Tensions rise between Israel and Syria

Tensions have escalated between Israel, Jordan, and Syria, as the fallout of the Israel Defense Force's (IDF) storming of the al-Aqsa mosque continues to unfold.

On April 6, the IDF and Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque, claiming that "agitators" had holed themselves inside the mosque. The police were met with fireworks and other projectiles, and after the mosque had been cleared, over 300 people were arrested or removed from the area. A few hours later, the police stormed the mosque a second time, removing what they claimed were further agitators, and refusing to allow people to enter the mosque.

The al-Aqsa mosque is an incredibly important site to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As such, it remains a flashpoint for conflict between the country’s sizable Muslim and Jewish populations.

The storming of al-Aqsa during Ramadan led to widespread condemnation from Arabic countries in the region. Egypt and Jordan were the loudest voices condemning Israel for its actions, with Jordan floating the possibility of calling a special meeting of the Arab League, a multinational coalition of countries meant to promote unity among Arab countries, which also has a history of anti-Israeli aggression and policies. These developments from Israel’s neighbors are part of a larger pattern of tense policy between the country and other nations on or near its borders, especially after the election and policies of right-wing hardliner, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hamas, the current governing party of Gaza, as well as an internationally-designated terror organization, also released a statement condemning the storming of al-Aqsa. Shortly after the statement was released, 10 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, none of which caused any casualties. The IDF responded with a missile attack on Hamas manufacturing and storage centers in the Gaza Strip.

This was followed by a rocket attack, numbering 34 missiles, launched from Lebanon into Israel. Allegedly, the rockets were fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian militant/terror organization, and not by Lebanon-based Hezbollah. The rocket attack on Lebanon also prompted Israeli response, and the country traded missile launches against Lebanon. This is another step on the escalation against various Palestinian organizations that have taken increasingly hostile actions against Israel, as the country faces one of the deadliest years on record.

Following the response to Lebanon, Israel faced further rocket launches from Syria, three aimed at Israeli occupied Golan Heights, and three more aimed at North Israel.

Israel’s response was further rocket attacks on Syria and Iranian operators in Syria, killing two Iranian military advisors, and putting two airports in the country out of operation. Israel considers Iran to be the greatest threat to the country in the region, referring to the calls for the destruction of Israel that Iran propagates, as well as the support for terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas who have the genocide of Israeli Jews as tenets of their charters. Iran has also been funding and helping Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in the Syrian Civil War, a regime that has hosted Palestinian organizations, served as the base of operations for Iranian operations against Israel, and is responsible for chemical weapon attacks. This new set of attacks were targeted towards Palestinian organizations operating out of Syria, as well as material holdings of the Syria military. Israel has faced little to no damage from the attacks thanks to its Iron Dome program designed to shoot down missiles before they hit important regions in the country.

Considering the severity of these attacks, now including Lebanon, Israel, and Syria, as well as occupied Palestinian regions, the conflict seems to be rising to new heights. Jordan’s desire for a meeting of the Arab League may inform how the countries will act in the future.