The United States Is the Main Obstacle to Peace in Palestine

Yves here. Even though the headline is obvious to those paying attention to the war in Gaza, it nevertheless seems to require repeating. This piece starts by debunking the latest peace plan headfake (the US pretending it originated with Israel so as to blame Hamas for the failure to come to a deal) and then gives a fine, high-level historical treatment of the long-standing US support of Israel’s war crimes in Palestine.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, the authors of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, published by OR Books in November 2022. Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and the author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher for CODEPINK and the author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq

U.S. Marines and IDF soldiers in joint maneuver Intrepid Maven, Feb. 28, 2023.     Photo: US Marines

On June 13, Hamas responded to persistent needling by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the U.S. proposal for a pause in the Israeli massacre in Gaza. The group said it has “dealt positively… with the latest proposal and all proposals to reach a cease-fire agreement.” Hamas added, by contrast, that, “while Blinken continues to talk about ‘Israel’s approval of the latest proposal, we have not heard any Israeli official voicing approval.”

The full details of the U.S. proposal have yet to be made public, but the pause in Israeli attacks and release of hostages in the first phase would reportedly lead to further negotiations for a more lasting cease-fire and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in the second phase. But there is no guarantee that the second round of negotiations would succeed.

As former Israeli Labor Party prime minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio on June 3rd, “How do you think [Gaza military commander] Sinwar will react when he is told: but be quick, because we still have to kill you, after you return all the hostages?”

Meanwhile, as Hamas pointed out, Israel has not publicly accepted the terms of the latest U.S. cease-fire proposal, so it has only the word of U.S. officials that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately agreed to it. In public, Netanyahu still insists that he is committed to the complete destruction of Hamas and its governing authority in Gaza, and has actually stepped up Israel’s vicious attacks in central and southern Gaza.

The basic disagreement that President Joe Biden and Secretary Blinken’s smoke and mirrors cannot hide is that Hamas, like every Palestinian, wants a real end to the genocide, while the Israeli and U.S. governments do not.

Biden or Netanyahu could end the slaughter very quickly if they wanted to—Netanyahu by agreeing to a permanent cease-fire, or Biden by ending or suspending U.S. weapons deliveries to Israel. Israel could not carry out this war without U.S. military and diplomatic support. But Biden refuses to use his leverage, even though he has admitted in an interview that it was “reasonable” to conclude that Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political benefit.

The U.S. is still sending weapons to Israel to continue the massacre in violation of a cease-fire order by the International Court of Justice. Bipartisan U.S. leaders have invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on July 24, even as the International Criminal Court reviews a request by its chief prosecutor for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu for war crimes, crimes against humanity and murder.

The United States seems determined to share Israel’s self-inflicted isolation from voices calling for peace from all over the world, including large majorities of countries in the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

But perhaps this is appropriate, as the United States bears a great deal of responsibility for that isolation. By its decades of unconditional support for Israel, and by using its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to shield Israel from international accountability, the United States has enabled successive Israeli governments to pursue flagrantly criminal policies and to thumb their noses at the growing outrage of people and countries across the world.

This pattern of U.S. support for Israel goes all the way back to its founding, when Zionist leaders in Palestine unleashed a well-planned operation to seize much more territory than the UN allocated to their new state in its partition plan, which the Palestinians and neighboring countries already firmly opposed.

The massacres, the bulldozed villages and the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 to a million people in the Nakba have been meticulously documented, despite an extraordinary propaganda campaign to persuade two generations of Israelis, Americans and Europeans that they never happened.

The U.S. was the first country to grant Israel de facto recognition on May 14, 1948, and played a leading role in the 1949 UN votes to recognize the new state of Israel within its illegally seized borders. President Eisenhower had the wisdom to oppose Britain, France and Israel in their war to capture the Suez Canal in 1956, but Israel’s seizure of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 1967 persuaded U.S. leaders that it could be a valuable military ally in the Middle East.

Unconditional U.S. support for Israel’s illegal occupation and annexation of more and more territory over the past 57 years has corrupted Israeli politics and encouraged increasingly extreme and racist Israeli governments to keep expanding their genocidal territorial ambitions. Netanyahu’s Likud party and government now fully embrace their Greater Israel plan to annex all of occupied Palestine and parts of other countries, wherever and whenever new opportunities for expansion present themselves.

Israel’s de facto expansion has been facilitated by the United States’ monopoly over mediation between Israel and Palestine, which it has aggressively staked out and defended against the UN and other countries. The irreconcilable contradiction between the U.S.’s conflicting roles as Israel’s most powerful military ally and the principal mediator between Israel and Palestine is obvious to the whole world.

