U.S. more isolated on Israel as Gaza crisis deepens, need for aid grows

On Dec. 8, the United States cast a veto in the U.N. Security Council, blocking a resolution introduced by the United Arab Emirates calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. It was supported by nearly 100 nations and approved by 13 council members, including France and Japan, the resolution fell short due to the U.S. decision. Western countries strongly supported Israel at the start of the war, affirming its right to self-defense. But as the toll on Palestinian civilians intensified, growing public protests and shifting opinions began to sway government stances.

The global response to the Israel-Gaza war has been evolving since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. A notable development was the seven-day pause in fighting that ended on Dec. 1, brokered by Qatar and Egypt. This was the first major halt in fighting after the U.N. General Assembly passed a Jordan-proposed resolution on Oct. 27, advocating a cease-fire and free humanitarian access to Gaza.

How U.N. member nations voted


Two-thirds of the U.N. voted in

favor of a humanitarian truce

Latin American and Caribbean States

Western European and other States

The U.S voted against

the resolution

Two-thirds of the U.N. voted in favor of a humanitarian truce

Latin American and Caribbean States

Western European and other States

The U.S voted against

the resolution

Two-thirds of the U.N. voted in

favor of a humanitarian truce

Latin American and Caribbean States

Western European and other States

The U.S. voted against

the resolution

The Middle East broadly favored the resolution, with abstentions by Iraq, Cyprus and Tunisia. The united front of the Arab nations has roots deep in historical trauma, particularly the 1948 Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled during the establishment of Israel. “This evokes images of 1948 … that revive traumatic memories that go back 75 years. And that’s having a huge impact all over the Middle East,” said Rashid Khalidi, a professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University.

With only 14 countries, including Israel, voting against the resolution, the United States was in the minority alongside many Pacific Island nations, often recipients of U.S. aid, and a handful of European Union members: Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

“[The vote result] showed almost total isolation of the United States … and that there is not an agreement on the American Israeli narrative,” Khalidi said.

The United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea — countries that historically aligned with U.S. foreign policy — also refrained from casting a decisive vote and abstained.

“While Western governments generally are aligned with Israel, public opinion in those countries is shifting and is not as supportive of Israel as it was early on in the war,” Khalidi said.

Massive protests in London, Berlin and Paris have amplified this shift.

Several steadfast U.S. allies, including France, Italy and Spain, voted in favor of the cease-fire resolution.

Direct funding and weapon transfers

The United States has been a pivotal supporter of Israel, particularly in terms of security assistance and weapon transfers.

Israel received the second-largest funding of U.S. security assistance, after Afghanistan, over the past two decades. Considering the United States was involved in a two-decade war in Afghanistan, Israel received about 25 percent less in total funding than Afghanistan. In fact, Israel received more than twice as much security assistance than Iraq, the third-largest recipient.

“We’re seeing a massive influx of weapons [into Israel],” said Hanna Homestead. According to data compiled by the Center for International Policy since the start of the war, notable weapon transfers from the United States include 1,000 small-diameter bombs, 312 Tamir missile interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system, 1,800 JDAM bomb kits, over 10,000 155mm artillery shells and 1 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition. Adding to this, on Dec. 9, the Biden administration approved an emergency sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million, bypassing congressional review.

Despite several known weapon sales and transfers, the total U.S. military aid sent remains unknown. The United States’ weapon transfer mechanisms are criticized for their lack of transparency and oversight, with passive approval processes and minimal public reporting. “We’re relying on what people in the Department of Defense or State Department leaked to the press. … There’s no reporting requirement,” said Homestead.

In addition to weapon transfers, Israel also benefits from the U.S. Foreign Military Financing program that provides grants and loans to purchase weapons and equipment directly from American companies.

Hamas has historically received financial and military support from Iran, which supports various groups in the Middle East, like Hezbollah, according to the 2021 Country Reports on Terrorism by the State Department. While Hamas has been a longtime beneficiary of Iran, the U.S. government has not found evidence of a direct Iranian role in the Oct. 7 attack.

In a direct response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, Bolivia officially broke off diplomatic relations on Oct. 31, denouncing its military operation as aggressive and disproportionate. Alongside Bolivia, eight other countries have withdrawn their ambassadors from IsraelSouth Africa, Jordan, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Chad, Honduras and Bahrain. Each has cited humanitarian concerns and the need for adherence to international law in its decision.

South Africa and Jordan, in particular, emphasized their disappointment and condemnation of Israel’s actions, with Jordan highlighting the devastating toll on civilian life and the urgent need for a cease-fire.

