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G7 Summit: Actions for Ukraine, empty words for Gaza

Jun 27,2024 - Last updated at Jun 27,2024

At two recent gatherings the world’s leading figures attempted to bolster Ukraine’s flagging fight against Russia. The first was the summit of the Group of Seven economically advanced countries consisting of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan with the European Union (EU) as a sort of honourary member.

On Ukraine, the summiteers announced a controversial plan to provide Kyiv with a $50 billion loan financed by confiscating interest earned by $300 billion in Russian assets frozen largely in European banks. This sanction will continue to operate until the war on Ukraine ends and Russia agrees to pay Ukraine compensation for losses and damage. This sum is meant to finance weapons and reconstruction.

During the summit, the Biden administration also issued stiff new sanctions against foreign banks which deal with Russia. Other sanctions have been unleashed by the US against firms and individuals in Russia and China and globally with the aim of targeting Russia’s oil, gas, metals and mining exports and to restrict exports to Russia by foreign companies of US-branded goods manufactured outside the US.

US President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky also signed a bilateral pact advancing security and defence cooperation.

On Gaza, the G-7 called for an immediate ceasefire, the release of Israeli hostages, and an increased flow of aid throughout Gaza, and a permanent end to the crisis. According to the US government fact sheet, this will assure “Israel’s security interests and safety for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” 

There was a major difference between the two. The Ukraine initiative involved actions: Money for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia while the catastrophic situation in Gaza attracted only empty words. The reason for this was that Ukraine is under attack by Russia, heir of the defunct Soviet Union which ancient arm chair warriors like Biden and his much younger allies continue to battle. An onslaught of propaganda makes this enterprise almost risk free for the current sorry crop of Western politicians.

Gaza is, of course, being turned into a wasteland by Biden’s darling Israel, despite its commission of well-documented multiple war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Countering Israel is high risk to the level of destroying careers of even the most courageous politicians among whom the summiteers do not number.

The G-7 summit morphed into the Ukraine peace summit attended by about 100 countries. This was convened at a Swiss mountain resort to draft a proposal for ending the Ukraine war.  This would be presented to Russia, which was not invited to attend. Russia’s ally, China chose not to take part. The unrealistic objective was to come up with a global consensus plan to which Moscow would be compelled to agree. US Vice President Kamala Harris participated on behalf of the Biden administration along with prime ministers from France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Ecuador and Somalia. Other countries were represented by foreign ministers and lower level officials.

The aim was to push for acceptance of a plan based on Zelensky’s 2022 10-point peace plan which includes a cessation of hostilities, restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and recognition of Ukraine’s pre-war borders with Russia. These are terms which Russian President Vladimir Putin has already rejected.

The communique reaffirmed signatories commitment to “refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognised borders”.

India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates were among the 14 countries that did not sign the document which was full of empty words like the G7 stand on Gaza.

These US-dominated gatherings have prolonged the wars in Ukraine and Gaza rather than providing solutions to end them.  Both Ukraine and Israel have already lost these wars.

Ukraine is begging for arms and funds to keep the war going despite stalemate on the eastern front where Russian forces are well dug in behind kilometres-deep defences. As its armed forces are understrength and overstretched, Kyiv has begun searching out draft dodgers and putting them into uniform and conscripting prisoners, a Russian practice condemned by Ukraine’s Western allies.

Russian shells and drones continue to strike Ukrainian cities, towns, villages and power-plants while Ukraine fires shells into Russian border towns, creating a tit-for-tat situation. The Ukrainian civilian death toll last month rose to 174, the highest in nearly a year, a 31 increase over April.  Biden responded to this development by authorising Ukraine to use advanced US missiles to hit targets in Russia itself.  This was previously banned and could widen the conflict.

The US continues to provide weapons to Israel to pulverise Gaza while Hamas fighters, driven from areas cleared of combatants by the Israeli army, return and resume  attacks on Israeli troops. Israeli commentators argue that prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s war aim of eradicating Hamas is a pipe dream. A majority of Israelis demand a cease-fire in order to free Hamas’ remaining Israeli captives, and the return of 200,000 Israelis to their homes in evacuated areas in the south and north. To achieve these demands there must be an end to the war although Netanyahu refuses to accept this and Biden declines to put pressure on him to change his mind.

Dave Lawler, writing on the Axios website, rightly dubbed the G-7 summit a gathering of “losers”. He pointed out that Morning Consult’s tracker gave “Biden a 37 per cent approval rating which, Lawler said, “positively sparkles” when compared to Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau’s 30 per cent, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s 25 per cent, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s 25 per cent, French President Emmanuel Macron’s 21 per cent and Japanese Premier Fumio Kishida’s 13 per cent.  Lawler summed up by saying Sunak is likely to be out of a job after the July 4th election, Shultz’s party fared poorly in the European Parliament elections, and Macron has called a snap election.  Unfortunately, the losers also ran the Ukraine peace conference and draw up the wrongheaded agenda of the international community. In the case of Gaza, empty words are criminal and ensure that Netanyahu will continue to kill Gazans and turn the strip into a wasteland.

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