On Friday, October 27, the nations of the world voted in the UN General Assembly for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities” in Gaza. The vote was 120 to 14, decisively in favor of the truce. The government of King Abdullah II of Jordan — a traditional US ally — sponsored the resolution.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s UN Ambassador, responded with utter disdain. He accused those who voted for the “ridiculous resolution” of supporting “the defense of Nazi terrorists” over Israel. In Gaza, Israel responded to this global call for a truce by escalating its bombing and expanding its ground invasion.
And the US supplies this carnage. American weapons help Israel continue its genocidal military campaign, which has killed over 10,000 Palestinians — 40% of them children. The onslaught has destroyed hospitals, apartment buildings, streets and schools. Gaza is now nothing short of hell on Earth for the bereaved survivors. According to Save the Children, Israel has killed more children in three weeks than all other global conflicts have since 2019. Despite these atrocities, the US corporate media have not helped Americans understand how isolated our government is in its unconditional support of Israel.
Further, the UN vote illustrates that Israel and the US are diplomatic outliers. The mere 12 countries that sided with them in the General Assembly were four from Central Europe (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Hungary); two from Latin America (Guatemala and Paraguay) and six small island nations in the Pacific (Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Tonga).
This means not a single country from Western Europe, Africa, the mainland of Asia, the Caribbean or the Middle East voted with them. Many traditional US allies — France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland and New Zealand — voted for the truce. Other US allies like the UK, Germany, Canada and Japan were among the 45 countries that abstained.
Voters demand a ceasefire
Diplomatic isolation is not the only problem facing Israel and the United States. Their governments are also out of touch with their own people. As Israel prepared to launch its ground invasion of Gaza, a Maariv poll of Israelis made a discovery: Public support for an immediate large-scale ground offensive of Gaza had fallen from 65% on October 17 to only 29% a week later.
Like the rest of the world, Israelis are watching the horrors of this massacre. They have realized that their government has no plan beyond massive, indiscriminate violence for its stated goal of destroying Hamas. This endeavor may well be unachievable no matter how many Israeli soldiers, captured prisoners and Palestinian civilians it is ready to sacrifice.
The US populace also wants the ordeal to end. A Data for Progress poll published on October 20 found that 66% of Americans wanted their government to “call for a ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza.” They insisted that it should “leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.”
Support was across party lines. A staggering 80% of Democrats agreed with the poll’s statement. This should have been a wake-up call for a Democratic administration and Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Evidently, Congress slept through the alarm. On October 24, with a vote of 412 to ten, it passed a bill promising unconditional military support for Israel’s campaign in Gaza. This was a green light for the anticipated escalation that followed.
On October 16, Representative Cori Bush introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution, which called for “immediate de-escalation and ceasefire.” By October 30, however, only 18 members of Congress had cosponsored it. The Republican-led House instead voted to spend $14.5 billion to resupply Israel with weapons. The new Speaker, Mike Johnson, coupled this to an equivalent cut in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, but 12 Democrats still voted for it.
US policies cause chaos
One cannot exaggerate the US government’s impotence in containing the chaos its policies have unleashed. The US embassy in Beirut has posted a message that all its citizens should leave Lebanon immediately. It says, “You should have a plan of action for crisis situations that does not rely on US government assistance.” It also states that they must sign a promissory note to reimburse the government if it helps them evacuate.
The US government’s massive investments in destructive power have left it unable to protect or help its own citizens around the world. It instead directs them to a Department of State webpage titled, “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.”
The current international isolation of the US stands in sharp contrast to Joe Biden’s global welcome. When he defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election, he claimed he would make things right. He promised a new era of US diplomacy, an end to US wars in the Middle East, and renewed international cooperation on the planet’s most serious problems. Alas, he has not upheld any of these pledges. He continues Trump’s increases in military spending and illegal sanctions against Iran, Cuba and a dozen other countries. Simultaneously, he has shifted Trump’s Cold War with Russia and China into overdrive and escalated catastrophic proxy wars in Ukraine and Palestine. Biden’s policies are surely the worst of all worlds.
