Critics Slam US Military’s ‘Disturbing’ Praise for Israel’s Gaza Offensive

By Commondreams Staff:

“‘It is very disturbing and shameful that U.S. military commanders believe that what Israel did in Gaza is something to be applauded,’ says Ramah Kudaimi of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.”
“‘It is very disturbing and shameful that U.S. military commanders believe that what Israel did in Gaza is something to be applauded,’ says Ramah Kudaimi of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.”

Critics say it is “shameful” that a high-ranking U.S. military official suggested the Pentagon can learn lessons from Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza this summer.

According the Jerusalem Post, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey made statements Thursday praising the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) for taking “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties” during Operation Protective Edge.

Dempsey told an audience at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: “We sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that particular operation in Gaza.” He referred to the group of officers as the “lessons learned team.”

But Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said Israel’s tactics should not be replicated.

“It is very disturbing and shameful that U.S. military commanders believe that what Israel did in Gaza is something to be applauded,” Kudaimi told Common Dreams. “Five hundred dead children does not seem to be evidence that Israel was trying to not kill civilians. The seven-year siege on Gaza is not a policy to avoid civilian suffering.”

Israel’s recent seven-week military assault on Gaza killed at least 2,194 Palestinians, at least 75 percent of them civilians and over 500 of them children.

“At least 80 percent of the 100,000 Palestinian homes damaged or destroyed were refugee homes,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency reports.

The offensive damaged or destroyed over half of Gaza’s hospitals and health centers at a time when more than 11,000 were wounded, a UNRWA and World Health Organization joint investigation found.

Israel struck six UN schools sheltering Palestinians, including in cases where exact coordinates of the shelters were formally submitted by UNRWA to the Isreali military. These strikes alone killed at least 47 people and wounded hundreds.

Furthermore, Israel has been accused of potential war crimes by Amnesty International and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“It is very despicable that the U.S. continues to white-wash Israeli crimes while funding them through military aid,” said Kudaimi. “Dempsey’s statements are not shocking. Anyone who follows U.S. military policy, knows they too have problematic definitions of protecting civilians.”

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

ODN on Amnesty International charges of Israeli war crimes in Gaza

9 Responses

  1. It is disturbing that Dempsey should back what is now official Israeli policy, called the Dahiya doctrine, here is how an Israeli official described it in 2009.”Israel has sought the political, as well as military, emasculation of Hamas through the widespread destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure and economy.
    This is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine,” named after a suburb of Beirut that was almost leveled during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in summer 2006. The doctrine was encapsulated in a phrase used by Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff, at the time. He said Lebanon’s bombardment would “turn back the clock 20 years.”
    The commanding officer in Israel’s south, Yoav Galant, echoed those sentiments on the Gaza offensive’s first day: the aim, he said, was to “send Gaza decades into the past.”
    Beyond these sound-bites, Gadi Eisenkot, the head of Israel’s northern command, clarified in October the practical aspects of the strategy: “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan.”
    In the interview, Gen Eisenkot was discussing the next round of hostilities with Hizballah. However, the doctrine was intended for use in Gaza, too”.In the interview, Gen Eisenkot was discussing the next round of hostilities with Hizballah. However, the doctrine was intended for use in Gaza, too.

    Gabriel Siboni, a colonel in the reserves, set out the new “security concept” in an article published by Tel Aviv University’s Institute of National Security Studies two months before the assault on Gaza. Conventional military strategies for waging war against states and armies, he wrote, could not defeat sub-national resistance movements, such as Hizballah and Hamas, that have deep roots in the local population.
    The goal instead was to use “disproportionate force,” thereby “inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes.”
    Siboni identified the chief target of Israel’s rampages as “decision makers and the power elite,” including “economic interests and the centers of civilian power that support the [enemy] organization.” link to

    • “Disproportionate force” as an accepted military doctrine was also embraced in a public speech given by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert immediately following the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead in January of 2009.

      Olmert is currently under a sentence of six years imprisonment for an unrelated public corruption conviction – but remains free pending appeal.

      Under international law, disproportionate force is a war crime.

        • The U.N.’s Goldstone Commission report findings on the Operation Cast Lead incursion into Gaza applied the disproportionate force doctrine in concluding that Israel violated international humanitarian law and cited the public statements of IDF leaders (e.g. “100 homes destroyed for every rocket fired into Israel”) as proof that the IDF was targeting civilian infrastructure as a form of mass punishment of civilians.

          The Goldstone Commission’s findings were not without controversy as to the disproportionality doctrine as applied therein:

          link to

  2. In order to extract the cease-fire agreement of Hamas in late August of this year, Israeli military commanders expressly stated that they were targeting Hamas leaders with extrajudicial killings and demolishing some of the largest commercial and residential complexes in Gaza.

    The Italian Mall, a 15-story elegant mixed-use commercial and residential complex which represented the tallest building in Gaza, was destroyed by six missiles from an Israel Air Force fighter jet on the evening of August 25th – 25 Gazans were injured in the air strike. Israeli media shortly thereafter broadcast film footage of the explosions:

    link to

    The Israeli government later issued an unsubstantiated statement suggesting intelligence they uncovered revealed the complex was used for Hamas military conferences.

    Also that same evening the “Basha Tower” another Gazan skyscraper, was destroyed by the Israel Air Force.

    Hamas acceded to a truce with Israel shortly after these two devastating air attacks.

  3. One lesson we all might learn from the turkey-shoot (Gaza-2014) is that having a free hand to shoot up a defenceless population is a wonderful opportunity to test new weapons and to demonstrate to potential buyers in the international arms market that the arms have been “battle-tested” and “shown to be effective”. This is apparently a strategy of Israel’s version of the military-industrial-government complex. Israel earns substantial revenue from commercial arms sales on the international market (as does the USA).

    The turkey-shoot in Gaza is thus a bit like cosmetic companies testing cosmetic drugs on animals. Animal rights folks don’t like the latter, and human-rights folks don’t like what Israel does when it is testing its weapons.

  4. This strategy makes sense,as Israel does not want to actually take gaza over completely…way to costly in every way…same applies to southern Lebanon….

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