Recent events in Gaza have shown beyond doubt that the world must do better in protecting the lives and health of civilians during violent conflicts. Despite the United Nations system, including the Security Council, the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the World Health Organization’s ‘health is a bridge’ initiative, and adoption of the health as a foreign policy concept by various countries, including Britain, the international community could not prevent more than thirteen hundred Palestinians being killed. This despite intense diplomatic efforts and extensive media coverage. So what hope is there for conflicts that have raged for years and receive little if any political or media attention? Doctors and diplomats must cast a fresh approach.