Israel risks losing world's sympathy amid brutal retaliation in Gaza
Published: Oct 27, 2023 02:22 AM
Displaced Palestinian children are seen in a temporary shelter in the southern Gaza Strip, October 25, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Displaced Palestinian children are seen in a temporary shelter in the southern Gaza Strip, October 25, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

As civilian lives were being lost every day on the battlefield in Gaza, the UN staged a fierce "second battlefield." Draft resolutions proposed by the US and Russia regarding the situation in Gaza were successively vetoed during the Security Council meeting held on Wednesday. On the surface, the US draft resolution received support from 10 votes, more than the four votes received by the Russian draft resolution, seemingly gaining the upper hand.

However, the only Arab country among the 15 countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), voted in favor of the Russian draft resolution and opposed the US draft resolution.

China's vote was consistent with the UAE's. In addition, in a draft resolution vote proposed by Brazil a week ago, 12 votes, including China, supported it, with the US being the only opposing vote.

In this round of opposing votes, the US draft resolution was opposed by Russia, China, and the UAE, while the Russian draft resolution was opposed by the US and the UK. In terms of abstentions, the US draft resolution received two, while the Russian draft resolution received nine.

In fact, the US draft resolution is paving the way for Israel to carry out a brutal ground offensive. The draft resolution unilaterally condemns Hamas without explicitly criticizing Israel. Although it also expresses humanitarian concerns and advocates for a "humanitarian pause," the draft resolution also "reaffirms the inherent right of all States to individual and collective self-defense." In the current reality, this is almost certain to be interpreted by Israel as a justification for its indiscriminate attacks on both armed personnel and civilians in Gaza, providing it with a self-defense argument. With this provision, Israel can label any of its actions in Gaza as "self-defense" supported by the Security Council.

When vetoing the US draft resolution, the Russian representative specifically pointed out that the International Court of Justice clearly stated in an advisory opinion in 2004 that the right to self-defense does not apply to occupying powers, and Israel still occupies Palestinian territories.

The US unilaterally demanded that all countries "prevent the export of arms and materiel to armed militias and terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including Hamas." However, there is no call to cease providing weapons to the Israeli side, which clearly represents an imbalance. The US itself openly provides emergency military assistance to Israel, always framing its military aid to one side as just, while exerting pressure and prohibiting aid to the other side of the conflict. This pattern was evident in Ukraine, and now it is repeating in the Middle East.

After the Security Council vote reached an impasse, a resolution drafted by Jordan on behalf of Arab nations is scheduled for voting at the Emergency Special Session of UN General Assembly on Thursday. Many observers believe that this resolution will pass in a vote involving all 193 member states of the UN, without any country possessing a veto. Although the resolution would not be binding like that of the Security Council, it will reflect the will of the majority of the international community and have political and public opinion consequences.

In the past couple of days, several videos from UN sessions have circulated on the Chinese internet, in which the Israeli representative displayed an arrogant attitude. Israel seems to have been spoiled by several major Western powers, including the US. At times, Israel demands the immediate resignation of the UN Secretary-General, or threatens to "wipe off" Iran from the face of the earth. The world sympathizes with the hardships that the Jewish people endured during World War II and with the Israeli civilians who have come under attack in the current conflict. However, none of this grants Israel the authority to retaliate without restraint, causing the deaths of women and children. The fact is, the brutal retaliatory actions of the Israel Defense Forces are generating increasing global antipathy. Israel is depleting the world's sympathy for it, and morally, it is transforming itself from a victim into one of the world's most brutal inflicters.

The author is a Chinese media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn