The non-Western world viewed U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel as unconditional support for that country’s heavy bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip. Blaming Hamas – “the other team” – for the killing of more than 500 Palestinians at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, the U.S. President neither shared any evidence nor talked about forming an international committee to investigate what happened.
The Israeli military exploits the carte blanche, which Western governments have given to Israel with reference to its right to self-defense, with such ruthless and unlawful methods that the Arab and Muslim worlds came to see the massacre in Gaza as ethnic cleansing, forced relocation and genocide. The visits of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, too, merely resulted in additional support for the Gaza blockade.
In truth, the bombing of a hospital deeply wounded humanity’s collective conscience around the world. The fact that mass protests erupted in so many countries suggests that the massacre in Gaza unleashed massive anger.
Washington’s decision to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire not only highlighted its unconditional support to Israel but also was widely seen as its endorsement of Tel Aviv’s plan to “de-Palestinize” and destroy Gaza.
Mideast on the brink
For the record, the reluctant objections raised in some European capitals do not relate to Israel forcing 2.3 million Palestinian civilians to choose between dying in a bombardment and exile. Here’s the increasingly popular view worldwide: Israel’s Western supporters have been watching the targeting of civilian convoys heading to southern Gaza, the use of phosphorus bombs and the bombing of hospitals, bakeries and schools – the killing of Palestinians living in a massive concentration camp – from the sidelines. In other words, those nations do not prevent Israel’s occupation, massacres and ethnic cleansing operations. If anything, they support those measures.
It is no secret that warnings from United Nations officials that “the Middle East is on the brink” and “Gaza is suffocating” fall on deaf ears in Western capitals. As Israel destroys Gaza, hardly anyone wonders how the Palestinian state, to which Biden and other Western leaders pay lip service, could possibly exist.
As Türkiye has been saying on all available platforms, humanity needs to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and broker an unconditional cease-fire without further delay. There must be a decisive effort to clear the diplomatic path to Palestinian statehood. It goes without saying that such a path cannot be cleared in the absence of American leadership. Yet one cannot expect Washington, which even vetoed the resolution calling for a cease-fire, to take that step – provided that it makes no effort to ensure that Israel acts in a proportional and lawful manner. The massacre in Gaza highlighted yet again Washington’s failure to show responsible leadership. Needless to say, the Biden administration doesn’t utter a single word about democracy and human rights if those concepts do not serve U.S. interests.
On Oct. 18, when Biden threw his weight behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruthless plan, the Chinese head of state, Xi Jinping, was hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin and official delegations from 140 developing nations and parts of the Global South at the 3rd Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum.
Israel pulls the United States back into the Middle East with its blockade of Gaza. At the same time, China and Russia are creating a new balance of power in global politics – starting with the Indo-Pacific region. Great power competition, which became more obvious due to the Ukraine war, threatens to fuel new crises in the Middle East. The Biden administration’s Israel policy puts even its regional allies, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in a difficult position. Refusing to stop Israel, the United States drives the final nail in the Western-centric world order’s coffin.