But as we see even in the midst of the genocide in Gaza, the rest of the world and the UN have failed to break this U.S. monopoly and establish legitimate, impartial mediation by the UN or neutral countries that respect the lives of Palestinians and their human and civil rights.

Qatar mediated a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in November 2023, but it has since been upstaged by U.S. moves to prolong the massacre through deceptive proposals, cynical posturing and Security Council vetoes. The U.S. consistently vetoes all but its own proposals on Israel and Palestine in the UN Security Council, even when its own proposals are deliberately meaningless, ineffective or counterproductive.

The UN General Assembly is united in support of Palestine, voting almost unanimously year after year to demand an end to the Israeli occupation. A hundred and forty-four countries have recognized Palestine as a country, and only the U.S. veto denies it full UN membership. The Israeli genocide in Gaza has even shamed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) into suspending their ingrained pro-Western bias and pursuing cases against Israel.

One way that the nations of the world could come together to apply greater pressure on Israel to end its assault on Gaza would be a “Uniting for Peace” resolution in the UN General Assembly. This is a measure the General Assembly can take when the Security Council is prevented from acting to restore peace and security by the veto of a permanent member.

Israel has demonstrated that it is prepared to ignore cease-fire resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council, and an order by the ICJ, but a Uniting for Peace resolution could impose penalties on Israel for its actions, such as an arms embargo or an economic boycott. If the United States still insists on continuing its complicity in Israel’s international crimes, the General Assembly could take action against the U.S. too.

A General Assembly resolution would change the terms of the international debate and shift the focus back from Biden and Blinken’s diversionary tactics to the urgency of enforcing the lasting cease-fire that the whole world is calling for.

It is time for the United Nations and neutral countries to push Israel’s U.S. partner in genocide to the side, and for legitimate international authorities and mediators to take responsibility for enforcing international law, ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and bringing peace to the Middle East.

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  1. ambrit

    The major stumbling block I can think of to the implementation of the “Independent UN” scheme is that the US supplies roughly a third of the UN’s budget. In this regard, the US can employ the “power of the purse” to stymie pro-Palestinian measures. Someone or a group of someones will have to step up and replace those potentially missing US funds going forward.

    1. Peter Pan

      It wouldn’t surprise me to see all USA friendly (Europe & Asia) countries stop funding the UN. The USA will probably disallow the use of SWIFT for funding the UN. The UN will probably have to find a new home in “the jungle”.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Maybe move the headquarters to Mauritius? Just the drop in cost of living would slash 2/3 off of the UN budget. It would also be within 6-8 hours flight from most of Africa and Asia. No visa required for most of the citizens of Earth and when it is required, it’s free of charge.

        And the island has plenty of existing conference and convention centers to choose from. Some even close enough to the airport there would be no need to torment the locals with those extremely annoying motorcades.

        1. ambrit

          Not a bad idea. The original UN working group meetings were held in San Francisco. Eventually, New York was “chosen” as the place for the UN Headquarters to be sited. Power politics is my best guess as to why that happened. At the time, America was the “top dog” worldwide.
          I had considered the old League of Nations facilities in Switzerland. A repurposing of the original try at the idea. However, those facilities are stuck in the heart of Europe. The world is presently escaping the former ‘tender ministrations’ of the Anglo-American Empire and its vassal states, primarily Europe.
          Your idea of siting a new UN Headquarters in a more world central place has great merit. Locate the facilities inland at elevation to prepare for sea level rise and we have a winner.
          One added advantage, one that has been a source of contention in the commentariat before, is that Mauritius seems to be a highly defensible position.
          Stay safe. Get a good tan.

          1. Piotr Berman

            Mauritius has also nicer weather than NYC and, very importantly, it is neutral. I would not think that it can be easily defended against an attack based on Diego Garcia,

  2. mohamad

    Peoples (nations or whatever category is understood/given to large populations, media, political entities) look at the ongoing war (of attrition) to be between two parties (a strong vs a weak one). Pleading to international organizations such as UN, UN’s Security Council, ICC,ICJ etc, or expecting states to affect the outcome by arresting actively the slaughter, is now proven FUTILE. For instance the constant littany of “2 states solution”. The now factual “axis of resistance” has shown what it is doing against a frail (?) settlers’ colony. We.need, must, salute “General” Sinwar and chief of staff mohamad al-deif, and their acolytes in the Arab World, not forgetting the Iranians (not forgetting the late Soleimani, assassinated by a cowardly regime). Victory will be theirs (hopefully). Yallah.

