A Gaza Hospital explosion has sparked massive outrage throughout the region of the Middle East and Africa. A massive explosion rocked the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday evening, killing hundreds of people and injuring many more. The hospital, which is run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, was crowded with patients and staff when the blast occurred.
The cause of the explosion is still unclear and disputed. The militant group Hamas who are the Palestinian authorities in Gaza accused Israel of carrying out the airstrike on the hospital. They said it was a deliberate attack on a civilian target and a war crime.
Israel denied any involvement in the blast. They stated that the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad misfired a rocket launch and caused the explosion at the hospital. Israel said it had evidence that showed the trajectory and impact of the rocket. According to their intelligence, the rocket was aimed at Israel but fell short and hit the hospital.
The United States, Israel’s main ally, backed Israel’s version of events and said it had intelligence that confirmed it. US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and called for an end to the violence.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad denied any responsibility for the blast and said it was a fabrication by Israel to cover up its crimes. It said it had no rockets in the area where the blast occurred and accused Israel of spreading lies and propaganda.
What are the consequences of the Gaza Hospital Explosion?
The Gaza hospital explosion has sparked outrage and protests across the Middle East and beyond. Many people condemned Israel for allegedly bombing a hospital and killing innocent civilians. They also expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians and their struggle for freedom and justice.
In several countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Indonesia, thousands of people took to the streets to denounce Israel and support Gaza. They waved Palestinian flags, chanted slogans, burned Israeli flags, and clashed with security forces.
Some countries also announced diplomatic actions against Israel. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli ambassador from Ankara. Iran said it would cut all ties with Israel. They urged other Muslim countries to do the same. Egypt said it would send humanitarian aid to Gaza and open its border crossing for wounded Palestinians.
The Gaza hospital explosion also increased the pressure on the international community to intervene. There have been many calls to stop the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation and called for an immediate ceasefire.
In a statement by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the attack on the hospital appalled him. Guterres urged both sides to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. According to Gutteres, the loss of life and suffering due to the ongoing hostilities deeply saddened him.
The European Union also expressed its “shock” and “sadness” over the blast at the hospital. The EU called for an end to the “unacceptable” violence. The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was in contact with both parties and regional actors to facilitate a de-escalation.
What is the background?
The Gaza hospital explosion was the latest and deadliest incident in a series of violent clashes between Israel and Gaza that have been raging since last week. The conflict started after weeks of rising tensions over Jerusalem. Palestinians had been protesting against Israeli restrictions on access to a holy site. They were also protesting against planned evictions of Palestinian families from a neighborhood claimed by Jewish settlers.
The situation escalated when Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and other Israeli cities. Hamas is saying it was defending Jerusalem from Israeli aggression. Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on Gaza. Israel stated that it was targeting Hamas militants and infrastructure.
Since then, more than 1,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. These rockets have killed at least 12 people and injured hundreds more. Israel carried out more than 2,000 airstrikes in Gaza, killing at least 500 people and injuring thousands more.
The conflict has also sparked violence within Israel. Arab citizens have clashed with Jewish citizens and police in several towns and cities. The unrest has been described as the worst internal strife in decades.
The current conflict is the fourth major confrontation between Israel and Gaza since 2008. The previous ones ended with ceasefires mediated by Egypt or other third parties. None of these ceasefires addressed the underlying issues of the conflict.
Part of a Larger Conflict
The conflict is part of a broader and longer-lasting dispute between Israelis and Palestinians over land, sovereignty, security, identity, religion, and history. The dispute dates back to the early 20th century when Jewish immigration to Palestine increased under British rule. It intensified after World War II when Israel declared its independence in 1948 and fought a war with neighboring Arab states that resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Since then, several wars, uprisings, peace initiatives, and negotiations have taken place. None have really resolved the core issues of the conflict. The current situation is marked by Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian resistance and terrorism, Israeli settlements and security barriers, mutual distrust and hostility, and international involvement and mediation.