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World witnesses spillover effects from Gaza conflict

(China Daily/ANN) -- The Palestine-Israel conflict that has been ongoing for nearly 100 days may set off a chain reaction and exacerbate instability in the Middle East, experts warned.
Israel has launched a military assault in Gaza that has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians and displaced over 2 million people, following Hamas’ Oct 7 attack on Israel in which 1,200 people died and 240 were abducted.

People are seen on a street with damaged buildings in Gaza City, on Jan 2, 2024. --Photo Xinhua

Weeks of disruptive Houthi attacks on Israel-linked shipping in the Red Sea have led to heavy Western airstrikes in Yemen on Friday.
Also, Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged near-daily cross-border fire since the conflict began.
More than three months of violence have killed 190 people in Lebanon, more than 140 of them Hezbollah fighters and over 20 civilians, including three journalists, Agence France-Presse reported.
And from Oct 17, there have been more than 130 assaults on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.
Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Research Centre for the Belt and Road at Lanzhou University, said the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the higher the risk of regional conflict widening due to the potential for escalation and miscalculation by multiple actors.
“The humanitarian crisis in Palestine is deeply concerning, and if the conflict continues to escalate, millions more in Gaza and West Bank will be forced to endure extreme difficulties,” he said.
Furthermore, a United Nations report states that 1 in 4 people in Gaza are experiencing starvation, and in certain areas, 9 out of 10 families spent a full day and night without any food at all.
“These tragedies will further deepen the preexisting hatred in the region, leading to more chain reactions and injecting additional uncertainties in the long run,” Zhu said.
Global supply chain
He also highlighted that the recent disturbances in the Red Sea could disrupt the global supply chain and bring in more uncertainties.
“As container ships are being diverted around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, adding thousands of kilometers to their journeys, the disruption is driving up the cost of shipments from Asia to Europe. This raises the prospect of a renewed inflation shock for the global economy,” he said.
“There’s been an immediate volatility in oil price and prices of some of the other commodities that transit through, but it takes a while for this to feed through to what prices consumers pay,” Marco Forgione, director-general at the Institute of Export and International Trade, told Politico.
Experts also criticised the United States for its irresponsible approach and double standards in the Palestine-Israel crisis.
“The US has long been adjusting its Middle East strategies and shift away from this region to focus more on countering China’s development. However, its actions are further inflaming tensions in the region,” Zhu said.
The US has been stockpiling military supplies to Israel, including at least 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells since the conflict began, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“The US has launched several wars in the Middle East back in history, which have resulted in ongoing chaos and poverty in the region,” Zhu said. He also underscored the role of Western countries, led by the US, in unconditionally supporting Israel, which is a significant contributing factor to the escalation of the regional conflict.

(Latest Update January 15, 2024)

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