In Arabic, we have a famous saying that translates as “when the excuse is uglier than the sin.” This is exactly what can be said about the US justification on Friday for being the only country on the UN Security Council to oppose an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood told the Security Council that the draft resolution “was divorced from reality.” He reiterated his government, and Israel’s, declared position that a ceasefire would strengthen Hamas.
However, the only thing that is indeed “divorced from reality” is this US position; particularly since it was coupled with the State Department invoking an emergency provision to approve the sale of tank shells to Israel, bypassing Congress.
*What is even more “divorced from reality” is the argument that Hamas will emerge stronger as a result of a cease fire*
Faisal J. Abbas | Editor-in-chief
Ironically, both the veto and the emergency provision come after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly criticized Israel for the high number of civilian deaths during its offensive in Gaza, saying that there is a gap between “the intent to protect civilians and the actual results”. How exactly can such a statement come from the same US State Department that just allowed Israel an additional 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition, valued at more than $100 million?
However, what is even more “divorced from reality” is the argument that Hamas will emerge stronger as a result of a ceasefire.
First, if the US and Israel were serious about preventing Hamas from getting stronger, they should have done so 16 years ago by stopping the group’s biggest enabler, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from “upgrading them from a terrorist organization to a partner,” as recently described by The Times of Israel in severe criticism of Netanyahu’s long-standing policy of furthering divisions by undermining the legitimate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and empowering Hamas in Gaza.
Second, I do not know how anyone could imagine that continuing with a war that has killed more than 17,700 people, mostly civilians, women and children — will make Hamas weaker.
Just for the record, this is not in support of Hamas. Again, nothing justifies the killing or deliberate targeting of any civilians; before, on Oct. 7 or after.
However, this war only gains Hamas more sympathy and breeds similar groups. This is simply because, as proven so far, it is impossible to achieve Israel’s goal of eradicating the groups without a severe population death-toll, displacement and unprecedented damage to civilian infrastructure.
This is why, by being the only country to veto an immediate ceasefire, the US has effectively granted Israel a further license to kill. It goes without saying that this sharply contradicts America’s declared values, and previous positions, such as its criticism of Russian over Ukraine.
This is why it was almost laughable that renowned PBS presenter Nick Schifrin would have the audacity to ask Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan if the Kingdom is saying one thing in public and another in private when it comes to Gaza. If there is any hypocrisy, it is now blatantly clear that this is coming from Washington. If anything, Schifrin should be asking the same question to his own administration.
The US veto has just contributed to the creation of a future generation of extremists in Gaza, and beyond
Faisal J. Abbas | Editor-in-Chief
Furthermore, this American license to kill applies not only to Israel killing Palestinians: This US veto has just contributed to the creation of a future generations of extremists in Gaza, and beyond.
As such, the fighting has to stop, and a solid path toward a two-state solution made by allowing for a Palestinian state.
This all starts with a ceasefire — which is now “unfortunately seen as a dirty word,” Prince Faisal told PBS, adding that he simply cannot understand that … I do not think any sane person does!
— Faisal J. Abbas is the editor-in-chief of Arab News.