Biden’s embrace of Israel designed to cement US power

US President Joe Biden has given Israel’s murderous rampage in Gaza his full and absolute backing.

Biden’s administration has worked to give Israel freedom to act with impunity, echoing its lies and propaganda. Biden made a special trip to Israel to embrace Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu.

He blamed the bombing of the Al-Ahli Arab hospital on a stray Palestinian rocket, telling Netanyahu, “It appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.”

Biden then rejected the estimated death toll in Gaza, saying he had “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using” and sending out a White House spokesman to dismiss the Gaza Health Ministry that produced the figures as “just a front for Hamas”.

This was a disgraceful effort to downplay the deaths of thousands of civilians—even though the UN and even the US State Department have accepted the figures’ accuracy.

Biden is also seeking $14 billion in additional military aid for Israel from the US Congress.

The US has sent military advisers such as Marine Corps Lt Gen James Glynn, who played a key role in the assault on Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. It wants Israel to use its experience in urban warfare for the ground invasion of Gaza.

Two American aircraft carriers have arrived off Israel’s coast in a demonstration of strength.

Biden has pressed Israel about allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza and reportedly advised it to delay its ground invasion over fears that it had no plans for what would happened once it left.

But the US, like the Australian government, has refused to call for a ceasefire. White House spokesman John Kirby even said, “We’re not drawing red lines for Israel” about what it should do.

For decades Israel has been a crucial ally for the US in safeguarding its imperialist interests across the whole Middle East.

The massive oil reserves there mean the region has been of vital strategic importance since the First World War. Its oil economy remains the source of enormous wealth and power.

But after 1945 there was a wave of revolts against European colonialism that produced newly independent states and an Arab nationalist movement that threatened Western imperialism.

The new regimes attempted to nationalise assets controlled by the West, including the Suez canal in Egypt and the oil reserves in Iran.

Watchdog state

Israel offered itself as a reliable partner for Western imperialist interests.

As the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz put it in 1951: “Israel is to become the watchdog. There is no fear that Israel will undertake any aggressive policy towards the Arab states when this would explicitly contradict the wishes of the US and Britain.

“But if for any reasons the western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied upon to punish one or several neighbouring states whose discourtesy to the west went beyond the bounds of the permissible.”

Israel has proven its importance to the US with a series of military victories over the Arab states—especially in the 1967 war, when it defeated the combined strength of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and the 1973 Yom Kippur war when it defeated Egypt and Syria again.

These defeats helped force the Arab ruling classes to accept US domination of the Middle East. But the dictatorships in places like Egypt and Jordan remain unstable—as the wave of revolutions in 2011 showed.

Israel by contrast is a highly militarised society that relies on the support from the US to sustain itself and is therefore a much more dependable ally.

As a settler colonial state established through driving Palestinians off the land, Israel can never be permanently at peace. The Palestinian population of the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza still numbers around 4.5 million. Short of expelling or killing them all, it faces a perpetual conflict.

When the US became the world’s dominant power after the Second World War, it also became Israel’s key sponsor. Since then the country has received $243.9 billion in US aid.

Increasingly this has taken the form of military aid, as part of a US policy designed to supply Israel with the latest in high-tech weaponry and ensure it maintains what the US calls a “qualitative military edge” over neighbouring states.

Since 1999 the US has provided ten-year agreements that commit to ongoing aid payments. The most recent was signed by President Barack Obama in 2016 committing $38 billion in aid for the financial years 2019-2028.

US President Joe Biden once summed up Israel’s importance to the US by saying: “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.”

Ending Israel’s murderous oppression of the Palestinians requires ending Western imperialism’s support for it.

By James Supple

Magazine

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