Poster calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. In the bottom left an Israel woman and a Palestinian woman hold hands in the air. There is a Palestinian flag which fills the background and in front the outline of burning black buildings with grey smoke and flames coming off them.
Mei | Better World Info

➡️  ISRAEL-HAMAS War 2023 – Essential Guide to Israel's War on Gaza

Discover over 18,000 resources on the latest developments in the Israel-Hames war. We demand an end to the suffering and call for ceasefire, diplomacy, and disarmament. Find special categories  on the military and arms embargo, weapons exports to Israel, and how the U.S. funds the Israeli military.

The current war between Israel and Hamas began in October 2023. Tensions have been building between the two militaries for many years. Until recent years, civilians were enjoying a period of relative respite.

On October 7th 2023 Israel was shaken as the radical Islamist military organisation Hamas, officially known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, carried out a large-scale military attack against Israel. 1,139 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives - it was the deadliest attack against Jews since the Holocaust. The strikes took Israel completely by surprise and left them largely defenseless.

Israel's retaliation led to the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists. The Gaza Strip was completely sealed off, and rocket air strikes were fired relentlessly, and indiscriminately. To date, well over 38,000 Palestinian lives have been lost by direct strikes alone, 72% were women & children and 90% were civilians (CommonDreams). As of April 2024 the following numbers of deceased have been recorded since the start of the war (Wikipedia):

  • 15,000 children 

  • 10,000 women

  • 685 aid workers and medical personnel

  • 108 journalists and media workers

Israels latest ground offensive, the invasion of Rafah, Gaza's southernmost city, forcefully displaced one million people and has received widespread international condemnation. Declared as the last Hamas stronghold by Israel, this city is spilling over with displaced Palestinians, the majority of which are living in tents. Evacuation of civilians is simply impossible, and an Israeli invasion here will result in certain disaster.


Damage from an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal area in Gaza City on 9 October 2023. Gry destroyed buildings lie under a blue sky.
Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages | CC BY-SA 3.0

What is the Humanitarian Situation like in Gaza?

Civilians in the Gaza Strip are suffering unimaginable atrocities. The 2 million people residing there are being punished for the actions of Hamas. Isolation and the brutal air raids have left them without shelter, clean water, electricity, food, and medical assistance. Many hospitals, schools and relief centres have been attacked directly by the Israeli army. 70% of the houses in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed and 90% of the people living there - that is 1,9 million people - are now internally displaced. Half of Gaza's population are children under 18 years of age.

The blockade of humanitarian aid and relentless airstrikes have resulted in starvation and famine amongst remaining civilians. The use of starvation as a method of warfare constitutes a warcrime. 2.2 million people in Gaza are now experiencing food insecurity at an emergency level. 

Vast numbers of Palestinians in Gaza have fled south as the Israeli army attempts to free the remaining Israeli hostages, and to finish their assault on Hamas with a huge ground offensive. The Gaza Strip looks yet again to be the centre of a long and bloody battle achieving little more than suffering and despair on both sides. Negotiations, de-escalation, and peaceful coexistence are once again a forgotten option between the two military minded groups.

What are the Medical Implications of the War in Gaza?

Regarding the catastrophic humanitarian and medical situation in Gaza see Dr. Mads Gilbert and Susan Abulhawa on Instagram and the recent Lancet article estimating that about 186,000 deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza, which equals 7.9% of the total population of the Gaza strip!

The numbers being represented in the media of the death and dying in Gaza are vastly underestimated. Currently the UNOCHA is the main source of information however these statistics only cover those who came to a hospital and were able to be identified.

30 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals have been destroyed or forced to close. Those that are open do not have the resources, electricity, sanitation, or medical supplies to treat people even with the simplest of illnesses or injuries.

The official numbers do not include the thousands of missing people, those buried by their families, and the tens of thousands who were buried under the rubble of their own homes and shelters. The Palestinian Health Information System was destroyed by Israel making accurate numbers even harder to find.

