In the News: May 2024

Curated by the Research Team of the Peace and Security Group UNAA Queensland. The articles below do not represent the views of UNAA or UNAA Queensland.



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‘The goal is to destroy Gaza’: Why Israel rejects a ceasefire with Hamas

Israel appears to have been blindsided by Hamas’s announcement on Monday that it had agreed to an Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal. But the Israeli government quickly made its position clear – the proposal wasn’t something it would agree to, and, to make matters more explicit, its military forces took control of the Palestinian side of Egypt’s border with Gaza in Rafah.

US will stop supplying some weapons to Israel if it invades Rafah, Biden warns

Joe Biden has issued a blunt warning to Israel that his administration will stop supplying bombs and artillery shells if its military pushes ahead with an offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, in what could mark the start of a turning point in relations between the two countries. US officials insist that the pause is not because of legal concerns, but is a policy decision. There is nervousness in the administration about making legal judgments in case they are used against Israel in legal disputes before the international criminal court and the international court of justice. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said he did not believe the US would stop supplying arms to Israel, but called Washington’s decision to hold up some weapons shipments “very disappointing”, even frustrating.

Jeremy Bowen: Biden has decided strong words with Israel are not enough

For weeks, President Joe Biden and his senior officials have been losing patience with the way that Israel is fighting the war in Gaza. They have used increasingly stiff language to convey their displeasure to Israel and the wider world. The decision to allow the latest ceasefire resolution through the Security Council shows that President Biden has decided that strong words are not enough. Removing diplomatic protection from Israel’s conduct of the war is a significant step.

Israel bans Al Jazeera: What does it mean and what happens next?

One month after Israel’s parliament passed a law that allowed for the temporary shutdown of foreign media outlets, Al Jazeera was shut down in the country. The ban was based on the media outlet being a security threat. Al Jazeera calls it a slanderous shutdown as it limits the possibility to report on the violence in Palestine.

Commentary and Analysis

US sparks controversy at the UN with claim that Gaza ceasefire resolution is ‘non-binding’

The majority of members of the Security Council and numerous experts reject this reading and believe that the text is binding, even if the organization does not have the coercive power to make sure Israel and Hamas adhere to it.

“A non-binding resolution.” That’s how both Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and John Kirby, White House National Security Communications Advisor, described U.N. Security Council Resolution 2728. “There’s no impact at all on Israel,” added Kirby. These claims hit the U.N. Security Council — the highest executive body of the U.N., in charge of ensuring world peace and security — like a torpedo. Were the Council’s resolutions binding or not? Or was it that some resolutions were binding and others were not?

Adil Haque, professor of International Law, has no doubts that the resolution is binding. “According to the U.N. Charter, all decisions of the Security Council are binding for all member states. The International Court of Justice has ruled that a resolution need not mention Chapter VII of the Charter [action in case of threats to the peace, breaches of the peace or acts of aggression], refer to international peace and security or use the word ‘decides’ to make it binding.


Gaza war: is UN security council ‘demand’ for a ceasefire legally binding? Here’s what international law says

Resolution 2728 was adopted by the security council on March 25, with 14 members voting in favour of the resolution and the United States abstaining. The resolution demands a temporary but “immediate ceasefire”.

It also demands the release of all hostages and the “lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance, at scale, in line with international humanitarian law”. The legally binding nature of the resolution has been questionedby the US. The US representative to the UN stated explicitly that they did not agree with everything in the resolution – and could not therefore vote in favour of it. But they did support, she added, “some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution”. The question of whether the resolution is binding revolves around whether it falls under the remit of chapter VII of the UN charter which provides the legal basis for the security council to undertake any “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression”.  Despite the groundbreaking adoption of a UN security council resolution demanding a immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the war continues. The reaction from Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the passing of the resolution has been ferocious.


Academic Articles

The war on flags: The opposition to state-sponsored LGBTQ+ symbols

By Alberto López Ortega

This article looks into the escalation of negativity related to state-sponsored LGBTQ+ symbols in Western European states, with a specific focus on Spain. It offers insight into the complexities of public opinion related to these symbols, how political affiliations might affect this, and the challenges of those in the LGBTQ+ communities.

Putin’s Upper Hand: Cultural Domain Warfare

By Frederik Rosén

This article investigates the clash between cultural heritage and historical narratives, with a focus on conflicts between Russia and Euro-Atlantic states. It elaborates on the central role of cultural heritage in Russia’s foreign policy, with examples from the Russian annexation of Crimea and the later occupation, and contrasts that with the lack of such cultural and historical narratives from the western states.

BrOthers in Arms’: France, the Anglosphere and AUKUS

By Jack Holland, Eglantine Staunton

Important French foreign policy dyads, such as relations between France and the United Kingdom and France and the United States, have consistently been subject to empirical, historical and policy analysis. However, France’s relationship with the broader Anglosphere is rarely considered or conceptualized. This article theorizes France’s relationship with the Anglosphere at a pivotal historical juncture. The 2021 announcement of AUKUS, a security partnership between Australia, the UK and the US, spectacularly excluded France despite a shared proclivity to use military force in defence of liberal international order. To analyse this vital contemporary case, we undertake a comparative, computer-aided discourse analysis of 540 political and media texts, triangulated with thematic analysis of 37 elite interviews. First, contributing to constructivist and ontological security theory, we develop a novel theorization of alliance politics, generally, through the concept of ‘brOthers in arms’, whereby a double identity inscription binds allies antagonistically together. Second, contributing to critical studies of foreign policy and research on national identity, we locate France–Anglosphere relations, specifically, towards the thick end of an alliance identity spectrum, held together in mutual alterity by complementary, competing and co-constitutive exceptionalisms. Third, contributing to studies of foreign policy and alliance politics, our analysis situates AUKUS within the fractious longue durée of France–Anglosphere relations.