On November 29, 2023, the Group of Seven (G7) nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, along with the High Representative of the European Union, extended their support for the ongoing humanitarian pause in the conflict between the Israeli Army and the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip. The purpose of this extension is to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and expedite the release of hostages.
Humanitarian Aid and Hostage Release
The truce, which brought much-needed respite to Gaza after seven weeks of bombardment, has resulted in significant destruction and loss of life, with over 15,000 casualties. The G7 statement welcomed the recent release of some hostages taken on October 7 by Palestinian militants and urged immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages. The statement further emphasized the importance of protecting civilians and adherence to international law.
G7's Stance on Maritime Security
Concerns regarding maritime security were also highlighted in the G7 statement, referencing recent Houthi rebel attacks and the seizure of Galaxy Leader, a Japanese ship, in the Red Sea. The G7 demanded the release of the vessel and its crew, cautioning against further escalation of the conflict and urging Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis to cease threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels.
The Role of the United States, Qatar, and Egypt
The G7 commended the leadership roles of the United States, Qatar, and Egypt in securing the current and future pauses. Their relentless efforts, coupled with the significant contributions of the UN in coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid during the truce, were appreciated. This recognition followed the release of ten Israeli and two Thai hostages by Hamas, marking the fifth day of the hostage exchange agreement parallel to the temporary ceasefire. In return, Israel released 15 women and 15 children from its prisons.
U.S. Commitment to Gaza's Humanitarian Needs
Furthering the humanitarian cause, a U.S. military plane arrived in Egypt with aid for Gaza civilians. This marked the first U.S. military flight carrying food, medical supplies, and winter equipment since the conflict began, following the October 7 attacks by the terrorist group against Israel. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to the White House, stated the U.S.'s commitment to mobilizing international support to meet Gaza's humanitarian needs.