Top 5 Ways the US is Israel’s Accomplice in War Crimes in Gaza

By Juan Cole

The US State Department became a little testy with Israel on Sunday over the 6th school shelling by the Israeli military, which killed 10, saying

“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” reads the statement from State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. “We once again stress that Israel do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

As for the standard Israeli military pretext for such war crimes, that Hamas was hiding out in the school or firing from the school, no reporter on the ground has seen any evidence of any such activity by Hamas in schools where there are people. Then the Israeli military obfuscates things by saying that Hamas was “in the area.” Since Gaza is so small, I suppose they are in the area of almost everything. But the State Department didn’t let Tel Aviv off the hook this time: “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”

Despite this bold criticism, the State Department and the US government won’t actually do anything about Israel’s lawlessness in Gaza. That is because the US is a full ally of the Likud government in its war on Gaza, which is configured as a fight to destroy or attrite the capabilities of the Hamas party-militia, a Muslim fundamentalist movement that has foresworn any attack on US facilities or interests. As the head of US military intelligence recently testified, however, if Hamas were destroyed something worse would almost certainly take its place. That is because you can’t expect people to live the way Israel makes them live in Gaza without their forming a resistance movement. Since they are kept poor and on the edge of hunger, the resistance movements they throw up are lean and hungry, and as ruthless as the Israeli army.

Here are the ways that the US is actively helping Israel in its war on Gaza:

1. The US shares its raw signals intelligence directly with Israeli intelligence, enhancing Israeli eavesdropping and surveillance capabilities, as Glenn Greenwald shows in a new article for Firstlook. Israel somewhat ungratefully repaid the favor by collaborating with Russia to spy on John Kerry during his failed peace negotiations.

2. The US continually replenishes Israel’s ammunition. If Washington were actually so distressed about the UNRWA school shelling, it could just stop sending the shells for a while. It did this to Egypt after the massacre at Rabi`a al-Adawiya last summer.

3. The US State Department actively helps Israel to economically blockade the civilians of Gaza. It even pressures Egypt to uphold the blockade (which is why it is silly to say that Egypt is also responsible for the siege of Gaza; Egypt doesn’t have a choice in this policy that is made from Tel Aviv and promulgated from Washington).

4. Amnesty International shows that “Since 2012, the USA has exported $276 million worth of basic weapons and munitions to Israel, a figure that excludes exports of military transport equipment and high technologies.”

5. The US actively opposed the granting by the UN to Palestine of the status of nonmember observer state. It is this status that Palestine could use to go to the International Criminal Court and get a judgment against Israel for its illegal squatting on Palestinian land in the West Bank. That the US opposed Palestine having standing to apply to the ICC shows how hand in glove Washington is with Israel.

The US cannot serve as honest broker in Israel-Palestine negotiations because because its government is overwhelming committed to and identified with Israel, including in this war. That is why President Obama keeps mouthing propaganda like that Israel has a right to defend itself (it doesn’t enjoy an absolute right of that sort– its defense has to be proportionate and within international law). The US political system is the most corrupt in the industrialized world, and our representatives have simply been bought and paid for by Israel fanatics like Sheldon Adelson or Haim Saban (the latter has also taken over Middle East analysis at Brookings, which used to have an independent editorial line). It is scary since the Likud took over, since it is just as though a Serbian Lobby in the 1990s had bribed Congress to support Slobodan Milosevic.


Related video added by Juan Cole: AP “UN school ‘hit by Israeli airstrike’ in Gaza”

16 Responses

  1. Israel’s war is our war. Make no mistake. Along with that comes a shared loss of freedom….from an industrial spying complex, airport screening, a hair-trigger militarized police force and the constant threat of attack.

  2. It is very scary that our government is owned by the Likud. Not wanting to be apart of that hate-filled alliance,one seeks a
    way to live and engage culturally/politically…….meaningful
    i.e. how can the American people respond effectively to
    stop the arm shipments and press for an end the blockade of Gaza? that will not be ignored ?

    • “i.e. how can the American people respond effectively to stop the arm shipments and press for an end the blockade of Gaza? that will not be ignored?”

      On what basis do you reach the conclusion that your view of the situation represents that of the “American people”?

