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Blinken mission: Saving Israel from Gaza quagmire

The 15-member Security Council passed the US-drafted resolution with 14 votes in favor while Russia abstained. 

This is the first time the UN body has endorsed a comprehensive peace deal to end the Gaza war. 

Previously Washington’s obstructionism had hampered efforts to pave the way for the approval of such a resolution. 

Political rhetoric 

“Colleagues, today we voted for peace,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said after the Monday vote. 

The US “vote for peace” comes more than eight months after Israel declared war on Gaza. The war has claimed the lives of more than 37,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children. The conflict has also pushed the Palestinian territory to the brink of famine and displaced the majority of its 2.3 million population. 

Thomas-Greenfield did not miss the chance to smear the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas at the Security Council. 
“Since the brief ceasefire and hostage release last November, such a deal has proven elusive. Why? Because Hamas has refused to accept any agreement,” she said. 

Hamas released more than 100 Israeli and foreign captives following a ceasefire deal in November last year.

More than 1,100 people were killed and about 250 others were taken captive when Hamas carried out a surprise military operation in southern Israel on October 7 which was followed by Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza. 

It is believed that about 120 captives remain in Gaza, with 43 pronounced dead. The Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed some of the captives. 

The regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected growing domestic and international calls to sign a truce deal with Hamas and end the war. 

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until “total victory” over Hamas and “destroying” the resistance group.  

Nonetheless, Washington’s UN envoy blames Hamas for prolonging the war. 

Russia seeks transparency 

Speaking after the vote, the Russian envoy to the UN explained why he decided to abstain. 

“Hamas has been called to accept the so-called “deal”. But there is still no clarity as to whether Israel has formally agreed, as stipulated in the resolution, to the “deal” proposed by President Biden, given numerous statements by Israel on continuing the war until Hamas is completely defeated. What exactly did Israel agree to?” Vassily Nebenzia said. 

Hamas stance

Hamas welcomed the adoption of the resolution and expressed readiness to work with mediators in indirect talks with Israel to implement it. 

“Efforts are continuing to study and clarify some matters to ensure implementation by the Israeli side,” Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha said as he accused the regime of “stalling and procrastinating and creating obstacles in order to continue the aggression.”

The resolution which backs a ceasefire deal consists of three phases. It will see the release of captives and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and its reconstruction. 

Israel’s ambiguous position

Washington has been seeking UN endorsement for the proposal since unveiling it on May 31.  

The text of the US-drafted proposal indicates that Israel has already accepted the ceasefire terms. American officials have also reiterated that Israel has accepted the truce deal. 

However, the position of the Israeli officials has remained ambiguous, which calls into question their commitment to the deal.

Netanyahu has made a string of skeptical comments on the US proposal that will lead to a truce in Gaza. 

The Israeli prime minister has claimed that the US has only revealed parts of the plan. 

Netanyahu, known as Bibi, has also insisted that a lasting truce without the complete destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capacity is a “non-starter”.

Netanyahu stands accused of prolonging the war to keep himself in power. 

The continuation of the Gaza war provides the premier with a lifeline. This is because as soon as the conflict ends, Netanyahu will be held accountable for failing to prevent the Hamas’ October 7 attack. 

US double-dealing 

The top US diplomat was in West Asia when the Security Council passed the resolution. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to the proposal when they held talks in Jerusalem (al-Quds) on Monday.

It seems as if the US is genuinely seeking to end the Gaza war. 

But a glance at the remarks that were made by Blinken on Tuesday can make it clear whether Washington wants an end to the onslaught. 

“We’re committed to the defeat of Hamas, to ensure that it can’t govern Gaza again.  We also believe strongly that while military means have been necessary, they’re not sufficient, and there has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan, in order to ensure that Hamas does not in any way, shape, or form resume control of Gaza and that Israel can move forward toward more enduring security,” Blinken said. 

Blinken says the US is “committed to the defeat of Hamas”. This is an echo of Netanyahu’s comments. 

Hence, when the US and Israel still insist on defeating Hamas, how can they end the war?

Likewise, Blinken says military means are not sufficient to eliminate Hamas. In fact, he is admitting that Israel has failed to defeat Hamas on the battlefield. 

Blinken also talks about the necessity of having “a clear political plan”, which explains why the US has tried to garner support for its resolution.

The US seeks to paper over Israel’s military failures by supporting a ceasefire deal. The US has waged propaganda against Hamas to force it to accept the ceasefire deal but has not explained whether it will exert pressure on Israel to implement it. 

The US tried to depict itself as the defender of peace at the Security Council but its unwavering support for Israel’s brutal war on Gaza is a redolent of a snake in the grass.

The comments made by the Russian ambassador at the Security Council indicated that his country has got wise to the US. 

The Biden administration seeks to deflect from Israel that is not willing to commit to the three-stage ceasefire plan and put the onus on the Hamas resistance movement. 

First Published by Tehran Times

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