US & UK Again Fail Palestine

Jeffrey Sachs and Sybil Fares on the two powers that have done the most to wreck the Middle East. 

Riyad H. Mansour, center, permanent observer of the State of Palestine to the U.N., ahead of an April 8 Security Council meeting on the admission of new members. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

By Jeffrey D. Sachs and Sybil Fares
Common Dreams

This week, the U.S. and U.K. had the chance to correct decades of their blatant geopolitical errors in the Israel-Palestine conflict by welcoming Palestine as the 194th United Nations member state.

[On Thursday, however, the U.S. in the Security Council vetoed granting Palestinian Authority full membership  while the U.K and Switzerland abstained.]

More than any other countries, the U.S. and U.K. have wrecked the Middle East through their non-stop meddling and imperial arrogance. This week they had the chance to make some amends.

A total of 139 countries already recognize the State of Palestine, more than two-thirds of the U.N. member states. Several European states will soon join the list. Yet the U.S. has so far blocked Palestine’s membership in the U.N., with the U.K. always sticking close to the U.S. lead. Both have relentlessly backed Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestine and are currently actively backing Israel in its horrific destruction of Gaza.

Back in 2011, Palestine had the support of the U.N. Security Council for membership, except that the U.S. forced the Palestinians to accept “observer” status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow, yet another U.S. deception.

In a comparison of the wreckage by the U.S. and U.K. in the Middle East, the lead role certainly goes to Britain, whose imperial machinations in the region date to the 19th century and continue until today. 

Britain kept Egypt under its thumb for decades, from the 1880s to the 1950s. It deceitfully promised overlapping parts of the Ottoman Middle East three times over during World War I: to the French (in the Sykes-Picot Agreement), to the Arabs (in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence) and to the Zionists (in the Balfour Declaration), purporting to allocate what was not theirs in the first place.

The official opening of the assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva, Nov. 5, 1920. (Frédéric Boissonnas, National Library of Norway, Wikipedia Commons, Public domain)

After World War I, Britain took Palestine for itself under a so-called mandate of the newly created League of Nations, while France grabbed a mandate over Lebanon and Syria. 

Britain left Palestine in shambles in 1947, but continued its relentless meddling by teaming up with France and Israel to invade Egypt in 1956. Britain’s meddling has also contributed to destruction and disarray in Yemen, Iraq and many more parts of the Middle East.

After World War II, the U.S. picked up where Britain left off, first joining Britain in the MI6-C.I.A. overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and then going on to a long career of C.I.A.-led regime-change operations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, among others. 

Iran’s Mossadegh takes his seat at a 1951 meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York City. (Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Throughout the entire postwar period, the U.S. has been the lead dishonest broker between Israel and Palestine, for example calling for the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 but then boycotting and trying to overthrow Hamas when it won those elections. 

In 2011, when Palestine applied for U.N. membership, and won the support of the U.N. Security Council membership committee, the U.S. leaned on Palestine to wait and to accept observer status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow. This was yet another lie.

Despite numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions over the years calling for a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Israeli governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu have blatantly rejected an independent State of Palestine. 

The current Netanyahu cabinet includes right-wing extremists such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir who openly call for ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza to create a Greater Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Yet despite Israel’s relentless provocations, routine killing of Palestinians (known colloquially as “mowing the grass”), repeated violations of the U.N. Security Council and now the slaughter in Gaza, the U.S. and U.K. have remained steadfast in backing Israel and opposing Palestine as if nothing at all is amiss.

The question is whether the U.S. and U.K. have any sense and any shame at this point. They may think they are supporting Israel by blocking Palestine’s U.N. membership, but the fact is that Israel is more isolated and endangered than ever because of the Israeli government’s extremism, its shocking violence against the Palestinian people and its apartheid rule. 

Damaged buildings in Gaza, Dec. 6, 2023. (Tasnim News Agency, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Since the start of the war last fall, 33,000 Palestinians are officially counted as dead, yet the actual death toll is vastly higher, with tens of thousands more still buried under the rubble or dead from extreme deprivations of food, water, and healthcare.

Alas, in recent days, the double standards and falsehoods of the U.S. and U.K. have been on full display. 

The U.S. and U.K. adamantly refused to condemn Israel’s brazenly illegal bombing of Iran’s diplomatic compound in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, but then heatedly condemned Iran when it counter-attacked two weeks later. This absurd double-standard makes the U.S. and U.K. look like crass bullies in the eyes of the rest of the world.

After more than a century of U.K. and U.S. meddling in the Middle East, it’s time to be honest about the facts and the solutions. Most importantly, welcoming Palestine as a U.N. member state and implementing the two-state solution according to international law would have been the path to peace, justice, and security for both Israel and Palestine. 

