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“They won’t ever listen to us again”: How the Middle East case undermined the authority of world leaders

While the world is calling on Israel, Hamas and Middle Eastern countries to refrain from further escalation, Joe Biden unveils a new 106 billion funding proposal to support Israel and Ukraine, The Washington Post reports.

US President Joe Biden spoke from the Oval Office last week, linking the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel in his speech. He argued that the world was at another “pivotal moment in history” and the decisions of world leaders were now likely to “shape the future for decades to come”.

The attention of world leaders is increasingly shifting towards the Middle East, away from Ukraine, which is fighting a war with Russia.

Israel’s war with Hamas has claimed thousands of lives on both sides, “unusual weapons” are being used, and an entire region is under total siege. The situation requires an immediate solution to prevent the conflict from developing into a full-scale war with the involvement of the third parties.

On Wednesday, the day before Biden’s speech, the United States used its veto in the UN Security Council to reject a Brazilian draft resolution calling for a humanitarian pause.

The United States is a long-time ally of Israel, but the recent precedent of condemning Russia in the same forum casts a shadow on political principles.

US and Western officials have condemned Russia for the war in Ukraine as a violation of international law, but the situation surrounding a similar conflict in the Middle East points to a double standard. Countries support Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories while claiming the freedom of peoples in other territories.

It is difficult to reconcile the United States’ promotion of international norms and the laws of war in defense of Ukraine from Russia’s brutal invasion with its cavalier disregard for the same norms in Gaza.

Louis Charbonneau, UN Director for Human Rights Watch reacted to the US veto with the following words:

“If the U.S. and other Western governments want to convince the rest of the world they are serious about human rights and the laws of war, principles they rightly apply to Russian atrocities in Ukraine and to Hamas atrocities in Israel, they also have to apply to Israel’s brutal disregard for civilian life in Gaza.”

A senior official, who requested anonymity, stressed that the inability of both the parties to the conflict and the international community “to find, or even to seek, a solution to the Palestinian question” calls into question the effectiveness of international dialogue and the integrity of political leaders.

All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost … Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.


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