Throughout the week-long truce between Israel and Hamas, Israeli leaders made clear their determination to take their military onslaught to the southern Gaza Strip, decimating it from north to south.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, convicted in 2007 in an Israeli court of supporting a terror organization and inciting racism, led the way.
“Stopping the war = dissolution of the government,” Ben-Gvir warned on Tuesday.About one hour later, Tally Gotliv, a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, who has called to “eliminate Gaza” and for it to be “wiped out and set on fire,” weighed in with a similar tweet.
“If the war does not continue, the government has no right to exist!”On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chimed in to say, “There is no chance that we won’t resume the war until the end.”
Israel’s apartheid military returned to that carnage on 1 December with a massive bombing campaign, this time hitting Khan Younis in southern Gaza especially hard.
US media, having failed during the week to enter Gaza and having failed to adequately show the horror of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, made a catastrophe more likely in the south of Gaza.Back on 10 October, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed to CNN: “As the President said today, the difference between countries like the United States and Israel is that we do not deliberately target civilians … We work to make sure that all military operations are conducted consistent with the rule of law and the law of war.”
He added, “That is something that President [Joe] Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu have discussed, not just in this context but in previous contexts as well. That is something the United States has always stood for and always will continue to stand for.”
Those discussions did not work out well for Palestinian civilians. And there is no reason to think that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s words this week to Israeli officials and assembled journalists will succeed any better.
Blinken said that in a conversation with President Isaac Herzog on 30 November, “I reiterated the United States’ ongoing support of Israel’s right to defend itself in compliance with international humanitarian law.” His words to Herzog and other Israeli leaders clearly carried very little weight.Even the humanitarian aid message with Netanyahu failed. In fact, since 7 October, according to The Wall Street Journal, the United States has sent Israel 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound bunker buster bombs and 57,000 155 mm artillery shells. The Journal adds that the US has sent “more than 5,000 Mk82 unguided or ‘dumb’ bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 2,000 pound warhead bombs, around 1,000 GBU-39 small diameter bombs, and approximately 3,000 JDAMs, which turn unguided bombs into guided ‘smart’ bombs.” US complicity in Israeli war crimes is clear, particularly as the newspaper notes that “the surge of arms” has “continued in recent days, the [US] officials said.” This despite the enormous toll of these weapons on Palestinian civilians, including more than 6,000 Palestinian children killed in Israeli strikes.
Indeed, Blinken’s words seem to have had little effect on Israel as the Gaza health ministry reported that on 1 December – the very day after Blinken’s remarks –178 Palestinians were killed in renewed Israeli strikes, most of them women and children.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, in contrast to the Biden administration, quickly tweeted that “the images coming out of Gaza are horrific.”
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut directed his ire at Netanyahu on 26 November. “Benjamin Netanyahu believed that you could ignore the Palestinians, that you could try to squash their desires for a state and, ultimately, that would bring peace to the region into Israel. That’s just not the case.”
He also raised the prospect of placing conditions on military aid to Israel.
“We regularly condition our aid to allies based upon compliance with US law and international law. And, so, I think it’s very consistent with the ways in which we have dispensed aid, especially during wartime, to allies, for us to talk about making sure that the aid we give Ukraine or the aid we give Israel is used in accordance with human rights laws.”
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, where three Palestinian students were shot on 25 November – two of whom remain seriously injured – raised conditionality in mid-November.
However, Sanders has frustrated many by failing to call for the immediate need of a ceasefire.
“The Netanyahu government, or hopefully a new Israeli government, must understand that not one penny will be coming to Israel from the US unless there is a fundamental change in their military and political positions.”Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has similarly raised the possibility of conditionality, citing “the targeting of civilians in Gaza.” Murphy says that Democrats will take up the issue of conditionality but there is no evidence that many fellow Democrats are ready to join – and certainly not Republicans.
President Biden surprisingly said on 24 November that some specific conditions on military aid to Israel are a “worthwhile thought,” but the chances of him following through require ignoring decades of precedent from the ardent supporter of Israel who has long overlooked dispossession, occupation and apartheid practiced against Palestinians.
In 2019 Biden said the idea of conditions on aid to Israel over its settlement activity was “absolutely outrageous” and a “gigantic mistake.”
That’s much more clearly stated and in line with his career than his recent backpedaling take that conditions are a “worthwhile thought.”
With an election year looming and his position on Israel and Gaza contributing to his plummeting position in polls, Biden can be expected to say one thing but do another.
He continues to push for rearming Israel with more than $14 billion in military aid. That’s who he is.Sanders is right that the “blank check approach must end.”
Biden won’t do that, however, and neither will the US Congress.
Crocodile tears to the contrary, they are perfectly content to watch the Israeli military annihilate Palestinians, including children, and send new armaments for more of the same. These attacks are sending Palestinians fleeing farther and farther south.
A statement from the White House Saturday claimed that “the vice president reiterated that under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank.”
With Israel disregarding pitifully hollow US calls to better protect Palestinian civilians, what’s to make anyone think Israel will abide by the Biden administration’s dubious admonitions to avoid the “forced relocation” – ethnic cleansing – of Palestinians?
Desperate and brutalized Palestinians are already leaving – or fleeing – as sought by Netanyahu.
Who can say how many will return?
- Itamar Ben-Gvir
- Tally Gotliv
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- israeli apartheid
- Khan Younis
- Jake Sullivan
- Joe Biden
- Antony Blinken
- Isaac Herzog
- The Wall Street Journal
- bunker buster bombs
- 155 mm artillery shells
- Mk82 unguided bombs
- dumb bombs
- Mk84 warhead bombs
- GBU-39 small diameter bombs
- Rashida Tlaib
- Chris Murphy
- Bernie Sanders
- conditions on military aid
- Ilhan Omar
- Yoav Gallant
- Benny Gantz