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Tall Tales and Murderous Restraint: Blinken on Gaza and Israel

The role of the US State Department regarding Israel’s continued obliteration of Gaza is becoming increasingly clear. As the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces continue, the Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, is full of meaningless statements about restraint and control, the protection of civilians, the imperatives of humanitarianism in war. As the war continues, so do those statements.

As the new year began, an official from the White House expressed satisfaction at what appeared “to be the start of the gradual shift to lower-intensity operations in the north that we have been encouraging.” But the revised Israeli approach did not “reflect any changes in the south.” The monstrous death toll, in short, would continue to rise.

As Washington feigns a reproachful attitude to the IDF’s grossly lethal tactics, claiming success in restraining them, another, failing front is also being pursued in the Arab world and beyond. As Israel’s great defender, the US is attempting to hold back fury and consternation as the dirty deeds by their favourite ally in the Middle East are being executed.

Blinken’s latest round of travelling has the flavour of swinging by tetchy neighbours to see how they are faring in the sea of blood and acrimony. The itinerary includes Istanbul, Crete, Amman, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Al-’Ula, Tel Aviv, the West Bank, Manama and Cairo. The State Department’s media release on January 4 outlines the obsolete agenda any sensible diplomat would do best to discard. “Throughout his trip, the Secretary will underscore the importance of protecting civilian lives in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza; securing the release of all remaining hostages; our shared commitment to facilitating the increased, sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the resumption of essential services; and ensuring that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced in Gaza.”

So far, Palestinians are being massacred by the IDF in Gaza, forcibly deprived of life-saving humanitarian assistance and essential services in a sustained act of strangulation while being forcibly displaced. They are being oppressed, harassed and murdered by vigilante Israeli settlers in the West Bank, even as the army looks the other way.

It follows that Blinken is telling tall stories and hoping that legs carry them far. They are also being told as proceedings before the International Court of Justice instituted by South Africa commence to determine whether Israel’s conduct in Gaza satisfies the definition of genocide in international law.

The strategy becomes clearer in the second part of the disingenuous traveller’s agenda. Blinken “will also discuss urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions, including deterring Houthi attacks on commercial shopping in the Red Sea and avoiding escalation in Lebanon.”

The Houthi attacks and the increasingly violent situation in Lebanon serve as golden distractions for Washington, since they give the Biden administration room to simultaneously claim to be preventing a widening of the conflict while permitting Israel’s butchery to continue.

Corking the conflict, however, is not proving such a success. The war is widening, even if reporting on the subject remains sketchy in the negligently lazy news outlets of the Anglosphere. In addition to the bold moves of the Houthis and escalating violence on the border between Israel and Lebanon come ongoing, harrying efforts from the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. An Al-Mayadeen report on January 7 took note of an announcement from the group, also known as the Iraqi al-Najuba Movement, that it had fired an al-Arqab long-range cruise missile at Haifa “in support of our people in Gaza and in response to the massacres committed by the usurping entity against Palestinian civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.”

A spokesperson for the Iraqi Resistance, Hussein al-Moussawi, was bullish in claiming that the group had the capacity to strike targets beyond Haifa. Conditions to develop the group’s weapons had also been “favourable”.

In a separate statement, the Islamic Resistance also revealed that its fighters had targeted an Israeli base on the occupied Golan Heights, using drones. To this can be added drone attacks on the US army base of Qasrok, located in the countryside of Hasakah in northeastern Syria, and the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq. The base continues to host US forces.

Perhaps the greatest canard of all in this briefest of trips by Blinken is the continued, now absurd claim, that Washington is committed “to working with partners to set the conditions necessary for peace in the Middle East, which includes comprehensive, tangible steps towards the realization of a future Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, with both living in peace and security.”

In his remarks to President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Blinken showed the hardened ignorance that will ensure the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue in some form. In his mind, a “reformed” Palestinian Authority will take over the reins of a ruined Gaza (“effective responsibility”) whatever the residents of Gaza think.

Palestinians will never, given current conditions, be permitted sovereignty and anything remotely resembling a thriving, viable state. Israel, whose very existence is based on predation, dispossession and war, will never permit a Palestinian entity to be given equal standing at the diplomatic or security table. The US, in the tatty drag of an independent broker, will go along with the pantomime, promoting, as Blinken is, a sham, counterfeit form of autonomy, one forever subject to conditions, demarcations and restraints. And one thing is almost certain about any future rump Palestinian entity: it will be deprived of any right to defend itself.

 

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13 comments

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  1. old bloke

    In yesterday’s edition of Crikey, Guy Rundle sounds an ominous warning. Israel might have an ‘iron dome’ to protect itself against incoming missiles, but you cannot fit the whole Jewish diaspora under that dome. That is, Jews and Jewish institutions the world over may now be the targets of terrorist activity. I seems that the Israeli government knows this, but does not really care. Such is their extremism.

  2. Terence Mills

    Usually an invader would try to win the hearts and minds of the people they are invading and try to position themselves as a saviour destroying a hated regime (Hamas).

    I don’t see Palestinians in Gaza thanking the IDF for delivering them from evil. Rather, I think the Israeli regime have nurtured a new generation of haters in Gaza.

