Israel-Hamas agree to ceasefire after 11 days of conflict: Israel Update

May 21, 2021

As of 2:00 a.m. on Friday, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire—bringing the 11 day conflict to a tentative halt. The ceasefire proposal was initiated by Israel after officials claimed the country has exhausted all possible military objectives in the conflict with Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza. Those included destroying over 100 kilometers of Hamas tunnels and related infrastructure, as well as eliminating more than 70 rocket launchers and 35 mortar shell launchers. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the army would remain on high alert for additional attacks from Gaza and—echoing a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office—said “the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the operation.” Meanwhile, Hamas supporters and Israeli police clashed on the Temple Mount in what appears to be a fluid, ongoing situation.

In all, Hamas and other militant groups fired over 4,300 rockets into Israel, indiscriminately launching the projectiles at Israeli cities from densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. Coverage in the American media over the past week has been criticized for being too superficial and imbalanced. The complex issues have often been reduced to comparing casualty counts on both sides. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, have been killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds more have been injured. Gaza’s health ministry says 232 Palestinians, including more than 66 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes. But, according to the IDF, more than 120 of those killed were members of Hamas, and over 25 were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And, the IDF has said some of the civilian fatalities in Gaza were the result of the terror groups’ own rockets falling short and exploding in Gaza.

U.S. civil rights organizations and political leaders are tracking a rise in verbal, physical and online attacks against the Jewish community in multiple countries as they warn the conflict between Israel and Hamas is fueling anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League has recorded a litany of both verbal and physical attacks against Jews in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa and North America since the fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated earlier this month. Within the U.S., the ADL said it has received nearly 200 reports of possible anti-Semitic incidents, up from 131 the week before the conflict began—highlighting an attack on diners in Los Angeles that is being investigated by police as a hate crime and “expressions of clear antisemitism” at some pro-Palestine rallies. In New York City, a Jewish man was beaten amid dueling protests over Israel and Hamas.

Shortly after news of the ceasefire broke, US President Joe Biden made a brief public address in which he promised to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system, and to help Gaza rebuild under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority—not Hamas. "We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, the PA, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to restock its military arsenal," Biden said. Many European diplomats have visited Israel in the last week to demonstrate their continuing support for the Jewish State, including Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi briefed over 70 foreign ambassadors and diplomatic representatives on the situation in Israel. In the briefing, documentation was presented showing IDF attacks in Gaza, as well as the location of missile and rocket stockpiles, terrorist buildings, terrorist command centers, and terrorist infrastructure.

Our Jewish Community Relations Council of Cincinnati has created a resource page for the current situation in Israel, Gaza, and surrounding areas, and will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation. Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) continues to compile the latest information and analysis. Also, your support for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Annual Campaign is making crisis response here and in Israel possible. Click here to help meet these urgent needs.

Shabbat Shalom, 

Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC

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