US Veto, no way to peace talks

US Veto, no way to peace talks
On Friday February 18, the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to condemn illegal Israeli settlements’ construction in the occupied Palestinian territory. The vote itself was not a surprise, the US government policy toward the Palestinians is obvious and it has not changed from one administration to the next. Palestinians just didn’t take the hint. Well, more like a slap in the face than a hint this time. US officials have made it clear that they sympathize with the Palestinians and may even understand the injustice that has fallen upon them but that is as far as they will go.

Sympathy earns financial support, but Palestinians should know better than to expect anything beyond that. With US support for settlements going back decades with military aid and support for the soldiers who keep back Palestinian protesters, tax breaks and rhetorical support. It was unrealistic for Palestinians to expect a condemnation.

That the UN resolution was adopted by the other 14 members of the Security Council and co-sponsored by 120 countries in order to get it there is irrelevant to the United States, which sees Israel as its ultimate ally.

Americans should not be ‘bullied’ into abandoning an ally, US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, told Washington. Criticizing Israel at the United Nations ‘isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable,’ she said.

The stated US position on Palestinians is in just as much direct conflict with its actions as is Israel’s. As Israel claims it seeks peace with Palestine, its actions belie the notion. US President Barack Obama has said outright that he condemns settlemetn construction, but when push came to shove, he refused to take an unequivocal position on the issue.

While the US was condemning settlement construction, Israel had time to okay some 50,000 – 100,000 new homes on Palestinian lands. In the end, the US veto was absolutely in line with its policy. From before, during and after the so called peace process.

American officials did not condemn the construction of the separation wall, which the International Court of Justice condemned in 2004, it did not support the Goldstone Report, which called for an ICC investigation into possible war crimes committed during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, and it recoils at any suggestion of a boycott or sanctions campaign.

Israel remains strong. It is not politically isolated as some have suggested. The country is keeping its cards close, and by betting on the US its chosen the right horse. As it stands, it matters little who supports our cause, who co-sponsors our resolutions and who condemns our suffering. We don’t have the joker in our deck.

Categories: Reports