The conflict in the Gaza Strip has entered its third week, attracting the world’s attention.
The UN Security Council has twice failed to adopt a resolution calling for the interruption of military activities, the protection of civilians and the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid to the 2.5 million residents of Gaza. However, the US vetoed both draft resolutions. At first, the US, the UK and France rejected the Russian draft resolution, despite the fact that 30 other states, including 17 Arab states, were co-authors of this document along with Russia.
And the next time, when none of the 15 UN Security Council members voted against the Brazilian project, which also envisaged a ceasefire and humanitarian aid to the population of the besieged Gaza Strip, the US once again used its veto to prevent the adoption of this document.
Thus, Washington’s negative stance did not allow the UN Security Council to realize its main statutory purpose, namely the maintenance of international peace and security. Among the obvious consequences: continued escalation with increased civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, including hundreds killed in a Gaza hospital strike.
There are reports that on October 23, the Americans intend to submit their own draft resolution to the UN Security Council, in which the main emphasis is on Israel’s right to self-defense and condemnation of Hamas. Observers are under the impression that the United States is not interested in ending hostilities and saving the lives of millions of Palestinians.
The urgent summit convened by Egypt in Cairo on October 21 did not lead to any positive result. At the summit, Arab leaders called for an end to the war, while European leaders, at the instigation of Washington, lobbied only for Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Hamas’s terrorist attack. Summarizing the outcome of this conference, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said, “Yet the message the Arab world is hearing loud and clear: Arab lives matter less than Israeli ones.”
The general sentiments of Arabic people in the east were summed up by the famous political analyst Marwan Bishara who said, “Mr. Biden’s justification for the destruction of the Gaza Strip infuriated Arabic people and alienated even pro-American leaders… The US President expressed his unequivocal support for Israel and promised to always support it… He could not even cite a single significant achievement because his strategy failed and the situation in the Middle East collapsed again.”
Recently, the Saudi newspaper Arab News noted that the US is the main country capable of containing Israel, but it sided with Israel in this war, sending additional forces and military assets to the region.
For the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that there are many people in the US who protest against such Washington’s unilateralism and demand action to stop military conflicts. Al Arabiya reports that many officials not only in the State Department, but even in the White House, criticize the Biden administration’s stance, and some are even resigning.
In stark contrast to this Washington’s unilateralism are the efforts of Russian diplomats who advocate at the UN and in contacts with other states for taking urgent measures to stop the bloodshed. Moscow was among the first countries to send aid to the suffering population of Gaza.
President V.V. Putin, at a press conference in Beijing, called for an immediate ceasefire and the adoption of multifaceted efforts to resolve the crisis on the basis of the UN resolutions on the creation of two states.
The position of the Russian Federation was clearly formulated during the speech of M. L. Bogdanov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Special Presidential Representative on the Middle East and Africa, at the Cairo Peace Summit on October 21, 2023. He emphasized that, along with solving urgent tasks to stop the current round of violence, it is necessary to proceed without delay with a strategy of collective action for a political settlement of the conflict, which was promoted in the past by the “quartet” of international mediators consisting of Russia, the USA, the EU and the UN. The current crisis has once again proven that without a fair solution to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly based on the “two-state” formula approved by international resolutions, regional stabilization will remain an unattainable goal. Russia’s position has been and remains to be principle and consistent: it is necessary to establish a sustainable mediation process on a UN-approved platform, which should result in the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem, coexisting in peace and security with Israel.
This means that Moscow not only strives to end the military conflict, but also advocates the idea of taking urgent, broad measures to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian problem. Such a goal is an imperative. It is obvious that the Palestinian issue cannot be resolved with palliative measures, material incentives, or ideas of economic peace. Neither is it possible to transfer the conflict to a low-intensity stage. The parties must break the vicious circle of violence and abandon unilateral steps, including the settlement takeover of Palestinian territories, as well as undermining the status of Jerusalem shrines.
Today, the agenda is the formation of a collective mediation mechanism with an active role for regional states.
The People’s Republic of China takes a similar position. As of October 23, the death toll in Gaza exceeded 5 thousand people, of which more than 2 thousand were children; the one-sided stance of the West is causing growing outrage in the world. That day, President Biden and the leaders of several Western countries finally called on Israel to protect civilians, while again emphasizing its right to self-defense and demanding the release of hostages.
According to the New York Times, the Middle East region is increasingly becoming a new front in the struggle for influence in the Global South (the collective name for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America), pitting the West against Russia and China. “The war in the Middle East is driving a growing wedge between the West and countries like Brazil and Indonesia, key swing states in the Global South.”
Vladimir Mashin, Candidate of Historical Sciences, political commentator, exclusively for the internet journal “New Eastern Outlook”.