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Will Gaza change the interactions between the Global North and the South?

June 5, 2024 at 7:29 pm

Protesters wave Palestinian flags and South Africa flag during a demonstration to show support to Palestinians at the Place de la Republique in central Paris on 31 May, 2024 [ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli war on Gaza reshaped global positions by dividing the world into North and South and, for the first time ever, firm positions emerged from the countries of the South rejecting the standards of the North, which controlled the system of global values ​​by monopolising the definition of terrorism after tailoring it to fit their terms. Then they use it as a tool to blackmail and exploit the countries of the South to perpetuate their suppression and weaken their bargaining capabilities in the game of international interests.

The West’s absolute support for Israel was a huge loophole through which the countries of the Global South were able to demolish the Western narrative about human rights, justice and freedom, as it revealed that these values ​​are not supported by the West when it concerns the nations in the South. They also revealed that these values ​​​​become quite lenient when they leave the walls of the West and are often loaded with racism surrounding colour, religion and race. Southern criticism of the West took the form of a geopolitical context based on the West’s blatant insistence on supporting Israel, despite the major dangers that Israel’s war poses to the civilian population, which resulted in tens of thousands of children and women victims. It was considered the largest operation to trample international law, with the West formulating most of its provisions. Therefore, the South African initiative in the International Court of Justice is considered a revolution by the South to preserve the values ​​of human justice after questioning the values ​​of the moral authority of the West and its inconsistent standards.

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By raising the issue of genocide against the people of Gaza, South Africa has shed light on a deeper fault line in global geopolitics and has revealed a global South that feels extremely frustrated with the policies of the West. This frustration was expressed in the UN General Assembly meetings, where the countries of the South have the greatest weight, through their votes to recognise the Palestinian State and stop the war in Gaza. The positions of the countries of the South, most of which suffered from colonialism, reveal that the countries of the West treat the Palestinians the way they treated their people, given the similarities that unite the Palestinians with the nations of those countries. Moreover, the West, which is still accused of trying to control the peoples of the South through new tools and methods of submission and subjugation, uses such wars to cement its global control, and makes the issue of these parties separating from Western control seem impossible.

Behind the positions of the countries of the South lies a firm conviction that decision-making processes in the global geopolitical sphere are monopolised by the West based on reasons that no longer exist, in light of the change in the facts that provided the West with this domination. Many countries of the South have been able to achieve high levels of growth and governance, which qualifies them to be a vital partner in managing the international system and determining its standards, which are largely biased towards the interests of the Western parties. The war on Gaza has made these demands legitimate, in light of the inconsistency of the Western position, its departure from logic and even its threat posed to the future of international relations. The war on Gaza has strengthened the importance and effectiveness of the countries in the South through the emergence of an effective and influential bloc, in the context of working to find a new vision for the international system, away from the policies of polarity that make the countries of the South mere margins subject to polarisation that serves the interests of this party or that. The countries in the South aspire to establish a system that is more diverse and representative and less controlled and directed by the major powers, which now raises the question of the extent to which the new repositioning will reach, and its impact on the balances of the international system.

However, if this position is not fortified, it will be vulnerable to infiltration, especially since most of the countries of the South are economically linked to the West, as globalisation has increased connections between the countries and have almost done away with the economic cards that the South, which is rich in wealth and energy, possesses in terms of being strong negotiating cards. The uprisings staged by the countries of the South against Western interests and replacing them with relations with China and Russia, is nothing more than replacing one exploiter with another, after these two countries turned into capitalists; dirty in Russia, and extremely opportunistic in China, to the point of depriving those who possess wealth from obtaining balanced returns from their wealth, and even stealing their economic assets, as China is doing in more than one region of the world.

If it is illogical to demand that the countries of the South isolate themselves from the other side, and, if this is not possible given the intertwining relations and interests and their diversity, then the same logic calls for searching for new approaches that force the West to respect the issues of the peoples of the South, and take into account the importance of this large mass of nations of the world, taking into account their interests and respecting their issues. Perhaps it is difficult to imagine that the South would have structures, frameworks and ideology that could confront a harmonious and unified West, at least in its dealings with the other side. This matter is hampered by many issues, the most important of which is the lack of motivation due to the differences in the circumstances of each country in the South.

However, these countries demonstrated, during the war on Gaza, that they have consistent and unified positions that can be built upon to lay the foundations for new rules to deal with the West at the next stage.

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This article appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby on 3 June, 2024.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.