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An American license to kill

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An American license to kill

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 in the UN Security Council to oppose an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The democratic Biden administration’s excuse, which ironically mimics that of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, is that such a halt will only benefit Hamas.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood told the Security Council that the draft resolution was a rushed, imbalanced text “that was divorced from reality, that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way.”
He added: “We do not support this resolution’s call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war.”
However, the only thing that is indeed “divorced from reality” is this American 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.
To start with, the US 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” seen on the ground. How exactly can such a statement come from the same US State Department that allowed for the sale of 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition, valued at more than $100 million?
However, what is even more “divorced from reality” is the mind-blowing stupidity of 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 the current leader’s long-standing policy of furthering Palestinian divisions by undermining the legitimate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and empowering Hamas in Gaza.

The US veto has just handed future generations of terror groups and extremists the same license for decades to come. 

Faisal J. Abbas | Editor-in-Chief

Saudi Arabia and other US-partner Arab countries repeatedly warned about this devious policy and how it weakened the prospect of a two-state solution — which was, and still is, the best and only way to end this conflict and guarantee Israel’s security.
Second, I do not know how anyone could imagine that continuing with a war effort that has resulted in the dreadful killing of more than 17,700 people, mostly civilians, women and children — and this while Israeli officials publicly threaten to use a nuclear bomb and refer to all Palestinians as human animals who deserve what’s coming to them — will make Hamas weaker.
Just for the record, this is in no way a justification for, or glorification of, Hamas. Quite the contrary. Again, nothing justifies the killing or deliberate targeting of civilians, and this includes both sides, on Oct. 7 or after. However, two wrongs do not make a right, and Israel can no longer pride itself on having the so-called world’s most ethical army if it behaves like a group it classifies as terrorists.
If anything, failing to stop this war only gains Hamas more sympathy and breeds similar groups, even if Israel somehow manages to miraculously kill each one of the estimated 40,000 fighters in Gaza. This is simply because, as proven so far, this is impossible to achieve without the severe civilian death-toll, displacement of over a million people and unprecedented damage to the infrastructure which has so far included hospitals, mosques and schools.
This is why, by being the only country on the UN Security Council to veto the resolution for an immediate ceasefire, the US has effectively given Israel a further license to kill. It goes without saying that this sharply contradicts America’s declared values, and previous positions, most notably in the Russia-Ukraine war, where Washington has been highly vocal and active in condemning and penalizing Moscow’s aggression.
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 deploying double standards by 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 the current US administration. In fact, it is becoming clearer every day that many countries in the West have lost the moral high ground, and will never again be taken seriously when it preaches human rights or tries to dictate values to others. If anything, Schifrin should be asking the same question to his own administration — that is of course, unless he fears that his show will be canceled, like what happened recently to his colleague Mehdi Hasan at MSNBC.
Furthermore, this American license to kill applies not only to Israel killing Palestinians: The US veto has just handed future generations of terror groups, extremists, as well as ideologues, the same license for decades to come.
The fighting has to stop, and a path should be made on solid terms toward a two-state solution by allowing for the creation of a Palestinian state, and a fair resolution to the plight of the Palestinian people.
This starts with a ceasefire — which is “unfortunately now 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. X: @FaisalJAbbas

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point of view

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