US Vetos Palestine’s Bid for UN membership

Ambassador Robert Wood casting the US veto of the draft resolution on admitting Palestine as a member nation of the UN.

On 18 May the Security Council was seized of a resolution that would have granted UN membership to Palestine.Twelve members of the SC voted in favor of the resolution, while two countries – the UK and Switzerland – abstained. The US vetoed it.[1]

I would have been surprised if the US had voted in favor or abstained.  The voting record at the Security Council documents dozens upon dozens of unjustified vetoes by the US, mostly to shield Israel from being called to account, from being subjected to sanctions as once another Apartheid State, South Africa, was[2].

The intransigent attitude displayed again and again by the United States is contrary to the letter and spirit of the UN Charter, in particular articles 1, 2, 4 and 27.  What to me would seem more urgent would be a resolution to expel Israel from membership in the United Nations, as provided for in Article 6 of the Charter.  But, of course, the US would also veto such a hypothetical resolution.

Nonetheless, I could envision the General Assembly withdrawing the accreditation of the Israeli diplomats at the United Nations.  This is within the GA’s competence and does not require a Security Council resolution, as was the case when the credentials of South African Ambassadors were rejected in the 1970s and 80s because of their Apartheid policies[3].  Rejecting Israeli credentials would be justified, since Israel is guilty not only of Apartheid but also of genocide.

Whereas the Global Majority condemns Israel, three cases are before the International Court of Justice, and several have been submitted to the International Criminal Court, the US persists in its negationism of Israeli crimes and evidently enjoys its exceptionalism in being “one-man out”?

It seems that the US is trapped in its own political and psychological web. The US has lost the capacity to think and act outside the box, it is condemned to committing the same errors and exacerbating the already toxic situation.  Many American observers including myself have indicated that after the US government took the unwise decision to enter into an alliance with Israel, this effectively meant subordinating US interests to those of Israel.  It is and was predictable that situations would arise where the US would not be free to pursue its own priorities, but would be bound to support geopolitically unwise policies, abuse the veto power in the Security Council, and act contrary to the letter and spirit of the UN Charter.

For decades the US has supported patently illegal Israeli measures at an exorbitant cost to the US economy and US prestige in the world stage. The Global majority perceives the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to the peace and security of mankind[4].  US actions in the UN and elsewhere have cemented this perception.

The US and Israel are rightly perceived as dangerous bullies.  There is no love lost for the US and Israel. No doubt, the US alliance with Israel has caused the US to lose authority and credibility in the eyes of the Global Majority, precisely because the US has defended the indefensible, justified the unjustifiable, engaged in apology of genocide.  The US alliance with Israel makes it complicit in the illegal Israeli settler-colonialism, in its Apartheid policies, in all the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel. This complicity triggers civil and penal liability, which in due course will have to be addressed. The International Law Commission’s Draft Code on State responsibility [5] will someday be applied against the United States, and Israel which will owe trillions of dollars to the billions of human beings who have been victims of US imperialism and neo-colonialism.

In the history of the United States, nothing has been as damaging as its “alliance” with a retrograde State that pretends to implement Biblical prophecies and destroy its Arab neighbors.  Three thousand years after the conquest of the “promised land”, Prime Minister Netanyahu is now following the narratives of the book of Joshua and the destruction of the Canaanites[6].  It is not surprising that Netanyahu relies on Biblical stories of the destruction of the people of Amalek by the Israelites[7]. Amid the genocidal excesses committed by Israel on the people of Gaza, Netanyahu quoted from First Samuel 15:3, saying, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. ‘Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys’ It is little wonder that the International Court of Justice is now confronted with this statement – one of so many – that illustrate the Israeli “intent” to destroy “in whole or in part” the targeted group.[8]

Although the US and Israeli interests do not converge, there is a dynamic of complicity and one crime begets another.  Friedrich Schiller wrote in his Drama Piccolomini — das ist der Fluch der Bösen Tat, dass sie fortzeugend Böses muss gebären — that is the curse of the evil act, that it will continue to engender further harm[9].   In fact, the US government has gradually become dependent on its “alliance” with Israel, which is more of a one-way road. Notwithstanding the daily efforts of the mainstream media to whitewash Israeli crimes and to give a veneer of legitimacy to the genocide, more and more Americans are coming to understand that “there is something rotten in the state”[10].   In practice, the US government is quasi in the service of Israel and not in the service of the American people.

The United States is caught in abstruse ideologies that escape all rationality. Israel is not only an Apartheid State, it is a neo-colonial State with policies that are incompatible with the UN Charter, the 1949 Geneva Red Cross Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocols, and with international law in general.

Perhaps the saddest thing is that the American people are essentially disenfranchised, because both political parties are caught in the Israeli web.  Whether you vote Republican or Democrat, you only get candidates that will continue supporting Israel.  Indeed, saying a good word about the right of Palestinians to have their own State, the idea of seeing the Palestinians as human beings entitled to the same human rights as we claim for ourselves, is rejected by the mainstream media.  Whoever supports the Palestinians is ostracised and accused of anti-Semitism.

The American people are prey to the Orwellianism of the New York Times and Washington Post. Whether you vote Republican or Democrat, it is the military-industrial-financial-academic-media-digital complex that rules over us.  Indeed, those who are elected do not govern, and those who do govern are not elected.











[10] Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act-I, Scene-IV

Alfred de Zayas is a law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as a UN Independent Expert on International Order 2012-18. He is the author of twelve books including “Building a Just World Order” (2021) “Countering Mainstream Narratives” 2022, and “The Human Rights Industry” (Clarity Press, 2021).