World Leaders Reflect Six Months After Israel-Hamas Conflict Began

On Oct. 7, Hamas militants launched rockets from Gaza, killing dozens, most civilians, and taking more than 250 hostage, igniting a devastating war.

In the six months since then, Israel responded by invading and bombarding Gaza, killing a reported thousands, a majority women and children, according to reports. Israel’s attacks and control of humanitarian aid into the territory have now, according to reports, pushed Gaza to the brink of famine.

The crisis has prompted protests and legal challenges—including a case at the U.N.’s highest court in which judges issued an interim order in January accusing Israel of committing acts of genocide. Israel strongly rejects the claim.

Israel’s allies have increased their criticism and pressure on the country to protect civilians, especially after the Israeli military fired missiles that killed six foreign nationals working with the NGO World Central Kitchen on April 2 in what the military called a “grave mistake.”

After the deaths, President Joe Biden gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a warning to take immediate actions to protect civilians and allow food aid into Gaza or the U.S. will change its military campaign support (the U.S. provides billions of dollars a year in military aid). Israel then opened new aid routes into Gaza.

At home, Netanyahufaced protests calling for a hostage deal from families of the remaining 134 hostages, 34 believed to be dead, with some joining anti-government protesters to push for him to step down.

The Israeli leader and his spokespeople have said they aim to defend Israel and defeating Hamas. Israel and Hamas are reportedly engaging in negotiations on a deal through mediators.

Now that the war has reached its six-month mark on April 7, here’s what world leaders are saying.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted “Today marks six months since the terrorist outrage of 7th October. — Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak)”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement, formerly Twitter, that six months ago was a “dark day” when Hamas attacked Israel, killing and kidnapping hostages, “out of hatred.” She vowed to “not tire in our efforts to bring them all home to their loved ones in Israel.”

“Six months ago today was a dark day. Hamas terrorists attacked Israel. They abused, raped and murdered innocent children, women & men with unimaginably brutal violence – out of hatred against Jews & out of hatred against all people living in .” 1/3 — GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo)

The Foreign Ministry of Jordan, which can be translated to English by the social media platform, on Sunday. The statement said that two of its ministers focused on Palestinian affairs met to discuss “stressing the necessity” of stopping Israel’s war in Gaza “and the necessity of Israel’s compliance with the rules of international law and international humanitarian law: ensuring the protection of civilians, and allowing the entry of adequate and sustainable humanitarian aid to all parts of the sector.”

U.K. Foreign Minister David Cameron released a statement on Sunday demanding that Hamas release hostages, including two British nationals—”every one of them, right now.”

Parents, children and loved ones. Students and festival goers. Construction workers. Six months on from Hamas’s horrific attack on the Israeli people, our call to send all of the hostages home renews. — Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK)

In an opinion piece, Cameron wrote that “Israel has a right to self-defense that we should support. Of course our backing is not unconditional: we expect such a proud and successful democracy to abide by international humanitarian law, even when challenged in this way.” He stressed the need for Israel to facilitate more humanitarian aid into Gaza and advocated for a temporary ceasefire.

“I desperately want this conflict to end, and for the people of Israel and the people of Gaza to be able to live their lives in peace and security. We must all continue to work towards this aim, but I believe that failing to prepare for continued conflict will lead to further suffering and avoidable loss of innocent lives. The U.K. stands ready to play its part,” he said.

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday that “of course Israel has made mistakes, and has made big mistakes, and we should hold them to account for that, but we are holding them to a very high standard,” when asked about efforts to pressure the U.K. to suspend arms sales to Israel.

U.N. Secretary General Guterres acknowledged the six-month anniversary of the attack in a video message on April 5: “I mourn with Israelis for the 1,200 people, including many women and children, killed in cold blood.”

In a video message on Sunday, the U.N.’s leader Guterres said Oct. 7 “is a day of pain for Israel and the world. Nothing can justify the horror unleashed by Hamas. I once again condemn the use of sexual violence, torture and kidnapping of civilians, and call for the unconditional release of all the hostages.”

Guterres has also continually called on April 5 that “nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”