Mediators were expected to reconvene in Cairo yesterday (Sunday) and search for a formula acceptable to Israel and Hamas for a truce in Gaza and a hostage release deal, after foreign governments resorted to airdrops of food and medicines to relieve two million desperate civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli and Hamas delegations were expected to arrive in Cairo on Sunday, also.

Hopes for the first pause in fighting since November rose last week following a previous round of talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt in Doha, and cautious indications from US President Joe Biden that an agreement was close.

The Israel Defence Force’s official estimate for the number of Hamas militants so far killed in the assault on Gaza is 12,000. The Hamas-run health ministry has given the precise total figures of 30,035 Palestinians dead and 70,457 injured in the attacks that started in October last year.

There has also been a grinding humanitarian crisis heightened after Israel cut off food, water, electricity, and fuel supplies to Gaza in the early days of the onslaught.

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.

The surprised attack was met with Israeli retaliatory strikes, and Israel formally declared war on Hamas a day later.

The United Nations reports that well over one million Palestinians, nearly half of the population of Gaza, have been internally displaced following the invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces.

The conflict in Gaza has proved a big moral failure and a very bad testimonial for many of the G-7 countries, especially the United States, who have participated by way of strategic support in the Israeli invasion of Gaza or looked the other way while thousands of innocent children, women, the aged and the infirm were subjected to the horrors of bombing, starvation and death.

Politics watchers say this will have a grave impact on generations in Gaza and around the world, regarding their perceptions of and response to the values of morality, sincerity, trust, credibility and loyalty in international relations and politics as practiced by global powers, especially the G-7.

The dilemma is not helped by the cross-play of international and local power blocs supporting one party or the other and often overlooking equity, fairness, and the suffering and death of innocents.

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At least, 44 countries have denounced Hamas and labelled its conduct as terrorism, while countries across the Middle East called for de-escalation and have attributed the root cause to Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Many Arab states called for de-escalation. Iran, which reportedly assisted Hamas with planning the attack, threatened Israel to immediately stop the war on Gaza.

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

Reports analysing satellite images indicate that about 29,000 bombs dropped by Israel on the Gaza strip have targeted residential areas, Byzantine churches, hospitals and shopping malls, and all civilian infrastructure have been damaged to an extent that they cannot be repaired.

Activists say the Israeli government’s decision to cut power, water and fuel supply to the enclave amounts to collective punishment of its entire population of 2.3 million people and violates international laws.

“We uphold the laws of war,” said the the President of the US, a staunch supporter of Israel.

But what, precisely, are the laws of war? And are they being upheld?

The laws of war forbid collective punishment of a population. At their most basic level, they say warring parties must distinguish between combatants and civilians and preserve civilian infrastructure, such as homes, schools and hospitals.

While the Hamas attack on Israel and the killings and kidnapping of Israeli citizens cannot be justified, much of the the response from Israel would appear disproportionate and contrary to international conventions.

It would also appear that these actions could cause more harm than good by sowing the seeds of anger, bitterness and enmity in the hearts of young survivors and some sympathetic distant obervers across the world.

It would also appear that some of the larger and more influential groups in the committee of nations have failed to apply their voices to the relief of innocents, especially children, women, the aged and the infirm, caught up in the merciless assault on Gaza.

The G-7 nations and other influence groups need to act now to stop the war, suffering and carnage in Gaza.