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EDITORIAL: World attention remains riveted at the horrendous scenes from the strike on the Gaza hospital with at least 500 deaths.

Neither side claims responsibility with the Israelis pointing the blame at a misfired rocket from within the Gaza strip while the Palestinians are more credibly blaming unceasing Israeli bombardment since 9 October that has killed over 3,000 Palestinians, including women and children, and wounded more than 10,000 so far in reprisal for the Oct 7 Hamas attack, that killed 1300 Israelis.

These brutal reprisals are over and above the cessation of fuel, water and electricity supplies to what is understood to be the largest open air prison in the world. This not only compelled a timid Mahmoud Abbas to denounce the air raid as an act of genocide and withdraw from the previously scheduled meeting with President Biden in Amman but for the Jordanians to cancel the meeting and state that it would be held at a time when the parties agree to end the “war and the massacres against the Palestinians” and blaming Israel for pushing the region to the “brink of an abyss.”

The inhumane attack on the Gaza hospital prompted the following statement by Biden while en route to Israel: “I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.

Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”

Few hold out any hope that a condemnation of Israel from the Biden presidency would be forthcoming even if presented with irrefutable evidence of Israeli involvement.

Be that as it may, President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday to show iron-clad solidarity with the Zionist state but with all his previously scheduled interactions with the Arab leadership cancelled by the latter his contribution to calming the volatile situation in the region is highly reduced.

On the Arab streets, the US has long been held responsible for supporting Israel militarily and financially – a country which has consistently shown no compunction to violate the rules of war or be concerned about the humanitarian crisis prevailing in the most densely populated area of the world, the Gaza Strip.

By declaring Hamas a terrorist organisation despite its electoral win in January 2006, over Abbas’s Fatah – winning 73 seats in a 132-seat parliament with Fatah getting only 43 seats, elections that former US President Jimmy Carter publicly stated were the most fair and transparent that he had witnessed – the US and its allies are guilty of allowing Israel to thwart the two-state solution time and again by playing off Abbas-led West Bank against Hamas-led Gaza.

One can only hope that better sense would prevail and the two Palestinian political groups decide to merge as neither has attained its overarching objective: a two-state solution.

What is, however, significant about the ongoing conflict is a change in the Arab administrations’ approach to US reported “mediation” efforts that focused on extracting a denouncement of Hamas and opening the Rafah border for the exit of foreign nationals stuck in Gaza (but without any humanitarian assistance allowed into Gaza by Israel).

Egyptian President Fatah el-Sissi told US secretary, Antony Blinken, that Israel’s activity in Gaza exceeded its right to self-defence and had become collective punishment; Times of Israel reported that el-Sissi referred to Blinken’s statement while in Israel that he was a Jewish person and therefore understood the persecution against Jews proclaim that “I am an Egyptian person who grew up next to Jews in Egypt. They have never been subjected to any form of repression or targeting and it has never happened in our region that Jews were targeted.”

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, who in 2020 was threatened by Biden to be held accountable for the murder of journalist Kashoggi, kept Blinken waiting for over 12 hours with the following statement issued by the US State Department that restated the US position, clearly not the Saudi position: “The Secretary highlighted the United States’ unwavering focus on halting terrorist attacks by Hamas, securing the release of all hostages, and preventing the conflict from spreading.

The two affirmed their shared commitment to protecting civilians and to advancing stability across the Middle East and beyond. They emphasized the importance of reaching a comprehensive political agreement to achieve peace, prosperity, and security in Yemen and the importance of our continuing partnership to end the conflict in Sudan.”

A change in international dynamics has been increasingly visible during the past decade, and has gathered momentum in the past five years. Chinese influence not only within the region but also internationally (it brokered a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia) has been rising.

Brookings Foreign Policy unit argued in a 2020 paper that “China has established itself as a global actor. It has solidified its role as one of a small handful of countries with interests spanning the globe and the capacity to act on them.

China’s presence is now felt in every corner of the world, from the South Pacific to South and Central Asia, the wider Middle East, Latin America, and points in between”. More recently, China has taken on the US on regional security issues as well as on bilateral trade disputes.

Russian isolation due to prohibitive sanctions led by the US has yet to achieve the stated objective to end the war in Ukraine with one major ally, India, refusing to toe the US line. And with the waning of US influence in the Middle East subsequent to continued Israeli recalcitrance the world may well be transitioning into a new world order.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush referred to a new world order, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the reversal of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, however, the emergence of China as an economic powerhouse, a Russia no longer backing out of engagement in a proxy war with Ukraine and more countries splitting away from the US-led West’s sanctimonious sanctioning of countries premised on a self-serving definition of morality, is reflected by the numbers eager to join other blocs particularly BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) with 40 aspirants, including Saudi Arabia, desirous of joining, where there are ongoing discussions on oil trade in currencies other than the US dollar.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.

Az_Iz Oct 19, 2023 08:21pm
As always, Palestinians are blamed. Israel is given a clean chit. So dispicable.
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Az_Iz Oct 19, 2023 08:22pm
There is no outrage.
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