Two months after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, death and destruction ravaged the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas fighters killed about 1,200 people and captured 240 during their attack.
Israel responded with deadly bombings and artillery attacks, including on Gaza land, that killed more than 16,000 people, at least 7,000 of them children. Attacks by Israeli soldiers and civilians in the occupied West Bank have killed more than 200 other Palestinians and forced entire villages to decamp. Hospitals, schools and refugee camps have been targeted, with United Nations staff and facilities also being attacked by Israel at unprecedented rates.
Against this backdrop, the diplomatic battle also intensified. UN votes, public comments and major diplomatic moves over the past two months have highlighted how divisive the war is for the world.
Ceasefire, occupier, blockade: What language do countries use?
Language is always a bone of contention between nations while talking about war.
The world disagrees on whether to use the word “ceasefire” or “humanitarian pause” to describe the end of violence and fighting. While many countries are advocating for a ceasefire, Israel’s allies are calling for a halt.
According to the UN, a ceasefire is a “cease of all acts of violence against the civilian population” while a humanitarian ceasefire is a “temporary cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes only “. A truce or truce is a temporary cessation of fighting for a set time frame.
Al Jazeera analyzed speeches from world leaders at the UN and found that 55 percent of countries called for a “ceasefire” in Gaza. Some of them include Argentina, Belgium, China, Guyana, Turkey and Venezuela, among others.
Another 23 percent of countries called for a “humanitarian pause”. These include Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, among others. Some countries use alternative terms to stop such as “stop”, “pause” or “rest”. The remaining 22 countries did not discuss this issue at the UN.
Countries are also debating whether or not to call Israel an occupier, and whether to discuss Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Of the countries analyzed, 46 percent used the term “occupier” to refer to Israel or the so-called “occupied” Palestinian territory, while 54 percent did not.
Only 23 percent of countries mentioned Israel’s blockade of Gaza, using terms such as “siege” or “open-air prison” and only 30 percent mentioned Israeli settlements.
How do countries vote on UN resolutions?
The UN Security Council voted on five resolutions throughout the war and failed to pass four due to ambivalence and disagreement among nations.
Out of 15 members, four voted against (France, Japan, UK and US) the first draft led by Russia on October 16. The main criticism it faces is that the draft does not name or condemn Hamas. This draft calls for an immediate ceasefire.
Brazil led the second draft on October 18. While it condemned Hamas and called for a humanitarian ceasefire, which got many votes in favor, the US vetoed the resolution. This is because the resolution does not mention Israel’s right to self-defense, said US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Russia proposed another draft on October 25, calling for a humanitarian ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas. However, the resolution did not condemn Hamas. Only four members voted in favor. The UK said it wanted the UNSC to move towards a “balanced text” and that the Russian draft failed to uphold Israel’s right to self-defence.
The US also led a draft resolution on October 25, calling for a humanitarian pause instead of a ceasefire. Ten members voted in favor but permanent members Russia and China vetoed the resolution.
The UNSC finally adopted a Malta-led resolution calling for a humanitarian freeze and aid delivery to Gaza on November 15. The US, UK and Russia abstained, with 12 countries voting in favour. .
Jordan led a non-binding resolution at the UN General Assembly on October 27, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza along with unfettered humanitarian access to the besieged enclave, as well as for Israel to withdraw its call for the evacuation of northern Gaza. About 120 countries, including France, voted in favor. Only 14 countries, including the US and Israel, voted against it, while 45 countries abstained. This resolution was passed.
Do countries believe in a two-state solution?
Countries are not so divided on the two-state solution as a way to achieve peace in the region. A total of 95 percent of countries called for a two-state solution or an independent Palestinian state equal to Israel. Only six countries did not call for it.
Which countries cut ties with Israel?
During the war, many countries completely cut ties with Israel. Belize, Bolivia and South Africa have suspended relations with Israel. Meanwhile, Bahrain, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, and Turkey withdrew their ambassadors.
Some cities, such as Barcelona in Spain, have also suspended relations with Israel.
Which countries strongly support Israel?
The US maintains strong traditional support for Israel.
Besides US President Joe Biden’s strong diplomatic support to Israel, the US also provides Israel with annual military support worth $3.8bn. The US House of Representatives passed a Republican plan providing $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel on November 3. A congressional resolution on December 6 effectively called anti-Zionism the same as anti-Semitism.
The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the UK also joined the US in supporting Israel.