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US Foreign Policy in Middle East Still Governed by Israeli Priorities

The Palestinian Flag in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Credit: UN News

SEATTLE, Washington, Apr 24 2024 (IPS) - The vote and the American veto at the United Nations Security Council on April 18 was predictable. Though European countries are increasingly supportive of a Palestinian state, the US is not yet ready for that eventuality, for these reasons:

One, US foreign policy in the Middle East is still governed by Israeli priorities. And since the majority of Israelis reject the idea of a Palestinian state, of any ‘concession’ to the Palestinians, or even of the most basic rights for Palestinians, the weak US president could have not possibly defied that solid Israeli position.

Two, the fact that Israel, per the words of its ambassador at the UN, Gilad Erdan, saw that a vote for Palestine would be equivalent to ‘rewarding terrorism’, created the kind of political discourse that would have made a positive American vote or an abstention from the vote akin to supporting so-called terrorism.

Three, Biden, in his mind, cannot politically afford supporting an independent Palestine only a few months ahead of one of the most decisive elections in US history.

The Republicans made it clear that their support for Israel is blind and unconditional. They have also made it clear that they are ready to exploit any comment – let alone action – by Biden and his officials that may seem critical of Israel in any way. All of these factors combined made the American veto quite predictable.

However, the vote was still important and revealing for the following reasons:

One, the international community remains largely united in its support of the Palestinians.

Two, the positive vote by France, a very important and influential European country, signals a shift in the perception of European body politic towards Palestine.

Three, the strong statements emanating by Ireland, Spain and others in this regard indicates that the trajectory of the support of Palestine in Europe will continue in the coming months and years.

Four, the outcome of the vote further isolates the United States, exactly as much as the Israeli genocide in Gaza has also exposed and isolated Washington, as the only line of defense for Tel Aviv, allowing it to violate the rights of the Palestinian people and to deny them the very political horizon needed for a just peace in the Middle East.

And finally, it further accentuates Biden’s inability to liberate himself from the stronghold imposed on him and his party by Israel’s supporters – Israel’s backers within the Democratic Party institution and the pro-Israel lobby from without.

Despite the negative vote, however, Palestinians, now, have renewed resolve that they would ultimately be able to prevail. This feeling is buoyed by the strong support for Palestine at the UNSC and at the General Assembly, the growing sympathy of the Palestinians worldwide and the continued resistance of Palestinians in Gaza.

Dr Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is

IPS UN Bureau


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