The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Is the List of World Leaders Reprimanding Israel Growing?

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is facing backlash for controversial remarks regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, comparing Israel’s activity in Gaza to Germany’s crimes during the Holocaust.

Speaking at an African Union summit in Ethiopia, Lula classified what is occurring in Gaza as a “genocide,” according to BBC News. To make his point clear, he continued by saying, ​​“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Drawing comparisons to a genocide primarily against the Jewish people did not go over well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who claimed that Lula’s statements “crossed a red line.” In the same statement released late Sunday, per CNN, Netanyahu suggested the comparison downplayed the atrocity and that Lula’s statement was both “Holocaust trivialization” and an “attempt to harm the Jewish people and the right of Israel to defend itself.”

Netanyahu has continually defended Israel’s actions as purely defensive in response to events that transpired on Oct. 7, 2023. On this subject, he claims that “Israel fights for its defense and securing its future until complete victory and it does so while upholding international law,” as per CNN. For Netanyahu, a complete victory for Israel entails the eradication of Hamas.

In his criticism of Israel, Lula focused on the vast amounts of wealth and resources available to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), saying, “It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” according to Al Jazeera. Such points regarding the asymmetric powers at play have been a common theme among Netanyahu’s critics.

In late December 2023, the Republic of South Africa filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which described Israel’s actions as “genocidal in character.” And this week, the ICJ is scheduled to have six days of hearings regarding the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. According to Reuters, Palestinian representatives plan to argue that Israels occupation of their territory is illegal.

Whatever name is applied to Israel’s actions, it is clear that criticism is widespread. Lula, championed as the leader of the global south, has now added Brazil to an extensive list of countries expressing their concern over the conflict. They include, but are not limited to: Algeria, Belize, Columbia, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, South Africa, Venezuela and members of the African Union. 

The fact remains that Israel was victim to a substantial attack by Hamas forces on Oct. 7, wherein 1,200 Israelis were killed and 253 hostages were taken to Palestine. In retaliation, Israel launched an extensive counter attack, which has led to the death of 28,000 people and the displacement of nearly two million people. Regarding refugees, Israel’s neighbors are also upset, as reflected in Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi’s statement on Sunday that “Jordan should not be responsible for cleaning Israel’s mess, according to the Egypt Independent.

As the war continues, the number of deaths and refugees can be expected to grow, as will the list of nations in support of a second ceasefire. A ceasefire may be improbable considering Netanyahu’s continued determination to remove Hamas as a threat. Just this past Sunday, Feb. 18, Benny Gantz, the former Israeli Minister of Defense, said that Israel plans to escalate military operations if the hostages are not released by Ramadan, per CNN

The United States has, so far, appeared to stand by Israel. On Sunday, Feb. 18, the UN-U.S. ambassador, Thomas-Greenfield, said the U.S. would veto a resolution proposed by Algeria enacting an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” as per Al Jazeera. The reasoning, according to Thomas-Greenfield, is that a ceasefire could “run counter” to what Washington believes could be achieved through diplomacy. A United States veto would block Algeria’s resolution from passing.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the United States proposed a draft rivaling the one proposed by Algeria. If passed, the resolution calls for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable,” according to CNN, falling short of the immediate ceasefire proposed by Algeria. Concerns over harm to civilians being a major concern, “a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries,” the draft reads, per Reuters. According to multiple sources, an anonymous senior administration official said the U.S. congress would “not plan to rush” on a vote to allow time for negotiations.

As of now, the end result of the United States’ more lenient proposal is unclear. As time goes on and the death toll climbs, it will only become more clear to the rest of the world how unpopular the United States’ support of Israel really is. 

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