Israel’s blunt rejection of US call for pause reflects failed US strategy, as anger fuels with Washington’s excessive leniency
November 4, 2023 —
The swift rejection by Israel of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call for a humanitarian pause in Gaza has been seen as a reflection of the diminishing influence of the US in the Middle East and the failure of its global governance, experts said on Saturday, as anger mounts with the US launching of a military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, which could further inflame tensions in the region.
Arriving in Tel Aviv for the fourth time in a month and reiterating continued support for Israel, Blinken issued one of the Biden administration’s strongest warnings to Israel in a blunt call to pause military operations in Gaza to allow for the immediate and increased delivery of aid.
However, the call was rebuffed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only a few minutes later, who said Israel would be “going with full steam ahead.”
The embarrassing moment came as Israel announced its troops have encircled Gaza City, and its offensive involving air strikes and ground forces by far killing more than 9,200 people, among whom some 3,800 were children, media reports said.
Despite Israel’s outright refusal of Blinken’s appeals, the US is showing its support by holding a three-day drill in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, deploying two US aircraft carriers in the area for the first time in decades, joined with more than 11,000 personnel, US 6th fleet announced on Friday.
It “sends a clear signal about our commitment to deter aggression and promote stability throughout the region,” said Thomas Ishee, commander of the fleet.
The US finds itself in a predicament where it is excessively accommodating toward Israel, primarily due to the overwhelming influence of the Jewish community on US’ domestic politics. “This has led to a lack of principle in the US’ Middle East policy, resulting in the consequence that Israel is essentially leading the US rather than the other way around,” Tian Wenlin, a professor at School of International Studies of the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Saturday.
Furthermore, Israel’s outright refusal demonstrated the diminishing influence and a collapsing credibility of the US, ranging from its failure to persuade Saudi Arabia to raise oil prices to the situation of now.
Experts further noted that with the limitless support for Israel, the US is burying its Middle East policy as well as its global strategy.
“Washington is caught between the need to support Israel and the desire to gain favor from the Arab world. And now, with its excessive leniency toward Israel, a growing distance is seen between the US and its Arab allies, who are well aware that Israel’s ability to act with impunity is primarily due to American support. In other words, the US has offended the entire Islamic world for the sake of Israel,” Tian said.
From a global perspective, the US is also losing ground on a moral front, given it has long championed itself as having values based foreign policy. Now with the blatant display of a double standard, the US has undermined its own credibility, the expert said.
Furthermore, from a geopolitical perspective, the US’ involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is affecting its global strategy, either in its support for Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, or efforts to contain China in the Asia-Pacific region, observers said.
The US’ fanning of flames in the Middle East that is already on the brink of collapse has fueled the anger and chaos within America, as seen in the Port of Oakland when hundreds of protesters blocked a US military supply ship from leaving on Friday by locking themselves to the vessel, as the ship was bound to aid Israel after being loaded with weapons and military equipment, according to CBS News.
An ever-deepening rift is not only happening between the public and elected officials, but within the government too. CNN called the House’ Israel aid drama “the latest failure of American governance,” as the House struggles with a vote to send $14 billion in emergency aid to Israel, which “leaves America looking like a divided superpower unable even to rush help to a friend that believes it’s fighting an existential war,” reported CNN on Thursday.
Across the world, many more have raised their voice and condemned the killing of civilians in the war. Soon after Blinken announced to add Turkey to his Middle East trip following Israel, Ankara said Saturday it was recalling its ambassador to Israel and breaking off contacts with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest at the bloodshed in Gaza.
Honduras’ Foreign Affairs Minister announced on Friday the recall of its ambassador to Israel in light of “the serious humanitarian situation the civilian Palestinian population is suffering in the Gaza Strip.”
Honduras became the latest Latin American country to take diplomatic actions against Israel following Bolivia, Chile and Columbia.
UN experts warned on Thursday that “time is running out” to prevent genocide and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, expressing deep frustration with Israel’s refusal to halt plans to decimate the besieged Gaza strip.