August 08, 2022
The American greenlighting of Israel’s unprovoked attack on the Gaza Strip is deeply troubling. Washington justified a wide-ranging attack that killed at least 44 Palestinians, among them 15 children, based on a questionable justification.
As the barrage of Israeli fire caused death, destruction and fear to the nearly 2 million Palestinians besieged in the tiny enclave, the US State Department said that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
But a careful chronological review of what happened does not provide a single piece of evidence that Israel was attacked or for it to need this seal of approval from the US.
The latest round of violence began last Tuesday, when Israel infiltrated the Jenin refugee camp — a violation of the US-sponsored Oslo Accords — and arrested Bassam Al-Saadi. Video from surveillance cameras at his house show Israeli soldiers brutally beating up and humiliating Al-Saadi as they took him away.
Three days later, Tel Aviv carried out another offensive act, this time the illegal act of extrajudicial killing. The assassination of Tayseer Al-Jabari, again at his home, also resulted in the deaths of a number of innocent Palestinians, including a five-year-old child.
Israel claims that it carried out its actions against Palestinians in Gaza as a preventative strike, aimed at a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
So, from the evidence on the ground and by Israel’s own admission, the state of Israel was not attacked, meaning the US should not have given it the go-ahead to kill innocent men, women and children under the claim of self-defense.
The reality, of course, is much different. Israel’s caretaker government, headed by an inexperienced former talk show host, is due to hold a general election on Nov. 1. While Israeli commentators may argue that the attack was based on the advice of the Israeli army and that all relevant individuals — including the head of the opposition, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — had signed up to it, that does not excuse the attack or the killing of innocent Palestinians.
Despite the unmistakable evidence of its initiation of the current round of violence, Israel also falsely propagates that it was reacting to rockets that were launched at it from Gaza. Unfortunately, many in the Western media fell for this blatant lie and repeated it without even attempting to check whether it was correct.
From the evidence on the ground and by Israel’s own admission, the state of Israel was not attacked.
The attack falls within the Israeli strategy of mowing the grass. Proponents of this strategy insist that, in the same way you need to cut the grass in your garden on a regular basis, they have to attack Palestinians on a regular basis to somehow keep them weak and unable to carry out regular attacks.
While these regular violent attacks against Palestinians are taking place, the current Israeli government continues to adopt a no-peace talks policy. It is refusing to discuss with the Palestinians ways of finding a political resolution to the conflict.
When US President Joe Biden visited and met with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, he promised American support for the two-state solution and prayed for peace, freedom and dignity.
These calls are falling on deaf ears now that his own State Department has greenlighted a violent attack on Palestinians without any effort to begin a peace process that could lead to freedom — and with no attempt by Biden to pressure Israel to honor his own words.
Conflict resolution specialists and history tell us that you cannot end a bloody conflict only with military means. Israel may be powerful, due in large part to the military, financial and political support it receives from the US and other Western countries, but all the military power in the world will not end a conflict that is largely a political one based simply on the inalienable human right of self-determination.
The oft-repeated US words about a two-state solution sound empty when any neutral observer can witness the one-sided onslaught on Palestinians without any deterrence. If the US State Department honestly believes in the right of Israelis to defend themselves, what means does Washington think the Palestinians should have in defending themselves from this brutal onslaught?
• Daoud Kuttab is an award-winning Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem.
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