The Voice of America in a recent article, asked that China show unity, something China has been trying to do for many years. So, it was disappointing that the article praised Taiwan for its condemnation of the attacks in Israel but criticised China for having the temerity to call for peace from both sides.
As all leaders around the world should be doing, Taiwan’s, Tsai Ing-wen expressed condolences for the loss of life in Israel on 7th October. In doing so, she, her deputy, and a few global leaders following the USA lead, neglected to express concern for loss of life in other parts of the same conflict; Gaza or the West Bank, places we used to call Palestine.
Their negligence may relate to the Israeli Defence Minister’s description of “human animals”, in his opinion, they are not worthy of our respect, concern or sorrow when they die so neglecting them when offering condolences seems to reflect the Israeli stance. A stance which is being supported in the “international community” by the USA.
Many countries’ leaders such as Australia, Canada and the UK have expressed the same sentiments as Tsai but neither Tsai, nor her Deputy, William Lai Ching-te expressed their sentiments on behalf of a sovereign nation.
As a nation with UN membership, the People’s Republic of China remains, as it always has, on the side of a peaceful resolution. The same resolution the USA claims it supports and the UN wants to implement; a Two State Solution as proposed and accepted in 1947 with UN Resolution 181 and again, in 2016, with Resolution 2334. If the VOA seeks unity in China, that unity should be in keeping with UN resolutions, agreed by sovereign nations and not US talking points.
We can all agree that the attack on 7th October was terrible and worthy of international condolences but the response from Israel needs to be measured and reasonable, not an ongoing slaughter of innocent people; this is what real leaders should be calling for.
It’s impossible to keep up with an increasing death count as bombing continues but even conservative estimates of the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza allow for a death rate in the region of 2 or 3 Palestinians to every Israeli who was killed on the initial attack and it isn’t over yet!
But what makes this more disconcerting is that no one has yet been able to inform the world how many of the dead or dying in Gaza are actually members of Hamas. It seems, unless someone can find further evidence to refute this, that almost 100% of the victims aren’t terrorists, militants or even Hamas, they are ordinary, innocent people, who have the misfortune to have been living in the area that Israel has selected for reprisals, Northern Gaza.
Tsai’s post on X used very familiar words: “like minded countries” and the ever repeated but extremely shallow phraseology, “freedom and democracy”. These words are familiar because they’ve been encompassed in almost every speech made by US politicians since 11th September 2001. A day in which 2,977 people died. That was a truly shocking, and epoch shifting event which galvanized the USA into actions that changed the course of history. And yet, in Gaza, last week, a similar number of people have already been killed, some estimates are of 3,000 people. But what’s more frightening is that Gaza knows, the worst is yet to come as Israel prepares for a ground offensive. Neither Tsai, nor any leader of a so-called “like-minded” democracy has condemned, or even mentioned, this equally atrocious loss of innocent lives and this reflects badly on the people they represent.
Condemning an unexpected Hamas attack is all very well but a refusal to acknowledge the root causes of the conflict and a failure to accept that the people of Gaza have little in the way of hope and nothing much left to lose, is a path to further conflict. In doing this, rather than in uniting with China, Russia and much of the rest of the world, in calling for an end to hostilities, Tsai has shown support for Israel and the USA rather than support for what China wants.
Where there is criticism from the Anglosphere of China’s call for peace and lack of condemnation of Hamas, there is far more criticism from others, the Tehran Times, for example is carrying many articles in support of Palestine, as is RT Television, China’s Global Times front page calls instead for de-escalation and accuses the USA of “one-sided support”.
And one-sided support it clearly is: the US has sent no less than three navy admirals into the region, one in charge of the Aircraft Carrier Strike Group USS Gerald Ford, one in charge of Aircraft Carrier Strike Group USS Dwight D Eisenhower and another aboard the USS Mount Whitney, which is a command and control vessel based in Italy “in support of US operations”. It gets even more worrying when we learn that a 2,400 strong US Marine Expeditionary Unit left a training exercise in Kuwait and is, with three more ships, joining the Gerald Ford Group off the coast of Israel, they will also be supported by an unknown number of F15 Stike Eagles and an A10 Thunderbolt (warthog) aircraft, the one capable of deploying cluster bombs.
Biden is famous for saying that if Israel didn’t exist, the USA would need to invent it and the House has even passed a resolution stating that Israel is not a racists state and that USA is its “staunch partner”, blindly following this one-sided support and extensive military build-up is not a path to peace.
Worryingly, there is not one dissenting voice in the US cheerleading squad doing what China is doing – looking for a peaceful resolution that will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives and prevent millions of refugees.
When we see such a military build-up, when leaders follow instead of leading, when we fail to recognise root causes and refuse to even acknowledge, let alone resolve a problem that has festered for more than a generation and we see evidence of dehumanising by one side so that people being targeted are less worthy of our humanity; we know this can’t end well.
We are on the cusp of an easily avoidable but almost inevitable humanitarian disaster and it seems it’s not just Taiwan’s leadership, all of the USA’s followers are so afraid to be critical of Israel that none of them will help prevent it.