President Biden called King Abdullah of Jordan on Dec. 7. Jordan Times, citing the statement issued by the Royal Court on the call, reported that the King had pressured for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, warning that the humanitarian situation will deteriorate further if military operations continue. Reading the White House readout on the same call, you would have no idea that a “ceasefire” had been discussed, or, for that matter, that any military operations were underway in Gaza. Just President Biden’s great “commitment to facilitating the increased, sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.”
The same day, the Ministerial Committee established Nov. 11 by the Arab League (22 nations strong) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (57 nations) in order to organize the international community for a ceasefire in Gaza, arrived in Washington, D.C. The delegation had been received in Beijing, Moscow, Paris, and London over the two weeks since its formation. Now, they were in Washington to head off a U.S. veto of the UN Security Council ceasefire resolution drafted by the Arab and Islamic nations. These were no lower-level officials. In the delegation were the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan Ayman Al-Safadi; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, Riyad al-Maliki; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye Hakan Fidan.
Top on their agenda was a meeting with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Blinken finally deigned to meet them Friday afternoon, Dec. 8—after the U.S. had vetoed the UN ceasefire resolution. The ministers were left to express their “profound `dismay,’” according to Egypt’s Al Ahram, and “deep dissatisfaction” according the official Saudi Press Agency, over the veto.
The joint statement issued by the delegation after the meeting emphasized that the Committee nonetheless pressed the United States “to play a broader role in pressuring the Israeli occupation to implement an immediate ceasefire.” That the ministers had “reaffirmed their unified position” rejecting of the continuation of military operations by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip, “renewing their call for the necessity of an immediate and complete ceasefire to ensure the protection of civilians, an end to the humanitarian tragedy in the Gaza Strip, and the lifting of all restrictions that hinder the entry of humanitarian aid into the Strip.”