      • Bill, maybe the writer erred out of habit by including that “the” in front of “American people”. Omit that, and that would make it a very fair question, since everyone knows that some American people want Likud to knock it off. And ” we” are mired in that bad syntactic habit of referring to “we” when telling the rest of “us” what “correct” and “wise” policy (that sick concept) is and ought to be… Thanks for the cavil, though.

    • As long as the mainstream media depict Israel as a democracy besieged by terrorist Hamas, the American people will support Israel. Not many question CNN or ABC it’s sad, but true. I mean, how many question the illegal and immoral war against Iraq – even to this day! Why does the rest of the world get it, but not the U.S?! My guess is this has to do with American exceptionalism, and as Israel is looked upon as our 51st state. ….

  3. The State Department, aka Obama in this context, is telling Israel that, dwellings, infrastructure, government and private sector locations are OK targets – just leave anything with UN involvement alone.

    We don’t want the IDF to sully the the pristine rectitude of precision bombing. Our wars without end are depicted as killing “bad guys (9/11 wannabees) only”. Sure, once in a while we take out a wedding, funeral, kids playing in the dirt, etc. but we always follow up with a full investigation to prove the honesty of the mistakes. If only our enemies used the tactic of skirmish lines on open fields, these mistakes wouldn’t happen.

  4. Point 1 is right on the mark. The website The Intercept recently published documents that reveal the extent of the collaboration between the U.S. National Security Agency and Israeli Intelligence Services. The level of collusion prompted Greenwald to characterize it as nothing short of “direct involvement” of the U.S. government in Israel’s aggression.

  5. Harrison Salisbury in his “900 Days; The Siege of Leningrad” recounts an incident in which the Luftwaffe dropped leaflets on the besieged city announcing an imminent strike on one quarter and urging women and children to proceed to an open area wearing white to avoid being hit. They were massacred.

    I’ve recalled this crime many times in recent days

  6. The full extent of American-Israeli military and intelligence collaboration is gradually becoming clearer due to some leaked documents. The following article and especially the link to NSA Intelligence Relationship with Israel reveal how intimate and detailed those relations are:
    link to

  7. Here is an explanation (taken from link below) by Bibi on why the UN school was hit:
    “On Sunday, we were aiming at three militants on a motorcycle near the UN shelter in Rafah. If those guys insist on riding near the shelter, what are we to do? We have no choice but to strike them as well as we can. But have you any idea how hard it is to hit a motorcycle from way up in the air? Just once, just once, I wish the UN and all other critics of Israel could try to see things from our point of view.”
    Is this funny or what? Imagine a motorcycle zig-zagging around! …And those Gazans using children to shield a motorcyle built for three! LOL Gotta laugh, since crying won’t do any good.
    “How Netanyahu Would Answer His Critics” from

  8. In November 2012, Palestine was granted statehood by the UN. [*] Therefore, if it ratifies the ICC Treaty is can ask the ICC’s prosecutor to investigate war crimes, particularly during the recent Gaza conflict.
    [*] link to

  9. The side that is winning on the sound bites in this war is the Amerisraeli side. Arguments are made, and then the Amerisraeli apologists always punch back with an unanswered roundhouse strike. That punch is that America would never put up with rockets firing from Canada, Mexico, etc. (And America did blow both Afghanistan and Iraq to smithereens after 9-11)
    My recall of the chain of events is that Israel went bellicose crazy at the time that Hamas and the PA were endeavoring to consolidate, and when the 3 boys were abducted and killed. Rocket attacks by Hamas were essentially after Israel went into war mode (although perhaps some rogue rockets got sent at or before that time?) Where can one find a good chronological list of the chain of events?

  10. Jay, I suspect I know what that that chronology would demonstrate, and it would not help Netanyahu. This incursion looks like an attempt to terrorize Gaza into submission.

    But we have the Fog of War.

    And it was a US Senator who long ago memorably observed that the first casualty of War is the Truth.

  11. As important as each of these items are, equally important is the way that credible Palestinian peace overtures are buried down the official memory hole from 1976 onwards, both in public declarations and scholarship. It helps to never get reminded of opportunities when the claim is that there is no partner for peace.

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