The military massacre of Gaza began on December 27, 2008 with Israel airstrikes on Gaza, quickly followed by a ground invasion on January 3, 2009. The actions of Israel on Gaza cannot be qualified as a war, as it was clearly a massacre of over 1,300, mostly the civilian, Gazan population.
Israel with all of its’ US taxpayer arsenal did not engage in a military action. They came in and systematically targeted the civilian population, including children, hospitals, mosques, police stations, schools and homes. They attacked disproportionately, indiscriminately and with impunity, acts which are held under International Law as criminal acts. They used white phosphorus on densely populated residential areas in Gaza, with no concern for the civilian population.
The blame for this carnage though, cannot lie soley on Israel’s shoulders. The United States, defender of the Nation of Israel at all costs, is both morally and legally culpable of this bloodbath. By arming Israel to its’ pearly whites, the United States is in clear violation of both international and domestic law.
The United States has been the largest supplier of armaments to both the military and private commercial enterprise in Israel since 2001. 3 billion dollars per year of United States taxpayers’ money is given to Israel unequivocally to be used solely for purchase of United States manufactured conventional weaponry.
Under international law, by providing the weapons used to violate humanitarian law (in this case the deliberate targeting of a civilian site), the U.S. government shares the responsibility for the violation, by providing the weapons used to violate humanitarian law (in this case the deliberate targeting of a civilian site).
Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts states: “A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if: (a) that State does so with knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act; and (b) the act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State.”1
Under Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” which includes “acts of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.”2
As well, the Arms Export Control Act, Section 4, ”authorizes the supply of US military equipment and training only for lawful purposes of internal security, “legitimate self-defense,” or participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations or other operations consistent with the U.N. Charter.”3
The US Export Administration Act, “security assistance may be provided if the President certifies that “extraordinary circumstances” exist”.4 Does this “extraordinary cirumstance” exist? I think not, the Gaza massacre which claimed 1,300 Gazan civilians, only to the death of 3 Israelis clearly demonstrates that there is no extraordinary circumstance, the Palestinians were simply led to slaughter. Israel repeatedly claimed that it had no choice but to wage ware on Gaza due to the break in ceasefire perpetuated by Hamas. This though, does not fly in the face of logic. In defending “The Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s National Security and Foreign Policy, Zeev Maov, a well respected military historian, states “Israel low-intensity strategy was based on escalation dominance, that is disproportionate responses to provocations, as well as military initiatives not in response to specific provocations. At that same time, Israeli strategy tried to walk a fine line between outmatching the challenge with excessive force, on one hand and deflecting blame for escalating minor incidents to all-out wars”.5
Israel’s actions and its’ long history of provocation and incitement acts as a pretense to military action. It then turns the object of their ire into the aggressor with Israel playing the role of the long suffering, misunderstood victim. The assault on Gaza does not stand alone, Israel used this strategic escalation in 1955 – 1956 to create the political climate for the invasion of Egypt and again in 1981 – 1982 in the Lebanon Israel conflict which resulted in the reoccupation of the West Bank. Hey, if it’s not broken, why fix it?
1Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1999, vol. Chapter IV, Article 27., “Aid or assistance in the commission of an internationally wrongful act”.
2 Foreign Assistance Act, Section 502B.
3Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2754), Section 4.
4Israel/Opt: Fuelling Conflict: Foreign Arms Supplies to Israel Gaza, Arms Supplies to Israel, Amnesty International, p. 18.
5Maoz, Zeev, Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security & Foreign, University of Michigan Press, pg. 18.