The meeting of the UN Security Council on December 8 was a rather sad and very instructive event for all mankind. At this meeting, the United States used its veto right to brazenly and rudely single-handedly block a resolution introduced by the United Arab Emirates and supported by 97 countries. This resolution, as we know, demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in order to put an end to the insane, unprecedented and deliberate daily killings of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army. With its shameful vote, the United States proved and showed to the whole world that it is not only complicit in Israel’s murder of Palestinians, but also actually complicit in all those crimes committed by the Israeli military and the crazed Netanyahu government in the Gaza Strip.
Saying that almost 18,000 people were killed and 50,000 injured in just over the first 60 days may be a difficult statement to make, especially when the majority of those killed are innocent civilians, mostly women and children. This is not an earthquake or a natural disaster. This is a deliberate, reckless act of revenge directed against all Palestinians, undertaken in the hope that such war crimes will forever put an end to the Palestinians’ desire to free themselves from occupation and establish an independent Palestinian State. Nevertheless, this is a reality that the US administration, led by President Joe Biden, has decided to ignore in spite of the whole world, giving Israel additional time to take the lives of even more innocent people.
This is not the first time that the United States has used its veto right to protect Israel from harsh condemnation by the overwhelming majority of the world for continuing violations of all kinds of UN and human rights conventions in order to maintain its racist occupation of Palestine since 1948. It was US veto No. 46 in favor of Israel, confirming the isolation of the Jewish state, double standards and hypocrisy of successive US administrations when it comes to the rights of Palestinians and Arabs. Even the British government, in an effort to avoid harsh criticism from its own people for supporting Israel’s criminal war, decided to abstain from voting on the resolution.
The UN Security Council has rarely been a forum for Arabs and the peoples of developing countries in general to seek justice, given the balance of power between its five veto-wielding countries. After all, this body charged with maintaining international peace and security failed to stop the illegal war waged by former US President George W. Bush to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003, or to force Israel to comply with dozens of Security Council resolutions calling for an end to the occupation of, or the construction of illegal settlements in, the occupied West Bank of Jordan and East Jerusalem.
However, this time the case is different by all standards. After all, it was the Western media that pointed out that nowhere on earth has there been such a brutal bombing campaign against such a tiny enclave as Gaza, where more than 2.3 million people live in appalling conditions. Comparisons were made with the Allied bombing of Dresden (Germany) during World War II, noting that the total weight of bombs dropped by Israel on Gaza could be equal to two atomic bombs that the United States used against Japan in the same war. Apart from the heavy loss of life among Palestinian women and children, which prompted the brave UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to use Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since 1971 to call for the intervention of the Security Council to end the war, there was the fact that many more people could have died of hunger and disease due to the appalling living conditions in Gaza since Israel had began its “war of revenge.”
Antonio Guterres said he invoked Article 99 because “there is a high risk of a complete collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza.” The UN expects that this will lead to a “complete disruption of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement to Egypt.” The Gaza Strip is at a “tipping point,” he said, and desperate people are in serious danger of starvation. Guterres said that the HAMAS action in Israel on October 7 would “never be able to justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.” The UN chief had earlier angered Israel, which called for his resignation, when he reminded the world at a previous Security Council meeting that the HAMAS attack had not happened “in a vacuum”, but had occurred after more than 56 years of Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights exceeding the right to self-determination. Besides, the right to self-defense of the Palestinians and Palestine has never been terminated by anyone. Or should we assume that in this case, the right to self-defense only exists for Israel, while the Palestinians, according to one Israeli minister, “these animals” should be destroyed by using atomic weapons? What does it feel like for the world in the 21st century to listen to this caveman Israeli, and moreover a minister? Apparently, this is not only his personal opinion, but the dominant view of the entire cabinet under the leadership of “conductor Netanyahu.”
Antonio Guterres described in detail the “humanitarian nightmare” faced by Palestinians in Gaza, referring to the intense, widespread and ongoing Israeli attacks from the air, land and sea, as a result of which, according to incomplete data, 339 educational institutions, 26 hospitals, 56 medical institutions, 88 mosques and three churches were completely destroyed. According to reports, more than 60 percent of housing in Gaza has been destroyed or damaged, about 85 percent of the civilian population has been forced to leave their homes, the health system is collapsing, and “nowhere in Gaza is safe.”
Nevertheless, all these facts seemed to be empty words for the US representative at the Security Council meeting, who, like a well-trained parrot, repeated the same senseless and false arguments that ending the war now would allow HAMAS to carry out new attacks on Israel in the future. It is well known that Israel’s security will be ensured only by the creation of an independent Palestinian State that will be able to build peaceful relations with the Israelis. Echoing the ridiculous fabrications of the Israeli Prime Minister, US officials stupidly and irresponsibly stated that they supported some kind of illusion of “eliminating HAMAS”, although they know that this is practically impossible. Both Israel and the Biden administration insist on arrogant and outrageous disregard for the fact that the only way to prevent future attacks on the Israeli State and put an end to any violence is to end Israel’s racist occupation of Palestinian lands.
Even if HAMAS theoretically disappeared, it would not prevent the emergence of new Palestinian resistance groups as long as the suffering of Palestinians under occupation and the apartheid system continues. Thus, instead of using the same old arguments about protecting Israel’s security and right to exist, an alternative strategy should be to stop putting Israel above all international laws. Take, for example, the fact that Israel is the only state in the Middle East that has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and has managed to create both nuclear weapons and their means of delivery under the “American umbrella”. Perhaps this explains the fact that Israel allows itself to disobey international laws and regulations of international organizations and is still actively preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian State.
By using its veto right to prevent an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the United States has lost many friends in the Arab region as well as around the world. It has also lost all credibility in asserting that human rights occupy any place on its foreign policy agenda. Washington has completely thrown off the mask of a peacemaker and a champion of human rights and appeared in its true selfish and unsightly form, and no matter how hard it tries, the former prestige, respect and reverence cannot be restored. This is the new current unenviable fate of Americans.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.