Over the past seven months, there have been countless attempts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and finally bring a halt to the fighting. Each attempt has gone nowhere, however, bar a one-week truce in November.

Why has a ceasefire been so elusive? Marika Sosnowski, who researches ceasefires at the University of Melbourne, tracks the key moments in the search for peace in a timeline for us today.

The timeline shows how disagreements in the UN Security Council, in particular, have stymied progress towards a ceasefire. Likewise, direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas have faltered over disagreements on the terms.

Sosnowski shows how language is many times at the root of these disagreements. For months, for instance, the US avoided approving resolutions that called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, but did support a “temporary ceasefire”.

Even a ceasefire is not a panacea, Sosnowski notes. Ceasefires are often “just the tip of the iceberg”, she writes, in terms of bringing meaningful, structural security to those affected by complex systems of violence.

P.S. We are two weeks into our donations campaign and thanks to the support of our generous supporters we are now 20% to our goal. To to those that haven’t given yet and can afford to, there is still time.

Justin Bergman

International Affairs Editor

Why has an Israel-Hamas ceasefire been so elusive? A timeline of key moments in the search for peace

Marika Sosnowski, The University of Melbourne

Israel and Hamas have yet to reach a peace deal, despite calls from the UN and mediated efforts from Egypt and Qatar.

Australia is set to ban live sheep exports. What will this mean for the industry?

Alan Renwick, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Is the ban really a death knell for the Western Australian sheep industry, as is sometimes argued? Or just an inevitable step in a necessary transition?

There’s $110 million for Indigenous education in the budget. But where’s the evidence it will work?

Marnee Shay, The University of Queensland; Grace Sarra, Queensland University of Technology

There is a strong body of evidence about what works in Indigenous education. But budgets seem to keep ignoring research that says we need to listen to Indigenous people.

Can you control your image? Gina Rinehart, King Charles and ‘moral portraits’

Roger Benjamin, University of Sydney

Gina Reinhart shouldn’t ask for her portrait to come down – but King Charles III probably should have sent his back.

Oral retinoids can harm unborn babies. But many women taking them for acne may not be using contraception

Antonia Shand, University of Sydney; Natasha Nassar, University of Sydney

Pregnancy and an acne medication called oral retinoids don’t mix. Australia needs a clear strategy to manage this risk.

Ancient DNA from an extinct native duck reveals how far birds flew to make New Zealand home

Nic Rawlence, University of Otago; Alexander Verry, University of Otago

Many people may assume New Zealand’s native birds arrived via Australia. But our new research on the Auckland Island merganser shows they originated from much further away.

Bridgerton is a progressive fantasy about the past. Do romance readers care about its historical accuracy?

Lisa J. Hackett, University of New England; Jo Coghlan, University of New England

Historical romance allows readers to imagine a better past. For many, this is more important than historical accuracy – which can be ‘the icing on the cake’.

Threatened species have declined 2% a year since 2000. Nature positive? Far from it.

Megan C Evans, UNSW Sydney; Brendan Wintle, The University of Melbourne; Hugh Possingham, The University of Queensland

When Labor took office, it promised to reverse nature’s decline. But that looks more and more like greenwashing

Politics + Society

Health + Medicine

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

Arts + Culture


Featured jobs

View all
The Conversation AU
Melbourne VIC, Australia • Full Time
List your job

Featured Events, Courses & Podcasts

View all
Island of Ideas free public talks series

6 March - 4 December 2024 • Online

Promote your event or course

​Contact us here to list your job, or here to list your event, course or podcast.

For sponsorship opportunities, email us here