On 12th June 2014 three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank as they were hitchhiking home.
Israel blamed Hamas for the abduction. The IDF stated that two men Israel suspects are responsible are known members of Hamas.
On 14th and 15th June the IDF began a manhunt, reportedly arresting around 80 Palestinians in Operation Brother’s Keeper.
Benjamin Netanyahu stated on the 15th June that the teens had been kidnapped by Hamas.
Netanyahu provided no evidence that Hamas was to blame. Hamas denied their involvement.
Netanyahu laid ultimate responsibility for the kidnapping at Abbas’ feet: ‘Instead of abiding by his international obligation to disarm Hamas, President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner’.
This is a reference to the recent unification deal between Hamas and the Fatah dominated PA.
Fatah and Hamas splintered in the wake of the Oslo Peace Accords which saw the PA formed. Fatah renounced armed conflicted and Hamas did not.
Earlier this year the two signed a deal to hold an election and form a unity government in late 2014. This was met with outrage from Israel.
This took place against the backdrop of unsuccessful U.S. peace negotiations.
Israel filibustered the negotiations with unreasonable demands about the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
By 26th June, a reported 566 people had been detained, 6 were shot dead, 120 wounded, 2 elderly people died of heart attacks during IDF raids and more than 1,200 homes were searched.
It is worth noting that Israel breached the terms of the Oslo Accords on 26th June when they raided West Bank areas in the Accords’ Area A. Israeli entry to these areas, the Accords stipulated, was to be done in coordination with the PA Security Service. There was no collaboration.
On the 30th June, the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found in a shallow grave near Hebron.
Just after midnight, the IDF used explosives to demolish the homes of their two main suspects.
The next day (July 1st) a joint funeral was held for the boys. Israeli helicopters and jets struck 34 locations in Gaza in response to a reported 20 rockets being fired at Israel. A 19 year old Palestinian was shot dead in a raid.
On 2nd July a Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and murdered in a revenge killing and Israeli nationalists were arrested for it.
On 3rd of July Israel conducted 15 air strikes in Gaza in response to rockets being fired at Israel during the night.
On 7th July the IDF called up 1,500 reserves.
On 8th July 2014 Operation Protective Edge was launched. The aerial assault on Palestine on the 8th July claimed 23 Palestinian lives, two of which were children under five. 122 Injuries were reported. Rocket fire – Hamas openly claimed responsibility for rocket fire, as did the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine – caused a reported 10 million NIS of property damage in Israel.
By 9th July, the IDF had hit 435 sites with air strikes and 235 rockets had been fired from Gaza.
A mother and her children were killed in an air strike on gaza.
The Palestinian death toll rose to 43. Abbas described the operation as a ‘genocide’.
By the end of day three (10th July), Israel announced that 442 rockets had been fired at Israel since the operation began, causing injuries to 123 people. One injury was serious, 21 were moderate or light, and 101 were from shock.
Israel had carried out almost 900 air strikes on Gaza by this point, killing a reported 90 Palestinians.
11th July: 235 targets struck in Gaza, causing 23 deaths. 137 rockets were fired towards Israel resulting in zero deaths.
12th July: Israel struck 180 targets causing 51 deaths. 125 rockets were fired towards Israel resulting in zero deaths.
13th July: 173 targets struck in Gaza, 13 deaths. 130 rockets fired towards Israel, zero deaths.
On the 14th July an Egyptian ceasefire was reported as being in the works and due to take effect at 9am the next day.
Israel accepted the ceasefire but Hamas rejected it. They said they were not consulted, and that the terms of the ceasefire amounted to little more than a surrender. Sami Abu Zhuri, spokesman for Hamas, is quoted saying, “we are a people under occupation and resistance is a legitimate right for occupied peoples”. Ziad al-Nakhalah, the Deputy secretary-general of Hamas is quoted saying there could be no ceasefire without guarantees of an end to Israeli aggression and an end to the Gaza blockade.
Netanyahu fired his Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon on the night of the 15th for saying that Hamas humiliated Israel.
Israel also suffered its first casualty on the 15th when an Israeli man was hit with a mortar shell.
During the first eight days of Operation Protective Edge, Israel hit 1,603 targets in Gaza resulting in 194 deaths. 1,147 rockets were launched at Israel, resulting in 1 death.
At midnight on 15/16th July, Netanyahu vowed to intensify and expand Israeli strikes on Gaza.
The number of deaths in Gaza passed 200.
16th July Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10 year truce with Israel based on ten demands:
-IDF moving tanks away from Gaza’s border fence so farmers can access and tend their fields
– Israel must free all Palestinian prisoners detained during Operation Brother’s Keeper including those who were freed as part of Gilad Shalit prisoner swap
– Israel end the Gaza blockade
– The opening of a UN-ran seaport and airport in Gaza
– An increase in the size of the Gaza fishing zone
– The Rafah crossing be monitored by international crews
– Gaza airspace must be closed to Israeli aircrafts
– Gaza residents must be free to visit Jerusalem to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque
– Israel abstain from intervention in Palestinian internal affairs
– The Gaza industrial zone be re-established
Later that day, four children playing football on a beach in Gaza were killed by shells fired from an Israeli boat offshore.
17th July: a five hour humanitarian ceasefire was proposed by the UN and accepted by both sides.
Five hours prior to the ceasefire taking effect, 13 armed Hamas militants were spotted emerging from a Gazan tunnel on the Israeli side of the border.
Two hours into this three rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza with no casualties.
At 10:30 P.M. on 17th July 2014 Israel launched a full ground invasion of Gaza.
18th July: David Cameron spoke out in ‘staunch support’ of Israel. France became the first country to ban pro-Palestine demonstrations.