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a university professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also president of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the U.N. Broadband Commission for Development.

Sybil Fares is a specialist and adviser in Middle East policy and sustainable development at SDSN.

This article is from Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

12 comments for “US & UK Again Fail Palestine

  1. god free in prior reality
    April 19, 2024 at 21:34

    All This is Worship of a bloody demigod…We become what we meditate on. Now is the perfect time for us to fully step away from this con, this belief, and this evil.

  2. CaseyG
    April 19, 2024 at 13:12

    The novel “1984,” comes to mind. Fear and loathing is so unattractive in a supposed democracy.

    Is there anyone in America who can lead this insanity away from pretty much the murder of your own planet?

  3. April 19, 2024 at 12:23

    Israel must go the way of Rhodesia.

    The kids ask, “what is a Rhodesia?”

    Exactly! ; )

    • MeMyself
      April 19, 2024 at 12:45

      I heard that Israel doesn’t have a Constitution. That makes them free to create rules “of law” on the fly or simply Lawless.

      • April 20, 2024 at 01:24

        I was so impressed with Israel since I was a teen and became fascinated with WWII history. The whole thing seemed like it all segued perfectly. I was so impressed with their military prowess, defeating the combined armies of Arabia in weeks at a time, taking territory, kicking @55 and taking names all the way.
        I loved Bill Cosby too, and look how he disappointed us all.
        What does Israel and Bill Cosby have in common, no constitutions.

      • Pluto
        April 21, 2024 at 02:13

        True that.
        But a constitution (rules the government must follow, written by the People) that is never updated and revised across centuries of change can be even more insidious, leaving the people completely disempowered and exploited, in a managed pseudo-democracy where there are no real choices at all.

      • nwwoods
        April 21, 2024 at 14:45

        The US has a Constitution. Just ask Julian Assange or Stephen Donziger or Leonard Peltier or any number of others.

  4. Steve
    April 19, 2024 at 07:33

    Thanks to the USA and UK’s complicity and direct support, the mad dog that is Israel is currently on a path to starting WW3 via Iran. And, the West is totally happy with this train of events.
    It’s time for the grown ups, Russia and China, to step in and halt the mad dogs.
    Never have I been so ashamed of my country.

    • Em
      April 19, 2024 at 09:54

      So, in opposition why not jump on the fast moving war monger train yourself?
      Not even the “grown up’s”, thankfully not Russia and China, are as “mad dog” as your advice sounds!
      In this hair trigger societal atmosphere you, like all of us, have no way to simply “step in and halt the mad dogs”.
      Protest placards and signs have not had any immediate effects.
      What remains is for us to wallow in the rot of our self-indulgent shame!

  5. Crux
    April 19, 2024 at 00:28

    USA and UK, the prime zionist whores are now whoring in the open. Which goes to show that it is not only Palestine that is occupied by the zionists. The liberation of Palestine thus hinges on the liberation of the USA and UK from the zionist clutch

  6. Em
    April 18, 2024 at 21:45

    International Law has now plunged to the depths of Amorality, that is to say: all laws have been abrogated by the powerful.

    There are no moral standards in the practices of unipolar imperial Neo-liberalism!

    The ones with near monopolistic enforcement power, rule by decree. The combination of control of finance and weaponry is the final arbiter of what ‘law’ is at any given moment!

    The Court Systems are merely the distributors of the product.

    Perpetual war is the enforcement mechanism; amorality is the process of satiating unrestrained capitalist greed.

    Surely Professor, Dr. of Economics, Jeffrey Sachs, is aware of these finer details behind all the institutional scheming.
    The strength of his moral fortitude seems to carrying him through, without being corrupted or losing heart. Despite all he has witnessed, first-hand, he is still a steadfast optimistic believer in the good of humanity.

    It appears, however, that the likes of the Chicago School of economists, led by the amoral Milton Friedman, are ever more entrenched in the regimes directorate.

    Optimist in-waiting, for Godot

  7. Bengi
    April 18, 2024 at 18:27

    I assume that “Failed to back” actually translates to “made bleepity-bleeping sure that such a bleeping thing would never bleeping happen.”

    The UNGA voted years ago. It has been blocked by the permanent members of the UNSC, namely these two.

    There is no partner for peace in Israel. No Peace Party, or serious political force with peace as its goal.
    There is no partner for peace in the USA. Same reason
    There is no partner for peace in the UK. Same reason

    We could perhaps call them the Axis of Armageddon?

    (Lord Starmer just proudly told the nation and the world that he’d happily slaughter millions of people when his promotion to PM goes through. About Joe Biden or Netanyahooo, there’s never been any doubt)

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