top of page

Opinion: What lies behind the Biden administration’s changing ‘ceasefire’ language

The US president is showing no sign of altering his actual policy of unconditional support for Israel as it carries out a genocide in Gaza.

United States President Joe Biden bites into his ice cream as he and TV host Seth Meyers visit Van Leeuwen Ice Cream in downtown New York City on February 26, 2024 [Reuters/Leah Millis]

A week ago, US President Joe Biden claimed that a “ceasefire” deal in Gaza was imminent and could take effect as soon as March 4. “My national security adviser tells me we are close,” he told reporters while eating ice cream in New York City.

But ice cream or not, Biden’s actual position was not nearly that sweet. A subsequent statement by a senior Biden administration official claimed Israel had “basically accepted” a proposal for a temporary pause in fighting. But as of March 4, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Mossad director were still refusing to send a delegation to Cairo, where talks with Hamas were under way.

The Biden administration’s eagerness to claim victory in its search for some kind of temporary truce indicates how much it is feeling the heat of the rising global and domestic pressure demanding an immediate ceasefire, an end to the Israeli genocide, an end to the threat of a new escalation against refugee-packed Rafah, and an end to the siege of Gaza and immediate unhindered provision of massive levels of humanitarian aid.

Despite Washington’s vain hopes for March 4 and the unofficial goal of a ceasefire by the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10, the deal remains elusive. Media reports indicate Biden is telling the Qatari and Egyptian leaders that he is putting pressure on Israel to agree to a truce and a captives swap.

But his claim of pressuring Israel is undermined by the continuing US vetoes of ceasefire resolutions at the United Nations Security Council, most recently on February 20, as well as the continuing flow of United States weapons and money to Israel to enable its assault.

The vetoed resolution, introduced by Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group, demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and deplored all attacks against civilians. It specifically rejected the “forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population, including women and children” and called unconditionally for unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza and the “urgent, continuous and sufficient provision of humanitarian assistance at scale”.

Significantly, the text referenced the January order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that found Israel to be plausibly committing or preparing to commit genocide in Gaza, and imposed a set of provisional measures requiring Israel to stop its practices.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s ambassador to the UN, cast the sole veto against the Algerian resolution, and instead put forward an alternative US text, claiming it also supported a ceasefire.


(c) 2024 Al Jazeera


Featured Review
Tag Cloud
bottom of page