The United States is encountering setbacks, losses, and continued pushback over its handling—or according to Mideast watchers—mishandling of the war between the occupier Zionist State of Israel and the Palestinian resistance blazing since early October. However, despite the growing pressure of opposition, Washington continues its unwavering support for Israel, even while thousands of innocent Palestinians have been killed, injured, and millions internally displaced.
Ten weeks into the war that has taken nearly 20,000 Palestinian lives, half of which were women and children, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his War Cabinet, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv. He met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to discuss the ongoing war in Gaza. However, a point of discussion in Tel Aviv was Washington’s request for a shift over time from a high-intensity war to a lower-intensity surgical operation against Hamas.
“There will be a transition to another phase of this war, one that is focused in more precise ways on targeting the leadership and on intelligence-driven operations,” he told reporters on Dec. 15, in Tel Aviv.
“When exactly that happens and under exactly what conditions will be a continuing intensive discussion between the United States and Israel,” he said, refraining from giving a timetable for the slowdown.
Israeli officials stressed publicly that for them, the war ends when Hamas is eradicated, and Defense Minister Gallant said the war would “last more than several months.”
However, the slowdown request did not diminish full-throated talking points of support for Israel replete with millions of dollars in war ware and it raised the eyebrows of those advocating for a total ceasefire.
Don’t stop bombing, “just do it more gently,” said Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. It is a request rather than a demand. “What kind of a demand is that even if it were a demand (to) ‘bomb more gently,’” argued Ms. Bennis.
A dense area like Gaza cannot be bombed without deliberately targeting substantial numbers of civilians. Israel isn’t denying they’re killing civilians. They say it is legitimate because somewhere among the thousands of civilians are a few dozen Hamas leaders and killing all those civilians, they might get a Hamas leader.
“From what we can see so far, they have not … if they had gotten any of the top leaders, you can be sure we would have heard about it. But as far as we know, they haven’t,” said Ms. Bennis. “But they’ve killed an awful lot of people in the meantime.”
She said the request came without any accountability when Israel said no, and what America is requesting is far from the reality of what’s required. “It would be laughable if it wasn’t so horrific,” she told The Final Call.
We heard it all before
Please stop killing so many civilians. Start abiding by international law a little better and the objective answer is “no we’re not going to do that” and they move on. “There’s no accountability for a no answer,” said Ms. Bennis.
Until that change, all of these claims of the Biden administration being concerned about civilian casualties and Palestinian children are empty rhetoric, critics argue.
“It doesn’t really matter whether they’re concerned or not … if their actions don’t reflect that,” argued Ms. Bennis. “What we don’t hear is an answer to the ‘no’ response from Israel,” she added.
She said their no’s should be met with threats to withhold the $4 billion a year, the $14 billion emergency aid, and the diplomatic cover. “We can’t take seriously those requests. They’re not demands which have consequences. All we heard so far are polite requests,” Ms. Bennis said. “That’s the contradiction we face.”
The crisis is the latest in decades-long bloodletting between the U.S.-backed occupying power and the Palestinian people fighting for self-determination and relief from oppression.
When resistance fighters entered illegally occupied settlements on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, and capturing 240 Israelis and other nationals, it was unprecedented. However, critics argue that Israel is exceeding the limits in its retribution by taking the lives of nearly 18 times the number of Palestinians in its efforts to “eliminate Hamas.”
For years, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has explained the Israeli-Palestinian crisis from scriptural lenses. “The Israelis practice the law of retaliation, but to the extreme,” said Minister Farrakhan in a 2015, “Justice or Else,” message in Memphis, Tennessee.
“The Old Testament says an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, and it warns the aggrieved don’t exceed the limits. The Qur’an says in matters of the slain: It is a life for a life, but we are warned by God not to exceed the limits and not to ever be the aggressor. For Allah loves not the aggressor,” the Minister said.
“My Palestinian brothers shot some rockets into Israel,” he said, discussing a skirmish at the time. The rockets killed a few people and caused a few thousand dollars’ worth of damage and Israel responded. “She always retaliates and it’s never a life or a life because if a Jew is killed then they want a hundred Palestinians because they have devalued the life of a Palestinian,” Minister Farrakhan said.
The Minister’s 2015 observations describe the 2023 lopsided slaughter. “When God said ‘a Life for life,’ He’s putting all life on an equal status, but they killed thousands of men, women and children. They bombed schools and mosques and hospitals, and they make no apology,” the Minister noted in 2015.
Global demands for a permanent ceasefire have heightened, which has been rejected by Washington. Critics told The Final Call that the Biden administration is finding itself between a rock and a hard space on the issue from public pressure domestically and losing influence and sway internationally.
The U.S. is descending further into isolation at the United Nations over its protection of Israel. An emergency Dec. 12 ceasefire resolution voted on during the General Assembly showed serious clapback at America and some Western nations for amending the resolution with language designed to prevent a total ceasefire. Observers say the vote placed Washington and Tel Aviv on the losing end and signified America’s diminishing influence, and loss of friendship, as well as fear from among world nations.
A majority of 153 member states of the 193 total members backed the resolution, with only 10, including the U.S., Israel and Austria, voting against it, and 23—including the United Kingdom and Germany—abstaining.
Days earlier the U.S. ignored appeals from its Arab allies and UN Secretary-General António Guterres to back an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, telling the Security Council that to do so would merely plant the seeds of the next war. Although the majority of the 15-member Security Council overwhelmingly supported that resolution, the U.S. vetoed it despite the dire warnings. Observers say although America has the veto stick, she is not the power of yesterday on the world stage.
