Rishi Sunak and Binyamin Netanyahu deal in death (Picture: Flickr/ Number 10)

The United States has rushed to assure Israel and the world that it will continue to arms and fund Israeli terror. Its national security communications adviser John Kirby bluntly told the media that the US abstention at the United Nations (UN) on a motion for a Gaza ceasefire had changed nothing.

“We still have Israel’s back”, he said. “Our vote does not—I repeat—does not represent a shift in our policy. It’s a nonbinding resolution.  So, there’s no impact at all on Israel,” he continued. The motion, said Joe Biden’s frontman, “does fairly reflect our view that a ceasefire and the release of hostages come together”.

And he told a reporter, “I mean, as you and I are speaking, we are still providing tools and capabilities, weapons systems” to Israel. It’s significant that the UN Security Council—effectively its governing body—passed a Gaza ceasefire resolution on Monday.

The support it won from Britain—as well as China and Russia—and the abstention by the US reflect the resilience of the Palestinian resistance and the pressure from below on ruling classes. 

Had Israel managed to obliterate Hamas and smash the Palestinians by Christmas, then the US would have simply applauded its efficient killing and repression. But the resistance has proved too strong for that. Had there not been a movement of millions across the world, then Biden and Rishi Sunak would not have to pose as if they are concerned.

The scale of the domestic opposition means that Biden, the British and others want to be seen to act in the face of Israel’s murder, starvation and genocide. The US had previously voted against, and therefore vetoed, three ceasefire motions and one ceasefire amendment. Those were votes for slaughter—hands-up for genocide. But this time it felt like it couldn’t do that.

Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the resolution as betrayal. He cancelled an Israeli delegation to Washington. “Israel will not cease fire,” Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said. “We will destroy Hamas and continue to fight until the last of the hostages return home.” 

Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir peddled a desperate lie. He said, “The Security Council decision proves that the United Nations is antisemitic, and its secretary general is antisemitic and encourages Hamas.”

Differences among enemies are helpful. But passing the resolution won’t end the suffering or free Palestine and manoeuvres at the UN don’t necessarily change anything. The resolution called for “an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire”. But it also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages”. 

It’s easy to see how Israel could say the ceasefire part of the resolution is conditional on Hamas freeing all the detainees. And the US and Britain will say Israel should observe the ceasefire and let in humanitarian aid. But they will continue to hand over money and missiles to Netanyahu if it doesn’t. 

Even if there is a pause, Israel will be ready to resume its killings when Ramadan ends on 9 or 10 April. On Monday US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield disgustingly told the Security Council the obstacle to peace was Hamas whose militants “cower in tunnels”. 

In fact, the obstacle is Zionist terror, the oppression of the Palestinians and the West’s support for both. Russia proposed changing the word “lasting” ceasefire to “permanent” on the grounds that Israel could just return to its assaults. But Russia was defeated. The US voted against the proposal and Britain abstained.

That’s a sign that the US still peddles the line that Israel can “defend itself” by whatever massacres it thinks are necessary. The UN vote, and the Israeli and US reaction, show the need for more struggle by Palestinians. But this must come alongside struggle by workers and the poor across the Middle East and people in imperialist countries.

The US is worried that further Israeli terror will mean more resistance across the region, like the furious protests in Jordan this week. Let’s hope that fear becomes a reality. The battle for Palestinian liberation must base itself on resistance from below, not manoeuvres at the top.

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