  3. JulianP

    Recently found this adroit summary of the Israel/Gaza situation – thus:
    Block quote:
    As we move into the new year, two foreign policy mistakes need to be corrected.

    First is the idea that Israel needs to be made aware of the harm to its reputation from its behaviour in Gaza and the West Bank. But already it should be obvious that for Netanyahu and the extreme rightists dominating his Cabinet, that problem is minor.

    They already have the US decision making machine sufficiently under their control not to have to worry too much. More importantly, the claim to be suppressing Hamas has given them the golden opportunity to return to the1948 ‘tragedy’ – the move then to expel tens of thousands of Palestinians from the ‘sacred’ land of Israel.

    Where those expelled will move to is not Israel’s problem – to Lebanon and Jordan again, or into the Sinai peninsula perhaps. And some no doubt will die from starvation and disease. That too is not Israel’s problem. One way or another they will be removed, as in 1948.

    UN resolutions, media criticisms, hand wringing in the West or elsewhere will make no difference. Finally Israel’s leaders have the chance to full-fill the vision laid down in the holy books, to unite the sacred lands of Israel. They will not let it pass.
    End block quote.

    The author then goes on to mention China. [ https://johnmenadue.com/two-grievous-australian-policy-mistakes-israel-and-china/ ]

  4. New England Cocky

    THE PRESENT NETANYAHU NAKBA IN THE GAZA STRIP IS STATE SPONSORED GENOCIDE BY A GOVERNMENT OF COLONIAL SETTLERS AGAINST THE INDIGENOUS PALESTINIANS.
    .
    America is promoting the 4Bs solution – ”BULLSHIT BY BIDEN & BLINKEN” while funding more military armaments to the IDF assassins, much to the delight of the US NE Military Industrial Complex that is enjoying considerable financial profits re-stocking military stores, at every cost to the American Taxpayers.
    .
    THE IDF CONTINUES WITH THEIR STATED AIM OF ”DRIVING ALL PALESTINIANS INTO THE SEA” SO THAT THE LAND MAY BE STOLERD FROM DISPOSSED & DISPLACED PALESTINIANS, THE RE-BUILT USING EUROPEAN & AMERICAN INVESTMENT, FOR THE BENEFIT OF FRESH COLONIAL SETTLERS ESCAPING RUSSIAN CONSCRIPTION OR AMERICAN CHAOS OR EUROPEAN INDIFFERENCE.

  5. Harry Lime

    Fear not,with the re election of that stable genius all will be resolved,world peace will be restored,the lame will walk, the blind will see, and disease and poverty will be unheard of.And the Murdoch trash will tell the truth.Pass me my medication nurse…thankyou.

  6. uncletimrob

    If Israel thinks that they will demolish Hamas an others like them, they are living in fantasy land.

    What they are doing, with the almost total destruction of Gaza, is creating a generation or more of displaced, dispossessed, homeless, hopeless, hungry, cold and angry young men who will follow and join whoever promises them hope of a better future.

    I’ll give you one guess who that will be – hint, it won’t be Israel.

    By the way I’m not excusing Hamas for what they did, but what Israel is doing in Gaza is evil, unconscionable and extreme and will play into the hands of groups like Hamas.

  7. Zathras

    Israel is gradually destroying whatever remains of any international reputation it may have had for justice, truth and fairness and is in the unique position of committing both suicide and genocide at the same time.

    For a sixteen-year old in Gaza this will be the fourth time he/she would have been under attack and the murders of .Palestinians in the West Bank by settlers is escalating.

    There is no way back for Israel now.

  8. Steve Davis

    But what is driving all this murder ?

    The driver is the “Greater Israel” concept.

    “Greater Israel” is the 1930s “lebensraum” under new management.

  9. Clakka

    Uncle Sam’s control freaks think they’ve got it all under control, lmao …..

    The ‘fertile crescent’, the Levant, Palestine / Israel, probably the oldest most significant strategic hub in the world. Them and old Blighty put that to bed (not) with the Balfour Declaration and later UN Resolution 101 – agreements so full of loopholes you could drive a fleet of trains (or marine tankers) through.

    After all they had to maintain the ideals of their imperium – hogtie the ‘others’, the far east and the middle east, the world, the universe and everything via a ‘rules-base order’. Surprising given their abject and increasing failures on their own home soils.

    Let’s look at some of the Ooopses:

    China, nah,
    Philippines, nah
    India, nah
    Pakistan, nah,
    Afghanistan, nah
    South Africa, nah
    Vietnam, nah,
    Cambodia, nah,
    Laos, nah,
    …….. and so on and so forth

    WTF are they gonna do now that Africa is hitting its straps?

    Through arrogant xenophobia and stupidity, blow their own brains out with a pea-shooter?

    Now that the whole rest of the world is connected and digitized and significantly literate, its watching.

  10. jJohn C

    NEVER EVER TRUST a word the Divided States of Annihilation says!

  11. Caz

    And now we throw our weight behind US in taking on the Houthis. I wonder how long it will be before Iran comes up with a ” response”. And we were told not long ago our greatest threat was China. Somebody in Canberra has been sleeping on the job. Jesus the greatest threat is our two best friends. Why can’t we be like our neighbours across the ditch?

  12. New England Cocky

    History shows that any country that has the USA (United States of Apartheid) as an ally and armaments supplier has no need for any other enemies.

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