/ 2 April 2024

Morals must trump geopolitical agendas in Gaza conflict

Aftermath Of Israeli Airstrikes On Rafah
A fire burns in the remains of the destroyed Al-Huda mosque following Israeli military operations in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned Israel to follow international law in Gaza and said that his office is investigating the conflict "as a matter of the utmost urgency." Photographer: Ahmad Salem/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The protracted and callous negotiations surrounding the UN Security Council’s attempts to broker a ceasefire in the conflict engulfing Gaza reek of cynicism and betrayal. 

It’s an exasperating display of diplomatic theatre that has left the most vulnerable — the Gazan population and Israeli hostages held by Hamas — to suffer the consequences of geopolitical manoeuvring. 

Five attempts were made to pass a resolution, each one stymied by the self-serving interests of major powers. The US, Russia and China wielded their veto power with abandon, while the UK and France offered little more than token gestures. 

The security council, meant to safeguard global peace, has devolved into a hollow forum where posturing takes precedence over action. The tragic irony is that while these world powers jostle for influence and score political points, innocent lives hang in the balance. 

The people of Gaza bear the brunt of this power play, caught in the crossfire of international indifference and power politics. It’s a damning indictment of the security council’s failure to fulfil its mandate and a stark reminder of the human cost of diplomatic inertia.

The passage of a UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, particularly during the sacred month of Ramadan, should have been a no-brainer. However, it took relentless diplomatic wrangling and the US’s abstention for the resolution to finally see the light of day. While commendable, the real challenge lies in ensuring its effectiveness on the ground.

The resolution’s demand for the release of all hostages and a sustainable ceasefire is crucial but its impact remains uncertain amid the ongoing violence. The fact that it was crafted by the 10 non-permanent members of the security council underscores the frustration with permanent members’ inability to act decisively. It’s a sobering reminder of the council’s failures and the urgent need for reform. Its paralysis, driven by the self-interest of its major players, has real-life consequences for the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. 

As the fighting persists, the international community must redouble its efforts to ensure that this resolution translates into tangible relief for the people of Gaza. Anything less would be a betrayal of their suffering and a failure of global leadership.

The diplomatic wrangling over the UN resolution on the conflict between Israel and Hamas reveals a troubling reality — the priorities of the major players seem to diverge sharply from the urgent need to save lives and alleviate suffering. Russia and China’s insistence on a permanent ceasefire clashes with the US’s focus on condemning Hamas explicitly. 

Lost in the power politics are the civilians of Gaza, trapped in a war zone and facing unimaginable horrors. At its core, this conflict is a humanitarian crisis, with innocent lives hanging in the balance. The international community’s foremost duty should be to protect these civilians and ensure their safety. In times of war, moral imperatives must supersede geopolitical agendas.

The suffering of innocent civilians cannot be ignored or minimised. As the world debates resolutions and political manoeuvring, the true measure of humanity lies in our ability to prioritise compassion and empathy in the face of human suffering. Anything less is a betrayal of our shared values and responsibilities as global citizens.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the broader humanitarian crisis it has sparked in Gaza, demands urgent international intervention. As the violence persists and civilian casualties mount, it is imperative for the global community, under the leadership of the UN Security Council, to prioritise the immediate cessation of hostilities. 

This includes securing the release of hostages held by Hamas and ensuring the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to those in desperate need. However, achieving sustainable peace requires more than just a ceasefire. The international community must work towards a long-term solution that addresses the root causes of the conflict and prevents future outbreaks of violence.

This involves fostering dialogue and reconciliation between the warring parties, as well as addressing the underlying grievances that fuel the conflict.

While recent efforts to broker a truce have faced resistance from both Israel and Hamas, it is essential to persevere in the pursuit of peace. Despite the challenges ahead, the international community must remain steadfast in its commitment to resolving the crisis in Gaza and bringing an end to the suffering of its people. 

In a display of diplomatic theatrics, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed his ire towards Washington after the UN Security Council’s resolution passage, despite the US abstaining. 

Cancelling a high-level delegation’s visit to the White House, purportedly to discuss Israel’s proposed ground assault on Rafah, reflected Netanyahu’s discontent with the US stance, particularly concerning the absence of a civilian evacuation plan. While Netanyahu’s move might have seemed strategic in avoiding uncomfortable conversations about the military operation, it backfired by jeopardising crucial US support. 

This decision exemplified the age-old adage of “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face”. Amid Israel’s increasing isolation on the global stage, Washington’s backing becomes imperative. Netanyahu’s actions risked alienating a key ally at a time when Israel can ill-afford further international estrangement.

Ultimately, Netanyahu’s response underscored the complexities of international relations, where strategic calculations often clash with diplomatic necessities. It served as a reminder that in the realm of geopolitics, short-term gains can come at the expense of long-term partnerships and stability.

Netanyahu’s abrupt cancellation of the White House visit sent shockwaves through diplomatic circles. While he later reversed course, it underscored his erratic decision-making amid the crisis in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s actions revealed a prioritisation of domestic politics over Israel’s broader strategic interests, including efforts to secure the release of hostages. 

On the other side, Hamas’s willingness to entertain a ceasefire reflects its recognition of mounting military pressure and dwindling popular support. However, its leaders understand that a temporary truce might offer only fleeting relief, with deeper political and military challenges looming. 

The recent UN Security Council Resolution 2728 represents a modest step towards peace, albeit delayed and insufficient for many affected by the conflict. Yet, the resolution’s impact might be limited, given the advanced stage of Ramadan and the precarious nature of negotiations outside the UN framework. Without substantive progress, there’s a risk of regression to the cycle of violence, with Israel potentially escalating its military actions.

The resolution, while a welcome development, must be viewed as just the beginning of a broader effort to secure lasting peace in Gaza. It should catalyse urgent negotiations for a comprehensive truce, addressing critical issues such as the release of hostages, increased humanitarian aid and a pathway to a permanent ceasefire and subsequent reconstruction.

However, the effectiveness of this resolution hinges on the willingness of influential actors to exert pressure on both sides. Failure to enforce it risks rendering the resolution meaningless, undermining the credibility of the international community. History reminds us that the security council has faced similar challenges before. 

As the situation in Gaza remains dire, the international community must remain steadfast in its commitment to ensuring compliance with the resolution and advancing efforts for sustainable peace. Anything less risks prolonging the suffering of innocent civilians and perpetuating the cycle of violence.