In March, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made denying a Palestinian state a pillar of his winning re-election campaign, officials in the Obama administration signaled to the media that they would reconsider the U.S. government's staunch diplomatic support for Israel in the United Nations. The U.S. government feigned "very substantive concerns" and declared the administration may "reassess (its) options going forward" in response to Netanyahu's explicit rejection of a two-state solution.
Mainstream media focused on the personal dynamics between the leaders of the two countries. CNN said the Obama administration felt "outright hostility" toward Netanyahu and the New York Times said the leaders had a "poisonous relationship." They presumed the professed discord would imperil the political alliance between the two governments. In reality, there was no reason to believe a personal conflict would jeopardize the nearly 50-year-old U.S. government policy of providing Israel an unconditional shield in the General Assembly and the Security Council.
Obama has demonstrated little interest in supporting progressive policies in favor of human rights and social justice, but he shown himself zealously concerned with them in the abstract through grandiose and noble rhetoric. During the first six years of his presidency, Netanyahu actively opposed a Palestinian state without Obama's administration withholding any of the ideological, diplomatic, military and economic support that is a necessary condition for the occupation's survival. As long as Netanyahu kept quiet, Obama could pretend his administration's support for Israel was contingent on Israel seeking a permanent peace deal with Palestinians.
Obama urged "cooperation and compromise" and continued the pretense that a "peace process" was not already long dead. But when Netanyahu publicly declared in stark terms that he has no intention of permitting a just solution to Israel's colonization of Palestine, he made it impossible for Obama to continue the charade. Netanyahu and his fanatical government ministers long ago realized that Obama had no intention of seeking actual concessions from them regardless of how much land and water they stole, or how many Palestinians (or Americans) they killed.
As Ali Abunimah noted in the Electronic Intifada, "for the Palestinians, there is no meaningful Obama-Netanyahu rift. Indeed US-Israeli relations have never been stronger, nor more damaging to the prospects for peace and justice and for the very survival of the Palestinian people."
This was not inevitable. In January 2009, Netanyahu had ordered an immediate halt to the IDF's destructive rampage in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, which had killed more than 1,400 people in Gaza, the day before Obama's inauguration ceremony in January 2009. Presumably Netanyahu believed the failure stop the second assault on the blockaded territory in a year would cause the incoming Obama administration to support an independent investigation, cut military aid, dispute Israel's argument that it "had a right to defend itself," or end the U.S. government's facilitation of the carnage.
But it turns out Netanyahu and the Israeli regime needn't have worried, as no such change in policy was in the cards. Obama's new administration would block the Goldstone Report presented to the Human Rights Council, and ensure complete impunity for the Israeli crimes that occurred subsequent to Obama's election. This likely emboldened Netanyahu to unleash even more wanton destruction and horror in July 2014, when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on trumped up accusations against Hamas.
"Having falsely accused Hamas leadership of orchestrating the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens in June, and then assailing the group for 'purposely playing politics' when it rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal that offered it nothing beyond a return to the status quo of the siege, (Secretary of State John) Kerry and the Obama administration once again provided the Israeli military with the diplomatic cover it needed to escalate the violence," writes Max Blumenthal in The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.
Despite extensive documentation from the start of the military campaign that the captive civilian population in Gaza comprised the vast majority of the dead and injured from tank and naval shelling, drone missiles, F-16 bombs and heavy artillery, the Obama administration cast the only vote against establishing a war crimes investigation by the United Nations. A few days later, the administration helped resupply the Israeli army with weapons, including 102mm mortar rounds and 40mm grenades, that the IDF could use to keep up their prolific killing spree.
The Electronic Intifada reported: "Among the tens of thousands of bombs included in the weapons package are 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to 20 feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete."
Much as the military cooperation between the two states has carried on seamlessly, so has the diplomatic cooperation. Despite Israeli officials hinting the government might finally decline to vote with the U.S. in the 24th annual UNGA condemnation of the Cuban embargo, predictably Israel was the only country in the entire world to join the U.S. in defense of the embargo. The measure passed by a vote of 191-2.
Not surprisingly, unconditional U.S. support for Israel in the United Nations has also continued uninterrupted. "Traditional Voting Pattern Reflected in General Assembly's Adoption of Drafts on Question of Palestine, Broader Middle East Issues," states a U.N. press release after the passage of six resolutions concerning Israel. Indeed, the pattern was traditional: the U.S. and Israel, with a few Pacific Island states, voting against the rest of the world (minus whoever the U.S.-Israel alliance could persuade to abstain).