According to commentators, the US will keep upholding the “status quo” when Blinken visits the region in the wake of a slew of deadly strikes.
DC (Washington) – Even in comparison to the tumultuous nature of Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories, the past few weeks have seen unusually high tensions and deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
However, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Israel this week, he just reaffirmed Washington’s established stances on the conflict, including a “ironclad” commitment to Israel, a call for restraint, and a verbal support for the two-state solution.
Almost all of Blinken’s remarks at a press conference he held with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in Jerusalem were taken verbatim from earlier State Department comments.
The US administration, according to George Bisharat, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, considers sporadic outbreaks of violence in Israel-Palestine as “inconveniences to be managed” while maintaining unwavering backing for the Israeli government.
Let’s face it: From the United States’ perspective, the lives of Palestinians are nothing, Bisharat said Al Jazeera.
They only give a damn if these flare-ups get in the way of what the United States views to be its strategic interests in the area, which have nothing to do with human rights, not only for Palestinians.
The visit of “Status quo” Blinken comes after an Israeli soldier killed 10 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on one of the worst days in recent memory, and a Palestinian gunman massacred seven Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.
Despite the escalating tensions, the US government is not going to alter its course anytime soon, according to Annelle Sheline, a research fellow at the US-based Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
The Biden administration’s approach to the Middle East in general and to Israel in particular is predicated on sustaining the status quo and denying the ways in which the existing quo is moving under their feet, Sheline told Al Jazeera.
It’s past due for a fresh approach, but I doubt we’ll see one, she continued. Nobody in the administration has shown any indication, in my opinion, that they are interested in trying to put pressure on Israel. They are probably concerned with how that will appear.
Although when he assumed office, Biden pledged to put human rights at the forefront of his foreign policy, his administration has worked to increase US support for Israel, which major rights organizations have accused of enforcing an apartheid system on Palestinians.
Biden upped the $3.8 billion in annual military aid that the US provides to Israel by $1 billion last year. While President Joe Biden has praised his own ideological stance as a self-declared Zionist, analysts have noted that criticizing Israel still entails a significant electoral cost in the US.
Israel-Palestine is not at the top of Biden’s objectives right now, which, according to Bisharat, solidifies Washington’s assessment of the present conflict as a small, controllable issue amid the Ukraine war, rising US competition with China, and a busy domestic agenda.
Like Sheline, Bisharat stated that US officials’ hints at a two-state solution simply serve to sustain the ongoing, indefinite Israeli occupation by portraying it as a temporary situation.
It serves as a diversion from people realizing that settler colonialism in the West Bank has continued unabatedly and as a result, all necessary apartheid measures have been implemented.
No public criticism of Israel Blinken, like other members of the Biden administration, has refrained from doing so. This stance was maintained on Monday by the top US diplomat, who praised the US-Israel partnership while highlighting Washington’s attempts to further “integrate” Israel into the Middle East and fortify its normalization agreements with Arab states.
Blinken issued a warning against actions that would be “detrimental to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity as a Jewish and democratic state,” according to his “vision” of the two-state solution.
He also evaded a question regarding the severe measures, like as home demolitions and deportations, that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s administration is considering inflicting on the families of Palestinians who attack Israelis.
“There is no denying the difficulty of the situation. In recent days, we have witnessed the horrifying terrorist strikes. Ahead of his trip to Jerusalem on Monday, Blinken spoke in Cairo about the escalating violence that has been plaguing the country for many months.
Alongside Netanyahu, he paid tribute to the seven Israelis killed by the Palestinian shooter last week during the news conference. However, Blinken made no mention of the at least 35 Palestinians who have been slain by Israel this month, including eight children.
He also made no mention of Israeli settlements or the US citizen and Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli troops last year.
Inquiries from Al Jazeera about whether Blinken brought up Abu Akleh’s situation with Israeli authorities on Monday went unanswered by the US Department of State.
Many Palestinian observers claim they do not anticipate any change as a result of the US’s continued unwavering backing for Israel after decades of such support. The senior US ambassador will meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine, on Tuesday in Ramallah.
Blinken’s visit to the area was deemed “insignificant” by Yara Hawari, a senior analyst with the Palestinian think group Al-Shabaka policy network.
He reaffirmed the US’s unshakable support for the Israeli apartheid regime and hailed the supposedly special US-Israeli relationship, according to Hawari, who wrote to Al Jazeera in an email. “And let’s be clear, this is a support that is not just diplomatic but also a support that sees billions of dollars in bilateral aid and military assistance every year,” the statement continued