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With Each Passing Day, Israel Is Losing Support In The West

Taking the U.S. and France as leading indicators, with different histories and relationships inside the Middle East, Israel should be very worried about maintaining the support of its Western allies. The criticism of Israel and calls for immediate ceasefires are coming not only from the streets, but also inside the halls of power.

Photo of protesters flying Palestinian flags as part of a pro-Palestinian demonstration near Columbia University in NYC on Nov. 15

Pro-Palestinian demonstration near Columbia University in NYC on Nov. 15

Pierre Haski


PARIS — In the U.S., public support for Israel is falling, even though it remains one of the staunchest allies of the Jewish state. At the same time, there is also a serious revolt underway inside the Biden administration against the policy it has pursued since October 7.

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More than 500 senior career civil servants and political appointees from past and current administrations have written to President Joe Biden calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. A similar initiative has been launched within the State Department itself, invoking an internal procedure introduced at the time of the Vietnam War, which allows dissent to be expressed within the diplomatic corps without incurring sanctions. A third initiative received more than 1,000 signatures from the international aid agency USAID.

All such cases, which have been leaked to the press, denounce the Hamas attack of October 7, but consider the humanitarian consequences of the Israeli response indefensible. They called for action to protect Palestinian civilians.

Two-thirds of Americans want ceasefire

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has written to all his department's employees to show that he is listening, and reminded them that he had personally asked Israel to spare civilian lives. But Washington has so far refused to call for a ceasefire, preferring talk of "humanitarian pauses."

The administration's position is less and less comprehended by the public. A new poll shows that more than two-thirds of Americans want a ceasefire. The proportion of respondents who believe that the United States should support Israel has fallen from 41% at the start of the crisis to 32% this week.

Studies show that there is a generational break at play: younger people, including young Jews, are more sensitive to the Palestinian cause; they see in it an extension of the themes that have occupied American campuses for years, such as Black Lives Matter, or the de-colonization debate. With less than a year to go before the U.S. presidential election, there is rising concern that Biden's Democrat party may be taking the wrong track.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris earlier this year

French President Emmanuel Macron welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris earlier this year

Israeli Prime Minister Office/APA Images/ZUMA

Dissent in Paris

In France, dissent is not on the same scale, though as daily Le Figaro reported this week, a dozen former French ambassadors to Middle Eastern countries wrote a letter to express regret at what they see as Paris' initial alignment with Israeli policy. In their view, this stance fails to take into account the full complexity of the region — and above all breaks with the French position, which traditionally finds a more healthy middle ground between Israelis and Palestinians.

The conflict is creating new fault lines.

These former ambassadors reflect a growing discomfort within the Quai d'Orsay foreign ministry. When President Emmanuel Macron, during his recent visit to Israel, floated the idea of an anti-Hamas coalition, his government had not been informed, and the initiative eventually flopped.

Since then, Macron has rebalanced his position by supporting a ceasefire and criticizing the fate of civilians under the bombs in Gaza. He has just sent the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, to the Middle East to explain the French position.

In both Paris and Washington, it is clear that this brutal conflict, which has taken everyone by surprise, is creating new fault lines. Governments are wise not to ignore them.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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