The main causes of death now are not due to Israeli bombing campaigns but rather starvation, dehydration, and disease. 95% of people have been left with no access to clean water. The destruction of the sewage system has resulted in the contamination of water supplies. Diseases are being spread by flies, mosquitos, and rats who are thriving as mountains of garbage piles high.

People are dying every day from common diseases such as hepatitis, diarrhea, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension etc. There have been 50,000 children born in Gaza since the start of the war, 25% of new mothers are at high risk of death due to inadequate healthcare and sanitation.

Common surgeries are not possible and mental health support is unavailable. Small illnesses have become a death sentence.

If we total all of this excess mortality, the number of deaths is estimated to be somewhere between 193,000 – 514,000. Shame on the world who look on and turn away. Shame on those who support the ongoing carnage and misery. We ask, what are the ICJ and the ICC waiting for?


Cardiff Solidarity for Palestine protest, November 2023. Protesters line the streets of Cardiff waving Palstinian flag
OwenBlacker | CC0 1.0 DEED

How is the World Reacting to the Actions of Israel?

So far, no official call for ceasefire has been made, neither any serious proposals for diplomatic solutions or peace talks. Nations so far have merely offered their expressions of condolence and warned both sides to operate with restraint. The situation however has already escalated far beyond what anyone could have imagined. The U.S. has expressed their ongoing military support for Israel and views their response to the Hamas attack as justified.

Support for Palestinians has been demonstrated worldwide in a series of huge protests demanding ceasefire and condemning Israels attacks. We highlight voices for peace and de-escalation, and provide a detailed guide to the pro-Palestine BDS movement and the arms embargo against Israel.

Genocide accusations and war crimes from both sides are being deplored by many leaders, NGOs, and the peace movement. South Africa's ICJ genocide case against Israel began 11 January 2024 and has received support from many countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, Colombia, and Brazil, as well as scores of advocacy groups and civil society groups worldwide.

The ICJ ruling on January 26 stated that Israel must take all measures to protect civilians and avoid genocide, but it fell short of ordering a ceasefire. The ruling is a win for justice and the rule of law but still allows Israel to continue their military operations in Gaza.

After rejecting this genocide charge, PM Netanyahu has continued with the bombardment and blockade of Gaza. After realising that the ICJ could take years to reach final ruling, the UN Security Council in March finally passed a resolution which calls for an immediate ceasefire, and a release of any remaining captives. 

In February 2024 the ICJ began hearing evidence against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. Separate from the genocide case, 52 countries, the largest number to take part in an ICJ case, will present arguments on Israels controversial policies in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Occupied East Jerusalem. - The courts ruling will not bind the UN Security Council or Israel, however it is hoped that the heavy weight of the ICJ will put pressure on Israel and its allies to conform to international law and impede genocide.

The United States provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid every year, and the bombs and military equipment that are destroying Gaza are made in America. President Biden fails repeatedly to stop Netanyahu. In addition the UK, Germany and Canada continue to provide military aid to Israel.

Learn more about arms exports to Israel, Netanyahu government accountability, and the Israel Defense Forces.

As instability in the region spreads, military involvement from Iran and Lebanon has escalated the nuclear risk and has turned the risk of a wider war into a reality.

Where can I get Background Information on the Israel-Gaza War?

Discover over 20,000 resources on the historical conflict between Israel and Palestine in our detailed guides to settler atrocities in the West Bankhuman rights abusespeace efforts over the years, the economic impacts of the current war, Houthi involvement, important quality news sources, and warnings about media bias and censorship.

Find insight into Israel's end game in Gaza, their increasing use of AI and high-tech weaponry, and Israel's relationship with the ICC regarding war crimes.

Please share this unique resource via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! - German speakers should visit our partner site Bessere Welt Info for further insight into the Hamas-Israel Krieg from a European perspective. - Expert input is welcome!

Author: Maximilian Stark 16.10.23, licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0. Translated and edited by Rachael Mellor 17.10.23, Updated 19.07.24.

For more information of the Hamas-Israel War see below ⬇️

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