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US appears unmoved by past lessons, ignoring consequences in ongoing Gaza war

Jan 03,2024 - Last updated at Jan 03,2024

A famous quote by Franz Kafka says, “Every thing you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way.”

The same principle, I believe, applies to any other powerful feeling, including resentment, hate, anger, even rage.

American officials should know this well as they continue to support Israel with billions of dollars of military and economic aid, and anything and everything that would allow Israel to continue with its genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza. 

The Arabs, the Muslims — in fact, the whole world — are watching, listening, reading and are getting angrier by the day, at the direct American role in facilitating the Gaza bloodbath. 

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza “has wreaked more destruction than the razing of Syria’s Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, Ukraine’s Mariupol or, proportionally, the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II” and “now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in recent history,” the Associated Press reported, based on recent satellite data analysis.

Aside from the tens of thousands of dead and missing in the rubble, even a higher number of people have been injured and maimed, including thousands of children. Countless children are left “grappling with the loss of an arm or a leg”, according to UNICEF.

This agony of Gaza is being watched on television and is also being viewed through every possible medium of communication. It is as if the world is suffering along with the Gaza children, but without being able to stop or slow down the genocide. 

And, yet, even when all European countries, save a few, reversed their position on the war, joining the rest of the world in demanding an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, Washington continued to reject these calls.

This is how US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, justified her country’s use of the veto, striking down the first serious attempt by the UN Security Council to achieve a permanent truce on October 18: “Israel has the inherent right of self-defence as reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter.” 

That same logic has been repeated many times by US officials since then, even when the extent of the Gaza tragedy became known to everyone, including the Americans themselves. 

This self-serving logic goes against the very spirit of international and humanitarian law, which vehemently rejects the targeting of civilians during times of war and conflict, and the prevention of humanitarian aid from reaching civilian victims of war.

Indeed, the vast majority of Gaza’s victims are civilians and according to UNICEF, over 70 per cent of all of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Moreover, due to the inhumane Israeli practices, Gaza survivors are now dealing with an actual famine, an unprecedented event in the modern history of Palestine. 

Yet, Israel continues to prevent the access to food, medicine, fuel and other urgent supplies to Gaza, thus violating Washington’s own laws on the matter.

“No assistance shall be furnished to any country when it is made known to the president that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of US humanitarian assistance,” the US Foreign Assistance Act (Section 620I) states.

The Biden administration has done nothing to pressure, let alone force, Israel to adhere to the most basic humanitarian laws in its ongoing genocide in Gaza. Worse, President Biden is furnishing Israel with the needed tools to prolong this destructive war.

According to a December 25 report by Israel’s Channel 12, more than 20 ships and 244 US airplanes have delivered over 10,000 tonnes of armaments and military equipment to Israel since the start of the war.

These military supplies include, according to the Wall Street Journal, at least 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound bunker-buster bombs, which have been repeatedly used throughout the Israeli war, killing and wounding hundreds each time.

The only tangible action that the US has taken since the start of the war was to create a coalition, named “Operation Prosperity Guardian”, with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of ships crossing the Red Sea, into or from Israel. 

The US, however, seems to have learned nothing from the past, from its devastating wars on Iraq, from the so-called “war on terror”, from its failure to find a balance between its support for Israel and its respect for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. To the contrary, some US officials seem to be entirely detached from this reality. 

At a press conference at the White House on December 7, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, proclaimed: “Tell me, name me, one more nation, any other nation, that is doing as much as the United States to alleviate the pain and suffering of the people of Gaza. You can’t. You just can’t.”

But how are ‘dumb bombs’, ‘smart bombs’, bunker busters and tens of thousands of tons of explosives “alleviating the pain and suffering” of Gaza and her children?

If Kirby is unaware of his country’s role in the genocide in Gaza, then the crisis in American foreign policy is worse than we could have imagined. If he is aware, and he should be, then his country’s moral crisis is arguably unprecedented in modern history. 

The problem in US politics is that American administrations have a segmented view of reality, as they are intently focused on how their action, or inaction, is going to affect their political parties in future elections. 

But Americans who care about their country and its position in a vastly changing Middle East and rapidly shifting global geopolitics should remember that history neither starts nor finishes on a fixed November date, once every four years. 

“In the end, love will return in a different way,” Kafka wrote. He is right. But hate, too, tends to return as well, manifesting itself in myriad ways. More than any other country, Washington should have come to that realization on its own.

 

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out”.  His other books include “My Father was a Freedom Fighter” and “The Last Earth”. Baroud is a non-resident senior research fellow at the Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

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