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Biden ends US role as Middle East peace broker

Apr 04,2024 - Last updated at Apr 04,2024

Nothing deters US President Joe Biden from following the policy he adopted on October 7 when southern Israel was attacked by Hamas. Last week, in recognition of Arab Heritage Month, a White House statement belatedly admitted that US Arab and Muslim citizens felt “pain”! over Israel’s war on Gaza and expressed Biden’s devastation over the suffering in Gaza. Hours later, Biden authorised the provision to Israel of F-35 war-planes, 1,800 2.000 pound bunker busting bombs, which have devastated entire Gaza neighbourhoods — and 500 500-pound bombs. The package is valued at billions of dollars. Biden has requested an additional $14 billion in military aid for Israel which has yet to be approved Congress.

The provision of these deadly and destructive weapons enables Israel to carry on its Gaza war, contradicting last week’s US abstention which empowered the UN Security Council to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Having withheld the US veto which blocked earlier Council resolutions, Biden then said the resolution which was adopted was not legally binding although Council resolutions are mandatory.

Biden is a hollow man giving hollow assurances while he placidly arms Israel for a war condemned as genocidal by human rights organisations, millions of US citizens and hundreds thousands of people across the world.

Biden has ignored the tens of thousands of US Arab and Muslim voters and their supporters who wrote “uncommitted” on ballots in state Democrat Party primaries earlier this year. He seems to think “pain” afflicts solely US voters with Middle Eastern or Asian backgrounds. This is not the case. Biden and his entourage have shrugged off countrywide protests against Israel’s Gaza war and heckling by pro-Palestinian activists during his campaign rallies.

Perhaps Biden might take notice of the results of a new Gallup poll which shows that a majority of US citizens disapprove of Israel’s offensive.  Approval of Israel’s war has plunged from 50 per cent last November to 36 per cent during March this year. Support among Biden’s Democrat party has always been problematic. While 36 per cent approved the war in November this has been halved to 18 per cent.  Only 47 per cent of independents, who are being courted by Biden, backed Israel’s war from the outset.  The figure is 29 per cent now.  Only Biden’s rival Republicans gave majority support, 71 per cent, to Israel’s war but this has slumped to 64 per cent.

For a special feature published by Informed Comment website, Nazita Lajevardi conducted a separate poll among 1,110 respondents which focuses on US views. The survey showed than 62 per cent supported aid for Palestinians: 81 per cent of Democrats, 57 per cent of independents, and 31 per cent of Republicans. Only 29 per cent backed military aid to Israel: 22.5 per cent of Democrats, 29 per cent of independents, and 41.5 per cent Republicans.  More than 74 per cent supported a permanent ceasefire, of whom 82.6 were Democrats, 74.5 per cent independents, and 58 per cent Republicans.

Despite his lack of backing for Israel’s war on Gaza, Biden has been gaining in recent US opinion polls where Donald Trump still leads Biden 46.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent although pollsters argue the race is “too close to call”,  This is the closest the rivals have come since mid-January. In a two-man contest Biden leads Trump 48 to 45 per cent but independent candidates reduce Biden to 38 per cent and Trump to 39 per cent.

The top issues are immigration and the economy for Democrats, independents and Republicans while preserving democracy remains a key issue for Democrats and indepen-dents. Therefore, the polls show that foreign policy is unlikely to play a determining role in the November US presidential election. This may be why Biden feels he has a free hand to do whatever he pleases about Gaza and his other war in Ukraine.

Politicians in the vast trans-continental US remain unaccountable on the domestic scene for their foreign entanglements and gross misadventures.  Biden is an accomplice in Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza and guilty of the deaths of more than 33,000 Gazans. Biden also became a prime mover of the Ukraine war, which Kyiv is losing, by urging President Volodymyr Zelensky to insist that his country join NATO despite Russia’s vehement opposition. While Palestinian and Ukrainian bloodletting will not seriously impact choices US voters make in the fall, both wars will have major negative impacts in their respective regions and on the world scene.  

Ukraine will not win the war with Russia, however drawn out, and Zelensky will have to bow to terms set by Russian President Vladimir Putin who can simply wait until Ukraine is war-weary and ready to settle. This will strengthen Russia’s position in Europe.

Israel’s systematic devastation of Gaza has deeply traumatised hundreds of millions of people across the Arab world as well as peoples in Africa, Asia and Europe. Biden’s determining role will not be forgotten or forgiven. Having capitulated to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing government as soon as the war began, Biden has lost whatever leverage he might have had to compel Netanyahu to curb attacks on civilians in Gaza and permit the free flow of humanitarian aid into the strip. Since Israel has slain, wounded, and orphaned tens of thousands of Gaza’s children, the coming generation is certain to be bitter and determined to wreak revenge on Israel and Israelis. While Hamas may disappear as an organisation, new resistance groups will emerge to carry on the struggle against Israel’s occupation-without-end. Biden has finished off the US as a potential peace broker between Israel and the Palestinians.  He cannot deliver the long-promised Palestinian state because Israel has occupied East Jerusalem, colonised the West Bank and destroyed Gaza.  Biden can forget about his ambition to effect further normalisation between Arab governments and Israel. An opinion poll carried out by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies which was published as long ago as January 10th showed that 92 per cent of the 8,000 respondents in 16 countries expressed solidarity with the Palestinians; 94 per cent considered the US role to be negative and 77 per cent viewed Israel and the US to be the main threats to the region.

The South African case before the International Court of Justice charging Israel with genocide is certain to expose Israel’s violations of the laws of war and war crimes, sustaining the high level of international resentment against Israel and, by association, Biden and the US. Jordan, Turkey and Ireland plan to intervene in the South African case by providing evidence of the crime of genocide. The US naturally rejects this charge although it is upheld by multiple international humanitarian agencies working in Gaza.

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