Vetoing Gaza ceasefire resolution, Biden administration upholds genocide as state policy

Andre Damon@Andre__Damon 11 December 2023 –
Alternate US representative at the United Nations, US Ambassador Robert Wood, voting in opposition to a UN resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, December 8, 2023. [Photo: United Nations]

On Friday, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, against the vote of every other member of the Security Council, except Britain, which abstained.

This vote makes clear that the United States is not merely a bystander in Israel’s genocide: It is an active participant. US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are no less culpable than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The United States, having been fully informed of Israel’s plans to murder a substantial part of the Palestinian population and drive the rest into the Sinai Desert, fully supports and endorses these plans. It is actively enabling the genocide through the provision of billions of dollars in weapons, including the announcement Friday that it would send over $100 million in tank rounds, skipping congressional oversight.

The United States has committed horrendous crimes, from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam to the torture of detainees in the Abu Ghraib dungeon in occupied Iraq. But its open participation in the mass, systematic murder of defenseless women and children, broadcast to the whole world for all to see, marks a new and blatantly criminal stage in American foreign policy. 

The Biden administration embraces the bloodbath in Gaza because it sees the state of Israel as an important component of the drive of American imperialism to maintain its global domination through world war. The battlefronts in this war can already be identified: in Ukraine against Russia; in the Middle East against Iran and its allies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza; and in the vast Indo-Pacific region against China.

The vast majority of the world’s workers and young people, who have been horrified by Israel’s genocide against the population of Gaza, support a ceasefire. Millions of people of every ethnicity, religion and nationality, including Jewish people all over the world, have taken part in global mass demonstrations against the genocide.

In the past two months, Israel has killed 17,997 Gazans, with another 7,760 people missing. That means that, by a realistic count, the death toll is now close to 25,000: the vast majority of them women and children.

The vote followed the emergency invocation of Article 99 by UN Secretary General António Guterres, who explained that the entire healthcare system in Gaza has broken down and that the population faces mass starvation, dehydration and rampant disease.

Guterres warned that “there is no effective protection of civilians” by the Israeli military, adding that “hospitals have turned into battlegrounds.” He added, “Nowhere is safe in Gaza.”

He warned, “Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defense Forces and without shelter or the essentials to survive, even limited humanitarian assistance” will become “impossible.”

He added, “We are simply unable to reach those in need inside Gaza. … We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system.”

He concluded, “This is urgent. The civilian population must be spared from greater harm. With a humanitarian ceasefire, the means of survival can be restored, and humanitarian assistance can be delivered in a safe and timely manner across the Gaza Strip.”

In explaining the United States’ vote, US Ambassador Robert Wood said any “ceasefire” without the total crushing of Palestinian resistance is unacceptable for the United States.

He declared, “We do not support this resolution’s call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war.” He added, “Any ceasefire that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza” is unacceptable to the United States.

These are extraordinary statements. When the fascist Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks of “Hamas,” he is speaking not of a political organization but of any will to resist on the part of the Palestinian population. By this logic, the only way the war can be ended is through either the massacre or ethnic cleansing of the entire population of Gaza, which is kept illegally imprisoned in land illegally occupied by Israel.

In defending the US veto of the resolution, Wood criticized the draft for language that “failed to acknowledge that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism, consistent with international law. This is a right to which all states are entitled.”

Indeed, the resolution did not affirm such a “right,” because it does not exist. As Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, explained last month, “The right to self-defense can be invoked when the state is threatened by another state, which is not the case.”

She continued, “It cannot claim the right of self-defense against a threat that emanates from a territory it occupies, from a territory kept under belligerent occupation.”

In declaring the “right” of Israel to “defend itself” against an imprisoned population, the US is upholding not only the illegal Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, but the “right” of Israel to collectively punish the civilian population through mass murder and ethnic cleansing in response to any act of resistance to that occupation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC on Sunday, “When it comes to a ceasefire in this moment, with Hamas still alive, still intact, and again, with the stated intent of repeating October 7th again and again and again, that would simply perpetuate the problem.”

Senator Bernie Sanders echoed this point, saying, “I don’t know how you could have a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, who have said before October 7 and after October 7 that they want to destroy Israel, they want a permanent war. I don’t know how you have a permanent ceasefire with an attitude like that.”

These statements, on the part of both Sanders and Blinken, testify to a genocidal mindset that has taken hold in the US ruling class. To the extent that Palestinians oppose the existence of the state of Israel, those people can rightfully be massacred.

But where does this doctrine stop? If there are people who oppose the existence of capitalist states, do those states, whose existence is threatened, have the right to simply kill all of their opponents? The Biden administration, consciously and deliberately, is upholding mass murder as state policy and creating the precedent for even greater crimes—abroad and at home.

The genocide in Gaza marks a new stage in the criminalization of imperialist foreign policy. Confronted with a social, economic, and political crisis to which they have no solution, the capitalist ruling classes are abandoning any restraints, openly embracing genocide as state policy.

Millions of people have taken part in demonstrations against Israel’s war against the population of Gaza. But the United States and its imperialist partners have made clear that they are completely indifferent to the sentiments of masses of their own population. For this reason, the struggle to put an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza must be waged as a struggle against the world’s imperialist governments, which are arming and enabling it.

And because Gaza is only one front in a global eruption of imperialist militarism, the struggle must be an international one, uniting the working people of every continent in a common fight against imperialist war and the capitalist system that gives rise to it. This means a fight for the socialist transformation of society through the building of a mass revolutionary movement of the working class.