US & UK Again Fail Palestine


Jeffrey D. Sachs and Sybil Fares – TRANSCEND Media Service

Riyad H. Mansour, center, permanent observer of the State of Palestine to the U.N., ahead of an April 8 Security Council meeting on the admission of new members.
(UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The Two Powers That Have Done the Most to Wreck the Middle East

18 Apr 2024 – This week, the U.S. and U.K. had the chance to correct decades of their blatant geopolitical errors in the Israel-Palestine conflict by welcoming Palestine as the 194th United Nations member state.

[On Thursday, however, the U.S. in the Security Council vetoed granting Palestinian Authority full membership  while the U.K and Switzerland abstained.]

More than any other countries, the U.S. and U.K. have wrecked the Middle East through their non-stop meddling and imperial arrogance. This week they had the chance to make some amends.

A total of 139 countries already recognize the State of Palestine, more than two-thirds of the U.N. member states. Several European states will soon join the list. Yet the U.S. has so far blocked Palestine’s membership in the U.N., with the U.K. always sticking close to the U.S. lead. Both have relentlessly backed Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestine and are currently actively backing Israel in its horrific destruction of Gaza.

Back in 2011, Palestine had the support of the U.N. Security Council for membership, except that the U.S. forced the Palestinians to accept “observer” status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow, yet another U.S. deception.

In a comparison of the wreckage by the U.S. and U.K. in the Middle East, the lead role certainly goes to Britain, whose imperial machinations in the region date to the 19th century and continue until today.

Britain kept Egypt under its thumb for decades, from the 1880s to the 1950s. It deceitfully promised overlapping parts of the Ottoman Middle East three times over during World War I: to the French (in the Sykes-Picot Agreement), to the Arabs (in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence) and to the Zionists (in the Balfour Declaration), purporting to allocate what was not theirs in the first place.

The official opening of the assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva, Nov. 5, 1920. (Frédéric Boissonnas, National Library of Norway, Wikipedia Commons, Public domain)

After World War I, Britain took Palestine for itself under a so-called mandate of the newly created League of Nations, while France grabbed a mandate over Lebanon and Syria.

Britain left Palestine in shambles in 1947, but continued its relentless meddling by teaming up with France and Israel to invade Egypt in 1956. Britain’s meddling has also contributed to destruction and disarray in Yemen, Iraq and many more parts of the Middle East.

After World War II, the U.S. picked up where Britain left off, first joining Britain in the MI6-C.I.A. overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and then going on to a long career of C.I.A.-led regime-change operations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, among others.

Iran’s Mossadegh takes his seat at a 1951 meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York City. (Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Throughout the entire postwar period, the U.S. has been the lead dishonest broker between Israel and Palestine, for example calling for the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 but then boycotting and trying to overthrow Hamas when it won those elections.

In 2011, when Palestine applied for U.N. membership, and won the support of the U.N. Security Council membership committee, the U.S. leaned on Palestine to wait and to accept observer status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow. This was yet another lie.

Despite numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions over the years calling for a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Israeli governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu have blatantly rejected an independent State of Palestine.

The current Netanyahu cabinet includes right-wing extremists such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir who openly call for ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza to create a Greater Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Yet despite Israel’s relentless provocations, routine killing of Palestinians (known colloquially as “mowing the grass”), repeated violations of the U.N. Security Council and now the slaughter in Gaza, the U.S. and U.K. have remained steadfast in backing Israel and opposing Palestine as if nothing at all is amiss.

The question is whether the U.S. and U.K. have any sense and any shame at this point. They may think they are supporting Israel by blocking Palestine’s U.N. membership, but the fact is that Israel is more isolated and endangered than ever because of the Israeli government’s extremism, its shocking violence against the Palestinian people and its apartheid rule.

Damaged buildings in Gaza, 6 Dec 2023.

(Tasnim News Agency, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Since the start of the war last fall, 33,000 Palestinians are officially counted as dead, yet the actual death toll is vastly higher, with tens of thousands more still buried under the rubble or dead from extreme deprivations of food, water, and healthcare.

Alas, in recent days, the double standards and falsehoods of the U.S. and U.K. have been on full display.

The U.S. and U.K. adamantly refused to condemn Israel’s brazenly illegal bombing of Iran’s diplomatic compound in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, but then heatedly condemned Iran when it counter-attacked two weeks later. This absurd double-standard makes the U.S. and U.K. look like crass bullies in the eyes of the rest of the world.

After more than a century of U.K. and U.S. meddling in the Middle East, it’s time to be honest about the facts and the solutions. Most importantly, welcoming Palestine as a U.N. member state and implementing the two-state solution according to international law would have been the path to peace, justice, and security for both Israel and Palestine.


Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has served as Special Adviser to three UN Secretaries-General [Kofi Annan (2001-7), Ban Ki-moon (2008-16), and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General António Guterres. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, Building the New American Economy, and most recently, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism. Sachs was also an advisor to the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as to the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.


Sybil Fares is a specialist and adviser in Middle East policy and sustainable development at SDSN.


Go to Original –

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

There are no comments so far.

Join the discussion!

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.

3 + 7 =

Note: we try to save your comment in your browser when there are technical problems. Still, for long comments we recommend that you copy them somewhere else as a backup before you submit them.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.