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.
Israel’s campaign in Gaza in response to Hamas’s 7 October 2023 attacks still overshadows Middle East politics, with the spectre of wider war or other regional instability ever present even as ceasefire talks appear to be making progress. Crisis Group experts offer a 360-degree view.
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).
The longer the war in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of even further spillover of the war into other regional theaters.
Prior advance warnings are a feasible precaution to minimize harm to civilians [in Rafah] … but it doesn’t absolve Israel of its legal obligations.
Younger generations [of Palestinians] … have been swayed towards armed resistance because they feel like conciliatory politics or diplomacy doesn't work with Israel.
[The] Houthis wanted to send a message: We are the group that is most committed to Gaza, not just in words but in action.
What is really needed to save innocent lives [in Gaza] is an immediate ceasefire.
You have this weird situation [in Israel] where nobody trusts Netanyahu but everybody believes in this war.
In this video, Senior Palestine Analyst Tahani Mustafa talks about the increase of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank since the 7th of October.
While a step forward in some ways such as congressional reporting requirements, the policy memorandum’s loopholes and limitations will only create additional processes and maintain the status quo.
Joe Biden's pressure on Israel must go beyond stern words and leaked angry conversations.
Following Israel’s allegations that staff of the UN agency serving Palestinian refugees participated in the 7 October 2023 attack, several capitals paused or threatened to suspend their funding. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Daniel Forti explains why it is vital that they reverse course.
Originally published in Just Security.
The Israeli military campaign in Gaza following Hamas’s attack on Israel is taking an unacceptably high toll. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2024, Crisis Group urges the EU to call for a ceasefire and address the humanitarian emergency in the strip.
A political crisis has gripped Israel as its Gaza campaign grinds on with no end in sight. Not only are more than 100 Israelis still captives of Hamas, but many feel held hostage by their own failed leadership.
The Conflict Has Empowered Tehran—but Also Fueled Its Sense of Vulnerability
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