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Security Brief: Tensions Rising Between Israel and Palestine

Week of April 19, 2021 | Issue 1


Ethan Wacaster, Weapons and Tactics

Tensions Rising Between Israel and Palestine


Jerusalem, Israel[1]


Date: April 24, 2021

Location: Southern Israel, Gaza Strip

Parties involved: IDF, Hamas

The event: 36 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, six of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system in place. Most of the rockets that were not intercepted landed in areas that are undeveloped and are not populated, therefore resulting in no reported injuries or deaths. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) then launched a counterattack against Hamas in the Gaza Strip striking several targets.[2]

The implications:

  • The attack that took place early Saturday is the largest attack by Hamas towards Israel within the past year. This could mean that they are attempting to show Israel that they remain a threat and are not going to be forgotten about. They probably want to show that they remain a threat because Palestinians have generally felt targeted by Israeli laws and have been forced out of their settlements.

  • The attack also did not target anything of importance. This possibly shows that Hamas was not looking to target civilians or military areas, but instead wanted to cause scramble Israeli assets. While that could have been the reason that Hamas did not strike Israeli military or civilian targets, it is also possible that the rockets could not be aimed with much accuracy. Many of the rockets are not built professionally and are built by members of Hamas themselves, so they are oftentimes unreliable and do not hit essential targets.

  • The attack could also be due to the time period, as during the month of Ramadan there has been an uptick in the Israeli-Palestinian clashes happening in Israel. These clashes have been nightly events that have been taking place. In these clashes, Palestinian protestors have been throwing fireworks, rocks, and other projectiles at security forces. Thousands of people have been gathering on a nightly basis for these protests and it will most likely continue.

  • It is also possible that the counterattacks from Israel could prove to cause more violence. While it could be seen as necessary from those charged with defending Israel, a counterattack may only provoke Hamas more.

Date: April 12, 2021-Current

Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Parties involved: Israel, Palestine

The event: Since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, protests, and violence have been taking place in the city of Jerusalem. These protests often involve groups of Palestinians that want Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine.[3] Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This makes it a key territory for both the Jewish people of Israel and the Muslim people of Palestine.

The implications:

  • In these clashes, Palestinians have been targeting Israeli police and security forces with rocks and other projectiles. Many police officers have been injured by these nightly protests. These clashes are likely to continue, at least until the end of Ramadan, on May 12. This is because one of the main areas that the Palestinians are attempting to reach, the Damascus Gate, has been closed off by Israeli due to COVID-19. The Damascus Gate has historically been a common gathering place for Palestinians during Ramadan. However, they could continue to last until they are stopped by Israel.

  • Another tactic that could be used by Israel, would be for the country to attempt to ease tensions with their surrounding countries. While that would be a tall order, it would most likely not be impossible, especially with countries mediating the agreement.


Date: April 24, 2021

Location: Middle East

Parties involved: United Nations, Israel, Palestine

The event: The United Nations envoy to the Middle East stated that he was concerned about the violence taking place and that the United Nations is working to create a situation that would ease the strain.[4]

The implications:

  • If the United Nations were to get involved, it could create a situation where both Israel and Palestine are appeased. This is very unlikely, as seen in past attempts at peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Though complete peace may be difficult to attain, it is very possible that it could result in an ease of tensions. This would be seen as extremely successful, especially due to the state of conditions currently.

  • It is also possible that the United Nations getting involved could heighten tensions even more. This is unlikely, but if either Israel or Palestine felt as though they were being treated unfairly or unevenly, it could pose problems. These problems would most likely show up as further rocket and missile strikes, protests, or legislative action.

[1]Jerusalem Dome of the Rock” by Berthold Werner, licensed under Public Domain

[2] Jerusalem tension triggers Gaza-Israel fire exchange, Associated Press, April 2021,https://apnews.com/article/israel-gaza-strip-middle-east-religion-jerusalem-e37ec6fe6f28f254cd617e9b4a206d3e

[3] Ibid.

[4] Israel airstrikes hit Gaza after rocket attacks, clashes intensify in Jerusalem, NBC News, April 2021,https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/israel-airstrikes-hit-gaza-after-rocket-attacks-clashes-intensify-jerusalem-n1265180

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