Despite its pro-peace rhetoric, it seems that Washington has no interest to press Israel to reduce violence against the people in Palestine.
It was on this Monday that during his visit to Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for “urgent steps” to calm the rising violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On his second Middle East tour, Blinken first met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi before visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and urging him and Palestinian leaders “to take urgent steps to restore calm, to deescalate”.
“We want to make sure that there’s an environment in which we can, I hope, at some point, create the conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Washington’s top diplomat said Monday.
Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has been ongoing for decades, resulting in an atmosphere of constant conflict between the two. However, the last few weeks have been marked by extraordinary tensions and deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
In the latest bloodshed that took place this Monday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian driver in the West Bank. a few days before on Thursday, Israeli armed-to-the-teeth soldiers attacked the densely populated Jenin refugee camp, killing ten more Palestinians.
To put it in a nutshell, since the start of the year, which means in less than one month, the Israeli forces have claimed the lives of 35 Palestinian adults and children, mostly civilians. A day after the bloody attack on Jenin and in a retaliatory move, a young Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israelis and killed six. The attack happened outside the synagogue in an east Jerusalem settlement.
US is only rhetorically supporting Palestine, experts say
Despite his pro-peace rhetoric and inviting both Israel and Palestine to deescalate tensions, when Blinken arrived in Israel, he first reiterated Washington’s longstanding positions on the conflict: an “ironclad” commitment to Tel Aviv, and then only invited the two sides to calm.
Almost everything that Blinken said during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday was an exact repetition of the statements that the previous State Department used to issue.
“The US administration views occasional eruptions of violence in Israel-Palestine as inconveniences to be managed while maintaining unconditional support for the Israeli government,” says George Bisharat, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, adding also that “from the United States’ point of view, let’s be real: They don’t give a damn about Palestinian lives.”
Since coming to power in the US, president Joe Biden has been continuously promising to center human rights in the core of his government’s foreign policy. However, his administration has only pushed to strengthen US support for Israel even despite the growing Israeli violence against Palestinians.
For this reason, a lot of human rights groups have accused the Biden administration of helping Israel in imposing a system of apartheid on Palestinians. Good to mention that Israel receives $3.8bn in US military aid annually, and Biden only increased this by more than $1bn last year.
“The Biden administration policy towards the Middle East in general, and Israel specifically, is premised on maintaining the status quo and supporting Israel,” says Annelle Sheline, a research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, also adding that “I haven’t seen any inclination from anyone in the administration that they’re not siding with Israel and are looking for a fair way of dispute settlement between the two sides.”