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Israel losing support of friends, allies over Gaza

By Farhan Mujahid Chak | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-01 09:13
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This handout picture released by the Jordanian Army on Feb 29, 2024 shows humanitarian aid being dropped from a military aircraft over northern Gaza. [Photo/Agencies]

After months of heavy bombardment, the grotesque scenes of devastation in the Gaza Strip are unbearable. Huge swaths of congested urban living have been blasted into nothingness — twisted metal, broken stone and charred wood.

About 30,000 Palestinians have died, and 70,000 others have been injured. The majority of victims are women and children. A child dies in Palestine every 10 minutes.

Israel has dropped an estimated 65,000 tons of bombs on Gaza. According to the United Nations, at least 65 percent of the housing in Gaza has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Furthermore, over 1.7 million people have been displaced, and the entire population subsists without adequate food, water or electricity.

The Israeli military has bombed hospitals, schools, mosques and churches, including the third oldest church in the world — Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church, and alleges that Hamas terrorists were hiding there. It claims that the UN relief agency UNRWA has hired Hamas operatives. In addition, its forces are finalizing preparations for ground assaults on Rafah, an area that Israel previously described as a safe zone for 1.4 million people.

Yet make no mistake, with all the death and destruction, Israel is losing the conflict.

Consider the words of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who during the recent Munich Security Conference said the situation in Gaza is "untenable", and that conference participants could "imagine our own children living without parents, any water, any food".

Then the leaders of Australia, Canada and New Zealand jointly stated that they were gravely concerned about Israel's planned military operation in Rafah. Echoing that, former United Kingdom defense minister Ben Wallace lambasted what he called Israel's "crude and indiscriminate "bombing and said Israel "is losing support from allies and friends across the world".

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said foreign ministers from the 26 EU states had finally agreed on "an immediate humanitarian pause that would lead to a sustainable cease-fire", urging Israel not to attack Rafah. Finally, US President Joe Biden chimed in, describing Israel's military response in Gaza as "over the top".

What this all indicates is that Israel's allies are pushing back.

The carnage as well as the harm to journalists and UN aid staff in Gaza have delegitimized the Israeli campaign.

Continued disregard for international law hurts the entire geopolitical construct, with hegemonic powers needing to regain some semblance of propriety to maintain their position. It is this upheaval of the status quo, instead of allegations of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, that forces Israel's allies to insist on a humanitarian cease-fire.

These challenges to the global world order represent a paradigm shift.

The allegations of genocide brought by South Africa against Israel in the Court of International Justice, and the court case over Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, are accelerating this transformation.

Israeli operations are putting the entire edifice of the rules-based global order, the Geneva Conventions, the UN and international human rights law at stake. This coincides with a plummeting in many countries of the perception of Israel. In addition, global leaders are calling out the hypocrisy of the Western-led order that is seen as allowing Israel to remain above the law.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

The author is a visiting research faculty member at the Al Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding of the Edmund A.Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

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