Israel/Palestine

Since 2002, Crisis Group has been working to advance a new, inclusive peacemaking model for Israelis and Palestinians and to reduce the likelihood of deadly conflict among Palestinians and between Israel and its neighbours. But with every escalation, Israeli-Palestinian peace seems more remote than ever.

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CrisisWatch Israel/Palestine

Deteriorated Situation

Resolution Opportunity

Israel intensified assault on southern Gaza amid widespread starvation and disease, as momentum built toward possible ceasefire; West Bank braced for further turmoil and risk of wider conflict with Hizbollah loomed.

War approached fifth month. Israel’s assault on Gaza, which passed its 100th day, displaced 85% of population and killed over 27,000 Palestinians; Israeli soldier death toll reached 218 as of 30 Jan, with 22 Jan marking Israel’s deadliest single day of war. Israel stepped up bombardment in Khan Younis city, including zones it declared “safe”, and indicated plans to expand operations to Rafah, which hosts huge proportion of 2mn displaced. Israel also signalled intent to control Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt, fuelling tensions with Cairo who warned of “serious threat” to relations and raising risk of mass casualties or mass expulsion. Hamas continued ambush attacks and rocket fire, as reports late Jan suggested group had reconstituted in northern Gaza. Amid collapsing and besieged health services, starvation risks rose: after U.S. and other states suspended funding to relief organisation UNRWA, following allegations of staff involvement in 7 Oct attacks, UN special rapporteur on right to food 28 Jan said “famine is now inevitable”.

Hamas mulled latest ceasefire proposal; Israeli cabinet grew divided. Amid talks in Paris, Hamas 30 Jan said it was considering new ceasefire and hostage release proposal, signalling some diplomatic progress and fuelling hope of possible multi-stage truce. Public and international pressure mounted as Israel appeared no closer to achieving its two main objectives – destroying Hamas and liberating hostages – and war cabinet grew visibly conflicted over path forward: PM Netanyahu 18 Jan rejected two-state solution, openly contradicting Washington. International Court of Justice 26 Jan found it plausible Israel’s acts amount to genocide and ordered Israel to prevent committing/inciting genocide acts. 

Violence in West Bank continued. Israeli forces and settlers have killed 370 Palestinians since 7 Oct; Israeli air strike 7 Jan killed seven Palestinians in Jenin. Reports mid Jan indicated Israeli security agency Shin Bet had warned Palestinian Authority at risk of financial collapse and territory on brink of explosion of violence.

Israel-Hizbollah hostilities continued. Risk of expanded conflict on northern front grew (see Lebanon).

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In The News

25 jan 2024
What is really needed to save innocent lives [in Gaza] is an immediate ceasefire. Arab News

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
19 jan 2024
There is no lack of support for the war [in Israel] but it is increasingly clear that the release of the hostages is in conflict with other goals. The Guardian

Mairav Zonszein

Senior Analyst, Israel
12 jan 2024
It was completely foreseeable that the longer the Gaza war drags on, the higher the risks of escalation and regional conflagration. Reuters

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
5 jan 2024
The Israeli military is presenting their plan [on the future governance of Gaza] for the politicians to consider. It’s a recipe for disaster. The Guardian

Mairav Zonszein

Senior Analyst, Israel
3 jan 2024
Israel and Hezbollah have pursued a new dynamic of tit-for-tat retaliation – launching strikes against each other below the threshold of triggering an all-out war. The New Arab

David Wood

Senior Analyst, Lebanon
1 jan 2024
[The] Houthis wanted to send a message: We are the group that is most committed to Gaza, not just in words but in action. CNN

Ahmed Nagi

Senior Analyst, Yemen

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Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
Joost Hiltermann

Tahani Mustafa

Senior Analyst, Palestine

Mairav Zonszein

Senior Analyst, Israel
Mairav Zonszein

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