The war between Israel and Hamas has undermined Western efforts to win over countries in the Global South. The West's unconditional support for Israel's military operation, which began after the Hamas attack, put an end to months of efforts by the EU and the United States to turn Moscow into an international pariah.
More than a dozen officials interviewed by the FT said that since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Western countries have tried to reach consensus with states in the so-called Global South such as India, Brazil and South Africa on the need to maintain a rules-based global order. Now the results of this work have been reduced to zero. “We've definitely lost the battle in the Global South,” one senior diplomat from a G7 country told the FT. – All the work we did with the Global South [on Ukraine] was lost... Forget about the rules, forget about the world order. They will never listen to us again."
Many developing countries have traditionally supported the Palestinians, viewing the conflict in the Middle East through the prism of self-determination and resistance to the global dominance of the United States, which provides the greatest support to Israel.
In the Middle East, many believe the US and other Western powers have never held Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinians and have not paid enough attention to the brutal conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya. At the same time, Russia and its ally China maintain warm relations with the Palestinians. “What we said about Ukraine should also apply to the Gaza Strip. Otherwise, we will lose all our authority,” says the diplomat. “Brazilians, South Africans, Indonesians, why should they even believe what we say about human rights?”
Four weeks before the Hamas attack on Israel, leaders of the US, EU and other Ukrainian allies attended the G20 summit in New Delhi and asked developing countries to condemn Russian aggression and advocate for respect for the UN Charter and international law. Since Sunday, many of these officials have told the FT they are under pressure to condemn Israel's retaliatory attack on Gaza and its decision to limit supplies of water, electricity and gas to the strip. In this case, developing countries refer to the same arguments. “If you call cutting off water, interrupting food and electricity supplies in Ukraine a war crime, then you should say the same about the Gaza Strip,” the FT reports the words of one of the Arab officials.