Western Shifts from Left to Center: Recognition of the State of Palestine and a Ceasefire in Gaza.

Policy Assessment: Progress Center for Policies

By Aram Mohamed.

The Israeli war on Gaza, entering its second month, exposes fundamental divisions in European politics. Initially, predominantly left-wing parties expressed reservations about the war, but recent developments also show a shift in the stances of centrist parties and political leaders representing various moderate political trends, especially in Spain, France, Canada, Ireland, and the United States.

In Spain, Prime Minister Sanchez is a prominent critic of Israel in Europe, calling for an end to “indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in Gaza.” Analysts note his responsiveness to left-wing voices within his party, particularly from Podemos, which openly condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza. Sanchez, re-elected, now commits to recognizing the State of Palestine, echoing similar calls in Ireland and Belgium.

France, a central state in the EU, faces tensions over its support for Israel. President Macron’s call for an immediate ceasefire contrasts with France’s previous unequivocal support for Israel. Macron’s shift is influenced by the significant Muslim and Jewish communities in France, the largest for both groups in Europe, as well as the grassroots movements on the streets of its Capital.

While Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau did not explicitly call for an immediate ceasefire, he urged an end to the “killing of women, of children, of babies” in Gaza, aligning with global humanitarian sentiments against the violence.

Observers note that as Israel exceeds the limits of the current U.S. humanitarian stance, concerns rise about potential economic sanctions, posing a real danger given the damage to Israel’s economy due to the war.

Calls from Ireland, Spain, Belgium, and Norway for recognizing a Palestinian state indicate a broader shift beyond a mere call for a ceasefire. Where previously the scope of support for Palestine was contained to specific groups within the left and radical left, it is now a significant priority for the European centre. The war in Gaza has become a moral and ethical crisis in Europe, forcing questions about justice and peace for Palestinians into the view of parties who were once content to observe the status quo. World leaders are grappling with the aftermath of the war, just as the situation in Gaza seems irreparable.

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