Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire on 20 May 2021, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, brought life in much of Israel to a standstill and left more than 200 people dead. Like the three previous wars between the bitter enemies, the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively.

What

  1. Israel claimed to inflict heavy damage on Hamas but once again was unable to halt the Islamic militant group’s nonstop rocket barrages.
  2. Hamas, the Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, also claimed victory. But it now faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding in a territory already suffering from poverty, widespread unemployment and a raging coronavirus outbreak.
  3. Netanyahu’s office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal after recommendations from Israel’s military chief and other top security officials.

Flashback

  1. The fighting erupted on 10 May 2021, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
  2. Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound, built on a site holy to Muslims and Jews, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
  3. The competing claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have repeatedly triggered bouts of violence in the past.