The war between Israel and Gaza has tested the bounds of humanity, religion, and logic. Many people have called for an end to the war, and the BRICS economic group has joined them. The new economic block has called for an end to Israel’s attack on Gaza, as well as a cessation of hostilities on both sides, in order to help ease the Gaza Strip’s fast-escalating humanitarian disaster.
The BRICS bloc decried attacks on civilians in Palestine and Israel in a virtual summit convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, with several leaders identifying the forced displacement of Palestinians, whether within or beyond the region, as “war crimes.”
BRICS take a power play position on the ancient war
The BRICS, which consists of South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and India, are all prominent emergent economies striving to exert more influence over a world order that has historically been dominated by the United States and its Western allies. Frequently, these nations are regarded as frontrunners of the region known as the “Global South” in the field of international policy.
However, Tuesday’s conflict discussions were not limited to these five nations. BRICS agreed to expand by 2024, with Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran joining the organization. The meeting convened by South Africa was also attended by the leaders of the aforementioned six nations. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, was also present at the summit.
The group did not issue a joint statement. However, the Chair’s summary reads as follows;
We condemned any kind of individual or mass forcible transfer and deportation of Palestinians from their own land […] reiterated that the forced transfer and deportation of Palestinians, whether inside Gaza or to neighboring countries, constitute grave breaches of the Geneva conventions and war crimes and violations under International Humanitarian Law.The Chair’s summary
The chair’s statement — essentially an insightful description of the mood in the room — underlines mounting pleas from the Global South to cease the war in Gaza. The conflict began on October 7, when the militant group Hamas launched an onslaught on Israeli settlements, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping 240 more.
In retaliation, Israel has continued to shell Gaza, hitting hospitals, schools, and refugee camps and murdering over 13,000 people, many of whom were children, in violation of international law.
How does BRICS stand differ from that of the West?
Since the beginning of the war, millions of people in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have marched for a “Free Palestine” and called for a cease-fire. Experts in Africa and elsewhere have accused the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union of hypocrisy for claiming to be bastions of democracy and human rights while backing Israel’s attack in Gaza.
While the chair’s summary appeared “mild and somewhat balanced,” several countries were more confrontational in their presentations.
President Ramaphosa of South Africa, the current BRICS chair, said in his opening remarks at the summit that Israel’s actions “are in clear violation of international law” and that Israel’s “collective punishment of Palestinian civilians is a war crime… tantamount to genocide.”
Ramaphosa also stated that Hamas had “violated international law and must be held accountable.”
India’s tone was gentler, with Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar calling for “restraint and immediate humanitarian support,” as well as “peaceful resolution through dialogue and diplomacy.”
Many member states, including Russia and Brazil, have previously condemned Israel’s ceaseless bombardment and now ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. For its part, China received a group of Muslim countries, politicians, and organizations demanding a cease-fire, including the Palestinian Authority (PA) this week.
According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, “the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli situation is the fact that the Palestinian people’s right to statehood, their right to existence, and their right of return have long been ignored” for all these years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the issue on US diplomacy and urged the international community to unite “in order to ease tensions, ensure a ceasefire, and find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”