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Palestine's Zomlot hits back at US worry over Israel isolation

Palestine diplomat Husam Zomlot hits back at US worry over Israel isolation
4 min read
23 May, 2024
Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot said Israel was being 'held accountable', dismissing a senior US official's worry over Tel Aviv's isolation.
Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot (pictured) said senior US official Jake Sullivan should be 'worried about Israel's genocide' [Reem Khabbazy/The New Arab-archive]

Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot has hit back at the United States after it expressed worry over Israel's increasing diplomatic isolation.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that as a strong backer of Israel in international forums like the UN, Washington had seen a "growing chorus of voices, including voices that had previously been in support of Israel, drift in another direction".

"That is of concern to us because we do not believe that contributes to Israel's long-term security or vitality," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Zomlot, a former envoy to the US, said on Thursday that Sullivan should not be worried about Israel being isolated.

"He should be worried about Israel's genocide, and Israel's continued military occupation, colonisation, theft of land, and the rampage of the Israeli settlers, the settler terrorism, under the full protection of the Israeli army," Zomlot told The New Arab.

"Israel is very clear. Israel is genocidal. It started as a country premised on [the] ethnic cleansing [of] two-thirds of the Palestinian people.

"It continued its land theft and the process of dispossession and oppression of an entire people, and now it has turned full genocidal… in part thanks to the US unequivocal support for such Israeli actions.

"It is not Israel that is being isolated. Israel is being held accountable, not isolated. It is the US that is being isolated."

Israel's war on Gaza

The US has increasingly found itself out of sync with global opinion over its support for Israel's war on Gaza.

The military campaign began in October and has so far killed at least 35,800 people, according to the Palestinian enclave's health ministry.

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Sullivan said on Wednesday that the US believes a strategic approach to defeating Hamas, the main group fighting Israeli forces in Gaza, as well as boosting aid and pursuing regional integration would best help Israel engage countries around the world and revitalise beneficial relationships.

Washington views direct negotiations as the only path to realising a two-state solution that delivers for both Israelis and Palestinians, he told reporters.

South Africa has dragged Tel Aviv before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), charging it in a December filing with perpetrating "genocidal acts" in Gaza. Many civil society groups and countries have expressed support for Pretoria's case. Israel denies carrying out genocide.

The ICJ, the UN's top court, will rule on Friday on a South African request to order Israel to end its military operations in Rafah, an area bordering Egypt where most of Gaza's population had been sheltering, as well as the rest of the besieged strip.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – a tribunal which, unlike the ICJ, tries individuals – has applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, in addition to three Hamas leaders.

The court has yet to decide whether to grant the warrants, but chief prosecutor Karim Khan accused the two Israeli officials of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

'Moral conscience'

The UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said that with the ICJ genocide suit against Israel and the potential ICC arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant, it was "no surprise that millions of people around the world are calling for their governments to abide by international law and stop arming Israel".

"Palestine solidarity activism is the moral conscience of the world at this time, stepping in when our political leaders will not, to demand equal rights and justice for the Palestinian people," PSC deputy director Peter Leary told The New Arab on Thursday.

Spain, Norway, and Ireland on Wednesday said they will recognise Palestine as a state from Tuesday next week.

Bolivia has cut diplomatic relations with Israel. Colombia, which has also announced a severing of ties, said on Wednesday that its president had directed an embassy be opened in Palestine's occupied West Bank.

A Dutch court in February ordered the Netherlands' government to halt exports of parts for F-35 warplanes to Israel.

"Even Israel's staunchest allies are finding it difficult to justify a genocide," British Palestinian Committee (BPC) director Sara Husseini told The New Arab on Thursday.

"[Those allies] are being held to account through the moral clarity of their own citizens – millions of whom around the world have taken to the streets week in week out for the past seven months, set up student encampments, and done everything in their power to protest the atrocities being carried out by Israel, as well their own governments' complicity."

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that the UK would hold a general election on 4 July.

"As the UK prepares for a general election, the genocide in Palestine – and Britain's role – will be at the forefront of voters' minds," the BPC said in a separate Thursday statement on its website.