By P Sudhir
If President Biden’s visit to Tel Aviv for a day demonstrated anything, it is the unremitting and blind support for the Israeli settler-colonial State. The visit underlined what has been the unchanging reality since 1948 – the United States has nurtured and cultivated Israel as its outpost in West Asia. The United States has poured billions of dollars of aid and sophisticated arms and equipment into making Israel a military-garrison State.
In doing so, the United States has overlooked the oppression of the Palestinian people, the atrocities they have suffered and the ethnic cleansing which is going on in occupied territories like the West Bank. It has backed the inhuman blockade of Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million Palestinian people over the past sixteen years.
In recent years, when the Israeli State has been actively undermining the two-State formula by expanding the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and imposing an apartheid-like system, the United States and its western allies have connived in this diabolical plan, while still paying lip service to the two-State solution.
Prior to Biden’s visit, his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, had shuttled around Israel and five other Arab countries to try and get the neighbouring states like Egypt and Jordan to cooperate while Israel prepared to launch its ground invasion of Gaza. Blinken failed to convince the Egyptian president to allow Palestinians from Gaza to move into Egypt through the Rafah crossing. As President Sisi declared, once the Palestinians were pushed into Egypt, they would not be allowed to return to Gaza, making them permanent refugees in Egypt. Jordan also refused to consider any movement of people into Jordan.
After having fully endorsed Israel’s right to act in self-defence in invading Gaza, the United States was frantically trying to ward off the impending human catastrophe.
The night before Biden arrived in Tel Aviv, there was the horrific massacre caused by the bombing of the Al-Ahli Anglican hospital in southern Gaza, which has led to the death of 471 people so far. This gruesome attack took place in the background of the Israeli military ordering 22 hospitals in northern Gaza to evacuate their patients and staff members within 24 hours or be responsible for the consequences. The evacuation order was issued on the evening of October 12 and the Al-Ahli hospital was hit by rocket fire on October 15. Israel now claims that they are not responsible for the bombing of the hospital and that it was caused by a failed rocket fired by the Islamic Jihad. Military experts and many media commentators have noted that the Gaza militants do not possess rockets with such powerful explosives. It is only the Israeli military which has powerful bombs.
Nonetheless, President Biden shamelessly supported the Israeli version and said that it was done “by the other team”. Thus, Biden became complicit in the war crimes committed by Israel. President Biden was snubbed by the cancellation of his meeting with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority which was to be held in Amman. No Arab leader, even allies of the US, could be seen meeting with the US president at a time when Israel had perpetrated this terrible crime.
That the United States would go to any extent to shield Israel became clear on the very day Biden was in Israel. At the United Nations’ Security Council, a resolution moved by Brazil, which called for “humanitarian pauses” to allow lifesaving supplies to go into Gaza was vetoed by the United States. This veto of a proposal for humanitarian supplies into Gaza shows the complicity of the United States in starving the people of Gaza of food and medicines.
Instead, Biden announced after his visit that he had asked the Israeli war cabinet to allow lifesaving supplies to Gaza through the Rafah crossing. As a result, 20 trucks carrying supplies would be allowed to cross possibly on October 20. This too would happen, if Egypt could repair the roads at the crossing which had been bombed by Israel. The United Nations’ relief agency has said that at least 100 trucks of aid would have to go through daily if some minimum relief has to be provided.
Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza will widen the conflict in the region. Already the Hezbollah in Lebanon has announced that they will not keep quiet if such an attack takes place. All over the Arab world and West Asia, people are out in the streets protesting against Israel’s brutal assault in Gaza which, on the eleventh day, has left more than 3,000 dead including over 1,100 children. The United States by backing Israel through political and military support has condemned itself in the eyes of the world. (IPA Service)