The death toll in the Gaza Strip has now reached 1,170 many of which were not even “combatants” (the supposed targets of the operation which began on July 7th) but rather innocent Palestinians simply murdered in their own homes. Israel has reported 56 of its own dead including 53 soldiers and 3 civilians. Operation Protective Edge might be a minor success in terms of crippling Gazan infrastructure (including that not at all related to military capabilities), but has been a tremendous failure in rallying world support for its ‘just cause’. Evidence is continually piling against the Zionist state as a UN human rights body charged Israel with a “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants” along with “unlawful” expansion of its settlements only fueling the tension in this conflict where Israel has exerted “disproportionate” force (to say the absolute least). Many nations have denounced the Israeli offensive with Bolivia going as far as to label Israel a “terrorist state”. Yet, in the midst of these developments and the ongoing carnage unleashed by Israeli forces the Obama Administration has called for an “aid package” to Israel to the tune of $225 million. This is, of course, in addition to the nearly $3 billion the nation receives annually in US military aid and does not alter at all the amount still promised (in billions) to Israel over the remaining decade. Senate majority leader, Democrat Harry Reid, took the Senate floor to plead on Israel’s behalf:
“Mr. President, our great country has many friends in the world, we’re proud of all the alliances we have…But certainly, our deepest attachment is what we have with Israel. The United States and Israel have stood by each other in good times and bad times, in times of peace, in times of war.”
Senator Reid was not alone in this sentiment. On Tuesday the Senate unanimously passed S. Res. 526 which gives full support to Israel’s right to ‘defend itself’ while condemning the recent UN Human Rights Council report that highlights the repeated violations committed against the Palestinian people. Senator Reid called the report “disgusting” while his supposed political nemesis, Senate minority leader Republican Mitch McConnell, restated “Israel’s right to defend itself should be affirmed”.
However grave the war crimes committed by Israel, Congress and the Obama Administration would like to remind the public, in the words of Senator Lindsey Graham, this is a “life-or-death struggle Israel faces”.
The question then is whose life and whose death?
There are thousands of families in Gaza right now grieving the loss of a loved one. Hundreds of parents mourning their dead children. Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters ripped from this Earth by one of the most heinous and genocidal nations in recent existence. And for what precisely? To punish Hamas for the death of three Israeli settlers? Recent evidence now suggests Hamas had nothing to do with the kidnapping of the settler teenagers. Israeli officials have indeed stated that the group responsible was a “lone cell” not taking orders from Hamas. Therefore the entire pretext to the current offensive is moot.
What excuse then could be provided for the incredible desolation of Palestinian neighborhoods and homes? The Israeli propaganda machine as well as its American-arm in AIPAC consistently campaigns on the idea of ‘protecting Israel’ and ‘promoting peace’. Protecting Israel from what exactly?
As witnessed over the past few weeks, Hamas possesses no real military threat to Israel. The rockets that they fire into Israel, their main source of retaliation, are often easily swiped out of the sky by the Israeli ‘Iron Dome’ defense system. Those that do manage to reach ground are hardly in range of any plausible military or civilian targets. The rockets which have actually injured or killed Israelis are quite honestly statistical anomalies; rockets which made the leap that almost every other could not. And even then what comparison could be made between unguided short-range rocket fire and mortars to the most advanced military capability in the entire Middle East. The comparison can simply not be made. Arguing Israel exerts a “disproportionate use of force” would be an incredible understatement given the starkly asymmetric nature of this ‘conflict’.
Although, we should hesitate to consider this a ‘conflict’ in the classical usage of the term. We should not make the mistake of viewing both parties as socio-political peers in a contest for supremacy (as some liberal nominally ‘progressive’ outlets have described the situation). Israel is an occupying force. An occupying state. Wielding on its behalf the most comprehensive military supremacy money can buy. What the Palestinian people are engaged in, including Hamas itself, is a struggle for survival; a resistance to the most blatant and aggressive manifestations of imperialism. The point at which we consider Palestinian resistance to Israeli aggression a comparable geo-political ‘conflict’ is the point at which we surrender the true significance of their resistance to the spectacular musings of imperialist intellectuals and ‘scholars’.
No, Israel does not want peace. If Israel wanted peace they would use the $3 billion they receive annually to invest in the livelihoods of their neighboring Palestinians; building desperately needed hospitals, schools, and adequate housing. They would end their crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip. They would end the unlawful and genocidal expansion of their Jewish-only settlements on the West Bank. They would relinquish control over land which was never theirs in the first place, end the occupation, and treat the Palestinian people with the dignity they deserve.
That is not the path Israel is willing to take nor would it ever have any interest in doing so; therefore, all Israeli pleas for ‘peace’ and ‘understanding’ should be discarded like the nonsense they are. Israel wants war. Israel wants displacement. Israel wants death. And they have used every dollar they receive in foreign aid to further those ends. It would be naive to conclude that the $225 million they will likely receive would be used for anything but a continuation of the crimes they are already steeped in. Until the Palestinian people are liberated and Israeli settler-imperialism is finally defeated there can be no ‘peace’ for anyone living in Palestine.
So we should ask the Obama Administration and every member of Congress about the ‘threshold for success’ in Palestine. How many more children have to be tortured? How many more homes decimated? How many have to die?
Any answer is ‘too many’ and that is why every person with even the most remote sense of justice and humanity must stand with Gaza until all her people are free.