  3. JonnyJames

    Code Pink, Medea Benjamin, Col. Ann Wright and others are doing a great job in spreading awareness and challenging the lies, propaganda and bogus narratives surrounding this issue. I commend them and acknowledge their bravery with all respect.

    However, the sad-but-true bits:

    Delusional, self-congratulatory, or wishfully-thinking humans want to believe that we have some sort of “rule of law” and some sort of “justice”, but sadly we only have the Law of the Jungle, the law of brute violence, death and destruction. Our culture of viewing history as a linear progressions is part of this view. The concentration of power into the hands of an oligarchy that runs the Empire, means that they will use that power to further their perceived interests at the expense of the majority – at “home” or abroad.

    The rule of law in the US has become a cruel joke: TBTF banksters, formalized unlimited political bribery (Citizens United etc.) mass murdering 100s of thousands of innocents, destroying entire countries based on lies and abuse of power, flagrant institutional corruption in all three branches of govt. should make this clear.

    We have seen time and again that the UN, ICJ/ICC and other intergovernmental organizations are powerless unless they have the consent of the global hegemon. These are intergovernmental organizations and the US can formally or informally veto (in effect say “F-you” to the rest of the world).

    The sad truth is that nothing will be done until the US is no longer able to violently coerce the rest of the world into submission, or another great power emerges that can block US threats. The hubris-filled imperialists are willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear conflagration in order to impose its will. The US govt./US oligarchy has become a suicide-death cult. In the meantime, we should all do whatever we can to refuse the narrative, and not “vote” for genocidal freaks like JB and the DT.

  4. ChrisFromGA

    Thanks for this article, which confirms what I’ve been suspecting all along: Blinken and Biden are committing fraud by knowingly making false statements like “Israel approved this ceasefire plan!” when we all know that isn’t true.

    I guess Hamas is too weak to make the obvious move of demanding the US get out of its’ phony role as a “mediator” when it is really a party to the conflict. On the other hand, there are a bunch of Arab states that could make this demand, and their silence speaks volumes on their fealty to the US and lack of leadership. Even Erdogan is just making noise.

  5. Victor Sciamarelli

    If Biden were to do anything suggested in this article, the Israel Lobby would unleash a firestorm of criticism and wreck any chance of Biden winning the 2024 election. Have the authors forgotten how easily two presidents from prestigious universities who tolerated free speech were forced to resign, student demonstrators were quickly arrested, a DP leader like Pelosi called for the FBI to investigate the demonstrators because she suspected Russia or China was involved, and the House passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act which cancels the First Amendment? All of this and more is the work of the Israel Lobby.
    If the US were a normal country, Chas Freeman, for example, would have been considered for Sec of State. Freeman, a highly respected career diplomat, was nominated by Obama to head the National Intelligence Council. Though Freeman never criticized Israel he was not sufficiently subservient either. The lobby worked overtime to trash his appointment and Freeman withdrew his name:
    Furthemore, don’t simply blame Blinken. The lobby, with op-eds, articles, news reports, pressure on congress etc, has been successful in preventing most anybody they deem insufficiently pro-Israel from rising to a decision level position within the foreign policy establishment; the FPE is filled with Blinkens.
    I’m all for exposing Biden’s complicit support for genocide but the force sustaining these criminal policies is the Israel Lobby.

    1. Travis Bickle

      Thanks. There’s actually far, far more that could be said along these line to clarify the motivations that guide and explain US actions. Everything makes sense and the frustration we feel at trying to see US/Israeli behavior as something it is not, dissipates.

      That frustration, not to put too fine a point on it, comes about due to cognitive dissonance and corruption. The dissonance comes from trying to see Israel as anything other than responsible for its own predicament and the corruption is evident in how the US is so obviously its lapdog. The lobby does own the US administration, but to be fair it has owned a long string of them, and the US is correctly seen simply as Israel’s lawyer.

      There. There wasn’t all that much to it after all.

    2. Gregorio

      Correct. Congress is too addicted to money from AIPAC and the Zionist billionaire club to be anything but Israeli lapdogs.

      1. Screwball

        Maybe someone has, but I can’t find anything, but I would like to see a breakdown of how much money (directly and indirectly) AIPAC has given (if that is the correct word) to our congress people – both sides.

        1. Victor Sciamarelli

          It’s not about money and congress with their hands out. The Israel lobby doesn’t give you a choice. It’s about control over policy and destroying your career if necessary.
          In Chas Freeman’s words, which I think his analysis is spot on: “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”
          You can also view Freeman on YouTube at locations like Neutrality Studies and other easy to find locations.

