“We are at war. No surgery, no round.” [of fighting]at war,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his fellow Israelis on October 7 after a surprise attack by the Palestinian armed group Hamas that killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel.
Within hours, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, condemned the attacks as “unconscionable.” President Joe Biden reiterated: “Israel has the right to defend itself,” echoing the sentiments of Israel’s allies around the world.
Over the next seven weeks, Israel dropped more than 40,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, killing more than 15,000 people, including at least 6,150 children, and leveling entire neighborhoods.
After several failed United Nations resolutions and a flurry of diplomatic efforts, a four-day ceasefire in Gaza agreed to by Hamas and Israel finally came into effect on November 24 and was later extended for another three days.
While the war continues on the ground, a parallel battle is being waged on the world stage through the exchange of words.
To understand how language shapes the current war, Al Jazeera examined all speeches and statements made by 118 United Nations member states at all meetings of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and General Assembly (UNGA) between October 7 and October 15. November.
In addition to the UN statements, we analyzed hundreds of speeches and statements by the leaders of Israel and Palestine, five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, China and Russia – as well as eight regional actors, namely Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.
Pause vs. ceasefire – who said what?
Many countries have called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire to end all hostilities, while Israel’s allies have only called for a pause in fighting.
Those who sidestep calls for a “ceasefire” share Israel’s view that Hamas should not be given a break in fighting and that the war should end only after the armed group has been completely destroyed. Many of these countries have called for peace or a political solution but have neglected to use the term “ceasefire.”
According to the United Nations:
- A truce is broadly defined as “a cessation of all acts of violence against the civilian population.”
Although there is no universal definition of what a ceasefire means, it typically includes a formal agreement to end fighting and establishes a political process to de-escalate the conflict, such as withdrawing weapons or repositioning forces.
- A humanitarian breakon the other hand, is defined as a “temporary cessation of hostilities solely for humanitarian reasons”.
A pause or ceasefire is a temporary cessation of fighting for an agreed period of time.
Our analysis found that the majority of countries (55 percent) explicitly called for a “ceasefire” in Gaza, while 23 percent of nations underscored the importance of a temporary cessation of hostilities. The remaining 22 percent did not explicitly support either option.
The majority of countries calling for a pause are European countries as well as the USA and Canada.
The Biden administration has called for “humanitarian pauses” in the war while firmly rejecting calls for a ceasefire, at least until Israel achieves its stated goal of eliminating Hamas.
The majority calling for a ceasefire comes from the global south, with the exception of a few European states, most notably France, Ireland, Russia and Spain.
France is pushing for the conclusion of a humanitarian ceasefire, which could ultimately lead to a ceasefire.
For Palestinians in Gaza like Tala Herzallah, a 21-year-old student at the Islamic University of Gaza, the role of the international community and organizations like the United Nations in ending the war is almost “zero.”
“All international laws are being violated and no one says anything. It’s all just ink on paper,” she told Al Jazeera.
People are being bombed in hospitals and schools. But they only condemn. Our blood is cheap
by Tala Herzallah – student in Gaza
In addition, like many Palestinians, Herzallah emphasized that the conflict with Israel goes far beyond the tragic events of October 7th.
“We (Gaza) have been under siege for more than 16 years, with pain, poverty and unemployment. Every now and then they get bombed.”
Source : www.aljazeera.com