Despite several statements by world leaders condemning rocket fire on Israel and calling for restraint, the international community currently doesn’t really care about Israel’s conflict with Gaza, a senior diplomatic official said Wednesday.
“The international community is totally disinterested. Yes, there were a few press releases from [UK Foreign Secretary] William Hague and a few others, but generally the world doesn’t show any particular interest in this,” the official told The Times of Israel. “They’re either very tired of [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], or their attention is elsewhere, or they want to go on a summer vacation and don’t think this story is important enough.”
Hague and several of his counterparts in Europe and elsewhere have issued statements on the rocket fire and Israel’s Gaza offensive, as have the United Nations, the European Union and the White House. And yet, most world leaders are exhausted by the current conflagration in Gaza because they have “seen it again and again,” the Israeli official said. “Much worse is happening in the region, and people saw that we were attacked by Hamas rockets” and therefore are hesitant to come out with strong condemnatory statements against Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have phoned several world leaders to explain why Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, but his office did not provide any details. Similarly, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Wednesday refused to answer this reporter’s question about whether Liberman called any of his counterparts in capitals around the world.
Liberman’s possible involvement in the Foreign Ministry’s public diplomacy efforts was not discussed during the ministry’s morning meeting Wednesday. But Israeli diplomats have been contacting their international contacts in the “political and diplomatic echelon” and opinion makers in parliaments, media, Jewish and civil society organizations, a Foreign Ministry source said. “We are telling them what’s happening and that we need their support, their understanding and that we’re going to do whatever is necessary to stop firing of missiles on Israeli civilians.”
Even the Arab world has not gotten too excited about Israel’s offensive in Gaza, an Israeli diplomatic official said. “Egypt has given up on Hamas, they don’t care if we clobber them.” The Foreign Ministry in Cairo has condemned Operation Protective Edge but so far not gotten involved in efforts to reach a ceasefire.
Jordan, which in a statement denounced Israel’s actions as “aggressive” and “barbaric,” is acting “hysterical and hypocritical,” the Israel official said, but he added that Amman is no great friend of Hamas.
Yet it remains unclear how long the international community’s apparent apathy will last. As the Israeli army prepares to intensify its campaign and the Palestinian death tolls climbs, the mood might change and world leaders could start pressuring Israel to halt its operation, the official said. “We will only know how this is going to play out once it’s over.”