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 infront the outline of burning buildings with smoke and flames coming off them
Mei | Better World Info

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

The current war between Israel and Hamas began in October 2023. However, tensions had been building between the two militaries for many years. But until this time civilians were enjoying a period of relative respite.

On October 7th Israel was shaken as the radical Islamist military organisation Hamas, officially known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, carried out a large-scale terrorist attack against Israel. About 1,140 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 28,000 Palestinian lives have been lost. As of January 2024 the following numbers of deceased have been recorded since the start of the war:  

  • 12,500 children 

  • 6,700 women

  • 300 aid workers and medical personnel

  • 80 journalists and media workers


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 85% of the people living there are now internally displaced.

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.

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 and analysis of the pro-Palestine BDS movement.

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.

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 are providing military aid to Israel.

Learn more about Netanyahu government accountability, speculation on Israel's endgame in Gaza, and the Israel Defense Forces.


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

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

Discover over 10,000 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.

Please share this unique resource via TwitterFacebook 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 11.02.24.

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

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