Since 2007, Gaza is governed by Hamas, a Palestinian Sunni Islamic Organisation, after it won a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections, defeating Fatah. Hamas was founded in 1987, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood with an aim to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic State in the area that is now Israel, West Bank and Gaza strip. But following its over-whelming victory, the militants intensified their operations. The de- facto ruling party of Gaza was not acceptable to Israel because Hamas (designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel and a number of Western and non-Western countries) was strongly opposed to it.
Israel imposed economic sanctions against Gaza
Following victory of Hamas in 2006 elections, US, UN, Russia and European Union imposed conditions on the assistance received by it and asked the Hamas Government to recognise the State of Israel, and also accept the previous agreements. But, when Hamas declined the proposal, they suspended its foreign assistance program. Also, citing increasing belligerence of Hamas in the area, Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade, controlling the flow of essentials. Exports of produce were banned and electricity supply also cut. These developments sent Gaza into poverty, making it largely dependent on international aid.
Angered at the blockade and Israeli attempts to destroy it, Hamas started firing rockets at Israel regularly. The Israelis retaliated and attacked Gaza escalating the tension in the area.
Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza
After Gaza war that broke out in 2008, Hamas continued to govern the Gaza strip and Israel maintained its economic blockade. After 2012 attack, a ceasefire was in place between Hamas and Israel.
On May 4, 2011, Hamas and Fatah, two major faction of Palestian, announced a reconcillation agreement ending eight years of conflict and formed a Unity Government, which paved paving way for joint care taker Government before parliamentary elections.
Israel saw the unity between the two major factions as a threat.
The on-going tussle
On 12 June 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by West Bank Palestinian family. Israel claimed that Hamas has hand into the killings but Hamas refuted it. As a part of operation, Israeli military killed 5 to 10 Palestinians and arrested between 350 to 600 people, say reports. Key leaders from West Bank were also detained to pressurize Hamas. The increased tensions soon escalated and full military operation began on July 8. Hamas responded with rockets with Israel striking back.
So far, more than 800 Palestinian, mostly civilians and 36 Israelis have been killed since the attacks began on July 8. According to UN, Israeli air strike killed 68 more people in Gaza on Friday, bringing the total number of Palestinians died to 870.