War can be fairly defined as a breakdown of diplomacy. Diplomacy often breaks down for lack of consideration by one or both sides, and consideration can break down when one side feels maligned or abjectly marginalized and also when one side has overwhelming advantage, especially militarily.

The Israel/Palestine relationship and conflict is delicate, thorny and difficult, given the small land space that the parties have to contend with, their historical and ideological differences and the awkward terms and trends of their co-habitation.

The points of contention between the states of Israel and Palestine have to do with the right to sovereignty and security, as well as access to oil, gas, and water.

Israel is concerned and feels threatened by the commonality of idealogy among its several neighbouring states, the Arabs, and their history of conflict with the Jews (Israelis) which date back into the antiquity of Biblical times.

For their part, the state of Palestine and its affiliated Arab neighbours feel threatened by Israel’s expansionist tendencies and purported land grabbing.

They are further made uncomfortable by Israel’s policy of constricting the movement and liberty of Palestinians, especially in their pursuit of economic sustainance.

Perhaps their biggest concern is the fact that the United States and much of the western nations have made a policy of throwing their, political, diplomatic and military might behind Israel, purportedly without recourse to equity and fairness.

The ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas started with a coordinated surprise offensive on Israel on Saturday, October 7, 2023. The attack began with a rocket barrage of at least 3,000 rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip against Israel.

Approximately 2,500 Palestinian militants breached the Gaza–Israel barrier, attacking military bases and massacring civilians in neighbouring Israeli communities. At least 1,400 Israelis were killed, including 260 people who were massacred at a music festival.

Unarmed civilian hostages and captured Israeli soldiers were taken to the Gaza Strip, including women and children.

Israel formally declared war on Hamas a day later.

Israel began clearing Hamas forces from affected areas and conducting airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which have so far killed over 9,448 Palestinians, more than 3,500 of them being children. There have also been 22,000 Palestinians wounded.

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So far, more than 1.4m Palestinians, more than half of the population of Gaza, have been internally displaced.

While reprisal attacks by Israel against Hamas would be justified, questions surround the intensity and targets of some of their bombardments.

Israel has been reportedly bombing hospitals, schools, residential areas and the routes that fleeing Palestinian refugees must take in their escape bid.

Some military historians say that Israel is acting in compliance with its old policy of taking ten Palestinian lives for every Israeli life lost in a fray between both sides.

If this is so, it would mean Israel is targeting 14,000 Palestinian lives.

There are spiralling protests by people of conscience and good faith in cities around the world. These include Washington, London, Milan, Berlin and Paris, where the crowds are growing from tens to hundreds to thousands to hundreds of thousands.

Sadly, many of the governments that represent these same people are foot dragging.

Israel has refused entreaties from several nations for a cease fire and is slow to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

The US, the avowed morality leader of the wold, has refused to ask Israel to effect a ceasefire and is rather pressing for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.

Israel is paying little heed and is continuing to snuff out life from children, women, the aged, the infirm and other innocents, in its bombing raids, while the besieged enclave remains under blockade.

The conduct of many western governments in this matter has been most costly in terms of the loss of life, limb, morality and trust in Gaza and beyond.

It may further throw up the need for an interrogation of political and other alignments among nations going forward.