US leadership weakens like pro-Israel propaganda
Alternatives to American “leadership” have finally begun to emerge. The UN Security Council is immobilized by self-serving US and Russian vetoes, while exclusive rich boys’ clubs like the Group of Seven (G7) and the World Economic Forum have only further entrenched neocolonialism and inequality. But now the world is turning to more representative fora to more honestly debate our common problems and find new solutions. These include the UN General Assembly, the Group of 20 (G20), the Group of 77 (G77) and BRICS. Regional groupings like the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States are also gaining strength.
As the world comes together to build a post-neocolonial, multipolar world, US propaganda is losing its power to mold people’s views of new crises. Israeli and US officials, including Biden, have done their best to cast doubt on the death toll in Gaza. However, these numbers are meticulously documented by Palestinian health authorities and accepted by the World Health Organization, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work there.
In a show of misguided favoritism, US officials and media are more inclined to listen to Israeli officials than Palestinian ones. This bias only increases US isolation by making it complicit in Israeli propaganda. People and governments around the world have taken note of this.
On October 18, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas canceled a meeting with Biden after an apparent Israeli attack that killed hundreds of people, all sheltered at the Anglican Church’s Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, with what looked like an airburst bomb. Biden validated Abdullah II, el-Sisi and Abbas’s decision by doing exactly as they feared: He publicly claimed that “the other team” was responsible for the hospital bombing.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian fighters killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians in Israel on October 7. The prisoners they brought back to Gaza also included both soldiers and civilians, for the express purpose of conducting a vast prisoner exchange. Families of these captives are asking Israel to prioritize their safety over prosecuting its war on Gaza. They want Israel to cease the offensive and exchange Palestinian captives held in Israeli jails for the Israeli ones, even if it plans to resume the assault afterward.
Palestinian officials have identified over 10,000 people killed in Gaza. Israeli officials, on the other hand, have so far only identified 1,087 of the 1,300–1,400 people they say were killed in the Palestinian attack on 7 October. Israeli newspaper Haaretz has a webpage hosting photos, names, ages and some personal details of the identified people who were killed in Israel. At the prompting of the Israeli military, many Western politicians and media have painted the Palestinian attack as a civilian massacre. It may surprise Westerners to learn that at least 381 of the 1,087 identified casualties were soldiers, police and security officers.
On top of that, Haaretz’s records raise questions about another story that has been widely repeated by Western media and politicians, including Biden, claiming that Israeli soldiers found 40 dead babies who had been decapitated by Hamas. There are seven children below the age of ten among the 706 civilian dead identified in Haaretz. However, the youngest was four years old, not a baby. As with all these questions, we do not know the answers, but we should be skeptical of unverified atrocity claims. After all, Israel has lied about previous war crimes and resisted independent, international investigations of them.
A mediator no more
The fall of the Soviet Union left the US with no rival to act as a check on its leaders’ unbridled, often unrealistic ambitions for global power. Since then, the US has squandered a historic chance to build a peaceful, just and sustainable country, with shared prosperity for us and our global neighbors. Our leaders’ illusion of military superiority has been a poison pill that has undermined every aspect of post-Cold War US foreign policy. It has led them down a dead end from which they can no longer imagine any alternative to fighting and killing, or arming their proxies to fight and kill. The consequences of these policies have become so deadly and destabilizing that they sabotage the US’s position in the world and leave it increasingly isolated.
Apart from the US, the world is remarkably united behind the goal of ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. The US should cease fueling the Israeli occupation with endless weapons and stop diplomatically shielding Israel from international efforts to end the occupation. The US has utterly failed to mediate and be an honest broker between Israel and Palestine, acting instead as a party to the conflict on Israel’s side. It must now step aside to allow real mediators to intervene.
[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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