Vetoing peace

Editorial Board
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Even the most ardent critics of US imperialism and intervention in the Middle East, and the world in general, might now be surprised by the lengths it is willing to go to shield its friend Israel. On its current path, the US may well find that this is the only real friend they have left in the world. Tuesday (February 20) marked the third time the US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. This time all the council’s members backed the resolution apart from the US and the UK, with the latter abstaining. This shows that America’s continued willingness to allow the indiscriminate slaughter in Gaza is now untenable even for allies like France. Proposed by Algeria, the resolution comes days after Qatar claimed that the ongoing talks between Israel and Hamas were not looking very promising in recent days, with the Israelis already having rejected a ceasefire proposal from Hamas that would have set at least some Israeli hostages free. Over 29,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, are dead and around half of the Gaza Strip’s population has now been displaced and seeking refuge in Rafah where they are struggling to keep hunger, disease, and the cold winter elements at bay. While the US has drafted an alternative resolution, it only calls for a temporary ceasefire when “practicable”. How many more Palestinians will have to die before a ceasefire is “practicable” remains unclear.

Conditions in Rafah have been described as squalid, where the WHO says that five per cent of children under the age of two are now acutely malnourished. However, the situation is even more perilous in the northern part of the strip where aid has not reached in weeks, with the WHO estimating that one in six children under two are acutely malnourished. But it seems that even starving Palestinians are a threat to Israel and PM Netanyahu. In fact, Israeli forces have now begun attacking Rafah, with Israeli airstrikes reportedly meant to cover a hostage rescue raid leading to the deaths of over 60 Palestinians on Monday (February 19). There is now truly nowhere left for the people of Gaza to flee too as the entire strip becomes a war zone. But this genocide is now destabilizing the region and the world as a whole. With different actors joining the fray Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have all been victims of Israeli or US airstrikes in recent days while the Houthis are still attacking Western ships in the Red Sea. This is likely a big part of the reason international opinion has moved so decisively against the US.

The US must understand that the Israelis are not interested in an end to the conflict and never have been. The ultimate aim has always been to deny the Palestinians statehood and to likely remove them from the West Bank and Gaza. October 7, appears to have only brought these plans forward. Stopping Israel will have to involve restricting their capacity to wage war. By, thus far, refusing to do so, the US is both complicit in the genocide and of, once again, destabilizing the Middle East.