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The narrative of US foreign policy is rife with paradoxes, none more glaring than its stance on the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. The US champions democratic values globally, vehemently advocating for peaceful protests and freedom of speech in nations like Russia, China, and Iran. Yet, this fervor wanes dramatically with pro-Palestinian demonstrations, revealing a policy that values voices only when they echo the official narrative.

Labeling Hamas’ retaliation as “unprovoked” while turning a blind eye to the provocations — aggressive settlement expansions and human rights violations by some of Zionist most “extreme” Cabinet members, as acknowledged by US officials themselves — is a stark manifestation of America’s selective memory. This practice is not new; it’s a continuation of previous policies that disregarded the displacement and suffering of Palestinians, ensuing decades of occupation and oppression. The normalization agreements inked between Zionist entity and several Arab states have been touted as monumental successes.

However, a critical facet is glaringly absent in this diplomatic fanfare: The voices of the people. Streets across these nations tell a different story, one of widespread protests and palpable dissent. The populace in Morocco and Jordan, for instance, has been vociferous in its support for Palestine, underscoring a stark disconnect between the inked statecraft and the heartbeat of the Arab street. These widespread pro-Palestinian sentiments are significant indicators that diplomatic accords, often brokered with -none democratic- regimes with scant regard for public opinion, hardly reflect the will of the people.

They lay bare a fundamental flaw in the US’ approach to the region: Mistaking the silence of oppression, for peace, and equating signed documents with genuine reconciliation. Consider the US Secretary of State’s poignant empathy for the Rohingya a few years ago, which stands in stark contrast to the noticeable absence of similar sentiments for Palestinians in Gaza. This comparison is a crucial point of discourse. It begs the question: If the US takes a stand against segregation and dehumanization globally, why then is its stance different when it comes to Gaza?

This is not a dialogue about Hamas. This is about civilians, about children, mothers, and fathers subjected to unimaginable suffering while the world, including the US, continues its geopolitical chess game. Reflect on the consistent efforts by Europe and the US to urge nations like Russia, China, and Iran toward tolerance, championing the right of citizens to peacefully protest and express views that defy a state’s official doctrine. Yet, an apparent discrepancy emerges when these same Western powers attempt to limit peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrations within their own borders, simply because these protests challenge the official government narrative.

Why is there such a blatant difference in responses, seemingly based on the message being conveyed, rather than the right to convey it? The words of the late Sir Gerald Kaufman, a Jewish-British MP, resonate powerfully in this context. He boldly denounced Zionist policies, drawing a line between criticism of a state’s policies and anti-Semitism, a line too often blurred to silence dissenting voices. The recent surge in Arab unity stands as a beacon of hope, yet it teeters perilously close to extinguishment by the very leaders meant to be its guardians.

These leaders, swayed by narrow geopolitical interests, often ignore the visceral cries of their people — cries for the basic human dignities denied to Palestinians. The credibility of US foreign policy diminishes with each instance of selective outrage and conditional advocacy for human rights. The facade of being an objective defender of human rights has crumbled, exposing a stance marred by double standards and stark hypocrisy.

A recalibration of US policy towards Palestine is not merely advisable; it’s a moral imperative, an opportunity to reconcile professed American values with its actions on the international stage. The path to peace requires the US to stand unequivocally for justice — even when inconvenient, even when it means standing with Palestine. Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri is the founder and CEO - Reconnaissance Research and a member - National Press Club in Washington.