The Palestinian crisis should be kept in the public discourse till a just solution is found. It is not an issue to be forgotten with ceasefires only to remerge on the global agenda with another Israeli attack.
No country can call itself civilised if it tolerates injustice, colonialism and oppression. Whether the atrocities are committed by a foe or friend, silence is tantamount to condoning wrong doing. The United Nations was set up for the main purpose of preventing war and promoting international peace and security. One of its primary goals is to solve international problems and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms of all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
While being a UN member, if a nation believes its standing on the international stage is determined by its military or money power with which it forces other nations to do what it wants them to do, then it is no better than the nations world history has blacklisted for their wickedness. No nation wants to be like Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa. Which nation will today condone the Holocaust or the massacres of native Americans and aborigines by invading and land-grabbing Europeans? Which nation will today want to go back to the abominable 18th century slave trade which saw many African men and women being captured, gagged, yoked, chained and dehumanised to be taken to work in the white man’s plantations in America?
Yet, Israel’s human rights violations and apartheid policies are tolerated by big powers, though they make an insincere claim that they are, as members of the community of civilised nations, committed to promote peace and global justice.
A nation is qualified to call itself civilised only if it stands up against injustice and oppression. Nowhere are such injustice and oppression more evident than in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Abandoned by the civilised world, influential Arab nations and some non-aligned nations which once took a principled stand against Israeli occupation of Palestine, the Palestinians have been crying for freedom. But most western nations pay little attention to their plight. If they do, they just issue statements which are carefully drafted not to hurt Israel.
It is in this context, one needs to analyse the United States’ current diplomacy in the Middle East. Increasingly under pressure from the Democratic Party’s progressive elements to chide Israel for its criminal attacks on Palestinian civilians, including children, President Joe Biden has dispatched Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a pro-forma diplomatic initiative aimed at conflict management rather than conflict resolution. This week, Blinken told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that advancing a genuine peace process “is not the immediate order of business,” and added, “We have a lot of work to get to that point.”
Even if it is so, the US diplomacy lacks concrete proposal to end the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people, who remain stripped of their rights to life, property, dignity, self-determination and statehood.
The Biden administration has made it clear it will not reverse the Donald Trump administration’s act of recognising the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Your slip is showing, Mr. Biden. “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” These were the words you publicly and proudly proclaimed when you ran for the office of Vice President under Barack Obama in 2007. On another occasion in Jerusalem while taking part in an official function, didn’t you begin your speech by saying, “My name is Joe Biden and everybody knows I love Israel”? And in recent weeks, when Palestinian children were being killed in Israeli attacks, didn’t you repeatedly say that Israel had the right to defend itself, while you simply ignored that the Palestinians also had the right, under international law, to take up arms to resist occupation?
Far from working towards a just solution, the Biden peace initiative also seeks to widen the schism between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas which has been governing the Gaza Strip since its 2005 election victory. The initiative also gives Israel ample time to redouble its diplomatic efforts to restore its image and continue the charade of depicting itself as the victim and the only democratic and civilised nation in the Middle East.
Not only that, the Biden administration has also urged the Congress to approve a US$735 million dollar arms sales to Israel, knowing well that these weapons will be used against Palestinian civilians, including children.
Visiting Jerusalem on Tuesday, Blinken did say that the hostilities had killed many civilians, including children. He went on to reiterate Washington’s whole-hearted support for Israel, giving Israel’s hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the licence to attack Palestinians, demolish their houses, evict them from their homes and violate international law with impunity.
In Ramallah, meeting Palestinian Authority leaders, Blinken announced $75 million in development and economic assistance for Palestinians, a $5.5 million aid package to rebuild the war-devastated Gaza and $32 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), while the UN had estimated the damage Gaza had suffered in the recent Israeli attacks to be around US$ 330 million and is expected to appeal for at least US$ 100 million in
Blinken said the US would make sure that its aid would not reach Hamas but it would be channelled through the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmood Abbas. But the Blinken diplomacy is no better than see-no-evil diplomacy or duplicitous diplomacy, as he desisted from condemning Israel’s attempts to evict Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah, Israel’s brutal attack on Palestinian worshippers in the al-Aqsa mosque and the Israeli regime’s continuous apartheid policies targeting the Palestinian people.
Therefore, it is increasingly doubtful whether the Biden administration can play the honest broker’s role in the
courtesy daily mirror