It is a fair assumption that Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine will not be among the many topics of discussion between Bennett and Biden.
Biden’s Washington is reacting as might be expected over the Cuba riots. There was automatic endorsement of the rioters, with Biden declaring they were making “a clarion call for freedom.” He greatly approved of the fact that “the Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights” which is commendable but would be even more so if the root cause of Cuban discontent was not misery and suffering engendered by the spiteful U.S. sanctions crusade that has been waged for sixty years.
At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on June 23 a total of 184 countries voted in support of a resolution demanding that the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba should be lifted. This is the 29th year in a row that such a resolution has been passed. And the only countries voting against it were the United States and Israel.
General Assembly resolutions indicate the feeling of the world’s nations concerning many problems and developments but are non-binding which means that condemnation of the most abhorrent and shameful violations of “fundamental and universal rights” like Washington’s vicious anti-Cuba sanctions campaign can be treated with sneering contempt.
UN Security Council resolutions are binding if adopted in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter, but non-binding if under Chapter VI, which is why Israel, Washington’s closest ally, can also treat critical Security Council resolutions with scornful disdain.
For example, as recorded by the UN itself, “Security Council Resolution 2334 was adopted on 23 December 2016. It concerns the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967… The resolution states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law and has ‘no legal validity’. It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfil its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” The resolution was passed by a 14–0 vote, with the United States abstaining, which is not the action expected by a country that is so supportive of “fundamental and universal rights”.
Further, the Council called for cessation of Israeli settlement activity, which it determined to have no legal validity. But President Biden remains unconditionally supportive of the Israeli state and on June 13 greeted its new government by declaring that “Israel has no better friend than the United States. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security.” As a placatory sop he added that he is committed “to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region”
The problem is that Biden’s advancement of “stability and peace” does not extend to Palestinians. He pays no attention to evidence that there is gross mistreatment of the Palestinian community by Israel, and critical statements such as those by the European Union are also ignored. On July 9 the EU’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Lotte Knudsen, noted that Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory are illegal under international law, but even this open condemnation drew no reaction from Washington.
To be sure, the Palestinian government administration, the “Palestine Authority” is a farcical organisation that combines incompetence with brutal repression of dissent, but the major problem is the Hamas militant group which rules Gaza and is rightly held to be a terrorist organisation by many countries, including those of the European Union, the U.S., UK and, of course, Israel.
The Hamas Covenant of 1988 is an eerie document, redolent of extremist Islam, as indicated (to take but one example), by Article 18 which states, inter alia, that women “play the most important role in looking after the family, rearing the children and imbuing them with moral values and thoughts derived from Islam . . . She has to be of sufficient knowledge and understanding where the performance of housekeeping matters are concerned, because economy and avoidance of waste of the family budget, is one of the requirements for the ability to continue moving forward . . .” But this arrogant patriarchal garbage pales beside the basic tenet of Hamas that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
It is not surprising that so many foreigners consider ‘Palestinians’ and ‘Hamas’ to be one and the same, and certainly a very large number of Palestinians support the group, if only because they think it is their only route to being granted “fundamental and universal rights”. It is likely, however, that for the foreseeable future the Israeli government will continue to treat them simply as obstacles in the way of Israeli settler expansion.
Israel’s newly-elected prime minister, Naftali Bennett, is adamantly opposed to establishment of a Palestinian state and as the BBC records “is outspoken in his advocacy of Israel as the Jewish nation state and Jewish historical and religious claims to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights.” He is a forceful supporter of Jewish settlement of Palestinian land, and has stated that “as long as I have any power and control, I won’t hand over one centimetre of land of the Land of Israel. Period.” His attitude to Palestinians was summed up by the BBC report that “he once admonished an Israeli Arab member of parliament for saying Jews had no right to settle in the West Bank, telling him: ‘When you were still swinging from trees, we had a Jewish state here’.” (This is an intriguing contention, given that on July 15 Israeli forces bulldozed and totally destroyed the oldest known Canaanite Cemetery in Palestine, in the town of al Khadir just outside Bethlehem; 4200 years old, to build a Settler road.)
When Bennett became prime minister he had a phone call from Biden who issued a statement that “I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.” And he reiterated that “Israel has no better friend than the United States.” On July 14 the Jerusalem Post reported that Bennet will visit the White House in August, which decision sent messages far and wide, and most notably to despairing Palestinians who learned, as reported by Stratfor, that “on July 15 the Israeli Defence Forces advanced plans to build 3,412 new apartments in the West Bank along the strategic highway which helps link East Jerusalem to the rest of the West Bank.”
There will be many topics of discussion between Bennett and Biden, but it is a fair assumption that Israel’s forced and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands will not be among them. The Palestinian people will continue to be savagely repressed, with the open support of President Biden’s administration, and more young Palestinians will embrace violence as a solution. There is increasing probability of massive blowback involving unprecedented violence, but the White House will carry on undermining the Cuban government while strengthening the “close and enduring relationship” with the country that is determined to crush the Palestinian people.