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The G7 and the Israel-Hamas War

Peter I. Hajnal, G7 Research Group
October 27, 2023

The G7 has addressed global and regional security issues since its early years. It is odd, therefore, that the G7 took its time to express itself on the Israel-Hamas war that was sparked by the brutal attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023, and the subsequent siege of Gaza by Israeli forces, which has caused loss of lives, massive population dislocation and lack of access to necessities for more than a million Gaza Palestinians.

As of late October, the G7 has not called a special meeting of leaders, either in person or virtually, to discuss this crisis, at least not in a publicly available manner. This is in sharp contrast with the immediate, robust G7 reaction to the Ukrainian crisis.

Lower echelons of the G7 have reacted to the crisis. At their meeting in Marrakesh on October 12, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors "unequivocally condemn[ed] the recent terror attacks by Hamas on the State of Israel and express[ed their] solidarity with the Israeli people."

The Kyodo news agency reported that on October 17 the G7 foreign ministers had "agreed … that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip must be improved." During telephone conversations the ministers "firmly condemned Hamas for its 'terrorist attack' on Israel earlier this month". Japan promised to "provide $10 million in aid for civilians in Gaza." Kyodo also noted that "five G7 members — the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy — issued a joint statement expressing 'steadfast and united support' for Israel and 'unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.'" Why not the other two G7 members, Canada and Japan?

And why the leaders' delay or hesitancy to take a joint G7 position on this crisis? Because of geopolitical considerations? Concern of alienating crucial economic or political partners? Abundance of caution on the part of Japan's 2023 G7 presidency?  The G7 should be urged to provide answers and take a firm stand on this major crisis, as it has in the past on major security issues.

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