How Gaza deepened the chasm between the West and 'the rest'

How Gaza deepened the chasm between the West and 'the rest'
6 min read

Allia Bukhari

04 March, 2024
The West's unwavering support for Israel's war on Gaza has left it isolated on the international stage as the Global South bands together, writes Allia Bukhari.
The Gaza war has revealed a trust deficit between the vast majority of the world and the dominant Western powers, writes Allia Bukhari. [Getty]

In the aftermath of 7th October attacks in Israel, the West showed its unwavering support for Tel Aviv’s onslaught on Gaza, backing its right to “defend itself” and defeat Hamas.

But now, with over 30,000 Palestinians killed and thousands injured over the course of five months and as calls to end bloodshed in Gaza and implement a ceasefire become a rallying cry in protests across the globe, Western powers find them isolated on the international stage.

They are scrambling to salvage what little legitimacy and authority they may have left.

When European Union Foreign Affairs chief Joseph Borrell criticised European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, for her “pro-Israel stance” in a recent interview, he affirmed that the trip she undertook to Israel in October offering unequivocal support for the war “has had a high geopolitical cost for Europe”. 

Borrell’s recent remarks highlight the conundrum the EU and other Western powers presently face: to save their credibility after a muddled start and speak on Gaza as a united voice while appearing more balanced and neutral in this conflict.

Almost all EU states and other Western powers condemned the Hamas attacks that resulted in the death of almost 1,200 Israelis. Countries such as Spain, Belgium and Ireland, however, also raised alarm over Israel’s response as a result and stressed implementation of a two-state solution.

Others like the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany have been hesitant about condemning Israel —  Prague and Budapest also blocked a move by the European Union to sanction Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories, showing their utmost disregard for Palestinian lives.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had "no doubt" the Israeli army would follow international law, given Israel “‘is a democracy”, while Austrian leader Karl Nehammer echoed similar sentiments, saying, "all the fantasies of ceasefires and the cessation of hostilities [have] led to the strengthening of Hamas." 

Their position and reluctance to criticise Israel has been extremely at odds with the rest of the world.

In contrast, several Latin American, Asian and African nations have taken a firm stance against Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, urging an immediate ceasefire while criticising Israel’s collective punishment. 

Several Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Chile, and Colombia, have either cut ties or recalled their ambassadors.

As South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Namibia, a country subjected to genocide by the German colonisers, stood by Johannesburg in defiance to Germany, lambasting Berlin’s failure to atone for the genocide it committed on Namibian soil.

Following Windhoek’s footsteps, Nicaragua also filed a case at the ICJ against Germany for “facilitating genocide” through financial and military support it provides to Israel.

Other Global South countries spread around the world, like  Malaysia, Bolivia, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil also declared their support for the South African case, with Germany on the opposing side and the United States terming genocide accusations as “unfounded” and “meritless”.


Imperialism, selective humanity and self-centeredness are the core reasons for the Global South’s discontent with the Western elites, demonstrating a lack of confidence and manifesting itself in sizable support for Palestine.

As China and Russia eye greater influence — Moscow, mainly to outsmart the isolation from the West due to Ukraine invasion and achieve its strategic goals, and Beijing, to challenge Washington’s hegemony — the Global South, with the majority of the world’s population, is a key voice, representative of the aspirations of billions of people and a genuine stakeholder in today’s multipolar world.

Wider geopolitical ramifications from the Gaza war indicate a deepening chasm between the West and the developing countries, which are also suffering from climate catastrophes and economic crises exacerbated due to the former’s exploitation, racism and structural and historical inequalities dating back to colonial days.

Many countries in the Global South see the Palestinian cause as a decolonial struggle against Western domination. The unjust invasion of Iraq two decades ago by the United States and its allies also proved to be a turning point which displayed the West’s moral bankruptcy and weakened credibility.

Some analysts also point to West’s disregard or meagre attention to some of the other severe crises in the world, such as the war in Tigray, tantamount to a widening divide and why Western powers lack real influence despite trade and labour dependencies with the developing countries.

The Gaza crisis has also left the US-brokered peace process under the Abraham Accords in tatters. A series of deals brokered in 2020 between Israel and a number of Arab and Islamic countries were seen as paving the way for normalisation while keeping the Palestinian issue on the back-burner.

Regional heavyweights like Saudi Arabia were inching closer to normalising ties with Tel Aviv before the 7 October attacks, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted as “a quantum leap” in the Middle East.

The process, in a blow to Washington’s efforts, has come to a halt for the foreseeable future as public opinion heavily favours the Palestinians in these countries, decrying the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza and the United States’ complicity and blocking of UN resolutions that called for a ceasefire.


The Gaza war has revealed a trust deficit between the vast majority of the world and the dominant Western powers, whose decisions, when it comes to Israel-Palestine, are also at odds with a great number of their own populations.

China and Russia are likely to gain from this, as seen with the BRICS making a comeback and launching itself as more of a geopolitical entity. According to South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, thirty-four countries have expressed interest in joining the bloc of major emerging economies.

The BRICS is increasingly being seen as a counterbalance to Western hegemony where the United States, Israel’s staunchest supporter and ally, is not at the helm of affairs.

Israel’s war on Gaza has reinforced the Global South’s views on Western double standards. The saving grace from these powers, especially the EU, is essential to not undo the work done via soft power in their efforts to seek international support for Ukraine not so long ago.

Allia Bukhari is a Pakistani journalist based in Prague, Czech Republic. An Erasmus Mundus scholar, she mostly writes on women's issues and human rights

Follow her on Twitter: @alliabukhari1

Have questions or comments? Email us at:

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff, or the author's employer.