By Lock Bailey
It surprises me very little that there is nearly no heard outcry in the United States on the recent war-crimes committed by Israel against the civilians in Gaza.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “urged” Israel along with “many regional and world leaders together” to refrain from killing civilians in Gaza. Over three-quarters of the casualties, approximately 77% of the now over 500 killed and over 2,000 injured, are civilians.
Outcry around the world against Israel’s military barrage occurred largely after the killing of four Palestinian boys collecting crabs on an empty beach. Israel received further criticism, and justifiably so, after the I.D.F. killed an additional four children and injured several more after bombing a rehabilitation hospital—a war-crime as simply defined as could be imagined.
For having undisputed superiority in military might in the region (in which the United States funds overwhelmingly), the imprecision of the attacks cannot be excused on “misfired,” “misdirected or miscalculated” orders or “malfunctions” in equipment. The weapons used and the intelligence gathered is elite to even US standards.
The targets are ostensibly Hamas aggressors and activists. The minority of deaths fall into this definition. The majority, however, are children and women, as reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and as said by UN High Commissioner, Navi Pillay: “once again, civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict.”
The current violence mirrors the Gaza War in 2008. Leaders in Israel, spearheaded by Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, approved the bombing of Gaza City at noonday when “children were returning from school” according to Israeli historian Illan Pappe. On the same day, near the same hour the Israeli Defense Forces targeted a “closing ceremony of a police academy, killing dozens of policeman.”
The current violence similarly mirrors the bombing of Gaza in 2012. Israel again committed a blatant war crime of bombing a hospital and purposefully targeting the Gaza news agency—another international war crime.
The United Nations sees Gaza as “Israeli occupied territory”. This distinction puts Israel under strict requirements to follow international law. If one country occupies another country, they are forbidden to commit specific actions, including the ever constant crime of Israeli settlements in Palestinian land—increased a hundred fold by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party members.
The Israeli and Palestinian conflict is relevant to every American. Citizens of the United States, often unknowingly, fund much of the Israeli military operations as well as the internationally illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Most importantly, perhaps, is the power within the American public to influence leaders to limit the support of Israeli military funding if Israel continues to kill Palestinian children.