“I absolutely see this as a diminishing of American power,” said Eugene Puryear, an investigative journalist and commentator. He pointed out the breakdown of those who are traditional allies of America, shifting in their support for a ceasefire. Canada, which abstained the first time a ceasefire resolution was voted on, voted in favor this time around. The same with France, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Sweden, and Norway—countries very close to America.
“I mean, they can’t even keep their own best friends on their side, on this issue,” said Mr. Puryear. “Much less people who have had a historical skepticism of some elements of U.S. power in the Global South,” he added.
The ceasefire vote is a sign of evolving global public opinion where most countries, regardless of their political orientation—but mainly reflecting their population—view the entire U.S. presentation on global politics, with its hypocrisy, imperialism, and arrogance.
Even though its widely understood the U.S. will exercise its veto power, Mr. Puryear believes the nations are sending a message to America and the American people, that the U.S. government is completely isolated on this issue. The whole world is asking for a change, and because America desires to maintain Israel’s power in the region, it is willing to look the other way on genocide, some observers note. The isolation is eroding America’s ability to speak with moral authority, which over time, is going to make it harder for it to build global consensus on any number of issues, said analysts. They said America is experiencing a universal change and her fall as a nation once feared and envied by the world.
“I think you can see on a number of different fronts a collapse in U.S. moral authority for sure, an erosion of their ability to cajole and convince people to support these absurd UN resolutions. And I think, ultimately, a sign that we’re shifting towards a multipolar world, whether the U.S. likes it or not,” said Mr. Puryear.
The resolution is nonbinding but has political weight. What comes next after the handclaps of victory for a “stick it to the man” moment by the voting nations remains to be seen. The UN at best is a forum for expression but is impotent to force the desire of the majority of Member States.
Meanwhile, there has been a pivot in Mr. Biden’s tone of criticism of Israel, sort of, say observers. He came under heavy criticism for remarks observers say were aimed at Mr. Netanyahu and his ultra-rightwing government, not to Israel as a nation.
“Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world. But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” said Mr. Biden on Dec. 12.
He was addressing a 2024 campaign fundraiser for his reelection efforts. Biden’s remarks opened a new window into his blunt private conversations with Mr. Netanyahu, with whom he shared mutual animosity for years. Both leaders have domestic approval ratings in the dumps.
Mr. Biden alluded to a private conversation in which the Israeli leader said: “‘You carpet-bombed Germany, you dropped the atom bomb, a lot of civilians died.’”
Biden said he responded: “Yeah, that’s why all these institutions were set up after World War II to see to it that it didn’t happen again … don’t make the same mistakes we made in 9/11. There’s no reason why we had to be in a war in Afghanistan.”
But the comment about losing support appears out of touch with the fact that public opinion of Israel’s onslaught has been low as Palestinian casualties grew. Among world nations, particularly in the Global South, Israel and the U.S. are seen as blameworthy.
The White House attempted to walk back the comments about “indiscriminate bombing” because the implication of such bombing is tantamount to a war crime, say analysts.
But while Biden is in the throes of a reelection campaign, some are saying the president is disingenuous in his criticism of the high Palestinian casualty numbers. They said his concern was not for genocide but for public backlash and diminished opinion numbers over his unwavering support for Israel.
“He’s making the change in rhetoric … why isn’t he making a change in policy? He’s making the change in his rhetoric because of the pressure in the streets,” reasoned Ms. Bennis. “The fact that Congress is shifting, there’s now 60 Plus members of the House who are supporting a ceasefire, that started out with 13,” she added.
“Everywhere he goes, he’s being bird-dogged with protesters calling him ‘Genocide Joe,’ demanding a ceasefire. He’s isolated at the United Nations. And crucially, this, the thing that’s new I think, is that there’s massive opposition within the administration,” she added, referring to letters and actions of protests by government departments, including White House interns.
President Biden has been a staunch supporter of the Zionist state for many decades and has defined himself as “a Zionist” in past remarks and as recently as Dec. 11, while hosting a Hanukkah celebration at The White House.
“I got in trouble, got criticized very badly by the southern part of my state and some of the southern parts of the country, when 35 years ago I said, ‘You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. And I am a Zionist,’” President Biden said.
The war is between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, not Israel and Hamas specifically. Questions are being discussed about what will happen at the end of the war. The U.S. has expressed the desire for a moderate Palestinian leadership to rule Gaza like the Palestinian Authority, which is the widely “internationally accepted” voice of the Palestinian people, but unpopular among Palestinians.
Israel maintains that no Palestinian will rule the area and declared a military presence in Gaza for the unforeseeable future.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly two million people are internally displaced, lacking food, clean water, shelter, and health services and Palestinians in Gaza are experiencing heightened risks of disease.
Notwithstanding the bombs, bullets, and destruction pouring on Gaza, winter rains are exacerbating the suffering.
On Dec.13, Ashraf Al-Qudra, the Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson, said the ministry documented 360,000 cases of infectious diseases in shelters and said the figure is likely higher.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the occupied Palestinian territory, cases of meningitis, jaundice, impetigo, chickenpox and other upper respiratory tract infections had been recorded.
The healthcare sector has been rendered broken by the incessant attacks on hospitals by the occupier defense forces which are protected under international law inhibiting attacks on civilian infrastructure.
A CNN report on Dec. 14, citing U.S. intelligence, said of 29,000 dropped on Gaza, nearly half were “dumb bombs” which are imprecise. The indiscriminate attacks have turned a chronic humanitarian crisis into a catastrophe.
In a video media briefing on Dec. 13, Lynn Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, described the dire conditions as a “textbook formula for epidemics” and a public health disaster. “This is in part, of course, because the shelters have long ago exceeded their full capacity, with people lining up for hours just to get to a toilet, one toilet available for hundreds of people,” said Ms. Hastings. “You can imagine what the sanitation conditions are like as a result,” she added.