Airstrike in Rafah deepens divisions in the West over the Israel-Palestine issue
Published: May 29, 2024 09:22 PM
Palestinians are seen at the site of an Israeli airstrike on tents for displaced people near the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah,on May 27, 2024. Photo:Xinhua

Palestinians are seen at the site of an Israeli airstrike on tents for displaced people near the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah,on May 27, 2024.  Photo:Xinhua

Spain, Ireland and Norway formally recognized Palestinian statehood on Tuesday, joining around 140 countries that have recognized a Palestinian state, more than two-thirds of the UN. The changing attitudes of more countries toward the Israel-Palestine issue highlight the growing division within the Western camp. 

This aligns with the recent wave of condemnation in the West following a recent Israeli airstrike on Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip. On Sunday, Israel bombed a refugee camp in Rafah claiming to target Hamas, resulting in at least 45 deaths and over 200 injuries. This action was universally condemned by the international community, including the UN and the EU.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, "There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop." French President Emmanuel Macron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also called for full respect for international law and an immediate cease-fire. EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell also emphasized that a UN court ruling telling Israel to stop its offensive in Gaza's Rafah must be implemented. As CNN commented, Israel's actions in Rafah have become a "flashpoint."

Noticeably, the US has still avoided condemning Israel. According to reports, the Biden administration has decided that the airstrike did not cross the "red line" set by President Joe Biden. Therefore, it will not trigger any serious reprimand from Washington, nor will it change the policy or military aid to Israel. The US' indulgence toward Israel stands out amid widespread global condemnation. As US Media Politico commented, "It's the strongest indicator yet that Israel is conducting a military operation that the administration can accept."

"The international community, including an increasing number of Western countries, is fed up with the current US policies in Gaza, leading to widespread opposition," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

Since the Israel-Palestine conflict began, the death toll of Palestinian civilians has continued to surge, exceeding 35,000. This airstrike has pushed the new round of conflict further into the abyss of disaster. Israel stopping "this horror" is the right choice to avoid plunging Gaza, especially Rafah, into greater tragedy.

The human tragedy in Gaza has surpassed the bottom line for many countries. "In the face of the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, the long-term indulgence and escalation by the US have led to a significant split within the Western camp on the Israel-Palestine issue," Ding Long, a professor with the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times. "More and more Western countries are showing a different attitude from the US' bias toward Israel and its undermining of international justice and fairness," Ding noted.

On the Israel-Palestine issue and a series of humanitarian disasters, the US' pro-Israel is no secret. It has long provided Israel with substantial financial and military aid, including weapons and munitions. Ironically, faced with election pressures and rising campus protests at home, the US has been compelled to make political gestures such as calling for a cease-fire, pressuring Israel and creating the so-called aid pier. This stark contradiction between its words and actions further underscores its hypocrisy on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Norway, Spain and Ireland all mentioned one word when they issued their statements recognizing the State of Palestine: peace. Undoubtedly, this is the common expectation and call of the international community. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on May 10 adopted a resolution supporting the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member. Among the votes, 143 countries, including China, France and Russia, voted in favor, while nine countries, including the US and Israel, voted against, and 25 countries, including the UK, Germany and Ukraine, abstained. The resolution "determines" that a State of Palestine is qualified for membership and should be admitted to membership.

Analysts told the Global Times that they believe more countries will follow suit. The only correct choice in the current Israel-Palestine issue is a cease-fire and an end to the conflict in Gaza. In the long term, the correct choice is the "two-state solution." The inherently irresponsible and selfish nature of the US' policies toward the Middle East and Israel has been be fully exposed to the world. When it comes to the Israel-Palestine issue, the US is increasingly losing support and becoming more isolated.