The Guardian • Issue #2099

UN votes for Palestine, genocide continues

A Scottish protester displaying his

A Scottish protester displaying his "Freedom For Palestine" scarf at the start of London's Al Quds Rally in solidarity with Palestinians. Photo: Alisdare Hickson – flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The United Nations has voted on whether to grant Palestine’s right to recognition as a member-state. The votes have been counted. The killing goes on. There are now just nine states that refuse to recognise Palestine. Australia has joined the majority of 143 nations that are prepared to accept the fact that Palestine is here and is not going away.

The vote is little more than a symbolic gesture as the USA holds the power of veto in the Security Council and has already indicated that it will be used again.

Robert Wood, US Ambassador to the United Nations, in the face of near-total opposition, claimed that the USA “has worked vigorously and with determination to support Palestinian statehood in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement that would permanently resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

That’s simply untrue. The United States, regardless of the colour of the administration, has worked assiduously on Israel’s behalf. No crime has been too big. The USA has always seen things Israel’s way. Wood had the sheer, unabashed gall to say that his country has been working for Palestinian statehood, while consistently through its power in the UN Security Council, ensuring that formal recognition would be denied.

Biden’s White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, was no better. In an awkward performance, she said, in a White House press conference, that the president believes that Israel has “every right to defend itself.” She also said that the argument was “straightforward”: Biden “will continue to provide Israel with all capabilities it needs to defend itself, but he does not want certain categories of American weapons used in a particular type of operation in a particular place … the president has directed his team with continuing to work with Israel to refine their strategy to inflict an enduring defeat on Hamas.”

In other words, carry on killing, but we want to look like the good guys.

STATEHOOD

It’s good to know that the USA supports statehood and is working towards that goal. Just how that fits with shipment after shipment of bombs, used to kill Palestinians in their homes, hospitals and schools, simply defies all logic. Since 7 October, more than 100 shipments of bombs have arrived. That’s not how you build a state.

An average arms shipment from the USA to Israel is made up of 1,800 2,000-kilo bombs and 500 500-kilo bombs. Biden is now making noises about how some munitions will not be shipped to Israel if the planned assault on Rafah goes ahead. The US has said that Israel might have breached international law by using the weapons that have been provided by the United States! Biden has been playing to a deeply hostile domestic audience. His complicity and direct support for Israel, his “iron-clad” pledge of support is turning large numbers of Democrat voters toward independent candidates in the coming election. The quiet disclaimer, that some weapons would not reach Israel and that this would be dependent on Israel not launching a full-scale invasion of Rafah, has a hollow ring.

The White House also stated that “it remains the US view that the most expeditious path toward statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the support of the United States and other partners.” Netanyahu has been unequivocal in his refusal to consider statehood for Palestine. For him, a two-state solution is not worth discussing.

Earlier this year, Netanyahu made it clear to the world that “my insistence is what has prevented – over the years – the establishment of a Palestinian state that would have constituted an existential danger to Israel.” Netanyahu exploits the deep animosity that has been deliberately fostered by his regime. “As long as I am prime minister, I will continue to strongly insist on this.” The fact remains that the crisis in the region was and will remain and will intensify while a homeland is denied.

Netanyahu’s statement followed his infamous remark on social media that Israel “will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of the Jordan River – and that is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state.” In his own words, there will be no Palestinian state. No homeland, but there will be crisis, deaths and misery.

Israel stands condemned as a racist and genocidal regime. America stands condemned as armourer-in-chief and quartermaster to the genocide. Biden’s latest confected hand-wringing is elevating hypocrisy to new heights.

OBSCENE LOGIC

Less hypocritical but deeply disturbing is the recent speech delivered in Washington by General Mark Milley. Milley was, until recently, the Chief of Staff of the US Army. He sought to rationalise the slaughter. The general said that he feels “horrible” about innocent people dying “before we all get self-righteous about what Israel is doing, and I feel horrible for the innocent people in Gaza dying, but we shouldn’t forget that we United States killed a lot of innocent people in Mosul, in Raqqa, that we the United States killed 12,000 innocent French civilians. And here we are on the 80th anniversary of Normandy, on the prep fires for Normandy. We destroyed 69 Japanese cities, not including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We slaughtered people in massive numbers, innocent people who had nothing to do with their government, men, women, and children. War is a terrible thing. But if it’s going to have meaning, if it’s going to have any sense of morality, there has to be a political purpose.”

It is an obscene logic. Mass murder, the slaughter of the innocents, genocide, can have a sense of morality, provided there is political purpose! Milley didn’t have to add that anything is permissible if there is an economic purpose. That is how capital, how imperialism thinks.

Regardless of how many arms shipments Biden delays, it needs to be borne in mind that Israel has a mountain of unused bombs and missiles at its disposal.

Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari let the world know that the IDF has more than enough hardware to destroy Rafah and anywhere else they see as a problem: “the IDF has armaments for the missions it is planning, including missions in Rafah. We have what we need.” He didn’t say it and he didn’t have to, but the weaponry being used against the Palestinian people is stamped ‘made in the USA.’ The same trademark is on the bombs and missiles that regularly strike Lebanon and Syria.

BOMBS STILL FALL

The United Nations vote was a step in the right direction, but nobody will be fooled into thinking that the vast majority of elected governments in the world can sway the US from its commitment to Israel. Israel remains a stronghold for imperialism in the region. The potential for peace, security and economic development within the region remain stunted by the geopolitical manoeuvres of these reactionary states.

Even as the vote was being taken, the bombs were still falling on Rafah. Aid, medicine and food, was being restricted. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled Rafah, ahead of the coming assault, but to where? Gaza is a ruin. The UN estimates that it will take 14 years to clear the rubble, remove the unexploded bombs and to rebuild.

Netanyahu stands condemned by all decent people. His American backers are reviled. Those regimes, Australia included, that turn away while allowing the genocide, that sell the parts for the planes that drop the bombs, stand condemned.

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More