A new low: On Israel’s Gaza war and the U.S. response

The U.S. is turning into an enabler of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza

April 03, 2024 12:10 am | Updated 12:28 pm IST

When it comes to Israel’s military atrocities, the U.S. has historically had high tolerance levels. It never questions Israel’s nuclear arms. It ignores UN investigation reports that have accused Israel of committing war crimes. It hardly does anything to hold Israel accountable for the continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories flouting international laws and norms. But even by America’s standards, Joe Biden’s policy towards Israel’s war is a new low for the ‘leader of the free world’. It took five and a half months of war, in which over 32,000 Palestinians were killed, 70,000 injured and more than 90% of the besieged enclave’s population displaced, for the Biden administration to let a UN Security Council resolution, demanding an immediate ceasefire, pass. But the U.S., which abstained from voting, did nothing to enforce the resolution. Ever since the war began on October 7, the Biden administration has delivered more than 100 military sales to Israel. Just last week, when the world was raising concerns about a possible Israeli invasion of Rafah, the southernmost town of Gaza, Washington cleared the sales of more bombs and warplanes for Israel.

While Israel and the U.S. are arguably the closest two nation-states can get to each other, in the past, American Presidents had used hard pressure to influence Israel’s decision making. In 1956, during the Suez crisis, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower threatened to cut off American aid unless Israel withdrew from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. And Israel complied. In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter’s carrot and stick policy played a critical role in the peace process that resulted in the historic Camp David Agreement. In 1981, even Ronald Reagan, the Republican President known for his pro-Israel policies, initially withheld sales of F-16s, asking Israel to withdraw from Lebanon. But, for some strange reasons, despite domestic concerns and international criticism, Democratic President Biden continues to back Israel in one of history’s worst massacres of Palestinians. The UN has warned that the enclave is on the brink of a famine. The Biden administration itself has admitted that nearly all Gazans are hungry. And dozens are getting killed from gun shots, in air strikes, stampedes and under air drops of food deliveries. If the U.S., which at least rhetorically takes pride in its commitment to human rights, cannot see this suffering of over two million Palestinians, it will go down in history as an enabler of this violence. Mr. Biden must start behaving as a statesman. His administration has the leverage to influence Israel’s behaviour. It should call for an immediate ceasefire and more aid into Gaza and stop all arms supplies to the Jewish state if it continues the war.

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