Shortly after the militant group Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority agreed to form a unitary government, the kidnapping and subsequent murder of three Israeli teenagers triggered tensions. Rockets were launched into Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza, which was subject to Israeli air strikes, as Israel arrested hundreds of Palestinians. The revenge murder of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli extremists led to riots, and the attacks intensified.
Hamas has launched rockets with unprecedented reach, but the Israeli anti-missile Iron Dome system has prevented casualties. Israel has countered with Operation Protective Edge, striking over 1,500 targets with air strikes and naval bombardment, resulting in Palestinian death toll approaching 200. With the abrogation of a short-lived, Egypt-brokered cease-fire, the future of the region is currently uncertain.
Georgetown is home to three active student groups dedicated to regional affairs: Students for Justice in Palestine, the Georgetown Israel Alliance and J Street U, which advocates for a two-state solution. Leaders from these organizations share their viewpoints on the recent iteration of the conflict.
SJP President Leila Shebaro (SFS ’15) contends that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is capitalizing on regional instability to effect a political agenda, at the expense of ethics and human rights.
GIA Vice President Nitzan Gabai (SFS ’16) asserts that the prominence and leadership of Hamas throws Israelis and Palestinians, alike, into precarious positions.
Former J Street U Co-President Elijah Jatovsky (SFS ’16) argues that the way forward for peace rests with a moderate Palestinian leadership’s attainment of legitimacy.