Warning 'thousands' could die in Israel and Gaza as experts say conflict reaches 'political dead end'

A Kiwi law professor is warning "thousands" of people could die in the latest conflict between Gaza and Israel, as experts warn the Arabs and Jews are at a "political dead end" and the situation continues to escalate.

For the past four days, Israelis and Palestinians have been exchanging rockets, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds more.

Buildings have been destroyed, cars and places of worship have been damaged and people have taken to the streets fighting.

On Friday, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) confirmed air and ground troops were attacking the Gaza Strip.

International law expert Al Gillespie of the University of Waikato, who appeared on The AM Show on Friday morning, expected the attack.

"I've heard that the situation in Gaza is getting worse, that the Israeli forces are preparing potentially for an incursion. I've also heard that the missile strike rate is increasing," he said.

Gillespie told the show Israel is taking "disproportionate" measures against "indiscriminate bombardment" from Islamist group Hamas, but he was particularly concerned as both sides are willing to commit crimes.

He said he hopes innocent civilians don't get caught in the crossfire.

"There is an obligation in international law that you do not target civilians, but increasingly you are seeing more collateral damage. If you look at recent conflict in the last couple of [years], 2009, 2012, 2014, you can expect a death toll in the thousands."

Reuters reported at least 109 people have been killed in Gaza so far, including 27 children, while seven people have been killed in Israel.

Negar Partow, a Middle East political expert from the Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) at Massey University, told Newshub it has become a "major frustration" that so much damage had occurred, and will continue to occur, without an end to the conflict in sight.

"We are going to go to the escalation of violence and people lose their lives and belongings, many things have been demolished, and then lots of investment has to go back into this area to reconstruct. Loss of life, loss of resources, lots of other resources, and we never get any final result."

She doesn't expect the conflict will end anytime soon.

"It's going to continue for a while, unfortunately, unless we have a very clear reconciliation plan or very clear diplomatic intervention... If different actors on the international scene have asked both parties to de-escalate the violence, we can't see any evidence of that yet.

"Both sides discuss it as a type of defence. So to a degree, we have reached a political dead-end in fact. We don't have a very clear intervention process so I hope that tomorrow by the time we speak, the tensions will de-escalate and I hope the United Nations will play a major role, but we will see."

Dr Partow said there were so many groups involved, making the conflict more complicated, but she hopes it can be resolved soon.

"It's a conflict which has been going on for 73 years and it has involved so many regional and international players. Everybody now hopes for de-escalation but while there is a full-on war in the area, everyone calls it violence and that becomes a problem, but ultimately we have a war on our hands.

"I hope the international community takes a very strong stance on it."