[COLUMNIST] US veto on Palestine: A betrayal of justice and equality

By Azril Mohd Amin

KUALA LUMPUR: In the latest act of diplomatic obstinacy, the United States wielded its veto power to thwart a resolution seeking to grant Palestine full membership in the United Nations (UN). The decision, made on April 18, 2024, flies in the face of the collective will of the international community, signalling not just a failure of diplomacy but a profound betrayal of core principles of justice and equality.
The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) stands deeply disheartened by this unilateral action which has left the US standing alone in opposition to Palestinian admission, with 12 nations supporting the resolution and two abstaining. This veto not only marks a setback for US diplomacy but also exacerbates its isolation on the global stage.
At the heart of this matter lies the enduring suffering of the Palestinians who have long endured systemic oppression, dispossession and acts of genocide at the hands of the Israeli government.
Despite widespread international condemnation and repeated calls for justice, the struggle of Palestinians for self-determination and basic human rights continues to be disregarded by powerful nations, in particular the US.
Of grave concern is the missed opportunity for the Joe Biden administration to demonstrate moral leadership and align itself with historical imperatives. Instead of championing justice and equality, the US has prioritised political expediency over principles of fairness and decency.
In light of this development, it is imperative for UN member states to heed the calls of numerous legal experts, including Professor Francis Boyle and former UN official, Craig Mokhiber.
They have fervently advocated for the urgent invocation of Resolution 377 A, also known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. This resolution empowers the General Assembly to address matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to act due to the veto of its permanent members.
Resolution 377 A offers a comprehensive framework for collective action where Professor Boyle called for urgent doable actions, including the suspension of Israel from participating in UN activities, establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel to prosecute war crimes, recommendation of economic sanctions against Israel, urging of UN members to sever diplomatic relations with Israel and admission of Palestine as a full-fledged UN member state.
These measures are not just morally imperative but also legally justified under international law. The ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, including the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, expansion of illegal settlements and blockade of Gaza, constitute clear breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law.
The US’s obstruction of the resolution to admit Palestine as a full UN member perpetuates injustice and undermines the credibility of the UN itself. It sends a dangerous message that powerful nations can act with impunity, disregarding the rights and dignity of marginalised communities.
In the face of such egregious injustice, the global community must speak out and demand accountability.
The principles of justice, equality, and human rights must prevail, regardless of political considerations. The US’s veto on Palestine transcends diplomatic hurdles; it represents a moral failure that necessitates a unified response from all who uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every human being.
As advocates for human rights and social justice, CENTHRA calls upon all nations to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and support efforts to hold Israel accountable for its actions.
The time for action is now. The international community must heed the call of justice and work collaboratively to ensure a future where all people can live in dignity, freedom and peace.

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