International support for Israel is eroding


As the death toll rises and the threat of famine looms, Israel's closest allies are expressing their skepticism about the ongoing war in Gaza following a terrorist attack on Israeli territory on October 7 that killed 1,160 People were killed and 250 were taken hostage.
Allies are particularly concerned by the Israeli government's insistence that it will move ahead with plans for a ground assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than 1.1 million people have taken refuge. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it is necessary to end the offensive Palestinian militant group Hamas, which the US, EU and other governments classify as a terrorist organization.
Calls for a ceasefire are becoming more urgent as concerns grow about a complete humanitarian catastrophe.
Biden, Netanyahu's argument
The United States has saved Israel by using its veto to block several resolutions in the UN Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire.
But cracks are appearing in the relationship. Earlier in the week, US President Joe Biden and Netanyahu reportedly argued during a phone call. Biden said the ground attack plan was a “mistake”, while Netanyahu stood by him.
Netanyahu has made clear that the plans still require a few more weeks of preparation, but his adamant position – and the increasingly more devastating humanitarian situation on the ground in Gaza – is causing a rethink of the US position in the UN Security Council .
A US draft resolution calling for an “immediate and sustained ceasefire” was blocked by China and Russia on Friday.
This initiative was accompanied by intense negotiations leading to an agreement for both a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinians held hostage by the Israeli government.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently traveling to the Middle East to talk to all concerned. “An agreement is very possible,” Blinken said during the week.
Canada disarms
With the support of the New Democratic Party, the ruling Liberal Party, the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois, the Parliament of Canada voted 204–117 to temporarily suspend arms exports to Israel.
“Since January 8, the government has not approved new arms export permits to Israel and this will continue until we complete our policy,” Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie's office said in a statement, Agence France-Presse news agency reported. Do not ensure full compliance with export regime.” “There are no open permits for the export of lethal items to Israel.”
Canada is generally seen as one of Israel's closest allies, along with the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for his vague position.
When South Africa filed a genocide lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice in January, Trudeau told reporters that Canada supports the ICJ and its process, but refrained from denouncing or endorsing the basis of the case. At the same time, Canada will abide by the ICJ's decision, Trudeau said.
Opposition parties and civil society actors have pressured Trudeau's government to take a clear stance. This probably contributed to preventing arms exports. The proposal is not binding, but the government has indicated it will implement it.
This makes Canada one of a series of countries blocking arms exports to Israel, including Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.
EU put pressure on Israel
Within the European Union, Spain has become one of the strongest critics of Israel's military campaign. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called on the European Commission to review the EU-Israel Association Agreement, an agreement on political and trade relations.
Sanchez and his Irish counterpart, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has since announced his intention to step down, said Israel could be violating the human rights obligations and basic democratic standards that underpin the agreement. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock rejected the call, which in any case was not formally discussed at the EU summit that ended Friday in Brussels.
On Thursday, leaders of the 27 EU countries agreed to a joint statement taking a tough stance with the Israeli government. The EU collectively called for “a permanent ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and an immediate humanitarian pause for the provision of humanitarian assistance”.
In the first collective EU statement issued after five months of internal divisions, member states also called on Israel not to launch its Rafah ground operation.

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