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The United States Is Palestine’s Greatest Obstacle

Israel and the United States are perpetuating the massacre in Gaza for political gain. In fact, the US has encouraged Israel’s gradual de facto annexation and destruction of Palestine since the 1948 Nakba or Palestine War. The UN and neutral countries should step up to end the massacre in Gaza and the occupation of Palestine through a Uniting for Peace resolution and other measures that are independent of U.S. manipulation or control.
By
US and Israel

June 19, 2024 05:32 EDT
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On June 13, 2024, Hamas responded to persistent needling by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the US proposal for a pause in the Israeli massacre in Gaza. The group said it has “dealt positively… with the latest proposal and all proposals to reach a ceasefire agreement.” Hamas added, by contrast, that, “while Blinken continues to talk about ‘Israel’s’ approval of the latest proposal, we have not heard any Israeli official voicing approval.”

The full details of the US proposal have yet to be made public, but the pause in Israeli attacks and release of hostages in the first phase would reportedly lead to further negotiations for a more lasting ceasefire and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in the second phase. But there is no guarantee that the second round of negotiations would succeed. 

As former Israeli Labor Party Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio on June 3, “How do you think [Gaza military commander] Sinwar will react when he tends to agree and he’s told: but be quick, because we still have to kill you after you return all the hostages?”

Meanwhile, as Hamas pointed out, Israel has not publicly accepted the terms of the latest US ceasefire proposal. It has only the word of US officials that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately agreed to it. In public, Netanyahu still insists that he is committed to the complete destruction of Hamas and its governing authority in Gaza, and has actually stepped up Israel’s vicious attacks in central and southern Gaza.

The US perpetuates Israel’s war

The basic disagreement that US President Joe Biden and Secretary Blinken’s smoke and mirrors cannot hide is that Hamas, like every Palestinian, wants a real end to the genocide, while the Israeli and US governments do not.

Biden or Netanyahu could end the slaughter very quickly if they wanted to — Netanyahu by agreeing to a permanent ceasefire, or Biden by ending or suspending US weapons deliveries to Israel. Israel could not carry out this war without US military and diplomatic support. But Biden refuses to use his leverage, even though he has admitted in an interview that it was “reasonable” to conclude that Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political benefit. 

The US is still sending weapons to Israel to continue the massacre in violation of a ceasefire order by the International Court of Justice. Bipartisan US leaders have invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the US Congress on July 24, even as the International Criminal Court reviews a request by its chief prosecutor for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu for war crimes, crimes against humanity and murder.

The US seems determined to share Israel’s self-inflicted isolation from voices calling for peace from all over the world. That includes large majorities of countries in the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

But perhaps this is appropriate, as the United States bears a great deal of responsibility for that isolation. By its decades of unconditional support for Israel, and by using its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to shield Israel from international accountability, the US has enabled successive Israeli governments to pursue flagrantly criminal policies and to thumb their noses at the world’s growing outrage.

The US and Israel have a dark history together 

This pattern of US support for Israel goes all the way back to its founding. Zionist leaders in Palestine unleashed a well-planned operation to seize much more territory than the UN allocated to their new state in its partition plan. The Palestinians and neighboring countries already firmly opposed this. 

The massacres, the bulldozed villages and the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 to one million people in the Nakba — the mass displacement of Palestinians during and after the 1948 Arab–Israeli war — have been meticulously documented. Despite this, an extraordinary propaganda campaign is in place to persuade two generations of Israelis, Americans and Europeans that these horrors never happened.

The US was the first country to grant Israel de facto recognition on May 14, 1948. It played a leading role in the 1949 UN votes to recognize the new state of Israel within its illegally seized borders. President Dwight D Eisenhower had the wisdom to oppose Britain, France and Israel in their war to capture the Suez Canal in 1956. But Israel’s seizure of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 1967 persuaded US leaders that it could be a valuable military ally in the Middle East.

Unconditional US support for Israel’s illegal occupation and annexation of more and more territory over the past 57 years has corrupted Israeli politics. It has encouraged increasingly extreme, racist Israeli governments to keep expanding their genocidal territorial ambitions. Netanyahu’s Likud party and government now fully embrace their Greater Israel plan to annex all of occupied Palestine and parts of other countries. They will do so wherever and whenever new opportunities for expansion present themselves.

Israel’s de facto expansion has been facilitated by the US’s monopoly over mediation between Israel and Palestine, which it has aggressively staked out and defended against the UN and other countries. The irreconcilable contradiction between the US’s conflicting roles as Israel’s most powerful military ally and the principal mediator between Israel and Palestine is obvious to the whole world.

Uniting for peace

But as we see even in the midst of the genocide in Gaza, the rest of the world and the UN have failed to break this US monopoly. The UN and neutral countries that respect the lives of Palestinians, as well as their human and civil rights, have not established legitimate, impartial mediation.

Qatar mediated a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in November 2023. It has since been upstaged by US moves to prolong the massacre through deceptive proposals, cynical posturing and Security Council vetoes. The US consistently vetoes all but its own proposals on Israel and Palestine in the UN Security Council, even when its own proposals are deliberately meaningless, ineffective or counterproductive.

The UN General Assembly is united in support of Palestine, voting almost unanimously year after year to demand an end to the Israeli occupation. A full 144 countries have recognized Palestine as a country, and only the US veto denies it full UN membership. The Israeli genocide in Gaza has even shamed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) into suspending their ingrained pro-Western bias and pursuing cases against Israel.

One way the nations of the world could come together to apply greater pressure on Israel to end its assault on Gaza would be a “Uniting for peace” resolution in the UN General Assembly. This is a measure the General Assembly can take when the Security Council is prevented from acting to restore peace and security by the veto of a permanent member.

Israel has demonstrated that it is prepared to ignore ceasefire resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council, and an order by the ICJ. A Uniting for peace resolution, however, could impose penalties on Israel for its actions, such as an arms embargo or an economic boycott. If the US still insists on continuing its complicity in Israel’s international crimes, the General Assembly could take action against the US, too.

A General Assembly resolution would change the terms of the international debate. It would shift the focus back from Biden and Blinken’s diversionary tactics to the urgency of enforcing the lasting ceasefire that the whole world demands.

It is time for the UN and neutral countries to push Israel’s US partner in genocide to the side. Legitimate international authorities and mediators must take responsibility for enforcing international law, ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and bringing peace to the Middle East.

[Lee Thompson-Kolar edited this piece.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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