Moral Low Ground

US Government

US Condemns, Enables, Israel’s ‘Appalling’ Gaza Slaughter

Your tax dollars at work. (Mohamad Asad/Arab Daily News)

Your tax dollars at work. (Mohamad Asad/Arab Daily News)

The United States raised eyebrows around the world over the weekend by excoriating Israel after its forces bombed yet another United Nations school sheltering refugees from its ferocious Gaza offensive.

In an extraordinary rebuke, the State Department condemned Israel’s “disgraceful” attack, which killed 10 people including, as usual, children:

“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which 10 more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected,” Psaki continued. “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”

Paski also stressed that Israel must “do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

But at the same time, the US is providing Israel with the diplomatic cover, the money and, critically, the very weapons it is using to slaughter innocent Palestinian men, women and children — always children — by the hundreds.

Last week, as Israeli forces bombed a playground full of children celebrating a lull in the fighting and the festive Eid al-Fitr holiday (8 children killed) and a UN school in Jabalia (20 killed, including more children), the United States was busy resupplying the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with the mortar rounds and grenades it needed to keep on killing.

Laying waste to a nation requires not only an enormous arsenal, but also a source for all that weaponry. The United States is more than willing to be that source. In addition to the well-publicized $3 billion in average annual US military aid to Israel, there’s another little-known program that made headlines amidst last week’s carnage.

Under a Pentagon program called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), Israel stores American munitions that it can also use in emergency situations. The US allowed Israel to tap these reserves, even though IDF did not cite any emergency.

“They didn’t ask for it from there but we gave it to them so we could rotate our stocks,” a Pentagon explained to Reuters.

As Israeli leaders issued bloodthirsty calls for ethnic cleansing — and even genocide — in Gaza, and as Israeli forces obliged them by wiping out entire Palestinian families, the US Senate unanimously approved an additional $225 million in emergency aid for the murderous IDF.

As world leaders blasted the Gaza slaughter, with a host of Latin American nations recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Bolivian President Evo Morales declaring Israel a “terrorist state,” American lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been falling over themselves to proclaim their unwavering loyalty to the tiny Jewish state.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) , who made her political career championing the cause of murderous Cuban exile terrorists, introduced a resolution praising Israel for its restraint in Gaza. The resolution was overwhelmingly approved by a voice vote.

This disconnect between reality — more than 1,800 Palestinians, most of them innocent civilians (including at least 400 children) have been killed so far in this war — and US perception shocks, but does not surprise, the world. Indeed, when the UN Human Rights Council recently voted 29-1 to investigate possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza, the lone dissenting vote was cast by the United States. It was the latest of many instances in which the US either vetoed or otherwise torpedoed UN resolutions condemning Israeli policies and actions.

If anyone thinks this weekend’s strong words from Washington offer hope for change in the US-Israeli relationship, think again. This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has denounced Israeli crimes. Early in his first term, the president repeatedly demanded an immediate freeze on the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by announcing a major settlement expansion while visiting the White House in 2009.

Remember Obama’s response? He angrily cancelled a planned dinner date with Netanyahu, then dropped his settlement freeze demand, allowing what some observers, like Jewish-American UN human rights official Richard Falk, have called Israeli ethnic cleansing to continue.

The last time the United States actually sanctioned Israel for its barbarism was in the 1950s, when the Eisenhower administration suspended economic aid after an IDF commando unit led by future prime minister and “man of peace” Ariel Sharon massacred scores of innocent civilians, including many children, in villages in Jordan and Gaza.

Since then, even when Israeli warplanes attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 sailors in an attack that the secretary of state, NSA director and many victims believed was intentional, the United States has stood by Israel, right or wrong.

Ultimately, the American people are complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity. America counts a racist, fortified, paranoid and aggressive state as one of its best friends in the world. American taxpayer dollars are funding the slaughter of Palestinian children. American bombs, bombers, bullets, bulldozers, guns, missiles, jets, helicopters, tanks, artillery and chemical weapons are used to kill, maim, terrorize, repress and humiliate the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, we keep electing the same leaders who perpetuate this madness, forever pledging our undying friendship to a nation whose leader has said that 9/11 was good for Israel and who has boasted about how easily he can manipulate America.

If the Obama administration is really so “appalled” by Israel’s mass murder, the president could make a strong statement against the slaughter by suspending, or even threatening to suspend, military aid. Otherwise the world will continue to (correctly) accuse America of hypocrisy. Any notion of the US as an “honest broker” in the Middle East peace process has long been dismissed as a joke.

Until we, the American people, condemn Israeli aggression — and disgraceful US hypocrisy — in the loudest and strongest possible language and demand an end to military aid to the murderous Israeli regime, we all bear some responsibility for the slaughter of innocents in Gaza.

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