Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is in its eleventh day. Preparing for a ground operation, the Israeli army is killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians every day. The heavy blockade, which does not allow humanitarian aid, has rendered Gaza’s hospitals inoperable. Aid is piling up in Egypt and the tragedy in Gaza is deepening. The best way to summarize the situation is: “Gaza is drowning and the world seems to have lost its humanity.” This is the cry of Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Reconstruction Agency, in a statement the day before yesterday. Of course, it is Israel’s heavy bombardment and blockade that is suffocating Gaza.
Israel’s behavior, which has ignored calls to “stop killing civilians and allow humanitarian aid”, is drawing increasing criticism. And the international community’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is changing. Israel’s past actions and its current approach of blaming all Gazans for Hamas attacks are being combined into criticism. Russia and China have criticized the fact that Israel’s actions are now “collective punishment” of the Palestinians. Russian leader Putin even compared the blockade of Gaza to the “siege of Leningrad” during World War II. The rising criticism has also influenced the rhetoric of US President Biden, who has given Israel a carte blanche.
“It would be a mistake for Israel to invade Gaza,” Biden said in an interview last Sunday. He called for the protection of civilians and appointed a special envoy for humanitarian aid. Supporting Netanyahu’s declared policy of “totally destroying Hamas”, Biden said, “There must be a path to the establishment of a Palestinian state”. There are several reasons for this shift in the US position. The growing conscientious outcry from the international community, the possibility that Israel’s ground offensive may fail, the involvement of Hezbollah in the conflict, which could trigger a regional war, and the fact that the killing of Palestinians has reached a point where it is putting Arab leaders in a difficult position in the eyes of their people. Nevertheless, the US rhetoric of a “Palestinian state” is very weak and cosmetic, given that the current Secretary of State (Blinken), a President with a history of saying “I am a Zionist”, said “I am here as a Jew” during his visit to Israel. The whole world knows that there is only one country that can stop Israel’s massacre of civilians and provide humanitarian aid, and that is the US. And the US’s current concern is to prevent the conflict from expanding and Israel from failing. The humanitarian dimension has not gone beyond rhetoric.
In addition to the United States, countries across the region are engaged in intense diplomacy as Israel’s attacks on Gaza continue. Secretary of State Blinken is touring the Middle East, hearing from Arab capitals about the potentially dangerous consequences of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza for the region. Iranian diplomats are reinforcing the axis of resistance in their meetings. Tehran is sending the message that if Israel invades Gaza, it will be involved in the conflict in some way. President Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Fidan are meeting with regional and extra-regional actors to try to stop the conflict, provide humanitarian aid and rescue the hostages. Biden’s latest statement and Blinken’s tour are signs that President Erdoğan’s criticism and warnings to the US are having some effect. Turkey is conducting exceptional diplomacy as the country most committed to order, stability, security and normalization in the region. It is talking to every side and every influential country. It is also working hard for the rescue of hostages and mediation. Just comparing the US and Iranian policies in this latest conflict with Turkey’s speaks volumes. Ankara’s peace diplomacy reflects a new policy that started with the pandemic, continued with the Ukraine war and now with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Auto translated from sabah.com.tr