Delusions at the United Nations | Israel War on Gaza

We have now entered the comforting world of delusions.

Earlier this week, 14 members of the United Nations Security Council agreed on a resolution that called for an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas and the “unconditional release of all hostages”.

The US delegation abstained, allowing the resolution to pass.

Applause broke out in the chamber. It was a surreal, farcical scene, punctuated by an expression of self-congratulatory delusion that something tangible had finally been achieved to end Israel’s killing rage in the shattered, dystopian remnants of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

These delighted diplomats – many of them inconsequential underlings who devote careers to doing what they are told to do by presidents and prime ministers – seemed to have forgotten that up until this latest vote they were instructed to oppose a host of other ceasefire resolutions.

They also appear to have forgotten that the presidents and prime ministers who appointed them UN ambassadors rushed to Tel Aviv not too long ago and embraced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and advised him, in effect, to do whatever he wanted to Palestinians in Gaza and beyond, by whatever means he wanted to, for as long as he wanted to.

Now, some of these same presidents and prime ministers apparently want Netanyahu to stop doing what he has been doing with their unequivocal blessing, and they want you and me to believe them.

It is a farce and a delusion. Even if there was a sliver of sincerity in their craven volte-face, it is far too late. They championed Netanyahu. He could erase Gaza and its people – with their approval or not.

Netanyahu and his fanatical cabinet – who have long claimed that the UN is a cesspool of anti-Semitism – are not going to be dissuaded from achieving their aim of turning Gaza into dust and memory by a resolution that they consider as disposable as toilet paper.

Anyone, in any quarter, who believes otherwise is delusional, too.

Remember, in January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which arguably enjoys a touch more gravitas than the UN Security Council – a spent, feckless anachronism – ordered Israel, almost unanimously, to stop doing what it is doing to Palestinians in Gaza given that it amounts “plausibly” to genocide.

Israel’s response has been to keep doing what it has been doing in Gaza every ruthless day since the ICJ issued its interim ruling. If anything, Israel’s killing rage has surged in its cruelty and ferocity.

So, on Thursday, the judges issued “new provisional measures” amid “the worsening conditions of life faced by Palestinians in Gaza”.

The ICJ acknowledged the obvious: Israel has, by deliberate design, engineered a famine in Gaza meant to starve Palestinians into submission and capitulation.

The ICJ has demanded that Israel, as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, allow food, water, fuel and the other stuff of life to enter Gaza “unhindered” at “land crossings” more often.

It is another delusion. Israel will reject the “new provisional measures” just as it rejected wholesale the ICJ’s “interim ruling”.

The ICJ’s answer for Israel’s preening arrogance and obstinance is as pathetic as the court itself: “ … the State of Israel shall submit a report to the Court on all measures … within one month.”

Yes, that ought to get Netanyahu and company to abandon their “plausibly” genocidal destruction of Gaza tout de suite.

Meanwhile, back at the UN Security Council, the US delegation gave quite the vacuous performance that was hailed by a batch of hyperbolic Western commentators as evidence that US President Joe Biden has lost patience with the recalcitrant Israeli government.

Leading the delusional pack was an article in the online British publication, The Independent, which described the US ambassador’s abstention as a “landmark” moment that may have signalled the end of Biden’s, and by extension America’s, “love affair with Israel”.

“Faced with Netanyahu’s unsparing belligerence in Gaza and the contempt he has shown to global concern, the US special relationship with Israel has been pushed to breaking point. But what happens next could help reshape Middle East politics for the better,” a columnist wrote.

What an instructive paragraph, filled as it is, with palatable euphemisms, falsehoods and cliches that confirm the column’s delusions.

First, from October 7 on, Biden has repeatedly declared that America’s abiding “love affair” with Israel is sacrosanct even in the face of Netanyahu’s “unsparing belligerence” in Gaza, which is a polite euphemism for genocide.

All along, Biden – the self-proclaimed Zionist – has had one, overarching message for Netanyahu and friends: Please proceed.

Whatever differences exist between the US and Israel vis-à-vis the genocide in Gaza, they have been on the rhetorical margins and, hence, meaningless.

In this context, the US decision to abstain is more a fleeting lovers’ quarrel than any concrete sign of a “special relationship … pushed beyond a breaking point”.

Instead of a bouquet, Biden sent Bibi more bombs to make amends this week.

Netanyahu’s “contempt” for “global concern” is a product of this blunt calculation: just like the ICJ and the UN Security Council, Biden is irrelevant.

Donald Trump looks poised, come November, to return to the White House. Then, the empty rhetorical spats will vanish, and Israel will be granted carte blanche to “reshape” Gaza and the occupied West Bank as it pleases.

That could well translate, I fear, into the forcible expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza and the occupied West Bank as the definitive solution to the “Palestinian question”.

There will be one state: a greater Israel. That is Netanyahu’s end game. Trump will say, “Aye, aye, sir!”, as will most Israelis, who have cheered on every malignant aspect of the still unfolding genocide.

The notion that there exists some grand plan in the offing – ready to be enacted whenever Israel’s killing rage ends – that respects the right of Palestinians to self-determination and recognises the territorial integrity of a Palestinian state is perhaps the grandest delusion of all.

Human rights organisations inside and outside Israel warned that an avowed apartheid state would not be satisfied with “occupying” Gaza and the West Bank.

They wrote voluminous reports steeped in international law and conventions that doubled as flares of what inevitably was to come.

A few heeded the alarm. Most dithered.

Palestinians have paid and will pay the price for that negligence and willful blindness.

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