Gaza and An Alternate World Order

Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi at an international event. Credit: M Agung Rajasa/Antara Foto/Media Center KTT AIS 2023.

Introduction ­­­­

The crisis in Gaza shows that the multilateral world order has arrived at a new low of dysfunctionality. The international community simply sits and watches as Israel’s war for supremacy killed 23,357 people in Gaza, at the time of writing.

The war has invoked global insecurity and heightened the urgency for a new international system, one that would not let Israel or similar aggressor walk away scot-free.

International experts, policymakers, journalists and activists have concluded that Israel’s ongoing atrocities in Gaza has reached its lowest point that has not been seen since 1948.

A month before the Hamas attack on 7 October 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the New Middle East plan, also known as the Greater Israel map at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Perhaps inspired by the land projection of biblical era, the Prime Minister included parts of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon in the country’s foreign policy of territorial expansion in the map. The “New Middle East” agenda has also been articulated in other official statements.

Netanyahu insisted that the Bible-inspired map as “a blessing to all”, a clear way to politicize the holy book that is sacred to 2.6 billion Christians worldwide. Curiously, Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament, has a verse on the call for an extermination the ancient tribe of Amalek. Netanyahu quoted the verse to justify the killing Palestinians, including children and women, whom he associated as the Amalek during a press conference on 28 October 2023.

Such rhetoric has invited condemnation left, right and center. Pope Francis of the Catholic Church has been silent on the Greater Israel policy but warned against terrorism committed in Gaza.

The Dysfunctional World Order

Scholars believes that only an intervention by the United States could stop Israel’s aggression in Gaza. However, the United States’ call for Israel to reduce the civil casualty and urging to end the war are contrary to its defence of its veto against the United Nations’ call for ceasefire. The United States’ rationale behind the veto is inspired by the perceived imbalance response by the United Nations, which dismissed Hamas as equally responsible for the death of civilians in Gaza. US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood believed that “Hamas has no desire for a durable peace” even if the two-state solution materializes.

Such ambiguous position is rather identical to the stand of the US’ allies towards the war.

The United Kingdom, for instance, has not only emphasized its support for Israel and the latter’s right to defend against Hamas, but also called for a restraint from violating the international law. Despite this, the United Kingdom remains a bystander as the carnage in Gaza continues. Similar stance has been expressed by other European nations, such as France and Germany.

Such pronouncements are strongly suspect of double standards, especially if compared to their position on the Russia-Ukraine war. The world’s major and superpowers also seem to be failing to come together to push for a lasting solution on the Gaza affair.

This dysfunctionality has invited strong reaction from grassroots and states alike. Protests and rallies in support of Gaza popped up across the globe, despite unfair reporting by traditional news outlets, unbalanced social media algorithm and questionable take downs of pro-Gaza content.

The United States has also banned the boycott activism in its domestic sphere. Using the narrative of the fight against antisemitism and to protect the right of an allied country, in December 2023, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a renewed legislation named IGO Anti Boycot Act, which bars Americans from participating in boycotts of U.S. allies if those boycotts are promoted or imposed by foreign countries.

The Houthi’s attack “on all Israel bound ship” in the Red Sea is indicative of this disappointment towards the dysfunctional multilateral system, led by the Western powers. Interestingly, some corners of the international community may celebrate this Shiite military movement as the only actor that does something about the conundrum.

Emerging Global South Multipolarity

The world urgently needs an alternative to this dysfunctional multilateral system.

In the last several years, various experts have argued for a new multipolar political system that can ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and security to all countries in the world. Such a system allows multiple centres of powers to emerge, enabling smaller states to foster alliance more liberally instead of simply gravitating towards one or two superpowers.

It should be noted that the failure of the United Nations’ process to cease the hostility in Gaza is a symptom of this failing multilateral system. The United Nations, for instance, has signalled that a multipolar world order could improve global peace and security, with smaller countries in the Global South having more freedom to determine who they want to ally and collaborate with.

On the other hand, despite the support for Israel to “defend itself” against the Hamas, the European Union perceives the Global South as the core of the multipolar world system, where it demands to act with the respectful right of its distinct identity and sovereignty in policy making and conflict resolution within the international political system.

It is widely known that the Global South has consistently been on the side of the Palestine, owing to the shared past experiences of anti-colonialism, anti-apartheids and anti-Zionism. The ambiguous position of the United States and its European allies are perceived as “the west’s civilizational failure”, “The Wests’ loss”, or as “double standard” among many other critics.

For example, majority of the Global South countries voted in favour of a ceasefire during a the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session on 12 December 2023. Within a month of the conflict, South Africa, Jordan, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Chad, Honduras, Bahrain and Bolivia had also recalled their respective ambassadors from Israel. Furthermore, South Africa filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel concerning the latter’s violation of the Genocide Convention.

The Gaza conflict and other instances of global insecurity have decentred the US hegemony at the world stage, on one hand, and opened a pathway for China to emerge as an alternative hegemony. Not only has China condemned the atrocity in Gaza and urged for a fully independent sovereignty of Palestine, it has also pushed for ceasefire and led summits with Arab leaders for a concrete solution.

China has also projected more sea power in the Gulf since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza. China has emerged as the magnet for the Global South countries to lean on. As such, it is perfectly plausible that more Global South countries would choose aligning itself with China.

Indonesia’s Consistency

While all of these unfold, Indonesia’s role as one of the Global South countries remains vague at best, conflictual at worst. Indonesia’s support towards South Africa’s legal application was deafeningly slow considering it took Indonesia two weeks to declare its support, especially if compared to Malaysia’s.

On 10 January 2024, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lalu Muhammad Iqbal stated that Indonesia is not party to the Genocide Convention, which explains its initial absence in joining the legal initiatives. As of 20 January 2024, Indonesia has filed a new lawsuit against Israel at the ICJ.

Indonesia’s staunch support for the independence of Palestine is famously inked in its 1945 Constitution. Indonesia’s traditional position on Palestine is shaped by its non-alignment multipolarity in international arena. Two important factors are at play here.

Firstly, its foreign policy foundation of bebas aktif(free and active) reflects Indonesia’s position in a globally uncertain and insecure world. It charts Indonesia’s path to freely determine its stance and policy towards an international issue without being tied to the wishes and whims of another power. It also demands the country’s active participation in conflict resolution process around the world.

Such a paradigm is reflected in Indonesia’s leadership of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) and its administering of the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung. The Conference gave birth to “Dasasila Bandung” that conceptualizes global peace order. It should be noted that NAM is currently one of active organizations and key player in pushing for a just global order coordinated through the United Nations.

Moreover, Indonesia has contributed to global peace through participation in the UN peacekeeping mission since 1957, with 24,000 troops estimated to have served in Sinai, Sudan, Mali, Central Africa and Lebanon. In addition, its commitment to the Rohingyas are recorded as championing the humanitarian response since the refugees’ first arrival in Aceh in 2008. Although recent developments suggest that there is a domestic opposition to this, Indonesia has consistently reached out to international organization and community to spread awareness as well as to search for a lasting solution.

Secondly, Indonesia’s experience in its anti-colonial struggle strikes many similar notes as what Palestinians are experiencing now as well. That is why support for Palestine without Indonesia is hard to comprehend. The country’s filing of a new lawsuit against Israel would not only renew Indonesia’s existing legacy of global order but also might further encompass the direction of power and justice in the emerging multipolar world order, as rightly pointed out by the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi.

#Gaza #Indonesia #Palestine

This article was uploaded on:


Silakan masukkan komentar anda!
Silakan masukkan nama Anda di sini

More articles ―