IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th May, 2023 International Relations

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  • Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who arrived in India on a three-day visit, is flying back to Tel Aviv within hours, cutting short his trip. The sudden change in his plan has been forced by developments in Gaza.

Operation Shield and Arrow

  • Air strikes by Israel in the Gaza strip have killed 13 Palestinians. including commanders of the militant group Islamic Jihad.
  • This is perhaps the single deadliest Israeli attack in Palestinian territory over the last year of heightened tensions between the two sides.
  • Israel has conducted strikes in Gaza, a stronghold of Hamas, in response to a barrage of rocket fire from the Strip.


  • The Gaza Strip is densely populated, crammed with about 2 million Palestinians.
  • It shares a border with Egypt to the south.
  • The Hamas-ruled territory has been blockaded by Israel for nearly 15 years.
  • The far bigger West Bank is on Israel’s eastern border, along the bank of the Jordan river.

About Islamic Jihad

  • Formally known as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group was established in 1981 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Sunni Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Its two founders, both Palestinian members of the Brotherhood, broke away from it believing it was too moderate, and created Islamic Jihad as a militant group focussed only on the liberation of Palestine

Different from Hamas

  • Unlike Hamas, which has a civilian political wing that has contested elections and governs Gaza, Islamic Jihad has no political wing, and is not interested in politics or a two-state solution.
  • The declared goal of Islamic Jihad is to militarily liquidate Israel and establish an Islamic republic in the territory of Palestine as it existed before 1948, when Israel was created.


  • Even though it is a Sunni group, the Islamic Jihad has strong links to Shia Iran.
  • It is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and Damascus, Syria, and is said to receive funding from Iran, and to maintain close ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

Possible consequences of the current tussle

  • Islamic Jihad, which has the highest number of fighters in Gaza after Hamas, has sworn revenge for the Israeli strikes.
  • Tensions could escalate more significantly if Hamas decides to back the Islamic Jihad.
  • A strong cycle of violence in the region could follow.


India Israel relations: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/india-israel-relations-9

Israel Palestine Conflict: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/israel-palestine-conflict-15-9


Q) Operation Shield and Arrow by Israel could start a strong cycle of violence in the region. Comment. (150 words)