation orders for ten neighborhoods in Northern Gaza. With these evacuation orders, 78% of the Gaza Strip is now under evacuation orders.

May 20th: The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant based on international crimes committed in Gaza since October 8th. These include using starvation as a weapon, murder, and attacking civilians. These charges fail to address crimes of sexual abuse, kidnapping, and torture. The charges also fail to address prior crimes committed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This step complicates Israel’s relationships with other countries, excluding the U.S. which is not a member of the ICC.

May 21st: UNRWA announced the suspension of food distribution programs in Gaza. This is due to both a lack of supplies and increasing security concerns. 

May 23rd: Israel’s war cabinet has instructed negotiators to resume talks on a deal to release hostages held in Gaza. The statement came after families of five female Israeli soldiers released footage of their capture by Hamas on October 7th with the hopes of renewing efforts to release the hostages.

May 24th: The  International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to stop its offensive on Rafah. Israel has continued these attacks in defiance of the UN court.

May 25/26th: An airstrike killed dozens of Palestinians in Rafah in the middle of the night. The Israeli military claims that the target of the strike was a Hamas compound and that “precise munitions” were used to eliminate a Hamas commander and another senior official at the compound. Forty-five people were killed and two hundred and forty-nine were wounded by the blast and subsequent fires. The targeted area was a supposed “safe zone”. To attack such a space shows that there no longer are safe zones in Gaza.

May 25/26th: Israel missile strikes into safe zones have caused horrific burns. There are no more hospitals in Gaza that specialize in treating burns.

May 25/26th: U.S. pier construction for delivery of aid to Gaza has fallen apart. The pier was broken apart by strong winds and seas just a week after completion. The pier is supposed to be reconstructed and operational by next week. Responses to the pier have been mixed with some saying that the pier is a distraction that took pressure off of Israel and others saying that any aid to Gaza is welcome. 

May 29th: An investigation by CNN finds that the weapons used in the previously mentioned attacks over the weekend of May 25th that munitions made by Boeing in the United States were used.

June 1st: President Biden unveils his three-phase plan to end the war. The first phase entails a truce and the return of some hostages held by Hamas, after which the sides would negotiate on an open-ended cessation of hostilities for a second phase in which the remaining live captives would go free. The final phase would be a major reconstruction of Gaza. A deal has yet to be met due to Israel's insistence that it would discuss only temporary pauses to fighting until Hamas is destroyed. Hamas says it will free hostages only under a path to a permanent end to the war. Thus far, Hamas has reacted positively to the proposal.

June 2nd: Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, two far-right Israeli ministers, threatened to quit if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to the Gaza ceasefire proposal by President Biden. By quitting, these ministers would collapse the current government. Both ministers refuse to accept the deal because doing so would prevent them from reaching their goal of destroying Hamas.

June 3rd: Israeli officials have spoken out claiming that the war will be stopped for the purpose of returning hostages. Following this, further discussions will proceed. Top officials, including Netanyahu, still state that their goal is to destroy Hamas, which would be impossible under President Biden’s three-phase plan.

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    • Grace Harsche
      published this page in Blog 2024-06-12 09:03:02 -0400

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