Washington Abandons All Norms To Arm Israel

Despite the U.S. not vetoing a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during the month of Ramadan, the Biden administration continues to prove itself as a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Washington has previously used its veto powers to block three UNSC resolutions on Gaza, staying true to its role as the main political and economic backer of Israel with its steady supply of arms to support the military offensive. However, by abstaining from voting on Resolution 2728 (2024), it was successfully passed with 14 votes in favor. While the U.S. did not strike down the resolution, eyebrows have been raised after numerous U.S. officials described the resolution as “non-binding.”

“Of course, we still have Israels back. As you and I are speaking, we are still providing tools and capabilities, weapon systems, so Israel can defend itself,” said the White House National Security Communications Advisor, John Kirby, in a press interview. “Again, no change by this non-binding resolution on what Israel can and cannot do in terms of defending itself,” he added.

Additionally, both the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, have repeatedly referred to the resolution as “non-binding.”

All UN Security Council resolutions are binding, as is made clear under Article 25 of the U.N. Charter: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” Additional confirmation can be found in the 1971 advisory opinion on the question of Namibia by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which established that all UNSC resolutions are indeed legally binding.

Despite the indisputability of the resolution being binding, Washington continues its attempts to jump through hoops to discredit this fact. The U.S ambassador to the UN argued that since the resolution does not fall under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and therefore does not authorize the use of force to implement it.

Richard Gowan, a former senior official at the UN who currently works at NGO International Crisis Group, provided his insight on Washington’s interpretation in an interview.

“It is clear that the resolution does not contain any enforcement mechanism of its own, and if other Council members proposed sanctions against Israel for non-compliance, the U.S. would veto them,” he said. “So ultimately the resolution is an important diplomatic sign about the need for a ceasefire, but it has little force.”

Nearly 6 months have passed since the October 7th attacks led by Hamas in southern Israel which left almost 1,200 dead and around 240 taken hostage. Since then, Israeli forces have killed over 32,000 in the Gaza Strip—70% of those killed being women and children—injured over 72,000 and left 1.2 million internally displaced, according to the UN. Additionally, the continuous blockade of humanitarian aid by Israel into Gaza has led to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projecting famine to occur between now and May 2024 in its Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report on Gaza.

“This is the highest number of people facing catastrophic hunger ever recorded by the Integrated Food Security Classification system – anywhere, anytime,” said the UN Secretary General António Guterres. “This is an entirely man-made disaster, and the report makes clear that it can be halted,” he added.

Despite this, the Biden administration has reportedly authorized the transfer of billions of dollars in arms to Israel, just days after the passing of the legally binding resolution.

Anna Seimova is an amateur journalist with a growing passion for peace-activism. She currently lives in Alberta, Canada. Anna can be reached at annaseimova@outlook.com.