  6. Anthony Martin

    If one can reach 70+, in reasonable health, with sound wits, and a sense of independence there is no obligation to suffer fools or to accept intimidation, e.g. if it were a crime to insult a Congressman on account of his or her stupidity., I would do so ten times over, and with such a vast selection, the only difficulty would be to determine who would lead the list. Who could be such a witless ass as to invite a morally corrupt and depraved war criminal to address a joint session, an act that demeans every US Citizen. The Israeli Likud party is just as pin headed and short sided and acts in the fashion of a land grubbing psychopath. Israel is a national state and as such is a man made entity and no one on earth can claim divine right to being exceptional. Neither the US nor Russia, or nor Israel. To paraphrase JFK: We are all mortal, we all inhabit the same planet, and we all breathe its air equally. The abolitionists of old were correct in saying human bondage was destructive to the slave physically and to the slave holder morally . If one were to draw lines on a map in an ideal way, one might create a federation of the holy lands represented by Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and all others to be a sanctuary for spiritual values instead of creating a terrible wasteland. Instead demeaning their ancestors, themselves, and their inheritors, maybe each entity could act cooperatively to protect and cherish their values for perpetuity instead of defecating on their shrines and themselves. It is self evident, that cooperation would bring more bounty to all and benefit all, at the expense of no one. Exceptional leaders lead, not by force, but by motivating and by inspiring others. One doesn’t have to follow any religion, but toleration and respect of another person’s spirituality is a good place to start. One can dream about ‘end times, another can dream about constructing a better world. Unfortunately, given the current crop of leaders, especially in the ‘West’, what they inspire is contempt instead of a desire to do better.

  7. LifelongLib

    And here I always thought that the Main Obstacle(s) to Peace in Palestine were the Israelis and the Palestinians, who seem unable to live with each other on terms that both can accept.

    As far as the U.S., besides the “Israel Lobby”, at least historically there was a bloc of Israel-No-Matter-What voters that was big enough to swing the Presidential election. Some commenters here claim this no longer exists, but maybe our main political parties haven’t got the news?

  8. EY Oakland

    Doesn’t the Israel Lobby have an agenda that is varied, such as, perhaps, war involving the US and Iran? So far world opinion against the mass murder of Palestinians seems to be toothless. So why not – since there’s no serious opposition – go after that ‘larger war’ and force the US to join? There’s been enough anti-Iran propaganda over the years in the US that no serious uptick there would be required. If the US is in thrall to the Israel Lobby where is the end point? I’m sure Bibi believes he’s modeled ‘fortune favors the bold’ quite well and he’s fairly impatient at our hiding behind false diplomacy.

  9. john r fiore

    Its is a maxim that you cannot have war and peace at the same time…the US economy, driven by military arms sales and technology, cannot have peace. Futher, what could be more tellingly obvious when the US “special middle east envoy”, Mr. Hochstein, is an Israeli. I find the lack of outrage to this more bizarre than the fact of Hochstein’s post itself.

  10. Ian

    A final solution is required, i.e., either a one state or two state solution. However, Israel is adamantly opposed; therefore, Israel must be brought to heel. Bankruptcy is the way. Hopefully they will attack Lebanon; Iran will flood Lebanon with militants and military hardware; militias continue to harass Israel from Syria and Iraq; Russia starts to arm Hezbollah (they have threatened to arm enemies of Nato); and Yemen continues to harass shipping. Just a matter of time before bankruptcy.

    1. Gregorio

      A couple of shipments of Iskanders to Hezbollah might get Genocide Joe and Bibi’s attention.

    2. Gestopholes

      Apparently, Isreal is short of soldiers. Morale is a heavily overlooked but vital
      factor in any war (Vietnam, anyone?) . In terms of widening the war to include
      Lebanon, the Israeli army would become stretched very thin, IMHO. Bibi is trying
      to stretch out the war until Jan 6, 2025 when he assumes there will be a new
      regime in DC more favorable to the continuation of his presidency. That’s as ‘maybe’
      at this point- a long stretch for him politically. Consider the loss of eight (8) IDF
      soldiers recently, considered to be a major defeat. We lost, (I think) 70,000 in
      Vietnam, a current ally of ours. Not to mention how many years it took to end the
      war. The current war in Isreal has been going on 6 months. If morale is on the
      verge of collapse in that short time ( and Israel is overwhelmingly winning!)
      it does not bode well for the future.

  11. Patrick Donnelly

    The USA is owned by a few families.

    No one gets to be PCM without a destruct button held by those dy nasties.

    What lot of waste of intellectual talent, appearing to believe the trappings of a corrupt system?

    Stop it!

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