Region of Concern: Israel and Palestine
Written By Amy McGee; Edited by Claire Bracco
Date: January 4, 2023
Map of the Gaza Strip
Event: On January 3, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. The launch came from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and operates in the West Bank, in retaliation to the new National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, visiting the Temple Mount site, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque. An alert was not activated among the public per standard operating procedures because the rocket landed inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas, who already made threats towards the changing government, stated that the visit to the Temple Mount site was a “crime” and that disrupting the agreed balance of religious terms would not be tolerated.3 The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting likely to take place on Thursday.
Significance: Hamas is very likely to conduct more rocket launches if the Israeli government does not maintain the status quo. It is almost certain that as threats increase from Hamas, Israel will retaliate against the terrorist group in the coming weeks. It is almost certain that the visit made by Ben Gvir will lead to escalations, such as violent protests among the Jewish and Arab populations near key government buildings. He is likely to receive political backlash from Palestinian Arabs, which could likely lead to violence and increased Anti-Arab rhetoric from the new National Security Minister. As aggression increases, it is almost certain that Palestinian refugee flows will increase toward surrounding countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.
Recommendations: Ben Gvir should refrain from escalating tensions between the Jewish and Arab communities. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the government of Israel should maintain the status quo in the region to ease apprehension. The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel should warn their citizens about potential dangers in the coming months via newscasts and provide safety information and evacuation protocols. The United States and global organizations, such as the United Nations Security Council, should help maintain peace in the region by taking diplomatic measures to ensure no side further escalates tensions in the area. The United Nations and other global humanitarian groups should continue to send aid to Palestinian refugees whose camps are often located in surrounding countries. Human rights organizations should continue to advocate for the violations made throughout the continued aggression, as well as for economic disparities and social and cultural injustices.
“Gaza Strip map” by Lencer licensed under CC BY 3.0
 Rocket launched from Gaza at Israel after threats over Ben Gvir’s Temple Mount visit, The Times of Israel, January 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/rocket-launched-from-gaza-at-israel-after-threats-over-ben-gvirs-temple-mount-visit/
 Rocket launched from Gaza at Israel after Ben-Gvir's Temple Mount visit, I24, January 2023, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/middle-east/palestinian-territories/1672814297-rocket-launched-from-gaza-at-israel-after-temple-mount-visit#:~:text=Rocket%20launched%20from%20Gaza%20at%20Israel%20after%20Ben%2DGvir's%20Temple%20Mount%20visit,-i24NEWS%20January%2003&text=A%20rocket%20fired%20at%20Israel,home%20front%2C%22%20it%20added.
 UN Security Council to hold emergency session over Ben-Gvir's Temple Mount visit - report, I24, January 2023, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/diplomacy-politics-stories/1672792527-uae-china-call-for-un-general-assembly-meeting-over-temple-mount