The sum total of Israel’s fears pretty much boils down to this: faced with growing awareness towards its human rights and international law violations in the occupied Palestinian Territories, American attitudes harden against the self-proclaimed Jewish state. This dreaded scenario would leave it without diplomatic protection within the chambers of the United Nations Security Council and thus subjected to resolutions meant to pressure Israel into lawful compliance.
Last year, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel in 17 separate resolutions – almost three times the total handed down to the rest of the world, standing at six, according to a report by UN Watch. These resolutions condemned Israel for its illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian Territories, exploiting natural resources in the Golan Heights – which Israel seized from Syria in 1967, and refusing to resolve Palestinian refugee issues.
Without evidence, the US has accused the UN body of holding an unfair bias against Israel, a claim that has become even more absurd in the wake of a recent report by highly respected Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which declared Israel is operating an “apartheid” regime in the Palestinian Territories.
“The Israeli regime, which controls all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, seeks to advance and cement Jewish supremacy throughout the entire area. To that end, it has divided the area into several units, each with a different set of rights for Palestinians – always inferior to the rights of Jews. As part of this policy, Palestinians are denied many rights, including the right to self-determination,” observes B’Tselem.
These are the irrefutable facts and undeniable reality, and the American public is starting to cotton on, according to a new poll by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRmep).
When Americans were asked, “Should Israel continue to be the leading recipient of US foreign aid, given a major Israel human rights non-profit says apartheid is rampant inside Israel and territories it occupies?” a 38.1 percent plurality of respondents said “no.”
The poll indicates a growing number of Americans believe there should be consequences for governments that systematically violate human rights and international laws.
In other words, Americans say Israel should not be a leading recipient of US aid given the evidence of its apartheid practices. The poll also indicated a growing number of Americans believe there should be consequences for governments that systematically violate human rights and international laws, representing a significant break from previously held views in the past.
This finding also aligns with a 2019 Gallup survey, which found that support for Israel among Americans had dropped to its lowest level in a decade, declining 13 percent in the 2018-19 period alone, with only 59 percent favoring Israel over the Palestinians.
The Times of Israel described this result as “devastating” to the state of Israel.
The question then becomes – will the US government eventually catch up to where the American public is standing? The answer is undeniably yes!
In fact, there’s already an increasing bloc siding against Israel among the Democratic congressional caucus. Younger Americans are beginning to identify the struggle for Palestinian liberation within the context of the Black Lives Matter Movement, which locates racism within post-colonial discourse.
“Once, Democratic legislators had to worry about appearing unsupportive of Israel; today some of them – especially those who need to be re-elected by liberal voters – seem to have the opposite concern: They do not want to be seen as too supportive,” observes Shmuel Rosner for the New York Times.
It was this changing political zeitgeist that compelled President Obama to abstain from a vote on a UN Security Council resolution in 2016 demanding an end to Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories, marking the first time in nearly 40 years the UN’s top body had passed a resolution critical of Israeli settlements.
Joe Biden was Vice President then but he’s President today, and there’s every indication that he will continue to move lockstep, albeit gradually, maybe even reluctantly, with the American public on matters relating to Israel and the Palestinians.
While Biden is yet to demand a halt to illegal settlements and has refused to move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, he has restored tens of millions of dollars’ worth of US aid to the Palestinians.
While the new President is yet to demand a halt to illegal settlements and has refused to move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, he has restored tens of millions of dollars’ worth of US aid to the Palestinians. Biden has also indicated that he will not condone or reward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party’s bullying style antics and rhetoric.
More significantly, in the context of US-Israeli relations, the Biden administration lifted sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, thus overturning the move imposed by Donald Trump in June 2020. The Trump administration had issued the sanctions after the ICC announced it would investigate potential US war crimes in Afghanistan and whether Israeli and Hamas had committed war crimes in the Palestinian Territories.
Biden’s ending of the ICC sanctions is not only a thumb in the eye of Israel but also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pleaded with the US President to leave the sanctions in place, viewing the ICC investigation as a potential mortal wound to Israel’s seven-decades-long occupation.
“In my phone call with President Biden, we talked about our moral obligation to protect our troops against those who are trying to defame their morality with false claims,” said Netanyahu in February.
To be clear, Hamas has said it welcomes the ICC investigation, while Israel has lobbied, bullied, and pressured allies to condemn and sanction the ICC, leaving one to naturally wonder: What does Israel have to hide?
Israel knows that should the US, and the rest of the world for that matter, become fully aware of its war criminality and barbarity in the Palestinian Territories, then US and global support for the Israeli state in its current form will evaporate overnight. Moreover, it would give a boost to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, as Israeli military leaders are slapped with international arrest warrants.
Clearly, the days of Israel’s US-backed guaranteed immunity from international law are coming to an end, as an ever-increasing number of Americans become attune to the way in which their tax dollars have been used to support a system of apartheid and colonial land theft in the Palestinian Territories.