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The US encourages targeted assassinations to bolster Israel’s impunity

December 19, 2023 at 3:09 pm

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 09, 2023 [Ariel Hermoni – Anadolu Agency]

Israel has long made it a mission to use targeted assassinations to kill Hamas leaders in Gaza and abroad. In context of the latest Israeli bombing of the enclave, which Israel allegedly initiated to wipe out Hamas despite proof to the contrary, the US is now encouraging Israel to return to targeted assassinations to kill Hamas leaders, destroy tunnels and rescue the remaining hostages.

According to US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, the shift would be “transitioning to the next phase of operations”. A practical strategy, if the US had to be taken at face value. However, the US call for Israel to return to targeted assassinations reinforces the normalisation of such a strategy, which it has employed since 1948 and more than any other nation, spanning 2,300 operations in seven decades. As a result, Israel has solidified impunity on two levels which serve its colonisation plans: targeted assassinations are now a political necessity, according to the US. And Israel’s bombing of Gaza is now reduced to a preliminary phase, which consolidates the absence of accountability.

Check out the hypocrisy of the EU’s Foreign Affairs High Representative, Josep Borrell. “Far too many civilians have been killed in Gaza, as pointed out among others also by the French, German and UK Foreign Ministers. Certainly, we are witnessing an appalling lack of distinction in Israel’s military operation in Gaza,” Borrell wrote on X. Yet his suggestion was another humanitarian pause with the aim of liberating Israeli hostages. The EU’s concern is Israel, not the displaced and murdered Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

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The silence over Israel’s genocide in Gaza speaks as loud as the statements that promote genocide through humanitarian pauses. Over 19,400 Palestinians have been murdered since 7 October, and 52,286 injured. According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israel increased its killing of Palestinian civilians by 40 per cent since the end of the humanitarian pause.

In yet another callous display of disregard for the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the UN Security Council delayed a vote on a resolution that called for ceasing all hostilities and releasing the remaining Israeli hostages. The US requested a milder tone, which resulted in “urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities” to be watered down to “urgent suspension of hostilities”. And, on the other side of the world, equally invested in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians, Borrell’s rhetoric is on a par with the US. Humanitarian pauses are now normalised, and the outcome is genocide. Hamas, meanwhile, resumes its position at the helm of Israel’s security narrative over Gaza.

And, while Israel takes its time deciding when to stop bombing Gaza and proceed with targeted assassinations with the full blessings of the US, a status quo resembling that of the past is brought into existence. No matter that a different scenario now exists – Gaza is utterly destroyed, its population murdered, injured and displaced at an unprecedented rate – the next phase of absolving Israel is in full swing.  The US is requesting absolute silence about Gaza to ensure  the slightest criticism of Israel’s genocidal actions are geared towards saving its security narrative. And what better way to achieve this, than constantly shining the spotlight on Hamas?

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.