Sending humanitarian aid to Gaza

Beginning Oct. 21, Israel started to allow limited humanitarian aid into Gaza, initially permitting 20 truckloads of food, water and medicine per day, excluding fuel. This number eventually increased to about a hundred trucks a day. From Oct. 21 to Nov. 23, before the pause, at least 1,723 truckloads of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, as reported by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. During the November pause, about 750 trucks were allowed to make deliveries. However, this influx of aid was still below the prewar daily average of about 500 trucks and fell short of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) recommendation of 200 trucks per day.

Water is running out in Gaza. It will mean more deaths.

Since Dec. 6, the IDF has expanded its operations farther south and into Khan Younis, home to about 400,000 people before the war. As the war expands and more Palestinians are injured and displaced, the need for aid grows. OCHA already increased its initial appeal for aid from $294 million on Oct. 12 to $1.23 billion on Nov. 3. About 57 percent, $700 million, has been committed or paid so far.


Over $700 million pledged and paid

46 countries and organizations have committed to contribute 57% of the U.N.’s $1.23 billion goal that would prevent further loss of life in Gaza.

Private

(Individuals &

Organizations)

European

Commission’s

Humanitarian

Aid and

Civil Protection

Department

UNICEF Global

Humanitarian

Thematic

Central

Emergency

Response Fund

UNICEF National

Committees

Sheikh Abdullah

Al-nouri Charity

Society

Office for the

Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs

United Palestinian

Appeal

Kuwait Red

Crescent Society

Note: Data as of Dec. 11.

Source: UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service

Over $700 million pledged and paid

46 countries and organizations have committed to contribute 57% of the U.N.’s $1.23 billion goal that would prevent further loss of life in Gaza.

European Commission’s

Humanitarian Aid and

Civil Protection Department

Private (Individuals

& Organizations)

UNICEF Global

Humanitarian

Thematic

Office for the

Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs

Central Emergency

Response Fund

UNICEF

National

Committees

Sheikh Abdullah Al-nouri

Charity Society

Kuwait Red Crescent Society

United Palestinian Appeal

Note: Data as of Dec. 11.

Source: UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service

Over $700 million pledged and paid

46 countries and organizations have committed to contribute 57% of the U.N.’s $1.23 billion goal

that would prevent further loss of life in Gaza.

European Commission’s

Humanitarian Aid and

Civil Protection Department

Private (Individuals

& Organizations)

UNICEF Global

Humanitarian Thematic

Office for the

Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs

Central Emergency

Response Fund

UNICEF

National Committees

Sheikh Abdullah Al-nouri Charity Society

Kuwait Red Crescent Society

United Palestinian Appeal

Note: Data as of Dec. 11.

Source: UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service

Over $700 million pledged and paid

46 countries and organizations have committed to contribute 57% of the U.N.’s $1.23 billion goal that would prevent further loss of life in Gaza.

European

Commission’s

Humanitarian Aid

and Civil Protection

Department

Private

(Individuals &

Organizations)

Central

Emergency

Response Fund

UNICEF

National Committees

UNICEF Global

Humanitarian

Thematic

Office for the Coordination

of Humanitarian Affairs

Sheikh Abdullah

Al-nouri Charity Society

Kuwait Red Crescent Society

United Palestinian

Appeal

Note: Data as of Dec. 11.

Source: UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service

Though voting differently in the United Nations, the European Union has initiated an air bridge and bolstered Gaza’s humanitarian aid by $26.9 million, cumulatively contributing $107.6 million. Abstaining nations like Germany, Japan and India have stepped up: Germany with $53.8 million, Japan with $65 million and India with essential medications and protective and surgical items.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, led by Samantha Power, announced on Dec. 6 an additional $21 million in aid to address the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank. This follows President Biden’s Oct. 18 announcement of $100 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance, which forms part of the U.N. coordinated plan for the region.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, voting largely for a cease-fire, has also committed $100 million to Gaza’s relief operations. From the Middle East, a fleet of aid from Turkey, the UAE, Jordan and Tunisia has delivered medical supplies, food and drinking water to Gaza.

Western nations are now increasingly divided. With the Gaza Health Ministry reporting over 18,000 deaths and nearly 50,000 injured, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has led to a shift in public sentiment, prompting leaders to continue showing support to Palestinians through humanitarian aid and dedication to cease-fire efforts.

correction

A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the last name of Rashid Khalidi incorrectly. The article has been corrected.

Cate Brown contributed to this report.


Credit:
1: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/12/12/israel-gaza-alliance/

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